The Silent Treatment – When Those with Asperger’s Shut You Out

The Silent Treatment – How to Cope when Those with Asperger’s Shut You OutYou had a disagreement with your Asperger’s Syndrome spouse two weeks ago and rather than resolving it, he walked away and has been giving you “The Silent Treatment” ever since. (This could just as easily be describing an Aspie woman.) He’s nice to everyone who calls on the phone. But you don’t exist. He completely ignores you and shuts you out. He sleeps with his back to you. He leaves the house without saying goodbye to you, although he loves on the dog, making it a point that you see it. He mutters under his breath when he walks past you. And you feel like you’re going mad! Does this describe anything you’ve experienced? If so, you are not alone.

The silent treatment is really a cruel form of abuse and it includes more, like ignoring and shunning, and treating you as if your opinion doesn’t count.

Yes, many of our Aspies have severe anxiety, and some cross wiring that makes it difficult for them to feel and talk at the same time. Many couples have learned how to cope with these situations by creating their own personal rules for engagement. However, when the Aspie chooses to shut down, cut off, shun and even get passive aggressive, this has the result of making us feel abused, oppressed, and worthless.

Psychologists will tell you that when a person cuts you out of their life or shuts you down in these passive aggressive ways, they suffer from a narcissistic wound. They feel obliterated by your strength, so in turn try to obliterate you. It is a severe type of pathology. Not everyone with ASD takes this narcissistic path, but when they do it is devastating.

I hope that a few of you are brave enough to stand up, speak out and talk back. That’s what the next Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD video conference is about. If you’re a member of the group, please register for the call to discuss The Silent Treatment on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 2:30 PM or Thursday, October 27 at 3:00 PM. We’ll discuss: How to recognize the abuse. How to confront your Aspie. How to take back your life, whether they get it or not. (If you’re a NT in an NT/AS relationship, please feel free to join this group.)

Also, be sure to read “Our of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD)”. This book discusses the science behind Aspie behavior and how you can initiate the rules of engagement that help your Aspie give you the emotional support that you need. Click on the image below to request a free chapter.

65 Replies to “The Silent Treatment – When Those with Asperger’s Shut You Out”

  1. I have lived this. It is Hell. You are not alone, you are not crazy, and you don’t deserve the treatment. It IS abuse. In my experience, even with honest talks, it doesn’t get better.

    1. Hello Bob. I am so sorry that you were abused and traumatized. One thing is true, according to Dr. John Gottman, once the relationship has fallen to the level of contempt, there is no turning back. However, if you can stop the gaslighting, and silent treatment, and general verbal abuse fairly early on, it is possible to eke out positive changes. Both people need to be committed to the process.

      1. I recently realized that my husband of 26 years not only has adhd which was diagnosed at childhood also has asd.
        I’ve been slowly setting boundaries but this last one of no more “name calling” has set him into a silent shutdown for a week so far. He hasn’t spoke, touched or prayed w me . What should I do?

      2. Kathy, I am the NT in the marriage with the man who I love dearly. He assaulted me in one of his meltdowns, was arrested, charges were dropped..I was influential in this. He says he “needs to feel safe”. He has a lawyer and wants to”separate”, not really understanding what it is. Now, he is too scared to come back. What do I need to do? He is trying to immigrate to Canada. This is in jeopardy now.

          1. Kathy, I appreciate your comment on taking care of myself, but do you have a suggestion on how I can rebuild my Aspie husband’s trust?

          2. It is very difficult to change the mind of a black and white thinker. Don’t take this on yourself. Your partner needs a good psychologist to unwind things.

  2. I had this for 12 years it is hell, she was oblivious to the pain she was causing and thought it totally acceptable not to talk to me for weeks and sometimes months. It ripped me in pieces from the inside out as how do you try and resolve an issue when she wont talk about it, even to the point where phone calls were not answered or just repeatedly hung up on. This is what destroyed our relationship as i could not cope with it, there is no worse feeling that being ignored for weeks and weeks followed by threats of its over. Just abusive and not a way to traet another human

    1. I chose to stop talking to my ex spouse/ASD once I decided to get a divorce. He didn’t seem to mind at all. About three months went by. When I approached him to discuss the divorce I had planned, he thought we were getting along better. I pointed out that we hadn’t talked in three months and he agreed that was the case. For “Aspies” the silent treatment is not necessarily vindictive, but self preservation. Nevertheless it feels like abuse doesn’t it?

      1. Hi Kathy,

        I have serious concerns that my husband might have Asperger’s. The problem is… we are living in a middle east country and I don’t think the specialists here are good enough to detect anything like that especially given that my husband’s masking abilities are highly advanced and he is a perfect convincer. He needs to be evaluated by someone experienced and it seems like you are offering only education and therapy appointments. I need him to be evaluated desperately indeed before I lose my sanity. Can you plz let me know as soon as possible if you are offering evaluation appointments too?

        1. Dear Aysha, it is best if someone local completes the evaluation. Or if you can fly to a neighboring country with a good clinic. I certainly can help with a tentative diagnosis with video sessions, but it would not be official until confirmed in person, in your own country or at least a neighboring country. I am happy to consult with you on what to look for in an evaluator, though. Just send me an email through my website. Thank you, Dr. Kathy

          1. Actually even a tentative diagnosis might be a good first step for us because although I brought up this issue to him months ago, he keeps being in denial. I don’t claim he has it for sure but I really want to know what’s going on. I feel like all I have to do is to attract his attention to the issue and only a professional can do this, not me. Even if it’s a tentative diagnosis, when he starts having suspects, he himself may dig into it much more deeply. Also he is too busy with his work and I don’t think he will travel to anywhere else for something he denies. It seems like this is my only shot and if you agree on a video session, I am planning to talk to him. I have to do this at least for the sake of our lovely daughter.

