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Curious if my boyfriend is an undiagnosed aspie

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by lfields1, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. lfields1

    lfields1 New Member

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    Both me and my boyfriend are in our mid forties. I meet him 3 years ago. When we first met he 'masked' his behavior and I thought he was just a nerdy NT type. I saw some small unusual behavior but nothing that made me think to hard about his actions. I've dated a lot when I was younger so I have enough knowledge with all types of men to know when something seem a bit off for a NT male.

    Dating did progress into a relationship and I started picking up on more unusual behavior. I filed those incidents in the back of my head for later.

    A year into the relationship he moves in with me for economic reasons. I was trying to help him out because he lost his job due to personality conflicts with his program director at the University. He's a college professor. He was very hesitant about moving in with me and really didn't want to do it but had no choice until he could secure another teaching position. Once he moved in I started seeing lots of behavior that just seemed 'off' to me. So I started googling and that's when I saw descriptions of similar behavioral traits on-line from individuals who have AS.

    I realize that though someone may have AS, every individual is unique so I was not looking for a running checklist, but I read enough to start having strong feelings that he may be on spectrum.

    Here are some of the things I noticed.

    -Dislikes having to interact with general population when he doesn't have to
    -Only deals with his childhood long-time friends from HS and his neighborhood, people I assume are comfortable with him without needing to put on mask/act
    -Told me he had to hide 'parts' of personality in a previous relationship and it made him miserable but he desperately wanted to stay in the relationship with this person, but felt long-term she probably would never be happy. She left him.
    -Does not network or attempt to acquire or make new contacts/friendships
    -Does not like crowds
    -Super organized
    -Very reclusive, can spends weeks in the house and venture out maybe twice for a haircut and food
    -Somewhat rigid in day-to-day tasks and with his students
    -When he had his own apartment he 'micro-managed' me in his place
    -Not really tech savvy like some Aspies, he is the creative writer type, not the techie dude
    -Needs to keep to a routine, does not do well with spontaneous things
    -Write everything down in a little notebook and scribble over it when the task is completed.
    -Needs to schedule our date night activity and/or if we go out of town days in advance, does not like surprises
    -Obsessive sports fanatic all year round (football, basketball, baseball) to the point that it affects his mood and very invested. Real crazy.
    -Is only open to modifying plans if he has at least 24 hours to readjust
    -Insisted when he moved in with me that he has his own bedroom
    -Keep his door closed most of the time while he is in the house 'because he is constantly
    writing or working on research material' - is what I'm told but I feel it's like he 'needs' to protect a small space or sanctuary for himself in the house.
    -Had to set aside a 'date night' twice a week for us to spend quality time together or else I'd be invisible to him. If I my attitude changes and I stop trying to reach out to him, he gets the point that I might be feeling neglected and will schedule a night out.
    -Somewhat emotionally distant, he has to try hard to meet my needs, does not come natural at all, but he does try
    -Does not like a lot of touching when we are laying on the couch watching a movie or in bed (could be sensory issues)
    -I can touch him in certain places at times but not a lot of rubbing or stroking, unless it's a massage
    -Get's angry very quickly, has a explosive temper if I press him, nag him or start complaining about all the things he isn't fulfilling in the relationship. He said he wants our conversation to be goal oriented, pro-active not complaining.
    -Had problems maintaining long-term relationships in the past, said all his girlfriend's cheated on him, I don't have to wonder why, very believable.
    -Needs to use his own pots, pans and utilities in the house (even though I had all this already, he does not use my items)
    -Has OCD issues
    -Needs to wash his own dishes, forbids me to wash his items (again that OCD thing)
    -Never tries anything new in terms of food, eats and purchases the same foods all the time
    -Must eat all of his food at the kitchen table - always - he gets upset if there are crumbs on the floor
    -Is not good in a crisis or providing emotional support
    -Has to be told constantly to pay attention to my emotional needs
    -Over reacts to minors thing an NT would just blow off
    -He's great at conversation and tuning in to me when we are out on date night at a movie, restaurant or concert but horrible when we get back home, as he goes off to do whatever he does all day long.
    -Plays video games just about every night for an hour or two because it 'relaxing'
    -Super smart but can be very brash with his language, sometimes mean and spiteful with his words, he does not have a good filter
    -Does not have good social cues at all or able to tune into my body language - just a straight, clueless blank stare, doesn't get it
    -Ask me to be direct with him about what I want, but if asking directly sounds like criticizing he gets upset and very defensive
    -Has the type of persona that most NT's (without really knowing him) would find difficult and unapproachable.

