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Help I think my ex has autism/aspergers

shanmoo's picture

Help I think my ex has autism/aspergers

Wed 16 Apr 2014 6:04pm

Hey there,

I broke up with the most wonderful guy recently due to my inability to cope with his strange ways, lack of skills, not always thinking about me etc etc. It was a very hurtful and nasty breakup. I am writing to ask you if you think he might be have some form of ASD and if so, what should I do, if anything.

I knew from the start he was a bit "different". We met at my workplace. He is very attractive. When I used to walk past him, before we started talking, he really stared at me. Literally eyes following me. Eventually I talked to him in the kitchen. It became a ritual that every time I was in making my coffee, he would come in. Every single time. That went on for some weeks. His conversations were a bit odd sometimes. I couldnt get eye contact. Sometimes he would really drivel on. He admitted he drivelled and it usually drove people away. Eventually someone told me he liked me. I had to take the iniative though and organised a night out. He asked me out that night, and that was that.

He has been the most loving boyfriend Ive ever had. I trusted him 100%. He was always telling me he loved me, and gave me loads of hugs and kisses. People said they could see it in his eyes that he was in love with me. He bought me some lovely gifts, always things that he knew I would like. He took us out for food, to the cinema etc etc.

His friends had told me before we started going out, that he hadnt really had a long term relationship in many years. I think his last one was at university - 20 years ago. Since then he has only had very short term things. He said he never met anyone interesting. I was due to looks, and the fact Im half foreign, Ive lived abroad, speak another language..

There have been lots and lots of small things, but also bigger things, that have raised my eyebrows during the relationship. Some of these have turned out to be breakers. Some people have said, that he is simply a lazy batchelor who is stuck in his ways and wont take responsibility. I dont believe this. I do think he tried, but couldnt do it. Some of these traits were:

Has routines, that he cant or doesnt want to break from. In at 7am on the dot every day to work. He only eats fruit and carrots until he goes home. He eats the same stuff just about, every evening, when he is on his own, which he gets every evening at the local supermarket on his way home from work. He has to go in for overtime, every weekend. He dug his heels in when I suggested doing something with the day as a couple for a change. He doesnt need the money. He would insist on only travelling one particular route to/from mine, even though there were other ways that were quicker. Theres a bus stop outside but he wanted to walk the route he usually does that would take him 30 minutes to get him to the metro station.

His personal possessions consist of books, but these are kept in boxes, in his bedroom, which looks like a storage cupboard. He loves history. He lives history. But only in books. His clothes are hung out all over the bedroom, not in the wardrobe, and ironed to perfection. Toiletries are stacked in a particular way in the bathroom. He has used the same one shower gel/shampoo for about 10 years, and buys it in bulk. When he moaned about his hair being unruly, I got him some "hair stuff" but he simply refuses to even try it.

Eating habits strange. As I said, he would only take in fruit and carrots to work. When he eats, he holds the utensils like a 2 year old. He shovels food down his throat like someone who has starved for days. I had to get him to slow down. He only wanted to eat fish. I did get him to eat other stuff, as I was doing all the cooking. His breakfast is a massive bowl of cereal with no milk.  He has eaten off the plate with  his fingers, and been childish like showing me whats in his mouth (I found this very wierd). He always repeats the same joke when we are in a restaurant about forgetting his cash and needing to run out of the door.

He cant food prep very well at all. Cant use a tin opener. Cant chop an onion. His co-ordination is dreadful. He is clumsy. He cant focus when he is making food. He will take a break, but its not 5 minutes, he will go on the internet, and then its half and hour and the food will burn. It takes him another half an hour to make a simple salad.

When he washes up, sometimes he puts dirty things in with the clean. What he does wash, he rinses 5 or 6 times.

He always seems to do half jobs, with any task. Eg close the curtains, he would leave them half open. Yet had serious issues with my messiness! (which is fair enough).

He was work obsessed, but never challenged himself to any kind of promotion. He talks about work all the time. When I leave work, it stays at the office. I have known him to talk about it in bed! He is good at his job, which involves calculations and rules.

He is obsessed with saving money, but doesnt use it on anything. It just sits there in the bank. Apparently he has been wanting to buy his own home for.... 10 years. He owns nothing other than books and an old TV.

One of the things I did find difficult, as Im disabled myself, is that he cant drive. When I tried to talk to him about it, he just said "good look with that" like a child talking to a parent. I got a similar response when I asked him about learning a recipe. Anyway after I got upset doing all the driving, we had had a talk, and he said that he would learn. This was the thing that led to the breakup, as he never even got his provisional licence. When I asked him what was going on, he arrogantly snorted at me and said he wasnt going to do it, and admitted he had agreed just to shut me up. He could not see what the problem was with the fact that his disabled girlfriend was having to do all the driving and hence all the big jobs.

His view about my disability was "everyone has an ailment". He cant see the massive impact it has on my life (I have hypermobility and fibromyalgia, and have previously been unable to walk and in a wheelchair. Im up on feet now but have a lot of problems).

When he would be home from work, or at the weekends, alone, he would go to sleep on his 2 seater sofa. He did the same at mine. I had to have words with him. He said he just liked sleeping all the time. I couldnt understand it. Sometimes he would go off to bed at 9pm here and I had to explain that wasnt fun for me. I couldnt get him to stay awake much though. Otherwise he sits and watches DVDs or history programmes. He seems to have little self initiative. The only trips he does make is the occasional journeys to stay with his brother, or the odd lads weekend at a music festival. I had to seriously persuade him to think about going on a sunny holiday, and he said, he will never go on holiday for more than a week, no arguments!

