Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why Do Aspies Suddenly Back-Off in Relationships? (Part 1)

One of the most frequent questions I'm asked is why an aspie (or suspected aspie) suddenly goes "cold" and backs off on an otherwise good relationship.

It's a difficult question and the answers would vary considerably from one person to another and would depend greatly on the circumstances. Nevertheless, I'll try to point out some possibilities.

Negative Reasons
I generally like to stay positive on this blog and assume that people are not necessarily "evil" but simply misguided. Unfortunately, I do have to acknowledge that there are some people out there who take advantage of others.

I read a book a few years ago on "sociopaths in the workplace" and I was stunned by the figures. They suggested that sociopaths were so common that most workplaces (small business) had at least one or two.

The fact is that there are lots of people out there who really feel very little for others and who are very manipulative. I'd like to say that aspies aren't like this but I'm sure there are a few.

One of the problems is that sociopaths and aspies can present similarly on the surface. There's not a huge amount of immediately visible difference between "lack of emotional connection" versus "inability to convey emotion". Similarly, manipulative behaviour can often come across as simply "needy".

Since the aspergers diagnosis is based on purely subjective criteria, it's not unlikely that in some cases, sociopaths may be misdiagnosed as aspies.

You have been warned.

Now let's move onto more genuine and solvable reasons.

Change Resistance
This is one of the biggest reasons. The aspie detects an approaching change in the relationship; perhaps you're talking about moving in, having children or maybe you're simply becoming assertive about routines; tea times, household chores or furniture placement.

Whatever the reason, the aspie change resistance kicks in. As we know, aspies are not the world's best communicators and half of the time they'll be completely unaware that the problem is change resistance. To them, they're just unable to cope with the TV being moved to the opposite side of the room. They don't know why they don't like it but they can think of lots of fancy excuses. The aspie may find it easier to go quiet and say nothing than to speak their mind.

The NT side of the relationship will often take this "quietness" to indicate grudging acceptance and may exacerbate the situation by repeating it (for instance, moving more furniture). By the time the "quietness" is really noticed as a problem, it's often too late and the aspie has gone "cold" on the relationship.

NTs can assist with change resistance problems by becoming aware of unusual "quietness" in their partner and encouraging discussion. Aspies can help by making more efforts to communicate, even if it means resorting to written forms.

Next Time
Next time I want to look at the role that Depression and Self Doubt plays in causing aspies to back off on relationships.

39 comments:

The Rambling Taoist said...

I've talked about this issue on my blog too. From my own experience, I always seemed to develop "issues" as any relationship changed and all relationships do this. The person I initially met and fell in love or strong like with would become a fixation in my mind and when that girl or lady began to change -- simply as the result of being in a relationship -- I didn't know how to handle it.
So, I would pressure the person to return to being the person I first met.

Of course, no one wants a person who supposedly loves them to try to put them in an emotional box! This is the point in which all of my relationships (except for the one with my wife of 24 years) broke down.

When people ask me why my wife & I were able to break this pattern, I'm completely honest. All the credit goes to her! It is solely because of her patience and compassion that we were able to wade through my "issue" period and come out the other side.

eaucoin said...

When it comes to relationships, NTs negotiate them. We Aspies often don't know what we want or how to ask for it, and it makes relationships hard work. We take longer to figure out when it won't work, and then we may stop trying. Since an NT doesn't understand what an effort we've been making, they're liable to think us cold when we stop trying so hard. It's not personal, just a reflection of how the concept of social reciprocity is a struggle for us. When I was young, I knew when my mother didn't like a child that I brought round home. By the time I was in junior high, it was easier to keep my distance from people than to explain why I couldn't have them over. I had NT siblings who could bring friends home, so I knew the problem was with my selection process, but I didn't have anyone to ask about such things. I'm sure a few of those potential friends wondered what happened when they didn't get asked back after I'd been to their homes, even though I clearly liked them. Many of us with Aspergers grew up with family members who we couldn't trust and when a parent is one of those, a lot of our issues go underground, in which case we won't be sharing with you the straw that broke the camel's back, and we will seem very mysterious (not in a good way).

Rachel said...

Wow, maybe it's a gender issue, but I have never had a problem with being quiet about issues in a relationship. Oh my God. I'll discuss anything, and when I know change is coming, I'll get into gear for it. More often than not, it's my partner who resists the change.

