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Tips for Being in a Relationship With a Man Who Has Asperger's or Autism

By HERWriter
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Being involved in a successful romantic relationship can be difficult for most people. Consider all the breakup self-help books available, the movies portraying cheating significant others, constant fighting and dramatic breakups, and your own relationship history.

Do you think these difficulties increase or decrease for someone with a mental disorder? Let’s just say that it’s not easy to have a relationship while trying to function “normally” in the world.

For people who have Asperger’s disorder or autistic disorder, social interaction is complicated. Although people with Asperger’s are thought to have high-functioning autism, they still have social problems. For example, people with Asperger’s don’t contribute as much socially and emotionally, and they don’t know how to use nonverbal behaviors as well, like eye contact, according to an abnormal psychology textbook.

Interaction and emotional reciprocity are important in relationships, so it’s no wonder that it would be a challenge for someone with Asperger’s or autism to be in a relationship. Although this doesn’t happen for everyone, it’s a stereotype that someone with these disorders will not share his or her emotions as frequently. For example, they might not say “I love you” or show affection as often, because they don’t understand and express emotions as well as the typical person.

If you decide to be in a relationship with someone who has Asperger’s or autism, it seems there are some things you have to consider to help the relationship work. Keep in mind, this may not apply to everyone who has Asperger’s or autism. There is the proposed autism spectrum disorder, which places autism and Asperger’s together. Basic symptoms will be the same, but specifics may differ.

This is what I have observed after being in a short relationship with someone who thought he had Asperger’s and through reading different articles:

1) Don’t assume the other person is uninterested, just because he isn’t telling you he likes you or finds you attractive. Decide what you think of him and let him know.

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EmpowHER Guest

I'm tired of trying to communicate and live with my man. I'm normally known for being really good with people, but here i feel im slowly going crazy. And it's always me, he sais. He does nothing wrong in hos own mind it seems. I feel that he wants me around, but i must kind of leve him alone with his routines. He has quite strict routines. He is very happy sitting inn front of hos computer, and playing piano, inside all weekend Even in amazing weather. I am suggesting trips. He might agree to join me, but rarly suggest anything himself. Joining me for short trips, but is longing back to his indoor habits. He forgets things even if he is to buy only two things. He is distant. Cold. Pulls away after a normal reaction from me to his strange insults (he does not understand he is insensitive and insulting because he forgets things or have a creative somehow unrealistic alternativeperspective). He rather gets defensive and make me feel like im irrational reacting the way i do. Im used to having normal healthy reactions. Im tired of dealing with this. He is in any other way warm and loving but its so on and off somehow. What can i do?

March 11, 2017 - 8:57am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

The poster that says you can't expect this and that from him is right, and it took me a long time in my relationship to realize he will never think, act , relate or love like I do. I had to leave to save my sanity and only after I did leave did I realize how much I was dying inside because it was like poison for me to be with someone that had so much disregard for me. Please save yourself from the crazy making before you yourself go crazy trying to make sense of it.

March 14, 2017 - 9:19am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I have Asperger's, and I know what I'm talking about. My husband, who doesn't really understand my autism but he tries, is a Saint for staying with me and loving me. He pushes me, sometimes, a little bit, sometimes a little bit too much. But he's never caused me to have a meltdown. Trying to make an autistic gf/bf/spouse act exactly the way a normal person would will only cause shutdowns and meltdowns. The routines and escapes are not optional. They are the only alternative to the psych ward.

March 14, 2017 - 5:36pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

You can accept him for who he is.

