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Need advice. GF with Asperger's broke up with me.

sil80guy

Member
Hello,

Sorry about the long post.
I was dating a very amazing person for ~5 months. The first 3 months were amazing. Lots of fun and affection.
During that time, and before we started dating, she alluded to having mental illness. She was in a marriage, which ended up in a divorce. She lived with her ex-husband on good terms for about a year, and I came into the picture at the tail end of that while she was moving out.

I told her it was ok, and I would support her fully. I wanted to be a good and loving partner to her.
I am an ENFJ and a 2w1. I loved doing things for her, cooking her foods, helping with chores. I would go to the end of the earth for her, she meant so much to me and I always considered her feelings in everything and what we do.
If she wasn't alright with something, I was always perfectly fine with not doing that, and I always asked what she wanted to do.

On the 4th month she started requesting we stay in more, at this time I was unsure why she was feeling the way she did, but if that's what she wanted it was fine with me. And I left her the option to let me know what was on her mind, and told her she didn't have to if she didn't want to.

The first week of the 4th month was alright, then the 2nd week was awful, she did not want anything to do with me, and asked for space. Unfortunately at the time, I had no idea she had Asperger's. And being an ENFJ/2w1, I was being over caring, and instead of giving her space, every other day I would ask if she was doing alright.
I ended up getting her a lego set of something she really enjoyed, and watching her put it together brought so much joy, since it gave her so much joy, and weeks 3 and 4 were great.

Month 5 took a turn for the worst, I'm not sure what happened, it came out of the blue, but the 2nd week she need her space again, this time she stated she needed a lot of time alone. This killed me internally, we were ready to make the next step in our relationship, she had plans to introduce me to her family.
And ultimately she asked me over to let me know she wants to break up with me.

I now know that because of her Asperger's, I probably killed the relationship by not giving her the space she needed to think things through.
This was an issue with her past relationship, and she didn't want me to go through the same pains and saw that when she did need alone time, I was hurting, so she took it on herself to end the relationship. During the talk she was cold and void of emotions, like she was a robot, at the time I felt like she just didn't have any feelings for me at all, but I believe that was due to her Asperger's.

I know she has Asperger's, but I know how I felt about her, and I know how to she felt about me. We had no fights and no disagreements. And I'm not sure if this is just to leave me in a good spot, but she told me I was probably the best thing to happen to her, was super caring and so amazing.

I do know I have to give her her space to let her sort things out, to re-energize and think about all the changes. To me it seems like she didn't fully get to take in all the changes from leaving her ex-husband.

I'm just confused by all of it. She did say she wants to remain friends, and still communicate, but I'm not sure how to handle that with someone that has Asperger's.
I was also wondering, what are the chances of her reaching out to me as a friend or getting back together?
Do I wait for her to reach out to me or do I wait about two weeks and reach out to her to see how she's doing?

I'll answer any questions anyone has as well.
Thanks!
 
I'm just confused by all of it. She did say she wants to remain friends, and still communicate, but I'm not sure how to handle that with someone that has Asperger's.
I was also wondering, what are the chances of her reaching out to me as a friend or getting back together?

We are each different. There is not one short answer that you can get here. I hope you can get some valuable feedback, but remember, every single one of us is unique and it will not be helpful to assume that everything is about her being autistic. Consider her as a unique individual that you have begun to understand as you sift through any responses you get.
 
We are each different. There is not one short answer that you can get here. I hope you can get some valuable feedback, but remember, every single one of us is unique and it will not be helpful to assume that everything is about her being autistic. Consider her as a unique individual that you have begun to understand as you sift through any responses you get.
Thank you, I do understand that everyone is different. And after doing a lot of research, I also came to the realization that it hugely differs from people to people.
I was hoping in a generic sense, to find a meaning of it all, and to see if there is some hope.
 
Anyway i wouldnt be friends with her or ever even talk with her again. I am sorry you lost 5 months of your life to this "person". You know It happens to the best of us, you arent the first guy used by mentally ill and emotional unstable woman.
 
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Being on the spectrum doesn't mean that a person will not be selfish, petty or cruel. You have learned that somebody with autism can also have a dysfunctional personality.
 
I will diverge from the earlier responses in saying that sometimes personalities don't mix well, even if there isn't an overt "problem". It doesn't mean that it's anyone's fault or one of those involved is dysfunctional or unstable.

