NT interested in a guy who may have AS--please help!

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25 Feb 2014, 4:09 pm

Hi everyone! I'm a mid-20s NT woman who's been reading this forum all up and down to try to gain insights into a dating situation I've just gotten into. Finally I figured, why not solicit some actual advice? Here goes…

A few weeks ago, some friends and I were hanging out at a local bar. There was a guy there who I noticed immediately because he's my exact type (tall dark handsome nerd in glasses, ha). We made eye contact and I smiled at him a few times, and eventually he said "hi" and we got to chatting.

Flash forward, we've gone out a few times, and pretty much from the start I felt a really intense connection with him. As in, we've had great conversations, he makes me laugh, he's extremely artistically talented, I feel amazing physical chemistry with him, etc. (After our first date I was so turned on just from kissing him that I seriously considered inviting him into my apartment, but I knew I wouldn't feel great about it in the morning.) This probably sounds corny, but I somehow got a sense that he was different from most people I've met--very straightforward and comfortable talking at great lengths about things that he cares about. I could tell somehow that it was OK/good to speak really candidly with him, so that's what I've been doing, and it feels great. Although I'm not looking for an exclusive relationship and I didn't think that he was either, I've really enjoyed his company and I wanted to keep seeing him.

Anyway, that's all fine and good, but a few days ago I was hanging out with him and some friends at a bar and something felt really off. He was really quiet even though he usually talks a lot, and he seemed uncomfortable--there was this thick tension in the air. He finally asked me to go sit and talk alone, at which point he confided in me a lot about how he feels in social situations, and I finally felt like we got back on the same page. However, later that night my friends confronted me and told me that this guy has a reputation in our small town for being "weird" and "creepy." I really hate to say that, but those were their words. They also told me a really icky rumor they'd heard about him, which I won't spread, but it concerned some sexual behavior that isn't dangerous per se but extremely off-putting (even to me, and I'm very open-minded). One friend in particular straight-up told me, "You need to stay away from this guy. He's bad news." ***

I realized, "s**t, I barely know this guy! I don't know if he's been honest about anything! Why am I jumping into these super intense interactions with him? He's very attractive and probably knows it, so what if he puts on this act all the time to get sex but he's actually dangerous and/or is going to hurt me?!" I'd never gotten any kind of creepy vibe from him before--he seemed very sweet and genuine even when saying things that would normally sound like lip service to me--but attraction does stupid, stupid things to the brain. Hearing these things put everything in a new light, and I felt like I'd been naive. I wanted to get away from him to process that information. So, I ended up leaving kind of abruptly with my friends, but I told him (truthfully) that I would like to see him again.

The thing is, I have started to suspect very, very strongly that he may have Asperger's. The more that I read up on it all, the more likely it seems--it's pretty uncanny how well his personality/behavior and the things he's said about himself match the descriptions I've found (yes, via the internet, which I realize isn't a perfect resource). I wish I could go through and systematically list all of my reasons for thinking this, but I do want to preserve his privacy. I mean, I'm half afraid that he's reading this right now.

My question is, though--should I ask him about this? And if so, how? I don't know where to begin. If he does have AS, I'd want him to feel comfortable talking to me about it. I think it'd help to smooth over some things I heard about him and help me to read him better from now on. I wouldn't stop seeing him, although I would want to slow down and clarify that I can't be in an exclusive relationship with anyone (nothing personal to him) right now. But even if he does have it, there's a chance that it's not diagnosed--so what then? On the one hand, when I think about some things he's said, I feel like he really must have AS and must be aware of it and maybe he's working his way up to telling me about it. But I do not want to hurt his feelings by bringing it up, or to seem like I feel sorry for him, like I think I "get" him, like I want to "fix" him, etc etc. At the same time, I can't keep seeing him with all of this stuff on my mind. It will drive me nuts and it wouldn't be fair to him to keep him in the dark as to why I've suddenly pulled back and why my friends were/are acting weird around him. And if he doesn't have AS and this is all some elaborate act, he probably is bad news and I probably should stay away from him. I need to figure out how to proceed.

