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Featured Dating someone on the spectrum

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by Michael Williams, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. Michael Williams

    Michael Williams Active Member

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    Hi,

    I'm dating someone who thinks he might be on the AS spectrum. I was talking to someone at work last fall about some stuff we were dealing with at home and she casually suggested he may be somewhere on the spectrum. I didn't' say anything to him about it, but observed his behavior and started doing endless hours of my own research. It seemed probably that he could be on the spectrum but I decided it was best to not say anything (we had been dating less than 6 months).

    This last Christmas holiday we got in a big fight and towards the end once our emotions calmed down he broke down and said based on things people in his life and past partners have said, he has, for a while, wondered if maybe he has a form of Autism, but he has never been professionally diagnosed. I told him I was supportive of him getting professional help if he ever was interested and that a positive diagnosis wouldn't change my desire to be with him.

    It's now March and we've never discussed it since, however I'm still noticing signs that indicate he may be on the spectrum. We are both 28, now live together and have been together just over a year. Knowing this may cause difficulties I want there to be more openness around it, but i also don't want to over step my bounds or force him into an uncomfortable situation. I feel like if he got some help and support life would be less frustrating but he seems afraid to address it directly. Either pride, fear or a combination of both.

    I'm hoping people who have been diagnosed can help me by sharing how THEY would want to be treated in this situation. I know everyone is different but maybe you have some insight. He's amazing and I love him a lot and don't want to be with anyone else, and I want to make this work. There is a lot of love between us, but at the same time it can be very challenging for both people and I don't want it to be like this forever.
     
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  2. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard

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    I know I would want to be diagnosed on my own time, and would not appreciate being pushed towards diagnosis in any way.
     
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  3. Michael Williams

    Michael Williams Active Member

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    That makes sense, and that's why I haven't said anything thus far. Any advice for managing the communication in the meantime. It's hard to know when he's being selfish versus when he just isn't aware about something. I end up feeling unappreciated or last on his list of priorities which I don't believe is true. But it's hard to find the balance between understanding how he sees and experiences the world versus living feeling under valued.

    I get my feelings hurt, and then he feels bad that his lack of awareness is what caused my hurt feelings. I can forgive him easily but he still knows he caused me pain. so he beats himself up, so I end up trying to keep things to myself when he does something that hurts, as to not make him feel bad. but then he doesn't know and it keeps happening.
     
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  4. Fallenwolf

    Fallenwolf Member

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    I'm about in a similar boat. I'm a NT and my boyfriend is AS, even tho he constantly acts like he doesn't have it.

    When were were just friends, he admitted he was diagnosed with a slight form of Asperger's as a kid. But now whenever I can see the signs of this Asperger's effecting him/or him being able to express his emotions/or it taking a slight toll on the relationship, I try to point it out to him. But a lot of the times when I point it out, he gets very over defensive or states something like "My Asperger's doesn't effect me like that anymore. I grew out of it. STOP TRYING TO MAKE ME SEEM LIKE I'M THE SAME AS ALL OF THEM. I'M MY OWN PERSON."

    He just seems to not want to accept that fact at all his Asperger's still has an effect on how he interacts with people and how he view things. I feel like it would be so much easier if he just fully accepted that he has it, so that we can fully disscuss routes/solutions on how to approach the two different mind sets in this relationship. He seems very stubborn, ridged and firm. It takes a lot to convince him of a different view point or to try something new. And even harder to get him to see things from your point of view or have him step "into your shoes".

    So my advice would be similar to what Bolletje said, do not rush him or pressure him. It seems like it's something he might have to slowly open to and find good enough logic/reason as to why this is even important for him to do. It could also be out of fear, as nobody would want to really face a big problem they have, especially if they know it's something they can't fully cure/change about themselves. It's about the same as me not wanting to go to the doctors whenever my lungs hurt, cause I have a fear it could be another blood clot. I don't want to go thru the experience of thinking I'm close to death again. It's just not a positive thing you want to address. But with logic, he should see that he needs to eventually find out and address it as it would help his partner understand him and the way he thinks a lot better. Not only his partner but his family, friends and other people around him.

    It's probably also a fear cause he doesn't want to be viewed as "different" in a bad way. My bf wants to be treated equal and normal and not treated like he has a "condition" of some sort.
     
