Friday, 31 May 2013

On Autism & Romantic Love

A long time ago, when I first thought about "blogging," I considered the blog name "Single Autistic Female."  At the time, I was: single, Autistic, and female.
I'm still Autistic and I'm still female, but for the last few months I've been in a very blissful romantic relationship.
I was in a romantic relationship before, about a year ago, that was my first.  I didn't want a boyfriend in high school or anything like that; I wanted to know myself before I even considered dating.  So, I was nineteen when I met my first boyfriend.  He was also Autistic, which was the first thing that attracted me to him.  He was smart and witty and very similar to me.  I fell for because of many reasons, but who never quite needed or loved me to the extent that I needed and loved him.
He was a worthwhile relationship, but it was clear from the beginning that we would never make each other happy.
I had a lot of stress in that relationship.
I worried a lot.
I felt the need to *make* him like me because I didn't think he would otherwise.
I hid a lot of parts of me from him.  I hid my "crazy."
I let a lot of things slide.  I let him do things and say things that were against my values because I was afraid he'd stop liking me if I expressed myself honestly.
Writing that out, it all seems very juvenile.  I was so incredibly naive.  And yet, it was so incredibly worth it.  It's hard not to regret past transgressions -- especially since I feel much more comfortable the person I am today than the person I was with him.
It's hard to reflect on the past and relive those unpleasant feelings, but I sometimes feel it's necessary.  It's hard for me to organize my thoughts sometimes and it's difficult for me to pinpoint what I'm feeling.

After my ex-boyfriend and I broke up, I was briefly involved with another man, one of my good friends.

And then I met my boyfriend, who has made me happy since the day we met.  He loves ME.  He loves my interests.  He loves my spirit.  He loves me even though I have very particular and peculiar interests.  He loves me even though it scares me to meet new people.  He loves me even though I stress about nearly everything.  He loves me even though I melt down without a precise plan.  He loves ME in spite of all the things that I used to fear made me "unloveable," all the things I was afraid to share in prior relationships and with partners I was not as comfortable with.

Being in a relationship is hard, especially when Autism is also a part of the relationship.
Sometimes, he needs more social time than I am comfortable giving him.  Sometimes, he doesn't understand when I obsess over something he considers small.  But we love each other.

I guess I wrote this because I want other Autistics to know that, if you want to be in a romantic relationship, it's possible.  I used to think I wouldn't be able to handle a relationship or find someone who'd accept me, and for a while I was OK with that because it wasn't what I wanted, but now, I'm so thankful that I persevered.  I always wanted to grow up and be in a romantic relationship with a man who'd adore me, and I've finally found him.
I am Autistic AND I am lovable.
So are you.