Does any of this ring familiar to anyone reading this? If you have AS or suspect that you have AS, how would you feel if someone asked you about it without you bringing it up? Is it not a good idea to pursue a casual dating situation with this guy?

...Holy crap, time to stop writing. :? Thanks for your consideration--I hope it's not too incoherent and that I haven't said anything insensitive. I'm just at a total loss, so I'd appreciate any feedback whatsoever. Any feedback! Whatsoever!




***Side note: gossip is the worst! I know my friends were just looking out for me and I'm very grateful for that, especially if their concerns are totally founded. But I do think they'd be less worried about me getting involved with him if it turns out that there's a good explanation for some of his behavior, and it is not fair that he didn't have a chance to defend himself.



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25 Feb 2014, 4:59 pm

For starters, I'd ask your friends for details on why they think he's "weird" or "creepy." All of them. Find out what they all have to say, and then compare the amount of consistency the rumors have. If you keep hearing the same few over and over again, take those into consideration.

Second...I'm not sure whether or not you should ask him about AS. Personally, I own it whenever it comes up in conversation. I don't draw attention to it, but neither do I try to hide it. I just use it as an explanation for why I sometimes act the way I do. However, not all people on the spectrum are the same, and some might not take it well if you decide to be forward about it.

I think the safest course of action is to not talk about it, and to let him bring it up if he feels it's necessary. If he feels comfortable around you, he should confide in you if he has a diagnosis; if he doesn't, I don't really see a point in talking about it unless it becomes a problem.


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MadeUnderground
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25 Feb 2014, 5:35 pm

So, you said earlier in your post that you barely know the guy. So how can you think someone you barely know has AS? I mean theres a host of other things that make people behave weirdly in social settings without it being AS.
Social phobia for starters. Some people are just introverted. Generalized anxiety disorder. There's a lot of other things that can make someone anxious and just not good in group settings without it having to be AS.
That's the only thing you've listed that would make you think he has AS, so I'm addressing that.

I don't like group settings BUT, I'm in them all the time for my friends and I talk, laugh, joke, dance around a fire and do all the things everyone else does. I am diagnosed with AS. I am not socially awkward, BUT I am one of the rare ones that doesn't have much trouble with social interaction. (I used to but I spent many a days during my high school years "training" if you will, my social skills in preparation for college).

Also, I understand how some people with AS (or just some people in general who are awkward) come off as being creepy to most people, but they are innocent. However, I'm wondering why if he did have AS, you would give him a pass on the weird sexual thing or whatever else you heard about it. I don't understand how that wouldn't be acceptable if he didn't have AS and you would get away from him, but then if he did have AS, you'd give him a break. I don't get it?

Maybe you should consider that perhaps the end result is the same whether he does or does not have AS. Maybe he just is bad news in general.
Either way you will never know unless you start asking him the right questions. I would put the AS suspicion aside and ask him about the rumors first and foremost. You can gauge on his reactions and decide for yourself if you believe what his answers are.
If he does wind up confirming all these rumors, then you should probably ask yourself - AS or not, do I want to be with someone like this?
Because when I see someone say something like, "Roger was an a-hole and he bad mouthed me; I was so pissed and stormed off, but then I found out he has AS, so it's okay. "

Once you address the rumor issue with him, then you should ask if he has AS or any other social phobia or anything that might affect his social interactions. As I said above, you'd be surprised of how many anxieties, phobias, and social psychology issues affect people in social settings without it having to be on the Autism spectrum.