  5. Michael Williams

    Michael Williams Active Member

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    Wow, it does sound like we are in similar situations. I know he takes a lot of pride is personal development (he reads a TON of "how to" books for networking/marketing/office/professional situations) etc and is constantly trying to improve. He loves his job and is amazing at it. It's a lot of networking which he enjoys b/c he has developed great skills for that context. However romantic relationships/interpersonal relationships is the one area that is challenging for him to grow b/c it's the thing that comes least naturally. He can even acknowledge the amount of pain he has caused his mother or best friend, simply b/c he wasn't aware of something. I think he struggles with being a very high functioning accomplished person who may have an unchangeable situation. He constantly feels/says he "SHOULD" get it but just doesn't or questions why everyone else can so clearly see how to act or what to say in a situation and he says/does the wrong thing.

    have you found anything to be really effective for diffusing situations full of tension? When we have fights/talks that are rooted in misunderstanding one another, he eventually comes around and is grateful that we worked through something and that I could be honest and share and get help him see the other side. However the process to get there is arduous and exhausting for both of us. He feels constantly attacked and I feel consistently alone/abandoned/neglected. The hardest part of it all is that there is so much love/affection between us and we both hate it when we feel disconnected. like there is no maliciousness or arrogance. just a tense disconnection
     
  6. Fallenwolf

    Fallenwolf Member

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    Yes I totally understand how you feel. There are days where our love feels so strong and deep and then all of sudden we get into arguments and suddenly a big feel of disconnect. And yes, a lot of the fights are sooo exhausting cause it takes forever for him to see the point I'm trying to get across. He mainly only wants to see things his way and that's it. From what I read and from him telling me himself, he mostly cares to address things with straight logic and very little to no emotion driving it. He doesn't care for overly emotional conversations. I can see that either confuses him or pushes him to end the talk right then and there and he tries to either change the subject or run away.

    So my advice is to think first carefully about what your point you're trying to get across to him is and then be as logic and straight forth with it as possible. Example:

    Me: "I didn't appreciate that thing you said, it hurt my feelings."
    Him: "What are you talking about?"
    Me: -reposts/copies what he said- "This. What did you mean when you said you don't care about it? (here is when I have to keep the emotional part of me at bay from over thinking he meant harm by it.) "
    Him: "I meant that I don't care about the subject of it that's all."
    Me: "Oh okay, so is it better for me to just not talk about it much anymore?"
    Him: "You can if you want, but I don't have much interest in it, so I don't have much to say."
    Me: "I understand, I'll try to stick to subjects/topics we're both into."

    another example

    Me: -post a nice pic of me wearing something nice and sensually for him, to see what he says-
    Him: "Nice pic."
    Me: -starts to over think he doesn't care at all of the pic or the amount of efforts I put in to make myself look sexy for him. I think he doesn't find me attractive cause he didn't seem to say much or compliment the picture. Then I have to think logically and remember I have to be more straight forward.
    Me: " I decided to play with a new look/try on some make up. I liked how it came out, what do you think about it?"
    Him: "Hmmm, I like the hair and such. I think it looks nice on you."
    Me: " Is there something you would prefer to see me in? Something you would find more sexy?"
    Him: "I don't care what you wear, as long as it looks good."

    The point of all of it is, don't expect him to act or respond the same way as a NT guy that most of us NT brains are used to. Just cause he doesn't express something doesn't mean he doesn't care or feel it. Like you were stating earlier, you feel alone/abandoned/neglected at times, I feel like that a too at times, but you have to think "well maybe he just needs space....maybe he's busy, or something else is on his mind bothering him."

    From what I noticed, most AS seem to want/need a lot of space at times to unplug from stress and recharge. My bf has expressed to me several times he does NOT care for emotional/clingy/needy people and most of the people he's dated has be SUPER low maintanence and don't expect him to do anything. And also expresses how I'm "high maintanence" even tho to most NT people I'm middle maintanence and very chill laid back person. He's just used to doing his own thing and not having someone to hold him to slight standards or having someone that needs affection/cuddles/touches at such extent, even tho again I'm a very chill person and need a middle amount of love/touch/affection.

