Why Your Asperger’s-Neurotypical Relationship Is Failing

Aspie-neurotypical relationships often start out with intense passion, then fizzle and devolve into disaster.  For the purpose of this article, I have used the word “aspie” instead of “autistic;” however, the two terms should be considered interchangeable in this article.  The reason for this word choice is that most searches about adult autism use the words “Asperger’s” or “aspie.”

The Beginning

Notes: they/them pronouns used for inclusivity/generalization; not all neurotypical-Aspergian relationships will fit this exact trajectory, but this speaks to a trend many might find relatable.  No one is expected to relate to 100% of this; however, hopefully it will highlight the different perspectives and provide some helpful tips to rescue your relationship in coming articles in this series.

For the neurotypical: When you first got together, you had never felt so seen, validated, and understood.  Your partner asked you questions you’ve never been asked, caused you to explore parts and depths of yourself you’d never before explored.  The focus was much deeper than on the superficial.  This relationship was different.  This person was different. The relationship felt like magic.

For the first time, you weren’t experiencing jealousy or fears of infidelity anymore because this was a person who was authentic, genuine, real.  You found that truth-telling vulnerability, worldly wisdom, and zealous wonder refreshing.  You learned to trust.

You felt like you were on a new wavelength, and so you were absorbed in this world with this new love who had so many interesting insights and strong feelings.  But the best part was that they loved those parts of you that you had to hide from everyone else. They didn’t want you to behave.  They had no judgement about what most would consider to be broken or weird.


You started feeling free to say what you really felt, to talk about things dark and uncomfortable, things that would make most people think you were crazy.  But, those flaws seemed to be their favorite parts of you.  This person was a paradox, somehow more mature than everyone else and yet vibrant with a childlike innocence.

With this person, you became the best version of yourself.  You felt evolved, and you were so immersed in this uncharted territory, you fell into this fascinating new world that made your other relationships feel like they lacked depth.  You pulled away from friends and family because they couldn’t understand what this new world, this new you, was like.

For the aspie: At the beginning, you were amazed.  You found this person who seemed to you like this treasure hidden in plain sight.  No one else had realized how amazing this one person was.  You felt like the luckiest person on the planet.

This person had been abused, overlooked, mistreated, and devalued.  You could relate, and the past injustices against your new love caused you such intense anger and heartbreak.  You felt so intensely, you’d give your life to prove to your partner their worth.

With this person, you were euphoric.  Your depression and anxiety were all-but-cured.  The sensory issues that used to overwhelm you didn’t seem to have as much power as they used to.  You had a purpose, and the purpose was to prove your love and devotion.  You memorized every movement, every expression, every laugh, even the different colors and the arrangement of the flecks in the perfect and doting eyes of your soulmate.


And in the intoxicating whir of this new relationship, your existential despair became a thing of the past.  You were energized and felt healed by this love.  Determined to do everything right, you did what you do and dove in head first.  You were going to be a hero, and you finally had a way to make all that was good about you useful.

A Slow Tension Building

For the neurotypical: Eventually, things started to get weird.  There was this big thing that had been planned, this trip or a friend’s wedding or a family holiday, and you had your first real fight.  This person who had previously been willing to assume all the guilt and throw themselves on a sword for you was suddenly cold and distant, harsh and unfeeling.

You quickly made up, and there were a lot of tears from both of you.  It was a passionate resolution, and things seems righted.  Then, there was another fight.  It didn’t even make any sense to you why you were fighting.  Your partner had seen the worst of you and loved it deeply, but suddenly this tiny detail was catastrophic.  You felt attacked.

The arguments increased.  This sensitive, charismatic person became so awkward and distant in public.  At home, they weren’t trying as hard anymore.  You saw shifts, where the eyes that once glittered with unbridled passion and wonder went flat and dark. The grand romantic gestures faded into small rituals.  The magic was being replaced with a dull routine.

You felt like your partner was sabotaging and gaslighting you, embarrassing you on purpose in front of your friends and family.  They found the smallest ways to ruin things for you, like wearing the wrong clothes to a semi-formal occasion or spending an anniversary playing video games.

Where before you could do no wrong, now you began to feel that you could do no right.   Your partner who had cared so much about your feelings was now annoyed by them. You felt like you were with Dr. Jekyll and Mr(s). Hyde.


For the aspie: There was that first big fight that happened.  You were being accused of something that had nothing to do with you, and the more you tried to explain, the angrier and more unreasonable your partner became.  You tried to ask questions, tried to understand, but everything you said was wrong.  You feared that the fairy tale was over.

Once the smoke cleared, you tried hard to understand why your partner was so upset.  You thought about it, rationalized, and gave them the benefit of the doubt.  There was a resolution, but it never made sense to you what the actual problem was.

Then, this person who had seemed so open and so honest started to change.

It was confusing for you to see these two different people emerge, one in public and one in private.  They would hate someone privately and yet cling to him or her in public.  You worried about how honest and genuine your partner was.  If they were putting on an act for others, were they doing the same with you?

Suddenly, they began to take everything personally.  You were living your life as usual, but your partner began feeling like your independent actions had something to do with them.  You felt like you couldn’t go to work or fix a meal or watch a television show without your partner feeling like it was some sinister personal attack with some unspoken motive.

You tried to reassure them at the beginning, but they wouldn’t believe anything you said.  Before, they loved everything that made you different, but now they were trying to change how you dressed and even control how you behaved in social situations.  You felt like they were ashamed to be with you.

