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Struggle7
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19 Nov 2022, 12:48 pm

Hi, new here, need to vent.

I am mad at my therapist. We were talking about my inability to have romantic relationships. (I'm 55 years old and have only had one boyfriend.) The therapist I have said I was self-sabotaging. Here's the problem: Men generally aren't interested in me, and I mistakenly think if they flirt with me, they are interested.

The only guy who really flirted with me in recent years was seven years ago. At least, I thought he was flirting. He was asking me if I wanted to be in a relationship, and what my ideal man would be. Throughout the dinner, he was asking me question after question after question. He has my blog on an RSS feed so he never misses a post. He remembers stuff I've written about that I've forgotten. We don't text much, but he still seems like he is interested in my personal life.

Every single time we get together in person which is maybe once a year (until like three years ago when I moved) he asks me if I am seeing anyone.

When I finally confronted him about it, he said he's not interested in me, and doesn't want anything from me. He said he just wants to see me happy with a guy.

What I got upset about is that my therapist said I am "self-sabotaging" by "not putting myself out there." I moved to a foreign country three and a half years ago. I'm not exactly in a desirable dating demographic (middle-aged, overweight woman). I told my therapist I'd smiled at men at work, and nothing happened. She said flirting at work isn't a good idea. So I said what do I do if a guy flirts with me? What does it mean? She said it means he likes me. So if that's true, why did the guy who flirted with me seven years ago say he wasn't interested?

I miss men's signals. If they flirt with me, I'm going to think they're interested. But this guy said he wasn't. And he's pretty much been the only guy who has flirted with mein the last several years. So how do I know if a man is interested with me? My therapist said he would flirt with me. But when I told her about this guy, she told me to tell him to f**k off (because he's married).

What adds to the problem is that I've been hurt by men in the past (bullied, molested) so it's not like I trust men a lot, and even into adulthood, I've had men use me sexually when they weren't interested in me, and it didn't dawn on me until much later.

So how do I know if a guy likes me or not? I honestly don't know, because I guess if a guy flirts with me, I just assume he likes me, until it becomes apparent he doesn't. But my therapist wasn't giving me an answer that made sense. I said, "how do I know a guy is interested in me?" And she said, "when he flirts with you." I genuinely don't know what to do or how to act around men. I don't consider myself attractive at all, so when a guy acts interested in me, I'm baffled. And we all know people who like to flirt and it doesn't mean anything to them.

My therapist is also doubtful that I'm autistic.But after reading articles about adults diagnosed late in life, I'm pretty sure that I am.

And the self-sabotaging thing sort of irritates me too. I find myself attracted to men who happen to look a certain way. I rarely find men that I think are attractive (and NO, I am NOT a LESBIAN.) I've had waaaay too many crushes on men. But it seems that on the rare occasions that men seem interested in me, I don't find them attractive. But I end up having crushes on men I can't have.

And I REFUSE to date a man I am not attracted to. I've tried that, and it just doesn't work.

So I hung up on my therapist. This isn't my first time working with a therapist. The last one I had, I saw her for eight years, and on a few occasions, I brought up the fact that I thought I was autistic. She never followed through with that. And my current therapist isn't following up on it either.

After literally decades of crappy jobs, I finally have a position that I'm happy with. I think I'm done with men. I've never gotten the help I need (partially because I never knew what the hell was wrong with me, except a couple of years ago when I did research on autistic kids, because I had a couple students on the spectrum and the school wasn't doing anything) and for a long time, I've tried to "act" normal, be polite, ask other people questions, but I always get the vibe they just don't want to be around me. It hurts, but maybe it's okay. Not having a lot of people in your life means less drama.

As I said, I have my dream job now. I think I want to concentrate on that, because I never thought I'd have a good position this late in my life. I think I just want to let the whole relationship thing go, and focus on doing well at my job.

I don't know what to do about my therapist. I feel like she doesn't get me or understand. I've only seen her for barely a year, but I saw the last one for eight years and felt like I didn't make much progress.

If you've read this far, thanks so much.



klanka
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19 Nov 2022, 4:38 pm

It did seem like he was interested, he was asking if you were seeing anyone and had a huge interest in your blog.
Strange that he would say no at the last minute like that. is he the married one?

