Ethics of telling an ex their partner may have Asperger's

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Would you tell her?
Poll ended at 20 Jan 2012, 6:20 pm
Yes 63%  63%  [ 5 ]
No 38%  38%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 8

thescout
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31 Dec 2011, 6:20 pm

I am in a strange situation.

A close friend of mine has been with a man for about four years who I am fairly sure has Asperger's. The catch is that he has never self-diagnosed or been assessed, and neither of them seem to be aware of the spectrum or that he may be on it. He is very high-functioning.

Lately, my friend has been on the verge of ending the relationship and has come to me to vent about their problems; problems that seem synonymous to a relationship involving one partner with Asperger's: Emotional missed connections, empathy issues, rigidity of routine, obsessive interests.

Do I bring it up to her and tell her I think her partner may have Asperger's or should I leave it alone? (The situation is slightly complicated by the fact that this friend and I used to be together, and I am still in love with her.) :oops:

But that aside, as a friend, what are the ethics of telling someone you think their partner may have Asperger's when neither one has considered it and may not even know what it is.

I do not have Asperger's and am interested in what the community here thinks the ethics are of relaying this information, as it has the ability to affect both lives.



The_Walrus
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31 Dec 2011, 6:36 pm

Suggest it. It's likely to do more good than harm for their relationship- at the least, it should introduce some understanding if he does have it.



Jayo
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31 Dec 2011, 7:03 pm

I'd suggest it for sure, I don't see it as an ethical dilemma - you were together so long ago, so it wouldn't reek of jealousy - as long as it's consistent w/ your behaviour during the last 4 years, should be fine.

BTW, I am a guy in my 30s with Aspergers, and married to an NT woman - we had our ups and downs, and after a couple of years of dating, I finally told her - her reactions were somewhat upset, but not furious - we still got married and had a daughter.



Esther
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31 Dec 2011, 8:13 pm

As the friend, I would highly welcome someone telling me about my partner potentially having AS. It would not offend me at all.

Knowledge would be a very good thing. It will be up to her to do what with it. Personally, if I really wanted the relationship to work, I would then tell my partner about him possibly having AS and if he's open to the idea, we would learn as much as we can about it together and work to strengthen the relationship.

I hope they are both open to the possibility.



so_subtly_strange
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31 Dec 2011, 8:17 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
Suggest it. It's likely to do more good than harm for their relationship- at the least, it should introduce some understanding if he does have it.

if anything i would echo this. as for the other complexities involved, only you could be the judge as to the extent they factor into your choice, and their influence on your executive decision in the matter



Jayo
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31 Dec 2011, 8:20 pm

As I always thought...if it's not something that you can catch from the other partner, or would endanger them in any way...then the pragmatic response would be to disclose it. That's rationally & ethically speaking though - since you're dealing with an emotional bond of attraction, it might create some further questions and work to be done - but an instant breakup is unlikely.



Dunnyveg
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31 Dec 2011, 8:20 pm

thescout wrote:
I am in a strange situation.

A close friend of mine has been with a man for about four years who I am fairly sure has Asperger's. The catch is that he has never self-diagnosed or been assessed, and neither of them seem to be aware of the spectrum or that he may be on it. He is very high-functioning.

Lately, my friend has been on the verge of ending the relationship and has come to me to vent about their problems; problems that seem synonymous to a relationship involving one partner with Asperger's: Emotional missed connections, empathy issues, rigidity of routine, obsessive interests.

Do I bring it up to her and tell her I think her partner may have Asperger's or should I leave it alone? (The situation is slightly complicated by the fact that this friend and I used to be together, and I am still in love with her.) :oops:

But that aside, as a friend, what are the ethics of telling someone you think their partner may have Asperger's when neither one has considered it and may not even know what it is.

I do not have Asperger's and am interested in what the community here thinks the ethics are of relaying this information, as it has the ability to affect both lives.


I think about all you can do is to bring the matter up and suggest as diplomatically as possible that AS may be a factor in her relationship. That's all you can do. A friend is one who merits the truth, whether it is pleasant or not. I would bring up one of these online tests.



so_subtly_strange
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31 Dec 2011, 8:43 pm

Esther wrote:
As the friend, I would highly welcome someone telling me about my partner potentially having AS. It would not offend me at all.

Knowledge would be a very good thing. It will be up to her to do what with it. Personally, if I really wanted the relationship to work, I would then tell my partner about him possibly having AS and if he's open to the idea, we would learn as much as we can about it together and work to strengthen the relationship.

I hope they are both open to the possibility.


echo this also. and as to some original input. I have only had one serious relationship with a female other than my wife. Our relationship ended absolutely due to communicative barriers due to my autistic characteristics (though i didnt know much about autism at that time, or the possibility that i had any degree of it). Though we were living together we drifted apart over the course of a couple months, and in the end one of us initiated a confrontation of this issue, which involved mostly awkward silence on my part, her trying to express that there just wasnt any communication between us, and my total un-understanding of what i did wrong or what i could have done differently. could have been a different story if either of us understood the reason for the collective and cumulative misunderstandings.
Incidentally if it hadnt ended with her, i wouldn't be with my wife who is a far better fit for me. We never had issues despite my various strangeness and when we learned about autism and its perfect fit explaining things about me, it was really just a side-note, not a game changer, as far as our relationship goes.

I did have some 'sorta' relationships with between 5-10 other girls earlier in my life, but none got past the stage of being affectionate friends, and eventually dwindled because of my inability to make the first move, as is expected of males. hmmmm i was just know trying to think of these girls there are 4 i can remember, other than my wife and the girl before her. seemed like there was more though . . . oh well.

B, K, L, C, J, C are the initials in the order i can recall



fraac
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31 Dec 2011, 8:52 pm

All's fair in love and war.

"and I am still in love with her. But that aside..."

Grow up.



so_subtly_strange
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31 Dec 2011, 8:58 pm

so_subtly_strange wrote:
Incidentally if it hadnt ended with her, i wouldn't be with my wife who is a far better fit for me.

This fact leads me to suggest perhaps your friends are not a fit for each other. This is on one hand silly because i know absolutely nothing about them and i could be absolutely wrong, but there is one relevant possibility i bring up. Being able to compare my relationship with my wife to the one preceding, our marriage is a healthier fit/situation. I dont have hard feelings for the other, its just simply a better match. However if she hadn't confronted our issues, i never would have, and i would have stayed with her, and unhappy as things became or as worse as they could have become.

on the flip side, i think i could have been happy if things had worked out with others of my former love interests, which could have progress had the knowledge of autism been at the table. im happy where i am and dont wish to be with the others im just saying everything is so circumstantial, just speaking logically and honestly events could have played differently and still been positive and i would have been none the wiser of parallel possibilities.

so in summary it is too complicated to say what would be best for two people i dont know. BUT knowledge isnt usually a bad thing



btbnnyr
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31 Dec 2011, 9:00 pm

You could suggest it to the man instead of his partner behind his back.