Love, crushes, dating: my story

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JimMichener
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25 Jan 2013, 9:21 am

This is the story about my life (46 year old male with AS), with the focus on love, crushes, and dating.

Maybe it will help you, if you recognize yourself in my story.

It was not long ago that I diagnosed myself as having AS.
I wish I had known before, it would have saved me lots of pain and frustration.

So here I go.


I always thought of myself as different.
But then, doesn't everybody?
I didn't have many friends.
Kids bullied me at high school.

High school was hell.


I was smart and got good grades, easily.
Teachers loved me, kids hated me.
Languages, math, I was good at everything, except for physical education.
I was the smallest kid in class.


I was sixteen when I fell in love for the first time.
Beautiful girl, long, dark hair.
Never knew what to say to her, didn't have the courage.
So after four years in love, I never even learned her name.

I didn't tell anyone.


It was not a nice experience.
Still, after that I fell in love with another beautiful girl/young woman.
Dark hair, but short this time.
That crush lasted for five years.
I stalked her for a couple of years, learned all I could about her.
But again, I never knew what to say to her, I didn't have the courage.

Felt miserable for 5 years, fantasized about suicide.
Was deep into self-harm (scratched my arms).


At 25, I had never had a date.
I had never talked to a girl/woman about anything else than homework.
Never held a girl's hand, never kissed one, of course.
I had tried to talk to girls with whom I wasn't in love.
But they always turned me down in a matter of seconds.

My self-esteem was very low.


So at 25, I fell in love for the third time.
This time she was blonde.
And this time I felt really, really miserable.

I went into a depression.
I had no one to talk to (or so I thought).


I was lonely, depressed, in pain.

I was without hope.


Despair + pain = dangerous.

This time I wanted to kill myself.


I thought: "Tomorrow, at this hour, I won't be around anymore".
That woke me up.
I called a help-line. They saved my life.
I can't remember what the woman said, but it gave me hope again.

Hope = life.


I thought I would never think of suicide again.
I thought I had conquered it.


Two months later, I went on vacation with a friend.
It was my first vacation as an adult.
And of course, I met this girl. Pretty, with long, dark hair.
She talked to me, just like that, and stood very close to me.
That was a new experience.


Of course, I never had the courage to even ask for her name.
But when my friend and I left that campsite, I left a note for her.
After I got home, we started a correspondence (she lived far away).
She mentioned her boyfriend, I chose to ignore that inconvenient truth.


After a few months, I surprised her with a visit.
She lived really far away: 900 miles.
She lived with her parents and sisters.
Her boyfriend lived in another town.


I stayed for three days and we talked a lot.
At one time, I wanted to tell her that I liked her.
I couldn't: the words just stuck in my throat.


At the final evening, I managed to tell her that I liked her.
She was not happy with my statement.
She was angry or sad (I don't know), and I was miserable again.

But the next morning, I was kind of happy: I had finally found the courage to express my feelings to a girl.


We stayed friends, as they say.
I was in love, for the fourth time, and was happy with every bit of attention that she gave me (which wasn't much, by the way).


Meanwhile, I was 26 and still had never had a date.
I still had never held a girl's hand, had never kissed one.
Sex was also something I could only dream about.


I thought my misfortunes in love were due to bad luck.
I thought girls/women didn't like me because I was ugly.

My self-esteem was very low.


I started reacting to contact ads in newspapers (this was the time before internet dating).

After one year of writing (dozens of letters), I still hadn't had a date.
It seemed like no one wanted me.


The next summer vacation. I was 27.
I met two special girls.

One was very nice (and yes, she had long dark hair), and she was introduced to me like: "Please meet Z., next year she'll marry that guy over there".


We had long, nice talks.
She didn't treat me like I had the plague.
I managed not to fall in love with her.

My self-esteem was rising!


The next girl fell in love with me.
She literally clung to me!
She invited me to have diner with her and her family.
It was difficult to talk, as I didn't speak her language well, and she didn't know any other language than her own.


