Masking refers to ways that an autistic person acts so they can be more like neurotypical people and can navigate a neurotypical world. It is a kind of social survival strategy. Examples of masking in autistic adults might look like:
If you notice your partner is tense or on edge, is having outbursts and seems to snap easily, or is seeming to be overwhelmed in social gatherings, therapy may be helpful to learn better ways of coping and practicing mindfulness of triggers. Therapy can be helpful in learning about neurodivergence as well and directing a person to resources that could be beneficial for them.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that traits can fall along a continuum that varies from minor impairments to severe. These impairments cause challenges in social relationships, speech and behavior, including nonverbal behavior. Research suggests that about 1 in 44 people is on the spectrum, with more prevalence found in men.
While difficulties range from person to person, your partner on the spectrum may have some of these characteristics:
We often analyze the behavior of people we’re closest to, as a way to better understand them. However, it’s really hard to diagnose someone that we are emotionally invested in because we’re not able to be objective. If you think your partner is on the spectrum, before you say anything to them, you may want to commit yourself to extra reading to learn more about neurodivergence and how to be a support. You may also consider connecting with a therapist to help with your own process of feelings and struggles. Only a mental health professional can diagnose autism. There are extensive assessments that a mental health professional will facilitate before diagnosing autism.
All brains are wired to connect, your partner on the spectrum just may do so differently. If you could use help with better connecting to your partner and resolving challenges in your relationship, contact our care team today. One of our trained therapists is ready to work with you.