Hi everyone, I'm new here and I'm an adult with asd, I'm really struggling to explain to my partner what autism is and how I cant just change to suit his needs
His first problem is affection, I dont really like it, I dont give affection alot unless he comes to me it's not just with him it's with everyone I've learnt when a cuddle is expected so will give one then but I dont like it I do it because it's a seen as normal but he sees that as me not loving him
Next is I'm quite literal if I'm asked where I've been today I'll answer I've been in town, instead of me and partner went into town and we done xyz, to me ive answered the question they asked they didnt ask who I was with or what we done they asked where I was but he says that just shows I'm ashamed to be with him which I'm not if they then went on to say who where you with I'd say I was with him
He also complains we dont spend enough time together but we are together all the time, does it really matter if we sit together watching soaps or a film? We're still sitting together looking at the tv does it really matter what's on it? he says watching soaps is different to choosing a film and watching it together but mostly it's a film he wants to watch that I'm not enjoying anyway or he wants to play computer games that I cant play as I dont have the coordination and just get frustrated and angry so it's either I sit and watch him play which I find boring anyway or I try and end up getting worked up and we'll end up fighting dur to frustration
I spend all day following the social norms that are expected when I'm home I just want to be me but now I feel like I have to continue the act and its exhausting, when do i get to be me? I feel like I'm constantly acting constantly thinking what's the norm here? I'm just exhausted all the time
Hi NAS64404, I can relate to what you're saying in several perhaps contradictory ways :-). I'm an ASD adult and married to someone who is on the pathway to diagnosis. I share your experience of answering questions factually, and I have little interest in small talk or volunteering extra information. However, in our relationship, it's me who has craved emotional and physical attention. However, I often (so I'm told) don't behave in ways that make it forthcoming. But we are also on a journey whereby we are learning that my wife might also be ASD.
My wife used to complain about how my incredibly patchy memory failed to help her feel loved, and I also as a result got very frustrated with myself. But what I used to say to her was "Asking me to remember stuff, and spontaneously ask about your life, is like me asking you to be taller." I now literally use my reminder app on my phone to say things like "Prepare for her birthday - cake, banners, presents" etc.
We have been for lots of couples therapy, and have become pretty expert at spotting when one of us steps out of Adult into Child or Parent, and taking responsibility for our feelings & saying things like "When you do X, I tend to feel Y" rather than "You make me so *** angry!". It has really helped us, and we even laugh sometimes when we see through each-other's intentions and say "I wish you didn't understand that so well - shouldn't have taken you for so much therapy!".
We aren't free of frustrations in our relationship, but we've learned to accept them and/or work round them.
Sorry for the ramble - what I picked up on was when you said "I can't just change to suit his needs" which is what both me and my wife have said to each other at one time or another.
Hopefully there's something above which might help - I can really recommend talking in the style of "When you do X, I tend to feel Y" and also "I can't do that because of X, so how else could I help you to feel Y?"
Reading this is just like looking at myself in the mirror . I am going to get relationship therapy with an autism psychologist because I am completely stuck with these problems. Maybe I will get some tips I can pass on.
Thank you that's is helpful, although when I say I'll try to give more affection he gets angry saying i shouldn't have to try it should come naturally or if I do plan something for us to do that I'll enjoy he doesnt so he basically wants me to do all the social things like pub/club/cinema etc which I find exhausting but as soon as I say let's do a escape room he doesnt want to as he doesnt like that kind of thing so it feels like all the compromise has to come from me, I also think being told I'm not a normal girlfriend or none of his ex's had a problem providing affection really doesnt help as it gets my back up and I just say if I'm not good enough for you then leave, even tho I love him deeply I feel I'm ruining his life as that's how he makes me feel like hes putting up with me and the least I can do is show my gratitude
I feel I might have to do the same as I'm at a loss as to how he can claim to love me but want to change everything that makes me me
Yup :-). It's not easy, I've had many discussions with my wife about "I want you to be affectionate naturally" (me saying that to her) and then I realise that I'm asking her to do what I tell her I can't, i.e. change something that is pretty fundamental like height or memory. Also many, many times she has said "I want us to share things / do things together" which we *both* eventually realised means she wants me to watch, with her, and comment on, the programmes that *she* enjoys on TV. Thankfully, we do find some dramas that we both enjoy and we both enjoy going out for coffee.
