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I think my boyfriend may have Asperger's...

“I’m currently dating a guy who is a very quiet and gentle person, but a bit odd in some ways. I’ve told some of my friends about how he acts, and a couple have suggested he has Asperger syndrome. What are some of the traits? How does it affect relationships? I would like to make this work, so I want to learn more about what to expect (and not expect). Thanks in advance!”

Although there are many possible symptoms related to Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism in adulthood, the main symptom is usually “difficulty with social situations” regardless of the age of the individual. The individual may have mild to severe symptoms, or have a few or many symptoms. Because of the wide variety of symptoms, no two people with the disorder are alike.

Symptoms in adulthood may include the following:
  • sometimes have an inability to see another person's point of view
  • often lack of emotional control, particularly with anger, depression, and anxiety
  • often excel because of being very detail-oriented
  • may have problems engaging in "small talk"
  • may find it frustrating and emotionally draining to try to socialize
  • may feel "different" from others
  • may be naive and too trusting, which can lead to workplace teasing/bullying
  • may appear immature for their age
  • have difficulty with high-level language skills (e.g., reasoning, problem solving, being too literal, etc.)
  • are typically uninterested in following social norms, fads, or conventional thinking, allowing creative thinking and the pursuit of original interests and goals
  • are focused and goal-driven
  • have a preference for rules and honesty may lead them to excel in their job
  • talk a lot about a favorite subject
  • speech may be flat and difficult to understand because it lacks tone, pitch, and accent
  • one-sided conversations are common
  • most are very honest, sometimes to the point of rudeness
  • may not understand a joke or may take a sarcastic comment literally
  • may have an awkward walk
  • are unable to recognize subtle differences in speech tone, pitch, and accent that alter the meaning of others’ speech
  • are preoccupied with only one or few interests, which he or she may be very knowledgeable about
  • are overly interested in parts of a whole or in unusual activities (e.g., designing houses, drawing highly detailed scenes, studying astronomy, etc.)
  • internal thoughts are often verbalized
  • may have an unusual facial expression or posture
  • have heightened sensitivity and becomes over-stimulated by loud noises, lights, strong tastes, certain textures, etc.
  • have a formal style of speaking (e.g., may use the word "beckon" instead of "call" or the word "return" instead of "come back")
  • do not pick up on social cues (e.g., being able to read others' body language, start or maintain a conversation, taking turns talking, etc.)
  • dislikes any changes in routines
  • have difficulty with transitions
  • difficulty regulating social/emotional responses involving anger, or excessive anxiety
  • difficulties associated with this disorder can cause them to become withdrawn and socially isolated and to have depression or anxiety
  • may avoid eye contact or stare at others
  • may appear to lack empathy
  • may appear to be "in his/her own world"

Many of these individuals find their way to psychiatrists and other mental health providers where the true, developmental nature of their problems may go unrecognized or misdiagnosed (30-50% of all adults with Asperger’s are never evaluated or correctly diagnosed).

Many adults with Asperger’s have been able to utilize their skills, often with support from loved ones, to achieve a high level of function, personally and professionally – and some represent a unique resource for society, having the single mindedness and consuming interest to advance our knowledge in various areas of science, math, etc.

Their rigidity of style and idiosyncratic perspective on the world can make interactions difficult, both in and out of the family. There is a risk for mood problems (e.g., depression, anxiety). They are often viewed by others as eccentric, and they can be challenged by the social and emotional demands of marriage (although many do marry). 

Many also have coexisting conditions, such as anxiety disorder, ADD or ADHD, depression, OCD, and social anxiety disorder.


2 comments:

  1. I’m just curious...if some Aspies can feel and recognize their own emotions why can’t they feel and understand those of their NT partner? I’ve heard one say that at his dads funeral he looked around and everyone was crying but he was indifferent and didn’t feel grief. However the grieving by his sister as evidenced by her Facebook Post angered him so that he blocked communication with her and accused her of seeking sympathy for her own ego boosts. Also, he often states his displeasure and hatred with mainstream society and those of social status in our region. Such as those women whom are “delta divas” as he calls them. He downgrades them, Calls them names and says nasty things about them and doesn’t even know them and has never met them. How On Earth can you feel and outwardly express your own emotions and recognize them but Fail to recognize that of another and completely disregard them or chastise them for it. Thanks in advance:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm going to guess on this one. I think he is upset that he can't feel the same way as his sister. This in turn makes him angry so he lashes out.

    I feel emotions, and can sometimes understand what others are feeling. But I see things that I guess make me angry too.

    The one I guess I get angry about the most, is when normal looking people "freak out" when they see something out think about something that's just NOT important. ( at least I don't think it is)

    For instance, I think Elvis Presley was the best singer of all time. I would have loved to go to his concert.

    However, I would not have screamed, started bawling or passed out. yet I see this reaction to celebrities all the time.

    I don't get it, they're just people who have a talent they can share??

    I see YouTube videos of people getting presents that they REALLY wanted and they go into hysterics??

    In a way I'm also jealous about how others can Express their feelings like that.

    For instance, I tried for over 20 years to get pregnant. I FINALLY was able to adopt my son.

    People actually asked me after being there with me when I held him for the first time if I REALLY did want to be a mom.

    I think because I didn't break down bawling, and probably wasn't even smiling they thought I thought I had made a mistake.

    However on the inside, my smile was bigger than anyone's ever was. My heart was so big I couldn't even believe it was finally happening. Yet all I could do, was stare at this tiny bundle of joy and watch him.

    luckily I can write what I'm feeling and my Facebook page soon became full of my love and photos for my son.

    Just because we can't always show it, and we get angry when others can, doesn't mean we aren't deeply emotional people on the inside.

    I guess hr can only Express his anger.

    Hope that helps you understand more.

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