Psychology Magazine

Working on Your Asperger-Neurotypical Relationship - Part 2 Appreciation

By Gbollard @gbollard

This follows on from Part 1: Talking.
Last time, I talked about the need to talk in our relationships and specifically, to ask your partner what they need. In my case, I got the rather vague answer of "I want to be appreciated more".

That answer really confused me. If she'd said, "I want to go out to dinner more" or "I want more flowers" then it would have been a specific and measurable thing but she didn't. Instead she used a vague and undefined term - and the only thing I got was that I must have done some of it but it wasn't enough. I had to do more.
I guess to really appreciate my point of view, suppose I'd been asked the question and replied that I wanted a bit more lavacultophilia (not that I actually do).  My wife would be in a similar quandry (except that lavacultophilia is a real word which actually means a desire to stare at someone in a bathing suit).  I got this randomly out of the Grandiloquent Dictionary. In my case, looking up appreciation doesn't necessarily give me anything I can use.
So, getting back to the point.  I was left with a mental journey I needed to go on to determine what appreciation was and how to give more of it;
As far as I can tell, there are an unlimited number of parts to appreciation but here are some of the majors;
  • Flowers
  • Saying "Thank You"
  • Saying "I really appreciate.... " with a specific target in mind (eg: ironing, food etc)
  • Spontaneously helping out
  • Praising HER to the kids (ie: "Isn't your mother clever")
  • Listening and Showing Empathy
  • Spontaneous Gifts

It's possible that it could also mean less of the following;
  • Criticism
  • Sarcasm
  • Being dismissive of opinions

I'm trying very hard to be more appreciative and some of these things are working. I'll talk about flowers in my next post.  The praise isn't working so well with most of my efforts being brushed off - so obviously I'm doing it all wrong.
Spontaneous help is working a little and listening/empathy is hardly working at all. I'll be working on those and will hopefully have a positive post later.

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