Aspie BF is upset that I moved nearby, might dump me?

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hydrozoa
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07 Jul 2017, 6:13 pm

My boyfriend and I are both on the spectrum, and after four years of dating, I've moved to a new apartment on his block. He has severe depression/anxiety and I have anxiety as well, and there have been communication problems and fights over the years, but it's really good about 80% of the time. (This is something he said recently, and I agree.) I'd say it's just OK about 15%.

Neither of us wants to live together, but my old apartment recently became way too expensive, so I moved in with a lady friend while I apartment-hunted. My BF is allergic to my cats and neither of us drive right now, and it was taking me an hour each way to visit him on the bus, and I wanted to move closer to him. Then another friend told me about an apartment for rent that happened to be across the alley from my boyfriend, unbeknownst to the friend. The housing market in our city is absolutely horrible--this place was cheap, didn't require any deposits, and was open right away. I was worried how my BF would feel about this, but he said he understood, that the local housing market is "the Serengeti at the height of summer," and I should take it.

So, I did. This followed a previous on-and-off fight wherein I wanted to move in the totally separate upstairs unit of his duplex, for similar reasons--short commute, no deposits, etc.--and he said it wasn't OK because "it would feel like cohabitating." So, this place across the alley felt like a good compromise.

Anyway, two days before I moved in, about six weeks ago, my BF picked a giant fight with me and told me he's actually been depressed about me moving across the alley from him and was afraid to tell me. He feels, it seems, like it's effectively like moving in together, and that "I never wanted this." He said we should think about breaking up because we have fought over the years, he doesn't trust me, and also something to the effect of he thinks I'm moving there so I can spy on him or stalk him. I'm trying to be understanding about this delusion, because I know his autism causes him paranoia, but there is no way I'm actually spying on/stalking him. He was worried about his alone time too, and I was like "I'm actually desperate for alone time myself, after having a roommate for a few months, so you don't have to worry about that," but it didn't really seem to convince him.

I had nowhere else to go, though, and so I moved in, and it's been pretty chill--no fights so far! We see each other about as often as we ever did, twice a week or so. BF often asks me to come over for dinner, and he planned a road trip for us last weekend. Once he just showed up at my door to tell me about his day. But I asked him two weeks ago if he's still thinking about breaking up with me, and he said sometimes. I asked him if he wanted to just dial it back and be friends while things normalize, but he said no/he didn't know. I asked him how long my head was going to be on the chopping block then, because it's incredibly stressful, and he said, "I don't think about it every day or anything." He also said that "I often love you."

But he still sometimes thinks about breaking up with me, reportedly. This is a reversal from the way he usually feels; historically, after a big fight, if I suggest we take a relationship break, he begs me to stay. So this really scared me. As ever, he refuses to see a therapist or get medication for his depression, which has been really bad lately. I feel like if he weren't depressed, he could see the situation more empirically and realize it's not a big deal and I'm obviously not taking any of his alone time. If anything, he gets way more of it because I rarely spend the night at his house now, since it's so easy for me to go home after we finish hanging out.

I'm having a ton of anxiety about this situation and am not sure what to do. This relationship is very important to me--we share a special interest and relationship goals (we're anti-cohab, marriage, and kids), and we enjoy doing lot of the same nerdy stuff and share a bunch of sensory issues, so it's hard to not freak out when I think about how he might throw the baby out with the bath water. I feel like I'll never find someone I have such a huge Venn intersection with. I have a doctor's appointment next week to try to get some antianxiety meds, but I feel like beyond that, there's nothing I can do, other than leave him alone as much as possible and hope this notion passes from his mind.

Does anyone have any advice for me? Do I just need to wait? Should I look for a new apartment? How long should I wait for an answer before it's safe to say my head is off the chopping block? Forever? Bringing it up is really stressful for both of us, and he wouldn't really answer me before, so I'm reluctant to ask him again, and I feel like my anxiety isn't allowing me to see things clearly here.

