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Autism and the emotion of love

By the way, do we need one of those "Seven different Greek words for love" links for this discussion? Super helpful to contemplate. Gawd, I've just written about this kind of stuff and could link to it, but that's on my blog and I don't know what the etiquette here is re "outing" your true identity. I personally don't mind. I only couldn't use my real first name because it was apparently already taken, and I've written in niche magazines for yonks to the point that my husband was recognised in the supermarket as my husband! (I'm not famous, it was just a niche magazine and par for the course.)
I would love to see your blog! Can you PM me?

And yes,I love the way the Greeks had all kinds of different words for things. The language itself explained the concepts so well. They fitted words to the concept, not concepts to made up words. I love those Greeks!

Oh, and your mentioned the Dunning-Kruger effect! That is so scary. I am not overly smart but know people who fancy they are.....so if I talked to someone with a PhD from XYZ who has been in his field for 50 years and truly knows as much as can be expected.....then I talk to partially educated narcissist from ABC with a BA in literature......I am telling the honest truth when the second person began a screaming fit about how they knew as much cuz they read one of the guy's books! Ummmm.....

Dunning-Kruger is when someone cannot see the extent of knowledge they do not know because they have begun to wade in and think....NAILED IT!

Please do send me a link to your blog if you like. It sounds like you write about stuff I like a lot!
 
There's so much interesting stuff on this thread and so much I'd like to quote and so little time.



Your definition caught my eye, and I'm just going to comment on that specifically! (And this is not about the rest of your post.) That process is actually what a lot of neurotypical (and probably otherwise too) people mistake for love. It's there and produces super-strong feelings and blindfolds people to an extent at the beginning - even more so if the people are projecting psychologically instead of seeing the real person. All that emotional intensity is frequently called "love" and so I like to go to the seven Greek words for love just to point out the different things that are called the same thing in English.

I personally feel "true" love is more about deep respect and care and a good attitude - and it's a "doing" thing rather than a "feeling" thing. And that good feelings follow good attitudes.

As to the pop songs - I actually think many of them are poor representations of love, because mostly written by people going through dysfunctional stuff especially early in adulthood (the age group most singers of those songs belong to), and that they often pass on dysfunctional scripts.

I'd like to say to anyone who's not neurotypical and struggling with that area, please don't think most neurotypicals get this right. There's so much unhelpful and toxic thinking about love in the general community. I think using pop songs as a template mostly signs people up for mayhem, and that sadly it's one of the ways in which misconceptions about what love is and does and looks like are perpetuated in the West - including presenting serious problems like co-dependency as love, when it's not. Young people listen to this stuff thinking their older peers writing it must have worked this stuff out etc, but many of them actually haven't - and many great pop hits actually describe as love things like stalking and co-dependency and just basic sexual attraction, and the idea of losing your self when you should actually have a strong functional self to love with. Etc, etc.
It’s funny you bring that up… the ONLY time I’ve ever felt that intense, strong connection with another human was with my ex husband, and it was an exceedingly toxic relationship for the both of us (it was not just him. There were 2 people in that relationship, so I am more than willing to share responsibility). Extremely codependent. We were each other’s drug of choice, and neither of us knew how addicted we were/are. We lost ourselves in each other. Without a doubt. I genuinely believe that I will never experience a feeling that intense for another person ever again. And I don’t think I ever want to.

I have been criticized for how I express my 'love' over the 30 years I have been alive... or my lack of expression, really. I do think I experience it much differently than most. While I do agree that pop songs and movies tend to exaggerate that 'feeling' of love, it was never something I wanted, either. Even though it seemed to be a goal for everyone else around me. My husband was the only relationship I ever sought out. I'm not certain that it's a ND thing or not... but I definitely don't fit within the 'norm' when it comes to the subject of love. Maybe I just put up a barrier to protect myself from heartbreak...? I have no idea. It always seemed like such a waste of time and energy to me, that is until I met my husband...

The topic of love is something I've put a lot of thought into since it's such a universal feeling people seem to have and understand without explanation. I haven't in such a long time... but it was something I thought about pretty excessively, just because I never seemed to understand it on the same level as those around me. I also believe that no one experiences love exactly the same. It's extremely subjective. Gives another meaning to 'Love on the Spectrum.'