    So at the end of the day you just have to come to accept that your bf might be similar as he doesn't see the importance of displaying of affection or giving validation a lot as we NT's are used to. In his mind he probably see things as normal/ everything going well/good, but in your mind you're thinking "He hasn't shown me affection for 2-3 days something must be wrong....maybe he doesn't love me anymore...."
    If you want him to be more affectionate, try and be straight forward and just tell him, "Hey honey, I really do enjoy it when you do this and this. Makes me feel very good and happy, kinda like how this and this makes you happy." Again try to make him see the logic in why he should do it as much as possible.

    Also another thing I find helpful is, if the subject/topic isn't important, like something really small, I just let it go and don't try to correct him on it. I feel this avoids a lot of unneeded arguments and wasted energy.

    Hope that helps. If you would like have more deeper talks about it, don't hesitate to start a private convo with me on here, as I'm very open to see how other NT view relationships with AS.
     
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  7. Fallenwolf

    Fallenwolf Member

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    Sorry also forgot to add, my bf also feels "attacked' a lot of the times too. I feel my bf gets very defensive cause he's used to people treating him badly when he did something he thought was right, but got in trouble for it. As of course it's hard for many AS to see the social cues and such and don't understand that some of the stuff they say can come off as being "rude" or etc. So it just gets to the point if someone starts to feel upset towards him, he just goes into instant defensive mode and tries to defend his views/actions to the death almost lol. Again very hard to have him see it from you point of view or see things from your shoes on how you felt about what he did and how he made you feel. All I can say to that is again, try not to be too emotional/upset and approach it as claim and logical as possible. Try not to make him feel like he did something wrong on purpose, cause he probably didn't do it on purpose or meant true harm from it.
     
  8. flawedplan

    flawedplan Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I understand that catering to the Aspie partner can seem the path of least resistance, and plenty so-called self-help couples books will promote doing that to prevent him having an episode. This is where I close the books. I don't understand how people can accept that they will be their lover's caretaker, but their lover will not be the caretaker of their feelings. You want to be "loved" for your ability to self-negate? This is a breeding ground for resentment; you're going to end up hating this man.

    I know. We're getting a lot of nonsense shoved at us. I am neurodiverse but am not on the spectrum, and am convinced the only reason my Aspie shows me any respect is I've been bullied more than he has and am nowhere near as self-pitying.

    I take it as a matter of faith that my alexythymic, structural- dependent, hypermasculine, bigly logical, left-brain partner is with me because he is seeking the emotional balance. This is what I have to offer him. Intimacy. The psycho-sexual romantic connection between two people in the human world. Of course it is foreign and scary to him. It is to me too. We go slow. We're in counseling, we don't make a move without direction. It helps if you got the money.

    I believe your partner is acting out anger precisely because they're having problems accomodating the needs you're placing on them. Don't stop. The needs are perfectly normal. And so is your partner's upset, though he does not get to be a total dick about it. Expect it's going to be hard. Because it is. You're new. You change everything.

    My partner is a serious-minded environmentalist, so we use an eco-system analogy: our relationship is his ecosystem. He lives in it. When learning new things makes him abrasive, ill-tempered, obnoxious and hurtful he is poisoning the ecosystem he lives in and will create a cold and angry woman with stingers until he repairs the damage. Then he says he is sorry and all is forgotten. He and I fight almost every day. For us, it's better than the alternative; YMMV.
     
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  9. Fallenwolf

    Fallenwolf Member

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    I agree with this. Why I recommend let the small things go, but not the bigger things. I feel that AS males and NT males, heck even some females, both get pretty darn stubborn and you have to fight a good sec to get things thru to them. Weather it's pride, hyper masculinity, fear, etc with them, if it's important to you, you gotta stand up for it. I've held my ground so many times with my bf that he knows he can not roll me over like his past relationships. I'm an alpha just like he is, so if something is important for me to share with him, HE WILL KNOW IT. And becuase I'm an alpha, I think he slightly secretly likes it as he knows I won't put up with his crap, despite him having AS, like the others have. Otherwise, I will not bother with the smaller things, as I don't have the energy to waste time trying to get simple stuff thru to his thick skull. lol

    I feel with them change is like the saying with a lobster growing up and out of it's old rigid shell. It will hurt like crap, going under stress, and uncomfortable. They won't like it, but it's something they have to do for the better and grow into a new better shell. But of course both partners need to change to some extent and meet in the middle.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  10. Chance

    Chance "all who wander are not lost" - Tolkien V.I.P Member

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    Wow, I so wish my wife would/could understand this like you have explained it... Brutal but accurate.
    In my life I am FORBIDDEN to speak of the truth of who I am (kind of relating back to the post you started on honesty)...

