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Featured I need help with my relationship

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by Lena_131309, Mar 18, 2020.

  1. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Lena_131309

    I have just finished reading "The Asperger Couple's Workbook" by Maixine Aston. It is relatively short and quite light to read. There is good stuff in here to help you with relationships in general. However, with the current situation and things shutting down all over the place alternative approaches may be needed and there is good advice in this thread.

    I do hope you and your boyfriend work out things between you.
     
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  2. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I went into a 'shock' at the beginning of the quarantine as well. Part of my routine, for example, especially during weekends, was to go for long walks every day to get to know the city better. During the quarantine, however, I can go only for a short walk to buy things I may need at home. I spent the first few days anxiously walking around the room, not knowing what to do. I'm still working it out.

    As others said, give him time to settle down and create a new routine. However, do check on him from time to time, you can just send a text with 'how are you doing?' every few days and see if he responds. Everyone behaves differently in sudden isolation, especially if they were (like me) quite active and social before it began.

    If he is similar to me, then he may also know a list of things he could do instead of his routines. The problem with me is that I don't want to do these new things - I want to do what I would outside the quarantine. I want to keep the same things. I want to work in the same way as before, in the same place. It's not about being bored without specific these things to do - it's about feeling completely out of control with how things are progressing. This, in turn, leads to rumination and disinterested distracting yourself - you want to do something but you don't know what. It can be really frustrating.

    He will find his new routine in time. Then, he may get anxious about the fact that this routine may end at any point - whenever they call the quarantine off and the whole process will have to start again.

    Good luck. Try not to worry too much. You'll be fine, he'll be fine, it just may take some time.
     
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  3. Lena_131309

    Lena_131309 Active Member

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    Thank you so much for your feedback, I really appreciate it.

    I guess he is exactly like you, or at least very very close to what you described.

    Before the lockdown he had very structured routine, his days were always busy with work, meeting friends from work after work, going to the gym, going to the cinema and meeting myself 1-2 per week.

    With the lockdown, almost everything from his routine was turned upside down. And this just happened from one day to the other...he wrote me on Wednesday (after 2 days of silence), “I’m feeling better, Monday hit me hard, I needed some time to adjust”.

    He cannot do his job (he is kindergarten teacher and they are all closed across Germany), but he is still going there (despite the place being empty) just to stay / clean his group room and have a “feeling” of “going” to work. He can stay there only for 3 hours so I assume, the rest of the day is a struggle to work on his new routine.

    As advised by you guys I gave him space to work on it and was not initiating any contact. He came back to me after two days asking how I’m doing and we texted for the rest of the day. We are in constant contact but I can clearly see that he is trying not to show me how difficult this situation is for him, saying “I don’t care about the virus, we can meet if you want”, “I’m five, I will just run instead and play more games”, but I can see that he is more quiet than usual.

    Fortunately, our common friend (that we both suspect is on spectrum as well), invited us for a movie night on Tuesday (only 3 of us) so maybe it will help him to feel better (watching movies with us is part of his routine). It’s difficult...I would really like to help him more, make him know that I think about him and that I’m there in case he needs me, but I think he is trying to keep my away from his “dark mood” (as he is calling it). I’ve never seen him during meltdown or extreme anxiety time, so I don’t know how bad it can be. And I’m not sure if he is ready to make me part of it.

    I hope you will feel better soon and will find your “alternative” routine. All the best for you.
     
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  4. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    He does sound very similar to me since I also had this kind of a busy routine pre-lockdown. I'm glad you try to understand his feeling with such patience. He's lucky to have you.

    Not sure how it is with him but I may have two types of 'Dark Mood'. One where I feel down, anxious, lost, not sure what to do or where to go. The second one where I feel angry, where I can become quite bitter. In both instances, I tend to stay alone and avoid people, especially people I love, not because I don't love them anymore but because I don't want to risk hurting them. So, if he isolates himself when he's feeling down, don't take it personally. He'll always come back when he feels ready.

    Meltdowns, shutdowns and anxiety attacks are different for every person, so I can't tell you how bad it is for him. Each of our situations will be different, depending on emotional state and experiences.

    I rarely have meltdowns, so I can't tell you how they feel. I am more of a shutdown person and I shutdown slowly, gradually. From what I understand, this is the main difference between shutdowns and meltdowns - shutdowns seem to be directed inwards and are rather quiet, meltdowns often blow up onto surroundings. In both instances, something happens that made everything just too much.

