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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

If Your Romantic Partner Has Asperger’s

People often come to my blog with the following query: “What do I do if my boyfriend / girlfriend has Asperger’s?” There are many books out there on the subject. Often, however, they describe somebody who is a total jerk and then blame that person’s jerkdom on Asperger’s. Bentley’s Along Together is a prime example of such an account.

In my opinion, life with an Aspie does not have to be constant martyrdom. We can actually make an ideal life partner for the right person. Remember that one of the central markers of Asperger’s is developing an exclusive interest in something or somebody and pursuing it wholeheartedly. If that object of interest is you, your Aspie partner will be the most loyal and dedicated person you will ever meet. We are also not prone to lying about feelings and emotions. While many people often say “Yes, of course, I love you” without meaning it, an Aspie will, in most cases, only say it if it’s absolutely true.

There are, of course, certain qualities that somebody who wants to be with an Aspie needs to have or develop. Here is what I have come up with but feel free to add your own in the comments:

1. Don’t be inquisitive and curious. The best partner for us is the one who either doesn’t  notice the little OCD things we do, or pretends not to notice them. Being interrogated about your routines is torture. It is often easier to end the relationship than to give up on the routines or constantly feel that you are judged for them.

2. Develop your own hobbies and pursuits that will take up a lot of your time. An Aspie is somebody who often has obsessive interests that occupy a lot of his or her time. If we are not allowed to pursue these interests or feel that somebody is encroaching on the time we dedicate to them, we tend to start feeling resentful towards that person. If you need somebody who will spend every free moment they have  paying attention to you, think twice about entering into a relationship with an Aspie.

3. Memory and caring are two different things. Retaining dates, names, phone numbers, etc. is often very difficult for us. So if your patner doesn’t remember your mother’s name five years into a relationship, it does not mean she doesn’t care about you. It means that she finds it very difficult to retain names because her brain works this way.

4. Give them alone time. Being alone and doing things nobody knows about is often very important to us. Don’t interrogate your Aspie partner. If she seems reluctant to tell you where she was, it doesn’t mean she has been meeting her secret lovers. In all  probability, she was just doing her OCD things that she doesn’t feel like discussing with anyone.

5. He does not forget your name, he just doesn’t like to say it. Often, we find it extremely difficult to call people we are close to by their given name. I have never, for example, called my partner by his name. Not once. I try but somehow it just doesn’t come out. This has nothing to do with how I feel about him, it’s simply the way I am.

6. Prepare for destruction of pretty things. If you like good china and expensive carpets, either forget about it or look for a new partner. The neurological symptoms of Asperger’s include clumsiness and a difficulty with maintaining balance. Everything will be broken, spilled, and destroyed. My best friend ‘Mafalda’ came up with a brilliant solution after I destroyed her new sofa: she bought me a sippy cup. Way to go, my friend!

7. Prepare to be embarrassed. Some of us come up with ways of dealing with social situations but some of us don’t. It is probable that during social gatherings your partner will say something offensive to your friends, relatives, or colleagues, will wander off looking all distracted, or fail to respond when people talk to her. If these things bother you, think twice about making your partner attend such gatherings.

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77 thoughts on “If Your Romantic Partner Has Asperger’s

  1. >"And Aspie is somebody who often has obsessive interests that occupy a lot of his or her time."An

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  2. >Thank you, Izgad!! I wish people did this more often. Everybody is being too nice and silly typos often remain in a post for a long time.

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  3. >I am neurotypical and had a relationship with an Aspie guy a long time ago and it completely ruined me; I have found every subsequent partner to be clingy, over-emotional, ill-informed and dishonest! Once you go Aspie, you never go back…. 🙂

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  4. >That is interesting what you say about memory. my sister with ASD has a ridiculously good memory. Photographic even.

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  5. This is why I love being an aspie in a relationship with an aspie. We bounce off each other like a couple of happy bludgers. 🙂
    Another thing I would add is be ready to be patient. Sometimes we’ll need to leave a crowded restaurant because of the sensory overload, or we’ll need a couple of days to recuperate from a bad experience, and we need understanding at this time, not judgement or inquiries as to why we can’t just “Get back on your damn feet.”

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  6. Saia Sikira on said:

    The memory thing is really curious. I’ve got the best memory I’ve met, but somehow keep to forget things. And there are some areas in which my memory doesn’t work (say, cars).

    Good post, of course. I think I’m linking it somehow on my blog, is that OK?

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  7. Anonymous on said:

    Wow this has made me understand my girlfriend so much, I had a basic idea of what Asperger’s was and what effects it has but reading this has put my mind to rest, fortunately I’m known as quite patient so I am able to sit down and have a very healthy relationship with my partner. She is an incredible part of my life and I love her so much. And I would do absolutely anything to keep her happy and this information has really come in handy thank you so much.