The worst came when they started attacking your core character.  You were accused of lies, emotional abuse, and of not caring.  They may have even suspected infidelity.  You took it for as long as you could, reasoning that they were insecure and suffering from mental illness.

You weren’t judgemental; you just wanted them to get help.  You tried to suggest therapy, but they accused you of gaslighting and more emotional abuse.  Where once you were a hero and life-saver, now you were being considered a terror.


Now What?

Self-help guides and traditional couple’s therapy aren’t going to fix these differences.  At the level of the neurology, the differences lend themselves to inevitable conflict.  To even begin to resolve these issues, you’re going to have to understand each other.

And, this isn’t easy.  You can’t just teach each other about your own differences if you don’t know in what ways you’re different or what those differences mean.  You’re certainly not an expert in psychology or neurology just because you belong to a neurotype any more than a person with cancer isn’t an oncologist.

But, a person with cancer has millions of resources that are helpful to understand cancer and what it means and future options.

There are almost no helpful resources for understanding the fundamental differences between NTs and NDs.  Many writers like Kathy Marshack and Maxine Aston write from the perspective of neurotypical supremacy, pathologizing, peddling paltry stereotypes, directly misrepresenting or ignoring research, and claiming [with painful irony] that aspies have “zero degrees of empathy” and simply can’t understand… well, much of anything.

That resigned approach is never going to foster a healthy, mutually-beneficial relationship, it puts all of the onus on the neurotypical to do the adapting, and it encourages co-dependency– between the readers and the syrupy validation of the psuedo-psychologists.

In part 2 of this series, differences in NT-ND identities as they apply to relationships are explored.  Stay tuned.


Was this at all like the aspie-neurotypical relationship you’ve experienced, or is it similar to your current relationship?  In what ways could you relate?  Let us know in the comments.

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69 Responses

    1. LOL I’ve been thinking this for a week and just came here to say that! All cats are special but orange ones are extra-special.

      Whenever I hear about a couple breaking up, my response is always the same: “I feel so bad for their poor little pets!”

  1. Sounds exactly like a typical NT-ND relationship to me. After experiencing 3 in the past year it’s the reason I don’t seek any more. That and every failed relationship gets stored to be used daily to remind me what a failure I am.

    1. omg. you might be a “failure” for any number of reasons, but failing at relationships is NOT one of them! That’s just NT brainwashing, I will not tolerate it, Sir!

      I honestly think rationships are just base animal-behavior, my opinions in the topic are quite uncharitable. Really, we have the ability to evolve beyond all that miserable breeder-bullshit, and we should. I want a future dystopia wherein all the oxytocin-crazed neurotypicals have murdered each other (it’s what their “love” inevitably leads to) and all that remain are autistics who engage in all kinds of weird sex with each other, but never try to interact at any other time than when we’re fucking, and voluntarily use birth control to make humans extinct.

  2. To me, this actually sounds like the better NT/AS relationships ironically. The dance described is poignant and painful but hauntingly real. I see some relationships where the NT and AS communicate past each other making behavioral gestures but not seeming to truly connect at all. I love how well you painted the portrait. You truly grasp what may have once been in at least many cases!

  3. You’ve described my own relationship in such detail, I’m actually struggling for words – not a ordinary occurrence for this particular writer. Now, add narcissism of a grand order to an NT Spousal Unit and most days it’s an excruciatingly unpleasant pairing. It was especially painful to read the “gestures” part. I used to invest a part of each day of the year seeking small gifts which would be greatly significant to her. And now? I just don’t even care – at all. Something has gotta give and I’m deeply tired of it being me.

    1. Yes, your addendum to this article, adding the narcissistic NT spouse, is exactly what I experienced in my 17 year marriage. Unfortunately, it’s too late for me, as we divorced over a year ago, and I have no desire to return to her. But yes, I too experienced the gestures/gifts part, with me doing all the giving before I just quit trying to please her. I hope that it isn’t too late for the rest of you, that there is something that can fix things before you get to where I am, broken and alone.

      1. I am very sorry to hear about what you’ve experienced. It is quite common for autistics to find themselves in relationships with narcissists for several reasons (which will be addressed in upcoming articles in this series).

        1. This sounds very much like my relationship. I was his special interest for a number of years and then while everything was rosy we had a baby together. The day after our son was born the distance was there. Went home for a sleep. Didn’t check up on me till I asked him to pick me up from hospital. Thinking it was a stupid waste of time when I was referred back into hospital with high blood pressure. Its been a terrible 2 1/2 years but I’ve come out of this realising I’m happier being alone. No more rudeness to people, grumpiness, special interest creeping in all the time and his inflexibility if plans change. He’s painted it all that i have serious mental health problems. So ill just take that label in order to be free. I’d love to hear from other people moving on from an unhappy relationship.

          1. Lilboots, your post was written awhile ago. I hope you took the leap and got yourself and your child out of that relationship. Trust me, it only gets worse. I was treated the same way when I was in the hospital on bedrest and pregnant with our children. After being in the hospital alone all week, I would patiently wait for him to come and see me. He would barely stop by for 10 minutes. I felt so alone. Little did I know, that was the beginning of the end. He was definitely missing the empathy chip. Life is too short to waste it on someone that doesn’t have your or your child’s best interest at heart.

