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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.

Add a Comment162 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Are you kidding me with this article? It is all about the woman working hard and the guy not getting it.That is exactly what your relationship will be - ONE SIDED. I have been married to a man with Aspergers for 17 years and it has been hell. Here's what you need to know. He will NEVER ask you how your are or even care? He will NEVER understand your perspective even if you explain a million times. And on and on. You might as well use your energy to get a PHD or become a millionaire because that is how much of your energy this relationship will require and in the end you will be left with one thing - LONELINESS IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY.

September 19, 2017 - 8:23am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Ive been married for 15 years to a man with s/s of autistic/aspergers. It has been very lonely. The rejection has caused me to search myself, which was a positive. I am an empath and he has no empathy. No response from talking and blank looks. No hugs and high anxiety. It has been so hard, but I have accomplished so much in my loneliness
. Thanks so much for confirmation that was needed for me. I hope to understand him better now that I am aware of our "real" differences.

April 25, 2018 - 11:53am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi, it was good to see your comment, I’ve been dating a guy off and on for 7 years and just this year did I realize he has Aspergers: I figured this out on my own, I was going crazy, breaking up and going back and forth with him several times.
I thought something was wrong with me, he would always say I have a problem all the while never fully telling me about his problem:
I haven’t confronted him yet, but I will soon after I read up some more on how to handle him:
Thank God it’s a load off my shoulders and I can stop seeing a therapist: I put 100% in this relationship and him maybe 10%

November 21, 2017 - 7:40am
EmpowHER Guest

I just recently ended a relationship with someone who has Asperger's (I am NT). I would NEVER recommend this to any NT. It is fraught with constant frustration and struggle. Why do this when you can find someone else who is NT and not spend your whole life dealing with basic issues that shouldn't even be such huge problems? WHY do that to yourself needlessly???? This combination is not a progressive, fulfilling relationship. I do believe those with Asperger's are best off finding someone similar, just as NT's are best off finding someone of the same wiring. Birds of a feather, proven for relationship success. Aspie/NT combination is almost always doomed for failure.

August 18, 2017 - 6:40pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I've actually been married for twenty years to a man with Aspergers. And while I can say that we've had challenges and struggles (especially since he wasn't diagnosed until 3 years ago), I couldn't love him more. It takes a lot of work to make a marriage like this work, but as long as both parties are willing, and actually do the work, it can be one of the best things that ever happen to you.
I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience, I really am. Just know that it can, and does work out.
I adore my husband and all of his quirks.

August 24, 2017 - 6:06pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

My husband has not been diagnosed, but I do feel he is Asperger, he just has to many systems. I feel he try’s hard to make me happy, but he always thinks I am mad at him any time I get upset. He lives by himself about a 1.5 hours away. Comes home on Thursday evening. Leaves again come Monday. He seems to need his alone time. I do love him very much. Did you get counseling for how to handle his issues? I feel this might help me. If you have any suggestions I would appreciate it.

November 13, 2017 - 12:31pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am Aspie and so is my boyfriend. While I agree with the advice, I also have to disagree with the assumption that Autism is a mental illness. While we do not have neurotypical brains, we are actually more capable in many situations as those who are. We are more sensitive to stimuli and process more information than the neurotypicals we know. As a female Aspie, I have learned to hide myself quite well, so you would never know I am unless I told you. You can't fake not having a mental illness if you have one. In fact, usually, you are unaware that you have one period. Being different, does not a mental illness make.

July 30, 2017 - 5:11pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am a 28 year old male just recently self-diagnosed with Asperger's (working on a formal evaluation.) I can say firsthand that this is mostly pretty solid advice, however, there is an all-too-common error in the beginning of the article that contributes to misunderstanding and misinformation. Autism is not a mental disorder or illness. It is categorized most broadly as a pervasive developmental disorder. The difference here is subtle, but key. Mislabeling autistic people as having a mental illness contributes to misperceptions that they are irrational and unstable, or that it can be cured. This is nonsense, as our inherent brain differences are permanent and present from an early age, and generally make us more straightforward and rational than neurotypical or allistic people. To use an analogy, NT people calling autism a mental illness is like a human calling Spock crazy for being consistently logical and honest.

