I have not dated very much lately, I’ve had 3 dates in the last 10 years. I keep telling myself that I will start dating once I figure out my life and get more stable, but that is something that will never happen either. I dated some in high school, but those all ended badly too, for reasons I will not go into yet. I have been told that dating me was like ‘dating a wall’, or that I never kissed back in the right way, or that I never initiated anything, or that I took too long to reply. After a fair amount of failures, I think it’s pretty safe to give up on something like dating. Plus, there are so many things to do that are more interesting than dating.
I recently decided to, as the old saying goes, “put myself out there” and try dating someone. I finally feel like my life is stable and ready enough to try and be in a relationship. Or, more truthfully, I realized that things will never be fully ready as much as I would like them to be. So I am wasting my time by waiting for things to be perfect, that will never happen. I also am tired of seeing everyone else around me be happy and surrounded by people they love. I feel sick and awful when I am alone now, which is something that is really new. I used to love being alone with my thoughts, but now I can’t stand that feeling. I genuinely want to be around people, at least people that I respect and enjoy. That is a strange new feeling for me.
So for those reasons, I decided to try and find a date. I was surprised that within a day, I had started up a conversation with someone and they seemed awesome! I was so excited and nervous to meet them finally. I set up our first date a few days later and then realized that I was so totally not ready for this. I was so nervous the day of the date that I was close to calling it off. I felt that there was no way they would possibly be able to like me, I mean most of the time I can barely tolerate myself, so the thought of someone else choosing to and enjoying being around me is still surprising. But I persevered and went to the first date.
It went very well, I am proud to say. I had a great time, which surprised me. I realized that like most of the problems I face, it was all in my head. Once I get out there and do something, I do it well.
I made the difficult decision that I needed to tell this person about my autism. I have made a lot of mistakes in the past while dating, and I can ascribe almost every single one of them to my autism. So, I thought that maybe by telling them, they would be patient with me and maybe understand. I told them, and they said they knew nothing about it but that they would look it up. I don’t think they have yet.
A few days later, we met up again, and they were unhappy with me for not replying to their texts fast enough. I had to work really hard not to start yelling. First of all, it should never matter if someone replies to a text ‘fast enough’, that is such an asinine millennial comment. I prefer to, you know, live my life and do things, rather than spend my time staring at a plastic screen waiting for people to send me messages. Which rules out about ¾ of the dating pool it seems, because everyone seems to be controlled by their phones.
Instead of giving that rant, I explained that the way my brain works is to focus on what I am doing. If I am focused on something, I can’t very well pick up my phone and suddenly reply to a random text about something else, and then switch back my previous task. I have learned that I am very bad at multitasking. Especially if I am working around children, and the distraction is something lewd and not child-friendly, then things do not go well. So I tried to reason that, but got nowhere. They were oblivious still.
As I got to know this person more, I got less interested in them. All they seemed to do was go to work and then go home to watch Netflix. They had no real hobbies, or interests, or passions, or cares. I have no respect for people like that, and quite frankly, see no reason to waste my time with them. I feel that as a human, we have a strong need to be three-dimensional. By that I mean that we need to have things that we do, things that excite us, things that we enjoy, things that make us learn and grow. If we are not doing those things, then we are not living well. I can’t tolerate people who don’t find and seek out those things, people who just meek out an existence and survive. That is not interesting to me at all, because I don’t believe that is the way we are meant to live.
So, I got less interested in my ‘date’, and eventually reached the point where I realized I didn’t care about them at all. I was terrified to break up with them though, because I felt that they were a good match for me. I am a difficult person, and they were able and willing to put up with that. Furthermore, they liked me a lot and appreciated most of my quirks. I had a few days where I thought about ‘settling’ and dealing with a relationship where I didn’t respect the other person. That was a weird feeling that I have no logical explanation for. Still not quite sure where that came from, but luckily it went away. I ended the relationship because I realized that it had been two weeks since I saw them, and had no desire to do so. In a rare moment of clarity, I had the courage to call it off.
I learned a lot from that relationship, about myself and about dating. I learned that honesty is always the best thing to do. Not that I didn’t know that before, but I reaffirmed it. I know that telling them about myself was the right thing to do, and I will do that next time (if there is one).
More importantly, I learned that I am, in fact, capable of dating. Which is surprising to me too. I also learned that I can end a relationship on my own. That was the first time that I have ever broken up with someone, and it didn’t destroy me like I thought it would. I don’t really have any regrets from that experience, I am glad that I tried dating. Maybe I will try it again someday.