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I am waving Red Flags. When do I come clean?

(26 Posts)
WavingTheRedFlags Thu 29-Dec-16 15:55:27

I am currently single. I've been on a couple of dates with someone over the past few weeks. Christmas has got in the way at bit, but we have had daily Good morning/good night and the odd check in through the day type texts. And a couple of 'virtual dates'. I will be seeing him again tomorrow.

My issue is this.

I am the one flying the red flags. My question is, when do I tell him?

I know that the advice to people who ask this is always to tell as much as you want them to know. But I don't really have a choice. One of the issues is that I have AS and this is the first man I've dated since I received my diagnosis. I know that the AS has got in the way of relationships before. Now I know what it is, I can manage it better and talk myself down and use other strategies, but if a man knew, they could avoid triggering it. IYSWIM.

The other thing is that I grew up in a really dysfunctional family. My upbringing was emotionally and physically abusive. I know it was them, but I can't shift the thought that he deserves to know I'm not quite 'good enough' (I wouldn't say that of course). I am actually NC with my surviving parent because she is a safeguarding risk to my children.

There are hangovers from my upbringing. Most of them I manage, some of them pop up when I least expect it and catch me completely unawares. Coupled with the fact that AS stuff can do that too...

I suppose I feel that I want him to have the option of knowing some of this, probably not really much more than I've said here really, unless he asked for specific details, because if he doesn't want that in his life a) I'd rather we both knew sooner rather than later b) I don't want to become emotionally attached to someone who is going to learn these things in 3+ months time and walk away then c) until I tell someone, I feel like I'm 'lying' to them by omission and I can't lie and it eats away at me.

I'm not ashamed of anything. My upbringing is not my shame and my AS is a part of me.

I just don't know what to do about telling him.

gleam Thu 29-Dec-16 16:00:48

Could you tackle each issue as it arises, instead? Otherwise it may seem like you're trying to put him off?

And he too, may have issues that have not yet surfaced. Just take it slowly, maybe? Nobody's perfect.

WavingTheRedFlags Thu 29-Dec-16 16:05:12

Hm. Yes.

I suppose I wasn't really thinking of sitting him down and saying "right" and just offloading everything.

I'm not trying to put him off, obviously, but if it is going to put him off I'd rather just get it over and done with. Is kind of how I feel!

And yes, he isn't perfect either. I know that.

WavingTheRedFlags Thu 29-Dec-16 16:05:30

Hm. Yes.

I suppose I wasn't really thinking of sitting him down and saying "right" and just offloading everything.

I'm not trying to put him off, obviously, but if it is going to put him off I'd rather just get it over and done with. Is kind of how I feel!

And yes, he isn't perfect either. I know that.

Branleuse Thu 29-Dec-16 16:05:33

people with aspergers can have sucessful fulfilling relationships, and so can people with dysfunctional upbringings. I dont think youre being fair on yourself to say that those things make you be waving red flags.

It would be easy to think on here that any sort of personal flaws make you unworthy of a relationship, but in real life lots of us are flawed, lots of us have imperfect relationships with imperfect people and make it work because we love them and they love us, flaws and all

WavingTheRedFlags Thu 29-Dec-16 16:12:19

I know what you're saying, Branleuse, but there are often threads on here about what red flags there are and they are often things like being NC with family members, not having many friends, not talking on the phone etc... all of those describe me.

As much as anything, I think that the AS has got in the way before but I didn't know that's what it was. I suppose part of me would like to tell him now so that he is aware and I don't have to spend weeks trying to manage my feelings when if he'd known, he might have done/said something differently.

I'd like it to not get in the way this time! But it only won't if I share it.

UnbornMortificadoAtChristmas Thu 29-Dec-16 16:16:22

Some of what your saying applies to me. I have MH issued instead of AS.

I'm happily married although DH met me in hospital so he knew what he was letting himself in for.

WavingTheRedFlags Thu 29-Dec-16 16:28:49

Hm thanks.

Because of my upbringing and subsequent relationships, there hasn't been a whole lot of love floating round generally.

I don't remember the last time I felt loved. It was probably when I was a child. So I don't really expect that. I wouldn't know if I was loved now anyway!

Perhaps I shouldn't be even thinking of a relationship after all.

WavingTheRedFlags Thu 29-Dec-16 16:30:19

Sorry, unborn that sounded bit hmm. It wasn't supposed to!

Clearly, your husband loves you and did do despite any 'issues'. Was it ever an issue?

UnbornMortificadoAtChristmas Thu 29-Dec-16 16:38:32

Things like speaking on the phone and not having too many friends in RL. I'm not very affectionate either blush

My anxiety was bad last year drinking before lunch hysterical and trying to calm down wasn't a high point for us.

