Being in a relationship with an aspie can be tough – for both of you. People with Asperger’s (High Functioning Autism) and those without it typically communicate and express love or affection in very different ways. Often, the ones without Asperger’s wind up feeling unloved, irrelevant, or not valued. This doesn’t mean these things are true. On the flip side, aspies can sometimes feel smothered with affection and verbal conversation from their neurotypical loved ones.
Aspies often avoid eye contact and can be unresponsive in conversations with others. Additionally, many are centered around their own interests, and they may not seem to care about the interests of others.
Of course, these things aren’t true of ALL aspies, but it IS likely that those in relationships with others are often uncomfortable with physical contact due to an overwhelmed sensory system. When told “I love you,” they may not reciprocate or maybe their response will be, “Uh huh,” or “okay.” Conversation may be one-sided and those in relationships with aspies may often feel unloved by their aspie. This is not because aspies don’t feel or experience love – they very much do!
So, how can you tell that an aspie loves you?
- He/she wants to be in your presence – maybe not all the time, and maybe not as much as you’d like, but on a regular basis. Most people with Asperger’s will have very little interest in being around people that they care nothing about.
- He/she will accept physical contact from you more than from others, and maybe even initiate hugs, etc. Contact may be brief, but it will be genuine. If your aspie wants a hug or kiss at all, you are very much loved!
- If you ask an aspie if he/she loves you, and the answer is “yes,” you are loved. Most aspies are not good liars and are typically honest to the point of being harsh. Little white lies and manipulative lying are not common in aspies. Don’t ask an aspie to elaborate if the answer was “yes.” Smile and feel loved.
- He/she will make an effort to show you love and care for you, but it will likely be in their own way. We all show love the way we prefer to receive it, so pay attention to how your aspie seems to feel loved. My daughter, feels loved when I do special things for her. So, she often writes special poems or notes for me.
- He/she will include you in special interests. Aspies may be willing to talk to anyone about their special interests, but if an aspie regularly wants to include you, then you are valued.
Jodi Carlton is a licensed professional counselor and autism specialist, with 15 years experience in behavioral health, and also mother to a teen with high functioning autism (Asperger’s). She and her daughter have been providing Asperger’s education since 2014 at www.AspieSpot.com. Jodi also provides counseling consultation services for families in the metro Atlanta area and nationwide via videoconferencing. She, additionally, offers online courses and webinars to professionals, families, individuals, and anyone who wants to learn more about autism.
For more information, visit www.autismadvisory.com