In my previous post, I drew attention to Marco Del Giudice’s research which for the first time has documented what many women married to mildly autistic men already know: that geeky guys can make surprisingly faithful and rewarding spouses. But what some mildly autistic men married to such women also know is that the success of their marriages usually relies in equal part on the fact that their wives are much more mentalistic than they are.

What this means is that a man who is more than a bit of a “things-person” can get by quite nicely in life if he is fortunate enough to be married to a woman who, like most women but perhaps even more so, is a “people-person.” This works best in situations where the geeky guy is most vulnerable: social ones. If they socialize as a couple as couples usually do, he can rely on her social skills to pilot him through the troubled waters of social situations and steer him away from the reefs on which he would probably be ship-wrecked if left to his own devices.

But they can also both benefit privately. Her problem is likely to be that she tends to mentalize to excess and to be too sensitive to social and emotional cues, and to lose a sense of proportion when the issue comes too close. Here, his greater objectivity and detachment can be her salvation because he can help her to see it from another, less threatening point of view. At the very least, she knows that she can rely on him to stick to routines and carry on as normal, and often to keep his head when those all around are losing theirs.

He, on the other hand, knows that she can keep him informed on all the sub-ether personal communication traffic that his antennas will miss, and debrief him about incomprehensible social scenarios which he simply cannot compute. Indeed, she will often be the first to inform him of his own state of mind in certain respects, and will inevitably seem to have an uncanny gift that on occasions borders on telepathy where reading his thoughts and emotions are concerned.

She, if she is honest, will also have realized that she is not necessarily the superwoman that feminists make out. On the contrary, having someone to fix things around the house and program the computer and video recorder may be demeaning for her to mention in public, but very reassuring to know in private. And of course, if those very same skills are earning him a good income that she could never command on her own, she has even more reason to be tolerant of his occasional infuriating behavior.

In short, two mildly maladjusted people, with deviations from mentalistic normality in opposite directions, can often make a surprisingly effective pair if they are sensible enough to stick together and share both their deficits and their skills. (And of course, it works the other way round, but geeky guys are much more common than geeky girls, and men who are hyper-mentalistic may also be more likely to be homosexual than would be the case with their female equivalents.) Indeed, according to the diametric model of the mind this is the secret of genius as I pointed out in previous posts. If genius in a person relies on a stable, creative fusion of both autistic and psychotic deviations beyond the norm, then pairs with such a joint cognitive configuration can also have a genius of their own—and believe me, some do!

You are reading

The Imprinted Brain

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Imaging comparing autistic with psychotic brains confirms the diametric model.

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The rubber hand illusion illustrates differences between autistic and psychotic.

Can You Be Autistic and Bipolar at the Same Time?

Autism and psychosis can co-occur if different brain centres are involved.