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Devastating breakup - Did he hide the Asperger's?

I am new to the forum and looking for advice about how to manage a devasting breakup that happened almost 5 months ago. Of course, it happened unexpectedly and coldly and he never spoke to me again - after a year and half of being completely happy together. I told him upfront on our first date that I was dating for marriage and not for fun. He is divorced and told me he would like to remarry and was looking for the one. I thought we were soulmates and I couldn't believe how incredibly happy I was - he was the BEST. We both have kids and took a family vacation together last year (something I would never do with someone I wasn't dead sure I would be with forever). He and I took many amazing trips together and were inseparable - we spoke every single day sometimes for hours. He was my rock and was there for me when I needed him. I wanted the relationship to move to the next level and was becoming frustrated that there weren't any signs or any communication whatsoever of merging our lives. There was something off that I couldn't quite put my finger on so when I clumsily expressed that I was frustrated, he dumped me cold. I was in complete physical and emotional shock and I have been in such a dark place since then - just buried in pain and bewilderment. Right after the breakup, my cousin came over and sat me on the couch and said I have to tell you this, "he is on the spectrum - I don't know where exactly on it but I know for sure and this is total autistic behavior." I realized that the Asperger signs were always right in front of my face and I was surprised I hadn’t realized it before (he's an engineering genius, obsessed with a hobby, quirky social skills (I loved this), cannot be touched lightly, had an angry side he often spoke of (although not with me), etc. And of course, this breakup and the manner in which he did it.

I immediately started soaking up everything I could get my hands on like books, reading countless stories of NT/AS couples like us, and asking God and Google every day how to make our relationship work. At first I was filled with a great sense of relief, understanding, and hope. Months kept passing and I stayed focused on giving him space and on understand Asperger's for when he would eventually return to me. He watches literally everything I do on social media and I took it as a sign that he missed me so I kept up hope and kept giving him space. I sent him an email 7 days ago asking to reconnect and told him I miss him and love him still. He replied the next day that getting back together was not something he wanted and wished me luck finding someone who can give me the love and attention I deserve. This threw me into a black hole all over again.

Now, the more I know about NT/AS breakups the less hope I have. I might be approaching the bitterness and angry stage of the grief cycle because I am pissed. I feel duped. I feel like I was in a match that was rigged from the start. I misinterpreted and internalized so many nuances that I could have understood, respected, and compromised on had I been aware he had Asperger's. There is no power in not knowing what you don’t know. Now I am left drowning in heartbreak and finding out that he doesn't care whatsoever, doesn't want to be together, and tells me I deserve someone else.

I know this is long winded but I am so lost as to what to do. Does anyone think it's a good idea if I ask him this - I feel like I deserve to know but I understand that's just how "I feel" and it may drive him further away: (a) do you not know you have Asperger's, (b) did you know and chose not to tell me when we started dating and got serious or, (c) did you likely know -or had a strong feeling- but worked so hard to mask it that you thought it didn’t impact the relationship.

Thank you and please understand this is coming from the most sincere desire to fix my relationship and I'm devastated that the chances are likely <1%.
 

maycontainthunder

May also contain missing cakes.
V.I.P Member
Firstly I'm sorry to hear of your breakup. You are not alone in going through this. I have seen similar stories before.

One of the problems with us is the difficulty engaging with others in the perceived normal way. We are often seen as cold and emotionless by others. In my case, in real life, I am difficult if not impossible to engage with even if you share an interest.

Someone who isn't on the spectrum will often bounce back and start dating again in a few weeks or months. Those on the spectrum might have their 'protective spikes' out and keep them out in a new relationship. Some of us have these spikes out permanently making social engagement difficult if not impossible.

Now, it is possible he doesn't know he's on the spectrum or, perhaps, he's somewhere in the surrounding area. This might mean he will be very difficult to engage with. Others who have experience with dating may have other insights that could help.

By the way, Dog V4 sends you a supportive hug.
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
It's a fair question. But I don't know the answer.