    I could go on as there are a lot of little eccentricity/quirky behavior that I won't detail so this post doesn't turn into a mini essay, but I wanted to give you a good ideas as to what I have observed.

    Can someone tell me if my assessment is on-point? Thanks for all your help in advance. I do love him and he has good qualities as well, I'm not saying all of what I spoke about above is negative, it's just challenging to be in a relationship with him. I want to do more to understand him if in fact there is a strong possibility he is an undiagnosed aspie.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
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  2. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    If your interested in the diagnosis aspect as a partner, the only real approach is thru medical professionals.
     
  3. lfields1

    lfields1 New Member

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    I realize this but you must know that's much easier said than done. I'm not his wife so I'm in no position to tell this man he should be seen by a medical professional because I think he might be autistic. These are my thoughts, that perhaps there is a strong possibility he is but thinking that and saying that to someone is two different animals. A spouse or family member might be able to approach that subject, but I don't think it would be appropriate for me at this point.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
  4. Beverly

    Beverly Euthanasia Redux V.I.P Member

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    I'm not a professional but, some of that sounds like me (OCD stuff excepted) and, some like a close male friend who is also an Aspie. Id I were to combine both of us, it would make someone very much like your boyfriend, leaving out only the OCD specific stuff.

    I'd give him a strong possibility of being an Aspie. If he is open to discussing it, you could talk to him and, he might even be willing to do a few online self tests to see if it really is a real possibility. After that, it would be up to him if he wanted to seek professional diagnosis or not. Either way, knowing even just from self tests and, for yourself goes a long way toward understanding yourself and, allowing you to make personal improvements in ways that actually work well for you and, explains a lot of the things you want to change about yourself but have spent your life struggling and are unable to change.
     
  5. lfields1

    lfields1 New Member

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    Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing, I've read a lot and too many of his behavioral traits are lining up. It would be difficult for me to bring this topic up, I know him. We have been together for 3 years and he would not be receptive to any of it, not even an on-line self test.

    I often wonder if he may already know that he has autistic traits and is trying to keep this info from me or that he knows something is 'different' about how he processes the world. He has said some things to me in the past that makes me believe he knows something. He has mentioned several times he is not a 'traditional guy' that he is not 'your typical dude' that if we don't meet traditional markers or goals in the relationship, that this not an indication that he does not love me or is not happy with me, that things are unique with him, he is an 'acquired taste', that if our relationship failed he is not very optimistic that he will ever have success at a long-term relationship. I'm sure he realizes by now that he is not exactly idea relationship material.......especially for NT women as he is not wired to meet our emotional needs. I mean it's hard enough for NT males to meet our needs all the time much less someone who processes things in a logical way, devoid of emotions and feelings most of the time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  6. Beverly

    Beverly Euthanasia Redux V.I.P Member

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    "Acquired taste" "Don't doubt or be alarmed if we don't meet milestones." etc... that sounds like me and my best Aspie friend when we get into relationships.

    Both of us are rather well known publicly and neither of us are out about being Aspies. We have both learned to hide it well in public, the facades which you've seen your boyfriend use. Put him on the lectern and, I'd bet he seems as NT as the next guy, get him alone and, he isn't so NT at all :)

    Hey, he's in good company, Dan Aykroyd, Daryl Hanna, Susan Boyle and, many more. All of them/us hide or hid it well publicly but, we all have or had (when they were alive) our private homes an lives where we can safely drop the façade and be our Aspie selves without worry. We need that to recharge and get ready to face the world again.

    Nothing wrong or shameful about being an Aspie, I don't consider it a deficit at all, and sometimes it's a bonus, a good thing but, I do understand why it cannot always be public knowledge and, why it's so difficult to admit you are one later in life. I didn't figure it out until I was in my mid 30's and I was over 40 before I fully internalized and accepted that I am an Aspie.

    Turned out to be the wisest thing I ever did, I understand me better and, can now better compensate for the different ways I process input and, my social shortcomings knowing has actually enabled me to make my public façade stronger, better, more "normal" and allowed me to gain the confidence to socialize willingly. I like hosting small parties, like hanging out with acquaintances, doing group activities that interest me and, I can use my façade without worrying that someone is going to see a crack and suspect I'm "weird." I am weirs compared to NTs but, that only shows in private and, that's cool for me because weird is different and different is beautiful. Aspie is beautiful.

