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Loz
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25 Apr 2010, 4:38 pm

Hello all.

I've joined the fourm because I had a question to ask and I think this is the right place to put it.

I'm a student and volunteer at a college and I'm pretty sure I'm falling hard for another student. I found out recently that he has Aspergers, clearly I don't see this as a problem at all, we seem pretty close and I suffer from aniexty and depression so I am fully awear of how people over-react or how the wrong information is often passed on these kinds of disorders.
So I wanted to advice of people who have the real information and I hope you'll all indulge me.

We get along well, we talk alot, he comes to sit with me whenever he's there when I'm volunteering, we can easily spend all day together, although if I'm not there he tend sto leave the area very quickly. He's a few years younger than me and is remarkably intelligent, kind and fourthcoming. He's recently started gracing me with affectionate touches when we're saying goodbye or when we're standing close enough - which is something he never used to do. Also looking after me whenever I leave. He's also stepped infront of me when two boys started having a fight and were heading in my direction.

Basically my questions are:

Is this a sign that he also likes me, or am I reading too much into friendship?
Also I don't want to overstep my mark, I don't think he knows that I know he has Aspergers (and to be honest I'm a little annoyed that it was my colleuge that told me, I'd rather him told me when he felt comfortable enough) so i don't know if it's worth brining up the topic or just leaving him to mention it himself.
Because I believe this could develop into a relationship I'd like to know if there is anything I should know about Aspergers so that I can make him more comfortable if we were to get together, and if we don't get togther I'd still like to know so I can keep a soild friendship with him.

I think the level of Aspergers he has is pretty low from what I've read, but it would mean a lot to me to get the opinion of people who know the ins and outs.

Thanks :-)

(Sorry this is so long!)



ToadOfSteel
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25 Apr 2010, 4:49 pm

Loz wrote:
Is this a sign that he also likes me, or am I reading too much into friendship?

If an aspie guy goes out of his way to be around you, that's a pretty sure sign he likes you.

Quote:
Also I don't want to overstep my mark, I don't think he knows that I know he has Aspergers (and to be honest I'm a little annoyed that it was my colleuge that told me, I'd rather him told me when he felt comfortable enough) so i don't know if it's worth brining up the topic or just leaving him to mention it himself.
Don't bring it up unless he does first, at least until you get to know him better. For all you know, he might know he has AS, but is afraid of being judged.

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Because I believe this could develop into a relationship I'd like to know if there is anything I should know about Aspergers so that I can make him more comfortable if we were to get together, and if we don't get togther I'd still like to know so I can keep a soild friendship with him.
The best thing you can do is make some moves yourself. The average aspie guy (myself included, although this doesn't mean every aspie) is often so afraid of being judged that he won't make any overt moves out of fear. I know that if i were in his position, I would enjoy it if some woman i was interested in made some more overt indication that she was into me (i.e., making a move of her own). So just suggest little things that would let the two of you spend more time together. Don't try stuff that's too noisy like clubs; aspies often get overwhelmed by the atmosphere in such places. But something nice and quiet that allows you to get to know each other better.

Just remember, aspies aren't perfect either, we just have different imperfections than NT's. We're also not all great people either... aspies are jerks and saints like the rest of the world. I'm not trying to deter you from getting with him if you feel that's what you want to do, but don't get the idea into your head that he's some angel, because you're still going to have all the same arguments as any other relationship (moreso probably given the fact that aspies and NT's often have problems communicating on the same wavelength...)



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25 Apr 2010, 5:00 pm

treat him how you would an NT man, just dont rely on him reading body language or being intuitive, try to be direct and use words (not gesture). Other than that everyone is different so we cant tell you anything really.

good luck and have fun :sunny:



Loz
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25 Apr 2010, 5:04 pm

Thank you for the advice!

I know he's not perfect, no-one is, but from what I've seen so far I think the pair of us make a good mesh, both pretty patient and quiet, open and easy going. I think it's a good basis for a match in the long term dispite niggling little differences. I've been in some pretty bad relationships where partners weren't willing to cope with my disorders and firmly believe that if someones heart is in the right place then most other things can be either over-looked or worked on.

I was thinking about making the first move, only I'm almost as shy as he is. With my aniexty I can almost see neither of us saying anything. So I guess if he still seems interested I'll have to pluck up the courage sooner or later.