The catch? She was only 8 or 9 years old.
But thank you, E., for your kindness!
If only you had been 10 years older...


After the vacation, it was back to the contact ads.
And finally, I got a response: a woman who wanted to date me!
No catch this time, I really had my first date.
She was 26, nice, but not pretty, no long dark hair.


Still, we got into a relationship.
We held hands and kissed!
My first kiss, at the age of 27.
Sex was a problem though: she made it clear that she'd never do that.
She had issues too.


I broke her heart when I told her it was over, after a year and a half.
But I wanted more.
And now I knew that I could have a date.

She didn't deserve to have her heart broken.


The next date was with a young woman, with whom I had a correspondence.
She was pretty, with a perfect body.
I have never understood why she wanted to date me, we were so different.
She could have had anyone else.


At age 29, I was still a virgin, and frustrated at that.
I whined and moaned and pleaded until finally, one year later, we had sex.

She wanted me to say that I loved her.
So I did, but I never meant it.

We had lots of fights.
Several times, she told me that I was crazy and that I needed to see a shrink.
I never took those remarks seriously. In hindsight...


She said she wanted to know my secrets.
So I told her about my love life.
I told her about the time that I had thought about suicide.
I shouldn't have told her that.


After two and a half years, she told me that she had fallen in love with another guy.
I didn't shed a single tear for her.


I tried to meet women during my vacations, but I was never successful.
I was still being dismissed after the first sentence.
At age 32, I met a woman, F., a few years older than me, through a contact ad, of course.
We had lots in common.


Sex was something she enjoyed (I was starting to wonder how mankind had procreated).
She wasn't pretty, but very nice. She fell deeply in love with me.
I moved in with her.


She also wanted me to say that I loved her, so I did.


We were happy for 14 years.
Then I met a young woman, B.
Beautiful, with long dark hair.
She started talking to me, was being nice to me.

This happened a few months ago.


I fell in love...
B. wasn't interested in me at all: she already had a boyfriend.
She had just been nice to me, "nothing special".

My heart was broken, for the fifth time.


I didn't tell F. anything about it, I lied to her several times.
It was very difficult to keep it a secret.
I didn't know anyone whom I could talk to.


I became depressed. I cried a lot.
I realized that, at age 46, I would never know what it would be to be in love in a "normal" way.

I lost hope.


Despair + pain = dangerous.

Again, the thought of suicide came to me.
I was shocked, shattered: I thought I had conquered that.


A few weeks later, I Googled: "How to commit suicide painlessly".
It is not nice to see yourself typing those words.


Fortunately, the web sites with suicide tips also do suicide prevention.
What kept me alive, was the question: "How would your family, loved ones react to your suicide?"


All this made me wonder:
What is wrong with me?
Why can't I be in love in a normal way?
Why did I have my first date when I was 27?
Why do I always misinterpret women?
Why don't I have any friends?
Why don't I really care that I don't have any friends?


Finally, after much Googling and reading in Wikipedia, I did an on-line autism self-test.
On the scale of 0 (normal) to 50 (severest form of autism) I scored 33.
That was higher than I expected.


Still, it gave me something to start from.
I Googled "Asperger love", "Asperger dating", "Asperger relationship".
The results made me cry: I wasn't alone!


After a week of deliberation, I decided to tell F. about my AS.
She answered that she had always suspected something like that.
It doesn't make a difference to her.


I haven't told F. about B.
I haven't told F. about my depressions.
I haven't told anyone else about my AS.

Secrets, secrets.


So if you recognize yourself in my story:
Take the on-line test (if you found this story, you'll find the test or you have already taken it).

I hope you learned something from my story.
Maybe you took some consolation, realizing you're not the only one.

I'm still alive.

If you're really depressed: suicide is forever, so thinking about it for a few more days doesn't matter, does it?