He may or may not be offended by you asking. It depends on the person. Personally, as I said above, I have extremely good social skills, not just for someone with AS but for NT's as well (I've been told his by people both on and off the spectrum), so I have no problems with telling people I have AS. Most of the time if I meet someone new and they become a friend I'll tell them pretty quick. I have no shame in it and I don't care who they tell. I tell co-workers too.
Most of the time people will exclaim they could have never been able to tell anything was "off" with me, and then they usually forget that I have it within a few hours because it's just not something they're thinking about.
So if a lady I was dating brought it up to me, I'd be more shocked that she was able to tell because I have never had anyone do that with me, but yeah I'd have no issue with it at all.

Anyway as I stated before, I think you should just ask yourself that if these rumors turn out to be true, can you be with someone like that AS or not?
I also will admit that when I see someone say things that allude to, "I wouldn't put up with this if he was NT, but since he's AS it's okay" is kind of insulting to me, as I see it a lot on these forums from NT's seeking help with their AS partners.

Best of luck to you. Cheers.



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25 Feb 2014, 6:02 pm

It doesn't matter. Either you get along, or you don't. Either he is a superfreak, that may wind up in prison, or in a toy story with pink pajamas. Hopefully not, unless you like that kind of stuff. You may be dealing with the games, and the viscous circle. The only truth you will find, is from its sources. With proof. Stop asking your friends about gossip and rumors. I have been a scapegoat before. I come off as weird, and a little freaky. It's normal. :wink:

People take a little truth, fantasize, and have the ability to make up the rest. It is called theory of mind or something.

At this point, I would be wondering if he is involved in criminal activities, or if he has a background of violence, or criminal activities. See if he talks about being billy badass. Stuff like that.

If he does strange things, that are not illegal, or if he is mimicking most people (normal)?, I would say so what.



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25 Feb 2014, 6:05 pm

Nothing you mentioned makes me think Asperger's. For example, he seems to be comfortable chatting to you and kissing on the first date ...



redrobin62
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25 Feb 2014, 6:20 pm

<--- Would like to know what the really icky rumor was. Sometimes there's truth in rumors.



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25 Feb 2014, 6:31 pm

I don't know what to tell you. I have AS. I would like it if a girl asked me about it (not offended). It's better than "weird" or "creepy" or "as*hole". However, if he doesn't have it, doesn't know he has it, or thinks AS is a bad thing, he might get angry or hurt if you bring it up.

In regards to dating, a diagnosis of AS is not going to determine whether or not he is dangerous. We vary tremendously in regard to our sexual behavior and our beliefs about sex.

The more important issue I see is:

-Do you believe the rumor?
-If the rumor turns out to be true, does that type of sexual behavior make you uncomfortable?
-Is that type of sexual behavior a deal breaker?



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25 Feb 2014, 7:07 pm

You seem very confused about everything going on. Your friends, and your attraction for this guy and you have no idea what to do. If in the position of the other guy and I knew you were confused, I'd be backing away and letting you get back to me as you would obviously need to sort through the emotions. there is no way you would let him comfort you as you do so, and it would be interesting to see if this guy would know how to do that as well. If I never hear back from you, I might get upset and disappointed, but would be clueless about whether to call or not. So take that with you if you need your space.

Rumours/gossip: The only thing that matters to these girls was there perception of the guy if I had to guess correctly. Maybe he did something that was sexually offputting, or maybe he didn't. I would have to hear what it was myself. I have had many false rumours in the past during school do a lot of damage to my repuation. My weird sense of justice and need to defend my honor was my undoing in these situations... How can one defend himself if he has nothing to defend himself with?

Feelings vs intentions: Boy have I learned long ago that that any woman's feelings matter far more than your intentions ever will to them at least. One bad thing said can immediately get them to hate you, even if your intentions were to endear them or get them to understand you. It doesn't work a lot of the time, and explaing your intentions sure won't help when their feelings are saying "I hate you/please get the hell away from me."

