Help - Aspy Anxious Daughter and Aspy Anxious Boyfriend

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Bald-Accountant
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17 Nov 2015, 9:35 am

My 16 year old daughter who is an Aspy and very anxious is dating a 17 year old Anxious Aspy.

My wife has been more liberal than I really wanted letting them stay home together for a half hour here, and hour there, or longer when her 12 year old brother is home. We allow them to sit on the love seat in ther room under her bunk bed, but the door has to be open. He hates that rule and he always says it is because it makes him think we dont trust him. They are always laying on one another and he is always glued right next to her. Very often they will be whispering in the back of the car or when they are sitting on the other side of the living room. He tries to spend as much time with her alone as possible and tries to come over as often as we let him. My daughter actually would prefer to have some alone time, but she is afraid of losing him and lets him talk her into it. She is always saying she is sorry to him for things she did not really do and he only says he is sorry when she has cried or occasionally yelled at him.
We are Christians and my daughter is a pretty strict rule following person until she met him. That is their biggest source of friction when he wants to be with her when she has homework. He uses his diagnosis to get out of homework and to break rules and he cant understand why she does not.
Last night my daughter came to us because they had shown each other their privates when they were alone and touched each other. At the time she liked it but was apprehensive, but he nagged her into it. She was feeling uncomfortable and regretting her decision and wanted her help, but was afraid because he asked her not to tell us about it.
Finally we had the boy come over and talked to him. We had never told her that we had sex before we were married because we did not want her to know, but we thought it might help them to see we knew what we were talking about when we said that giving into sexual touching would lead to intercourse. I think now our daughter understands. they both have said all along that they want to wait for intercourse till they get married, but he thinks that just means sex that can make her pregnant. The ydont understand the emotions involved and how hard that would be for their teenage, aspy, anxious emotions.
He seemed more sorry she told us than sorry that he upset his girl friend. He clearly has very low self esteem and is clinging to her with all he has.
Any advice?



kraftiekortie
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17 Nov 2015, 9:40 am

I think you're doing a good thing by speaking about the potential implications of having sex--on the emotions, and the practical aspects.

I think you're a good dad in this instance. I think the boy needs your guidance, and I hope you are able to prop up his self-esteem.

Ultimately, your gentle input, I believe, will yield excellent results--especially if both your daughter and the boy listen to you.



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17 Nov 2015, 11:16 am

Please Google the warning signs of domestic violence, because your daughter's boyfriend is exhibiting several of them. Girls on the spectrum are much more likely to end up in abusive relationships than NT girls - just ask around WP and you'll find that most of the women here have been abused by a boyfriend or husband, myself included.
Perhaps your daughter could talk to a counselor about this?



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17 Nov 2015, 1:14 pm

I am going to answer this differently than I normally would. Normally I would say that (IMO) 16 year old's are entitled to some privacy and some agency in their romantic lives, even if it makes the parents uncomfortable.

The only reason I am answering differently than that is b/c based on the OP's description it appears that this is not mutually consensual and the daughter is acquiescing to the bf's requests out of fears about the relationship.

I don't know if your daughter is more comfortable talking to her mom (sometimes talking to the opposite-gendered parent, about realtionships, especially the stricter one, might make a teen uncomfortable) but maybe a talk is in order about consent and having a right to hold ones ground. If your wife is more lenient, your daughter might be more forthcoming about what she consents to and what she doesn't.

At that point your wife can ask her if she needs some scaffolding, in terms of increases in supervision, and less (not none, but less time alone. This should be offered only as a choice. In other words, less opportunity might be welcomed, if your daughter wants to say "no" and is having trouble doing so.

I want to add a serious caution that your daughter should not be pressured by you, either, just b/c it may be the solution that makes you feel safest . If she is comfortable handling these situations, she ought to be allowed to do so b/c she is going to need to acquire these skills to function in society. It is better for her to work on them now, and acquire the skills herself than to one day have to exercise them on her own with no scaffolding as an adult who will be fully expected to have these skills, and who will be interacting with other adults.



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17 Nov 2015, 1:45 pm

Quote:
. My daughter actually would prefer to have some alone time, but she is afraid of losing him and lets him talk her into it. She is always saying she is sorry to him for things she did not really do and he only says he is sorry when she has cried or occasionally yelled at him.


Quote:
he nagged her into it. She was feeling uncomfortable and regretting her decision and wanted her help, but was afraid because he asked her not to tell us about it.


Quote:
He seemed more sorry she told us than sorry that he upset his girl friend.


To be clear, these are the parts of the conversation that are concerning to me.
I'm not opposed to your daughter having privacy, and I have no opinion about whether she should have sex if that's what she wants. My concern is that her boyfriend is controlling her, pressuring her, isolating her, and guilting her.



ASDMommyASDKid
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17 Nov 2015, 3:01 pm

Yippy Skippy,

I don't disagree that that is a strong possibility. It is hard to tell b/c I don't know how honest the daughter is being with her father if there are also strong pressures on the homefront the other way. I think the daughter is probably subject to pressures on both sides and I think she is more likely to be more forthcoming on how she feels with the more lenient parent especially since it is a same-gendered parent.

