And I’ve seen couples who truly enjoy spending time together getting annoyed by repeated anecdotes, jokes, and mundane observations because they have none of the normal breaks—from each other, from the monotony of being home all the time—that used to give those conversations a sense of freshness. Isolation also places a tremendous burden on coupled people to meet all the needs of their partner that used to be met by a combination of friends, family, co-workers, and even small talk with the barista at Starbucks.
In other words, it’s natural that your relationship feels harder than usual right now, but the song of a relationship has many notes, and especially during stressful times, hearing them all is important.
Often in therapy, I’ll pay close attention to the first thing someone says about a partner, so what struck me most about your letter was how it began—with a wish, in normal circumstances, to spend more time with your boyfriend. It was a lovely sentiment, a daydream about being with each other, and one that supports something you wrote later: that your boyfriend makes you happy, he understands you, and you consider him to be a special person whose company you enjoy.
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This isn’t to say that you were never irritated by him before (and he was likely sometimes irritated by you as well), or hadn’t ever questioned the relationship. But I also sense that you used to feel seen and heard in a different way than you do now (if he normally “gets you,” you must have felt listened to before), and that whatever aspects of the relationship led to those questions were outweighed by its positive qualities. Don’t forget, too, that focusing your anxiety on what’s “wrong” with your relationship might be easier than allowing yourself to feel even greater anxiety about a global pandemic.
Ultimately, I don’t think you can know if this is the right relationship for you until you come to understand both yourself and your boyfriend better in this stressful time and in the transition that comes when we emerge from it. I have a few suggestions for how to do that.
First, you mention your boyfriend’s autism diagnosis, and some people with autism do have difficulty reading other people’s cues or having their daily structure disrupted. I want to caution you, though, to be careful not to attribute to autism whatever behaviors irk you, and also to consider that autism is a wide spectrum. If you default to viewing your boyfriend through the lens of autism, you may lose sight of the person right in front of you. Many people—neurotypical or not—fail to notice at times that they’re talking too much or aren’t making space for their partner. Also, many people without a diagnosis of autism are struggling with the loss of their daily routines. If you can view your boyfriend as a person with his own personality and quirks, just as he must view you as someone with your own personality and quirks, you'll be helping yourself not only during this pandemic but also when things normalize as well.