This topic contains 39 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Khadija 3 months, 3 weeks ago.
May 28, 2023 at 1:18 pm #941576
We had been going out for two months since late March. First month was great – he was very attentive, a real gentleman. He asked to be exclusive with him on our 5th date (after we had sex) and I agreed. On the 6th date he asked me to be bf/gf and I hesitated saying it’s too early and we should just go with the flow. We started to see each other twice a week since April. It was all going really really well until early May. One night I asked him if he’s considered he’s potentially on the spectrum(which I had suspected since day one. He dislikes social gatherings, had two intense hobbies(classic cars and house renovations) and told me many times he has chosen to an island since late 20s). His first reaction was “yeah I’m probably am” and then after I told him I spoke about it with my therapist who’s a autism specialist, he got upset about me “indirectly diagnosed” him and said that’s a giant yellow flag of me. I was put off by that as to me it wasn’t a diagnosis at all, I was just talking about my dating life with my therapist and it came up. The next day I felt bad about it and apologised. He told me it’d be a deal breaker for some people as being asked if they are autistic is considered rude in his social circle (conservatives). He also backpedaled saying he doesn’t have Asperger’s because he’s not smart/successful enough as the famous ones(Elon musk etc) to have it and his hobbies are not that obscure or intense. In the end he brushed it off saying it’s all good.
Something started to feel off since that day. In May we both got busy with work and he has a house appraisal coming up, which he didn’t tell me about until scheduling things with him started to get frustrating. He blocked out Friday – Monday throughout May to work on the house. He texted less, would sometimes ignore/forget to answer some of my messages. The one thing that was alarming to me was he was okay to not see each other for 2 weeks. We live 40mins – 1 hour away from each other so to me if we want to see each other, we could definitely make it happen no matter how busy we are. So I started to get anxious. At this point I’ve suggested different dates including me traveling to see him and stay over (usually he comes to pick me up) but he seemed very fixated on that one day (18th May) we had agreed on in the beginning of May. He also told me that he won’t eat out anymore in May because he ate out too much in April with me and had too much gluten(he’s gluten intolerant). This took me by surprise as he always accommodated me in the beginning so I never thought eating out would be off the table this soon. I told him it’s a bummer but I can adjust for him and we could cook at his. We couldn’t agree on what to do for the date, as I vetoed movie without dinner. I was also a little upset that he didn’t suggest more options but instead suggested a raincheck and told him it shouldn’t be that difficult if we want to see each other and I’m disappointed that we won’t be able to meet as planned he immediately went defensive and saying “you’re actively making me feel guilty. I don’t understand. We are both busy it’s just life getting in the way.” It didn’t go that well and he thought I was pissed so next day he actually drove to me and apologised. It seemed all good on the surface but I couldn’t shake off this anxious feeling. When we’re on a call I asked if he’s got any idea for the 18th he said he hadn’t thought about it and said “just tell me what you wanna do and I’ll show up”. I asked about his June schedule and he said “I’m always gonna be busy but I’ll make time for you.” To me it’s just passive and very different from how he was in April.
I decided to call for a talk a day earlier than the planned date on the 18th. In my text I told him that I’m not very happy with things lately and I thought we should talk to get our expectations aligned. I made him drive to me. He showed up, vented for an hour about how I was emotionally manipulating him, gaslighting him by putting all the blames on him, and giving him double standards(he insisted that he got busy because I told him I was gonna be busy in May). It wasn’t a constructive talk at all. He didn’t really listen to me at all. I said, you sounded like you’re here to break up with me. He said well not necessarily. He told me he was pissed when I asked if he’s on the spectrum, was fuming when I asked for a talk about our relationship. Both took me by surprise.
Eventually I got frustrated with how bad the convo was going, I asked what do we do with my items at his place, it turned out he’s packed up all my items to bring to me. That’s when my felt hurt. He never said we should break up but kept saying it’s too early for couples to have this kind of discrepancy, however he’s not sure if cut things off is the right move. In the end he looked really torn and asked me what do we do in the long term. I said, you packed up all my items so you’ve broken up with me, there is no long term.
That’s the end.
I’m not sure what exactly went so wrong that he thought we should break up? I just thought it’s a series of misunderstandings due to poor communication which is totally workable if we both wanted to? Our life goes and values align. We had great chemistry. I’m still hurt by the fact that he packed up all my items before we even had the talk. I regret pushing him away in the end but I don’t think I’d reacted any differently given the situation.
Was I being high maintenance or was he being immature?
