A Reluctant Tenderness: Asperger’s Fear of Love

June 21, 2012

 It is the first heat wave of the summer.  For me, that means high anxiety bordering on panic. Not terribly together to begin with, I become totally undone in the heat.  Nuzzling up to my husband in bed over morning coffee alleviates some of the gloom and doom.  Today, the longest day of the year, is a day I dread, as a child of the longest night.

Tom gets up and brushes his hair.  For the first time in all the time I have known him, he offers to brush mine. “It will feel good!” he says.  Just in time, I override my almost instinctive Aspie reluctance to try anything new and say, “Okay.”  He comes over to me and gently runs his two brushes through my hair.  It is hard to say whether it feels GREAT due to the physical act itself or because I feel the love in his hands.  I see love all over his face, now wrinkled in a tender smile.  As he brushes, he says my hair is beautiful.  And to think I almost said no to this.  It took me years to learn to overcome my fear of closeness.  A battle I still fight.

How did we, two Aspies, get to be so close?  We have had 25 years together and gone through some pretty rough times and some pretty tough losses.  Maybe the losses have made us more aware of mortality, our own and the mortality of the other. The future is no longer an endless expanse of space reaching up to the sky.  It never was.  Youth suffers from an “optical delusion of consciousness,” to use Einstein’s words out of context.   I now make much more of an attempt to savor every moment with Tom.  Of course, I often fall way short of that high aspiration.  Partly it is due to my being Aspie, and partly it is a limitation of human nature.

I am infinitely blessed to have Tom in my life, a feeling I have had during most of our time together.  It surfaces much more intensely these days.  Tom struggles with his Aspieness as well.  He shows more love to me while in his “during-the work-week mode.”  I understand this now.  We both need lots of alone time.  It has taken years to learn these lessons but, oh, have the results been well worth the struggle!

Despite our limitations, this moment in time, born this morning, is one I will add to my treasure chest of memories, which I hope will always be there, tucked inside my heart until the day it ceases to beat.

15 responses

  1. Lana Levine

    a step forward! to sknow that the alone time is so important to yo both. a lovely article.


    June 26, 2012 at 6:29 PM

  2. Hi Ellen,

    I just wanted to let you know that I have today awarded you with the Compassionate Communicator Award. This award is given as a result of your blog and this post in particular!

    You can find out more about that award here and I hope it goes some small way in demostrating how much you and your work are valued.

    Kind Regards and God bless you.


    September 23, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    • Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ll never know how much this means to me. Feeling a little better so did the awards. Hope you got my message. Hope YOU are feeling better. God bless you! Ellen

      Liked by 1 person

      September 27, 2012 at 9:02 PM

  3. Ellen
    I have been traveling through your blog a bit. I came upon this post. It sounded interesting. What sadness and beauty I felt. As I mentioned before, my friend has Asperbergers/Bi Polar disorder and resulting issues due to his meds. I treasure him as Itreasure the earth and breath. He has in his own way expressed almost reluctantly how much he treasures me. But then it almost seems like he feels elation but doesn’t know if he it is ok to feel that. He has written posts to me, if you ever see them they are just so sweet. Like a child just learning how to walk or talk. Some of them are titled ” Copper”, Stay With Me, etc. They just are so sweet. Mostly it makes me so happy that he expressed his heart where friendshp and love are concerned. I don’t want to overwhelm him. I just want to be the best friend I can to help him. He is more special than he knows. I think there were times like when he sent me the song ” Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John that it scared him that he had reached out to express love. Yet it meant the world to me. This post shows me so much. I feel your heart and desire to feel what you need and want. I thank you for helping me to understand more and feel your heart as well.
    Blessings to you


    April 16, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    • Dear Yisraela,

      Thank you for your beautiful note. I do think that your intuitions about your friend expressing love for you are right. My husband, also Aspie, still feels shy with me about lovey/dovey stuff, as I do with him. But bin some ways that makes me love him more. We have been married 24 years next month and still so shy. I talk to him about the Aspieness and sometimes complain or teach and he does the same with me. There is something child-like about our love. I am not sure about what sort of relationship you have with him but you could ask him if certain things scare him. We are even afraid of closeness sometimes.


      April 16, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      • HI Ellen
        Yes childlike. That is exactly what we share. There is just something so special about him. I am just so drawn to want to hug him and tell him he will be ok. He is my editor on my blog. HIs name is John. We live hundreds of miles apart. But I will be going to his town hopefully next month. So we can meet in person. We know so much about each other and even our appearances. That matters not to me. I am married but John is my special friend who I could see us spending much time with. We also have many similar interests/I wish I knew exactly what it is about him. He reminds me of a injured sparrow that needs someone to touch and heal him. It is so heartfelt. He is one that has written long comments on my blog. Where you last commented about the comments being interesting. He is hard to reach except in his commnets on my blog. He is also a writer so he is busy a lot and with his health it adds to that bruden.
        I am so happy 28 years of marriage is awesome.


        April 17, 2013 at 12:28 AM

      • I am sorry I asked such a personal question. I really feel I should not be involved in this. It is far too close to what happened to me. I became obsessed with a, for whatever reason, unavailable, person for around ten years of my life. You might be creating an obsession in him for you. Other people were involved in my “relationship” trying to help, too. Read my book. It is all there. I don’t belong here. Sorry.


        April 17, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    • I couldn’t finish the letter. I am happy to help. You can ask me for help. I got psychotic with love for a woman I talk about in my book. But she was not honest with me. Honesty is terribly important and things need to be spelled out because nuances are not understood. But too forward is scary. It is a fine balance. My husband has flourished with love and so have I but it takes patience and sensitivity. Hope that helps. xx ellen


      April 16, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      • Ellen
        Sorry my dear. I was only making mention of my being married to give you some background. Not cause there is anything going on. It was only for informational purposes. I have worked as a therapist. It is my nature to try to help anyone with all the wisdom I can. So to add as much information for you to work with in answering your question was my intent. Don’t worry. There is nothing going on. Thanks my friend. I only want to help people with their stuggles. It helps me be the best friend I can not only for him but anyone else in his or your position.


        April 17, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      • Dear Yisraela,

        It is not my business so no apologies necessary. I just was worried that what happened with me would happen with this friend of yours. It broke me down. In the long run a good thing but the hardest thing in my life. Anyhow if I have helped, I am glad. Hope to remain in contact.



        April 17, 2013 at 8:58 PM

  4. Ellen
    Please don’t worry. I am asking only to know how to be a good friend not only to him but all people I meet as yourself to understand and be the friend that is healthy and kind. I find helping people is just something that is natural to me. Please don’t fret. My husband has female friends. but we are just friends. I am sorry I made you upset. wasn’t my intent.
    I have reached a place since last night to communicate better with him because of your advice about patience. You are right. I appreciate that. We made a break through.
    Thanks Ellen


    April 17, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    • Glad there was a breakthrough. I am a worrier. People with Asperger’s often get rejected and I would imagine they often get obsessed with a love object. I guess I was being over protective. Best to you, Ellen


      April 17, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      • Ellen
        No worries. I am glad you said something. I embrace and respect honesty. Of course we will keep in contact. I find your friendship a treasure

        Liked by 1 person

        April 17, 2013 at 11:09 PM

      • Okay, good! xx ellen

        Liked by 1 person

        April 18, 2013 at 5:07 PM

  5. Rudraksha Ratna

    13 Mukhi – Benefits of 13 mukhi Rudraksha is Increase the Mental Power, Remove Blockage of Swadhisthan Chakra.


    October 7, 2020 at 6:22 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s