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Autistic Daughter and Online Boyfriends

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by AlyssasDad, May 19, 2021.

  1. AlyssasDad

    AlyssasDad New Member

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    Hello Everyone,

    I'm a father to a 21-year-old autistic daughter whom I love but we are having issues with her in regards to men she's meeting online and then immediately falling in love with.

    First, some background. My daughter has been chasing after boys since she was 14 and her maturity level is still that of a 12 or 13 year old and she still has many temper tantrums when things don't go her way. Further, she still has the small build/weight of a 12 or 13 year old and often is still given the kids menu when we go out to eat.

    Over the past year, she has been getting involved online with different older autistic guys (up to about five years older) and has exposed herself online to them as she thinks that what they want and she wants to keep each guy as a boyfriend. Each time she claims that they are in love and will get married and have kids.

    The current online boyfriend is causing us more concern as he is 29 years old and non-autistic and is 480 pounds. He claims that he did not know my daughter was autistic but met her through a mutual autistic friend and has been a member of a Facebook Messenger autistic group chat that my daughter is a member. I believe he's lying about that but just wants a girlfriend and my daughter has him calling her "wifey".

    Anyway, as is true with my daughter, she claims to love this guy just one day after talking with him and then two days later saying they are going to get married, move into an apartment together, and have kids. She can't wait to have her first kiss she keeps saying.

    This current online boyfriend lives three hours away by train and my daughter has been begging him to come up and visit her and we are concerned that if he does, she will sneak out and head off to a hotel with him as I believe this guy would love the opportunity if it presents itself Although he is on disability (due to weight and related issues) and doesn't work, it seems he has enough money to do what he wants as he inherited money from a relative.

    I've talked to this guy and it seems to me that his weight issues have made it difficult to meet women and so, of course, he's enamored of my daughter showing interest in him. It does though concern me that a 29-year-old non-autistic guy would want to have a relationship with a young woman that acts/thinks like a 12 or 13 year old. We worked out an agreement that he is not to come visit her until next year (after weight loss surgery he is going to have) and that if he did and they ran off together, that would be kidnapping in my book as I'm her legal guardian and he cannot run off with her. I am hoping that my daughter will, in the interim, find another guy.

    My concern overall is that my daughter wants to have a boyfriend simply to have her first kiss and, of course, sex, and she is nowhere mentally mature for it as well as to be a wife and mother. I'm not sure she ever will be either. She though thinks she is.

    It's difficult as I want my daughter to be happy but it seems the guys that she's hooking up with online are guys that aren't the best for her (in my opinion, I know).

    I'd cut off her internet but because of COVID, the internet has been the main way to socialize for her with a lot of her friends as she recently finished high school and doesn't go there anymore.

    So, I guess I'm hoping that some people out there have some experience with a situation like this and can give some suggestions or thoughts.

    Thank you.
     
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  2. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Is there a way that you can be proactive in helping her meet *good* people?

    Disabled people can and do want and enjoy sex and relationships (although it's commonly believed that we can't consent, this really aggravates me and a whole bunch of others as well) - but it doesn't sound to me like you object to her having a relationship, it sounds like you object to the people she is meeting.

    My suggestion/challenge for you is, help her meet good people. Teach her about healthy relationships (even if she does have the mentality of a 12 or 13 year old, as you say, a 12 or 13 year old is capable of understanding these concepts) teacher her about contraceptives (if you haven't already) and give her avenues to meet good people.

    Because if what she wants is sex/a relationship, she's going to find a way to make that happen, regardless if you monitor her online activity or cut off her internet. She'll find a way. She may not be as emotionally/mentally mature as others her age, but she knows what she wants and she'll find a way to get it. It's far better that she's able to meet those needs in a safe, healthy manner then to resort to sneaking around to get it done.

    You're right to be concerned about your daughter attracting predators, especially online. Autistic people ARE often vulnerable to predators, and online dating is rife with them.
     
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  3. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I have heard of similar fixations in other autistic young adults so you are not alone as a parent in this respect. But I am only able to suggest professional counseling for your daughter. As parents we are usually not well trained or experienced with such tricky problems. You do well to take it seriously.
     
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  4. Varzar

    Varzar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Firstly, I agree completely with everything @SDRSpark said.

    But, I want to add my experiences with emotions/love. For reference, I'm in my 40s.
    In addition to AS, I also have alexithymia. I'm regularly disconnected from my emotions. My logical brain rules everything, and it generally "decides" things for my emotions.
    When I meet someone new for any relationship (be it friendship or romance), a decision is made as to how much of my heart that relationship will warrant. If it's a romantic relationship and it seems like a decent match, I will very rapidly give that person my full love.
    The idea that your daughter loves so quickly does not seem foreign to me at all, and I wonder if she takes a similar approach.