My first NT husband had a very difficult time with making changes; my present NT husband is actually quite flexible, but he goes about making change in a very slow and determined way. It's his nature to want to weigh all the options before making a change, and this aspect of his personality balances my tendency to take quick, decisive action. When I'm right about a change that needs to be made, I'll lead us both in a very good direction, but when I'm wrong...Oy. It's good that he's there to slow me down!

Anonymous said...

I've been dating an undiagnosed AS for a couple of months. When I brought up how he doesn't express how he feels or take proactive steps he backed off a bit. Now looking back, he may not have gotten the gist of "proactive" an misinterpreted what I was requesting as a committed relationship.

I tried to explain things more black and white. He directly answered my questions and said he does enjoying spending time together and would like to continue but he didn't want to go beyond that. Presumably that meant not wanting to discuss feelings.

It's very frustrating as an NT knowing if he's interested at all. I suppose if he weren't he'd just make himself unavailable, hide or ignore my calls/emails instead of continuing to engage?

Anonymous said...

I've had this happen to me, and it's quite devastating. I'm an NT woman with Aspie traits, so I *get* why my Aspie guy felt he had to back off, but it doesn't help lessen the frustration of being helpless to change that he backed off. My question is: once an Aspie has backed off in a relationship, is it possible to restore the relationship in some fashion that approximates the original strong feelings, or is it just "over?" I'm willing to take baby steps to restore the relationship, but if he isn't going to budge or even talk about how he feels, then it seems pointless. Pointless, and a missed opportunity for a real connection (which makes me very sad).

Anonymous said...

I can't even get as far as to get into a relationship. I have issues with work place/school relationships not progressing to the next level. I notice that all my fellow students and co-workers have no issue in becoming buddies and laughing and joking and hanging out. They even take their friendship beyond the office and talk about the bike rides they went on or the other activities they did together. They seem to have endless things to say and talk about with each other.
Two years later I am still on a very superficial level with them. They have, by this time, noticed my difference from them and each deals with it according to their individuality. Some avoid me, others accept our superficial relationship for what it is, others just seem to wonder about me.
The part you wrote about the sociopaths in the work place relates to Aspies in that, Aspies can sometimes be the target of "Socios". A lesson that is often learned the hard way by some of us. Also, I see a big difference between Aspies and Sociopaths, Sociopaths seem to jump right in and try to charm everyone to get what they want in social settings.

The Sage of Redondo said...

Hello all, from what I read alot of people start out strong in relationships but then grow weaker and weaker as they expose more of there traits and stop reading the other person. What are your thoughts on this?

As for change resistance; yeah it's suddenly annoying to have something moved but I usually just shrug it off. My mom and my sister would often change the furniture layout just for the excitement of being in somewhat different setup which would drive me nuts as they often made the room worse then before. In retrospect I can understand this feeling of wanting some change but I keep myself too busy to worry about things like that.

Tamala said...

I have noticed a pattern of withdrawal in friendships. Being so introverted, I am often initially drawn to very emotional, social people. After a bit of time, they wear me out and I don't want to get sucked into the emotional maelstrom. I need to try to make friends with the other introverts.

The Sage of Redondo said...

*nods* Tamala when someone approaches you or takes the initiative to talk to you it has a powerful psychological effect (attraction); extroverted people are quite tiring if you don't know how to make conversation and establish relationships. I'm guessing they do most of the talking and initiative, such as inviting you to places, etc, you feel left out and not in control so your interest may simply die out. I'll post references on my own blog soon enough of where you can find out more.

Anonymous said...

I usually back off because I find that as people get to know me, they try to "fix" me. When that doesn't work, they criticize me. Past a certain point it just hurts too damn much.

Justine said...

I am currently in a loving relationship with a NT, I'm AS, we recently moved in together, and this couldn't be more true of the first three months of living together.

I thought that I had lost the feeling of love for him, but he was so insistent about communicating with me for so long, that we eventually figured it out. But honestly, I didn't have much clue as to this being associated with my AS.

I had "gone cold" and thought it was all lost, as I do as usual when the relationship "moves to the next level". I had never been able to recover from this, but I have this time. And I think I may have found someone who can cope with me for a while. : )

KtL said...

I'm an NT currently in a relationship with an AS, and this topic is extremely helpful.

