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Not realising that two people are an item - is this an autistic thing?

Aeolienne

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
When I was at university in the pre-social media age, there were a number of occasions when I was told the news that X and Y had got engaged and my reaction was "What? I didn't know they were going out together". Did anyone else have this experience? I wonder whether it was because the kind of people who got engaged at such a young age were abiding by traditional Christian edicts against sex before marriage and therefore were less physically demonstrative in public. Or should the reverse apply?

There was even a guy in my class I fancied, to the extent that I asked him out only for him to tell me that he had a girlfriend - and that was the first time I found out. Ouch. You may well ask why I didn't attempt to find out this information before making a pass, but there wasn't anyone I felt I could ask "Is he going out with anyone?" without risking them teasing me. Besides I thought I had seen him around often enough without an obvious significant other. How oblivious could I be...

I thought this kind of misunderstanding was all behind me now, but last weekend I was reminded of it again when someone told me "You know me and Z aren't together any more?" and all I could say was "I didn't know you were a couple!" I mentioned I was autistic by way of explanation (if indeed it is) and the guy said "So am I". Curiouser and curiouser...
 
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Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I am of the mindset that the majority of people who are autistic would not pick up on all the subtle communication cues between two people who are "interested" in each other. Short of more blatant, obvious behaviors, the majority of us would likely be "clueless".

Personally, I've been married to the same woman for over 35 years,...you would think,...clearly by now, I would "know" her. Wrong. I've been saying for years,...decades before I understood my autism,...that I NEVER know when my wife is sending "positive" signals. I am totally oblivious. However, I ALWAYS know when she is sending me "negative" signals.:oops: Keep in mind that I have been "immersed in the estrogen ocean" with a staff of neonatal nurses, physicians, and other staff,...90+% of them female,...we talk,...they have asked me relationship advice because I am their "guy friend". They are almost in disbelief that I don't pick up on my wife's signals. Let's just say it took my wife some time to figure things out, and she has learned to be more "obvious" when she wants more attention. ;)

Furthermore, I think a critical component to many of us not being successful at relationships,...even "finding" a person interested in them,...is, I believe, this "cluelessness". People could very well be sending us these "positive" signals,...and if we are not reciprocating because we are not recognizing it,...they move on,...opportunities lost.
 

Aeolienne

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
If you're clueless and have been married for 35 years, what does that make me? The longest relationship I had lasted only 3 years.
 

Storm Hess

Permanent Spaceman
When I was at university in the pre-social media age, there were a number of occasions when I was told the news that X and Y had got engaged and my reaction was "What? I didn't know they were going out together". Did anyone else have this experience? I wonder whether it was because the kind of people who got engaged at such a young age were abiding by traditional Christian edicts against sex before marriage and therefore were less physically demonstrative in public. Or should the reverse apply?

There was even a guy in my class I fancied, to the extent that I asked him out only for him to tell me that he had a girlfriend - and that was the first time I found out. Ouch. You may well ask why I didn't attempt to find out this information before making a pass, but there wasn't anyone I felt I could ask "Is he going out with anyone?" without risking them teasing me. Besides I thought I had seem him around often enough without an obvious significant other. How oblivious could I be...

I thought this kind of misunderstanding was all behind me now, but last weekend I was reminded of it again when someone told me "You know me and E aren't together any more?" and all I could say was "I didn't know you were a couple!" I mentioned I was autistic by way of explanation (if indeed it is) and the guy said "So am I". Curiouser and curiouser...
You'd think that me being married for over 15 years would give me some sort of insight into my wife's feelings and concerns...it hasn't. I did come to realize she has major codependency issues that she has to address.

When it comes to other people...I can't be bothered. I can't stand the drama. If I want drama, I'll watch my Korean playlist on Netflix. For some reason I’m now obsessed with Korean dramas. Weird. Anyway. The insignificant small talk is irritating…and I do not miss it in the least.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Quite possibly. That for many of us it's difficult enough to find someone. And that to compound it all is that it may be as difficult for us to see when someone might be interested in us.

For whatever neurological reason, such "social awareness" is just "not there". Unless someone makes their intentions overtly known, where there is no doubt where you stand with someone. Something that fortunately has indeed happened to me on occasion.

Making it much more imperative on our part to "make that first move romantically speaking", than wait for something to just happen. Something admittedly that has only happened to me once in five relationships.

Yeah- our inability to see others as that "item", let alone ourselves at times.
 
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Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
If you're clueless and have been married for 35 years, what does that make me? The longest relationship I had lasted only 3 years.
I think this only highlights the importance of two people understanding "the condition" and communicating in ways that are "effective" for both. Communication is the foundation for all interpersonal relationships, and if it breaks down on one end or the other, it often leads to failure on some level. My wife and I struggled with this for many years before we discovered a system that worked for us,...and had we both known of my autism much earlier in our relationship, I think this process would have come about much sooner. Using direct language, don't "hint", don't give me "clues",...if you want me to respond appropriately,...just save yourself a lot of frustration and misunderstanding,...just say what you want.
 

AprilR

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
It happened to me too, i always got surprised when i learned two people were dating at school and such.
 

Forest Cat

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I haven't had much problems with that because people usually announce it or you see them kissing or something. People in relationships usually talk about it.
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I think being oblivious to social communication comes with ASD. Like @Neonatal RRT , and unless they are obvious, I miss positive cues from my spouse. While I have learned to recognize much, and I like to think I'm observant, processing social communication takes time, and I miss things unless it is with people I have come to know, like with the people in the bike club, who I like because I feel relaxed and natural with them. As I have learned to process my PTSD, and have had to do some self assessment, I understand that my sense of isolation and the negative feelings towards myself came from my inability to recognize when people were trying to connect and I was probably never as alone as I thought I was.
 

VictorR

Random Member
V.I.P Member
The concepts of love, dating, and flirting are all pretty foreign to me as well.

Well, I know what they are, but I'm not sure I'd recognize them unless they're super obvious.

I do have a somewhat related story that I mentioned in another thread here
 

Yeshuasdaughter

You know, that one lady we met that one time.
V.I.P Member
I can remember three distinct times, as a teenager, where I sat and hung out with people who I didn't even realize were staring at each other. I thought they were just sitting and smiling. Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, they started making out. I had no clue it was going to happen, and all three times, I felt rather aghast. It was many years ago, and I've matured since then, but at the time, Wowsers.
 

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