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  8. Alli on said:

    My boyfriend has aspergers, and to be honest I couldn’t have asked for anyone better! He is the nicest guy you could ever find. Even though society might not view him as “normal” I do, and wouldn’t change him for the world.

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    • That’s really great, Alli! You are lucky to have each other.

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    • malissa on said:

      how long have you been together. i mean these guys are really hard to be with sometimes unless by luck you have one who knows and excepts his condition and gives you at least a little of the emotional stuff you need even if not understanding it. i for one am with a man i love so much it hurts. i have loved him for 8 years, although we werent together as a couple until recently. its a long story we were friends with benifits you could say 8 years ago and i realized after all this time i never stopped loving him. but once in a actual relationship with him i didnt know at first he had hfa i thought his very distant behavoir was him not wanting me. i soon learned about it. after talking to a friend and understanding that is what was wrong i tried to explain it to him. but he doesnt belive or want to belive me anyway. wont go get tested or nothing. on top of all the strange new ways in the relationship i am trying to adjust to he is also depressed, witch is easy optained by people with this condition. i have read so many sad stories of women who have been strong and stood by these robitic men. i dont mean to offend anyone but i am so so tired of trying to get my boyfriend to try new things, exercises or anything that could help our relationship out. i have read more than anyone can imagine. i try caring to fault in our relationship for the fighting. and everything. but i stopped about a month ago doing that because i learned that we both have to work on it together he has to know he has this disorder and how it effects him and be willing to at least try to work on the things that i need too. because i have been sinking into a depression for a while. and still going that way, he keeps saying other to except him how he is or we should seperate. i mean he doesnt even try to understand whats wrong. in his eyes i get mad for no reason, or am picking a fight. at am a my end of the rope i dont know what else i can possiable do. i have try every tip, and advice. i can. but you are the first person i have seen on these fourms and chats and stories that says she is happy with her aspies. is it that you also have issues or is he just a rare one who gets he is diffrent and actually trys
      i am not downing you. i am kinda jelous and courious how in the world can you have the best relationship ever with someone with this problem. i am in one too and i love him more than anyone i every have in my whole life, but i am not going to say its the best relationship. its the one thats hurt the most. and fear the most because this guy has somehow manged to beable to make my happiness depend on him. i have even did really stupid stuff that i had stayed away from for years, just to deal with the pain this main makes me feel. but through all this i somehow belive living without him would be way worse. go figure anyway if you have been in a realtionship with your guy more than a year and still are feeling its the best relationship ever i could use some advice if less give it more time when its been more than a year you still feel like that send some hints my way dude i am desprite

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  9. Kaylz on said:

    I am in a new relationship with a guy who has Aspergers and like other people who have posted I think he is amazing! he is so honest and very caring! Your blog is fantastic and will help me alot when I am having second thoughts 🙂 I can’t picture myself with anyone else now! Thanks Clarissa very interesting read x

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  10. Anonymous on said:

    I have fallen in love with a beautiful woman, who recently let me know she has Aspergers. I had suspicions and was recently told that she had been diagnosed.

    I could tell she was uncomfortable talking about it, and I didn’t press. I am doing as much research as I can and have not seen much info on relationships and adults with aspergers. Could you direct me to some informative books and websites?

    Thank you for the blog as it has helped me understand how to work though certain situations. I want to spend the rest of my life with her.

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  11. Katie on said:

    It was recently suggested to my boyfriend that he has Asperger’s, and it made sense, to both him and me – there’s no question now.
    Sometimes he needs to be alone, and very often he rants a lot about civilization and doesn’t really know how to deal with our relationship. It was difficult to understand until now, and reading this really helps me learn how to deal with it and still keep a relationship with such a brilliant guy. Thanks for posting this ❤

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  12. I’m an aspergirl and my sweet husband, who is not (though I wouldnt call him neurotypical) sent me the link to this post.

    We are all a little weird and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love
    – Dr. Seuss

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  13. andrea on said:

    Hi. Thanks for this very helpful advice. Im liking someone who has Aspergers and it was my first time to encounter someone who has this such condition. He does not talk that much and we mostly chat online. He has low social skills (nonverbal or verbal). He is not sweet like any other guys but still, I want him. I will do anything to help him overcome his condition and it does not bother me though. We’re both studying in a Med school but diff country. I can say that he is intelligent. Like other Aspergers has it.

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  14. I have been with an “aspie” for two years and a bit and the relationship is getting worse. He is over critical, over reacts about the smallest things and when he gets mad is physical, I have often bled and been bruised from him. I think smoking weed seems to calm him down and help and when he goes without it gets worse. I have researched it as much as I can but the physical and mental abuse is never associated with aspies. But when he is calm he is so loving and gental… I’m very confused. Can anyone help??

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    • This is a manipulative, abusive person. His behavior that you describe has nothing whatsoever to do with Asperger’s. My advice is: just dump him as soon as you can. You don’t deserve to be abused and beaten.

