I prefer to say not that he's apathetic, rather he's just not good at dealing with other people's emotions and has trouble relating to them and recognizing them.

Possibly it doesn't help that my character is actually blind, and he can't rely on facial expressions or body language.

What would you call someone who has trouble relating to and recognizing other people's emotions?

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    He might just be a bit autistic (on the scale, as they say). – FumbleFingers Apr 11 '19 at 17:17
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    @FumbleFingers I think the phrase is "on the spectrum", but it is often used incorrectly and recently as a kind of slur. However, there is a 5-point scale. – Cascabel Apr 11 '19 at 17:32
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    @HotLicks ...Asperger's, not Asperger. – Cascabel Apr 11 '19 at 17:40
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    @HotLicks You only read about it; I deal with it every day. Anyway, the recent trend is away from using the term for ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). (at least clinically) Ironically, many persons with this disorder cling to the the word, often calling themselves "aspies" – Cascabel Apr 11 '19 at 17:58
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    apathetic means "not showing feelings" What you are talking about is lack of empathy. Also you need to provide a sample sentence with a blank in it to insert the target language per the SWR tag. – Cascabel Apr 11 '19 at 19:02

I would call that person oblivious to others' emotions. Merriam-Webster defines the word generally as a lack of awareness, and then gives this explanation of how to use it in a sentence:

Oblivious usually has to do with not being conscious or aware of someone or something.

The focus on both the sensory and memory seems pertinent to the situation you're describing.

The problem with many similar words is that they conflate a literal hindrance against noticing others' emotions with more negative stigma. Someone who is inattentive, inobservant, or unmindful will suffer from the negative in- or un-: they are not attentive, not observant, and not mindful. For unmindful, Merriam-Webster lists "careless" as a close word, which may suggest personal responsibility for not taking necessary care to be mindful. "Oblivious" can be negative too, but the negative is not baked into the word.

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