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Featured Boyfriend w/Aspergers wanted 'open relationship'. Can you help me try to understand?

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by KateDubs, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. KateDubs

    KateDubs Active Member

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    I've recently went through an awful break up with a man (24 years old) with Asperger's. I am hoping you can help my understand which of his behaviours are/were typical of someone on the spectrum.

    When we began dating, he told me he had not had a serious relationship and (when things got more intimate) that he was a virgin. After some time, he also told me had suffered child abuse - which I'll come back to later. After a couple of months he told me he viewed our relationship as casual and that he wasn't ready for a serious RL. He then said: 'Could we just take it slow?'. So we did. But then another month later, he had a meltdown and we broke up. He hated me seeing him like that & I thought I'd never hear from him again. Lo and behold, he contacted me the very next day and we were like best friends, spending all our time together & on the phone.

    After a few months I said I still liked him romantically & would he like to give things another shot between us. He said yes, he wanted to see how things would grow between us - the caveat being he was taking a job abroad & we would be LDR for a while.

    By this point, we'd been dating on and off for 9 months. He would Skype me for hours every week & IM me every day (although sometimes he did need space to do his own thing). Then I booked a trip to see him & we were excited with planning. He had also asked me to move there with him, I'd been learning the language and was going to see what I thought of his city.

    But when I got there everything went wrong :( We had an amazingly romantic reunion when he picked me up at the airport plus a lovely couple of days after, with him cooking me elaborate meals etc.

    Then he dropped the bomb. 'So you know this is still just casual and not serious, right?'. I couldn't believe it. I was in love with him. I thought he loved me. I'd come to a foreign country to be with him for a week! From then on, we'd be cuddling and he'd suddenly say he felt 'trapped'. An hour later he'd be back to kissing & caressing me like everything was fine. During a relationship conversation he raised, he struggled with because he had spent his life copying how to behave from others and 'there is no script for this'.

    The final blow came when he asked if I would consider an 'open relationship'. In fact - he said - a woman had already asked him on a date and he'd gone! This broke my heart - I loved him and didn't want to share him. He insisted he couldn't be in a serious RL right now (said it was very difficult for him to commit), that his anxiety & depression meant he wasn't cut out for it - but what has that got to do with dating other women? :)

    Once I rejected the idea of an open relationship, he asked if we could stay in touch as he would really miss me if not. I said 'no' & said we'd have to part because we weren't compatible. That night we slept in bed together & he held me tight all night long. He set his alarm an hour early for work, just so could cuddle and kiss, then we said goodbye and he left. The last point is, the sex never really improved. He was very, very sensitive, so that I could never truly please him, no matter what I did (I tried and tried). He was also on anti-depressants which he claims was causing problems with his erection and this didn't improve either. I think he was very disheartened. I thought it would just take time, but he actually rejected me more & more sexually, instead only wanting to cuddle for the rest of the trip.

    I'm very, very sad, because I love this man and he clearly doesn't love me - despite seeming to have tender feelings for me? I've been finding it very hard to understand.
     
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  2. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    All I can really say is 'Open Relationships' are not directly related to autism. Autistic people can prefer them, but no more then the general population. It is possible, perhaps probable they prefer it less on average. But that is just my observation, and not based on and studies, etc.
     
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  3. KateDubs

    KateDubs Active Member

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    The thing is that he had never brought up the idea of an open relationship when we were dating in the same city for 7 months. He was faithful to me only. It is only now that he is in a new city, with new possibilities, that he's asking for it. I was really surprised because he also said he is really happy with me but still won't commit. He also says he is afraid of intimacy while craving it. Urg.

    I am curious to know if any of the other behaviours I listed could be due to Aspergers.
     
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  4. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

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    Interesting this would happen after 7 months, think by that point he'd be used to you and you alone.
     
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  5. KateDubs

    KateDubs Active Member

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    This is what I thought. It came as a huge shock when he said he'd been on a date with someone else. I was also asked on a date recently, but I said no of course! He was my only one.

    Obviously he was bit non-committal at first, but I never had any doubt he was loyal and dating only me. He assured me WAS the case when we were living in the same city and had only changed recently. He said he probably wouldn't even follow up on the date again, but wanted to be open to future dates :'(
     
  6. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    Nope...sorry I don't understand either. But then none of this sounds like anything relative to being on the spectrum. It would appear that the answers you seek most likely lie with him and him alone.
     
