Conversation problems with autistic boyfriend

Page 1 of 1 [ 13 posts ] 

Chezz
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 12 Nov 2016
Age: 25
Gender: Female
Posts: 1

12 Nov 2016, 5:49 pm

Some background info: I've been dating a guy with autism for 2.5 months now. We're both in our early 20s. I know he had serious speech issues as a kid and needed extra time to complete assignments/exams in high school, but other than that, I don't know exactly how "severely" he's affected. He's also quite bad at academics. I'm not sure if that's related to his autism, or if he just happens to be one of many Americans who aren't "book-smart."

So, here's my gripe. I haven't been able to engage in a single fulfilling conversation with him. To me, a fulfilling conversation is a two-way dialogue, where both people take turns sharing and ask the other person questions in response to what they say. This is definitely not the case with my boyfriend.

Exhibit A: There are times when he can talk on and on and on without pausing to let me say anything. It's like he doesn't even realize I'm there, and he's just talking AT me. He could probably go on talking for half an hour straight without ever noticing that I'm tired or bored.

Exhibit B: When I tell him something about myself, he never asks any follow-up questions. (Well, he doesn't ask me much about me in general...) For example, I once told him a story about how there was a loud crash in my apartment in the middle of the night that woke me up, but I decided to go back to sleep instead of investigating because I was so tired. I figured he would ask me, "So what was the source of the crashing noise?" But instead, he just said "Oh" and changed the subject to something else. Honestly, I think if I told him I discovered a dead body in my bathtub, he wouldn't even think to ask what I did next.

Being able to have engaging conversations is a huge deal to me in a relationship. So I'm finding it hard for me to even look forward to spending time with my boyfriend. Is there a way I can communicate this to him? I'm not sure if it's even worth bringing up, because maybe this is something he can't change...



DataB4
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 May 2016
Age: 34
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,743
Location: U.S.

13 Nov 2016, 2:25 pm

I have a friend who can go on and on without much of a pause. He also interrupts my stories or explanations frequently to make some broad associative connection or other, or joke about what I've said. When I brought it up, he did seem more aware of it and started being a better listener. Of course he's not going to change his whole conversational style, and if he changed too much, he wouldn't be himself anyway, but greater awareness might be possible if you both try. He wasn't even offended, even though I can be terrible with knowing how to tactfully say things.

Bottom line: are you interested in things he has to say? Do you want to find out how/why he's interested, or not interested, in what you have to say? If so, I suspect you'll have to ask or tell him directly.



Jekabz
Butterfly
Butterfly

Joined: 8 Oct 2016
Age: 28
Gender: Male
Posts: 11

13 Nov 2016, 3:21 pm

What I am wondering is how do you even get in a relationship like that? Sounds more like you two are roomates or smth.



HisShadowX
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 1 Apr 2015
Posts: 344
Location: Chicago

19 Nov 2016, 2:40 am

Chezz wrote:
Some background info: I've been dating a guy with autism for 2.5 months now. We're both in our early 20s. I know he had serious speech issues as a kid and needed extra time to complete assignments/exams in high school, but other than that, I don't know exactly how "severely" he's affected. He's also quite bad at academics. I'm not sure if that's related to his autism, or if he just happens to be one of many Americans who aren't "book-smart."

So, here's my gripe. I haven't been able to engage in a single fulfilling conversation with him. To me, a fulfilling conversation is a two-way dialogue, where both people take turns sharing and ask the other person questions in response to what they say. This is definitely not the case with my boyfriend.

Exhibit A: There are times when he can talk on and on and on without pausing to let me say anything. It's like he doesn't even realize I'm there, and he's just talking AT me. He could probably go on talking for half an hour straight without ever noticing that I'm tired or bored.

Exhibit B: When I tell him something about myself, he never asks any follow-up questions. (Well, he doesn't ask me much about me in general...) For example, I once told him a story about how there was a loud crash in my apartment in the middle of the night that woke me up, but I decided to go back to sleep instead of investigating because I was so tired. I figured he would ask me, "So what was the source of the crashing noise?" But instead, he just said "Oh" and changed the subject to something else. Honestly, I think if I told him I discovered a dead body in my bathtub, he wouldn't even think to ask what I did next.

Being able to have engaging conversations is a huge deal to me in a relationship. So I'm finding it hard for me to even look forward to spending time with my boyfriend. Is there a way I can communicate this to him? I'm not sure if it's even worth bringing up, because maybe this is something he can't change...



So I'm going to try to make you understand where you are going wrong so if you feel insulted don't that's not my intention.

Let's say your dating a deaf guy right and decide to go on a deaf message board complaining that he does not hear you and you demand he hears what you say.

What's the problem? He's deaf don't you get it?

With autism our disability is social we don't have fluid conversations that goes two ways often they are one sided.

