Asperger's has put a slant on my relationships that aren't always apparent upfront.
While I could probably compose volumes based on the fortune of having made a treasure trove of mistakes and hopefully learned from them, I can only touch the proverbial, "Tip of the Iceberg" here.
So many of us struggle, and like anyone, many of us want relationships. Getting in them has never been a problem for me. Women usually do something crafty like not running, and someone finds you. It's terribly uncomplicated. I toss in a little mixing it up by flatly denying several, before deciding on one. Other times, I set about hunting rather than waiting to be netted. Whatever works, and one time one way has been best. Another time another has, so the concept of "When you're not looking," can be good or bad depending on if you want a relationship or if you're looking for some time alone. As for partners, I do have some qualifications, but that's not the point here. I want to stay general with this. The best I know to do is tell you some of my mistakes in hopes that they might be useful in avoiding some for yourself and your significant other. At least if you go through them, you might know you're not alone.
I, probably like many females with Asperger's, can at first appear to be someone's dream or an answer to a prayer. Nt males write songs about wanting "Honesty" (Billy Joel), and I can't remember one that didn't crush on a bratty at times people-pleaser (I dream of Jeannie). They also say they want a woman to take the lead sometimes (Margaret Thatcher?) and a strong one that can be independent, and a woman who will say exactly what she wants...Sound like you? Me too. All of those things describe me, but I am no "Jackpot." Every last one of these benign attributes taken to extreme (Is there another way?) can wear him out.....and leave us empty and resentful.
Honesty for me has also meant a lack of flirting that they loved, needed, and I didn't know. Further, if discussed I'd say it was indirect (dishonest) and silly, in effect calling them, "Silly." Not a turn on, Ladies.
Nearly always taking the lead made me the pursuer, and they never had to/got to try. (I was crossing sexual borders..becoming more masculine, and it left him emotionally impotent and hurt, and I didn't know.)
People pleasing has at times meant self-sacrificing to the point of being untrue to myself/not taking care of myself. Read: I hurt me, and there is no more effective way to hurt a man than to hurt the woman he loves.
Being perpetually independent has at times been read as, "I don't need you." I can't think of a more hurtful message to send to a person, and though I didn't know, I sure did it.
I also tried to, "fix" them. I'm good at putting things together, but the "helping him or fixing his problem" I was trying to do out of love was received as, "You are not enough." No one ever wants to hear that. Who does not want to be loved and accepted exactly as they are?
I was, without intent or knowing, heartbreakingly emasculating to the person I loved and wanted.
At the end, it did surface that he had a few large problems, but he's not here to discuss them. I can only speak of me. He did say, "I have been an excellent provider, but I wasn't much of a husband." That's true in some ways, but I was short on what makes a good wife too.
It wasn't until the final years that I learned that being a "Provider" and being at work was the only place I'd left for him to feel like a man, beside me or at times even above a bit. Why not? I did. At home I took care of everything. I did the repairs or arranged them, I fixed anything that I thought was broken. I "ran the show." I even helped him create presentations, and talked to his family and sometimes a friend on his behalf when he asked and when he didn't. (Ouch! I stepped on my own toes.)
Honest to the enth degree, yet show me the script, and I could bring down the curtain. I could reverse it all on a dime and pull off a submissive act that Shakespear would have cried trying to write. In every possible way I knew, several that a few girlfriends knew, any that the Kama Sutra had to offer, and a barrage of things Kinsey knew, I was actively, even when passively, pursuing the man.
In retrospect, I probably scared him to death at least for his wife's sanity. What I thought was loving and caring was stepping more and more into control, and I had not a clue. To my credit, I did tell him it would never be boring. I did hold up to that. Shaking my head, moving on...
Staying at work was the only way I'd left him to keep his dignity.
Talking Sexy: new beginnings
Like most of us, I knew what to say, and had gotten past any idea that he should know what to do and where sexually, but I had no idea that for him, sex started with how I treated him all day long just like it does with women.
In the last few years, me then in my early forties, I learned to say some of the sexiest things a man can hear:
"I'm so proud of you,"
"I like the way you...,"
"That was a great idea you had!"
and every once in a while, "How did I get so lucky?"
What was so amazing was the more I complimented, the more I noticed, and the more I took time to see how hard he was trying, the more I saw him as a capable, strong, attractive and amazing human being. That's not all. The more I did these things, the more I liked me.
..Again, he had his own problems, and me working on mine didn't fix them, but it helped me to stop harming him, gave him a little dignity back, and made me a more whole, more loving person, and it made me someone with more compassion, because I was able to tell him I needed to to hear those things too, so I understood, I just thought he should know I was proud of him, that his accomplishments were obvious...just like sometimes men say women should know they are loved when he's gone all day. No on both accounts.
I, who had no social qualms about saying anything and rarely got embarrassed, did not know that he needed to hear,
"You are my hero."
So many are saying, "If you want a Queen, treat her like one." It goes both ways, and I'm not talking about sandwiches or sexual acrobatics. I'm talking about the really hard stuff: Unconditional Love and Acceptance. If you want it, the best most effective way to start is to give it. (That goes both ways to, but the good news is, it doesn't matter who starts it, as long as someone does.)
I had to let some things go undone, let him do more and more for me, and even (gasp!) let him do it his way even if it seemed "wrong" to me. Sometimes they come up with better ideas too. It's o.k. if things aren't "perfect," and it's o.k. to not always have it all sorted or have any answers. It's o.k. to even see him screw up everything and forgive, because it's even easier to forgive myself when I do it too.
Relationships won't all work, but I think they're worth it, and in the moment, maybe we can not only give, but grow enough to be humble enough to learn to receive too.
I'm there too, and I'll make more mistakes. I'm sure of it, maybe they'll be even better ones. smiles. For now, I'm resting, reflecting, and taking a little time to grow, staying strong, but being perhaps a little more vulnerable, and letting someone else have the spotlight now and then. I'm only 47 though, so I'm still new at this. smiles.
Never stop dreaming.
P.S. If you have a little time, do check out my Youtube Channel: HERE