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NT+ND vs ND+ND vs NT+NT


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Eutierria

Looking for thoughts & examples of lived experiences of how couples navigate life together (eg co-habiting) & whether you've noticed a difference whether your partner(s) is/are ND or NT & how that works with your brain / lifestyle. 

 

NT = Neurotypical

ND = Neurodivergent 

 

 

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I'm ND, my partner is (as far as I know) NT. My ex-husband is also NT. I think as long as someone is understanding, accepting, compassionate, etc. -- and that's absolutely vital -- I do better with a partner who's NT. Life is a bit more manageable when someone has decent executive functioning skills lol. I need an NT partner who kind of has some firsthand experience with... dark mental heath shit, though. Definitely NOT someone in the depths of mental illness because that would be a mutual nightmare (I've had a relationship before with someone who wasn't particularly... stable... and we were very bad for each other), but someone who does have an understanding of certain types of struggles. My partner has that, probably because of some childhood trauma stuff; my ex-husband, although very much a caring and non-judgemental person, doesn't quite have a personal way of relating to such things. I just find it easier to connect with more emotional depth with people who've experienced some fucked-up shit.


As far as other ND people though, I do often find platonic friendships with them easier and more comfortable than friendships with NTs (with some notable exceptions to that of course, like my partner and I were friends before it got non-platonic).

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Milque Toast

of course, we don't live together. But my (queerplatonic) girl friend is neurotypical. The thing is we were together when I got diagnosed so it was pretty new for both of us. It was sorta weird, but definitely helpful, that now I was more aware of my needs and stuff, I could make that more clear to her. But, yeah I don't really have a lot of lived experience to share in terms of cohabitating and stuff. Our relationship feels pretty normal- I don't think there's a huge difference between us and a NT/NT pair just because she doesn't (or at least hasn't had to) help with me any stuff relating to my autism.

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Lysandre, the Star-Crossed

I'm ND, all but three of my close interpersonal relationships are/were people on the autism spectrum and two of the remaining ones were a different form on ND. The hardest relationship I've ever been part of is with an NT partner, I'm honestly not sure whether it'll last or just deescalate into being roommates. It certainly can be done, but I'm firmly of the opinion that more often than not it doesn't end well.

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Philip027

The spouse and I are both ND.  Pretty sure this has helped us feel more understanding/comfortable with each other. 

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Eutierria
14 hours ago, Ceebs said:

I do better with a partner who's NT. Life is a bit more manageable when someone has decent executive functioning skills

This was my hypothesis when I asked the question but I also feel like I can manage as long as I can put systems in place. 

 

14 hours ago, Ceebs said:

As far as other ND people though, I do often find platonic friendships with them easier

I seem to be fine with both but I know what you mean (especially when both unmask). 

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Eutierria
13 hours ago, Milque Toast said:

now I was more aware of my needs and stuff, I could make that more clear to her.

Are you OK to share what your process is in navigating what needs to be communicated & how you decide ?

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Eutierria
9 hours ago, Lysandre, the Star-Crossed said:

The hardest relationship I've ever been part of is with an NT partner

What made the relationship hard ? Did you ever go into the relationship thinking this or was this a discovery once you were in it ? 

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Eutierria
5 hours ago, Philip027 said:

The spouse and I are both ND.  Pretty sure this has helped us feel more understanding/comfortable with each other. 

How sure are you that this is based on neuro-type & not personalities ? (Suppose those can be related but I still want to ask in case some insights pop up). 

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Philip027

While I think they both factor in, we each have some behavioral quirks that the other one of us "gets" because we have firsthand experience of what it's like to feel compelled toward those quirks.  Because of this, my spouse especially is more willing to be upfront about those quirks with me, whereas they would feel more reserved/ashamed about revealing or discussing them with most NT people, even if they had personalities similar to mine.

 

It's kind of like trying to talk about depression with someone who's never experienced it before.  In most cases, on at least some level, they will not be able to truly understand what it's like.  A lot of those such people misconstrue depression for general sadness, like it's something that's circumstantial and can come and go.  My mom, for instance, would often ask me what I could possibly be feeling depressed "about" because to her it looked like I was sad for seemingly no reason, which itself demonstrates a lack of understanding of the subject -- to her, sadness needs some reason for existing.  Depression typically doesn't have a concrete reason for existing; it just simply is.  I've tried to explain this to her on numerous occasions, but she's never really gotten it.  And I don't feel that she can, because it's never been her experience.  To use an example people here might understand better, it's kind of like trying to have an asexual person truly understand what the big deal about sex is.  On some level, that will just never happen, because the ace person just isn't wired that way.

 

I've found that it's often like this when trying to discuss ND matters with neurotypicals who've had no firsthand experience with the matter in question.  A NT person is far more likely to step on ND eggshells, even if they absolutely mean well and have no intention to be harmful.

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Lysandre, the Star-Crossed
3 hours ago, Eutierria said:

What made the relationship hard ? Did you ever go into the relationship thinking this or was this a discovery once you were in it ? 

Communication styles and approaches to everyday life are vastly different. For example: I speak in multiple layers of hypotheticals, use metaphors and symbolic language constantly, and communicate openly more than the average person. My partner struggles immensely with all three of these things. She's very much a plain language person who takes things at face value and doesn't share information or emotions nearly as freely. Even one layer of hypothetical is often too much for her.

 

We didn't know going into it that we'd struggle like this, but so far we're doing okay. The roommate side of our dynamic is definitely better than the romance side, and I wouldn't be surprised if one day we end up just leaning into that instead. We have very different approaches to polyamory as well. She's almost more of an open monogamy or polyfidelity mindset, I'm way over on the relationship anarchy side. 

