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New Beginnings :
First serious relationship after D ends...he had Aspergers...anyone familiar with this?

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 GraceLove (original poster member #59212) posted at 12:53 AM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

Hi Everyone,
I haven't been on here for quite awhile, even though occasionally I would pop in to see how people were doing. It's been 4 years since Dday and wow...life DID in fact get so much better. It was so hard to imagine back then what it would be like to be in a relationship again.

After divorcing, I moved and within that year, I started my first serious relationship.

I just however, broke up with my boyfriend of 2 years and I know it was what I needed to do. Because it was a very conscious relationship (for me) and breakup, I really wasn't feeling anything and I thought I could bypass the pain. But nope! So here I am, the last 2 weeks have been brutal.

I had suspected he was Aspergers early on, but the good outweighed everything. He is the most honest man I've ever met (sometimes brutally so but it made it easy to be in a relationship with him, for the most part) loyal, super funny, fun, same faith, intelligent, same values, etc. I am in deep grief though. I know that the relationship wasn't long term sustainable.

He was very literal, things didn't come naturally to him, and after awhile, I didn't feel seen or heard. He would never initiate saying he loved me. (He did show it in his actions, he was usually kind --except when brutally honest...and attentive). He wasn't much of an initiator at all actually. It was like having a friend beside me after awhile. It felt quite immature after awhile. Very conflict adverse. I'd have to hold space for myself and keep him calm during conflict. Very tiring.

I felt exhausted by the relationship after awhile.

I learned alot. And,there was alot of healing for both of us. (He had also been betrayed). I do miss him. We decided to stay friends, but that was me more than him. I really like his friendship but when he doesn't reciprocate it's tough...and the irony of that isn't lost on me. I get that he likely wouldn't want to initiate because I broke up with him. But, he doesn't feel as deeply as I do. In fact, he's probably quite over me already. Maybe it's not fair to want friendship, but I do.

I'm taking time off and being single for the next 4 months. Probably as long as I can take it..lol. I don't know. I'm just not one of those who wants to be single forever. I'm very able to be single though and have learned to enjoy my company and am actually very proud of how far I've come in that area. I just happen to be extraverted so people are good for my soul.

Does anyone have any experiences with Aspies? I'd really like to hear about them. I think I also need help processing this. I needed to check in here so that I can acknowledge my pain because it would be super easy for me to try to stuff it down and look at the positive. I need to be vulnerable. Thank you!

posts: 259   ·   registered: Jun. 14th, 2017
id 8706852
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 1:52 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

Hi GL,

I'm sorry your new year is starting this way.

My son is aspie and I suspect that I'm somewhere on the spectrum too. We are wired very similarly.

Just some common behavior and relational patterns I have noticed from him while raising him.

-Loyalty is huge- my son would cut off his right arm for them.

-If left to his own devices, he would happily keep doing whichever activity has captured his interest and skip meals.

-Son can be quite literal, amd quite honest, we are working with him on room reading skills, but you know this isnt natural for aspies.

-He personalizes things. Anything done that is hurtful, whether amd honest mistake or accident, his first reaction is to personalize it. His emotions get very large very quickly. Its been a struggle teaching him healthy ways of discussing hurt and pain without going on the attack. Its exhausting sometimes, but he is making good progress in this.

All of this to say that, yep, sounds like your exbf could have been on the high functioning end of the spectrum. As a friend, he will likely continue to take an interest in your well being. You are just going to have to keep reminding him you are there though.

As for the initiation thing, unless my son has a specific idea related to one of his specific interests, we have to be the ones to initiate. Like, eating. Really.

Anyway, I am sorry to hear of your struggles and lost relationship. Hope this new year brings you joy.

posts: 314   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8706888
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 GraceLove (original poster member #59212) posted at 2:33 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

Hi Mi,
Thanks for taking time to respond to my thread. I really appreciate the insights.

The loyalty part is awesome. However, with my xbf he was beyond loyal. To people that didn't always deserve it. It creates a feeling of safety though. And this was definitely a plus.

-If left to his own devices, he would happily keep doing whichever activity has captured his interest and skip meals.


This is interesting. It drove me mad that he would forget to eat all day, then when we were together would whine about it like a child. About being hungry. It was like he had no planning skills and no self care skills. I see that it may have been just his interests taking over. Then he would gain weight. And what I found odd was that for someone so smart, he couldn't piece together that NOT eating made him fat. Because he would put his body into starving mode. Is that common? So smart yet doesn't get basic things? Especially self care things?

Son can be quite literal, and quite honest, This. The literal part felt like he was being argumentative. He would often pick a word when I was trying to explain things and say: what does that mean? And it was so obvious what the word meant. He would seem to complicate things. He said for any given question, he had many answers so he would have to go into his mind and pluck out the best response. He liked watching the Good Doctor (about a genius aspie doctor) and I had by that time suspected he could relate to the show. I got exhausted with this. It was super apparent if I was arguing or it seemed like I was arguing. Sometimes it was just when we were talking. I got to the point where I wouldn't even talk sometimes because the effort wasn't worth it. It made me feel further and further away. Like we had lost our connection that seemed so strong in the beginning.