    Giving a large piece of your heart to someone else always creates the risk of great hurt if others don't treat that piece of your heart well. However, for me at least, that is also where the alexithymia acts as a shield, keeping me more disconnected from the otherwise intense pain that I gather most NTs would have to endure.

    This part of your post gave me concern. She *is* an adult. If you continue to think of her and treat her as a 12-13 y/o child, and convince yourself she will always be (i.e. she can't learn), I feel like you are only going to push her away. You'll no longer be able to guide her in a healthy, positive direction while she explores life, relationships, and sex, and instead she'll go it alone, which could easily be far more damaging (both to her, and your relationship with her).
     
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  5. selena

    selena Well-Known Member

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    Expect someone to act like a child, and she'll act like a child. And are you using her real name as part of your username, presumably without first consulting her? I would be humiliated if I were her.

    The only way a person can go from kissing and having sex to being a wife and a mother is if she's been so sheltered that that's the only sequence of things she knows. Back off and let her live, and she'll figure out what's right for her. Seriously, why are you so concerned about your daughter (who's 21!) having a first kiss?? Do you WANT the honor to be yours? It's one thing to be a typical sexist father who expects his daughters (but not sons) to be "pure" until married, but this is just a whole other level of weird.

    Edit: You made an arrangement with her boyfriend?? Is she aware of this, did she agree to it?? Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if she wants to get married/move out to get away from you.
     
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  6. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    @selena:

    Are you of the mindset that any person regardless of their situation who is 18 or older can and should be able to make any decisions without the guidance, support or protection of others?

    The father mentions that he's her "guardian". Given the daughter is over 18 I would assume that means the daughter is considered a "vulnerable adult". There are very good reasons that term exists and many of the reasons have to do with predator scum that prey on vulnerable adults.
     
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  7. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝️ V.I.P Member

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    Hello & welcome.

    (There is a lot to unpack there.)
    If you are in the USA, that means that she cannot give sexual consent (just like a minor). If you told her suitors that, it may discourage them. If you document having told them that, they will have no legal excuse if they persist in their sexual agenda with her. (The legal guardianship suggests that her diagnosis is at or near ASD3.)

    Her mental age of 12 or 13 is not legally relevant, but serves to elaborate on the conflicts you face. If she were ASD1, 12-13 would not impede her ability to otherwise function in an adult capacity. (That is where many of us are at.) ASD3 [that you have a guardianship] means that there are other issues/severe co-morbid conditions at play.

    My 33yo, ASD2 son (m.a. = 8yo) has a required representative payee, but not a guardian. As he approached 18, he became very defiant toward the rules within our house. As a legal adult, if he would have gotten physically aggressive in challenging our house rules AND we would use force to defend ourselves from him, it would have opened us up to legal liabilities (even if we were found innocent each time).

    (We do not seek to override his majority rights, but insist on standards for what may or may not happen within our home.)
    Just before 18, we let him move into a group home. He is currently in a supervised apartment.

    I am the legal guardian of my 26yo, ASD3 daughter with a mental age of 18 mos. Though she might avail herself to an opportunistic sexual contact, she does not have the sophistication necessary to pursue one.
     
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  8. Telepath John

    Telepath John Member

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    The more you complain about her on line choice of boy friends, the more she will pick out those you will dislike.
     
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  9. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    I can understand you are concerned as I also have a child on the spectrum. But really this is just human nature. Like others said let her live..

    Also, it seems to me your main concern is the guys weight. Who gives a flying fudge about weight? Seems very superficial and condescending. And you KEPT BRINGING IT UP, any chance you could throw it in there as if once wasn't enough.

    Just a forewarning, parents who behave like you seem to often end up getting abandoned by their children as I have done to mine. You cannot shelter and control someone just because you were a part in creating them forever. Once they are 18 they are an adult and free to do as they wish. Scary I know, but that is life.
     
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  10. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝️ V.I.P Member

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    I agree that the attraction (in both directions) is neither wrong nor unexpected (nor would it be for a teen), but the guardianship imposes a clear legal boundary.

    The guardian could be charged with neglect if he did not exercise due diligence in this matter.
     
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  11. selena

    selena Well-Known Member

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    Oh, you mean like how Britney Spears is still in conservatorship because we misogynists enjoyed dehumanizing her and couldn't get past our self-righteousness. Pretty much none of us are held accountable for our past behavior, while she's still paying decades later for the disgusting thing that we collectively did.

