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Why would someone even entertain the notion of getting involved in something like this?
This is also what I was thinking. Relationships are hard enough, communication is hard enough, but when you throw in the extra challenges, that compounds things immensely. I'm sure that he's a nice man, and I'm sure that you have some things in common, but for me, Aspergers/ADHD would be a dealbreaker. It's just not something that I would want to work around for the rest of my life.

@MarmiteC, your XH and former marriage sounds much like mine. I had suspicions that my XH is on the spectrum, and my therapist also suggested it; he's just never been tested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
This is also what I was thinking. Relationships are hard enough, communication is hard enough, but when you throw in the extra challenges, that compounds things immensely. I'm sure that he's a nice man, and I'm sure that you have some things in common, but for me, Aspergers/ADHD would be a dealbreaker. It's just not something that I would want to work around for the rest of my life.

@MarmiteC, your XH and former marriage sounds much like mine. I had suspicions that my XH is on the spectrum, and my therapist also suggested it; he's just never been tested.
In truth I am glad he suggested we start as friends and then see if this friendship can evolve into something romantic. We get the time to know each other without the expectations of a relationship and without going physical. I see him as a great friend, and we don't have to start a relationship if I see that it's not something that I want. So far, this is what I am envisioning for the near future. Thanks for your feedback!
 

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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.
I'm seeing his admission control is important to him as a big red flag. He may be keeping in touch with exes simply because he won't leave them alone. For now, you know he's restraining himself, so it may take awhile to find out the real him warts and all. This is not the real him. This is him trying not to misstep and run off a woman. But you need to know what he's controlling about, at a bare minimum. Does he have to know where you and what you're doing 24/7? Sounds like it to me. He pretty much admits he has an issue with trusting, and then, as a result, is controlling. You don't want to be involved with someone like that. It's exhausting and you can't do anything right. Nothing you can do or not do will actually ever gain their trust because they are just distrustful themselves and insecure. You can't fix that by being perfect and you will suffer for trying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I'm seeing his admission control is important to him as a big red flag. He may be keeping in touch with exes simply because he won't leave them alone. For now, you know he's restraining himself, so it may take awhile to find out the real him warts and all. This is not the real him. This is him trying not to misstep and run off a woman. But you need to know what he's controlling about, at a bare minimum. Does he have to know where you and what you're doing 24/7? Sounds like it to me. He pretty much admits he has an issue with trusting, and then, as a result, is controlling. You don't want to be involved with someone like that. It's exhausting and you can't do anything right. Nothing you can do or not do will actually ever gain their trust because they are just distrustful themselves and insecure. You can't fix that by being perfect and you will suffer for trying.
Thanks for your input. I tend to interpret these symptoms differently. He has never asked me where I am or what I am doing. He treats me just like a friend, not as a romantic partner. We joke and flirt of course, but he hasn't shown any controlling behavior.

My interpretation of his need for trust and control is that throughout his life he has been hurt and singled out because of his difference. I have been getting informed about Aspies, and it sounds like they are bad at lying; they blurt what's on their mind, and he has been this way so far. He confessed first that he might come across as blunt and direct because this is the way he is. The need for control might stem from insecurity, I agree, and this insecurity might also be an outcome of previous bad experiences as Aspies can lose control of themselves and situations easily. Making sure that he has a partner that lets him know that he can be in control is understandable, I think.

In any case, we are exploring friendship and I/we will see if it can evolve into a relationship.
Many of the exes are in relationships, but still, I'm not comfortable being in a relationship with someone staying in touch with his exes. if you look at my first discussion, I was cheated on by a guy who got back with his ex (telling me all the time that she is just a long-time friend).
 

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Thanks for your input. I tend to interpret these symptoms differently. He has never asked me where I am or what I am doing. He treats me just like a friend, not as a romantic partner. We joke and flirt of course, but he hasn't shown any controlling behavior.