He personalizes things. Anything done that is hurtful, whether amd honest mistake or accident, his first reaction is to personalize it.
. Oh this part! Yes...when we would go out (we both can't wear masks so going out was harsh in our locked down city of 2 years)he would say things like...did you see how they were looking at me? He would think people were giving him dirty looks. I never noticed. Can't tell with a half hidden face yet this was his interpretation of it. He always had such a victim attitude. When I brought it to his attention, he said, no, I'm just commenting and making an observation. He would say I was attaching a story to it, he wasn't.

His emotions get very large very quickly.
This is very interesting. My bf had studied myers briggs and he's an intp. Which means he doesn't process through feelings. He's a thinker. So the thing that bothered me was he would say things like are you having some big feelings right now? (I would say, they are just feelings. Not big feelings). But to him, he was so terrified of feelings (his ex was a screamer with lots of feelings). I tossed it up to the fact that he had been traumatized by her and also that he just wasn't much of a feeler. I see now that he can't handle feelings. The weird thing is this...I was AGAIN! confused about the actions. Because like you say above, the emotions can get very large very quickly. If we had an argument, he would escalate it. I would have to keep things calm and myself calm which I couldn't really do well. Nor was it my responsibility. So he would SAY that he doesn't have feelings around things, but in those moments of being activated, he definitely had feelings quickly and they would escalate. He was very conflict adverse and this made it super difficult to have a relationship.

What about asking questions? Do aspies avoid personal questions or questions overall? It drove me nuts that he wouldn't ask me questions. He would say it was a respect thing and he felt asking questions was too personal. He didn't' like being asked questions especially regarding what he did for work because he had't lived up to his potential. I'd be interested in hearing your opinion on this.

Its been a struggle teaching him healthy ways of discussing hurt and pain without going on the attack. Its exhausting sometimes... Yes...I would tell my ex that he needed to speak in the "I" instead of "you". He had a hard time using the word "I" overall. He would even talk about himself in the third person many times (referring to himself as an intp)It's like he can't do intimacy on any level.

All of this to say that, yep, sounds like your exbf could have been on the high functioning end of the spectrum. As a friend, he will likely continue to take an interest in your well being. You are just going to have to keep reminding him you are there though. Oh...so sad for me. I'm glad you mentioned this because it feels so unavailable. It was like this in our relationship. I did feel I had to remind him he had a girlfriend.And he also had to remind himself! This makes sense now. It's like things just didn't occur to him. Like that he needed to keep in touch or initiate things. It also brought up my abandonment things on some level. But mostly my initial attraction subconsciously to emotionally unavailable men. No more of that!

If there is anything else that would be helpful, I'd love to hear it. Thanks for taking the time to teach me about this. It helps me process that it wasn't my fault...I felt like I tried hard. And now I'll take some time off to get my energy back from what turned out to be a draining relationship at the end. Lots of good stuff came out of it to be sure. But not at the end when I realized that I couldn't do this anymore.

posts: 259   ·   registered: Jun. 14th, 2017
id 8706893
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HeartFullOfHoles ( member #42874) posted at 7:54 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

First off, do you just suspect he has Asperger’s or has he actually been diagnosed? It likely does not make too much difference because as a minimum you are experiencing him having these tendencies.

I work in a field full of people, myself included, who as a minimum have some tendencies that fit the typical Asperger’s traits, but most would never be diagnosed as actually having it. Our brains like to pattern match, but I caution you from drawing too many conclusions from your matching without an official diagnosis and even with a diagnosis assigning good versus bad to the traits is very destructive!

And it was so obvious what the word meant.

This may be true, though people tend to be lazy with their spoken words and if there is not enough context either in what is said verbally or non-verbally asking clarification is not a bad thing. As a minimum it should be interpreted that he is interested in understanding what you are trying to communicate. If you communicate with a significant amount of non-verbal cues it could be equally exasperating for him when he does not easily recognize these non-verbal cues to understand exactly what you are trying to say.

Myers Briggs should be used as a tool for understand. I tend to have a couple of the indicators that vary over time which in general is a good thing since that is an indication of someone who is more balanced in that dimension. I personally think the dimensions are too course and there should be some numeric scale or as a minimum take the dimensions which are likely Gaussian and break them into quartiles, but that would likely be too complicated to determine using a simple test. To me that’s the danger of the MBTI; making judgments/assumptions based on four dimensions that have only two states. It’s like making an assumption based on living in the norther versus the southern hemispheres. Those closer to the middle, but on different sides of the line may find much in common with small differences, though the world often judges based on the extremes. The MBTI can also be used as a metric for areas where you should work to strengthen or balance yourself.

I do agree from your descriptions you are not compatible with him. Though something to consider is that it is as much who you are and the way that you interact with the world as the Asperger’s tendencies that you experience in him that are causing your incompatibility. We all like to think we are the normal ones and then look at others relative to our reference. The problem is, unless you can actually look at things from the other persons perspective you are partially blind in your relationship. Your feelings and thoughts are very likely not the reference standard for normal and are certainly not the average for any specific relationship.