        2. I am with someone who at 38 was just diagnosed with ASD… I am reading how as the spouse I could have narcissistic traits?? Which I am curious about because we thought he had NPD… if we had it switched, how can I learn more and find out? None of my therapists or couples therapists have brought this to my attention. My previous relationship was with someone who had an addiction and I thought I was codependent… went to Al anon etc. do narcissism and codependency overlap?

      2. Insread of bitching about how thry get burned every time they put their hand on a hot stove, people should try just NOT PUTTING THEIR HANDS ON HOT STOVES.

      3. I see a common pattern of gift giving by AS partners. My bf does this. I love it don’t get me wrong. It means the world to me. But I would honestly rather have the affection he mysteriously withdrew from me back in May than 100 gifts. When I asked why, he said he was feeling off. When I tried to talk about what feeling off meant and how I wanted to figure out how we could work on getting the affection back, he shut down. He doesn’t want to talk about my feelings or his feelings and I’m honestly not sure how either of us can get our needs met like that.

    2. I have a very similar experience.
      It’s ironic that when we drop our mask… we lose our identity and become a stranger. When all we want is to be accepted.

  4. first phase yes, starting from second – no. No big fights, just felt like he lost interest suddenly. No affection, no sex, no nothing. It blows my mind, how it went from this affectionate and sexual relationship, to no affection at all. No matter what i do, i get rejected. It feels more like i was his special interest, and he moved on.

    1. Same here. Withdrew affection and intimate contact and I do not know why. I even tried to seduce him with sexy lingerie. I got pushed away. Yet he could still cuddle in bed. I wonder if it has to do with sensory issues tho my bf would never go get tested to get a confirmation bthat he is on the spectrum. Too much stigma. If he would maybe that would help.

      1. Are you done with it yet? Because I am hanging on a thread in my marriage to my aspie and I want to do everything I can to fight for the relationship but, I can’t hold on much longer and I don’t know what to do. I think I have to separate but I don’t want to.

        1. I’d also still love a part 2, even after all this time. Freakishly accurate and I could use some help too.

  5. This read was frighteningly close to my experiences with my wife pre-self-diagnosis. Now that we know what’s going on, it feels at least like we have traction when we begin to try to work out issues. It’s taken over a year of consistent effort to build up the traction, and significant individual efforts on both our parts to overcome our knee-jerk emotional reactions to one another. It is indeed impossible to find resources for working things out; I eagerly await the next articles in this series.

    I have a great deal of hope, though. We are currently learning to carefully adopt the “nonviolent communication” method (a non-specialist therapist is teaching us) which is very helpful for us to identify concrete behaviors to discuss, separate our feelings from our interpretations, lay out what it is we both want, and then see if there is a way for us to both get what we want.

    It takes a great deal of commitment toward each other and our joined futures and a willingness to challenge your own attitude and beliefs. I think we have a good chance at making it work.

  6. I found this article similar in many aspects of love, but the lack of communication and misunderstanding of each others actions led to a break down, his feelings changed, that apart from it was easier to flee from me was basically the only explanation, oh we had a few break ups because another woman was following him around. He did go out if his way to please me, it was wonderful, I was put on a pedestal.
    I also put him on a pedestal, but something gradually came to light, something other NTs have was missing, also there where many other health issues, which all had to be accommodated on a daily basis.
    So a diagnosis was made, something positive you would think, but also catastrophic for us both.

  7. There are many things in this article that are similar to what I’m newly experiencing in my current situationship. I’m having a hard time finding literature that can more accurately shed light on things for me. I’ve just recently downloaded some samples of books I may purchase online if they at all resonate with me. I’m the NT in the relationship and I often feel like it’s solely on me to adapt. I’m constantly trying to figure out if things are unfolding as they are because he’s ND or if he’s merely using his Aspergers as a reason (excuses are beneath him) for typical male behaviors. So, I’m hoping to read more from The Aspergian on all of this.

    1. Nicole, please look at the article on “Cassandras,”: click here

      The books you downloaded are almost for sure just going to be ableist garbage.

      BUT, it’s possible your partner is just a major asshole. You can join our group on Facebook, “The Aspergian has an article for that,” to get tips and hints and advice.

      If he’s a good man who loves you but you’re just misunderstanding each other, we can help with that. If he’s being an asshole and blaming it on Asperger’s, we’ll help you to know if it’s him being an ass and gaslighting you. ❤️

      1. The article to the Cassandras is no longer available. Is there something else similar you could share? I am joining Facebook just to be a part of this group. I am the NT (neurotypical?) and our relationship has been on the rocks for 2 years and we’ve been together for 2.5. We have a 6 month old and I am really wanting to try everything before I give up. Please help!

