Many neurodiverse couples struggle with emotional connection and intimate communication. They yearn for a romantic touch, a knowing glance, a kind gesture to make them feel close. These little things make a big difference in an intimate relationship. And when these small connecting moments do not happen for a couple, it can feel lonely and isolating for one or both partners.
As a neurodiverse couples coach, I use tips, tools, and strategies to help couples build closeness and learn to express their love in a way that works for both partners. By consciously creating moments of emotional closeness, neurodiverse couples can develop their own unique language of intimacy that strengthens their intimate connection.
Each day there are countless opportunities to create small connecting moments for partners to enhance closeness in their relationship. Taking advantage of these little moments can make for big changes in your relationship dynamics.
Through this series, let’s go through the parts of a day – morning, afternoon, evening – and see how you can do simple things to make big enhancements to your intimacy and connection with your partner.
Having a Good Morning
Good Morning Greetings
If you want to make it a good morning, think about how you and your partner greet each other for the first time you see each other in the morning. After a long break from each other during the night, how you first respond to each other in the morning can set the tone for the day. You don’t have to literally say the words “good morning,” but acknowledging your partner at the start of the day with a kind greeting or gesture lets them know that you are happy they are a part of your life.
You can connect verbally with “Hi,” or “Good morning,” or “How did you sleep?” Or you can connect non-verbally with a smile, a touch, a hug, or a kiss. If you don’t see each other in the morning, you can connect by leaving your partner a note with a heart or a smiley face, or send a text or email, even if it’s just an emoji. A morning greeting may not seem like a big deal, but saying nothing may send the message that you are not happy to see your partner or that you don’t care about them. There are many ways to communicate, to create a small meaningful connection, so pick a way that feels meaningful and comfortable for both you and your partner.
Coffee or Tea, and Quality Time with Me?
After a sweet good morning, you can also make someone’s day with a kind gesture. When someone knows that their partner is thinking of them and taking the time to do something nice for them, it makes them feel loved. If your partner is a coffee or tea drinker, or if they like almond milk, orange juice, eggs, and bacon, or whatever they like first thing in the morning, consider making it for them. When your partner sees that you are focused on doing something for them that they like, it will show them that you care and that you know something about them that they like. You don’t have to do it every day, but this small gesture makes a big impact on your partner.
For an extra connecting morning, sit with them while they have their beverage or meal. You don’t even have to speak. Just spending that time with them will show them they are a priority to you, and it will mean a lot to them.
What’s on the Calendar for the Day?
Knowing what is happening later in the day and being in sync with schedules and plans is important to a lot of couples. The morning is a good time to make sure that both partners are aware of what’s on the calendar for that day. Take a few minutes to check that you both understand what your responsibilities are for the day. It feels like a team when you are both aware of and working together on that day’s activities. What your partner needs to know is that you will follow through on what you took responsibility for – a dinner date, picking up a child from school, getting milk, etc. Knowing that your partner will be there makes a relationship stronger.
This communication might be short and concrete or there may be some problem-solving around who must do what. Whether chatting over coffee, in a text, email, or note, sharing what is on the calendar provides the opportunity to get your team on the same page for the day, and for each partner to feel supported.
See You Later, Alligator…
Many couples leave each other in the morning, so when you do, it’s important to separate with a connecting feeling. Acknowledging the transition away from your partner with a simple “see ya later” feels very connecting. You’re leaving them physically, but your sweet goodbye stays with them throughout the day. It sets a nice tone as you each move into your separate daily activities. This act acknowledges that you are physically separating from each other, but that you are also looking forward to seeing your partner later.
To create an even more connecting communication exchange as a couple, try a reciprocal conversation, where one partner says, “See you later, (alligator or your own nickname)“ and the other responds, “In a while, (crocodile or your own nickname).” Use your own nicknames for each other if you have them.
This reciprocal back and forth between partners can feel like an intimate language of your own. Or if you prefer, you can give each other a hug, a kiss, a touch, or some combination, with the goal of creating a connecting feeling as you leave each other to begin your separate days.
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- PFA Tips: Dating – He Said/She Said
© 2021 Pathfinders for Autism
This article is part 1 of a 3-part series. Coming soon will be part 2: Having a Good Day and part 3: Having a Good Night.
This article has been republished with permission. You may view the original article at www.pathfindersforautism.org/articles/social/pfa-tips-neurodiverse-couples-morning.
Grace Myhill, MSW, is a pioneer and leader in the field of neurodiverse couples therapy. Since 2004, she has worked with over one thousand neurodiverse couples together or separately. She has developed numerous skill-building tools and lessons to enhance communication and emotional connection. Grace offers a variety of online groups for the many facets of this unique population: for neurodiverse couples together, for partners with an Asperger’s/autism profile, for neurotypical partners who are currently in a neurodiverse relationship, and for neurotypical partners who are separated or divorced from an ex-partner with an Asperger’s/autism profile. She currently holds the titles of Director of Couples and Partner’s Services and Director of the Peter M. Friedman Neurodiverse Couples Institute at AANE, where Grace trains professional clinicians to work effectively with neurodiverse couples through online courses she developed for AANE. She has written several articles and is a frequent guest on podcasts. For more information visit www.gracemyhill.com.
For therapists or partners in a neurodiverse couple who would like to learn more about AANE’s online trainings and other resources, contact Grace Myhill at email@example.com.