21 Things a Woman Must Know: If She Loves a Man With Asperger’s Syndrome

Fnord wrote:
There Will Be Loneliness – Example: He may have social withdrawal moments, and may simply want to do his own thing, more often than you would like.

I always thought that each partner being able to do their own thing was a sign of a healthy relationship, whether there’s a partner on the spectrum or not.

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1. There Will Probably be No Public Displays of Affection – Example: May be affectionate in private, but does not want to show the world how much he truly loves or likes you, and frankly does not think it is necessary.

Maybe she’s exactly right about this, and my response stems solely from my aspieness, but I don’t see how or why PDAs are necessary. Maybe if you’re extremely insecure. Either way, if I’m feeling affectionate, public or not, I’ll show it. But as soon as it becomes compulsory, I lose all desire to.

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2. Labels and Romantic Expectations Make Him Feel Nervous – Example: The “L” word (LOVE/LIKE) may be difficult at the start of the relationship. Even if he says it in courtship, he may have problems saying it later on in the relationship.

A lot of (going by what I’ve read on these forums, I’d even venture to say most) people on the spectrum who’ve had romantic relationships have had some spectacularly bad ones. Relationships where the other partner took advantage of their lack of social savvy to get away with all kinds of awful crap. Or relationships where they drove away a partner they truly cared about by not meeting their needs.

A tendency I’ve seen in myself, and that I think I’ve seen in others here (though I won’t claim that with any degree of certainty, I suck at reading people), is a general unwillingness to let people get too close. Loving someone gives them a lot of power over you, when people have misused that power in the past it becomes very difficult to trust others with it in the future.

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3. He Will Take You and the Relationship for Granted – Example: When he first began to court you, you were his “special interest”, now you may be more like an old toy. You are easily replaced by new “special interests” which can come in the form of other humans (not affairs), or objects, or sports.

Okay, fair enough. But isn’t this a possibility with anyone?

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4. He may have a more patient approach to sex than you do – Example: Due to sensory sensitivities, he may be distracted during sex, while you are full on committed, his focus although there, may be a little off.

Yeah, I’ll give her this one. It’s true for me at least.

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5. Communication will always be a challenge – Example: Unless your topic is of interest to him, he may completely tune you out, and he is not good at covering up his lack of interest.

First, yes. Communication being a challenge is kind of at the center of Asperger’s.

But is it really preferable to have someone who only feigns interest? I mean, it’s just not possible to find fascinating every single thing that comes out of your partner’s mouth. I know I prefer a partner who doesn’t just humor me. And I prefer one with enough self-assurance that she doesn’t need me to humor her.

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6. There will be shock – Example: When you least expect it, your significant other will act so out of sorts, that you will question the relationship as a whole. For instance: you are both at an event 5 hours from your home; it is 3:00am, and you decide that you have had enough and you want to leave. He is not ready to go and he insists that you can leave without him. You think he is kidding and you give him one last warning that you will leave without him. Sadly, you soon find out that he is dead serious, and he not only encourages you to leave, but walks you to your car so you can take the 5 hour drive by yourself.

Now this is just bitching. Her desire to leave is not more important than his desire to stay. She tried to control his behavior, he did not try to control hers (make her stay). He came up with the adult solution to the problem, a compromise that allowed each to do what they wanted, and somehow he’s in the wrong here.

This is something I have a real problem with in my life. People accusing me of being controlling when all I’m trying to control is myself.

GF has the TV too loud so, rather than make her turn it down, I go into another room. Then get accused of being controlling. I don’t want what the rest of the house is eating for dinner (and it’s not as if these are sit-down meals where everyone eats together), so I pick up something for myself. Get accused of being controlling.

Before thinking someone is out of line for this sort of thing, a person really needs to ask him or herself which party is really trying to control the other.

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7. Your man may not be there for you in crisis – Example: Since people with AS may have difficulty identifying what is appropriate to say in a crisis situation, they may say nothing at all, which will only come across as having a lack of empathy.

Not knowing what to say is not at all the same as not being there for someone. If he says nothing at all, it is most likely because he is afraid of saying something wrong, and making things worse. With an aspie partner, you really need to look at their actions not just their words.

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8. Many AS males can be cranky, or have bad tempers and can explode at the slightest of things – Example: This is the example of the punishment never fits the crime. For instance, his outbursts and outrage over the fast food clerk forgetting to put cheese on his cheeseburger, may be equivalent to the way you would react if you were punched in the face by a stranger for no good reason.

All groups have their share of assholes. If the guy is not willing to work on this, is not willing to at least try to get somewhere private where he can melt down and recover without it affecting others, then leave his ass. Just like you should with any guy who shows this behavior.

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9. Your man may have a hard time completing a college degree, holding on to a job or seeing things through – Example: Although many individuals with Asperger’s are average or above average in intelligence, they learn differently and get bored easily. Due to this, many end up either dropping out of school and inevitably have trouble keeping a job due to the all unwritten rules and nuances of an office. The lucky ones may end up being self employed or working in a place that nurtures their talents and abilities; i. e. the IT department. Many people with AS are very well versed in computers and technology.