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      • Yeah I was afraid you were going to say that. He defiantly has aspergers and so does his dad, and j have read that it’s hereditary through males. His dad also has these anger problems. I thought maybe he gets so angry with me because I am a very free spirited, disorganised person and maybe this makes him frazzled?

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      • // His dad also has these anger problems.

        Children in abusive families often recreate the abuse in their own families. Autism has nothing to do with it. Just today I read a post written by a man, whose father was abusive, and how hard it was for this man not to abuse his children, to break the chain of handing down the abuse to the next generation. The man I was talking of or his father had no Autism, as far as I know.

        // I thought maybe he gets so angry with me because I am a very free spirited, disorganised person and maybe this makes him frazzled?

        Abusers always find some excuse. Always. Whether it’s you being too free spirited or not spirited enough. He is recreating the pattern from his own abusive family. It has absolutely nothing to do with you.

        I don’t have good resources now, but use Google. There are good, scientific sites about abuse that prove my words.

        I am not sure it will help, but I will say it anyway: if you don’t leave him, your children will grow with a dad with “anger problems”, like your boyfriend, and most likely will behave to their partners like he to you now. Not only will they very likely hurt others since few people escape abusive childhood (your boyfriend didn’t), but they will definitely 100% be hurt themselves by their father. It’s truly tragical to experience parental abuse and leaves a mark forever on a child’s psyche.

        You can find another, better man, but your children won’t be able to have another father. You make the decision to traumatize them.

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    • Dump him. Do it now. He will get mad at all girlfriends and find a way to tell them it is their fault. Do not fall into this trap. Leave before it gets worse. If he harasses you after you break up send him a registered letter, return receipt requested (keeping a copy) telling him not to contact you. Keep the receipt and keep a log of anything untoward that happens. This documentation will help you get a protective order from a judge should you need one.

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      • His dad was never diagnosed because of his age, aspergers just wasn’t a thing when he was a kid. Well not in Australia anyway. But you can totally tell he has it. I have tried to talk to his mum who is a beautiful timid lady and she said they took Sean to several different doctors and they all said the same thing. She said being with my boyfriends dad has been very difficult for her but he can’t help the way he is and he talks down to her a lot and I said Sean does the same thing and she said she used to argue and stick up for herself but now she just sits in the corner and says nothing. And my boyfriend is not always like this though and when he’s not its great, but when it’s bad it’s bad…

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        • There is no connection between Asperger’s and violence. I know several people with Asperger’s (and I’m one of them) and violence is not an aspect of our lives. It’s just a coincidence that he has Asperger’s and has bouts of violence. Like being blond and having bouts of violenec, these are unconnected things.

          I think you are looking in the wrong direction for an explanation. I really do.

          “She said being with my boyfriends dad has been very difficult for her but he can’t help the way he is and he talks down to her a lot and I said Sean does the same thing and she said she used to argue and stick up for herself but now she just sits in the corner and says nothing. ”

          – Do you want this future for yourself?

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        • There sure IS a connection between Aspergers and violence, manipulation, lying etc. By now, there are so many articles to find through internet about this. And unfortunately, I talk from experience. Run!! (if you haven’t already left)!!

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          • It’s easy to diagnose a person and explain your relationship troubles with this diagnosis. But the value of this exercise is nil. All it does is free you from any responsibility for what happens in your relationship. And this can go on forever, assigning diagnoses forever and blaming everything in those invented diagnoses.

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      • // And my boyfriend is not always like this though and when he’s not its great, but when it’s bad it’s bad…

        Of course, he isn’t always bad. I googled “Domestic Abuse” and immediately found this link:

        http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm

        Look at “The cycle of violence in domestic abuse” and “Violent and abusive behavior is the abuser’s choice” sections. In general, the link is very good imo.

        Read more about abusive relationships, even if you aren’t ready to leave him now. It will make things clearer. Your case isn’t special, many women encountered abuse from partners of all nationalities, colors, heights, with or without Asperger’s.

        Focusing on Asperger’s, instead of on abuse, lets you not deal with the problem, pity him “poor man, he is with Asperger’s, that’s not his fault”. He can be pitied for having an abusive father, but not for deciding to abuse you.

        You can’t cure an alcoholic, a drug user or a killer (some women write letters to them in jails, hoping for romantic relationship after the release). The only thing one can do is destroy one’s own life by being near those people.

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        • “Focusing on Asperger’s, instead of on abuse, lets you not deal with the problem, pity him “poor man, he is with Asperger’s, that’s not his fault”. ”

          – This is SO TRUE. Asperger’s should be taken out of this discussion completely because it is beyond the point. Nobody is entitled to abuse other people. His health issues, his neurological status, his family history are beyond the point. What he is doing is wrong. He chooses to hit you and that choice is wrong.

