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Featured Very happy with the Aspie I'm dating + some questions :)

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by rosewater, Nov 2, 2019.

  1. rosewater

    rosewater New Member

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    Hi everybody,

    I hope you are doing well :), happy to be sharing some thoughts with you again. A while ago I wrote a post about the time I started to date an Aspie and thought he was a psychopath. I felt like sharing an update about how things are going, and some questions. So here it goes!

    As I said in the post, it's obvious that the guy I am seeing isn't psychopathic at all. I am very happy that we gave each other a chance and tried to make things work. We are now doing very well and slowly getting into a serious relationship. We see each other at least once a week and do many things from dinner and coffee to movies or going out to pubs/bars. I am very surprised by how J (nickname I'm using) has grown emotionally since we started seeing each other. He had never dated anybody before, which surprised me a bit because he's almost 30. But I understood that for a long time he had no interest in it and then didn't really know how to approach women. Now he is quite affectionate and loving, and very much enjoys cuddling at least as much as me, or even more. Sometimes we are even corny and kind of purr when we hug, which is not something that neither J or me used to do before. It just kind of happens :oops:.

    J is learning very quickly how dating works and how to take care of the relationship. He has plenty of emotional empathy but sometimes not cognitive empathy. I realized that some things about social interaction are just not self-evident to him and I need to tell him directly. But once I do so, he's more than happy to take my feedback into account. This dynamic ensures that we communicate openly, which keeps the relationship healthy and helps it grow. He doesn't get easily angered and is always willing to listen, which makes things easier too, especially since I have a bit of a temper sometimes...

    We get along pretty well, we discuss things things openly, support each other, laugh together and are making plans for the near future. We look forward to seeing each other, and also help each other learn new skills. He's an engineer (what a surprise, huh?) and I'm more of a humanities/social sciences person. Both my interest in psychology -and especially autism- and reading I've done helps me understand him better.

    At the moment I am going through a rough time professionally and he has helped me A LOT. Both with advice and being there for me whenever I needed for whatever I needed. I would have never guessed this about him a few months ago since he seemed so cold and insensitive. He was quite convinced himself that he didn't have any feelings, but it's more like he had suppressed them for a long time and didn't know how to process them.

    With this, I'm not saying that it is all a bed of roses. We have our bad moments and we don't always agree on things. All relationships require work and dedication. I don't think this is that different to other relationships I've had, we just face different challenges and need to adjust accordingly. We are very different but somehow similar and (I think) good for each other. We both need our distance and can be cold-headed, have often felt like the oddball that didn't fit in a group, and had very different tastes and ways of doing things to people our age, so I guess those common points brought us together. We also embrace our nerdiness.

    I don't want to patronize him because he's an Aspie, just like I wouldn't want him to patronize me because of something else. We are building something together and we need to be equal partners here.

    To end my post, I would like to ask you for some advice about something. We sometimes go to meetups together and he struggles a bit to talk to groups of people. I try to bring him into the conversation but he says that he still finds it difficult. We had a conversation about this (since he seems to be fine with talking to me for hours) and he says that he has a bit of an 'impostor syndrome' in those situations and doesn't know what topics he could bring up during small talk. I'll try to help him the best I can but any ideas are appreciated.

    I am not so concerned about meetups but about the time when he meets my family and friends. I'd like my parents to have a good impression of him when they meet him in the near future, because he's both very smart and very kind. But he really finds it difficult to talk to people he doesn't know. Any tips?

    Love,
    Rosewater
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
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  2. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    get a book on autistic masking but be aware it is shattering to pretend to be neurotypical it makes us ill
     
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  3. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member

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    Graded short meetings with parents might work better than one nerve wracking BIG meet.
     
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  4. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Maybe. Maybe not.

    One thing to be cautious about is determining the cognitive empathy of those of us on the spectrum of autism. From my own observations, Neurotypicals tend to use their own sense of expectations to either confirm or dismiss such empathy. Meaning if we neither say or act out on it, we must categorically not have it. Which is simply not true. That in essence some of us are simply unable to physically project such empathy even when it is both in our heart and our mind. Where you must be very patient with us when perhaps you may eventually learn there's much more to us than what you may take on face value alone.

    I have such empathy, however for better or worse, at times you may need a crowbar to pry it out of me. Just keeping it real, people. A dynamic that has been problematic in relationships with NT girlfriends. Where they just expected me to respond in a specific way. And when I didn't, the relationship suffered and eventually died. Though at the time neither of them or myself were ever aware of the autism factor.

    Don't try to "prep" him. Instead try to prep your parents. Honesty and understanding in the long run will serve you better relative to your parents rather than any "dog-and-pony" show that he may simply not be up for.

    Social anxiety isn't something you can change or transcend overnight- if at all depending on the individual. Something I once tried to compensate for, having been prescribed a powerful medication for years that ultimately made me less than who I was. Where I eventually weaned myself off it, willing to deal with myself for who I am rather than just an empty shell to get by in stressful social situations usually involving people I didn't know.

