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Relationship Advice Aspergers

shalynsimpson

Hello everyone,

I'm a month and a half deep into a relationship with a guy who has Aspergers, and I was wondering if anyone had experience with something similar, or if anyone has any advice?

He's very unsure of how he feels about me, he says he thinks he likes me, but change is so hard. I am becoming attached to him, and I'm scared I'm going to fall in love with him and then he won't be able to love me back or he'll back out a few years in because it's too much. It's hard for me to wrap around and keep in perspective. If anyone has any advice could you please let me know? I would be very appreciative if I could get some light shed on the situation. Thank you! :)
Feb 17, 2017 @ 09:40 am

2 Replies


prettyrainbow

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Throughout my experience as a special needs teacher, I've come across various degrees of Asperger's ranging from very mild to extremely severe. The Autism spectrum disorders are under such a vast umbrella that it's very difficult to give you a simple solution. You'll need to do a lot of work in getting to know his behaviours and understanding why they occur and don't occur in some instances. I can give you a general overview, but a lot of research and understanding is needed if you really feel that you want to commit to this relationship.

One of the main issues with Asperger's is that it is difficult for the individual to understand an abstract concept such as "love". They generally have difficulty socializing with others, therefore an intimate relationship may seem confusing to them or they may even detach themselves from feeling anything towards their partner, which is what you seem to fear is happening. You need to ask yourself if you would be ready to work through this and possibly accept that your definition of love as a couple may not look or feel the same as most other couples out there. Depending on the severity of the disorder, the amount of affection or lack of it will also vary. You may not get the body language response you'd be hoping for after showing him affection and although you may be able to express your feelings for him, he may not even know where or how to start.

Generally, the verbal proclamation of saying "I love you" or telling you why they love you will most probably be absent. It is normal in a relationship to reciprocate those words with thoughtful meaning attached to them. If you do hear him say "I love you", it may not necessarily mean he knows that there should be a feeling of love and warmth linked to them. In other words, it may sound mechanical, as though he is just reciting what he thinks he's supposed to say.

Another point to consider is the fact that a good relationship centers around communication. Now, keep in mind that an individual with Asperger's may sometimes have difficulty communicating their thoughts or developing a complex conversation. They probably can for something they are extremely interested in, but it can prove difficult for everything else. They may also have difficulty maintaining eye contact. This factor, mixed in with the issue of not being able to be empathetic towards others, can create a problem. You would need to explain over and over again about how important it is for them to listen to you, but even at that, you may not get the connection you were hoping for. You'll start to notice that the regular conversations you're used to having with others, may not be as stimulating or productive as you would have expected. Therefore, if you need to vent your problems to them after a long day at work, they may not understand why it's of such importance for you to want to get it off your chest. The support you may have been searching for will possibly not be offered to you.

Further on in the relationship, when you're ready to be intimate, another issue that may arise is not being able to understand the signs of flirtation or wanting to take things to the next level. This could mean that you would need to initiate most of the time, if not every time. However, the opposite could also be true in that you may do or say something in an innocent manner and they will interpret it as wanting to take things to the next level. Therefore, the issue of consent should be discussed so that they understand exactly what it means as well as the circumstances surrounding it. What does it look, feel, sound like...? You may need to repeat this constantly, depending on the severity of the disability.

Some individuals with AS may have sensorial sensitivities which may make it difficult for them to tolerate certain sounds, scents, or tactile sensations (a.k.a - touch). Sex may turn out to be monotonous or disrupted because of this, due to the fact that they may not feel comfortable with the way their senses are, in their perspective, being threatened. Imagination and creativity is also something that may be lacking in an individual with Asperger's, therefore, it could affect your love life as well. This could result in you feeling frustrated or resentful towards him for not being able to satisfy you physically and emotionally.

Do you like doing chores? Would you be ready to do all of the chores if need be? A person who has AS may be easily distracted and they may not follow instructions properly. You need to be ready to constantly remind them of their responsibilities. The same may eventually be true if you have kids. You may find yourself being the only disciplinary parent or the one who will show them the most affection. It's difficult to not take all of this personally and to keep reminding yourself that it's not their fault, but rather just a circumstance of their disability.

Another important factor to consider is that Asperger's, like any other disability on the Autism spectrum, is known to be passed on through the family's generations. This could mean that your children may exhibit some traits or it could very well skip a generation or two and present itself again along the line. If you're planning on having a family in the future, you'll need to be prepared for this possibility and discuss it at length.

From a professional standpoint, I would advise you to give this some serious thought. You are at the beginning of a friendship/relationship and things are very new and enticing. However, will your self-esteem be able to handle the situations I've presented to you? Would you be mentally able to handle the possible lack of affection or do you think you would eventually feel lonely and neglected?

Now, although I've presented what seems like a negative outcome, I wouldn't want you to take the facts I've presented to you and make a decision right away. A situation such as this needs and deserves a lot of thought, consultation and research. There are many strategies that can help make the relationship stronger and a more positive one but it takes a lot of work, patience and constant dedication. Your own behaviour will need to be modified as well as his in order for this to work. You need to figure out the situations or routines that need to be changed or assisted and come up with the steps to work through it.

If you're thinking about forming a serious relationship, I would highly suggest counseling, either through appointments with a psychologist or couples' therapy. It's important to make sure the person you consult with has extensive knowledge of the Autism spectrum and Asperger's, otherwise it's no use. A professional who specializes in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy will be able to come up with the best modifications for you both.

I hope this has helped you get a clearer picture of what you may have to deal with. Like I said before, every case is different and I've made generalizations in terms of the common traits Asperger's is known for. This doesn't mean that your partner will exhibit all of them, but then again, he may. It's like a puzzle that needs to be solved, but sometimes, you'll find a missing piece. It's about figuring out how to fill in that missing spot with the right strategies.

I applaud you for coming here and asking for advice. It's a great first step! Good luck in however it is you decide to go forward.

Feb 17, 2017 @ 11:49 pm
Anonymous

Relationship Advice

Hello Shalynsimpson,It sounds to me like you have already developed strong feelings for this Man ,even though it has been a short while since you started seeing him.It sounds like you have a very tough decision to make before it goes any further and you really do get your heart broken.I am by no means an expert in this field but,I could tell you what I would do i a situation like this.If it were me, I would seek out some professional to help you in a way that you can understand what you are getting into and what to expect further down the road.
This must be very hard on you and I truly am sincere when I say,you really need to talk to someone who is a professional and can give you the truth and some very strong advice.I truly hope that everything works out for you in your favour because like you said,you are developing strong feelings for him.Good luck and keep us informed how it works out.All the best to you.Angelwingsx2
Feb 18, 2017 @ 04:59 am

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