I wish I knew I was an Aspie a year ago. I wish I knew my ex-partner was an Aspie a year ago. If I don’t blog about this it’s going to pull my mood downwards so I’m getting it out of my head.
Let’s call him A. We met on an online dating site. We exchanged a few messages, and then exchanged phone numbers. There was something about him. He was funny, and genuinely nice and caring, he was not sleazy at all, we talked for hours on the phone (I know, right?), it was just “right”. And then we met, and it was even more “right”. And we were together from then on.
When we were together time seemed to go quickly, when we were apart it seemed to drag on. We both have kids, myself one, him two – all boys.
I researched my heart out about “blending families”, it was a situation neither of us had been in before. I wanted the perfect love that A and I shared to be enough to pull through any situation, to be shared amongst our kids. When one of the boys acted out, or they fought with each other, I took it to heart – I’d read so much, I’d considered so many angles and I felt on edge a lot of the time. Kids are unpredictable. I’d forget that I was an adult in an adult relationship, and whilst the kids’ needs/wants were important – “we” were the adults who needed to make the decisions in the best interests of all of us. I was so worried about upsetting the kids, and trying to be a “pleaser” and be liked I internalised it all and didn’t know how to release it. Numerous times I wanted to run away from the stress – but realistically it was stress I put myself under wanting everything to run smoothly and perfectly. A couple of times I did walk out to return home to the safety of my bed, with my doona over my head and let the tears flow.
Unfortunately I’m a “fix everyone else’s problems sort my own out myself” type person. I didn’t know how to let someone be a part of that. I didn’t know how to verbalise the awkward feelings, the internally physical ones that make you feel like you need to escape NOW. I am extra sensitive to criticism; real or perceived. I am affected by a change in mood. I notice everything, and take it personally – especially anything negative. I am a chronic over-thinker. I developed migraines due to stress, but still my brain continued to over load itself.
I became critical of A and bitter. I realise now I accused him of things I could also see in myself. We are mirrors of each other. Couldn’t A see the toll this was taking on me? Why was I putting in all the effort? Why didn’t he hug me when I cried, and just left me alone? Why was my perspective always wrong and his right? Why didn’t my feelings matter just because that’s not how he meant to make me feel? Why was working on his cars more important than me? Where was the loving and attentive man I first met?
Well, my dear reader, you’re probably shaking your head by now wondering how neither of us knew about our Aspieness. But we didn’t. And it got to the point I’d had enough, I left and burnt the bridge behind me. I was absolutely burnt out. It wasn’t a ‘want to’ thing by that stage it was a “need”.
For the life of me I couldn’t understand how I’d gotten it all so wrong. This man, this perfect man for me, had broken me to pieces. I’d picked another one who swept me off my feet and dumped me on my head. After a few nasty exchanges via text, I cut contact with A. I had to. I hid everything that reminded me of him, I stopped listening to music, I retreated in to myself so my heart could start to mend. Thankfully I had the support of my parents to help keep my son occupied.
I went to the doctors, got a script for anti-anxiety medication and started seeing a psychologist. I’d been down the break-up path before and knew I needed to be proactive about my mental health as a mother, instead of destructive as I was before motherhood. I explained what had happened to my psychologist, the words “emotionally manipulative” and “conman” coming from her were the validation I needed to hear, I wasn’t an idiot! I just fell for a great actor! Phew! (Obviously now I know he’s none of these things).
Fast forward a month and a half and I needed to get some property of mine back from him. Texting him had my anxiety sky high, I felt sick, but the reply was positive and calm. We started talking again. I was very guarded at first, I didn’t want him to know how he had affected me, I didn’t want him to have that power or satisfaction. But love doesn’t just disappear, and the more we talked..
I’ll skip ahead, I started reading some articles about Aspergers/Autism and “saw” him in them. He could see it too. He went to the doctors, got a referral and got diagnosed by a psychiatrist. I, out of curiosity, looked at the female aspect of Aspergers – and there I was. I’ve put myself and him through hell the past month or so, my emotions were erratic, I’d be crying in bed one day abusing him via text and the next I wanted to fix everything. I was a confused mess that couldn’t get out of her head. Now I know I was “thought looping”. I stirred fights, mostly not on purpose but I could label anger, and knew that feeling was “real”. My answer in the form of my diagnosis has made me feel peaceful in myself but I’ve done irreparable damage.
If I knew a year ago what I knew now, we may not have met, so I will never regret that. But if I knew then what I know now and we did meet I do whole heartedly believe we’d still be together and that’s a little hard to be “ok” with at times even though I know I have to be “ok” with it. I broke up with him due to his Aspie traits BECAUSE of my Aspie traits. The man who I felt so connected to on every level, the first and only person I’ve ever felt pure comfort with being in their company for any length of time even in my own home, the man who was so open and honest with me at the beginning like I asked for and then I didn’t know how to handle the information, the man who is the only person who knows everything about me, the first man who has ever made me feel “safe” … I walked out on. I could not understand! I’d read all about relationships! How were we so connected but so disconnected? But I see now – our relationship couldn’t have abided by neurotypical “rules” because there was no “neurotypical” person in our relationship. Our communication was awful which compounded matters.
In saying all this, please don’t get me wrong, the good times the two of us had, and the five of us had, outweighed the bad. When it was good it was blissful! And I miss those times.
My hope is that someone will read this and not make the same mistakes I did.
This is not a pity party by any means, I just wish … I knew.
This blog is brought to you after reading the following article … Wishing I had read this a year ago too!