How do I deal with a shutdown in an AS-AS dating

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se7en1een
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Emu Egg

Joined: 19 Jun 2017
Gender: Female
Posts: 3
Location: VA

19 Jun 2017, 2:13 pm

Hi folks,
I'm new to this site because this is the first time in my life I feel so helpless but eager to find rational suggestions to deal with dating/relationship issues. I apologize first this post will be lengthy due to my writing style (people often find I write things like scientific essays) and my desire to providing more details for help. So whoever read this, I sincerely appreciate it!

Things about Me: I bring this up first because I hope people can identify my problems or some mistakes I might make which I myself couldn't realize. So I am f/27/gay/, I was diagnosed as ASP back to about 8 years ago when I entered medical school in China. I was suffering severe major depression due to long-term self-identification issue and failure of academic achievement. Later after diagnosis, I also realized the difficulty from transition of entering college also contributed?! Now I'm study in U.S. and have to deal with very overwhelming situation, I'm gonna sort the circumstance I'm facing right now to points below instead of a very detailed story:
1. The fear of failing academic achievement. This cannot simply be released by "take it easy" as failing school means leaving this country for a foreign student. School is easy for me so far but the fearless (mainly from past experience) bothers me once a while;
2. The crazy busy schedule. I need to follow routines, not surprisingly. So I'm having my full-time school courses and also a 40 hours working schedule in a high-volume environment (yikes!) every week. This gives me little to no breath time. Unfortunately, again, it cannot be improved because I support my tuition and daily cost by myself, giving up even just 10 hours shifts meaning giving up schools.
3. The overwhelming social status. I decided giving up a "good" job of licensed specialty in my hometown and come to another country, in order to avoid people's doubt, malice, or just "kind concern", I disconnect with people even more. Although I've been blamed of lack of connecting my entire life from family, friends, ex girlfriends. Things now just become worse. Right now, I'm contacting my family once a month (this takes me a huge amount of energy every time as I have to fake of doing well), my best friends 4 to 5 times every year. My disconnecting used to make me a "detached", "selfish" child, and NO! Nobody during my childhood had any idea about ASD, so I have to grow up by doubting myself had impaired personality and I needed to become "mature". YES! It's painful, I did learnt stuffs in a way, of course, not scientific at all. People stop criticizing me being "detached and selfish", instead, they think I'm "a good, thoughtful person just really bad at emotion management".

The Dating Issue: Stupidly, at this point, I made a very bad decision of dating others. I initially decided to go online just for meeting new people for two reasons:
1. I just purely want to make new friends because I want to get rid of the terrified memory from my past relationship. I value honest and respect as the most important thing, especially in a relationship. My ex girlfriend constantly lied to me, broken routines which often drove me crazy! Even worse, something happened last year eventually pushed me into another severe depression that, I had to end up being sent to the hospital for "attempting suicide". I'm not saying she's a bad person otherwise we wouldn't be together for 3 years, also my bad is I never told her about my ASP because every time when I started with some hints, I just feel so insecure she would just take it as excuses.
2. It took me a whole year to start trying again to connect this world. But I think I also learnt a lot from all the past, I feel like it's a good time to meet friends, especially in the LGBT community so we can better understand each other.

