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  #1  
Old 01-27-2014, 08:14 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Default Advice for dating people with ADHD and/or Autism

So I've been struggling with some of Whip's behaviors. He really, really does not think at all like I do. He has ADHD and possibly a much less severe form of autism although I do not believe the latter has been confirmed by a doctor. Much of the behavior is in the 'mildly annoying' range like his propensity not to make appointments. Others are painful and difficult for me to deal with. He does or doesn't do things that make me feel ignored or not heard or just exhausted. It's not on purpose.

I would love other people's perspectives on dating someone with these conditions. I've done some reading and will do more but the general research sof far has not helped me much in how to adapt, how to manage my reactions better.

So, to people who are dating folks with the various types of ADHD and/or autism, how do you cope? How to understand better? How to communicate better? Any helpful techniques on, well, anything on this topic? Anything I should read? (I have read some of the websites other folks suggest via blogs and such but more recommendations are not a bad thing.)

And to folks with these conditions, please tell me what helped you communicate to others what your life is like, how to understand you better, or whatever else you think you want someone dating you should know.

Thank you!
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:19 PM
Spock Spock is offline
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Unfortunately everyone is unique. This is true for every relationship as well.

Autism is a broad term to indicate that the individual either can't or won't conform to social norms. Not that they have a choice, but that their neuronal wiring may actually prevent them from even understanding said norms even exist.

Autism is characterized as a disorder but at the higher levels of functioning it may be more apt to say it is a personality type than anything else. Can you describe some of W's behaviors? It's tough to speak broadly of an entire spectrum without concrete points to anchor the discussion.

I've always been worried I was mildly autistic, and others have pointed out I may be as well. One of the things I have done to cope is to treat life like a giant video game or role playing game (which insults some people I talk to!), and my goal is to ferret out the hidden game mechanics to allow me to maximize my score, minimize the damage I take, and allow me to level up and progress to the next level and stage.

Years of doing this have allowed me to internalize some of the process so that I may actually appear normal, but for the most part I feel like a photographer wearing a humanoid robot exoskeleton reviewing recorded footage to improve the performance of the pilot of said robot, which happens to be another personality than the photographer. The pilot is trying to maximize the sensations (vision, smell, sight, touch) while controlling the robot while the photographer is directing the pilot with meta-game instructions.

If this sounds totally bizarre to you, then welcome to my world. Sometimes the world seems totally bizarre to me.
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:58 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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I have long believed I have ADD (women don't usually have the H). I know I always test highly for having ADD tendencies. I recommend the site additudemag.com for info.
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:25 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spock View Post
... One of the things I have done to cope is to treat life like a giant video game or role playing game (which insults some people I talk to!), and my goal is to ferret out the hidden game mechanics to allow me to maximize my score, minimize the damage I take, and allow me to level up and progress to the next level and stage.
In reading this, it occurs to me that you might like one of my favorite books:
Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse

IIRC - the goal of finite games is to win, while the goal of infinite games is to continue the game...
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Old 01-28-2014, 03:13 AM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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No experience with autism, but I have had experience with ADD. You are on the right track in realizing that the not hearing you, not paying attention is not on purpose. I think there are two important things off the top: one is his desire to develop compensatory coping skills, and the other is your desire to trial and error with him until you find what works.

My love and I had this running joke: I'd say, "I told you about that two days ago," and he'd respond, "was I listening?" But that exchange really is telling. You can't walk up, start a conversation and expect him to automatically tune in; he had to consciously tune in. Even then while he was getting up to speed, sometimes he would tell me to start over because he'd missed the first few sentences. So it takes effort and awareness on both people's parts. He has to realize he has responsibility to speak up if he isn't following and you have to be patient about repeating.

Sometimes, it's good to be blatant, "This is important, so I need you to pay attention. Are you ready?"
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Old 01-28-2014, 08:33 AM
london london is offline
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The main thing is for the person with the condition to acknowledge what they do is not conducive to maintaining relationships and take steps towards avoiding those behaviors. It's hard and you have to want to do it. When you do, people around you seem more tolerant and even seem to admire the unusual traits you have.
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Old 01-28-2014, 08:57 AM
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Natja Natja is offline
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I feel you Opalescent, I have been there, more than once in fact and I now realise that I just cannot do it again, this last time was a kick in the arse for me I need someone in my life who can focus and not need to be micro managed in how to relate to another human all the time.

