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NT needs advice RE: AS ex boyfriend

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by Plumeria, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. Plumeria

    Plumeria Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone,
    I need some advice regarding my ex boyfriend, he is 36 and I am 40, I didn't think he was an Aspie until after we broke up, here's my story…

    We met each other online over a year ago and from the beginning, our relationship was much different than any I've had before. On our first date, I didn't even think he liked me because he didn't look at me, he didn't ask me much about myself, he didn't give me any pick up lines (like most men do) and he didn't try to flirt with me. He did, however, tell me that he "didn't talk much" and it wasn't until I got home and he texted me "he had a great time" that I knew he was interested. I thought he was just shy and introverted and I actually liked it because I am a bit introverted myself but I am also outgoing and I am good communicator. It took six months for us to become official and it was only because I brought up the subject… six months and he still didn't tell me how he felt about me.

    When we started dating, I noticed that we would spend time with each other and then I would not hear from him for a day or two (three days max). I was okay with this because I live a very independent life and keep myself busy. Again, I thought it was just his introverted nature to need space and so I always respected his space and let him pace the relationship. In the beginning he wanted to see me often and when we were together, even though we didn't talk much, I knew he was happy just having me there. When he did talk, it would be about things that interested him such as electronics, tools, etc. I loved just listening to him and watching his face light up with a smile because most of the time, his face showed no expression. I love a lot of things about him… he was so smart -- he would read online or watch YouTube and learn how to wire electricity or install ceiling lights or anything for that matter. He always wanted me to go with him to Home Depot and we would look at everything for hours and I enjoyed it because I loved being with him, I felt comfortable and at peace with him, he felt like home to me. I love that he was kind, soft spoken, gentle and did anything his family, friends or I asked him to do. He was close to his family and he introduced me to them early on and included me in his family functions… I love them too. I loved that he was organized, stable, clean, cooked and worked out at the gym regularly. He even started baking with me and he ended up bake some things better than I can! I loved our routine together but there were also some things didn't make sense to me…

    There were times he said things that hurt my feelings, yes they were true statements but I wondered why he would say such a thing? I also noticed early on that he didn't like talking on the phone and preferred texting. When I traveled for business, he would not text me to see if I arrived safely… actually, he wouldn't text me at all unless he wanted to share something that happened to him and it made me wonder if he even cared about me? A few times I shared with him that I felt sad about something and instead of saying something comforting, he gave me a solution that was logical but did not make me feel better. He didn't like to be around crowds. He showed more love to his dog than to me (but I loved his dog too). He didn't like holding hands or french kissing. In the morning, he was like a robot getting ready for his day... no good morning, no morning hug or snuggling. No snuggling at all. He enjoyed receiving his massages though! No planned dates. He preferred take out and Redbox over a restaurant and movie theater. He was OCD about his clothes, his furniture, decorations, etc. Even though he was so smart, there were some things he had no clue about, almost as if he was naive or child-like. Regardless of this, I was supportive and patient with him. I never questioned him about things or criticized him, I journaled everyday and tried to understand things from his point of view. I have to say, I loved who I was when I was with him, he brought out the best in me… a very giving, patient, compassionate, empathetic, loving person… perhaps thats why we got along so well.

    A few months ago, he finished his vocational program and started looking for jobs. He asked me to help him with his resume, prepare for his interviews, complete applications and I even took him shopping for a new suit. Of course, the fabric had to be the perfect material. He even started calling me on the phone before and after every interview to share how it went. I always praised him and was so happy and excited for him. One day, I introduced him to a friend who is in his field and that person referred him for a job and he was hired :)