It's up to you whether you stay as friends or not, but I recommend against staying friends "just" because you are hoping she changes her mind. She has her reasons for what she decided, whether you agree with her or not. For now, I think it's for the best to stay respectful. Things might change, or they might not, but ultimately it's not something you have control over. Maybe at some point you'll both be in the right space to discuss honestly how the relationship and breakup felt for you, but I don't think that time is right now. I've definitely gone into "robotic mode" when talking as I can be quite adept as separating actions from emotions, or emotions from my body. It doesn't mean they don't exist, but rather that there is a disconnect, or that I don't fully understand them.

You seem like a kind person, and I'm glad you came here to get the opinions of actual autistic people. I also agree with @Rodafina that the autism isn't the be all, end all of her personality. I wish you the best in healing, and hope the experience doesn't make you bitter.
 
You did nothing wrong nor did you kill the relationship. You just did your best with the info you had.

I have told my wife about my autism and she support me the NT way (not reading a single book to understand autism and just figuring out things on the go). So that you have informed yourself about autism and that you came here to ask says very good things about you.

One thing about most autists is being literal. So if she said "friends" it means "friends". If you need, ask for clarification. Ask a lot. Do not guess with an autistic person. Your intuition will not work with her if she is autistic. So just ask.

Also dont trust your understanding about her body language, again. Ask. No will mean no, yes will mean yes and I dont know will mean I dont know. Dont look for hidden purposes or meanings. Dont do fantasy stuff. Dont guess.

Just ask and accept. Its as simple and difficult as that.

As every autistic person is different, we cant help you much more. The only person who can help you to understand her is herself.

Best of luck.
 
You ask for some generic advice, in reality that's all any of us can give. I'm one of those caring and comforting personalities like you, I do like to show that I care and I like to do things for a partner. But I'm also autistic, ASD2, so I can see your girlfriend's side of things too.

She probably likes being pampered but at the same time she also needs her space. Just to be left in peace for an hour after getting home from work and allowing the mind to change pace for homelife and to let everything that happened during the day settle in her mind. Or she might need that time out first thing in the morning in order to prepare her mind for the day ahead. Or maybe even both. If you ask her she will tell you.

We all like to feel loved and cared for but none of us want to be constantly pestered.

Please don't take this as any form of personal slight, this is generic advice only. There's also possibly the issue of what a woman wants from a man, and the very first and foremost in that is that he actually be a man. This doesn't mean doing some sort of tough man act, it's about strength of character. Being self confident and decisive.

Here are some common male stereotypes that will turn a woman away from you every time:

The Man Child. My sister described this as the full grown body of a man but the emotional maturity of a 6 year old chucking a tantrum.

The Little Boy. Still needs his mummy to run around and clean up after him and tell him what he should be doing next. He probably needs her to support him financially as well.

The Lap Dog. Might be comforting to have around from time to time but this is not a personality that will ever engender any form of respect. Without respect there will be no love, or even desire.

Your personal fitness level will also play a role, women like perving at men every bit as much as men like looking at women, the only difference is in how embarrassed they get when caught in the act. Sexual attraction. It goes beyond that though, it's about self respect. If you let your body get too far out of shape it says that you have little self respect, this means that no one else will have respect for you either. A woman wants a man that she can look up to and admire.

As for wether or not you will ever get back to a sexual relationship with her I can't predict. A common trait amongst autistic people is that once we've set our mind on a particular path it's very difficult to get us to turn around again. Not impossible, but it takes some work.

Actions speak much louder than words. Actual achievements count more than promise and potential.

Best of luck.
 
Personally for me these would be red flags that makes me cut of contact with someone. She doesn't get to decide when you do and don't have a relationship with her. If she contacts you i would turn it around and tell her you need personal space. Wonder how she would react.
 
Personally for me these would be red flags that makes me cut of contact with someone. She doesn't get to decide when you do and don't have a relationship with her. If she contacts you i would turn it around and tell her you need personal space. Wonder how she would react.

Yes, she does get to decide whether to have a relationship with the OP, and she gets to decide what kind of relationship it will be. If the OP doesn't want what she wants, then he needs to move on to someone else. She is not a slave subject to the will and whims of the OP.
 
Basic realities of being female and autistic, many are introverted by nature. And a need for personal space is as necessary as air. From provided context it sounds like a case of burn out and simply being overwhelmed that are driving factors in her retreating, not anything overt in terms of actions, behaviour, or habits.

Overwhelm, shutdowns, meltdowns, and burnout are serious challenges with ASD. They also take a huge physical and mental toll. If an autistic is an introvert, these challenges are amplified.

Basically there is a limited amount of energy available and introverts generate energy when they are doing their own thing. Extroverts draw energy from those around them, they are powered by people and interactions, which can quickly exhaust the power supply of an introvert.