Just don't act like he does things this way on purpose because he knows it hurts you. He doesn't. If he has Asperger's, it's probably the only thing he can do at the time. You have no idea how hard it is to cope with life when you have Asperger's. There's only so much "normal" interaction, "normal" socializing, "normal" go outside and have a little adventure an autistic person can take at one time. Those little routines and escapes are the only thing keeping from having meltdowns, shutdowns and psychotic breaks. You want to keep him in your life and out of an institution? Let him have his escape outlets and don't nag him. And don't expect him to suggest trips. I rather expect he doesn't like them, he does them because it's what you want and he loves you and wants do things for you and with you that you like. Especially if he leaves his comfort zone to do things with you, you shouldn't be asking him to give up the routines and escapes that allow him to wind back down to what, for him, is normal--his routines, his piano, his computer time,his indoor habits. Those things keep him sane. You do not want to trigger an autistic meltdown by trying to force him away from his routine into your perfect world.

March 11, 2017 - 5:29pm
EmpowHER Guest

A label placed on his inability to understand how to touch her, how her heart needs comfort during times of distress, how he sees his silent withdrawal without so much of a warning can bring her to tears... after being shown, told, over and over again after 5 years, while acting clueless and incompassionate is not a viable excuse to treat a woman you claim to love....Get a dog

March 8, 2017 - 10:19pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hi, I have been married to someone with Aspergers for 18 years now. Our marriage has been rough. I didn't know he had Aspergers until about 7 years ago. At first, I made excuses for him and tried to understand. Now at this stage of my life, I just don't want to deal. He is like a child. He is obsessed with series' on TV and plays free cell for hours at a time on his phone. He checks out too often into his escape world while I'm living in the real one. It gets lonely for me. He would be okay to live his entire life checking out of reality. I care about him and want our marriage to work but its just not working for me. The sad part is that he doesn't have an issue and sees the issue as mine, and no matter how much I attempt to explain myself, he is unreasonable, gets defensive, and escapes into his own world even more. He hasn't been formally diagnosed but he has every single symptom of Aspergers, including the neurological ones. And I've read that it is not easy to diagnose and there is no treatment for it.

I don't know why I'm writing except that I would love someone who understands my perspective.

August 25, 2016 - 11:35am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Dear Anonymous,

I am a young man with Asperger's syndrome and I have been dating a neurotypical woman for the past 3 months. Your comment treads water with how the relationship between me and my woman is going. I began to understand how my Asperger's worked in the past few years and I have done my best to understand how a neurotypical mind works so I can interact better.

For one, if you think a man with Asperger's is an a-hole for wanting to go into his own world, maybe for a neurotypical hive mind (meaning a group of neurotypical people with one person with Asperger's), it is. But for a person with Asperger's, we like it in that world. It welcomes us like a busty wet nurse welcomes a hungry baby. It gives us a chance to recharge so that way we can go back into the neurotypical one, and try to fit in once again. But why would some of us want to go back into that world when all it does is hate ours and make us feel bad for something we didn't choose to be born with?

Almost once a week, my girlfriend sends me on a guilt trip, claiming the whole relationship is about what I want and it's never what she wants. I disagree but I can't tell her that because that's what an A-hole would do. I simply take it and do my best to make her feel better, because I know how I can be to a neurotypical person. I spend lots of time with her, I spend time with her 3 kids, and I need my space. but it seems every free second (Meaning pretty much every waking second when we're both NOT working) she wants to spend time with me...every second of free time...when sometimes I just want to be by myself because I've spent hour after hour ignoring my Aspie side and trying to fit in with the neurotypical world. And it's like torture to an aspie who wants to be normal. that's right, I said normal. You're obviously the normal people. We're not. I'm almost to the point where I'd much rather break up so she doesn't suffer with me anymore. She would hate that. She's 8 years older than me, overweight, with 3 kids. Her best friends are never alone, her co-workers are all married or dating and she would be the only one who was single. And I would feel guilty for doing so....so I'm not going to.

