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Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 7 Apr 2024
Gender: Female
Posts: 2

07 Apr 2024, 5:47 am

Sorry, I wasn't sure whether to put this in "Love and Dating" or "Social Skills & Making Friends" so I've parked it here instead.

Hello people! This is my first post, I'm feeling a bit lost and didn't know where else to go. I'm a 35F and have been with my wife for 15 years. We have a very good relationship in some areas - we have a strong bond, lots of love/respect and open communication. We also share the same values and morals and genuinely want what's best for each other. The main area we clash is she's social, I am the total opposite. She most likely has ADHD and I have autism and severe social anxiety which has really limited our lives. I've tried in the past to be more social but I get so worked up and stressed about it that it doesn't feel worth it. We have friends but (apart from 1) they are always more her friends as she talks and I'm awkward and no matter how hard I try, I always feel inferior and like I'm the consolation prize if left alone with someone which makes me even more nervous/awkward. None of this is her fault and she's tried so hard to make me comfortable in social situations. A couple of years ago, as we were learning more about autism and ADHD, she said that she would stop trying to get me to do things and that I should just do what makes me happy. So I stopped trying and retreated back into my shell, where the numbness crept in. I have been less stressed but not happy.

Things have been difficult for various reasons over the past couple of years and I know that she wants more from life. She has made her world smaller to accommodate me which I absolutely hate - she feels like she can't have friends over, as our home is my safe space and she generally wants a partner to share her life with, not just one to come home to who isn't doing anything with their life. Again, completely understandable. We are definitely co-dependant and she feels like she is the parental figure in our relationship, especially as even basic tasks like phone calls and answering the door are left to her.

I don't have any friends of my own and I want to change. I know I will never be the life of the party, I know I will always be introverted but I want more from life, not just for my wife's sake but also mine. She said I need to make friends and talk to people who aren't her. I agree, I'm just at a a loss on how to do this.

I am bad in groups, whereas I am much better one on one. When I was younger, before I met my wife, I used to meet people on queer websites - things were different back then (we're talking the early 2000's) and there were various sites where queer people could make connections just as friends. I could chat to people online first and then meet in person, already feeling like I knew them so there was less 'small talk' and this formula worked for me. These sites don't exist anymore, I can only find dating apps or ones geared towards young people. To add another layer of difficulty - we moved to a foreign country and I don't speak the language. Any events with English speaking people are group events and the thought of going alone terrifies me. The only other thing I can think to do is look for volunteering opportunities where I can get on with things/activities rather that have to talk but again, this is difficult with the language barrier. All the English speaking opportunities seem very social like workaway type things with lots of people.

The general advice I find is 'look for people who share the same hobbies and interests'.... I like to be in nature but all I can find are outdoor hiking events, in groups... I like to play video games but only occasionally, not to the extent that I'd enjoy talking about them... I like to read but that is a solo activity and again any events book-related aren't in English here and/or would be a group event. My autism manifests in terms of things like social interactions and analytical thinking, not in extreme hobbies.

My wife said that even having online gaming friends would be better than nothing. Again, I wouldn't know where to start. I have a Nintendo Switch and play mainly Zelda (solo). I have an oculus (VR) but I play beat saber (solo) and wouldn't know how to even 'get social' on there. I played world of warcraft years and years ago but I never met anyone on there and the thought of speaking with a 12 year old or other random person just feels weird.

So I guess my question is... does anyone have any advice they could offer on any of this? I basically need to come out of my shell in any way possible without terrifying me so much that I just go back in and never want to try again. Any tips on how I could do that online or in person would be greatly appreciated. Could there for example be things that don't require much language that would at least get me out of the house and around other humans?

I feel like I've been sleeping for 15 years and know even less how to navigate the world now :?

Double Retired

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Joined: 31 Jul 2020
Age: 69
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,579
Location: U.S.A.         (Mid-Atlantic)

07 Apr 2024, 2:40 pm

I am an Aspie who is very clearly introverted. My bride is clearly ADHD and borderline introverted/extroverted.

She is involved in lots of organized group activities outside the home. I spend lots of time home alone.

If we meet friends I prefer it to be a very small "group", us plus one or two other couples that I know (preferably one). I'm most comfortable if we can meet them at a restaurant and dine together.

I can do an occasional group event but I prefer something where I needn't interact much with others...or even know them. (Like maybe a convention kind of thing.)

If you are eligible for Mensa then I'd recommend it.

When diagnosed I bought champagne!
I finally knew why people were strange.