I wish you strength!
Keep hope!
Keep courage!



deltafunction
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25 Jan 2013, 9:33 am

This is beautifully written. It broke my heart. :heart:



Geekonychus
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25 Jan 2013, 10:09 am

Thanks for telling your story. It must have been painful.



DialAForAwesome
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25 Jan 2013, 4:20 pm

Mirrors some of my experiences, and you're even using the same avatar I used to have.

Heartbreaking to read but it's bittersweet to know that someone else has this much bad luck with the opposite sex.


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25 Jan 2013, 5:43 pm

i am sorry to hear you have been so depressed and suicidal. i think you need to get crisis help for that *immediately* because it does not sound like you are out of the woods yet.

i think B was supposed to be your hope for the future. she was going to be your lifeboat so you could hope for someone "better" than F, but then she rejected you and you realised you were still stuck in the same old life, and it spun you into the depths of depression. well, it's a wake up call.

i think you know what else you need to do at this point - you need to end the charade with F. seeing as how you are not really in love with her and don't find her attractive, you are most likely wasting her time. she spent 14 years of her life with you, and i think it would be very unfair for her to spend any more time with a man who does not see her beauty and does not love her. aspies are fully capable of loving people normally. if you do not have a semblance of normal love for her, that is not asperger's - that is your relationship.

you see, your long story is all about you, and of course you are the lead character in it. but she is the lead character in her story, and you've done her a disservice by being untruthful to her - not just now but for 14 years. this story isn't just about you, it is about her. she doesn't need for you to dredge all of that up, in fact she doesn't even need to know all about B, but going forward... she does deserve a partner who truly cherishes her.

another thing that may help you at this point is to research the word limerence - i didn't know the word until i came to this forum. it is a one-sided infatuation that people often mistake for love. i would say that many of your experiences could have been limerences as opposed to love.


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JimMichener
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28 Mar 2013, 2:14 pm

@hyperlexian Apologies that I took so long to respond to your reply. Your reply certainly deserves an answer, so here it is.

I did not get any help for the depression. That question on the suicide web site "How would your family, loved ones react to your suicide?" really did the trick for me. Two months have passed since I posted my story and time helps.
It's been going up and down, but the downs are not so low any more and the ups are getting higher.
I haven't told F. about the depression. Because then I would have to tell everything and I'm still not ready for that. I don't know if I'll ever be.

Regarding B.: I still think about her, of course, and I would like to explain a few things to her and ask her some questions, but I don't think that I'll ever see her again. I won't look her up and I can even stay away from her Facebook page. At the height of my being in love, she was on my mind every waking second. It was hell. Now I only think about her once every hour. I'm getting there.

The most important item: my relationship with F. She loves me. And she knows that she cares more about me than I care about her.
To love someone... only once in my life have I felt that I loved someone (girl number 4 from far away). I would have done anything for her, and at one point I actually gave her all my money (yes, she took advantage of me). This love made a fool of me, it did me no good at all.

I deeply care about F. A life without F. would be very empty.
She tells me that she loves me. Every now and again she tells me that she's still in love with me. And I am supposed to send her away, because I don't "love" her? It would destroy her world. And then later she might hope to come across a man who really "loves" her? Our neighbor woman divorced her husband a few years ago, she is about F.'s age and is similar to her in many ways. It is almost impossible for her to get a date, so forget about a relationship.

Your reply made me think and made me look at myself hard. Thank you for that.
I realize that I don't want to give up F. The L word does not mean much to me.
And I have learned the hard way that I have a soft spot for young and beautiful women who are nice to me. "Fortunately" I don't meet many of those, but I know to be careful should I encounter one.



cakey
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28 Mar 2013, 3:27 pm

Do you really not love F? Would you really not feel sad if she were gone? At least do you like her company?



JimMichener
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24 Nov 2013, 9:23 am

Long overdue for an update. Much has happened in the meantime. First, a bit more information: it all started, a year ago, when I met B. at a sports activity. At the time, F. wasn't present due to an injury. For a very long time I didn't see B., because of injuries and different schedules.