(Sorry for the long post!)



Last edited by hydrozoa on 07 Jul 2017, 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

smudge
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07 Jul 2017, 6:39 pm

Be unavailable for a while, even if he knocks at your door, be nice enough and say you're busy. Or go out a lot and have very little to no time for him for the next couple of weeks. Don't get aggressive or upset, just be polite enough and make it short and sweet, no explanations. It might ease his mind in knowing that your presence isn't always there.

Is it going to confuse and upset him? Quite possibly, but this is what you want, he has to realise that this is your place and your life and that he needs to understand this.

Personally though, I would ask yourself if his kind of flakiness is really what you want.



hydrozoa
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07 Jul 2017, 8:12 pm

Hmm. That's not hard to do, but it seems a little bit disingenuous. I'd be fine with just agreeing to take some time off, though. Like even a week. He wouldn't agree to that--said it seemed too official or too premeditated or something like that. Maybe I should just do it under the pretense that I'm busy.

Thanks for the reply!



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07 Jul 2017, 8:23 pm

hydrozoa wrote:
Hmm. That's not hard to do, but it seems a little bit disingenuous. I'd be fine with just agreeing to take some time off, though. Like even a week. He wouldn't agree to that--said it seemed too official or too premeditated or something like that. Maybe I should just do it under the pretense that I'm busy.

Thanks for the reply!


He sounds unreasonable. Like why does it matter if you took a break? Too official, too whatever. He is scrutinising perfectly reasonable suggestions. And yes, it's OK to pretend temporarily, when he is messing you about. He is likely not doing it on purpose, but you need to set boundaries yourself and stop asking for his permission as he doesn't seem to know what he actually wants. Just because he does not know, it doesn't make his behaviour OK. If he feels too much of your presence then take it away. If he still keeps messing about then you know where you stand.



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07 Jul 2017, 8:29 pm

hydrozoa wrote:
My boyfriend and I are both on the spectrum, and after four years of dating, I've moved to a new apartment on his block. He has severe depression/anxiety and I have anxiety as well, and there have been communication problems and fights over the years, but it's really good about 80% of the time. (This is something he said recently, and I agree.) I'd say it's just OK about 15%.

Neither of us wants to live together, but my old apartment recently became way too expensive, so I moved in with a lady friend while I apartment-hunted. My BF is allergic to my cats and neither of us drive right now, and it was taking me an hour each way to visit him on the bus, and I wanted to move closer to him. Then another friend told me about an apartment for rent that happened to be across the alley from my boyfriend, unbeknownst to the friend. The housing market in our city is absolutely horrible--this place was cheap, didn't require any deposits, and was open right away. I was worried how my BF would feel about this, but he said he understood, that the local housing market is "the Serengeti at the height of summer," and I should take it.

So, I did. This followed a previous on-and-off fight wherein I wanted to move in the totally separate upstairs unit of his duplex, for similar reasons--short commute, no deposits, etc.--and he said it wasn't OK because "it would feel like cohabitating." So, this place across the alley felt like a good compromise.

Anyway, two days before I moved in, about six weeks ago, my BF picked a giant fight with me and told me he's actually been depressed about me moving across the alley from him and was afraid to tell me. He feels, it seems, like it's effectively like moving in together, and that "I never wanted this." He said we should think about breaking up because we have fought over the years, he doesn't trust me, and also something to the effect of he thinks I'm moving there so I can spy on him or stalk him. I'm trying to be understanding about this delusion, because I know his autism causes him paranoia, but there is no way I'm actually spying on/stalking him. He was worried about his alone time too, and I was like "I'm actually desperate for alone time myself, after having a roommate for a few months, so you don't have to worry about that," but it didn't really seem to convince him.

