• 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

AHClemist

noble gas
I have been wanting to post something like this for a while now, but never found the exact way I want to word it, so here’s an attempt:

How exactly do you define a romantic relationship?

I have read and heard so much about people deciding to “work on their relationship”. Sometimes they have only been dating for a few months. To me, this strange “relationship” always sounds like a creature of its own, which both parties must care for. But why do they decide to adopt this beast and to do things that at times feel uncomfortable to them?

It sounds like at one point, they sat down together and decided that they would work toward the end goal of being two people who are defined by their being responsible for and beholden to one another. When one of them no longer feels comfortable with the other, they cannot simply leave. They must explain why and submit to the other person’s criticism and counterarguments.

To me, this feels like a trap, as if I were to put myself under the control of the other person. Why do so many people seek this out?

At one point, I was trying to get to know a man. Maybe I would finally reach this elusive status of “relationship” that everyone seemed so obsessed with. But it would be on my terms. I tried to find out what kind of person he was, made sure to never be alone with him, never let him touch me and never told him where I live. I wanted to avoid crossing that invisible line into “relationship” before I trusted this person.

When he felt too close too fast, I asked for distance. Eventually he handed me a letter in which he told me how angry he was at me, how I was responsible for all of his emotional turmoil and that I can’t just singlehandedly decide that the relationship is over.

…hang on…what relationship? I tried so hard o never cross that threshold. I never started a discussion so there would never be anything official.

The more I thought about it, the more that last part bothered me. Why can’t I decide that I do not want the other person in my life anymore? I’m not going to stay when I feel physically or emotionally unsafe. Because he felt that there was this strange dynamic of “relationship” between him and I, I am not allowed to make decisions by myself?

Why is this something people seek out? If all I get out of this status of “relationship” is the extra work of keeping the other person happy, why would I want this? If I want to take care of something, I would get a pet.

I still feel lost and lonely at times and I would like a person I can feel safe around and be my true self with, but if I’m constantly responsible for the other person, I don’t think that is something I can do.
 

ghostie

Active Member
I used to want a relationship really, really badly. To the point where I would really get clingy and not want to let go like you talk about in your post. I've recently been discovering a lot about myself and one of the things is that I don't actually want to be in a relationship. I don't think I ever really did but I was subconsciously obsessed with trying to fit in and everybody else had relationships so I figured I should too.

But the problem was, for me a relationship was just something to check off the list of things to make me seem normal, and once I was in one I didn't want to think about it, or do any of the things that normal people seem to want to do. I was just happy that I had checked it off my list and could now get back to doing the things I wanted to be doing (with the occasional physical interactions that I definitely did enjoy)

So I guess I can see both sides having been a clingy person and also not really wanting or understanding relationships.

(Not implying that the guy you're talking about was anything like me, I'm sure normal people have a ton of other reasons for being clingy)

But few things I have learned are:

1: one person definitely can (and the vast majority of the time does) end a relationship.

2: any human interaction is technically a "relationship" and any number of variables can cause the relationship to get stronger and any number of other variables can cause a relationship to get worse, and once it gets worse, the chances of it getting better are so small it's best to just split. they don't have to explicitly start with two people verbally agreeing to be in one.

In other words, try not to worry to much about it, you didn't do anything wrong.
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
There is a lot to it. But in briefest form, there are different levels of attraction. Many are just 'likes' and in those you aren't compelled to do anything you don't want or makes you uncomfortable and usually lead to any relationship ending. But if 'falling in 'love' happens those sorts of things don't seem to be issues. You kind of like everything about them. Love can miscarry and you find out things you don't like about them and it may end. But often the things that occur, the problems that arise are relatively minor and the overall relationship worth making the effort to work thru the problems.
 

Guest

Strong Independent Man
Eventually he handed me a letter in which he told me how angry he was at me, how I was responsible for all of his emotional turmoil and that I can’t just singlehandedly decide that the relationship is over.
What letter?. I don't see one. Sounds rather anecdotal.
 

AHClemist

noble gas
What letter?. I don't see one. Sounds rather anecdotal.

