Aspergers Relationships

The difficulties experienced by most people on the autism spectrum when it comes to social interaction are a major handicap when it comes to forming relationships. I’m no different in this respect – I have never “chatted up” anybody in my life and wouldn’t even know where to start. It’s not something you ever get taught. Besides that, approaching a stranger – even one that I find attractive – causes me too much anxiety and I can’t manage a conversation in that frame of mind. It’s hard enough for me to start a conversation and keep it going with somebody I know well and feel comfortable around. I should also note that “attractiveness” for me is a very subjective thing – for example, I never come up with names that people are expecting when asked to name a celebrity I find attractive. But that’s another subject.

The end result of my social difficulties was that I never had a girlfriend right through school and university. To be honest I didn’t even try – it wasn’t something that I felt I needed or was able to do. My first relationship began after I moved away from home to start work. I was about 23 and she made the first moves. Looking back I guess I got almost obsessively involved very quickly – this isn’t uncommon for people with Aspergers, but at the time I hadn’t even heard of the condition. Although we got married and had a daughter, the relationship didn’t last for a number of reasons – some of them related to my AS, others to do with a more basic incompatibility. The break-up was extremely stressful on both sides and I ceased contact soon afterwards – I just couldn’t face it because even thinking about it would overload me.

Understandably I wasn’t looking for another relationship after this experience, but a year or so down the line I ended up in one – only my second – with the woman who was to become my second – and current – wife. This one also started intensely and cooled over the years but we have proved to be rather more compatible than was the case in my first marriage. It was my current wife who first suspected that I have AS – she has some experience with neurological disorders which helps her understand me.

Our relationship began when she started chatting to me in a bar. We had friends in common and I believe that’s why I felt so comfortable so quickly. I never had any plan – any end result in mind – for where our friendship might lead. I just kind of got caught up in the flow and without having a clear idea of how we got there we ended up living together and, some time later, got married.

We have had times when we have argued – or, to be more precise, when she has got riled up and I’ve responded by overloading with either a meltdown or more usually a shutdown. But these have been rare and short-lived and in the main we get along very well. We complement each other’s strengths: I am normally placid and level-headed while she is emotional and impulsive. She instigates the majority of what we do while I keep our feet on the ground. She manages the household (finances and suchlike) regarding which I have a major blind spot.

What I regard as my biggest strengths: I am completely loyal and faithful, I care very deeply about her. My biggest weaknesses: I can’t show or express my feelings in speech, I fall into repetitive behaviour very easily. I know that life with me is difficult for her at times. Even after nearly ten years together, she still expects me to react “normally” in certain situations. But between us we are making a success of this relationship. One of the keys to that success has been the fact that she understands how having AS affects me.

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9 thoughts on “Aspergers Relationships

  1. What I wanted to talk about was this. I'd shop at his store and he had 'good' and 'bad' days. For me it was emotionally hard and I call those his hot for me – cold for me days. Even on hot days when he would smile back at me, look me in the eyes (where I cant help but see only love for me) and even talk to me, he still managed to keep physical distance. And for Indigos it helps to be close to heart aura of person because than we feel 'vibe' of inside emotions. (believe me that is hard too because even terrible things can be felt from others sometimes, and it's scary and sad. We Indigos cry a lot..) but back to story..he always yielded, and although I see LOVE in his eyes, I couldn't get any energy out of his space..as if it was empty. Another day I ran into him after congregational prayers and 'cought' him to talk to him. Didn't go well for me at all. I openly asked him, he denied feelings for me, but acted extremely nervous and jumpy, and kept saying he was sorry. Now what puzzles me is this. I would normally cry or feel my own deep emotional pain from his words (that he doesn't love me because he doesn't know me well enough, but he also doesn't want to know me better because he wants to stick to his long-term PLAN! but that I am really nice person)..so normally I would break apart (which I did when I got alone at my home later because I love him and he is pushing me away)..BUT AT ThAT MOMENT while I was standing so close to him, I FELT STRANGE NUMBNESS, as some kind of FROZEN EMPTINESS, AN EMOTIONAL 'VOID'? and it confused me because I am emotional, I feel emotions of others and while person I love is telling me he doesn 'love' me, I FELT NOTHING!!?? What I think happened there was I finally FELT how he 'feels',as I described above. I could also described as EMOTIONAL WOOD, or when you sleep on your limb and wake up not feeling it although you see your hand still attached but it feels like it's nothing there. and is kinda scary. That is that feeling, like under water you hear nothing, so was that VIBE I think came from him that day. I felt awful, like, hey I wanna cry, but I can't? what is happening..only hours later, that sensation was gone and I was my old self. Stupid emotional old me. But, my question was: is that how you guzs feel when you say your emotions are 'different'. I could also say like when dentist gives you injection in a gums and that feeling of no feeling in tongue and mouth, but only if it was around heart and spirit. Sorry it was long. you can even email me timestravel3@gmail.