Here's the thing - From my personal experience, someone with aspergers sees a relationship between a man and a woman as a business partnership. just with kissing, touching, and pretty much doing everything with the other. Their love lies in whatever Asperger's interest takes them, and that could be anything. An object, a TV show, a video game, A business corporation...and even people. I had the worst time of my life when I was obsessed with Lynda Carter because I felt like I was a stalker and I knew pretty much all that I could about her without any discretion. Ricardo Lopez probably had Asperger's and was obsessed with pop singer Bjork. Actually, obsessed is only scratching the surface. but he had so many traits pertaining to Asperger's syndrome that I believe his obsession with Bjork came solely from that. He even claimed "I loved Bjork so much, I couldn't even sleep with her. that's how much I loved her." and personally, I kinda felt the same way about Lynda. It's scary to think about, really.

Personally, I think God put people with Asperger's on the earth for one reason - for technological advancement. One of the largest traits for someone with Asperger's is their obsession with one particular subject, which sometimes benefits society. Alexander Graham Bell probably had Asperger's, which is why he invented the telephone, he had to have been obsessed with the idea of talking with people without seeing face to face. Albert Einstein had Asperger's. Satoshi Tajiri was obsessed with collecting bugs and he wanted to share that joy with a video game. That's how we got Pokémon.

Personally, I think people with Asperger's should at least have flings to keep their morale up (and from killing themselves) but there's a good chance they'll never truly change for a long-term relationship. We can only try as hard as we can. But you've gotta let us have that free time so we can recharge.

Good luck!

September 22, 2016 - 10:15am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

"There love lies in wherever the Aspergers interests takes them." This comment is basically why a relationship with an aspy is difficult and seemingly one sided. How its the aspy way or no way. My personality comes with humor sarcasm and romantic displays of affection and he knew that, yet gritted his teeth for 5 years, and secretly withheld his disgust for the ways I loved, how I talked, my playful personality, and how I publicly displayed our happy life to others. He blew up in rage and outted his long time diagnosis and used it as an excuse. Cowards use labels to feel less guilty...Her "overweight" body as you say must be a reflection of how much self esteem you think she has. Im sure your mere presence in her life does her self esteem wonders. Like being overweight is an excuse for you to hang on yet not stray too far.

March 8, 2017 - 9:51pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Question is, if you all are still together, did she know you have Aspergers? Because it can be beneficial for her to know so she can educate herself, unless she's just a diva. I am seriously in love with someone with Aspergers and personally for me its easier because I need a lot of alone time and can't have someone up my ass 24/7 I need be able to say " ya know what, I love you, but I can't talk to you or be around you or any one right now for (insert amount of time here)" without them getting offended. I need someone who can tell it like it is without caring if I get offended. Thats the thing, people shouldn't be in relationships because they force other people to meet their needs, they should be together because they are attracted to each other. No one is on this planet to serve another person (I.guess unless they are your children.) I find so many people on the planet just use each other and lie to each other in order to feel acceptable and have self worth, which I think is bullshit. People should be together cause they like to, cause it makes them feel good, not cause they feel expected to or pressured because if they dont, their significant other will act like a diva or entitled to their expectations. The way human kind functions isnt right in my opinion thats why I hate when people say oh neurotypical people are "normal" and everyone should be trained on how to please them to be accepted when in reality or how I see it people with Aspergers are some of the only people i've met on the planet who know how to meet their own needs and dont subconsciously use and manipulate other people to get self validation. So actually the neurotypical world needs to be more like that so we don't continue to form co-dependant relationships with each other. Anyway thats my opinion. This man who I love is a force of nature ill tell you that, but it just really hurts me knowing how hard his life was and still is and what he went through especially in school. I just wanna understand him more. Anyway.,,.

February 4, 2017 - 12:02am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Well, I would like to reply by saying,your girlfriend seems very needy,not normal.In a mature relationship each person should take some space to themselves.Its a healthy thing to do.Understanding that you may need a little more, re your Aspergers is a loving gesture.
Sounds like you are very stressed by her demands,that's not good.Needy people can be draining,hope you can sort it somehow.Just though Id say,because I have some experience with Aspergers and friendships,hope it helps.

December 6, 2016 - 4:36am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.