I had nowhere else to go, though, and so I moved in, and it's been pretty chill--no fights so far! We see each other about as often as we ever did, twice a week or so. BF often asks me to come over for dinner, and he planned a road trip for us last weekend. Once he just showed up at my door to tell me about his day. But I asked him two weeks ago if he's still thinking about breaking up with me, and he said sometimes. I asked him if he wanted to just dial it back and be friends while things normalize, but he said no/he didn't know. I asked him how long my head was going to be on the chopping block then, because it's incredibly stressful, and he said, "I don't think about it every day or anything." He also said that "I often love you."

But he still sometimes thinks about breaking up with me, reportedly. This is a reversal from the way he usually feels; historically, after a big fight, if I suggest we take a relationship break, he begs me to stay. So this really scared me. As ever, he refuses to see a therapist or get medication for his depression, which has been really bad lately. I feel like if he weren't depressed, he could see the situation more empirically and realize it's not a big deal and I'm obviously not taking any of his alone time. If anything, he gets way more of it because I rarely spend the night at his house now, since it's so easy for me to go home after we finish hanging out.

I'm having a ton of anxiety about this situation and am not sure what to do. This relationship is very important to me--we share a special interest and relationship goals (we're anti-cohab, marriage, and kids), and we enjoy doing lot of the same nerdy stuff and share a bunch of sensory issues, so it's hard to not freak out when I think about how he might throw the baby out with the bath water. I feel like I'll never find someone I have such a huge Venn intersection with. I have a doctor's appointment next week to try to get some antianxiety meds, but I feel like beyond that, there's nothing I can do, other than leave him alone as much as possible and hope this notion passes from his mind.

Does anyone have any advice for me? Do I just need to wait? Should I look for a new apartment? How long should I wait for an answer before it's safe to say my head is off the chopping block? Forever? Bringing it up is really stressful for both of us, and he wouldn't really answer me before, so I'm reluctant to ask him again, and I feel like my anxiety isn't allowing me to see things clearly here.

(Sorry for the long post!)


Paranoia isn't a characteristic of autism. In fact if someone had both ASD characteristics and paranoia, they would more likely be diagnosed with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder.

Anyway, I understand your boyfriend wanting his space. Perhaps you should leave him alone for a while so he understand he still has it.



hydrozoa
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08 Jul 2017, 1:13 pm

"Paranoia isn't a characteristic of autism. In fact if someone had both ASD characteristics and paranoia, they would more likely be diagnosed with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder."

Hmm, I've seen it on symptom lists. I also have a female friend with ASD who has paranoia pretty bad. Interesting discussion about it here:

viewtopic.php?t=174968



Chronos
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09 Jul 2017, 5:15 pm

hydrozoa wrote:
"Paranoia isn't a characteristic of autism. In fact if someone had both ASD characteristics and paranoia, they would more likely be diagnosed with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder."

Hmm, I've seen it on symptom lists. I also have a female friend with ASD who has paranoia pretty bad. Interesting discussion about it here:

viewtopic.php?t=174968


Paranoia is not a recognized symptom of AS, ASD, or autism in either the DMV-IV or DSM-V, and the DSM-IV definition of AS contains this clause...

"F. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia."

The reason for this clause is because schizophrenia has a prodromal stage which can mimic some aspects of AS/ASD and is often seen in children with early onset schizophrenia. Current research points to autism and schizohrenia being the neurological opposites of each other, with autism associated with under pruning of synapses, and schizophrenia associated with over pruning of synapses.

I believe that some of the paranoia discussed in the linked posts you provided is not paranoia in a pathological sense, but insecurity based in the knowledge that the person is blind to non-verbal social cues. This would be no different than a blind person being afraid they will bump into something.



karathraceandherspecialdestiny
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09 Jul 2017, 5:51 pm

Chronos wrote:
I believe that some of the paranoia discussed in the linked posts you provided is not paranoia in a pathological sense, but insecurity based in the knowledge that the person is blind to non-verbal social cues. This would be no different than a blind person being afraid they will bump into something.


This exactly.