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  7. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Other then the meltdown, and perhaps a tendency for late starts in relationships, there isn't anything I see that doesn't also happen with an NT. Many relationships (NT and ASD) are only temporary and often end. It does sound like the overriding theme is he isn't ready/does not wish to commit and wishes to see other people. There is nothing one can really do about that. And I suspect trying will just be beating the proverbial dead horse.
     
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  8. KateDubs

    KateDubs Active Member

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    What about when he said he didn't know how to have a conversation with me RE what was happening between us 'because there was no script' and most of his behaviour had been learned from what others do? Like copying. I thought was an Aspergers behaviour. Obviously new challenges can crop up in a 'relationship' sometimes.

    Anyway...I'm interested to hear that none of this seems typical to you.
     
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  9. KateDubs

    KateDubs Active Member

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    What I don't understand is WHY he asked me to move to his country with him, wait for me to get there (to scope the place out) and then tell me we are still not in a serious relationship?

    Of course when he said he wasn't ready and hoped he would be ready for me soon bla bla, I told him I wasn't going to convince anyone to be with me so that's that.

    But really I have lost one of my best friends and that is the worst part. It is very rare for me to find an intellectual and emotional connection like that. He wanted to stay in touch but I feel too hurt/raw.
     
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  10. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    If he feels he needs to script just to be with you, he'd be in the same dilemma with much of anyone else. Unless perhaps this is simply his way of telling you that from his perspective, the two of you just aren't compatible. Or maybe there's much more to it that for whatever reason he doesn't want to discuss with you.

    While there are situations where a script is desirable, dialogue within a relationship just isn't one of them, at least from my own perspective. I'm more apt to think he's just throwing that out as a copout of sorts.

    Unless it turns out that the other person he's dating is also on the spectrum. THAT I could understand.
     
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  11. KateDubs

    KateDubs Active Member

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    He said this during an intimate moment. Obviously he is new to sex & we have been struggling some, in his opinion due to the anti-depressants...I don't know.

    I very much got the impression he was saying that intimate relationships were new to him and he'd copied most other learned behaviours from other people. Like he didn't know how to function. I agree, maybe he was holding something back.
     
  12. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. I suspect there's more to it. He may not know what to do...but I'd think that seeking out a new face wouldn't likely solve that problem either. Unless this is his way of preferring someone else with little or no emotional/sexual experience.

    You may have intimidated him in this regard. Too bad if that's the case. I always thought a woman with more of such experience was an asset- not a liability. But I'm just speculating here.

    When it comes to sex, I never thought of needing any kind of scripting. I just went with the flow...lol- quite literally I suppose. I see sex as a form of non-verbal communication...infinitely less complex than an impromptu conversation.

    If his issues revolve around performance anxiety, it's unlikely he'll be able to shed it short of paring up with a sex therapist. Though again, this isn't anything really pertinent to Neurodiversity either.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  13. KateDubs

    KateDubs Active Member

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    I told him we could work on the sexual side together, let's just focus on sensuality for now etc and made it clear there was no pressure...but honestly, I would only have been willing to do that in an exclusive relationship, which he still wouldn't offer after almost a year together.

    I am heartbroken over this. This time last week we were on a romantic trip together, now we're nothing to each other. But no contact seems the only way to go?
     
  14. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    Hard to say what your options are, if any. I mean, a lot of the equation may depend on how truthful he's being with you. I just get the impression there's more to this that he hasn't said.

    Unless it all boils down to being emotionally and sexually intimidated by you. Maybe someone else here can chime in to offer a different perspective. For me though non-verbal communication like sex is certainly more natural to me than real-time conversations where most of us on the spectrum can run into problems.

    If he were here I would tell him that the best script for sex and emotional intimacy is none at all. Where you just go with your feelings purely in a physical sense, and not struggle to find the words.
     
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  15. KateDubs

    KateDubs Active Member

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    'I just get the impression there's more to this that he hasn't said.' - do you have any potential explanations in my mind or are you surmising?

    Last week he DID say that he believed he was more emotionally immature than me. I was surprised to hear this as I had always thought him to be more mature than other guys. He said he didn't feel he really knows who he is and asked me if I knew I was. I responded that I'm still growing, but yes pretty much, I have a fairly strong sense of self.
     
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  16. rollerskate

    rollerskate ร๏гค ɭย๓เภค V.I.P Member

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    This sounds suspiciously like covert narcissism to me, wrapped up in excuses like "autism" to try to guilt trip you into being okay with things you wouldn't usually be okay with. Nothing you've described here is exclusive to autism, and much of it has nothing to do with autism at all.