    2. This is happening to me too. I am guttered. Their actions are devastating and to the point it’s making me physically sick.

      1. Me too I am so defeated ar the moment I agrree I am not the my best oerson in this relationshio. This has hapoened at actime when I meed his support the most.

  3. I’m going through this with my fiancé right now. He’s not a malicious or mean or cruel person. I think it’s his way of protecting himself and I think he’s worried about saying the wrong thing. But it kills me. He told me upfront when we started dating that he was an Aspie. I love him the way he is, but the silent treatment and being shut out kills me when he does it. I don’t know how to deal with it. I think I make it worse by constantly trying to get him to talk.

    1. One way to stay calm when your “Aspie” gives you the silent treatment, is to remind yourself that they may mean nothing by it. In fact, their mind may be totally blank. Since they have nothing to say, they don’t consider that you may need to talk. We NTs talk through everything, but “Aspies” not so much. Forgetting it, or filing it away, or ignoring it — are all solutions for those with ASD. This is because they do not see solutions as a joint effort.

    2. Be prepared to lose yourself along the way. Your needs will not get met and the lack of emotional connection made me both physically and emotionally sick. I endured 21 years of this & didn’t realize he was ASP. I didn’t figure it out until year 18 so the damage was beyond repair. I hope you find ways to get your emotional needs met because it is something I didn’t realize would affect me as negatively as it did.

  4. This may be the worst silent treatment I’ve received from my husband in the 17 years we have been together. Married for 13. We have four kids, 11, 9, and 5-yr old twins, one of whom was diagnosed ASD several years ago. It was during that process we realized that my husband is ASD, likely Aspergers. Put the Jeopardy Championship in a new light. He has always failed to communicate or solve things jointly without it going very badly. We’ve been on a roller coaster ride since our eldest was born. He uses the silent treatment, usually for a couple days, and then he relents only when I am being nice. He does it in response to me getting angry and yelling at him. This time, it was a particularly nasty fight, and I said some cruel things – they were true, but they were cruel. I had been putting up with so much crap all day, and he said a few choice words, and I just lost control of my temper and let him have it, calling him miserable, a dark cloud, his whole family miserable (true; his dad is a delusional narcissist), noting how he couldn’t deal with our ASD kiddo & fomented his meltdowns. He responded with silence, and then angry silence, and then cold, vicious silence. If I get near him he storms off. If I try to talk to him he walks out of the room. He does it in front of the kids. He started something he’s never done before, these weird, business-y emails to discuss logistics. It is the only way he has communicated for the past three days. I know that eventually this storm will pass, but I feel like by my letting it happen, I make it easier and easier for him to disrespect and emotionally abuse me. I’m no innocent party – I apologized to him for my cruelty, told him I loved him, and that I was truly sorry. I asked him to put the kids before himself and not cause them any anguish by watching the way he is treating me. Your words resonated with me – that I obliterated him. I get that he doesn’t feel safe. We haven’t had sex in over a year (he has refused, even when we get along well, because he doesn’t trust me emotionally (since a number of times over the last year I have gotten angry and done something like the above). He calls me a bully. He doesn’t have friends, doesn’t have anyone to talk to. I went to our Rabbi about it a couple of times, and the Rabbi would like to speak to him about his anger problems (a few months ago he said some horrible things to to our eldest son), but he refuses to see the Rabbi. He’s long refused therapy. I’ve long felt simultaneously guilty (because I know that my emotional lack of control/abusive language to him trigger these periods, but honestly, it is like .0001 of myself, it is the perimenopausal hormonal fed-up exhausted SAHM. I have lots of friends who know me and us well, and feel like he needs an intervention. I am open with them about everything I have said to him – I don’t paint myself as a martyr or a victim – I try to be as self-aware of my role in this as possible. But I just don’t know what to do.

    1. You are not alone Ashley. There is so much I could say about your post. First of all forgive yourself. Blowing up is very normal when you are in an intolerable situation. Of course blowing up is no solution, but it is a symptom . . .of Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Disorder. You can’t carry on like this or you will get terribly sick. So if he won’t talk to the Rabbi or a psychologist, take yourself and the kids to these professionals. You have to carve out a life regardless of whether or not your husband recognizes the problems.

      1. Thank you. I just scheduled a video appointment for you in early February. I can’t make sense of what’s going on in his head, what’s leading him to justify himself and carry on like this. He’s such a loving, hands-on Dad so much of the time, but he is so intense and places so many demands on everyone, such high expectations, a place of “no” person. I can’t help but see the man I love trapped in there deep inside, and the two of us have such a deep bond. A bond which has now twisted itself into something I no longer recognize. I wish desperately he would wake up and smell the madness, and do something about it.

        1. Taking action to stop the madness is exactly the right thing to do. Don’t give up on either of you, but never put up with the abuse.