I don’t know. Please help me make sense of it.May 28, 2023 at 11:32 pm #941580
Well that was a pretty fast last conversation. Him bringing back your things in a box, doesn’t signal to me he wanted to break up. He was invested. He did what you said. He came to see you. I would have thought it was a step for space.
People who have gluten allergies really aren’t offered choices for it in a restaurant. So, he didnt tell you about it – I’m guessing to make sure things started out great.
You had the last word. it was an emotional response. I would say you can flip it around. But, this time drive to see him.May 29, 2023 at 1:10 am #941581
“Was I being high maintenance or was he being immature?”
I don’t think it was either, really. It’s very, very easy for things to feel great for the first month. You don’t know each other yet, you’re trying to impress each other and have fun, it’s easy to enjoy the honeymoon period. Compatibility starts becoming more obvious after you begin to need to resolve conflict together. Your conflict uncovered that your values don’t seem to actually align, even though you wanted them to. For example, he’s got more conservative influences around him that he listens to, you don’t have the same attitude about mental health (you have a therapist, which is great, and are open about talking about things, and he is uncomfortable and even admits he may have issues that he doesn’t want to deal with — which is his prerogative, it’s not right or wrong, though it didn’t bode well for this relationship), and you have different views on how much time to spend together at this point in the relationship (my main love language is quality time, so I get it, this would be a problem for me also). Having bad communication this early, after only one good month together, generally means incompatibility. It doesn’t necessarily mean anyone is outright incorrect, it’s just not a good match.
He may have felt it was too early or intrusive for you to comment on his mental health, and you hadn’t built enough foundation of closeness or trust yet for him. His defensiveness may also indicate that he’s not ready or willing to face if there’s a problem. That isn’t your fault or issue to deal with for him, but it’s important information for you to learn about him so you can decide if the relationship even works for you.
He also sounds like he was getting comfortable being more himself over time, so the effort you got from him in the first month wasn’t all sustainable.
If you really like him, you can try to clear everything up with him, but I think the same problems would just pop up again after. You said yourself you don’t think you’d change your reaction to how things went, so don’t ignore that feeling. He’s right that it shouldn’t be so difficult after only a couple months, and you shouldn’t dismiss or ignore your gut responding to him with anxiety so soon either. Think through if you’d really be happy with him without him needing to change something (or even you needing to change something that you don’t really want to change). If the answer is no, you’re chasing potential and can find a better match later on after you get over this break up. Don’t beat yourself up too hard in the meantime, sometimes this stuff just happens in dating even though no one is the bad guy.May 29, 2023 at 3:32 am #941582
Rox and Maddie, thank you both for your inputs!
I have been thinking if it’s a good match for me in the long run. It’s hard to face the downfall this quickly. He was so into me the first month, and really put me on a pedestal. He would say insecure things like: you’re so out of my league, I’m afraid you’re gonna leave me once you realise that. / I’m not your usual type, am I?
I gave him plenty verbal reassurances every time he asked me those questions. So, me telling him I wasn’t happy and asking to have a serious relationship talk might have triggered his fear of rejection? Therefore he packed up all my items as a protest? Near the end of the last convo, he looked really sad and said: I might be destined to be alone.
I suspect he has abandonment issues from childhood and first girlfriend cheating on him. He also said himself that he has trust issues.
Is that a sound theory to you? Sorry I might be over analysing things so that they could make more sense to me. (Part of my moving-on process)
I’m thinking hard to decide if I’d be okay with it in the long run, though my heart’s still longing for him.
Right now I just want to reopen a dialogue with him to clear things up. I sent him a message asking to talk and he responded: I just don’t know if it’s a good idea or not. Can I think about it for a few days? And that’s a week ago.
If you have any more insights on the situation, your wisdom would be hugely appreciated!May 29, 2023 at 3:26 pm #941587
I agree with what @Maddie said.
I think you are a pretty direct person and because of the last interface meeting didnt go so well, you are both turned off.
I think its worth just to write a nice email sayimg something like you were really caught off guard when he packed your stuff. You had a really impulsive feeling that he meant it was over. You enjoyed your time together. You just wanted to have more regular time together despite busy lives.
If he reads that as a step back in. Good . If not, well at least the ending isnt so harsh.
I guage relationships more like would i regret not having tried just one more time?
If you are sure it wont go well, then just leave it. At least all the major issues surfaced already.May 29, 2023 at 4:47 pm #941588
“He would say insecure things like: you’re so out of my league, I’m afraid you’re gonna leave me once you realise that. / I’m not your usual type, am I?”