If you can't handle that you need to move on because we autistic people are who we are. It's literally like asking a deaf person to hear when you ask us to change to accomdat you socially



N8solano
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Joined: 30 Sep 2016
Gender: Male
Posts: 30
Location: California

19 Nov 2016, 3:51 am

I personally think you should just tell him that so he can be more aware. Not every person with autism is the same, but autistics don't usually get offended fast or hold grudges at NT pace. I'm sure it will be fine.



wilburforce
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 13 Sep 2014
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,940

19 Nov 2016, 1:12 pm

HisShadowX wrote:
Chezz wrote:
Some background info: I've been dating a guy with autism for 2.5 months now. We're both in our early 20s. I know he had serious speech issues as a kid and needed extra time to complete assignments/exams in high school, but other than that, I don't know exactly how "severely" he's affected. He's also quite bad at academics. I'm not sure if that's related to his autism, or if he just happens to be one of many Americans who aren't "book-smart."

So, here's my gripe. I haven't been able to engage in a single fulfilling conversation with him. To me, a fulfilling conversation is a two-way dialogue, where both people take turns sharing and ask the other person questions in response to what they say. This is definitely not the case with my boyfriend.

Exhibit A: There are times when he can talk on and on and on without pausing to let me say anything. It's like he doesn't even realize I'm there, and he's just talking AT me. He could probably go on talking for half an hour straight without ever noticing that I'm tired or bored.

Exhibit B: When I tell him something about myself, he never asks any follow-up questions. (Well, he doesn't ask me much about me in general...) For example, I once told him a story about how there was a loud crash in my apartment in the middle of the night that woke me up, but I decided to go back to sleep instead of investigating because I was so tired. I figured he would ask me, "So what was the source of the crashing noise?" But instead, he just said "Oh" and changed the subject to something else. Honestly, I think if I told him I discovered a dead body in my bathtub, he wouldn't even think to ask what I did next.

Being able to have engaging conversations is a huge deal to me in a relationship. So I'm finding it hard for me to even look forward to spending time with my boyfriend. Is there a way I can communicate this to him? I'm not sure if it's even worth bringing up, because maybe this is something he can't change...



So I'm going to try to make you understand where you are going wrong so if you feel insulted don't that's not my intention.

Let's say your dating a deaf guy right and decide to go on a deaf message board complaining that he does not hear you and you demand he hears what you say.

What's the problem? He's deaf don't you get it?

With autism our disability is social we don't have fluid conversations that goes two ways often they are one sided.

If you can't handle that you need to move on because we autistic people are who we are. It's literally like asking a deaf person to hear when you ask us to change to accomdat you socially


That's an unfair and untrue generalisation--unless a person has a co-morbid cognitive difficulty or learning disorder, there is no reason why an autistic person cannot learn adaptations in social situations. Especially when communication is direct and we're given clear instructions, it's not difficult for all of us to learn to meet people half way in regards to things like conversational exchanges. We are not all incessant and hopeless monologists. It's possible for us to get to know people and develop a good back-and-forth with them--I've managed this in a few relationships in my time. No one is completely inflexible and incapable of learning except maybe the most severely cognitively challenged.


_________________
"Ego non immanis, sed mea immanis telum." ~ Ares, God of War

(Note to Moderators: my warning number is wrong on my profile but apparently can't be fixed so I will note here that it is actually 2, not 3--the warning issued to me on Aug 20 2016 was a mistake but I've been told it can't be removed.)


YippySkippy
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Feb 2011
Age: 38
Gender: Female
Posts: 4,128

19 Nov 2016, 1:20 pm

Personally I think you two should break up. Not because he's a bad guy and couldn't/shouldn't ever be in a relationship, but because based on your description of you I think the chances of long term success as a couple are slim to none.
If you do stay together, I would suggest you get several books on autism and start reading. And then adjust your expectations accordingly.



wilburforce
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 13 Sep 2014
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,940

19 Nov 2016, 2:07 pm

YippySkippy wrote:
Personally I think you two should break up. Not because he's a bad guy and couldn't/shouldn't ever be in a relationship, but because based on your description of you I think the chances of long term success as a couple are slim to none.
If you do stay together, I would suggest you get several books on autism and start reading. And then adjust your expectations accordingly.


Yeah, I forgot to mention that though learning is possible, it does require work and effort on both parts--he needs to learn adaptations to help conversations be more reciprocal, and you need to learn what reasonable expectations are for a relationship with an autistic person, this autistic person in particular, and how to communicate you needs clearly and directly without subterfuge or expecting him to be able to "read your mind" like NT people might. It's possible to make the relationship work, but effort and learning is necessary. You need to ask yourself if you feel like your connection with him is worth that effort to you, and he needs to do the same.