    I thought our relationship was going so well, I was close to his family, he was sharing with me more often, we were spending time with each other regularly… and then he started working. The first few weeks of his new job, I knew that he would be busy and tired and because it was a change in his routine, I gave him some space and kept myself busy. We were not seeing each other as often and when we did, he was very tired and withdrawn. I thought he would be excited about his new job but just like everything else he has … he is excited about researching something and shopping for it but once he acquires it, the happiness wears off. Maybe the stress of working was getting to him? He had never worked so much in his life. For two weeks he was busy and distant. I went away on a business trip and tried to call him twice (for something I needed advice) and he did not call me back until the end of the week. One day he asked me to get him something from the store and drop it off at his place. I was so excited to see him but on my way there he texted me and told me to just drop it off. I started crying because I felt neglected and unappreciated, I thought that I was going to stay the night. I felt that I was always there for him and he was not there for me. When I arrived, he met me downstairs and he had a smile on his face while I was in tears. I told him that I was feeling neglected and unappreciated and that it didn't feel good when I reached out to him twice and he didn't return my phone calls or text. He said he was so tired and busy and explained that he was working a lot of hours. I told him I wanted to stay and spend the night at his place. He said he was sorry, he was tired, had a lot to do and had to wake up early the next morning . I told him I was not mad at him and I am usually a happy person but I missed him and felt like he didn't want to spend time with me. Then, he told me he left something on the stove and had to go back upstairs, he kissed me and I drove away.

    For two weeks we barely communicated. I texted him twice after each week and he replied with one word answers. I asked if I would see him on weekend and he cancelled on me. A few days after, he texted me that we needed to have a talk. I agreed and asked when. He replied he didn't know and then he texted "I'm unhappy and think we should see other people :( " My heart sank. My first thought was that he met someone else and was already cheating on me but that didn't fit his character? I didn't fight him, I told him that I knew he was unhappy and that I care very much for him, thats why I was always there for him. I told him that I know I can't make him happy, only he can do that, and if this was what he wanted, I respected his decision. He replied that I am a great person and that I will make someone else happy. Then he texted "I will always remember and never forget how you treated me" … and just like that, we broke up over text message.

    I knew he would not do it in person. What would he say? He doesn't talk. My heart was broken. I don't understand? After being there for him, supporting, encouraging him… accepting him just the way he is and him being open with me, trusting me, asking me for support, he broke up with me because I cried once? It didn't make any sense. I started researching things because it didn't make any sense. Was he shy, introverted, a commitment phobe, a player, emotionally unavailable, depressed? At first I thought he was emotionally unavailable or depressed -- he did have a hard childhood-- and once he told me that he thought he was depressed… but then I came across Aspergers. I started reading and so many things made sense. Then I talked to a friend who's brother is diagnosed AS and it made even more sense! Of course, I don't know for sure if he is AS or not, but it is the only thing that makes perfect sense about everything odd and unusual that happened in our one year relationship. He is not a malicious, mean, uncaring man. He is quite the opposite, only his communication makes it seem he is uncaring on the surface. I read three books on relationships with Aspie's and I realize that I was already doing a lot of things correctly in our relationship… until the night I cried. Still, I know it's okay to cry and share my feelings, I just think he didn't know what to do with them.

    It's been a month since we broke up. I have not reached out or heard from him but I miss him and still love him. I know that we were good together and I supported and treated him very well … and even though he wasn't there for me emotionally, he was in so many other ways. I have decided not to reach out to him with hopes that he will miss me too and decide he wants to come back. I know there is a possibility that this won't happen and that any advice would just be speculation but insight to this situation would be very helpful for me.

    Maybe I am totally wrong and he could have met someone else and already moved on but based on our history and what I know of him, I highly doubt it… my guess is that working full time was such a big change in his life and when I cried to him, he felt overwhelmed and unhappy. Maybe he thought he failed me? I don't know… all I know is that I didn't want to break up with him :(
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
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  2. May Black

    May Black Well-Known Member

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    I'm so sorry to hear things didn't end well. Based on what you wrote, I'd suspect your ex might have ASD as well. I'm NT, my partner is Aspie. I cannot give you an Aspie perspective, but here are some thoughts:

    I know exactly how this feels. It's possibly what I love the most about our relationship.

