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NT trying to understand aspie bf

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Vagner, May 24, 2018.

  1. Vagner

    Vagner New Member

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    Hi, guys. First off, I'd like to thank you for taking your time reading this and trying to help me, it means a lot.

    I'm new here, and I'm Brazilian, so English is not my 1st language, so please, be patient with me.

    A little background. I've been in a relationship with my aspie bf for almost a year. Actually, our first anniversary is about to happen, next Monday (28th). In the beginning, everything was perfect. He was affectionate, demonstrated his feelings very often and I felt loved for the first time in my life. He's my 1st bf, and we've been through a lot together.

    In the beginning, we would make out every week. And then, since I was a virgin, two months later we had sex for the first time. It was incredible, he was so caring and so good at it. lol I mean, he really seemed to enjoy it. The thing is, all these things started to fade in our relationship.

    The feelings were no longer demonstrated. The affection was no longer present, and the making out started to be something avoided. He said it's because he's not out as gay, so ok, I understood, since I'm not out myself as well. But then, the sex always seemed to be something that I had to really try hard to get. I mean, it seemed like I was doing all the effort for us to have sex. And it was really rare to happen. I've been through a lot of frustration due to his "lack of interest" in any sexual or romantic area.

    He's just not romantic at all, he doesn't like making out anymore and I see no affection or caring from him. I know he loves me and I know he cares about me on his own terms, but it's hard being in a relationship where I do not feel desired at all, specially because I've felt it all in the beginning.

    I tried to talk to him about my needs, and how we could try to find a way that works for both of us. He lives with his parents, and I share a room with a roommate, so it's hard for us to have a private moment. My proposal was to, once a month, book a hotel room, or travel together or something. But it seems to be worse. He's been feeling pressured since I tried this approach. He said he's not been able to give me what I need and he's been feeling pressured and defensive about it.

    Just to lay numbers, it's been 4 months since we had sex. More than 2 months that we kissed. I just don't get it. It seemed to be something that he really enjoyed in the beginning. I guess it was just the honeymoon fase, idk. But the problem is, I don't feel like I have a boyfriend, I feel like he's my best friend. Even though I know he loves me, I don't feel loved. He never demonstrates it. There's no touching or desire involved. As the months went by, I stopped trying too hard to have sex, therefore we never have it. We also stopped kissing, and it's just absurd for me.

    I talked a lot about me and about how I feel, but I'll give you guys a quick background onon h. He's 27, he's a medical doctor, he's bisexual and he lives with his parents. He's terrified with the idea of coming out to his family is "being outed" (he's afraid someone will see us doing something gay). He's been in 4 relationships before (3 girls, 1 guy). He told me he had more intimacy with his ex BF just because he had more spare time, but it's hard not to compare myself and see me as the problem.

    I mean, I just feel like I'm a convenience to him, and I often feel like we're only best friends pretending to be boyfriends. I know it might be my ignorance, different views on how a relationship should go, but it's hard for me to understand how not demonstrating any feelings, not having intimacy, desire or affection makes us a couple.

    I wonder what to do, I wonder how to approach things better (cause I often feel like he takes things personally and gets offended by it, which makes everything worse). It sucks being in a position of demanding things that should be reciprocate.

    Once I tried to talk about he being an aspie and how it might affect our relationship, he didn't give it much importance. I felt like he was not open to talk about it. Sometimes I feel like I care more about it than he doee, cause he never talked to me about it, I had to look up everything I know.

    I just don't know what to do, and I guess I wrote too much, sorry about that. I don't want to leave him, I love him to death. But I'm feeling so unhappy about not being a "couple", that I just can't take it anymore. I'm so confused and so lost.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  2. AO1501

    AO1501 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Your English is perfectly OK, and you didn't write too much. But you did leave one thing out. You didn't explicitly state whether you are male of female. I'm assuming male because it sounds like you're talking about a gay relationship, but it isn't totally obvious.

    The reason that matters is that if your BF is not entirely happy being outed, he may struggle a lot with a gay relationship in ways that an NT wouldn't, and therefore much of what you describe could be attributed to his anxiety at being 'caught' in such a relationship.

