Aspie man dating NT woman: advice?



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NauticalCa
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29 Jul 2009, 2:12 pm

Hey gang,

Could use some insights here from a few people. I'm AS, recent discovery, and I've got a problem.

I have an NT girlfriend that knows about this condition I have. I care about her and she is completely head over heels for me. I appreciate this a lot, but there's been some issues that have come up since the AS revelation that have kind of made me wonder if this is going to work. Please don't judge me as being a jerk, I'm just trying to be honest.

A) She's extremely touchy-tactile in her ways; I'm quite the opposite. I'm not the type to hug readily or kiss a lot. She is quite demanding in this area of our relationship, even in spite of the fact I have this condition. I've tried to explain that I can only go so far without it starting to bother me, not because of her, but because sensory reasons that have always been there.

B) She's a very emotional, very sensitive girl. I try to meet her on issues, but I sometimes think I'm letting her down because I can't really get inside her head on these issues on a gut level -- I can only intellectualize them, which is extremely frustrating to her.

C) Her level of expressing her love is scary to me. Her devotion is kind of overwhelming, not always in a good way. She's not had a serious relationship of this kind before, which is why she's overdoing it a touch I suspect, but I also wonder: while I care for her, I don't know if my less-than-reciprocal ways is reflective of the AS or other things.

One of the problems in our relationship is the fact this condition only became recognized after we got together. Truth be told, I've had numerous relationships with NT women -- none of which have lasted, except for one that I ended because of non-AS reasons -- and they've all kind of been unsatisfying for a variety of reasons. I wonder if this one truly can understand me, because she's got her way of doing things and I can't really expect her to change her ways wholesale for me. It's not really fair to her.

Thoughts? Again, please don't judge harshly. I'm just trying to get honest feedback.



MommyJones
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29 Jul 2009, 2:41 pm

I'm an NT wife with a most likely AS husband. I used to be more touchy, and he would put his hand in the middle of my chest and push me away. I know that he can't get a lot of what I am trying to say to him, particularly when emotions are the primary focus...I could go on and on.

All I can tell you is you is you need to be talking and talking and talking. Have her read things on AS so she has a better understanding, explain traits of AS that you have and explain how they manifest themselves in you and your relationship. etc etc

I didn't know anything about autism until I had an AS son, and going through the learning process I realized so many things about my husband that made total sense. We were just talking today about how having a kid has been really good for our relationship because of this reason.

Nobody in a relationship gets what they want, everything is always a compromise and AS doesn't change that. I personally think it helps to understand each other and make concessions for the other person as much as you are able, and accept the things that cannot change and work around them. You are just at the beginning. If your girlfriend loves you and wants to make this work, and you do to...AS is not a death sentence.

Good Luck! and don't give up!



schleppenheimer
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29 Jul 2009, 3:52 pm

I think your questions are legitimate, and I can tell from your words that you care for your girlfriend.

She sounds like a nice lady, as well, so I don't necessarily think that either one of you are a problem.

But having said that, you may just not be well-suited for each other, as you may be expecting different things. If you were to find a woman who connects with you on an intellectual/conversational/non-emotional level, and she agreed with the amount of physical affection that you prefer, then that would be a better fit.

I don't know if my husband is necessarily on the spectrum (although we have two boys who are), but he is definitely a more intellectual, less physical man. He did not like to be hugged when we met -- at least not that much, and not by people other than his girlfriend. That was 30 years ago, and he is amazingly affectionate now. Things change over the years, and people adapt, but it takes a while. I am also one of those women who doesn't require a ton of physicality, or emotion. We meet on a more intellectual and humorous level, and it works for us.

I just saw on TV that there is a movie out in limited release called "Adam" about the relationship between a man with Asperger's and an NT woman -- it looks like a sweet movie. Don't know how factual it will be, but it might be a fun thing to go see (or rent, since it may not come to theatres in your area) and then have a conversation about the couple in the movie.



