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Struggling to Understand my Aspie boyfriend...can our relationship work?

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by Katina12, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. Katina12

    Katina12 Active Member

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    Hello everyone, so I'm very new to this, but here's my situation.

    I'm a NT girl with an aspie-diagnosed boyfriend, and I absolutely love him to pieces. He is gentle and innocent and caring and throws himself into his passions, and I care for him so much. He is an incredibly talented programmer and I love his intensity and intelligence.

    But when it comes to basically everything we are so, so different. I wouldn't call myself an extrovert but I am a pretty social being and I like going out to eat, seeing friends, etc. on the weekends. My boyfriend only really feels "safe" at home. He recently told me that he only goes out for my sake, and if it was up to him he would spend every day at home. He also told me he often struggles just to leave the house, and he has a hard time going anywhere without me there.
    I find it hard to relate to this...for me, it takes absolutely no thought getting out of the house...I just go. I try to be patient with him, but his anxiety regarding leaving the house never really seems to improve, and I get frustrated.

    I also have a hard time being patient with how everyday activities completely sidetrack him. When it comes to me, he is wonderful. He opens up to me, he comforts me, he listens to me. We have great conversations and never get tired of each other's company.
    The problem begins with other people. He can barely hold a conversation with others, he is incapable of making friends, he is afraid of everyday activities such as making a phone call or going to the supermarket, and I am left to handle everything.
    He cannot handle much of anything in life. Work is too stressful, school is too stressful, driving is too stressful, social events are too stressful, travelling is too stressful...the list goes on. Sometimes I feel like his caregiver. I pay the bills, go to work, go shopping and drive him around. All he does, all he is capable of doing, is cooking, cleaning and doing laundry.

    I also am becoming impatient with his self-worth issues. He refuses to get a job because he believes he is not good enough and he would only get fired. He seems to have this deep inner hatred of himself that makes no sense to me, because he truly is a wonderful person.

    The biggest issues we have is my impatience and his communication issues.

    He actually loves touch and is a very sexual person, so I guess I lucked out there. As far as physical intimacy we have no problem.

    When things are going well, its amazing.

    But at the first sign of conflict, he shuts down. He cannot deal with disappointment or anger. Instead of working things out he simply refuses to talk to me. He just says something like "I cant talk about this anymore" instead of working out the actual problem. I'm someone who needs to talk through issues, and it is absolutely maddening to me when he shuts down completely.

    I love him to pieces, but he drives me crazy. I have absolutely no idea what to do.

    Any advice? Can this kind of relationship work? Will his symptoms get better over time? Can aspie's and NT' really form lasting relationships?
     
  2. xDominiel

    xDominiel Dust Particle

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    It can work, yes. But he probably won't change in the way you'd like, so you'll have to decide if you're okay with that, with the way things are now.
     
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  3. Chance

    Chance "all who wander are not lost" - Tolkien V.I.P Member

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    Hi and welcome Katina,

    Ouch... Your guy is a lot like me... You are a lot like my NT wife.
    I cant speak for him, no one can... I changed a lot of things about myself over the past years, but some things are just ASD and I won't say they cant be changed, but maybe sometimes its better to not try and fix what isn't broken.

    What I didn't understand was I wasn't changing but faking who I was... Overtime this turned into a disaster.
    I started having hellish anxiety and panic attacks, and then depression become a bigger problem.

    He isn't faking... Please know that. I don't know his background but lots of us have no self worth because we were made to feel worthless when we were very young.

    Can you make it work? Sure it can. Will it be easy... Nope, because its like mixing oil and water. You both have to be who you are and not fake stuff... It all has consequences.

    Just be real, maybe he can get some counseling to up his self worth, and patience and kindness are always a plus.

    Read up on AS/ASD and any other things he has... Knowledge is power... Not over him, but to understand him. He needs to understand you also... From there make a formula that works... It can be done many people do it. I have made it work for nearly 20 years. Right now its a little rocky and sketchy, because I had to go back to being me, and I couldn't fake it anymore. Maybe you can understand this, maybe not.

    But there are lots of nice people here with some very good advice and ideas...

    Good luck to both of you.
     