    It is also going to be very difficult because neither of you are able to provide a 'home' for the relationship to grow from, since you have a roommate and he has his parents. It might seem sensible for you to look at booking a hotel room and setting up opportunities for some private time, but all that would really do is create a schedule of anxiety and remove any and all spontaneity.

    You do need to understand some basic Aspie things though, just to begin. The first is that we generally don't demonstrate our feelings in the way you would commonly expect. We typically do very practical stuff, not overtly affectionate behaviours, because we are generally very practically minded.

    The second is that we are very literal, where very likely you are not, so when you talk to him, say exactly what you mean, don't expect him to work out what you're saying, because he likely can't and won't. Also, listen to what he says, because he will mean exactly what he says, not imply meaning. It is possible that he is a little more mentally flexible than that (I am to some degree for example) but it's a good place to start.

    The third is that many of us find it very hard to initiate anything. We can't readily read situations and know what is expected of us or what you want, so we do nothing. You would likely interpret that as not being wanted or desired, but it isn't that at all. My partner is an Aspie like me, so we both know to just ask, or say what we want. That works very well, where otherwise we'd sit and look at each other and neither of us would know.

    So you need to sit down and talk to your BF, and make it clear in simple and literal terms what it is you want and need from him. Don't get into the emotional stuff, because that will likely just confuse him, so stick to the practical issues instead.

    Don't try and discuss his being an Aspie, because to him it isn't really relevant. He is what and who he is, and if that is being Aspie, that's for you to understand in terms of understanding him, not for him to describe to you. He won't know how, because being Aspie is all he knows, and to him that's totally normal.

    It's only after you've had that conversation that you'll be able to tell if the relationship can be made to work or not. Until then, set aside all the pre-conceived notions you have of what it ought to be like to be in a relationship with him, and what it all seems to mean as it is right now.
     
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  3. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    I'm just gonna jump in on the medical doctor part: how stressed out is his work making him? I'm asking, because I'm a medical doctor too, and I know the pressure of my job can totally kill my libido. I'm also not alone in this, many of my colleagues say their sex life is pretty much non-existent due to stress wreaking havoc on desire.

    That being said, I'm sure your boyfriend's work isn't the only problem. Him being closeted and afraid of being outed isn't doing your relationship any favors either. I think you need to have a chat about what you both want and need from this relationship, to determine if this is going anywhere, or whether you're both better off finding a different partner.
     
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  4. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Vagner is a male, though. They both are.
     
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  5. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    As others have already said, the possibility of it being stress- and anxiety-related is very high. I'd suggest sitting down with him in some quiet place, only the two of you, and speak on what's on your and his mind. The problem I see here is having no 'safe haven' for you two and it's a big problem.

    Keep in mind to speak calmly and without accusing him of anything or you'll just cause him to become all defensive again.
     
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  6. Vagner

    Vagner New Member

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    Hi, Mary Anne! Thank you so much for your time. I'm sorry I didn't make it clear enough, I'm a male too. And I know for sure that he's 100% faithful to me. The problem is that those things that I mentioned started to fade to a point where it's non existent. :/
     
  7. Vagner

    Vagner New Member

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    Oh, hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, so many great insights, omg! Yes, you're right, I'm a guy too!

    That's pretty much it. In the first months it was never a problem to us, since we were pretty affectionate even in public. But as time went by, he started complaining and saying how he was afraid etc and I understood him, and then I stopped trying such things. But as I stopped trying, it stopped happening.

    You're right, we don't have it. But the thing is, we used to have a place for a "home". He used to work in another city, and there, he lived alone 5 days a week. In the beginning, he was really excited in take me there whenever I could go. But then, it became a drag. I'd ask to go and he always had some sort of excuse, which I read as a lack of interest (I wasn't aware of him being aspie yet). I mean, it was not a "one time" issue, it happened constantly. We argue a lot about it. How could it not be a lack of interest?