    2. wow it sounds like I’m reading about my self.
      the feelings you have that is.
      you want to chat and resolve but they just don’t think it’s important.
      my partner of 7 years is not selfish at all, but his lack of empathy , his sensitivity to me talking a bit loud sounds ten times louder to him.he says I’m shouting and I’m not, of course then you do shout.
      he drifts off in conversations and looses interest in what I say.
      he looks at me when I go shopping with track suits on and says if there is the smallest bit of paint on them from Decorating your not going out like that are you?
      the whole relationship is completely strained, sex was good but robotic like a routine pattern.a cuddle not a warm embrace.
      every task I ask for help with stresses him out , and got forbid I make a list of things to do.
      it’s so sad that he can’t cope with me having friend s over 3 times in 3 weeks , he says to me do we really need them to visit again.
      dispite all these small but significant things I really do love his kindness his honesty and generous to a fault.
      he always thinks of others and never forgets my birth day.
      he always helps n
      my daughter , runs around school drop offs and yet here I am , writing on a blog and he’s gone into shut down , buggered by a small argument .he’s packed his suit case and left.
      he’s checked into a hotel and has told me it’s for peacof mind and to think of only him self for a change.
      I feel devasted .we have overcome so much , and he just let’s it all go.

      1. I am so sorry you are going through this Athena. No matter how much we adapt to our “Aspies” they only know their own experience of anxiety. In order to reduce anxiety “Aspies” often go silent or check out for days. When you have an empathy dysfunction as our “Aspies” do, they have no idea that you also have anxiety and depression. They think they are the only one who feels this way. Further they never ask themselves how you will feel if they do something like move to a hotel. It never occurs to them that you might be devastated. Always take care of yourself and never doubt for a moment that you have been an exceptional spouse.

  5. Hi Ashley I am going through similar situation. I didn’t even know my son was an aspie until I disapproved of his girl friend and he shut himself out. It’s been almost a year n half since he spoke to any of us in the family. We had such a beautiful relationship n it’s completely ruined. He lives in a different city doesn’t help. I am struggling to the point of losing my mind and my health and my aspie husband is of no help. Tell me if you have overcome your situation n tell me what are you doing to help yourself and the situation. Love

  6. This is such a difficult situation and my heart goes out, I did not know my wife was an aspie until after we were married which sadly then fell apart.

    I often think what could I have done differently if I had understood this condition more but it’s safe to say this is an extremely complex condition that most NTs cannot understand without a lot of support and help.

    Someone told me once that an aspie has lived there whole lives being told what they are doing is wrong or rude etc so that pain for them must be very real gor them and difficult to process whilst living in a constant state of anxiety….even one argument or verbal disagreement can be devastating and lead to shut down to protect you and themselves …they will care but not know what to do as they do not follow social norms.

    I found in the limited interaction I now have it is best to be clear, calm and concise about your needs an aspie will not be able to recognize any NT relationship behavior …meltdowns by an aspie you love can be so heart breaking but I know now it is best not to react but try to reframe the behavior or come back later with a calm response as reacting emotionally in the moment will spiral the situation.

    Aspies are truly amazing people however as a NT I understand that some NT people may not be able to manage such a situation day by day…and everyone should ensure their own health needs come first.

    All the best

    1. Such a thoughtful response. Thank you. I quite agree that NTs need help navigating the boiling waters of an NT/ASD relationship. I also agree that it is not a relationship for the feint or heart. I certainly grieve over my mistakes and wished I’d had the insight I have now. This is also why I formed an interventional support group on Meetup, “Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD.

  7. I dont know how you al take this for weeks or even years.. I had stupid stupid argument when my aspie fiancee was lecturing me on how to do something and showed (as usual) no concern for the stress I was under at the time. I usually sit on it but for once i called it out the next day and all hell broke loose (from me) and she went dark, no responses to texts, calls or emails. It’s our 5 year anniversary and unfortunately and fortunately it’s the last I ever hear from her.

    1. I am so sorry Peter. Don’t be so hard on yourself. The oppression of living with a loved one on the Spectrum is severe. Yes, it’s true that they give up very easily and run, when we would hang in there and work it through. Be grateful that you have the stamina to do so. Others will appreciate your gifts.

  8. I arrived at this blog searching for “Aspergers + long silence.” I have a 3 1/5 year NT / Aspie relationship. I have experienced the Silent Treatment 2 times now. The first time he did not speak, email, text or call me for 1 month. So far this time it has been 5 days. I suspect it will go on longer.

    We are all under tremendous stress due to 2020. He has been fixated on COVID intently all year and is obsessed. This time his shutdown was prompted by an argument. He did something wrong and I came down on him hard. I am usually super patient and either keep silent or try to gently discuss it while he changes the subject or agrees with me but doesn’t change. The problem is that he has been allowing another woman to pursue him. This has happened in the past and I have been understanding and asked only that he be 100% transparent with me in the future if it happened again. I found out that he has been talking to her and hasn’t disclosed it. I say this because it is clear that he is wrong this time. He came up with reasons why he felt it was not a big deal and basically did not validate my feelings. I got angry and now I haven’t heard from him in 5 days. While I am sympathetic to his sensitivities, I have to have boundaries. His silence is profoundly impacting me and has slammed me into serious anxiety and depression. Can he learn better relationship skills? Can he learn to see my point of view at least intellectually? Can he learn to understand and meet my needs at least intellectually? Is there hope or should I walk away?

    1. Dear Renee. Of course there is hope —- but focus on yourself, not your spouse. His behavior is not about you, but a demonstration of his disability. Of course he is breaking a promise to you to be faithful, but more importantly he fails to understand how hurtful his behavior is to you. Believe it or not, this is quite common for “Aspies.” They fail to take into consideration the person into their reasoning. So they offer logical explanations and when those don’t work, they often resort to the silent treatment. While it is unlikely he will understand your hurt feelings, he probably can understand that he has broken an important vow. Start with that.

