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Dating someone with autism

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hey guys, hoping some of you will be able to help me out a bit here.

Over the past few days I've been getting really close to a guy who was an acquaintance. He's in my year at college, and he is lovely.

I wouldn't have really known, but he's told me he's got autism and ADHD. I know a lot about ADHD but very little about autism. I just wondered if there's anything I should be aware of if we start seeing each other?

He doesn't really like being out in groups, but nor do I so that's totally fine. He sometimes says things a bit too honestly, but again that's not really a problem because I've realised he does this and so know not to over react if he says something that seems unkind.

He is very confused about my eating disorder (bulimia) and doesn't understand that I sometimes don't want to eat. Is it worth trying to explain to him more, or will it just be like talking to a brick wall?

Just wanted to hear some experiences of autism really, I know very little about it! Thanks in advance :)

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    First of all, we're all different. IE, some of us (including me) have issues with crowds, etc.

    If this was me, I would ask him what problems he has. You may find that he struggles to explain himself, it doesn't quite come out as intended, etc.

    I think it is worth you explaining your eating disorder. You may have to explain it differently to how you'd explain to others. Some of us struggle with taking things literally, metaphors, etc.

    You should also probably be aware that many people on the spectrum have sensory issues. We can either be too sensitive (hyper sensitive) or too undersentive (hyposensitive) - this can include things like touch, noise, light, etc.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for your reply Melian :) I might talk to him about it on Monday, he hasn't spoken to me about it at all he just said it in a text so I'm not sure if he's happy discussing it or not.

    He has said to me he failed his English language exam because he can't make up stories (which is a key part of the exam) so I'm thinking me might not be too good with things such as metaphors as he struggles with creative writing.

    Also, am I right in thinking that it is common for Autistic people to have a few things they really focus on in detail? For instance, he can tell me what every single car is and the year it was made by looking at something as small as a window or door. He knows all the train times for every train going from the local station, and is a national gymnast (goes to gym 20 hours a week!!) I wasn't sure if the total dedication to these things are to do with Autism, or if I've totally just made up that Autistic people sometimes devote themselves to a few things?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru

    Also, am I right in thinking that it is common for Autistic people to have a few things they really focus on in detail? For instance, he can tell me what every single car is and the year it was made by looking at something as small as a window or door. He knows all the train times for every train going from the local station, and is a national gymnast (goes to gym 20 hours a week!!) I wasn't sure if the total dedication to these things are to do with Autism, or if I've totally just made up that Autistic people sometimes devote themselves to a few things?

    This is true for a lot of us. I've had to hide one or two of mine because they're not that socially acceptable. :blush:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Sounds like he might have aspergers. If that's the case then the main thing with aspies is everything is very black and white and they take everything literally and don't pick up on sarcasm and irony too well and find it hard to pick up on other peoples feelings. So if you're ever upset and he asks what's wrong and you say 'nothing' - then they will take that as a serious answer and move on. They also like predictability and routine. Obviously everyone is a bit different but I think they're the biggest main characteristics you need to bear in mind. It can be very frustrating dealing with them as you often have to repeat yourself several times when saying things and you also need to be careful to give them very specific instructions if you ask them to do something they've never done before on their own. But usually once you get to know them it's not too bad. Just take them as they are and don't make a big deal out of it. But at the same time if it's too much then best to be clear early on.

    ETA: And yeah it's true about fixations. For years my brother was obsessed with lining his toy cars and trains up all in neat rows on the landing and he was mad about trains. Now he's mad about minis and will talk about them all the time. Another thing I forgot to mention but you may have noticed is they're not good with social ques either. So if there's a group of people having a conversation about a certain topic, they will suddenly butt in and start talking about something completely unrelated because they think it's interesting. And as you've mentioned they will often say the wrong thing at the wrong time and can often embarrass people or put their foot in it without realising. Kind of like word vomit, they often just say whatever is in their head
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Can I just say thank you for bothering to actually take the time to ask about Autism instead of making really judgmental (and often inaccurate) comments. Have had a few people this week who'd rather make ignorant comments which aren't true, instead of bothering to research / ask about Autism.

    Also, Aspergers is a form of Autism. But they tend to have less difficulties.

    If he does make a social mistake and you point this out to him, please explain exactly what he's done wrong, so he knows not to make that mistake next time.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thank you both for your replies :) I've seen him briefly this evening, went for a dog walk. Had a really nice time and I'm honestly so excited because I think this is going to blossom into something lovely. Eeeekkk!

    We had a bit of a chat about habits, also discovered he can tell what planes they are in the sky. (Seriously, I could hardly fucking see it!) told him about some of mine (hatred of soft material etc etc) we came to the conclusion that we're equally weird so it's all fine :p

    Ballerina, I think the social ques things is going to be the trickiest thing to be sensitive to if that is a problem for him. I'm very prone to say there's nothing wrong when there is etc. Thanks for pointing that out to me though, I'll bare it in mind in future.