          “You can’t cure an alcoholic, a drug user or a killer (some women write letters to them in jails, hoping for romantic relationship after the release). The only thing one can do is destroy one’s own life by being near those people.”

          – Exactly! It is not up to you to look up information to help him. Only he can do it if he wants to. But once again, that will be his choice.

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  15. El is exactly right.

    And I have the same question as Clarissa. Do you want to sit quietly in a corner hoping to avoid violence?

    You. can. do. better. and. you. deserve. to.

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  16. I have a partner with Aspergers, and he is the most amazing person in the world. I don’t have it, but the whole ‘obsession’ trait with silly things runs in my family. Maybe it’s a bit insensitive to say it, but because of what he has, he makes for my ideal partner. The only question I have is this; we were playing around the other day and I said something a bit nasty to him ACCIDENTALLY. Do people with the disorder normally hold on to something like that, or will they just brush it off like anyone without Aspergers?.

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    • Where are you getting this idea that neurotypicals easily brush off unpleasant comments?? I know people who have been upholding a feud for 29 years because one said something unfortunate about the other one’s weight. Neither is even remotely autistic.

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  17. anonymous on said:

    my boyfriend has asperger’s.he is sweet most of the time and is very caring.
    the most difficult thing to deal with is his depression. he just goes on and on about how worthless he is and i can’t snap him out of it. it’s heartbreaking. any advice on how to deal with this?

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    • Is he getting psychological help? How long have you been around while he gets depressed?

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      • anonymous on said:

        We’ve been together a few months. Actually, it’s an LDR but we plan to get together soon. I try to stay up with him despite the time difference when he’s depressed though. Sometimes I just listen to him and offer all the encouragement that I can but nothing seems to work.

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        • The thing is, it’s his own internal problem that he needs to address on his own. You can’t do this for him. You can, however, slide into co-dependence. He needs to seek help, on his own, and hopefully soon.

          I’m sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear but you simply can’t cure or improve your partner’s depression. And it is good that you are starting out as LDR. This will help both of you preserve some initial distance and ease into things more slowly.

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          • anonymous on said:

            Thank you Clarissa! I have asked him to seek professional help before but he resisted. Maybe I can convince him eventually. Your blog has been very helpful!

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  18. elisha blackwell on said:

    Hi I recently began to suspect my boyfriend has aspergers but have not confronted him on this yet. My younger brother has aspergers and I didn’t notice the symptoms right away as he is very high functioning and it is a rather new relationship. We started dating 4 months ago but it has moved rather quickly as we have been friends for 7 years and were roomates for a month before begining dating, therefor we became extemely comfortable extremely quickly already living together and skipping the basic get to know you stuff in a realtionship.
    Anyway, I had always suspected ADD but after having some relationship issues dealing with him being emotional insensitive and not understanding my point of view I got him to open up and explain to me not what he was thinking but how he thinks and processes things as I was trying to understand him. His answers lead me to believe it was something more than ADD. Then a few days ago he could not tell I was mad despite my very obvious signals. He thought they were due to a stomach ache I had mentioned earlier in the day. That made me realize that anytime there is anything wrong and I am not my usual happy cuddly self he asks me if I am mad, and the times that I am mad he does not understand why. After doing reseach there is a slue of other tip offs but this is the one I recognized immediately from my experience with my brother.
    My question is… what advice can you give me to go about bringing this up to him? I know a lot of people have no idea what asperger’s is and may be offended by the accusation. Also I’ve done a ton of research on the internet about aspergers and am 99% sure this is the case with my boyfriend but can you give me any more insight about specific signs so that I can be sure before bringing this up to him? Or can I give you some examples and you tell me whether that pertains to asperbers or not?

    I’ve known him for a long time so I know that he is not the selfish uncaring person that it seems like he has become in our relationship. I really want to make this work and if he does have aspergers I think that it would benefit us both to learn more about it so that we can take the necessary approach to understand each other.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you may be able to provide!!

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    • Elisha: people tend to get upset when their romantic partners or friends try to diagnose them with pretty much anything. You obviously have communication issues with your boyfriend, and these issues need to get resolved. Having a diagnostic label attached to the issue will not really make it go away. I’m afraid that if you bring up AS, it will do nothing but antagonize your boyfriend, and how will that be useful?

      What you can do instead of offering the diagnosis is verbalize your feelings more. Don’t expect him to read signs. Just say exactly what you feel and why. “I’m very mad at you right now because you said or did. . . Please do not do this again.”

      I have no doubt you ca both figure things out and learn to communicate better. And if one day he feels the need of AS diagnosis, he will seek it out. It will be up to him to do that, though.

      Good luck! Communication problems are tough but they can definitely be overcome.

