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matty

Disappearing AS boyfriend?

10 posts in this topic

Hello all!

I'm new here. I am NT and I have an Aspie boyfriend. I love him very much, but we face some problems lately and I would like someone's opinion as to what to do.

Let me explain. We met 4 years ago and we started a relationship right away. At the time we lived in different countries but soon I moved to his country to a city close to his for my PhD. We had amazing times together, great fun the two of us and also with friends. He has always been very respectful of me and he is a very nice person. Very smart guy and really a lovely partner. But from the beginning I had started noticing that we have a communication issue. Me, being NT and very empathic, I crave communication. I want it every day all the time if possible. That's not the case for him. He would disappear say for a couple of days and then he would come back as if everything was normal. At first I was kind of annoyed, I didn't know what to assume. Slowly I started understanding that this is how he is. I have to admit I was worried that maybe he wasn't in love with me but I got reassured that this was not the case by his actions. So I decided to pay attention to his actions and not to how often he chats with me or how often he says romantic things to me. And we've been fine. We would have the occasional "argument" (not even a real argument, more like a discussion) where I would try to explain to me how I would appreciate it if he could send me messages more often, even if it's just to send one word and he  would say that he understands and he would then try to do it for a week or so and then forget it again. But the relationship overall was very nice, we never argued really, and we both said we were lucky to have found each other.

Two years ago he moved to another country so we don't see each other anymore. The relationship continued normally and the plan was to try and move together once I finish my PhD. Of course since we didn't see each other that often the communication became somewhat of a bigger issue but still we managed to work it out. So what would happen was that he might disappear for a couple of days and then be normal again, sometimes he wouldn't reply to my messages right away but maybe the next day etc. I'm not a great fan of this but I accepted it since I trust him and I know we have very different communication patterns. So I thought we had found an equilibrium and that we would go on like that until I finish. I forgot to mention we would meet about once every month or once every two months for about a week or so.

Around September 2016 he started telling me he was very stressed with his job and that he didn't like it so he thought about quitting. That's when he started really disappearing. At first his messages just became less and he was less talkative. I complained about it but he explained that he is just stressed. After a while, around November, he disappeared completely for more than a week, he wouldn't reply to any of my calls, messages, nothing. I was very worried, I didn't know what was going on. I thought he didn't want to be with me anymore. Finally he talked to me, he apologized and he explained he was just very stressed. I just asked from him to warn me if he need some time to himself and I would understand. Or at least if he sees that I am trying to contact him, just let me know with a short message that he doesn't want to talk right now. He said he would try but this happened again. I need to point out that this happened while I was (and still am) in the process of writing my thesis, which is very stressful and depressing and he knows that since he went through that 2 years ago. Again we talked about it and I explained how it made me feel. He apologized and he said he would try. And he kind of tried. For a while.

Meanwhile I was (and still am) going through depression for the first time in my life so you can imagine how it was scary for me. I needed him t be there for me at least with one word, nothing more, I just wanted to know he is out there. So from January to mid-February he would make some effort but still he would disappear here and there, forget to reply to my messages. Even when I needed some help from him he wouldn't reply sometimes. I was trying to be understanding of his situation. He had told me he was very very stressed, he was feeling lost and unsure about his future. At the same time though, my depression was hitting me again and his disappearing freaked me out. One day I had an emotional breakdown and sent him some messages telling him that he can't do this to me and that it's unfair, that I loved him and I didn't want to break up but maybe it's the only solution. After that he went completely silent for 2 weeks. Nothing. I tried to apologize when I was calm, I explained what happened to me and why I said what I said and also explained how I meant what I said, which is, that I don't want to break up with him but that I was very frustrated at the moment about the fact that he cannot be there when I need him and I briefly considered it. I asked him repeatedly during these 2 weeks if he was mad at me, if he was ok, but nothing. Finally he talked to me, he said he is in a very bad situation, he doesn't even know who he is etc. I asked him if we were ok between us and he said he doesn't know. He said he is in love with me and he misses me and he wants to see me but that at the moment he is very lost and he doesn't know anything. I was hurt of course but I tried to understand again.

After this phone call he didn't speak to me for a whole month. I didn't insist too much, I didn't pressure him or anything. I knew it was the last month of his contract so I thought that might have been very stressful for him. Then, it was my birthday. He wouldn't wish me so I was very sad. I decided to send him a text reminding him it's my birthday (because I know he forgets dates) and we got to talking a bit. He was looking for a job. He repeated that he loves me, he said he thinks he will always love me (sounds scary no?) and that his feelings towards me haven't changed but he doesn't know if we will be able to live together after my PhD and he wouldn't want me to miss any professional opportunities for him. I told him to not think about it now and that if indeed his feelings haven't changed, he should wait until we can discuss it together. He didn't reply. It's been 2 weeks now. I've sent him a few more messages, some jokes here and there or interesting links but nothing.

