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It has helped me understand the way I am, and it helps Samantha make allowances for the way I react in certain situations.'Not every couple manages Asperger's so successfully, however.Maxine Aston is an author and therapist who specialises in marriage counselling for couples in which one or both partners has the condition.Samantha Puleston always felt her husband Andy lived in his own world.Even during the most emotionally charged moments of their relationship, he could appear oddly detached and preoccupied with irrelevant practical details.
Sam says: 'He is very precise and pedantic - if you ask him how he is, he will tell you in great detail.Or if you ask him how something works, he will give you so much information and talk for such a long time it can be baffling. I also had a speech problem in that I spoke much too fast, and I was diagnosed with dyslexia.I'm used to it, but I can see people who don't know him looking bewildered.'Andy says: 'Growing up I knew I was different, but I was never diagnosed. But I never let it hold me back, and I was always excellent at maths.' One in 125 people in Britain have been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder and experts are seeing a marked increase in the numbers of adults being diagnosed with Asperger's, particularly men, who are affected four times as often as women.Asperger's sufferers are often highly intelligent and their forensic attention to detail and ability to focus can make them extremely successful in their careers.Yet the condition can have a damaging impact on personal relationships.Samantha says Andy is a loving, hands-on father to their five children; Reuben, seven, Georgia, six, Noah, four, Barney, two, and baby Sophie.It was after Noah was diagnosed with autism at the age of two that Andy realised he was on the Asperger's spectrum, and Samantha believes his condition has helped him bond with Noah.They often struggle to pick up emotional signals from their partners and find it hard to understand how they can make them happy.'A lot of men in their mid-40s are being diagnosed,' says Caroline Hattersley, from the National Autistic Society.'We've got much better at identifying the condition in young people, and often it's the case that a child will be diagnosed and then the family will recognise the traits in the father, too.'Asperger's can make navigating two people's needs in a relationship difficult.If women don't understand why their husbands appear unfeeling, it can be hurtful.Often, a diagnosis brings relief to the person with Asperger's and their family, because it helps explain problems they've faced.' Samantha said of her husband Andy: 'He is very precise and pedantic - if you ask him how he is, he will tell you in great detail.