    When I get into shutdown, I may become less enthusiastic about things, quieter, seemingly more tired, with little or fake smiles, sometimes mentioning migraines or headaches. I may say that my eyes hurt, that it's loud or that things seem to be a bit too much at the moment. On the day shutdown finalises, I will withdraw early and ignore any received messages, just being with myself, most often in dark and quiet. I don't ignore people out of malice, despite what some would thing.

    Anxiety and panic attacks are nasty and I hope you'll never see or experience one. My family witnessed two of mine. Both times were utterly humiliating. Maybe it would be different for you at him, you seem like a gentle person so maybe this kind of quiet, soft coaxing could help, but at the end of the day, no one wants to be seen in this kind of a vulnerable state. Also, it's messy. Kids don't look cute with drool and snot on their faces, adults are even less cute at the time.

    But he may be just anxious, without any attacks, you know? So no need to get concerned over things that may not be true for him. Maybe he's just an anxious 'I'm going to walk a hole into my floor' type ;). I tend to be too, but then it was already mentioned.

    Oh, if he's already nervous, maybe mention that he could limit caffeine? Caffeine makes you even more nervous.

    And apologies for the long message. Good luck during the quarantine, don't forget to also take care of your own health. It's a difficult time for everyone involved.
     
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  5. Lena_131309

    Lena_131309 Active Member

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    Thank you so much again for your explanation, you don’t even expect how much it means to me...you explain everything so clearly that, for the first time since few days, I’m able to rest a bit my spinning mind and see the shapes more clearly in this foggy, foreign world to me. And don’t worry about their length, I love reading, especially such a wise words. And I’m definitely not better in writing short messages.


    We are in a very fresh relationship, since 3 months only, and we have just started to learn each other and make the things work with the limitations on both sides. I have posted here few times already, so, if you had a chance to go through the discussions I initiated, you would clearly see that it is completely new world for me (and for him as well) and I’m trying my best to find the way in it....


    I feel sometimes completely silly asking questions as I would be immature, inexperienced teenager, first time in relationship....but yes, this is somehow my reality right now. I learn every day about him and relationship with him, trying to build, somehow stable, ground for both of us, and this is already very challenging. With this whole lockdown, it is even more difficult.


    I may sound like a very patient and calm person, but that’s only because I “force” myself to distanced and cold-blooded reactions, otherwise I would get insane. And sometimes I’m just tired and demotivated....It’s really difficult not to know how to react, to judge what can help and what can cause opposite (and completely not intended) effect. All the well-known and safe patterns I’ve followed all my life (e.g. to approach immediately the person you care about if you know he is not good and take care of him) suddenly became a blank page. Sometimes, and this week is perfect example, I’m just afraid to move in any direction. It’s tough not to know which direction is the right one, almost all the time.


    It is still very difficult for me not to take personally when he is distancing himself because of his “dark mood” or shutdown. It is also somehow painful knowing that his friends (he is meeting during this time as his safe “routine”) can help him more being there for him, than me....and I’m not jealous, to make it clear, I’m happy he is not alone during this difficult time, but it makes me deeply upset feeling so hopeless and knowing that my presence would be difficult for him, instead of the opposite.


    I have never experienced him shutting down before the lockdown, so it was something I wasn’t prepared for at all. When he wrote me that he is still going to work, despite nobody being there, it really opened my eyes...and still, I think, I’m far away from understanding how he feels...


    Do you think that him writing “I take it easy, will just change the gym to running and everything will be ok”, “I don’t care about the whole situation” is really honest, or is it just his defence system? Is he just trying not to show me, how difficult this situation is for him? Or maybe he is actually capable of adjusting so fast? I don’t know....I hope he is.


    I think it would have to take a lot to make him “explode” to the external word (to have meltdown), as he is extremely calm and balanced person. I experienced him raising up his voice in different situations, but it was nothing extraordinary (maybe a bit over the top, which I told him directly). But here again, I may be wrong, maybe there were other people that have experienced this part of him.


    He is not drinking coffee at all, neither alcohol, and actually living pretty heathy life (in contrast to me, as I could drink easily 5-6 coffees per day), so there is nothing he could limit there.


    Take care of yourself as well, you sound like a great person. And thank you once again for “our talk”.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020