I Met This Girl: Fortunately and also unfortunately, I met this girl who I eventually am willing to meet after talked with a couple others. I believe we noticed each other's difference in our first meet. We both were like "awkward" in a NTs' standard, but even just those silent moments made me feel so comfortable, I was so flattered she could understand and respect me, and I'm just so eager to get to know more about her. We actually never talk about ASP, I feel insecure to initiate this topic even though I've been open to talk about relative stuffs like stim, social difficulty, but she never points it out. I guess we have the same concern, but I'm like 99.9% sure she is.
We then scheduled a second date after almost a month (I work six nights a week in the summer and she works five daytime, it's just so hard for us to meet). I'm an extremely slow person, she is mysterious to me. For some degree, she disconnect even more than me; but also, she behaves more proactive in some ways. In our second date, she made the first step, we kissed, then we missed each other in the following two weeks. I honestly lost, because I certainly really like her. But I don't know how to properly react to the process, I'm very considered in this new situation- cultural difference, age difference (I'm 9 years older than her), and I feel like she probably falls into the other side of the spectrum. One mistake I made was I tried to be honest so I mentioned a date I had two years ago (I was temporarily breaking up with me ex that time). I told her I was dating a girl like her age, then things didn't work out because she was overwhelmed of school, family and dating. I think my brain was controlled by the similar situations and bad memories that I just couldn't control myself to speak it out.
On our third date, we had a great time in her house with her dogs, and we talked more in her room and were being very close. But for some reason, I felt like because of being close, I wrongly talked about too much personal stuffs of past, school, and works, she didn't say anything, but I certainly felt she backed off a little afterwards. I ended up telling her I missed her a lot every week because we could only meet once a week or even less, she quickly and simply replied "but I don't". It hurts a little, but I was feeling more confused other than hurting.
Then two days ago, things were getting intense in our forth date (hopefully it's not gonna be the last). We planned this date for a long time because it was the Hampton-Roads Pride. I know it's gonna be crowded that both of us would feel stressful, but it was at an open park, and we would be there together, so I was planing to just be there shortly to take some pictures, then go somewhere else. I even booked a nice, low-key sushi restaurant for dinner which was asked by her to cancel due to the "super inconvenient of going outside too long on the Father's Day weekend". I had to say I really understand her and canceled our initial plan immediately and asked her about her schedule of that Saturday again. But I just really had a hard time to deal with plan change, so I ended up our texts in a less friendly way than usual. I texted her on Saturday morning to tell her I was on my way to pick her up for brunch, she text me back with cute words so I thought everything was fine. But when I arrived, she looked very unhappy the first moment she jumped into my car, and we had a long silence on the way to the brunch place. Terribly, the place was super crowded, she picked it up but she had never been there before. We were there uncomfortably for about an hour, then she became even more stressful after we left. I told her we could go somewhere else more quiet and she didn't give me specific answer. Then I told her it's okay if you want me to send you home. She eventually said she wanted to go home after I asked her three times. I was actually expecting to company her in her house, but when we arrived, obviously she just wanted to be alone. Forget mention, we both had a tough week so we both were tired that day, and the plan change just kept increasing the anxiety in my body. I eventually lost control and started a panic attack after she told me "I don't think this would work out", she said she was overwhelmed of school, her parents were being strict, and she was just not in mood for dating. (sounds familiar?) Even painful was she said "we're just so different! you want to connect with people and I like being alone. It's not fair for both of us." That's just so ironic if you read above about my childhood. I sacrifice a lot to learn connecting people and show my caring, now it's becoming the reason the person I like who wants to disconnect with me...
I almost cried and couldn't stop talking (I did this sometimes), then horribly, I told her about my depression history! My brain was trying to tell her everything will be fine and I had similar experience and I could be helpful and I just really want to be supportive. But my broken speech system, again, didn't do me any favor! I did mentioned my thoughts, but in a terrible way just make me sounds like an arrogant idiot who was trying to judge her and change her. I swear, I never ever would do that, because how can I? I know more than enough of how painful when people judge you and try to change you... I asked her if she wanted me to back off for a while or just go away. I emphasized on giving me a literally and specific answer because I can't read hints. She said please just back off now. I then apologized and left, I later sent her a message again to tell her contacting me whenever she feels comfortable because nothing changes on my side. She briefly replied "Okay! :)"...

I meltdown yesterday after been through this and had to go back for 10 hours working. I woke up this morning and just feel so shameful and guilty! I tried to calm down and write this post for help. I really like this girl, she is beautiful, unique, honest, and having strong desire on self-achievement. And the first time in life, I feel being understood and respected. Even when we were having the conflict last time, she said "You're funny and it matters a lot to me" which really makes me feel touched, I just really appreciate somebody would like my nerdy humor. And rationally, I think we match each other up a lot! I respect her feeling but can't agree that we cannot work it out because "we're too different". There are no two identical leaves in this world, and nobody can fully understand anyone even the person themselves. I'm a problem-solving type, I believe in communication even though I'm not good at it, I'm also extremely patient and just love being a supporter in my SO's life; she doesn't like planning things (at least in dating), it's probably even harder for her than for me to initiate a communication, and she needs time and space.

I would love to be more than enough to match up anything she wants me to do now. But I also have a hard time to distinguish between being "impatient-easily give up" and "pushy- doing too much". I don't know how long I should wait to contact her again if she would not to do it first... and if I send her a text, is it okay to just tell her I miss her and would love to stay quiet until she's ready? I'm sort of afraid of falling into the friend-zone, but I'm even more afraid of bothering her... Even I understand her situation, and if that was me, I would pick up after I recovery, but people are just different, now I'm so scared...



Last edited by se7en1een on 19 Jun 2017, 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SubtleCow
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Joined: 16 May 2017
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Posts: 27

19 Jun 2017, 3:41 pm

*hugs* you will get through this. :)

I don't have any good advice, because I'm another super super low energy AS girl like your GF and I am avoiding relationships because of that. My ... okay... advice is when she gets her energy back ask her about her energy levels and what she feels up to doing BEFORE you plan anything (or plan low, medium, and high activities and let her pick). Low energy people in general destroy plans, and if you want to keep seeing her that is a reality that you will have to accommodate for. On the plus side I guarantee she will LOVE being accommodated for.