Last June, it became clear that B., F. and I were going to attend the same sports activity. I still hadn't told F. anything. I had seen B. only once (in passing), but I had never talked to her since I had fallen in love with her. My feelings told me that I was still in love with B.
So... what to do?
I decided to write B. a short e-mail, explaining a few things. For instance, I told her about the Asperger. That I was still in love with her. I did not get a reply.

Two weeks later, B., her boyfriend, F. and I attended the same sports activity. This was an interesting experience, to say the least. The only one who didn't know anything, was F.
B. said a few things to F., perfectly harmless for the innocent bystander. Only at the very end did I manage to utter "see you" to B.
This repeated itself during the following months. Most of the time B.'s boyfriend was absent and sometimes F. was absent as well. Every time I managed to say a bit more to B., but I was always intimidated by her presence. B. sometimes said something to me, just small talk. I never had the opportunity to talk to her privately.

I thought I managed things reasonably well: it was not very difficult to keep the secret and I thought I was making progress with my being in love: it seemed to be getting less. I had the opportunity to witness B. as a human being (i.e. not being perfect, it turned out she wasn't always smiling or in a happy mood).
Well, "managed things reasonably well": I was still troubled by a depression.

One day, I finally had the opportunity to talk to B. in private, for about 5 minutes. I had thought of what to say to her, in advance. I thanked her for two things: how she was behaving regarding F., and how she was behaving regarding me. I don't think she had expected that.
I told her a few other things, and we parted quite amiably. At one point, she said something like "Our relationship, as it is now, is OK, isn't it?" I agreed with her.

Then... trouble in "paradise". Due to circumstances, too complicated to explain here, it became apparent to me that I had to confess the whole story to F., or she would find out some other way.
I didn't know what to do, or whom to ask for help. I still hadn't told anyone anything.
I wrote for help to the only person I could think of: B. I did not expect an answer, to be honest, but she answered quite quickly.
She had told me before that at one point she herself had been in love with someone who did not reciprocate. And now she told me that it had happened to her while she was in a relationship.
So she knew exactly what I was going through.
She told me I had two options: going on as I did, trying to keep everything secret, while trying to overcome a depression. Or: confess everything to F., getting it off my chest and giving F. the opportunity to judge the situation for herself.
There was something in her words that made the choice seem easy: I was going to confess.

And so I did. One evening, a few weeks ago, I told her about what had happened.
F. was flabbergasted: she had never suspected anything. In love? Depression? For the past year? She couldn't believe that I hadn't told anything or that she hadn't noticed anything.
She said repeatedly that she didn't know what to do with this information. She obviously wanted to know with whom I had fallen in love. She knew B. vaguely, but now it became clear to her why B. was always smiling to her in a sympathetic way.
F. didn't blame me for falling in love with B., but she didn't understand why I had never told her.
F. didn't cry that evening.

The hammer struck the next morning: F. was desperate, and in tears. We had a rough week. And even though I had shed quite a few tears, in the past year, this time they weren't coming.
I felt relieved; a heavy weight had been lifted off me, but at the same time that weight seemed to have landed on F.'s shoulders. After 15 years, it turned out she didn't really know me at all!

From then on, lots of things happened: we bought, and read, a few books on Asperger. I talked to my boss, to a counselor, and to a psychologist. F. told her mother about my Asperger. F. told a friend about the relationship crisis.
A week from now, we are going to see a therapist/counselor, who specializes in both relation therapy and Asperger. F. and I want to salvage our relationship.

F. and I have told each other a lot of things, the past weeks, but one thing is still a secret: my deepest moments of despair. I have no idea if or how to tell her this. Yet, it could turn up in the meeting with the therapist. That is going to be very difficult.

And B.? I think she has given me very good advice. But I notice that I keep thinking about her, too much, so I decided, and I told F., that I will not see B. anymore. So much for that sports activity.

Will keep you posted on future developments...



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24 Nov 2013, 10:06 am

Thank you for sharing your story.