Anyway, so thats a few things. I asked him last weekend if we could meet up and see each other in person and maybe talk about a few things before we saw each other at work, as it was going to be pretty difficult. His reply: We can just talk at work ??

Anyway I persuaded him to a meetup, but he was wierd, cold, couldnt look at me, wouldnt respond when I tried to hold his hand. He said the relationship had not been working for him for months, but he hadnt told me, so he had no intention of trying to make it work out. He said things with me had bothered him, but he could not talk to me because he did not want any conflict or confrontation. Thing is, only 2 weeks before we had looked at a house together and only the weekend before he had talked to me about us trying for a baby. He said that we had never had a great relationship, it was only great because he agreed to everything. As you can imagine I was pretty hurt - in fact, furious too. I asked him to look me in the eyes and say he did not want us anymore, and he said he didnt. I walked away.

I had a breakdown that night. Sent a few text messages to him telling him what I thought of his attitude and lies :o(

Now we arent speaking, and are in the same workplace. I just cant do it, not at the minute. However, before I had realised about the possible autism, on reflection I felt that I had been harsh on him (making suggestions about his various "issues!" here there and everywhere), and so I sent him a letter. I sent this with a watch that he had bought me, as I felt I no longer could keep it. I can never wear it or look at it because it hurts too much.

We have pretty much avoided each other at work. Everyone is shocked by what has happened. We were very happy together. I am hurting like hell. I just want him back. Today he came over to my side of the office twice. Ive been putting on a brave face and tarting myself up so he doesnt know Im killing inside. This afternoon when I was talking to a workfriend he came over into our part of the office, pretended he was looking for someone, and looked over our way and then away when my friend caught his eye.

Thing is, what to do. What will he do? I dont know if autism/aspergers is anything that has ever crossed his mind. A few people have suggested that he has this, albeit very mild. I feel I am the only person who can talk to him about it, as I nearly lived with him and saw all the "finer points" of it. Of course his male friends cant talk with him. But me and him arent speaking. He did seem to have made his mind up about us. He is now going to work in London for 3 weeks and so will have some time away.

Sorry for the long essay here, but the situation is killing me. He is such a good guy, I feel Ive been mean and if it is the case that he has autistic traits, that we can work on it. What to do ?

Thank you everyone.


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  • JosieB's picture


    Well your boyfriend (or ex-boyfriend) is definitely very set in his ways and whether that's because he's on the spectrum or not after such a long time of just thinking about himself and doing what suited him it may well be either very difficult or impossible for him to change and perhaps even want to change.

    Some of the things you say could point towards a spectrum condition but that can only be assessed by someone qualified to do so.  Even post diagnosis there is no guarantee that things will change with him. 

    Maybe the best thing to do would be to wait until he comes from his three week spell in London, perhaps this will give him time to think about what he wants to do and give you some space to gather your thoughts too.


    Josie - Community Champion
  • shanmoo's picture

    Thanks Josie

    Yes, I do think the 3 weeks away will hopefully give some thinking time to both of us. To be honest, Im not expecting any big changes from him now. I just thought his attitude before was one of laziness and expecting someone else to always do everything for him, but it doesnt make any sense with the other characteristics of his personality. Certainly putting all the funny behaviours and lack of certain social skills together has made me realise that there is a lot more to him than some lazy bachelor as he made a lot of effort with the things he could do.

  • Tallulah's picture

    Hi shanmoo, and welcome.


    I'm sorry you've split up and that you are so hurt by it. It does sound like it's come completely our of the blue, and that he has said some very hurtful things.


    Asperger's does sound like a possibility, but if there are things you couldn't cope with about him then those things would not change if the diagnosis were confirmed. It does sound like, for whatever reason, his mind is made up about ending the relationship. Which is very sad after things seemed so good.


    Personally I wouldn't recommend talking to him about Asperger's. I don't think it's normally a good idea as people can so easily take it the wrong way, and given the history between you that's even more likely. I think my boss probably has Asperger's, and I have talked to him about my own difficulties and all he says is that he doesn't understand why it's a "condition" as he's like that too but he doesn't have it . . . My mum's spoken to my uncle about him probably having Asperger's too, but unfortunately he just ended up very hurt by the conversation - and he was the one who brought it up. People can be sensitive about people pointing out their weaknesses and I just don't think it achieves anything by trying to push it on anyone. If you do get back together than maybe you could mention it, but for now I think you just need to leave it alone.


    I hope the time apart does you both some good. Whatever happens, I hope you will be OK x

    Laura - Community Champion
  • MartialAutist's picture

    Seconded.  It's different for children, of course, but an adult isn't going to go through the process of diagnosis (or get anything positive from it) unless they actually want to know that they're autistic. 

  • Whirling Mind's picture

    "if there are things you couldn't cope with about him then those things would not change if the diagnosis were confirmed"

    That was exactly what I was going to say.  A diagnosis will make no difference to you coping with his ways, you might think you will feel sorry for him or something and make allowances, but in the end the habits and ways will still annoy you and become a big issue.

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