How do you tell your significant other that you're autistic?

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guineapigirl
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28 Nov 2010, 4:29 pm

My question is for any people w/ AS who are in a relationship and for NTs who are (or who have been) in a relationship w/ someone who is AS.

If you are AS, how did you tell your s/o that you were AS and how did they react to it?

How soon into your relationship did you tell them, if you are NT, how soon did they tell you?

Do you think this improved their understanding of you or did it make things more complicated?

If you are NT, do you feel like you understood your AS partner after they told you they were AS, or do you think it would've been easier if they didn't tell you?

If you are NT, did you do any research on AS after hearing about your partner's diagnosis? Did it help you understand them?

Judging by the info I provided, do you think that I should tell my bf? (If necessary, I could provide more info in another post)

I have AS and I want to know how I would tell my bf w/o him thinking that I'm weird or emotionally distant. I think my AS is very mild but it still affects my ability to convey affection (I don't really like physical contact.) I have been dating him for a few weeks. He is my 2nd bf. I told my 1st bf about a year after we started dating and he didn't really react to it. He understood my issues with expressing my love for him but I don't think it made much of an impact on our relationship since I told him so late. I promised myself that I would tell my next bf sooner but I'm not really sure how to do that.


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happymusic
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28 Nov 2010, 7:45 pm

My husband is the one who saw it in me so my situation is different. But if I were single and interested in someone I'd probably tell them at some point early on in the relationship when we'd gotten close enough that some sort of trust had been established. I wouldn't wait too long, though, because I think that could be seen as a negative thing. I'd probably tell the bf/gf before sleeping together.



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30 Nov 2010, 7:05 am

happymusic wrote:
I wouldn't wait too long, though, because I think that could be seen as a negative thing.


True, but if you reveal it too soon, it will color the relationship and assume more importance than it should. He will see you as "an autistic woman" instead of "a woman".

My instinct is to wait until you feel that he absolutely needs to know. And of course, only you can determine when that is.



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02 Dec 2010, 1:22 am

I never told any of the women I dated, but all of the guys I've dated have been familiar with AS so it's not a big surprise. My current boyfriend has known me for eight years and we started dating last year, I finally told him after we'd been dating for a few months and he was surprised that I didn't think he knew already.

I guess I've never been faced with having to decide when to tell a partner.



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02 Dec 2010, 6:47 am

Maybe there is some kind of middle ground here, guineapigirl. Maybe you can inform your boyfriend of the symptoms and how you would like him to handle them and only mention AS itself a bit later, when your relationship has proven itself to be stable and enjoyable enough that it will not be disrupted by this information.

For example, you could tell your boyfriend "I do not like being touched when I don't expect it. So I would appreciate it if you would let be know if you are about to touch me." Or in another (hypothetic) situation "I'm sorry, but I do not like loud noises. Maybe you could try not to let the car engine roar like that when I'm with you?"

The problem is of course, that he might think you are complicated or whiny if you ask too many things of him that he does not understand, so I think you should try to provide as much information as is neccessary to help him understand that certain things are just more difficult for you than they are for most other people.

Later on, when he has come to accept the fact that you are a very special person, it will be a much smaller step to bring up the issue of AS. But I think happymusic is right as well. Sleeping with each other IS a big step and it would probably be better to tell your partner before that. If he really cares for you he will accept your not feeling ready for intercourse yet.


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04 Dec 2010, 8:58 pm

I was already married when I was diagnosed. I told my husband that I suspected I had AS a few months after reading an article about it in TIME magazine, and sent him to a website about it. After my official diagnosis, he had the best reaction -- he said, "You're still you." He knew I was weird and complicated long before we got married! I think it has been a bit of a strain on our marriage; he finds me very frustrating at times and is convinced I need to change but just don't want to. He thinks that now that I know what's "wrong" with me, I can learn to "fix" myself. (I see myself as having been born with different brain wiring, and that can be coped with and compensated for, but not re-written.) For example, he's sure I could learn to read body language if I tried; to me, it's like a completely incomprehensible language (if I even notice it in the first place, which I don't unless I'm focusing on it). Overall, I'm glad I shared it with him; it's helped us to improve our communication!