I'd be grateful to anyone who had any insights to share if you'd be willing to contact me (see email through profile).

:) Thanks!

Bruce said...

I;m 45yo and have AS, was diagnosed at age 39. I don't understand how marriages last a long time. Was married 10 years the first time, about 3 years too long, before I finally left and almost 11 this time and its complicated. If this one ends I can't see trying again.

Anonymous said...

Most people with Aspergers, like most people want social relationships. We tend to have a hard time understanding the way the majority of people interact. Sometimes when I find I click with someone and they want to become friends or more I get nervous. Its like this is what I hoped for but now what do you do? Also years of being an outcast picked on psychologically and physically abused means I tend to assume at a subconscious level people probably won't like me, when reality turns out not to match you deep seated insecurites it can be exciting but also frightening. As a matter of fact some people(not just Aspies its a general psychological problem that can happen to anyone) deal with that kind of abuse by actually trying to make sure no one likes them so they can stay in their comfort zone. Most people with Aspergers I think I'm just going off my own personal experience have to think long and hard about what they say and do in social situations. Its work, it doesn't come natural, so while its something we desire its work basically. Its not neccessarily relaxing like it may be for most people. And of course its less complex/awkward with friends than any kind of romantic relationship with the opposite sex(or same sex if you're gay I suppose).

Anonymous said...

I have a friend and over the corse of just a few months we became very close.
The first time I saw him I fell in love with him, a few weeks later I told him I liked him. To be totally honest I figured he would never see me again once I told him. To my surprise after he told me he wasn't really looking for a relationship, we continued to get closer and even faster than before.
My birthday marks the start of summer I spent the day with him and we both had a blast. About a week after my birthday he informed me that he thought it would be best if we did our own things over the summer. His birthday is the month after mine but he didn't want me to see him for that either.
I really want to talk to him but have been reluctant to even try to get in contact with him, because I don't want to make things worse. I feel like I did something but I have no idea what it was.
He confided a lot in me and told me a lot that he trusted me. I remember a post you did on stemming and stress relieving things that most aspies do. Everyday he would listen to his mp3 player before class started. But once he started hanging out with me, he stopped and just wanted to talk to me. We have been at each others houses and met each others families.
Neither of us have ever been in any type of relationship, and I never told him I wanted to be in one with him. I told I liked him once, but never mentioned it again. I just turned 19 and he just turned 20.
Truth be told, I would be ok being friends forever. I never mentioned it because my hope was that after being good friends for a while he might want to be more then that. Now, knowing that there is a chance I could loose him, I just want him back in my life.

Could you please help me know what to do.
Any advice you have would be wonderful.

Anonymous said...

He with Aspergers, was so affectionate and loving. He is very high functioning. Intelligent, witty, socializes really well with his group of friends. He is slightly awkward socially but I find that adorable. When we first dated, he was so sweet and responsive in person. When we were apart, he seldom shared his life and was distant. In the year that we were together, when we were in each others presence, he was very emotional and empathetic. That would quickly go away when we were not together in person. He went through a period when he did not know what to do with his life, I tried to help but became frustrated with both the lack of direction as well as the lack of communication.

So our relationship started to become stressful on him. One day he was telling me that I was his "dream girl" that the only thing he is sure of in his life was that he wants a future with me. Literally the next day, he was so cold and told me I am not what he wants. This was after I became upset that he was not responding to my messages for a period of time. I was so confused and distraught. He proceeded to ignore my emails, calls, messages for a month. When he finally spoke with me again, he was not the same person. He is easily agitated, unwilling to communicate and unwilling to compromise. It's like the person that loved me so deeply, so completely, more than anyone he has ever loved, was a totally different person. Now he tells me he doesn't have time to work on a relationship with me or anyone. I am emotional, because I am hurt and he doesn't seem to see why I should be and think I'm putting pressure on him by being emotional. I tried to get him to see it from my perspective so many different ways and I was met with only resistance. Right now, the emotional side of him that makes someone human is completely gone, and the only side remaining is the logical side. He said he doesn't know any other way to be but logical. He says he loves me but makes absolutely NO EFFORT to show it; he doesn't want me to see other people but tells me he WON'T be in a relationship that he has no time for. He thinks that there is something wrong with me and even called me emotionally unstable/hysterical when I cried. He has trouble communicating; he keeps flopping his points and was everywhere..He has trouble understanding his own emotions, I believe. But because he has trouble communicating, he says it's because I don't listen to him. I cannot for the life of me get him to see anything from my perspective despite however hard I try. His voice is monotone, cold and devoid of any sort of emotions. He says he has other priorities in his life, does not have time for a relationship with me. That really hurts. I told him it hurts, but he cannot handle my emotions and says I'm just "dramatizing." He no longer wants any communications with me. The worst part is the fact that he doesn't how the lack of empathy and lack of communication is attributed to his Aspergers at all. He was diagnosed in the 3rd grade.

