Asperger Love: Searching for Romance When You’re Not Wired to Connect

Here’s an excerpt from Pulitzer Prize winning NY Times reporter Amy Harmon’s new ebook, “Asperger Love” that profiles Wrong Planet’s “Autism Talk TV” co-hosts Jack Robison and Kirsten Lindsmith.

The first night he slept with her, entwined with her on his futon, Jack Robison regarded Kirsten Lindsmith with undisguised tenderness. She was the only girl to have ever asked questions about his obsessive interests—chemistry, libertarian politics, the small drone aircraft he was building in his kitchen—as though she actually cared to hear his answer.

To Jack, who was 19 and has a form of autism sometimes called Asperger syndrome, her mind was uncannily like his. She was also, he thought, beautiful. So far, they had only cuddled; Jack had hopes for something more. Yet when she smiled at him the next morning, her lips seeking his, he turned away. “I don’t really like kissing,” he said. Kirsten drew back. If he knew she was disappointed, he showed no sign.


Asperger Love by Amy Harmon

On that fall day, Kirsten, an 18-year-old college freshman, did not know that someone as intelligent and articulate as Jack might be unable to read the feelings of others, or gauge the impact of his words. Only later would she recognize that her own lifelong troubles—bullying by fellow students, anger from teachers and emotional meltdowns beyond her power to control—were clues that she, too, occupied a spot on what is known as the autism spectrum.

Still, she found comfort in Jack’s lack of artifice. If he did not always say what she wanted to hear, she knew that whatever he did say, he meant. After he dropped her off on campus that morning, she reread an e-mail he had sent, describing their brief courtship with characteristic forthrightness.

“The past few days have been breathtaking,” he began. . .

To continue reading, download the ebook!

47 thoughts on “Asperger Love: Searching for Romance When You’re Not Wired to Connect”

    Comments

    • RobertLovesPi on February 15, 2015

      Is the author of this book an Aspie, herself? I followed the link to Amazon, read the material there, and it did not answer this question. If she is an Aspie, I’ll be more likely to be interested enough to buy the book.

    • sellieve on March 6, 2015

      I like kissing, but I don’t like being touched down there, and yet I like intercourse. Feeling confused.

      • DevereauxFrazier on April 18, 2015

        Yeah, certain touching makes me feel weird.

    • narcolepticpenguin on April 20, 2015

      I feel like im a roller coaster with dating, you have to be at least this smart to ride this ride. iv been in good ones and bad ones,one date I went on the girl thought elephants were extinct and whooly mammoths refered to hairy fat people,and that by my using the word ostrasized I was talking about big bird……..I feel like in a relationship I am only nice and funny,I dont play games I say things as they are,and I do not bs,the saying you can be right or happy,I will almost always choose to be right and that becomes a problem,not because I have to be right but because I am and choose not to defer to accepting a wrong answer and as a result this affects my relationships negativly……I have been engaged and that wound up with me looking after a women who developed 5 alternate personalities,seems like at times I just cant win with women

    • Blair93 on May 22, 2015

      Me and my fiance are both on the spectrum (mildly) and although we have our moments we understand that each person is different n resolve conflict very quick. I for example love grabbing his hair or squeezing him intensly whereas he prefers coming to me for hugs and has to firmly remind me to back off haha! He has his obessions with mma and is semi pro which sometimes I have to remind him he is talking to much about it and its boring me or I dont understand what hes talking about which frustrates him for a while but he gets over it whereas I get very engrossed and stressed and obessive over the things I like and he has to remind me to fed myself and go to the loo haha! In a way we are perfect for each other and very lucky to have each other, its not impossible to find love! Xxx

    • MetalDude90 on September 3, 2015

      I’ve got a girlfriend it’s just friends i don’t have

    • DDknight on October 12, 2015

      I have had a problem with connecting with girls all my life. i can make friends at the drop of a hat its keeping them i have a problem with especially girls. i have one phobia and that is being alone it terrifies me but that has been the trend in my life since my diagnosis. i am top of the high functioning spectrum. i have had two girlfriends in my life both have lasted for a good amount of time the first for 2 years on and off the 2nd for around 3 years. but it always ends the same i tell the girl about my ASD or she finds out and they run for the hills. i am starting to question if i am going to meet some one who excepts my ASD sad as it is

    • old_comedywriter on December 27, 2015

      I have AS, and my wife is severely NT. We’ve been married for 33 years now. It can happen if you find a woman who is compassionate and patient, which is not easy even for guys without AS.