I would say if a man looks at you a lot and talks to you a lot he is interested, but then its difficult to know if he wants a relationship or just sex.

I have noticed some people just flirt for fun which makes it really confusing



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19 Nov 2022, 8:22 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet!


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autisticelders
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20 Nov 2022, 4:51 pm

welcome, I think struggles with communication are one of the things we have to have in order to get diagnosis as autistic. I hope you find some insights and good info, support and suggestions here. There are plenty of us who will relate!


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jimmy m
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21 Nov 2022, 9:14 am

Welcome to the site. You are asking a lot of hard questions.

First off, find out if you have Asperger's Syndrome. There are many test available that are FREE. They are not official but they are fairly good and will at least provide you a quick assessment.

Second. Humans are a very complex creature. Instead of one primary brain, several exists within each of us. Some are stored in the left side of the brain and are dominant during the daytime. Others are stored in the right side of the skull and are our nighttime brains. The left side is dominant and knows words. Our right side is a support brain and knows music. In my case, due to a brain injury around age 3 my left side died and my right side took control. Years later when my left side came back on line, it switched places and became my nighttime brain. That is why I am different.
If you look deeply inside me you will still see the brain of a child even though I am 74 years old. But I am a very, very, very smart child.

Third. It is very hard to pass on love relationships knowledge. I am probably not an expert. Like most Aspies, the idea of dating and marriage did not come to mind until I was around 25. Dating did not work for me. So I tried a different method. I corresponded with someone on the other side of the world. We did not speak the same language. We had interpreters on each side. After a year, I went and met her in person. I proposed to her after 5 weeks. I managed to bring her back to the States and then I married her. We had two daughters and now 5 grandchildren. And I feel it was a success. Even though I did not know I was an Aspie at the time, or how to succeed at getting a wife. I am pleased with the result.

Now in your individual case. You are 55 years old. You are perhaps beyond the range of producing a child or you soon will be. And that is the main purpose of marriage. But there is another reason. That is to have someone you can rely on, a best friend, a soulmate. What advice can I offer. First of all there are many different people in this world. Some are Aspies and some are NTs. Some men will have been married and either because they were divorced or their partner died, they are alone. Some of these men will be a good match and others a bad match. But they are out there. But where do you meet them?. Not easy to say but probably, you will need to search different areas then where you are currently looking.


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Struggle7
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22 Nov 2022, 11:16 am

klanka wrote:
It did seem like he was interested, he was asking if you were seeing anyone and had a huge interest in your blog.
Strange that he would say no at the last minute like that. is he the married one?

I would say if a man looks at you a lot and talks to you a lot he is interested, but then its difficult to know if he wants a relationship or just sex.

I have noticed some people just flirt for fun which makes it really confusing

Thanks for getting it! I left out a LOT of the details, but I'll mention some other stuff too.

We have known each other since kindergarten. He came up to me at our high school class reunion, where we hadn't talked to each other since maybe fourth grade or so. I had health problems, and was homeschooled for last half of fourth, and all of fifth grade. His parents got divorced. He moved, and his mom remarried. I didn't know him in high school because his stepfather adopted him. He also looked a lot different. And I was an outcast in high school. He never approached me in high school. But at the reunion, he came over and literally got down on one knee and asked me if I'd remembered the email he sent several years before. I said I did, and that's when he said he had my blog on an RSS feed--he never missed a post in probably 10 years of me posting on my blog.

So, with a somewhat ulterior motive, I went to a writer's conference where he lived November of 2015. He asked me out to dinner and he chose a restaurant where we could watch the sunset. At that dinner, even though he read my blog religiously, he asked question after question. We'd been emailing that summer, so I know he was married. But I was confused at how touchy-feely he was and asking me if I waned to be in a relationship and what my ideal man would be like. He seemed very happy to be with me.

Since then, I've attended more conferences out near where he lives. We usually see each other in person once a year. And he ALWAYS asks me if I'm seeing someone. One year, I got fed up with this, and asked him via text why he always asks me if I'm seeing anyone. He kinda got snippy with me. He said, "call me crazy but I just want to see you happy with a guy." He followed that up with, "I don't want anything from you, I don't want to sleep with you, etc." So, okay.

