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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi wise community,

One of my friends brought to my attention that there is a guy she knows, who might be compatible with me. I looked him up and started following him on social media for a couple months. I found many points in common and shared values between us. I'm 51, he is 47. I initiated contact a couple weeks ago and he responded positively. He lives around 75 miles away from me (this is not a huge deal if you live in California), so I drove to him and we spent the entire day together. Hiked, had lunch, went to a park, chatted, had a long walk in the park. We connected really well and clearly enjoyed each other's company.

This guy is fairly open about his AS/autism. Later in our exchanges (we have been texting since we met), he said that he also has ADHD with a pretty high IQ. I had already noticed his intelligence, and I am highly attracted to a man's intelligence before anything else. Anyway, he warned me that he learned from previous relationships to take things slowly and not rush into a relationship, so that he doesn't do or say things that might offend me. I agreed to take things slowly and I started to read online about people with autism.

During our meeting, he mentioned that he keeps in touch with all his exes, and later in our text exchanges, he said that he hates casual sex because trust and control are crucial for him in a sexual relationship, so he takes his time knowing the person before getting intimate with her. He also said he has been previously in poly relationships, and he believes that relationships should not be locked down. My reply was that this is a dealbreaker for me; I won't enter in a poly and will leave a relationship if my partner proposes polyamory. He then kind of backed and said that poly relationships make him uncomfortable and he tries to discourage them, but has no philosophical objections to them, so he ends up consenting to having them although reluctantly. So here I am confused a bit as to his position, and because he is not comfortable talking on the phone, I need to wait until I see him in person to clarify this point. He seems to get the point that this is a non-negotiable for me, but when I told him I will never engage in poly, he didn't confirm whether he will or not, and I didn't want to sound pushy, so I let it go and thought I'll discuss this when I see him in person.

Another area of confusion: I initiated contact and proposed to meet, and I almost always initiate communication. He has always been very responsive, but he initiates communication less often than I do. I learned that Aspies don't initiate contact and don't usually make plans, so it is preferable that the partner takes charge of this. He made it clear that he is interested in me, but he said he resists the idea of dating; he likes to start a friendship and see where it goes. He also repeatedly said that he is blunt and honest, he never cheated and will never cheat on a partner (because I expressed skepticism regarding him keeping in touch with exes).

For those familiar with Aspie + ADHD conditions, what kind of advice would you give me? How should I proceed with this guy? I really like him and I see a potential with him, but I don't want to keep pursuing and initiating everything if he is capable of doing it on his own. I know every person with this condition is different, but I thought they might share some traits in common that would help orient a potential partner. I have to add that he repeatedly said that it is hard for him to interpret people's facial expressions or body language.
 

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It's hard to see how you are compatable, even if just that he sees nothing wrong with more than one sexual partner at a time and that he is still in contact with all of his exes.
Red flags here.
 

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When my ex husband to be and I were having marriage counselling, our counsellor suggested my husband is an Aspie and this was the cause of much of the issues I was experiencing. He refused to agree with it but everything I subsequently read rang true.

In short, my experience was:
1. Always feeling low on his priority list, unless he had no other distractions. Then he expected me to be there and would become frustrated when I wasn't. I always felt I was waiting for him to be free for me.
2. Poor communication. Some of our issues were caused because he wouldn't communicate well with his ex over his son's needs (and her wants), but some were caused by the fact he rarely initiated communicating with me.
3. I had more of a parent/child relationship. I was the fixer of everything. He only proactively worked on things which interested him, or helped me when all other distractions were gone. This means he could have done some of the things I needed if they were important enough to him.
4. The above all left me feeling lonely the majority of the time, and as we lived away from any of my family and friends, I had no outlet for that.

The counsellor did advise me that an Aspie/neurodiverse marriage can work, but in our situation I would most likely need to accept I would need to be the one always pulling him along behind me. That was too exhausting when some of my basic care needs weren't met.

