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Should I remain friends with my ex with aspergers/depression?

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Kat 4 months, 4 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)
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  • #279571

    Kat
    Participant

    I am really torn on what path to take at the moment. I dated a guy for 3 months – not long perhaps, but we connected deeply & I felt closer to him than I ever felt with my ex who I was with for 2 years. He is a kind, gentle and intelligent soul, but as time went by, it became clear that he was struggling with several issues. He admitted he was in therapy & he really struggled with the intimate side of the relationship due to his unresolved past. He also told me has aspergers and suffers from depression/anxiety.

    Right at the point where we had become super close/more connected than ever he became distant and stopped calling. When I saw him again, he admitted I am the first person he ever told about his past traumas (bar the therapist) & that he fears intimacy. I had asked him to contact me a little more/initiate more dates like he did in the beginning & he said he didn’t want me to feel neglected. He asked if I’d be open to being friends for now. That really hurt. Half an hour earlier he was passionately kissing & slow dancing with me, the next he throws out the friends card!

    However I agreed, to keep him in my life. Since then, he has done what I had asked during the relationship: he is in contact often & now makes an effort to plan our meet ups. This is what I asked him to do before we broke up and now he’s doing it as a friend? It’s been 2 months since we broke it off. There are times I am happy being friends with him. He supports me, we enjoy each others company & he even brought me a little gift last time I saw him. But – there are other times when I feel a terrible pang because I can no longer hold his hand or kiss him. When a woman flirts with him in my presence I feel sad and jealous. A part of me feels a small amount of resentment that he broke it off and like I’m not good enough. Should I remain friends with him, trusting that emotions will iron themselves out in time – or should I break off the ‘friendship’ for the moment? I am afraid to lose him and make the wrong decision.

    #279599

    Kat
    Participant

    The other thing I forget to mention was that about 2 months into this relationship, I was in a meditation session when out of nowhere a voice said ‘You should just be friends’. I was super annoyed about it at the time because I was in the throes of romance, but now I wonder about it…

    Would appreciate some thoughts anyway. 🙂

    #279615

    Mark
    Participant

    Kat,

    If I still have romantic aspirations for someone then I would not stay as friends with them.  I find it best to walk away, at least until I get over those feelings.  If and when your emotions “will iron out in time” then that’s the time to revisit the possibility of a friendship.

    Mark

    #279617

    Kat
    Participant

    Thanks Mark. I don’t have ‘romantic aspirations’ in the sense that I don’t want to be in a serious LTR with him at the moment. His on-going issues linked to depression and anxiety became difficult to manage (I had to see a counsellor myself to deal with the heaviness of it) and I realised that, as sad as it sounds, I would like a life partner that is in a healthier place if possible. Don’t get me wrong, many of us have things to work through, but this was serious & out of my hands.

    But – we were very close and intimate and that doesn’t stop me from still having loving feelings towards him every so often. He called me tonight to see how I am as I’ve had an unusually horrible week – and I almost said I think we should shelve the friendship for now but then I didn’t! Precisely because I’m afraid to lose him altogether.

    #279619

    Mark
    Participant

    Kat,

    I thought you did have romantic aspirations since you mentioned how you felt jealous and sad when another woman flirts with him.  Plus you mentioned having a pang because you cannot hold his hand or kiss him  All of that indicates to me that you still yearn to be his romantic partner.

    If you can get over that and the resentment then go ahead be friends.  Make sure that you and him know what that means for each of you, i.e. what are each of your boundaries.  Do you want to be this day-by-day, share everything type of friend?  Or a call-me-up-once-in-a-while to catch up type of friend.  Do you want to share each other’s new romantic interest?  Or not?  Good to set up the ground rules on what “being a friend” means to each of you.

    Mark

    #279665

    Kkasxo
    Participant

    Hi Kat,

    Just a pointer from someone who knows depression/anxiety first hand.

    It sounds to me like he might’ve asked to remain friends for now not because he literally wants to be friends or is not interested in you. Instead, the pressure of having to ‘contact you more often’ or ‘initiate dates’ could’ve got a bit too much for him.. Also, speaking of trauma is not easy. Personally, as bizzare as it may sound, I often find that once I have discussed my trauma with anyone I go into complete shut down mode and distance myself from the person. I can’t explain it. I don’t even really want to distance myself from that person but it is just what happens, perhaps out of shame? Who knows! There is also a lot of questioning of people being genuine towards you.. and your brain can quite often convince you they are not even if they are!

    I think IF you see a future with this person and you would indeed like to pursue a deeper connection with him it is important to be open, honest, completely heart on your sleeve but also set boundaries. Arrange for a conversation to take place in which you can tell him exactly what you said here. That you believe and feel you two have a deeper connection and you would like to see more of him on a romantic level etc AND that his request to remain friends whilst sending you mixed messages, dates, constant contact etc is confusing and hurtful to you and probably not something you’ll be able to continue for the long haul.

    Good luck! I hope it works out for you!

    #279765

    Kat
    Participant

    Hi Kkasxo, thank you for your thoughtful reply. Could you bear with me & possibly reply to my next answer?

    So I have thought this myself & he even admitted that he thought getting very close to me had become too much. He actually said he felt his feelings for me ‘changed’ after opening up about the abuse. What could I do? It hurt terribly to hear that.

    But now here we are: he’s often in contact, wants to meet every week & clearly cares about me a lot. A key aspect I forgot to mention is that he is moving abroad for a period in a month. This was another aspect of breaking up, as he wasn’t sure about doing LDR & I didn’t want to date an ambivalent man.