Don't get me wrong! I no longer think it's a waste of time and energy. Being with my ex husband did teach me that. And I do believe the love you feel for family is extra precious. I'm not as cynical and jaded as I used to be :p
 
Last nite this topic mulled and sashayed around in my aging senior citizen brain wasteland and l came to an earth shattering gobsmacked vision of clarity. My love interest scares me that l will get hurt emotionally and l create unnecessary novellas because l am stuck with - l clearly love you now can you get the heck away from me before l fall further? Is this a definition of love-struck? I am not being toxic for toxic-sake, more self-preservation sake.
 
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I am not being toxic for toxic-sake, more self-preservation sake.
Thhoughts only -
Perhaps it’s the most direct path to holding on to your self. Our society (still) expects females to be accomodating. It seems if we are not, we can get accused of being toxic.
 
Thhoughts only -
Perhaps it’s the most direct path to holding on to your self. Our society (still) expects females to be accomodating. It seems if we are not, we can get accused of being toxic.

This goes deeper, l have always been afraid of relationships. So the more l like the person, the more fearful l become and l start clamoring for the exit.
 
I do not "miss" people. People,...even my siblings, parents, children,...out-of-sight, out-of-mind",...but when they are around it's like they've never left. I love them in my way,...but they've got to be physically present in order for that to happen. I am not one for phone calls, texts, and e-mails,...I simply don't think of it,...as I am often focused in what I am doing now, and generally don't think of people, at all. Some may call my condition as "anti-social",...but it's not "anti", because in my mind that suggests that I don't like people,...which isn't quite accurate. It's not about positivity or negativity, per se, but more of a total "lack of thought" when it comes to people, in general.

I recognise this one in myself too, however, if I said this as bluntly as this to my wife she would wonder what my relationship to her was when she was "out of sight". Is she important only when she is there and what would I do in her absence?

I have had a look for some of the earlier threads on this topic, but cant find them. If you have time @Neonatal RRT could you do some digging and post a link or two? (Thanks in advance)
 
I recognise this one in myself too, however, if I said this as bluntly as this to my wife she would wonder what my relationship to her was when she was "out of sight". Is she important only when she is there and what would I do in her absence?

I have had a look for some of the earlier threads on this topic, but cant find them. If you have time @Neonatal RRT could you do some digging and post a link or two? (Thanks in advance)

My wife would also wonder,...if we were newly weds, or if she were an insecure person,...but I think after some 37 years or so with her, the historical record of experience speaks for itself. I have my professional relationships with people, but she knows I am not going out for drinks and putting myself "out there" for personal relationships. There is some "relationship security" in that. So, to respond to the question, "Is she important only when she is there and what would I do in her absence?",...is pretty simple. Because I am focused in what I am doing in the moment, I am not thinking of anyone, and because I am not thinking of anyone, there is no perceived "threat" to the relationship. I would further explain that she is important to me at all times,...but being important to me, and thinking about her while she is absent are independent things. If there is some reason to think about her while she is absent,...let's say I am concerned about her health and physical well-being,...that may consume my thoughts to the point where it interferes with work. So far,...that has only happened a few times in our marriage. Furthermore, from time-to-time I am put into a position where I have to make decisions that affect the both of us,...in that case,...I put a pause on that decision and consult with her first. So, it's not that she isn't there in the back of my mind,...she is,...but it's more of the classic autism hyper focus thing where if I am doing a task, doing research, whatever,...that is what I am focused on, and not the people around me.

Our relationship works quite well because we both know that there is just the two of us,...we are not "social people" outside of our work. There is security in that.

As far as digging into this topic further,...I wouldn't know where to start,...and frankly, the topic doesn't interest me enough to do any further digging because I don't see where there is a problem if my wife and I are on the same page with all of this.
 
As far as digging into this topic further,...I wouldn't know where to start,...and frankly, the topic doesn't interest me enough to do any further digging because I don't see where there is a problem if my wife and I are on the same page with all of this.

Thanks for your reply, and also for the insight you bring to this Forum. It is appreciated!
 
Think being outta of sight , outta of mind, is okay. Because a hyperfocus is not good. I am sure that NT's don't think about the one in their love life constanly.

Perhaps being on the spectrum, it's rather hard for others to grab our interest, because we need to be engaged on many different levels. Our senses, our imagination, our logic, because some of us are very sensitive. It's rare that l find that person that really grabs me and l chose not to settle for a blah relationship. And l chose not to be in a relationship purely for just that reason. Is this love? It's a journey to discover myself and that person and enjoy our interaction.
 