I do know a lot of people do not realize they are on the spectrum and telling them, even in the best of situations is tricky. It can go badly and I think many of us suggest an indirect approach.

Others know, or heavily suspect they are autistic, but also find telling others very problematic. A lot of folks hold stereotype driven negative views, So they hide it out of caution/fear. I am one of those but there are exceptions. I share any info with my spouse and closest family/friends. And my pets of course. They know everything. ;)
 
Firstly I'm sorry to hear of your breakup. You are not alone in going through this. I have seen similar stories before.

One of the problems with us is the difficulty engaging with others in the perceived normal way. We are often seen as cold and emotionless by others. In my case, in real life, I am difficult if not impossible to engage with even if you share an interest.

Someone who isn't on the spectrum will often bounce back and start dating again in a few weeks or months. Those on the spectrum might have their 'protective spikes' out and keep them out in a new relationship. Some of us have these spikes out permanently making social engagement difficult if not impossible.

Now, it is possible he doesn't know he's on the spectrum or, perhaps, he's somewhere in the surrounding area. This might mean he will be very difficult to engage with. Others who have experience with dating may have other insights that could help.

By the way, Dog V4 sends you a supportive hug.

Thank you for this and hugs back to you and Dog V4.

Do you have any tips about how to suggest/hint to him that he has Asperger’s, assuming he doesn’t know? Just writing that makes me want to blurt out, “how on earth could you *not* know just by being in your job. Im pretty sure having Asperger’s is a prerequisite!” But I digress :(

If he knew and *chose* to not disclose it, I will have a sense of closure. This must be similar to what spouses feel when they find out their partner is “in the closet” and they’ve been suffering and wondering what they’re doing so wrong.
 

Alexej

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Firstly Welcome @imissmyaspieman

I am sorry that you have been brought here by this unexpected turn of events.
I am glad that you have given him space


I do not think that he DELIBERATELY did this to you.
I have had my issues in relationship and am not particularly proud of them.

I do not think it would go well for you to ask him is he has ASC. I know that I was SEVERELY resistant initially to the idea of me being autistic, so I do not advise this for you.

I am sorry that I am not able to offer any POSITIVE suggestions to you.

May your heart find comfort.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Sadly as has already been said, we have seen such stories a number of times here. Though in your case, it seems you have indeed spelled out a very poor prognosis of rekindling such a relationship.

First and foremost in consideration of how much time has gone by, especially taking into account how long the relationship lasted up to the point when he broke up with you. Plus the latest contact with him pretty much leaves you without any doubt that he couldn't deal with the relationship. If he is on the spectrum, he may be someone who has surmised that he simply cannot handle all the basics of any relationship. Not when we so often need and seek solitude as part of our emotional regimen. In this regard, it may not be as personal as it must all look to you. That it was ultimately about him- not you. That it was likely painful to him to have hurt you in such a way, but that for him there was no other way to deal with his issues.

Second, that even in the likelihood of a sincere wish to get back together again, I suspect your own ire would eventually catch up with you and that it's quite possible that it would be yourself who would eventually end the relationship.

I've been there. I was the guy who abruptly ended a relationship with someone who I thought was the love of my life. And while we got back together again, it was never the same. Her ire caught up with her and she eventually abruptly dumped me. And I tried in vain to get her back, but she was gone and never looked back. Though in my case neither myself or her knew at the time I was on the spectrum. That would come many years and other failed relationships later.

At this point you honestly need to consider your needs and not his. To move on, and not giving him further thought, no matter how the mystery of his possible autism may weigh on your mind. Another thing to consider is for him to come to grips with his own autism, it must really come from him alone and no other person. Otherwise the possibility of denial and him dismissing the notion by much of anyone is highly likely. Intervening with even the best of intentions is not advisable.
 

Atrapa Almas

70% INTJ + 30% ASPIE = 100% HUMAN
V.I.P Member
Hello, Im sorry that you experienced that.

