Reply To: Can my boyfriend get better or shall I leave him?

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I’m in agreement with a lot of what I read here, except for one of the descriptions of people with Asperger’s being better at intuiting what another person is thinking or feeling. It’s really the opposite. They can have a lot of sensitivity and even empathy (if they’re not flooded with their own emotions at the time), but Aspies are commonly known for having what’s called “Mind Blindness,” not being able to read social cues, or another’s emotions or motives. The person who is better at intuiting what another person is thinking or feeling would be more accurate, I believe, of someone with ADHD. I agree with a counselor who weighed in on this thread that what Jane999 is describing with her boyfriend sounds more like Bipolar, and/or a personality disorder. Let me also add that individuals with ADD and those who are bipolar are definitely more risk takers than individuals with Asperger’s, who tend to be rule followers, and are much less likely to drink or do drugs at all, much less to excess. I have ADHD, my 23-year-old son has ADHD and Asperger’s and my husband, I believe has Asperger’s but hasn’t been diagnosed. I will also agree that no two individuals with any of these diagnoses are exactly the same. There are definite variations.

Another important thing to look at in relationships regarding why there is the need for the drama (besides the ADD adrenaline rush), in the case of Jane999 repeatedly breaking up and getting back together and other volatile aspects, is that most of us unwittingly connect with people who have personality traits that are familiar to us from our childhood. This is NOT a conscious act, and may not be completely clearcut. I only learned this in my 50’s! Your boyfriend or spouse may not be exactly like your mother or father. In fact, you might be with that person consciously because you think they’re different from the parent or parents who were dysfunctional, but if you look really closely, you will discover more. This is why so many children who are abused end up marrying abusers. It’s usually not that black and white, though. For example if you were constantly judged by your parents who were controlling, you may find that boyfriends and an eventual husband (or girlfriends or an eventual wife) share those traits. Good or bad, we tend to go towards the familiar. I grew up in a very volatile household with two dysfunctional parents and my first love was more quiet in social settings, and that was refreshing to me after my very vocal parents, but he was actually very controlling and critical, like my dad. We had a very intense relationship with repeated breakups. My husband, who is also very quiet, compared to me, tends to have those traits as well–leaning towards the more negative and judgmental side, as was my best friend for many years. With awareness and growth comes change and while I still have a relationship with my “best friend,” my newer friends are much more like me–warm, fuzzy, supportive and positive. They’re friendships are more nurturing for me. I’m still with the same husband for almost 30 years, and whether we stay together remains to be seen.

My advice, from the other side, to Jane999 is to very carefully consider what her childhood relationships were like with her parents and whether she’s unknowingly seeking familiar, yet unhealthy drama and dysfunction. I also recommend looking closely at the fact that there are so many ups and downs in the relationship. When you’re dating and engaged is supposed to be the honeymoon phase. If you’re experiencing all of these challenges now, it is unlikely to improve in a marriage, when each of your guards are down and as someone else described, the relationship becomes less passionate and intense and more familiar. It’s a lot easier to end a relationship before marriage and kids. Not that ending any love relationship is easy, but definitely easier.