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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 Comment167 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Every aspie is different, and every NT comes with their own baggage too. I am NT and have been in and out of serious relationships with other NT's who have lied, cheated, or otherwise manipulated my emotions for what they see as their own benefit. It took me a couple months to understand that the man I am seeing now (aspie) did not have any ulterior motives, i.e., he wasn't playing head games when he didn't call or said he needed space. In other relationships, this would spell the beginning of the end, so I freaked out needlessly until I realized this was just who he is. He wasn't cheating on me, he hadn't lost interest, he really just needed alone time.

Once I understood that he never purposefully hurt my feelings (some men like knowing they have that kind of currency over you), our relationship became much smoother. That is not to say there aren't problems--there are frequencies of bonding that we won't ever be able to tune into together. Thankfully he isn't jealous (something else that confused me at first; I was always aware of men being jealous and I have to admit to using that jealousy to curry attention), so I am free to bond emotionally in the ways that I need with male and female friends.

Being with someone who doesn't seek to control me has been so freeing. I tend to be over-emotional, and his way of seeing things calms me. I have heard that some Aspies have sensory issues, but one of the reasons this relationship is working at the moment is that he's very physically demonstrative :) It's probably a little too obvious that I'm gaga over him and I might feel differently in another year, but for anyone who is wondering, it's not impossible if your NT quirks jive with his Aspie habits.

May 3, 2018 - 9:47pm
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)

He will not ask you how you are simply because he will assume you are fine if you have not mentioned to him that they are not OK.

This has nothing to do with that he does not care. Why don't you try communicating with him, rather than expecting him to behave as you want. Its Magic!

May 4, 2018 - 7:19am
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
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Maybe he sees it the same way 100, him, 10% you.

Are you only counting things you want to see?

May 4, 2018 - 7:21am
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 disagree. You just need to learn how to communicate with them. It helps if you understand what is important to them, and they understand what is important to you.

If you are expecting them to just pick up on it, and know what you want, which they clearly would do if they really loved you, then you are in for a long wait. This is NT thinking.

Come right out and say what you want. They will not get offended. They do not get innuendo and hints.

if something is important to you, then come right out and say it is important to you. They will understand that they need to do some things even if they do not understand why.

Expecting them to read your mind, it is going to be VERY disappointing for you. That is not how they work.

May 4, 2018 - 7:25am
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
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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.