Trust: your friends vs the new guy. Your friends have been there before your fling has been. So obviously you are going to trust them a lot. But as much as you hate rumours, you know they are going to be around for a while. The guy on the other hand may not even have an idea as to what is being talked about behind his back. Or chances are maybe he does if he won't communicate in front of them and he conveniently used the excuse of "I'm not good in social situations." I mean, did he even try to socialize?

Just because you think he might be Aspie doesn't mean he isn't socially calibrated enough to know right from wrong, and not be able to pick up on a vibe your friends may have given him either. As for bringing it up and asking him, I'd recommend leaving it alone. But that is your choice to make.


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25 Feb 2014, 7:17 pm

Quote:
As in, we've had great conversations, ...


This is the only thing that makes me doubt your suspicions that he has AS. Generally speaking those of us with AS are horrible in conversations.. you would notice some awkwardness and what you could describe as social anxiety mixed with stage fright's 'I forgot my lines' part but without the fear.

It could be he has social anxiety and not necessarily aspergers.

I could be wrong but honestly, I've never met another aspie that had anything remotely close to normal in conversation/small chat skills as an NT.



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25 Feb 2014, 7:35 pm

I wrote a similar letter some time ago asking some of the things that you are asking. 'Is he on the Spectrum, & do some of his behaviors indicate that?'

The answers I got said that 'maybe?" but suggested that his behavior was way the hell out of the norm with either aspie, or NT 'normal'. "He was just nuts, & perhaps dangerously nuts."
(IMHO, he's not dangerously nuts. He just has a huge frickin' ego & likes women to come on call like Lassie., wants to control things, & maybe got taken in by a lot of nasty lies about me.
He also likes to keep tabs on women, rather than actually interact with them. aka: stalking & group stalking, & seems to have a really immature attitude toward sex & women.)

I think part of the problem with this & some other none-relationship that I' haven't had..if you get my drift...is that I live in an area that thrives on gossip & slander. I have a completely UNDESERVED reputation of being 'easy', being on drugs & being a drunk. Since I have never slept with anyone in 500 years, don't like drugs or sometimes the people who use them, & have about 2 drinks a year, if that...
It's a reputation that comes from people's ignorance, & perhaps a little wishful thinking on their part. :lol:
If you friend is an Aspie, has social anxiety, is shy, or just stays inside a lot, then he could be a victim of gossip too. People fear what & whom they do not know. If he's not in the loop, he may be fodder for the gossip mill., Maybe a former partner is seeking revenge?

The fact that you met him in a bar doesn't sound like any one of the above things. Too much noise, too many people, music too loud, too many distractions. That's also not a good place for shy people or those with social anxiety disorders.

I don't know what you can do short of hiring a private detective or seeing if he has a record of convictions on a web mining data base. In Canada, convicted pedophiles are on a publicly accessible data base. But if the name he gave you isn't correct, then you have no information & no way of getting any.

I'd question the people who are talking. Does what they say make sense? Can any of it be verified through news papers? (go on line & search) Is it all something they heard from some body else? Do the stories add up? Are they consistent?

I would be more apt to ask him about the gossip than if he is an Aspie? It could ruin the relationship, but he might at least tell you what is behind all this talk. At least you will get some kind of answer, & if he doesn't know already that somebody is out to ruin his life, now he has a heads up on that.

Proceed with caution in any case. It might be true, it might not be, but be watchful, & check out what you can. Try Googling his name.



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25 Feb 2014, 8:12 pm

For the record. When I was young, I was a party ANIMAL! I hung around social crowds, and made soo many parties that I do not want another one. I was around soo many loud parties, rock concerts, guns, and tools from industrial jobs that I am hard of hearing and have tinnitus. I never got used to it, and now my ears will ring FOREVER! to say we are all antisocial is a bit of a farce. Some of us live and grow up around alot of people, parties, drugs, and completely non antisocial environments. It makes us different, yet some things remain the same.



