3 More Marriage Advice Tips To Help Your Relationship

TWAP020: Eva Mendes, Psychotherapist and Couples Counselor, Shares Her Experience and Hope

marriage advice eva mendes

Would you like marriage advice from a relationship expert?

When I interviewed Lianne Holliday Willey for Episode 17, she spoke highly of Eva Mendes, psychotherapist and couples counselor, and author of Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Aspergers Syndrome.

I’m excited to share today’s interview with you, because Eva is so optimistic, honoring, and hopeful about Aspergers and marriage.

So if you’d like to improve your relationship, listen to this episode and take some notes!

About Eva Mendes

eva mendes aspergers expertFrom her website, evmendes.com:

Eva Mendes, LMHC, NCC is a skilled and experienced couples’ counselor working with couples where one or both partners have Asperger Syndrome, and are on the Autism Spectrum (diagnosed or undiagnosed). She works with adults with Asperger Syndrome (an Autism Spectrum Disorder), High-functioning Autism, ADHD, Non-verbal Learning Disability, PDD NOS, Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder, and gifted individuals. Eva also works with women with Asperger Syndrome.

Originally from Mumbai, India, Eva works with individuals and couples from a wide variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

3 Marriage Advice Tips To Help Your Relationship

Tip #1:  Prioritize Self-Care and Change Your Expectations 

Eva quoted David Finch, author of the Journal of Best Practices (and my guest from Thrive with Aspergers Podcast Episode #19):

Someone who is in a relationship with someone with special needs also has special needs.

You both have different neurology.  Therefore, if you both expect each other to meet all your needs, you’ll both become exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Take care of yourself, whether it’s taking time out for yourself, connecting with friends, getting physical exercise, or pursuing your own hobbies.

Reduce your expectations.  If you’re autistic, don’t expect your partner to think like an autistic.  If you’re non-autistic, don’t expect your partner to think like a non-autistic.

Tip #2: Keep learning, keep growing, and never give up.

Don’t be quick to believe others who tell you that your relationship won’t last.

No one, not even a therapist, knows what’s in your heart and mind.

Aspergians and autistics have the persisting advantage: they tend to pursue goals with passion.  You’re no different.

Work hard on understanding each other’s neurological differences.

Non-Aspergians/non-autistics should read a book like Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Kim, or Look Me In The Eye, by John Elder Robison, to better understand the autism point of view.

Aspergians/autistics should read A Field Guide To Earthlings: An autistic/Asperger view of neurotypical behavior, by Ian Ford, to better understand non-Aspergians.

Refrain from over-labeling each other’s behaviors.  And refrain from thinking that everything your partner says is a judgment.

Tip #3: Follow this specific action step

Read Eva’s article, titled Marriage with Aspergers Syndrome: 14 Practical Strategies.

Pick one or two strategies you can start using today.

Commit to mastering those strategies over the next few months.

Remember that progress in marriage is like watching a plant grow.  It can seem to take a long time.

But with persistent watering and tending to the plant, it grows!

The same is true with your marriage.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Be patient and persistent, and your efforts will pay off.

In This Episode, You’ll Also Learn:

  • Eva’s background as a graphic designer, and how she ended up working with couples and specializing in Aspergers.
  • Her experience as a disability counselor at University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and the value of reviewing hundreds of neuropsychological profiles while there.
  • Why she enjoys working so much with neurodiverse individuals and couples
  • How Eva solves a challenge I’ve had for years: what term to use other than “neurotypical”.  She suggests the term non-autistic or non-Aspergers.  As she points out, what is neurotypical?  Many of the couples she sees, the non-AS partner may be diagnosed with another condition, like depression, or ADD, or a learning difference.
  • Anger as one of the key emotions that are challenging, due to emotional regulation difficulties/differences in Aspergers individuals.
  • How a low dose of an antidepressant combined with cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness practices, physical exercise, and time in nature can go a long way in increasing emotional bandwidth, helping create a gap between stimulus and response.

Links and Resources

Eva Mendes’ website

Read Eva’s article, titled Marriage with Aspergers Syndrome: 14 Practical Strategies.

Eva’s book, Marriage and Lasting Relationships With Aspergers.

The Parent’s Guide to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum, by Jane Thierfeld Brown, EdD, Lorraine Wolf, PhD, Lisa King MEd, G. Ruth Bork, MEd.

Join the Conversation

What topics would you most like covered on the show? Who would you like me to interview? Share you answer in the comments below or Ask me a question via my Contact Page.

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photo credit: eva mendes

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 I'm Steve Borgman.  I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor and blogger committed to bringing you hope, understanding, and solutions that you can apply to your life immediately.

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