“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a [wo]man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”
– Anaïs Nin
Oh, conversations with my mother. They’re always a hoot.
Tonight, she and I were talking about relationships, and she relayed a great concern to me about how I’m moving in with Jaime. She told me that even though she knows we care about each other, she thinks I may have “rushed too quickly” into exclusivity, and that I need to “keep my options open” since I’m in my 20s and am still discovering what I want out of life.
I agree with my mother at the core of all of this. I am still young, and I am interested in seeing how I will develop emotionally, sexually, spiritually, and intellectually as I age and grow. But that doesn’t mean I am going to delay moving in with my girlfriend. I don’t think that it is an irreversible step, akin to going to the court house and signing the ketubah.
What my mother was really saying to me tonight under the lovely sentiments: She thinks I should perhaps date more before “settling down”, and that a person can’t possibly know what they want in a relationship without sampling romance with many different partners. She was especially concerned because I’ve only had about a month’s worth of actually being “on the dating scene” (her words) since both of my serious relationships started as online ones, and fell into my lap more than anything else. I guess that may be alarming to someone who doesn’t know me, but it makes perfect sense in my world, the people who fell in love with me fell in love with my personality rather than making quick judgements based on looks or mannerisms, and there was little drama and politicking involved, which was ideal for me.
Needing to date many people before knowing what I am looking for definitely isn’t the case for me, and I am sure that there are other aspies out there who would agree with me that it’s not necessary to “sample”. The prospect of going back out on the dating circuit for me, is harrowing and unthinkable, and not just because I know none could compare to my Jaime.
Dating can be a very nerve-racking experience for autistics. In my brief flirtation with “dating”, I was left bemused and disappointed each time I attempted to start up a date which would result in a relationship. I didn’t speak the language of dating, and got incessantly frustrated by the mixed advice everyone was giving me. “Be assertive!” “Be coy, it will make them more interested!” “Be flirtatious, but not slutty!” “Wear something that will grab attention!” “Make sure you talk about your interests.” “Don’t ramble on and on about your interests, let him/her talk about him/herself!”
I got nervous when approaching someone I was told was single, and found myself quickly bored if the person couldn’t keep up with my rapid fire talking and thinking. I also had a hot temper and could easily lose a potential partner by arguing with them passionately* while my friends looked on in dismay. After about a month of this nonsense, I asked Jaime out, even though I’d worried that online relationships wouldn’t work for me again after my last one. She accepted without hesitation, and it was heavenly to know she felt as deeply in love with me as I did with her.
Not to mention the fact that the dating pool in Missoula was closer to a moist puddle, which left me with vanishingly few options. But now, I just don’t see the appeal of “dating”, with the sole objective of self-discovery towards a theoretical ideal partner, when I feel that I already have one. Dating doesn’t have to be some type of journey where you get to your destination after much trial and tribulation, it’s different for everyone.
I appreciate dear old mom’s concerns, but I picked a winner, and don’t feel the need to go on a dating spree to prove what I already know about Jaime. My experience is my own, and I would never turn my nose down someone who relished the thrill of diving into the dating pool. But I know that in my case, I’m content.
* One particularly vivid example of this was rather bizarre. I went up with some friends to a guy’s apartment for a night of watching movies. Someone told me that the guy who was hosting this thought I was cute, and they said they wanted me to try to get to know him tonight. My friends were nice like that. Anyways, the guy turned out to be a self-proclaimed “Gonzo communist”, whatever that means, and had a poster of Stalin on the wall of his living room. Up until I saw the poster, I’d been getting along with him fairly well, he had good taste in music.
Then I asked him what that poster was for, and he gave me the bit about gonzo-communism, which I said was way uncool, considering the amount of blood Stalin had on his hands. It was like hanging a poster of Hitler, in my book. He got angry and we started arguing, ending with him yelling at me and called me an “adherent to the capitalist agenda”. Eventually I left, fighting off the urge to sob, but consoled by the knowledge that I was right, even if my friends said I was acting like a jerk.