This relationship has left me a complete mess. The way things ended makes me feel totally manipulated and scarred. I am having trouble piecing things together and I am having trouble moving on. Why did he become stone cold and prioritized everything in his life before love? What happened to the sweet, sensitive, caring, smart, witty guy that I once knew and still love?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,
I'm the woman who calls herself July 21st. You can read my story in part 2 of "Why do aspies back-off in relationships" if you want. When I read your words "what happened to the sweet, sensitive, caring, smart, witty guy that I once knew?" I immediately recognized more or less what happened to me. I'm NT and my male friend has AS. We were not together, but only very close friends although this relationship has never had very clear boundaries. At the beginning of our friendship he was always with me, always very sensitive and very caring. When things began to grow a little bit deeper he had a verbal anger attack at me and didn't talk to me for one month. I wrote him saying that I cared and we went back to what we had before for two months but when he sensed again that our friendship was not really only a friendship, he had another verbal anger attack against me and decided that he never wanted to meet me alone anymore but only with other people, so limiting very much our relationship and humiliating me. I often tried to write him nice words saying that we could fix everything and become friends again but it all ended up with him going back in august for good to his own home country and saying goodbye to all other friends except me. I haven't heard of him since 4 months and I don't think I'll ever hear from him again. I'm answering to your post for different reasons: first, to tell you that I understand you, and unfortunately that you are not alone, because I'm also very sad and scarred by what happened in a similar situation; secondly that I found some confort in this blog, but also on FB in the pages "asperger syndrome awareness" and "the girl with the curly hair". I never wrote there but I found a lot of explanations for my friend's behaviour which helped me a bit to understand what happended. It didn't solve the situation, but it helps a bit. I think that when the relationship becomes too stressful for them or if their anxiety from the relationship becomes too big, the only solution they have is to drive you away, because they cannot stand all this stress and anxiety. My friend was in the end very scared of me and of being alone with me but this was irrational, as I assure you I couldn't scare an insect, let alone a human being!!! But still, even if he was sad about it, he couldn't help being scared and driving me away. Also, the anger attacks are probably what is called "meltdowns", which are typical of AS. I always tried to forgive them, even if he insulted me very much. But I have to tell you that, in spite of me forgiving everything, he always blamed everything on me. I made mistakes and hurt him, of course, but never intentionally. He, instead, hurt me intentionally a lot of times, especially when he felt refused by me. The only advice I can give you is to think that it's not your fault and to try not to stress him too much by writing him too much or calling him too much, maybe just one simple and calm email where you tell him that you care and you want to solve things. I hope it works for you, for me it didn't but things were a little bit more complicated in our relationship that I can write here. And finally, I really wish Gavin or some other AS could help us understand and give us some advice on how to try and get a friend/boyfriend back when he doesn't want to speak to us anymore. I just left my friend free and in peace and didn't write him anymore, even if I still care, because I thought it's a way to respect his choice. But I also know that AS do not usually make the first move, so probably even if he wanted to contact me again, he will never do that. So I dont' know what to do and in abscence of advice, I will probably do nothing...????

David said...

A fascinating topic as I'm an (undiagnosed) aspie male in my late 40s and recently had a very intense relationship, culminating with me 'going cold' and ruining everything in a single evening. I met a lovely lady 10 years my junior online. After a few false starts, we embarked on a passionate and loving relationship, the intensity of which I'd never known before. She was the first and only person to love me for me and being with her was the best few months of my life. I suggested us moving in together and that, in retrospect was my big mistake. Almost immediately we moved in, I began to become overwhelmed with the life changes required and within a week I wanted to run. Explaining this face to face traumatised her, particularly as I was so cold/logical about it all. She left the house and other than a little initial contact, during which we were both confused and upset, I have had no contact with her. She closed off all communication about six months ago, but I'm still in an absolute turmoil of guilt, regret, loss and self hatred. Although I've tried, I've been unable to rekindle those feelings of love with anyone else and I'm close to giving up on relationships altogether. At the time I had no idea of my limitations as I'd never been truly in love before, but communication rather than cold, unilateral action is the key. For anyone with AS needing to back off in a relationship -- talk it through, write it, email it, whatever, but don't make the mistake I did.