This is a huge red flag. Anyone telling their early dating partner that they don’t feel good enough for them is pretty much indicating they aren’t in a good place to show up for a relationship. I’d rank it up there as a red flag as big as inconsistency. Adding in that he says he has trust issues… if he’s acknowledging it yet not actually doing anything about those trust issues except putting it on you to validate and reassure him, then it’s a bad sign.
I think you did really hit a nerve with him because he does have a whole bunch of issues that he’s not ready to face, and he struggled with how to respond to that. Which is why I suspect trying again isn’t going to go any differently. You’re just in different life stages. I can’t speak to if he’s on the spectrum, and he’s right that there’s no need for you to diagnose him with anything. But for your own dating-learning information that may help you figure out more about the type of partner you’re looking for in life, you can look up fearful avoidant insecure attachment. Someone who has both abandonment and trust issues often has that type of insecure attachment style. Things will seem amazing at the beginning, when they are excited about a new relationship, feeling validated, and have enough of a new relationship energy high to temporarily overcome and push down their fears and insecurities, but eventually the issues and inconsistencies resurface after several weeks or months. Issues that existed before you met and have zero to do with you, but can make communication, vulnerability, and intimacy very difficult if the person isn’t already starting to deal with it on their own prior to entering the relationship. Someone who struggles with that style can have amazing passion, connection, and chemistry right at the beginning, in part because they’re excited about the potential of you and the mutual interest you have in each other, and in part because they are (subconsciously) mirroring and people-pleasing you to win you over. That’s why conflict naturally surfacing, as it will in any relationship, may reveal if it’s for real or not. Usually, conflict is difficult and scary for them, and then the communication and incompatibility issues become more obvious. But it’s all part of the process of dating someone, getting to know them, and finding out if you’re a good match for each other in the long run. It certainly doesn’t make him a bad person, but probably not the boyfriend you’re looking for.May 29, 2023 at 6:25 pm #941590
Hey Maddie – I’m glad you mentioned attachment style. Your comments really ring a bell and made me think!
I did ask him about his attachment style early on (sent him the link to an online test) and he told me he’s secured attached after taking the test twice. He acts and speaks pretty confidently, sometimes a little arrogantly. But after we got intimate, I got to see his insecure side. I even broached it once saying: I don’t want you to feel insecure. He denied it saying “I’m not insecure. I have my worries and anxieties but I’m not insecure.” I guess his perception of himself’s just way off or was he in denial?
He also told me that he was lucky to not have to ensure any trauma from his past relationships. But his college girlfriend got with him while was with someone else, eventually also cheated on him. He didn’t end the relationship but stayed and also cheated on her as revenge. That went on for another 2 years before they finally parted ways.
And his last relationship was an on-and-off one for 2 years. He only revealed to me later on that he never loved the woman but only stayed for convenience (for sex I’d guess). He said he wouldn’t handled it differently if he could.
He definitely had tried hard to win me over in the initial stage. He admitted later that he actually doesn’t enjoy dining out, going to movies or other cultural activities that I enjoy. But he never told me that until later.
He also said he’s like to introduce me to his parents but declined when I asked him to join me at my friends gig and meet my people?
Yeah, I guess enough red flags huh? 🤷♀️May 29, 2023 at 6:47 pm #941591
I think you’ll soon feel good enough about dusting yourself off, moving on, and having had this as a learning experience. Definitely stay away from guys who admit to being deliberately vengeful. People do stupid stuff in college and when they’re young, and it may be okay if they’ve learned from it and changed at some point. But it sounds like in this case he was just telling you exactly who he is, whether he realizes it or not. Be kind to yourself in the meantime, breakups still all suck!May 29, 2023 at 7:29 pm #941592
Sorry to be a fly in the ointment, but you are doing a lot of diagnosing of him, and little to look at your simultaneously passive and aggressive communication styleI don’t think you are a good match, but I also don’t think you added much to make this better. It does not sound to me like you are a clear communicator and communicate the negatives you observe more than the possitive. You turned down a movie because there was no dinner and did not suggest something else, you made him drive to you, at no point did you look at this like a team, you told him you thought he had Asperger’s (yikes – not very kind, I am liberal and that is way out of bounds unless done very very gently), what you do in therapy is private and not a weapon. Anyhow, you two are not great together and honestly you barely know each other.May 30, 2023 at 12:40 am #941596
This ⬆️May 30, 2023 at 2:18 am #941598
Hi TallSpicy! I appreciate you pointed out what i could’ve done better! I’d love to improve my communication. can see why you think I sounded passive as I didn’t go into details about our back and forth.
