Aspie woman with neurotypical man- special set of problems?



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venigma
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24 Apr 2012, 12:06 pm

I've noticed some unique patterns in my relationships that make me wonder if they arise from the general relationship differences between men and women- especially because I'm a woman with aspergers.

One of the most prominent patterns is that I need everything literally and verbally spelled out for me, especially about emotions. This seems particularly difficult for men. As far as I can understand, men don't process emotions with words- they just feel them. This is profoundly difficult for me to understand and accept. As a woman (and probably more accurately as a woman with a history of mental illness and self-diagnosed asperger syndrome), I need a significant amount of verbal reassurance and affirmation to feel comfortable in a relationship.

My current boyfriend is the most loving and supportive man I've ever met, but he's not much of a talker and has a really hard time with this. He feels like he constantly has to prove himself to me and that no matter how hard he tries to show me he loves me, it's never enough for me. As guilty and awful as it makes me feel, I can't even disagree with that. I do feel like I need more. I don't feel sure that he loves me unless he shows me constantly. I freak out a little when he can't explain himself to me. I also feel like I don't know him as well as he knows me, and it makes me feel disconnected and uncomfortable. This is not unique, it's been one of the primary reasons for the tension that typically destroys my relationships.

I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed this. Maybe it's just that I can only see the situation from my vantage point, but I think a relationship between an asperger man and a neurotypical woman would be less likely to have this particular type of tension because women are generally more verbal than men.

Has anyone else noticed anything like this? And if so, do you have any ideas for how to help? I really don't want to feel like a burden to those I love. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to accept the disconnected feeling I have when I feel I don't have enough information. I'll never be able to understand why my lovers can't explain themselves to my satisfaction. I'm not sure what to do, and I'm sure my boyfriend would love some advice on how to handle living with me.


_________________
Autism Quotient: 42

Aspie Quiz:
Aspie score: 131 of 200
Neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 78 of 200
Very likely an Aspie


Last edited by venigma on 24 Apr 2012, 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mike_br
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24 Apr 2012, 12:24 pm

I'm not sure it's Asperger's related. Frankly, I've met my share of "needy", "high maintenance" women, and none of them had autistic trais.

If you recognize that's a problem, work on it. Try therapy perhaps?

Frankly, I'd never have the energy to date someone as demanding, but the fact you can detect somethins is amiss is very promissing.

Don't give up. For all its worth, I'll be rooting for you.



hartzofspace
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24 Apr 2012, 12:53 pm

venigma wrote:
I've noticed some unique patterns in my relationships that make me wonder if they arise from the general relationship differences between men and women- especially because I'm a woman with aspergers.

I have read posts in a marriage and relationship forum that convinced me that NT/NT relationships suffer just as much as Aspie/NT ones do!

venigma wrote:
One of the most prominent patterns is that I need everything literally and verbally spelled out for me, especially about emotions. This seems particularly difficult for men. As far as I can understand, men don't process emotions with words- they just feel them. This is profoundly difficult for me to understand and accept. As a woman (and probably more accurately as a woman with a history of mental illness and self-diagnosed asperger syndrome), I need a significant amount of verbal reassurance and affirmation to feel comfortable in a relationship.

Again, I can assure you that this is a problem for most couples. Men are notorious for keeping their emotions bottled up. My fiance is a very high functioning Aspie, with avoidant issues. So I often find myself initiating talks with him, to "take the temperature" of the relationship since I often can feel at a loss. I don't think that this makes me (or you) high maintenance. It just means that you need clarification of what is going on around you, since you lack the capability of reading it. I find that I can perceive anger where there isn't any, or indifference when it could just be fatigue. We are challenged, as Aspies!

venigma wrote:
My current boyfriend is the most loving and supportive man I've ever met, but he's not much of a talker and has a really hard time with this. He feels like he constantly has to prove himself to me and that no matter how hard he tries to show me he loves me, it's never enough for me. As guilty and awful as it makes me feel, I can't even disagree with that. I do feel like I need more. I don't feel sure that he loves me unless he shows me constantly. I freak out a little when he can't explain himself to me. I also feel like I don't know him as well as he knows me, and it makes me feel disconnected and uncomfortable. This is not unique, it's been one of the primary reasons for the tension that typically destroys my relationships.

You could be describing me! And again, it isn't because you need more reassurance, it's because you need reassurance that works.
venigma wrote:
I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed this. Maybe it's just that I can only see the situation from my vantage point, but I think a relationship between an asperger man and a neurotypical woman would be less likely to have this particular type of tension because women are generally more verbal than men.

