I am in a relationship with and living with someone who, it seems most indicators would point to being somewhere on the spectrum, although we have never discussed it outright and I don't believe he has ever been tested. It's a bit difficult as we live in a quite small bachelor suite, meaning we have only one large room for our kitchen, bedroom and living room, other than a separate bathroom of course, so personal space is limited.
I have a specific question about how to handle something that happened last night. There have been a few times when we have been close in bed, and I have accidentally not taken into account my proximity to his ears and talked at a normal voice, which scares him, hurts his ear and very quickly overstimulates him. He reacts very strongly and very negatively. I of course do not do this on purpose. But in many months of spending time close, it has only happened a handful of times, and I feel it is an understandable mistake to make. Last night it happened, and he yelled, launched up out of the bed. When he came back to bed, didn't want to be touched (understandably) and eventually left to go sleep in the van which we have (he sometimes does this when alone time is needed, which is good in my opinion..as long as it doesn't mean issues are being avoided when they should be addressed).
He came back in the morning before work, and told me last night really made him angry. That even if I didn't do it intentionally, it meant I was being careless. And as he said, "at some point I need to stop being mad at you, and start being mad at myself for allowing you to be that close to me." Which was, of course, extremely hurtful. As the idea that something so small and accidental would cause him to permanently want to keep me at arms length makes me feel like absolute ***. I understand he would not react so strongly if it didn't affect him strongly though, so am trying as much as I can to empathize and not be hurt. However; I want to tell him that I'm sorry for not being more aware, and that I'll do my best effort to remember in the future, because of course I will, it benefits me none to be loud in his ear. It is entirely a mistake. But I am now petrified of this happening again. He is so hostile about it though. Can I get some advice, please?? Not sure how to handle or approach this.... :(
Hi, sorry, I have no solution to contribute really, other than whispering as a default in bed (which, given that it's a place for sleeping, would actually not seem all that strange to me).
Anyway, the reason why I'm writing this comment is more to say that to me you sound like a genuinely nice girlfriend to have, and I guess you wouldn't write about him the way you do if you didn't have lots of reasons for being in a relationship with him. So this comment isn't so much aimed at you but rather at others - I hope someone can make some suggestion towards helping them to get over this issue or just say nothing if it would go down that we-ND-you-NT-and-you-will-never-understand-us route again like a few days ago and make someone feel guilty for making the effort to understand something they find somehow tricky to deal with (and understandably so).