    But what you said, about the anxiety and removing the spontaneity, omg, it's so spot on! I guess it's exactly the problem.

    Yes, I understand it, and I can cope with that. The problem is when I pile up things. That's when I feel sort of hopeless to know if we're only friends or what. And what doesn't click with me is that he was SO affectionate and demonstrated feelings so often, but I guess it has to do with the honeymoon fase, which lasted for only 3 months.

    It's funny, the last time we discussed the relationship, he said he made obvious to me that he was feeling pressured about my demands and were shutting in. He never came to me and talked about how things were getting tense or smth, he expected me to understand, but what I assumed, since he didn't talk about it for like 3 months with no changes at all in our relationship, was that our relationship wasn't a priority at all for him, I still feel like we are not.

    It's so embarrassing for me to ask for a kiss or ask for us to have sex. Omg. I can't even imagine it. We've been distant for so long that I don't even feel comfortable anymore. I mean, I want it, but I'm not comfortable with asking. I feel like I'd be making him uncomfortable, so I do nothing as well.

    I tried that. Several times. But nothing changes, you know? Months go by and nothing changes. Last time, since I got some aspie-nt relationship's Intel, I tried to be as clear as I could. Let's see if we get it right this time.

    That's confusing to me. Even though I see your point as perfectly valid, how can we not talk about it? I mean, he's been in 4 relationships with NTS before, I guess he know a couple things that may or may not work. But he just wasn't really open to talk about it, so I respected him.

    That's exactly what I'm trying to do. It's been hard, but so claryfing. Thank you so much for such great insights.
     
  8. Vagner

    Vagner New Member

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    He complains everyday about working too much and being stressed a lot. He doesn't work on the weekends, tho. We only see each other on the weekends, and we basically got into a routine. We go out, we drink, have some fun and then here we go again, another week. And there's never a time for us in private. I don't even mean having sex everytime we see each other. But there's never time for us to be together in private, even if it's for a chat. It's hard.

    Last time we talked, he was to decide if it's worth it going through all of this. He feels even more pressured in the relationship, and that's not good for him or for me. If he decides it's worth it trying to make it work, I'll try to be as clear as possible and make sure to understand his boundaries. Thanks for the reply!
     
  9. Vagner

    Vagner New Member

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    That's what I tried last Sunday. I told him everything I was feeling and he told me about feeling pressured etc and I said that I don't wanna be that person bringing more pressure to his life, he's got enough from work and academic life. He's making up his mind now if it's worth it or not to continue our relationship. Let's see what he comes up with.
     
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  10. AO1501

    AO1501 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    His fear is about the practical consequences to him of being discovered in the relationship by people he doesn't want to have know that he is gay. The complaints at that point are genuine. When you react by stopping initiating the behaviours he fears he will be caught in, he won't initiate them himself, so everything will stop.



    It could be lack of interest, and it's understandable you see it as that, but it is an interpretation, and interpretations are not always right. In fact often wrong. This is a question you need to ask directly, not try and decide for yourself

    I can't speak for him, but I know that I don't have a honeymoon phase. If I love someone and show affection to them, that doesn't wear off. It wouldn't be logical to want to be like that and then not be. I am very fixed and predictable in that respect.

    Once again, however, you can't interpret his actions or feelings by observation, because as an NT, you understand things is a totally different way. You have to ask. Simple and closed questions that make sense to him. Do you love me, do you like me, do you want to be with me. No emotional overtones, just simple, practical questions.



    Of course he expected you to understand, because he told you. He won't have any idea how you can't listen to him and still not get it. And assuming any motive in him rather than asking outright is simply you placing your value judgements on him. That isn't going to help!



    Yes, I can see it being embarrassing to ask, and then after a while, when there has been no affection, no physical relationship, it becomes almost impossible to start again. Being distant becomes the default, not necessarily because either of you want that, but because it is safer because there is less pressure. You have to look at that and realise that it is unlikely that he will initiate it himself, but may be sad that it isn't happening.

    Again, talk. Specifically about this, and specifically about what he wants. Not because his needs are more important than yours, but because you need to understand his needs in order to know if they can also meet yours, and if so, how.



