partners with Aspergers easier than a NT ASD relationship?

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Psychonaut777
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28 Apr 2016, 11:19 am

Hey everyone,

this is my first time on these forums, I just found out that I have Asperger's about a month ago. Anyways I've been in a relationship with an NT girl for almost 2 years, and it's pretty much been hell from the beginning, now after finding this out everything makes perfect sense and we've come into a new level of understanding each other. However we are still having incredible difficulty especially with my needing isolation to re-charge and collect my thoughts. Anyways, we decided to call it quits.

So my question is for those of you out there who are in a relationship with someone else with Aspergers. What is that like? is it easier? (I know all relationships are difficult regardless) do you have a mutal deeper understanding of each other and your needs? or is it more difficult bcause both people are needing isolation all the time?

Thank you!



nurseangela
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28 Apr 2016, 11:54 am

What exactly was "hell" about it specifically?
(I'm NT)


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28 Apr 2016, 12:06 pm

It is easier *if* both of you are self-aware, and have learned enough about yourselves to be able to manage things like over-stimulation, stimming (recognizing when you need to, etc) - anything else you need to communicate and sometimes negotiate in a relationship. For instance, if one of you needs to verbally stim and the other is having a really extreme sound sensitivity day, you need to be able to negotiate how you will handle it *together*. It's just more likely each of you will fully understand what the other is going through and so not be stubborn that your needs take precedent (think unmovable object vs unstoppable one).

On the other hand, a relationship with an NT can be easier *if* they have a really, really good 'outsiders' understanding of autistic needs, have tons of empathy, and have a personality that tends toward being cooperative or nurturing. It works even better - and is far more fair - if said NT also has the self confidence to ensure that the practical aspects of being together do not ignore their needs either.

Either way, balance, equality, generosity and self awareness are the key. Of course, many relationships are perfectly stable but dysfunctional to some degree because of marked imbalances - I assume that's not what you are looking for.


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nurseangela
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28 Apr 2016, 12:10 pm

There has to be understanding from both sides and compromise, otherwise the NT will feel like they are on an island by themselves.


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Psychonaut777
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28 Apr 2016, 12:14 pm

Well, It was hell because we didn't know that I had Asperger's and we fought a lot about little things in my behavior and her reactions to them, I was really angry with her a lot of the time and I didn't understand why, also I need a lot of downtime and she used to get upset when I needed to withdraw, we lived together and I couldn't meet her needs in terms of her seemingly constant need for physical affection, touch, emotional support. She is someone who thrives on communication, likes to talk a lot and get's energized by social interaction, I am the exact opposite of that, I have social anxiety so it's hard to go to things like parties and loud social gatherings, but regardless i tried my best to change with whatever tools I had.
Now understanding that I have Asperger's everything makes perfect sense, I couldn't figure out why I was so cold and nasty to her sometimes, and now we understand that what was happening was it was pretty much like an NT mother with an autistic child is like (not all) where she tried to force me into her neurotypical world would get extremley upset when I couldn't meet her emotional needs and my reaction to that was melting down, shutting down, isolating myself and a build up of subconscious resentment.

It's very interesting the dynamic in an NT and ASD relationship, for it to work the neurotypical needs to surrender most expectations and the ASD person needs to be open to learning new things about meeting the needs of the NT, the result can be very beneficial for both people, an evolution of consciousness and great healing can happen, both people can learn immensely from one another, the NT learning how to be more quiet, in their thoughts, examining their social interactions on a deeper level, the Aspergers partner can learn how to leave their comfort zone and learn about socializing with the help of the NT.

unfortunately, for me having her emotional needs met was non-negotiable for her (understandably). I am new to this whole world of ASD and Spectrum disorders so now I'm having to learn about myself from scratch after 36 years of not understanding why i was different, so I could only give her whatever I knew how.



nurseangela
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28 Apr 2016, 12:24 pm

Psychonaut777 wrote:
Well, It was hell because we didn't know that I had Asperger's and we fought a lot about little things in my behavior and her reactions to them, I was really angry with her a lot of the time and I didn't understand why, also I need a lot of downtime and she used to get upset when I needed to withdraw, we lived together and I couldn't meet her needs in terms of her seemingly constant need for physical affection, touch, emotional support. She is someone who thrives on communication, likes to talk a lot and get's energized by social interaction, I am the exact opposite of that, I have social anxiety so it's hard to go to things like parties and loud social gatherings, but regardless i tried my best to change with whatever tools I had.
Now understanding that I have Asperger's everything makes perfect sense, I couldn't figure out why I was so cold and nasty to her sometimes, and now we understand that what was happening was it was pretty much like an NT mother with an autistic child is like (not all) where she tried to force me into her neurotypical world would get extremley upset when I couldn't meet her emotional needs and my reaction to that was melting down, shutting down, isolating myself and a build up of subconscious resentment.

