I've been in a long-term relationship with an AS man for about 2 years, and I love him. I want to spend the rest of my life with this man. Except for that one unfortunate time I tried to change the radio in his car (
), we've only ever had two real fights... but we've had them repeatedly. A little over a year ago I told him I loved him. Not only has he never said it or even implied it back, but after that morning all the sex in relationship stopped.
Some things I should note: 1) he has never been diagnosed by a doctor, but I am confident he has AS. I've NEVER heard him use the word "feel." He doesn't exhibit or read facial expressions, to the point that I have to remind him to smile in pictures. He has genuinely tried to have conversations with me about the "love" thing, but almost all of them have ended in "I don't know." Our most successful conversations are via email or text, when he has time to think through responses, and if I use the words "wish" or "feel," they immediately end. He went through at least 15 jobs (that I've counted so far) during high school and college, all of which he got fired from for being either late or unapologetic. 2) I am not the type to discuss feelings. Largely, I find those conversations unnecessary. But this is a big one. 3) There is absolutely no way I could ever suggest to him that I think he has AS. He would get extremely defensive and completely shut down.
One of the most illuminating things he has written is that he doesn't know how to tell if he loves me or not, so he can't say it if he's not sure it's true. I could go on with the sappy stuff all day, but I won't because it's not that interesting, so I'll just leave it with... there's a reason I'm still with him. I think he loves me, he just doesn't know how to apply the word.
I have to use the Aspie "F" word to describe this next part... but all in all, this makes me feel vulnerable and constantly rejected. Love is just a word, and I've told myself countless times that his actions are far more important, but it is still somehow so important to KNOW that there is reciprocity. That he looks at our relationship the same way I do. That he's not just talking to me because he finds me amusing. He says someday he wants a wife and a family (generically, this conversation was not about the two of us specifically), and he agrees that objectively he will have to find a way to define love to himself before achieving those milestones.
There seem to be so many AS people on here who eloquent and comfortable with communicating about emotions, that I am hoping someone here will be able to explain it to me. Slowly. Using small words.
How do YOU define love and know it's what you feel for your partners? Because I'm confused and unsure of how to proceed. Do I stick it out? Is he worth even more patience? Is a year already too long? I know I want to spend my life with this man, but is there even a chance he will ever come to same realization about me?
Thanks in advance for any insights.