Demonized for Crushing on People-A Common Stigma?

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BrantaBranta
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12 Aug 2022, 3:51 pm

Wanted to see if anyone can relate to this kind of stigma in the dating world.

Ever since I was a teenager, I've been vilified by friends and family in my circle for crushing on people. I've learned to keep quiet about my love interests for fear of being treated like a dangerous person.
Whenever I announce a crush it's been treated with suspicion, fear, or even responded to with rage from people other than my crush. People always seem to regard it as alarming.
In college I remember being interrogated by customs officers for crushing on someone and being told that was unacceptable, and had to sit and watch my crush was being lectured on not to respond to any advances or behavior I made. All I had done was admit my crush at some point, and had acted twitterpated while not making any other moves around her.
I've been told that asking someone out is also a terrible thing to do, and actually got threatened with violence once (aka, my arm would be broken by my crush if I ever talked to them again), just for (trying to) ask someone out.
I've been told by family that by crushing on someone and acting silly and expressing my feelings innocently (laughing, blushing, etc) is abusive and toxic toward whoever I have a crush on.

On top of that I routinely have dreams where I'm approached by someone else, and thereafter labeled as a predator or molester for having accepted their advances. While I recognize these are just dreams, these are kinds of stigmas I worry about getting attached to me due to being autistic and having a sex drive. They are also stigmas I've internalized, and I still typically feel guilty or wrong for being sexually attracted to someone. Even though I never act on that kind of desire, I still feel like I'm a sociopath and I don't know why.
I'm always terrified that people will think I'm some kind of predator for admitting attraction to them, or being flirty and making moves. And that I could be cut off from my social network for doing so.

Are there frequently negative stigmas attached to autistic people who have crushes or actively want to date? Does neurotypical culture tend to demonize autistic people for pursuing (or desiring to pursue) love interests, or am I just perceiving this due to internalized discrimination?



klanka
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12 Aug 2022, 3:58 pm

So you and your crush are female?



naturalplastic
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12 Aug 2022, 4:02 pm

Did you grow up planet Pluto?

Or is that bad out there in Mormon Utah (the state on your profile)?



BrantaBranta
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12 Aug 2022, 4:10 pm

klanka wrote:
So you and your crush are female?


Yes, my current crush is a woman, and a longtime friend of 15 years. I've crushed on her for years and actually told I had feelings for her several years ago. While she didn't have feelings for me back then, she didn't respond negatively at all back then, and we just carried on being close friends.

I've perceived that she may be crushing on me now, which caused my previous feelings to surge back about her, but I've been as covert as possible about it. I've been giggly and getting too embarrassed about things, but other than that, trying to hide it, but she may have caught on.

I'm paranoid now because we were hanging out the other day, and she left abruptly, citing not feeling great. She seemed to be flirting with me and trying to get close to me that day, and I resisted doing that out of fear but tried to be as cordial as possible and help her. It's been total radio silence since then; she has not blocked my number, but she won't respond to any messages, and I'm scared.



Joe90
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12 Aug 2022, 4:16 pm

I never knew it was a crime to have crushes? :?


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TwilightPrincess
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12 Aug 2022, 7:37 pm

Quote:
Are there frequently negative stigmas attached to autistic people who have crushes or actively want to date? Does neurotypical culture tend to demonize autistic people for pursuing (or desiring to pursue) love interests, or am I just perceiving this due to internalized discrimination?
No, I don’t think that NTs are demonizing autistic people for pursuing love interests. Most people do not know what autism really is or that we have it.

Many do demonize harassment-type of behavior because it makes people uncomfortable. It’s possible that a failure to read social cues or recognize that specific behavior is inappropriate may be causing problems for you.

I would suggest trying to tone it down a bit and see how things go from there. I normally wouldn’t give such advice, but since this has been an ongoing problem, it might be a good idea.


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Last edited by TwilightPrincess on 12 Aug 2022, 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

naturalplastic
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12 Aug 2022, 7:42 pm

Well...if these are same-sex crushes, and if you live in a place like say...Mormon Utah (thats the state in your profile)then your experiences are not quite as bizarre as I first thought.