      More to the point though, is that you can save yourself a lot of grief, if you stop expecting your value to be affirmed by your spouse. This Is what is meant by detachment. By detaching oneself from an expectation that cannot be fulfilled, we are free to live with what we really have. If you can do that you may have a relationship that gives you some sense of love. On the other hand if you have to compromise too much, it may be time to leave.

      I hope this doesn’t sound too negative. What I have seen over time is that those who detach, and accept their “Aspie” for who they are, often get the added benefit of a calmer, more helpful spouse. With the pressure off of them to perform to the NT standards, they have less anxiety and a bit more time to actually consider the outcome of their behavior.

      1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. You are generous to give so much time. You given me a starting place to help make some decisions. It can be really hard to understand someone who thinks so differently from me. At this point it has been almost two weeks and I still haven’t heard from him. Luckily we are not married and do not live together so if we do separate there is less at stake, except my heart and a long investment. Thank you so much, Kathy!

  9. My Asperger’s partner walked out on me and our 2yr old son last week but before hand we was talking about our future together, he made me a love song which he sang on his hands and knees, he took me to expensive restaurant to treat me But then he stayed out at his parents where his dad is dying from cancer and he came back in a mood with me, I asked him for hug and told him I had missed him he pushed me away and said he doesn’t want a hug from me and that it feels weird touching me and that he can’t take it no more, he put that he was single on Facebook I give him something to eat and left him alone, next day he woke up he didn’t calm down over night instead he got his clothes and left us and went back to his parents and now he’s saying he doesn’t love me or want to be with me but if this was true why did he do all that he did for me just the other week before he left

    1. I am so sorry that you are going through this Sarah. Your boyfriend is a very confused man and the explanation is probably ASD. He can’t cope with the intense emotions he is experiencing, so he has shut down and actually regressed. “Going home” and hoping to find some kind of comfort with his parents is unrealistic. His father is dying and things will definitely change. But it sounds like he has no idea how to move forward with this pain.

    2. I feel for you Sarah, I am so sorry you are going through this! Much love to you and your little one. My husband who is an Aspie did the same to me when his mum was sick with cancer and passed away. It was like a switch flipped in him. He immediately went into midlife crisis mode but to the extreme. He went from loving me to cutting me out of his life behaving like he was single, telling me things had changed and he never loved me.
      Please, take your focus off him and onto you and your child. As hard as it is your mental and physical well-being is very important during this time for you to be able to cope. Surround yourself with your ‘tribe’ that care and love you. Be kind to yourself, seek support and bring calmness to your life as best you can.
      The more I went towards him, the worse it got, the more I couldn’t do anything right, the more I became the enemy.
      He has his family, he has to work through his fear and anxiety which would be extreme at the moment.
      You need to be there for you and your child.
      I knew deep down he loved me, I loved him but I could not keep subjecting myself to the pain and rejection. I had done nothing wrong. So I took a big step back from my relationship with him and a big step towards my relationship with me.
      I believe that is what turned my relationship and for the better.
      We have a happy ending, he came back to me and we are still together, he worked through his grief, which was an extremely difficult time for the both of us. I feel stronger mentally now.
      I just wanted to share with you, so you don’t feel so alone.
      I hope you are safe and well x

    3. They Discard, just Like Narcissist. next month will be 5 long years married.. 2 weeks ago we were putting offers in to buy a home.. 3 days later after we didn’t get the home ,I woke up and he handed me divorce papers. Nothing was wrong ( that I knew of) he is hyper critical at everything I do, it has to be done his way or its wrong. He is cold cruel and he refused to go get diagnosed. It is going to take me awhile to pick up all the destruction he left behind.. he has caused us so many problems .. to me it is not worth staying or fighting because they cant change long term.. they are who they are.. we will be the ones that have to change everything to be with them and Im not interested in spending the rest of my life on egg shells.. you should consider the same.. you will live a life of constant rejection.. nobody deserves that..

      1. I’m reading the comments, all of them are close to my reality and yours is the closest. I’ve been in a relationship for 9 months and besides being incredibly smart, he’s been giving me the silent treatment for 2 days. He only talked to me to gaslight me and ignores all my messages. Yours is the closest because anything I suggest, he shuts me down.
        When I made comments about some traits related to ADHD and ASD, because truly I believed I was going to help him being aware of all the traits and so on, he got REALLY angry, said I was being toxic, and that I could not diagnose him because it’s not my specialty. Then, silent treatment completely. My intention was never offend, diagnose or whatever. It was just help our relationship to get better (I believe it’s been perfect to him). Now I feel guilty and keep thinkinf if I were toxic, and have to deal with his indifference. Our intimate moments aren’t great because it’s all about how he’s used to doing things and it’s all about routine. He’s not willing to take suggetions, and when I say something, it’s like I said nothing, he completely ignores it.
        It is difficult to imagine our relationship getting better because it feels likeI can’t say anything negative, that he’ll shut me down, otherwise he feels free to criticize me whenever he wants, and with jokes. I also believe that it might not get better because two people need to talk and adjust to be in a relationship, and that shows he can’t talk about anything that makes him uncomfortable. I don’t want to be the only one to compromise. He’s so resistant to being diagnosed, he refuses clearly. He has a psychologist who reinforces some of his behaviors. Once he told me she doesn’t believe psychopaths exist, that it is an illusion. And he takes all she says as a big rule for everything.
        I’m sorry by any mistake. I’m Brazilian.

        1. Whether you are Brazilian, or French, or South African, we all know what it is like to live with “Aspies. It’s tough and if they won’t work with us, then it all falls apart.

