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Boyfriend acts like he is from a different world - could he really have Asperger's?

(95 Posts)
Yesyesyesyeswhatever Sat 25-Mar-17 13:11:11

Sorry, this is long! Thank you if you can bear with me.

I got together with my DBF half a year ago. We met online and there was an instant connection. He fell in love with me instantly and after his first few messages that seemed so "otherworldly", romantically old-fashioned, passionate and creative, so did I. We connected emotionally in so many ways and skipped the "small talk" and "games" bit that I find is usually present in early online stuff. He told me very painful things about his past that he had never shared with anyone before. He told me how he had been called weird all his life and that he reckoned he had some level of ASD and possibly ADHD. I know a lot about AS, so told him it wasn't a "bad" thing. He is just wired differently. We all have different talents and all are on a spectrum of "normality" vs. whatever else.

When I was to meet him the first time after 2 months of constant messages and talking on the phone (was abroad for a while), he became worried that I wouldn't like him in person. I assured him that there was no reason to think that. However, on meeting him straight off the bus (he lives a long bus ride from me), I realised that he had misled me. He appeared older, had a pony tail and had gained a considerable amount of weight (the pictures he had put online and sent to me -only 3, and only one of his face, as he said he hates his picture being taken - depicted him as being quite athletic looking with shortish hair). I felt confused, sad and angry. I held his hand for a while, but then told him that I had to go. I was devastated, as I didn't understand how he could do it to me. I deleted him from my phone, but he asked if he could write me emails. I relented. He was so sorry and devastated too. I missed him. I wanted him back.

After reconnecting, I made him come clean about his age. He was 12 years older than he had originally said, so 15 years older than me. My STBEXH is only three years younger than him,so this is not a massive leap for me, but was still hurt and grieved for the man I thought he was. He said he fell in love with me, so could not think further than that he wanted to write to me and I had set my age "preference" as younger.

He was very apologetic and admitted being a shit person. He repeatedly told me that I should just get rid of him and that I deserved better. This happens still frequently even though I have come to terms with it all and understand he wasn't meaning to be hurtful. He does come across as being quite naïve and childlike in some ways. He very much believes in fairytale romance and that I am his princess. The most beautiful girl in the world.

I have now pretty much lived with him for a few months and am moving in next month. As he is able to connect emotionally, maintains eye contact, is an attentive and passionate sex partner and tells me that he loves me all the time, I dismissed his suspected AS as being just sensitive, somewhat obsessive compulsive, anxious and behavioural result of trauma in childhood. However, for the last week I am thinking more and more that he has AS.

Once I came home from work earlier than he had expected. He was in the middle of cleaning and hardly said hi to me. I was exhausted and teary. I asked him for a hug and he cheerfully said he would just finish what he was doing (the dishes) and would hug me then. I went upstairs to lie down as I was so tired and waited for him. I assumed he would come to me after he had dried his hands, but instead he kept on cleaning. Even vacuuming around the bed when I had told him I was tired. He then came to the bed to (again) cheerfully tell me that if I was really tired I should just put my phone away and sleep. Or just get up. I started to feel very angry.

When he had stopped cleaning, I confronted him about not properly greeting me. He had chosen that particular time to thoroughly clean the house, when he could have waited a little bit to give me a hug and then maybe not vacuum and clean around me like me coming home is an inconvenience. He explained that he had wanted to clean before I came home, to make it nice for me and thought the best strategy was to clean as quickly as possible and then get to me.

He explained that he can't multitask and once he has a list of tasks in his head he has to do, he simply has to do them. He is unable to think or notice anything else. This is what made him split up with his last long term partner. DBF thought him cleaning would make me happy. He also said that cleaning is not something that "cannot be left undone even if it sucks". The house simply needed doing, so he just did what he had to do. He was only beating himself up about the fact that he didn't get to it sooner, so it would all have been done before I came. I explained that a hug and a short chat only takes a minute and that I understand that he house needed cleaning.

Seemed we misunderstood each other, although he could understand how I felt from asking him "how would you have felt if I had done this to you". So, on a level he gets it, but his world does at times seem very black and white.