    Maybe your boyfriend, assuming he is an Aspie, can come to that realization, it never has to be public but, knowing and being able to let go and relax in private and, knowing why you are the way you are is such a blessing, it's worth getting past the difficulty of realizing and accepting that you are an Aspie.

    (And yes, if you think it will help, you have my permission to copy this post ONLY THIS ONE and show it to him.)
     
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  7. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes, it is. OCD and all. Hits pretty close to home...although I'm decidedly tech-savvy. ;)

    Nice to see someone consider it all "challenging" rather than simply walk out the door.
     
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  8. lfields1

    lfields1 New Member

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    I knew it. I love him so I not interested in walking out, I just want to understand him, learn how we can cooperation and love each other and respect each other for our own unique way of doing things.
     
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  9. unsurewhattoname

    unsurewhattoname Well-Known Member

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    It seems wrong to tell someone they're correct if you're not someone who can diagnose.
     
  10. lfields1

    lfields1 New Member

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    I'm NOT looking for an official diagnosis, I well know only a professional could make that determination. I just want to know if it 'sounds' like a lot of his behavioral trait are similar to an individual who has AS.

    I do appreciate all thoses who have weighted in with their opinion because at the end of the day it is just an opinion. I have no plans to go back and discuss this with my boyfriend, this is only to help me find a way to understand the dynamics of our relationship so we can cooperate better with each other; rather than trying or continuing to force NT relationship standards on him that he can not fulfill.

    I need to know what he 'can' do from the mindset of an AS and work from there. If I keep pressuring him for certain behavior in the relationship that I know he probably will never be able to give me consistently, we're not gonna make it. What is reasonable for me to expect or ask of him? That's what I need to find out.

    I did not post this to put a 'label' on my boyfriend head. He is a unique and very diverse individual that I love to pieces, I just need to know how to approach him so our relationship can be a good one for the both of us. He told me when we first met, I want you to love me but more than that I need you to understand me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
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  11. Beverly

    Beverly Euthanasia Redux V.I.P Member

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    The biggest thing is that you need to be clear and direct in requesting things of him. Not rude, just don't hint around, simple ask politely. Let him have is order to certain things and, don't be upset if he is bluntly honest with you, that's just how we tend to be and, we don't mean to be rude or to hurt your feelings, we're just being honest and, saying things as plainly as we know how.

    As I tell my potential partners fairly early in dating - grow a thick skin with me because I'm going to tell you what I think of it and where you can put it, repeatedly. I don't do it to be hurtful, just to be honest and, that's important to me and, you're more than welcome to do the same with me, I won't be upset.
     
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  12. lfields1

    lfields1 New Member

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    Thank you. Can you shed some light on why he may need so much time to himself when he gets home?

    I do know that he has to drive 90 minutes to work and back each day and he hates to be in traffic, absolutely ruins his mood especially with slow drivers and drivers that do stupid things on the road. He's from a big city and he is not use to drivers who act like they have no where to go or seem like they are afraid to drive their car. It makes him anxious and stressed. When he gets home he has papers to grade, assignments to look over, test to create, etc and he seem to just want to have hours to decompress. I have maybe 45 minutes with him when I get home to talk about my day and get debriefed on his day then he is ready to shut down until the next day. Date nights are the times he set aside to relax and spend time with me but any other night I get 30, 45 minutes max and then he is shutting down.

    I have asked him about this and I know he needs to decompress when he get home, maybe sensory overload am guessing, but in an NT world I figured he would only need a few hours. Just trying to find out if this is something that Aspies typically do.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  13. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    You are financially and materially supporting a unemployed (and as you describe it possibly currently unemployable) middle aged man who might be on the spectrum, and/or have some other untreated mental condition(s).

    I normally do not advocate people telling their suspicion to someone outright. The exception being when they are life/long term partners, already committed.

    If you are thinking long term it has to come up sooner or later and be dealt with or you will be trapped with irrational behaviors and no way to address them properly.

    If you were looking for a good reason to separate, well that's as good a guess as any.
     
  14. lfields1

    lfields1 New Member

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    He is not unemployed, he is working now and was only out of work for one semester. Got right back on his feet, had savings when he was out of work for 6 months and still paid his portion of the bills. He is moving to his own apartment in a few weeks. Please ask before you make statements, since you clearly didn't have all the information. I kept it short and didn't add additional info about his job status so I wasn't writing a mini essay, so please refrain from making assumptions.