      2. I totally relate to this . My husband – it’s his way and the wrong way .
        He has left us for the second time and has discarded me ( as have his family ) after 25 years and 4 children .
        People split up – he says like it’s nothing .
        He is cold doesn’t talk and does not listen and is super anxious all the time .

        i feel I have wasted years on this man who blames me for his misery yet i have devoted my life to our family .

        I will divorce him now as I don’t trust him . Anyway he ignores my existence so It’s all I can do .

  10. Reading these responses make me feel both calm and sad. I suspect my husband is an undiagnosed aspie. In fact, I think the signs were all there and his folks just never paid attention to them. I also think one or both of his parents are on the spectrum but that’s a tale for another time…

    I’ve been married for less than a year and already I have found myself in the vicious cycle of being ignored repeatedly. It always has to do with me needing his help and him refusing to stop gaming to provide it, or reluctantly doing so and blaming me for ruining his game. I’m doing 99% of the chores and getting groceries etc. He’d go to work, game, shower and sleep. That’s his routine. Any proposed disruption is met with “no”, “I don’t want to”.

    I’ve had this conversation with him many times. He can’t just put his wife away on hold while gaming takes priority all the time! He’d either change the topic or try to distract me by doing something nice. He can’t handle actually thinking of the topic itself.

    Today I walked out and came back to my parents’ house because I feel punished and abused. Why is asking for help from my own husband, to let me know how fill a government form, such a crime that I’m ignored?

    1. You are not asking for too much, but your husband needs a good therapist too. Apparently he does not have the skills necessary to create a loving relationship. A good therapist would help him set a schedule for gaming for example. Or she would help him learn some Rules of Engagement. The problem for people on the Spectrum is that they think of love as a thing rather than a dynamic process. In other words, since he loves you, why does he have to show it. In his world, gaming during every free minute has nothing do with his love. Don’t settle for less than having a gentleman for a husband.

      1. Thank you so much. A lot of times, my mother advises me by asking “have you tried …?” Or she’ll say “you have to do…!” And usually all those are what I have done, which makes me feel worse about myself. It makes me feel I’ve not done enough to deserve being loved. I’ve just had this conversation with her and she says she’s trying to remind me to do it, not nagging and that she’s just trying to be helpful. But it does put the pressure on me to do something about it

        I’ve mentioned counselling before. He’s reluctant to admit that there’s a problem. When we started the relationship, I mentioned to him and his folks that some things aren’t right but I was told to embrace their family quirks rather than trying to change them. I fear I won’t be good enough to change him or guide him to face his problems.

        1. If people truly understood what we live with, they wouldn’t offer platitudes. Try to remember that these suggestions come from a desire to help, but also a false belief that all you have to do is put your mind to it — and all will be fixed. This false belief is based upon a need to feel safe in the world. People generally feel safe if they believe they can solve all problems. We know that many problems cannot be fixed. But what we can do, is be authentic and build a meaningful life.

  11. Hi there,I have been with my Aspergers partner for over 1 year. He told me from the initial beginning of our relationship that he has Aspergers syndrome. I wasn’t aware of the condition, but did my slight bit of research.

    He has given me the silent treatment a few time which I called him up on,. This eventually caused arguement due to misunderstanding.
    Just recently 1 month ago we went on a trip together and he blew up on me for saying no to an excursion. He also gave me the silent treatment the who day. I questioned him and he got extremely angry and started telling me I’m not adventurous and how I simply don’t do things right. I was completely caught if guard and told him he wasn’t making any sense. And that he was being a bully and abusive. We returned back home, (live separately) and since then his told me to have time apart to think this through. He doesn’t message or call. Which makes me feel I’m unwanted but he stated he loves me..
    His end point was that, this time apart will help me in knowing if I want to be in a relationship with him, as he will not be able to give me what I want in terms empathy, affection etc… from that point onwards I started to understand that he has actually taken time to reflect on his behaviour and doesn’t want to ruin my life or make me unhappy, as he is not going to be able to change his ways

    I love him dearly. He is extremely caring, loyal and goes out his way to make me feel special at times. Only when he has some sort of an emotional meltdown his goes silent. I feel me and him will not meet for a few months as that what his intention seems to be like. I have tried to Express my feelings to him and he shut me down saying he doesn’t want to hear it. I feel he does that as he is trying to save himself from an emotional breakdown? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    I’ve made it very evident to him that I love him and want to be with him. To try and understand him better. I feel the ball is in his hands now. So it’s a matter of waiting to see when he is ready to talk. Again it all seems one way and him not taking consideration of my feelings etc..

    I feel I need to practice detachment which might help mine and his relationship work. But its difficult as I’m such a caring, loving compassionate person.

    I know he has the best interest of me and hence the reason why he initiated the time apart.

    It’s a challenge. Which I said to him once and he blew it all out of proportion

    I feel lost. Days where I day to myself, why even bother with the hardship and better to just let go and move on. On the other hand I want to pursue the relationship and work on it.

    I sometimes feel his a narcissistic person, but then I remind myself his an Aspie

    1. Hi Rosh. One thing you might do is appeal to his sense of fairness. Explain to him that he has the right to take time for himself if he needs to. However, he does not have the right to make this decision for the other person (you). You are a free human being who can decide for herself if she wants time apart or if she wants to be in this relationship. He has no right to take that decision away from you. “Aspies” don’t ask themselves about how you feel about things, so we need to point it out in a way they will understand. It’s not just that you love him, but you have free will to decide what you want.