I still have "quirks". I realise AS and MH issues are completely different. The only real experience I have is on here but I can sometimes relate a bit with posts.

Off course you deserve a loving relationship

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Thu 29-Dec-16 16:44:17

You've only been on a couple of dates so don't think you owe it to this man to reveal all your flaws and insecurities.
I think you need to build up a connection with him first and only start sharing your past with him when you feel you trust him and you're ready. It can make you feel very vulnerable to expose yourself emotionally. There's no rush.

Please don't get in the mindset of thinking that you're damaged goods or not worthy of a relationship. flowers
You deserve happiness and to be treated well as much as anyone else.

By all means tell him about your past if you feel it's the right moment. The same with your AS but don't feel obligated to blurt it all out.
Good luck with it.

NotYoda Thu 29-Dec-16 16:50:30


I think you are worrying about the Red Flags thing when I doubt many men are reading the websites that list these things! Those websites relate to abusive behaviour and you are not abusive, nor (I strongly suspect) would anyone ever imagine you to be.

I think I would mention the AS fairly early on. And mention that you manage it.

But I think that you really do not feel "good enough" (despite you saying you are not ashamed, you also said this about yourself) and that is what you'll need to come to terms with.

throwingpebbles Thu 29-Dec-16 17:02:03

I think you are over thinking this. Everyone has flaws /skeletons in their closet etc. That's just the reality

However, I was on very strong anti depressants and sleeping tablets when I met DP. I wanted to tell him, and he was so understanding that that helped me relax in his company more. I had not long come out of an abusive relationship and telling him that helped him to be understanding about my reactions to some things (eg when I started shaking when I dropped a cup and it smashed as ex would have shouted a lot).
So I think there is some benefit in opening up a little so that they are given the chance to understand and support you

NotTheFordType Thu 29-Dec-16 17:05:18

I don't remember the last time I felt loved.

Don't your DC make you feel loved?

I would put the AS diagnosis out there fairly early on, but do it as a very "oh by the way" type thing, not a "Sit down - I need to tell you something really really heavy." Just "Oh yeah, I don't really like talking on the phone, it's because of my AS. Did I tell you about that before? I was diagnosed last year, and now I have a diagnosis I'm much better at managing my little quirks." (I don't mean to minimise your condition by saying "quirks" but it's an easier lead in for a potential partner than saying "condition" which might have them thinking that it's more serious or life-limiting than it is.)

I would leave the NC with your family until a bit further down the line. You don't have to go into details, just saying "I'm afraid my mum is a nasty piece of work and I've had to cut her out of my life to avoid endangering my child. I don't really want to go into details, I'm sure you understand." (If he doesn't understand, he's a cock!)

JennyHolzersGhost Thu 29-Dec-16 17:15:58

OP I don't want to seem harsh but you've only had a couple of dates. It's far too soon to start unloading that kind of thing onto someone new to your life.
Do you think that your experiences in life make you particularly black and white about relationships perhaps ? In my experience I've known people with similar backgrounds and when they are 'on' with me they have been 110% 'on' iyswim - they find boundaries and gradual evolution of a relationship difficult.
I think you need to take this guy very slowly and keep in mind that it shouldn't be all or nothing from the word go. Obviously if your condition means that some situation comes up in which it's relevant then you'll probably need to mention it. But I'd think sitting the guy down and giving him all of this so early on a propos of nothing would be very counterproductive I'm afraid.

Italiangreyhound Thu 29-Dec-16 17:33:43

Totally agree with NottheFord great advice.

OP go at your own pace, you may need to explore some of this yourself and build up your self confidence.

You sound lovely.

What you describe are not red flags, to me! I think red flags usually refer to potentially abusive relationship elements, IMHO. You sound like a great, resilient and thoughtful person.


AnotherEmma Thu 29-Dec-16 17:44:50

When we talk about "red flags" we usually mean signs that someone could be abusive. I don't think any of the things you describe are red flags in that sense!

The AS is relevant as you've said it affects your behaviour and relationships, but since you're aware of it yourself, I don't think it has to prevent you from being a good partner and having a healthy relationship. In your position I think I would mention it but not make a big deal of it.

The abusive childhood is a bit more tricky I think, because it's clearly (and understandably) had an impact on your self-esteem and your confidence when it comes to relationships. I don't think you have to tell a new boyfriend about it, certainly not at this early stage, but I do think you need to make sure you're working on it, ie healing some of the damage and building your self esteem so that you're in a stronger place to have a relationship and feel happy and confident within it. Hope that makes sense?

If you haven't already, I suggest you check out NAPAC and the Stately Homes thread.