For the movie date – I did suggest an alternative(a walk outside, and I bring him his fav gluten free dessert) and he agreed. A day before the date, the weather forecast didn’t look like it’s gonna hold up so I texted him saying hey the weather is looking bad for a walk outside. He immediately suggested rain-check it which upset me. And I told him I feel a little disappointed that we couldn’t see each other and it shouldn’t be that difficult if we really wanted to make it happen. He got defensive saying I was “actively” making him feel guilty.
What I too passive or too forward/direct?
The Asperger’s topic – yeah I regret a lot that brought it up in the early days. I felt safe to ask because we were being vulnerable with each other at that moment. He blatantly told me that “you might be putting on an act but deep down you’re not yet emotionally stable” which threw me off a little so I kind of subconsciously retaliated with the autism question. I phrased it as “have you considered you might be on the spectrum?” Not a great topic to broach before I knew how sensitive that topic was for him, as later on he told me “we don’t talk about this in my circle and I don’t believe in psychology”. His first gf/‘s dad was a successful psychiatrist and did plenty psychological experiments to his twin daughters which he believed was one of the key reasons why she’s so messed up and cheated on him.
Making him drive to me – yes at that point I was quite upset so I was being difficult on purpose – to get more attention and validation from him as I felt ignored. To be fair he was very willing to drive to see me in the first month and he said to me a few times “I would drive across the country just to see you” “I could move mountains to see you” …
My general take was my communication style was too direct and forward for his conservative taste/reserved attitude. Would you agree?May 30, 2023 at 2:24 am #941599
But I agree! I should always show my appreciation of the positives before broaching the negatives. I should have been more mindful of that.May 30, 2023 at 4:12 am #941602
like Maddie said, him saying you are too good for him etc is a red flag and this relationship never really had a futureMay 30, 2023 at 4:26 am #941603
I’m trying to understand the logic behind it. Cause it only strikes me as being insecure, not necessarily a red flag? Could you explain it a bit more? Thanks!May 30, 2023 at 1:35 pm #941606
Red flag because at best, someone saying that puts you on a pedestal it is impossible to live up to and sees you as a concept more than as a person / who you actually are, which totally screws up relationship dynamics. At worst, the person is thoroughly insecure, doesn’t trust themselves (or you, not to leave eventually), and will act out of fear and self-sabotage. It’s also someone telling you they don’t know how to be a good partner to you, because if they did, they wouldn’t be worrying about this, they’d just show up for you without second-guessing their own abilities. Earlier on in dating someone might still be gauging how much they’re into you and if they want to pursue the relationship, but it will have nothing to do with perceived power dynamics and good enough or not good enough.May 30, 2023 at 7:56 pm #941607
Honestly, you were a poor match. Next time a man suggests a rain check and you want to see him, just say… I was really hoping to see you, any chance we can
Make it happen as I feel really disconnected if we go so long.
Btw, I might have said the same thing you said, but it creates more distance.
The themes of what you said in all your examples was that you felt uncomfortable about something and retaliated. Something to work on with the next one!June 4, 2023 at 3:17 pm #941641
It sounds like things symbolically ended after you said he was on the spectrum. Honestly, I feel that was out of line. As someone who is on the spectrum, if that was said to me by someone whom I just started dating, I would interpret it as, “There’s something wrong with you, and here’s what I think it is.” My immediate thought would be, well, this person thinks something is wrong with me, I should go find someone who is fine with me.” I understand that this occurred as part of a conversation, not in a vacuum, but that can come across as a criticism or a put down. Meanwhile he’s also hearing you’re discussing him with your therapist. It all seems a little bit heavy to me. I would be out too if I were him. Just for the future, you want to tread lightly with that. If you are discussing YOUR emotional health with him, and he brings up something on that topic you should not retaliate with “yeah, well, I think you’ve got x y z wrong with you.” It seems that is what happened. Just FYI, Asperger’s is not a diagnosis anymore, it’s neurodivergent, and the veridict is even out that it’s a mental disability, in some it’s a strength. It just seems to me that it was presented to him as him having “something wrong with him” and being “abormal,” and who wants to stay with someone who sees them that way? Just food for thought.June 4, 2023 at 4:41 pm #941642
Well said Kelly. I’m also mildly on the spectrum and you’ve captured what I was thinking about the situation. I think the OP is very open to other insights and is doing great at learning from the experience.June 5, 2023 at 11:37 am #941644
Hello Kelly and Angiebaby,
Thanks for sharing your insights with me. I never thought that question would come off as offensive as my ex was on the spectrum. We had talked about it in length. I also studied so much about it. To me it is neurodiversity, as neutral as being colour blind. That’s why I didn’t give it too much of a thought when bringing it up. But I ignored the fact that not everyone has the same depth of understanding as I have read about/experienced.