As you say, every Aspie/Autistic/ADHD person is different, there isn't a guiding rule. You need to decide for yourself whether the autistic traits this guy has can work for you or not. Unfortunately for me, my husband did not show them early in our relationship - not fully as he pursued me, and I was too overly accepting of some situations I should have stood up for more, so when, after 11 years total together, I was tired of it, my husband didn't understand. In his view I'd changed, not him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It sounds like you’re not really compatible at all?

He has a lot of inconsistencies… I felt very frustrated reading that, and it doesn’t sound like you’re all that drawn to him?
I was drawn to him after we met in person. He has a magnetic personality and is humble at the same time. As we started discussing over texts, I noticed the inconsistencies, which had me take a step back and think about whether this is a trait Aspies share and a partner can address, or is it something I don't want to deal with by not starting a relationship at all with him.

He mentioned that he was not readily accepted by other kids during his childhood, and this might (or might not) explain why he changed his statements when I said I won't be in a poly situation, so that I won't reject the idea of starting something with him. I still didn't get a clear statement from him that he won't start it in the future, which I intend to address next time I see him in person. He ruled out any sex before we really know each other, and also that is conditioned on whether we want to be with each other, which I understand considering that he needs more time than neurotypical people to feel comfortable with a person before deciding to be intimate with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's hard to see how you are compatable, even if just that he sees nothing wrong with more than one sexual partner at a time and that he is still in contact with all of his exes.
Red flags here.
Yeah, for me it's a red flag, and I know with certainty that this is something that makes me uncomfortable and won't accept it in a relationship. What I'm trying to do by starting this thread is to ask for others who are/have experience with Aspies, and see if this is linked to the way his brain is wired. In other words, I'm trying to put myself in his shoes to understand why he stays in touch with all his exes (and they all do too). One explanation might be that they are familiar to him, and every new person stresses the heck out of him, because he has a hard time reading body language and facial expressions and even layered statements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Why would someone even entertain the notion of getting involved in something like this?
That's a great question, and this is why I started this thread. I see we can be great friends, but after I had to initiate communication during the last ten days or so, I feel that I can't do this for ever. Usually I let the man pursue me when I start dating, and after about ten days of initiating communication I start to feel that this is not something I want to engage in romantically. He does initiate communication sometimes, and the way he does it is not to say niceties or platitudes or just to say "good morning"; no, he sends an article that might be of interest to me, or a warning that the sunscreen I saw me using might contain benzene. Or he would share funny stuff related to any of our conversations. Or he would send me a post he creates before he shares it on his social media account, saying I get to see it first. So he does communicate, but not in a typical way a man would, and I find the way he communicates is actually charming because meaningful. He just doesn't do it frequently or even regularly.

Once I send the first text, we have hour-long exchanges, and I see in him a lot of qualities that make him a great friend, but it could be exhausting at times to be a romantic partner to him, and he seems to be well aware of this. He is not trying to rush things or mask his condition. He also said that people coming to him expecting normal are disappointed and frustrated and this ends up being hurtful to both him and the partners. Some of his friends try to understand the way he functions and stuck by him, and he appreciates them the most.

Starting the discussion here is for me 1) getting advice and input from people familiar with Aspies, 2) thinking aloud and trying to understand myself and him, and 3) seeing my interactions with him from a critical distance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
When my ex husband to be and I were having marriage counselling, our counsellor suggested my husband is an Aspie and this was the cause of much of the issues I was experiencing. He refused to agree with it but everything I subsequently read rang true.

In short, my experience was:
1. Always feeling low on his priority list, unless he had no other distractions. Then he expected me to be there and would become frustrated when I wasn't. I always felt I was waiting for him to be free for me.
2. Poor communication. Some of our issues were caused because he wouldn't communicate well with his ex over his son's needs (and her wants), but some were caused by the fact he rarely initiated communicating with me.
3. I had more of a parent/child relationship. I was the fixer of everything. He only proactively worked on things which interested him, or helped me when all other distractions were gone. This means he could have done some of the things I needed if they were important enough to him.
4. The above all left me feeling lonely the majority of the time, and as we lived away from any of my family and friends, I had no outlet for that.

The counsellor did advise me that an Aspie/neurodiverse marriage can work, but in our situation I would most likely need to accept I would need to be the one always pulling him along behind me. That was too exhausting when some of my basic care needs weren't met.

