Book review: 22 Things a Woman Must Know if She Loves a Man with Asperger’s Syndrome, by Rudy Simone

22 Things a Woman Must Know if She Loves a Man with Asperger’s Syndrome

Rudy Simone

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

ISBN 9781849058032

The catchy title led me to question whether this is a serious study. I’m still not sure. The aim is to help women understand the male Asperger’s mind and help men with it to see things from their partner’s perspective. It covers a lot from loneliness and lack of public displays of affection to romantic expectations and sex.

Each topic has a brief chapter describing the problem, quotes from men with Asperger’s on the matter, ideas on what to do and a positive note. The explanations are clear and the advice honest and realistic but I found the positive notes rather bleak. “You will not become complacent. You will constantly be challenged from within and without to be creative, to find new ways to keep romance alive,” reads one, while another suggests “you may acquire more patience than you ever thought possible”.

There is the occasional reference to trying to tackle problems such as poor communication and mismatched expectations but the general message is one of coming to terms with and accepting the behaviour of your male partner with Asperger’s because he’s unlikely to change. The strongest message is to get a diagnosis, one with which I heartily agree.

Jenny Ravenhill is the principal psychologist for the National Autistic Society

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