IsabellaLinton
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12 Aug 2022, 7:47 pm

Why would other people know who your crush is?

Having a crush is never a problem, assuming it's quiet and private.
Being demonstrative about your feelings is another matter altogether.
Most people are completely repelled by unwanted gestures of love.


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kraftiekortie
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12 Aug 2022, 8:40 pm

How can one be a "predator" when one is the recipient of an "advance"?



CockneyRebel
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12 Aug 2022, 10:52 pm

It sounds like you live in a rough area.


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Pteranomom
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12 Aug 2022, 11:12 pm

BrantaBranta wrote:
Yes, my current crush is a woman, and a longtime friend of 15 years. I've crushed on her for years and actually told I had feelings for her several years ago. While she didn't have feelings for me back then, she didn't respond negatively at all back then, and we just carried on being close friends.

I've perceived that she may be crushing on me now, which caused my previous feelings to surge back about her, but I've been as covert as possible about it. I've been giggly and getting too embarrassed about things, but other than that, trying to hide it, but she may have caught on.

I'm paranoid now because we were hanging out the other day, and she left abruptly, citing not feeling great. She seemed to be flirting with me and trying to get close to me that day, and I resisted doing that out of fear but tried to be as cordial as possible and help her. It's been total radio silence since then; she has not blocked my number, but she won't respond to any messages, and I'm scared.

You've known her for 15 years. I'm sure she accepts you for who you are. If you think she was hitting on her, just send her a flirty message back.



Joe90
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13 Aug 2022, 4:05 am

I used to get obsessions with guys and then make myself a nuisance by hanging around them a lot. Nobody thought it was creepy though. Some probably thought I was annoying or even stupid, but never creepy. In fact, I believe that if I was a guy hanging around women that I got obsessed with, the police probably would have been called sooner or later. That's how intense the obsession was. But because I was a girl, there were less stigma and people didn't see me as dangerous, they just saw me as being a pest.


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naturalplastic
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13 Aug 2022, 12:52 pm

Joe90 wrote:
I used to get obsessions with guys and then make myself a nuisance by hanging around them a lot. Nobody thought it was creepy though. Some probably thought I was annoying or even stupid, but never creepy. In fact, I believe that if I was a guy hanging around women that I got obsessed with, the police probably would have been called sooner or later. That's how intense the obsession was. But because I was a girl, there were less stigma and people didn't see me as dangerous, they just saw me as being a pest.

This is about the size of it.

However if the OP is leaving things out...it could be that goes beyond 'crushing' and 'flirting' to actual stalking.... then even a woman can get in trouble for that.



Joe90
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13 Aug 2022, 1:00 pm

I did stalk when I was 14-15. I got an obsession with this couple my aunt knew, and I developed a sexual crush on the man. I was so intensely obsessed with them that it affected my grades and my social life at school. Nothing else in the world was more important than this embarrassing obsession. I was only very young so it was probably a mixture of hormones and immaturity, as well as impulsivity and obsessive behaviours. I was harmless though, I wasn't intending on hurting anyone but I was just too obsessed. It was like being addicted to cocaine or something. I never took any drugs but the obsession was as bad as being addicted to drugs. All I could think of was these people and that was it. I was completely driven by the obsession. I had these mental urges that were hard to ignore. Thankfully the obsession wore off when I was 17.


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kmb501
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12 Oct 2022, 11:05 am

I could be wrong, but I think you're being subjected to homophobia in addition to problems related to your autism. I was given similar treatment in school, except the authorities were never involved, and I didn't talk to people much. My advice would be to seek out a LGBTQ support group; they can probably provide better advice.



jason2289
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12 Oct 2022, 11:18 am

That sounds really horrible OP. If it's any condolence, this can be a minefield even for NTs. Although admittedly not to the extent that you're describing.

Sadly I agree with the poster above, that level of reaction isn't normal and whilst we can't say for sure, it may indicate homophobia :(