    • cacerge916 on January 6, 2016

      I have always struggled with relationships..at first I can make myself be affectionate and sometimes even want to be..but after about 3 months I really don’t care to be physical. This has always ended my relationships because the guys think that I no longer like them. This is not the case. I have been with my boyfriend for over a year now and I love him and I want to be with him, I just have no interest in the physical part of our relationship. Does anyone else have this problem?

    • Sasw12 on January 9, 2016

      Dude, touching freaks me out. Lol, I was rafting down the nantahalla and this chick tried to hold my hand and I frekin freaked out. I bought ice cream though. Ice cream heals everything.

    • Sasw12 on January 10, 2016

      Casper gotta say touching freaks me out a lot. never was into dating but people I’ve known for years have said that to break my touch barrier they just slowly encroach and make sure I’m comfortable and then they go in for the hug or whatever

    • BetazoidTourist on January 17, 2016

      DDKnight it’s never easy to find real love with unconditional acceptance and understanding, for anyone, but it is out there. My husband explained to me his specific problems with socialization and at first I was just his “wingman” for going outside his comfort zone to try to grow and develop stratagies. He felt more comfortable doing that with his wingman because in case it didn’t work out the way he hoped, I could calm the other person or extricate him from the situation. I admired his willingness to put himself on the line for growth, that takes a lot of courage. I also found his honesty very refreshing. In my opinion, anything can be solved with honest communication, and nothing can be solved without it, therefore, I tthink people who don’t appreciate real honesty are setting themselves up for problems. My point is that there ARE people out there who can not only accept, but appreciate you for who you are.

    • BetazoidTourist on January 17, 2016

      Sasw12 My husband needed time to get used to being touched…he did eventually adjust to my touching him. Turns out he is the best hugger ever, and gives hugs to his family now, too. They know him well enough to let him initiate the hugs. He still thinks kissing feels weird, and that’s fine. His hugs more than make up for not kissing.

    • Sasw12 on January 17, 2016

      That’s great!

    • Aspergirl1981 on March 1, 2016

      I am very uncomfortable with physical intimacy. I however fantasies about being more intimate. I was sexually abused very young and I know that factors in with my AS I have to absolutely force myself to be affectionate with my husband. I don’t like hugs unless I’m lonely. Kissing is romantic but awkward, I think I would like kissing if I knew I had the choice as to how far it will go (sex or not) My husband and I are not on the same page with intimacy. But he is learning after 15 years (4 married) that there are moments that he absolutely shouldn’t touch me!! I think some feel very insecure when others don’t show enuf affection. It seems the less he shows the more comfortable I am with showing affection. I am trying to make mental notes to touch him, hug or kiss him. Because I want him to know I love him.
      New to AS I was finally diagnosed because I finally stuck with therapy :)
      It’s great to have a forum like this. So encouraging!!! Any advice is appreciated!!!

    • Neolewis on March 7, 2016

      I find that females fall for me once they take an interest initially. As the days and first few weeks pass they make a huge amount of effort to change me. When they don’t get what they want or lack a level of respect and understanding they turn very nasty. Many times I’ve been tortured into feeling a mass of guilt. When I reflect after and talk to one or two people who actually understand me it turns out that I’m not at all in the wrong.
      I’m a loving and calm chap tbh.

