Aspi Roommate

I am pretty sure my roommate is an Aspi. Yes, I am pretty sure. How? I have a degree in psych and have worked with those on the Autistic Spectrum. 

In general, our relationship is on the rocks.

First, he did not tell me about his Autistic Spectrum disorder when he applied for the apartment - and he refuses to admit whether or not he has this disorder now, still, after five months of living together. For those of you who say he is not required to tell me, let me just say that, within the first week of moving in, he examined all of my medications, asked me what they were, what disorders they were for, how they were administered...and then went on to ask me if I had diabetes, etc. Yes, he asks me personal questions all the time; he seems to believe he has this right. So, yeah, at this point, with his disorder disrupting our common life, I have a right to ask. How can I plan for, or work-around, his issues when he will not talk to me about them? 

Communication, in general, is a serious problem. I am apparently never permitted to initiate a conversation. Ever. If I say anything, even a simple "Is the...," he is most likely to respond with a cutting hand gesture and "I can't deal with that right now," or "Do you need something from me? If not, what are doing in here (kitchen)!" or "Do we HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THIS NOW?!" stated in a very offensive manner. I can only get a word or two out before he goes into his silencing routine. Seriously. I am permitted to speak only when spoken to.

Now, if HE initiates a conversation, is he polite and generally considerate. He has even invited me over to his parent's home for Thanksgiving dinner. So, he doesn't hate me, apparently, and he has said that he respects me.

Still, how can I live with someone who not only attempts to control my speech but also where I can be in the apartment at any given moment?



  • P.S. - He has his own room. I do not enter without his explicit permission. So, the events described above do not apply to his personal space. He is directing my ability to speak or be present in our common area.
  • P.S. - He has his own room. I do not enter without his explicit permission. So, the events described above do not apply to his personal space. He is directing my ability to speak or be present in our common area.
  • He may not know if he has an ASD. He's evidently high functioning enough to rent an apartment and live on his own. I wasn't diagnosed until I was 39 and my son was diagnosed with autism, we had explained away his peculiar behaviors by just saying that he had my personality. I would have been insulted if one of my college roommates would have suggested that I had autism.

    I suggest approaching him with the information that you've provided here. He is polite, considerate, and says that he respects you. However, sometimes the way that he talks to you seems disrespectful and angry. The next time he talks to you in an offensive manner, ask him if you've done something to upset him (in a non-accusatory way) and then point out that the way that he is speaking to you is not how he usually acts. As for asking about your medications, he's curious. You're curious about his ASD. He may be curious to know if he should watch out for his roommate going into diabetic shock.
  • I also am on the Autism Spectrum and have known for a long time. I was initially diagnosed at age 3, so being 32 pretty explains my point. It’s kinda hard for me to wrap my mind around your situation, yet on the other hand I kinda was. I had a Roommate on the Spectrum when I traveled for work, and a lot of issues weren’t apparent until things spiraled out of control and I had to get out. It was hard because I didn’t really know what was a trigger for the next rift, what I was going to get accused of next, or what about me was pushing what boundary. Eventually I began realizing things weren’t going to work, so I left. Mind you I have Autism too, but I’m also a member of the Security Profession since 2004 to give you an idea. On the flip side, I too was like that before my career really started to take off. I had of overcome some hurdles which I did, but in that process, I had three roommates, one of which a lifelong friend whose Mom and mine have been friends since they were 4. My Grandma had just passed away and work was drying up in California because the recession was in full swing. 2008 and 2009. Well, my friend and his now wife are still very close to me, I’ll put it that way. If it were me, even with your Psychology Degree, good luck telling I’m on the Spectrum. I just hope your situation doesn’t give way into seeing those with Autism/Aspergers in a negative light. Some of us are not far from being typical, and barely meet the criteria, say the guy who tried to get his diagnosis reversed on grounds of “Hey, I’m doing what I’m doing, but have this diagnosis which others used against me to say I wouldn’t be able to do this”. That was 2010, and the diagnosis stuck. It is what it is. If you got any further questions, let me know.
  • To the O.P., a regarding your specific communication difficulties:

    1) Regarding how he reacts when you initiate a conversation: I too tend to be very irritable when my concentration is broken. Suggestion: Be more gentle about breaking his concentration. Instead of just immediately saying whatever you want to say, start by saying just his name, then pause and wait for him to respond. Then say something like, "I'd like to talk to you about something. When can we talk?" Don't introduce the actual subject matter until you are sure you have his full attention.

    2) Regarding his refusal to discuss his personal issues with you, I would guess that he feels vulnerable and hence unconmfortable because you're his landlord? Perhaps he needs reassurance that you're not going to judge him negatively for being autistic?