Relationship red flags have always been a hard one for me to spot. As an autistic, I have frequently struggled to get a good read on people. The older I get, the better at it. I become through a very painful process of trial and error.
I thought I’d share some of my hard-earned lessons with you.
- Anyone who gets enjoyment out of your embarrassment or humiliation. Nope. Big red flag for me, particularly when it’s clear that you aren’t laughing along.
- They try to separate you from your friends/family. Anyone trying to isolate you is a big massive RED flag. Run, don’t walk.
- Physical or verbal intimidation. If they rely on scaring you or intimidating you into doing what they want, another warning sign. Don’t pass go, don’t collect $200.00, just go.
- Lies. Everyone tells little white lies, but if you’re with someone who lies about the big things all the time. Nope. Sorry. Not a good sign.
- Immaturity. Now, I don’t mind moments of childish enjoyment and silliness. But if someone is emotionally immature, it can be a red flag.
They are so many more. These are just ones I have personal experience with. It goes without saying if a partner is physically, verbally, emotionally, or in any other way abusive. That’s more than a red flag.
There were two lessons I learned from my first marriage:
1. Some men are complete wankers, avoid them.
2. Expectations can only be met if they are shared.
One of the biggest fall downs in a relationship, many times, can be the fact that one has expectations that the other is not aware of. Expectations are a dangerous thing to begin with. We often set ourselves up for failure with unrealistic ones. Or we become angry with our partners for not falling in line with what we believed they would.
My current husband and I spent a lot of time before getting married talking about expectations.
When I get upset with him for not doing something, I’ve learned to first ask myself if he was aware I expected him to do it. We often joke with each other that we’re not mind readers. And given that as an Autistic, my brain works differently, it’s usually impossible for either of us to infer what the other is thinking.
How do you deal with expectations in a relationship?
The hard part about being married to a neurotypical is sometimes my husband forgets that ‘simple’ things are incredibly stressful for me at times. And then he forgets that at times, I need to indulge in my hobbies/obsessions to rediscover my calm and let go of stress.
Relationships in general are about compromise I suppose, but even more so when you have someone on the autism spectrum and an NT involved.
Going out at night is a huge stress trigger for me, but my hubby really wanted to go out last night. I made the compromise of going out, knowing that today I’d like have what I like to call ‘Aspie headaches.’
Aspie headaches are what happen when I’ve experienced sensory overload of some sort or another, or gone out an been ‘social.’ I usually need a day to recover. I find watching a favourite TV show (The Tudors or As Time Goes By) helps with the process.
It’s simply one of those things I have to do to be in a relationship. I can’t always say ‘no, I don’t want to go out,’ because that isn’t fair to my husband. So, like most Aspies in the NT world, I work at finding ways to cope.