Do you think he should enjoy other things in life?

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Jamesy
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03 Apr 2022, 7:37 am

Apparently one of my friends who has aspergers is suicidal because he can't get himself a girlfriend even though he has tried. Like me he's never had a proper romantic relationship in his life.

He's in his late 30s and still has never had sex. Do you agree that he should understand that there is more to life than having wife or girlfriend like doing your favourite hobbies etc....?



Mona Pereth
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03 Apr 2022, 7:51 am

Jamesy wrote:
He's in his late 30s and still has never had sex. Do you agree that he should understand that there is more to life than having wife or girlfriend like doing your favourite hobbies etc....?

Yes, and furthermore, actually excelling at his hobbies, and/or being at least somewhat public about them (e.g. having a relevant blog or YouTube channel), would help make him a generally more interesting person, making it at least somewhat more likely that he will find both friends and a girlfriend.

On the other hand, I also think the autistic community needs to develop ways to make it easier for autistic people to find relationships. I'm not sure exactly what this would entail. Here are some preliminary thoughts on this matter.

You're near London. Lucky you. As far as I can tell, the autistic community is better-organized in the U.K. and Ireland than anywhere else in the world, although it still has a long way to go even there. Hopefully someone in the U.K. can come up with some good solutions?


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kitesandtrainsandcats
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03 Apr 2022, 8:32 am

Jamesy wrote:
Do you agree that he should understand that there is more to life than having wife or girlfriend like doing your favourite hobbies etc....?


What I agree with is that effort should be applied to understanding fully why that is causing such an intense degree of distress about that one thing.
There could well be a lot of things involved or connected to it beyond the simple thing of not having had a girlfriend.
Things about personal worth. Things about what will the future of life be. Things about belonging. Things about connection.

Hobbies are great and all, my home has lots of my hobby stuff in it, for example, but until those kinds of things mentioned above are dealt with, hobbies and such are just an empty veneer.


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CurrerBell
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03 Apr 2022, 1:58 pm

Ideally, it would not bother him as much, and he would be able to see the beauty in other areas of life as you do. But I don't think your friend is at that point. Better to try commiserating with him. Talk to him, let him express himself without trying to convince him he is wrong. Instead, talk to him about your own struggles with not having a relationship, maybe? Not from the perspective of "It doesn't bother me, so it should not bother you either", but talk about how it makes YOU sad sometime too, perhaps. He may feel alone and need a friend.

Maybe in the future, after you and he are able to share your feelings, he might ask you about how you are ok with not having relationships. Then you will know that you have helped him, because his mind is turning toward growth and change. But don't try to force it. :heart:

I say this as someone who has been terrible at really listening to people in the past and has had to figure out how to be more empathetic and meet people where they are to support them. It's a skill I didn't have growing up in a cold family and being a more resilient individual.



CurrerBell
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03 Apr 2022, 2:00 pm

Quote:
What I agree with is that effort should be applied to understanding fully why that is causing such an intense degree of distress about that one thing.
There could well be a lot of things involved or connected to it beyond the simple thing of not having had a girlfriend.
Things about personal worth. Things about what will the future of life be. Things about belonging. Things about connection.


Love this answer :heart:



kitesandtrainsandcats
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03 Apr 2022, 3:57 pm

Thanks!

And now I'm going to say things which may or may not be quite as loved ...

What is known about how this friend copes with rejection?

In a close relationship between independent wills there can be a lot of what I'll term 'micro-rejections' such as,

No I don't want to go do that activity.
No I don't want to go visit that location.
No I don't want to play that boardgame, videogame.
No I don't want to watch that movie.
No I don't want to go to that restaurant.
No I don't want that for dinner.
No I don't want to go out today.
No I don't want to just stay home today.
No I don't want to go to that store.
No I don't want to drive that far to do a thing.
No I don't want to go at that time.
No I don't want to make out now.
No I don't want sex now.

People in relationships need to have a toolbox of coping skills available since suicide as a coping skill only works once.


