Whenever I go over to see my girlfriend, Rebecca, I can feel the excitement build as she opens up the garage door. She shares the enthusiasm and within seconds we are in each other’s arms. She says to me “I missed you.” Unless I say it first.
We have been together a little over two months, although we were friends since last October. When we began going out, it had been a few months since I broke up with my last ex and a few weeks since we stopped talking completely. At the time, I was unsure of what to make of it.
I remember the conversation at Taco Bell. She had told me once before, “I think you’re an awesome guy,” and then she mentioned offhand “I’m thinking of dating again.” I was careful, I wanted to avoid the ill-fated rebound. I deliberated for a week, but in the end, I decided to start seeing her.
I was glad that I gave this the thought that I did, and also glad that I went ahead and engaged because now things are going quite well for both of us.
Go back in my blog history, and you’ll hear about my days of woe on online dating. The mistakes, the bad dates, the mismatches. It’s hard to believe that I was that way only a few months ago.
Rebecca is also on the spectrum, and this has informed our compatibility. All of her quirks, my quirks, and the value that they have to the both of us are immeasurable. Our relationship is living proof that people on the spectrum can have loving, fulfilling relationships just like anyone else. Both of us agree that it is because we’re both on the spectrum that makes us interesting and desirable to each other.
I write publicly about this because I remember my own feelings of absolute helplessness and undesirability. Rebecca felt that way too at one point. While it may seem silly to an outside observer, folks on the spectrum often don’t have a model for what a healthy relationship is like. Ours is wonderful, special in so many ways.
We’re a very nerdy couple, playing tabletop RPGs like Fate Core or Dungeons & Dragons, MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV, and we also write short stories together. Since we’re close we spend a lot of time together and we still feel sad when it gets late and I have to go back home. We feel hopeful and I believe in the power of hope.
Hence, I want to leave a message of hope for folks who are still looking. It will likely take a while, and you’ll go through hell and more to get to a successful relationship. But in the end, it’s all worth it. My previous relationships and dates have given me the knowledge to handle the relationship I’m currently in. If you can reframe old mistakes as learning experiences, you will be prepared for a great relationship later down the line.