Thank you!
(I'm hoping to get a few more replies so I can see the wider spectrum)



ToadOfSteel
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25 Apr 2010, 7:22 pm

Well i can tell you, based on what you've mentioned so far, that he really likes you. I'd say you're set :wink:



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25 Apr 2010, 8:19 pm

I concur. Sounds like he likes you. I have a terrible time 'timing' a move with a woman I'm attracted to, constant anxiety about putting it on the line and getting rejected vs. staying too long in the friends bin. Would have been great if any of those women had given ME a sign or made a move.
The stepping in front of you when some violent dudes were approaching is a very good sign. I'm big on the protector role with women I'm into. I've never had the chance to help a damsel in distress but I'm always alert for the opportunity.



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25 Apr 2010, 10:31 pm

dtoxic wrote:
I concur. Sounds like he likes you. I have a terrible time 'timing' a move with a woman I'm attracted to, constant anxiety about putting it on the line and getting rejected vs. staying too long in the friends bin. Would have been great if any of those women had given ME a sign or made a move.
The stepping in front of you when some violent dudes were approaching is a very good sign. I'm big on the protector role with women I'm into. I've never had the chance to help a damsel in distress but I'm always alert for the opportunity.


Actually that's a pretty good point. One thing you can do is "engineer" some "disasters" that fit with his skill set. I'm a computer nerd, and if some girl i was interested in asked me to fix her computer, i'd be all over that. If you know him well, giving him the opportunity to play the hero in a way that he can do easily will help a relationship come along...



Loz
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26 Apr 2010, 12:45 pm

Well I think I made a fool out of myself today.

Turns out he's only got a couple of months left before he leaves college and goes to higher education/University (he took a year out so he's older than your typical student). I paniced that I would never have the nerve to say anything before he left, so right there I kinda blurted out "You can't leave! We have to stay in touch! I need your number!!" he found that quite amusing and then gave me his number.

Horray for not thinking before speaking.

Another girl at the college is convinced that we'd make a good couple, but I've been on a pretty low day today so I haven't really been noticing as much over the last few hours.
I've dropped so many hints about going to watch a movie without outright asking.

As for things he's good at, he's great with kids, fantastic at interesting conversation good at table tennis (although I tend to be his bad luck charm as he keeps talking to me and distracting himself if I'm watching).

One of the women at work gave me a pretty hard time and some outright verbal abuse. I was talking to him about this and he got really offended on my behalf and now won't be in the same room as her.

I was talking to him today about not having much jewelry and the topic came up of him not having any (in a joking way) and I said I could get him a pink necklace... and he said he would wear it. So I was thinking that maybe a nice way forward would be to buy him a nice -not too expensive and not pink- necklace in his taste as a gift. What do you think?



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26 Apr 2010, 2:26 pm

Loz wrote:
Well I think I made a fool out of myself today.

Turns out he's only got a couple of months left before he leaves college and goes to higher education/University (he took a year out so he's older than your typical student). I paniced that I would never have the nerve to say anything before he left, so right there I kinda blurted out "You can't leave! We have to stay in touch! I need your number!!" he found that quite amusing and then gave me his number.

Horray for not thinking before speaking.


That's good isn't it?

Personally I like inexpensive but meaningful gifts.

It does sound like he likes you, so just forge ahead. Like as has been said already, aspies often tend to be very passive.


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ToadOfSteel
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26 Apr 2010, 2:54 pm

Loz wrote:
Turns out he's only got a couple of months left before he leaves college and goes to higher education/University (he took a year out so he's older than your typical student). I paniced that I would never have the nerve to say anything before he left, so right there I kinda blurted out "You can't leave! We have to stay in touch! I need your number!!" he found that quite amusing and then gave me his number.
Nah you didn't make a fool of yourself, this is actually pretty good. The only thing you could have done better is trying to hug him when you said that. I would have been flattered if some woman blurted that out to me, actually...

Quote:
I was talking to him today about not having much jewelry and the topic came up of him not having any (in a joking way) and I said I could get him a pink necklace... and he said he would wear it. So I was thinking that maybe a nice way forward would be to buy him a nice -not too expensive and not pink- necklace in his taste as a gift. What do you think?

I don't know if getting him a necklace is a good idea. Guys and necklaces don't go together that well in my experience, at least beyond maybe a religious symbol (like a cross or a star of david) on a chain if he ascribes to any particular faith (and that's usually kept under the shirt). But it's a good sign nonetheless, because he said he would wear it since it sounds like you would like it, meaning he cares about your feelings (more than a lot of guys would)



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26 Apr 2010, 2:54 pm

Oh, I don't think you made a fool out of yourself - you let him know you value him enough to want to keep him in your life. That's a good thing.