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Think being outta of sight , outta of mind, is okay. Because a hyperfocus is not good. I am sure that NT's don't think about the one in their love life constanly.

Perhaps being on the spectrum, it's rather hard for others to grab our interest, because we need to be engaged on many different levels. Our senses, our imagination, our logic, because some of us are very sensitive. It's rare that l find that person that really grabs me and l chose not to settle for a blah relationship. And l chose not to be in a relationship purely for just that reason. Is this love? It's a journey to discover myself and that person snd enjoy our interaction.

I think you are correct in saying that for an autistic with these social issues,...as a result of some combination of physiologic and psychological conditions,...are more interested in a partner who can stimulate us on a more intellectual level. Even though I can and do feel things quite deeply, I spend quite a bit of mental energy temporizing my expression of those feelings,...mainly because, for me, it's like flipping a switch from OFF to ON to OFF,...and I haven't found a way of modulating things effectively. I am not the person who is the exciting "light" in the room,...but rather enjoys calm, logical discussions devoid of emotion. Emotional people are a complete turn-off,...they are sometimes quite scary for me to interact with,...even if they are projecting positive emotions. "Love", at least initially, starts out as that euphoria,...all those "bonding" hormones (which sometimes is quite limited in autistics)...but after that,...there's got to be some level of intellectual compatibility.
 
"Love", at least initially, starts out as that euphoria,...all those "bonding" hormones (which sometimes is quite limited in autistics)...but after that,...there's got to be some level of intellectual compatibility.
I always wondered if I lacked said “bonding” hormones… maybe not completely, but enough to affect my relationships. Again, the only time I felt that euphoria was with my ex husband.

That intellectual component is definitely extremely important. Way more important to me than I thought, if I’m being honest…
 
It's rare that l find that person that really grabs me and l chose not to settle for a blah relationship.
Your first point is what I found meeting my spouse. We started out with adventures from the road trip we met for and are still at it. We complemented each others desires and interests. One in a million? You can't convince me otherwise.
 
There are lots of great people on the planet. But it's that one person you can never get enough of. You may have seen them 5 mins ago and you miss their essence and authenticity immediately once you separate.
 
Your beliefs and experiences have a major effect on your emotions. Having exponentially more love for animals than for humans tells me you have negative perceptions of people or had more negative experiences with people. I think this is the main reason autistic people often feel love differently.

If you want to love people more or feel better around people, you can do so by focusing on the good in people so you'll have more positive perceptions and experiences with other people.

It’s actually always been that way for me with animals. I think maybe it’s because they’re so much more “pure” than humans. They lack the human ego, so it’s easier to connect with them.

I really don’t actually have any desire to love people more or feel better around people. I feel pretty good around people, actually. And I’m comfortable with my non-attachmentness. I almost feel like it’s a gift in a way. So many people on this forum are so lonely and so desperate for the attention of normal people. I just don’t feel that way.
 
It’s actually always been that way for me with animals. I think maybe it’s because they’re so much more “pure” than humans. They lack the human ego, so it’s easier to connect with them.

I really don’t actually have any desire to love people more or feel better around people. I feel pretty good around people, actually. And I’m comfortable with my non-attachmentness. I almost feel like it’s a gift in a way. So many people on this forum are so lonely and so desperate for the attention of normal people. I just don’t feel that way.

There are people here who are content to be alone too. I wonder if more woman are content to be alone and more men as they age, want a partner. Like is this gender specific? When you ask woman do you want a partner, some mention their dog(s) or cat(s) as their partners in crime.
 
There are people here who are content to be alone too. I wonder if more woman are content to be alone and more men as they age, want a partner. Like is this gender specific? When you ask woman do you want a partner, some mention their dog(s) or cat(s) as their partners in crime.

I’ve wondered that, too. I think this would be an excellent topic for a whole separate thread, as a matter of fact. I totally wonder if it’s gender-specific. Maybe because there’s so much performance and faking it that goes into being a woman, so perhaps we’re just so relieved to be left alone? Although personally I’ve defaulted to solitude since I was a toddler. For me it’s definitely an autistic thing, not a gender-specific thing. But maybe there are things that are gender-specific autistic things also?
 
I do feel I respond emotionally much stronger with animals than with humans. I've never been 'in love' before, and even my closest friends I only speak to once in a blue moon.
 