My interpretation of his need for trust and control is that throughout his life he has been hurt and singled out because of his difference. I have been getting informed about Aspies, and it sounds like they are bad at lying; they blurt what's on their mind, and he has been this way so far. He confessed first that he might come across as blunt and direct because this is the way he is. The need for control might stem from insecurity, I agree, and this insecurity might also be an outcome of previous bad experiences as Aspies can lose control of themselves and situations easily. Making sure that he has a partner that lets him know that he can be in control is understandable, I think.

In any case, we are exploring friendship and I/we will see if it can evolve into a relationship.
Many of the exes are in relationships, but still, I'm not comfortable being in a relationship with someone staying in touch with his exes. if you look at my first discussion, I was cheated on by a guy who got back with his ex (telling me all the time that she is just a long-time friend).
Yeah, but he also told you he's restraining himself not to run you off. It doesn't really matter why he's controlling if he's controlling. So you should just outright ask him if he has to keep tabs on women.
 
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I tick a few boxes in the “other” category. Relationships with people like me aren’t easy and they require patience. I don’t recommend them. They can be a lot of work and, frankly, “normal”relationships are hard enough without adding in “other”. Since my divorce, I only date casually because whatever available time I have usually goes to my (adult) family. I enjoy being alone and don’t want another relationship so casual dating works well for me — when I remember to do it. I dislike talking on the phone and much prefer texting. I’m never the pursuer in even the smallest way so whoever I’m dating is stuck with initiating all the texts but I do remind myself to respond quickly. I don’t like a lot of eye contact — I can deal with some but I feel uncomfortable quickly if I think it’s too much. I rarely think about emotions or focus on them. I mostly live in my own world, totally involved in things I’m interested in, and I’m good with that. I do sometimes make room in my life for others outside my family but that just isn’t a priority. I would say that if you decide to try a relationship with him it’s very likely you’ll be doing the vast majority of the work.
 

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I am going to root for him as a proxy for myself.

From my perspective, the unplanned or unexpected would probably be the biggest challenge for him. If you get to be a part of the "routine" then you'll be a part of every day for him. As integral and important as eating or sleeping. The "small talk" will probably always be a struggle but then you'll have the hour+ deep discussions that you mentioned.

As for "control" I'm not sure but I do know that if I'm not in a comfortable, secure state of mind (IE in control of my emotions) my plumbing probably won't work because it would be too stressful. I'm not sure if that's the control he was talking about though. He may have been talking about taking initiative with a willing partner. That is, he might not react well to you coming on to him. That would tend to make future relationships for him more secure because cheating would have to be a conscious decision and not just something that he went along with.

I'm in contact with my one ex (mother of my children and all that jazz). She is 0 threat to anyone I would meet romantically. Any relationship type interactions with her would certainly not be in the calm, secure state of mind (see previous paragraph) in addition to not ever crossing my mind at all. She's out of the relationship bin and into the co-parent bin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I tick a few boxes in the “other” category. Relationships with people like me aren’t easy and they require patience. I don’t recommend them. They can be a lot of work and, frankly, “normal”relationships are hard enough without adding in “other”. Since my divorce, I only date casually because whatever available time I have usually goes to my (adult) family. I enjoy being alone and don’t want another relationship so casual dating works well for me — when I remember to do it. I dislike talking on the phone and much prefer texting. I’m never the pursuer in even the smallest way so whoever I’m dating is stuck with initiating all the texts but I do remind myself to respond quickly. I don’t like a lot of eye contact — I can deal with some but I feel uncomfortable quickly if I think it’s too much. I rarely think about emotions or focus on them. I mostly live in my own world, totally involved in things I’m interested in, and I’m good with that. I do sometimes make room in my life for others outside my family but that just isn’t a priority. I would say that if you decide to try a relationship with him it’s very likely you’ll be doing the vast majority of the work.
Thank you for sharing your experience. That's very helpful and his behavior makes a lot of sense in light of your post. When we started discussing the possibility of dating, he said that I need to patient with him. He is interested and even passionate about various things at once and seems invested in them. I don't know if I can do the majority of the work in the relationship without feeling drained. We'll see how the friendship progresses, but your post is very helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I am going to root for him as a proxy for myself.

