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..Did I accidently end up dating someone with special needs?

WontgetcaughtWontgetcaught Registered User regular
Hi there. I have myself a...interesting pickle. Via the power of internet dating I recently met and reached third base with a very lovely lady. It was prettty hot.
But after the initial throws of passion, I started to notice some things that were a Grammar, putting together sentences was staggered sometimes, and it became clear to me, very quickly, that this girl I've been seeing very possibly has some kind of...mental impairment.

At the same time I don't think I'm taking advantage of this person, as she has her own apartment and a pretty good job, but there are certainly red flags aplenty, including calling me 3-4 times in a row if I don't pick up just to say hi, relating to me during the throws of passion a story about something a family member did that was pretty horrible, and at the age of 29, she hadn't ever been with a guy, or so she says, until I showed up. I have communicated to her that I am unsure where this relationship is going, and I don't want to push things too far too fast, and she seemed pretty okay with it.

She likes a lot of the same things I do, is a real sweet girl, has a killer body (honest!) and for what it's worth I've had a complex my entire life that I, too, may have some sort of mental deficiency if my handwriting, ability to process information, and general lack of organization skills are to be believed (don't worry, I'm seeing a shrink next week for that).

So, four questions:

1. How does someone ask someone else if they have a mental impairment like asperger's or something else without sounding like the world's biggest hairy asshole?

2. How can I know for certain this person has their mental shit together at least emotionally? Again she over shared a few things, called a bunch, and did some other kind of...odd stuff that wasn't particularly annoying or scary, but I worry that if some day down the road I say I can't come over when I said I would, she may say or do something that ends poorly for everyone.

3. On the 'you piece of shit' sliding scale of one to the dude from Lolita, how bad should I feel about this, and should I feel bad at all? She seems to be enjoying herself, I'm having a good time despite some reservations, I just now find myself paranoid if the things I'm telling her to ensure I am *not* taking advantage of her, as sailing over her head.

4. I can't get in *trouble* for this right? Again, she lives on her own, has her own place, her own job, and a roommate. If I have to put her in some kind of category after our initial meetings, I'd go with 'She's a little slow' if I had too. I'm sure I'm over thinking this, but having had friends that have worked with mentally challenged people, the last thing I want to do is hurt someone's feelings, or take advantage of them, ya know?



  • Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. |She/Her| Surreal. Immersive. Earth.Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    Zilla360 was warned for this.
    Can't really be any different to dating Lindsay Lohan.

    ceres on
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  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    First of all, you should reconsider when you're writing stuff like "killer body (honest!)" because it makes it seem like you don't think a (potentially) handicapped person can be attractive, which is... not great.

    1. You don't. If more serious issues start showing up down the road then maybe you'll have to, but it should be her decision what and when she wants to tell you.

    2. The same way you would do with any other human being... by interacting with her. If her calling you 3-4 times bothers you, then talk to her about it. If her oversharing during intimate moments bothers you, then talk to her about it.

    3. As no one was in the room with you, no one can answer this, but I'm guessing you're okay. The main thing to do (and this should apply to all situations) is to get explicit consent. Don't make assumptions, ask very clear questions, and stop immediately if there's any hesitation.

    4. IANAL but I can't imagine this is inherently any more dangerous than any other situation.

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  • PacificstarPacificstar Registered User regular
    I think he makes the point of her being hot to note that she doesn't have features that are commonly associated with people who are mentally impaired.

    If she has a good job and can hold it down and get through life alright, she might just be a little socially weird. If you think she's cool otherwise, I'd go with the flow.

  • LibrarianLibrarian The face of liberal fascism Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    Librarian was warned for this.
    OP, you seem to have a bit of an obsession with mental deficiencies, since you also fear you have one yourself, which at least your writing in no way indicates.

    If she lives on her own and the roommate is not her caretaker and she also holds a steady job, that is not putting together ballpens or something similar, then I would not worry too much.

    1. It is possible she does have a condition similar to asperger, but it is also very possible she does not know that herself and was never diagnosed. I wouldn't ask about it, but just see how things turn out. She will probably tell you herself if it is something relevant.
    2. You can't. If you are really her first relationship she is probably on an emotional high and being a bit clingy and oversharing is quite normal in that situation.
    3. If she is enjoying herself and you didn't manipulate her to do something she did not want to, probably no reason to worry.
    4. See 3.

