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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 02/25/2011 : 23:18:22
Some individuals have a person they "know" (e.g. a friend) as a Special Interest. In other types of Special Interest (even celebrities, historical figures), there is no issue of consent.
Also, this type of Special Interest can conceivably bother others more strongly (e.g. parents, friends or the partner of the individual).
I would distinguish cases whether: the Special Interest knows and consents or not; there are romantic feelings or not.
I'm particularly interested in cases where the Special Interest knows and consents.
A romantic Special Interest for a person that consents seems ideal for both partners.
A non-romantic Special Interest for a person that consents seems equivalent to a Special Interest of the other types, with the added advantage that the individual also has a friend that is accepting.
1. Are all of these distinct cases of special interest common?
2. Are there ways to distinguish these distinct cases from what otherwise might be denoted love, or a close friendship / non-romantic love? Is such a distinction useful?
3. Are these cases to be discouraged? Should the cases with consent be accepted? And what if the Special Interest bothers others (e.g. a non-romantic interest for a friend bothers the individual's partner)?
|3 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 06/02/2011 : 17:41:58
We are dealing with a situation like this. It is not romantic and there was no "consent" but there has been no rejection from the person either and he is aware of her challenges. She is facinated by his ideas and sees him as "sucessful" because of his career. The situation is complicated by the fact that he was a teacher of hers previous and some of the other staff have tried to "protect" the teacher involved by telling her to back off. They see the friendship as inappropriate. This has obviously made the situation awkward for everyone involved.
I hope that you get your questions answered Ivo. Thank you for posting your question!
||Posted - 03/12/2011 : 01:45:45
Please note that I edited the original message (if anyone wants I can provide the original version - it was very similar to the current version).
My reason for editing it was to clarify the questions.
As I'm posting, I might as well add some more of my own comments about the questions. See below if interested!
I think that Aspies can often have SI for a person that is either not disclosed, or are disclosed but not consented to, and the persistence is not welcomed (which can even devolve to accusations of stalking in some cases) - note that not all of these have romantic interest associated (but most of the ones I read about did).
Unfortunately, most of the information I found is about this kind of situation so it is important to cover this case as well - even though I'm not personally interested in it as in any cases without disclosure or consent from the SI I just feel that it should be discouraged regardless of any other considerations (or at least disclosed to check if there is consent). But Dr. T. is the expert, not me!
One case I'm very interested in is when the SI is the individual's partner. In this case I assume there is consent. I wonder if in this case if some Aspies tend to express love partly by having their love interest as a SI.
I got interested in this case one from reading several books written by the partners of
Aspies, and also some of the impressions on this written by Aspies themselves. I really got the impression that it is actually not unusual for the Aspie to have the partner (or prospective partner if they are dating) as a SI. If this is the case in a majority of the cases then I think it is important to know this and know more about this.
The other case I'm interested in is when the SI is a friend or family member, not a romantic interest (and thus not the individual's partner).
I assume the object of the SI is rigorously and explicitly informed about it and accepts the Aspie's friendship (I think it is important that the SI knows explicitly for the consent to be truly valid).
I think this case is actually not very common (or maybe people just do not write about it).
Further, what if the existence of this non-romantic SI friend bothers someone else (e.g. parents, other friends, romantic partner)?
As I understand, "regular" SIs play an important role for the Aspie and should generally be accepted... If so I think in this particular case that kind of reasoning may apply as well (compare to parents or partner which are sometimes bothered by the intense devotion to things like video-games, but from what I read the SIs are extremely important mechanisms for the Aspie).
I also add that Aspies typically have few friends, so I really feel that any that are informed and are accepting should be treasured.
I can also imagine other similar interesting cases - an Aspie may develop a special interest for a family member (which may upset other family members) and so on.
I got more interested in this kind of case after reading Katrin Bentley's book - as mentioned above there is a chapter on it. It has as title "The Girlfriend" and the author describes that her Aspie husband had at some point what appeared to be an SI for another woman - which he actually kissed out of curiosity (and talked about the experience with great naturalness to his wife). He did refuse to go further than that even as the "other woman" insisted they should take their "relationship" to the "next level".
I can imagine that in this situation such a SI should be discouraged!
In any case, reading it left me wondering: if it is completely non-romantic and neither the Aspie nor the SI are interested in more than friendship, should it still be objected to?
I still see the potential that other people to whom the Aspie is an important part of their life may feel more threatened or even jealous of the attention given to the SI because of being an accessible person just like they are, instead of the typical SIs such as video-games.
I'm really interested in comments from others in the community as well! Please post if you have anything to add.
||Posted - 02/26/2011 : 00:08:41
Please feel free to edit the question(s) above, for clarity or for size - although I would certainly be delighted if they are all tackled by Dr. Attwood (I must say I prefer "Dr. T" :) )
Some background on my question (for those interested)...
I have gone through several of the available resources (mainly books) about Asperger's Syndrome and found a wealth of information. Unfortunately I was not completely satisfied about the information available about Special Interests, namely when said Special Interests include persons that the individual on the spectrum knows.
From everything I read I feel that Dr. T. consistently had the most accurate insight, therefore I would really like to have Dr. T comment more in-depth about this in the future (in fact I hope he will be interested in actually writing about it).
What I found already about "having persons as a Special Interest":
a. Mentioned in Dr. T. "Complete Guide" (although even with the full Chapter 7 about Special Interests not as much as I would like is mentioned about this particular case).
b. The book "Alone Together" by Katrin Bentley covers this issue during all of Chapter 13 but in rather specific way that I felt was interesting but had limited value as a resource for other individuals on the spectrum
c. The book "Asperger in Love" by Maxine Aston also has a little amount of information.
I tried to be thorough in my search for this information and searched the internet and found some bits of information here and there as well, but I am not sure how reliable that sort of info was and even then I did not find much that addressed the specific issues I ask above in a solid manner. Maybe I missed something relevant though - if anyone reading this post has some references, please let me know.
I really find it much more fun to refer to Dr. Tony Attwood as "Dr. T.", and I think it would be great if he sneaks an "I pity the fool" into the video one of these days (that would be a Mr. T. reference, for those not aware).
My heartfelt thanks to the community here and (of course) to Dr. T. - not only he excels at what he does, but also goes beyond and puts in the time to answer questions from the community!