My friends were saying they’d get mildly offended but not to the point where they’d end the relationship. But obviously it bruised his ego, big time and he bottled it up until it exploded.
To me that was just unfortunate. I still don’t know if there is any way I could salvage this?June 5, 2023 at 12:04 pm #941645
Also, near the end of our last convo, we actually managed to pinpoint the fundamental issue being the autism question and how angry/upset he was about it. I told him my friends would shrug it off and that took him by surprise. I said to him, I can’t change the past even tho I really regret broaching the topic. Can you get past this? He answered: I don’t know why I got so upset with that. If I could work out why, I can get past it, but right now I can’t.
I sent him a text asking to chat again 4 days after our breakup(May 21) he said he needed to think about it for a few days. I told him to take all the time he needs.
Then upon reflection, I felt so bad so I sent him a letter which was delivered last Wednesday(May 31) explaining how I felt about him, why I behaved anxiously in May, apologised for making him feel misunderstood/unappreciated and offered to patch things up.(didn’t bring up the autism issue in the letter because I’ve apologised for that several times)
No response yet 🤷♀️ I guess he’s just been ghosting me…?June 5, 2023 at 1:10 pm #941646
Less likely to be intentionally ghosting, more likely to be frozen and not knowing what to say or do. Which can lead to it being ghosting in the end all the same.
This still isn’t a good match on either side, have you been trying to accept the break up and leave it be at this point? He’s indicating he wants space, so I’d respect that and leave it alone completely, especially after the letter. Stay out of touch unless he reaches out, and don’t keep overly focusing on him, his issues, and what you could have done differently. That’s you staying in an anxious mindset because you don’t really want to detach from the connection. Again, sometimes dating mutually just doesn’t work out, and part of learning from the experience is how to let go and process through maturely while you mourn.June 5, 2023 at 1:11 pm #941647
I still think you don’t get it. Just because your friends would shrug it off, you read a lot about iy, your ex was on the spectrum, you apologized several times…
You are still minimizing the effect your questioning had on HIM. It was a big deal to him regardless of all those other factors. And then you avoid the topic completely in your ‘please take me back’ letter, revealing the fact that you don’t get it.
I think it would be better for him if you let him alone. If he wants to reach out, he’s now aware he can. If he WANTS to. You don’t need to do anything else other than give him the space he asked for. What you’re doing right now is disrespectful to his needs, borderline insulting. Stop trying to force his hand.June 5, 2023 at 1:21 pm #941649
Yes! I’ve been trying to detach. But it’s not linear. The perfectionist in me always wants to fix problems.
I get that it was a big deal to him. I just, didn’t know how to reverse the impact except apologising?
I’ve been silent since the letter and do not intend to reach out again. I guess the precious comments about me broaching the autism topic brought back the self-blame that had been spiralling in me.June 5, 2023 at 2:12 pm #941650
It doesn’t sound like you understand that telling him he was autistic was inappropriate and insulting. If someone you were dating told you what they thought was wrong with you, your feelings would be hurt (like all of us). Once you have said something, you cannot take it back. I understand you apologized, but if this man wanted to move forward with you, he would. Please do not contact him again.
When someone decides they don’t want you, for whatever reason, you should respect that and not try to force them to interact with you. It shows a lack of consideration for the other person’s feelings. I am not a fan of sending letters to someone who is not responding for this reason – they are not responding because they do not want to. It’s not your place to knock down the front door because YOU want to talk to THEM.
Going forward, I would suggest refraining from sharing what you think is wrong with people unless they ask and if you do something that hurts or turns the other person off, apologize ONCE and then don’t contact them again. It’s really irrelevant that you feel bad or that your friends wouldn’t be upset if someone spoke to them the way you spoke to this man – HE feels the way he feels and that’s the other half of the equation.
I’m not trying to hurt your feelings by speaking bluntly. I’m trying to open your eyes to the fact that you made a mistake. We all make mistakes, but if you don’t understand and grasp what went wrong, it will be impossible for you to learn from this experience.June 5, 2023 at 2:14 pm #941651
One more suggestion – stop “trying” to detach. Just do it by refraining from contacting him again. If a man kept contacting a woman who made it clear she wasn’t interested, the woman would understandably be upset and possibly afraid. It goes both ways.