  12. I’ve never been so happy to come across this page. Something terrible happened to me and my partner last week but mainly to me, a violation of my privacy and my partner who is aspie felt as though his pride was damaged and now blames me for what has happened. He is giving me the silent treatment and I am completely devastated. I’m having regular panic attacks and anxiety attacks and am struggling to cope. He gives me glimmers of hope and then takes them away again. He’s my absolute everything and my whole life and future is with him. I am completely helpless and i have no idea what to do. Please please help me someone.

    1. February 3, 2021 / 1:08 pm (MST)
      Dear Victoria,
      I hear your pain and share your feelings of devastation. If you’d like to talk with someone who’s experiencing similar stress, I’m here. I’ll listen.
      Please take care. Hope to hear from you.
      Elizabeth,
      Edmonton, Alberta

  13. In the beginning, it was nice that my autistic partner (now ex) noticed the little things about me. They were excited to spend time with me, open and healthy. Things eventually got weird. I first noticed that they seemed to act fake almost? Sometimes they would try to be what they thought people around them wanted them to be. I was outside of their social group but it seemed they were pretending to know stuff that only people in my group might know, if that makes sense. We have terminology that my ex obviously didnt know the meaning of, but used context clues to guess, and even though they guessed wrong, they would argue with me when I told them they were mistaken. Actually, admitting they didnt know something actually became a common and exhausting theme. It wore me down because it seemed so insecure. They frequently acted “hard” and insecure. Example: Double handed slapping my rear end to establish dominance when I was talking to a pretty girl once, hard enough I almost fell in her lap. Maybe that’s why I started to pull away. All the acting and insecurities.

    I soon found we didn’t have anything to talk about. When I tried to open up about deep and painful stuff, they just said, “hmm.” It really hurt. They tell a lot when they get mad. They would always say “yelling is not abuse” but I think that’s wrong. Their yelling was loud and scary and it triggered my PTSD. Once I gave them an attitude and they tried to tone police me, although they were just talking to me like that too. So I asked, “so it’s okay for you to do that to others, but others can’t do that to you?” And they said “Yes.” I told them that was hypocritical and they didnt have anything to say but were mad as hell.

    We broke up over something so stupid. I asked if they had the debit card, and with that belittling tone, they said “well if it’s NOT in the WALLET then it’s in my POCKET.” As if I was so dumb because I didn’t know that most obvious logic. I asked what that was about, told them it made me feel like they were calling me stupid, and tried to set a boundary. They started screaming at me at the drive through window taco place. So embarrassing. They triggered my ptsd and I started interrupting them telling them I didnt want to be screamed at, yes I stopped listening because they started screaming, went on defense and never responded to or respected my boundary. They gave me the silent treatment for hours, fell asleep, and as customary for them, woke up as I was drifting off to scream at me for not talking to them (obviously forgetting conversation is a 2 way street). Again I said that I would talk if they would stop yelling. They went silent. The next morning they were angrier. They wanted to fight. So I told them to leave. I just couldn’t do it. I have PTSD from childhood abuse and they severely triggered me in so many ways. I know they don’t mean harm but they are harmful to me. I hope they can find peace. This was 4 days ago and I’m venting, sorry.

    1. Hi im greatful to read all of this comments im in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend for 3 years now and the start was pretty good and I didn’t know he has aspergers until 6 months into our relationship. I went through a lot of silent treatments and neglect but whats worse is that he cheated on me. The whole 3 years he was sexting other people whilst pretending to be a girl and when i found out he told me he loved me and won’t do it again and that it was his only outlet because no one knows he is bi. I forgive him for that but i often notice him lying about something to me. He would lie that he’s asleep but he’s awake and ignoring my calls or texts. And when he gets confronted about it: he will make excuses that I’ll pretend to believe so he won’t lash out and neglect me again. Its a continue process and its been a week and it feels like he doesn’t want to text or call me anymore but he does say he loves me and even made baby names for our future with me. He has no friends and only has me. But i found out he has a secret account where he’s liking tiktoks of sexy girls dancing but he would be mad at me for talking about a boyband i like and unfollow every celebrity on my Instagram because he says he was jealous (we used to share accounts) and this made us fight and now we are definitely not ok. I feel like he broke my trust and i dont know if i could trust him again. We are meeting after COVID and I really want to see him and i still love him but i dont know how to cope with him being this way. When I asked him why he did all of it he says because he was horny and we always overthink. It was because he’s always sad around me and i always have to assure him through his meltdowns. I dont know what to do because it hurts being ignored and i overthink a lot that he has somebody new. But i just want us to be ok and go back to normal. If i try to confront him or ask him not to do it ever again or ask to compromise he would shut himself and isolate himself more to me and sometimes would have suicidal tendencies telling me he can never do anything right and that he ruins everything. I dont know what to do but i need help because i want to stay with him but i also dont want him to ignore me and i dont know how to cope.

  14. Im going through a hard time at the moment. Ive been with my husband 21 years, married 3.
    He wont go to the drs…he definitely has aspergers. He blows over the smallest thing…. i live on eggshells….his moods can come on instantly from nowhere. He got upset that i had a credit card he didn’t know about…im a 36 year old woman! Its like im not allowed anything. He hasnt spoken to me for over 2 weeks now….comes home late….sleeps on sofa….goes to work early. Its happened before….and it usually takes me to approach him. But I haven’t this time. I need the break away from it all. Ive been happier the last 2 weeks… im not put down or shouted at….its been wonderful.
    No matter what he does for me or buys me….he throws it back at me. I just cant carry on like this…..
    What man ignores his wife and family? (Our pets are our children). I have no words.