As you say, every Aspie/Autistic/ADHD person is different, there isn't a guiding rule. You need to decide for yourself whether the autistic traits this guy has can work for you or not. Unfortunately for me, my husband did not show them early in our relationship - not fully as he pursued me, and I was too overly accepting of some situations I should have stood up for more, so when, after 11 years total together, I was tired of it, my husband didn't understand. In his view I'd changed, not him.
Thanks for your input. I did follow the discussion you had started on your situation, and you give a picture of how a relationship with an Aspie might end up. You stbxh seems to be selectively interested in things or people around him, and this is helpful to know. If I start a relationship with this guy, I might end up on the bottom of his list of priorities, who know?
 

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This guy is fairly open about his AS/autism. Later in our exchanges (we have been texting since we met), he said that he also has ADHD with a pretty high IQ. I had already noticed his intelligence, and I am highly attracted to a man's intelligence before anything else.
Trust me when I say that the intelligence is amazing, but that can't be a reason to overlook other traits that can make a relationship very difficult. The reality is there are 8 billion of us on the planet and there are other eligible intelligent men out there with either less personal baggage or baggage that fits better in your baggage cart.

He also said he has been previously in poly relationships, and he believes that relationships should not be locked down. My reply was that this is a dealbreaker for me; I won't enter in a poly and will leave a relationship if my partner proposes polyamory. He then kind of backed and said that poly relationships make him uncomfortable and he tries to discourage them, but has no philosophical objections to them, so he ends up consenting to having them although reluctantly.
Yeah, this is far too contradictory and I would hesitate to trust. Aspies can sometimes suppress their own wants in order to "fit in" and "be accepted". The question is, who is the real him? Is he poly, but claiming it was reluctant because he felt pressured to agree back then in order to fit in with his previous relationship partners or is he disavowing that choice now because he's feeling pressured to "fit in" with you?

My husband, after years of talks, realized that he did some things that were against his nature in previous relationships because he desperately wanted acceptance and to feel he "fit in" like a "normal person".

I learned that Aspies don't initiate contact and don't usually make plans, so it is preferable that the partner takes charge of this
Not necessarily true. Mine initiates contact near constantly...because he has the need for it....unless he has a distraction.

He also repeatedly said that he is blunt and honest, he never cheated and will never cheat on a partner (because I expressed skepticism regarding him keeping in touch with exes).
I've heard the same thing. I've also realized that these things need to be carefully defined or the agile mind of the Aspie may do some unique logic-ing. Aspies can be very legalistic and very..obscure at the same time to justify doing whatever it is they want to do.

1. Always feeling low on his priority list, unless he had no other distractions. Then he expected me to be there and would become frustrated when I wasn't. I always felt I was waiting for him to be free for me.
God, yes! DH does try, because I've made it a point to bluntly tell him how I feel, but sometimes it's annoying AF!!!

For example, he went on a painting spree and spent an entire day in the work area painting the miniatures I'd 3D printed for him. I mentioned I felt a bit lonely, bored after a few hours, a tad ignored and wanted him to spend a bit more time with me that day. I said I'd have been happy to do our respective related hobbies, me the printer and him the painter. I just wanted to stop working on projects in the evening, relax, and spend some time together before we run out of energy for each other. This is how he is with every new or revisited interest. It becomes all he focuses on outside of work and living thing obvious emergencies until he gets bored or another distraction appears.

Now, as far as me asking for time. Reasonable, right? Maybe next weekend day we do our hobby thing and call it quits later in the evening to have a drink, some conversation, listen to music, whatever.

In his mind this turned in to he's unable to paint, ever, or I'll be upset. Even when I explained to him, clearly, that I enjoy my hobby time and I enjoy him enjoying his half of the hobby and I just wanted a better balance between work, chores, hobbies, and couple time, he was STILL stuck on never ever paint again. It took multiple rephrasings to finally get through to him.

