A while back I started reviewing the book “Asperger’s in Love” by Maxine Aston and looked at the chapter on attractiveness. I want to move on and look at the next chapter entitled “Shared Interests” and see how it fits with my world view. For brevity, I am going to go through the bullet points at the end of the chapter. This may lead to some wrong conclusions on my part but it is a risk that feels okay to take but apologies if I interpret the bullet points badly.
Shared interests are an important deciding factor in partner choice by the AS man and woman. This seems to be one of those research statements that seems obvious to me. Aren’t all relationships based on shared interests? I suppose it is reasonable to state that AS people follow the normal patterns as NT people but how else do you form relationships if it isn’t between shared values and interests? Obviously, this may be one of those blind spots for me.
Love of music is the most common shared interest. Okay you got me there, music is a shared interest between my wife and I, though that seems rather a broad statement to me. Music has many forms and my wife certainly doesn’t share my love of 80’s pop and I don’t appreciate Wagnerian operas but we do like chamber and orchestral music though again that is a broad statement. We have played clarinets together in your younger days, but nowadays our activities are confined to concert going (often with our kids involved).
Love of theatre is the second most common shared interest. My wife pretty much introduced me to theatre and to be honest is probably the main driver of me still going to the theatre. We are however, more likely to see a film together than a play.
Sporting interests are the least common shared interest. I laughed at this, my wife is the least sporty person I know so this definitely rings true. We will do some physical things together like cycling and walking, but on the whole I am much more sporty than my wife.
The couples sometimes share a love of animals particularly cats. And the couples sometimes don’t. Again isn’t this true of all couples? I love dogs in particular and most animals in general; my wife dislikes all animals although she has grown to tolerate our poodle. If my wife had to choose between cats and dogs, then it would be cats. I am with dogs all the way. I don’t find the statement particularly helpful.
Shared beliefs especially spiritual beliefs, are very important in partner choice. Again I think this is true of most relationships. Certainly my wife and I shared a similar rejection of religious dogma for a long time, but I had to confront my lack of faith when my liver transplant situation happened. I can see the appeal of belonging to a church community but I don’t have the belief in the truth” that is required anymore. My wife still does.
AS men choose women with strong values, morals, and beliefs. Well I certainly did. I remember discovering my wife wouldn’t copy audio cassettes because it infringed the copyrights of the artists which was a completely new idea to me. That strong stance impressed me. I think AS men are probably looking for a solid foundation in a partner and these attributes sound a good way of finding one. I can’t help wondering if gay AS men choose the same way.
The majority of AS men say their partner’s sense of humour is important to them. Ok well I’m in a minority then since my wife’s sense of humour is pretty non-existent; you can make jokes about my wife’s inability to understand jokes. I worked out jokes through logic and seeing the connection so perhaps that is unusual in AS men.
The last two points refer to AS women so I am not going to comment on those but I will write them down for completeness:
- AS women rank music, theatre, religious beliefs and intellectual ability as being important shared interests with their chosen partner
- AS women show a greater awareness of the partners’ faults than AS men and also recognise that they are not going to get everything that they want
So how did I do on the bullet point list score? I think that is five out of eight, so about 60%. There are certainly some statements which I think if I lacked imagination would have different answers. The humour one would certainly fall into this category. I could understand that if I had a poor understanding of humour then having a partner whom you could follow the typical social responses would be very useful. I am not sure imagination helps when it comes to religious beliefs though.
Did any of the above statements make sense from your experience of life?