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Featured Managing a friendship with an Aspie

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by Sromanello, Feb 21, 2019.

  1. Sromanello

    Sromanello Active Member

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    Hello All!
    I came across this website while trying to do some research on how to help the predicament I'm in and I'm hoping I can get some advice and insight! I am not on the spectrum, but I've been really encouraged by this forum that this is the right place to seek help.

    About a year ago, I met a guy at the salon I've been going to for 6 years while he was helping my hair stylist. He was very friendly and chatty and I'm the type of person who tries to be kind to everyone. I own a pole fitness/dance studio which we started talking about when he was helping the stylist. It turned out that he was a dancer and I thought that maybe he could teach me a couple of stylistic things outside of my wheel house. We had maybe 2 dance sessions at my studio to learn some things and I started to pick up on that he might not be typical.

    Not being typical didn't phase me. I have a special needs nephew, two family members with Asperger's and a mother who has always worked with special needs people. I have been around special needs people my whole life and was happy to be a friend to this guy when he revealed he has Asperger's as well. I realized he was favorite form of communication was texting and I would just answer his texts when I could get back to them.

    Fast forward a couple of months into our friendship - my Aspie friend started wanting to hang out very often and text all day throughout the day. Whenever I invited him to hang out on one day (let's say we watched a show on a Wednesday), he thought that meant we would hang out every single day of that week from now on. I live with my boyfriend, who is a wonderfully kind person, and he too has embraced this friendship. However, the texting and need to hang out a lot also started towards my boyfriend as well.

    When we first started doing dance lessons, I invited him to teach a workshop at my studio, which did not go well. Although not invited, he assumed he would be teaching from now on at the studio, even though we do not specialize in his style of dance. I am also a performer around town and he has come to every performance I have been in, no matter where and also insisted on getting me gifts every time I perform. At first, I just took it as a supportive friend and of course appreciate his friendship. While I told him he did not need to buy me gifts and come to every performance, he does regardless.

    I understand (from a clinical perspective) that with Asperger's comes routine, fixations and certain things that feel normal to him, so I have just been patient with him and didn't let these things get to me. However, come late last year, I'm starting to see our friendship shape into an obsession and I don't know what to do.

    As he spent more time around my students and in my aerial world, he became consumed with the idea of having a pole/lyra performing girlfriend, often ones that "looked like me." At shows, he would write lists of women's names that he thought were attractive and give them to me to try and set him up with them. He began adding every woman in the industry he could find through my Instagram, has started messaging stars of my field as a friend of my studio, as well as messaging my students without my knowledge. Although I've told him he can't be messaging people under my name to get a date because that reflects poorly on me, he still likes, comments, watches every video and keeps track of what the both my students and other stars in our world are doing constantly. He advertises me as his best friend and is doing these things that make me very uncomfortable and can hurt my reputation in a very small connected world. Not to mention, I cannot have him hitting on/obsessing over my students. He is always keeping an eye on my online studio schedule so he knows when I'm working and as soon as I'm done with classes, he contacts me like clockwork asking about classes and sometimes my students. He has proclaimed my studio as his family, even though he has only taken 2 classes with us and has only taught 3 times in a year.

    My co-owner, friends and family members have made comments about him being obsessed with me (they see him out in the world often or he contacts them via social media about me.) My boyfriend has started to get uncomfortable because my Aspie friend has taken the role of an extra boyfriend - he started texting me every single morning first thing in the morning saying things like "Good morning princess, how did you sleep?" My sister and best friends believe he is now actually in love with me (he has admitted about several people who were already in relationships that he developed feelings for). Even though he is not physically stalking me, he always wants to know what my schedule is - whether its asking me every day what I'm doing or watching my schedule, which makes me uncomfortable.

    I don't want to stop being his friend and I don't want to break his heart. He has a heart of gold and I know he is a wonderful person. I am just very feeling smothered and really need to separate him from my business completely. But I don't know how without hurting him if in his mind it feels like his family. :( I know he doesn't have a lot of friends and he feels like I'm the first friend in 30 years that he has felt like this with. When we are just hanging out in person, as long as he isn't asking about my dance girls, the friendship feels fine. But outside of that, the friendship feels obsessive and unhealthy. But I'm also concerned this won't stop and will end up crashing and burning far worse. I just feel so conflicted and lost on what to do. I know his interpretation of our friendship is not his fault - I know he feels his emotions strongly with his fixations. So what is the best route to take in a dynamic like this?
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
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  2. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    1744493.jpg
     
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  3. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    Did you do the most obvious solution but just not include that in the post? Or maybe I missed it.