If his earning potential is that big of a deal, then you’re the one with a problem.

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10. He may get depressed and/or be completely inert for long periods of time – Example: If you brain is spinning reading this list, can you imagine how someone with AS feels most of the time? They are trying to be their true authentic self, while constantly trying to conform to society. Having AS is emotionally draining, and when they crash emotionally, they may experience moments of depression.

Wow. Real, honest-to-god empathy. I’m not gonna say anything else here, I don’t want her changing her mind about this one.

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11. There will times he embarrasses you – Example: He may be so blunt, that he may make fun of you or others publicly with little regard for how it makes you feel.

So tell him. There are so many ways an aspie compromises in order to fit into a relationship, into society as a whole. I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask of their partners this one thing; to say what you mean, and what you want, as directly as you can.

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12. Your family and friends may think you’re being a doormat and a fool – Example: If he does #12 and you don’t bite his head off and have it for dinner, your family will think you are a pushover.

13. People will tell you he’s just being a man – Example: Some will say you have a good man, and you are just being too sensitive, and you should just look past the little things he does because it could be worse.

These two together may as well just be combined into one that just says you can’t please everybody. Which I didn’t realize was a problem exclusive to the partners of aspies.

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14. You must have a good social support network so you can go out and have fun once in a while – Example: Women who end up with AS men, usually become co-dependent on them (even if they weren’t before) because they crave their attention so desperately. Without a good support system of family and friends to take you away from the void you will feel in your relationship, you may also be at risk for depression.

15. Your AS male will not care about the things you do without him and there will be things he does not share with you – Example: He will encourage you to hang out, or do things with your friends, and you will think he does not love you, because if he did, he wouldn’t be encouraging you to do your own thing without him.

If you don’t already have other people to spend some of your time with, then you have problems that go beyond just dating an aspie. If you really need to spend every waking moment in this person’s presence, then maybe you need to look at your own issues rather than blaming him for not being able to meet that need.

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16. Time holds a different meaning for him than it does for you – Example: If he says he will call you 5 minutes, he really means an hour.

I swear I really did mean 5 minutes, at least I did when I said it. But then I saw a link to an article about the new 500 Abarth, which linked to an article about the Fiat/Chrysler takeover, which linked to one about Alfa’s potential return to the States. So I started thinking about my favorite Alfas, and looking up which ones were now eligible to import under that 25 year rule. And then I thought to myself, since we’re in fantasy land right now anyway, why limit myself to Alfas? What other older Italians were worth my attention? Ferrari and Lambo are too obvious, not to mention too expensive to take out on real roads. Lancia built some pretty cool stuff, a Fulvia would be pretty sweet and I do have special soft spot for cars that were used for rallying, and for lightweights. They tend to be the most fun when driven on public roads. And, by this point, it’s tomorrow and I’ve completely missed Thanksgiving with your aunt.

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17. He may want to sleep on the couch starting very early in the relationship and continuing throughout – Example: Even though he is quite attracted to you, and desires you, he values his space, and may enjoy sleeping on the couch throughout the relationship.

Been living apart from my GF for financial reasons after years of living together. Really, all that has changed is that we sleep seperately now. As much as I dislike waking up alone, falling asleep by myself is a great luxury. Don’t tell her I said that.

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18. You will never change him, even if you can succeed in getting him to change his behavior – Example: Asperger’s is not curable, and there is no magic pill that will change the individual. Their brain is wired so differently, that even through therapy and behavior modification, he may change the way he reacts to things, but you will never change him as a person.

If you are going into the relationship with the goal of changing your partner, then you are the one with problems.

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19. Even if he loves and values your relationship, it is possible that you may never get a commitment – Example: He may not place the same value on a wedding ring or a marriage certificate as you may.

A ring and a piece of paper is not a commitment. Thankfully, the GF feels the same as I do about that. But we’ve each gotten a bunch of crap from our respective families about not being married. This, despite the fact that we know people who’ve met, got married, got divorced in less than the time we’ve been together.

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20. Many AS/NT relationships go through various metamorphosis – Example: Due to these tricky social behaviors from your AS mate, there may be frequent break-ups and even more passionate make-up sessions; only to repeat this vicious cycle throughout the marriage.

And again, one of those problems that every couple has.

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21. Your relationship will stand a much better chance if your man will REACH – Example: If your AS partner does not realize that they have a behavior flaw, then it will be very difficult to correct or adjust his behavior. If your AS partner is not able to REACH and meet you half way, then the relationship stands a very slim chance of surviving as a healthy union.

No. It’ll stand a better chance if you both reach. You can’t meet half way if only one partner is willing to make changes. She leaves out the most important piece of advice one can give to someone in a relationship with an aspie; let go of the idea that your way is the only way just because it’s what everyone else does.

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