    Its simply not acceptable to my family or my wife. She was there when I was unexpectedly diagnosed with ASD and other stuff. She was furious then and still angry over it to this day... Why? I truly don't know. She must have this mental picture of ASD that she cant get past.

    ASD related stuff is tricky... Getting diagnosed in my case might have been the worst thing to happen. : )
     
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  11. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

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    You can encourage them to seek a diagnosis but in the end it should be their decision whether to seek diagnosis or not.
     
  12. flawedplan

    flawedplan Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi Chance,

    That's sounds frankly unbearable. Total invalidation of who you are. It's a good thing our worth as human beings doesn't depend on the way others treat us or we'd all be screwed.

    It occurs to me that sometimes people seize control and lay down unreasonable laws like your wife has when they panic, feel completely overwhelmed, "boxed in" and want to escape awareness of a situation that they feel unable to influence. I know as I got closer to discovering that Autism was the inescapable truth for what perplexed me about my own mate... my head was a constant echo chamber of "I did not sign on for this!" "Change Back!" "He's gotta be shitting me!" "I don't want to know!" and "NOW HE'LL NEVER CHANGE!"

    Of course, you can't know if she's experienced anything like that until she opens up to you about her internal world. Do you want to understand what's going on, why she is so angry?

    You chose her. I assume she is not acting like the girl you married. By the way, this is not your fault. This is not about you at all. This is about her, what torments are going on inside that are so extreme to make her act like act like a dictator, laying down laws about how you get to be in the world. I hope she's prepared to lose you. People can only take so much disrespect. I'm not encouraging you to leave your wife. I'm wondering if she will drive you away.

    I don't know about your budget but if you two could just have one or two counseling sessions it might turn things around. I needed gentle nudging by a counselor, for sure.

    But once I came to accept my Boo has Asperger's I was able to stop looking for answers in all the wrong places. That alone has freed up a ton of my psychic energy. Now he and I have a roadmap to guide us -- his challenges are very clear -- some things I never heard of before -- problems I thought were indescribable and would never be resolved. Alexythymia. Theory of Mind. Reciprocity. Misunderstandings that used to lead to major blow-ups over metaphors, jokes and facial expressions. I know where this is coming from now. We're two different operating systems. He's Linux, I'm Windows. I'm getting it.

    This is where we are now, after 2.5 years of struggle, and about six months of Autism Awareness.

    Of course the other day I turned to my man and cried out "I'M NOT ADJUSTING VERY WELL TO THIS!" So, it's up and down, gray areas. But we're talking, we're over the hump.

    She chose you. Assuming you're not going away, your wife must be brave and open her heart, the knowing feels better and moves the relationship forward. As her husband you get to ask for this. Only you (assuming you're not polyamorous).

    BTW, I have to give credit about the ecosystem concept to the author Terry Real. He's been around a long time, first as a Men's Issue's therapist, and now more broadly as a "gender progressive" couple's counselor. He's on the Google, and according to legend, if he can't straighten out a marriage, no one can.
     
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  13. AO1501

    AO1501 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    As an undiagnosed Aspie for almost all of my life, I felt under constant pressure to fix the things I could tell I was bad at. That if I tried harder, and a bit harder still, I would be able to recognise people who seemed to think I knew them. That I wasn't making the effort to see their faces and attach the right names. That I was being lazy every time I looked away from something and forgot what it was. That looking at a document title and turning to type it up, I should remember it when I couldn't, or that when someone began spelling out a word, I was not paying enough attention to remember the first few letters by the time they'd have got to the 5th or 6th. All it needed was for me to care more, think more, focus more, see more.... That I ought to be more sensitive to other people's emotional states, I should try and understand them better. I just never tried hard enough. That if I just made the effort with people, I could make friends instead of fear social interactions which had always been incomprehensible and confusing to me.

    What I really needed was for someone to tell me that I wasn't faulty, and was doing nothing wrong, but these were symptoms of the way I'm wired, and that's perfectly OK because we're all wired differently after all.

