View Full Version : I need help understanding this

01-05-11, 02:40 AM
I have a male friend with AS and he has had some dating issues meaning he dates girls and the relationships don't work out etc.

Problem 1: He dates NT girls and those relationships seem to fizzle out before they begin.

Problem 2: He has dated Asian girls and the relationships fizzle out due to cultural differences and misunderstandings.

Problem 3: He has dated Aspie girls (including me once) and these never eventuate as they either can't handle a relationship due to some of their social skill issues (these are straight Aspie girls without the ADD/ADHD and they seem to be those who are less socially aware) or he comes on too strong (sexually)

Just recently I spent NYE with him and another few friends and one of those friends works as a disability support worker and had a nice young lady with Down Syndrome over to visit (and she no doubt has a significant intellectual impairment) and he's developed a thing for her and wants to date this girl...the thing is he is a university student studying Psychology of all things (he also has several qualifications in Fitness Training etc) which would indicate that he is rather intelligent and this lady is being cared for by family and lives with her sister (her mother passed away sometime ago) and accesses disability services which would indicate that she has many issues with taking care of herself etc.

Firstly this won't work simply because of the major gap in the intellectual levels and abilities, secondly most Down Syndrome people have the mental age of a child or a teenager when they are well into their adulthood (I would be very surprised if this girl had the mental age of an adult), thirdly I see it as a form of exploitation of a more vunerable member of society and lastly he is setting himself up for a hell of a lot of crap if he goes ahead with this.

He reasons that the difference in intellectual ability is only a barrier and I'm trying to explain to him that it is much more than just a barrier, there are legalities, there is a possibility that she may have a limited understanding of adult relationships (she has apparently had relationships with guys of her level and she has apparently engaged in some inappropriate sexual behaviours in the past) I am not at all saying that people with more significant disabilities should not have adult relationships or abstain from fact I fully support their rights in this area providing they are have a clear understanding of these things and that they are not exploited or taken advantage of.

He may be my friend but I do not and will not support this in anyway!!

I know there isn't a hell of a lot I can do as I'm not directly involved with this lady or her family. I guess it is her family's responsibility to ensure that their loved one is safe and that she is in the company of safe people and if this does go ahead (heaven forbid) I can only hope they are supervising it and that his intentions are pure and honorable.

I can only hope he gets this sh*t out of his mind quickly....

You may wonder why I feel so strongly about this?! Well I've lived in a mixed childrens home when I was a child for 2 years in the mid 80's as my mother needed time to sort herself out after an abusive marriage etc (mixed meaning there were boys and girls and disabled and non disabled children living in the same home and being cared for by the same carers etc) and I've seen many people with the same disability as the young lady I'm referring to and they are just like kids, they normally need extra care and protection and in most cases these people are not capable of living independently or working in mainstream jobs and if they show any capability they usually need assistance in these areas and it is very rare to find someone with these types of significant disabilities living and working independently, they also tend to have significant social skill issues and often engage in inappropriate behaviours and usually need behavioural management. I have also worked with people with these types of disabilities in the past when I was in my late teens and believe me after so much exposure to these people in both my own childhood and adulthood you can and do become somewhat overprotective and the tendency to be over nurturing of these people can be very strong (that feeling never ever leaves you) and thats how I feel about this lady now.


01-05-11, 02:53 AM
Selena, you obviously don't feel like this relationship is for the best for your friend and you don't want (him?) to go down a road that will lead him into trouble. I'm usually pretty positive, but I don't think it will work out either with his Asperger's symptoms and her not being able to take care of herself on her own. It's such a struggle to watch someone you really care about go down a road that won't be successful for them. I see it with my older brother and continually bite my tongue from getting involved in his decision making.

This is actually a good topic about legality. Could he really get into trouble for dating someone below his mental age? I wonder what the law says about these matters.

01-05-11, 03:05 AM
Anonymouslyadd: I certainly do not feel it is appropriate for someone is his position to be dating someone who is far from being of the same level as him.

I'm more concerned for her than I am for him...he has the mental age of an adult despite the AS, she most likely has the mental age of a child or a teenager despite the fact she is an adult (chronologically) and therefore she would need extra care and assistance.

As for getting into trouble legally for this, that does depend on the level of understanding this lady has of these kinds of relationships.


01-05-11, 04:54 AM
He'd be risking conviction for a sex crime in my state.

He'd have defenses to one if the relationship was otherwise "consensual." But it'd be extremely risky. Put it this way, if this guy were coming to me asking about how to go about a relationship here, I'd tell him that he's taking some major risks.

But that's in my state, and my country. That doesn't mean that it's the same in Australia.

01-05-11, 05:10 AM
I am not one to easily say that something is impossible. I think people who are determined can overcome many social, intellectual, educational, cultural or religious differences. And its usually not for others to judge them for their relationship choices.

But a requirement for any relationship to work is that both partners are fully emotionally mature and know what they are getting into. And I just don't see that happening in this case.
I am not even sure that the guy understands what he is doing, but the girl definitely does not.
On the face of it, it looks like a recipe for disaster.

01-05-11, 05:38 AM
Sandy4957: There are laws in this country that protect more vunerable members of society for want of a better term to describe them and as I've mentioned before she would have to be assessed on her ability to understand the complex nature of these types of relationships, she has been in a relationship before and was actually engaged to a guy with a similar disability in the past but that is totally different to this and sadly this relationship is now apparently over, so I would say there is at least limited understanding on her part, if she was proven to lack the ability to understand the complex nature of these relationship then yes he would be in quiet a lot of trouble legally however the fact he is AS would most likely be taken into consideration.