And this is not isolated. This is how he sees it. If I say "Naw, I don't think I feel like Tai tonight. I love the noodles and spice, but I think I need something gentler." in his mind "MJ doesn't like Tai." and i have to spend hours over weeks explaining I love Tai, as I have for the over 20 years we've been together, I just did not want Tai that particular day.

2. Poor communication. Some of our issues were caused because he wouldn't communicate well
God, yes, here, too! It's taken me years to figure out how to get DH to communicate properly and there are still times when its all "WTF??"

This morning, for example. DH has a beard and moustache. It's sexy. However, DH cannot draw a straight line on his own face, so I groom his face fur. It was getting a bit shaggy and he said he wanted me to trim it, but he was getting ready for work and didn't have time. Then he sat on the bed and impatiently watched as I finished dressing. I asked what was up and he got all snarky because I didn't grab the trimmers. Uh, wot?
"Didn't you just say you didn't have time?"
"I showered last night, so I can guess I can skip the shower this morning."
"So, you just got snippy with me because you said you were getting in the shower and didn't have time, changed your mind, didn't say a word, and I didn't Karnak the Mind Reader figure out what you wanted? Duuuude!"

Yes, he sure did. Because he thinks he's communicating clearly when it's about as clear as a good beef stew! He did apologize once I pointed it out. He usually does and quite sincerely. Doesn't matter. This kind of thing happens all the time. It's just how he's wired.

3. I had more of a parent/child relationship. I was the fixer of everything. He only proactively worked on things which interested him, or helped me when all other distractions were gone.
Yup. I handle everything but his job. Everything. I can say that he will help with something if I bluntly ask, but will delay it with some excuse or other if he has a distraction he's into at the time.

4. The above all left me feeling lonely the majority of the time
Sometimes I do feel lonely, too. But the quirks are worth the rest for me. I don't mind doing everything. I'd be doing that if I were alone, right? Well, I get to do it with the love of my life. The man drives me bonkers, but I can't imagine life without him.

I think being married to someone who isn't neurotypical is a lot like being a military spouse. It is not for everyone. It is hard at times in ways that near break you.

The counsellor did advise me that an Aspie/neurodiverse marriage can work, but in our situation I would most likely need to accept I would need to be the one always pulling him along behind me.
Yes. And you can't become resentful, which is sometimes very hard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It seems like this is just asking for pain and hard times for your future.
And for this reason I am getting informed about Aspies and seeking advice from people in this forum. Aspies experience the same emotions as neurotypical people; they just experience them and express them differently. Their brains are wired differently. I am trying to understand how to approach how he functions because that helps me also understand better the way I do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Trust me when I say that the intelligence is amazing, but that can't be a reason to overlook other traits that can make a relationship very difficult. The reality is there are 8 billion of us on the planet and there are other eligible intelligent men out there with either less personal baggage or baggage that fits better in your baggage cart.



Yeah, this is far too contradictory and I would hesitate to trust. Aspies can sometimes suppress their own wants in order to "fit in" and "be accepted". The question is, who is the real him? Is he poly, but claiming it was reluctant because he felt pressured to agree back then in order to fit in with his previous relationship partners or is he disavowing that choice now because he's feeling pressured to "fit in" with you?

My husband, after years of talks, realized that he did some things that were against his nature in previous relationships because he desperately wanted acceptance and to feel he "fit in" like a "normal person".



Not necessarily true. Mine initiates contact near constantly...because he has the need for it....unless he has a distraction.


I've heard the same thing. I've also realized that these things need to be carefully defined or the agile mind of the Aspie may do some unique logic-ing. Aspies can be very legalistic and very..obscure at the same time to justify doing whatever it is they want to do.



God, yes! DH does try, because I've made it a point to bluntly tell him how I feel, but sometimes it's annoying AF!!!

For example, he went on a painting spree and spent an entire day in the work area painting the miniatures I'd 3D printed for him. I mentioned I felt a bit lonely, bored after a few hours, a tad ignored and wanted him to spend a bit more time with me that day. I said I'd have been happy to do our respective related hobbies, me the printer and him the painter. I just wanted to stop working on projects in the evening, relax, and spend some time together before we run out of energy for each other. This is how he is with every new or revisited interest. It becomes all he focuses on outside of work and living thing obvious emergencies until he gets bored or another distraction appears.