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      • elisha blackwell on said:

        I appreciate your advice and think that it makes perfect sense. It seems to be more than just communication though and more like anything to do with emotions, intimacy, romance, passion, affection both verbally and physically. I have been feeling like he doesn’t want to even be with me because although he says so when asked he does not verbalize it without being asked nor does he show so physically. He told me that he bases how he acts in our relationship off of what he sees in friends/family relationships. When I asked him if they talked to him about their relationships he said no, he’s just going off of what he sees. I asked if he thought they might act differently when in private and he said no. I had to explain how although we lack a fair amount of romance and passion we are a bit more cuddly and comfortable with each other in private than in front of other people. He understood this and therefor when I told him that it would only make sense that other couples are the same way and are probably more intimate in private he was then able to agree that this was probably the case after all.

        My only worry is that although I am willing to put in the effort to bridge our communication issues I’m not sure exactly how to do that in a way that makes sense to him. He said he’s willing to try to make more of an effort as well because he wants to be with me however he does not know how and that I have to tell him specific things I want him to do. So the biggest benefit I feel could come from a diagnosis is that he can also understand why it is that we have this communication barrier between us and how we can both work towards understanding the others point of view. I’m also afraid that he will become frustrated trying to understand me and that our needs are different. I also think it could help his other relationships with friends and family as he is not close with anyone besides myself.

        If I could somehow put a label on myself and be the one with a symptomatic syndrome I would. After all when it comes to our relationship it is just him and I and therefor I am just as easily the one whose mind works differently. And that is why I think it is not only important for me to understand that he is different from me but for him to understand that I am different from him as well so that we can both work towards the same goal of understanding each other.

        Does this make sense to you or do you stick with your original advice not to bring it up?

        Thanks,
        Elisha

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        • “He told me that he bases how he acts in our relationship off of what he sees in friends/family relationships.”

          – When we first started living together, my husband would come home from work, enter the house IN COMPLETE SILENCE, eat his dinner IN COMPLETE SILENCE, then get into bed IN COMPLETE SILENCE, and just start sleeping. The whole thing was done like I was not even there and was intensely creepy. I freaked out at first, and then it turned out that this is how things had always been in his family, and he had no idea that you need to notice the people you are living with and acknowledge their existence in some way. It took me quite a while to explain to him why this is not a normal way of living. Now he laughs when I remind him but I almost grew desperate trying to explain why it is important to engage in verbal contact with people who live under the same roof with you. 🙂 And of the two of us, I’m the one with AS. 🙂

          “He said he’s willing to try to make more of an effort as well because he wants to be with me however he does not know how and that I have to tell him specific things I want him to do. ”

          – This is exactly what my husband asked me to do, and he doesn’t have AS. It was weird at first but then I got used to verbalizing exactly what I need (Example: “I want you to send me loving text messages between 1 and 3 pm every day, and don’t forget to make them different every time.”) With time, he just understands the general principle and begins to enjoy these things. The positive part is that I don’t mind verbalizing and can do it as much and as often as needed.

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  19. laura on said:

    i suspect that my boyfriend has aspergers, i don’t know for sure and when i mentioned it to him he said “i cant have or somebody would have noticed it before”. he has most of the symptoms except i have not noticed him being clumsy. he has blamed all of his behaviour on me and can quite often be verbally abusive to me when he has been drinking. i am now on anti depressants and have psychotherapy weekly because the whole time we’ve been together he has told me i have a problem and if i was nicer and happier he would listen to me and talk to me. i have felt so alone. he works at least 12 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week and is completely obsessed with biking. and i mean obsessed, he has every part and clothing accessory you can imagine, spends hours and hours on his phone searching for bike stuff online. this is the only time we have together and rather than talk to me he prefers to be on his phone. he has no friends at all, i am his only friend. he has fallen out with all the guys he works with and takes no responsibility for that at all. he is painful in social situations and wont put any effort in with anyone. if anyone tries to talk to him he gives one word answers then gets his phone out and stands in the corner smoking. i dont know what to do. he has never asked me anything about myself, we have been together seven months and he has shown no interest but when i try to break up with him he gets very distressed and says some very abusive things but wont stop texting etc. sometimes he turns up at my house at 2am after he has been drinking in my room calling me all sorts of names. i cant call the police because he has already been in trouble for doing the same thing to his last two ex’s

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    • I really don’t understand why you are not calling the police. This is obviously an abusive individual whose issues have nothing whatsoever to do with Asperger’s. Please consider ending this relationship today. You are putting yourself in grave danger by keeping this person in your life.

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      • You’re doing but one thing on your blog, which is scaring NT’s away with your rude words. So there’s one happy AS family left. Have fun!

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  20. Justine on said:

    Oh, please. Aspies can often be abusive, actively or, quite commonly, “by omission.” I understand your need to normalize them, Clarissa, but they don’t make ideal romantic partners or friends. Their devotion is quaint, their quirkiness sometimes comical, but their inability to connect is absolutely demoralizing to be around. I’ve never felt as alone as I felt with my short-term Aspie boyfriend, despite the fact that I’m sure he loved me. NT’s need connection. Aspies provide it inconsistently. Inconsistency – and the resultant not knowing what to expect, or when to expect it – is one of the hallmarks of abuse. Bottom line.

