I am an NT with my lovely man who im 99.9% is aspergers - anyone else in my position

Hi there 

I have been with my man for nearly 4 years. when we frst got together i found it difficult and nearly threw it it, but a freind of mine suggested i read about aspergers as he has alot of traits. So i have read and read and because of this i can deal/help.He had a melt down this week as we went away camping. his motorbike broke down first and was relayed home then the van broke down then we couldnt get in the campsite because we had dogs  etc etc and so the week went on. last night he had a melt down, said the week was a disaster and so i went home. i called him this morning and hes not to bad so hes coming to see me thank goodness. has anyone else experienced this kind of thing with a partner ? 

  • Hi, I'm not sure what advice I can offer but would like to try to be supportive as much as possible. I have Aspergers and can get stressed with difficult situations. I think it's very nice of you to try and be so helpful to him, reading about Aspergers and being so caring when he has meltdowns. I am asexual so I don't date or understand dating really, but I've met a really good friend in the past year who is super knowledgeable about Aspergers and has helped me a lot. I really appreciate her being patient with me when I'm stressed and understanding my way of thinking. It is really nice to have someone like that. It's possible that your boyfriend also similarly appreciates you and all you've done. 

    If you're having difficulties, it's possible to consider going to a specialist who is knowledgable about autism, who might be able to offer advice to NT/ASD couples relationship advice. You can also search on this forum and other forums, as similar questions have been posted by other NTs with an ASD partner, as well as Aspergers with an NT partner. However, you may need to choose and pick what kind of advice you take from reading those posts, since I often see lots of hot debates from either side. Sometimes NTs may together unfairly over criticise their ASD partners, and ASD people may also unfairly over criticise their NT partners. I don't think this type of fighting really solves anything and may exacerbate the situation. What is needed, really, is for both sides to understand each other's strengths and weaknesses. People with Aspergers don't want to have meltdowns, and it's not they intention to be troublesome, but they are really suffering when there is sensory or information overload. There are many people with Aspergers who may not be good at social communication, but they are really honest and genuine (sometimes may be seen as blunt) and won't lie or cheat. 

  • In my relationship, I'm the one having the meltdowns, but I'll do my best to share my perspective :) My partner is NT and pretty knowledgeable about autism - that's a huge help because it makes a difference to know that you have someone who understands and won't judge (it sounds like you're very understanding too). I think everyone feels different about their meltdowns and how they like to recover, so it might be worth asking him how he'd like you to respond when it happens (e.g. does he want space, or does he need someone to listen while he vents; is there something you could do to help him calm down)? 

    Prevention is good too. My partner bought me a weighted blanket, which really helps when I'm starting to feel anxious. You could discuss the warning signs of a meltdown and put strategies in place to either prevent it, or help him feel safe while it happens (e.g. by heading somewhere quiet). I get very chatty/hyper before a meltdown, so that's a warning sign for us. 

    I always worry about the impact of meltdowns on my partner - I'd never want to negatively impact him. It's important to keep communicating with one another - don't be afraid of letting him know (kindly) if his meltdowns worry you, or if he says things that are upsetting. Even though I can't help my meltdowns, I can still consider the people around me (e.g. when I'm feeling angry and shouty, I'm better getting some alone time than making anyone else feel upset or uncomfortable).

    Keep communicating with him and take care of yourself too. It sounds like you really care and that's what matters most.