Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dear Zeri: On Not Giving Enough

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hey Zeri,

I got to your Extreme Introversion blog by Googling something along the lines of "how to relate to people with Asperger's", and I've found your posts very interesting. You haven't blogged for a couple of months now, so I guess I'm not going to be surprised if you don't respond to my email. I've read a good chunk of both of your blogs, and it seems striking to me the lack of mention of a girlfriend/wife/significant other. Which perhaps is connected with why I was Googling the above phrase to begin with. I lean more so towards introversion myself, but lately I've been dealing with someone whose social needs are perhaps the most diminutive of anyone I've ever encountered. Consequently I feel rather neglected - I understand on a conceptual level that it's not that I am unappreciated, it is merely that his need for socializing is less relative to mine. Have you ever experienced something like that? Where it was expressed to you that you weren't "giving" enough? How can I avoid being overly clingy but not compromise on my personal needs?

I recognize that you might not have an answer for my issue... but your perspective would be much appreciated.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Hi J --

First, I should say that the circumstances you're describing are the opposite from what I generally experience, and the best advice I could offer is to point you elsewhere (e.g., to a book). I haven't read the book, and so I can't truly recommend it, but you might find some useful tidbits in it. Look up the title "The Introvert and Extrovert in Love: Making It Work When Opposites Attract". I've read parts of another book by Marti Laney; not all of it was relevant, but I found some good advice there. If you do read it, please let me know what you think.

As for my own perspective, I'll say that I'm almost always the more introverted partner in my relationships. Thus, I'm sure that I tend to make the one I'm with feel neglected rather than the other way around. But I've dated introverts, too, and so I do have a sense of what it might be like from their perspective. I know what it's like to feel too needy, in other words.

Though it's different with everyone, I personally doubt that being clingy is a bad thing. I know that it can get overwhelming, on a very basic level, to not be able to "escape" from the outside world, but -- despite how it may appear -- the positive attention is always a good thing. If I were to give advice about clinginess, it would be: 1) don't stop, but 2) be gentle about it. Be persistent, but don't fight about it if you can avoid it.

About not giving enough: yes, that's a constant struggle. The key, I'm guessing, is in communication. And, as it is with all relationships, the key is also in being patient. It takes time to understand how to provide for another person's needs, and we're often resistant to trying. Plus, I can say from experience that it's easy to misunderstand that a partner actually needs something to be happy; it's easy to miss that sort of thing, or to interpret it as a want, or even as a complaint. It's good to make sure that you both know what you need, and the only thing for that is communication. And then, of course, the patience that it takes to grow into the role of providing it.

Anyway, thanks for writing. If you were looking for information directly related to Asperger's, I'm sure there are far better resources. Good luck with working things out.

... Zeri



Mei said...

I told you there were people who wished to read your writing. ;)

Zeri Kyd said...

Mei Lian, true, you did speculate on such things.