    Covert narcissists usually will invoke feelings of empathy, pity, concern, etc. to bully you into doing things you often wouldn't do, making excuses for their behaviors you wouldn't usually find acceptable in someone, and giving them lots of attention without any return. They are eternal victims... and often will hide behind a significant disability of some sort to provide an excuse for their unusual behaviors. They are mostly incapable of even internally acknowledging they are covert narcissists because they are so dedicated to their denial and false self-image.

    The childhood abuse, I'm sad to say, as someone that also is a childhood abuse survivor... IS a red flag, but ONLY becomes a red flag due to all the other behaviors you are describing, here. Some survivors can come out of it better people. Most, though... and again, I hate admitting this, but had to learn it the hard way myself, seeking an idealistic partner that could relate to my experiences... come out of it with severe mental health disorders that can cause a lot of damage to anyone that gets close to them. Like... okay, some self-disclosure here: I had a hard time finding a good therapist because no one could believe that I could have gone through what I did and still managed to come out being a decent and mostly sane person. That's how rare it is to see a childhood abuse survivor come out of the experience intact. And I'm no model citizen, either... I've had my struggles with codependency and CPTSD... made a lot of really terrible decisions, gotten close to a lot of really awful people, and am lucky even still to be alive.

    Sweetie, please get a grip on yourself. Look at all you have gone through for this guy. Does he seem like he has returned an ounce of that effort? Here you are, worrying about him... do you think he is worried about you, too? You've got to love yourself more than anyone else... because I guarantee you, no one else is going to love you more than they love themselves... and if they do, that's unhealthy, anyway, and doomed for disaster.

    I'm going to recommend a book to you. You can read it for free if you happen to have Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Without it, you can still obtain a copy on the cheap. It's called "Why Do You Do This?" by Michelle Moore. It can be a significant game-changer in the way you view and treat relationships. Do please try to read it. It's all you need to be able to understand this.

    Best wishes to you! Stand strong and don't compromise your psychological health for this kind of nonsense! :)
     
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  17. KateDubs

    KateDubs Active Member

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    I will say these positive points for him: he was like my personal cheerleader from the start. Before we met I'd been cheated on by my ex (what a great couple of years, right....) and he boosted my confidence massively and lifted me up. With his encouragement and support, I got back on-stage for the first time in 10 years and started performing at comedy nights while he smiled from the front row. In the last couple of months he has been consistently supportive and there for me through serious trials. For ALL of that I am grateful and being him with made me feel I could conquer the world for a while.

    BUT - for the first time ever, I started to think 'could he...be a narcissist?' during the trip. Mainly because I noticed how much he was lacking empathy with all of the things he was saying to me but also because he has some need to be famous/recognised in a way I hadn't realised before.

    He also opened up more and more about the childhood abuse during our trip last week. Actually, when I said I didn't want to have further contact with him, he quietly said 'I've shared things with you I haven't shared with anyone.' So basically aside from his therapist I am the only person he has told about this.
    I will consider your words more when I'm more awake and also check our the book. Thank you :) My mental health has been through the ringer, although I was very happy with him for a while.

    Did he not really care for me as he seemed to? That's the question that has been plaguing me. Our moments together felt genuine and tender, then I feel he just turned on me.
     
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  18. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    I can only suspect that he may using his autism as an excuse. But then that's why I hope other males might chime in to see if they relate or not to this guy. For me though I see emotional intimacy and sex to be very different from the rigors of basic communication through the spoken word in real time. Kind of like the neurological difference between speech and song.
     
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  19. KateDubs

    KateDubs Active Member

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    One more thing I forgot to mention: during the trip, his anxiety flared up several times. He kept over-reacting about miniscule events and looking to me to comfort him. It was quite perturbing.

    He then said 'Can't you see what I'm like now?'. He said it was ok when he could put his best foot forward and project the 'best side of himself' during a date - but having me stay for a week meant I saw his vulnerable self and he wasn't comfortable with that (his words!).
     
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  20. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    One thing that I consider very likely with autistic people is how stress from unrelated things can at times profoundly- and negatively impact personal relationships. Possibly to a point where it puts the relationship in jeopardy even though it may be utterly unrelated.

    In my own case my relationships with others are the first thing to suffer when I'm under a great deal of stress, usually from work. When I just shut down emotionally and don't want to socially interact with much of anyone for any reason. When solitude is my only friend. With time and solitude I always came out of it...having "recharged my batteries socially".
     
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