    It's not my place to bring this subject up at this time, I'll know when its the right time to say something. I'm just being pro-active and trying to learn what I can do make our relationship better. It's easy to walk, harder to try and understand and work with his and my own limitations. Overall, he's a good man, so I'm gonna try.

    My plan is to be direct with my requests as one poster has advised.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
  15. Beverly

    Beverly Euthanasia Redux V.I.P Member

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    I can help, I believe. I am a working, preforming rock musician. I am not out publicly but, I do, with my band, perform stadium concerts. that means lots of fans, lots of publicity, interviews, press releases, a lot of socializing and, a whole lot of me having to wear my NT façade.

    I start the day with 24 proverbial energy pills that I need to do all of what I do. To you, an NT, one pill per hour would be plenty most days and, you might run a pill or two short on really hard days. For me, it takes all 24 of those pills just to do one of the things I have to do that day. nothing about appearing NT is instinctive or natural, it's like having to work the most advanced math equation you can imagine in you head all day long. By the time I get through rehearsal and setting up the stage, I've burned all of my energy pills but, I've got to pull on every last internal reserve I have to do the show, tear down after, then, socialize and share feedback with my band and crew AFTER the show.

    by the time I can actually go to the tour buss or hotel room, I'm beyond drained but, wired on my second wind and so keyed up mentally that I can't relax, can't even imagine sleeping, though my mind and body desperately need to do both. it's the same for him when he comes home, he's spent far more than eh ever had to spend energy and mentally wise and, he does it day in and day out.

    Like me, he is accustomed to doing it and, knows how his mind and body will react, that is unavoidable. If, at the point I have gotten on the bus or in the hotel room, you were to come to me and expect me to be sociable at al or, do something for you, I would bow up, have a meltdown and, that is very much like what you would think of as a violent, adult temper tantrum. I wouldn't mean to or want to but, I'm just that far overloaded that anything beyond shutting down and retreating into myself to process the day and reach a point where I can relax and can sleep is going to send me over the edge. I definitely do not want to blow up like that toward people I like and care about so, I need to be alone and be quiet.

    See, you process events of the day as the day happens and file them away, they are done, over fine with you by the end of the day, except in a few cases when you have cause to mull something that happened over for hours after you get home. Our minds are wired differently, we have to mull over everything everyday to get it filed away in our brain and make it okay, done, over with and, that takes time. often overnight is not enough because we do have eat, sleep bathe, plan for the next day, etc... Yep, you got it, more things to process and mull over. So we get a day or two off where we don't have any obligations, we need that time to process the past week or month or, in some cases months and, get it all sorted to our mental satisfaction, Deny us that and, you are apt to be the unintentional target of a meltdown. We don't want to do that to you because we do care about you and, we will try to be there for you just, sometimes we have too much to process to be able to be there exactly when you want us to be there.

    Now what does help is engaging with us in whatever we find relaxing and, is one of our special interests. We can't share your world at those times but, an NT that cares to learn and wants to help us recover faster can share ours and, join us in our unrelenting focus on that one special thing for an afternoon or , a whole day. We'll love you for it and, we'll come away recharged, happier and, have all of that mental garbage we collected processed while enjoying time with you. just don't try to distract us form what we want to be doing, do it with us at those times. later, when we can, we will do our best to share your interests and do things you want to do.

    We really do understand that there has to be give and take in a relationship, it's just a matter of when we are able to give and when we need to take and, having a partner that is willing to give when we can't.

    I suppose the easiest way to imagine it would be to imagine that, when you got home, before you could even focus enough to hear what another says or, speak to them, you had to relive an analyze every detail of every single thing that happened that day. it takes a while to do that but, we can't help it, our minds need to do that to be okay with the day's events. The more we do, the more successful we are in the outside world, the more we have to process each day and, when we add the NT façade we need to be the success we are, that's a whole added level of things we have to sort.

