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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1372
Experience:  Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
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Is my girlfriend autistic? We've been having problems

Customer Question

Is my girlfriend autistic?
We've been having problems lately. I always thought she was just very recluse/introvert and overly emotional, but I feel like something else is a factor. On the surface she just seems quiet, and I thought that was just a symptom of her sheltered, somewhat-religious upbringing.
I looked up symptoms of autism and a lot them ring true for her.
She has problems carrying conversation, often gives short answers and kind of nods along to an almost 1-sided conversation. If you ask her a question, she'll not know what to say when holding an emotional conversation. I'll pause and wait for her to process her thoughts, which takes minutes sometimes, and even that is a short answer. She'll often get emotional (not angry or outwardly, but internally) over triggers such as her posture or even seemingly harmless topics. She's not seeking attention as she often tries to bury it, but she silently weeps because of emotional overload. She also tends to avoid eye contact.
She's intelligent, graduated college, reads a ton, and is still able to hold jobs in retail and tutors, so if she does have an impairment, it's not debilitating, but our relationship has suffered because of her inability to connect. I care strongly for her and feel maybe knowing what's wrong could be a way to help make things work.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

*This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice in a Q&A format. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area. Please note that anything said here is not private or confidential, as this is a public forum.

Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer. I cannot diagnose your girlfriend over the internet and through a secondary source. Many of the symptoms you stated are possible with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or it may be possible with a personality disorder too; this is why your girlfriend needs to be seen by a mental health professional to truly be assessed properly. Do you think she would be willing to do this?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I'm not sure since we're going through a rough patch now, which is why I'm trying to figure out what the right course of action is. We're taking a break from speaking to each other, but have gone through that before and will likely be on speaking terms again after a little while. I don't know how I would bring this up though. I'm not sure where to go with this, whether this would be a situation more suited for relationship counseling (since it's a problem affecting our relationship) or if her going to a professional herself would be a better option. I've brought up the prospect of going to couple's therapy but we never followed up on it.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

No matter if this is an Autism Spectrum Disorder or a Personality Disorder, there is no cure and typically treatment for either one can only bring about limited results. So you may best to bring up relationship counseling to help you both. If you go about it as a way to help your relationship and move past these issues than she may be more receptive, compared to you making a perceived judgement that there is something wrong with her. Try to use a lot of "we" and "us" words to show that you and her are team in this and that is why you both must work to get past these relationships issues negatively affecting your relationship.

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