I actually started the letter thing. There were two times I told him to leave me alone. When he was still moping around and telling all of our common social group how sad and hurt he was, I wrote him a letter apologizing and offering friendship. He agreed (in letter format). The second time was a little more harsh after he tried to get close to me a second time and ended in him handing me that second letter at an event we were both at. So yes, the letter is a thing and I started it.
 

clg114

Still crazy, after all these years.
Staff member
V.I.P Member
My wife and I have been together for over 50 years and married for 48 years. This is a long term relationship and is made possible by something that you did not mention in you post, love. You both have to give up things for this to work, but it is really worth it. You will know when you are deeply in love when you know your partners needs and work to meet them. Or when you put your partners needs ahead of your own. As a Aspie, I need to have my alone time, but I do not want to be alone all of the time. My wife and family mean every thing to me. This takes sacrifice, but it makes me very happy. Isn't that what we all want?
 

AHClemist

noble gas
I used to want a relationship really, really badly. To the point where I would really get clingy and not want to let go like you talk about in your post. I've recently been discovering a lot about myself and one of the things is that I don't actually want to be in a relationship. I don't think I ever really did but I was subconsciously obsessed with trying to fit in and everybody else had relationships so I figured I should too.

But the problem was, for me a relationship was just something to check off the list of things to make me seem normal, and once I was in one I didn't want to think about it, or do any of the things that normal people seem to want to do. I was just happy that I had checked it off my list and could now get back to doing the things I wanted to be doing (with the occasional physical interactions that I definitely did enjoy)

So I guess I can see both sides having been a clingy person and also not really wanting or understanding relationships.

(Not implying that the guy you're talking about was anything like me, I'm sure normal people have a ton of other reasons for being clingy)

But few things I have learned are:

1: one person definitely can (and the vast majority of the time does) end a relationship.

2: any human interaction is technically a "relationship" and any number of variables can cause the relationship to get stronger and any number of other variables can cause a relationship to get worse, and once it gets worse, the chances of it getting better are so small it's best to just split. they don't have to explicitly start with two people verbally agreeing to be in one.

In other words, try not to worry to much about it, you didn't do anything wrong.

This was maybe six or seven months ago. I do now think in a very similar way to you. The relationship would have been a checkpoint to reach and at the beginning, I finally felt so grown up about the idea of building one. That ended a few weeks later. For a while I really wanted to try and hang in there in hopes that I would get used to it. It didn't and I had to get away. At that point I didn't care whether he would feel hurt, I just hat to get out of that situation.
 

Guest

Strong Independent Man
I actually started the letter thing. There were two times I told him to leave me alone. When he was still moping around and telling all of our common social group how sad and hurt he was, I wrote him a letter apologizing and offering friendship. He agreed (in letter format). The second time was a little more harsh after he tried to get close to me a second time and ended in him handing me that second letter at an event we were both at. So yes, the letter is a thing and I started it.
Photographs of those letters and the event would be useful.

b9758b073537f6900aabf2cefb609802--truth-to-power-kermit-the-frog.jpg
 

AHClemist

noble gas
Photographs of those letters and the event would be useful.

No. I'm not going to do that. What was said in these letters may have unsettled me, but they are still deeply personal. The point of my question was not to turn this man into the enemy. I am well aware that there were issues on both sides and that by sticking to letters, I purposely avoided face to face communication in an attempt to prevent emotional intimacy.
 

zurb

Eschewer of Obfuscation
We’re all in some sort of relationship whether we like it or not. I’m in a relationship with the prime minister. It’s a very distant relationship as I only know her name. I’m also in a relationship with my wife, but a much closer one. There is no threshold where it starts or ends. Some people might perceive one, but it will be different for each person as its so undefined. I suspect writing a letter actually confirmed there was a relationship in his mind. Unfortunately, as Aspies/Auties we often get these things wrong. Also guys and girls often interpret things differently. One might just think they are just showing interest or being friendly, the other thinks they’re “leading on”.
I’d suggest seeking friendships not ‘romantic relationship’. Romance can come later. A friend will know your needs and limits. They will help you and not push you into something against what you’re comfortable with. If he’s demanding things you can’t give, he’s not a friend, nor romantic.
I’d also suggest that if you’re not interested in him, ignore and snub as much as you can do so politely. Fighting it may be interpreted as just ‘playing hard to get’.
 
