As neurodivergent couples navigate their relationships, they are faced with unique challenges due to the fact that neurotypical social and communication norms may not always apply.
Despite these potential obstacles, neurodivergent couples can have successful, fulfilling relationships by taking advantage of various strategies.
Here are five ways in which being neurodivergent affect relationships and how neurodivergent couples therapy can help.
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Neurodivergence can make it difficult for some people to recognize and respond effectively to their own emotions or needs. As a result, neurodivergent individuals may benefit from extra self-awareness when navigating romantic relationships.
This involves understanding one’s own emotional state in order to better articulate needs as well as recognizing triggers and issues that can arise in relationships.
In neurodivergent relationships, communication can be especially important in understanding how each person prefers to receive and express love and affection.
Non-verbal cues may not always convey the nuances of a particular sentiment, so being clear about what is needed or desired can be helpful for both parties.
This also involves understanding that neurodivergent partners may have difficulty expressing emotions in a neurotypical manner.
Neurodivergence can sometimes create an atmosphere of tension or misunderstanding even when both partners are trying their best to empathize with one another. Taking time to discuss boundaries, expectations and individual needs is key to creating a respectful environment that allows both people to feel comfortable.
Neurodivergent couples may benefit from developing coping strategies that can help address issues when they arise. This includes everything from communication exercises and stress reduction techniques to finding creative outlets for expressing emotions.
Practicing these techniques together can create a shared language of understanding and appreciation within the relationship.
Finally, neurodivergent couples should consider building a strong support system of family and friends who are knowledgeable about neurodiverse relationships and can offer advice or assistance when needed. Having this kind of network in place can be incredibly helpful in navigating the ups and downs of neurodivergent partnerships. It may also help to have a neurodiverse focused couples therapist that understands the nuances of how neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals approach relationships and communication differently.
These are just some of the ways neurodivergence affects relationships.
With the right strategies, neurodivergent couples can create strong and lasting partnerships that are built on mutual understanding and respect.
By recognizing each other’s unique needs and creating supportive spaces, neurodivergent couples can develop fulfilling relationships that go beyond neurotypical norms.
Lindsey Ferris, MS, LMFTA