From my perspective, the unplanned or unexpected would probably be the biggest challenge for him. If you get to be a part of the "routine" then you'll be a part of every day for him. As integral and important as eating or sleeping. The "small talk" will probably always be a struggle but then you'll have the hour+ deep discussions that you mentioned.

As for "control" I'm not sure but I do know that if I'm not in a comfortable, secure state of mind (IE in control of my emotions) my plumbing probably won't work because it would be too stressful. I'm not sure if that's the control he was talking about though. He may have been talking about taking initiative with a willing partner. That is, he might not react well to you coming on to him. That would tend to make future relationships for him more secure because cheating would have to be a conscious decision and not just something that he went along with.

I'm in contact with my one ex (mother of my children and all that jazz). She is 0 threat to anyone I would meet romantically. Any relationship type interactions with her would certainly not be in the calm, secure state of mind (see previous paragraph) in addition to not ever crossing my mind at all. She's out of the relationship bin and into the co-parent bin.
Thank you so much for your input! I am trying to integrate myself in his routine, but my sense is that it will take a while for him to think of me as a part of his daily routine. He maintained, with me reminding him once, the same routine with me for three days. The fourth it evaporated :D. Oh well, I'll try at another time later down the road.

He mentioned trust and control in our discussion of sex. Without them he can't have or enjoy sex. It's frustrating to him and I understand that. Sex for me is very psychological, so I relate. He needs to dominate in bed to be comfortable, which works for me.

Yeah, the exes need to be discussed further, I know. This is a dealbreaker for me. Once we have an in-person discussion, I'll bring this up and see where it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
My Aspie wife does not like surprises, nor does she like pre-planned events. Which can make things interesting to say the least. ;)
That's interesting. I wonder how you deal with this. I read that Aspies don't like surprises at all, so I tried to plan our second in-person meeting, but he canceled. It sounds like it's for reasons beyond his control (his elderly parents), but I'll wait and see if it's going to be a pattern in the future. Thanks for sharing.
 

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That's interesting. I wonder how you deal with this. I read that Aspies don't like surprises at all, so I tried to plan our second in-person meeting, but he canceled. It sounds like it's for reasons beyond his control (his elderly parents), but I'll wait and see if it's going to be a pattern in the future. Thanks for sharing.
32 years of interesting times!
 

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I am a parent of an Aspie and have an Aspie male coworker close friend that shares a lot about his dating relationships. He is 10 years younger than me so I feel like his therapist/mom. He is very funny, intelligent, caring, giving and I personally would not be able to sustain a relationship with him. He too continues a relationship with all of his exes and their families. Not just staying in contact but joining in on holidays, having dinners and inviting them to stay for weekends. He does not understand why anyone would invest in becoming close to an SO’s family if that just has to end when you find out they are not “the one”. He also doesn’t understand why the friendship aspect would need to end with the former SO either. He expects his current SO’s to not only be okay with his involvement with his Ex’s, but also be involved with them too. There were things about his Ex’s that he enjoyed (non sexual) and thinks his SO would benefit from those things as well. I have to admit I had to think about that one and why the concept bothered me so much - my ego would not allow that. I don’t know if that is helpful to you.

