Stuff that might be helpful is bolded.
Well, my wife and I married about a decade ago. And, bear in mind that autism is a pretty generic disorder - with a lot of potentially different characteristics, so, your mileage will vary. Some Aspies are introverts and some are extroverts. The extroverts tend to suffer more. Also, bear in mind that autism is a spectrum disorder - which means that there's no clear cutoff, just a diagnostic guideline which basically translates into 'is this giving you trouble?'
(elevated/lessened emotionality, lessened empathy, decreased executive functioning, social awkwardness, rigidity)
I've always assumed that I was fairly Aspie, but am generically happy with life. My wife's friends hinted that she had a history of unhappiness. She admitted that her parents never got along well.
We fought a lot - she'd suddenly get unhappy for no apparent reason and start talking about divorce. And, we'd have endless discussions where I never seemed to hear her properly.
Then, she got depressed, and started sleeping all day.
I got her a cat, and later a dog, and found a therapist, and a psychiatrist - who kept on adding new pills and dosages until she was basically a zombie. Nothing helped. Frankly, she got better after she stopped seeing that guy - who I think was just honestly trying everything he knew. I ignored her and just tried to get through the day. (just didn't know what to do)
We went through a few marriage counselors - but the communication was so poor, and my wife so obnoxious, that they mostly started yelling at her and refusing to see us.
The arguments started escalating...originally verbally abusive...eventually to the point where she was beating me with a plastic bat in front of our child.
I warned her, then called the police. She threatened the arresting officer. And ended up with felony charges. I was planning on divorce at this point. (Had a lawyer...) She asked for a chance - told me she suspected BPD - and started therapy. She, after many misadventures, found a good therapist and a somewhat decent DBT group
- excellent training for Aspies.
And we did marriage counseling too.
The marriage counseling was strange. She spent 90% of the time blaming me for the oddest things. She was messy - because I didn't instantly clean up. (...even though I wasn't home during the day...) She didn't play with our children (...even though I did...) because I was too anti-social. She was obsessed by how I didn't pay attention to sound and volume...and felt that the rest of the family not tiptoing until noon, when she woke, was evidence of medical problems on our part. She would hide away watching period films all evening - because I wasn't forcing her to spend time with me. And, she couldn't seem to understand any sort of response unless I parroted, nearly exactly, and using the same words, anything she said. She was fat, because I didn't make her exercise. (not because she slept all day and ate all night, trying to fall back asleep)
Our MCs eventually weren't willing to listen to her any more.
...we tried a 'Mastering the Mysteries of Love'
course, which helped - amazingly useful free nonviolent communication course - often help at local churches.
...but my wife remained obsessed with having me acknowledge that the reason she behaved so oddly was because I was autistic.
...so, I suggested attending an Aspie self-help group - and we went over a bunch of books on Aspergers. She noticed that she fit the books better than I did.
...when we went to the group...she fit in really, really well - and started shaking and crying - and realized she'd found her people. Even met another woman with a similar history who'd gotten a lot out of DBT.
...this made a lot of sense, as personality disorders mostly don't include tendencies towards sensory overload or deadly honesty. And her level of empathy was low and scarily inconsistent. (Never would have expected to have a spouse be (a) genuinely surprised and (b) genuinely apologetic when she finally found out that hitting someone with a bat would hurt their feelings.) It appears that she dealt with her autism by explaining to herself that everyone else was crazy.
...things are still difficult. But better.
+...she's stopped with the endless conversations where she tries to have me explain how I'm forcing her to be odd.
+...she's still working on the DBT, which helps with her anxiety (a really, really common co-morbidity - the BPD is less so, with only a ?5-10x? incidence increase.)
+...she's studying for careers that actually make sense.
+...and she's even stopped screaming about how everyone who wakes her up is autistic after I gave her the speech on how an inability to filter sensory input is a key characteristic of autism. Headphones really help
, btw. So does copious childcare
and scheduled alone time
-...executive functioning is hard for her...so she sleeps in...rarely cleans...and just can't watch children for extended times.
-...people still scare her.
-...that bit - where someone really gets you and empathizes...that isn't going to happen with my wife. It is lonely.
-...I'm slightly worried...as the part where you stop talking and help someone who's collapsed on the floor moaning doesn't come naturally to her. I'm not sure she'd call the doctor before I died if I was ever seriously ill.
...so we work on coping. The autism itself isn't so hard - though I sometimes need to intercede with the children. Every day she gets closer to accepting who she is makes things easier. I'm learning to do some preemptive soothing about the stuff that worries her. And, exercise helps
. She's back on a few medications - mostly for anxiety - and they're actually helpful.
(except clona... which just made her suicidally depressed and homicidal)
The other thing that has helped is just me accepting that she's very afraid of behaving oddly, and also unable to behave in a normal fashion.
So, I've started reminding her to bathe, comb her hair, and make eye contact occasionally.
We're currently revisiting some of the Asperger's books, and also gradually working though a social skills training book
. I'm trying to declutter our lives, but she's a bit of a hoarder so, eh, not much progress yet - but I think it would help.