Muffled Love – Why Aspie Love Is Different

I’ve often been criticized for saying Aspies lack empathy; perhaps another way to consider Aspie love is that it’s muffled – they feel but can’t express it.One morning I was trying to fathom how Aspies love. I’ve often been criticized that I’m wrong to say that those with ASD lack empathy. Perhaps another way to consider Aspie love is that it’s “muffled;” filtered through a system of fits and starts and blind alleys and occasionally smooth sailing.Empathy is far more than a collection of sensitivities. For example, the human body is 90% water with some chemicals mixed in, but I doubt that anyone would think this concoction of water and chemicals constitutes a human being. The same is true of empathy. Empathy is much more than the sum of its parts. Empathy is a marvelous symphony of instruments, musicians, composer, conductor and audience. It’s an interaction that creates the thrill of the concert. Just the same with love; it’s the interaction that makes it the art of loving.

I suspect what is so confusing about an Aspie’s love is that it’s not complete. They may feel love in their heart, but never express it to you. They may melt into tears when they see an animal in distress, but have no compassion for your suffering. They may bristle with defensiveness if criticized but feel no compunction when criticizing you. The occasional offering of love stalled by a moment of disconnect is not loving, is it?

I’ve known enough Aspies to realize that they do feel love, of a sort, but it isn’t the reciprocal love we expect and have with others. The love is there inside them but it’s hidden by those blind alleys, so we have to assume it’s there. How confusing.

If you’re a member of my Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, please join us as we discuss this topic during our next free teleconference entitled: Muffled Love. It will be on Thursday, May 18th at 3PM PT. If you’re a NT in an Aspie/NT relationship and haven’t joined yet, please feel free to do so. Not only will you learn a lot, but you’ll find a group of very supportive members who understand what you’re going through.

If you’d prefer a one-on-one with me to ask questions, please take advantage of my Asperger Syndrome Remote Education. It’s not therapy, but it will help you have a deeper understanding of how Autism impacts your life. Not sure what we can talk about? Reading a free chapter from my book, “Out of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD)”, will give you a place to start. Click on the image below to download your complimentary copy.

11 Replies to “Muffled Love – Why Aspie Love Is Different”

  1. I worked with an aspergers guy of 22 & I am 46 but they CAN LOVE & THEY DO HAVE EMOTIONS, I myself have Borderline Personality Disorder & I can tell peoples emotions before they know as I have sixth sense & an empath. He gave me a hug & it was nice, I could work out when he sad & happy, he may not say or show it but I knew & we got on well

  2. Is it possible for asperger’s people to learn to express love in sweet ways even without empathy?

    1. Of course people with ASD can express love without empathy. The problem is that NTs don’t always recognize the love because of their belief that it doesn’t feel like love. Thank you Jeremy for asking these tough questions. It sounds like you are doing some Soulful searching.

      1. Another question. Do you think it’s possible for aspies to learn to enjoy giving compliments to partners with loving motives behind it?

    1. HI Jeremy. You have lots of questions and I think you would be better served by finding a good therapist to help you. As to your question, it’s not the issue of whether those with ASD can learn empathy. It’s more a matter of learning methods that help you connect. I know this is confusing. That’s why I recommend a good therapist.

  3. Another question. Can aspies learn to love the same way as typical’s (with reciprocal, affection, and ect.) even, without empathy if, they wanted to?

    1. I agree with the muffled love. After 30 years of marriage, I’ve never actually felt like I’ve been completely loved. They do have an incomplete way of expressing it. When I ask him if he loves me he says, “I love my brother, daughter and you.” Of course that response leaves me feeling like I’m just a family member without any real romance or physical attraction to him. No wonder I’m so insecure around him. He tells me, “I’m an attractive woman for other men.” I’m not really sure what that means. Kathy Marshack, if you read this could you help me to understand what he means by these strange comments? Thanks

      1. Hi Isabel. Because your husband has Empathy Dysfunction (EmD) he answers your question about loving you from the literal point of view. You are in the category of people he loves. He is not answering your question from the point of view of empathy, or why You are asking. Love for NTs is interactional and requires empathy to feel meaningful. You keep waiting for him to affirm you as his reason for loving you. If he had said, “Of course I love you. I should tell you more often. You are the reason I wake up smiling every morning.” Well, that would feel different wouldn’t it?

    1. Yes, Jeremy I am aware that you have “Asperger’s.” One of these days I plan to start a group for those on the Spectrum, similar to my group for NTs. I hope you will join. That way, all members can benefit by your questions and shared experiences. I know it seems odd that I don’t offer a combined group, but I believe it is easier to face the issues first within the comfort of like minds. But one day, I would like to offer an advanced group combining NTs and ASD.

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