Anonymous said...

same thing happened to me.devastating.mostly that he felt so hurt by me when that is the last thing i wud ever have wanted.i just didnt understand what i was dealing. with. u want to stay away and respect them at the same time u want desperately to talk to them and reassure them.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I ran across this blog post. I've been dating a girl for about a year and during that period she came to the realization that she has Asperger's. She and her son moved in, and it's been a rollercoaster. I feel that the foundation of everything is super solid, but she's very overwhelmed by what to me seem sometimes like the simplest misunderstandings. It's challenging to be on the NT end to say the least sometimes, but the blog post and all the comments really helped shine a light on a lot of things for me.

Thank you.

sad tonight said...

Thanks for the posts - it REALLY helps to read other peoples' stories because now I don't feel alone. It's as if I wrote my story when I read theirs. Wonderful beautiful Aspie love suddenly disappeared. He won't answer texts or e-mails or phone calls. I'm NT and he is undiagnosed but has so many Aspie traits like stimming and odd fears and disappearing acts and obsessive working on computers and a brilliant mind that works in strange ways. He gets these ideas that aren't really founded in rational thought and then just runs with them to far away places and there is no convincing him that his initial premise is mis-guided. I love him anyway. I just wish we were still together. He is on to the next woman looking for the Holy Grail I guess...he can't seem to relate in a normal way so obviously to him, it's my fault that things didn't work out. Even though he says we are just different and that nobody is wrong, and that we get along great and have a strong connection, he refuses to talk or work things out. He's made his decision to leave because he can't express his needs and I don't read minds. He can't understand that people need to express their wants and needs so that the other person can try to meet them. That's relating - we don't all live in a bubble. I feel ripped off because I never got a chance to make things right with him. I guess I have been "on trial" all these months and didn't know it. Apparently I failed the tests. I feel helpless and hopeless and so frustrated wanting to give him respectful space and yet wanting so much to talk to him and try to convince him otherwise. It's so sad and hard to give up this wonderful person. We had so much in common too.

Anonymous said...

Today I have the first sign of coming back of my husband...after one year of back off my husband was like we have met!
I am very very happy because we had a normal ...very very normal conversation ....he was normal ...he was like me, like everyone....I want to dance of joy ...I want to share this with the infinite internet...there is hope!!!there is much hope!

bruce said...

I have a 33 years marriage to another Aspie (I realised). We are equally puzzled by the NT world. We admit we do not know what NT's mean by 'love', especially as NTs are so duplicit or at least fickle.

I could not 'date'. Too complicated. I need clear rules.

So I made a plan: we had an arranged marriage through a traditional religion, and started out with lots of lovely RULES. Now we are more relaxed and know our limits.

I 'backed off' from previous women when I could not guess why they had changed, or when they ate lots of meat and I was a strict vegetarian (at the time). They were attractive but the meat they ate was not! (Then they went into a sulk, but I had already told them about the meat - they just didn't listen). So I back away from people who may be friendly but don't listen or understand me, instead pigeon-holing me in some sort of fantasy. Obviously that will go nowhere. We back off because we are smart!

Anonymous said...

I am aspie also. How did the marriage get arranged? What religion? Details please.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious if Aspies can better control their behavior while under the threat of a gun?

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thank you for this blog and it's postings. I thought I was going crazy.

I'm 44 and started dating a nice guy last year - he was 49- I think he is an undiagnosed aspie. He was incredibly smart, could remember huge sequences of numbers, didn't like social situations, he was obsessive about fixing things that needed fixing, always helping people in need (it was hard for him to say no to anyone - who needed any kind of help) he spoke in a constant monologue and anyone whom I introduced him to - thought he was socially awkward (I just thought he was adorable).