    • Sasw12 on May 5, 2016

      Hey sorry for the late reply, but I can totally relate to the struggle of intimacy. I think I’m more or less “growing out” of aspergers, if that’s a thing. Physical intimacy doesn’t have to be your love language. Emotional understanding and commitment are much better. Don’t get to discouraged. The thing that helps me with intimacy is just not thinking. I think as aspies we some times just over think everything and ruin the moment. This is going to be hard for you, but just for a moment stop thinking and enjoy the moment. Think about this person you love, they’ve committed their whole lives to you and will always love you no matter what. Intimacy is all about trust and this person by marrying has accepted all your quirks and just said: “screw it she’s worth it even if she’s a little weird”. Btw human species as a whole are just kinda weird. Aspies just try less to hide it;)

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    • marlyn morgan on March 16, 2017

      I totally relate to you sasw12 on this. Its how I learn in general. Ive never been able to let a man touch me if im sober. Its TOO overwhelming and I leg it. All my relationships have been that way until I met the man I married. He turned the whole touch thing on its head which is great cos it taught me to cuddle my children. Now I am ‘the best cuddler’. Its lovely. Exponential.

    • lapinemike on March 23, 2017

      I have been married 19 years. I have just recently been diagnosed with AS. In the beginning of any relationship I have ever had, Sex wasn’t an issue. But, as the relationship went on, I would always just get uncomfortable with sex in general. It has been this way with every relationship I have ever had. I just get a general uneasyness whenever sex comes up. My wife is NT. I know she isn’t getting what she needs from me, and I want to be there for her sexually. Anyone have this problem, and have you found any way to overcome this issue?

    • angela8 on April 26, 2017

      The story here is beautiful. I am falling in love with an Aspie. It’s a complicated situationm I am fascinated by his interests and enjoy hearing him talk. I just wish we could be together.

    • affablestranger on June 5, 2017

      I’m nearly 47 and have had eight relationships so far in my lifetime. One was a disastrous marriage when I was young. The other seven disintegrated because of what I reckon are typical NT/Aspie relationship issues. I have had several almost-relationships that were derailed for same reasons. We often tend to be mirrors for others. I don’t mean we mimic them but that our sincerity and not infrequent awkwardness allow them to see themselves rather more clearly, and sometimes that doesn’t work out so well. I waffle between wanting to be with someone and feeling like relationships may be too difficult.

    • [email protected] on June 10, 2017

      I love sex but I hate cuddling and can do without foreplay entirely.Am I the only woman on earth to feel like this?

    • chelsieanayas on June 21, 2017

      Just a smile and the rain is gone Can hardly believe it, yeah. There’s an angel standing next to me. Reaching for my heart Just a smile and there’s no way back .Can hardly believe it, yeah But there’s an angel calling me. Reaching for my heart I know that I’ll be okay now. This time, it’s real I lay my love on you It’s all I wanna do Every time I breathe I feel brand new You open up my heart Show me all your love and walk right through As I lay my love on you.
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    • MichelleDirkie on September 5, 2017

      I am in love with an Aspie man..i cant wait to see him in person. I am an ordinary woman..i have no idea about autistic people or asperger until i met this guy..

    • blackholemac on November 10, 2017

      I had never been big on the physical growing up but my wife helped a bit with that…I love hugs from very specific people or when I choose to give them. Weirded about by random hugs from most others.

    • drshaneisin82 on December 2, 2017

      I Only Been With One Person And I Knew Her Most Of My Life. It Was Hell Because All She Wanted Was Sex And When I Had Enough Of It I Told Her It’s Over Although It Took Me Awhile For Me Let It Go And Finally Moved On From That. I Just Kept Fooling Myself Saying I Was In Love When I Really Wasn’t. I Have ADHD And Asperger’s Syndrome And I Can Say That I Never Truly Ever Been In Love With Someone And Someone With My Age I’m Turning 36 In January And This Is Something That’s Keeps Me Up At Night Wishing I Could Fall Asleep At Ease But I Don’t Which Is Exhausting. This Is Just One Thing I Wish I Could Do Before I Die Is Actually Be In Love With Someone That Actually Wants To Be With Me And Not Have Her Think I’m Trying To Scare Her Off Because I Have My Moments Just Like Everyone But I Don’t See Something Like This Is Never Going To Happen Because I Don’t Think My Nerves Can Take It. I Been Lonely Most Of My Life And Everyday I Get Sick Of T