  8. Thank you for writing this great article, I think it is a really good summary of what may happen in NT-ND interactions and I sincerely hope that I am allowed to make a few remarks. I think most of the core conflict revolves around the Aspie wanting to secure more “alone-time” in order to recharge batteries while most NT’s want to have more “couple-time”. If both parties stick to their concepts, this may develop into a rather destructive dynamic. I recommend reading “The communication ‘Roundabout’: Intimate relationships of adults with Asperger’s syndrome” and the book “The complete guide to Asperger’s syndrome” by Tony Attwood, which both give great insights into the differences and problems. Furthermore, from reading about several examples of functioning NT-ND relationships (which give good examples of what people do RIGHT instead of all the negative examples) and from dating an Asperger (I’m the NT) myself, I suggest the following: Firstly, the NT should make absolutely sure that he or she understands that, when the Aspie is retreating, when there’s radio silence, when an important appointment has been forgotten, it is not done with illfull intent and the NT should TRY to not feel hurt. Little disappointments accumulate, according to relationship theory, so it’s important to work early on this. Maybe try to adjust your mindset to “this is his weak spot and he needs a bit extra freedom here”. The Aspie must understand that there are ways to read and understand what other people are feeling and meaning and to work on this whenever he or she has energy and time. In fact, Aspies are not at all incapable of reading other people. They are empathic, and they can learn to translate this into the “right” gestures and moves that are “expected” from society. An Aspie’s mind may be very much like a computer, and with the correct social protocol, it may be very efficient. Interesting enough, this is outlined in “The employer’s guide to Asperger’s syndrome”, which can easily be found online. Try to understand each other’s logic and be there for each other, but understand that the Aspie may need to retreat to recharge from time to time. For the NT: Identify your needs and try to give the Aspie direct suggestions to work with, maybe in form of a weekly schedule (if it is a recurring thing), and/or a precise date and time.
    Last but not least, make sure that the diagnosis is Asperger (or, in the more modern layout, “on the autistic spectrum”), and not something else. In particular, do not misinterpret periods of absence or seemingly cold and unusual statements as Aspergers when the person is, in fact abusive and has other problems. As in any relationship, take your time getting to know each other, tell the (potential) Aspie as directly as possible what you want and need (when the time is right, when there is no time of retreat or something distressing him or her), and, as an NT, understand that in no way should 100 % of the work load be on your side. Check that the Asperger cares, tries to learn, makes progress (the basic things for any relationship). That way, people grow with each other, challenge each other each day anew and learn from another. I am sorry for the length of this comment, I sincerely hope it will help some people out there.

  9. Thank you so much for this. You could be describing exactly the evolution of my relationship (I am the NT). The first few months were exhilarating for me, and he did indeed help me be the best version of myself; I loved his honesty and directness; I loved his lack of inhibitions, and his depression and self-hatred seemed to melt away. We were crazy about each other. But when I moved in with him, there were constant communication breakdowns; he didn’t seem to ‘get’ how I was feeling and repeatedly asked me to describe it (which I was reluctant to do for fear of hurting him). A lot of the time, it was me who needed the space and the retreat, and it was me who sank into depression. Now I’ve left him, I’m so sad for what we’ve lost, but it was such hard work for me.
    I found one of the forums (‘AS Partners’), and while it seemed to offer validation, which I needed at the time, many of the comments were so rooted in hatred and failure to accept that an aspie could have feelings as opposed to just needs, I now feel like I’ve really betrayed him by going on there. He sends me constant messages of reconciliation and apology and I am absolutely torn.
    Thanks again for your insight.

    1. Ended up here after another surreal and saddening day of being ignored by my AS husband of one year. We had a long distance relationship (very long) after meeting online and travelling to each others countries. I think he’s very depressed but he treats me terribly and I’m not sure what to do. There’s very little affection now and it’s like he’s a different person. No sex since the honeymoon and although I was expecting some level of change it’s been quite dramatic. I am an empath and it all hurts so much. I’m tired of trying to be strong. I’ve done nothing to deserve this treatment but I wish I had gotten out before we got married. We’ve had some good times (usually on holiday when he’s more relaxed) but the constant drama and bizarre behaviour is soul destroying.

      1. There are quite a few ppl with AS who have YouTube videos to help us NTs understand and communicate better. Check them out

        1. Why is this always the answer. Why not YouTube videos to help the Aspies understand and communicate better. The norm is usually to follow the majority. They are in the minority. It’s pretty clear who needs to work harder to communicate. Or better yet, meet halfway. Since Aspies think they know what’s best, why don’t they date each other and spare NTs the misery of knowing them. I feel sorry for NT men and women who are struggling to try to make impossible relationships work.

      2. Get out and run. He is unable to love, he is only taking out of you and he will only stop when you no longer follow his game….run soon and fast out of it if you can.

  10. Is there a way to stay connected to my boyfriend after our breakup as friends. Has anyone done that? 5 years we have been together performing music, projects, camping. He called it off, so much stress right now with Covid 19, work, etc. He seemed to have many meltdowns and needing to isolate and be on his own by himself. He does not really talk about being aspie, and once I brought it up and he gave me that look?

    1. I am trying to negotiate a different kind of relationship or friendship. We did lockdown together and his meltdowns got more frequent and more scarey.. problem is he sees me as a key part of the problem .. which is true – since we think differently – and couples counselling made it considerably worse.. he is now trying to do a series of ‘solitary retreats’ ..when we do connect still there is a lot of love and passion – which he cannot manage at all now..
      Feel for you..