Dating was really fun at first. He was sweet, kind, helpful and very very loving. But slowly as the relationship progressed, like every relationship does, he would start saying every time he would leave my house, that he knew at some point I was just going to kick him to the curb, because everybody always did. I always reassured him- that I would never do that.. and I was quite confused why he would ALWAYS say that at our partings. I was having a blast- I felt like he was too.


Well... at a certain point, as the relationship, got to the " next level ", he would say he wanted to go to the next step, move some things to my place, move forward with me, but he just "couldn't do it" --he couldn't make the change, he said he was "frightened" by me... He wanted to keep everything as it is- He said his heart had so much scar tissue on it from past relationships- he just knew I would leave him eventually, because everybody always did. No matter how much I tried to convince him- he was stuck on that idea. So things would get hot and heavy with us- then he would just make himself crazy busy with work and just go away...even though I don't feel I did anything wrong... he would go "underground"- I would leave him messages, texts and hear nothing back. This whole thing just made me so sad.... and very confused.....

The pattern kept repeating itself over and over and over. I would eventually go and find him or we would run into each other- and it would start all over again- like it had in the past- hot and heavy- like it was brand new again (Like GroundHogs Day) then it would get to a certain point- and he would freeze in fear- and be gone again.

I see why women and friends would leave him. I see why no one would tolerate more than 6 months of this behavior. It's hurtful and confusing.... I would believe all the lovely things he would say to me.... I think he truly meant them... but he could never act on them. He was afraid of change....it gave him anxiety..... He was afraid of being hurt.

He told me once that he loved the "honeymoon" phase of a relationship- and I never really understood what he meant. Now honestly, I think I get it. When real life happens, pressures, plans, daily living, (he was working 2 two full time jobs), plus he never was able to say no to anyone "who needed something fixed" - when his voice mailbox was constantly full from 70 year old ladies needing something done or something fixed- his life would get so crazy out of control -that he ends up not calling anyone back- when all that pressure happens to him- he just goes radio silent...shuts down ... shuts down on the world...shuts down on all of us.....including walking away from me....

I still love him and I really tried to make it work... and I do believe he felt the same for me... but he will never be able to move forward with anybody...because every friendship and relationship progresses.... change always happens....

Emily L said...

I need some advice. My ex-boyfriend who I believe has Asperger's broke up with me 4 months ago. We were planning on getting married and he said he loved me but that since we had made an appointment to look at a wedding venue he started having panic attacks. He is 41 and I am 38. Not understanding what he was really feeling, I took it as a rejection. We were supposed to have dinner at his parent's the next day with my family as well and he still wanted to go through with that. I didn't think it was a good idea. I told him I needed time to think about things and he started to cry, asking if we could still talk and I said yes. Two days later he ended up in the hospital with a Crohn's disease flare up due to stress. His sister told me not him and then he ended up in the psychiatric ward. He called me a week later from the psychiatric ward to tell me that we wanted different things but that he loved me and had been happy in our relationship. He told me that he could not be in a romantic relationship and that the most he could offer me was friendship, but he needed time to take care of himself. I accepted that. I called his parents and his sister to tell them how much I loved him and that I respected his need for space and that my thoughts and prayers were with them all especially my boyfriend. A few days later when he got his phone back he texted me and said that he appreciated my thoughts but he needed to make a clean and full break. He said he would call me if and when he could be friends.
I never heard from him. I am pretty sure he was diagnosed with HFA in the hospital but can't be sure. He has several traits. He has difficulty with communication, he has a few friends but they are not close friends, he is resistant to change, can't handle conflict, is anxious is social situations, was not involved in things as a child and only had one friend, he also had a very awkward gait. He is very sweet and caring but assumes a lot of things and has difficulty with mind blindness and I was his first girlfriend at age 40. He did not start dating until 35.
Anyway, I recently emailed him and told him that I missed him and would he like to catch up over coffee or if he felt more comfortable we could talk over email. He replied and told me that he thought it was best if we both moved on and that he wished me well in the future and to take care of myself. He also asked me to not email him again.
I guess it is really over but I was thinking about sending him one last email because I feel I need to say some things for closure. I would like an aspie's advice on this. Should I send it? Will it only make him mad? How do you think he will react? I know all aspies's are different just like all NTs are different but I thought maybe someone could give me some insight. Thank you! Here is what I was going to send:
This will be my last email to you. I just have some things I need to say and I would appreciate it if you would read them. I think I understand what happened with us over the summer. I think that transitions and changes are very difficult for you. Our relationship and where it was going was overwhelming for you. I was asking you to give me something that was difficult for you to give (marriage) and for that I am sorry. I know how hard you tried. If I had understood then what I understand now, I would have reacted differently. My priorities have changed and I would have been happy keeping our relationship they way it had been, but I was never able to tell you that. This time I was looking to be friends with you. You once told me I was your best friend and I wanted to be that person again. I will always care about you. I wish you well.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I know this post is literally YEARS old haha, but I stumbled upon this blog and it has been helping me, because I had a very close Aspie friend (I am NT), and have recently gone through very similar stories to everyones here. When I read your post, I thought I had written it, because I went through the exact same thing. I am wondering if you ever spoke to your friend again or if the relationship just ended? I hope you dont blame yourself for anything that happened and have found it in you to move on. Thats what I am learning. Offer help and tell that person you are there for them, etc. But at a certain point you have to move on. Hopefully you are doing well now (and your friend too!) Any updates?