I wanted to share a little bit of my perspective, being an NT who's dated an Aspie or two. (And by sharing this info, I don't mean to discourage you from pursuing a relationship with this young man - as a matter of fact, I hope it helps you succeed.)

I wrote recently that dating an Aspie was like playing a game where you know the objective, but you don't know the rules. You only find out the rules when you break them - and the penalties for breaking the rules can be pretty swift and severe. It can be difficult to understand how Asperger's impacts a romantic relationship between two adults. There are probably many reasons for that, but here are a few I've identified: the symptoms vary widely from one person to the next; Aspies can seem very "normal" - they can be professionally successful, independent, well-spoken, smart as hell, funny, caring, etc. It can be easy to dismiss the disability almost completely - until you start doing that, only to realize that you can't dismiss the disability, because it's real and there are real issues that have to be dealt with.

My ex told me about needing time to pursue his "special interests" (I was welcome to join him), a lot about disconnects between vocal tone/facial expression and the words being expressed, and I heard about the need to have concepts explained explicitly. I was willing to make those accommodations, no problem.

What I didn't know about was a concept called "Executive Function" - defined as: "Executive Function is one of the Frontal Lobe's duties. It involves planning and carrying out series' of complex actions, like conceiving, designing and carrying out the construction of a building, or starting and running a business, managing a stock portfolio" - it even encompasses things like planning a dinner party. An example of the impact of Executive Function was provided by an Aspie recently in this forum: "I can barely muster enough executive ability to carry myself from day to day. If you ask me to be responsible for you, too, there's going to be a burnout and a meltdown sooner or later. Remember the mature, responsible adult part of the Aspergian brain stops developing in adolescence. That's a key component of the disorder. When it comes to those aspects of daily life, you're effectively dealing with a 10-12 year old boy."

That's a huge issue to understand. In some respects, when you're in a relationship with an Aspie, you will have to walk a fine line between being a partner and a kind of mentor. I don't think that's impossible to do in a way that is reasonable and acceptable to both partners - but you're much more likely to be successful if you understand that will be your role.

It's also important to understand emotional processing delays. Not every Aspie experiences them, but they're basically "lag time" between an event and the emotional response to that event. It can be difficult to deal with because literally, your partner can say, "That's okay with me, honey," on Wednesday and on Friday be anything but okay with whatever it was. Tricky.

You also need to be aware of "meltdowns" - a reaction to stress overload. Aspies typically don't handle stress the way NTs do. As explained to me, the stress piles up like boxes in a stack, until the stack tips over. The resulting reaction can be a meltdown - essentially "losing it" to varying degrees.

I wish I'd known about this stuff before I got involved with my last ex. I still would have gotten involved with him, but perhaps we both would have handled things better if we'd both been more informed about how ASD can affect a relationship. I hope this helps you, and I wish you the best, OP.


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26 Apr 2010, 5:40 pm

HopeGrows wrote:
What I didn't know about was a concept called "Executive Function" - defined as: "Executive Function is one of the Frontal Lobe's duties. It involves planning and carrying out series' of complex actions, like conceiving, designing and carrying out the construction of a building, or starting and running a business, managing a stock portfolio" - it even encompasses things like planning a dinner party. An example of the impact of Executive Function was provided by an Aspie recently in this forum: "I can barely muster enough executive ability to carry myself from day to day. If you ask me to be responsible for you, too, there's going to be a burnout and a meltdown sooner or later. Remember the mature, responsible adult part of the Aspergian brain stops developing in adolescence. That's a key component of the disorder. When it comes to those aspects of daily life, you're effectively dealing with a 10-12 year old boy."

I guess it's a good thing that by the time I was 12, I had become far more mature and responsible than other kids of my age, then...



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26 Apr 2010, 6:15 pm

HopeGrows wrote:
What I didn't know about was a concept called "Executive Function" - defined as: "Executive Function is one of the Frontal Lobe's duties. It involves planning and carrying out series' of complex actions, like conceiving, designing and carrying out the construction of a building, or starting and running a business, managing a stock portfolio" - it even encompasses things like planning a dinner party. An example of the impact of Executive Function was provided by an Aspie recently in this forum: "I can barely muster enough executive ability to carry myself from day to day. If you ask me to be responsible for you, too, there's going to be a burnout and a meltdown sooner or later. Remember the mature, responsible adult part of the Aspergian brain stops developing in adolescence. That's a key component of the disorder. When it comes to those aspects of daily life, you're effectively dealing with a 10-12 year old boy."