Now, as far as me asking for time. Reasonable, right? Maybe next weekend day we do our hobby thing and call it quits later in the evening to have a drink, some conversation, listen to music, whatever.

In his mind this turned in to he's unable to paint, ever, or I'll be upset. Even when I explained to him, clearly, that I enjoy my hobby time and I enjoy him enjoying his half of the hobby and I just wanted a better balance between work, chores, hobbies, and couple time, he was STILL stuck on never ever paint again. It took multiple rephrasings to finally get through to him.

And this is not isolated. This is how he sees it. If I say "Naw, I don't think I feel like Tai tonight. I love the noodles and spice, but I think I need something gentler." in his mind "MJ doesn't like Tai." and i have to spend hours over weeks explaining I love Tai, as I have for the over 20 years we've been together, I just did not want Tai that particular day.


God, yes, here, too! It's taken me years to figure out how to get DH to communicate properly and there are still times when its all "WTF??"

This morning, for example. DH has a beard and moustache. It's sexy. However, DH cannot draw a straight line on his own face, so I groom his face fur. It was getting a bit shaggy and he said he wanted me to trim it, but he was getting ready for work and didn't have time. Then he sat on the bed and impatiently watched as I finished dressing. I asked what was up and he got all snarky because I didn't grab the trimmers. Uh, wot?
"Didn't you just say you didn't have time?"
"I showered last night, so I can guess I can skip the shower this morning."
"So, you just got snippy with me because you said you were getting in the shower and didn't have time, changed your mind, didn't say a word, and I didn't Karnak the Mind Reader figure out what you wanted? Duuuude!"

Yes, he sure did. Because he thinks he's communicating clearly when it's about as clear as a good beef stew! He did apologize once I pointed it out. He usually does and quite sincerely. Doesn't matter. This kind of thing happens all the time. It's just how he's wired.



Yup. I handle everything but his job. Everything. I can say that he will help with something if I bluntly ask, but will delay it with some excuse or other if he has a distraction he's into at the time.



Sometimes I do feel lonely, too. But the quirks are worth the rest for me. I don't mind doing everything. I'd be doing that if I were alone, right? Well, I get to do it with the love of my life. The man drives me bonkers, but I can't imagine life without him.

I think being married to someone who isn't neurotypical is a lot like being a military spouse. It is not for everyone. It is hard at times in ways that near break you.


Yes. And you can't become resentful, which is sometimes very hard.
Wow! Thank you for such a detailed and helpful post! Thank you also for sharing your experience.
The reason why I am considering starting something with this guy is that we both are happy to live on our own, and if we start something, we will not live with each other full time. In my quest for love, I am trying to be realistic and I am fully aware that at my age I have to expect people with baggage, because I carry my own baggage as well, but I do my best to be the most caring partner to my man. I am caring and nurturing by nature, but I am no martyr, so I often feel fulfilled by fulfilling my partner's needs. On the other hand, I have my emotional needs and if my partner cannot fulfill them, 1) I say it clearly and ask him to do it, 2) give him several opportunities to do it, 3) leave the relationship if I realize he is not capable/willing to do it. I learned this from past relationships and I would like to see if I can have my emotional needs fulfilled with this guy by getting to understand the way he functions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
that's sometimes how aspie's roll.
Thank you for your input. Trying to find a logical explanation from a neurotypical point of view is not helpful, and your statement makes it clear that their brain functions differently. Rather than trying to explain things from the way I reason, I am trying to understand how he reasons to see if there is a potential with him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Why not date someone that isn’t disordered and shares common values with you?
This question requires a lot of introspection on my behalf, which I am doing right now through this thread. I am both intrigued and interested by not-so-normal people, but at the same time I don't want/can't compromise on my core values. I am trying to find a balance between quirky and acceptable to me. By negotiating this within myself, I am also trying to see how much I can stretch myself before I say no. It's in a way a work on myself: to step outside of myself and understand how others operate. This exercise helps me understand things I didn't know about myself in a way.
 
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