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Featured Have you tried oil on it yet ?

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by Alan tm, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. Alan tm

    Alan tm Well-Known Member

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    Strange title I know .
    It' about my reaction to an email from my partner.

    She sent a long message about how everything was going wrong all day
    Saying and then this happens, then that happened, then these bad things happened
    She got home and the gate wouldn't open and it was the last straw she was crying outside the house ..
    This email was long.

    I sent back "did you try oil on it yet .? "

    She replied " is that ALL you got from that ? "

    To me it was the only thing I could actually find an actual workable answer to.
    She wasn't Happy.

    I do this a lot . Such long emails I can hardly find things I can practically reply to
    I end up typing yep
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
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  2. dragoncat16

    dragoncat16 Active Member

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    That happens to me all the time with my mom on Skype. It turns out what she wants is "sympathy". Yesterday, she was upset with me because I wasn't sympathetic when someone she knew came to her door without calling first. I said to her that she should ask them to make sure to give her a call before they come over, but that was absolutely the wrong thing to say, apparently, because she wanted sympathy, not advice.

    I told her that I would for sure give her sympathy if someone she knew died or was in the hospital or something, but in order for that sympathy to have any meaning at all, I simply cannot react the same way when someone comes to the door when she still happens to be in her nightclothes. That was also the wrong thing to say....

    Probably what your partner wanted was sympathy, but don't ask me how one is supposed to express that in an email.
     
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  3. Alan tm

    Alan tm Well-Known Member

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    It' like she will say someone has died and I say OK.
    She says I'm ment to say more . Sorry for your loss etc .
    Same with babies, OK....

    I have a friend that is dying terminal cancer , it'
    Quite difficult for me to work out what I'm feeling .
    Sometimes I'm very upset but I don't really know why .

    Most of the time I'm based in facts so it's quite a good thing for them
    Because I don't turn the situation in to an emotional melt down if they talk about death.
     
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  4. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Times like this I'm thrilled NOT to own a mobile device. Complex conversations don't mesh well with portable conditions.
     
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  5. Paul Lee

    Paul Lee Well-Known Member

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    What does that mean? What kind of oil?
     
  6. Alan tm

    Alan tm Well-Known Member

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    The gate, regular oil
     
  7. RiverSong

    RiverSong Spoilers

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    I'm not going to lie. My mind went right in the gutter when I saw the title of this thread... especially with it being in the 'Love, Relationships and Dating' section. Sorry, I know I'm a horrible person, lol. :oops:

    But to address the OP, as dragoncat16 pointed out, your partner was probably looking for sympathy or an emotional reply to her email.

    Now, I can't give advice or suggestions really because I'm terrible at that, too. Like when someone is upset or feeling bad, I will look for a solution to help them feel better but that's usually not what the person wants at all. Many times, people want emotional support and not necessarily a practical solution. So, that could be why your partner was upset at your reply. She wanted emotional comfort not a working solution to the problem with the gate.

    Like I said, I'm not good at this type of thing. I suppose this intuition comes second nature to many people. But for me, I have to sit back and analyze a situation and even still... Whether it's in email or in person, knowing what someone else wants in response to such situations just gets lost on me. I have no idea what to say and often times just end up saying nothing at all.

    I suppose getting an email like that can make things worse because it's much harder to gauge a response than when speaking in-person. All I can say from my personal experience is that many times people want an emotional response rather than a logical one.

    Oh, I just thought of one thing you could say next time. When something like this comes up, you could try saying, "I'm sorry that happened to you. What can I do to help you feel better?" My boyfriend often says this kind of thing to me. He asks, "What can I do to help?" whenever I'm upset or having a shutdown.

    It usually pisses me off when he asks that especially because I usually can't talk at the time, but I know he is asking because he cares and truly wants to help. I think maybe asking your partner something similar might help from the stance of showing you care and avoid those one answer replies while also not having to guess what she wants. Hope this helps!
     
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  8. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I don't think it is an Aspie only issue entirely. I also think there is some male/female thinking style differences at work. I have explained it to my partner that I can't handle too many issues at the same time. But I can try to deal with them one at a time.
     
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  9. Alan tm

    Alan tm Well-Known Member

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    I don' really have the helpful answers lol
    I'd be digging a big hole lol
     
  10. wadorama

    wadorama Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Nice. Yup, she just wanted sympathy/empathy at that moment and not a solution. Always baffled me too since a fix seems more productive, but the problem she really needed you to fix right then was having another person to stand with her against the perceived injustices of her day. I know man, I know.
     