    Did you... talk to him about it? :eek:

    Did you ever clearly set boundaries at any point but just not mention it here?

    For everything you want him to not do, did you explain in specific detail to him that you don't want him to do that and why?

    Or has everything he's been doing been allowed? Maybe you had subtle hints that you didn't like it, like facial expressions or non-committal phrases?

    For every instance of every action that you find intrusive or uncomfortable, you should immediately, kindly, specifically explain to not do that ever again. And if you want to continue seeing him, if it's possible, do something regularly. Every Saturday, every other Sunday, the first Friday of each month, etc. Whatever you want.

    The point is, you should be in control of the relationship, because if he is--as it looks like he is--this is what happens.

    If he feels the way about you that I imagine he does, he'll comply with all of your demands. He may be disappointed, but that's okay.

    If I'm wrong and he ignores you, then this is something else altogether.
     
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  4. Sromanello

    Sromanello Active Member

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    Hey Alex! Thank you for they reply!

    I think I mentioned above (forgive me if I didn't), but especially for the contacting my students and contacting people in our industry, as well as trying to find an aerialist girlfriend, I had talked to him about it and told him its one not appropriate from a teaching perspective, but also could come across as creepy in a small tight knit community where everyone kind of knows everyone. He seemed to comply initially, but then he either starts doing it again or finds another reason/way to continue contact with students/stars like constant commenting on pictures vs just messaging, or having stopped by to say hello at the studio and taking that opportunity to message the students shortly after. I told him to stop calling me princess, so instead he comes up with a new pet name for me instead.

    I guess my question is how blunt or strong do I need to be with my wording? Do I invite him to meet me somewhere, just sit him down and give him a list of what I do and do not want him to do at this point? Should I text him since that seems to be where he prefers a more open communication?

    I'm just so afraid of being cruel or hurting him that and I don't know what is the type of language or how to go about being stronger with him that I know I've likely made this worse and that's on me :(

    I really appreciate the feedback Alex. I think my mistake has been not being immediate in my reactions and once addressed, I probably lose some of that authority, right?
     
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  5. SunnyDay16

    SunnyDay16 Well-Known Member

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    You'll have to tell him that he has to stop with the creepy behaviors, or you will have to distance yourself from him. You could tell him, "I would like to remain friends, but I don't want you to use pet names with me or try to seek out my students. Please stop doing it, or I will have to part ways from this friendship." It gets the point across, it's not mean or accusatory, and there's no room for misinterpretation on his end.

    You are not being cruel in any shape or form. You are setting your boundaries, and he is not complying with them. You've tried to be gentle about it, but he's not listening to you. You are not obligated to put up with any behavior that makes you uncomfortable or creeped out, just because he is a "wonderful person" or a "best friend" or because he has Asperger's or because he doesn't have that many friends (and, with his behavior, can you really be surprised?)

    You should pat yourself on the back for being as patient as you have been with him, because I guarantee I wouldn't of been as nice. You're being a good friend by trying to set boundaries with him and communicate them, instead of ghosting him (which would be easier at this point). He is the one who is not being a very good friend, because his actions are showing that he is not considerate of your feelings or boundaries, and is willing to trample over them to get what he wants.
     
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  6. Sromanello

    Sromanello Active Member

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    Thank you so much! I really, really appreciate this and needed this. I've been feeling guilty for feeling the frustrations I've been feeling and just didnt know what was the right way to handle this. That's the exact statement I needed someone to tell me to say! ♡ This is just a first that I've had this sort of interaction and didnt know how strong was strong enough or too strong and I was just feeling in over my head. I dont want to come off as a martyr for being his friend. I just want to be able to get some control of this. Thank you ♡ I needed this insight so much.

     
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  7. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    Hi @Sromanello and thanks for coming to ask Autistics for advice.
    One common feature of autistic minds is that we can be very poor at taking hints, or even following advice if it doesn't make sense to us or fit our world view. If that happens you have to be firm - very firm. Explain to him in no uncertain terms what he is doing, why it is harmful and the consequences to him, to you and to your livelihood should he not desist.
    I hope he listens or you'll end up in the "cruel to be kind" situation you so clearly wish to avoid.
     
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  8. Aspychata

    Aspychata Applying for the here and now....

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    Thats tough, have you told him you are very in love with your boyfriend and having relationship with him isn't leaving time that you should be spending elsewhere. He obviously has a preoccupation and he needs to channel it elsewhere. l met a lady once that was becoming obessed with me in Hawaii, and quickly cut her off, because l knew she would move on and obsess about someone else. But this guy is a serial obsesser, and l hope it doesn't go to restraining order. You have to start talking your personal boundaries, and you have to start extracting the text messages. Hope you understand this, the longer you put it off, the more you are saying his behaviours are acceptable.
     