    Melian, I felt it was important to ask because I know I have issues that aren't the easiest to deal with... and I'd hate it if someone just wrote me off because I wasn't "normal". I'm really glad I didn't come across as rude or anything!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It might do you good if it can get you into the habit of talking about what's wrong if you're asked, so you could get some good out this too! But if you don't want to talk it's best to just be honest and say something like 'Don't worry it isn't you (if it isn't, if it is as Melian said it's best to tell them then and there), I just don't feel like talking about it right now and need a bit of time to unwind. But we can discuss it later/tomorrow etc.' At least then it's clear, you've put their mind at rest and they know what to expect later on/tomorrow if you want to bring it back up and aren't suddenly surprised.
  • littlemissylittlemissy knit chick Posts: 9,972
    Melian wrote: »
    Also, Aspergers is a form of Autism. But they tend to have less difficulties.

    I wouldn't quite agree with that. ASD is on a scale and they are now trying to phase out the term aspergers because it is all encompassed on the ASD scale (autistic spectrum disorder). I have known children who have an aspergers diagnosis be far mo complex than an autistic child. It's a sliding scale.

    As per your issue, Broken Angel, as Ballerina says, a lot of ASD cases are very literal. If you said "pull yer socks up" in ref to someone being lazy, they would literally pull their socks up.

    However, you seem to already know him. This is the most important thing. He just may have some little quirks, like remembering every tiny little detail about cars, that you will have to get used to. Also, if you forget something, they will remember e erythronium - so don't promise to take him out for a romantic tea and then deny all knowledge ... He will remember every word you said and you won't be able to get out of it ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    so don't promise to take him out for a romantic tea and then deny all knowledge ... He will remember every word you said and you won't be able to get out of it ;)

    Haha okay thanks littlemissy!

    He's really anxious about the whole me in his room thing. I'm going over tomorrow, but he said his whole family are there and he doesn't want to be with them, so I suggested we could sit in his room and he seems very worried about it. He was saying it's just full of car stuff and there's nothing I will like, and I said it's fine I'll bring over my laptop and some board games but he's still very anxious. Wondering if there's anything I can do to put him at ease? Not sure if this is related to autism or not but need advice all the same!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Can't you go out and do something instead if it's that big of an issue?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I wouldn't quite agree with that. ASD is on a scale and they are now trying to phase out the term aspergers because it is all encompassed on the ASD scale (autistic spectrum disorder). I have known children who have an aspergers diagnosis be far mo complex than an autistic child. It's a sliding scale.

    From experience it's true. People with ASD have speech delays, whereas people with Aspergers don't.
  • littlemissylittlemissy knit chick Posts: 9,972
    Melian wrote: »
    From experience it's true. People with ASD have speech delays, whereas people with Aspergers don't.

    Firstly, ASD encompasses both autism and aspergers. ASD is the term that incorporates all autism and aspergers. As I said before, they are phasing out the term aspergers because lines are all blurry. Some people have characteristics of both hence the reason it will all come under one umbrella term of ASD.

    And, as I said before, it is a sliding scale WRT to things like speech delay. Some autistic children do not have it, some do. Just like some aspergers have mild symptoms and others severe. In all my time working with ASD children I have never ever met 2 with exacly the same traits.

    So, as I said before (again), this makes the statement that those with aspergers having less difficulties as void. It completely depends on the individual. Last year I had 4 children with ASD in my class. The child with the aspergers had vastly greater difficulties than my autistic child. But they are still all ASD.

    BA, the issues with his room will be quite a personal one. He will be scared of you touching his things, moving them, etc. it is a special space that you will be invading, so to speak. Entrance to somewhere "sacred" will take time. I'd agree with ballerina - see about going out for a walk, or even, just in the garden if he needs to stay at home for whatever reason.

    My advice would be to take it easy, not rush and to take your cues from him. Good luck with it. Let us know how you get on. Having worked with a lot if ASD, the different agencies and a research project, I do have a lot of experience in the field and if you want advice then feel free to get in touch :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks littlemissy :) spoken to him today, and tomorrow I'm heading to his house and if it's too busy/he's anxious we're going to go to the park down the road.
    I really like the fact that I'm having to think about my actions carefully, I think it's going to be a very positive thing. Quite often I rely on the other person in a relationship to be careful what they say to me, not to trigger me blah blah blah, and it's made me a bit of a bitch and quite lazy when it comes to thinking about other peoples feelings. I feel quite confident about this, I hope it goes well. I really have a good time with him.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    (goes to gym 20 hours a week!!)