    The question is if you like her and want to be with her. Or do you feel ashamed/worried what your friends and family will think? Why do you think she is "a bit slow"? A lot of people are not the "sharpest tool in the shed" without having a mental impairment. Just ask yourself if YOU want to be with her.

    EDIT: I wouldn't want to offend anyone.

    Librarian on
    Brad R. Torgersen says:


    Go read what I said about not arguing with third graders.
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    It might help if you remind yourself that humanity does not exist in a binary state. People aren't either "special needs" or "not special needs". Any given person can be anywhere on a vast spectrum of pretty much anything. You can be a little bit prone to shyness, a lot prone to laughing at bad jokes, two ticks above average at differentiating color, seventeen-thousand qubits below replacement level at recognizing when someone is unhappy, etc. etc. etc. all at once.

    Nobody is perfect, everybody has flaws, everybody has strengths - learning these things about another person is part of the joy of being in a relationship in the first place.

    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    Sounds like at worst she probably has dyslexia or aphasia or something like that. I wouldn't worry too much. Obviously follow the other advice and communicate with her.

    bowen on
  • CreaganCreagan Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Sounds like at worst she probably has dyslexia or aphasia or something like that. I wouldn't worry too much. Obviously follow the other advice and communicate with her.

    I am dyslexic, and it don't sound like this girl has dyslexia. Generally with dyslexia, grammar problems occur in writing, not speech. And it isn't known to cause people to stagger their sentences when talking, either.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    It depends on if it was corrected and which form of dyslexia you have. Aphasia is a common side effect that would transfer into speech if it was left unaddressed from childhood.

  • El SkidEl Skid The frozen white northRegistered User regular
    She could have any number of diagnosed or undiagnosed mental or developmental issues, but I think that pretty much misses the point. She's another human being who the OP is considering getting into a relationship with, and I'm not sure the need to categorize someone's potential impairments here is serving a useful purpose.

    My advice: If seeing this woman makes you happy, then go ahead and do so. If she does have some sort of disability/impairment and it manifests in a way that you can't handle, you can feel free to either break off the relationship at any point, or to try to work through those issues with her.

    As others have said- everyone is "special" in one way or another. Whether that's due to quirkiness, genetics, disease or whatever... it's a part of all of us to a greater or lesser extent. Dating is about finding someone who you enjoy being with and whose eccentricities don't drive you (too) crazy.

    References: I have been happily married to someone who would be considered "abnormal" by the vast majority of people for 15 years.

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  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    @Librarian‌ I have no idea what that means but if it's distasteful I'm going to infract you. So maybe edit it out before I get around to looking it up if it is.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • PsykomaPsykoma Registered User regular
    Yeah the reference is pretty damn offensive

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    There is so much awful in the OP that I won't address. Here is some advice:

    What do you want? Do that. She's an adult and will figure stuff out for herself. I'm reading that you care a lot about what other people would think about your relationship with her. That's not really something that computes with me, but it sounds like something you need to come to terms with.

    None of us are really all together mentally in every situation. Is what she's doing or how she's behaving unacceptable to you? If so, talk to her.

    If you cannot respect someone (considering someone "a little slow" would qualify that for me, but I have never really thought of someone like that [shallow, yes. "slow", no]) then you cannot expect to have a successful long-term relationship with them.

    I'd keep things pretty casual until you've worked all this stuff out. Maybe slow down until you've determined if this is what you want to do.

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON IndiaRegistered User regular
    Obviously we can't really know what she's like just by reading some stuff you've written over the Internet, but if I had to guess I'd say a lot of what you're pointing out is something that you're making a big deal about because this sort of thing tends to occupy your thoughts. In addition to what you mention in the OP, for instance, you've asked this sort of question about yourself before. I think it would be helpful for you to think less about whether you or anyone else is "ill" or "special" or anything and just treat everyone (yourself included) like a person, as others in this thread have suggested. An obsession with labels and categories for various kinds of behaviors isn't really going to help you that much. If you didn't have this history of being weirdly fixated on the idea of mental issues then maybe you'd have at least some reason to contemplate this, but as things stand you're probably unhealthily overthinking things. Probably the psychiatrist you're seeing soon can help you with this stuff.

  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    Librarian's reference is to Arrested Development, when Michael starts dating a special needs girl played by Charlize Theron. Honestly, it was the first thing I thought of when I read the OP, which I thought was way more offensive.

    In terms of advice, I'd echo what most here have said... if you like her and you're happy, keep going. If you don't, or are too superficial, then stop.