Last edited:

Thinx

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I think you can do relationships however you need to, you don't have to conform to the romantic idea put over in popular culture. I'm not sure from your posts, what you are seeking? You sound like you know yourself quite well, but I found the bit about if you wanted to take care of something you would get a pet, a bit surprising, in context.

A friendship or a romantic relationship or love for a parent or relative will always have responsibilities and an element of taking care of the other person in it, and between adults this will be mutual, both people accepting and giving care, as well as looking after themselves and having freedom.

You wanted to rely on and trust him, and he wanted to rely on and trust you. It sounds like he felt disappointed. You are not responsible for his feelings, but he is entitled to feel that way.

I think there is usually a cost, in exploring the possibility of relating with someone, and it seems like you were exploring the possibility of commitment too, which is where each person makes a decision or feels that they want or feel a commitment to the friend or partner, they feel a bond and want to continue it or extend it. It sounds like you weren't confident that you wanted a deeper commitment to him. He may have felt differently.
 

Guest

Strong Independent Man
No. I'm not going to do that. What was said in these letters may have unsettled me, but they are still deeply personal. The point of my question was not to turn this man into the enemy. I am well aware that there were issues on both sides and that by sticking to letters, I purposely avoided face to face communication in an attempt to prevent emotional intimacy.
That man hasn't showed up to reveal his own account of the fictional story.
 

zurb

Eschewer of Obfuscation
There is absolutely no reason why you need to post the actual letters here! I’m not sure why Guest feels the need to attack.
 

AHClemist

noble gas
I think you can do relationships however you need to, you don't have to conform to the romantic idea put over in popular culture. I'm not sure from your posts, what you are seeking? You sound like you know yourself quite well, but I found the bit about if you wanted to take care of something you would get a pet, a bit surprising, in context.

A friendship or a romantic relationship or love for a parent or relative will always have responsibilities and an element of taking care of the other person in it, and between adults this will be mutual, both people accepting and giving care, as well as looking after themselves and having freedom.

You wanted to rely on and trust him, and he wanted to rely on and trust you. It sounds like he felt disappointed. You are not responsible for his feelings, but he is entitled to feel that way.

I think there is usually a cost, in exploring the possibility of relating with someone, and it seems like you were exploring the possibility of commitment too, which is where each person makes a decision or feels that they want or feel a commitment to the friend or partner, they feel a bond and want to continue it or extend it. It sounds like you weren't confident that you wanted a deeper commitment to him. He may have felt differently.
Your analysis of the situation is quite good actually. I think the pet thing was something I started to think because I was as much frustrated at myself as I was at him. Part of me wanted to be open with him, but I could never make it. Every time I tried to take a step closer I was rewarded with a panic attack when he actually responded. After doing this a few times I really didn't want to keep going.

I understand his point of view to an extent. It must have looked completely irrational from the outside. I would have needed his help and that was something unacceptable to me. I think getting angry at him (which was made easier by his highly emotional response) was what I did to convince myself that I made the right decision. At the same time, I did feel like he let his emotions control him to an extent, and I was afraid of what would happen when I really crossed him.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
Relationships are incredibly complex. We think we understand the dynamics then reality slams the door hard and we are right back at zero sometimes not understanding anything.
He reacted with anger because.....
l have been afraid to date because when l broke up once l was punched, and another time the person was going to hit me but l escaped. It is what it is.
 

Wolf Prince

My future job title.
The she wolf who helped me regain my will to live. Loved me truly. We separated for our paths in life were elsewhere. But I know she still loves me as i do her. One day I will see her again.
 

Shenandoah

Active Member
The way you describe the relationship as something as complex and treacherous simply means it's not a union you feel comfortable in. For an aspie it's difficult to untangle all the mess that comes from a badly matched .. let's say "partner". Just don't do that, you won't be able to define it or truly comprehend it. Leave it to NTs, it's their game that they seem to enjoy playing sometimes.
If you meet someone who is good for you things will get a lot easier. Easy enough that whatever little issues may come between you will be sorted manageably and with full willingness of both of you to do so. If it's all work and no joy you don't need to be there.
 

New Threads

Top Bottom