Its very kind of you that you are wanting to help him with his Aspergers diagnose stuff, but the person you should be taking care now is yourself.

He has cut with you, so you should focus on yourself and your kids.

The relation with him is part of your past now.

Aspergers is not an excuse to behave poorly on others, to not communicate or to lie about your intentions to your couple. So please dont excuse him just because he may be Aspergers. You deserve more than going after him, and your kids deserve more from you too. Give them a good example of how to deal with this situations. Ask for help for yourself.

Take care.
 

Silhouette Mirage

S̷͕̲̔Ḷ̸̽̌İ̶̞M̸̲͆Ë̶̗̠
V.I.P Member
I have no insight on this one but I just wanted to say I'm sorry you're going through this. I was dumped in a similar fashion by an NT once upon a time (me being the ND, obviously) and it's really difficult to deal with.
 
It's a fair question. But I don't know the answer.

I do know a lot of people do not realize they are on the spectrum and telling them, even in the best of situations is tricky. It can go badly and I think many of us suggest an indirect approach.

Others know, or heavily suspect they are autistic, but also find telling others very problematic. A lot of folks hold stereotype driven negative views, So they hide it out of caution/fear. I am one of those but there are exceptions. I share any info with my spouse and closest family/friends. And my pets of course. They know everything. ;)

This is very helpful. I think he knew me well enough (better than anyone, really) to know I don’t hold stereotype driven views. He also knew that I have a handful of people in my family that are autistic and knew I preferred being around them and their brilliant kookiness above most other family. This is why I felt so dumbstruck that I hadn’t realized it before with my guy. I feel like telling me he had Asperger’s (assuming he knew) would’ve been something he could’ve EASILY disclosed. He was also so honest and unfiltered, that Im shocked he could even keep this from me.

How did you tell your spouse? Did you know before or after you got together?

Do you think there’s any excuse for him not telling me (assuming he did know)?

I ask that last question because we kept our kids in a very respectful and protected space when we started dating. It wasn’t until it was a “no brainer” relationship that we began spending time with each others kids. My young daughter was so excited for him to be her stepdad. If he was doing all this while keeping Asperger’s from me, is that not pretty foul play, especially for someone so brutally honest?
 

maycontainthunder

May also contain missing cakes.
V.I.P Member
Thanks imissmyaspieman.

That is where it gets very difficult for me to advise. I only have my own behaviour to go by here; I can snap at people if they push me on something. I can also utterly ignore them. Yes, this is bad behaviour and I do need to work on it.

Reading other's responses I don't think it's a good idea to try and ask him about it. One of the things that is very common is masking to try and fit in. It becomes a bit like a computer program then something happens that isn't in the program and an error is thrown up. My reaction can be just to shut down or engage escape mode where I get out of that situation as fast as possible.

If he is on the spectrum trying to re-engage with him might be nearly impossible, I can be like that at times.
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
When I got together with my spouse neither of us knew I was on the spectrum. What is called ASD-1 (folks requiring least external support) wasn't widely known. We only knew the more obvious autism of more severe cases. She did know I was quite 'different' but she liked that aspect mostly. She was NT but also not typical and our often esoteric differences blended fairly well.

We became more aware as members from both our sides of the family started getting this new 'Asperger's' diagnosis. And learning about it as to better understand them we both recognized I was right in there too. I can't say it was an easy road there after. We have had rough patches, refiguring out ourselves and each other. Communication and a lot of it, often difficult was the main road to get thru it. Learning to eliminate any trace of blame, shame or anger from the conversations was the way to keep one foot going after another when the hills were very steep. I should add one, perhaps both of our kids are on the spectrum. My son definately, my daughter possibly.

Contributing to the masking of our conditions was that I and my son also were/are successful in their careers in the military which has some elements that are I believe actually autistic-friendly. Everything is clearly laid out - there is pervading structure. But it is not for everyone. I think our shared special interest in the military is the key motivating factor. We are all in with what we did/do. My wife even was in the military. That is how we met. But she got out after 5 years and then after raising kids went into special education and has excelled. Her learning much about autism certainly has been a helpful, though I have to say in fairness it has been as important for me to learn how she feels and why as an NT.

