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mandypants
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17 Nov 2011, 8:21 am

In lieu of posting in the Newcomers thread, I decided to post here first, since my reasons for joining this website have to do with the issues that brought me here.

First of all, I have not received a formal, adult diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. I received a diagnosis of some sort of attention disorder when much younger, and physicians told my parents that I might be autistic. I also had a speech delay; today I still have affected speech. However, my brother's problems outweighed mine: my brother is a hyperactive autistic with limited speech and OCD.
A shrink I met recently listened to my story and believed that it was likely that I am autistic, but there would need to be certain, expensive tests to confirm. I decided that it did not matter whether I was autistic or not since I am capable of leading a so-called normal life, albeit with occasional hindrances (i.e. the romantic department). Which leads to this next paragraph:

I am bisexual. I have only recently been open about my orientation (I came out to several friends last year, and then to my mother), and started to research LGBT issues. I was hoping that people on this board could offer suggestions or tips. Some of my issues are universal, and others may be particular to my circumstances.

More universal questions: How do you pursue someone romantically? How do you know if someone is attracted to you? In the past I've had messy encounters (with both male- and female-identified individuals), and the messiness usually stemmed from my inability to understand or communicate my exact feelings for someone.

More particular questions: How do you "identify" as gay/bi, and how do you identify others in this community (if it is even possible)? Is it only a matter of sexual preference, or is it an identity that expresses itself in other ways (clothing, appearance, etc.)? I have absolutely no sense of "gaydar", do not know when a man/woman is flirting with me or is interested, dress rather androgynously and don't identify as either butch or femme (I have only very recently learned about these categories).

Do any of you have similar experiences, or advice?



visagrunt
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17 Nov 2011, 12:23 pm

First things first: welcome.

As for your questions, I am pretty sure that if anyone here had "the answer" to that question, there'd be no further need for this board. Or the internet. All I can really do is share my own experience. Hopefully others will do the same and you will be able to pick and choose the answers that resonate with you.

From my experience, I think you have the questions backwards. You probably need to figure out your own self-identity and the place of that identity in your community before you are going to be in a position to pursue a romantic relationship. That doesn't mean that you have to be publicly "out," but it does mean that you have to be comfortable in your own skin, so that you can be comfortable around other people.

I pursued a couple of relationships before I came out. Like you they weren't particularly successful, which had a great deal to do with still being in the closet. I had much better success once I was out. Some of that came from going to gay bars and meetings of gay organizations--but these were really a means to an end: finding a group of gay peers, not as potential romantic partners, but rather as friends. It is much easier to become comfortable with your sexuality when you are in a group of like minded peers.

I maintain that friends are more important than a relationship. The latter will very likely happen naturally as a result of the former. That doesn't make it any easier at the outset, but I offer it up as my experience.


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Dragon_Blood
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19 Nov 2011, 3:58 am

I tend to agree.. That finding yourself first and maybe finding groups in the area may help.. Find like minded friends and just be friends.. Though personally I have had a lot of issues in such groups because a lot of drama somehow seemed to follow a lot of the ppl.. And I'm really not into that sort of thing. But maybe you will find ppl there whom you can hang out with and be friends.. and maybe then they could share tips too.. Idk.. Just an idea.



Taupey
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19 Nov 2011, 5:06 pm

Hello Mandypants and Welcome to WrongPlanet! Visagrunt always gives excellent advice.


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mandypants
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23 Nov 2011, 7:25 am

visagrunt wrote:
First things first: welcome.

As for your questions, I am pretty sure that if anyone here had "the answer" to that question, there'd be no further need for this board. Or the internet. All I can really do is share my own experience. Hopefully others will do the same and you will be able to pick and choose the answers that resonate with you.

From my experience, I think you have the questions backwards. You probably need to figure out your own self-identity and the place of that identity in your community before you are going to be in a position to pursue a romantic relationship. That doesn't mean that you have to be publicly "out," but it does mean that you have to be comfortable in your own skin, so that you can be comfortable around other people.

I pursued a couple of relationships before I came out. Like you they weren't particularly successful, which had a great deal to do with still being in the closet. I had much better success once I was out. Some of that came from going to gay bars and meetings of gay organizations--but these were really a means to an end: finding a group of gay peers, not as potential romantic partners, but rather as friends. It is much easier to become comfortable with your sexuality when you are in a group of like minded peers.

I maintain that friends are more important than a relationship. The latter will very likely happen naturally as a result of the former. That doesn't make it any easier at the outset, but I offer it up as my experience.


Thank you for your advice--it is indeed helpful. I guess my issue is not finding like-minded people-- there are too many things that make me different. I suppose I need to come to terms with my differences... I'm glad that I'm not alone in this.