OK. Now normally when I come across an article about Autism and relationships, I tend to think, “What a crock of shit! These people have NO IDEA what the Hell they are talking about!” But this article I am blogging about today was different. The article is titled, “10 THINGS I WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT DATING SOMEONE WHO HAS AUTISM”.
I am going to break down and dissect what this article says point-by-point. It might run a little long, but bear with me here.
#1: “Just because we to be by ourselves at times doesn’t mean we don’t care about you”.
YES! FINALLY! Look, I am a pretty social guy, but there are times I need my space. There are times I have that “Piss off” or “Get the fuck away from me!” attitude. I do not mean any harm or offense by it. I just want some time away from everyone and be alone. I think this is universal. Nobody wants to be around people 24/7/365. You need space.
#2: “Eye contact may be difficult for us at times”
Yes and no for me on this one. I can make eye contact, but it will be fleeting eye contact. If you stare at me, I get uncomfortable. I am sure if I were to stare at you for any period of time, it would make you uncomfortable, too. But I do think eye contact is important, especially when it comes to dating.
#3: “Ask us any questions you have”
That one, I think, varies on the person. I have heard that the only dumb question is an unasked question. I do not 100% agree with this. I am pretty open to answering any questions you have about my diagnosis and will do so to the best of my abilities. HOWEVER, if you ask a question like, “How will Autism change you and do you want to be cured?”…I’m sorry. That’s a dumb question. I’d answer it, sure, but if you know anything about me, you would know that my answer to that is a huge “FUCK NO!” Still, I am open about my diagnosis and what it means to me. Any other questions I am ok with, too.
#4: “If something goes over our head, try to make us understand what you meant”
Me personally? I am pretty in-tune with people and what they mean when they ask me questions about my Autism at work. But every so often, I will get a question that might need tweaking or rephrasing. I HATE IT when people find out I have Autism and…talk…slower…OR LOUDER! Like, “Dude! I can understand you! I fucking hear you! You don’t have to yell in my ear!” And ask your original questions first. Don’t try dumbing it down. If I don’t get what you are saying or asking, I will gladly tell you.
#5: “We can date people who aren’t on the Spectrum”
OK. Look, everyone has the right to date whoever they want. But as for me? I prefer to date “my own kind”. Allie is on the Spectrum and I have been with her for almost 7 1/2 years now. (7 1/2 in June 2018). I have never been happier! Sure, I could break up with Allie and find a “normal” person to date, but I don’t want to. I think I am much more comfortable dating Autistic people because they “get” me on a more personal level. They know what I am going through…kind of. Neurotypical or “normal” people have no Earthly idea what Autistic people go through. My last girlfriend before Allie wasn’t on the Spectrum and that was maybe the worst relationship I have ever been in. She tried taking control of my life, and I don’t like that. Autistic people, at least in my experiences, have this laid-back attitude where they just…are. So yeah, I can date outside the Spectrum, but I have no interest in doing so.
#6: “Help us understand what you are comfortable with when it comes to being intimate”
In other words, be open with us about sex. If you aren’t comfortable rushing into it, let us know. Most, if not all, the people on the Spectrum I know, will honor that and respect you for doing so. I didn’t have sex in my relationship with Allie immediately after we started dating. It was awhile before I ever even saw her vagina. I am still kinda finding out what she won’t do and what is uncomfortable for her.
#7: “If you are shocked that we have Autism, don’t be”
YES! BINGO! JACKPOT! YAHTZEE! THANK YOU JESUS! FINALLY SOMEONE GETS IT! I have said this before and I will say it again. Autism is NOT a black-and-white scenario. There is a reason they call it a “Spectrum”. DO NOT judge a book by its cover. No two people on the Spectrum look or act exactly alike.
#8: “If you go online before our date and find out we have Autism, don’t jump to conclusions”
This is geared toward today’s “modern” audience…online dating. I met my crazy bitch of an ex girlfriend in Maine online and didn’t tell her I had Autism. I was scared of how she would react. I have Autism, but I am not a “retard” or an idiot. Again…don’t judge a book by its cover. Get to know me first…then make your decisions.
#9: “Give us time to process small or big-time decisions”
I have thought about asking Allie to marry me. But I have reservations about it. Every time I want to ask her, I hesitate. I know that is a big step. I need time to process what I am getting myself into. It is the same with simpler questions. Something as simple as “What do I want for lunch today?” Oftentimes, the answer is, “I don’t know.” I have to process the question. Do not rush me into answering immediately.
Finally, #10: “Love is love. No matter the person”
Yes, yes, and YES! I do not care your preferences. Gay or straight. Man or woman. In the case of Allie and me: Jewish or Catholic. It…does…not…matter! Love is a universal thing for everyone. I can’t explain love and how it impacts me, but it is an amazing thing. As Stephen Stills once wrote, “Love the one you’re with”. Love can change a perspective on things. Love is different for each person and how it impacts them, much like the diagnosis of Autism. Find love and your life is complete…in my opinion.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. I am looking forward to hearing from you!
Autistic Lives Matter!