But as to your Ex, I am not sure it is helpful to speculate before you actually know if he is on the spectrum.

I don't know if this is clinical (ie factual) but there does seem to be a tendency among some autistics to have a complete shut off - total severing reaction when they wish to end contact. I don't believe it purposely cruel. It may be more a defense mechanism to avoid the difficult conflict/conversations that can accompany a breakup. I suppose NTs might also do it that way for that reason. Though it certainly feels hard to be on the recieving end.
 
It's a fair question. But I don't know the answer.

I do know a lot of people do not realize they are on the spectrum and telling them, even in the best of situations is tricky. It can go badly and I think many of us suggest an indirect approach.

Others know, or heavily suspect they are autistic, but also find telling others very problematic. A lot of folks hold stereotype driven negative views, So they hide it out of caution/fear. I am one of those but there are exceptions. I share any info with my spouse and closest family/friends. And my pets of course. They know everything. ;)

When you say an indirect approach… is there an example of what would be? Do I get billboards made, “10 signs you’re definitely on the spectrum?” Jkjk. I wish I could just tell him but I don’t feel entitled to do so nor am I technically in his life :( I also have enough respect for him that I wouldn’t do anything that I’m not 100% sure is helpful.
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
When you say an indirect approach… is there an example of what would be? Do I get billboards made, “10 signs you’re definitely on the spectrum?” Jkjk. I wish I could just tell him but I don’t feel entitled to do so nor am I technically in his life :( I also have enough respect for him that I wouldn’t do anything that I’m not 100% sure is helpful.

Joking aside (though I like joking as a way to keep the atmosphere light) it is something like that, that we try to come up with. 'Suddenly' develop an interest in autism because of some other (or fictional) person in your life that you wish to undertsand more, leaving the materials around where they might pick it up. Watching videos while they are in the area, etc. I think it is preferable for them to come to the realization themselves then be told by a lay person. People tend to resist/disbelieve such a suggestion from others, particulary non professionals. Some disagree and think the direct approach is best. It's a judgement call I guess.

But as you say it is not feasible when things have been broken off. Ended relationships are often Humpty Dumpty situations to be realistic. But one thought is if they still are connected via social media, you might post some positive things (in relation to our family members/friends on the spectrum).
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I feel sad that communication died between you two. It is horrible when you were left hanging. I really do not know what to say.

When I started dating at age 26, in the 70s, autism was rarely diagnosed. Having been socially and sexually isolated before then, I had to work on myself without help, and was determined to make any connection and relationship work out if we were compatible. I think many of us who have been in relationships either withdraw from triggers that may bring up old negative emotions or we become very attached to an accepting partner. I have been with my spouse for 44 years and value her greatly.
 
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Hypnalis

Well-Known Member
@imissmyaspieman

I suggest you separate trying to figure out what happened in your earlier relationship from trying to keep your options open for continuing or resetting it.

Typically, NTs and NDs don't communicate well about emotions. This is due to the differences in "wiring" rather than minor differences in "EQ", so talking doesn't help.

Have you ever asked your ex how he "feels" about something unrelated to the relationship itself, and received a
reply "orthogonal" to the question you though you were asking?
 

Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
@imissmyaspieman, welcome to the forum and I am sorry for your experience.

One, at this point, we have not established that he has an autism spectrum disorder other than the fact that, as you say,...your cousin recognized what appeared to be autism-like behaviors or traits. Furthermore, given the fact that many of us are still being diagnosed past the age of 50,...if he is on the spectrum,...he might not know,...it may be an error to think that he was hiding anything from you.

Two, what I am going to say is coming from a 55 yr old that has been married for over 35 years, raised two boys, and is an educator and works at the bedside in a 110-bed neonatal unit. I have quite a bit of educational experience in developmental neurophysiology. I have had autistic students, I work with autistic physicians and healthcare workers, and have dealt with autistic children at the hospital.

