I apologise for the excessive "male-orientated" viewpoint in this post. I tried to keep it neutral but somehow, it just works better when explained from a male viewpoint.
Here's a phrase that I've seen repeated throughout the comments on this blog on several occasions;
"I know that he won't miss me when I'm gone because he's aspie"
Today, we're going to (try to) bust that myth;
I'll start off with a reminder that everyone is an individual. If all aspies were completely alike and predictible, they'd be a stereotype but they're not. Each is shaped by their background, their upbringing, their beliefs and their local customs.
An aspie who grew up with loud abusive parents has a reasonable chance of becoming loud and abusive themselves because in some cases, that's all they know. That's how they think adults are supposed to behave. In other cases, aspies who grew up in those circumstances do a complete about-face and say "I'm not going to be like my parents"
A lot of aspie behaviour comes down to personality and individual choice.
Some aspies choose to be good mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, boyfriends or girlfriends while others choose to be angry, abusive, controlling or simply aloof and untouchable.
It's not the aspie condition that drives the choice.
Different Types of Expression
It's commonly stated that dogs have owners while cats have staff.
It's believed that dogs are caring creatures because they whine when you leave them and jump around excitedly when you get home. Dogs seem to want to be with you while cats often seem to have specific objectives, like food or a brush, in mind.
Sure, there are some dogs and cats which break the mould. Some dogs obviously prefer their own company while some cats are amazingly sociable. These are exceptions - and the rest are the "stereotypes".
I'm ready for the deluge of complaints from cat owners.
It's not really like that though is it? Cat owners will tell you that their feline friends are just as happy to see them as dogs are. It's just that cats express in a different way.
Do you see where I'm going with this?
NTs are Actors, Aspies are thinkers
Aspies express in different ways too.
Your typical lovestruck neurotypical boyfriend will behave like a dog. He'll call you constantly, he'll buy you flowers, gifts and chocolate. He will come around to your house late at night and yowl like a cat and he'll constantly shower you with words and gestures of affection.
Wow, awesome... you must really be loved...
Except, that these guys are putting on a well rehearsed show. When they get sick of you, they simply move on to the next target and put on the same type of show. It's not unique or individual. It's just the way they show their love. Some are sincere and some are not - but the "show" is always the same.
In contrast, the aspie boyfriend is very much a thinker. To him, everything has its place and he'll try not to monopolise your time. He may be so cautious about hurting your feelings that it feels like the relationship is going nowhere because he doesn't say the words you expect to hear. Sometimes, particularly when you're hammering him with questions, he answers truthfully and discovers that you hate him for it.
Just as there is no correct answer to "do I look fat in this dress?", there is no correct answer to, "do you want to stay just friends or are we more than that?"
Aspie men will often ponder the depth of their love and friendship for hours yet when they come to talk about it, it comes out all garbled and offensive.
I know some aspies who frequently say the most inappropriate and offensive things about - and to - their girlfriends. They don't realise that the truth really can hurt. In one case, I have a friend who is no longer with his girlfriend and yet while I'm sure she's mostly forgotten about him not a day goes by when I can't tell that he's still "burning up". She's been on his mind constantly for years even though she's out of the picture.
If that isn't love, then I don't know what is.
Honour vs Wants
I've told this story before though I'm not sure in how much detail. It's a story which I think gives an understanding of how an aspie can miss and can love someone while still giving the wrong impression. It's my story;
Before I was married, When I was going out with my wife, I started to panic about my priorities. I found that I simply couldn't juggle my work and university committments with a social life.
I tried to go out once per week and I had an all male group of friends who competed for that once per week spot.
My girlfriend was keen for a more frequent relationship. She hassled me for more time and would often ask me where we would be in a certain number of years. I tried to answer honestly, taking into consideration that she would say "in two years" when I was only part-way through a six year degree.
My answers did not impress her and she continued asking them hoping for better answers.
In the end, we broke up.
I couldn't afford the time and I really couldn't concentrate on so many things at once. I could tell that she wanted more and I knew that I wasn't in a position to give it.
I didn't want her to go but I thought I was doing a noble thing by letting her go. I didn't chase her because I thought it wouldn't allow her to leave in a dignified manner. I made a huge personal sacrifice by letting the most important part of my life leave.
I thought I was doing the right thing.
She didn't think so. She didn't appreciate it for the sacrifice that it was. I didn't communicate my pain because I thought that would make it more difficult for her.
Isn't that what the hero always does in movies?
For the next year, I burned inside. I thought of her often but didn't call. I wasn't going to pass my pain on.
When she finally did get in touch with me and told me that she'd found someone else - it hurt. I sat there listening to her telling me how great this person was and how he saw her almost every night - compared to my paltry once-per-week.
I acted happy for her but really I felt sick inside.
Still, I went on being a "hero" for her. I suffered in silence for her.
It was only when she came to me and told me about being mistreated by her boyfriend that I changed. I'd learned that the relationship was a bad one and I no longer had any qualms about breaking it up.
I asked her to go out with me instead.
...and she hesitated...
It really, really tore me up. All that time when I was suffering, I thought that I was doing the best thing for her but as it turned out, I wasn't considered much more highly than the abusive boyfriend.
In fact, I ended up having to compete with that abusive boyfriend for her attention (and fortuantely I won).
In the process, I learned from what she'd told me of his behaviour. I learned how to be the sort of person she wanted.
It was horrid experience but I think it was something I needed to learn.
The way forward for me was to change my life to fit her in and surprisingly - my university grades actually improved. I think that my lonely year of self-pity and suffering had actually done my work more harm than good.
The funny thing is; even today, she's still completely unaware of just how much I missed her.