    My entire life I've felt that I fail at the most basic of human skills, and that is damaging beyond imagination to my sense of self, my confidence, my strength.

    Inside relationships I have always tried to hide, because sooner or later all these inadequacies would surface and prove, again, that I cannot succeed at simple skills every other person seems have have. And I have been attracted to strong people who are outgoing and assertive. And unfortunately controlling.

    The point of all this is that whether diagnosed or not, I doubt anyone with an ASD needs to be reminded, even indirectly or unintentionally, of their inadequacies and failings. NT partners of ASD people have to remember one thing more than any other: That an ASD doesn't come and go, it didn't start and won't end. An ASD partner has had it for life and will always have it. They live it every day, even if they don't understand why it does what it does. We can't be what you might expect to be normal, and we don't make sense in the context of normality because that just isn't us.

    But we're not faulty either. All we really need is to know that when we get something 'wrong', it is only wrong in the context of an NT-world that we don't really know. That really, we didn't get it wrong, make a mistake, misjudge, fail, it's just that we don't think, or see, or respond the way others do, and that that's perfectly OK.

    None of which probably helps in any way to the NT/ASD relationship issues being posted here. But maybe it might help explain why an ASD partner might not want to acknowledge the condition or its impact, and might resent being contradicted, or try and back away when they feel under attack or pressured.

    I don't know what it is like being the NT in an NT/ASD relationship, but I bet it's tough. It is just as tough on the other side though. And very confusing, since if the ASD partner is like me, typically very logical and analytical, the emotional content of relationships can be a minefield of confusion and contradictions, and be as hard to navigate as New York City in rush-hour to a deaf, dumb and blind person dressed in a razor-wire suit.
     
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  14. flawedplan

    flawedplan Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I felt under constant pressure to fix the things I could tell I was bad at. That if I tried harder, and a bit harder still, I would be able to recognise people who seemed to think I knew them. That I wasn't making the effort to see their faces and attach the right names. That I was being lazy every time I looked away from something and forgot what it was. That looking at a document title and turning to type it up, I should remember it when I couldn't, or that when someone began spelling out a word, I was not paying enough attention to remember the first few letters by the time they'd have got to the 5th or 6th. All it needed was for me to care more, think more, focus more, see more....

    That's called "working memory", all intelligence relies on it and my own is in the mental retardation range. I just turned 60 and joined Lumosity -- an online game site to help build up brain power, and my Working Memory is improving, but I don't know if it's going to "take." We'll see.

    That if I just made the effort with people, I could make friends instead of fear social interactions which had always been incomprehensible and confusing to me.


    You're right, that's how it works, and it's hard. Can you experiment with a change in your thinking? One little tweak.

    Everyone has to make an effort with people to form friendships, WHILE, not instead, but WHILE at the same time we "fear the social interaction that is incomprehensible and confusing."

    Which they are. For all of us.

    See the difference?

    You've made an either/or proposition: I can make friends instead of being afraid.
    I believe life demands both of you: I can make friends WHILE I am feeling afraid.

    Leaving it there for now, and wishing you all the best.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
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  15. AO1501

    AO1501 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    ^^^
    I appreciate the thoughts. For me, the eventual ASD diagnosis told me everything I needed to know. That my struggles and failures were what autism does to me, and that fighting it on the basis that I was lacking wasn't the answer and wouldn't change anything.

    Now I know who I am, I can finally like myself and respect the skills I have instead of doubt myself and wonder if I have any skills at all. Acceptance is the key. Unfortunately, I think in many relationships between NTs and those with ASDs, there's a broad lack of acceptance, certainly of comprehension. Sadly on both sides I suspect, and problematically, in different areas of tensions if the examples in this thread are anything to go by.
     
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  16. flawedplan

    flawedplan Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I hear you. It does sound like you know everything you need to know, and may have closed some doors. But life is about more than knowing, it's about experiencing; and there is no right or wrong connected to your experience, just a willingness to be open to letting life happen, even if it doesn't correspond to how you think it should be.

    The point of all this is that whether diagnosed or not, I doubt anyone with an ASD needs to be reminded, even indirectly or unintentionally, of their inadequacies and failings.

    Opportunities for growth! Take it from flawedplan, everyone has inadequacies, shortcomings, regrets, flaws and failings. You can embrace them as the human condition or beat yourself up with them, but your overall worth as a human being is solid.