    How often was I fake, what would I really have said or done, did I make mistakes that I may need to explain or, invent excuse for to save my image? Yes we get really good at it after years of doing it but, we still have to ask those question of ourselves every day, and make sure we still have everything in our NT façade correct, make any adjustments we need for the next day, or if it is to be a day off, prepare to drop the façade and recharge in private. We have to do that when we use a façade in our career, we can't loose who we really are to the façade, and it isn't so easy as I and many others out there that do it make it seem. If I ever lost myself to my façade, I'd be an empty shell, just going through the motions, I'd have no desire nor even the ability to actually enjoy what using that façade earns me, it would all be pointless. I have to have time to be me and,that means I have to have alone, quiet time, or I'm going to blow up toward those closest to me and, I'm going to loose who I really am. Self preservation keeps me form the later and, my careing and concerne for those close to me keeps me from the former.

    I know my career is not the same as his but, I hope in telling you how it is for me, you can apply that to what your boyfriend does and, gain a bit of insight into his needs and, the reasons for those needs.
     
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  16. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Good to hear. No one ever stuck it out with me.

    But then back in those days neither of us knew I was on the spectrum of autism.
     
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  17. lfields1

    lfields1 New Member

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    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Did not know all of that mental processing could be going on. Wow, it sounds extremely draining.

    He had to prepare for the semester to start back up today and he really didn't give me any time over the past 3 or 4 days. I knew classes were about to begin, he was preparing his syllabus and he had to mentally prepare for meetings and speeches from administration (which he hates) so I figured I better keep my insecurities under wraps and let him have his time alone uninterrupted. Today, he will be drained from all the day's activity at the University and the 90 minute drive home, so I'm going to keep my conversation short when I get home and ask more about his day and talk less about mine. :)
     
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  18. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    In your opinion. But that's all we as non-medical professionals can offer. An opinion. Not a diagnosis.

    I'm merely relating someone's traits and behaviors as many of my own. My personal - not professional opinion as well. Take it any way you want. Just remember that many come here for help. In that respect most of us can only relate our own personal- not professional experiences. Whether they apply or not. Otherwise there wouldn't be much of a point of having an online autistic community where we are so willing to share our experiences. Right?

    We do a lot of good samaratinism here. Without any overt pretenses of claimed or implied medical professionalism. On the other hand if one truly seeks the tacit aid of medical professionals and the liability they must formally carry, they'll have to go elsewhere. No secret there. We are a community of primarily autistic people- not neurologists or psychologists who incidentally are most likely to be Neurotypical and not on the spectrum of autism.
     
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  19. Beverly

    Beverly Euthanasia Redux V.I.P Member

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    lfields1 I hope I helped you understand what might be going on in his head a bit better. I know we are more impossible to figure out than NTs and, most of us are horrible for overthinking, over analyzing and, over doing almost everything but, it's that overdoing, over focusing, tending every nit picky detail of everything that can make us great successes as well. It is a blessing and a curse but, if we and those close to us can just learn and understand it a bit, it can stop being a curse and just be a blessing, as it is for me now. Took me the better part of thirty years of trying to get here, but boy am I glad I'm an Aspie, I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for that over doing it all thing I do and, I love where I am.
     
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  20. lfields1

    lfields1 New Member

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    Yes, this explanation has helped. Seems like he equates coming home to his bedroom to a place where he can take off his mask and just relax and he needs times to be alone and process things. He does that a lot more frequently with us living together than when we lived separately. He told me if I needed more time (beyond date nights) with him to just ask. So I have to schedule time. At first I was mad because I felt like why should I have to always ask for time to be with you, if you really wanted to be around me you would initiate the request as much as I have, but that's the NT in me, that how we would look at things. To be fair he has requested time with me but mostly not enough for my liking. Now I know he was really trying and I have to give him that if he was mentally overloaded after a day at work as you described. If all of that is going on in his brain, he's doing a lot!!!

    Can I ask you one more thing?

    I still don't quite understand the emotional part with Aspies. I've asked for more attention to my emotional needs and that issue is still lacking. I don't understand how someone can be devoid of emotional responses that I find to be very basic instinctual behavior that is evoked almost as a reactionary response with me.

    I do know most NT men are not very emotional and do response in a matter-of-fact kind of way but most are able to at least process when to response to a women's emotional feelings and act accordingly. He does not. I said the following to him so many times 'are you like this with everybody or just me' I just couldn't believe he just didn't get it.


    I'd like a good place to start in terms of discussing it again with him when he is in a calm and relaxed state and is willing to approach the topic again. I know at times he feels like we are having circular discussions and he stated he hates to repeat himself, but I've asked this question constantly because I was absolutely clueless as to why he was so emotionally void/empty at times, it just made no damn sense to me. It also made me feel at times like he didn't have a real consistent connection with me.
     
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