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    • ” Aspies can often be abusive, actively or, quite commonly, “by omission.””

      – Yes, they are human. 🙂

      “I’ve never felt as alone as I felt with my short-term Aspie boyfriend, despite the fact that I’m sure he loved me.”

      – I’m sorry but he simply didn’t love you.

      “Their devotion is quaint, their quirkiness sometimes comical”

      – And you didn’t love him either.

      “Inconsistency – and the resultant not knowing what to expect, or when to expect it – is one of the hallmarks of abuse.”

      – Exactly. You couldn’t be more right. But if we are talking about autistics, these are people who value a routine and engage in consistent behaviors obsessively. So your boyfriend’s inconsistency wasn’t about his autism. It was solely and exclusively about his relationship with you. I congratulate you on ending this relationship that was miserable for both of you.

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      • What a naive response! I am sure she DID love him and he DID love her. Asperger’s often ruins relationships. I know you want to keep the responses positive, but there reality is different. I am happy for you that you are in a happy relationship, but this an exception!

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  21. Justine on said:

    Hmmm, how blunt and presumptuous, and how classically Aspie in that. 😦

    Aspies may love, Aspies may care, Aspies may be all sorts of wonderful things. They may be the neurological future. Lol. Ideal romantic partners or friends they’re not. Their retreats into themselves, change resistance, and obsessive pursuit of special interests are acknowledged traits; the relative unpredictability of their retreats and their “quirky” responses to change are not conducive to stable or deep relationships. NT’s have their faults, but many of them – however imperfect – can be “reached,” and can behave stably emotionally (this is NOT the same as adhering to routines – that’s far too simplistic an interpretation of stability). I’m one of them. I was married for 23 years, until my husband’s death.

    Fyi, I loved my boyfriend very much, and miss him, but I was experienced enough with romantic relationships to realize that our relationship wasn’t going to work. And his quirkiness, make no mistake about it, felt abusive. Whether it was intended to be abusive or not, I felt abandoned and not acknowledged by him. I’m interested that you feel you can speak to his love for me, or mine for him. In my case, at least, you’re off the mark. As for him, he professed his love and devotion frequently, and pursued me when I broke off the relationship. I thought Aspies didn’t lie?

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    • “Hmmm, how blunt and presumptuous, and how classically Aspie in that.”

      – If this is the kind of thing you used to say to your boyfriend, I’m not surprised the relationship failed. You do realize that this is not a great way to establish a dialogue?

      “They may be the neurological future. Lol. Ideal romantic partners or friends they’re not. Their retreats into themselves, change resistance, and obsessive pursuit of special interests are acknowledged traits; the relative unpredictability of their retreats and their “quirky” responses to change are not conducive to stable or deep relationships.”

      – It’s easy to blame the failures of your personal life on neurological diagnoses but that won’t lead to productive insights. There are crowds of autistics who live in ecstatically happy, stable relationships. The issue you had with that boyfriend is not about autism.

      “And his quirkiness, make no mistake about it, felt abusive. Whether it was intended to be abusive or not, I felt abandoned and not acknowledged by him”

      – Of course, people should leave relationships the second they become abusive, so good for you this is over. You do realize, though, that many people have similar experiences in relationships with non-autistics, right?

      “I was married for 23 years, until my husband’s death.”

      – This is a very tragic loss. I am very sorry!

      ” As for him, he professed his love and devotion frequently, and pursued me when I broke off the relationship. I thought Aspies didn’t lie?”

      – They can be as easily confused about their own feelings as any other human being.

      Look, I’ve been blogging for years and dozens of people have come to me with the complaint that “my relationship is failing / has failed because of autism.” And every single time it turns out that blaming the problem on autism is just a rationalization and a displacement.

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  22. Justine, I get what you say totally! I’ve been in such a relationship and it’s not really fair how Clarissa answers you. Do a Google search on the words ‘happy relationship’ + “Asperger’s”. Oops…

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  23. Reading all the comments, my partner is quite typical of an Aspie. Except when it comes to being with his friends. Then all his routines (bedtime, pain levels, sensory overload, intolerance to being interrupted) goes out the window. When he is with me, I’m expected to accept his routines and excuses. Very confusing for me as he’s like two different people. If I get upset about and direct I get the same response please leave me alone, you are being mean. How does one resolve this!