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  9. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    That's what I was thinking. The fact that it's built up to this point might make it more overwhelming and confusing when a plethora of boundaries are suddenly sprung.

    If he started doing the exact thing again that you said not to, then you certainly have the right to be angry with him and should freely express that.

    If, instead, like the pet name thing, you simply told him not to call you that and said nothing else on the subject, he may reason that you had some problem with that specific pet name and not extrapolate a desire for no nicknames and then pick another. "Maybe she'll like this one more." Specificity is important.

    Texting might be better, mostly because it'd be far less intimidating and likely be easier to fully comprehend everything you say.

    As for bluntness or strength of wording, it all has more to do with clarity and honest expression. Whatever is required for that.

    And I agree with Sunnyday about consequences, such as the friendship ending, assuming that's true. Whatever would happen if he were to continue unchanged he should be warned about, with no room left for doubt that it will happen if he doesn't listen.

    And Sunnyday is right, you're doing great! You sound like a wonderful person!
     
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  10. Aspychata

    Aspychata Applying for the here and now....

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    It's hard and every one of these people are different, if you start with good news, you are a good person, and l know you will listen to what l am telling now because it's important to me but this concerns uou. Our interaction consumes too much of my time, l ask that we no longer text and instead we say hi in class. My texts are incredible busy due to the nature of my business, please understand me and honor my request.
     
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  11. Aspychata

    Aspychata Applying for the here and now....

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    That we no longer text.
     
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  12. china autie

    china autie friend to dogs and frogs and cats

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    From careful reading, I think the time has already come for him to go.

    Your bf is uncomfortable, other people have noticed, he has asked women from your Instagram for dates! (Did I read that right???), he is obsessed with finding a f2f who looks like you or any gf in your circle.

    And the constant texting, pet names, just NO.

    A few of us can get obsessive to the level of emotional stalking. Whether it is connected to being 'on the spectrum' or not, this is super not okay.

    By continuing the friendship, you are sort of telling him that it is cool to violate your boundaries. I know you have told him directly more than a few times, "please do not do this" or "you really cannot do that" but it keeps happening and branching out. Sometimes actions really do speak louder than words and this is an example of that.

    By not breaking off contact, you are hurting him. Perhaps he will seek out professional support and learn how not to emotionally stalk. But if you hang on to the friendship in spite of all of these difficulties, you are enabling him to continue his behavior.

    I am also willing to bet that you are not the first woman he has obsessed over. I can only see this getting worse with time, not better.

    Telling him that your bf is uncomfortable with your friendship is certainly valid and one way to approach it.

    It's really great that you came to us with this.

    China
     
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  13. Aspychata

    Aspychata Applying for the here and now....

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    That's great advice, l am now having to state my boundaries with pushy people. Most people are respectful and listen, but there is the 1% that you need pay attention too and make sure that you stay on top of, and don't go into denial or explain away poor behavior to your requests. At the same time, you also check yoursrlf and make sure you are responsible in your interactions with those around you. As woman, sometimes we don't wish to cause a scene and take a giant denial pill re: inappropriate male attention, it's not a responsible response, you aren't living in the moment.
     
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  14. china autie

    china autie friend to dogs and frogs and cats

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    Predicament. An odd word to use when talking about a 'friendship'.

    Hang out, texting all day. Ug.

    Every day of that week.
    He thought that meant [or he decided?].


    He assumed [or decided?] that he would be teaching.

    Stalking.

    Over the top, stalking.

    Obsession.

    Obsession With what people call "a physical type",

    Creepy. Obsessive.

    Block him from your Instagram. Obsessive. Stalkerish.

    Messaging ppl under your name.
    Keeping track.
    Stalking.

    Clear boundary. But he is hitting on them and obsessing.

    Keeping an eye on your schedule.
    Contacting you when classes get out.
    Stalking.
    Maybe instead of posting all of your classes online, tell people on your website to contact your studio for class info. I have seen a yoga business here do that.
    Performances, I do understand the need to advertise. Would bouncers at some of the clubs be willing to throw him out if he shows up? If you talked with the owners of your performance venues,and explained his obsessive stalking stuff, would they be willing to help keep you and other performers safe?

    Pay attention to this. When other people notice, it is important.

    Extra bf. He does not get to do this.

    Pet nicknames. Over the top.

    His obsession is noticed by others.

    Uncomfortable? I would be enraged if someone did this to me. Stalking.

    Pay attention to your own words. You have a lot of wisdom.

    Obsessive and unhealthy. I totally agree.