My question is: Should I believe him? I mean, is it possible to really have the same feelings for me but still behave like this? Is this consistent with AS or is it just him? Should I give up on him or should I be more patient? Normally I am a patient person, I want to assume the best in every situation but in this case I am wondering if I am being stupid to wait for him. Sometimes I am mad at him for leaving me alone in such a difficult period in my life but then I wonder if I am being unfair towards him, maybe he cannot do anything else right now..

I don't know. I'm sorry for the long post, I am very lost at the moment and I don't know if I should give up on him. I love him with all my heart and I don't want to lose him but I feel that he is pulling away from me and I don't understand why. Do you get something from the whole situation that I didn't get maybe?

 

Thank you, I hope some of you will take the time to help me a little.

 

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Aww, I am so sorry you are going through this. :( 

I feel that the best thing for you might be to actually break up with him and move on with your life.  I feel like you have given him enough chances and AS or autism is no excuse for behaving this way.  I haven't experienced a disappearing boyfriend before but I stuck it out too long with a boyfriend who had me on a roller coaster of emotions.  I am a loyal and committed person but he was not so much especially near the end of the relationship when he started being social and then he started acting on feelings towards other girls... it ended up with him ending the relationship with me because he found someone else closer.  This was also a long distance relationship.  I think I can see parallels with your story because it is long distance, and the fact that he cannot see a way you will be able to live together after your Ph.D., that is one of the parts that makes me feel for you the most.  As much as I thought I loved my ex, and how badly I was hurting after we broke up, especially since he had been having feelings for another girl, I am glad now that we had broken up because since then I have met someone who lived in my city and things are going well, of course, there will always be some kind of issues.  

I think since my long distance relationship failed, my advice to other people who are in long distance relationships, it can work if there is a known end point and both partners are committed.  But if there is any doubt about how you will close the distance, then don't wait too long in the relationship.  Though each story is different.  But I feel that because he is disappearing, I don't think that is right for anyone to do.  You seem to have given him many chances to get better at it. It is up to you how many chances you give him.  

If you try and stick out the relationship a bit longer, giving him another chance, my advice to you is to make time for other things you love (friends, family, hobbies...).  Sometimes it is easy to get wrapped up in relationships and forget about other things out there.  It will make it easier.  But if he is not motivated to look for a solution where you both can live in the same place, I think you will probably have to move on from him.  Unless you will be happy living long distance forever.  Believe me, at one point, I almost had myself convinced I would be happy long distance forever, mostly because it was my first relationship, and I did not know if I would meet anyone else again.  As much as you might feel like he is the only one for you, if it is not working, maybe it was not meant to.

Anyway, I hope that helped. I wish you all the best in whatever choices you make. All situations are different and while I wanted to offer advice, it might not be as fitting towards your situation, but maybe it can help you compare in relation to your feelings on your relationship, and decide what you want to do.  Whatever happens, if you need someone to talk to about the situation you can talk to me. I remember when I went through my break up, I had an online friend who I was able to talk to first because I was so embarrassed to talk to anyone in person at the time.  Take care and I hope things work out in the best way possible.

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I have to agree with squeeker. That behavior seems beyond the AS realm. My husband and I are both AS. It was actually me in the beginning who tended toward not great communication. I was in the habit of ignoring calls and texts if I didn't feel like talking. Even then it was a couple hours.  Not days, weeks and months. He basically told me look, I get it, but I need you to respond so that I don't worry, it's not considerate. And I respected that, and most importantly, I was (and am) in love with him, and didn't want inconsiderate habits to hurt my relationship with him. In conclusion, it doesn't need to be like this for you. There are healthier relationships for you. A significant other should enrich your life, not drain it. Learn from my mistakes: don't stay in a messed up relationship because breaking up is hard. 

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Thank you both for your replies, I appreciate it.

You might be right I don't know, it's hard for me to be reasonable and logical these days. I go from "oh he must be in a really bad place to behave like this" to "he obviously doesn't care for me anymore" in minutes.

I have read in other sources and fora that this is typical AS behaviour though (not for all, of course). If this is the case I would feel very guilty if I didn't try harder. That's just me.
But maybe that's just wishful thinking and I'm being stupid.

Our relationship, until now, has been really a source of happiness in my life, never doubted I want to be with him. He really is (I thought at least) a very nice person, kind and considerate. He always apologized if he did something that would hurt me and has made efforts not to repeat it. This is why now I have to wonder if in fact he can do something else or not. If he could behave differently, I think he would. I don't think he is the kind of person that would just let me wait in a state of misery if he knew he didn't want to be with me anymore. But maybe this is all wishful thinking.. :/

It's been almost 1.5 months now. I guess you both have a point. But it seems I fail to accept it for the time being. But on the other hand I don't see what else I could do now. :(

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That is so tough, @matty . I understand the feelings of not wanting to give up on someone.  It's good to be understanding and I can see the difficulties of breaking up with him as you are a nice person (as much as I can see) and you don't want him to feel upset.  Though the upset from a breakup is not forever as difficult as it feels so sometimes it is best to rip off the band-aid.