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  4. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    There's something called Cassandra Syndrome. (I only found this out today myself)
    It concerns something called Affective Deprivation Disorder.
    It all sounds very worrying and scientific -y but relax, it only means that in a relationship where one person has Alexithymia (possibly due to Autism) misunderstandings may arise within the relationship.

    I would post up a link for you to read, but I haven't figured out how to yet :)
    Perhaps Google it? See if any of what you find out applies to you?
     
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  5. Katina12

    Katina12 Active Member

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    Wow, thank you @Chance ....you gave me something to think about. I think sometimes if I think "if he only pushed himself" or "if he tried harder he could do these things", but pushing him has only led to distance and him being upset. I guess it's important for me to remember that this is not his fault and it's not for lack of trying. And it's not faking either...it's who he is. The issue is very real to him, and that's all that matters. You're completely right.

    He actually is in counseling, which is helping him immensely I'd say, and doing a lot better than he was a year ago, he is able to at least recognize his behaviors and what he wants to change.

    I think your right, I do need to do my research...I previously had a partner with severe social anxiety disorder and so I thought I was prepared to deal with this...I'm now learning that Asperger's has its own unique set of challenges.

    I truly appreciate your well wishes and advice, I truly want to make this work! If he works on his communication and I work on patience I think there is hope for us.
     
  6. Keigan

    Keigan Restless Mind V.I.P Member

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    @Katina12

    Your assumptions and expectations are all wrong.

    What you need to realize is he is telling you the absolute truth, for him it takes tremendous amounts of energy to go out of his environment, were as to you it is a decision that requires no thought.

    You are attempting to hold him to your standards and expectations, he is different and can't fathom those standards and expectations and that truly scares him deeply.

    You need to decide right this moment - do you want to continue to drive him away, or do you have enough compassion for him and the relationship to literally stop dead in you tracks and not say another word.

    What say you?
     
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  7. Keigan

    Keigan Restless Mind V.I.P Member

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    So start here....

    Does your BF speak with sentences starting with "I think the moon is ......" or does he speak with "I feel the moon is moving us ......".

    The distinctions are "I feel" or "I think". I know the answer, in general he speaks with "I think...".

    Now yourself you are empathic, you speak with "I feel" as your posts are all about how you feel...

    So start your research here and in this order:
    - look up the definition of empathic
    - sit down and write out your emotional needs from your partner, what you need and expect from an emotional connection with your partner
    - research Alexithymia, that is a person who may or may not feel emotions and probably can't recognize emotions in Self or others beyond happy, sad, angry and frustrated
    - research Casandra Syndrome, this describes an empathic individual who is deprived from emotional connection and emotional reciprocity
    - research Aspergers Syndrome, there are varied emotional challenges within AS

    Then reach out to me and I can tell you what do and what not to do if you are interested in healing the relationship.

    You might have reached out at just the right moment, potentially before too much damage has occurred
     
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  8. Keigan

    Keigan Restless Mind V.I.P Member

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    Don't ask him to try harder, don't question his motives, don't ask how he feels. Let him breath for a moment while you do some research.
     
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  9. Keigan

    Keigan Restless Mind V.I.P Member

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    Alexi affects 10% of the general population, which is everyone on the continent. It is often diagnosed as a condition of autism bit it truly stands alone.

    There are two types of Alexi: environmental causes by trauma that can be helped through theropy, or pervasive which is based upon your DNA and does not change much.

    I know this as mine is DNA based and so I have researched a ton, for me "this is as good as it gets".
     
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  10. Keigan

    Keigan Restless Mind V.I.P Member

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    Many aspies are very literal, so when he describes something as it hurts or is challenging - you need to believe it because words can not describe how hard it was for him to say that to you.

    Many aspies are very touch oriented, touch provided evidence and does not require emotional translation, this works for many of us. Others don't like touch or texture or many other things.

    So know and plan ahead that your future significant conversations need to be face to face and holding hands - not through text or email or even phone calls.
     