    • drshaneisin82 on December 2, 2017

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    • Duskulina on December 16, 2017

      What does NT mean? I don’t understand

    • Speed Racer on January 16, 2018

      This has been my struggle

    • Siegz on December 3, 2018

      I am very picky about who can touch me. I like being very physical with my boyfriend (my heightened sense of touch actually makes sex feel AMAZING for me), but I strongly dislike being touched in any way whatsoever by relatives or strangers, even most friends. My family affectionate with each other, and they don’t understand why I’ll hug and kiss my boyfriend but I won’t hug them. Frankly I don’t understand it either. I wish I felt comfortable showing them affection because I don’t want to make them sad but it’s like there’s only room for one person in my life at a time who I can be physically affectionate with, and right now it’s my boyfriend. Before I met him, I had one friend who I used to hug and sometimes cuddle with but not really anymore.

    • LonelyTogether on March 15, 2019

      I am an NT married to an Aspie. We have been married for 3 of our 8 years together. We tend to go through a few types of cycles, and I don’t know how much energy I can put toward the relationship any longer. I am writing this to gain some insight and advice. Please know that I am very aware of the varying social and physical struggles for Aspies and know this may be frustrating for some to read. I sincerely am at the end of my rope and seeking help.

      Our physical cycle starts with gradual decline in some type of touch or frequency of sex (verbal intimacy has never been a thing with us even though he knows how to flirt with others when playing a role to socialize). I then start feeling lonely or doubting that he cares as much as he used to, and I think “he used to be willing to do blank, but now he is not. Does it mean he doesn’t care as much?” When/if I bring my concerns to him (sometimes calmly,sometimes not), he perceives it as being told he is not good enough. I then feel like I must not be good enough or have been too insensitive and decide to comprimise. Sometimes he temporarily tries to be more cognizant as well, but it never really seems to stick as part of the routine, and almost all intimacy has eroded away.

      This is the tip of the iceberg…we also struggle with parenting, finances, chemical dependency with DUIs, and loss of interaction with friends and family.

      I am a natural caretaker, which I am sure is one of the reasons he was attracted to me at first, but now it seems that the cards have been dealt in such a way that discomfort for him has been removed as much as possible, and I am now the uncomfortable one, always questioning why I feel the need for touch.
      I rarely ask for compromise anymore because of the reactions I get. Even something as small as asking (maybe 3 times a year) to have my shoulders rubbed on a very stressful day garnishes a heavy sigh or an eye roll. When I ask for things, I try to detach emotionally and remove all hope for a positive reaction so that I am not hurt if there is a negative response, but removing hope from a relationship is not healthy either.

      With his unwillingness to say or do anything outside of the bed more intimate than periodically putting his hand on my thigh, I have now grown bored with sex (NOT like me at all). I almost never initiate sex any longer.

      I love kissing and cuddling but dismissed those desires several years ago. He used to do other things that were clearly love actions that made up for the lack of touch (making dinner and other tasks he would take off my plate), but that is less frequent as well. He seems to think that keeping a job (another difficult cycle we have been through several times) and sharing tasks around the house are all he needs to do to feed the relationship.

      Our relationship feels like I am pushing someone on a swing who doesn’t realize he needs to pump his legs to keep moving until the swing slows to a stop. Realizing that pushing is a type of enabling, I am so tired of pushing and am ready to just jump onto my own swing and pump it myself. I would rather be alone than lonely together. Have any of you made it through situations like this successfully?

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      Can not follow any of the links to get either an Amazon or Kindle (preferred). Links are all broken. Suggestions?

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