Wednesday, 17 December 2008

the dreaded word

I don’t think I have ever told members of my family that I love them; I have never hugged anyone and felt comfortable about it, and I have never been in love with a woman. The reason is I don’t really know what it means or what it really entails. Of course I can consciously think of an explanation, such as to care about someone or a mutual attraction but why say something I don’t really understand? How am I supposed to act and what am I supposed to receive in return? The only two things I can think of are doing things for each other such as favours, and sharing common interests, but then that could apply to the average acquaintance.

I am 25 years old; I have never had a girlfriend as sad as it sounds to the NT. One could accuse me of being asexual or even homosexual, which is far from the truth. I have my fair share of lustful urges towards women like any other heterosexual man. I have had my fair of opportunities, I have talked to women and not got very far, a conversation would last about a minute and then the awkward silence would hit with a vengeance.

Of course you cannot miss something you have never had, but I would really like to know what I am missing, as everyone seems to base their whole life, decisions and cognition over it. As much as my life is based around routine and my interests, I do often ponder over what I could have, whether I am really human.

Of course I have emotions, but I am barely in touch with them or what they really are. It is a human desire to attract a mate/companion. I often picture my ideal companion as being exactly like me, just in female form, due to the fact I am unable to comprehend or appreciate any other way of thinking. This was and still is my perfect partner, as unrealistic as this, because perfection is impossible.

The word love and the concept in general scares me, it sends a shiver down my spine, to tell someone I love them is no more painful than trying to look someone in the eye whilst maintaining a conversation. Challenges and situations I have heard of in relationships are very scary, something I don’t think I could ever cope with, the fact that two people with mutual interests don’t get along, it goes against my beliefs, despite the contrary being true even in my own experiences.

I am not some cold inhuman robot who is about as charismatic as a cactus, I am eccentric, geekish, loyal, and very rational. There is just this invisible barrier, like a social exoskeleton, all scaled on the outside, but rather warm and soft on the inside. How is anyone meant to know if this sort of person is suitable for them if they cannot even see it?

I remember several times I have talked to girls, usually at a pub, they have approach me, for some reason I get bored with what they have to say, then afterwards when excuses have been made, I could spent a while just looking at them, this may seem very odd, but all I try to do is consciously work out their face, because I struggled so much to do it all at the same time when I had my opportunity. If I did this before the conversation ‘the eyeing up routine’ she would have probably slapped me or called the police!

Ive never approached a lady, call it shyness if you wish but if I dont have a clue what to say, dont have a clue as to who is interested and who isnt, and end up being overwhelmed by this scanning procedure, who can blame me for not trying? I could always go to everyone I see, either ask a corny catchphrase such as 'hi, where have you been all my life?' attempt to chat about the weather (which makes me feel dirty and just feels forced), or go straight in there and dictate facts about the general theory of relativity. None of those scenarios would logically work.

I know the feelings of attraction and longing, but it is always too late before I am really aware of them. I have passed the lust/shutdown/meltdown stage and life has moved on before I am aware of them.

With all these difficulties is it worth the extra mental effort to find out what love is? I guess family love can be shown in many different ways such as doing practical things for each other, but when it comes to attracting a mate, I am clueless. And if I ever did start a relationship, that demanding 24/7 being there for each other at the drop of a hat would destroy me. One may argue that I shouldn’t make such an assumption before it actually happens, but is that a risk worth taking? I would love to try it in moderation, but is that what the other person would want? How am I meant to tell if they would never say anything?

My whole mentality is based on rational thought, when emotions crop up this crumbles, with music being the one exception where emotion and my brain seem to have an understanding. People say that you don’t need a rational reason for everything in life, especially where relationships are involved but, at the very least, I would really like to hear a truly persuasive irrational reason!