I tend to get long-winded, but I will try to keep things brief and give my 2 cents on this:

He's been divorced. There may be some level of PTSD. Simply put, when things reached a critical point in the relationship, he likely started to question his ability to deal with the possibility of another divorce. He may be emotionally protecting himself. The other thing, if he began to see similarities between his first relationship and yours,...he may have had one of those mental arguments that led him to seek avoidance behavior. Furthermore, if he hasn't learned to do things differently, change his baseline behaviors as compared to his first relationship, he may have thought that he was on the path towards failure again.

If he is autistic,...many of us have relatively low bonding hormones (oxytocin and vasopressin), may not have bonded with other people well, have communication and social difficulties, often misunderstand perspectives and context, tend to have no or only a few friends,...it's both a physiological and a psychological thing that we deal with throughout our entire lifetime's. There can be a lot of "baggage" associated with that. I have to primarily bond with my wife on an intellectual level, then a physical level, and least of all on a social and communication level. We can sit for hours in a room or car together and never say a word, and be totally content and relaxed. Let's just say, it's a different sort of relationship,...as most couples, I suspect, have that order of bonding different. I have no way of knowing, I don't have anyone else's perspective, but I suspect that I express my love in a different manner than someone who is neurotypical.

Emotions are a "control thing",...it is often safer being "neutral" than expressing feelings. Feelings are always a bad thing for me,...I don't modulate them well, and it immediately shuts down my ability to communicate. It often comes out as frustration, anger, and nasty narcissistic-like verbalizations,...never good. The harder I try to deal with squelching down and internalizing emotions, the more that stress builds up, and can lead to shutdowns (implosions), or meltdowns (explosions). If at all possible, I will avoid any emotional situations. In other words, my wife and I are not going to argue. We can disagree,...we can discuss things,...but as soon as there are emotions involved,...that interaction ends.

I don't know if any of this sounds familiar to you at all. Just my thoughts.
 
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Thinx

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Sorry your relationship ended, and that your ex was unable to give you feedback as to why. I wonder though if his experience of the relationship was the same as yours? He may have had doubts or opinions he didn't want or know how to express. It does seem like your appraisal of the situation is very much as a neurotypical person might see things, and you seem to believe it was all about him, and what he lacked or should be diagnosed with.

To me that seems like you are not taking responsibility for your own possible lacks in his eyes, not that you should agree with him, but that you see it as all about him. I hope you won't feel hurt by my saying this, sorry if you do, it could help you to move on to consider your possible lack of a fit with him, and in what areas, and either work on those or look for someone who wants that kind of a fit.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
It's hard. Those ND men are huge Casanova's until you crash and burn.

Then they disappear leaving you to think it was all you. And they refuse to talk to you. Radio Silence, because they want you to believe it's just you. I call them cowards for saying they are so in to the truth, but then they disappear like toilet paper, because they can't talk truth. It's all duck and no quack.

If they truly care about you and the relationship, they will talk about what they need from you.
 
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Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
It's hard. Those ND men are huge Casanova's until you crash and burn.

Then they disappear leaving you to think it was all you. And they refuse to talk to you. Radio Silence, because they want you to believe it's just you. I call them cowards for saying they are so in to the truth, but then they disappear like toilet paper, because they can't talk truth. It's all duck and no quack.
Please, you use too broad a brush! While I have been a one-woman man, should that have been different, I cannot envision disppearing on any woman I would have a relationship with. I see relationships as uniquely valuable.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
Please, you use too broad a brush! While I have been a one-woman man, should that have been different, I cannot envision disppearing on any woman I would have a relationship with. I see relationships as uniquely valuable.
It's so tough for me. The person l care about is hesitant to contact me and l don't know what to do. He is ND. He is anxiety/avoidant so it makes it extremely difficult because l have pretty much the same traits which means we scale the Great Wall of China. I need him to contact me instead of leaving me in the contact suit only.
 

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