Chris Packham show - glossing over relationship problems

Did anyone else find the Chris Packham show (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09b1zbb/chris-packham-aspergers-and-me) worrying? 

Had Chris chosen to be single, I would have applauded every aspect of this show and agreed wholeheartedly with his horror at the 'curative treatments' he witnessed in the USA / sentiment that his Aspergers was an intrinsic and positive part of his make-up.

But he isn't single, and I was horrified at how casually the show treated the dysfunction in his relationship with Charlotte. 

He admitted to having difficulty in empathizing with other humans. The only feeling he expressed for Charlotte was gratitude that SHE loved HIM; he showed her no affection, avoided physical contact with her, said that he only knew how long they'd been together because she had told him (10 years), aggressively forced her to greet his dog before he otherwise acknowledged her after a significant period of time apart... for her part she acknowledged many difficulties in the relationship but the show presented her concluding that it was worth it because she so admired how his mind works. Was that just editing? Can it really be enough? Surely anyone can admire how his mind works, it doesn't mean that you have to be in an exclusive 'romantic' relationship / 'partnership' with that person to witness it.  

I worry for her enormously, because I am only just now recovering from a "catastrophic" end to a relationship with a man on the Autism Spectrum. I wrote on this forum about it last year. The short version of it is that I supported him for years, and he ended our relationship a few hours after my Dad's traumatic death because HE found it too intense.

There was more too, but beyond the scope of this post. It's impossible to express the psychological impact these events have had on me, it was devastation upon devastation. That was about a year and a half ago. It has been a very tough time and although I'm starting to pull through now, my own mental health has been in the toilet for most of it. 

What is a relationship for if not reciprocal intimacy and support? The show completely glossed over his really unpleasant attitude to humans in general, and Charlotte in particular. In addition, I'm concerned that the show may have given the impression that treating a partner with such disdain is acceptable. It's not.

I completely agree that Aspergers has unique potential to offer a whole other set of intellectual skills which are of enormous value to humanity, but it is my opinion that it is irresponsible for someone who does not have the capacity for human empathy to be involved in a romantic relationship. 

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  • That's quite a surprise, I've only watched the first 20something minutes because it should only be possible to watch it in UK and that was the longest clip I could find that would run here. I was convinced he lived there on his own with his dog. There seemed no space for anyone else really... I'm honestly surprised now to read that there is actually someone and can imagine that this would not be easy. Guess even if it wasn't mentioned or presented that way quite a few people will feel about it in a similar way as you do, even without the bad experience you have had. On the other hand being autistic doesn't necessarily mean to be unable to give love to someone else (sometimes perhaps even too much and in an too intense way). It also doesn't mean that people should stop themselves (or be stopped?) to get involved in a romantic relationship, I think. That's always going to happen, isn't it, can anyone be blamed for that? I agree that they could have been more honest, the way it seems to have been presented wasn't exactly advertising autistic people as good partners anyway.

    Hope you recover from your experience. Perhaps in a way it doesn't matter so much why a relationship fails, when it does it usually hurts at least one enormously.

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