It's very interesting the dynamic in an NT and ASD relationship, for it to work the neurotypical needs to surrender most expectations and the ASD person needs to be open to learning new things about meeting the needs of the NT, the result can be very beneficial for both people, an evolution of consciousness and great healing can happen, both people can learn immensely from one another, the NT learning how to be more quiet, in their thoughts, examining their social interactions on a deeper level, the Aspergers partner can learn how to leave their comfort zone and learn about socializing with the help of the NT.

unfortunately, for me having her emotional needs met was non-negotiable for her (understandably). I am new to this whole world of ASD and Spectrum disorders so now I'm having to learn about myself from scratch after 36 years of not understanding why i was different, so I could only give her whatever I knew how.


I think (and Aspies say if I'm wrong) that two Aspies together would be like separate relationships because you both have to have time to be alone and do your own thing. I think that an Aspie would have a best relationship with an introverted NT who sometimes likes to go out in public to dinner and such, but not be a social butterfly. The NT would have to have some extroverted qualities in order to compliment their Aspie. There would have to be some understanding from the Aspie that their NT NEEDS to have some quality time with their Aspie and this means the dreaded "s" word - small talk. NT women need small talk because it helps them connect with the other person.


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Psychonaut777
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28 Apr 2016, 12:34 pm

Thank you all for the responses, this really helps me understand things,

Anyone out there in an ASD ASD relationship?



rdos
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28 Apr 2016, 12:58 pm

Psychonaut777 wrote:
Thank you all for the responses, this really helps me understand things,

Anyone out there in an ASD ASD relationship?


I'd use ND (neurodiverse) instead of ASD. Yes, I'm ND and have been married to another ND for 20+ years, and have two now adult children that are ND. Works perfectly well, and not much effort is required. I simply don't understand it when people claim "relationships require work", because mine never did. I'd even say if a relationship feels like work, then it is not healthy.



rdos
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28 Apr 2016, 1:04 pm

nurseangela wrote:
I think (and Aspies say if I'm wrong) that two Aspies together would be like separate relationships because you both have to have time to be alone and do your own thing.


I don't think that is quite accurate. I'd rather claim you have each others company but are not constantly talking. That IS time alone for me. I'm not really alone, but I'm not constantly doing small talk either. I would feel alone if my partner is not nearby, but I would not feel alone just because we are not constantly doing small talk.



Psychonaut777
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28 Apr 2016, 1:12 pm

Yeah that's what it's like for me too, I liked being in the same room together, like if we were both reading, or I was playing guitar or she was doing her own thing (not always like this, sometimes i'd be in the mood for talking) but I found it extremely draining when she would interrupt and need to chit chat every five minutes and I would have to reply with the obligatory, "mmhmm", "oh yeah?", "oh", to me this just seems like dishonesty on my part because to be honest when I'm in hyper-focus mode I'm not interested in "filler talk"



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28 Apr 2016, 1:26 pm

rdos wrote:
nurseangela wrote:
I think (and Aspies say if I'm wrong) that two Aspies together would be like separate relationships because you both have to have time to be alone and do your own thing.


I don't think that is quite accurate. I'd rather claim you have each others company but are not constantly talking. That IS time alone for me. I'm not really alone, but I'm not constantly doing small talk either. I would feel alone if my partner is not nearby, but I would not feel alone just because we are not constantly doing small talk.


Interesting. If I'm doing something I'm interested in like knitting or reading, then I have to be alone to do it so I can concentrate as I see those as solo activities. If someone is in the room with me (except watching a movie) I have to "connect" with them and this is through small talk otherwise there isn't a reason for us to be in the same room - I see them as a distraction.


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nurseangela
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28 Apr 2016, 1:28 pm

Psychonaut777 wrote:
Yeah that's what it's like for me too, I liked being in the same room together, like if we were both reading, or I was playing guitar or she was doing her own thing (not always like this, sometimes i'd be in the mood for talking) but I found it extremely draining when she would interrupt and need to chit chat every five minutes and I would have to reply with the obligatory, "mmhmm", "oh yeah?", "oh", to me this just seems like dishonesty on my part because to be honest when I'm in hyper-focus mode I'm not interested in "filler talk"


You definitely need to either be single or be with an Aspie or be able to compromise with an NT.


