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My boyfriend has Asperger's Syndrome, and now I think I might have it as well. How do I talk with him about this?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Dating, Health<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (23 May 2008) 8 Answers - (Newest, 5 September 2008)
A female United Kingdom age 26-29, anonymous writes:

My boyfriend (let's say J) has Asperger's, and recently, I've been starting to question myself, as a lot of our similarities lie within his AS traits. It's easy to talk to him about most things as he seems to be able to relate to them.

For example, our love of having the same cereal every day, dry, and with milk on the side. We each thought we were the only people who did this, before we met each other! I like to have the same food on certain days: roast on Sunday, curry on Wednesday, and fish and chips on Friday ... etc.

I'm quite withdrawn with anyone but my closest friend, my immediate family and J: I have a lot of acquaintances but I don't let a great deal of people get that close to me ... it just makes me feel uncomfortable, and often stressed, like I can't keep up with it.

I was constantly bullied at school for being intelligent, studious and "different", so much so that I had to move school a fair few times! I found I could never read people's intentions, so I wound up trusting no-one in the end and becoming a recluse - trying and failing to maintain good friendships.

Nowadays, I often feel I'm not being myself around friends and family, that I'm putting up a front, almost like people wouldn't get the "real me". I don't naturaly know how to act around people, and I often feel disconnected.

I can be slightly OCD, straighten curtains if they're wonky, straighten drink mats wherever I am ... else it bugs me so much that it makes me anxious. My hair and teeth have to be brushed a certain amount of times, too. It just feels more "right".

I'm hopelessly pedantic within spelling and grammar - so when I get it wrong, I get so ashamed! *lol*

For me, my computer is an obsession: I spend many hours per day on here, either on forums or chatrooms, or coding layouts.

As a result, I've made friends online (I find it a lot easier this way), and both relationships I've had have been from online dating sites. I can get to know people from a distance, which puts my mind at ease.

I detest loud noises, they can quite disturb me sometimes - I'll flinch or hold my hands to my ears or eyes.

Recently went to the Cambridge ARC website ... my AQ is 42, while J's is 46.

Another test I've taken came out as:

Your Aspie score: 137 of 200

Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 81 of 200

You are very likely an Aspie.

So yes. I'd like to talk to J about this, but not sure how to approach it with him. Part of me worries that I'll take away the only part of his life that is "normal".

Does anyone have any insight on this? I appreciate this could be difficult to answer so thankyou in advance.

View related questions: bullied, chat room

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A male reader, goodbymra United Kingdom +, writes (5 September 2008):

Hi,

I have AS myself and it is true that partner's tend to echo personality traits of their partner's this is perfectly normal. Whlist I realise that this online test might have concered you i'm sure its only supposed to be for fun and not taken seriously.

I purchased a book called The Other Half of Aspegers Syndrome by Maxine Aston ISBN 1 899280 37 5 which is a very useful guide for any partner of an AS there are others which are just as good this just hapeens to be only £8 and is a good starting book.

I wish you anyone else the best of luck dating somone with AS it can be hard work at times, but the rewards your partner can give you are great.

:-)

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (24 May 2008):

I eat cereal dry with milk on the side. I'm pedantic about grammar. I have strange compulsions about balance and other random oddities. I don't like big crowds or situations with social pressure; I'm a shy person. I don't have Asperger's Syndrome, and I don't feel like I'm strange or different. Some people are just like that. As long as it's not interfering with your everyday life, then who cares whether you have it or not? Will it affect your life in any way to have this label applied to you? What do you think you will gain from being diagnosed? The great thing is, you can connect to your boyfriend; these little traits help you to be closer, and intimacy itself is a struggle with most people on the autistic spectrum. Why change it?

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A male reader, Danielepew Mexico +, writes (24 May 2008):

Danielepew agony auntOther agony aunts have pointed out that you tend to resemble people you spend a lot of time with. I will add that Asperger isn't a syndrome you can catch from somebody else :-).

It seems to me that you're simply feeling insecure. Maybe you have some particularities, but it doesn't seem enough to qualify as a syndrome.

I also wonder what the reason for your concern can be. You mention that your having Asperger's would take away the part of your boyfriend's that's "normal". I don't understand where you want to go with this. Are you concerned about having this condition, or about the effect that would have on your boyfriend?

What I know about Asperger would make me think it would be fine if you had it, too. Both of you would understand each other well. Why should this affect your boyfriend?

Can you please elaborate?

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A female reader, lexilou United Kingdom +, writes (24 May 2008):

lexilou agony auntAspergers and Autism (which are closely related) have a 'scale' and many people can fall onto the border line of aspergers and have aspergers 'traits' without being diagnosed and even those who are diagnosed have different degrees of the symptoms. So dont worry too much, as Emilyanswers says we often take on the same personality as our partners and maybe thats why we are attracted in the first place, but if you need to, go and see your doctor if you cant get this out of your head. One of my 11 nephews and one of my sons both have traits but are not fully aspergers and live normal lifes but as I worked with children with aspergers I used to often worry more and see similarities with these children and my own child and maybe that is what is happening with you x

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A male reader, rcn United States +, writes (23 May 2008):

rcn agony auntI think you should get checked if your worried. What you mentioned is your intelligence. This syndrome is a learning disability as well. You would of had difficulty in school.

Your trust in no one is common for someone who had been bullied and trying to protect themselves from being hurt again. The difficulty in maintaining relationships here, is a social development problem, which doesn't have to be linked to negative events.

This disorder also tends to have difficulty in vocal speach. Maintaining balance, such as walking etc.

In order to get properly diagnosed, you must see a doctor. Yes, these tests are not all accurate. Believe it or not, everyone from time to time have many symptoms of different disorders, just those who have the disorders the symptoms are greater to the extent they may be an issue and may provide difficulities different areas of living.

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A female reader, Minelisse Puerto Rico +, writes (23 May 2008):

Minelisse agony auntI am not very familiar with this condition but I think you should consult a professional. It rather seems you want to have it and it somehow makes you feel special or explain everything you needed explained.

Psychological diagnosis are only meant to provide a guideline for therapy and/or medication. Your personality and/or traits, however, do not need to have a cause... it might just be who you are and that's fine!

Good luck.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (23 May 2008):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Emilyanswers, that is not strictly true. My boyfriend was diagnosed at age 20. And these tests are from the Autism Research Centre: they are designed to measure AQ.

And I'll say now that Asperger's is in no WAY an illness.

I studied autism for half a year in Psychology courses before meeting J - I know full well what it entails, which is why I am recognising a lot of them in myself, as well as a lot of my bf's traits.

Thank-you for answering - I just thought I'd clarify.

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A female reader, Emilysanswers United Kingdom +, writes (23 May 2008):

Ok, firstly internet tests are not a sign of anything. For example, I'm 68 percent gay, yet married to a nice man.

It is very unlikely you have aspergers as it is a very severe disability and it would have been noticed when you were a child.

The reason you are showing what seem to be signs of it are:

1. All personality traits of aspergers are normal - just very exagerated, or missing. They like doing logical things, and suduku is a best seller. It's normal, just more severe for them. Taking this into account, you will notice things are similar for you and your boyfriend, it does not mean you have his condition.

2. You always take on some aspects of your significant other's personality. You both change and pick up things that the other does.

We all have little ticks and odd ways, it doesn't mean we are ill. They may just be coming out more with your boyfriend.

If you are worried about it then go to the doctor and talk to him about it. Get yourself checked out. Don't bring complications into your relationship if you don't need to.

Good Luck!! xx

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