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  24. My aspie boyfriend and I recently broke up and I’m broken hearted. We had been in a relationship for 8 months only seeing each other once or twice a week when his routine allowed. Although this hurt I accepted it as how things had to be. He is the most genuine, caring man I have ever met…. He is amazing in fact. The trouble was with me really…. I struggled at times to understand the lack of emotion. I had been going through a really tough time and I needed the emotional support. The problem we had was that if I said anything he perceived as me having a go at him he would speak to me and said we should finish as we are too different. Thing is I wasn’t having a go at him I was just expressing my opinion and I really had to explain that too him.
    Any way, last week he was distant and not understanding the condition fully I asked him if I was really what he wanted in a partner. He started crying and said he never ever wanted to hurt me and he’s so sorry for the hurt he has caused and that he’ll probably regret his decision but he was ending the relationship.
    We have text since and he says I am great and he’ll always love me and he wants to speak soon.
    I’m devastated as I never wanted this to happen. How do I approach getting back together….. Do aspies change their minds once they’ve come to a decision? I’d really appreciate any help here because although we had our misunderstandings at times he is the best thing that has ever happened to me 😢

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    • “We have text since and he says I am great and he’ll always love me and he wants to speak soon.”

      • He’s a manipulative bastard who wants to milk you for attention with no regards for your feelings. You are well served being rid of him.

      General advice: if a person dumps you and then still wants to talk and discuss their feelings, they are a manipulative bastard who wants to milk you for attention with no regards for your feelings. You are well served being rid of them.

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  25. Roya on said:

    Dear Clarissa
    Since yesterday that I found your blog I have not put my phone down. So very interesting for me and informative
    Thank you for being there.
    I met my boyfriend for 8 months ago and the very first 6 months I was in real agony.
    I am a very verbal romantic and emotional woman and that is why I was in pain at the beginning.
    I had never met anybody like my boyfriend ever …non verbal…non emotional and no romance.
    He never calls me darling or any any sweet words. ..no real sex….no affection but I adore him. He is a very intelligent and honest man.
    I calmed down the last two months cause I tried to accept him as he is….I was in agony because I thought all that was because he did not live me….but I try to convince myself that he lives me otherwise he would not live with me.
    We cuddle a lot but no normal sex…no
    kissing…..and because I have a lot of affection for him have accepted the way he is.
    I have recently opened my eyes for symptoms of Aspies and I have now realize why he has been acting like that.
    I feel that I need to ask him if he know about thus himself because I think if he gets to know about his diagnose we can better communicate in an open way which makes it easier.
    Please tell me how should I act toward an Aspie boyfriend. ..I would like to stay with him til the rest of my day.
    He has never married and no children.
    Just in case that matters for you to know.
    He is very calm and never interferes in what I do….it is a very calm and nice relationship.
    Although I really miss being a dressed darling…my love from him.
    I miss hearing that he misses me when he is out travelling for 3 weeks…even though I tell him that I miss him…he never tells me that.
    Is that a normal thing when one us an Aspie.
    I do not want to loose him.
    How do I act with an Aspie boyfriend?

    Love to you
    Roya

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    • Hello Roya! I’m glad you like the blog. It sounds like your boyfriend never got diagnosed with autism. Diagnosing somebody else based on what you read online is never useful.

      Say, are you reading Sophie Hannah’s Zailer / Waterhouse series? I recommend because it describes a relationship that is very similar to your and how it develops over the years.

      The only advice I can offer not only to you but to anybody is never to accept the slightest discomfort in any relationship with an adult for any reason ever. That’s how I always acted and the result has been great.

      The best of luck to you.

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    • Hi Roya,

      I feel very sorry for you. I have been with a guy that sounds very similar to yours. I couldn’t figure out how to deal with it; I felt so lonely, unimportant and unloved. There is a lot advice online, just keep searching the internet.

      Remember that it is very likely that your man will not change. Question is: are you willing to accept that and are you happy enough to stay in this relationship.

      I wish you wisdom!

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  26. I was so in love with a guy. I often said he is different. I didn’t get it how he means it.. but I loved him for what it was hat I didn’t take it as something serious. Then the more time passed I got to see what he meant, he could not feel how i feel or express feelings, say nice things, needed a lot time alone etc.. I saw it as less interest in me and I got doubts if he loved me. I got mad when he didnt react when I was sad etc. I blamed him for this that he was reacting soo strange.. so in the end he broke up with me because it was too much for him and he tought he could not give me what I needed.. I could not understand it all… I started to do research and found out that he might is an aspie.. but he doesn’t know..he just knows he is different..
    Now I am so sad because if I had known earlier I could have saved our relationship.. I didn’t know about disorders like this, and if I had we might still be together.. It breaks me so much because he was such a wonderful person.
    We work at the same place so I see him often.. I I have the intention that he still wants to be with me but he doesn’t dare to.. he uses almost every chance to talk to me.. a but do aspies go back to their ex? When we broke up he said at the moment we can’t get back together short term because he is “broken” but it might me a bit later.. because it was not that he didn’t love me anymore, but that he thougt he could not give enough to me..
    I don’t know but I hope there is a chance to get back together as I know now how he “works”..
    how is it, do aspier give second chances, go back to their ex?