_________________
"Ego non immanis, sed mea immanis telum." ~ Ares, God of War

(Note to Moderators: my warning number is wrong on my profile but apparently can't be fixed so I will note here that it is actually 2, not 3--the warning issued to me on Aug 20 2016 was a mistake but I've been told it can't be removed.)


HisShadowX
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 1 Apr 2015
Posts: 344
Location: Chicago

19 Nov 2016, 7:19 pm

wilburforce wrote:
YippySkippy wrote:
Personally I think you two should break up. Not because he's a bad guy and couldn't/shouldn't ever be in a relationship, but because based on your description of you I think the chances of long term success as a couple are slim to none.
If you do stay together, I would suggest you get several books on autism and start reading. And then adjust your expectations accordingly.


Yeah, I forgot to mention that though learning is possible, it does require work and effort on both parts--he needs to learn adaptations to help conversations be more reciprocal, and you need to learn what reasonable expectations are for a relationship with an autistic person, this autistic person in particular, and how to communicate you needs clearly and directly without subterfuge or expecting him to be able to "read your mind" like NT people might. It's possible to make the relationship work, but effort and learning is necessary. You need to ask yourself if you feel like your connection with him is worth that effort to you, and he needs to do the same.



For those of us who are natural actors we can play off autism for a while. My biggest issue with people is that they have a hard time understanding why I am different.

To where women on the spectrum often find it easier to find mates willing to accept them men on the spectrum often are told they must change who they are to fit in.

As much as I can 'fool' people that I am normal people slowly will figure out there is something odd or different from them.

Being Mind Blind as a woman can be easier with male spouses willing to overlook things for men being mind blind is like walking into a minefield.

Even for those of us who have the ability to fit in sooner or later autism comes to light. As much as horrible organizations like Autism Speaks like to mask our symptoms all that does it silence who we truly are.

The person your responding to is right if she is havent this much of a problem with communication at this stage she needs to cut off the relationship.

Autism Spectrum disorder is first and foremost a social disorder and original poster I recommend you read up on Mind Blindness for people with Autism it will explain more to what your having trouble with and why.

Don't force yourself to stay with a guy you know you cannot fulfill a proper desire you have cause it's going to come to a head one day, it always does



wilburforce
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 13 Sep 2014
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,940

19 Nov 2016, 9:01 pm

HisShadowX wrote:
To where women on the spectrum often find it easier to find mates...

Being Mind Blind as a woman can be easier with male spouses willing to overlook things...


Citations needed to support this "argument".

This has not been my experience at all, as an autistic woman in relationships with men--men (NT and autistic alike) expect women to be more socially fluid and capable than themselves because of gender roles and our culture, women are expected to do extra work in that regard in relationships like remember birthdays and send cards to family members and friends, organise events like dinner parties and arrange the social schedule. Autistic women generally suck at these things, and because we can't live up to those cultural expectations of women to be more socially capable we are viewed as seriously flawed and broken by many men who are used to women taking over that part of the relationship like NT women often do. We are judged very harshly for not being good at these things that are supposed to come naturally to us because of our "feminine nature" or whatever.

Don't give me that bullshit that autistic women have it easier than autistic men--I'm so tired of seeing that crap being argued here, and I know many of the other female members of this forum are too. Cut that crap out, it's not a contest for who has it worse and trying to make it into that is a self-defeating exercise in futility.


_________________
"Ego non immanis, sed mea immanis telum." ~ Ares, God of War

(Note to Moderators: my warning number is wrong on my profile but apparently can't be fixed so I will note here that it is actually 2, not 3--the warning issued to me on Aug 20 2016 was a mistake but I've been told it can't be removed.)


SurferJeff
Butterfly
Butterfly

Joined: 27 Mar 2016
Age: 44
Gender: Male
Posts: 9
Location: California

19 Nov 2016, 10:19 pm

You have two very different styles of communication. To wear his shoes for a second, if you don't take the initiative and elaborate on what that noise in the middle of the night was, then I assume it wasn't very interesting to you either. If it was interesting, tell me all about it. But if you wait for me to ask the right question, then you will be left unfulfilled. By waiting for me to ask the right question, I feel like you're testing me, and I'm gonna fail.

He drones on and on about topics he thinks are interesting. Because you don't do the same, he assumes you don't think your own topics are very interesting.

This is a huge difference in communication styles, and you will both need to work on accommodating each other's communication style to make the relationship work.

It can work. A married a neurotypical. But it's not for everyone. Break up with him if it isn't for you.



DancingCorpse
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Dec 2015
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,527

22 Nov 2016, 12:26 am

Have you tried different mediums of communication, a lot of us are fathoms better at conveying our thoughts outside of yodeling through our tricksy voicebox.


_________________
'He wondered, as he had many times wondered before, whether he himself was a lunatic... perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one?'