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Psychonaut777
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28 Apr 2016, 2:07 pm

Being an NT how would you compromise? Do you have an Aspie partner yourself?



rdos
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28 Apr 2016, 2:16 pm

nurseangela wrote:
rdos wrote:
nurseangela wrote:
I think (and Aspies say if I'm wrong) that two Aspies together would be like separate relationships because you both have to have time to be alone and do your own thing.


I don't think that is quite accurate. I'd rather claim you have each others company but are not constantly talking. That IS time alone for me. I'm not really alone, but I'm not constantly doing small talk either. I would feel alone if my partner is not nearby, but I would not feel alone just because we are not constantly doing small talk.


Interesting. If I'm doing something I'm interested in like knitting or reading, then I have to be alone to do it so I can concentrate as I see those as solo activities. If someone is in the room with me (except watching a movie) I have to "connect" with them and this is through small talk otherwise there isn't a reason for us to be in the same room - I see them as a distraction.


Yes, and that's why being with NTs is so draining, and it really doesn't matter if it is with friends, colleagues or a partner. It is expected that there is more or less uninterrupted conversion, and if you don't hyper-focus on that, then you will not be part of it. Nowadays I often mostly shut-down (but not so it is noticeable) in such situations, but I might get alert again if some interesting topic is brought up. In a one-on-one situation, it typically will degrade to "umm", "ok" or other short replies I can deliver almost unconsciously. When this happens, I'm not really there. :wink:

With NDs, it's quite different. It's not expected that there is an uninterrupted conversation, rather people will talk only when they have something to talk about, and then I will participate only if I have something to add. NDs can sit close to each others for extended periods of time without talking, and it feels natural in that context. So with other NDs, I actually can hyperfocus on my interests without being disturbed because I don't need to track conversations or keep them going.



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28 Apr 2016, 2:50 pm

Psychonaut777 wrote:
Being an NT how would you compromise? Do you have an Aspie partner yourself?


I had 3 Aspie guy friends and it was all about communication because they were long distance friendships where communication is essential through text or emails. One lasted two years, one 2 months, and one now pretty much faded because I'm not contacting him.

The two year one was through text and we talked at first every day for a couple months then several times a week for about a year and then it dwindled down further. I contacted him several times in a 3 month period before eventually cutting him off. I still miss him - we had a lot in common.

The 2 month one we talked every day by text sometimes up to 8 hrs a day for the full 2 months and then he just stopped. He had a lot going on. I still think about him and wonder if he's ok.

The fading one, I'm having to do all of the getting in touch with him and it's through email which I find is not as personal as texts. He still feels like an acquaintance even though I have his picture in my living room and I had crocheted him a scarf. It's so hard to get close to Aspies.

The long distance thing didn't matter because I also had a long distance friendship with an NT guy with texts and talking on the phone and it lasted 4 yrs and probably would have kept going, but he got married.

There's just something about Aspies that it is hard to get to know them and keep the friendship going. My 2 yr Aspie friend I did all I could to keep that going by giving him space - he said he couldn't keep up texting everyday so that's when it changed to once a week or even once a month. I accepted that, but when he didn't contact me after 3 months and didn't wish me Merry Christmas or Happy New Year, that is not a real friendship to me. Some of the words he used also hurt - a lot. I tried to brush it off as him just being Aspie, but that didn't make it hurt any less. He was pretty secretive too which I also let slide. To this day I still don't know what he looks like, but I still cared for him very much. I knitted an afghan for him, but he didn't care if he got it or not. That still hurts me too. He took me for granted.


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rdos
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28 Apr 2016, 3:08 pm

I have a different perspective on this, Angela. :wink:

For me it is normal to have intensive periods, and then not writing anything for months. For instance, I know one AS woman since 10-15 years. In the beginning, we had a lot of conversations online and met a few times a year (along with some other Aspies). Nowadays, it's mostly my family that keeps contact with her, and then we meet once during summer. Another woman I know with ND-traits I first meet about 10 years ago at her uni (along with my family). Since then we have irregular email-contact. We write each others when we have something to discuss, and sometimes we don't write anything in months. For me (and them), this seems normal. I'm not at all comfortable with texting or emailing people just to "keep in touch".