But you do not have to do it right away, take some time.  I think it would be good for you to focus on a fun hobby, or find something new that interests you.  Try to relax. If he is spending so much time away from you, you should take time for yourself. I think in my past relationship I did not allow myself to be myself as much because it was my first relationship and I was young so inexperienced and also not confident in myself.

Anyway, I hope you will be alright. Take care of yourself.  Don't worry about doing anything right away, try not to stress about it. I know it is easier said than done because I stress and overthink things all the time. :D Do your best.

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Thanks a lot for the encouragement. Indeed it is difficult to take a decision now, so many other things in my mind that have to be taken care of before I even start thinking about teking a decision.

You are very right, in any relationship you should take time for yourself, have friends of your own and hobbies of your own. I've been guilty of not doing that in the past and I've experienced the consequences. Thankfully, this time, since I'm also a bit older, I didn't make the same mistake. I mean it was also kind of impossible to not have other interests when you only see your boyfriend once a month! :P

Anyway, thanks again. I will try to be patient for a little longer and we'll see how it goes. Hopefully there will be an end to this waiting period soon because I don't know how much longer I can take it.

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Could it be that he feels smothered? 

 

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I've never felt entirely comfortable with flat out telling someone to either stay in a relationship or end it. But I will say this:

I very much understand the hesitation to end a relationship, especially a long one, when a part of you is saying," He's not abusive, he's not horrible, maybe I'm just entitled...maybe I'm just not being patient enough or I'm not doing this, that and the other enough. Just consider that no matter how patient and understanding you are, it doesn't bridge a gap, if there is one. It's not enough, I've tried it.

Of course, I could be wrong about the situation, because I don't know what all you've been through together, but it is familiar. Kind of from both ends. I have had friendships and relationships in which I was clearly not enough for someone. People have been wanting more from me for a long time, and it's very draining, when I only have a reserve to give, and I need some for me, too. And on the flip side, I have had friendships and relationships in which someone became so distant from me, I began to wonder if I meant the same to them as they did to me. And it hurts on both sides. So I just hope you are able to reflect on whether or not you are truly as healthy for one another as you could potentially be. He may simply need someone who doesn't mind that kind of distance, and isn't squirming in their seat wondering what the hell is going on? (been there) And you may need someone who can be more of a presence in your life, through good times and bad, without them having to feel guilty and drained in order to do so (also been there).

Anyway, good luck to you, and whatever you decide, I hope it brings you peace.

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6 hours ago, ....... said:

Could it be that he feels smothered? 

 

I don't know.. I guess it's possible but he never said that to me. I understood at some point that he didn't want to talk about why he's disappearing but after for example a month with no sign, it was kinda impossible for me to not ask questions.. Or even after the first time this happened, "just" for a week or so, when I didn't expect something like that at all.

But generally he has never complained about me asking questions, he says he understands why I would ask them and he always said he was thankful that I was so understanding towards him. So I don't know, I wouldn't consider our relationship generally smothering but maybe my reaction to this extreme behaviour (the questions and the need for an explanation) was a but smothering for him?

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Eli said:

I very much understand the hesitation to end a relationship, especially a long one, when a part of you is saying," He's not abusive, he's not horrible, maybe I'm just entitled...maybe I'm just not being patient enough or I'm not doing this, that and the other enough. Just consider that no matter how patient and understanding you are, it doesn't bridge a gap, if there is one. It's not enough, I've tried it.

Of course, I could be wrong about the situation, because I don't know what all you've been through together, but it is familiar. Kind of from both ends. I have had friendships and relationships in which I was clearly not enough for someone. People have been wanting more from me for a long time, and it's very draining, when I only have a reserve to give, and I need some for me, too. And on the flip side, I have had friendships and relationships in which someone became so distant from me, I began to wonder if I meant the same to them as they did to me. And it hurts on both sides. So I just hope you are able to reflect on whether or not you are truly as healthy for one another as you could potentially be. He may simply need someone who doesn't mind that kind of distance, and isn't squirming in their seat wondering what the hell is going on? (been there) And you may need someone who can be more of a presence in your life, through good times and bad, without them having to feel guilty and drained in order to do so (also been there).

Anyway, good luck to you, and whatever you decide, I hope it brings you peace.

Thanks a lot.

I understand what you say, I've thought all of that before. And it makes sense. But I am not convinced yet I guess. We've been together for 3.5 years and I never thought that he wasn't enough for me or that I couldn't deal with the amount of communication we had, or that I wasn't enough, or anything. I don't think I ever tried to change him and neither did he. And we were happy with each other. So I can't say now that he's not good for me. Not until I know exactly why this is happening and I want to be fair about it. I know it sounds a lot like a victim mentality thing, and maybe it is. But it's a decision I have made, for the time being. Maybe in a few days I won't be in the same position and I'll decide to let it go, either because I'll be too tired to try more or I'll realize I've been blind/stupid/whatever. Who knows?

Anyway, thanks again. I am not dismissing your opinion in any way, I hope that's clear. I really appreciate it but at the same time I hope you're wrong! :P Time will show I guess.

 

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