    I think this is probably a very accurate analyzes. I cannot tell you why he reacted the way he did. I had been friends with my boyfriend for several years before we became involved. In the beginning of our friendship we had terrible arguments when he did something that was plain terrible to me, or when I did something that didn't go well with him at all. It always ended with him saying something deliberately mean in order to hurt me to the point where I'd not want to talk to him anymore. After that he'd feel so bad for what he did that he wouldn't talk to me for days. After we started talking again we wouldn't talk about what happened at all at first. Eventually we learned how we both work and we hardly ever argue at all anymore. It's a process. I think it's important to set boundaries. There are two people in a relationship. It's not excusable for your partner to act in a way that is hurtful to you whether he has a diagnoses or not. It might take time for him to learn, but he won't unless he knows what's hurting you. I think part of the problem might have been you being too understanding, not telling him clearly when something was a problem to you. Your emotional reaction probably came as a shock to him.

    If I were you, I'd text him, tell him you miss him and ask if you can be friends, if that's something you're willing to go through. Sometimes getting to know each other without the pressure of a relationship can be a positive thing.
     
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  3. Vanilla

    Vanilla Your friendly neighbourhood hedgehog V.I.P Member

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    I'm sorry it didn't work out. Your ex-partner does seem fairly typical in behaviour. It's unfortunately a fairly common issue that can arise in a relationship with a person on the spectrum, and generally needs a fairly emotionally strong person to be able to cope with this kind of dynamic.

    I know you two are no longer together, but these links might interest you:

    This is a website recommended by Dr.Tony Attwood, for couples who have at least one person on the spectrum: Different Together Community For Partners of People Affected by Asperger Syndrome

    If you don't know who Tony Attwood is, I recommend looking him up. His advice on AS, and his advise on the dynamics in several social scenarios, are quite brilliant: Home

    I'm unsure if you posted in our introduction section, but if not, perhaps you'd be interested to look at our resources section: Resources | AspiesCentral.com
     
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  4. apsie

    apsie Well-Known Member

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    You pretty much described how I ended my first and only real relationship.
    I can't share the how and why because that is hard for me to write about.

    My advice would be to reatch out to him, because if he's anything like me, he won't be the one making first contact.
    Not because he doesn't like you, but because he probably over analyses things and gets lost in it.
     
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  5. Plumeria

    Plumeria Well-Known Member

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    Hi May,
    Thank you for replying, it really helps to share my thoughts with others. Here are more thoughts/questions:

    I agree, I did not tell him when something was a problem for me because I always wanted to wait for the right time and way to say things. I never knew how he would react to anything I said, sometimes he would just look at me and say nothing, sometimes he would say something defensive and other times he just straight out asked "what do you want me to do?" I am not use to telling my boyfriends what to do, I always believe in allowing them to do what they think is right… but I guess in this case, I will have to tell him clearly.


    I'm very hesitant to text him because I've read other Aspies write that they felt relieved after they broke up with their girlfriend. What if he is happier without me and doesn't want me back? I am afraid to find out… I am open to being friends with him but I am not ready yet, my heart is still broken :(
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  6. Plumeria

    Plumeria Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, I looked at your links and they will be very helpful :)
     
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  7. Plumeria

    Plumeria Well-Known Member

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    Hi Apsie,
    Thank you for your advice. I am hesitant to reach out to him because I have read other Aspies write that they felt relieved after they broke up with their girlfriends. I am afraid to reach out to him because what if he feels happier now that we are broken up? What if he does want to date other people and was unhappy with me? He was the one who broke up with me, he made the decision. I am still heartbroken and I am not ready for possible rejection. That's why I would rather take my chances with him reaching out to me, at least if he does I will know that he wants to communicate… but yes, that might never happen. He does over analyze things.

    Let's just say, however, I do reach out to him… what would I say? I don't want to come on to strong but I'm not ready to just be friends either.
     
  8. May Black

    May Black Well-Known Member

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    I can hear my boyfriend asking that very question. It gets much easier when you realize it is a real question and start treating it as such. He might not know how to react in the most basic situations, such as when you cry, and you might have to really describe it in quite detailed steps. My boyfriend once told me that nothing he ever does is with the intention to hurt me. I think asking him what his intention is with what he's saying might be a good thing too. Explain to him how it makes you feel, and be ready for a completely emotionless reply.

