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Press Releases

Does the Love of Your Life Have Asperger’s Syndrome? Here Are Some Tips to Escape Feeling Unloved on Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 04, 2014


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Dr. Kathy Marshack
360-256-0048; kmarshack@kmarshack.com or www.kmarshack.com

Does the Love of Your Life Have Asperger’s Syndrome?

Here Are Some Tips to Escape Feeling Unloved on Valentine's Day  


VANCOUVER, Wash. (February 1, 2014) – A day designed to be filled with sweet, romantic gestures, Valentine’s Day can instead go sour for a couple when one of the partners has Asperger Syndrome.

That’s because Aspies’ – a term coined and freely used by many with Asperger Syndrome – brains are wired in a way that skirts the ability to know, feel or demonstrate empathy and love, according to psychologist Kathy Marshack, Ph.D. She is the author of the just-released book, “Out of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome,” a follow-up to her internationally-acclaimed book, “Going Over the Edge? Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome.”

“Empathy is about reciprocal connecting; the ability to step into another’s shoes. The non-Aspie is wired to achieve a mutually satisfying solution. Aspies are not, and they can’t read their partner’s signals. Therein lies the rub,” explains Marshack. “Aspies are unable to comprehend the meaning of the traditional gestures of love and romance. They don’t set out to hurt their love by withholding a Valentine, candy or flowers. When the non-Aspie partner learns not to take this as a slight or personal affront, life will be sweeter.

“Aspies simply don’t ‘get’ why a show of affection is important to their non-Aspie, or neurotypical, partner. They’re out of sync. Expressing love escapes Aspies, because empathizing is foreign to them. Not being romantic isn’t a hurtful decision they make. When the neurotypical more accurately understands the actions, or inactions, of their Aspie loved one, feelings get hurt less often.”

Similarly, Marshack continues, Aspies need to learn ways to engage with their neurotypical spouse. One Aspie husband explained it to Marshack like this, “I just can’t say or do the first thing that pops into my mind. It might be all wrong. It’s like I need a ‘politeness checker’ running in the back of my mind to remind me to be a gentleman.” He accomplished this by writing down rules about appropriate engagement in a notebook, with the help of his wife. He keeps it with him and refers to it frequently for guidance. Without that tool, he says he’d be lost.

Help your Aspie create his/her own rules of engagement in order to act in ways that really matter to you. Those rules might include: Kiss spouse goodbye each morning; call spouse at lunchtime each day; buy “For My Wife” card and flowers for Feb. 14; hold spouse’s hand and say, “Thank you,” when I receive a gift or card from him/her. It’s a sort of list that tells the Aspie what to do and when -- never mind the “why.”

“Aspies may not understand why something is important to their loved one, but learning to make the effort, the gesture, represents good intention and love, just a different kind,” says Marshack.

For more insight into Asperger Syndrome and building the framework for a life where you feel loved, contact Marshack at 360-256-0048; kmarshack@kmarshack.com or www.kmarshack.com

About psychologist and author Kathy Marshack, Ph.D.


Marshack has worked as a marriage and family therapist and business coach for 34 years. Asperger Syndrome is one of her specialties, and she has counseled hundreds of couples, families and individuals who are on the Spectrum. She has authored three books and has been written about in The New York Times, “Inc.” magazine, USA Today, “Everyday Health,” “Ladies Home Journal” and The Washington Post. As well, Marshack has been on CNN, the Lifetime TV channel and National Public Radio (NPR). She resides in Washington and has offices there and in Oregon.

NOTES TO EDITOR: Photo of Kathy Marshack, Ph.D. is available by email on request.

· You can view chapters of Marshack’s two Asperger Syndrome books here:

“Going Over the Edge?” and   “Out of Mind-Out of Sight”


· You can read the “Kirkus” review of “Out of Mind-Out of Sight” here.

· You can read more about why Aspies and neurotypicals marry in the first place here.