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Understanding NTs in relationships

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by sisselcakes, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    thanks for the explanation on eye contact.

    The good thing is my boyfriend doesn’t get offended or feel uncomfortable when people laugh at him. I just think he’s perplexed because he’s not trying to be funny but that’s one reason I like him because he makes me laugh
     
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  2. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thanks for the article - I found it very helpful for me understanding NTs
     
  3. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Some responses to your article
    So how do I help the NT interpret correctly - what is my part in this

    How does this work in the context of the Aspie who has alexithymia. I probably wont be able to say how I feel.

    I find that since I am slow in naming what I feel my NT wife acts as an interpreter to me of what I am feeling.


    Any clue as to how to avoid this? I do not want to hurt the one I love - yet I constantly do


    good point

    How could I convince her of the opposite?
     
  4. Lena_131309

    Lena_131309 Active Member

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    Maybe some of my answers will be helpful :)

    If you want to avoid NT person being offended, you need to ask your wife, which of your behaviour make her feel sad or uncomfortable...There is no one pattern, you could follow, as every NT person is different and, what is "offensive" to one person, can be completely ok for the other. Sometimes, it very much depends on your self-confidence. Simple example, they are many NT people that are not comfortable with the way how they look, so, in theory, any comment about it, that is not "positive", would not be appreciated or would actually make them really sad. It is a learning curve, and you just need to pay attention to how she reacts when you say/do particular things (if her reaction is obvious, for example she stops talking and turns away), or, if their reaction is not clear to you - ask her to tell you directly "I can see that you haven't noticed that something is wrong. Your comment about that and that made me feel uncomfortable/sad/annoyed because of that and that", and try to avoid it next time. I had once situation with my partner when I was pretending to make photo of him (he was wearing new t-shirt he got from me), and his reaction (completely logical from his side and completely not logical from mine) made me almost cry...he said (in almost "agressive", in my mind, way) that he doesn't want me to take any pictures of him right now...I was standing in front of him, shocked by the "tense" reaction, and he was just smiling and asking me if I want to eat something...completely not realising that I was sad/angry/offended and somehow scared...only when I told him that, he explained me that he does not like to see his face on the photos, as it looks "strange" to him and he cannot recognise himself (his words), that is why he does't like taking pictures of himself. If I have not told him that, he would be completely not aware, that his behaviour had such a strong influence on me. He hasn't done anything like that since. In my understanding, only clear statements can help here as, "obvious" (for us) signs of NT people being offended (face expression, turning your head away, shaking your had, tears in your eyes, stopping the discussion) are obviously not so "obvious" to our AS partners. I had once situation with my partner, I was laying in bed with my head on his chest, and he said something that made me feel very uncomfortable, so my natural reaction was to move away from him, without saying a word, and turn my head in opposite direction. Very clear "statement" in NT word, and very not clear in NT-AS one. He didn't realise that something was wrong, at all.

    Clear communication. Tell her to tell you that she feels ignored whenever she does. It is not easy, as we, NT people, do not want to appear clingy / needy, but I guess that is the only way. It is just "coded" in our mind, that if someone is interested in me= he/she wants to spend as much time as possible with me. If he/she does not, it means, it is the opposite. This is just how our brain works. And I guess, from the perspective of my own relationship with AS guy, that is one of the most difficult parts to manage. We are aware that you need your "alone time" and that we should not take it personally, still, our brain knows that and our heart feels differently...Simple example, I am going for a (probably) great dinner with my partner and 2 other couples tomorrow evening, this is our "first" official dinner with friends, since we started dating. My brain tells me "wow, this is great, he is ready to do that and seems to be excited about it" and my heart pulls me on the other side and whispers "he hasn't texted you since 2 days, maybe it is just a random dinner for him and has no meaning and whatsoever"...so you see, this "ignorance" thing (in our mind) can completely ruin the (potential) positive experience we are supposed to be part of. On the other side, most of us are also very "proud" (which is completely stupid), so I am not "able" to overcome it and text him first. So I am somehow angry, somehow excited about the dinner tomorrow, somehow sad, somehow demotivated and...he is potentially not even thinking about it at all, waiting for the dinner...I wish, to be honest, that my mind could be as "easy" and logical as his sometimes.

    Can you try to learn to name emotions? or does it work like that, that you actually do not know, how you feel (if you are sad / confused / happy etc.)....I am sorry for asking such a basic questions, but I am not really sure how it works...

    I believe it is more about us, NT people, feeling "connected" to the feelings of other people, especially those we care about. For example, if we spend time with someone that feels sad, we are automatically trying to make this person feel better (as we somehow "feel" the sadness of the other person, and, the more we care about him/her, the more we want this person to feel happy). I know few people that are so emotional, that if someone cries next to them, they are automatically bursting into tears (sometimes even without knowing the reason why the other person cries)...Usually, it is based on our own experiences, so, for example, if we can see someone being sad/happy/concerned due to situation X, we usually process the "situation X" to our own experience with it ("oh, I know what you feel, I had the same experience before") and that causes us "understanding" why the other person feels like that. If we are unable to "connect" our own experiences to the "situation X", we are, very often, not capable of "understanding fully" why the other person reacts one way, and not the other ("well, I am not sure if you are not overreacting here...it is not as serious as you may think..."), which can be wrong.