I am not saying I think the OP is misrepresenting things, but I think it would not hurt anything for the daughter and mom to have a private conversation about it. Based on my limited teenage experience with teenaged boys, they can be persistent, but not necessarily abusive, even when they are very persistent-- If the daughter is naturally passive she may not have vocalized to the boy that he is upsetting her and if he is aspie, he may need a very direct conversation.

Dealing with romantic partners in the future may involve saying no to various requests for a variety of reasons. It is a worthwhile skill to develop. So,I guess what I am saying is in addition to being able to identify if he is abusive, she also needs to learn how to deal with regular-variety pushiness.

That does not necessarily stop at adulthood b/c people are into all sorts of things and have different comfort levels etc. and the line between pressure and persistent is a line aspies aren't very good at navigating on either side.



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17 Nov 2015, 3:27 pm

I agree that she should talk to her mother about the situation without her dad present. I just hope the conversation also includes some information about relationship abuse. It starts a long time before the first physical assault.



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17 Nov 2015, 4:02 pm

I tried to post earlier, so hopefully this will not be a duplicate

I appreciate all of your help.
I was mostly involved in the discussion because my wife said she wanted me to be there to help her keep calm.
It is hard for me to make decisions regarding our kids because a lot of times it seems like I am barely holding my own head up.
My wife wants me to talk to the boyfriend because he says he is having suicidal thoughts and I have struggled with it myself. I am not sure what to say.
he is seeing a therapist, but not sure if he is really trying. A lot of times our kids either will go to the therapist and wont talk about the problems they have been having unless we give the therapist a briefing on what has been happening.
Sometimes I am so blue because I want our family to be happy, but we are all so anxious and up and down all the time. I was having a great week last week exercising, having a good time at work now I am down again. But I tried to make sure my daughter knows it is not about how we feel or what we think about what they were doing. We just want them to have a good, healthy relationship.



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17 Nov 2015, 4:19 pm

Bald-Accountant wrote:
Sometimes I am so blue because I want our family to be happy, but we are all so anxious and up and down all the time.


I am right with you, there.

Sometimes the best thing is to really do what you love and share that pleasure or good feeling. Model a healthy approach. Excercise. Good food. Joy.

And even to show the best approaches to the stuff you normally want to hide. Stress. Misery. Catastrophic thinking... if you know any tricks to help yourself from succumbing to these patterns of negative thought, share that process with your kid too--show that you are vulnerable to those things but also that you have developed some skills and armor against it.

I often wish that I had known some of the things I know now when I was a teenager. I am trying to give some of that knowledge to my kids now in the hope that it will help them avoid some of the pain I went through.



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18 Nov 2015, 12:22 pm

I understand that teenagers want privacy. I understand that ASD teenagers want even more privacy. I get the feeling incredibly awkward, and the being constantly on guard, and the constant terror of judgment, and the overdeveloped sense of shame. When I was an ASD 16-year-old, I had half a dozen "NO AND I MEAN ABSOLUTELY NO TRESPASSING" signs on my bedroom door. I didn't want anyone checking my homework and had such a strong sense of shame that I really didn't even want to hand it in. I was HUGE on the privacy thing; I only realized how huge after I had a teenager of my own and she behaved very little like me.

That said, I think you're right on the money with your rules and boundaries. Bluntly put, if my father had allowed me to take a boy into my room and shut the door, I would have gotten raped on the other side of that closed door. It was a near enough thing with the door open. I was bloody glad for that open door, because I wasn't confident enough to yell and hit, and he wasn't mature enough to take "PLEASE STOP" for an answer.

People tell me I'm downright Duggarish with my dating rules and boundaries. I probably am a bit over the top when I insist that I will follow DD14 and her boyfriend out on dates (I won't be on top of them-- I'll sit at a different table or a couple of rows back and mind my own business, but I'll be there and visible and able to see what goes on). It's not based on some desire to keep my children pure before the Lord. It's based on memories of the stuff my cousin got into (she was sexually active at 12, and that's not the half of it). On memories of stuff that happened to me (non-solicited, non-consensual touching in class, in my room with the door open, in the back seat of his dad's car with his dad present). It's based on protecting my daughters from being put in distressing situations by their own emotional vagaries and the hormones and lack of experience of teenage boys, and to protect my son from getting permanently hurt by his own hormones and lack of impulse control and the emotional vagaries of teenage girls.

Personally, I would NEVER leave them in the house alone. It just. Wouldn't. Happen.

Remains to be seen if I'll be able to hold that line when my daughter starts to take a significant interest in boys. 8O

I'm VERY concerned by his behavior. What you describe speaks to me of a lack of self-control, a lack of self-respect, an entitlement mentality, and rings more than a few bells for the early warning signs of a domestic abuser. Most domestic abusers aren't violent because they just enjoy violence. Most domestic abusers are violent because they're incredibly anxious, and incredibly insecure, and overreact to any perceived threat, and perceive threats where there are none. Abuse comes out of a place of insecurity and mental illness A LOT more often than it comes out of a domineering personality and a mean nature.