I am afraid I can't give you tools for coping, I just wanted to commiserate.
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Old 01-28-2014, 03:27 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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I seem to have the karma of having multiple family members who are on the autism spectrum.

I never understood my dad until 15 or so years ago when autism became more prevelant or more often diagnosed. I found an online test and took it as if I were him, and, bingo!

My sister and I used to call him the mechanical man. He was much more interested in cars and other mechanical things like our camper and other camping gear, than in us and our emotions and needs. My mom was neurotypical and used to "translate" Dad for us, when my sister and I didn't feel he loved us. She passed away 5 years ago and it's been rather bloody hell caring for him now in his 80s, especially because of his Asperger's. He's turned off all the friendships my mom carefully nurtured for decades with his socially inappropriate behavior. My sister drives across the state to care for him once a month (they are down in Fla, I am far north in Mass). She's begged him to move to her town but he won't. He doesn't care how much work it is for her to drive 150 miles to do his laundry, change his sheets, grocery shop and cook. He also resists the idea of a home care worker, he's so rigid.

A niece of mine on my ex h's side has 2 autistic sons. They are young teens now and got lots of special ed which has helped a lot with their communication skills.

Now, of course, my bf Ginger is Aspie. So is his wife and their 2 twentysomething sons.

All people with this condition are unique of course. Sheldon on Big Bang Theory is a bit of a caricature. Ginger is quite different from Sheldon and so is his family! They are more or less radical hippies, social norms do not affect them much. Ginger and his boys ID as genderqueer. Unlike Sheldon, Ginger loves sex.

I think the most common trait I have seen is a tendency to not say "I love you." Also the Aspies I know become EXTREMELY focused on an interest, tuning everything else out. They can also monologue instead of having a back and forth conversation. They also tend more towards emphasizing logic over emotions (Sheldon loving Spock is an example).

I get frustrated with Ginger when we try to discuss more sensitive topics in chat (Aspies tend to love their computers). He's better in person because he loves to hold me and cuddle and sex me to show he cares. He's better at that than saying it in words. He also does acts of service.

He and his family (and my dad) HATE gift giving. Especially at holidays. They will sometimes surprise you with a gift which is given for a logical reason.

I tell you, I am so glad I am poly because I can get emotions that I understand from miss p, and tons of sex from Ginger!

Read the Curious Case of the Dog in the Nighttime, a novel written from an autistic teenager's POV. It's eye opening.
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:17 PM
london london is offline
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The funny thing about Sheldon is that the writers of The Big Bang Theory have never said he is autistic or thought of him as autistic. The actor, Jim Parsons, however, read the autobiography of someone with autism and harnessed the character through the knowledge he gained.

Last edited by london; 01-28-2014 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:59 PM
Spock Spock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natja View Post
I feel you Opalescent, I have been there, more than once in fact and I now realise that I just cannot do it again, this last time was a kick in the arse for me I need someone in my life who can focus and not need to be micro managed in how to relate to another human all the time.

I am afraid I can't give you tools for coping, I just wanted to commiserate.
The funny think about autistm/adhd is that the problems stem from too much, not enough, focus. The hard part is steering said focus.

Which is why I brought up video games and role playing games. The secret to winning said games is to ferret out the secret rules the creators set up.

Then the question is if whip has the willingness to do so, as well.

What I know of ADHD isn't so much that a person can't focus, it's that if they get distracted they lose focus. Likewise that they can tend to focus too much on something irrelevant, to the point that it seems like they are distracted when told to focus on something else.

An example; one of my co-workers was diagnosed ADHD and copes by hyperfocusing on weather (he's got apps, a weather station at home, and such), but does so in a way that lets him satisfy his need to focus on weather (he can glance at his phone any time he wants to know the weather in a dozen places!), which lets him then concentrate on his actual work and such.

My wife and daughter seem to hyperfocus too, in that they can clearly not hear me when I talk to them, so I have been trying to reduce the number of interactions to boost the signal, using handshaking protocols to synchronize the communication channel, and then introducing error correcting codes and redundancy into the signal to reduce the error rate.

See, that's me turning life into a game with a set of rules so I can master them.
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