Some thoughts

Life in a Mixed Marriage – trouble with pink polka dot flan dishes, the other side

One of the objectives of having these discussions in public is to show both sides. That doesn’t mean we think life is so simplistic that there are only two points of view, one black and one white, but it hopefully highlights how different wiring in the brain can produce surprising results.

So, before we headed off on the walk, I recognised a pattern. Normally when we have walked from home to Geevor, on to Levant and back via Trewellard, we have called into the Trewellard Arms. Now when I say normal I mean once; for me once is a habit and a routine. To people like Teresa once is once, but it isn’t for me. I know that so, instead of just assuming we would call into the Trewellard, I said to Teresa that I was expecting to call into the Trewellard and would pack my notebook (and carry it) so that we could discuss our upcoming talks. I know Teresa likes her single malts and Trewellard is good for them, I prefer to drink in the North Inn but the beer is fine in the Trewellard, so I was hitting lots of good things

  • A routine
  • Teresa gets the chance to have a single malt when I’m drinking beer
  • A lovely walk we have done before, done exactly as we have done it before
  • A chance to plan our talk

What more was there? We both knew the plan and for me there would be no surprises, perfect.

So the fact that Teresa may have not understood the plan exactly the way I did, did not occur to me, but I am sufficiently aware of our differences to be polite and so asked when we got to the end of the walk “shall we go in then?” I didn’t expect even a moment’s hesitation, we had already agreed we would, but it was polite to ask. You see I can learn polite but it isn’t easy and the reactions can confuse me!

Anyway, we went in and we had an excellent discussion and wrote an almost complete script for our joint presentation.

The discussion about David (I don’t need to call him OD since I know who I am so David must mean him) was fascinating; I recognised what Teresa was describing about the pink polka dot flan dish. I have “been there, done that and got the T-shirt” and ended up just as hurt and confused as David undoubtedly was.

Now, both Teresa and my perception of the right thing to do in that situation (to buy the dish or not) are different. Neither is wrong or right, but both of us need to understand where the other is coming from. For the Autistic it is important to have clarity and for statements such as “it would be nice” or “I quite fancy” not be presented as the absolutes they feel like; the neurotypical needs to accept that they got what they asked for, even if that wasn’t what they meant.

Responsibility for misunderstanding lies on both sides of the relationship and sometimes you’ve just got to “suck it up”. As a neurotypical, if you fail to be clear, then work with the result. Similarly if someone really was clear then stick with what they said and not expand the task to be more enjoyable. Going further than asked is not unusual when our obsessive side engages and it’s not fair that we are upset when our partner is not happy getting more than they asked for!

Communication is key and not just talking but understanding, and not just surface understanding but understanding what happens inside the other person’s wiring and learning to be tolerant and work with it, and not against it.

Anyone looking for a pink polka dot flan dish?

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