Problems with a selfish boyfriend

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Sailor_Mercury
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10 Mar 2014, 10:33 am

My boyfriend has Asperger's and he can be incredibly selfish. Not over the top, but after a year of never being asked what movie I want to watch, what kind of pizza I'd like to order, or how I'd like to spend our time together it's getting old. I've talked to him a few times that he needs to be less selfish, but little has changed. How can I ask him to be less selfish and remind him that a relationship is about two people?



JanuaryMan
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10 Mar 2014, 10:42 am

It's probably best you take charge and go "I'd like to watch.." "I want to eat.." "Let's go to.." etc. And see where that gets you. If he finds that too pushy then explain how you feel (bluntly). If his instant reaction is to go into self defence unfortunately he isn't ready or mature enough to compromise and you should rethink how valuable your time is when spent together.



Jono
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10 Mar 2014, 12:30 pm

Sailor_Mercury wrote:
My boyfriend has Asperger's and he can be incredibly selfish. Not over the top, but after a year of never being asked what movie I want to watch, what kind of pizza I'd like to order, or how I'd like to spend our time together it's getting old. I've talked to him a few times that he needs to be less selfish, but little has changed. How can I ask him to be less selfish and remind him that a relationship is about two people?


I don't think that he's being deliberately selfish, that's a bit of a strong word. It's just that we (by we, I mean those of us with Asperger Syndrome) don't realise or forget that society expects us to "offer" things to other people rather than them just asking for it if they want it. That's something that we usually have to learn. I admit that I also do this sometimes. To give an example, I remember one passage from the book "Anthropologist on Mars" by Oliver Sacks (a book I'd highly recommend if you want to learn more about Asperger's and autism), where the author describes the time when he first met Temple Grandin in her home where she never offered him anything to drink until he eventually asked for it because he was thirsty. The reason for that was not because she was selfish but only because she didn't realise that she had to do that. If you take your example of your boyfriend not asking what kind of pizza you'd like or what movie you'd like to go to, perhaps he doesn't realise that you're expecting him to offer you a choice.

There are two things that I can suggest. One thing you can do is either take charge and suggest to him what movie you'd like to see or what kind of pizza you'd like to have before he makes the arrangements and without expecting him to ask you (like what January man said). The other thing you can do is coach him by explaining to him that you'd like him to offer you a choice rather than him making arrangements without your inout. I don't know how old you are but if both of you are still in your teens, then this kind of thing is actually quite common with aspies of that age because they haven't yet necessarily learned all social skills yet. Please realise that his lacking of those social skills are part of having Asperger's and it's not because he's deliberately being selfish as you've suggested. He can still learn them though and that's why I suggested the second strategy.



Sailor_Mercury
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10 Mar 2014, 1:50 pm

He is really good about some things, but not all. For example, went he gets a glass of water he'll ask if I want one. An example of him being really selfish was we had left overs one night. In the morning he wanted to eat them for breakfast. He did ask me if I wanted some. I said yes, but I don't think he was asking if I really wanted them. He was asking because it was expected of him. When I said yes he changed his mind and decided he wanted all of them.
Its just little things like that. They are silly things, but after a while it just gets annoying.



Eccles_the_Mighty
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10 Mar 2014, 4:12 pm

Aspie talking here, this is one thing that some of us have big problems with. The problems arise when you're asked something a number of times and on each occasion give the same answer. It's a bit difficult to describe so I'll give an example.

Last Christmas I bought a big pile of English chocolate bars, one of my few weaknesses. For the first five or six bars I asked my girlfriend if she wanted some of it and, each time, she said no. Eventually I stopped asking and when I ate the last chocolate bar by myself she got upset. I'd assumed that she didn't want any of the chocolate but what she was waiting for were the two caramel bars at the bottom of the pile because she liked them.

So, maybe he's got used to deciding which movie to watch or which pizza to buy because some time ago you kept on saying to him "you decide".

Just a thought


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Sailor_Mercury
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10 Mar 2014, 5:38 pm

I know he isn't selfish on purpose. What you guys are saying then is that I should be more assertive with what I want? And be very specific. The example with the candy bars, instead of saying I don't want any I should just say I am waiting for a specific type of candy bar.



sly279
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10 Mar 2014, 6:04 pm

yeah to me that would help.
Closet thing I had to a relationship, was this lady who visited, I kept asking what she wanted to watch or eat but she said you pick, later on she used that against me saying I didn't put on stuff she liked. I tried. I'm not sure asking if people want something is a good thing, seems to just make them upset. but certainly saying you don't want the current candy but the bottom ones, like in his example. would help. Hope your situation with your bf improves.



Sailor_Mercury
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10 Mar 2014, 8:48 pm

Another problem I have is that I am afraid that his family will think I'm too bossy. Which I am not. My own mother has made observations about our relationship and she thinks he walks all over me. I'm afraid that his family won't like me because I ask more of him. There has already been something mentioned by his step dad and step brother.



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10 Mar 2014, 11:37 pm

I'm not sure what if anything you can do about what his family may think; what's important is what you & him think. My dad's like your guy with my mom but he probably has Obsessive Compulsive Personality instead of Aspergers. In my dad's case he assumes that mom will like whatever it is that he's deciding. He has dyslexia, ADD & is alittle hard of hearing too so sometimes when she does tell him a preference he may of not heard her or remembers when it's time for him to do something. Mom's made a habit along time ago about just going along with whatever it is he decides because she believes telling him won't make a difference or that it will cause a problems. Sometimes he does something that he may not like because he believes she will when she really doesn't like it either & she gets upset with him over it. That scenario seems really stupid to me because they could of easily avoided it by just communicating with each other.


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11 Mar 2014, 2:27 am

you need to have this conversation with him and discuss how you feel and think about everything. he may need to face some things and grow a little, and he can't do that without knowing how his behavior makes you feel!



sly279
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11 Mar 2014, 2:55 am

like the others say talk to him.
and whats important is what you two think. Though I understand the feelings of wanting the family to approve, my family didn't approve of either the girls I liked.

I wouldn't mind a girl telling me what to do as long as its not for everything, I actually expect it. I'm submissive though.



The_Face_of_Boo
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11 Mar 2014, 4:42 am

Why don't you tell him before he orders "I want X pizza", "I want to watch this movie"...etc?

The problem is you being so passive so he got used to be the decision maker in everything. You can't tell him "You need be less selfish" and expect him to realize that you mean to ask you about pizza and movie.



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11 Mar 2014, 6:27 am

The_Face_of_Boo wrote:
Why don't you tell him before he orders "I want X pizza", "I want to watch this movie".


This x 1000.



The_Face_of_Boo
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11 Mar 2014, 6:45 am

MjrMajorMajor wrote:
The_Face_of_Boo wrote:
Why don't you tell him before he orders "I want X pizza", "I want to watch this movie".


This x 1000.


Women....

They expect us to read their minds or something. And when we fail at it, they make big drama of it, like this thread.



Tequila
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11 Mar 2014, 12:30 pm

Eccles_the_Mighty wrote:
I'd assumed that she didn't want any of the chocolate but what she was waiting for were the two caramel bars at the bottom of the pile because she liked them.


That's not very nice of her. She should have told you when you first got them to save some for her. She sounds a bit assholish for not saying so TBH.