Mumfun Thu 29-Dec-16 19:04:05

I have found out recently that I likely have AS. But I function well in life. People would realise that I am quirky but I think unikely to guess . Im dating. I wouldnt say Ive got AS till much later on in dating. I dont regard it as a big deal for me or actually as a disadvantage. I also have significant family disfunction. But Ive worked through it and have had counselling. I have friends who are like family. I feel in a really good place

Not to say OP what you should do or not do. But I think you should be more confident of the positives you bring to a new partner and not worry about your differences being disadvantages. Doubtless due to being AS you will be honest and straightforward and they will learn what you are like and who you are truly anyway. I would leave the other stuff to later.

KickAssAngel Thu 29-Dec-16 19:18:01

Are you both wanting a 'relationship' or just dating and having some fun?

If you're just having fun, then you don't need to tell him. If both of you are hoping that this will develop, then presumably you'll talk about things as you feel ready.

If he's interested, presumably he'll ask about your family. also, you could just tell him a few of your quirks without needing to explain them, e.g. I don't much like chatting on the phone, and see how he reacts. If he accepts that, and says "sure, we can text if you'd rather" or " sometimes I'd like to talk things through, would that be OK" then you know that he's OK with you, even without needing to have a full disclosure about why you don't like talking on the phone.

I hope I've explained that well enough.

ANd yes - 'red flags' generally means someone who's abusive and trying to hide it. You don't sound like you fit that description.

I'd also say that you are fully deserving of love. You may find it hard to recognise, but look for the small things, like your kids smiling, or a friend/colleague who does something kind. Not all love has to be the same as a romantic relationship, but people can appreciate you and enjoy being with you.

WavingTheRedFlags Thu 29-Dec-16 19:32:58

Thanks everyone. It looks like you're all essentially saying the same thing. That I should address things as they come up but not feel the need to just explain everything all at once. I will be straightfoward and honest as things come up, but it's the family stuff that was bothering me more anyway tbh.

KickAss I think we both want a relationship. Well he says he does... and I do, with the right person... He's already asked about my family, I've skirted around it a bit, as I always do. And I've already had the talking on the phone conversation, and he was fine with that...

I think the main way it affects a 'blossoming' thing is that I can't read people very well. Unless someone actually says, "I like you", "I fancy you" or whatever, I can't tell! I'm getting better at recognising the signs that other people have told me signify interest, but I don't really get any further than, "he has asked me to go out again so I haven't put him off yet" but it's like every time I see someone I feel I'm starting from square 1 again. I don't get a sense of building on something that progressed last time. Which, I'm led to believe, is what normally happens!

And yes, to talking things through!

You've explained that really well. So thanks.

Mumfun No, I don't see it as being a disadvantage either, but people do notice some of my quirks and occasionally comment on them. I don't mind, it's good natured, but I worry about people thinking I'm doing it to be quirky. IYSWIM. I often don't notice I'm doing something until someone notices. But yes, I'll do what you suggest, I think. That sounds like a good approach.

Going out with my AS friend this evening so I'll talk it through with her too. We do tend to advise each other a lot. I do sometimes wonder how useful/accurate/good the advice we give each other is though, given how utterly clueless we both are. We both sound so certain when we're telling each other how to handle a situation too. grin

WavingTheRedFlags Thu 29-Dec-16 19:34:34

To clarify, I can't read people very well generally. I can't tell if they're bored or whatever. If someone's laughing I assume they're happy and sad if they're crying but if it's not really obvious, I do struggle a bit. I think I can. But I've learnt that I can't...

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Thu 29-Dec-16 19:43:27

Ah good luck, red you sound very sweet and considerate. smile Try not to worry and just be yourself. Getting to know each other gradually and discussing things as they come up seems the best way forward.

It's lovely you want to be honest but if something such as family comes up and you don't feel comfortable talking about it, it's also fine to say "it's complicated, I' d rather not talk about it yet".

I hope it works out.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Thu 29-Dec-16 20:44:50

You sound lovely OP, but I do think you need to try to stop fretting and slow down a bit :0)
Most of us have history and skeletons in our wardrobes, and none of us come with a full set of instructions or a full disclosure of our private details.
You are not being deceitful about anything - let things evolve naturally and only then take a view.
In terms of your quirkiness, it is part of the lovely you, and again, if HE is right for you, it won't matter one jot x

UnbornMortificadoAtChristmas Thu 29-Dec-16 23:21:33

You sound lovely waving you really do flowers

throwingpebbles Thu 29-Dec-16 23:29:41

waving my DP can be like that, he is almost certainly AS. I have learnt to just tell him! He has a good heart and wants the best for me. If you are self aware and able to articulate what you find hard and how they can help then you are going to be a great partner to someone smile

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