Me [16F] with my boyfriend [M 17] of two year's little brother [14 M], making me uncomfortable, not sure how to handle it. (self.relationships)

{relationships}

97 ups - 31 downs = 66 votes

I'm typing on an iPod, I apologize for any format errors.

Let me start of by saying my boyfriend's little brother is a sweet kid, I love him like he's my own family, but he has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, PDD to be exact, so his social skills and behavior aren't really what people would consider "normal", he's socially inept, and fixates on things, as someone who's spent a lot of time around autistic people, I'm understanding, and accepting of this.

My boyfriend and I have been together for two years, and I've been coming around the family, including his brother, for a year and a half, and I'm now treated as a family member, so we've all grown comfortable around one another. However, my boyfriend's autistic little brother has been doing something odd that makes me uncomfortable.

Whenever I'm around him, he starts trying to pull off my socks. It started off with him occasionally when I'd be waiting in the living room while my boyfriend would be working on his car, or letting the dog out, but then yesterday he ripped off both of my socks and started tickling my feet. I calmly asked him to stop, but I was also laughing pretty nervously, because it makes me uncomfortable. I asked my boyfriend about this, and he's only done this once prior, with his little female friend that he had a crush on.

It bothers me because I've never welcomed any physical contact between us, because I'm not comfortable with it. I'm also not comfortable with him removing my socks because it's very odd, and I don't like to be touched by most people, especially a male that's much larger than me, and I don't like having my feet touched by anyone at all. He's harmless, but this is out of my comfort zone and a minor invasion of my space. How should I handle this?

~~~ TL;DR- My boyfriend's autistic brother keeps messing with my socks/feet, it makes me super uncomfortable. Want him to stop. How do I make him stop?

166 comments submitted at 19:49:58 on Jan 26, 2014 by Sockward

  • [-]
  • SlimShanny
  • -20 Points
  • 20:53:42, 26 January

Try not to be alone with him or leave your shoes on.

  • [-]
  • Sockward
  • 12 Points
  • 20:55:38, 26 January

I can't keep my shoes on in his house, it's not proper, and his mom would like, kill me. I already try to avoid being alone with him, but it's become impossible to avoid with how often I'm in their household.

  • [-]
  • SlimShanny
  • -48 Points
  • 20:59:47, 26 January

I'd say it's not that big a deal. You just have to kindly remind him that you don't want him doing that. You let your bf know and I think that's all you can do. I wouldn't make a bigger deal of this unless he's trying to remove more of your clothing.

EDIT: he is a special needs person. It's not like you can tell him once and expect him to react appropriately. His family doesn't want to start creating new rules for you. Try not to make your visits difficult on everyone else, especially if you feel it is harmless. Just be uncomfortable for a bit or don't visit. Please, for your sake and the family's sake, don't make this a thing. You'll end up looking like an insensitive drama queen.

  • [-]
  • Sockward
  • 17 Points
  • 21:04:40, 26 January

It's only a big deal because I'm very uncomfortable with males in my space, for personal reasons. Everytime he does it, I tell him to stop, but he doesn't. And my boyfriend doesn't care at all.

  • [-]
  • SlimShanny
  • -54 Points
  • 21:09:51, 26 January

I'd say autistic kids doing awkward an uncomfortable things comes with the territory. He means no harm, so get over it. His parents can't get his brother to behave a certain way. What do you expect your bf to do about it? If you continue to make his behavior towards you a thing you may become unwelcome in his house. If he wasn't special needs I'd totally think the family should do something, but in this case I think you just need to deal with it.

  • [-]
  • Sockward
  • 30 Points
  • 21:16:06, 26 January

Funny how if someone is bitten by a dog, their comfort around one is taken into consideration, but when my father abused me, and I've been sexually assaulted, I'm a "drama queen" for being scared of males.

Also, he's high functioning, and I'd know a lot more about his parents treatment towards him than you, thank you very much.

  • [-]
  • SlimShanny
  • -46 Points
  • 21:18:47, 26 January

Your bf's brother is not a dog. He has special needs and you are in his home. If you are too upset by your past experiences then don't go to his house and make him uncomfortable. Be a good guest.

  • [-]
  • Sockward
  • 25 Points
  • 21:22:55, 26 January

Cool, I'll go over, totally disregard the fact that I'm triggered by something because you know, I've been abused, and just enjoy the tension. Great advice.

  • [-]
  • SlimShanny
  • -35 Points
  • 21:25:15, 26 January

No. Don't go over. You have other options.

  • [-]
  • K-braithwaite
  • 22 Points
  • 01:38:42, 27 January

This is absolutely terrible advice.

"You're bothered by something, better just do nothing and take it like a bitch. Standing up for yourself is a horrible idea and very selfish of you."

  • [-]
  • Sockward
  • 15 Points
  • 21:29:24, 26 January

Which according to you are:

A. Don't go over ever again at all, enjoy watching my relationship with my boyfriend and his family fail, deal with it.

B. Disregard my anxiety issues, and personal space issues brought on by years of abuse, and being assaulted on several occasions, continue to allow him to invade my space, do nothing about it. Pray that I don't have an anxiety attack.

  • [-]
  • om_nom_cheese
  • 7 Points
  • 05:15:18, 27 January

It's a valuable life lesson this boy needs to learn. If he did this with a girl he didn't know very well at school, could you imagine how that shit would go down? He could get suspended or expelled - permanent school record kinda shit.

Even non-autistic boys and men need to learn their desire to touch a woman ALWAYS defers to her desire not to be touched. If a woman says no, or says she does not want to be touched that is the end of it. It's non-negotiable.

If a man says do not touch men, he is not to be touched. Any woman putting her desire to touch him over his desire not to be touched is in the wrong.

This is basic bodily autonomy here. It's a concept this boy needs to learn to grasp before it gets him into trouble.

Why is it when a woman sets a totally reasonable boundary she's a drama queen? Shouldn't her BF be able to have her around without his younger brother setting off panic attacks? That's totally unfair to the older brother. Because his younger brother has a disability the younger brother shouldn't learn to manage his behaviour at the expense of his older brother's social and love life? Or oh, hey, the boy could learn to stop, understand why he needed to stop, and have better social skills in the long run AND the older brother can have his GF around who has been a friend and support to the younger brother - something a kid with PDD who is being bullied at school needs. The boy loses out more if he loses a friend than if he is corrected on this one behaviour and made to stop.

He's a high functioning kid with PDD. He's big. He can learn how to behave socially at the very basic level of "do not touch people without asking first. Do not remove their clothes without asking first. Do not tickle women you think are cute without asking first. If someone says no or stop - stop doing the thing".

You're acting like he's got a crazy severe intellectual disability. He has a disability, but that is no excuse for not managing it to the best of his ability. Treating him like he has the intellectual equivalence of a two year old is only going to do him more damage in the long run.

  • [-]
  • Sockward
  • 4 Points
  • 05:27:51, 27 January

... Thank you, you glorious carbon based life form. I love you.

  • [-]
  • om_nom_cheese
  • 2 Points
  • 05:49:49, 27 January

Calling out bullshit on the internet is a hobby of mine, especially when it's assholes attacking a teenage girl for having the gall to want her bodily autonomy respected. I'm happy to to do this service :)

Also, as someone with an asperger's syndrome, having a non-family member give a shit about my social development and help me in a non-judgemental way was always appreciated. Anyone who thinks you're a bad person for asking this question fundamentally does not understand how important it is for this boy to a) learn social skills in a non-judgemental way and b) have non-family members around who want to spend time with him and who obviously like him (because they like him by choice) - anyone who doesn't see the importance of that fundamentally does not understand autistic spectrum disorders. He cares about you, you completely removing yourself from his life is going to cause more problems in the long run. That this fellow can't see that is because he doesn't understand ASDs and he doesn't give a shit about women and girl's feelings. He is totally not worth listening too because he doesn't understand the two key components in your relationship question.

I'm sure his parents are delighted that your BF found such an understanding caring GF.

  • [-]
  • Sockward
  • 4 Points
  • 06:00:45, 27 January

Honestly, I have Aspergers myself. It's partially why I'm so caring towards him, my boyfriend knows this, but I've never shared the information with the rest of the family. So they just think I'm a bit of a weirdo. It's also why Lil Bro's feeling matter to me, I never got that when I was a kid, I just had to learn as best as I could.

I'm still not perfect. I can't touch silverware with my mouth, I am deeply invested in the emotional state of inanimate objects, I sob like a two year old if someone raises their voice at me, I flap my arms when I get excited, , certain textures disgust me, and you know what? Lil Bro notices this shit, and he feels better about his own little things. And that's why I'd never make him feel bad for what he does, even when it scares me.

  • [-]
  • om_nom_cheese
  • 1 Points
  • 06:25:19, 27 January

You're doing way better at understanding another person's POV than most of the NT assholes on reddit. (Also: fistbumb for finding another girl with AS online!).

One piece of advice I found helpful (because I had social issues and still at times have them, and I have a hard time telling if it was me or if it was them) is that people's words often reflect more on who they are then on who they are aimed at. My mom used to tell me that a lot when kids were being really nasty.