I was in a relationship for 13 years. At year 12 we realized things were not going well, so we spent the next year working with relationship therapists and so on. The counseling was of great value, so I easily support those who choose to actively work on relationships in that way, as you guys are doing. Though that relationship ended, the counseling was invaluable at ensuring the decisions made were appropriate to our circumstances.

On a related topic, I have personally benefited greatly from studying and otherwise learning more about limerance vs. love. There are also good resources that helped me nail down why I am so often attracted to similar physical/behavioral types, or "Imago". Learning about those two things have helped me be wary of how those who match my type might trigger an episode of limerance.

Best wishes!



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24 Nov 2013, 1:21 pm

your deepest despair is nothing to worry about. It isn't Fs fault. It's like having a very acute hearing - your emotional range is really wide - this is why you are able to feel the deepest despair and fall in love crazily with people you hardly know.

I know. Because I am like that too.



JimMichener
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25 Nov 2013, 1:40 pm

Thanks for your reactions. Limerence (without an "a" ;-) has been brought up in an earlier response. I did not understand or appreciate it at the time. That has to do with the fact that English is not my first language; in my first language, the translation for limerence is the same word that is used for infatuation or the act of being in love, there is no distinction. So at first, I didn't grasp it.
But after your response, I started reading more. Several times I came upon the following list (found this one on http://doctorogenki.tripod.com/smartsex/id18.html):

• Intrusive thinking about the object of your passionate desire (the limerent object or LO-will be used throughout article-), who is a possible sexual partner.
• Acute longing for reciprocation.
• Dependency of mood on LO's actions or, more accurately, your interpretation of LO's actions with respect to the probability of reciprocation.
• Inability to react limerently to more than one person at a time (exceptions occur when limerence is at low ebb -- early on or in the last fading).
• Some fleeting and transient relief from unrequited limerent passion through vivid imagination of action by LO that means reciprocation.
• Fear of rejection and sometimes incapacitating but always unsettling shyness in LO's presence, especially in the beginning and whenever uncertainty strikes.
• Intensification through adversity (at least, up to a point).
• Acute sensitivity to any act or thought or condition that can be interpreted favorably, and extraordinary ability to devise or invent "reasonable" explanations for why the neutrality that the disinterested observer might see is in fact a sign of hidden passion in the LO.
• An aching of the "heart" (a region in the center front of the chest) when uncertainty is strong.
• Buoyancy (a feeling of walking on air) when reciprocation seems evident.
• A general intensity of feeling that leaves other concerns in the background.
• A remarkable ability to emphasize what is truly admirable in LO and to avoid dwelling on the negative, even to respond with a compassion for the negative and render it, emotionally if not perceptually, into another positive attribute.

I must confess that I test positive on almost all points. The fact that I wrote a lot about B. in my previous post says a lot.
Unfortunately, there is no easy or fast "cure" for limerence. I have seen B. and her boyfriend kiss. It hurt a lot, but it didn't cure me, alas. My mind knows the situation, my heart still refuses to acknowledge :-(

Thanks again for the reactions.



JimMichener
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27 Dec 2013, 10:19 am

This is a link to an article that explains limerence in layman's terms:
http://bthaw.blogspot.nl/2011/08/guide- ... rence.html

This is a good forum for people who suffer from limerence, one article explains all the abbreviations:
http://tribes.tribe.net/limerence/

This story has become more about limerence now, than about AS.
I can deal with AS, I have it all my life and if there was a cure, I wouldn't take it.
But I really wish there was a cure for limerence. It's driving me crazy. From February to June, I saw B. only once, and I didn't talk to her. Five months of almost no contact didn't help my limerence.
Then I tried more contact, talked to her a bit. Did exercises with her. That definitely didn't help.
So now I haven't seen her for about 6 weeks and I decided that I never want to see her again. Still, I'm thinking about her all the time.
I have overcome limerence before, four times, so my mind tells me to be patient. Some day, it will be over. But my heart aches and I don't know if F. has any patience left…