Should I be friends again with my (ASD) ex

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NT_AFAIK
Hummingbird
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Joined: 26 Jul 2021
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21 Mar 2022, 5:03 pm

My ex and I broke up a few days ago. We dated for a year and a few months. A bit of a background: he is not diagnosed, and doesn't understand why he is "different".

Sorry this is long but tldr: Ex broke up with me but wants to stay friends. Maybe we'll date again, maybe we won't. Maybe we'll stay platonic. He wants to keep hanging out and go on trips, but no expectations, and no pressure.

This all started when he left for a month-long trip with his buddy a month and a week ago, and before he left he said "think about if you really want to be with me given my inability to be affectionate, commitment issues, I freak out when you touch me.." etc -- (none of those specific ones I made an issue about except for a few occasions when I thought it was ok to hug him, and that I asked if he has always been this way with other people). During this trip, there was a bit of tension between us because of that statement before he left. He was also working remotely and had very stressful deadlines which made him distant in the last two weeks of the trip. He came back on a weekend, then had a critical presentation at work on Monday, and right after that it was like a flip of a switch because he seemed normal again. Like nothing happened.

So I asked to talk about some boundaries that I set as a response to him asking me if I really want to be with him.. somehow this turned to him asking me to think about whether I really want to be with him or not, to, we should just be friends because he doesn't want me potentially blaming him for wasting my time due to his commitment issues (he said he's never felt those romantic feelings that should enable him to be affectionate, be romantic or basically commit, though he wants to settle down....with anyone he's dated). This was discussed in a few calls, in person hang outs in the last week, and what's confusing was when we hung out he seemed the usual him. He called me pet names, he would playfully touch me.. but as soon as I bring up our "discussion" his tone changes and he's adamant that we stop sleepovers or any other activities I consider intimate so "it doesn't confuse me". After a few intense calls/texts he made it clear that there are only two options -- we don't talk for a while and then later on maybe we can see if things will work out again, OR we stay as friends and maybe we'll date again, or maybe we won't. Maybe it'll stay platonic. But absolutely no expectations including no expectations that he won't date other people.

It seems to me that by confronting him, I pushed him away. There had been two occasions when a similar discussion of "let's just be friends" happened in the past, but because I swept it under the rug as further discussions stress him out, we went back to normal and our relationship progressed. This one blindsided me because we had grown really close before his trip (spending much more time together, and gradual integration of our domestic activities as we "cohabitate" on weekends). I'm just really hurt by it, and I miss him a lot. He also doesn't seem to remember past events, like, we've been in this situation before only less intense.

He said I shouldn't take this personally because this is a problem he's had for a lllloooonggg time which is why he's still single (he's late 40s, I'm late 30s). Before he left for his trip he said I'm a huge part of his life, and that he cares about me a lot, and a year ago it was more like, "I have commitment issues, but I want to try". Now I can't help but feel like a placeholder, waiting til he dates someone else and if it doesn't work out, maybe we can still work.

I know the best way to go about this is to give myself some space and not speak to him for a while, but then, I'm afraid that if I let it go, I'll lose that small chance of us working on getting back to where we were again. He still wants to keep hanging out and go on trips together (we've traveled a lot).

If I give myself space and not talk to him will he forget about me? Should I maintain contact to preserve whatever small chance there is at dating again? Or should I just carry on thinking he's just using me as a placeholder?



nick007
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21 Mar 2022, 7:00 pm

It sounds to me like he might of gotten overwhelmed being in a serious relationship & he is very insecure about his issues. Maybe he's had relationships before you with women who've gotten very upset with him expecting & demanding that he'd be different. From what I've seen on this forum, it's common for NT women in relationships with Aspie guys to become very frustrated & start resenting their Aspie after a while. & it also seems common for some Aspie guys to feel a need to withdraw & they can have low self-esteem even if their partner really tries to be accepting & accommodating which it sounds like you have been. He might see all the relationship stuff everywhere like people he knows who are in relationships as well as movies & songs he sees & hears & has the impression that's how relationships are supposed to be & he knows he's not that type & could never measure up to that. This is NOT the case with every Aspie guy in every relationship but unfortunately it seems fairly common :(

Now that I've given a possible explanation for his line of thinking... The choice here is how you react & deal with the situation. Ruling out the possibility of relationships with other guys by continuing to be his friend in hopes that he'd suddenly decide to get back in a relationship with you again seems to me like it would quickly lead to resentment & ruin the potential friendship. I think you need to live your life as if that possibility is not on the table. You can still be his friend if you want but don't be his friend because you want him to decide to get back together with you. Right now focus on trying to take some time for yourself to deal with just being dumped. Maybe that's avoiding him for now & deciding later to reach out to him if you really do want to be his friend.


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NT_AFAIK
Hummingbird
Hummingbird

Joined: 26 Jul 2021
Age: 36
Gender: Female
Posts: 18

21 Mar 2022, 8:46 pm

nick007 wrote:
It sounds to me like he might of gotten overwhelmed being in a serious relationship & he is very insecure about his issues. Maybe he's had relationships before you with women who've gotten very upset with him expecting & demanding that he'd be different. From what I've seen on this forum, it's common for NT women in relationships with Aspie guys to become very frustrated & start resenting their Aspie after a while. & it also seems common for some Aspie guys to feel a need to withdraw & they can have low self-esteem even if their partner really tries to be accepting & accommodating which it sounds like you have been. He might see all the relationship stuff everywhere like people he knows who are in relationships as well as movies & songs he sees & hears & has the impression that's how relationships are supposed to be & he knows he's not that type & could never measure up to that. This is NOT the case with every Aspie guy in every relationship but unfortunately it seems fairly common :(

Now that I've given a possible explanation for his line of thinking... The choice here is how you react & deal with the situation. Ruling out the possibility of relationships with other guys by continuing to be his friend in hopes that he'd suddenly decide to get back in a relationship with you again seems to me like it would quickly lead to resentment & ruin the potential friendship. I think you need to live your life as if that possibility is not on the table. You can still be his friend if you want but don't be his friend because you want him to decide to get back together with you. Right now focus on trying to take some time for yourself to deal with just being dumped. Maybe that's avoiding him for now & deciding later to reach out to him if you really do want to be his friend.


Thank you for your response. You are right about how he dated women before me who expected more from him. 2-3 months in I slowly started making adjustments as I noticed that he may actually be on the spectrum. But though I lowered my expectations, there still were times when I get frustrated when I felt rejected (like him recoiling when I touch him), it's like my knee jerk reaction because I forget. I think the insecurity part is also correct.. he does say that he does want to settle down because he's old (late 40s) and that he tried to "fix" himself years ago but that this is just how he's been. I know he's a little bit sensitive too. There were some arguments in the past when he would take them personally, even though it's normal to have arguments from time to time.

I am working on detaching and staying away tho I really miss him a lot and I'm tempted to call him (we have talked about going on a trip to work there remotely, and he's still open to that but as friends). Would he forget about me if I keep some distance for a little bit? I know there's that out of sight out of mind component that's common with folks on the spectrum..