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

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wefunction
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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."

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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.