I haven’t been on this site for while and came back to find information about this specific topic, love.
I recently (two weeks ago) realized I might be experiencing “real love” for the first time in my life. Not familial love or platonic love, both of which I have experienced and understand (for the most part), but romantic love was an entirely different story.

Last night, I unexpectedly opened up about this to the person I love (who is also one of the very few close friends I have), and I was overwhelmed by a slew of very new and very foreign emotions. It was both exhilarating and terrifying… mostly terrifyingly. He and I are both autistic, so at the very least he seemed to be understanding of how I was processing - or not processing - what I was feeling.
I've been married and in other relationships, and I felt some sort of "love" in those relationships, but overtime I realized it wasn't what most people - and definitely not me - would consider real romantic love. That kind of movie love I've seen others in this thread mention, the kind of love I saw other people in real life seen to experience, just didn't seem like a reality - at least not for me.
I had kind of given up on the entire idea of me ever experiencing until it hit me like a brick... quickly and seemingly out of nowhere.
Now I'm currently trying to figure out exactly where or why it happened, but I am just so overwhelmed by the fact that I even feel the way I do... that I feel love, real love, nothing makes sense.
Since telling my friend how I feel I haven't stopped crying (also something I rarely do unless movies or TV shows are involved) because I don't know what to do now. I could, and may, go more into detail about why I am confused and what happened when I told my friend, but for now I'm just trying process everything.

All of that said, love is something that always seemed illogical and fictional to/for me, so learning I may have been (definitely was) wrong... is hard to accept or understand.

I'm not sure if any of that answers the original question, or if any of it is even coherent for which I apologize, but those are my thoughts on the subject of love at the moment I guess.
 
I`m guessing it didn`t go great since you are crying. But if I were you and there was a chance, if the person didn't flat out reject you, I would jump into it head first and try. Because if you don't try it won't work 100% for sure. If you try, maybe it works out. But I don't know, sounds like it didn`t go well, good luck with everything.
It didn't go bad by any means, but I don't know if it was good? Honestly, it didn't go how I expected in any scenario I had played in my head, and I think that kind of threw me. My friend seemed to think it was good that I shared the information and seemed happy, and was incredibly affectionate and open. He told me how it's hard for him to say what I said, how I shouldn't be scared and how he's not going to hurt me - which were a few of the concerns I mentioned during my word vomit. He also didn't explicitly say how he felt about me, but he also emphasized several times during the conversation that he shows how he feels rather than tells how he feels and isn't good at verbalizing things related to his feelings and especially love. I'm not really sure if that meant anything. I assume it didn't because it's just easier for me to believe.
As for the crying, I think it's due a combination of everything going on. Feelings I'm unfamiliar with, uncertainty about my relationship with him now, uncertainty about what he even feels, uncertainty about how I'm supposed to deal with my own feelings, and just everything else related the entire situation. The fact that we are both autistic helps with him being understanding of me and how I'm behaving right now, but it also brings some extra difficulties since with both struggle when it comes to communication - just in different ways. If that makes sense? I feel like everything I'm saying or thinking right now is just a complete mess.
 
It didn't go bad by any means, but I don't know if it was good? Honestly, it didn't go how I expected in any scenario I had played in my head, and I think that kind of threw me. My friend seemed to think it was good that I shared the information and seemed happy, and was incredibly affectionate and open. He told me how it's hard for him to say what I said, how I shouldn't be scared and how he's not going to hurt me - which were a few of the concerns I mentioned during my word vomit. He also didn't explicitly say how he felt about me, but he also emphasized several times during the conversation that he shows how he feels rather than tells how he feels and isn't good at verbalizing things related to his feelings and especially love. I'm not really sure if that meant anything. I assume it didn't because it's just easier for me to believe.
As for the crying, I think it's due a combination of everything going on. Feelings I'm unfamiliar with, uncertainty about my relationship with him now, uncertainty about what he even feels, uncertainty about how I'm supposed to deal with my own feelings, and just everything else related the entire situation. The fact that we are both autistic helps with him being understanding of me and how I'm behaving right now, but it also brings some extra difficulties since with both struggle when it comes to communication - just in different ways. If that makes sense? I feel like everything I'm saying or thinking right now is just a complete mess.
My only advice is to not rush things. Let yourself experience these things in a way that’s comfortable to you and the other person. I wish you the best :)
 

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