That’s Chase. In the photo. I met him on OKCupid in ’16. We’re getting married in July. I should probably ask for his permission to post that photo. If his mouth still looks like the mouth of a fish by the time you’re reading this, that means he’s either good with it, or he hasn’t read this post yet.
Chase loves me not in spite of my autism, but in part because I’m on the autism spectrum, and I think this makes the difference between a successful and unsuccessful relationship with an Aspergirl.
He’s read In a Different Key, and he tries to keep up on Kourtnie.net too, because he knows it sometimes takes a different angle to get inside my head.
To succeed in a relationship with an autistic person, not only does research make a difference, it also helps to share special interests. For instance, Chase has a B.A. in printmaking, and I’ve taken several printmaking classes. We both like to draw, paint, and create things in general, although he likes to reference photos, be detailed, and spend hours on the same image, while I like to fling intentional yet wild blasts of ink everywhere. This is my current favorite medium:
Also, Chase is trying out National Book Writing Month this year to get back into creative writing, whereas I’ll be working on a National Blog Writing Month challenge in another WordPress this November, to prepare for my ’19 garden. 😉
We play Nintendo games together, watch dorky YouTube channels, talk about astrophysics, keep up on good science fiction and animated television…
We even plan to open up an Etsy shop together to sell handmade books this year. All of these things fall under the umbrella of my special interests, and I’m not sure if I’d know how to feel so socially comfortable with my romantic partner if it weren’t for all these lengths we go to keep a bridge built between one another’s worlds.
As strong as many of these bridges seem, an autistic special interest is decidedly different from a neurotypical special interest, though. When autistic people “get into” something, we talk about it beyond the barriers of social acceptability, work on it beyond the hours of social expectation, and we soak information like without it, we’re going to dehydrate.
And I do feel a little like I’m dehydrating, when I’m not submerged in a special interest. This is why it’s especially important for autistic people to consider online dating. With a profile, we’re able to clearly state we’re on the spectrum, we like all these things other people may or may not like, and we’d like to date someone who’s cool with that.
That’s what I did, anyway. Seemed to work.
Once we’re wading waist-deep in a relationship, it’s important for autistic people—or it’s important for me, just based on trial and error—to stay mindful of the other person’s needs, because it’s not like I pick up on the same signals other people do.
So I’ll blatantly ask if something I’m doing bothers Chase:
ASPERGIRL: Shouting, Hey are you lonely right now
THE MAN: Whaaaaa
ASPERGIRL: Getting off wobbly stool, Shit, I said I’d walk over to you to ta—
THE MAN: I’m playing Zeldaaaaa
ASPERGIRL: Oh, okay!
Oh, yeah, and about that:
He plays Zelda. (But not Final Fantasy IV… grumblepissmoan…)
It’s like my plastic house all over again, only this time, it has a fiance, six cats, four aquariums, two birds, a garden, and Alexa.
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Kourtnie has an MFA in Creative Writing from CSU Fresno and a BA in English from CSU Fullerton. When she isn't writing or making art, she's moonlighting as a professor at community colleges. Read her writing at Kourtnie.net or Wattpad.com/user/KourtnieNet.