    I also think it speaks volume that OP chose to describe his daughter as having the mentality of a 12-13yo who therefore doesn't know what's good for her. First of all, it plays on the often used insult that implies 13yo girls are airheads who only know about makeup and celebrities. Second of all, anyone who knows anything about child development will agree that even kids as young as toddlers should get a say in what they want. Assuming it's true the daughter acts and thinks like a young teenage girl, that's still no excuse to trample all over someone's life because you think you know better.

    Let's not act like just because something is legal means it's right. Nobody who has been paying attention to the news in recent years can in good conscience make that claim.
     
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  12. Finder

    Finder Active Member

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    I will echo other voices here. You need to help your daughter learn to develop relationships. This is a long-term imperative. If you can help your daughter into a good relationship, that can support passed the time you are not her to help her.
     
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  13. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝️ V.I.P Member

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    A guardianship and a conservatorship are two different roles.
    A guardian cares for their ward's physical health and well-being.
    A conservator cares for their ward's estate/assets.

    Most guardians are also conservators, but not all conservators are guardians.

    The issues in the OP are those of a guardian, not a conservator.
     
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  14. Varzar

    Varzar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I feel like you're reading misogyny and sexism into words that don't say that at all. We seem to live in an over-sensitized culture that is always on the lookout for an "ism" to judge people on. I'm not trying to say that sexism doesn't exist. It most certainly does, but there's also such as thing as overthinking what people say.

    Most 12-13yo kids of all genders are immature. Period. That's *all* he's saying. He's not making any implications at all about "because she's a she".
     
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  15. selena

    selena Well-Known Member

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    My impression is he's mainly concerned his daughter will have sex with the person she wants to have sex with, and just as a rule he doesn't like the other guy (yeah, the weight thing is weird, and fatphobia usually isn't a stand-alone problem). He doesn't seem particularly worried that he will murder her, and he's threatening to use his guardian status to claim kidnapping if they run off together.

    Girls will have sex with people they won't end up marrying. His daughter's first relationship will end badly and feelings will get hurt, but even then it won't be a mistake for her to have dated the other guy. That's just how you learn to form better relationships and grow as a person.
     
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  16. selena

    selena Well-Known Member

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    The "often used insult" (example: "his fans are 13yo girls," never "his fans are 13yo boys") is part of the misogynistic world we live in. Said or not in the original post is besides the point.

    Also, nobody is "always on the lookout" to be offended. Do you know how exhausting it is to always be annoyed or even angry at things that are unfair? Don't you think I want to be able to watch a movie and not be reminded that I'm part of a marginalized community? If you don't have this problem, then well, count yourself lucky and try to have more empathy instead of implying that kids these days need to grow some backbone and stop complaining.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2021
  17. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝️ V.I.P Member

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    Under a guardianship, she cannot give sexual consent, including consent to marry.
    And he would be in legal trouble if he didn't take reasonable steps to block such.
    Even if she "consented," it would be statutory rape and he would be complicit in it.

    His criticism of the man's weight might be shallow, but it is not the salient issue here.
     
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  18. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    While you are 99.9% correct on everything you wrote here that's not quite the impression I was getting and I am not prone to being overly sensitive. Just something about this whole OP is off to me.

    I agree that people are overly sensitive now, but I also was like that up until my mid 30's too without even realizing it. I'm in my lower 40's now and try to only let things that actually have an effect on me and also things that I can positively react to, make me fly into action. Everything else I let go because I have a TON on my plate in real life. I cannot spare energy on things that do not directly effect my life. It is also a sad state to be in mentally to assume nearly everything is an attack upon someone or something.
     
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  19. Varzar

    Varzar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's not really beside the point, as in both your responses to the OP, you are suggesting he's being sexist/mysogynistic. He's not, as far as I can tell from the paragraph or so he wrote.

    There are plenty of people on the lookout to be offended.
    Yes, I do know how exhausting it is to be always annoyed and angry at unfair things in life, but I don't feel the need to lash out at people. I get that you're angry, and the world has plenty to be angry about. But spreading that anger doesn't really help the world become more unified, it only helps to further create division. We've got too much of that already.

    Also, I was implying nothing of the sort about kids needing to grow some backbone and stop complaining.
     
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  20. Varzar

    Varzar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I have no argument about that. There is something about the OP that bothers me as well. I kind of highlighted what I thought that was in my first reply. There may be more to it though, but I'm not going to make assumptions on that unless he comes back and gives further info to work with.
     
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