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Eutierria
1 hour ago, Philip027 said:

each have some behavioral quirks that the other one of us "gets"

🥰 This is such a good feeling(!) 

 

1 hour ago, Philip027 said:

My mom, for instance, would often ask me what I could possibly be feeling depressed "about" because to her it looked like I was sad for seemingly no reason, which itself demonstrates a lack of understanding of the subject -- to her, sadness needs some reason for existing. 

good-morning.gif

 

1 hour ago, Philip027 said:

I've found that it's often like this when trying to discuss ND matters with neurotypicals who've had no firsthand experience with the matter in question.  A NT person is far more likely to step on ND eggshells, even if they absolutely mean well and have no intention to be harmful

Think I know what you mean but I also want to think about the ND people who might think they're NT & NT people who are particularly empathetic & have been around ND people long enough to catch those nuances. 

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Eutierria
20 minutes ago, Lysandre, the Star-Crossed said:

a plain language person who takes things at face value and doesn't share information or emotions nearly as freely.

This was me when I was a teenager - showing emotions was shamed/guilted out of me as a child - to this day I haven't worked out why.

 

Being my authentic self now when I can finally unmask...I don't take that feeling for granted & am incredibly grateful to have found some ace/aro friends who can goof with me. I'm still wary of unmasking all the way in front of some allo friends in case it gets misconstrued as romantic interest. 

 

26 minutes ago, Lysandre, the Star-Crossed said:

speak in multiple layers of hypotheticals,

This is me now - you can probably tell from the number of 'What if' scenarios I've asked on this forum 😅

 

27 minutes ago, Lysandre, the Star-Crossed said:

We have very different approaches to polyamory as well. She's almost more of an open monogamy or polyfidelity mindset, I'm way over on the relationship anarchy side. 

I'm trying to understand poly people whilst I try to figure out whether I have this capacity - I ID as mono but the way I experience friendships seems to be a lot stronger than my women allo friends. Now I don't know if it's because it's an ace/aro/ND thing.

 

I'm still not clued up on all the terminology that goes with it or how they interlink yet. It was a poly guy who initially taught me about RA - it took me some time to try & understand it - now I'm a fan of RA even though I ID as mono. If I find that I have the capacity for poly one day, RA would probably be my style too.

 

 

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Lysandre, the Star-Crossed
Just now, Eutierria said:

I'm still not clued up on all the terminology that goes with it or how they interlink yet. It was a poly guy who initially taught me about RA - it took me some time to try & understand it - now I'm a fan of RA even though I ID as mono. If I find that I have the capacity for poly one day, RA would probably be my style too.

RA is probably better viewed as a separate question to monogamy and polyamory rather than a third answer to the same question. If you would like to ask questions feel free to DM me. Monogamous RA absolutely can be done.

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Eutierria
1 minute ago, Lysandre, the Star-Crossed said:

RA is probably better viewed as a separate question to monogamy and polyamory rather than a third answer to the same question.

Now I feel even more confused but I'm aware enough to know that it's concious incompetence / that I'm lacking in understanding in this topic area. But - I don't know what question(s) I should be asking in order to fill up my knowledge base. 

 

3 minutes ago, Lysandre, the Star-Crossed said:

If you would like to ask questions feel free to DM me. Monogamous RA absolutely can be done.

See my final sentence in the above comment 😂 I do want to learn, I just don't know where to start & what to ask. 

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Milque Toast
7 hours ago, Eutierria said:

Are you OK to share what your process is in navigating what needs to be communicated & how you decide ?

Yeah, I guess ! The main thing was for things like sensory overload and stuff like that- a tight hug, and helping me count to 10 helps me a lot. Or that it helps me a lot if she checks on me when we're in loud or bright environments. She has panic attacks, and she's made it clear what sort of help she needs for that, so it's not too different. That sort of stuff was actually important- since I spend more time with her it makes more sense for her to know this stuff, and.. since we're so close, it's good to have each other for help.

Otherwise, sometimes I just share things randomly that are still a part of being autistic but not necessarily crucial to my needs. Stuff like info dumping, mobility issues, texture preferences, etc. They're a part of me, so of course she will know about them ^_^

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Eutierria
1 minute ago, Milque Toast said:

sensory overload and stuff like that

 

1 minute ago, Milque Toast said:

Stuff like info dumping, mobility issues, texture preferences, etc.

Ah, OK, got you. It made me laugh - I remember a time when ex asked me if I wanted something from the shops & I 8 times out of 10 would go by texture instead of a specific item which made total sense to me but which he took as a quirk of mine. 

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On 11/25/2022 at 6:14 AM, Philip027 said:

My mom, for instance, would often ask me what I could possibly be feeling depressed "about" because to her it looked like I was sad for seemingly no reason, which itself demonstrates a lack of understanding of the subject -- to her, sadness needs some reason for existing.  Depression typically doesn't have a concrete reason for existing; it just simply is.  I've tried to explain this to her on numerous occasions, but she's never really gotten it. 

I know this is an aside from the main point of this thread, but god that's relatable. Yes there are sometimes specific life things that will contribute to depression worsening, but for me at least, overall, it doesn't appear to have a basis in anything in particular being shitty. It's not particularly any different than how I can't explain my OCD in a logical way.

 

Perhaps the most frustrating part is that my mum has her own issues (mostly with anxiety) so you'd think she'd get it more, but.

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