5 Signs You Might be Dating an Aspie

If puzzling behavior, zero sensitivity and a lack of social skills sums up the person you’ve been dating, he or she could have Asperger’s syndrome.

Relationships are about communication, yet autism spectrum disorders such as AS are about a lack of emotional understanding and communication challenges. People with this condition aren’t able to recognize and understand the intentions, desires, beliefs and thoughts of other people in order to make sense of their behavior. The result is someone who is “mindblind,” meaning that they can’t see their partner’s desires, feelings and needs. So, how do you know if you are dating someone with Asperger’s syndrome? Here are five signs to watch for.

1. They have a consuming interest in one subject.

Aspies typically have an obsessive, all-consuming interest in one topic and one topic only. For instance, knowing every fact possible about Star Trek, the stock market, cycling, train schedules, Buddhism, the Federal Papers or The Beatles. Their excessive interest may even be something dangerous that could land them in hot water, including firearms, computer hacking, deviant sexual interests or explosives. A celebrity, or maybe even you, could also become his or her special interest, and you may experience stalking, harassment or unwanted attention.

2. They usually have trouble with euphemisms.

Aspies can generally only take things literally, so they may stumble of euphemisms, or polite expressions often used in place of harsher phrases such as “between jobs” or “bit the big one.” They may not understand common humorous expressions, turns of a phrase such as “there’s more than one way to skin a cat,” neologisms like “bestie” or “staycation,” cliches, colloquialisms such as “go bananas,” teasing, sarcasm or jokes. To a non-Aspie, these phrases are almost always understood, and you can typically understand the general idea intended. However, a person with AS may hide his or her confusion by laughing along with you, by staying silent or pretending to understand. He or she may also try to dissect the phrase, giving obsessive attention to the precise, exact meaning of each word or thinking about other words that would better convey meaning.

3. They are overly defensive.

When someone with Asperger’s syndrome hears an opinion that is different from his or her own or someone tries to explain a different viewpoint about a situation, he or she may become defensive. Aspies may see this as a criticism of who they are or a conflict, so they become defensive when asked for a little sympathy or clarification. This defensiveness may turn into verbal abuse as someone with AS tries to control the conversation and communication to match how he or she views the world.

4. They might not enjoy physical affection.

Aspies may “act” affectionately when you first start dating, but they won’t be able to tolerate it throughout your relationship. Sexually, partners of Aspes describe them as lacking passion and as being robotic, unimaginative, repetitive or rigid in bed. They also fail to pay attention to foreplay before intercourse and to their partner’s need for an emotional connection.

5. They misinterpret others’ feelings and thoughts.

One of the biggest problems in relationships for people with AS, and also one of the first signs that you’re dating an Aspie, is that these individuals often misinterpret the ideas, feelings and experiences of others and come to the wrong conclusions. If someone with Asperger’s syndrome can’t understand someone else’s experience, he or she can’t feel empathy and, in turn, can’t convey it. In other words, people with AS are not generally capable of empathy, although some know that they can’t read your cues and will tell you that they will care if you tell them how you feel. However, your feelings still might not be validated.

As individuals with AS grow older, most develop a variety of coping skills and develop new ways to mask the above behavioral traits so that they can “pass for normal” under many circumstances. However, if you’re very astute, you can still pick up on these signs of Asperger’s syndrome in the beginning stages of your relationship.