“Why is my boyfriend [with ASD] so stubborn and closed-minded?”
Realizing that your boyfriend on the autism spectrum will not be a good observer of his own behavior is your first step in understanding him. ASD-like behavior is often a result of anxiety that accompanies mind-blindness.
On way for the person on the spectrum to reduce anxiety is to have rules, strict routines, and lots of structure in his life. This often appears to others as very rigid behavior. This rigidity is the most common reason for relationships problems.
Reasons for rigidity include the following:
- anxiety about a current or upcoming event, no matter how trivial it might appear to you
- any violation of a rule or ritual (changing something from the way it is “supposed” to be)
- immediate gratification of a need
- misunderstanding or misinterpretation of other's actions
- sensory sensitivities
- the need to avoid or escape from a non-preferred activity (e.g., chit chat)
- need to control a situation
- need to engage in or continue a preferred activity, usually an obsessive action or fantasy
- transitioning from one activity to another (this is usually a problem because it may mean ending an activity before he is finished with it)
Understanding your boyfriend involves knowing the traits of the disorder - and how they manifest themselves in everyday behaviors. How does he view the world, think about things, and react to what is going on in his environment?