  2. I am an adult 'Indigo child'. Don't know if zou heard of it, so I'll explain. (please, don't laugh, since I never joke about Aspies either).As a matter a fact, while intellectually we are very similar to Aspies, on emotional side we are your opposites. While you have excellent logic and rational only thinking, I think we probably have none. We are emotional 'fireballs'. Not only we feel our emotions so strongly but most Indigos can really feel what others feel inside, if we attune well enough and concentrate on a person. Anyhow. I am deeply in love with guy who I strongly believe is one 'ell of an Aspie, and I love him even more for it. He breaks my heart, but regardless. Love is Love. Even he cannot stop me from loving him. He also has brother with strong Autism (but his brother altough almost never talks, loves me and even talks to me when I come to their family store). As an Indigo I always could 'communicate' with people with disabilites, children, animals, autistic people who are so dear and often friendly. Anyway back to his brother.. To make things harder, we belong to religion that prevents dating and encourages marriage only, which is also OK for me(otherwise I wouldn't believe in it),but in this case is harder because I don't get to spend quality time with this guy and get closer (unless we get engaged or married, and I can't FORCE him, especially as Aspie he is very stubborn and keeps telling everyone of his 7 yr. PLAN for degrees and career and excluded RELATIONSHIP and marriage completely out of his PLAN. I don't take this personally and I actually feel complemented as if he avoids me because I think he likes me but it scares him that I might become that awful 'change' to his ironclad plan, and I think that freaks him out. (I think).

  3. Hi. I struggled with your question because I found your perspective to be so far outside my own experience that it was difficult for me to relate to and understand.Many Aspies (studies suggest over 80%) have alexithymia which is difficulty identifying or describing emotions: although emotions are present we may not be fully aware of them at a conscious level and they are not projected externally in a typical manner via tone of voice and facial expression or body language. This can make us appear cold and unemotional and is a significant cause of problems in interpersonal relationships, which in turn leads us to avoid becoming involved, to keep relationships at a superficial level. This behavior might not be conscious on the part of the Aspie: it becomes an instinctive defense mechanism.This, combined with a strong adherence to routine and anxiety in the face of any disruption, would (I believe) make the idea of a close relationship disturbing enough to instil a need for avoidance.Hope this explains what you wanted to know.

