For more than two years, I have had the opportunity to meet SO many individuals who are struggling in their neurodiverse relationships. Whether the person reaching out to me is neurotypical or neurodivergent, they are all struggling to better "understand" themselves and their partner.
The emotional pain I hear about is something I fully understand!!! After not knowing for 29 years of marriage that my ex-husband and I were a neurodiverse couple, we often struggled to better understand each other and caused each other SO much "unintentional" hurt, pain and trauma.🙁. We loved each other very much, however, because we didn't look at our "differences" through a neurological lens, we were on a very challenging and debilitating "emotional rollercoaster" of repeated misunderstanding.
Sometimes love isn't enough! However, I do believe that when "both" partners are committed to better understanding and sharing what they need as individuals and initimate partners, then things can slowly start to improve, (or one of you may decide this is not the right relationship for you and move on with kindness and compassion).
When people reach out to me, I hear things like:
How can I love him so much and not understand why he does the things he does?
Why do they get so emotional and want to talk about everything?
Why were things so different before we moved in together?
Why can't she understand that I just need more time to respond?
It always feels like anything I do or say is wrong, so I've stopped even trying.
If you can relate to one or more of these statements, please know you're not alone! Every week I publish another episode of the Neurodiverse Love podcast so that if you are struggling to better understand yourself, or your partner, you may find some clarity from others in a similar relationship, or through the tools and strategies that are shared by therapists and coaches who work with neurodiverse couples.
In addition, the Neurodiverse Couples Support Groups I offer have helped many couples understand that they are not alone, as each participant provides support and validation to the others.
Prior to the start of the couples support groups, I ask each couple to answer and discuss with their partner 4 very important questions. I am sharing the 4 questions with all of you in case some of you may want to answer the questions for yourself and with your partner. Please remember to discuss only one question at a time and create guidelines that will work for both you and your partner (ie: schedule the time and place for the discussion and whether or not the discussion will be in person or by email or text).
What are your partners top 3 strengths?
What are the top 3 strengths of your relationship?
What are the top 3 challenges you and your partner experience in your relationship?
What are "you" willing to work on improving, or change, to make improvements in your relationship?
Please know their is hope for things to improve when you both have a better understanding of yourself and your partner and what will create a healthy, successful relationship for each of you. Understanding your neurological differences and finding respectful, kind ways to both get your needs and wants met in life, can be a game changer. Thanks for being a part of the Neurodiverse Love community!
Let's keep increasing understanding of Neurodiverse Love...one conversation at a time!💗
Mona Kay, MSW, Ph. D.
Host of the Neurodiverse Love podcast