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06 Dec 2010, 1:03 pm

I haven't told any of my ex's mainly b/c I was unaware what was so different about me. I had heard from closed friends who told me that I had so called "autistic tendencies", but I refused to look into this. My first gf realized pretty quick that I was kinda different and not so easy to handle, if I would have an official diagnosis, she would not be surprised.
However, to avoid misunderstandings and future problems, I decided to tell my current gf about my AS. She took it well, even though it's not always easy for both of us, we both try to move on and make the best out of it. She loves me with all my weirdness and she can always be sure that my feelings for her are true and honest. :heart:


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guineapigirl
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11 Dec 2010, 3:14 pm

Thanks everyone, I haven't exactly told him yet but he knows about some of my odd quirks and my shyness. I mentioned it on facebook but he hasn't talked about it, so I guess he either didn't read it or he doesn't really care if I have AS. Maybe I could bring it up after Christmas break (not right after, I don't want to shock him right after we've spent a month apart!) I definately want to tell him soon since I think we're at that point where the diagnosis won't take precedence over the relationship. I've told some of my friends and they usually don't have a bad reaction. Usually they have a few questions but then we move on. My AS isn't that severe so it doesn't really take precedence in any of my friendships and I hope it doesn't take precedence in this relationship. I'll definately tell my bf before I sleep with him (if I end up sleeping w/ him) but that won't be for a long time. We're not ready for that yet...


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guineapigirl
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03 Jan 2011, 4:23 pm

Hey everyone, I finally told my bf about my Aspergers. I just brought it up in casual conversation and he was relatively fine with it. He had a few questions but he didn't overreact. He mentioned that he didn't read the facebook post but his brother mentioned it to him earlier. He didn't believe that I was autistic until I told him, since my AS is so mild. Anyway, for anyone still reading this, thanks for all of your help. I'm glad that I can be myself around my bf now :)


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03 Jan 2011, 5:07 pm

Good to hear that everything worked out well in the end. I really hope that you will be very happy with your boyfriend for a very long time and that he will also enjoy your relationship. It's such a nice thing when people are happy around each other. :)


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03 Jan 2011, 5:50 pm

I just told him. I probably told him too early but he accepted it and understands my struggle because he was tested for AS and it came out negative. He still carries some traits though so it's okay. :)



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05 Jan 2011, 12:31 am

I showed my husband an list of autistic ADULT traits...he said "you have 99% of them!" I said "I know!" End of story. Actually, our relationship became much better after that. He understood me better and I understood that not everyone was like me.



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05 Jan 2011, 9:37 am

I warned him before we started dating...It turned out's he's one too...I did not have him pegged for one, but yay if he is not your classic IT oriented extremely obsessed with his interests..rocking..super left brained kind of fellow...Who unlike me, had speech and behavior help in school at an early age...when his traits were observed....Who, like me, is coddled by his parents....Our differences are starting to cause us some troubles..actually...I might be too extremely right-brained...He may need someone more on the computer geek end of things...He might judge me a bit too much for my righted brained...messyness and executive dysfunction...or ...he might cause me to judge myself too harshly...I tend to get overly-fixated when in new relationships...he may very well sincerely prefer his interests to the things that come w having a relationship...no less, one with someone like me... :(



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07 Jan 2011, 1:48 am

Never mind..I was in a bad mood when I posted that...We'ze plenty ok!...



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07 Jan 2011, 3:22 am

And even though he "rocks" and I have even seen him flap....and has his pretty hard-core obsessions and is very IT-oriented...and has a funny voice and is socially awkward...it is unfair for me to say he is an AS person...
I am the first girlfriend he has had in a long time..Even though he is more functional and educated and more culturally well-rounded than I am, at least I am a very "tactile" girlfriend who can as an enjoyable stim can tirelessly give him backrubs...that should be worth something, I hope.. :wink:....That...and the fact we both play ukulele and like a lot of the same kinds of musics and stuff....

But i warned him about me, as soon as it came to my attention that I was "interested" in him, and we'd actually started corresponding....then he said that his roommate who was a special ed teacher had the tiresome habit of telling him he's an aspie...



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07 Jan 2011, 2:39 pm

guineapigirl wrote:
If you are AS, how did you tell your s/o that you were AS and how did they react to it?

How soon into your relationship did you tell them, if you are NT, how soon did they tell you?

Do you think this improved their understanding of you or did it make things more complicated?