But I moved to China three and a half years ago, and I stopped in the state where he lives on my way over to see him and some other friends. Again, he asked me if I was seeing anyone, and I thought that was a dumb question, because he asked the same question six months prior when he came back to our hometown to visit his parents. He knew that August I was going to move early in 2019. So I'm about ready to leave for China and he asked me if I was dating anyone. The question irritated me, but I said no. Then, about an hour later, he asked me if I was into Chinese guys. I said no.

The problem is, I'm in love (or thought I was) with this guy. I get along with him, and I feel by him reading my blog all these years, he understands why I'm so angry. That's the main attraction. But I also feel like we connect spiritually, emotionally, physically and intellectually.

I know he's not happily married. His wife is anorexic, and I think that causes him a great deal of stress. The last time I saw him, we were on our way to get ice cream and he burst out with, "she's f****d up! She's f****d up!) Meaning his wife. For him to say it the way he did, it must really upset him, because he's a pretty private person. He doesn't strike me as the kind of guy to confess something like that.

I went on dating sites to try and forget him, but I could never find anyone that I really wanted to get to know better. I tend to be obsessive (an autistic trait) and kept comparing everyone on the dating site with him.

I really hate it when people flirt and they don't mean it. This flirting he did wasn't sleazy sexual flirting. It was just right. If you get my drift. But I've never been flirted with like this before, and it hit me like I'd drunk six bottles of beer. I literally DID feel drunk after dinner even though we didn't have any alcohol.

So I don't know what to do. Part of me thinks if he and I are meant to be together, it will happen. Part of me thinks there's no way. I think he's sucessful and brilliant and gorgeous, and I'm not. He could get way better than me. But I don't understand this intense interest in my life. When I don't post a lot on my blog, he sometimes sends me a message asking me how things are going. Why would a man be so interested in my personal life, but say he's not interested?

Anyway, thanks for your response. I feel like you actually understand how confused I am. And that helps so much.



CockneyRebel
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26 Nov 2022, 5:53 pm

Willkommen :mrgreen:


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kraftiekortie
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03 Dec 2022, 5:43 pm

You must be very accomplished in an academic-intellectual sense if you go to “conferences.” I have trouble sitting down in them, and talking in a substantive sense.

I bet you would be an excellent woman to get to know.



Struggle7
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07 Dec 2022, 11:53 am

@kraftiekortie: These conferences were the San Francisco Writer's Conference. The first conference I attended out in Cali was by Algonkian, or at least that's how I think you spell it.

The conferences were aimed toward fiction writers. In my grad program at school, I was an outkast because I wrote fiction. My grad thesis was a partial novel I wrote that was erotic in nature.

As for academic stuff, the best paper I wrote in grad school was about Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo. I was allowed to get creative with it, so I wrote it as a series of letters. I'd "write" to Karla as myself, then I would "write" back to myself as Karla. Basically tried to get into her head.

A couple years later, that paper won me a $1000 award. I was only allowed to keep $10 of it, because I was getting student aid in the form of student loans.

The best moments of grad school were when I wasn't in class.

As for me being an interesting/excellent woman to know... maybe. I've had some wild things happen in my life.

Thanks for the shout-out!



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07 Dec 2022, 2:37 pm

Struggle7, If you are eligible for membership then I suggest you consider joining Mensa. It is primarily a social group...favorite activities are eating and talking.


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Struggle7
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09 Dec 2022, 11:22 am

Don't think I'm Mensa smart ...



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09 Dec 2022, 12:31 pm

Struggle7 wrote:
Don't think I'm Mensa smart ...
I wouldn't know. But you said you went to grad school so that is a good sign.

And remember that the criteria for entering Mensa is having evidence that at least once in your life you scored as being in the top 2% of the general population regarding IQ. "at least once in your life"...you don't have to have tested well multiple times and you don't have to be able to repeat the performance. "regarding IQ"...which, in real life, has remarkably little usefulness.

My understanding is that admission suitability is determined by the National Mensa organizations so the rules vary a little from country to country. In the U.S. most folk join using prior evidence

An anecdote I've heard: When the founders of Mensa were first forming it in England their intent was for admission criteria to be the top 1%. But when they did the math to figure out what IQ that was they did the math wrong...so now the criteria is the top 2%.


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Struggle7
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14 Dec 2022, 9:03 am

I may do that. Sometimes I think I'm smart, but not Mensa smart.