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29 Jul 2009, 6:10 pm

Let her hit you if she wants.
Dance with her.
Act like you care - and say I love you even tho it seems out of place - say thank you even tho you really don't mean it.
Forget about patience being your own personal virtue.
Love her for what she is - hate her for what shes not.
Remember her name and birthday.
Remember to get ready immediately everything she mentions if she tells you something is coming up, even if she says its not important shes actually using unconscious reverse psycology and is only mentioning whatever the subject may be because indeed you ARE going to do it. So, "is it something important that you want to do" ... followed by her saying "not really"... is actually her saying "**** you **** f'in aspie."..

-She just doesn't know it yet.

(thats the only advise i can give)... I'm done with relationships. Too tiring on the soul.



SilverStar
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29 Jul 2009, 10:56 pm

I have this problem with with NT's as well. They don't have the same problems as you do, therefore they don't understand it. I hear things like "why don't you get out of the house more", "why are you on your computer all the time", "why don't you smile", "why don't you have a girlfriend", etc... It's annoying to me, and I'm sure they think I'm a strange bird, but oh well. If people were better educated about it, more understanding, and communicated with each other better, it would't be quite as bad.



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29 Jul 2009, 11:14 pm

Can't say I agree with much of Nim's list... but here are mine:

Ask yourself what is more important: being with her, or being angry.
Forgive yourself. No one else is perfect either - their challenges are just different.
Compromise, and choose your battles.
Remember to select your words carefully, as there is more than one way to speak the truth.
Appreciate her - always.
Keep space for yourself, but not at the expense of spending time with her. Put that on the calendar first.
Love her for who she is, and accept who she is not - if you cannot accept that, then I do not believe the relationship will work.
Expect things of yourself; not of your partner.


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visnofskygirl
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01 Aug 2009, 6:28 am

Nim wrote:
Let her hit you if she wants.


Not necessarily


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NauticalCa
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06 Aug 2009, 8:07 am

Thanks guys for the advice, much appreciated. I'll consider what you've all said, it's quite useful.



r1x
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06 Aug 2009, 9:00 am

1. Life is a choice between lonlyness and freedom. If you have someone that loves you enjoy it while you have it, you may get your freedom sooner than you know.

2. Hug her. Suck it up. Try hugging her back sometime, you'll feel more in control.

3. There is NO ONE who is not annoyed by thier partner some times, even by over affection. There will always be one who is more huggie, sexual, or talkative than the other. You will find you miss it if she leaves.

4. Remember, if you have AS, you will only be able to attract quirky people, it's a good thing. She probably loves you because you don't sense her exadurated expressions of love and affection as a threat (and they are probably not a threat). There are a thousand guys on this post that are 40 year old virgins who would be happy to get a hug. Enjoy it.



madducklover31
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07 Aug 2009, 9:14 pm

My boyfriend is AS and I am closer to NT than he, and we came up with a "code" of when he can tolerate being hugged. I also approach him slowly and always touch his arm first to prevent him from flinching. Then I let him give me a hug. If he doesn't, he turns his body and I back off. The hardest things is to realize he is not rejecting you, but trying to protect your relationship by pulling back and not going off the deep end.



GriffinGuitar12
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10 Aug 2009, 12:18 am

Reading what people have posted on this topic, I have come to the conclusion that I am quite odd for an Aspie when it comes to (intimate) touch. I've never been in an intimate relationship, but I've had girls (and not just my mom, lol :P ) come up and hug me and I can't get enough of it and I always wish their hugs would last longer!! ! I swear it's true!! :D Since some of them have had bare shoulders when I've hugged them and their shoulders felt nice to touch, I'm sure the same would apply for the rest of their bodies (although this, of course, would probably depend on whatever woman I would be in contact with at such a moment - also you probably shouldn't answer that as it would probably be a more appropriate thing to answer in the "Adult Autism" section of WP :P ) That being said, how do you think I would fare in a relationship with an NT woman when it comes to the physical aspects? I know that there are also emotional aspects that are just as important if not more so, but those seem like they'd be harder to handle for someone like that, as I basically have the emotional level of a 7-year-old :( For instance, when I'm happy I'm SUPER-excited - more so than most people I see, when I'm stressed out, my facial expression always shows it even when I don't intend such feelings to be shown, when I have a crush on someone they ALWAYS know I have a crush on them because (according to others) I tend to get "puppy dog eyes" whenever I look at them - literally!! Most NT's I know would NOT be able to handle the emotional aspect(s) of me, even in a friendship, the most I'd ever be to one of them is an acquaintance :(