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    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
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  • LibrarianLibrarian The face of liberal fascism Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    @Librarian‌ I have no idea what that means but if it's distasteful I'm going to infract you. So maybe edit it out before I get around to looking it up if it is.

    What Sentry said. Seriously, is that offensive? In that case I can edit it out, but it was a reference to a tv show where a character accidentally starts dating a special needs person without realizing it.
    Apart from the fact that I would never mock people with mental impairments, I also deal with special needs people at work and in my extended family. So yeah, I can edit it, but give me 5 minutes on this forum and I can find 100 things that are way more offensive.

    Brad R. Torgersen says:


    Go read what I said about not arguing with third graders.
  • ThunderSaidThunderSaid Registered User regular
    I think you should (gently) break things off with her.

    As always, it's difficult to get an accurate picture of a situation from a post on a forum, but I think it's fair to look at the spectrum of possibilities it represents, and offer advice that applies across the majority of that spectrum.

    From my reading of your post, I think your situation falls somewhere between these two extremes: On one end, you are becoming romantically involved with a woman who has significant mental impairments, and is not equipped to handle an adult relationship. On the other end, you are becoming romantically involved with a woman who has no diagnosable impairments, but whose intelligence you find lacking.

    A relationship anywhere on that continuum is bad news. You're going to break things off eventually, because, as far as I can tell, the only thing you actually like about her is her body. Frankly, from your post, it seems that you feel like you're taking advantage of her for that hot third base action, and you want us to excuse you. I've got no idea whether you actually are taking advantage of her or not (she could be a secret Nobel laureate for all I know), but if you feel like you are, you should stop.

  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    It could just be that she is just incredibly awkward when it comes to engaging with members of the opposite sex due to limited experience

  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    mts wrote: »
    It could just be that she is just incredibly awkward when it comes to engaging with members of the opposite sex due to limited experience

    Also the OP indicated 'something a family member did that was pretty horrible' which...can be taken a lot of different ways, but could easily account for what he's describing independent of anything else. People who have horrible things happen to them tend to deal with things is different ways than people who didn't.

    As has been said - people act and communicate in different ways, and nobody is perfectly 'normal'. Maybe she's impaired, maybe not - clearly if she is impaired she's relatively high functioning. If OP is concerned he's taking advantage of her, he should slow down and communicate until he is either honestly comfortable that he's not, or sure that he is. Even if she is a bit what? Either she's fun / interesting / whatever you want enough or she's not. A person is more than any individual quality, but people are also allowed to have their 'deal breakers' - they should just be honest about them.

    I'm no shrink, but with the OP's concern about his own possible impairment, I would guess there is a bit of projection going on. Take it easy, and if you are going to see a shrink talk to them about it. Nobody is going to give OP the answer he needs from a couple paragraph forum post.

  • useless4useless4 Registered User regular
    The phone thing: in the linked post you talk about how phones annoy you to the point of anger - that may be connected to how you feel about her calling you more than once in a defined time period.

  • ZeitgeistHeistZeitgeistHeist Registered User regular
    I would just like to quickly note that, outside of whatever issues the lady in question or the OP may have, it is often a good idea to consider how the beginning of a relationship sets a lot of the rules for interaction later on. That isn't to say that if she calls you a ton and you don't like that you should run, but more so that if she does something that you're not sure about, you should bring it up. Especially if you suspect she has a social-mental disorder, open communication is a really good thing to make an early habit.

  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Well if youve gotten to 3rd base before you notice such things then either your moving too quickly to get into a physical relationship without getting to actually know her, or your seeing things that arent there. If shes living in her own apartment and has a good job then its unlikely shes got anything that could be viewed at as debilitating and what you seem to describe could be something as simple as a speech impediment and someone whos clingy. Try probing her mentally instead of physically and see what kind of level she is on. What books she reads or what TV she watches can tell you alot. and hey, youve admitted that she likes alot of things you do...maybe your mentally deficient too.

    Stop focusing on the 'could be'. anyone as independent as you suggest is not someone your taking advantage of. If it turns out your dating forrest gump-et then hey, forrest needed love too, just dont be a jenny.

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  • AkilaeAkilae Registered User regular
    Every individual is messed up in unique ways. You're also reading too much into it. Do NOT attempt to diagnose people in any manner unless you are trained, and even then you do not do so without due cause.

    If your interactions are going well, and you have a mutual attraction and affinity, does it matter if she is on the spectrum?

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