Does this sound like autism?
I think the man I’ve been trying to relate to for the past several years may be on the autism spectrum. I might have been surer if he’d had an engineering, math or computer background, where I’m used to finding my “Little Professor” colleagues. He’s terribly intelligent, but his subjects were very verbal. He spent years studying philosophy. And he’s got a rotten relationship with his computer.
He’s habit-bound, and part of what makes him unable to “relate” to his computer is that he thinks it should act in a way that makes sense to him, rather than behave “perversely” as computers do. He also drives a car in a way that seems like he’s not really paying attention to the way the gears want to mesh, he starts, stops and changes lanes abruptly, just drives in a generally jerky kind of way. Unfortunately, this is also a bit the way he is in bed.
He refuses to discuss sex, telling me that this should be unnecessary. He imagines physical feedback will suffice. His insensitivity is such that shoving is not really noted.
He does not express affection. He goes from discussions of literature, culture, music, films, politics to direct sexuality. He does not have an ability to deliver small affectionate kisses with no tongue. All his kisses involve tongue!
He does not use the word “love” unless in a cultural context. Nor does he like to use the term “relationship” but says he has “relations” with women.
He acknowleges that he “does not meet my emotional needs” but is passive beyond that point. (It just isn’t his problem to try to do anything about. Compromise seems like a totally alien concept here.)
I wonder if he has learned to use passive-aggressive techniques to defend a core of social cluelessness.
He does not go to parties willingly. He won’t have more than one guest at his apartment at a time. He has not been open to my becoming aquainted with his other friends. But he does interact with large groups of people in structured situations: he is an educator, and loves teaching his classes.
He is kind to me in limited ways. He cooks for us when I visit, and takes me out to plays and concerts. Unless I try to discuss persoanl issues, he is happy with our routine of getting together for a “date” about once a week.
Since this is insufficient for me, I have sometimes broken things off. I had other relationships. When they ended, he welcomed me back. (Though he doesn’t tell me of positive feelings or give me compliments, he does give criticism and tell me negativge things, so he’d tell me that my going off with someone else had been hard on him.)
He is so habit-bound it’s sometimes fascinatingly bad. I tried to get him to change the way he washes glassware, instead of using a loose brush that leaves all these awful smudges and finger-prints clearly still on the glass, encrusing over time. Couldn’t get him to change THAT.
He rarely shows anger (one of the reasons I suspect passive-aggressive components to his personality) but one time when I accused him of lying, he became furious. What he did was simply to go dead silent. When he feels bad, he shuts off communication. Not even “bad toward me” but if he’s feeling ill or depressed, he will go weeks without contact. Afterwards I can tell him my feelings were hurt, and ask him if he’s willing to apologize. He never acknowledges these requests. The more upset I get, the more I try to communicate. So I send long emails which he ignores or answwers in a sentence like “I guess I can’t meet your emotional needs.”
So I back off and stop trying to discuss “the important things” and we have this totally weird superficial relationship – excuse me “relation” -- and bad sex that I don’t complain about any more.
So if I’m not going nuts as horribly as some of the people here, I’m getting crumbly around the edges and starting to feel like I’m turning into something smaller and less whole and human than I was.
So what do you think? Aspergers or something more than just profound social cluelessness?