Sarek: I usually hold the belief that anything in the world is possible in fact I'm probably way too idealistic in this sense and tend to think too far outside the square so to speak but like you I don't see this working out at all....not in this case!! He would have too many obstacles to overcome and her family would no doubt be one of those obstacles, the nature and extent of her disabilities would be another obstacle, his AS could possibly cause some issues...seriously this is totally doomed.

He has also offered to volunteer at the disability agency where this lady attends which isn't a good idea when one is entertaining those sort of thoughts!

I do want to see him happy but I don't believe this is the right situation and certainly not the right type of person and it may get messy if it goes wrong, thats not a good thought really..


01-05-11, 06:50 AM
He has also offered to volunteer at the disability agency where this lady attends which isn't a good idea when one is entertaining those sort of thoughts!

Yeah, that would likely up the ante on the offense if he were ever charged. He'll look like a predator. I agree that his AS would be a factor that a court would likely consider. But the problem is that these things (her ability to understand and consent) are subjective enough that if you get an overzealous prosecutor, you're up a creek. I don't know about Australia, but in the US the penalties are HUGE.

Another thing for him to consider is that psychological licensing agencies are likely to be even less tolerant of it. I had a client once who offered a joint to a schizophrenic friend who attended the day program where the client was a volunteer. The friend freaked out later over it and became very paranoid, and the client was charged with neglect of a vulnerable adult. When he later obtained a psychology degree, he couldn't get licensed. We ultimately got him relief, but it was looking like he had a degree he'd never be able to use.

This is extremely serious stuff. Way beyond just what's good judgment, or what might be a good fit, etc. It's also about your AS friend's safety. He's really putting himself into the line of fire.

01-05-11, 03:26 PM
He might be fixated on her because he sees her as someone who would be "easy" to be with. Unlike the other women in his life, he might have some power over this one and have control in the relationship.

I wouldn't candy coat this at all. I'd tell him flat out how disgusting and dangerous this is.

01-05-11, 04:59 PM
RHW: A mutual friend of ours and I were talking about this and what you've said about having control in the relationship is pretty much along the lines of what she said. Believe me I am not supporting this at all because I agree that it's very wrong and I will be saying more about it to him, my friend and possibly the agency this lady attends, I will see where he's at with this first before I report it to the agency...I'm going to give him a chance to reconsider this before I take such a measure, I will also be speaking with someone at ASA (Asperger Services Australia) about this too.

Sandy4957: I'm already aware that dating someone from such an agency is a big NO NO!! This is something I will also explain to him, he has to be extremely careful of his behaviour with clients in such a place...if he does anything stupid I can see it getting ugly and I can see him losing his current job and never getting into his chosen field, he was already expelled from a massage course because he was accused of staring at a woman when she was getting changed OUTSIDE the change room, he took it to court and though he was proven innocent beyond reasonable doubt (because NO person in their right mind would get dressed OUTSIDE the designated change room in the first place..that woman was simply an idiot and totally in the wrong!) he wasn't allowed back in the course, this is one of the things that makes me concerned that he could end up in another legal drama again because of some compromising situation.

I can only hope that someone whose he's told this too drives it home how wrong this is and I can only hope that common sense prevails.


01-07-11, 08:12 AM
UPDATE: He is going to pursue this, I can't believe it but it's his choice and only her family really have the power to do something about it (either supervise or intervene) he does know that this will cause controversy but he doesn't seem to care.

He states that his intentions are honourable and I do truly believe that but I know there will be many problems with this relationship it were to go ahead simply due to the nature of her disabilities and I told him this, I also pointed out to him that there is a very good chance that the family will disapprove and possible do whatever they can to stop this relationship from going ahead and that there also be some possible legal consequences too along with the fact that there are specific laws to protect people like this lady and people from disability support departments and organisations may step in as well. Another thing I pointed out is that people are seriously going to wonder why a uni student (particularly a Psychology student) would have such an interest in a lady like her in that way and he seems to understand this but it's not deterring him in anyway by the looks of it....

As much as I DON'T support this in anyway at all I did say to him that IF he really has to pursue this relationship then he should at least make himself and his intentions known to her family and keep them as involved as much as possible, educate himself on the current disability laws and find out her actual ability to understand these types of relationships, her being in a relationship with another guy of her own intellectual capacity is totally different to this and she may not fully understand what this guys needs are etc

Another thing is that she may not understand the level of conversation topics he is able to discuss and cover (he is quiet intelligent and is very capable of intelligent conversation) and this in itself will cause much frustration to both parties.

I'm very pleased to know that he now doesn't intend to volunteer at the agency she attends...I said that would be inappropriate and unethical.

During our convesation I basically said he needed to be extremely careful where he treads and that he could get into serious trouble over this and his future could be ruined but it's up to him to think about it further and take some of this advice on board.

I've said this from the start and I still believe that any relationship between these two that goes beyond friendship will be doomed.


01-07-11, 09:00 AM
Frankly you should step back and let them figure out their own lives. So what if their relationship is doomed for a quick trip down the latrine? We all need to have a few bad relationships so we can learn and build from them.

01-07-11, 05:19 PM
I intend to do that...he'll end up playing carer to her anyway and he wants to do that he can, he is hell bent on making this work and all I really did was point out the complications.