      1. That withdrawal thing is hard but it comes from them needing to recharge so NTs should be patient and let them have space even tho it’s not easy

    2. Karen, you made me laugh 😃 as inappropriate 🤣 as it’s no laughing topic, I’ve read every useful comment on the topic here, but yours takes the Cherry on top of the cake, as you said “he gave you that look”. No one else has mentioned that look, lolz I know the look, lolz. That’s the look I always ask what it means, it means something different all the time pending the interaction, but it always has different meanings behind it, and it’s interesting to learn what there thinking at that point. 🤔 I find it’s good to give them time to talk, whilst they are stringing the words to say in their minds out their lips. I have been with this adorable man (marriage material) for over a year. He’s amazing. He’s very competitive in his sports all his life, he takes it seriously. He takes his day job seriously, and he is Mr Foreman He’s got all the tools, tickets, and know how, creativity to do the job. He has had prostate cancer, he just got rid of his prostate and gine is the cancer, I don’t think grief was involved, it was just off with head, I’m fine with it problem solved. 😉 Good for him. He has much to teach me, I’m emotional. Typical women feeler, 🙄 I’m also sensative with my gifts, carer nurturer, I’m into social work, I’m from a minority group ect, had my kids, grandkids, ect. I’ve been hurt in some sense so has he, we met. He definately is like water off a platypuses back type of guy. I’m like I internalise stuff, think it over to find answer, he’s Mr Foreman, does not carry residual stuff. We are different. I love him. ❤ but I’ve just left him. Then I find my self here. 😌 I’ve had a suspicion he is Auspergus. Just a feeling. How he yarns private stuff to peers I’d rather keep close, or he gets along with anyone generally, not sure if that’s an aspie trait. I don’t, due to different kinds of abuse ect hey I’m First Nations. You should have seen the Aldie discussion on Australia day, Survival day, lolz, he just needed a hat picked up the Aussie flag hat, lolz, me well wearing a hat like that on that day, was a statement, lolz, explaining this was personal for me, he just wanted the hat to protect him. 😉 He was buying it, I was like let’s go hunting else where for a different one, he almost brought it, for me it was political as my mob have been murdered by this flag, OMG, we had not even got to our motel room yet to get a little time together in, lolz. I’m not sure if in his mind this was done and dusted, as we went and brought another hat, he looked so good wearing, matches his eyes, but I carried it, cause we don’t understand each other’s cultures obviously, I was almost offended, phew. God knows maybe we are both Aspie, maybe we are both not, maybe I am and he is not, maybe he is and I’m not. I think he is and I am either not or I’m just a bit too. I love him. ❤ but I’ve asked for a 3 month break or it’s over completely. 🤔 I’m not sure if it’s the right thing to do? But I’ve got problems due to work and have dependants, mortgage, car payments, I feel like a single Mum still, he has a job, he has his sport, my sport is put on hold, his life’s normal, I’m wondering how to make ends meet. I’ve had melt downs in front of him, I’m so embarrassed about, 😳 I usually have it together, I don’t think he gets my issues, I feel divided with this beautiful man. I fund I have to teach him also about intimacy. Touch. Hugs and a peck I feel I have to put in his diary, lolz. It’s not organic or natural. I feel he pays others more attention than me, he buys me practical things, and works in my yard with me, it’s his way by spending this time, how he says he loves me, ❤ but honestly he’d do this for anyone. He’s helpful. I have a culture we hug when greeting, I get offended at times, it takes a second, it’s been very confusing to me, sometimes that hug that creates that connection is missed, and I’ve had to refrain from effection that’s being me. Incase I’m rejected. I take it personally. I’m don’t want to offend and ask if he knows if he’s aspie. Lots goes on. He is very clever. He over looks at people too. It’s embarrassing. I was very uncomfortable with it. He likes porn too. I discovered ❤ he gets constant messages from sites still from when he was single apparently, he was looking for relationships from mama wants a one night stand sites lolz, I laugh now, cause that’s not where I’d look for a relationship. OMG. Any ways we are different. I love him. I think he lives me??? I’m not really sure but he says he does in his ways. With my issues with work in a Govt job, and the domino effect, past scripts and hurts have risen. It’s interfering with this relationship. His life is normal, he lives with his dad, and we have different separate lives, he comes each day, he stays 3 to 4 days a week, when he isn’t in another State doing his sport, or training, or working over time. 💙 he has my heart. He is either busy or tired. I feel he is unavailable for chats, and he isn’t intimate, plus I’m also wondering if he don’t need me as much due to the prostate gone? So I’m in trigger hell, 🙃 😕 and I’ve been carrying on with him about me being his last come too, and he always planning his time away taking my heart. He is 50 and I’m 49. It’s either o follow his ass to all his things which he has invited me too, but as I’ve dependants I can’t, I miss him, he don’t seem to miss me. I don’t like alcohol and sometimes his team of 40 all have to stay at venues, with pools, they eat, sport, drink and sleep 😴 in close proximity. I feel like I get the run down man. We don’t talk about us, our future. I’m seeing a divide. I think aspie may be a reason. Maybe because it’s both us contributing to the stress. But it’s all the teaching required about what a women OT somevwomen, or me at least need, want. Maybe for you to call when your going to be late for my birthday dinner thanks, the parties waiting for my arrival, but we are waiting for you? You come late, not dressed and with no present. You don’t say happy birthday, or even stopped to pick a grain of grass to represent you were thinking of me??? That kinda stuff. I had a shit time, but he takes it in his stride. So I needed the break to 1. I’m old, I need the one now, is this it? Or not, no school yard play? Will he miss me, or not, I’m getting the feeling I’m vested in this with my heart more than him. Does he need me? Probably not, by the sounds of it, we think different about everything. I’ve just started to reach out to friends, so for me alarm bells, because this should be just our business, everyone knows others dintbwalk your shoes advice isn’t always constructive. Hmm. This is long, maybe I should have just journalled. I’m thinking 🤔 well headed not want to break. I’m wondering if this gap will finalise us, or bring things back more knowledgeably. Hevsays I’m his rock. 👋 I think how when I been very critical lately of him due to repetitively explaining things that are important to me, I hate my self, he is amazing. I feel even if we were on the same platform with learning styles relationships aren’t straight lines anyway. Am I the narcissist? But if I was I wouldn’t have written this post. I’m a teacher. I’ve learnt to see through lenses of people’s different learning styles. But as we know sometimes when your the picture in the frame your looking at, you can’t see the picture right. Maybe non of us is auspie and we ate just different due to life learning, different interest. Auspie just means you don’t fit with majority. Who wants to be experts of conforming with the rules anyway. I’m First Nation I certainly don’t. There is straight up Auspie, not due to Auspie but due too not trusting the Grubbament. Who knows? Love to all in figuring stuff out. Maybe he has been the mature one and I havnt. Hmm I’m really here, wonder if I should send him this phd I’ve written here of a ethnographic nature, but hay it’s too long. Why can’t I talk to him about these thoughts? What have I got to loose, or am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? 🙃 I guess as always experimental and time will tell. Don’t blame the Auspie it always takes two to tango.