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  11. Ambi

    Ambi Well-Known Member

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    You say you do this a lot. I think you really need to stop doing that. You can tell that she does not react well to such responses - "yep" or just offering a practical question or solution - so stop doing it. Can you ask her to be clear in when she wants such practical help - such as, she actually asks you for such advice? I would only focus on such a practical detail if she is not emotionally charged about things, especially a whole slew of things, or if she specifically asks you for help or expresses that she is trying to figure out a particular practical problem. Even if you want to offer the practical advice, do it AFTER giving emotional support for her venting. And, I wouldn't phrase it as "did you try oil" when you do - it makes her sound/feel stupid on top of it all. Phrase it as: "maybe that gate could use some oil. Let me know if you' like me to help you with that."
     
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  12. Fitzo

    Fitzo Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think it's a common problem for males to misunderstand when a female is just wanting emotional support (most of the time ) rather than practical suggestions. I think you being Aspie is only exacerbating what is already a big difference in thinking between the sexes. In fact I think RiverSong's boyfriend is very special to have recognized this and she should be very grateful to have him! I think he's probably been reading up on how to be a better partner.

    Because Aspies tend to be very literal thinkers I realise it makes it harder for you to understand this, but now you've had it spelled out for you there is no excuse for continuing to act the same way. So Ambi is right - STOP DOING IT!

    I think you'll have a much better relationship if you assume she always wants emotional support first and foremost - then ask if there's anything else you can do to help.
     
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  13. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    I'm sorry, I laughed so hard at your post because it's so recognizable. It's not just an Aspie thing, as some others have pointed out. I know a lot of people that tend to go for practical responses to requests for emotional support.

    Being a female Aspie, I used to get in trouble for making practical suggestions as well. People tend to expect a woman to intuitively grasp when emotional support is asked, an intuition I lack. That doesn't mean, however, that you can't learn to respond more appropriately. I used to drive one of my female friends up the wall with my responses and I never knew what I did wrong until she spells it out for me.

    Now, when someone tells me a story, I take a minute to consider what it is someone wants from me. Is this person actually asking for my advice? Most of the times, they really aren't, they just need to vent. Oftentimes the trick is simply to hold your tongue, let them do the talking and let them know you're actively listening. Sometimes I catch myself giving a practical answer and stop myself halfway through, just to let them know "forget about what I was going to say. I'm listening, I'm here for you." If someone asks me a practical question, I'll give them a practical answer. If not, I'll just aknowledge their feelings and offer my support.
     
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  14. Tobs

    Tobs Member

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    Yepyep. I have to be conscious about what I say in those situations too. The first thing my mind goes to is how to solve the solvable, prevent the preventable and accept the unavoidable. And then I take a deep breath and say something like "Oh that must have been rough." or "Oof, those days.". I've learned not to give unsolicited advice. It's apparently bad manners. Please feel free to criticize me, I don't take it personal.
     
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  15. SnailPie

    SnailPie Member

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    Riversong and others addressed this very well above, IMHO.

    Sorry this is a late reply, but I just joined the forum and have been reading older posts. What happened with your partner is exactly the sort of thing happens with my AS fella. It drives me nuts.
    I will talk about emotional situations/feelings, and he will essentially ignore all of that and focus on some concrete thing which wasn't really the point of what I was saying.

    I think a lot of this is male/female, Aspie or not! Please bear with me because I don't mean to generalize---
    In my experience, males want to identify and solve a problem. The emotional aspects to what we females are asking are confusing to them, so they just zoom in with some well-meaning, "Did you put oil on it yet?" type solution. I DO think they are just trying to help.

    But really all we females are looking for is hearing/acknowledgement of the fact that we have had a hard day/things went wrong, and that we are loved and have a safe place with you guys emotionally. That you care for us and hear us.
    It's not about the gate at all, it's about the fact that she had a rough go of it.
    (Confusing, I know.)

    I get frustrated with my guy when I give him an emotional litany of bad stuff that's happening to me, and he will quickly make it about HIM, how it affects HIM, and offer solutions to "fix" parts of my "problem" as HE sees it.

    Arrgggh....That is NOT the response we're looking for...*sigh* :/


    A possible "Script" for you to get the jist of what I'm saying is this:

    "Oh...babe,(pet name), it sounds like you've had a rough day. Is there anything I can do to help?"
    She says "yes" in which case, try to do that thing.
    If she says "no", then maybe add something benign/supportive like:
    "Well, I'm always here if you want to talk about it. Meanwhile, I'm making a cup of hot tea (whatever she likes/picking up a muffin for you....), would you like some/it's here if you want it...?"