Anonymous said...

Hi Emily! Any update on what happened to you and your ex? I know that is an extremely emotional and difficult situation. I lost my very close friend who is AS and went through many of the same situations as you. He completely went cold and whenever I tried to reach out, email, text, etc..he'd act like I was bothering him and he was so busy (even though he had no other friends and was closest to me). Here is the clincher, if it will make you feel any better or to understand the mindset your AS person may be going through as well. Me and my bff worked together for over 2 years and in that time, he literally barely spoke a word to ANYONE at work. Everyone remarks how he never spoke to anyone but me, and nobody at work liked him at all (people thought he was weird, awkward, anti social, rude, cold, etc). He recently left this job for good, and not only ignored me for 9 whole months while we worked closely together day after day, but on his very last day, he wrote long cards to everyone at work saying bizarre things, like how much he'll miss them, he loves them, they were his friends, etc.....and he wrote me one sentence that said, "Good luck in the future"...something sterile and cold like that. I even gave him a very expensive gift and heartfelt card that told him i loved him, was there for him, etc...and no text or in person thank you or goodbye. Everyone thought he was crazy for how he treated me and the oddly sensitive letters they received from him when they hated him and never spoke to him for years. That was one of the most devastating experiences of my life I have ever had to go through, as I really love and care for and miss this person, but this really solidified for me that something is off emotionally in his brain. So, sometimes you do all you can do and say all you can say, but their reaction is completely bizarre. Know you are not alone and others have been through this horribly emotional roller coaster ride with you. Please keep me updated and all the best!!

Anonymous said...

Hallo! This is july 21st. You friend treated you differently from the others because you were much more important to him than all others. Same happened to me. As for not saying goodbye it was probably just too much and too hurtful for him. And as for the 9 months coldness, did you do anything that unintentionally hurt him? And finally, as for the devastating Experience i Know what you mean and i'm with you. Hope you'll feel better soon!

Anonymous said...

Hi July 21st and thanks for responding! Its a long story, but yes,I did hurt him unintentionally. When I recognized what I had done wrong and tried to reconcile, I was expecting us to talk it out like most friends do and move forward. I especially expected this since we were basically inseperable, he had no other friends and he told me everything and always said how grateful he was to me, etc. We were like glue...but, to my surprise when I asked him to meet he texted me and said no and that the friendship was over. Everyone was shocked. He then moped around work looking lost and depressed for a while, but never made an effort to talk to me even though we worked super close together, and hed even go out of his way to avoid me at any cost (in the hallway, elevator, etc.) Over the course of months and months, Id send emails and texts, and hed just reply with the same sterile text, "Sorry youre hurting" or something like that, leaving no room for conversation or reconciliation. I didnt realize he was AS at the time, I overlooked a lot of his behaviors and just thought he was different, but after seeing this drastic shift in personality, mixed with all the other quirks and traits, I knew 100% he had it. Even though knowing the facts and hearing stories of others that are ao similar to mine is a relief, it still doesnt change the fact I lost one of my best friends and I know he'll never reach out to me and Ive lost him forever. Did you ever connect with your AS friend again?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately not. He has never contacted me again since when he left two and a half years ago. I wrote him once one year ago but he never answered so i just let him be better off without me. He was also very much hurt by me although not intentionally. At first when he was just a bit hurt he reacted by getting angry at me. Then when he was more hurt he started avoiding me and in the end when he was even more hurt he started hurting back on purpose e.g. By not saying goodbye and other not nice things. But he had his reasons, as i had mine. And often also NTs react like that. So i wish him all the best and since i've realised that our relationship was just impossible even though we both tried so hard to make it work, i feel much better now. You'll feel better too, it just takes some time. July 21st

Anonymous said...