    3. Why are you wasting your time and love on someone that sounds like they don’t deserve it. I can’t understand that. Give it to someone who will treat you with love and respect. Please love yourself and move on. Sometimes the answer is staring us right in the face, but we’re still holding on to the past.

  11. Its exactly like my relationship. I feel.helpless and i dont know what to do. My aspie guy just doesnt seem to care enough to try. I want to just up and leave while hes at work and never see him again, ugh

  12. Wow. Reading this description is shocking — like someone has been spying on my life for 10 years. I’m the NT, an extrovert and very social. Also the adult child of a violent alcoholic and previously married to an abusive bipolar man, so I guess I was a sitting duck for someone who seemed intensely interested in me. But all that started 10 years ago and about 3 years ago he seemed to “check out” from our relationship. Like I was a new toy he was now bored with? We moved to a new city for a variety of practical reasons, but also with the hope it would energize our relationship. It didn’t. Like Lorice said, I had the strong urge to just up and leave while he was at work one day. Obviously, that’s not a realistic solution since we have a home and finances together. But the hurt is so deep, it’s like and adolescent cry for help by cutting. You wonder, “If I just left, how long would it take for them to notice? Hours? Days? Weeks?” I’ve suspected my partner is Aspie for a couple years after seeing a BBC show on autism. We watched it together on tv one night. It set off loud alarms in my head. He said nothing. When I’ve asked if he could identify or if he was interested in getting assessed, he also said nothing. He doesn’t show interest in fixing our relationship or understanding his own “quirks.” He just wants to work on his projects and have me leave him alone. I kept hoping there’s hope since I love him. But I can see from previous comments here that if he’s not interested in our relationship as one of his projects, there’s little hope. This is very sad, but it’s now logical why none of his previous relationships or marriage lasted longer than 5 years.

    1. Can you get him into couples counseling with you? My bf has never been diagnosed and I suspect doesn’t want to be because of the baggage that comes with being on the spectrum and all the discrimination.

      1. Why are you encouraging this woman to remain in this relationship. No couples counseling will help this guy. Most regular counselors are not equipped to work with people on the spectrum. Sadly, leave. It won’t get better, not from what you described. It sounds like you already know that.

  13. As an NT that was in a 20 year relationship, it took me 17 years to figure it out. He adamantly denies he is on the spectrum and is telling his fiance (acquired 9 months after our divorce & found out he was having an emotional affair for 4 years of our marriage) that we divorced due to his obsessions. He made no mention of the excessive neglect, never was home or helped around the house and barely spoke. I worked my butt off to salvage that marriage because I understood he had issues but was willing to see it from his perspective and work with him but his denial and lack of contribution broke me. Basically I married a booty call but since I am an independent career woman it worked until that diminished as well. If we are so awful for those on the spectrum, why do you seek us out and not just date each other?

  14. Yes, this article definitely sounds like my relationship tho my bf has never been diagnosed. I’m no expert but he shows many signs. Things fell apart when he stopped being affectionate and no longer seemed to want sexual contact because he wasn’t feeling great. He doesn’t seem to want to do anything about that and I feel like my need for affection doesn’t matter. Now he’s withdrawn altogether cuz he says he needs time to himself and as someone with an anxiety disorder and abandonment issues I haven’t been handling that well

    1. Sw…
      I can relate 110%
      I myself have been dealing with this much longer but, it’s still the same out come. I’ve finally reached the point I’m making preparations to leave. I plan on being & staying single & working on healing myself & my heart from YEARS of this bullshit. It’s a lot to swallow leaving at my age & having to move in with a relative or friend in order to get back on my feet again. Mine controlled EVERYTHING including ALL the finances. I haven’t been allowed to go to a hair stylist for 14 years. LUCKY for me I went to cosmetology school when I was young & learned to cut & highlight my own hair.