So these people on reddit who say you're being unreasonable? It says that they don't believe you have the right to say no to touches that are not sexual or malicious, and they are assuming the bro has a lower level of cognition than he actually does. The first is insulting to you, the second to him.

It boggles my mind that some people think you need a reason beyond "I feel uncomfortable" to be legitimate in saying no to any touch you don't like. I have so much "WTF?" reading that. "Please stop doing that" doesn't really need a because following it.

And these comments do the brother a disservice because they're assuming he's incapable of understanding - when your question implies that he can understand, but you want to know how to approach it without hurting his feelings. I'd imagine he's less mature than his age group, he has social issues, but he's not an idiot. He can understand stuff when it's laid out clearly for him, even if it takes being told a time or too. He's not a bad person, but he does have skillsets he needs to build. That balance, and how close to the family but not in the family people can help find that balance is beyond certain people's understanding.

(My BF knows I have AS, but I haven't disclosed to the rest of his family because I feel hella awks talking about it to people who aren't already savvy and people I don't unconditionally trust. Maybe like 5 of my friends know, and I disclosed after I was sure they weren't going to be shitty about it, and half of them were already telling me about their anxiety or depression so it was more of way of reassuring them I wouldn't judge them for it.) This is also why I don't share my reddit name with people IRL because I'll talk about that on here.

I'd imagine the person we're replying to is probably a parent who doesn't take criticism well from outsiders and is viewing your comment in that light. They probably don't understand mental health, ASD and other special needs kids, and they probably don't really understand how an SO can become integrated into the nuclear family dynamic. They might be beyond convincing, but I felt like putting a few comments out incase you came back to read these so you'd know other people think their comments are missing the point and out of line.

Being a 16 year old girl is hard in the most supportive of circumstances. Throw in what you've been dealing with and you still manage to be a totally rad caring person. The least I can do is call assholes out on the internet for you :)

  • [-]
  • Sockward
  • 2 Points
  • 06:43:12, 27 January

Oh my god, I love you.

My personal space is mine, if I have issues, people should understand, that's the glory of personal space. It's yours and you control it.

Lil Bro isn't anywhere near as immature or incapable of understanding as anyone made him out to be, he's brilliant, the smartest child of his age I know, just behind socially, and not as mature as most boys his age, he's innocent. He retains hope for the world, and faith in humankind, and trust, he has the things I lost by his age. I'd never want anyone to take that away, and I hate when he gets treated like a baby by other kids, or his teachers, because he knows he's different, and doesn't like being treated like it.

Lil Bro and Boyfriend's mom has studied everything she could about ASDs, and she is a total saint, she does everything she can to make sure he's okay and we're okay, and she never treats him like he can't learn or needs coddled or he's too different, because she knows it'll only hurt him.

And who knows, maybe once I sort out my personal shit, I won't be bothered if Lil Bro touches me. I hope that's the case, he deserves some serious hugs.

  • [-]
  • om_nom_cheese
  • 2 Points
  • 07:02:22, 27 January

Everyone has a personal bubble. Do not burst their bubble without permission. That's kindergarden shit right there. WHY DO PEOPLE LOSE THIS AS THEY GET OLDER?

A lot of people hear autism or PDD and assume idiocy. Obviously he has his struggles he needs support with, but he also needs to be treated as capable and with respect. The combination of the two is often beyond people, especially kids.

I hope that you do get better at managing and sorting out your own struggles, and that you get the support you need with that. Anyway, I need to sleep but it was lovely talking with you!

  • [-]
  • SlimShanny
  • -1 Points
  • 05:29:52, 27 January

No. Originally in her post she did not state her issues. She stated she was a guest in someone's home with a boy with special needs. He behaved inappropriately. If it were me I would just tell him know or ask my bf how to get him to stop. I still think that is a 14 year old who has difficulty with social cues, in his home and she is a guest. If she wanted specific advice she should have put all the details in her post to begin with. She's acting like talking to her bf again about it is out of the question. I'm not saying her should be allowed to touch her. I'm saying she should be patient with him and continue to tell him no.

  • [-]
  • om_nom_cheese
  • 1 Points
  • 05:43:25, 27 January

She shouldn't need to state that she has trauma issues. She asked how to have a boy who is physically larger than her stop touching her in a way that was sensitive to his special needs, given that she is a friend of his and has been dating the older brother for two years.