My whole reasoning behind this 'in moderation' claim is the fact I have a young niece and a nephew, I go to see them a couple of times a week, which I really do enjoy, they are honest, simple and are really funny, no real conversation is needed, just have to throw soft toys at them! but I can only endure it for so long, or else I just shut down, same with conversations I have with people, then with hindsight I can reflect on what a good time I did have, but I cant make that judgement at the time. Can you imagine the emotional burden of a close partner or even having kids of my own, which would require nearly all of my attention, not to mention the net impact to myself and also to them having to deal with the 'hot and cold' levels of devotion. I can see the joy people get from children but without appearing selfish, the burden would be too much for me to handle, and I am guessing it would be the same with a close relationship, I supposed I value my mental freedom and also my internal routine too much.

In a survival situation I would be an asset to a potential mate, I have a fear for potential danger/predators, very alert physically (and mentally sometimes!), yet in this day and age we are meant to be all cosy and discuss feelings....

This may sound all gloom and doom but, I can hardly say I am severly depressed at the moment, never say never. What troubles me the most is that there could be noone else like me if the opportunity doesnt arise, but then if AS is genetic who would want their child to have such a condition, but then with the correct support from a young age, why should it be a curse when it could be a blessing? Pure speculation in this article, but realistic.


AS-4-L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AS-4-L said...

"if AS is genetic who would want their child to have such a condition"

- someone I know is always telling me (because I'm so "clever") that I should want kids and it would be a shame if I never passed my genes on. If only they knew.

Louise Page said...

Matt, if I can be presumptuous here, I am guessing that many, many relationships, and their occupants, are not necessarily happy.
There seems to be so many expectations, supposed relationship formulas and so on, that many 'couples' aspire to; aim for; believe they must achieve in order to be happy (ever after).
The best relationships I've witnessed are ones where the respective partners really understand and accept each other for who they are; give each other 'space'; are realistic about life and what a true relationship entails; doesn't place 'pressure' on the other; values each other's uniqueness, value and place in the world, and so on.
But I feel that these types of 'balanced' relationships are few and far between.
Many 'equations' in the 'NT' world don't always produce a desired answer.
Some people may be blessed with finding the 'right' one soon in life. For others it may take a life-time, and for others again they may never find the 'best fit'.
What I do tend to believe is that there is someone somewhere for all of us. It's not what is 'written' in the proforma-book of 'relationship equations', but is held in the natural 'laws' of nature.
Hope that all made sense :)

Becca said...

Hi, I think you're looking too much into what a relationship would "expect" out of you. With my husband with Asperger's we fit each other because I was a very private person and one of those people that couldn't have friends that wanted to do stuff all the time or discuss everything. I needed my own time and space, and with my husband, with Asperger's, he had his own things he was focused on and his own routines, and so somehow we fit because neither of us demanded so much of the other.

You don't have to give your spouse all your undivided attention all the time, and it's OK if I don't want to talk or my husband doesn't want to talk, or he wants to do something that I don't or vice versa. It's more of a "comfortable" thing with us. I could fit inside his parameters of routine and he could fit inside my walls of insecurity and privacy. We do love each other, and it's OK if words aren't always shared, it goes by actions or time, or just being there, even if there means you aren't really doing anything.

Don't give up on the finding a mate thing. It just takes somebody different, and usually who you least expect. I never in a million years would have picked out my hubbie, but it happened and it wasn't by some pick up line or anything, I actually thought he was the biggest dork at first, but over time I realized I could talk to him a little or a lot and he could do the same and we weren't demanded upon each other and so we felt things could go well.

Don't think too hard, and don't stress that you're out of the norm. I enjoy reading your point of view.

Oh, and the comment above about if AS is genetic who would want a child to have such a condition" ---Hey I believe a part of it is genetic, but I have no problem with my son inheriting it from my husband. Asperger's may have it's problems and differences, but with it comes such uniqueness, and incredible traits and abilities that a NT wouldn't have, and I wouldn't trade those for the world.

Lindsay said...

if AS is genetic who would want their child to have such a condition?

I do not want children at all, but if I did, I think I'd do better with a child who was also autistic. I would not understand an NT child, nor would I be able to give them the kinds of things they would need from a parent.