I’m just going to preface this with a disclaimer: These views are my own and do not reflect the Autistic community as a whole. I am a singular person. I also want to make it very clear that I am not a professional and this post should not be viewed as professional advice.
I was 23. I had just moved from a small town back to the city where I was born. I was staying on a friends couch. I was bright eyed, super ambitious and ready to make a name for myself with my art. I’ve always been really active online and I took a chance one day and met someone. That changed the course of my life in a drastic and dramatic way.
Eight years. That was the amount of time I spent with this person. You grow a lot in that span of time. I thought I knew what I wanted. Clearly, that wasn’t the case. I had absolutely no idea.
One of the biggest mistakes I made was putting a label on a relationship with someone I had just met. We started dating from the moment we met. We were not even apart from each other. I didn’t even have a chance to get to know him.
Like the title suggests, i’m not an easy person to date. I also didn’t get my Autism diagnosis until a month before I turned 29. This is relevant because some of my behaviour throughout the relationship–where I was made to feel like I was difficult or acting out, ended up being directly attributed to things like meltdowns, shutdowns and sensory overload.
Patience is a true virtue. However, there’s a fine line between dating someone and feeling like you have to babysit them. I wouldn’t want to put someone through that again.
That’s not to say there were situations I was put in that didn’t make me feel uncomfortable and any relationship is a 2-way street.
There were instances where I was left feeling wholly uncomfortable and in massive amounts of distress. I had to deal with things like anti-semitism, being in a car with my partner and not being told where we were going or what we were doing, having my messages online sifted through, being made to feel like the things that were important to me were irrelevant, having my birthday ignored, having to owe money for things like rides from point a to point b, bargaining, having my cultural background ignored– I even overheard a conversation about how I didn’t want children, the list honestly goes on.
No one should have to be subjected to those kind of things. Listening to your partners wants, needs and desires is imperative. Again, this goes both ways.
I am the kind of person who needs structure. I need full disclosure. I need plans. I need to know what’s going on. I should never have to play a guessing game with someone who responds with ‘maybe’ or ‘I don’t know’. I’m not sure how I was able to play along for any length of time. Exhausting, emotionally draining and frustrating are only some of the key words used to describe it.
Not to mention exasperating. I’m truly learning about myself, WHO I AM and what my goals are.
Should I have to continue to defend myself for simply being? Should I have to put myself in situations that I made very clear I do not want to be in? No. Never. There’s no excuse for this.
This year has been incredible in terms of the things I accomplished and believe it or not, i’m proud.
I just want to continue on and keep going. I am prideful and I am strong.
P.S: A video WILL happen on this subject but I have lost my voice.