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10 Aug 2009, 5:10 am

GriffinGuitar12 wrote:
Reading what people have posted on this topic, I have come to the conclusion that I am quite odd for an Aspie when it comes to (intimate) touch. I've never been in an intimate relationship, but I've had girls (and not just my mom, lol :P ) come up and hug me and I can't get enough of it and I always wish their hugs would last longer!! ! I swear it's true!! :D Since some of them have had bare shoulders when I've hugged them and their shoulders felt nice to touch, I'm sure the same would apply for the rest of their bodies (although this, of course, would probably depend on whatever woman I would be in contact with at such a moment - also you probably shouldn't answer that as it would probably be a more appropriate thing to answer in the "Adult Autism" section of WP :P ) That being said, how do you think I would fare in a relationship with an NT woman when it comes to the physical aspects? I know that there are also emotional aspects that are just as important if not more so, but those seem like they'd be harder to handle for someone like that, as I basically have the emotional level of a 7-year-old :( For instance, when I'm happy I'm SUPER-excited - more so than most people I see, when I'm stressed out, my facial expression always shows it even when I don't intend such feelings to be shown, when I have a crush on someone they ALWAYS know I have a crush on them because (according to others) I tend to get "puppy dog eyes" whenever I look at them - literally!! Most NT's I know would NOT be able to handle the emotional aspect(s) of me, even in a friendship, the most I'd ever be to one of them is an acquaintance :(

I had that problem too, but I learned how to snap out of the emotion spirals before they get selfprogressing. It really helps since I rarely get meltdowns thanks to that.


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makuranososhi
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10 Aug 2009, 12:35 pm

Veering off-topic...

Touch is a funny thing; I can enjoy the touch of those I know and trust. I can handle touch when I know it is coming. However, coming up behind me and doing so as a surprise, or an unwanted touch, will either find me moving away rapidly, or spinning to get away from it. I cannot stand being touched by strangers or without warning; otherwise, contact with other people is no issue.

...returns to regularly scheduled topic.


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For those who seek an alternative, it is coming.

So long, and thanks for all the fish!


DW_a_mom
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10 Aug 2009, 3:56 pm

Every relationship involves compromises. And every relationship also involves needs. Each person has to decide what is a need, that if not met in the relationship will cause them to suffer, and what can be compromised.

As an early poster said, talking is a great place to start.

Next step, agree to some compromises. See how they fit each of you. Keep moving from there.

You don't know yet that it will not work, but you have expressed what might become serious hurdles. One thing you should NOT do is decide for her that you cannot meet certain needs of hers, and give up as a result. The decision on how important those needs are will be hers. People find they can give up and change a lot for love; a person can surprise themselves at what drops from the "needs" list and becomes an "oh, well, that would have been nice." Mostly, right now, I think the two of you need time. Time to talk, time to try on compromises. It sounds like you care enough for each other to at least give it a solid effort. From that experiment, you should both get a better idea of what could be in store should you make the relationship permanent. And you'll both know better how you feel about that vision.

Do make sure she has no false ideas that her love will suddenly change you. That can be an easy trap for someone in love to fall into; wanting to believe that a fault will not always be one. Yes, people grow and change in relationships. But those changes are bonuses; you can't count on them. First, you accept. And she will need to do that when it comes to certain things about you. Again, its funny how fast some things become unimportant when you really love someone in an unselfish way.


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mosto
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10 Aug 2009, 4:45 pm

How can you have "numerous" relationships with women? Having Aspergers? I wish I knew I would get stuck in



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