As an Aspie parent it breaks my heart to think my daughter’s issues will be considered more trouble than she is worth. Sigh. I get it, but it is hard to read.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
I am a parent of an Aspie and have an Aspie male coworker close friend that shares a lot about his dating relationships. He is 10 years younger than me so I feel like his therapist/mom. He is very funny, intelligent, caring, giving and I personally would not be able to sustain a relationship with him. He too continues a relationship with all of his exes and their families. Not just staying in contact but joining in on holidays, having dinners and inviting them to stay for weekends. He does not understand why anyone would invest in becoming close to an SO’s family if that just has to end when you find out they are not “the one”. He also doesn’t understand why the friendship aspect would need to end with the former SO either. He expects his current SO’s to not only be okay with his involvement with his Ex’s, but also be involved with them too. There were things about his Ex’s that he enjoyed (non sexual) and thinks his SO would benefit from those things as well. I have to admit I had to think about that one and why the concept bothered me so much - my ego would not allow that. I don’t know if that is helpful to you.

As an Aspie parent it breaks my heart to think my daughter’s issues will be considered more trouble than she is worth. Sigh. I get it, but it is hard to read.
That's very helpful. Thank you for writing this post. Yes, the man I met has the same approach, i.e., his exes are good people (and this is why he fell in love with them), but a relationship didn't work; a friendship would. I saw pictures (on his social media) of his then fiancée with ex-wife together comfortably sitting next to each other and smiling 🤷‍♀️. His exes seem to be fine with this. Otherwise, they would have cut contact. In a way, this means that their breakup was amicable, and no wrongdoing took place on either side. From another perspective, this spells trouble, because they could get back together if something happens in their lives. I am not in touch with any of my exes; keeping them as friends is pointless because I don't need them as friends and didn't meet them as friends in the first place. I have very good friends. He acknowledges that him staying in touch with his exes has caused jealousy and problems in relationships. The next time we discuss this subject, I'll ask him how he managed it.
 

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My husband is mild Aspie, very intelligent, but when it comes to emotions, quite frankly, the man is an idiot 😂 We work so well together, not sure why, we just do. He tells me often that I "get" him like no one else ever has.

Our daughter (my stepdaughter but we raise her full time) is also Aspie, more severe than hubby. She is very bright also, she is MUCH harder work than him. Her meltdowns, while less frequent than they use to be, can still be epic and there are times when we walk on eggshells lest we trigger one. It's hard. There is so much more to her than just the aspergers, it's a part of her yes, but it's not all of her. It hurts my heart to hear others tell you to just write him off because he's aspie :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
As an Aspie parent it breaks my heart to think my daughter’s issues will be considered more trouble than she is worth. Sigh. I get it, but it is hard to read.
I am sorry that you worry about your daughter. My son might be an Aspie. He is 27. When was little, I asked his doctor and his therapist whether they think that he might be on the spectrum. They said no. He is high-functioning, but he is definitely encountering problems in relationships. I am hoping that I can introduce the subject to him and convince him to get tested. I am also hoping that someone will love him strongly enough to accept him as he is. I wish the same for your daughter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
My husband is mild Aspie, very intelligent, but when it comes to emotions, quite frankly, the man is an idiot 😂 We work so well together, not sure why, we just do. He tells me often that I "get" him like no one else ever has.

Our daughter (my stepdaughter but we raise her full time) is also Aspie, more severe than hubby. She is very bright also, she is MUCH harder work than him. Her meltdowns, while less frequent than they use to be, can still be epic and there are times when we walk on eggshells lest we trigger one. It's hard. There is so much more to her than just the aspergers, it's a part of her yes, but it's not all of her. It hurts my heart to hear others tell you to just write him off because he's aspie :(
Thank you so much for your post! I knew he is an Aspie before I went to meet him, but I also knew he is very intelligent and kind. After our meeting, he were texting in the evening and he told that he was off-balance the entire day because he wanted to tell me that he is an Aspie with ADHD. I told him I knew and still went to meet him, and that makes him who he is. He just replied with a heart. Yes, I agree that if we look at AS as a different way the brain works, we can work on getting to know how they are wired and act accordingly. This requires us to step outside of ourselves, and many people don't want to bother doing it. I don't mind doing it if the person is worth it, because in the process I get to understand myself on a deeper level and expand my mind.
 
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