I was married to my husband for three years, with him for five, before I received my diagnosis. I always knew there was something "wrong" about me. I knew I wasn't lazy or careless like I'd been told by former SOs and my parents. I knew what was going on was beyond my control. I thought it was ADD and that I just needed a stimulant. While ADD was a diagnosis, it wasn't the culprit of what blocked me from Point B when I was at Point A.

I was going to a psychologist and psychiatrist at the same practice to discuss my mommy issues, my PTSD from a former abusive marriage, and my self-esteem pretzel that I'd twisted myself into for being a big, fat failure. My psychiatrist wanted to test me to see if I was on the spectrum because she suspected AS. It hit me by surprise because I had preconceived notions about Aspergers and didn't believe I fit the profile.

When she provided me the diagnosis, she took the time to point out how I fit into the AS profile and how the diagnosis matches me. She also diagnosed ADD and upheld the Depression diagnosis.

My NT husband (who insists that he's not as NT as an NT should be) already knew about the PSTD, Depression and Insomnia. He learned about the Insomnia by putting 2 and 2 together. I told him about the clinical Depression after he told me about his Anxiety and the PTSD was just a "duh" because he already knew I didn't have a good time with my ex-husband. I told him about the Aspergers the day I was given my diagnosis. It was a EUREKA! moment for both of us to have some explanation for everything.

Quote:
If you are NT, do you feel like you understood your AS partner after they told you they were AS, or do you think it would've been easier if they didn't tell you?

If you are NT, did you do any research on AS after hearing about your partner's diagnosis? Did it help you understand them?


Dictating my husband's words:

"It was very helpful that she told me and I'm glad that she did. It's hard to accept that someone is not doing what needs to be done. It's hard to accept that someone will say they will do something and then repeatedly not do it. I knew she cared but so many times when she'd let me down it would make it look like she didn't care. It would make it look like she was actually lazy. I'm trying to be careful with my words here. It was just very hard to understand because I never had a problem getting something done without there being a huge reason for why. I didn't know anybody who was like that. Well, no, looking back I think there was one. I don't know if she had AS too or what but she was a lot like [my wife]. When I started dating [my wife], my mom said they had the "same energy". [This is where I interject that his mother actually called me by the ex-girlfriend's name a few times!] So maybe she was AS, too. I don't know. And if she was, I was guilty of thinking that she was lazy and didn't care. There's something to think about.

"After [my wife] told me that she has Aspergers, I asked her for information and then I looked more. It really made a lot of sense. I think I accepted her diagnosis fitting her more than she did at the beginning."

Quote:
Judging by the info I provided, do you think that I should tell my bf? (If necessary, I could provide more info in another post)

I have AS and I want to know how I would tell my bf w/o him thinking that I'm weird or emotionally distant. I think my AS is very mild but it still affects my ability to convey affection (I don't really like physical contact.) I have been dating him for a few weeks. He is my 2nd bf. I told my 1st bf about a year after we started dating and he didn't really react to it. He understood my issues with expressing my love for him but I don't think it made much of an impact on our relationship since I told him so late. I promised myself that I would tell my next bf sooner but I'm not really sure how to do that.


I think you should tell him but not make too big of a deal out of it. Things like, "You know Aspergers Syndrome?" describe it a little bit so he feels that he has an idea of what AS is. Wait for his "okay"s and "uh-huh"s and "yeah"s in the discussion to continue so you know he's with you. Then say, "I was diagnosed with AS when I was [years old]. I am high functioning to the point where people can't tell but I wanted to tell you because sometimes I am misunderstood with things that I say. I'm not as touchy-feelly as other girls may be..." and so on. Mention other ways that it affects your life... like if you have to study more and so on, but don't list too many things. Keep it short and simple, easy to digest. Ask if he has any questions and let him know he can ask you anything.

I'd also recommend that you consult The 5 Love Languages to learn how you specifically understand and communicate affection. This is important because after you tell him that you're uncomfortable with a certain type of intimacy, it's better if you replace it with something you are comfortable with. This gives him something to do, instead of just taking something away.

I'd also recommend making the conversation about more than just AS, but also about him and his preferences. This is important information for you to know so you can act in ways that he's more comfortable. Relationships are give/take and I'm really big on saying that Love is something you do, not something you feel. When you decide to love someone, you can do a number of different things to show affection. Finding out what really means the most to him (it's not always sex) is important. For younger men, you might have to actually say, "Besides sex..." when you ask what makes them feel loved by someone based on the half-tract mind some guys have.