    He has not stopped. He has found different ways to do stuff. Branching out.

    Stalking.

    The reaction that stalkers count on.


    When I first moved here there was a guy in the park. He made assumptions. I never told him where I lived but he showed up several houses away once. I broke off the 'friendship.' This was after only two weeks.

    It turned out that he spends a lot of time in the park trying to pick up women. I now point him out to other women. It is a safety thing.

    He is also neurodiverse but not autistic. Some people will use their differences as an excuse to do creepy, weird, stalkerish, obsessive things.

    Predators will look for our vulnerabilities and use them. Your Aspie has sensed in you your compassion and used that against you. That is disconcerting. Your Aspie may or may not be a full-blown predator, however, these predatory behaviors escalate over time.

    1. Maybe tell him your bf insists upon breaking off all contact in any form period.

    2. Block him on all social media. Tell your students, family, friends, coworkers that you have had a problem with him and are blocking him. Remember, people similar to your Aspie friend count on your silence.

    3. If he continues to show up at your studio, an order of protection -- when carried on you at all times along with a phone and whistle -- is a wonderful thing.

    Have you looked him up online to see if he has a record of arrests?

    I am not an attorney. I do not know if he meets the legal definition of stalking.

    He certainly meets my personal definition of emotional stalking.

    Stalkers do not just start with physically stalking. They start with little creepy things and progress into stalking.

    Stay alert. Stay safe.

    Sorry for the double post but this one got to me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
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  15. Aspychata

    Aspychata Applying for the here and now....

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    l have read books on this, and if it is a true stalker, you don't feed into the fear. Is he just a lonely, socially awkward guy, and doesn't know boundaries etc. ? l don't know, it would be wise check his background, if there are any arrests then a visit to the police filing a report. But first you may want to let him know you are to busy to see him or text him. Because the police will ask you if you did talk to him. My grocery store manager is one of these, where he doesn't understand he is overstepping boundaries. He showed up in my seperate store 5 times in like one hour and a half. l told him he made me feel uncomfortable, he defintely is pissed, but l have no other choice.
     
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  16. Aspychata

    Aspychata Applying for the here and now....

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    Thanks for breaking it down for, l think the PO felt guilty because they started off as friends but this person obviously crossed the line, and it happened over time, so she probably feels like a deer caught in the headlights. Wow, it hit her hard, and she obviously felt helplessness and confused what to do without knowing what this particular personality will do.
     
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  17. JDShredds

    JDShredds Well-Known Member

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    Aspie or not, this is the danger in opposite sex friendships with hetero people. Boundaries must be explicitly set, firm, and strictly adhered to and respected or the friendship must end. Its as simple as that. Leaving it up to chance, body language, or subtle gestures isn't good enough.

    He's obviously fixated. I've been there myself, and I can tell you it is damn near impossible to snap out of it unless the other person snaps you out of it. Yes, its going to be painful for him. But its not your job to control whether he is hurt or not. He got himself in this mess, he has to dig himself out.

    Its your decision whether to have a very frank, line-in-the-sand discussion with him on boundaries with an "or else" consequence (that you MUST follow through on if you set it and he oversteps); or you could choose to just say goodbye and tell him you need to move on. I suppose the 3rd option is to ghost him, but I don't like that choice as its confusing and prolongs the problem (I've experienced that on both ends).

    With your boyfriend being uncomfortable, that may make the choice more obvious.
     
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  18. Aspychata

    Aspychata Applying for the here and now....

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    Truthfully we really don't know if this is like a serious infatuation or just really poor awkward choices, that is where a lot of the confusion lies. She was nice to him, now he wants to meet another lady who is like her. In fact, he is trying to enlist her to find a date. So it feels like just poor social choices. But she still needs to state boundaries, tell him excessive texting isn't good, and she is no longer available to him. Sadly, a lot of domestic violence is woman telling men it's over. So l feel she should carefully talk to him, and be prepared to take further steps if he isn't responding to the message.
     
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  19. Aspychata

    Aspychata Applying for the here and now....

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    To me her post reads that he was trying to impress her with what a nice guy he was in the hopes there was just a girlfriend hanging out that he become friends with, guy logic.
     
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  20. Ylva

    Ylva Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I guess the best advice I can possibly give you is to stop thinking of this grown man as a child. It doesn't matter how many children with "special needs" (offensive) you know.

    If you want to communicate to him, use words that mean something. "Appropriate" has no meaning, it's just one of those empty cultural words that are basically euphemisms. You might think that speaking literally is treating him like a child, but this is wrong, based on how unliterally adults who assumed I was neurotypical spoke to me in my childhood.
     
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