Pathological paranoia, the kind stemming from a physiological base rather than an experiential one, is not an autistic trait.



hydrozoa
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10 Jul 2017, 3:10 pm

OK, well, then he doesn't have "paranoia" but an intense fear of the worst possible outcome happening, as a result of being unable to read social cues. He calls it paranoia and blames it on autism, so I took his word for it. You could also just call it anxiety, I suppose.



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12 Jul 2017, 12:36 am

He sounds scared. I don't blame you for the thought of backing off and saying you are busy and can't hang out. That sounds like playing games and I don't like to do that. I'd rather be honest about what's going on, but then again people say I should do stuff like that. Take care of yourself. Maybe he said what he did about breaking up out of fear that you would next want to move in or get married. Try to stop thinking and worrying about what he is feeling and what he said. If you focus on your worries they will grow. Take care of you, involve yourself in your hobbies or start a new hobby. If you're audited with the type of relationship the two of you have, carry on, but don't make him your world. (Your only hobby or fun). It sure is difficult to understand people and what they are thinking. Sometimes they don't even know!



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12 Jul 2017, 1:23 am

I think he's just having anxiety attacks due to the change.

IMO It's a control issue - not that he wants to control you, or the relationship, but that he's afraid the change and proximity may cause him to lose control of his routines and his personal space. Just tread lightly and give him plenty of space. When he's comfortable with the idea that you're not trying to take over his life, he'll probably calm down.

I once entered into a relationship that both parties agreed from the beginning was to be a FWB situation and nothing more (we both had our own homes). Within a couple of months, she was gradually moving in on my space - first closet space, staying over every night, then pestering me about clearing out a drawer in my dresser (which I resisted for weeks), then starting to add decorative knick-knacks to my home, which was already decorated the way I liked it. Twice, during fights I escorted her to the door and ordered her to leave, which she ignored, apparently thinking I didn't really mean it. Next came the insistence that my place wasn't big enough and we needed a place together.

Shortly after I caved to that pressure and my old place sold, she casually remarked "I'm glad that place is gone now, so you can't leave me." From that point on, the relationship was so toxic to me, I was constantly suicidal, because I was financially trapped in a situation I had been manipulated into. It took years to escape from that. What made it most miserable wasn't that there was no affection involved, there was - it was that it was never truly a mutual situation. I had been railroaded by duplicity into something I made clear from day one I did not want.

Was I paranoid? I don't think so. I still feel I was used for someone else's emotional fulfillment. She wasn't an evil person, but she had zero respect for my feelings or desires, and ignored any statements or expressions I made that didn't fit her agenda, and I was too nice (or too needy) to put my foot down and end it early when I should have. I paid for that with 7 years of my life. I'm not saying your boyfriend has had a similar experience, just that it's probably the sort of experience he's afraid of.

*********
BTW, if he has issues with chronic depression and is not comfortable with pharmaceutical meds (I'm not either), suggest he give Turmeric a try. It's 100% natural, and it's done wonders for me, in terms of taking the worst edge off the depression. It's no happy pill, but in my experience, it's a reliable mood stabilizer.


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hydrozoa
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14 Jul 2017, 9:26 pm

NTlovesHFA wrote:
He sounds scared. I don't blame you for the thought of backing off and saying you are busy and can't hang out. That sounds like playing games and I don't like to do that. I'd rather be honest about what's going on, but then again people say I should do stuff like that. Take care of yourself. Maybe he said what he did about breaking up out of fear that you would next want to move in or get married. Try to stop thinking and worrying about what he is feeling and what he said. If you focus on your worries they will grow. Take care of you, involve yourself in your hobbies or start a new hobby. If you're audited with the type of relationship the two of you have, carry on, but don't make him your world. (Your only hobby or fun). It sure is difficult to understand people and what they are thinking. Sometimes they don't even know!


Thanks for this. Yeah, I think you're right; his last girlfriend really, really tried to convince him to get married and have kids with her, and she would spend the entire weekend, from Friday night to Sunday night, at his house, and this is why they broke up. So yeah, he's afraid of that happening again, I am sure.

