They expect their partner to share the work load at home, for domestic chores and caring for the children, and to be their best friend in terms of conversation, sharing experiences and emotional support.

Sharing, and being a best friend, are not attributes that are easy for the person with Asperger’s syndrome to achieve.

Asperger’s doesn’t to dominate a person’s identity.

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) The chapter actually starts with kind of an odd little prelude: A man or woman with Asperger’s syndrome can develop intimate person relationships…For such a relationship to begin, both parties would have initially found the other person to be attractive.

What are the characteristics that someone would find attractive in a person with Asperger’s syndrome? Attwood then dedicates an entire section called “Choice of Partner” to answering it.

The single most disturbing passage of the chapter, for me, is the concluding paragraph of the “Problems in the Relationship” section.

Attwood cites a study that literally suggests that people with Asperger’s are emotionally and physically parasitic toward their non-autistic partners: A recent survey of the mental and physical health of couples where the male partner has Asperger’s syndrome, a diagnosis not shared by the female partner, indicated that the relationship has very different health effects for each partner (Aston 2003).

This is a reflection of the attitude that pervades Tony Attwood’s has an entire chapter titled “Long-term Relationships” that he starts off with a quotation from Hans Asperger’s original paper on the behavioral profile that would eventually become Asperger syndrome: So right off the bat readers with Asperger’s know we’re going to be presented as a problem.

(And that “long-term relationship” must equal marriage?

The typical partner is metaphorically a rose trying to blossom in an affection desert (Long 2003).

A recent survey of women who have a partner with Asperger’s syndrome included the question “Does your partner love you?

We represent the very essence of self-centeredness—just like children.

(Or children as they are popularly constructed.) Sadly, I am not being hyperbolic when I say that this section presents Aspergian lovers as downright monstrous.

I find this so odd because it generalizes what is in reality an inifitely diverse range of experiences, and because it essentializes Asperger’s.