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patternist
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15 Oct 2008, 9:14 pm

How do you manage to give your significant other enough attention (and not nominal attention, but actual interest) when a new obession takes over?

My relationships have a way of becoming like an exoskeleton that eventually becomes too rigid when something else comes along. I am NOT talking about a new relationship, just a new interest, one that rents about 90% of the space in my brain for a while. Which always seems to happen.

Does anyone, anywhere have any meaningful wisdom or suggestions on this? Maybe a Dalai Lama quote or an herbal tincture they take to take the edge off a new obsession?

How do I grow the relationship, instead of the habit pattern?

Help!



poopylungstuffing
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15 Oct 2008, 9:30 pm

For me and Flakey, we always have copycat interests...sorta.....



pakled
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15 Oct 2008, 9:32 pm

I don't, unfortunately (and I hear about it). I can't afford any obsession except for chattin' around here , doing 3d art, and workin'...



tahloola
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15 Oct 2008, 10:19 pm

I can really relate to this: my hubby and me do really well - as long as we have a plan to "give each other ......compromise.....share.....???? I dunno....anyway....negotiate...maybe....anyway.....you know.....as long as we have a plan as to how we are going to break off moments away from soltude, obsessions....etc.....as long as we can do that ..... we're okay...

sometimes....we forget....and then - meltdown time.....(he thinks he's an NT.....heh...heh...) and then...

but it can be really difficult....(in the in-between-times) when....he (or me) is finished with an obsession....(or really super-important-focus on whatever....eg. honeybees, or Kafka....or the origins of money...etc...).....and the other is still researching his/her ......obsession....

I guess I call that (crunch, resentment....I don't like you.....go away....no...come-back time).....

and then....

dust settles....

we talk...

connect - for a second....an hour....a day....a week....feel good


and then....

repeat......

wash, rinse, and set....

(excuse the jumbled........use of words....articulation is not my strong point at the moment..)....I'm in the middle of a "special interest".... :lol:



poopylungstuffing
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15 Oct 2008, 11:04 pm

Slight clarification of copycat interests.....Me and Flakey sorta got together when he adopted me as his special interest...and in doing so..adopted my obsession which at the time was making sock creatures...and he started making sock creatures..built me a website to sell my creatures....became almost more into it than i was...to the point where it was really overwhealming...We were both already into the making of the crappy musics...so he built up a studio in his garage and blah blah blah....and all that stuff eventually culumnated into the building of our d.i.y. venue....SuperHappyFunLand which our lived revolved around for a number of years....and he has sorta semi adopted all of my collecting habits in the mean time....(we were both already into toys)...but he got into the quilt collection at the same time I did....totally caters to my ukulele obsession and um...Raggedy Anne and Andy collecting obsession....and so on....



SoulDriven
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17 Oct 2008, 4:47 pm

patternist wrote:
How do you manage to give your significant other enough attention (and not nominal attention, but actual interest) when a new obession takes over?

My relationships have a way of becoming like an exoskeleton that eventually becomes too rigid when something else comes along. I am NOT talking about a new relationship, just a new interest, one that rents about 90% of the space in my brain for a while. Which always seems to happen.

Does anyone, anywhere have any meaningful wisdom or suggestions on this? Maybe a Dalai Lama quote or an herbal tincture they take to take the edge off a new obsession?

How do I grow the relationship, instead of the habit pattern?

Help!


Luckily, my main obsession is cooking (I've others as well) and I've got to stop cooking to eat it. I take that time to enjoy my family. As a general rule, I stop everything around 7:30 pm to spend with my children, after they go to bed it's my wife's turn. Morning starts all over with cooking breakfast.

No matter what what the obsession, a few hours might be dedicated to it at a time. A break is nice for a couple hours and then come back to it. You have to really want to take that time for people.



Irvy
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16 Feb 2009, 5:14 pm

This is actually one area where usually there's not that much of a problem. My partner has set evenings when he's out, and I use that time for my art projects, which means that when he gets home, I can just finish up, and then we usually share our joined obsession of sci fi.

However, weekends and holidays when we're both home can get more difficult, esp after a few days.