    I am not sure if I fully understand the definition of "mental template we use for communication"...I guess it is more about the different communication styles NT people have and which can differ tremendously. For example - I am very open and easy going person and can basically talk to any stranger on the street about any topic. Zero problems with that. On the contrary, I could not (would not like to) simply "copy" this communication style to my relationship and be very open and direct about anything I want/need to talk. Due to different factors (for example, my own perception of what influence it could have on my relationship, which could be perfectly correct or perfectly incorrect), I am always trying to adjust my communication style:
    (1) to the person I am communicating with
    (2) to the situation I am communicating in

    So, I would not agree, that we always use the same "communication template" with everyone. It can differ completely, from one person to the other and from one situation to the other.

    In a communication between two partners, I guess, the most important part is to find the template that works for both of you. To be open when the situation requires it (for example when the other person makes you, not in purpose and not realising that, sad) and maybe to limit the communication when the other person feels "overloaded" with the amount of information you process...I guess questions like "Can you explain me how you understand my words" or "Do you think you understand the situation the same as me. My understanding is..." can be really helpful, but then you both need to work on your ability to express it (and I am in the opinion that the most "square" and not beautifully sounding words are better than just saying "I cannot explain that").

    The non-verbal communication is completely different animal. We, NT people, with only NT relationships experience, have significant difficulties not to try to adopt our "non-verbal communication patterns" in a relationship with autistic person.
    Simple examples (I made them black-and-white) to make it more clear (they can be exceptions possible)
    (1) if a guy invites you for a date = he is interested
    (2) if a guy invites you for more dates = he is even more intrested
    (3) if a guy grabs your hand when you are on a date = he wants to be your official partner
    (4) if a guy introduces you to his friends / family etc. = he treats you seriously
    (5) if a guy does not contact you after 1/2/3 date = he is not interested anymore

    and so on...

    As you probably know better than me, almost none of those "non-verbal communication templates" can be "used" in a NT-AS relationship. And it is very difficult to work on a new templates, as noting, you have known and been familiar with before, makes sense. It is difficult, as your mind still forces you to apply those templates and, in the same time, you know it doesn't make sense. But, as it is the only reference you have, you cannot so easily "escape" from it.[/QUOTE]
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2020
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  5. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thank you for the response. I have printed it out and will consider it and come back to you.
     
  6. Buzzerfly

    Buzzerfly Well-Known Member

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    I almost always hate blogs, but I was able to read your article and enjoyed the way you approached everything/what you said.

    I find myself as an autism person in regards to how my tone or facial expressions are read by other NTs.
    I do not link up to social cues very well, although my brain is capable of and does the things you mentioned in the scenario where the NT auto-observes a group of people’s ticks during a social interaction.
    I like when my autistic husband is engaged in special interests, but I do get bored. I also grow fearful of danger inching its way into our home from outside, which I will sometimes have to request his protection from until it passes.

    I straight up ask him if he is upset with me if it becomes a concern. He can have sensory issues with me but still like me at the same time.

    as an NT, I think you’ve done a very nice job being objective. You might consider that even the best NT is still NT intelligent centric, meaning they cannot fathom a use for autistic intelligence, so all advice is how to understand the neurotypical better. This desperation to be understood comes from a deep rooted, perceived imperfection that exists in all NTs at the base of their programming. I too struggle with this.

    an autism flaw can be that they do not have a false sense of imperfection, therefore, they can be unhumble about something that has actually been damaging to them from our world, not helpful.

    regardless, I think the common goal is to learn to communicate for a purpose, goal, etc., not for everyone to stare at each other.

    that being said, it’s nice to get physical and/or have kids, help each other out with life, point each other in the right direction and gain familiarity.
    Both intelligences could be used as part of a whole on Earth. But it’d important to note that some on the spectrum need not interact with NTs (or even other autistics) for that overall goal to happen. A relationship isn’t the end all be all. I do think companionship is important to most.

    hmm, have I been rambly enough yet?
     
  7. Lena_131309

    Lena_131309 Active Member

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    Sure, my pleasure. Please feel free to come back to me with any questions anytime. Would be happy to answer them.
     
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  8. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi Lena
    How did the dinner go?
     
  9. Lena_131309

    Lena_131309 Active Member

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    Hi Alexej, thank you for asking :) it went very well :) one couple cancelled in the last moment so it was only 4 of us, and it was really relaxed and enjoyable evening. We both continued the evening once the dinner was over (after midnight), so we also had chance to spent some time together. He said we need to repeat soon and that he will organize something in his place :)
     
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  10. Rexi

    Rexi uwu owo uwu SlightlyFilterless Atheist Science=<3 V.I.P Member

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    I relate so much to the NT traits described:screamcat: my alexithymia friend reads the world through different ways whereas I use a lot of emotional experience and imagining how i would feel to be able to get the feelings that the story teller is saying [admittedly sometimes can be hard to figure out what theyd feel like based on fact data and that sets me into such confusion and inability if it happens] and come up with a reply that's right for the needs of the person or advice and routes. Emotional reading is easy to me most times, and pleasant. Feels like i connect with the person.

    Understanding a person can be hard if i lack the past experience, rarely happens but distant people can confuse me and trigger my insecurity and paranoia, and its hard to accept and understand their needs entirely even with extensive debates, if im attached to them more than normal friends. If i feel neglected, understanding these things is even harder and having patience with a continuous behavior, tend to focus on my needs and frustration gets in the way. This is because I take it personally and I expect sustainable support.

    I have very rigid limits about such situations, because I feel like if the work put in is not equal from the other end I feel tricked. But commonly i tend to remember what they did good and forget my good deeds, putting myself down and making me feel like I want to make it equal at least, or what they did bad and think of my good deeds, feeling mistreated.

    On the other hand I also have autistic traits.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020