BH - Tried to R for too long, now happily divorced
D-Day 4/28-29/2012 (both 48 at the time)
Two adult daughters

posts: 713   ·   registered: Mar. 24th, 2014
id 8706931
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 GraceLove (original poster member #59212) posted at 8:45 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

First off, do you just suspect he has Asperger’s or has he actually been diagnosed?
No, he hasn't been diagnosed, it's how I experience him.

but I caution you from drawing too many conclusions from your matching without an official diagnosis and even with a diagnosis assigning good versus bad to the traits is very destructive! I get that of course. And I don't think I was saying good vs bad. He's not a bad person. The qualities and characteristics for me, were slowly killing my spirit and not healthy for my well being. The way they landed on me are not uplifting and it became an unsustainable relationship.


asking clarification is not a bad thing. I agree. It became tedious though because it was constant, especially if it was a topic he didn't want to discuss.


it could be equally exasperating for him when he does not easily recognize these non-verbal cues to understand exactly what you are trying to say. Yes...I believe that in hindsight this would have been very true. I do both verbal and non verbal. He didn't seem to catch on to the non verbal though, or if he did, ignored it as it would seem confrontational.

Myers Briggs may not be the perfect metric, however, it can be a fun tool and it did help us in learning more about ourselves and each other eg: how we make decisions, etc. It was one of his very special interests and I found that after awhile it wasn't useful. He didn't really study anything outside of this. It was his comfort zone.


unless you can actually look at things from the other persons perspective you are partially blind in your relationship. My problem is I am the one that over compensates in this area...looking at things from the other person's perspective, getting to really know them, leaning into their preferences etc. I was very accepting of his quirky ways, not trying to change him, at least for the first year and a half. When it wasn't reciprocated, that's when I started to pull back.


Your feelings and thoughts are very likely not the reference standard for normal and are certainly not the average for any specific relationship.Not sure what you mean by this.

posts: 259   ·   registered: Jun. 14th, 2017
id 8706940
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HeartFullOfHoles ( member #42874) posted at 9:15 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

Just a cautionary comment from my perspective. My exWW is notorious for thinking whatever she thinks/feels is normal or correct and if I have a different opinion or feeling I am wrong and I am expected to conform to her thoughts or feelings. I have seen this to various degrees in others, so just pointing out both people in a relationship often need to give a little to have a successful relationship. It sounds like you have this all figured out so no shame in saying I have done everything I can do, this relationship is not working out and move on to eventually start looking for someone else who is more compatible. Unfortunately often the fundamental thing our WS completely miss.

I’m currently in a similar situation. No bad feelings from my perspective, but it’s just not going to work out long term and I’m not going to hang around as plan B until someone better (from her perspective) comes along.

BH - Tried to R for too long, now happily divorced
D-Day 4/28-29/2012 (both 48 at the time)
Two adult daughters

posts: 713   ·   registered: Mar. 24th, 2014
id 8706943
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HeartFullOfHoles ( member #42874) posted at 10:09 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

It helps me process that it wasn't my fault...

I also wanted to comment on this. For me, when I was married I had given vows that I took very seriously. To me "as long as we shall love" and serial monogamy are perfectly okay for dating, but are you confusing stronger marriage style vows with dating expectations? Does it hurt when a dating relationship ends? Certainly, but you never made a forever commitment/vow so I don’t see it as productive to feel it was your fault! Things didn’t work out for whatever reason and as long as you show some compassion and empathy when ending the relationship there’s nothing to feel sorry for. You don’t even owe them a detailed explanation, though giving that can be helpful for them, if they are self aware, in future relationships.

BH - Tried to R for too long, now happily divorced
D-Day 4/28-29/2012 (both 48 at the time)
Two adult daughters

posts: 713   ·   registered: Mar. 24th, 2014
id 8706949
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nomudnolotus ( member #59431) posted at 1:49 AM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

My daughter is an aspie, and although it is a spectrum. She never initiates anything with anyone. If she feels like being involved which honestly is not too often, she hovers and waits to be invited. She is an adult, but she has difficulty making friends because of this. Also when she needs a break from you, she just basically ignores your presence. It's really hard for her to read emotions, when she was tested she only knew a few of the emotions that she was shown, and those were the more dramatic ones. Over stimulation is a big issue, even still.

They can practice social skills, and practice all these things, but they really can't change a whole lot and it's more about accepting them for who they are.

posts: 203   ·   registered: Jun. 30th, 2017
id 8707521
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 GraceLove (original poster member #59212) posted at 2:54 AM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Thanks for your input nomudnolotus. Yeah, the fact that they can't change I think is what makes it heartbreaking. So many lovely qualities but for me, I need someone who will be able to lean into me and value changing and improving. And the reality is, that can't really happen.

[This message edited by GraceLove at 2:55 AM, Wednesday, January 5th]

posts: 259   ·   registered: Jun. 14th, 2017
id 8707534
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