If she were a complete stranger and he did this, asking how to tell his parents to get him to stop doing it would still be OK because it is not an acceptable behaviour and if he did it in another context it could get him in a lot of trouble. Asking a boy to stop tickling somebodys feet should not cause the level of drama you are insisting it will. Perhaps you respond with that level of drama to the word no and are projecting, but usually 'no do not tickle me' does not cause a huge upheavel in a household like banning a girlfriend from the house would. If you take 'no do not tickle me' to be a hugely life changing, dramatic thing, please, stop projecting that onto other people.

You sound like you really don't understand PDD. He doesn't have a massive intellectual disability, he has autistic behaviours and some developmental delays. He can learn what no don't tickle me means if his parents realize that he's at an age where that shit isn't cute anymore, but it could get him into trouble.

Your response was she should never spend time at her boyfriends house and not deal with the issue of him touching her against her consent at all because how dare a 16 year old think she knows how to parent a special needs child.

That's not trying to take over the parenting role. If somebody says do not touch me, the person should stop touching them. Asking how to explain he needs to stop without hurting him, or how to broach the subject with the parents with sensitivity is not being entitled or out of line. If the kid were an NT this wouldn't even be the issue that you're making it out to be.

Yeah, it is his home and she's a guest. But she's a guest who has been invited over for years, she's a friend of his, and she's been dating the older brother for two years. If the younger brother is scaring the older brother's girlfriend off, that's an issue the parents need to deal with because it's the older brother's life and relationships (AS A RESIDENT OF THAT HOUSE AND A FAMILY MEMBER) whose life gets fucked around, as well as the girlfriend whose bodily autonomy is not being respected. Even by your own metric of who gets a say in household matters, your response does not make sense.

If you can't understand why saying the girlfriend should never return to the house is actually a family matter, then you don't understand how romantic partners can become involved and enmeshed into their partner's in a family and I feel sorry for you lack of understanding about that very basic social convention and for the fact that you've obviously had that absent in your own family.

  • [-]
  • SlimShanny
  • 1 Points
  • 05:53:25, 27 January

I wrote a lot of things. You are free to focus in on one thing that I said.

  • [-]
  • om_nom_cheese
  • 1 Points
  • 06:01:53, 27 January

I wrote a lot of things in my first comment, you honed in only on one thing in a way that didn't actually address the issues at hand.

I addressed your core argument which was 'she isn't a family member she should not complain'. That's the basis of the rest of what you said. If you can't address the basis of my argument, and are dismissive because I decided going for the core instead of the extraneous information was a waste of time, that's your call.

This isn't a very good criticism of my response, though I will give you points for an efficient attempt at derailing and dismissing without actually engaging in my argument and my points. It was very well crafted on your part.

  • [-]
  • SlimShanny
  • 2 Points
  • 06:10:31, 27 January

The first suggestion to her was to talk to her bf about the issue. She said she did that and indicated she couldn't do it again. In the end she talked to her bf about it to fix the problem. The only thing she can do is communicate the issue to the little brother or the family. Based on her comments she seemed unwilling to do this. If she had originally planned not to talk about it then she needs to not go over to the house.

Ultimately she opened her mouth and communicated the problem. I'm glad it's resolved.

EDIT: what is your point? That I'm uncaring and insensitive or do you just want to argue?

  • [-]
  • om_nom_cheese
  • 2 Points
  • 06:47:54, 27 January

I'm annoyed that you won't actually engage with my arguments. You have high karma, so I can only assume normally your content is much better than this.

Your first comment essentially said you're making a fuss over nothing, he's probably too disabled to learn why this is appropriate unless a whole lot of work goes into teaching him, which would be too much work to make him change so just stop going over to your boyfriends house ever and stop being his friend because getting him to stop tickling you would be a huge burden on his family. It was not "talk to your BF about the issue."

Then you didn't actually address my points, and, oh, hey, you didn't do it again, then retroactively changed your argument.

If you don't actually want to engage, and just make personal comments and vague references to my argument style without actually engaging in content, I think we can both agree this is a rather fruitless discussion.

I just feel it's necessary to have a counterbalance to voices that say it's OK to ignore the boundaries of you women because it's not OK and her feelings are legitimate. Though I suppose now you'll reply with a comment about me being overly invested or only addressing one of your points, or some other comment dismissing my comment. At least I have solace in the fact that you mustn't make a regular habit out of this given your usual karma.