He wears the same clothes in black all the time, talks about his favourite subjects with lots of knowledge of little facts, hates/fears breaking new shoes in. He also needs to think about new things a long time. Selecting a table and chairs that he would be happy with almost made me go crazy. He is also fussy with food, with a childish palate. He seems childishly cheerful and jokey when he is not down. He works in IT and used to be a mechanic, but quit because he hated having oily hands all the time. He has terrible handwriting and dyslexia.

Does this sound like ASD? He does not want a diagnosis, but I need to know what I am dealing with to be able to relate to him appropriately... I love him so much and don't want us to end up fighting about stupid stuff.

Sorry, this was an epic take! Just felt like the background was needed...

CauliflowerSqueeze Sat 25-Mar-17 13:14:22

ASD is irrelevant. He's a liar and you sound incompatible.

TurnipCake Sat 25-Mar-17 13:17:11

From what you've written this relationship does not sound good for either of you, ASD or not.

ImperialBlether Sat 25-Mar-17 13:18:02

I'm sorry I can't say this without shouting.


This is a man who lied to you, who would be very, very difficult to live with, who doesn't give you the emotional support you need. He's also a lot older than you.

Can you imagine having a child with him?

Goforit2017 Sat 25-Mar-17 13:20:30

I can't comment on the asd but I would ask are you happy with him/do you want to be with him? Does it matter if you think he has asd or not? He hasn't got a diagnosis. I think you just have to deal with what you've got.

Your online relationship and initial meeting sound really odd. You ran a mile then changed your mind. Why?

Does he work? What's the set up with your living arrangements?

It all sounds like hard work to me but you seem to be taken in very much be the princess and beautiful comments. Re the cleaning when you wanted a hug. That sounds like a drama over nothing tbh.

Is this the relationship you want?

Yesyesyesyeswhatever Sat 25-Mar-17 13:25:48

Thanks for your replies! I know how it sounds, but I have faults of my own too. I am not excusing his behaviour, but I love him and he does me. Just want to understand. I already have a primary age child with STBEXH and DBF has an adult child abroad, so no more children in the cards. I have so much fun with him and he really is someone special. Which is why I have forgiven him. He also loves me despite my mental health problems. He is very caring and wants to do anything he can do for me. He learned to cook for me. He wants to do the cleaning, so I can just put my feet up. He likes spending time with my son and cares about him. He is basically just a good man who made a mistake, perhaps because he was unable to think straight. I know I make mistakes too. Fool me twice, though, and I've told him it will be over.

Oysterbabe Sat 25-Mar-17 13:27:25

I don't know about ASD, he just sounds a bit socially awkward. The cleaning thing was such a minor incident, it honestly makes you sound quite high maintenance.

From your description I'm picturing comic book guy from the Simpson's.
Has he at least ditched the pony tail?

Yesyesyesyeswhatever Sat 25-Mar-17 13:29:00

I changed my mind because I love him. And of course I am flattered by the compliments, but nobody has said anything like that before (I am attractive, but not amazingly beautiful!).

He works ft in it, but had a day off when the cleaning thing happened.

TurnipCake Sat 25-Mar-17 13:29:07

Echoing Imperial here, why in God's name are you moving in with him?! Especially with you having a young child?

Oysterbabe Sat 25-Mar-17 13:29:07

Youre moving your small child in with him after 6 months? confused

ExplodedCloud Sat 25-Mar-17 13:30:01

Are you proposing that if you think he has ASD you will be able to tolerate his quirks? But if he doesn't you won't?
It seems to me you might think you will be more tolerant because he can't help it but in reality two years down the line you'll be tired of tolerating things that hurt you.
It shouldn't be difficult. If it is then it's not good.

Yesyesyesyeswhatever Sat 25-Mar-17 13:32:33

He is not that bad looking! Not obese, just a bit chubby. He hasn't ditched the pony tail, but I don't mind it now. He has nice hair. He just looked different from what I had expected. I guess the age was the "worst" thing and I am now ok with it.

I know the cleaning thing was ridiculous, but hadn't slept for two days and has stress at work, so felt like crying and collapsing on the floor. It really is a non-issue, just wondering if that might be an AS thing. I don't know.

