Thoughts on The Pedant and Asperger’s Syndrome

When I’m fond of someone, I (and I think most people) need to kind of feed those feelings by being in regular contact with that person, letting them know I care about them and am thinking about them, etc.

From what I’ve been reading online about people with Asperger’s, it kinda sounds as though love is like a switch, for them; once it’s flipped on it just stays on, and they don’t need to feed the feelings; the feelings are just there, indefinitely.  The stuff I read didn’t put it exactly in those terms, but that’s the impression I get nonetheless.

I feel like the “love as light-switch” theory totally makes The Pedant’s behaviour make sense.  Here’s this boy who, when he’s not around, often just doesn’t think to call/email/text me, and who rarely (if ever) expresses his feelings for me in words.  But when he’s here, he totally just picks up where we left off last time, acting all sweet and attentive.  And although it would never occur to him to text me a random “I miss you” or “how’s it going” message between visits, he will text me with information he thinks could benefit me, like if I’d said I need new shoes and he’s just learned that there’s a reputable shoe store having a big sale.  So obviously he thinks about me when I’m not around; he just doesn’t express it randomly.

One wonders if the stuff we might normally do to “feed” a relationship goes right over Aspies’ heads because they can’t read social cues.  Or maybe the opposite: Aspies can’t read social cues because they have some kind of disconnect between people’s words and what they mean.  At any rate, if someone doesn’t get a glowy feeling from being told “I miss you,” they likely don’t get a glowy feeling from saying it to someone else, either.  So they’re not motivated to do it.

I’m reminded of the time The Pedant told me compliments don’t do anything for him; yes, he wants any partner of his to think he’s smart, hot, etc., but he needs them to demonstrate their admiration, somehow; words make no impact.  I’m also reminded of the fact that I’ve been intermittently sexting The Pedant for months now and he still needed confirmation that I think about him while I’m getting off.  Now, granted, I was not actually wanking when I sent him most of my sexts.  Nonetheless, I was blatantly telling him that I was having sexual thoughts about him when he wasn’t around.  I think most people would extrapolate from this that I use them as wank fodder.

And then, of course, there was the first time we made out – when I told him I was interested in him, he said it was too bad we couldn’t pursue anything because I had a boyfriend, and I was like “Ah, but it’s not actually too late because my boyfriend and I have a semi-open relationship.”  And he still didn’t make a move, and told me much, much later that it’s because he wasn’t sure if he’d be welcome to.  Wow.

So it seems like there’s some fundamental way in which words don’t connect, with him.  At least abstract words that have to do with feelings.  A text that says “I’m jerking off right now and using you for wank fodder,” he’d understand, but he can’t grasp the significance of me texting “I wanna shove you down and lick your neck.”  Fascinating.

I would guess, then, that my telling him months ago that I’m falling for him doesn’t register with him, either – I mean that he can’t extrapolate from this that my feelings have probably evolved and I’ve gone from “falling” to “fallen.”  Therefore, he either has no idea that I love him, or he’s worked it out ages ago from the way I behave with him.  Quite possibly the actual word would mean nothing to him, just like compliments mean nothing to him, and it’s all about what I demonstrate through my actions.  And ohhhh, that’s probably why he’s almost certainly not gonna say it back to me when I finally do take the plunge – because words don’t seem to give him an ego boost and he assumes everyone else is the same way.  And because he assumes he’s already shown me his feelings by the way he behaves, which I agree that he has.

Anyway.  Now, instead of thinking that The Pedant doesn’t send me chatty or mushy texts because he doesn’t care enough, I tend to believe that he doesn’t do that stuff because his feelings  for me are so strong and steady that he doesn’t need to keep reaffirming them.  It gives me more faith in him, and also throws an interesting light on my own relationship habits.  Like, I’m not actually saying that The Pedant’s way is superior to my own, but I think it’s interesting to reframe/play Devil’s Advocate here and – instead of lamenting that The Pedant doesn’t conduct himself like neurotypicals do – ask myself why I need to bolster up my feelings of love with continuous maintenance.  I mean, arguably The Pedant’s feelings are the “real” ones, the strong ones, because he doesn’t need to do anything to keep ’em going.

And that’s what I’ve been thinking about today.


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4 responses to “Thoughts on The Pedant and Asperger’s Syndrome

  1. Brugmansia

    I get that you are looking at The Pedant’s whole context, and it does make sense to connect his behavior in relationships to his AS. But a random comment that occurred to me as I read: though I don’t have AS, I am EXACTLY like how you describe The Pedant here: love is like a switch, once it’s there, it’s there, I don’t at all see the point to random meaningless text messages, and I shrug off compliments. I do like to do nice things for people I like, but not as a way of reaffirming my feelings for them, just because I know it will please, impress, and make them happy.

    • Oh, I figure there are lots of people like that who aren’t on the spectrum. I don’t think a person has to have Asperger’s in order to feel “meh” about compliments and chatty texts. But it helps. 😛

  2. marika grofno

    If you permit me to give my two cents (and I like your blog a lot ,so I became to care, even as a stranger, so I want to write this, I hope this won’t be a problem):

    I see you again bending over backwards. Yes, it is legitimate for him to be like this, but it is also legitimate to be like you are (to speak a different “love language”?), and changing how you work would be hard and complicated, maybe with a psychologist, but _certainly_ can’t be done just out of willpower. Yes, it would suit him if you had no needs for communication between visits, but it would suit you too if he had, and his needs are not more improtant than yours. I recommand rereading some of your old post after the Minx-breakup, when you realized how much you forced yourself to become what he needed, regardless of what you needed, and how bad it turned out. I’m not saying the situation is the same, and I hope you two can get a lot of happiness from this relationship, but owning your needs is something necessary for this…

    good luck with him! And with the rest of your poly network, too.

    • Yes, it would suit him if you had no needs for communication between visits, but it would suit you too if he had, and his needs are not more improtant than yours.

      ^This is exactly the conversation I had in my head before I wrote to him asking him to communicate more often (

      But yeah. I still do have problems with knowing when to insist on changes and when to “accept someone for who they are.” And I’m really, really glad that you’ve noticed this issue too because I think I need other people’s opinions to help me find my way. ❤

      I think that lowering my standards of communication frequency but asking him to raise his is probably a good balance? Of course, I may be bending too much in other areas. I don’t know. If you see times when you think I’m being too much of a doormat, tell me.

      Also, I’m actively looking for a second partner to offset The Pedant. Not necessarily the best solution ever, but I really do think there are things about him that either won’t change, or won’t change unless I remind him constantly, yet I am not yet ready to give him up because there are so many good things too. If I have someone else in my life whom I also love, and who does text me a lot and say mushy things and all of that, I think that would help. More and more these days it seems absurd to depend on just one person for all the romance and sex in my life.

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