    NT partners of ASD people have to remember one thing more than any other: That an ASD doesn't come and go, "it" didn't start and won't end. An ASD partner has had "it" for life and will always have "it." They live "it" every day, even if they don't understand why "it" does what "it" does. We can't be what you might expect to be normal, and we don't make sense in the context of normality because that just isn't us.

    I put "it" in quotes because this is where I'd need you to get specific. Some ASD things are changeable, some are not. It's not all neurology, some of it is psychology, and we have control over that. Change is hard for most people, and for Aspies it is harder than normal folks, but I find normal people are in the minority and easily avoided. I don't why you guys talk about them so much, but maybe that's the subject of another thread.

    You take care.
     
  17. AO1501

    AO1501 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I don't want to move the topic away from the NT/ASP relationship issues for which the thread was started, but it is certainly true that the psychological 'consequences' of ASDs are controllable to a degree at least, and that in that regard we are not fixed and irretrievable. But the "it" you put in quotes is, in my case, derivative of the neurology. I have managed, over the years, to resolve the psychology of perceived failures by recognising what I can deal with, and determining the attitude with which I perceive them, but the neurological ones, the issues I listed previously, I cannot overcome.

    In fact, now that I know their cause, I have stopped fighting them because that is an internal war I cannot win. I feel so much better for accepting the reality rather than fighting it.

    Bringing it back to the point which caused me to contribute to this thread in the first place, those internal battles which I constantly fought, and which I think many others with an ASD also fight, make life very difficult and confusing, and from the outside can be anything from invisible to others and hard or impossible to perceive, to almost schizophrenic in nature. I don't think NT/ASD relationships are impossible - I've had long and very strong relationships in my life - but I am sure that at various times, my partners have stumbled over the impact those internal struggles have had on me.

    It seems to me that in the NT/ASD relationship, the NT would likely find it very helpful to be able to deduce which facets of the ASD partner's behaviour or actions/reactions are caused by psychological factors which as flawedplan suggests, could be amenable to change with a little nudge in approach, so that at least some facets of the relationship might be normalised to some degree.
     
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  18. megacomic

    megacomic Just that awkward guy.

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    Where are all these people on the spectrum finding partners that care about them so much? I'm on the spectrum and no one cares about me. People dont even try to get to know me. I hate hearing about relationships.
     
  19. Fallenwolf

    Fallenwolf Member

    Messages:
    30
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2018
    Karma:
    +30
    Have you tried going up to people and starting a convo with them? Some people tend to be shy, or introverted so it normally takes someone to go up to them and start a conversation with them first and then they'll slowly open up more to you. If you stick two introverts together in one room, don't expect much talk to happen. If you want people to get to know you, be the first to get it started. Some people will respond well to it, others won't but you just gonna keep trying and eventually people will get to know more about you. It's all about equal balance, and people respond well if you focus a bit on getting to know them first and slowly working your interests, likes, opinions right after theirs.
     
  20. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    346
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    Karma:
    +303
    Hi Michael,

    I can very much relate to your experience.

    My boyfriend went from knowing NOTHING about ASD to accepting he is probably on the spectrum. We had several discussions about it before he was open to hearing it. I also decided not to push him on it. I didn't' feel it was my place. I usually waited for an opportune moment to bring it up. I remember we talked about it once and he seemed to think some of the traits fit him, and then the next time I brought it up he acted as though we had never had the conversation- as if it was a completely new concept.

    I wasn't looking for him to get a diagnosis, or to label him or make him the problem. I simply wanted to talk to him about the reasons we had trouble communicating. I approached him with some reading material once and when he was in a good mood and engaged. He finally admitted he had some traits.

    I don't think he'll ever go for a diagnosis and I don't think it's really important. He's 50 years old now and does fine for himself, but the communication difficulties persist. I've tried to frame our differences in terms of the way our brains process information and the different needs we have as a result.

    He's been defensive at times, thinking i'm making him the problem but i always bring it back to our differences. We are different. One isn't better than the other.

    I can relate to feeling neglected and wondering if my bf is being selfish. In particular he doesn't readily validate my point of view and isn't generous with verbal feedback. I'm learning to be very direct in my communication with him- to the point of flat out asking him for compliments. That sounds pathetic, but hey... if it works!

    I wish you luck. :)