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I am in no condition to be in a romantic relationship right now.

There, I said it. I said that dreadful truth which has been lurking in the back of my mind for months now, but have been denying, hoping I could shake it off.

Why was I afraid to admit it? A variety of reasons. Most notably, I mentally flagellated myself at the thought of admitting vulnerability in that area. I’ve written books and articles on dating, done workshops and webinars on the subject, and offered endless advice on dating and relationships to other autistics. I felt like I would be a professional failure if I said, “Actually, I need to take a break from dating and seeking relationships, I’m not really ready for this, and I feel I have a lot of maturing and introspection and critical thinking to do before I figure out what I want from a relationship, because if I’m not happy and well-adjusted while I am single, that’s not going to change with a relationship, I’ll just make another person miserable”. I felt a lot of pressure from myself and the critical inner voices in my head to find the right person, get into a relationship with them, and live happily ever after.

But admitting to myself last night that I’m not ready for a relationship was extremely liberating. It allowed me to lift the veil of judgement and pressure I was suffocating myself with, and has been a sort of step two (step one being quitting student politics) of figuring out what I want, not what I think I should want or what I feel like I am obligated to do by any sort of external sense of duty or morale. I can already feel a change in how I approach other aspects of life, like friendships. I’m not micro-analysing interactions with people I’m attracted to in order to see if they’re flirting with me, I just enjoy their company as friends and love them for the friendship and good times we enjoy together.

I don’t know when I’ll be ready for a romantic relationship again. All I know is that if I spend all of my time preparing for when I’ll be ready again, I’ll never reach there. So I am trying to let go entirely of that, and let it develop naturally. If the time comes when I find myself ready to date and find love again, I’m sure my future self will be grateful to this, for removing any obstacles caused by my own current bout of insecurity, stress, anger, and preoccupation with using a relationship as a magic salve.

It doesn’t mean I’m a fraud or a bad advice writer to come clean with this. It just means I am finally taking my own advice! I hear that’s a common thing for advice-givers to neglect doing.

As for the playlist, here’s a playlist I’ve compiled, so that I can have a musical accompaniment to this transitional period. It seems to be a popular thing these days.

1. The Noisettes- Sometimes

2. The Magnetic Fields- I Thought You Were My Boyfriend

3. Garbage- Cup of Coffee

4. Sia- Moon

5. The Magnetic Fields- With Whom to Dance?