'Sa tonight', the same thing happened to me with my AS friend. Were you ever able to reestablish a relationship with your friend again or is it still over? Hope you are well and have found the space to heal from this!

Anonymous said...

Wow. So much of the blog and comments resonate with what is happening in my own marriage. I think my husband is an un-diagnosed Aspy. I have been on this journey of trying to find understanding, since early 2015. I think this may be the key.

Anonymous said...

happened upon this site- and I have to say, I , a NT woman in her 50's who has seen, experienced almost all the ASP behavior from my 6 year relationship with my man-there isn't a week I don't think of ending the relationship, but I'm addicted to his charm,brilliance , drive, humor, and intent. Obviously this is not all the time because he is insensitive, nasty, and demeaning although he never means to be, and when I call him out on this behavior, he immediately apologizes if and only if, he senses I am beyond hurt with him.
What am I going to do, depends on the moment. For now, 6 years into this cyclone I'm still here, but.......

Anonymous said...

I married a man with aspberger I did not understand his lack of emotion until reading about his problem. We seem to be able to get along then he started saying I talk to much. I tried silence that did not work then one day he just said we are finished would not speak to me so I left and have filed for an annulment. I care deeply for him. Is there any hope he might decide we should be together again. We where only married six months we had no sex and he never cared for hugging kissing or any other romance any help would do older woman older man

Anonymous said...

Very confused... I do not have Asperger's but have been in a relationship with a man who says he has un-diagnosed Asperger's... After experiencing from the other side his first shutdown/meltdown I set out to find out as much as I possibly could so I could help myself to feel better and try to be there for him the best way I could. I found that simply leaving him alone helped him to sort things out so I would let him know I was going to go out and just go shopping, take a ride, whatever to keep myself busy and give him space. This would go on for days and he would come around to be his usual self.

Nobody is perfect. I messed up and had words with one of his dear friends, who I had been feeling uncomfortable with because they seemed not to like me and I did not know why.. He immediately broke things off between us. When I got home today he took it another step and moved out. He will not talk to me.

I think this was a meltdown... We usually get along really really well and are supportive of each other. I am just lost right now. I can't reach him. I think he is hurt. He has always been extremely attentive towards me. More so than I would have expected.

It seems like he goes from wayyy up on cloud nine and is happy and talks fast and fun and then he just plummets.... He is talking with others right now I think, but he will not speak at all to me.

Anonymous said...

Hello. I have really enjoyed reading this blog.... I guess that is what this is???? Anyway, like many of you, I met and fell in love with a remarkable, kind, spectacular, ethical man who clearly has aspergers syndrome. Wow. I never thought that I would have an opportunity to think and reflect on what love really is. I find myself experiencing parallel play where being in the room together and not communicating is the norm. Sometimes I feel that he clearly loves me; sometimes it is a connection when we are just simply together. I decided that I was happy in the relationship but we had to break up because I asked him only twice in 6 months if he would ever consider marriage later or if he knows that he wants to be a bachelor forever. He simply shuts down and will not respond to the questions which I deserve to know. How am I supposed to give of myself and take huge risks if he cannot even state that he is moving forward with me. On the other hand, he wants me to be with him every weekend and all weekend long. I started feeling like a puzzle piece that anyone could fill if they were OK with parallel play and doing what he wants to do all weekend. How do I know if this guy loved me? He simply has not been able to verbalize that he has feelings for me. How can I sleep with someone and move forward with no feedback? I do not know where we are. I often am scared that I am moving forward and he is just standing still enjoying the company ut not really growing with me. I do not want to grow in this relationship if it is all in my head. Please give me some advise. I want to stay healthy this time around.

Anonymous said...

I am sending up a prayer to all of you on this blog. You seem like remarkable people who deserve love and attention and effort from anyone you chose to love. Take care. :)