If an introvert asks for space or withdraws socially it is because their energy is depleted, this is a double indemnity for autistics who struggle with social deficits and meeting social norms (masking). It is physically and mentally exhausting to always be 'on' and playing the role of fitting in with no down time. This is a key motivator for ghosting behaviour. It isn't because of another person's actions, it is a self preservation mechanism to restore balance.

The key ND affection sign associated with the introvert is parallel play. The introvert and other are in the same room, (close proximity), yet doing their own things, (reading, game, writing, watching TV, what have you), the important factor is that they are choosing to be in close proximity.

Introverts are akin to cats in this way. Recklessly crowd and grab at them and they will vacate the space, often for good. Allow them to integrate into the space at their rate and they will slowly extend their trust.

Personal space is a boundary that needs to be respected and understood.
 
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Yes, she does get to decide whether to have a relationship with the OP, and she gets to decide what kind of relationship it will be. If the OP doesn't want what she wants, then he needs to move on to someone else. She is not a slave subject to the will and whims of the OP.
What an awful and biased misrepresentation of what i said. If you read op's post it should be clear that she treats him as a dog and wants him only when she feels like it. Shes playing games with him and wants all the control. If someone wants all the control and starts deciding when you do and dont have a relationship you leave them.

I think geralds description of her personality is completely correct here. Selfish, petty and cruel.
 
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Thank you everyone, I've read everything that everyone said.
It has helped a lot and helped me understand things better.

We didn't live with each other, but she wanted me over every weekend. During her low times, we did our own things, but in proximity of each other.

I'm realizing I probably took her energy even when we were doing nothing, I still had to cook for her, which was probably draining.
I've reflected on everything, and I believe the correct choice is for me to step away and give us both time to go on our separate paths, and if she does reach out at a later date it will be her choice, I wouldn't want to force her to do anything.

I do want to comment on a previous commenter about male stereotypes, I didn't think it was necessary to post about me. But I do have a stable career with a decent income to afford to take care of me, my mother, and a partner.
I do work out from time to time, and I'm average build. I'm very goal oriented and have aspirations that I meet.

Again thanks everyone! I will still be reading the posts and hanging around, and will answer any questions if any come up. But I believe it is time for me to start my self healing journey.
 
I agree with Darkin about introverted autistic women needing space. A lot of alone time (literally the only one home or in my space)...on a daily basis, is necessary for me to feel well.. even when I am in a good relationship with someone I love (including other NDs who I can stim in front of and who do their own thing in another room and leave me alone). Things may have been too intense for her, even though she may have really been enjoying your caring for her and being with you often. In the past, I have been able to withstand the intensity in the beginning of new relationships because the excitement and newness of things gives me more energy/ tolerance. After a while though, I burn out. It's a paradox because you really are into the other person and want to spend every waking minute with them, but you cannot keep that up for a long time. I am sure it varies for different people. Recreational drugs or alcohol at times helped me to have a higher/ longer tolerance when I was younger.

Also, I have been divorced and I would like to point out that going through a divorce, even a mutual and amicable one, is an extraordinarily stressful situation for anyone (and likely especially so for sensitive people who process emotions differently). There is a lot of emotional upheaval and self blame that comes from divorce. It takes a long time to deal with the feelings that it brings up and it makes people want to avoid making the same mistakes again, regardless of whose fault it was that things fell apart. There is a lot of pain and fear to deal with and many do not begin to process that right away. They might be in shock for awhile, depending on the situation. Most people are also not really ready for a new serious relationship for many months or even years after that. Even if they jump into a new relationship right away (rebounding), they might not emotionally be ready or able to give what they would like to give to it. This could be part of the reason why she broke up with you. Maybe she realized she wasn't ready and didn't want to make the same mistakes again (by her doing something wrong in the relationship) or to hurt you. The fact that she was getting ready to introduce you to her parents is an indicator that things were getting ready to be considered as very serious. Maybe that triggered her. She may have been burned out and needed to snap into self preservation/ recovery mode. I know she was divorced long before moving out from living with her ex....but I have also been in that situation, and I can tell you that things do not really start to hit you emotionally until you are actually no longer living with your ex (even if you are strictly living as roommates for years). Maybe I am wrong....but maybe this is what happened and she will come around again later. I am not saying you should wait for her to come back to you when she gets over things...because maybe she never will. I also agree with the person who said that once someone with ASD says no it really means no...because for me, it is literally like a switch is flipped and I can never go back, even if I wanted to.