    Lets say I tell my boyfriend how happy I am I have him, and he replies he found a new pokemon. I then proceed to telling him that that was not an answer I expected and that it made me feel sad and unappreciated, his answer to that might be "oh". It doesn't mean he doesn't love you, you just gave him information, he doesn't respond emotionally to it. It's quite easy to get used to.

    Also, don't expect him to learn systems, he'll only learn situations. This goes for both practical and emotional things.

    "If I tell her she looks fat in a dress, she'll get angry" does not necessarily lead him to conclude that "If I tell her she looks fat in the pants, she'll get angry" or to "if I tell her she looks horrible in that haircut, she'll get mad" or even to "if I tell her she looks beautiful in a dress, she'll get happy."

    When I was teaching my boyfriend how to make tea, something he doesn't drink himself, but makes for me sometimes. I told him to pour hot water on it, tea strainer's in the drawer and tea's in the green box. He looked at me like I was talking jibberish. I had to tell him to take the cup, fill kettle with water, turn it on... etc. For comparison I can tell him my computer is acting weird and come home and be told he fixed it.

    I guess it comes down to how much you really want him back. I strongly doubt that he'll make a move himself. You really have very little to lose. If he's happier without you, then you'll know, you'll have certainty and closure. You'll be able to move on once you're ready for it.
     
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  9. Randomperson

    Randomperson The abyss of my mind.

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    I agree with May, if you ask me if I like a haircut, or how I think something looks when you wear it, and you get mad at me for being honest, I am not going to understand why you asked me at all if all you wanted was praise and not my opinion on how I think it honestly looked in my own opinion. And as far as emotional understanding and explanations go, I have a few threads asking about how people interact and communicate because I want to improve in those areas, someone that does not even ask, is going to need even more help in those areas then I do.
     
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  10. Plumeria

    Plumeria Well-Known Member

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    Again, that really helps, thank you so much. I will have to really change the way I think and communicate with him but I know I can do it.

    You are right! When I taught him how to bake cupcakes, I showed him what to do step by step. After only a couple times, he memorized it without the recipe. One day I was baking at his place and asked him to give me the recipe, his reply was "don't you have that memorized already? You've done it so many times." My answer was, "babe, I don't remember things so easily like you do, thats one of the things I admire so much about you!" Then he got me the recipe. Thank you.

    I really want him back but I also need time to work on myself and understand the areas that I need to work on in our relationship, or any other relationship for that matter. When I told his sister that he broke up with me, her reply was "Give it time, sometimes he can be tricky, it could just be a phase." Not the typical response, almost as if he's done this in the past and she's use to it? Still, if I do reach out to him, what do I say?? Do I pour my heart out or do I just say hello and see where it goes?

    Side note: There was a time in the beginning of our dating relationship when we didn't talk for a month. I was upset with him about something and didn't reply to one of his texts. After a month I texted him "Hello, how are you" and he asked me if I would teach him how to bake something new. We picked up right where we left off. But this instance is different, he broke up with me… I am trying to accept that he doesn't want to be in a relationship with me anymore.
     
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  11. Ste11aeres

    Ste11aeres Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not so sure that's true. That's not what that story sounded like. It sounded more like he is aware of his own inability to both manage a job and act like a normal boyfriend at the same time. I think his breaking up was not from lack of wanting to be with you, but was from a sense of his own inadequacy in being able to respond normally to your feelings, and was maybe also from fear of the combination of stress from his job and stress from inadequacy at handling your feelings and needs.
    I agree with those who say you should reach out to him.
     
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  12. Ste11aeres

    Ste11aeres Moderator Staff Member

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    P.S.
    I should add that, even if you guys do end up back together, his need for solitude will always remain higher than yours, and his need for long periods of time with other people will remain lower than yours. It will be important for you to cultivate friendships (maybe with other women or with family members) with people besides just him, so that you do not rely only on him to take away your loneliness.
     
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  13. Christy

    Christy Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi Plumeria,

    Just on your side note, my experience with aspies (I am one and others I've known) is that time doesn't diminish the status of a relationship. If I was friends with someone, and I haven't seen them in a long time, that is no reason for us not to be friends. For this reason weeks and even months will pass and I'll contact someone to say hello and they'll be awkward as apparently I left it too long. This is something I don't understand about NTs.