May 14, 2017 - 8:33am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi all,
I would like to express my opinion as well without offending someone in particular.(&also to specify that I am not a native English language speaking and hope my message will be understood..I will do my best to be coherent as it is a stressful emotionally period for me ).I will appreciate any advice and opinion.
I have read the article and most of comments, trying to understand myself and the situation that I am in....as I am myself in a relationship with an AS man who does not admit or accept that he might have the As syndrome.
I meet my partner a few years ago and we become good friends, spending a lot of time chatting every almost every day..in 2015 I move with him and things started to get a bit over the top because everything has to be done in a certain way starting with cleaning and the way I was washing dishes and cutting broccoli...nothing that I was doing was right and it has to be done his way. He give me a hard time for more than 6 mounts until I did all he wanted the way he wanted and still continues ...long story short ...
I found out about his syndrome after after speaking with a mental health counsellor when things got a bit over the top because I was questioning him why he is doing certain things because wore affecting our relationship (he meet someone online and he spent 2 mounts hiding with his phone while he was chatting with his new friend that was a psychiatric medic ..he was even chatting while we wore having dinner together and trying to hide his phone ...thinking that he is not doing anything wrong ..sometimes at 2 am in the morning ;when he was refusing to speak with her she was offending me on fbk and that went way too far ....he was yelling at me that he is not doing anything wrong and he just can’t get rid of her ...and other offending words ...his phone is a vital part of his life, is with him at the toilet and in the bathroom ,never around and always changing the password => his obsession ). He is still chatting with her but find new methods to hide it from me...I don’t think he is genuine person as last year she said to him that she was diagnosed with cancer, her husband was beating her and now she has kidney failure ,1 kid but last year she was having 3 ..and telling him that I am a sociopath as I don’t care about her and don’t let him chat with her and he is very upset as he can’t support his friend in this difficult period – he never seen her in her life. How blind can you be in order not to see that all she says are lies? ... It was and still is a very painful period for me as I was feeling betrayed emotionally by the person that I believe was the most amazing man I ever meet. I will try to be short with the rest of the story ....it is annoying to see your partner spending his time with his obsessions especially if that is for other women that he never meet in his life and consider them his friends and keep thousands of sexy-porn pictures with naked muscular women ..I understood that as I consider it his private passion and admiring women from google is not that bad.
I am overwhelmed and in pain emotionally after only 2 years of living with him ....and gathering my straight to leave this relationship and start a new life. I would like to accept him and his obsessions as long those are constructive for him and our relationship ...but being obsessed with women that he never meet in his life and always trying to connect with other ones on fb ..is not that positive. It is more painful after I came from another continent to be with him and this year on Easter time I have been left alone at home while his excuse was that he s not celebrate Easter and I should be telling him that I want to do something for that day. Going out on V day was an issue as well...no friends at all. Not allowed to go out with my friends as he is making me feel guilty that I am not helping him with God knows what and not taking priorities seriously. I would like to say more about this subject but I don’t want to write a little book about it at the moment ).
He was very nice and loving and supporting with him and I really appreciate all he has done for me ...until I started to question his obsessive behaviors about hiding all the time and other online friends.
I love him and I have difficulties leaving the relationship. I am disappointed about me that I have accepted all this and giving so many chances to the relationship ...and disappointed with him and the situation... but all he wants is to make lots of money and be famous and have lots of fun...
Wish you all the best ...

April 20, 2017 - 9:39pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Your post has helped me enormously! I met a man on fb who has become obsessed with me- is always going on about what he wants and seems to be almost entirely lacking in empathy. I think he's angry with me for not responding to him
As anything more than a friend. He says he has no need of friends. I have started to feel that I'm crazy! Now I get it. Aspergers.

October 12, 2017 - 5:27am
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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.