I can say take heart in the fact that she finds social interaction exhausting and still chose to socially interact with you. However her recovery will probably take longer than yours would, and she might be nervous about dating a high energy person. Give her a lot longer than you'd expect, then if she hasn't said anything offer a really really low energy date to be had whenever she feels like it. When I say low energy I mean LOW like home made dinner, or quietly enjoying an empty park together.



se7en1een
Emu Egg
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Joined: 19 Jun 2017
Gender: Female
Posts: 3
Location: VA

19 Jun 2017, 5:05 pm

SubtleCow wrote:
*hugs* you will get through this. :)

I don't have any good advice, because I'm another super super low energy AS girl like your GF and I am avoiding relationships because of that. My ... okay... advice is when she gets her energy back ask her about her energy levels and what she feels up to doing BEFORE you plan anything (or plan low, medium, and high activities and let her pick). Low energy people in general destroy plans, and if you want to keep seeing her that is a reality that you will have to accommodate for. On the plus side I guarantee she will LOVE being accommodated for.

I can say take heart in the fact that she finds social interaction exhausting and still chose to socially interact with you. However her recovery will probably take longer than yours would, and she might be nervous about dating a high energy person. Give her a lot longer than you'd expect, then if she hasn't said anything offer a really really low energy date to be had whenever she feels like it. When I say low energy I mean LOW like home made dinner, or quietly enjoying an empty park together.


Hi, thank you for giving advises! I'm consider about writing her a short letter to tell her I miss her and care about her. I think it's very important for me to let her know her being disconnecting never really upset me even I made some silly jokes about it several times (I certainly will not anymore). But I don't know if it's good on her side to hear this at this point. How do you think?

And I'm sorry I can't interpret words like "a lot longer". I mean she told me she was not in a mood for dating but she wanted to continue texting me something like that. My brain then jumped to she is pulling me out to friend-zone, later I realize she probably was just talking about the current situation. But I was controlled by anxiety, I then told her "I don't want to date somebody for just being friends, I'm a serious guy!" which was true but being spoken at a very wrong time. I truly know myself, I also know I'm going to have a shutdown, too. If we do contacting, especially initiate by myself, I might be rude and mean. So I told her I would stay silent for a while... That's why I'm thinking about writing a letter which can lower the strain at least in my opinion. And I don't expect people write me back because it's an old-school stuff. It probably takes me about a week to sort everything then eventually mail her the letter. Is it too soon based on your experience?



SubtleCow
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Joined: 16 May 2017
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Posts: 27

19 Jun 2017, 7:02 pm

Sorry for using ambiguous language! :oops: The time you giver her to recover should be approximately twice as long as you think you would take to recover.

I think a letter is an Amazing idea! Especially a snail mail letter, very romantic.

I don't think there is ever a wrong time for communication. Different situations might be better with lots of communication, or only a little, but some communication is always better than none. The letter is awesome because it shows you are communicating, but lets her chose how and when to interact. :)

I don't think the "friend zone" is as threatening as you might think it is. My ideal long term relationship is a very very close friendship with monogamous sexual relations. You might want to think about what you are looking for in a relationship, and what being in a 'serious' relationship means to you and let your GF know what that looks like. Maybe you are both looking for something different, and figuring that out early is really important.



se7en1een
Emu Egg
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Joined: 19 Jun 2017
Gender: Female
Posts: 3
Location: VA

19 Jun 2017, 7:28 pm

SubtleCow wrote:
Sorry for using ambiguous language! :oops: The time you giver her to recover should be approximately twice as long as you think you would take to recover.

I think a letter is an Amazing idea! Especially a snail mail letter, very romantic.

I don't think there is ever a wrong time for communication. Different situations might be better with lots of communication, or only a little, but some communication is always better than none. The letter is awesome because it shows you are communicating, but lets her chose how and when to interact. :)

I don't think the "friend zone" is as threatening as you might think it is. My ideal long term relationship is a very very close friendship with monogamous sexual relations. You might want to think about what you are looking for in a relationship, and what being in a 'serious' relationship means to you and let your GF know what that looks like. Maybe you are both looking for something different, and figuring that out early is really important.


Thanks again for giving me support! Yes! I can't agree more about your opinion on long-term relationship. I actually talked with her about my "ideal life" of just simply staying in a quite room with my partner happily and peacefully. She seemed very focused when I was talking about this but she didn't respond her opinion and I wanted but didn't ask because I'm slow and I don't want to be pushy.
My fearless of falling into friend-zone basically come from past experiences, because I take people's words literally and seriously, and tend to trust them. So when girls tried to give me hints to let me get away I just couldn't get it! I would go back to reach people I still have feeling after several months, even years, simply because they use words to tell me it's okay to contact them and they still "like me", but eventually they freaked out and told me"I've already hint you we shouldn't keep in touch anymore!". I'm like wtf??! !!
But I guess you are right, people are different, I shouldn't put my personal experience on her. I've told her directly I need clear statement if her feeling changes. I should just trust her. :)

Thanks again for being so patient and reply me!