  4. God Bless you. Your answer is so wonderful. I am actually glad that he became my 'reason' to look into Asperger's because now I am meeting nice people like yourself and getting to learn so much about other people's perspectives. This world is so colorful because of us all being so different. No one ever explained better than you how I exactly think he may be dealing with his emotions. It is making me crazy to look into his eyes because I may be a hopeless romantic but I can't shake of a feeling that there is love and emotion for me in his eyes. I do try to tell myself that maybe it's my imagination but as i said it, I can't shake of a feeling that it is actually a real thing…The word you used – DISRUPTION is perfect to the core. That is exactly how this young man 'acts' when I am near him. As if I am disrupting his life, his being, his inner core, although I am not doing anything in particular. I am generally very much liked by people, people run to me, to talk, to hug me, to share. No one ever made me feel so 'small'..in his presence sometimes he makes me feel less then if I was a 'roach'. I don't know how else to explain it. Yet, he is not doing it on purpose. He doesn't mean to hurt me. I know that. Somehow he gets so nervous around me it just shows. Recently I ran into him and although he is businessman, he runs a restaurant and can be very direct with people in business, or even 'shrewd' when it comes to proving his point, when he ran into me, all I wanted to say was: Hi. But he shrugged his shoulders, his face became blushed and I swear, he was shaking a little bit, he turned to his cell phone as if texting although I peacked over his shoulder as getting closer and his screen was black (his phone was off) so he was just pretending to text. I came over and said: Hey, come on, turn around, not gonna bite you, just trying to say hello, and I think that upset him even more. I (as NT) made a huge mistake (I guess) because my feelings were hurt and I did ask him what didi I ever do to make him act like this. But then he was trying to explain that it was just coming out that way, that he doesn't hate me or anything, that he actually thinks I am really nice girl…So, yeah word Desruption is perfect. As if I am someone who disturbs him at some level. As if I 'tick him of'…put him in a 'flight' mode. But if I am, does that mean his feeling for me actually exist? In case that he was not feeling anything for me, wouldn't he than act more relaxed, indefferent in my presence? Like he is indefferent around other people. So sorry I bother you this much, but I really think you are a gift from God, I mean someone I can really talk to about this. NT folks don't understand me and they can not 'see' why do I care so much about man who doesn not 'show' me his feeling. What if he is showing them, just not in a typical way that people are expecting? What if his nervousness around me means he like sme too? Please respond. I will appreciate it enormously. Janna

  5. Hi Janna,This is so far outside my experience – I really can't get a handle on the dynamics of interpersonal relationships. Because I'm not able to see things from either perspective here I don't feel I can offer any useful advice. Sorry.

  6. I know Ben. I truly appreciate your honesty and please don't be sorry. You have been tremendously nice too me and I think you are doing amazing job with this blog here and I am grateful you posted my other comment, too. I have fallen into status Quo with Arslan anyway, since he no longer is seen around our worship place anymore since the above described 'incident' occured. 😦 And I just have no strength left at this point to go see him at his restaurant and face another disgrace. Since his 2 yrs. younger brother is severely autistic and most sweet person in the world, I did email Arslan on April 19 because there was a local sports event for raising Autism awareness and emotional support for families with autism, so I sent him a brief friendly notification about the event and asked him to say hello to his brother for me since I miss him and two of us have become friends, when I was earlier more frequently shopping at their store, but until today I never got any reply for him. I guess it-s time for me to realize that no matter how wholeheartedly I try to reach him, he simply doesn't want to have anything to do with me. I don-t know what else to say or think. it just breaks my heart, that-s all. Love, Peace. Most sincerely, Janna

  7. I know Ben. I truly appreciate your honesty and please don't be sorry. You have been tremendously nice too me and I think you are doing amazing job with this blog here and I am grateful you posted my other comment, too. I have fallen into status Quo with Arslan anyway, since he no longer is seen around our worship place anymore since the above described 'incident' occured. 😦 And I just have no strength left at this point to go see him at his restaurant and face another disgrace. Since his 2 yrs. younger brother is severely autistic and most sweet person in the world, I did email Arslan on April 19 because there was a local sports event for raising Autism awareness and emotional support for families with autism, so I sent him a brief friendly notification about the event and asked him to say hello to his brother for me since I miss him and two of us have become friends, when I was earlier more frequently shopping at their store, but until today I never got any reply for him. I guess it-s time for me to realize that no matter how wholeheartedly I try to reach him, he simply doesn't want to have anything to do with me. I don-t know what else to say or think. it just breaks my heart, that-s all. Love, Peace. Most sincerely, Janna

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