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  11. JDartistic

    JDartistic Well-Known Member

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    There's a really good book on just this subject that you would find helpful. It's called THE JOURNAL OF BEST PRACTICES by David Finch. It's written by the autistic husband trying very hard to keep his marriage afloat. It's really good reading for you and your boyfriend - both of you will enjoy it AND it will speak to both sides of your issues. I think you'll find it insightful and helpful. :)
     
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  12. Katina12

    Katina12 Active Member

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    Funny you mention that, I had no idea that his avoidance of texting could be an aspie thing! But yes, he is very physical and touch is his way of communicating in a lot of situations (he is amazing at being physically affectionate but struggles with his words) so I guess it makes sense that electronic communication where he cannot see me or touch me would be difficult.
     
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  13. Keigan

    Keigan Restless Mind V.I.P Member

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    Right - he needs touch to distract his brain from solving the worlds problems, in order to recognize that you are a part of his life, and he a part of yours - touch calms him, allowing you in.
     
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  14. Dadwith2Autisticsons

    Dadwith2Autisticsons Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I am just just wondering if the roles were reversed, how would you and your boyfriend feel?

    I mean if you were the one who stayed home, cooked, cleaned, did the laundry and had low self-esteem and was fearful of going out and meeting others, and if you were there for him in the important ways, like regarding sex and communication and empathy, and if he instead was impatient, but very social, functional at work, payed the bills, and did the driving and shopping?

    Most guys I would hope to think would be very fine with that woman and scenerio, and they would just see that woman as doing what she could, and without putting pressure on her to change and as she had extra fears and needs. And most women I think would be very fine with that scenerio I just mentioned too, it seems, as he was contributing a lot as well to the relationship. It is natural to not be able to do everything.

    So, I am wondering why you are getting frustrated at him, for how your situation actually is, as you seem caring. Is it because your expectations are that a man should instead do the stereotypical things, and you feel he is showing weaknesses and abilities that do not match your desires for a man? By that theory though, he could critique you for your working and impatience, as many traditional men could be against that, or be bothered with a woman doing less of the cooking, cleaning and laundry, if that is the case, as many outdated men could think that way, but I sense he does not.

    In other words, why must there be a possible double standard? If women did those same things your husband does now and if they avoided those other things or could not do certain things, she could be seen as fine, but if a man contributed in those same ways, and had those same fears, and had those things he could not do, that is not ok? He has a condition as well, that cannot or should not be significantly changed, if at all, so that should be understood and factored in too. If you want a typical guy, then that is your choice. That typical guy will have other issues too. Strength and love should not be defined by ones work and social ability. It is up to you what you need and value most in a relationship, as it seems like he mostly accepts you, but you not totally him, with a need for some change.

    As long as he is contributing in those ways you mentioned, that seems like a lot of good to me. There are many men who contribute much less, in my opinion. It sounds to me the relationship could work if you wanted it too, if you change your expectations, in not wanting him to do what the typical guy does, and focus on the good things like you mentioned instead. For instance, is it really necessary he be a public person and work outside of home? Lots of people are not, or cannot. Lots too can be very stressed by such and thus homebodies, and more men are home these days, and with more women wanting a career. Who cares what society thinks.

    My wife and I are two total opposites, for about 90% of things. I am way less social than her, but more detailed, organized and analytical. She comes across as more talkative, worries a lot, focuses more on the future instead of the present, unlike me for all, and she is more sillier than I, and less politically correct in public. But, I am more spontaneous, and she needs more planning. I do the billing, budgeting and most indoor and outdoor chores, and she other tasks that are less challenging and that involve no time constraints. We both can care equally for the kids, and we both are creative.

    We both have made the marriage work for eleven years now, and after two years of dating prior, too, dealing with big issues where most couples would fail. This despite having different philosophies too regarding how to handle disagreements too, as I believe in talking issues out, whereas my wife can get emotional for issues she hyperfocuses over. As well, I am into self-help principles, and she less into that, and despite all of these differences, we have found happiness and longevity, as we see most things as compatible, and as we accept even big differences but at time agree to compromise for those. This is different than trying to change the other we feel.