  15. I have gotten to know a girl with Autism but what would be called Asperger’s a couple of years ago. She is really competent on the social behavior and I forgot her diagnoses often.

    We chatted everyday for more than a month and talked on the phone for hours on end a couple of times a week.

    I was supposed to meet her in her hometown (2hrs drive for me) and that got cancelled the same day because of Covid-related reasons.
    After that she has not responded to my messages, and I have ADHD and GAD so this really made me spiral into one of my worst weeks this year.
    We are still friends on FB and she still follows me on Instagram, but just puts me on read and not responding.

    I hope that there is a future where we can communicate again because it felt like it went so well and she really seemed to enjoy me. Like we could be on a call but not having to even speak, which to me tells me she enjoyed my company without me having to entertain all the time.

    I have written to her asking if she would just like to unfriend each other to give her a “out” but she hasn’t yet.
    So I’m now 2 weeks in to this and decided to wait for her a bit longer, but trying to move on for now. But I’m sad because her company was a very positive thing in my life. She is the one instigating most of our chatting in the first place.

    1. I am sorry you are suffering. Let me help a little. People on the Autism Spectrum have a difficult time maintaining a relationship because they just don’t think about you when you are not around. We NTs know who we are in relation to others, so we constantly assess our reality according to other people, even total strangers and famous people. That’s why Mark Zuckerberg made a fortune with Facebook. But for Autists it’s out of sight, out of mind. Another important point to remember is that it’s a lot of work for Autists to create the illusion of socializing. They create a mask for the rest of us, but anyone will tire eventually if they have to pretend constantly. It’s hard to say if this woman is really interested in you, but in any case, don’t work so hard. Love should be a joy.

  16. I’ve lived this and could not take anymore after 5 years of hell! Autism aside, this behavior is abusive. It won’t change. Get out. It is not too late.

  17. After seven months of making my BF feel amazing (as he put it everyday), I literally got flowers one time on my bday and told I was pretty only on that day. Cooked for him non stop, bought him little gifts, embraced his kids etc. Great sex but no affection. He told me when I first met him that he had ‘limitations’ and was dysfunctional. Has an amazing job and extremely successful. Frugal with money. Very very insecure where my friends and family noticed. Got upset if I said he was good at anything. Very hard on himself. But, I fell in love Most honest man you could meet. I know he’s incapable of lying. Fast forward to Thanksgiving when I was cooking (plus the expense of it all) for he and his kids and he brought a bottle of wine he knows I won’t drink and even said, I know you won’t drink this. It was just the totality of feeling taken for granted and unappreciated. He asked me a month before, how are you feeling about me and my behavior. He knew he was relaxed, he didn’t have to audition anymore and he was starting to snap at me, become more insensitive etc. I told him the day after Thanksgiving that I felt these things. He decided the next day, it was over. Leave him be, I was never going to be happy with him, he warned me he was like this. Completely shut off from even asking me, how can I make you happy. Simple things he just said he was not going to do or change for me or anyone. I of course begged, pleated and apologized because of my abandonment issues to no avail. I did ask him if he had Aspergers and that’s when all the blocking happened. Here’s my question. I’ve done so much research on line and his father had it pretty badly and his older son has been diagnosed. How likely is this to skip generations??? I’m accepting that it’s over. It’s been two months and as much as I love him, I know he’s capable of doing this again when any conflict arises. I hurt him and he has recoiled to a point of no return. Does Aspergers skip generations?

    1. Does Asperger’s skip generations? Not that I am aware of. However your boyfriend’s behavior is not OK. If he is unwilling to work on developing more interpersonal skills, you will always feel alone.

  18. I’m getting the silent treatment today. Yesterday I hurt my husband’s feeling when I asked him to stop speaking while I was driving. Usually we listen on the radio (NPR) and I had thought (wrongly, it turned out) that he knew one function of the radio was to prevent distracting conversation. Feeling bad, I googled the problem and came upon this article. Armed with this info, I told I was sorry I hurt his feelings. That I was sorry for all the times I had hurt his feelings. He said “you couldn’t possibly be that sorry.” I told him I didn’t want to be a hurtful person, that I wanted to be someone he felt safe around. We’ll see. He’s not that far on the spectrum and I think things will be better by dinner time. I’ve been with him for 35 years so we’ve made it work. The best times are when we travel together. Then we are both on the same wavelength. Also, a weekly lunch date is helpful. Also taking walks together. The silent treatment is painful, but it helps to remember that it’s not my fault. My “crimes” are just a function of his way of thinking combined with his paper thin skin. I find following my own silent pursuits, yoga and meditation, help me recenter. He loves me, just not right now. And when he comes out of it he won’t even know that it was painful for me, and that’s okay.

  19. I am going through this now and have been for months. It got worse because my wife went through a period of depression and started taking antidepressants and I think that makes it even worse. There is no intimacy, no closeness, nothing. She stays in the bedroom all the time. The only time we have any contact is dinner and it is as quick as she can get away back to the bedroom. I deal constantly with snide behaviour and short remarks. I can’t say anything without an attitude coming back at me. At New Year, she said she wanted space and would not talk. This is the third month since then and nothing. I don’t know what to do. I love her but there is nothing left between us and it all started with those pills. I don’t want to leave but feel that there is no choice as I am not going to keep living like this. I can’t.