      I refuse to let this life lesson define who I am & if & when the day comes that I am willing to accept someone’s invite to dinner, etc…
      It will be with a gentleman who enjoys physical affection like hand holding, hugging & doesn’t with hold it because of not feeling well or just to be plain cruel. I believe that I’ve been mistreated for the FINAL time. Never AGAIN will I give my ALL & waste so MANY years with someone who isn’t even willing to meet halfway on ANYTHING. THIS is unacceptable & deplorable considering EVERYTHING I DID & gave for this person.
      A total deal breaker. I’ve put up with far to much & I’m DONE. My freedom to be who I AM & have my friends & family over for dinner etc… & being able to FINALLY create & do my artwork, finally making something about me & not feeling guilty means so much more then the misery I’ve been living for so long.
      I deserve to HAVE & FEEL REAL LOVE as do you Sw…

  15. Hi ! This is so exact what happened to my relationship. Is there a part 2 on this about what to do once there’s a breakup ? Thank you!

  16. Well after reading this article and all the comments I am officially convinced that I will never ever get a girlfriend. All women hate me because I’m autistic and they can’t stand my differences. Reading this article and the comments showed me that harsh reality.

    1. No Need to think like that! I am an emotional, sensitive NT married for 24 years to a wonderful Aspie man. We can really annoy the hell out of each other sometimes, but a good sense of humour, buckets of forgiveness and a MUTUAL commitment to help each other grow and develop our individual, unique talents and interests has kept us going. A shared committed Christian faith – thoughe expressed very differently – is our “cement”. And things like communication, gift giving, Christmas & socialising, spontaneity, family rituals and routines, all of that stuff can be negotiated. Don’t lose hope. Marriage can be an amazingly fun and rewarding thing. But like most things in life worth having, it takes a bit of effort!!

      1. Wow Fiona, think about what you’re encouraging. Years down the road some poor woman out there will be miserable and alone because of what you’re saying here today. His best bet is to find a aspie woman who may be able to relate to what he’s saying. Don’t make an NT suffer just because you’re willing to deal with it. That is not how life is meant to be enjoyed!

    2. There will be someone. Every relation is a relationship of some type. If for the long or the short. I think find a good communicator, a teacher, be willing to let people see inside you. Be vulnerable. It’s scary. Don’t keep cards to your self. AUSPIE isn’t a disability. It’s just a different learning style. 😌

  17. Im autistic too, and these comments have been hurtful. I’ve found a great deal of happiness with my wife, who is very open to working with me and I return that favor. We have a strong marriage. All is not lost for us, just needs to be the right person. Look for someone that already has someone in their lives that’s autistic, and then look to see what they think about that person. Good luck.

    1. You are willing to try. A lot of these people are talking about people who are NOT willing to try. These are the people that should stay out of relationships. The ones that pretend to be something they’re not and when they get you in a committed relationship, they checkout and refuse to work on the relationship. The committed person suffers and if they have kids, the kids suffer too. Who wishes an unemotional and short sighted parent on a child.

  18. PLEASE HELP! I have been involved with a man in his 50’s for 15 months, who has two teens, one autistic. It’s been incredible, passionate, stimulating intellectually and romantic in different ways. He does many things practically for me (fixes electrics, etc.). I am totally in love with him, and he says he is really in love with me (interestingly, doesn’t say it unless he is trying to smooth over a row) but he also says he often needs time out to recharge his mind, where he basically just shuts down and stares at the ceiling. He will ignore texts including from his family for a few days, He also seems hyper sensitive to criticism seeing insult where there is none. So the sudden withdrawals, hot cold affection, and silent treatments if we have the slightest row are terrible. No matter how many times I explain it tears me apart, he still does it. We have so far always made it up. (90% my going round) And in fact, every time we do we progress ever closer than before, him integrating me more with his family and kids. It feels like he’ testing me. But he was married for 15 years before me in a marriage that was unbelievably bad (wife walked out leaving him a single father with two children, a high powered job and a house that needs renovating) he says although I am his perfect woman, he is terrified and wary. Therefore, I am kept on the edge of his busy life with him seeing me 3 last minute arranged times a week usually – and to be fair, I don’t know how he copes with the workload. For many reasons I identified I think he has high functioning Aspergers (Autism). So do his kids. A few days ago, we had the most incredible night where he was so physically and emotionally close and open, like never before, I thought I had got it totally wrong. Just two days after, after a weird row when I asked what day we were meeting that week, he stormed off and shut the house door because I was trying to tie him down to a day. Strangely he insists it was me that stormed off. I never moved!
    QUESTION: AS ALWAYS I am the one to try and repair rows. Is that the usual way it is in NT/AS relationships? Don’t understand. At my wits end, I sent him a sweet article about NT/AS relationships and how to understand the differences. (Regret that now, should have raised it face to face, but article was so good) Result? A furious text finishing the relationship saying I was diagnosing him. So sad, after the last step forward.
    QUESTION:Can they become physically closer and closer (holding cuddling) as you bond, which was what was happening. Or is he right and I’ve misdiagnosed. I don’t know if he means we really are over this time (has happened before both ways), but I am heartbroken. I’m guessing reading these posts it will be weeks (if ever) until I hear from him. His last line was he hopes we can be friends.

    I guess what I’m also asking is QUESTION: how can he possibly have seen that row as ME walking off?? I get scared about reading these posts, that we make it up and I move in eventually as we have discussed… and he changes into an ice cold man. But all I can do is sob right now. And read posts to try and understand.