    I've been in several relationships with NTs, but it doesn't mean I understand how to help make them work or even what my partners have been motivated by or what they want. It would have been no help for any of them to have asked about my Asperger's because as an Aspie, my thought processes, motives, feelings etc are all I know. I can't translate that into something else, and I would find it impossible to really talk about. I doubt I'd make sense in a conversation, though I'd manage better in writing, as I do here. And ultimately, while the difficulties may stem from the Aspie/NT differences, the reality is that you don't need to know how Aspies work, you simply need to understand him, the person.



    I wish you the best of luck. It's funny how often these Aspie/NT relationships stumble over what are often simple misunderstanding that grow into very difficult things because communication itself can be hard when one is very blunt and literal, and the other tries to read between the lines and assumes the other will understand implication.

    And don't be afraid to reset the who thing, to simply say that the two of you need to go back to the start and redefine what the relationship is and where it's going.

    Also don't be afraid to walk away if he seems incapable of meeting your needs. It is no shame to fail at a relationship, but it is very damaging to remain in a bad one.
     
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  11. Vagner

    Vagner New Member

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    You're right, it makes perfect sense.


    Yes, indeed. As I said, I wasn't aware at the time he was aspie, so instead of being understanding, I was mostly resentful.

    For us, it's pretty evident. And that's what I don't quite get. Why was everything so easy in the beginning? Everything flowed naturally. He was very romantic and would always be up to physical interaction. But as time went by, it just faded. And don't get me wrong, I'm really romantic myself, but I can cope with how we deal with our feelings. It's just the contrast, that's so big. We went from 100 to 0. That's hard to swallow. But I'm trying to understand him the best I can.

    I'll keep that in mind, for sure, thank you so much. Simple + practical. Got it.


    That's the point, he didn't say anything. He expected me to assume things, just because they were not happening. He expected me to understand it was hard for him just because nothing happened. He never came to me and said he was feeling pressured, you know what I mean? 3 months went by until we sat and talked again and only then he told me how he were feeling all along. And that's what I told him, we can't just assume the other understands us just because we think they do. He thought I was aware of something I wasn't. And I'm sure I've done it a lot in the past. Guess we fall right back into the communication problems. We need to communicate more, and in a better way.


    What he told me in previous conversations were that in a relationship, he does not value kissing or having sex as much as sharing moments together. But that's what I don't get. The contrast I told you before. In the beginning, there were times when he would say things like "if we had a place, we'd have sex everyday", and stuff like that. So I always thought that I just had to be patient, that it would eventually get better, but now, as he changed his speech, I see that's not an urge to him at all, while it is for me. I just have to know if it makes him umconfortable, or if he wished we had it, or what. I just don't know, that's all he says "it's not important for me". Sometimes I wonder if he's asexual to be honest.

    Exactly, we need to figure out the "how" thing. And that's what i'm gonna try to work with him.


    Wow. I never thought of it that way. In my NT way of thinking, if I had similar issues in previous relationships, it would be somehow easier to identify them and see if it's happening again or whatever. All I wanted was to understand how was it for him in his previous relationships. What caused the most problems, why it didn't work, etc. But I guess that's not how it works. About needing to understand him, that's exactly what my intention was. I mean, I read a lot of stuff about aspies and aspies-NT relationships, but not everything suits him or us. So I just thought, well, let me ask him about it, so I can understand it better. But that didn't work very well.


    You're absolutely right. Communication isn't my strongest suit either, I'm an introvert and all, but I see it as the only way for us to succeed. I'm trying my best not to assume things and just ask, or when I feel frustrated or something, I just use my words.

    I cannot thank you enough for your insights and your advices, it's really eye-opening to be aware of such things. So much damage could've been avoided if I did know it earlier on. But let me focus on the future, and how things are going to be. Thank you so much for your patience and time.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  12. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Good luck, Vagner. I think you both can go through it but you need some time, patience and to learn how to communicate properly. Still, as long as you're willing to work on it, it should be fine.
     
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