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  27. From my experience, they do. Question is: will you be happy without the things that you need in the relationship. Knowing now that he might have Asperger’s will likely not change him. It gives you more understanding but you deal with the same things.

    I wish you wisdom & happiness!

    Like

    • Why not just dump a guy if that’s what you feel like doing or if you are not blissfully happy or if he’s not completely perfect? Why look for these bizarre excuses, diagnoses, etc? You don’t have to be with anybody you don’t feel ecstatically happy with.

      Like

      • The thing is, nobody is always ‘ecstatically happy’ or ‘completely perfect’. It is about love. I think that many of us who love(d) an Asperger guy or girl loved that person so much, that we try everything possible to make the relationship work on our part. Realizing that, in the end, it’s not going to work is quite a process and a heart-breaking one. ‘Just dump a guy’ as you suggest is not how it works for most of us.

        Like

        • Euh…loving a partner is feeling ecstatically happy about him/her by definition.

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        • ” I think that many of us who love(d) an Asperger guy or girl loved that person so much, that we try everything possible to make the relationship work on our part. Realizing that, in the end, it’s not going to work is quite a process and a heart-breaking one. ‘Just dump a guy’ as you suggest is not how it works for most of us.”

          This is precisely what I’m saying. Precisely. You are describing a problem that is all yours. It has nothing to do with your partner. For some reason that hides in your personality, in your psyche, you tend to cling to people who hurt you and find it hard to switch on the self-preservation mechanisms. This is what you need to work on. Forget the loser boyfriend. Concentrate on yourself and on why you find it so heart-breaking and hard to do the most normal thing of all and create a distance between yourself and somebody who is hurting you.

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      • Max on said:

        Clarissa, your responses are far too black & white not too mention harsh. Have some compassion especially………..


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        • Yes, I’m harsh. If people need somebody to slobber all over their inflated grievances, they should go someplace else. I don’t provide online caretaking services.

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  28. Francesca on said:

    In other words don’t be NT ! Wow…..maybe aspies should stick to other aspies? Or always be upfront about their aspergers with potential partners?
    If you want a room mate who basically gets the whole say on how the house and your life is run, marry an aspie.
    I’m all for aspies being able to be who they are, but I’m not sure that any AS/NT relationship can make either party happy. NTs have to shut down massive parts of themselves to exist with an aspie.
    Look up “The cactus and the rose”

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    • Not any relationship can make any person happy. That’s true but hardly very valuable as an insight.

      And you are definitely not going to be happy with a person after you’ve decided you are a rose while your partner is a cactus.

      Like

  29. Carol on said:

    I am entering the world of Asperger’s on a personal level at the age of 70. I do have some insight into the world of the Asperger’s man as my brother in law is an Aspie. I met my partner quite by accident about nine months after my husband died in an accident.We had been in the same classes through high school and we do have some shared history which is great. We are in different states so there has been long periods without seeing him. At first we just emailed each other and that lasted for almost six months, then he asked me to go overseas with him on an extended holiday. I had to think about it as we had not been the slightest bit romantic and when I asked about our sleeping arrangements he replied ‘ oh yes twin share, you will just have to put up with my snoring’, simple as that.

    Well that was some eighteen months ago now and our holiday was amazing. It was my sister that hinted he may be an Aspie. I had been upset at his lack of communication and lack of romantic gestures, he is a scientist and is totally committed to his work even though he is retired, he is very formal in his behaviour. and has always been single and no children. He has very few friends and they are also in his field of work, he does not mix with any more than a couple of people at a time because he hates a crowd. He lives with all his blinds drawn in his house, he never pays a compliment (unless it is a great meal I have cooked). He loves his old clothes, but he does keep a nice and clean home and is well organised. When I visit he plans for it in advance, down to our meals. It is always me that instigates our reunions, it is like he just doesn’t think of it. But when we are together he is very happy.

    We do have long phone conversations now but I feel he would rather an email. Our relationship is best when the conversations are kept on a lighthearted level with lots of joking and puns which he loves. I have developed an interest in his area of study and we can share days out with me helping with some research, he does love this. He has never asked me about my life, says there is no need to. He has told me that he struggled as a teenager and as a young man having lots of meltdowns, which were hard on his family. I do really love him and love being with him, but I do think he is an aspie. I base this on what I have been reading of late. It is like I am the only one in the relationship and I have told him this. His reply is that it has always been hard for him to show his feelings and said that he will probably never tell me that he loves me, but I know in my heart he does. I can’t imagine life without him, but it is a struggle. But I guess knowing that there is a reason (he has never mentioned being an Aspie) helps me understand where he is coming from.


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  30. Anonymous on said:

    Please help me, I don’t see my girlfriend for a week at a time. I know she loves me but I’m becoming more sure that it’s not just Aspergers that she has, but a relationship issue with me. I love her so much and I don’t want to only see her once a week with no time to talk. What can I do?


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