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Can a Man with Antisocial Personality Disorder Have a Relationship with Me?

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From a college coed in the U.S.: I’ve been in a relationship with this guy for a year and a half now and today he dropped a bomb on me that his parents want him to break up with me. Their reason for saying that is because he was diagnosed with Anti social personality disorder (ASPD) a couple years ago and don’t think it’s fair to me. He once told me about his ASPD and I remember reading up on it and seeing a couple of symptoms that could apply to him, but also a lot of people at the same time.

He’s never physically harmed me, never really yelled at me. We’ve gotten in arguments, but they’ve always been like normal relationship arguments. We always talk about the future together and look at houses we potentially want to live in together and talk about kids. I guess I’m just very confused. Every time I read up on ASPD, it always says that he’ll use me to benefit for himself. But he’s not really a self centered person and I don’t know what he’d be using me for.

His parents say he uses me as someone to talk to, but we have normal couple conversations and a lot of fun together. When I first met him, he was like any other college boy. I didn’t find him anymore charming than the next. We immediately talked about our love for music and hit it off. I have caught him in lies but they’re always little white lies like “did you take out the trash” and he would just say yes and that he lied because he didn’t want me to yell at him.

He has always been very driven about his work and his future. He did however have a rough childhood that he has always been very open and honest about as did his mother and he had a history of alcohol abuse that has calmed down immensely.
To me, he seems for the most part like a normal guy and he’s always treated me like a princess with surprises and wanting to do things with me. I don’t know what to think. Personally I think his parents are trying to convince him to break up with me but I don’t know. What do you think?

It may be that his parents are well-intended and trying to prevent heartbreak. It may also be that they are mistaken about their son.

I’m sure your boyfriend knows about the diagnosis. It had to come from somewhere. The way to settle the matter is for him to get a second opinion. It could be that the diagnosis was made when he was still a teen and that he has developed to the point that he no longer meets the criteria for ASPD. From your report, I’m guessing that’s the case. But that’s only a guess on the basis of your letter.

If he no longer has the symptoms of ASPD, he can inform his parents and maybe they can relax. If they persist in trying to separate the two of you, then it is likely that something else is going on, in which case, he needs to have a difficult but important conversation with them about why they are concerned.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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