I know this is hard for you and you sound like a really wonderful and caring person. I would suggest leaving her alone for a good while and just focus on healing from this yourself.... cultivating yourself, growing from this experience, and focusing on all of the things that make you happy. Take a trip or learn something new that interests you. My brother is the kind of person who takes care of other people and he has a really hard time w breakups. He gave me this advice after his divorce when I had mine: you have to shift your point of view of yourself, so that you are no longer thinking of yourself in context to this relationship. You should think of reclaiming all of the things you gave up or compromised during the relationship (that were positive and good for growing in a forward direction). Focus on these things and you will naturally go in a happier direction.
 
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I agree with Darkin about introverted autistic women needing space. A lot of alone time (literally the only one home or in my space)...on a daily basis, is necessary for me to feel well.. even when I am in a good relationship with someone I love (including other NDs who I can stim in front of and who do their own thing in another room and leave me alone). Things may have been too intense for her, even though she may have really been enjoying your caring for her and being with you often. In the past, I have been able to withstand the intensity in the beginning of new relationships because the excitement and newness of things gives me more energy/ tolerance. After a while though, I burn out. It's a paradox because you really are into the other person and want to spend every waking minute with them, but you cannot keep that up for a long time. I am sure it varies for different people. Recreational drugs or alcohol at times helped me to have a higher/ longer tolerance when I was younger.

Also, I have been divorced and I would like to point out that going through a divorce, even a mutual and amicable one, is an extraordinarily stressful situation for anyone (and likely especially so for sensitive people who process emotions differently). There is a lot of emotional upheaval and self blame that comes from divorce. It takes a long time to deal with the feelings that it brings up and it makes people want to avoid making the same mistakes again, regardless of whose fault it was that things fell apart. There is a lot of pain and fear to deal with and many do not begin to process that right away. They might be in shock for awhile, depending on the situation. Most people are also not really ready for a new serious relationship for many months or even years after that. Even if they jump into a new relationship right away (rebounding), they might not emotionally be ready or able to give what they would like to give to it. This could be part of the reason why she broke up with you. Maybe she realized she wasn't ready and didn't want to make the same mistakes again (by her doing something wrong in the relationship) or to hurt you. The fact that she was getting ready to introduce you to her parents is an indicator that things were getting ready to be considered as very serious. Maybe that triggered her. She may have been burned out and needed to snap into self preservation/ recovery mode. I know she was divorced long before moving out from living with her ex....but I have also been in that situation, and I can tell you that things do not really start to hit you emotionally until you are actually no longer living with your ex (even if you are strictly living as roommates for years). Maybe I am wrong....but maybe this is what happened and she will come around again later. I am not saying you should wait for her to come back to you when she gets over things...because maybe she never will. I also agree with the person who said that once someone with ASD says no it really means no...because for me, it is literally like a switch is flipped and I can never go back, even if I wanted to.

I know this is hard for you and you sound like a really wonderful and caring person. I would suggest leaving her alone for a good while and just focus on healing from this yourself.... cultivating yourself, growing from this experience, and focusing on all of the things that make you happy. Take a trip or learn something new that interests you. My brother is the kind of person who takes care of other people and he has a really hard time w breakups. He gave me this advice after his divorce when I had mine: you have to shift your point of view of yourself, so that you are no longer thinking of yourself in context to this relationship. You should think of reclaiming all of the things you gave up or compromised during the relationship (that were positive and good for growing in a forward direction). Focus on these things and you will naturally go in a happier direction.
Thank you so much, what you have commented is almost exactly what I just went through.
Internally I had already figured all of this out, but reading it here and now has made me realize it more.

Everything from what you've said about it being new and fresh to things getting really serious and that shocking her are pretty spot on, and are items I didn't fully touch on in my original post.
 
Thank you so much, what you have commented is almost exactly what I just went through.
Internally I had already figured all of this out, but reading it here and now has made me realize it more.

Everything from what you've said about it being new and fresh to things getting really serious and that shocking her are pretty spot on, and are items I didn't fully touch on in my original post.
Glad to help :)
 
What an awful and biased misrepresentation of what i said. If you read op's post it should be clear that she treats him as a dog and wants him only when she feels like it. Shes playing games with him and wants all the control. If someone wants all the control and starts deciding when you do and dont have a relationship you leave them.

I think geralds description of her personality is completely correct here. Selfish, petty and cruel.

No, I did not misrepresent what you said. In fact, you and I appear to be in total agreement that the OP should leave the relationship if he is unhappy with the GF's decisions - HER personal decisions - about the relationship.

I do not read the original post to depict the GF as "selfish, petty and cruel". I read it to mean that this GF, newly divorced and being on the spectrum, explained to the OP that he was hovering, smothering and suffocating her with too much attention. The OP understood what she said even if you did not.
 
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