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Breaking Up is Hard to Do! Breaking with an Asperger's Partner

written by: Debbie Roome • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 4/30/2011

People in relationship with an Asperger’s person may find it difficult to break up with them. Here are some ideas of how to do this in a gentle manner.

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    When looking at how to break up with an Asperger's partner kindly, people should take into account the idiosyncrasies caused by the syndrome. Ending a relationship is not easy in any circumstances. and when a person with Asperger’s is involved, there are extra factors to consider. Here are some tips on how to reduce the trauma of a break up:

    • Explain the reasons for the break up in simple unambiguous language that the Asperger’s person will understand. Don’t use any figures of speech that might confuse the issue and don’t be surprised if they don’t make good eye contact.
    • When giving reasons for the break up, offer gentle advice on what they could do to improve that area in future relationships. For example, if they liked to talk at length about a special interest but never listened in return, suggest they take time to ask the other person how their day was and how they are feeling.
    • Choose a time of day when they are more relaxed and don’t have to go to work or do something they consider important such as work on a special interest.
    • People with Asperger’s often come across as unemotional. This does not mean they do not feel hurt and rejection. Be as kind as possible when ending a relationship and don’t make accusations. Simply say it is time for you both to move on.
    • On the other hand, some people with Asperger’s will accept a break up with minimal reaction and continue life as though nothing has happened. This can cause extra pain to a neurotypical partner who is struggling with emotion after ending the relationship.
    • Never stay with an Asperger’s partner out of pity or guilt. It will only cause resentment and heartache, and the relationship will probably end on a sour note.
    • An Asperger’s man is often attracted to a maternal, organized woman who will arrange his life for him. It can be hard to break up with someone knowing they are reliant on you. It may be helpful to give the man a list of what he needs to do, and regular appointments he needs to keep over the next month, as part of the breaking up process. This will help him to maintain his life and will allow the woman some peace of mind that she hasn’t left him in the lurch.
    • If the Asperger’s person wants specifics of why the relationship failed, give them the reasons without anger or condemnation, and affirm their good points.
    • Many Asperger’s relationships fail because of a lack of affection, compassion and physical touch. These are basic human needs but people with Asperger’s require much lower levels than neurotypical people. Understanding this can be healing for the non-Asperger’s partner who may feel touch deprived.

    How to break up with an Asperger's partner kindly is a complex question with a number of answers. People who have been in a relationship with an Asperger’s person will normally know them quite well and by using the above advice, can minimize the emotional damage on both sides.

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    References

    22 Things a Woman Must Know if She Loves a Man with Asperger’s Syndrome, Rudy Simone, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2009

    The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome by Tony Attwood, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007

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