"When you are speaking with someone, do you prefer to look them in the eye or talk over the phone?"
And so I thought I'd use that as a sort of segue into my continuing Asperger wife sharing. This prompt suggests that when two people are speaking, but not looking each other in the eye, they aren't in the same place.
One of the first things I noticed about Magnum is that he very rarely looked me in the eye when speaking to me. I would guess that that is the thing most people first notice about him. That, and how he speaks rather quietly and monotonely. I chalked these up to shyness. I'd always rather liked the quiet types, so this "shyness" was in no way a deal breaker. After 22 years of marriage, he looks me in the eye a little more, but not a whole lot.
Magnum and I were both non-traditional students - not straight out of high school into a 4-year college program - when we met. I had taken a couple of years off to work full-time to earn tuition money, Magnum served 4 years in the Army before going back to get his degree.
Yes, we had the same major - mechanical engineering, and we had plenty of other things in common too. A common trait among Aspies is that they often obsess around certain interests. For Magnum, one of those interests is politics (a common AS obsession). Although, he is typically quiet and soft spoken, he can go on and ON expressing his political views. Although he usually avoids conflict, woe be to whomever should oppose his political views. I share his views if not the intensity.
We are also both "outdoorsy", enjoying hiking, camping, biking, self-sufficiency, etc. So things were moving along quite swimmingly. Although I was noticing some of his "oddities", there was nothing that made me want to turn tail and run.
Relationships I'd had prior to meeting Magnum had been more consuming. Asperger traits include difficulty socializing and an unawareness of others' feelings. As a result, people with AS really need their alone time, and are not very romantic. For me, that meant that Magnum was not "always up in my business" as previous boyfriends had been. At the time I met him, I liked that. I don't always like that (ooooh, forshadowing...), and it's that not-always-up-in-my-business that trashes many an Asperger/NT marriage.
I was also kinda sorta but not really seeing another guy at the same time I met Magnum. Eventually, Magnum asked if he and I could be "monogamous" - using a rather formal speech pattern, typical of Aspergers. I decided... okay.
Then came the inevitable meeting of his parents, divorced and both remarried. I noticed a certain cordiality between his family. They would greet each other with the, "Hi, how are you" "Good, how are you" types of greetings that usually pass between customers and bank tellers. I don't do the empty-ritual thing, certainly not with members of my own family. Later when I asked Magnum about this, he said he knew that his mother often didn't care to know the answers to her questions, but asked them out of routine, and he was fine with that. Red flag, but I reasoned that his "oddities" were a result of his weird family.
We flew to California to meet his dad. There was notable tension the whole time. Additonally, there was clearly articulated tension between Magnum and his stepmother. By then, I was sure the oddness stemmed from his upbringing and that he'd be fine with me showing him how the other half lived.
Still, we had a good time on our California trip. I sent my parents, who had yet to meet Magnum, this photo of "me and the boyfriend". Poor Mom.
His family was a bit strange, he didn't look me in the eye much, he was a bit too serious a times. Yet we were crazy compatible, looking forward to graduating. It was all good...