    We are wishing you the best. In summary, the relationship can be happy and successful despite all those differences, if open mindedness and true love and care is really there. It sounds to me you have that really great side, too, but just need some direction. I have seen women who were anti Aspies, and saw little good in them, and you do not really appear that way. That is a huge start.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
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  15. Katina12

    Katina12 Active Member

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    Thank you for that perspective...I found it extremely helpful. I think I am a bit bothered by what my friends think if I'm being honest...that it's not normal for a man not wanting to work, therefore not wanting to provide etc...it honestly makes me feel so horrible to say this, but I do get a bit embarrassed because I can tell my friends see him as "weird" and "lazy" when it is not laziness at all and he actually works so hard just to do things I take for granted every day.

    Thank you so much for your well wishes. I will try to be more accepting and not get hung up about what society and my friends might think.
     
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  16. Dadwith2Autisticsons

    Dadwith2Autisticsons Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Friends often think they know what is best, but they are not you. Often they can be followers and not leaders. And until they really know your boyfriend like you do, they should think twice to judge and put any pressure on you to distance yourself from him.

    It can be difficult sometimes too, to know whether to follow your head or your heart, and whether to side with a boyfriend or friends, as you can care for each. In this case, stand up for what you personally want, feel and need, and the rest will take care of itself.

    Mistakes in life will happen, but we learn best and quickest from our own decisions. If we fear going against the grain on occasion, we could be missing out something very unique and special in life. Try to see that uniqueness as great, as he has other abilities most guys do not have.
     
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  17. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member

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    Bare in mind that this: all he is capable of doing, is making your life easier. You do not have to worry about what to cook; your home is nice and you have clean clothes.
     
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  18. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member

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    Try searching for something you do, that others find weird and then, put how you feel about that ie others reactions and translate it to how your boyfriend feels.

    It would be wonderful if going out was no big deal. I LONG for that to happen. And I am sure your boyfriend is completely aware with how you feel about the situation; that you are frustrated.

    My husband has had to learn to go on social functions on his own. Because I have got to the point that I cannot be persuaded now and well, at least I do not say he cannot go!

    It is always about trying to put yourself in someone's shoes ie called: empathy. And the best way to find that link is to think of something that you feel uncomfortable doing.

    The summery is that is your love for him stronger than your frustration? Because if it is, you will be prepared to change your attitude, because he can only do so much. Try looking at what he does that you consider very poor indeed, as something positive.

    My husband has no choice but leave me alone, when I am having a meltdown and so, that is what you must learn to do with your boyfriend.

    You are the "fast runner" and he is the "slow runner" and thus, the fast runner slows down to match the steps of the slow runner.
     
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  19. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    This post interested me - as I think it sums up a few key differences from the AS and NT side of things.

    We are,in a way, a society of loners. It's not our natural position,not so much to not think of others, but not to think of them in terms of what others may think.

    Your post seems to represent some of the hidden judgments (I don't mean you personally, speaking generally!, a better word needed!) that society has made that a lot of us are simply not aware of or are simply invisible to us.

    We may act in a way for its own merit. We don't generally have a hidden agenda. There may be no understanding (or better - no need to consider other people before we act )of what other people think.

    If we interpret things literally - morality and 'being good' is something that stands on it owns.
    In a lot of ways - for the NT world - morality and being good (what your friends think of what your boyfriend 'should do') is a social thing. It is built up from interaction amongst communities - often unconsciously.

    Think of AS as someone who built that up individually to get where they are.

    So getting somewhere close,with a large deficit, of not reading social clues isn't too bad,really.

    I am also more into not working than most :) Mostly as there is no social benefit (ie a lot of people gain benefit and pleasure from the one upmanship aspects of the social world including work - the dog eat dog thing)
    So I see it more as food,safety - once achieved - not necessary.

    So my post doesn't quite hit the mark - but there's a better point in there somewhere - 6/10 :)
     
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  20. xudo

    xudo something

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    You say he's a talented programmer, so is there no possibility of him working from home? My brother in law is a programmer and when he's been off work ill, he has still been able to work as he'll just use remote software. There must be such a thing as a freelance programmer.

    It could be that the things that you have mentioned could improve over time, but there's also the possibility that they will not and this is just the way he will always be. If that's the case, then you need to work out if you can live the rest o your life like this with him, or not.

    I don't like to leave my house without my husband, but then neither of us are NT so it's not an issue.
     
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