Not necessarily. Have you read some of the posts on here from neurotypical women, regarding their Aspie guys? :)

venigma wrote:
Has anyone else noticed anything like this? And if so, do you have any ideas for how to help? I really don't want to feel like a burden to those I love. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to accept the disconnected feeling I have when I feel I don't have enough information. I'll never be able to understand why my lovers can't explain themselves to my satisfaction. I'm not sure what to do, and I'm sure my boyfriend would love some advice on how to handle living with me.

My counselor has suggested that my fiance and I work out other ways to communicate that doesn't involve words. Like signals for certain things. We haven't gotten to try it yet, but I am intrigued. Because I am a very verbal person, and my fiance can shut down if I talk too much. So we are going to be finding signals for when he needs me to stop talking for awhile, or he needs some down time, or whatever.


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nick007
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24 Apr 2012, 1:13 pm

I been there in my 2nd relationship & I'm an Aspie guy & she was an Aspie girl so I don't think this is a phenomenon that's unique to Aspie women; some are not like that & some Aspie guys are. Anyways... I don't have much advice for you because she broke up with me & the girlfriend I have now is kind of the same way you & I are with this & there's been a lot less clashes/conflict sense we both understand relate & sympathize with the other. Only advice I can think of rite now is to try tow watch your behavior; things went better for me with my 2nd girl after I started being more careful & trying to resist & deny different feelings


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SabreToothBadger
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24 Apr 2012, 2:37 pm

edited



Last edited by SabreToothBadger on 01 May 2012, 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

venigma
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24 Apr 2012, 5:34 pm

Quote:
I'm not sure it's Asperger's related.

and
Quote:
I have read posts in a marriage and relationship forum that convinced me that NT/NT relationships suffer just as much as Aspie/NT ones do!


I'm not saying that tension, conflict, or learning to communicate with each other is unique or related to Asperger's. What I'm trying to get at is the conflict that arises because I cannot read my boyfriend's non-verbal behavior, and he has trouble verbalizing things that people normally just pick up on naturally. He gets so frustrated because I ask him questions that he doesn't know how to answer. The reason I wonder if this is more common in a relationship between an aspie woman and NT man is that women tend to have less difficulty expressing emotions verbally, so I would assume that an aspie man asking a woman to verbalize wouldn't cause so much turmoil.

Quote:
If you recognize that's a problem, work on it. Try therapy perhaps?


We are working on it. Also, I've been in therapy for more than half my life. It's helped me become a functional adult from a place of severe, crippling anxiety and depression. If there's anything I'm good at, it's facing my demons. Relationships are the final frontier; the only thing I have yet to conquer. My boyfriend comes to therapy with me now. (It was his idea.)

And mike_br: I'm offended that you call me needy, high maintenance, and demanding. I have a right to be happy in my relationships, and the fact that I am in a place where I'm able to recognize and ask for what I need makes me a good partner, not a bad one. Plus, I put at least as much effort into my relationships as I desire from my mates; it's not like I expect to be served like some sort of princess. And all you know about me comes from a topic on a message board- not one of my boyfriends has ever described me as you (a stranger) just did. Please don't judge me, that's not what I'm here for.

Quote:
So I often find myself initiating talks with him, to "take the temperature" of the relationship since I often can feel at a loss. I don't think that this makes me (or you) high maintenance. It just means that you need clarification of what is going on around you, since you lack the capability of reading it. I find that I can perceive anger where there isn't any, or indifference when it could just be fatigue. We are challenged, as Aspies!


What kinds of questions do you ask? I often do the same thing, but I rarely get answers that satisfy my longing to clarify and understand. I feel like I'm being specific and clear, but maybe I could word things differently to prompt more accurate answers. How does your fiance answer? My boyfriend and I have discussed ways to say things, since I sometimes need it really spelled out in the most literal terms possible, but he still has trouble with it. Sometimes he says he doesn't know what that means, or how to verbalize his thoughts, so we still end up frustrated.

Quote:
My counselor has suggested that my fiance and I work out other ways to communicate that doesn't involve words. Like signals for certain things. We haven't gotten to try it yet, but I am intrigued. Because I am a very verbal person, and my fiance can shut down if I talk too much. So we are going to be finding signals for when he needs me to stop talking for awhile, or he needs some down time, or whatever.


I really like this idea! My boyfriend will often tell me when he needs quiet time, which is enough, but there are some times when that's not practical (such as in social situations). This also makes me think of my worries about physical affection decreasing in social situations- I'm sure we could work out less socially-awkward signals of affection. Sometimes it just takes actually talking about what behaviors mean for it to "click" with me and from then on I tend to be able to read them more successfully. In fact, I'm confident that I can learn my boyfriend's cues with time and patience. It's just a matter of getting through that time without losing our minds or our love.


_________________
Autism Quotient: 42

Aspie Quiz:
Aspie score: 131 of 200
Neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 78 of 200
Very likely an Aspie


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