    1. Interesting. My bf takes antidepressants and I suspect he is on the spectrum. Everything was great the first two months then he shut down affection and sex and now he says he wants to be alone. I think the meds are making things worse

  20. I am getting the silent treatment at the moment. We have been together for over 2 years. A few weeks ago I asked my boyfriend to go and stay with his parents for a while as I needed some space to focus on myself and my son. I was struggling to deal with his alcoholism and depression. I try to be understanding and compassionate and he has said that he’s lucky to have me, and he loves me. It was going ok for us for a couple of weeks – we saw each other at weekends. Then suddenly he started drinking again and saying really hurtful things when drunk. He apologised the next day and we talked through it. I have been thinking hard about what I want in the future. There have been a few things like him still being on dating sites and sexual messages with an ex-work colleague but we have talked through and I have forgiven him. However, he still doesn’t want me on social media and I haven’t met his parents. I communicated to him that I was feeling like he doesn’t see a future with me. I was thinking that if I’m going to try and support him, I need to have some assurance that he wants to take our relationship seriously! He has said that he wants to have children with me but then has also been on dating sites. I’m confused. He can’t lie very well. I figured it was bad timing because he blocked me 2 days later. It’s nearly been 2 weeks since I’ve heard from him. I don’t know whether this is the end?! or how much space do I give him?

    1. Addiction and ASD do not mix well. Both are Empathy Dysfunctions. Never all this type of abuse. As tough as it is for you, it is long overdue for you to detach and look out for yourself and your son.

  21. Thank god for this site, I am sane! I have spent 10 years with an undiagnosed aspie, it was only when I started googling his behaviour from something on the tele, that I found out about aspie’s.

    He finally walked out on me two weeks before my birthday, a couple of months ago, I am self employed and was not back to work properly because of lockdown, so this has caused me terrible anxiety.

    He on the other hand after giving me years of the silent treatment, treating me with contempt on and off, mainly off, mood swings, temper tantrums, has found his newly setup business has thrived in lockdown and rented himself a beautiful house and moved all his stuff out and ended our relationship saying we would be both better off with someone else!

    At first my anxiety and insecurity went through the roof, two months later I am still suffering with anxiety but not as bad, but now feel so much anger and hate of this selfish narcissistic man, who had no though for me what so ever.

    If I hadn’t been sucked in by his showering of gifts, complements and attentive behaviour (obviously all from a text book) which stopped as soon as he moved in, I would of ran a mile.

    He has left me traumatised by the ten years of this lonely abuse, I just want to heal my self now and would love to meet someone who is warm loving and genuine.

  22. My bf was wonderful in the beginning. Showered me with tons of presents. In fact he went overboard. I’m a writer, and he wanted to read everything I’ve ever written. I’m also an actress and he wanted to see all my work. Complimented me constantly.
    Then he got weird. Got defensive over nothing. I was making conversation in an IM and he took it as an insult.
    Next conflict was him stopping me in mid conversation to say he was bored by what I was talking about. I got hurt. But I realized cuz of his reaction to my pain that he didn’t mean to hurt me.
    I showed screenshots of our convos to my friends. They were the ones who thought he might be on the spectrum.
    I watched videos. Researched. Tried to learn everything I could. Changed how I communicated with him and stopped taking his bluntness personally. That helped.
    But then he withdrew sex and affection saying he felt off. I tried seducing him..you cannot believe how much it hurts to get turned down.
    I finally asked if he wasn’t attracted to me and he said it isn’t me. He just isn’t feeling great. When I suggested he see his Dr, he got mad at me and defensive.
    His mental state is his business and it isn’t about you and nobody is entitled to insights into his mental state etc.
    I told him I thought we should take some space so he can figure out what’s going on. But I also told him you can’t have a healthy relationship if you don’t see how your mental state affects your partner!
    I was ok w taking space cuz we still texted a cpl times a day. I tried to be loving and supportive. I said I wanted to work things out with him. He said we would when he got out of this rut he’s in.
    Sunday he stopped replying to my texts. I freaked out cuz he’s depressed and he owns weapons.
    I finally tried to explain that his silence made me anxious and I needed to know if he is ok. He said he’s ok but not talking to anyone cuz he’s in his head and disconnected.
    I asked if he could just send me an emoji daily so I know he’s ok
    No reply
    Silence again.
    He can’t even be bothered to send me an emoji
    I find out a few days later he was still talking to his best friend. I guess I’m the only one he wasn’t talking to. I felt lied to and discarded. I also wondered if there is someone else.
    I got pretty upset today and he texted me back. He was mad that I contacted his friend ( I did it cuz I wanted advice how to handle this. I was a nervous mess. ) He said there is no one else. He wants to be alone and no pressure to have to explain or defend his state of mind. Reiterated that his depression is not my problem
    Reading ppls posts here makes me feel I should run. He seems incapable of understanding the effect his depression and shutting me out has on me.

  23. I honestly think that aspies care only for their own interests and how things are for them – they care for others only when it is to their benefit -otherwise. others or their feelings are of no interest to them . . It’s as if they just don’t get that other people matter. They dispose of people. with no regard to how they will be impacted . It’s not that they don’t care – it’s total. disregard for the feelings of others . They only care about themselves .It is a hard realisation to make but they will not change or see what harm and hurt they cause . My aspie husband still miserable having left but refuses to look at his own behaviours or get help . He runs for a hobby and runs from his life hoping to find something better – but he is still anxious because it’s about his disorder – that he refuses to address .Its a very complex self involved disorder and bad though it is for them – it is bad for their life partners .I still love my husband but wonder why -he has rejected me , been cold ,cruel , dismissive and disposed of me .It is right that the marriage should end because it will be another 20 years of same casual unkindness.
    Look after you – he won’t .

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