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Mona Pereth
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03 Apr 2022, 6:14 pm

kitesandtrainsandcats wrote:
In a close relationship between independent wills there can be a lot of what I'll term 'micro-rejections' such as,

Hmm, not sure I agree with that terminology. Rejecting an activity is very different from rejecting a person -- although too much incompatibility regarding activities could add up to a reason to reject the person.

kitesandtrainsandcats wrote:
No I don't want to go do that activity.
No I don't want to go visit that location.
No I don't want to play that boardgame, videogame.
No I don't want to watch that movie.

This is one of the reasons why I think it's very important, in a relationship, to have at least some interests in common, so that there will be at least some things you enjoy doing together. But people in a relationship also need to allow each other the space to pursue interests they don't have in common.

kitesandtrainsandcats wrote:
No I don't want to go to that restaurant.
No I don't want that for dinner.

Autistic people often have idiosyncratic food tastes and food aversions.

At some point early in the relationship, it needs to be negotiated how these food idiosyncrasies will be accommodated.

kitesandtrainsandcats wrote:
No I don't want to go out today.
No I don't want to just stay home today.
No I don't want to go to that store.
No I don't want to drive that far to do a thing.
No I don't want to go at that time.

It's helpful to have a general mutual agreement on how to talk about and resolve differences of this kind.

kitesandtrainsandcats wrote:
No I don't want to make out now.
No I don't want sex now.

People in a relationship need to agree on, for example, whether it's okay to masturbate and/or look at porn when one's partner is not in the mood. IMO there's no one right answer to these questions, but people in a relationship do need to be on the same page about them.

kitesandtrainsandcats wrote:
People in relationships need to have a toolbox of coping skills available since suicide as a coping skill only works once.

Agreed.


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nick007
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03 Apr 2022, 7:57 pm

CurrerBell wrote:
Ideally, it would not bother him as much, and he would be able to see the beauty in other areas of life as you do. But I don't think your friend is at that point. Better to try commiserating with him. Talk to him, let him express himself without trying to convince him he is wrong. Instead, talk to him about your own struggles with not having a relationship, maybe? Not from the perspective of "It doesn't bother me, so it should not bother you either", but talk about how it makes YOU sad sometime too, perhaps. He may feel alone and need a friend.

Maybe in the future, after you and he are able to share your feelings, he might ask you about how you are ok with not having relationships. Then you will know that you have helped him, because his mind is turning toward growth and change. But don't try to force it. :heart:

I say this as someone who has been terrible at really listening to people in the past and has had to figure out how to be more empathetic and meet people where they are to support them. It's a skill I didn't have growing up in a cold family and being a more resilient individual.
Great post :wtg:
I've been in the friend's shoes except it was after my 1st relationship ended at 20. I was very depressed about being single & HATED being alone in my early & mid 20s & I was dealing with a depression partly as a result. My hobbies just did not majorly interest me. That's partly why I was a workaholic when I was employed & allowed to work extra, I was trying to keep busy & distract myself which didn't really help with my loneliness or depression. Having someone there for me who I coulda related to woulda been a huge help for me. I made lots of progress after I joined WP because this community is more relatable & understanding than any other group has been. I also found EMO culture kinda appealing for that reason but it was kinda dying at the time & most people into it were 10 years younger than me. The typical advice that I needed to change my perspective in order to be happy & find someone, or that I need to just quit worrying about it & it'll happen when it happens, or that I needed to change my life circumstances & be more independent when I was already trying my best felt to me like I was being judged a loser because I could not measure up.


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auntblabby
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04 Apr 2022, 1:11 am

i was a lot like that 30-something angrily frustrated male that the OP refers to. one ages out of it but at great psychic cost. one gradually ends up something like an eunuch, resigned. with a great deal of luck like in my own "out of the blue" case, somebody may take a shine to us and even make the first move. but we can still fumble the ball at that point and creep-out/drive that person away, that was my case. some folk are just not made for this world and not made to deal with other humans or even animals. dogs sense something off about me as well, and they tend to snap at me. anyways, to survive they become hermits, some embittered [my older brother] and some just settling for peace and calmness out in the woods.