It's very hard for a teenaged girl (any teenaged girl, never mind one who's trying hard to "be normal") to dig up the courage to call a dick a dick and get out of the relationship. Very, very, very hard. That kind of wisdom doesn't seem to come to women until they've had a lot of experience or gotten old enough (mid-30s in my case) to get fed up. For all I had to ACT LIKE I resented it to "be cool," I actually really appreciated my dad drawing a hard line (one of the very few hard lines he ever drew with me) in regards to what I was and was not allowed to do with a boy present. Looking back (and considering the piece of scum I dated in high school-- there was only one, it was miserable enough to sour me on dating until I was 19), I honestly wish he'd drawn those lines a little closer. Like forbidding me to date the guy (who showed slightly better behavior than your daughter's BF) and thus giving me an excuse to get out of the relationship.

If she were my kid, I would seriously counsel her to tell BF to hit the road, Jack. Based on your relating anyway, his behavior is controlling and disrespectful. His attitude toward managing his condition is poor, even for a 17-year-old boy. Those things have more to do with attitude and a condition of the heart than with any neurobiological condition.

Of course, if I did what I would WANT to do in that situation, I would probably come off as a domineering, controlling, supremely uncool Duggarite bitchwoman, and I would probably lose the respect and confidence of my child. That's not something you want to have happen. That's called "provoking your children unto anger," and it's something Paul counselled against (and too many of the conservative Christian parents I grew up with didn't get, and got ultrarebellious kids in payment for not getting).

Use a significant amount more tact than my post suggests. It is very difficult for me to write tactfully about this, because in hindsight I can see where my judgment and trying to be tactful got me as a teenager (sexually harassed, borderline raped, and traumatized). I'm more concerned with protecting a somewhat passive, very anxious young woman from harm than I am with being nice right now, unfortunately to the detriment of my ability to give advice.


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18 Nov 2015, 1:05 pm

I am going to ask this b/c do not know b/c I think I don't have a good sense of nuance. How do you know when it comes to these things what are appropriate rules and what are smothering ones?

Right now it is really obvious what rules to set b/c it is very binary. Doesn't look both ways and wanders aimlessly--rule: Cannot cross street by himself. Easy

What do you do when/if your kid looks functional in social situations, but you don't really know how functional s/he is? Especially when it comes to dating behaviors that you probably are not going to see?

I ask b/c I was very grateful for any kind of freedom I had, (My parents were strict about a number of nonsensical things) and this was one of the few areas in which I had more autonomy b/c my parents figured I could handle myself. I don't think they would have enjoyed the outcome, particularly my mother; but I am very grateful to have had the autonomy and the freedom to choose many of my dating issues for myself.

That said, I was not nearly as peer-pressure resistant as my parents assumed, and I readily admit I could have gotten into more trouble than I did. Maybe if I had, I would think differently about this. I don't know.

I do think, though, that if I had not gotten this autonomy I would be in the same camp as a lot of the teens/adults on here, talking about how smothering they think their parents are/were.

So how do you know?

Edited for syntax



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18 Nov 2015, 1:34 pm

ASDMommyASDKid wrote:
I am going to ask this b/c do not know b/c I think I don't have a good sense of nuance. How do you know when it comes to these things what are appropriate rules and what are smothering ones?


Great question - I dont know the answer obviously, but great question.

My parents divorced when I was 4. My dad was an alchohalic, probably his way of dealing with his problems. My mom stayed in that about 12 years.
My sister got pregnant and married right out of high school. Her husband was controlling, and beat her, both were alchohalics. She finally divorced him but moved back in with him until she died complications from the alchohal.

My three brothers area ll kind of messed up.

I have a terrible background for being a good parent.

One thing I have always tried to tell our kids, way before my daughter started dating, was to t ry to wait to get into a serious relationship until they are older because you change over time, as you get more education or responsibilities, experience things etc. The person you like in high school might not be the best fit for you once you have seen the world and know what you want to do for the rest of your life.

I am kind of mad right now, but I think I have kept it inside. My wife says so and she is NT.
She told me I was right that we should have started out stricter, but we are where we are.

We cant make the decision to cut off the boy, but we can limit thing some. We have been disrupting our family time and our own very limited personal time to chauffer them back and forth, surrender our house to them, and feed him four days out of the week. We will probably make sure they have very little time together alone, but not totally eliminate it. I think that will probably change if Katie suddenly stops talking to us.
Even though they are kids, they are trying to be adults. As hard as it is for a teenage girl to do, my daughter needs to be able to speak her own mind and not give in when she does not want to.
He needs to learn to trust somebody - her, us, his own parents.

Please note that our daughter is sometimes more of a stickler for rules and religion than we are. She is pretty zealous. But sometimes love gets in the way of our zealous intentions. We encourage her to believe. If you thought something was vital to a persons well being, wouldnt you? But she is defintely a driving force in her own conviction now. She has on her own chosen church activites over him on a number of occasions. And seems to be OK with that.



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18 Nov 2015, 1:56 pm

Whatever activities she likes to attend, encourage her to do so. Maybe find her some new activities, too, or let her take up a hobby she's always wanted to try. By taking up all her time, this boy is trying to make her whole world revolve around him. The more you can keep her otherwise occupied, the better.