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rockfan's avatar

How do I deal with a friend who seems to be obsessive and manipulative because of their autism spectrum disorder?

Asked by rockfan (10782points) 1 week ago from iPhone

I apologize for the overly long personal rant, but I’d love to get some advice on this situation. I’ve mentioned this before on here once, but I thought I’d share an update.

Two years ago I was confused about my sexuality. Thinking I was bisexual, I decided to go to an LGBT support group. There, I met a friend named Alan. We talked for a bit and discovered we shared some similar interests. We knew each other there for a few months until we decided to hang out a few times, and on our third time hanging out, I discovered he had aspergers. Naively, for the next few months I thought we were just friends. I then realized he thought we we were in a relationship, and I thought at the time that it couldn’t hurt to try.

But as we hung out more I realized I wasn’t attracted to him. At all. Knowing he had Aspergers, I assumed he was going to have a tantrum if I told him the truth, and he did, when I eventually told him. I specifically told him that I’m on the Kinsey scale, that I’m romantically and physically attracted to women, while I’m only moderately physically attracted to men, but not in a way where I could be in a long term relationship with a man. He accused me of leading him on and lying to him. Which I understood and profusely apologized. However, I didn’t tell him that I never initially wanted to truly go out with him. I also explained to him that I still wanted to be friends.

For the next few months we hung out a lot. And I had a sneaking suspicion that he thought I changed my mind. He acted like we were going out, but only vaguely, and I just didn’t know how to deal with it. I was afraid he was going to harm himself or me. Two months passed and I told him the same thing again. He reacted the same exact way, but this time he tried to make me feel guilty by saying his cousin is getting married and that he feels jealous, and that I should change my mind and be with him so he can be happy just like his cousins. Obviously this was getting to a point where he is absolutely in denial or delusional. He doesn’t care how I feel about him romantically, as long as we’re together and I don’t date any women.

But a lot of this is really my fault, because I decided to still be friends with him. I realized at this point that I did not like him anymore, and I should have cut off the friendship right then and there.

A few more months passed and today, I mentioned again that we are just friends. Same exact response. I even called the Trevor hotline with him and the caller explained to Alan that indeed I was confused about my sexuality and that now Alan needs to accept that I don’t want to be in a romantic relationship. We talked further and he still doesn’t understand.

I feel like now if I end the friendship, I’ll have an official stalker on my hands. He wants to get my family involved and try to persuade my parents to talk me into being in a relationship with him. He also admitted that he has heterophobia. I just don’t know what to do .

Thanks in advance.

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12 Answers

jca2's avatar

Do you really enjoy hanging out with him? Maybe you should reduce your time hanging out with him. It seems that even though you tell him you’re just friends, he is taking your hanging out to mean you’re in a deeper kind of relationship. He may feel you’re leading him on.

If it were me, I’d stop hanging out with him.

Once he makes the weird threat about getting my family involved, I’d reduce my contact to a minimum.

Vignette's avatar

I am not an S/D expert not even close, but what I do know about spectrum disorder people is that they tend to view the world in black and white terms and confusion and complicated situations are almost always overwhelming and difficult for them to process. You describe this man as gay and you entered his life and curried favor with this man who undoubtedly became attached to your affections. You are confused about your own sexual identity only adds fuel to the fire and this man probably has little experience dealing with relationships, affection, emotions and perhaps love. You gave him all of the above in black and white terms he understand and then you mixed it all up and are threatening to take that all away in terms he has limited capacity to process and understand. I have to be blunt and comment that it appears your own confusion has only led this man along and now you want to end it and you don’t. You created this situation and you must bring it to a conclusion and hopefully in black and white terms he will understand.

rockfan's avatar

I would disagree that I’ve “created” this situation. We’ve had three separate long discussions in which I’ve told him in no uncertain terms how I feel about him, and he’s in complete denial. That is not my fault.

tinyfaery's avatar

I agree with Vignette. You know he has Asperger’s, you know that his understanding and processing of thoughts and emotions is not going to be entirely rational, and after the first time you explained to him that you only wanted him as a friend you continued to behave in the same way without any consideration for his diagnosis. Yes you should have cut off contact the first time, but you didn’t and now you find yourself a in a situation of your own making. Don’t try to cast yourself as the victim.

So what are you going to do about it? Cutting off contact is all you can do at this point, just hope that it doesn’t go further than hurt feelings. If it does, then consider what to do next. If he has a caregiver or other people close to him, you might want to enlist their help.

rockfan's avatar

“you only wanted him as a friend you continued to behave in the same way without any consideration for his diagnosis”

Well, that’s jumping to conclusions. I only acted as a friend the entire time, while during that time he was in denial.

Yellowdog's avatar

Some do not like my methods, but you decide for yourself whether it will work for you,

I once worked in the Life Center of a large church in a multicultural area—and there was a gay man who was attracted to me even though I was willing to be a supportive friend and I assured him that I was not gay and there was no possibility of a relationship.

It became a burden to be friends with him because he, too, was very manipulative and I like to spend time to myself and think my own thoughts and enjoy things and places without him tagging along and trying to fit me into his world and needs. He was codependent and wanted to be with me all the time, became angry when I wasn’t, and was in it all for his own needs.

I started repelling him in subtle ways. I would play Bill Gaither music very loudly in my car and in the Life Center after work. I pretended I liked it and was really moved by it and needed to play it. Gradually, he quit hanging around.

Other things you might try would be talking incessantly and nonstop about a topic that does not interest him. Or wearing a strong fragrance, feign that you have a fetish that grosses him out, or even try (seriously) passing gas a lot.

Be nice, and don’t “fuck with his mind” but do things that turn him off. As an Aspergers individual there will be no place for you in his world if your world clashes or turns him off or doesn’t meet his needs.

raum's avatar

It’s probably in his best interest to not be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t understand the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown.

Platonic or romantic.

Yellowdog's avatar

If you are basically a nice person who wants to be helpful, it is very easy to be manipulated by someone who only wants you for their own needs, real or imagined.

Any odious habit will turn such a person off.

Or, just go for a practice, habit, or interest that clashes with their world and what they can tolerate in it.

tinyfaery's avatar

@rockfan What I was saying is that if you were acting a certain way before you made your intentions clear and then did not change your behavior after he had already assumed that behavior meant you were dating, then that was confusing for someone with Asperger’s no matter what you actually said. Maybe you should either read a little about the diagnoses of people you know who suffer from a condition that effects their social skills or not befriend people who you cannot accommodate.

JLeslie's avatar

Asperger’s or not, it seems to be playing with his affections. You’ll probably have to break it all off. He isn’t able to do the relationship halfway maybe. Being friends when you want to be more is almost impossible for anyone.

Patty_Melt's avatar

You claim you are afraid of his reaction if you break it off, but not breaking it off has certainly not been good for him.

I like you, really. You are a good contributor here, but in this situation, you are being selfish. It isn’t his feelings you are trying to protect. You don’t want the guitar feelings from breaking up with him.
Do the right thing. End it, completely, and permanently.

Yellowdog's avatar

If you take @Patty_Melt ‘s (and many others’) advice, your reason for breaking off the relationship is, you are NOT attracted to men and there is no possibility that you ever will be.

And I he wants a relationship. A sexual one that involves intimate needs you cannot fulfill

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