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25 Feb 2014, 8:16 pm

yournamehere wrote:
For the record. When I was young, I was a party ANIMAL! I hung around social crowds, and made soo many parties that I do not want another one. I was around soo many loud parties, rock concerts, guns, and tools from industrial jobs that I am hard of hearing and have tinnitus. I never got used to it, and now my ears will ring FOREVER! to say we are all antisocial is a bit of a farce. Some of us live and grow up around alot of people, parties, drugs, and completely non antisocial environments. It makes us different, yet some things remain the same.


Talk to me when you got a diagnosis. Thanks. Until then, your experience is not the norm for people on the spectrum.



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25 Feb 2014, 8:46 pm

Dantac wrote:
Quote:
As in, we've had great conversations, ...


This is the only thing that makes me doubt your suspicions that he has AS. Generally speaking those of us with AS are horrible in conversations.. you would notice some awkwardness and what you could describe as social anxiety mixed with stage fright's 'I forgot my lines' part but without the fear.


You never know... maybe she likes listening to a half hour lecture on astrophysics/pure mathematics/marine mammals. That is, we aren't the best conversationalists, but we do tend to say interesting things (in my opinion, at least).

Therefore, I wouldn't necessarily count that as a strike against AS. On the other hand, I don't see many indications of ASD, either.



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25 Feb 2014, 9:36 pm

Aspendos wrote:
yournamehere wrote:
For the record. When I was young, I was a party ANIMAL! I hung around social crowds, and made soo many parties that I do not want another one. I was around soo many loud parties, rock concerts, guns, and tools from industrial jobs that I am hard of hearing and have tinnitus. I never got used to it, and now my ears will ring FOREVER! to say we are all antisocial is a bit of a farce. Some of us live and grow up around alot of people, parties, drugs, and completely non antisocial environments. It makes us different, yet some things remain the same.


Talk to me when you got a diagnosis. Thanks. Until then, your experience is not the norm for people on the spectrum.


Really? I used to party and drink every weekend when I was in college. And I was diagnosed with Aspergers long before that. Truth is I didn't care about how I was viewed. People actually did want to get to know me, and some hated the fact that I had a huge wall up around me. I gave it a shot, and I had my fun. It might not be fair to this guy to say that regardless of whether he is diagnosed yet or not.


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25 Feb 2014, 9:48 pm

This guy sounds exactly like me, seriously...

Other than the fact that I don't wear glasses (anymore) and haven't been to a bar in months, Im just like this guy in every single way you described (directly and indirectly) to the point that it's scary...

I have Aspergers, I'm in my 20's, I'm from a small town, I have done sexual things in the past that were extremely off-putting, and I have a reputation for being weird. Even his actions you described sound like something I would do if I was in his situation.

Needless to say, I am the perfect person to help you out.

When y'all went out with friends to the bar, he was definitely not in his comfort zone. Just being at a bar can be overwhelming, but when you add a group of people that he doesn't know, you get a meltdown. His mind goes blank and he becomes quite. He can't help it. (it happens to me to)
If he was comfortable enough to explain how he feels during social situations, then its likely that he knows he has it. (Once I was diagnosed I became more comfortable telling people how I feel socially, but I still wouldn't tell them what I had)

If I was you, I would clarify your relationship intentions before you say/ask anything. If you asked him about it and then clarified your relationship intentions he would take it personally regardless (I know I would). If he's cool with not being in an exclusive relationship at first then I would start to ask by bringing it up and seeing if he says anything. Say something like "my mom's friend's son has aspergers and it was cool how he could do this and that..." make it sound like you are fascinated by it and admire it and see how he responds.

As far as the rumor goes, don't let that freak you out. I've done some pretty weird stuff that freaked out a lot of people in the past. That doesn't mean I'm a bad person, and that doesn't mean he is either. Im really a nice guy when you get to know me, and as you have already learned from him, he is to.

I think its a great idea to pursue casual dating with him. Most guys are all the same, but guys with aspergers are different than the rest. I think you'd regret it if you didn't.