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

By Rheyanne Weaver 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.

Add a Comment96 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I've been dating this guy with aspergers for almost 7 months now. In the beginning of our relationship we were very close and intimate but after I was diagnosed with anxiety I was unable to be intimate again. It made me very uncomfortabl . We went to therapy for it and I discovered that me unable to be intimate was because when I was younger I was molested by an older cousin for a really long time and I never dealt with those feelings so now its really affecting m . He knows this but he would still ask for small intimate activities. I would say no but he would keep asking and begging until I finally said yes so he would leave me alone. He's sexually frustrated I know. But he doesn't understand how I feel about sex. How can I enjoy something that was used against me for so long? My feelings from so long agoare very confusing to me. So recently he started having sex with me while I was sleeping and I woke up panicking and he started panicking and apologizing like craz . I started pushing him away and that's where he started crying because he really loves me and he feels guilty. Now my feelings are even more confusing and I don't know what to d . I want to break up with him. But he has aspergers so I don't know if he really understands why what he did was wrong and everyone keeps telling me that it was a mistake and I know that but I don't know if I can trust him agai . I don't know what to do.

April 17, 2015 - 2:23pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Thanks so much for sharing your story, I'm sure it wasn't easy to write. 

Firstly, he had absolutely no right to have sex without your permission, I don't care what his "diagnosis" is. Of course he should feel guilty! Men with Aspergers are not excused for this and nor would they want to be; they are no more apt to this behavior than anyone else. Of course he knows what he did was wrong, he's not suffering the kind of intellectual impairment that might be a mitigating factor here. 

Listen - you need to take Aspergers out of the picture, that's neither here nor there in your case. I don't think you are in a position to be in any kind of sexual relationship right now and you know it, I can tell from what you wrote. It's ok to break up with him - so what if he doesn't get it? You have been sexually abused as a child and you need to take care of you before you can worry about anyone else. This isn't selfish; it's being good and right and caring, to yourself. 

Everyone else needs to stay out of your relationship, I'm horrified to read they are putting their opinions in here.  

Be on your own, get therapy, heal,  and find inner peace.  It will happen in your own good time.  And then, at some stage, you will be ready to share your life with someone. But right now, you need to care for you. Do it and you won't regret it. 

Stay in touch with us, ok?

Susan

April 17, 2015 - 3:31pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Susan Cody)

"Everyone else needs to stay out of your relationship, I'm horrified to read they are putting their opinions in here. "

Hang on. Who's "they" that you are horrified by. First of all, nobody has a right to pressurise anybody into sex, whether they have Asperger's or not. That I agree with. I have all the sympathy in the world or what happened to her and pressurising someone into sex does not have anything to with Asperger's. When I gave my opinion on here, it was in reply to people who were claiming that "all" people with Asperger's are abusive and that's not true. I wrote my opinion because , as someone with Asperger's, I felt like I was personally being attacked due the generalisations, it had absolutely nothing to with anybody else's relationship.

Anyway Anon, I do agree that you should probably leave that relationship for your own sake.

April 26, 2015 - 9:48am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Anon

If you read back to my post, I was referring to the poster's friends who are telling her that what he did was a mistake (but to essentially get over it). This is her relationship with someone and her friends' need to keep out of deciding whether she should stay or not.  My advice is that she heal (due to her past) on her own, without the complications of a troubled relationship. 

I mentioned nothing about anyone here giving their opinions. 

Susan

April 26, 2015 - 4:08pm
varah (reply to Susan Cody)

Thanks so much! I made an account so I can start helping myself and vent my feelings.

April 17, 2015 - 6:26pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hey.Such an interesting article, wonderful feedback too.
I was in a very difficult relationship with and aspie man, years ago.He wouldn't admit that he had challenges to work with, so, He made me own my part AND his in the relationship.Which wore me down.
In contrast to that, I have met a man who admits he is on the spectrum and works hard at owning his part in out friendship.Which is liberating, in any relationship.
To me, the whole aspie idea, is more about awareness, on both sides.I know I can give too much, which makes him feel awkward,so it's great reminder for me to concentrate on my passions.
We are working on developing a friendship.Which is foundation to all future happiness and troubles.
Who wants to rush into any relationship?Why do peeps want to be intimate in a rush?Why do peeps want sex, outside of a true commitment?We share 'needs,' in a relationship, tho, let's be aware of our 'needyneess.'...
I'm guessing there are amazingly beautiful peeps who step up and take responsibity in relationships in both aspie and non aspie situations.To be sure of which you are dealing with takes time.Immediate attraction is nice, but a foundation for nothing.Step back and really look and see if that person is truly worthy.Dont Rush to give intimacy.That goes for all types of relationships.Be patient.

April 7, 2015 - 3:59pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

From MissieChrissie
I Love My Aspie Lover ;)
He Truely is the most affectionate attentative Wonderful man I have Ever met.
I also have Autism
I gotta say its great being with someone I understand n who understands mw . I have had relationships wiv NTs but never liked all the drama they bring. Im so happy I gave this awesome mindblowing Man a chance and hope it will last a very long time. Ali all the way ;) My Super Hypersensitive sex bomb

April 7, 2015 - 8:19am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Im a 21 year old female my partner is 23 and has asd and yes it is a stuggle sometimes becasue they do find it hard to show there feelings. People with out asd show eachother affection by kissing and cuddleing were as some people with asd will find it had to kiss and cuddle all the time they find it hard becasue they feel clostathobic, but they will have there own little ways of showing you they care and that they love you. My partnerhas been one of my best friends for 8 years and we have been together for about 10 months now, yes when we got together it was hard but you adapt to it since i have adaptes to it i have forgotten that he even has it.
people with asd have the right just like every1 els to be in a realationship and be happy and its the firat time in my life i have ever been happy.

April 6, 2015 - 4:43pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am highly disturbed by the amount of hate and bigotry towards people with AS like myself in these comments. The tone of some of them are akin to saying that aspies are spawns of satan and that nobody should attempt to have a relationship with one, ever.

March 24, 2015 - 9:28am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

It's not hate and bigotry. It's people not wanting to get hurt badly by the real problems AS can bring to a relationship. Specifically, to the NT partner. Other people's not wanting to get hurt by you is not bigotry against you. And no, they don't have to line up to get hurt so that you can have a chance at romance; that's not fair either.

Much of the AS-perspective advice about relationships boils down to "if they love you, they'll just deal." The irony is that the AS partner really has no idea how much they're lightly suggesting the NT partner deal with, and deal with alone. Yes, it absolutely sucks. But you've got no call to criticize people who describe their own bad experiences with AS partners (and yes, it's very often because of the AS, not because the AS partner had some totally other source of trouble).

March 27, 2015 - 7:18am
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