Last night, we went out to play pub trivia and had a few drinks, and then we went back to his house for a nightcap, and at the end, I was about to go home and sleep in my own bed to make sure he had space, but he was like "Are you sure you don't want to sleep here?" So, that was a good sign.

Yeah, I'm trying to focus on me and have been good about not contacting him for a few days in between dates. I have friends and hobbies, for sure. And your line about "sometimes people don't even know what they're thinking" is a good point. Thanks for the advice.



Last edited by hydrozoa on 14 Jul 2017, 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hydrozoa
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14 Jul 2017, 9:30 pm

I think he's just having anxiety attacks due to the change.

IMO It's a control issue - not that he wants to control you, or the relationship, but that he's afraid the change and proximity may cause him to lose control of his routines and his personal space. Just tread lightly and give him plenty of space. When he's comfortable with the idea that you're not trying to take over his life, he'll probably calm down.

I once entered into a relationship that both parties agreed from the beginning was to be a FWB situation and nothing more (we both had our own homes). Within a couple of months, she was gradually moving in on my space - first closet space, staying over every night, then pestering me about clearing out a drawer in my dresser (which I resisted for weeks), then starting to add decorative knick-knacks to my home, which was already decorated the way I liked it. Twice, during fights I escorted her to the door and ordered her to leave, which she ignored, apparently thinking I didn't really mean it. Next came the insistence that my place wasn't big enough and we needed a place together.

Shortly after I caved to that pressure and my old place sold, she casually remarked "I'm glad that place is gone now, so you can't leave me." From that point on, the relationship was so toxic to me, I was constantly suicidal, because I was financially trapped in a situation I had been manipulated into. It took years to escape from that. What made it most miserable wasn't that there was no affection involved, there was - it was that it was never truly a mutual situation. I had been railroaded by duplicity into something I made clear from day one I did not want.

Was I paranoid? I don't think so. I still feel I was used for someone else's emotional fulfillment. She wasn't an evil person, but she had zero respect for my feelings or desires, and ignored any statements or expressions I made that didn't fit her agenda, and I was too nice (or too needy) to put my foot down and end it early when I should have. I paid for that with 7 years of my life. I'm not saying your boyfriend has had a similar experience, just that it's probably the sort of experience he's afraid of.

*********
BTW, if he has issues with chronic depression and is not comfortable with pharmaceutical meds (I'm not either), suggest he give Turmeric a try. It's 100% natural, and it's done wonders for me, in terms of taking the worst edge off the depression. It's no happy pill, but in my experience, it's a reliable mood stabilizer.


Thanks for this. Yeah, this is a good perspective. I keep thinking of how my cats are still not quite used to the new apartment and are a little wiggy, and the things Temple Grandin has said inre. autistic brains being similar to animal brains in the way they process info. And yeah, as I mentioned above, his last girlfriend before me definitely wanted to move in together (and make him leave his apartment that he's been in for 15 years!), get married, and have babies. So you are probably right. I'm trying to take it slow and put three or four days in between dates. Seems like he's chilling out. He hasn't dumped me yet, anyway.

Unfortunately, I can't get him to take anything for his depression, but when I went to the doc for anxiety meds the other day, he made an offhand comment that maybe he should do that. Who knows if he will, though.

Thanks again!



hydrozoa
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17 Jul 2017, 8:12 pm

Also, does anyone have any advice on how long I should wait for this to normalize? It's been about a month and a half and he's still being squirrelly/anxious/depressed, which is OK, but I'm wondering how long it should take before I start to really worry. Three months? Six?



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17 Jul 2017, 10:54 pm

hydrozoa wrote:
Also, does anyone have any advice on how long I should wait for this to normalize? It's been about a month and a half and he's still being squirrelly/anxious/depressed, which is OK, but I'm wondering how long it should take before I start to really worry. Three months? Six?


Personally I would give it 6 months.