    Fit as fuck. Jammy cow :thumb: :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    RubberSkin wrote: »
    Fit as fuck. Jammy cow :thumb: :)

    Haha he definitely is! :razz:
  • Starry nightStarry night Incredible Poster Posts: 674
    I have two friends with Autism. Both are very honest people, but they can get themselves really worked into knots about really small things, because there is just a misunderstanding, but they were too embarrassed to ask, or feel stupid, because you didn't tell them that they did something that looked a little strange to other people.
    So, my advice, for what it's worth is to be as honest as possible, explaining that it's because he's really honest with you-and you think that's great- and because you're considering his perspective on things equally as much as your own.
    Hope all goes well :d
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Broken-Angel ... just as an FYI, here is a list of famous people with various degrees of autism. :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_with_autism_spectrum_disorders
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks guys! :) It's all going well so far!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Heyy guys :wave: So, bit of an update and also a few more questions!!

    It's all going really well, and he's absolutely lovely but there's a couple of things that (I assume!) are because of his autism that I don't really understand.

    So I saw a text to a girl saying "come and stay round my house and get drunk with me" (not just randomly it was in a conversation, and she did say no) now... I was really upset by this, and he didn't seem to understand why at all. Obviously I took that text to mean he was going to cheat on me, but when I said that he seemed genuinely shocked and hurt by the fact I thought he'd do that. I'm in two minds about it, I explained to him why it was wrong and he was very sorry, but then I question maybe he was going to cheat on me and he was just lying about not understanding?? :confused: I think because of how I've been treated in the past I assume the worst, and I just wanted some opinions from people who've dealt with autism more than I have.

    Next, he's not great at dealing with being upset. If I get upset so does he, but he can't deal with it so it turns to anger. He's not violent or abusive or anything, but I can see in his face he really hates being like that and I wondered if there was anything I could do to support him?

    Everything else is really amazing, just a couple of things that I want to be able to understand more. He's really supportive of me, and I just want to make sure I don't over react to something that he really didn't realise was wrong. It's his first proper relationship as well, and my first with someone with autism so I think it's a learning curve for both of us!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This is opinion based on experience with friends with ASDs, I'm not an expert, others may have different experiences [/disclaimer].

    OK, so he won't have much thought about people outside the situation having to interpret it (any situation). The "come and stay round my house and get drunk with me text" is likely to have meant exactly that. Otherwise I suspect it would have said "come and get drunk and have sex with me" (or something equally unsubtle). Since he won't be looking for another meaning in what he wrote, because he knows what he meant, it will be hard for him to see that meaning even when you've pointed it out.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The thing to remember, IME, is that most things people with ASD say are very literal. As piccolo says, if he says to someone "come round and have a drink/get drunk" he means just that: come to my house and have a beer or eight. If he was wanting sex from someone else he'd have probably been either extremely unsubtle about it or actually completely blunt about it. People with ASD don't seem to do nuance or subtlety, they tend to say what they think and think what they say.

    If he starts displaying signs of anger, it is probably simply a case of frustration taking over. If he doesn't understand why you're upset, and doesn't understand how to comfort you, then that will be a huge source of frustration for him. And frustration often appears the same as anger, as any parent of a toddler will tell you.

    Again, this is only my experience and don't want to over-generalise.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks guys :) I do feel a bit more at ease about the text now, I didn't think of it in literal terms at all. I know he does take things completely literally (like if I say something sarcastic he thinks I really mean it) thank you for making me see it that way!!

    Also with the anger/frustration, I think it is mainly my fault because when I get upset I close up and even though he can see I'm upset I wont let him help. He doesn't understand a lot of my mental health problems (like hearing voices) and I think that frustrates him too because he can't see a physical problem so there isn't one in his view. I'm fairly stable at the moment though, having just started a new medication, so everything on that front is okay.

    He came into college this morning looking really grumpy and upset, I thought something really bad had happened and I asked him... and it turned out there are only 3 left of one of the VW vans he wants and he was really annoyed :lol: did make me smile.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The thing to remember, IME, is that most things people with ASD say are very literal. As piccolo says, if he says to someone "come round and have a drink/get drunk" he means just that: come to my house and have a beer or eight. If he was wanting sex from someone else he'd have probably been either extremely unsubtle about it or actually completely blunt about it. People with ASD don't seem to do nuance or subtlety, they tend to say what they think and think what they say.

    If he starts displaying signs of anger, it is probably simply a case of frustration taking over. If he doesn't understand why you're upset, and doesn't understand how to comfort you, then that will be a huge source of frustration for him. And frustration often appears the same as anger, as any parent of a toddler will tell you.

    Again, this is only my experience and don't want to over-generalise.

    This is very true for me. Ditto what Piccolo said.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ditto what everyone else said.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    -I strongly believe and know that the majority of us on the autism spectrum are very loyal individuals. When we get attached to someone, we're attached to that person. This can make it hard if we go through a break-up because our grieving period can be longer than many people.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Make sure you are very clear with your emotions and he with his if he can. Sending him mixed signals could confuse him but also get you guys into trouble.
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