5 Tips to Resolve Conflict in Neurodivergent Relationships

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Human nature is complex. It can make relationships beautiful and strong. No two brains are alike, and we are finally starting to appreciate the importance of this distinction, especially when it comes to different neural relationships. A little knowledge will go a long way in making these relationships successful.

Understanding neurodivergent relationships

15-20% of the population experiences some form of neurological divergence, according to the National Cancer Institute article on Neurodiversity. What’s more, nearly 60% of Americans don’t understand what it is, according to PR Newswire’s research on neurodiversity.

Let us first define neural divergence pairs. These relationships occur when one or both partners are considered to be outside the typical range of the brain. This non-medical term describes people who process information differently than most people.

Of course, although all of our brains are different, with distinct neural relationships there are more differences. However, differences are not a bad thing and understanding them will build a deeper relationship.

As the Stimpunks Foundation for People with Disabilities and Neurological Dementia further explains in their article on Neurological Differences, the term includes everything from autism and epilepsy to ADHD, OCD, etc

It is important to remember that these terms are not intended to exclude people with a neurologically disparate relationship. Instead, the goal is to become more inclusive by understanding more precisely how each of us is different.

We can then adjust our language and assumptions to create a different neurological intimacy and deeper love.

5 ways neurodivergent relationships struggle 

It’s hard to see someone else’s point of view no matter where you are on the typical spectrum. Dealing with neural divergence adds another layer of complexity because we live in a world governed by a specific definition of what is normal.

We can all be more understanding and sympathetic to each other’s differences.

1. Varying needs 

One of the main causes of conflict is the way neurotic people interact with the world. So, on the one hand, the person with ADHD may feel empty if the other person talks for too long. This can make the speaker seem unheard and unappreciated.

However, ADHD and relationships can go very well together. Both partners just need to understand what each one needs.

As this guide to ADHD and relationships explains in more detail, one person may need some validation, while someone with ADHD may need more space. It all starts with understanding and communication.

2. Assumptions work differently 

As another example, some neurologically different couples may have one of them with autism. In this case, the other partner may assume that everyone feels and talks about feelings their way.

It can be difficult to accept that people with autism have difficulty expressing their emotions, especially if they crave an emotional connection. This does not mean that autistic people do not have emotions. In fact, they can often retain them deeply for days.

So, don’t assume we all handle and manage emotions in the same way.  

3. Contrasting perspectives 

Autism in relationships is also about appreciating different perspectives and ways of reaching conclusions. In addition, they tend to be very sensitive to sensory input, which means they can have trouble with sensory overload.

As this article on autism and logical thinking explains in more detail, autistic people tend to think in a bottom-up approach. This is in contrast to many people who use a top-down style.

In short, people with autism tend to look at details and move on, while others often prefer to examine concepts and context before drawing conclusions. It can be devastating to divergent relationships when partners are not aware of this difference in thinking.

4. Non-verbal cues

People in a mentally divergent marriage need to learn how both communicate, including the nonverbal cues that can often cause the most distress.

In addition to processing sensory information differently, many neuroscientists also have difficulty reading nonverbal cues. This means that communication must be very clear, with no hidden meanings or presumptions of mind reading.

5. Communication styles 

When it comes to neurotic communication and intimacy, there are many styles. Some prefer to avoid eye contact, while others need direct words.

Others may be offended by the overly honest way of speaking and enjoy hearing social jokes. Some people find this almost impossible and in fact very unnecessary.

Again, there is no right or wrong, but the conflict comes from not appreciating the differences. 

5 tips for reconciling conflict in neurodivergent relationships 

As you begin to learn about the differences in how people with different nerves think and behave, you can follow these guidelines to make the process easier.

1. Explore boundaries and needs 

The best place to start for people with different mental relationships is to write down and share with each other all the things they struggle with. This can include sensory overload, difficulty concentrating, or even cause them to stop working.

Do your research for your specific condition, then be honest with each other. The more open you are to each other, the more likely you are to establish an understanding. In addition, you will be able to find ways to support each other in your struggles.

2. Practice clear communication 

Neural communication involves making sure you speak clearly while stating your assumptions. It is also important to include all forms of communication. So some people like to write or even draw to express themselves.

Another point is tracking people’s time of day and energy levels. If it’s a matter of sensory overload, people with different nerves can be overwhelmed at the end of the day, this is not a good time to have in-depth conversations.

Likewise, with differential nerve dating, be clear about your boundaries and the space in which you feel comfortable. For some couples, this can mean delaying sex until there is a deep level of trust due to the potential for sensory overload.

3. Take your time

The most important point in the various neural relationships is to remember the concept of downtime. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with autism in relationships due to the potential for information overload that can occur.

However, other people’s nerves often need time to process information. They can also reach a melting point, so it’s important for both partners to be mindful of these.

4. Investigate sensory differences

We’ve mentioned sensory overload a few times, but when it comes to neurologically different love, sensory differences also need to be understood. For example, some people don’t like to be touched, but others need to be touched.

As this Steampunk Foundation article on 5 psychopathic love quotes explains, there are many different ways for neurotic people to express their love.

In a nutshell, it’s about unloading information, raving about their partner, side-playing or just being together; exchange support or help each other in work; deep press or hug; and penguins make pebbles or give small gifts.

5. Reach out to professional guidance 

Like any marriage, a marriage that is mentally different may need to turn to couples therapy for help and guidance. We still live in a world dominated by “normal” rules that don’t teach us the tools we need, in this case.

Finding balance in neurodivergent relationships

Neurodiversity relationships occur when one or both partners have differences in brain function that fall outside of what society considers the norm. That’s not to say it’s right or wrong, and in fact, neurotic people often excel in certain areas, such as memory, creativity, and visualization. However, neural divergence is often misinterpreted, leading to conflict. The first step is to discover each person’s specific differences and, therefore, what they need to feel safe and supported.

For many people, this can mean turning to couples therapy for guidance while learning certain tools and techniques. Many of us don’t learn such techniques growing up, but we need to know them so we can all build successful relationships.

No one is perfect, but we can all find the right rhythm in love regardless of our differences.