Yesyesyesyeswhatever Sat 25-Mar-17 13:34:46

My son will be living with my STBEXH in our old flat, which is next to his school. We are still in very good terms with STBEXH, and once I move in DS will visit on weekends.

Cakescakescakes Sat 25-Mar-17 13:34:55

Taking everything else out of it in relation to whether this relationship is right for you etc I would say that many of those traits sound similar to ASD in my experience. I have a son with ASD and a DH who is undiagnosed but he and I are both sure that he has some level of ASD too. I particularly identify with your OH not being able to stop the cleaning or understanding that you needed him to greet you. When DH starts a job he cannot focus until it is done and he is very bad at estimating how long jobs will take. He says he feels almost like a physical pain or itch having to leave something half done. I also have to spell out very very clearly what emotional support I need as he can't read it from my mood or behaviour etc. I won't lie - this can be very hard and has caused us plenty of difficulty but on the whole he is a good kind and caring man and we are happy together. The clothing issues are exactly how my son experiences things - like a terror of new clothes so he wears his existing ones until they disintegrate or are far too small. Takes a long time to integrate new clothing into his wardrobe.

ImperialBlether Sat 25-Mar-17 13:35:44

OP, you have a child to consider. Do what you like for yourself, but please don't move your child in with him. You've only known him for six months! Do you realise the emotional damage you can cause your son by doing this?

What will happen when your son needs support and your boyfriend decides to clean the flat instead? What will happen if your son is crying and your boyfriend wants to cook the dinner?

ImperialBlether Sat 25-Mar-17 13:36:20

OK just seen your additional post re your son living with his dad. That does change a lot.

Yesyesyesyeswhatever Sat 25-Mar-17 13:37:49

I am moving in because I want to be with him. I know it seems fast, but it feels right.

I just want to be able to understand him. I don't know if that will help with the tolerance, but I am hoping it could. I have worked with AS before and know I will need to modify my expectations if he does indeed have it.

PopcornBits Sat 25-Mar-17 13:38:57

You sound like you just desperately wanted to latch onto something even though this man wasn't what you thought he was you've settled for second best anyway.
Maybe you have grown to him now but it doesn't sound healthy to me and I wouldn't be moving in.
The hug thing would do my head in, I'm sometimes just not in the mood for close contact and I like my space you sound a bit needy. Sorry to be brutally honest.

Yesyesyesyeswhatever Sat 25-Mar-17 13:40:21

I am thinking of my child. He needs the stability of his familiar environment and loving dad. Would not move him here unless he insisted maybe a few years down the line.

Yesyesyesyeswhatever Sat 25-Mar-17 13:42:10

I was needy that day. Not usually. Am very easy going and low maintenance. Genuinely. Just having a very stressful time for now (completion of a major project deadline coming up soon).

Gallavich Sat 25-Mar-17 13:45:40

So many red flags in your op
He lied to manipulate you into meeting him and excused it by saying he fell in love with you - before he spoke to you?!
You skipped the getting to know you bit
He emotionally blackmailed you into forgiving him for lying
Regardless of whether he has ASD or not, this isn't a healthy relationship.

Yesyesyesyeswhatever Sat 25-Mar-17 13:45:58

Cakes, thanks for that. It sounds difficult, but I think all relationships have their challenges. My son has been investigated for AS, but it seems so mild that we won't know for sure until he is older.

Lelloteddy Sat 25-Mar-17 13:47:12

Recipe for disaster.

Yesyesyesyeswhatever Sat 25-Mar-17 13:47:48

Thank you all for your honesty. I appreciate it. It certainly is up to me not to be a mug, but love is not logical sometimes. And he is very sweet and could not ever be abusive. He just lives in airy fairy land when he is not in black and white world.

Yesyesyesyeswhatever Sat 25-Mar-17 13:50:23

Yes, apparently it was love at first sight. I can understand that since for me it was love at first message (almost). Usually I am such a pessimistic, rational, hateful cynic, but he is so genuinely just what he is. Not perfect, but I love him.

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