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17 Feb 2009, 6:21 pm

Eesh good question. I have no idea! I haven't really gotten a long-term interest since I've been with my husband. I had a short term obsession with researching AS for a while there and I think the amount of time I spent talking about bothered him. Felt ignored. Actually he still thinks this is my interest because I'm always here and always talking about it but it's not.. I know the difference. It's just a hobby now. I think he'd be very, very unhappy if I actually got a long-term interest because I wouldn't be paying any attention to him at all.



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19 Feb 2009, 10:17 pm

I am very fortunate. Although they (interests) do interfere in our relationship to an extent, and I do make an effort to compromise, I think my partner really deserves credit for his patience and understanding in this area.

Sometimes he shares my interests, and sometimes he acts like he shares them (even KOL which I know he actually sometimes resents). He was quite fond of my Middle Eastern dancing obsession and actively participated (running me around, planning, helping out at shows etc) and encouraged me, not to mention allowed me to spend quite a bit of money on it all.

He also now is a keen player of console games (he'd never even tried to play games on a gaming console before we got together) and took up a fondness for AoE when I was obsessively playing that (on the computer). He's even played along with my interest in Harry Potter, although it probably helps that his son (my step-son) was also into that one.

This (effort on his part) has had a positive effect on my own behavior and comprehension of the needs of others, as I never understood (or even knew of the existence of) this kind of behavior and the need it meets in others before he modeled it for me. It taught me to comprehend that appearing to have an interest in the interests of others matters and is an important inter-relationship skill/practice. I never conceived these things before he taught them to me (through his example).



xalepax
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13 Mar 2009, 2:33 pm

pandd wrote:
I am very fortunate. Although they (interests) do interfere in our relationship to an extent, and I do make an effort to compromise, I think my partner really deserves credit for his patience and understanding in this area.


yeah that apply to my husband too. He is very understanding and respects my hyperinterests, even when they are on the most. He also used to "provoke me" even with feeding it even more, in a way only he in the whole world can do. Because when Im really into something hyperintense Im getting very sensitive. This is impossible to hide from him, he notice on my behaviour when something is going on.

Once a few years ago I said I wanted to do a really expensive trip because of an interest of mine and then he said without hesitation: "okay then I go with you". For him it was more an excuse to travel, something which we both love, and also watch over me a bit (certainly not in the overprotecting way, he just calmed himself by beeing nearby :P)
But my husband have his own obsessions. He is so much an aspie himself, lol. We both engage ourselves in each others interests, even if we dont share them so much in detail.


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halufian
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12 Apr 2009, 11:56 pm

so, the general wisdom coming through on this thread is, some people are just really understanding with us aspies, while others don't get it quite so easily?
I'm really sorry patternist, you sound tortured. I am in exactly the same place right now and, to be honest, it is becoming a relationship killer.
My partner is so understanding, I love her, I don't want the relationship to die...
But my needs and hers are miles removed.

Does anyone here have any advice on how to actually beat this problem?



DW_a_mom
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13 Apr 2009, 1:45 pm

I'm not sure couples really "beat" their problems as much as learn to live with them or accept them.

I'm not one who expects my husband to call and let me know when he'll be home, although if it gets too far off pattern I'll call him. For peace of mind.

Some wives would go crazy over that.

But it works both ways. I don't have to call him, either. As long as we're in touch on everything about the kids, if one of us is going to end up taking 3 hours on a 1 hour errand we're OK with it. My husband is going to pick up the kids and decide to eat out on the spot, I'm OK with it (If I'm cooking anything special I usually pick up the kids or I tell him).

And so on.

I don't think one CAN be in a relationship with someone whose needs are TOO divergent in these ways. That's like constant stress, it seems to me. Every couple establishes their own pattern and there is no right or wrong to it as long as both are comfortable with it.

Still, there is no reason you can't IMPROVE behaviors to make your relationship stronger. If simple phone calls make her feel cared for, you learn to make those phone calls, even if it means putting an alarm on your cell phone. Some things are easy to solve.

Other things, though, can be harder. What if your partner firmly believes solid couples have to do EVERYTHING together, while you really need INDEPENDENCE? That can't be solved, although perhaps a compromise could be reached that suits you both. Still, in that sort of situation both partners have to look how they will feel long run about having a relationship that asks so much from them that they wouldn't otherwise do.