    1. In my opinion you just gave a text book scenario of how a relationship with an aspie is. I feel for you because I can hear how much you want to be with him. I once loved my ex-husband (aspie) with all my heart. I made so many allowances for his behavior. I tried to hard to get help for him, but he wasn’t interested. His recalling the argument as you storming off is what I call reinventing history. My ex did it all the time. After an argument he would recall a story and in every story he made himself sound logical or the one being reasonable. Another man I knew at work who has Asperger’s syndrome told me that his wife told him that when he recalls something, he doesn’t recall it correctly. He said he thinks he does that because when he is calm, he imagines that’s what he probably would have said, so he retells the event as he thinks he would have responded and not actually how he responded. Even with NT/NT couples, those things that existed, that you may have found cute, are more annoying when you get married. Same with NT/Aspie relationships. Those things that were quirky or odd only get magnified after marriage and that goes both ways. What an Aspie may have thought they could deal with becomes impossible to live with after marriage. Do yourself a favor, cut your losses and leave.

  19. Hillarious. And so very close to the truth, what I expierienced in these last two years.
    It describes so well what goes on – however i found that aspie-aspie connections are also not working better – you get entagled in 1000 hours of “defining” and “terms” qualification discussions. Easy to forgive, but self-annoying.

  20. I’m autistic, and this post describes all my relationships with my NT ex-girlfriends, especially the first one. I spent over 5 years in that relationship trying to make things work, doing everything she wanted me to do, ‘consenting’ to sex I didn’t want, repressing my feelings and blaming myself whenever things didn’t go her way. And yet, when she broke up with me, she said I was “manipulative”, that I “never tried” and that I “didn’t love her enough”. My whole life revolved around her, around her happiness. But whenever I thought I could do something I wanted (eg, play videogames with a friend), I was a monster who didn’t care about her at all. Leaving friendships, giving up my interests and only doing her bidding wasn’t enough. I now see she simply didn’t want me to be myself. She only wanted to be with me as long as I served exactly like what was described in the first section of the article, an object that shone light onto her, that made her feel like the most important being in the world. Anything other than that was unacceptable.

    And I want to point out that I’m also a woman. Queer relationships between autistics and NTs also fit the description in the article. The isolation of being a woman that was abused by other women feels worse than the actual abuse.

    Today I’m in a relationship with a fellow autistic (who also has been traumatized by their NT exes) and I never felt so happy. We are actually able to communicate, we talk to each other when we feel hurt and make amends and are dedicated to make our relationship work. I feel respected by them. I feel like a person, I feel allowed to exist as a person and not as on object. They say they feel the same way. I love them, and they love me.

    Weirdly, “love” is the least important part of our relationship. Shared values, respect, acceptance, communication and commitment to work on our issues are much greater than an abstract notion that we can’t truly define. I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone else, but if I would give advice, this would be it. Love as abstraction doesn’t matter. Love is what you feel torward your partner(s) when you share values, when you respect and accept each other, communicate clearly and are willing to work together to build a life together. Other than that, a relationship is just “take-take” and one of you (or both) will be deeply hurt in the end, craving the result (love) but unwilling to work in the process. If any part is unwilling to do the work, the one who is should leave, because that relationship is not worth it.

    I feel hurt by a lot of the comments from NTs in this post, and if before I was only considering never getting in close relationships with NTs again, now I feel like I ought to do that to avoid further traumatization. Autists are always reduced to our worst actions, and NTs are always just “misunderstood”.

    1. I’m autistic, too, and I’ve been following this post for quite some time. I get hurt by the comments too. There seems to be an army of angry wives out there (and it does seem to usually be wives) with a lot of built up frustration, and they seem to be very vocal online. My mother is an example – I’ve heard echoes of the other voices on this thread all my life. Like her, many women have been married for years to someone they have never learned to accommodate or communicate with, so their anger is largely due to miscommunication. Hence, I invite you to join me in the effort not to take their words to heart. I recommend also that you do everything you can to avoid them online. The internet is the safest space for autistics to find each other.

      I’m glad you’ve found someone on your wavelength. I want to state I don’t believe an autistic/neurotypical is impossible (obviously I don’t, because I’m married to an NT) – but I think it takes very intentional patience and accommodations for both parties. For example, I encourage my wife to date and have physical relationships with other women also, so that she’s getting what she needs without worrying about my sensory issues preventing her happiness and fulfillment. Luckily in our queer community these alternative arrangements are more accepted.


  21. Married for 21 years to a male ND that was diagnosed ASD about a year after our wedding. I have read the books and done the counseling and adjusted my expectations of what a relationship should entail. However, when my husband asks for me to find resources for him, there are very very few. Can you explain this or point me to what I am missing? I know ND people to be kind and supper intelligent and capable of just about anything. However, seeing the work of this relationship as so unequal is fueling resentment on my part and hurt on his. Most books would have me leave or act as a mother to my 50+ year old husband. Is there an in between or is it on me as the NT to further adjust down my expectations?

    1. Twenty-one years…God bless you. I’m just ended my 16 year marriage to my narcissistic aspie husband. When he met me he lied about so many things about himself. He refuses to see how these lies harmed our relationship. He still lies to this day and refuses to be accountable for his actions. I’m his 2nd wife. He left the last one broken. As they share an adult child, she’s still struggling to understand him. The best thing I can do for myself and our children is create a beautiful life for us. He will always be who he is…a wanna-be and pretender. I’m sure there are great guys out there that suffer from Aspergers and try to be a partner in their marriages, but this guy I married is not one of them.

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