    The point here is to really MEAN all this, not just be patronizing and "repeat after me".

    I have explained this to my Aspie guy, and it's taken some time, but he does recognize his tendency now and has become a really good support person for me.

    Good luck!

    PS: It's just my $.02, worth exactly that! ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  16. SnailPie

    SnailPie Member

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    Plus, she did say she was CRYING. That is a big waving flag to recognize and respond to!
    If you get nothing out of that long email, when she tells YOU she was "crying" that is her, turning to YOU for emotional support.


    I have the same problem she does, which is sending long convoluted emails with lots of emotional content, and it totally overwhelms my guy, and for good reason. It would overwhelm an NT guy too, I bet!

    One thing she might consider is keeping her emails about emotional things short and to the point. (Not easy, take it from me;) ) I didn't read if she was NT/AS, but whatever her "label" is,I assume she knows you are AS? If so, maybe try to tell her this would help YOU respond to her better.

    Just a thought.
     
  17. Alan tm

    Alan tm Well-Known Member

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    She is adhd , so goes on and on a lot but doesn’t listen much .
    I have to do a lot of filtering out from a lot of tangled topics.
    She doesn’t like to be interrupted.

    I don’t tell people about myself
    .
    People tend to work it out if they are around me more than average time I deal with people.
     
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  18. SnailPie

    SnailPie Member

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    I have ADHD as well. I also have a tendency to go on and on, using too many words, which overwhelms my AS Beloved. He has told me: "You're using too many words and going on too long. I'm trying but I can't absorb everything you're saying!"

    (I also don't like to be interrupted. (Who does? :))

    Since he told me this, I have seen it in myself and he is RIGHT. I use 100 words to "explain" what I could say in 25. I also tend to repeat myself. I'm working on this now that I'm aware of it.

    I know this is a direct result of having been misunderstood my entire life, and I always think that more detail will help people understand better---well, in his case, it makes it worse. But if it's making me less able to be understood, then I NEED TO CHANGE IT.

    I have found what works for me is him just asking:
    "Hey, I really want to help you however I can, but could you describe it to me simply so I can follow along better?" This way he's not saying I'm a doofus for talking too much; he's letting me know he wants to help, but he is the one unable to process all my verbiage.
    I think it would be hard for anyone to take offense at someone saying they want to help but need us to "Please slow down and keep it simple so I understand".

    He does want to help, but often doesn't know how. Unfortunately, I'm used to my previous partners understanding intuitively what I might need in the moment because they were NT.
    So my fella will come right out and ASK me:
    "HOW can I help--specifically? Do you want my advice? A hug? A compassionate ear?" That's what he needs to know HOW to help me.
    It's taking awhile to get our routines down over this, but it does work if we both work at it.

    Basically, I don't think you'd EVER go wrong by giving her some warm affection and words of kindness, even if you have no idea what to do beyond that.

    Sitting next to her, taking her hand, rubbing her back, looking her in the eyes, telling her you love her and are there for her even if you don't have a clue what she needs in the moment. Those gestures are PRICELESS if they work for her!

    You can ask her, "Does this help?" (whatever gesture of reassurance you are offering.)

    My fella always says he "doesn't understand how a hug/word of affirmation can fix anything" because it's not something that works for him.
    I have tried to explain that they don't fix "the problem" but they do make me FEEL BETTER about having the problem!
    They make me feel loved and that I'm not in it alone. And that is really important.

    It's not necessary that he understands/agrees with what works for me, it's just significant that he makes the effort. That's what counts.
     
  19. Alan tm

    Alan tm Well-Known Member

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    She says why use 10 words when I can use 100.
    I agree the long version really makes it harder to understand the main point .

    The stories go the very long way around, it can be about a car but heads off into
    the colours of the cat that used to live next door, why the man looked like the guy that fixed a radiator 20 years ago, it all is part of a long wandering story that she even gets lost in the middle of ... I'm then asked to explain where she was upto
    On a story I have no idea about or where it's heading.

    Hugging for no apparent reason is very strange . I guess there is a reason but I'll just feel really fake.
    More fake ....?

    understands/agrees .......is a whole new argument, sometimes people are just wrong but your ment to bypass that fact and dish out support.
    Even more confusing !
     
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  20. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I laughed at this and so did my husband. Then he said that he read something about a guy and his girlfriend.

    She called him in to sit down and have a serious talk. He said she talked at him for four hours. At the end she said honey, were at cross road, one will take us towards family and friends and the other well, it's a dead end. Her boyfriend replied, that's a T section you described.
     
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