    To you 4 weeks might feel like an eternity but very possibly it will not be the same to him, so keep in mind what you know of his grasp of time when considering how long to leave it before contacting him(if you do). Be prepared to just pick it up as if nothing had happened??

    If you do end up contacting him, I'd do exactly what you did the last time you two fell out of contact, send him a text asking him how he is, and see where it goes from there. He may not know if it's okay to contact you, after all he did break up with you so he may feel as though because he closed that door he should not open it, even though he wants to.
     
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  14. Plumeria

    Plumeria Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Ste11aeres, your posts have been very comforting to me. I agree and think that this is probably the reason why he broke up with me (even though my fears make me think differently). I am thinking about reaching out to him, I just don't know when I'll be ready…
     
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  15. Plumeria

    Plumeria Well-Known Member

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    I totally understand his need for space and I was actually very good at giving it to him. It was only when he started working and became withdrawn that I felt unappreciated and neglected. From my point of view, before he got the job, he was asking me to help him with job hunting and the interview process and I helped and supported him the entire time. I introduced him to the person who helped him get the job. Once he got it, all of a sudden I was not important. When I reached out to him, he was not available and so, I cried telling him how I felt. I see now that the way I communicated may have come across as criticizing or blaming but that was not my intention. I told him a few times that I was not mad at him but he may not have heard it. I did talk quite a bit and I think he tuned out at some point. If I had only known then what I know now, I would have approached it differently…

    Luckily I have very supportive friends and family and for them, I am grateful.
     
  16. Plumeria

    Plumeria Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Christy, I read that somewhere, that time is not the same for Aspies. I guess most NTs feel that friendships need to be nurtured and valued. If you do not show interest in someone, then they assume that you do not care. It's only when you have been friends for years and are practically family, that you can go long periods of time without talking and pick up where you left off.

    One month feels like FOREVER to me. Everyone here has suggested that I reach out and I probably will when I'm ready… I really appreciate everyone here, it has helped a lot.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
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  17. adamindeltona

    adamindeltona Well-Known Member

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    I'm not saying this "is" why he acted the way he did, all I can say this is something I did.

    Remember that a lot of the way NT's act is completely confusing to us and we do the best we can in understanding this "craziness" all around us.

    With the information given, it seems maybe the new job was placing a lot of new stress on him and then you cried, all he knows is that something he did made you sad and he doesn't know why or how this happened.

    I think most aspies are very aware that we are hard for our partners to happy around. We don't know why we make people unhappy, just that we do. So we leave. We are very loyal and we love a lot more than most people realize. If we need to be the bad guy and terminate the relationship so the partner we care about can be happy, we will take on that burden and accept being unhappy and lonely so they can have a happy life.

    When my ex-wife became distant and unhappy, I didn't know why or how but I knew I was the cause. After 3 years of her being unhappy, I knew I needed to be the fixer I am and end the marriage so she could be happy.

    I don't know about other aspies, but I know I wouldn't make the first move in telling my ex I still love her and want her back. She would need to approach me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
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  18. Grumpy Cat

    Grumpy Cat Well-Known Member

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    OH MY GOODNESS, AGAIN!!! That's what I tried to explain about NT women and friendships in the "NT and Aspie Communication" thread. NT women have "close" friendships. I don't think NT men understand it either. I talk to my close friends, at the very least, weekly. My Aspie friend can't understand that - or other Aspie guys either, or Aspie girls either. :) Otherwise, they go from "close friend" to "acquaintance". :( I think it has a lot to do with "feelings" (NT guys really don't like that word, so I'm sure Aspie guys must think that word is completely foreign). Nothing to do with logic.
     
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  19. Grumpy Cat

    Grumpy Cat Well-Known Member

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    That is so sad! She may think that you are just not interested in her anymore or in trying to work on the relationship. You should send her this post right now and you may be pleasantly surprised.
     
  20. adamindeltona

    adamindeltona Well-Known Member

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    The best and worst thing about it is she is a much happier person nowadays,