Well, it’s that time of year for Spectrumites, one where some feel indifferent, while others feel as if they’re being singled out moreso than any time of the year. It’s February and that means that the hearts, the chocolates and the signs of Valentine’s Day come out in full force.
Let’s face facts, love and relationships are so tough, so much so that they seem impossible for all people, let alone us Spectrumites, who seem to fail when it comes to relationships, it can be anything: social cues, societal pressures, pushing boundaries to extremes just to name a few. I’ve heard my share of stories where this turned out to be the case, and in one case, it turned tragic, with the person ending his own life.
Such is the case when understanding, compassion and communication isn’t offered to people who need them, just a shoulder to cry on, to seek advice, maybe even therapy to help, anything that they need to help them get through any crises or complications they may have when it comes to relationships, myself included, as mentioned in the fellow WordPress.com blogger: Seeing Double, Understanding Autism(https://seeingdoubleautismawareness.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/ten-things-i-wish-everyone-knew-about-autism-and-romantic-relationships/) which sums it up all nicely:
10) We can’t always guess how you’re feeling.
This can be a real problem with both friendships and romantic relationships. I vividly remember one occasion when I had said something to upset a friend, and he didn’t tell me. For several months he just carried on as normal, expecting me to realise I had upset him through subtle indications in his body language and vocal tone. Of course, I had no idea what was going on. Autistic people just don’t have the skills necessary to interpret how you’re feeling. To us, none verbal communication is like a foreign language of which we only know a few words. At times, you will have to be very explicit when explaining how you’re feeling to an autistic person. That doesn’t mean we don’t care. We’re just bad at interpreting none verbal communication.
But also remember that we all make strides in our own time, despite what society says, what with instant gratification being the norm, as the article highlights:
1) Autistic people are often late bloomers when it comes to relationships.
Nick Dubin (author of Asperger’s and Anxiety and other self-help books) did not start dating until he was twenty five. In Asperger’s and Anxiety Dubin mentions another autistic man who didn’t date until his forties. That man is now married with two children. It can take autistic people a long time to develop the confidence and social skills we need to maintain meaningful relationships. But that does not mean meaningful relationships are impossible. Furthermore, entering the game late isn’t necessarily a disadvantage, as the above example should indicate.
Let me stress that autism and love is hard, but as a friend and his girlfriend has taught me by his example, that it’s not impossible..we just need time and communication to make it work, and in that vein, I offer my poem “Heart” as my gift to you all…
By Brian Liston
Until next time, be warm, be compassionate and help others….