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NT/Aspie relationship- things I've learned about him and us


Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Wanted to post this in the hopes it might be helpful to other NT's who are trying to navigate a relationship with someone on the spectrum. I see lots of NT's come on here looking for advice and information. These forums have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years.

After four years and two break-ups, my (still ex-) boyfriend (undiagnosed but with many ASD traits) and I have been through some trials. We are currently talking again and taking things slowly because I'm not sure yet about committing to be in a relationship again. Many of the reasons we broke up still cause me a lot of anxiety, almost to the point of panic. I see some positive changes, but have this anticipatory anxiety that the old issues will crop up again. I realize that some of them may, but I'm also cautiously hopeful that we both have learned some things after our last break up.

He is pursuing the relationship again. I think he was pretty shocked that we broke up, because he was perfectly content with the relationship. I'm not sure he every really understood the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. It seems the relationship was meeting all of his needs. I was the one who was struggling.

We used to talk about our differences, but only in a limited way. I'm not sure if he didn't have good insight/self-knowledge, he was resistant to share information, or he didn't know how to express himself. Now, he seems to be much better about letting me know how he experiences situations and how he feels about things. It was really hard for me to not have a better understanding of him, basically dealing with a "blank" on what was going on with the other person.

Some things that I have come to understand about my ex and our relationship are:

Our problems have been the result of many things, including my mood at any given time. I struggle with depression. When I'm in a slump, it's hard for me to stay positive and take things in stride. I can be overly sensitive.

When he's quiet and intently focused on something important to him (his websites which are his livelihood), it doesn't mean he's mad at me.

When he makes observations about me, they aren't necessarily intended to be criticisms. I am more likely to construe them as criticisms when I'm feeling depressed and when he touches a subject that I already judge myself about.

My bf doesn't readily share his anxieties/worries with me, so I am often unaware of what he was dealing with. I would feel the tension which would make me feel on edge, but didn't know there was a reason that had NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.

My boyfriend is empathetic and compassionate, but he has trouble perceiving someone else is suffering if he doesn't SEE it. Case in point, he becomes very tender and sweet if he sees me cry, but otherwise won't be able to read my mood.

It isn't helpful for my boyfriend to talk to me about his worries if I don't have a viable solution. Unlike me, who needs to "vent" to de-stress, my boyfriend does not find talking about his concerns helpful in allaying his anxiety.

My boyfriend shows his love through doing things for me. He isn't going to verbally express how he feels about me. He says he would do almost anything for me, and it's true. He is reliable and always trying to help me with things around the house. He's also very affectionate.

I've learned about things that trigger my boyfriend's anger or frustration, and they rarely have to do with me. These things are getting lost (e.g., while driving), overstimulation (esp. noise), abuse of authority (we had an incident with TSA doing a pat down on him in the airport), "little guys" getting screwed over, and injustice.

My boyfriend is extremely hard on himself and doesn't give himself enough credit for what he's accomplished. He's also very sensitive, much more than I had realized. This has made it hard to discuss relationship issues because he automatically takes my attempts to discuss things as criticism, even if I present it as a couple problem, not a HIM problem.

It seems that, in order for my boyfriend to really GET that I wasn't happy (because he would have been perfectly content going on as we were), we had to break up and he needed time to reflect. Well, I guess we both did. Before that he didn't seem to understand what I tried to communicate, regardless of how I tried. He said he needed to be hit over the head with a sledgehammer to get it.

Now I have a different level of objectivity and can see my own role. I can see that I get over-sensitive to how I perceive his mood (which I actually didn't realize until I wrote this all out). I take things too personally.

I hope going forward that I will remember to ask him instead of assuming things. It's very challenging to turn off my NT ways and realize that I can't always use my (typically functional) skills to assess what's going on between us.

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