So, after a long (almost 3 years) period of self-enforced single life, I’m looking at dating again. To say that’s anxiety-inducing is a bit of an understatement. And, by “bit of an understatement”, I mean on the level of saying Custer had a bad day on the Little Bighorn. This shit is fucking with me. Hard. It’s a situation that has always made me angsty but I thought, with all this new goddamn knowledge I have about how my brain works, it would be easier. And, I was fucking wrong. Sexuality, gender, and neurodivergence make for a very potent cocktail and it’s a bitch, y’all.
I’m thinking I should start this off with a short history of my love life. Over the years, I’ve had multiple relationships, none lasting more than 11 years (I think. I fucking suck at math). In every one, I always felt like something was missing, that wasn’t quite right. I am also not good at the romance thing; so much of it just doesn’t make sense to me. But, since society (that bitch) has decreed that “romantic love” is the gold standard when it comes to relationships, I’ve always tried to fake it until I made it. And, it’s kind of worked. Like I said just a minute ago, I can’t seem to maintain a relationship for more than maybe 10-11 years. Sometimes I think the women in the short term ones were lucky. At least they didn’t invest a decade trying to love my broken ass.
Actual healthy relationships aside, I don’t have a long string of hookups in my past, either. It’s not for lack of trying because, again, that’s what society says I should do. Especially if I want to be a “manly man”. But I could never crack the code. I’m learning that may be a result of the way I’m wired. Before I can freaky, I need a connection with a potential partner, something which my fucked up communication skills make exponentially harder. All of which means my love life is pretty much feast or fucking famine, with frenzied bursts of attempts at dating followed by periods of self-enforced abstinence. Unfortunately, the abstinence doesn’t work for me like it did for George.
Why Am I Like This?
Okay, the short answer to that question is, I don’t fucking know. Well, I kind of know, but the picture isn’t exactly clear. Part of the deal with not being able to keep a relationship going is most likely due, at least in part, to the conflict between my autism’s need for stability and the way my ADHD is constantly craving “new”–as in new experiences, new people, new feelings. And, between my new understanding of both my neurodivergence and all the possibilities of sexuality and gender, I’m also realizing that I may not be the straight arrow I’ve always thought I was. Which makes me wonder: Is alternative sexuality is part of being neurodivergent or are neurodivergent people just more cognizant of their differences?
Maybe It’s Both?
So, after a quick consultation of the oracle (aka Google), I found an article that referenced a study from the National Institute of Mental Health which states that anywhere from 40% to 80% of autistic people are something other than straight. And, that kids with ADHD and/or ASD might experience gender differently. Why? Because our brains are wired differently. It makes sense. I mean, if you’re neurodivergent, that divergence probably won’t be relegated to just one area. To think it would is just fucking stupid. As for the idea that neurodivergent folks may be more aware of our differences, that’s a no-brainer. When the fact that you don’t operate like neurotypical folks is rubbed in your face every goddamned day, you can’t help but be aware of that shit.
So, What’s My Deal?
This is something I’m still working out. But, I’m starting to put some things together. I am probably aromantic, demisexual, straight, and cisgender. Keep in mind that, like most things involving human beings, this shit exists on a spectrum. Not that many people are totally gay or totally straight, no matter what the dudebro from the gym (you know, the one whose favorite phrase is “No homo”?) says. Like, me saying I’m aromantic doesn’t mean I don’t feel any romantic attraction. Or maybe I do. It’s hard to say because, from what I can see, the concept of “romantic attraction” appears fuzzy to the point of inco-fucking-herence. But, working with I can figure out, romance doesn’t mean all that much to me. At least, not until I get to know someone and there’s some kind of connection, some reason to give a shit about them. Is that “romance”? Fucked if I know. At this point, you should be able to see that this shit is complicated and not nearly as black and white as some would have you believe.
So, What Now?
Honestly, I have no fucking idea. I’m trying the online dating thing again (for like the 100th time) because it’s so much easier for me than going out and meeting people in real life. Just walking up to someone and starting a conversation so outside of my skill set, I can’t even comprehend it. I mean, who does that shit? And, how do they fucking do it? I’m just at a loss. While I work through the insanity known as “dating”, I’m doing my best to ignore Richard. If I start paying attention to that fucking asshole, I’ll never talk to anyone. That would probably put a bit of a damper on my chances of dating success. And, I’m in therapy. Also, again. Only this time, I have a much better picture of what I’m dealing with. Will any of this help? Who the fuck knows. But, if you want to come along for the ride, click the little red bell in the bottom right-hand corner of this page to get all the latest updates. Until the next time: