Before I start this entry, I have something very happy to announce: I am currently in a relationship! Yep, for the first time in my life, I have managed to form an intimate, romantic bond with another person, and so far it looks like things are going really well. Her name is Heather, and she is a tremendously sweet, intelligent, fun-loving girl who relates to many of my issues with anxiety and socializing. We came across each other on the online dating service OkCupid, and she was the only person on that site that showed any interest in my profile. My relationship with Heather has significantly brightened me up in general, giving me a great deal of optimism for a much more gratifying, less stressful future!
With that said, I will now discuss my personal history with females and romance. As you guys are probably expecting, many of my past interactions with girls from early childhood onward have involved certain complications. Especially during my teenage years, I had a pretty hard time managing casual relationships with females my age and knowing how to behave when I had certain affections for them. To make things more difficult, I almost always developed crushes on girls that I became acquainted with, frequently hoping deep down that they would eventually become my girlfriend. Yeah, I have to admit that I was a little bit… um… how shall I put it… lovesick and desirous as a kid. Of course, I made every attempt I could to hide my affections and pretend I had no interest in those girls whatsoever.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I was very good at hiding these feelings as a kid or teenager. At school, I would regularly stare or keep glancing at girls that I found attractive or was already acquainted with. I actually knew at the time that this behavior was inappropriate and a little creepy, but it was very hard for me to avoid doing it. In addition, I struggled quite a bit when trying to talk with girls, and sometimes I ended up unwittingly revealing my affections for them. It wasn’t so bad that I had to avoid girls as much as possible, or that I never had any female friends at all, as I did hang out with females quite a bit in school and elsewhere. Nonetheless, for the most part, it was much simpler for me to socialize with boys, and when I had even the slightest crush on a girl, I wasn’t usually successful in concealing this fact from her.
I would like to share two instances from my youth that demonstrate this trend. Quick note: just like with my post about friendships, I’ve changed names for the sake of privacy.
The first instance took place in middle school and involved a girl named Jessie, whom I always thought was extremely cute. I became closely acquainted with her at one point, though we never spent time with each other outside of school. Plus, I’m not sure exactly how much Jessie and I actually talked to one another and how our relationship progressed. All I know is that we personally knew each other, she was very friendly towards me, and I had a massive crush on her. As a result, whenever Jessie was in the same class as me, I couldn’t help but glance over at her every couple of minutes. This quickly made her rather uneasy, and she told me a couple of times not to do this, which I did my very best to comply (with mixed results). Fortunately, our acquaintanceship faded away before too long, and I hardly saw Jessie at all during high school. So I guess I managed to dodge a bullet with that relationship.
However, there was another girl that I became friends with later on, and I screwed up with her BIG TIME. Her name was Lily, and our friendship started after I noticed how often she was saying hi to me and acting so nice towards me. Thinking that this may be an opportunity for a date or even future relationship, I asked her if she wanted to see a movie with me. We ended up seeing a film at her place, and that’s where I found out that Lily was already in a relationship with another guy. I was immensely jealous, which of course I did my very best to hide, and I kept spending time with her afterwards. Surrounded by media depictions of romance and knowing a couple of friends with girlfriends, it became increasingly difficult to let go of Lily and shove aside my crush toward her. So at one point, I made probably one of the biggest mistakes of my life and wrote her a letter confessing my feelings for her. Our friendship faded away rather quickly afterwards, and I don’t think I saw much else of her after the summer. On the bright side, I suppose that I learned a powerful lesson about inappropriate behavior and how to maintain friendships with girls.
There are several other experiences with girls from my elementary, middle, and high school that I could point to, but I will not include them for the sake of keeping this post as brief as possible. Besides, I think you guys should have a pretty good understanding of what I’m talking about, and as always, I expect that some of you out there may be able to relate. While I don’t necessarily have any statistics or research to back up anything, I assume that many individuals with Aspergers or autism spectrum disorders have serious difficulties with dating and finding romance. I say this because, at least from my experience, forming an intimate relationship is a rather big step above forming normal friendships, and it usually requires a lot more patience and confidence.
This isn’t to say that Aspies aren’t at all capable of having intimate relationships, as I have shown in the beginning of this post to not be the case. It certainly is very frustrating for a lot of us given our complications with social interaction and unfamiliarity with various social cues, not to mention our need for alone time and other things that may potentially interfere with a relationship. Nonetheless, for each of us, there is definitely someone out there not too far away who is fully able to see past our problems and admire us for who we truly are, which is precisely the case with my new girlfriend Heather. Moreover, we are never alone and are surrounded with other people with similar mental and social disorders, many of whom are also wishing to form an intimate connection with someone else. In my honest opinion, just about any Aspie has the ability to find a romantic partner if they keep themselves open to it and try reaching out as much as they can.