    Now that we’re friends, he has asked if I’ll visit him & has asked if he can visit me. So what do I do? On the one hand, he is not ready to be in a relationship because he feels he needs to work through his issues first. Secondly, he was the one that wanted to be ‘friends’. So, do I have a conversation with him before he goes? If we remain friends, my feelings will probably cool and change in time. But I worry that suppressing the romantic part I still feel will mean being inauthentic to myself. At the same time losing him completely is almost too much to bear.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by  Kat.
    #279773

    Kat
    Participant

    The other issue I do want to find a partner in the next couple of years if I can. If he isn’t in a place to give much to a relationship because he’s too busy trying to look after himself, is there a chance?

    In that case it would make more sense to keep him as a friend (taking the pressure off him) and date others. As you can tell I’m very confused and am seeking advice while I figure out the answer.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by  Kat.
    #279799

    Mark
    Participant

    Kat,

    Whenever a man tells you something about him then believe him.  When he has said that becoming close to you is “too much” then believe him.  His Aspergers, depression, and anxiety will not go magically away.  His trauma will not be ameliorated quickly.

    All those things would make an intimate, close, romantic relationship highly challenging.

    You’ve only seen a 3 month window of what he is like, i.e.  kind, intelligent and gentle.  I don’t that he is that AND he is also these other qualities that would make it really hard to have him as a boyfriend.

    You decide what you want to put yourself through considering who he is.

    Mark

    #279855

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kat:

    I read your two previous threads, first from Dec 2014, the second from Dec 2015. You described feeling “very protected and loved” with an ex boyfriend and “desired and protected and happy” with another man, later.

    In the second thread you shared about a mostly long distance friendship of ten years. He told you that you were beautiful and exactly his type but he also had a girlfriend and he indicated to you that he was unhappy with her. At some point you told him that you felt more for him than a friend but he told you that he thought about his relationship with you as platonic only.

    In your current thread you shared about a third man who “really struggles with the intimate side of the relationship… has Asperger’s and suffers from depression/anxiety.. he fears intimacy”. Following the two of you dating for three months and becoming “super close/ more connected than ever”, he distanced himself from you and suggested to be friends only. You’ve been friends with him for two months, but you “want to  find a partner in the next couple of years”.

    My input: it is probably true to every young woman, to crave the feeling of being loved, desired and protected by a man. It is an inborn, natural female desire in many animal species, for the weaker female to be protected by a male who shows a mating desire in her.

    It is interesting that in our human modern society, a woman often does not need the protection of man any more than a man needs the protection of a woman. This desire is fed by fairytales and romance novels, movies etc. and it makes the lives of many men very difficult, being burdened with unrealistic and unfair expectations.

    Notice that in actual terms, you felt protected by the two men you shared about  but you were not protected by them, the two were in your life and then gone.

    You want to find a life partner in the next couple of years. I’d say that your best bet is to approach your goal in a logical, sensible way. Figure out what characteristics you want in a life partner, what are must characteristics and what are preferred. Then as you meet men (online dating perhaps?), see to it that men without those must-characteristics are eliminated from your list of possibilities. This will save you a lot of time and trouble.

    One more thing, you wrote: “about 2 months into this relationship, I was in a meditation session when out of nowhere a voice said ‘You should just be friends'”- do you mean that you think a voice external to you, a god’s/Universe’s voice told you that you should remain friends with the current guy, that if you remain friends with him, the friendship will turn to be  the life partnership that you desire?

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by  anita.
    #286995

    Kat
    Participant

    Just wanted to come back and update – and maybe received further advice. Mark, I have been definitely been mulling your advice over.

    Since I last posted, we have grown even closer. We have been out to dinner, to see a show…basically doing the things we did together as a couple but now only as ‘friends’. He recently went on a business trip for one week, contacted me every day, multiple times a day, and asked to see me the day after his return home. We spent a great afternoon together and he asked if I’d like to see a movie with him soon. Later on, he sent me a sweet message.

    Well…I don’t know what to think?? He said he wanted to be ‘just friends’. To me, this is more than friends behaviour. Even the way he looks at me feels like more. Would really appreciate some advice.

     

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  Kat.
    #287009

    Mark
    Participant

    Kat,

    My take is when he acts like a lover and talks”friendship” then he does not want to commit himself.  He is giving himself an out so he can keep looking or play around or just walk away with a “clean” conscious.

    You can set boundaries on how you want the relationship to be. What do you want? Determine what that looks like and act accordingly.

    Mark

    #287099

    Kat
    Participant

    Yes, he told me frankly that he does not want a committed relationship because he has too many personal issues to deal with at the moment. But then he contacts me 24/7 and wants to see me all the time. He behaves in a committed way (to an extent) so what gives?

    At the moment I think either 1) I tell him that if he still does want to be together romantically, it is best we cut off the connection for now or 2) Scale the ‘friendship’ way back to being more distant. I’m not sure how to do this without telling him this is what I am doing and why.

    I’m sad because I love this person but I feel this isn’t really good for me. I feel he’s having his cake and eating it.

    #287107

    Kat
    Participant

    Actually I think I am going to take Kkaxso’s advice. I don’t want to be friends. I am kidding myself on that front. Perhaps in the future, after time has passed, and I have met someone else, we could have and maintain some level of friendship.

    But right now I still have romantic feelings towards him. So I’ve decided to be authentic with myself by telling him. If he doesn’t feel the same, I can move on. If he does, we can develop the relationship. I know he has issues he is working through but being together feels right and I want to try. If he doesn’t, better I have my answer sooner rather than later?

    #287109

    Mark
    Participant

    Kat,

    That decision to not be friends sounds like a good idea for I think it is a slippery slope for what does that really mean anyway?

    Good for you for having the discipline to smartly take care of yourself despite your feelings for him.

    Mark

     

     

     

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