1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Started dating an Aspie... and for a while I thought he was a psychopath

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by rosewater, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. rosewater

    rosewater New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2019
    Karma:
    +5
    Hi everybody! (warning, long post ahead)

    First post on the forum :)

    Great to meet you all. I hope I have not offended anybody with the title of this post. A few months ago I met a person who I initially thought to be an Aspie. However, shortly after I became convinced he was a psychopath. After a while I have realized -and so has confirmed his therapist- that it's not psychopathy and most likely high-functioning autism. Here's the story.

    I've had a couple of Aspie friends and even though they are all very different to each other I identified some common signs in him. He was not shy but certainly did not know how to interact with people very well (he's 29, I'm 26). He came across as socially awkward and very blunt. He also had a dark and unusual sense of humor that I found quite amusing. I thought he was endearing, different and very intelligent -a quality I highly value- so I decided to go out with him after a few times of seeing each other at that bar and other events from the Meetup community in my city.

    We went out on a -kind of- date and that's when I realized he did not know how to interact with people that well. But he was still interesting to talk to and for some reason I felt quite drawn to him. Towards the end we were both quite drunk and he said a couple of statements that I found troubling: 'people are inherently bad and to be avoided' and 'I have the urge to kill somebody, either to kill somebody else or myself'. I tend to stomach pretty much anything people tell me and react in a logical way so I just asked him if he had harmed or killed somebody so far. To which he responded that no, but that there was a person who bullied him for many years at school and that he wanted him dead. And that he'd thought about suicide.

    Surprisingly, I still went out with him a few times thinking he just had a mental health issue that he had to work through. At that point I became convinced he was a psychopath (I later found out he wasn't and he's not violent at all). He had a lot of issues with empathy. He seemed to be very callous, arrogant, hated people and thought most humans are stupid. He'd never had a close friend, just acquaintances, and wasn't that interested in friendships either. He also said he didn't care about love or affection, just in dating somebody intelligent. He couldn't be bothered with keeping in touch with his family either. He admitted himself he rarely experienced emotions or feelings, and when he did he struggled to control them.

    I told him I thought he was a psychopath for the reasons above. He said it seemed to fit his behavior and went along with it, so I became even more convinced. He has outstanding analytical skills and strategic thinking, and I am good at understanding people, so we set a kind of information exchange.

    But then things weren't adding up, especially after he became my summer fling. He told me he had been scared of talking to people for a very long time and he hadn't really dated anybody before. It was only a year and a half ago (a bit after moving to my city, which has a much better climate than where he comes from) that he started going out to bars to get over his fear of talking to people and try to get better at conversations. He also said he liked me and had been missing me when we were not together. On a couple of instances when I said I could not see him any longer, he got quite emotional and said he didn't want me to go. He cried his eyes out both times. I was so convinced he was a psychopath I brushed it off and thought he was just lying and trying to trick me. Indeed he tried to assure me he had no intention to manipulate or lie to me with very logical arguments.

    But again he's always been quite kind in his own way, wants to genuinely do things right and does not seem to attempt to manipulate me. I'm not sure how I once thought he was lying if he in fact tends to be honest to the point of shooting himself in the foot. I later apologized for attributing everything he did to lying and manipulation. I'm surprised he put up with the nasty things I told him when I still thought he was a psychopath.

    He always tries to incorporate the things I like to the dynamic of the 'relationship' (even if it's not very serious yet). When I point something he's done that I didn't like or his emotional distance, he always tries to see where he went wrong and makes sure he doesn't do it again. Surprisingly, he makes room for me and my needs more than the average person would (if I do tell them what my needs are, since they are not always evident to him apparently). If I tell him I need help with something, he will help to the best of his capabilities.

    Since he's a natural problem-solver and always thinks like the engineer he is, he also started going to therapy after my complaints about his lack of empathy and affection. He's not so interested in a diagnosis, but rather in a way to address symptoms. Not sure if this is common.

    Not long after we started seeing each other more often it became apparent to me that the issue was more about lack of understanding than lack of care (weak theory of mind maybe?). Things that are very straightforward for me seem difficult for him to understand. Putting himself in somebody else's shoes is also challenging for him. In general, I don't think he understands the magnitude of his issues, although it's slowly starting to sink in.

    I think he does care, but he feels and expresses care in a different way I do. In fact, once we discussed the issues he has with his family, he seemed to understand the way they act much better and willing to resume contact with them, and started to realize some things he says can come across as cruel.

    Since we started seeing each other, he certainly seems to be less callous and hateful towards people. I think now that I helped him understand people a little better he hates them less. I think he was also tired of so much rejection. Can you guys help me figure out if this may be the case?