    In essence think of how you can be his "wingman", and don't spend time fretting over parity concerns.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
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  5. Trophonius

    Trophonius Member

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    The more often you have sex with him, the better he will be able to talk to other people.
     
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  6. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    Thank you for the follow-up. Beautiful story. It can be daunting just to date in this century, all kinds of new rules. To hear you have wiggled through stuff and are having a great time, yay, release the party ballons. lol
     
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  7. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    Omg that's funny. And you will gain no calories! lol Best way to learn a learn a foreign language, aye papa! Muy caliente!
     
  8. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    That's very nice the way you worded it. l tend to think, don't do anything, they either accept him or they don't. But in your heart, you accepted him, that's more important than relatives. You obviously are very good for each other, the two puzzle pieces that fit together and that's where your effort should be, on you two, not on relatives.
     
  9. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    He doesn’t like talking in groups. That’s okay. Help him by letting him know that it’s fine for him to be himself. He doesn’t need to talk just because it’s what other people expect and consider normal. If he genuinely wishes to be able to speak more easily in groups,—as opposed to simply feeling pressured to do so,—then a behavior therapist would be a good step. Otherwise, let him be himself.

    Re: your parents: you’re basically saying that he will embarrass you to some degree if he chooses to just be himself when he meets your parents. What if he took you to meet his friends or family and said, “Okay, just for a few hours, don’t be yourself, because you won’t make a good impression on them the way you are.” You’d be deeply hurt, I’d guess.

    If there’s one thing I wish for autistic people, it’s that we all stop feeling pressure to fit in, that we stop trying to be like everyone else and feeling ashamed of being exactly who we are. Love and respect your boyfriend the way he is. Don’t encourage him to mask. Don’t try to change him. It won’t work anyway. You’ll just stress him out and slowly nudge him toward meltdown or, even worse, autistic burnout.
     
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  10. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    So nicely put! You rocked it as usual!!

    Exactly, why try to get a round peg to fit a square hole? It will never fit. Love and celebrate the difference. The square pegs have bored me to death in my lifetime. I say celebrate the differences!!
     
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  11. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I don't think you ever really lose that discomfort/difficulty meeting and talking with people outside you closest immediate circle. But it can improve slowly with time (ie. years not months). Low expectations and requirements to talk are best at first.
     
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  12. ghostie

    ghostie Active Member

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    I love this.

    I spent so long in misery trying to hide who I was. It wasn't until I was in my mid 30s that I began to feel comfortable enough in myself to start expressing who I am inside and I'm still wrestling with it and feeling pressure to "fit in"

    Sure not everyone's case is like mine and my situation was made worse by not being properly diagnosed until very late, but I know firsthand how much it sucks to try to hide your autism and I won't do it anymore. As hard as it is, and as self-conscious I am about my differences, I'm trying very hard to be honest with myself and the world about who I am.
     
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  13. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    Yay ghostie! We need to be ourselves whether we inhabit the entire spectrum or just have some ownership, we have to say we are comfortable being ourselves, because then we encourage others to accept us. But if we are infighting, then that's the energy we give, and we aren't accepted.
     
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  14. mw2530

    mw2530 Well-Known Member

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    I agree, we do best when we can be ourselves. Although we have learned not to be ourselves due to being treated poorly by others for most of our lives. Whether others intended to treat us poorly or whether it was due to other's misunderstanding. Masking ultimately leads to stress and exhaustion and people can see through it anyway.
     
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  15. rosewater

    rosewater New Member

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    Thank you all for your responses :). You have such a nice community here.

    I wish more people could understand that some of us are just different. Although I don't think I am autistic, I have suffered from social anxiety for years and felt like I didn't fit in in most places, especially as a teenager. Over time I learned to accept I may live my life a bit differently, which is totally OK, and that I have learned to have a hold of my emotions and talk to people without freaking out.

    I guess I should be more understanding with him too.

    This comment really hit home, because I don't want to change him (although that doesn't mean both of us try to improve every day). I'll also be honest with my parents to adjust their expectations. Besides this, he actually wants to find a therapist to be better with talking to people and is doing some research about it.
     
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  16. Freakunique

    Freakunique New Member

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    Hey there,
    I would advise maybe introducing him to one person at a time, rather than a group setting perhaps.
    In my experience, I always find one on one interactions less intimidating than groups.

    I think meeting the parents is a little nerve wracking for anyone, but I am sure it will all be fine
     
  17. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member

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    This is a quality or going to be a quality relationship. Be open to the possibility and accepting it at this point. Nothing was planned or manufactured in these manners, and you were willing to work with each other as each other is. You complement each other well. That is the best.
     
  18. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

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    Be accepting of them and their disability. I wish you both all the best.