Maybe you're like me in that you feel that you need to share every inner thought with your partner ("I'm doing / going to do this nice thing because I said I'd try to be more affectionate"). You can just keep quiet and do the nice thing - and he will likely believe that it's natural and be grateful. But I know that if it's me doing it, I feel a strong need to say at some point "There, does that make you feel loved? I thought if I did X/Y/Z you would be pleased." - which kinda kills the mood (I'm not just talking about sexy time buy any kind of "niceness".) :-)
Yeah maybe I should just not tell him I'm doing stuff for him and let him believe I'm doing it naturally, id end up feeling guilty for lying to him tho and I'd still be acting to the social norms all the time, I never ask him to do stuff with me I know he doesnt like, i watch alot of dramas etc but I'm happy to watch them alone yet he wants me to be interested in the films he wants to watch then gets annoyed at me saying i have no interests yet i do have plenty but as they're not interesting to him that makes them boring so dont count as interests I feel hes not willing to compromise and just wants to change me to suit his idea of what a girlfriend should be maybe were just not suited x
Yep, I get all of that.
NAS64404 said:id end up feeling guilty for lying to him tho and I'd still be acting to the social norms all the time
Yep. I get such a strong urge to "tell". For e.g. if I got someone an amazing present but cheap, I'd want to tell them I got a bargain. I got my wife a lovely vase once and scratched it when wrapping it and had to point out the scratch (she said she wished that I hadn't because she wouldn't have noticed!).
I also never ask anyone to do stuff that I know they wouldn't like - I simply couldn't enjoy it knowing they weren't. Yet it seems to be OK for me to be dragged along and then told off for looking miserable!
Hope things work out - it's not easy.
You seem clear on the things you don't like - it's like you have to have permission to be you - what do you actually like? What would be your ideal evening or physical contact - think it through - how nice things could possibly be - and then talk to your partner about it and come to a middle ground where you both get what you want / need.
You have the right to be happy and not a dancing puppet.
This is what I'm struggling with, he likes to go out socially like pubs/meals out/cinema that he wants me to do with him even tho I struggle and dont always enjoy it especially if hes drinking as he goes off chatting to anyone and leaves me sitting alone, he says I should be more social but I just cant do it I've suggested loads of things I'd like to do as if I'm going out I like to do something to help distract from the social side things like escape room, a zombie run or mini golf but he just wants to go somewhere he can sit and drink, I've learnt to give a kiss and cuddle before he leaves/when he comes home from work, I try to remind myself to give more affection but it really doesn't come naturally he says I should message him through the day to let him know I'm thinking of him but 1 I'm not I'm busy dealing with school, nursery, children, shopping, Bill's walking the dog cleaning the house all the normal day to day things so I'm not thinking of him and 2 if I did need to tell him something I'd would text it's a maximum of 8 hours hes away surely it's not needed to be messaging all day when you both should be doing other things? I'm just so exhausted with all the rules of how many cuddles is enough, have I done enough with him today, it's like a game I'm being forced to play but the rules keep changing everytime I get used to one another one is added if his ex was so perfect why isn't he still with her I hate how he always compares me to 'normal' people x
Ok - We tend to be crap at social stuff. NTs are good at it. It's one of the main issues. You will always find it exhausting to play their game - so many rules and hidden meanings.
You sound like you're running around pleasing everyone but yourself - another classic autie behaviour.
Does your OH understand the pressure he's putting on you to perform? Are you masking so well that he doesn't see the strain? It's called JAM - Just About Managing.
I'd tell him about the stress you're under - and that you have so much going on in your brain that the little stuff gets missed while you deal with the big stuff. But - you would love to get flirty e-mails from him - make him do all the work - and it would remind you to reply!
We tend to be quite satisfied by socialising in silence - like if he's doing a hobby, you would probably be totally happy being in the same room reading a book - participation is not required.
Why not arrange nights out for him with his mates - and you can have a quiet night in front of the telly - less stress for him - zero stress for you..
What sort of contact do you prefer? Do you get overloaded by touch?
Do you have any friends? I'm an aspie bloke - all of my friends are probably undiagnosed aspies too - nerdy boffins that do interesting things. Most of our communication is based around something like a broken car or solving a problem - we don't do small-talk.
It might be worth joining a female autism group where you can talk to others in the same boat - and pick their brains on how to deal with relationships.