    One issue that I cannot quite resolve is his flat affect. He struggles to identify and express emotions, and he's also been trying to shut them out for a long time. He often says he has PTSD from the bullying he experienced. But again if I strike a nerve he can cry even if we are in a bar or a restaurant. I read about a condition called alexythimia which is often co-morbid with autism, not sure if it may be that. What do you guys think? Can that improve?

    Anyway it seems like I'll continue seeing him for now and see what happens. He is be committed to addressing his issues and following therapy.

    I am also in therapy since I have a diagnosed anxiety disorder possibly co-morbid with another disorder that is still unclear, perhaps emotional attachment disorder or some borderline features. We both share having felt different and like we didn't fit in for most of our lives. While I am neurotypical (as far as I know), I struggle to connect and find common ground with people, especially if they are my age. I also like he doesn't beat around the bush and says things as they are, I've never been fond of the silly social games many people like to play.

    I also think we make a good team since each of us is strong in different areas :)

    Hope you enjoyed the read and that you can give me some useful feedback to make sure things go smoothly.

    Many thanks!
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
    • Friendly Friendly x 5
  2. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    373
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,030
    One of the cardinal traits of a psychopath is that superficially, their social skills are very good. That doesn't fit your guy at all.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  3. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    3,069
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    Karma:
    +8,089
    I can only speak from my own experience as a female Aspie: I had a lot of trouble identifying my own emotions, but somewhere around my mid-twenties I learned to do this.
    This is coincidentally the same time I started going out to bars by myself to work on my conversation skills, which have vastly improved since then.
    Putting myself in someone else’s shoes is still hard for me, although I don’t lack empathy and I’ve learned how to show it. I’ve learned to be more supportive and more accommodating to other people’s emotional needs, through practice, failure and feedback.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
  4. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    22,848
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +28,173
    A major consideration with interacting with people on the spectrum of Autism is to understand that it isn't that we necessarily lack various emotional attributes such as empathy.

    It's that we simply do not project them in a manner that Neurotypicals assume, expect or demand. That it may take a lot of time and understanding to get to know our thought processes, even in the most cursory ways.

    In which case you just might eventually discover that in fact we aren't narcissists, sociopaths or psychopaths. Just Aspies doing the best we can to function in a Neurotypically-dominated world.
     
    • Agree Agree x 6
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Mycroft.Holmes

    Mycroft.Holmes Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2018
    Karma:
    +89
    Hello Rosewater,

    Welcome to the forum, I hope you find your time here useful.

    I have experience with both being called a psychopath and pychopathy so I might be able to provide a decent enough answer. First, he does not strike me as a psychopath at all. On the surface he might seem to have some of the basic traits associated with psychopathy(lack of empathy in this case.) But looking at the rest of your post, it strikes me as very unlikely. Something I find interesting is, why would you stay in a relationship with him during the time you assumed he was a psychopath and trying to manipulate you?

    I would advice looking closer into his ''PTSD''. A good example of possible effect of it, is if you grab a piece of paper and make a ball out of it. If you try to straighten it out afterwards there are still going to creases. Depending on the severity of course.

    Communication is a must, you are quite different. So to try to avoid unnecessary issues, try to set some time apart each week and just talk through your days and how you are feeling. Keep in touch over possible issues in the future and things that you do not like about each other. if you can find a compromise in your different needs, you stand a better chance of creating a long lasting relationship together.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  6. Marianne 777

    Marianne 777 Member

    Messages:
    40
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2019
    Karma:
    +10
    I’ve been in the same position as this lady please read my new thread. Mine is scared of moths and likes to isolate himself so can’t be a phycopath
     
  7. ryan1205

    ryan1205 Mr. I Don't Know

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2016
    Karma:
    +43
    I wish there are more people like you in the world. Men with autism have it rough when it comes to relationships. At least you're the type to give them a try. Be patient with him and he will be with you.
     
  8. Creep

    Creep Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.

    Messages:
    555
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2018
    Karma:
    +345
    Why would you date someone you think is a “psychopath”?
     
  9. ConfusedKetchup

    ConfusedKetchup New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2019
    Karma:
    +17
    Speaking from my own experience.... thinking isn't the same as knowing. I understand that we're not all built the same, so I try to give people a chance until I know otherwise for sure. Just my opinion, not trying to start anything :D
     
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  10. Creep

    Creep Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.

    Messages:
    555
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2018
    Karma:
    +345
    I never said thinking is the same as knowing.:) Variation is the norm, so I agree we are not all the same. When people tell me who they are from their patterns of behavior, I tend to believe them. That’s just me though.
     
    • Like Like x 1