It’s a story I’ve heard many times. Sometimes, it’s a parent asking about their child on the spectrum. Sometimes, a spouse asking about their partner on the spectrum. Sometimes it’s framed as a fearful question. Other times the question itself is implied but left unsaid, as if to speak it aloud would give power and reality to the answer they dread.
Whatever the case may be, it’s always some variant of “how do I know if he/she loves me?” or “I don’t think he/she loves me.”
When probed as to why they might think so, the response is generally along the lines of “well, they never tell me that they love me.”
In my experience, however, if the partner or family member in question is actually asked about this, their reaction is usually one of bewilderment. Often, they’ll say that they “didn’t know they needed to say it every day”; that they thought it went without saying that they loved their parents, or their spouse. Others may simply not be very comfortable with expressing their emotions; they love their partner or their parents very much, but telling them so might feel like being naked in public.
It seems a common misconception that if a feeling is not openly expressed, and regularly reiterated, then it must not exist. But just because you can’t see music, or hear the moon, or taste the sun, doesn’t mean they’re not there.