My husband worries a lot that he can't meet my needs on certain things, but I don't think he needs to. I've made a decision and I have no plans to look back on it. We make each other stronger and better in so many ways, it really doesn't matter if we aren't as romanitc and busy doing things together as the couple down the street. We've accepted that about each other. It's weird how easy it becomes to accept well, almost anything, when you really love someone. With the right person, you smile at quirks that might have driven you nuts with the wrong person.

Although I think he still wishes I would learn to like playing tennis ;)

Then again, a few small unresolved wishes never hurt anyone ;)


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Last edited by DW_a_mom on 13 Apr 2009, 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JCJC777
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18 Apr 2009, 10:01 am

Good discussion. I've been in really good relationship (although AS really has caused challenges at times) for 23 years;
1. I agree attitudes and skills of non-Aspie partner are key - it's real love to put up with oddities such as new deep interests (I make c.5 Amazon book or DVD orders/week), and just accept such behaviours as 'normal'. Ask your partner to understand and accept.
2. Accept that your NT partner really is different to you. In some ways the more 'alien' you see them, the easier it is to go out of your way to fulfil their needs. No need to 'rationalise' their needs by seeing them as things you need also. Just do it because they need it (in the same way you are asking them to accept your behaviours). And also because if you do it, you'll likely get some good things back...
3. Build meeting their needs into your daily/weekly schedule - that way it gets done smoothly and without great thought. E.g. I go for walks with my partner very regularly; talk, time together.



ToughDiamond
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05 May 2009, 6:10 am

I think a good way would be to agree to, and earmark, specific times and days for "quality time sessions" with the spouse, and to try as far as possible to set those times in stone. Aspies usually respond well to a rigid routine, as long as they've had a real say in setting the parameters. You can start in small ways - for a "deserted" spouse, just one set time per week could be a lot better than nothing.

Of course it's only too easy for the Aspie to get carried away on some obsessional interest and not notice the deadline time approaching. So try setting timers that give advance warning - maybe half an hour before the deadline the Aspie needs a gentle reminder to start bringing the obsession to a natural break. Then another timer 15 minutes later, and another at 5 minutes before the deadline.

I say all this because, for me, without repeated warnings I can get completely carried away with a task, and I get quite scared if anybody tries to pull me away from it without warning - I have to tie up the loose ends or I become convinced that I'll never be able to resume the process, and I can feel very annoyed with anybody who disrupts the care and attention I've put into my work.

Of course the couple must find something to share together that they both have some interest in - it's not going to work for long if the Aspie gets bored or feels that (s)he's just being dragged into an activity that's only about the spouse.

Then there's the "end" time - nothing scares me as much as an open-ended commitment to being with somebody, so the end time has to be agreed, and seen as pretty much absolute. If I see the point of it, I'm OK about going against my inner compass to quite an extent, as long as I see a well-defined end point to hold onto.

None of this advice has worked very well with me and my wife so far - so it's somewhat hypocritical of me to be advising at all, but I suspect my advice might work for some people. In my case, my wife has a lot of trouble in sticking to any agreed times, and still finds herself trying to reschedule things at the drop of a hat. I'm hoping that it's just a matter of my keeping calm and patiently reminding her that it's only when she's taken on board that my brain wiring just can't handle impromptu things that we'll make any progress. And we did manage to watch "24" together on Sky 1 last night.

We also have an unwritten agreement that our normal bedtime is 11pm - before assigning that number to it, I was regularly late to bed without really being able to accept that I'd let her down, simply because I had no objective number to measure it by. Strangely, I was the one to suggest that time as a compromise between what she seemed to want (10pm or earlier, depending on how she felt) and what I wanted (midnight or later, depending on how I felt). I now have a basis for calm argument if she (for example) takes up my attention from 10.30pm till 11pm and then expects me to just go straight to bed without performing my bedtime rituals - clearly, if she delays me with that, she's rendered my compliance impossible. Without that definite figure, neither of us could see what was going on.



keerawa
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24 May 2009, 6:07 am

My husband's really understanding when I just need to focus on something for a day or two, and he's good about giving me time to myself in the mornings. But a long-term thing - ouch.

One thing that helps me re-focus my brain, if needed, is to have a particular piece of music I associate with that task, person, or thing. THen, when I need to get focused back on that thing, I listen to that piece of music.

No idea if it would help you.