I would like some recommendations (e.g. reading materials) for me (a non-autistic person) to be able to empathise better with my boyfriend.
I'm dating a very lovely (probably, but never diagnosed) autistic man. He cares very deeply about me, but on some occasions this doesn't come across in his actions as he's wired a little differently. There are a lot of small examples, such as leaving a cafe table when he's done, despite the fact that I still haven't finished my coffee, or not being very good at knowing what to do if I'm ill. In these situations, I know on an intellectual level that he does care, but it can be difficult not to have a emotional reaction in the opposite direction.
He's working on trying to be more aware of my feelings, but I also need to do the same in return, in particular understanding him better and not feeling so offended when these things happen, but also how I can change my actions to make it easier for him.
Has anyone got any recommendations to help me here? I was imagining that someone might have a book that they found helpful, but I'm happy to look at something in whatever form - blog post, documentary, magazine article, TED talk, TV series, or your own comments and recommendations.
Thanks in advance.
Now, aren't you just the darned sweetest thing?! ;-)
You're willing to make compromise, to actually take time to understand, make accommodations, and to actually work at this (two way) relationship. Forget books and blogs - you need to go on tour and teach other Neurotypicals how it's done! Seriously, the fact that you're so considerate and willing in the first instance is half the battle. I'm not in a position to make recommendations, but your openness puts you in good stead I suspect.
That partner of yours is a lucky man, and I wish you both every happiness together.
I am not a guy, but a girl with AS. I think you have already done a huge amount to help and understand him, just with the thinking and consideration you have already given. One thing to remember is that when you say you know he does care, he might not show it in the way you expect. I can come across as cold as I don't always know how to deal with other peoples emotions (looking after them when they are upset or ill is a good example), but if you look closely you may notice that he shows his care for you in another way - by doing something practical like making sure you are comfortable, or warm, or doing something nice for you. We do care, we just don't always do it how you would expect!!
You could have a look at 'Asperger Syndrome - A Love Story' by Sarah Hendrickx. Rather cheesy title, but it has lots of examples of her boyfriend's behaviour which you might recognise. It includes input from him too with explanations as to why he does certain things. Might be useful.
Thanks for your kind words. He's working hard on making me happy so I don't think I should be given too much credit for doing my side of the work! For me, one sign of a good relationship is that you both make each other better people. If I can be more understanding of a wider group of people as a result of going out with him, that's a great added bonus to our relationship.
That's really helpful - thanks. You're absolutely right that he shows his care in other ways - working on being more grateful for those sorts of things is a really good idea. In particular, there are some things which might be instinctive for other people, but I think is more of a conscious effort for him. I don't give him enough credit for that sort of thing (because I'm subconsciously holding him to the same standard as I do other neurotypical people), so I'll make sure to notice and acknowledge that he's showing he cares.
Thanks! You're right - I would have steered away with something with such a cheesy title, so I'm glad to have a recommendation! I've just started reading it, so I'm only a chapter in, but it seems exactly what I was looking for, especially as it is half written from his point of view.
First of all, thank you! It's really nice to know that you're taking the time to understand your partners autism, in order to make this relationship successful - it takes a very caring and selfless person to do that. Even if it doesn't seem like much, your partner will really appreciate how much effort and thought you are putting towards making this work for both of you!
I think that the two core things that are needed are patience and tolerance. Sometimes (as you've seen), things aren't what you expect, but understand that this may simply be the way your partner has learned to act in the situation. Being patient and tolerant will serve you very well. This isn't to say that you are impatient and intolerant right now, just that they are both key skills that you'd need to make this work as best as possible!x
Much love <3
You're welcome. Glad you are finding it helpful so far.
I don't know how much difference it makes but it is my understanding that after she had written that book Sarah Hendrickx realised that she too is autistic (I haven't read it). I'd say read and understand as much as you can, both of you, so that you can behave in a way which is true to yourselves whilst not hurting the other more than necessary.
Your willingness to accept and learn about something other than the norm is more than half the battle I suspect. I hope you can make each other happy.