want2know asks:

Are aspies afraid of commitment?

My daughter has been dating a boy with aspergers for quite some time.  They've been out, spent time together, hugged (that has been only physical contact) and seem to really have liked each other alot.  Yet, just a few days ago he broke her heart by saying he didn't want to date her anymore that he just wanted to be friends.  It blew her away.  She is heartbroken.  Now, I am curious if it's not that he doesn't LIKE her but it's his aspergers causing this wedge.  If so, what can she do to show him she has the patience to wait this out.  She is afraid she may say, do the wrong thing and lose him forever as a friend even.  Please help me.  I am so tired of seeing her cry!
In Topics: Teen issues, Autism & Aspergers Syndrome, Teen sexuality and dating
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Jan 20, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

Here are the criteria for diagnosing Asperger's as per the Diagnostic Statisical Manual that professional counselors and psychologists use...

(I) Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

(A) marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction
(B) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
(C) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, (e.g.. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
(D) lack of social or emotional reciprocity

(II) Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

(A) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
(B) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
(C) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g. hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
(D) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

We can see how you may interpret some of these as correlating with a lack of ability to commit in a relationship, however, even if it is partly due to his Asperger's, waiting around for him, may make no difference in his decision.  We think it is probably best for your daughter to move on and keep busy with other activities and friends during this difficult time.  You can help by helping her find new activities, circles of friends, and volunteering efforts.  

Also know that even though she wants to retain a friendship with him, that may be a very painful proposition.  When you have romantic feelings for a friend, the friendship suffers because of that constant hope and desire for the other person.  We wouldn't want your daughter to continue to be put in a vulerable position with him where she will continue to feel rejected.  Please inform her about our website, www.yourlifeyourvoice.org.  We would be happy to provide support there and she can always call our hotline as well!

Counselor, Dominic
Boys Town National Hotline-A resource for parents and teens

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