The Straight Male Aspie’s Survival Guide to Dating, Part Nine
What Not To Say
And here I find myself in the difficult position of trying to anticipate what’s going to happen in the autistic mind. I have Asperger’s, and sometimes I find the decisions you guys make incomprehensible.
I could say something along the lines of “Don’t say anything you reasonably think might offend her” or “Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want said to you”, and while that’s a good start, it’s not necessarily going to be enough.
Especially if you have poor boundaries. Especially if you’re hyposensitive. God, the number of ways you can screw yourself over, even before you start dating someone. Even non-autistics struggle with this. Honestly, it’s a miracle anyone on Earth manages to get laid.
Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to have a little quiz.
These are all things that Aspies I know have said to either someone they’re dating, or someone they’re attracted to. Tell me which among them were huge mistakes and shouldn’t have been said.
a) One of the first things I noticed about you was that your eyes were messed up, but I decided I didn’t care, because I think you’re beautiful.
b) You’re not at all my physical type, but I would consider dating you anyway.
c) I love you.*
*This happened at the end of the first date.
Okay, if you thought that all of these statements were mistakes, congratulations. You’re right. I’m going to advise you to trust your instincts and ask your Maintainers for advice when you’re confused. You’ll probably do all right, and make just as many mistakes as an average neurotypical person.
If you thought that any of these statements were acceptable, then I’m not sure what to tell you.
Just in general:
1. Don’t make any comments about a person’s appearance unless it’s totally complimentary.
2. Don’t say things that make it seem like you don’t care about your partner or her goals.
3. Don’t say things that make it seem like you don’t appreciate your partner.
If you don’t know whether you should say a particular something, ask one of your Maintainers. Have a discussion with your partner about things that she finds offensive. Make sure you understand what her values are, and what is important to her. All of this should be taken into account when you’re interacting with her. I know it’s complicated. I know it’s hard. Life is hard. It is also enjoyable, especially when you have found someone who cares about you.
I’ve never initiated a break-up, so I don’t know what I’m talking about here. I consulted Hannah extensively in order to write this. She has also never initiated a break-up, but she is a wizard who knows things.
First of all, there are two of you in the relationship, and so you have to dissolve it together. You can’t just break up with someone. Figure out what problems you’re having, and figure out why you’re unhappy. Write it down if necessary. It’s a bad idea to inititate this conversation with the express purpose of breaking up. Just tell her how you feel. Maybe she’s been experiencing problems, too. Maybe the two of you are experiencing the same problems. Have a conversation. Have more than one conversation, if necessary. Maybe your problems can be addressed, and the situation can be salvaged. Maybe not. But you need to talk about it together.
Unless, of course, your relationship is toxic or abusive. How do you know if this is the case? As with all things in life, there is a Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dating_abuse
If you’re noticing warning signs in your relationship, you need to talk to your Maintainers. But do keep in mind that if you have a history of rejection or failed relationships, you may be unconsciously looking for a way out of your relationship as a means of self-sabotage. I’m not saying this to discredit your experiences, but it’s a possibility you should consider.
So what if you’re the one who’s been broken up with? Well, that depends on how much of a dick your ex was. If she did things properly- if she followed the above guidelines- then there shouldn’t be a problem. I mean, yeah, you’re going to feel like crap, but you’ll have emotional closure and after a bad week or two you can move on with your life.
But say that your ex-girlfriend was a douchebag. Say, for instance, that she broke up with you via text. I know someone who did this. Some people are awful. Some people do awful things to people they allegedly care about.
But you can’t control other people’s behaviour. That’s the sad truth. Sometimes somebody’s going to kneecap you- even someone you love- and there’s nothing you can do about it except wake up the next morning. And then you have to wake up the day after that, and keep waking up, and keep going about your life and hanging out with people who know a dick move when they see one.
And maybe at some point you and one of those people will develop feelings for each other, and you’ll have a relationship that works.