I have to disagree with this assessment as applying to all aspies (although there are certainly aspies that it applies to, just not all of them)... I've managed projects through to completion many times at college, often including group projects.



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26 Apr 2010, 6:54 pm

ToadOfSteel wrote:
HopeGrows wrote:
What I didn't know about was a concept called "Executive Function" - defined as: "Executive Function is one of the Frontal Lobe's duties. It involves planning and carrying out series' of complex actions, like conceiving, designing and carrying out the construction of a building, or starting and running a business, managing a stock portfolio" - it even encompasses things like planning a dinner party. An example of the impact of Executive Function was provided by an Aspie recently in this forum: "I can barely muster enough executive ability to carry myself from day to day. If you ask me to be responsible for you, too, there's going to be a burnout and a meltdown sooner or later. Remember the mature, responsible adult part of the Aspergian brain stops developing in adolescence. That's a key component of the disorder. When it comes to those aspects of daily life, you're effectively dealing with a 10-12 year old boy."


I have to disagree with this assessment as applying to all aspies (although there are certainly aspies that it applies to, just not all of them)... I've managed projects through to completion many times at college, often including group projects.


@Toad, I'm including a few links that discusses Executive Function as it relates to Asperger's. It seems like an impact on Executive Function is a core part of Asperger's, but you're right, not every Aspie is going to exhibit the same symptoms of Executive Function deficit.

http://www.aspergercounseling.com/executive2.html

http://www.sacramentoasis.com/docs/8-22 ... ficits.pdf


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26 Apr 2010, 9:35 pm

HopeGrows wrote:
@Toad, I'm including a few links that discusses Executive Function as it relates to Asperger's. It seems like an impact on Executive Function is a core part of Asperger's, but you're right, not every Aspie is going to exhibit the same symptoms of Executive Function deficit.

http://www.aspergercounseling.com/executive2.html

http://www.sacramentoasis.com/docs/8-22 ... ficits.pdf


Hmm... maybe you're right in that it can affect aspies, but I dont think it's a core part of AS. Now that I think about it I did have some problems with all the executive function while I was an adolescent (I would have to be told many times to do something), but it's improved as I've gotten older (as it would with an NT, just slightly delayed). Executive function can be improved with the right therapy and a little maturity (maturity helps everyone in this matter regardless of AS status), and some physical therapy can improve motor control (also video games, ironically enough, helped with my motor control more than anything else).

The core component of AS is the social stuff. Aspies can learn to "fake it", but the social disconnect is the primary factor. I wouldn't call it dysfunction, since I can communicate with other aspies just as naturally as a pair of NT's can communicate with each other. It's as if there's two separate "body languages", and being able to cross the language barrier is very difficult (and even once you do cross it, you still have your native "language" as the one you innately know). That's what the core of AS is, and what is common amongst aspies (and the rest of the autistic spectrum).

I don't really ascribe to the idea that such things are purely deficit in aspies. The NT world just considers them deficits because they are things that the NT mind is expected to innately learn early on with no outside influence necessary. Things like executive function can be taught to aspies, but it needs to be taught early, as well as explicitly, in order to take effect.Same applies to motor control. But you're not going to "train" the AS out of an aspie just as you couldn't "train" the spanish out of a native spanish speaker.



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26 Apr 2010, 10:01 pm

Quote:
What I didn't know about was a concept called "Executive Function" - defined as: "Executive Function is one of the Frontal Lobe's duties. It involves planning and carrying out series' of complex actions, like conceiving, designing and carrying out the construction of a building, or starting and running a business, managing a stock portfolio" - it even encompasses things like planning a dinner party. An example of the impact of Executive Function was provided by an Aspie recently in this forum: "I can barely muster enough executive ability to carry myself from day to day. If you ask me to be responsible for you, too, there's going to be a burnout and a meltdown sooner or later. Remember the mature, responsible adult part of the Aspergian brain stops developing in adolescence. That's a key component of the disorder. When it comes to those aspects of daily life, you're effectively dealing with a 10-12 year old boy."


I am sure that this does affect Aspies, I think its a bit of an exaggeration to say that you are "effectively dealing with a 10-12 year old boy." Nothing in my readings of AS has ever said that, and the links you provided don't even say that. And though Executive Function may be a facet of Asperger's. there isn't really much in the academic writings that suggest it is a core part of the disability.