Here’s a list I’ve compiled of things that I’ve learned while dating My Aspie. Dale forever surprises me with the things he does. Sometimes it’s things that I didn’t think he could cope with; things he wouldn’t consider and sometimes it’s just the sheer spontaneity of the gesture (a known characteristic of Asperger’s is the dislike of sudden change of routine or of their ‘normal’).
1) Certainly, under no circumstances, under-estimate them…
You can’t put them in a box and tell them they have to follow a certain set of rules that characterises them as an Aspie. If I take you guys back to my first blog article, I compared Asperger’s to a Sheldon/Spock kind of character. Can I take that back? Because even then, I was putting Dale into a box.
Dale, when given the chance, can be incredibly emotional and compassionate. Yes, sometimes he may come across blunt, spockish or even rude (which is why he’ll ask me to veto his messages when unsure if he’s coming across correctly). There have been times when he’s said something to me, thought he said it wrong and upset me and would hence worry about it. Me knowing him quite well and knowing he hasn’t got a bad bone in his funny body generally doesn’t assume anything out of sorts with his messages unless I know for definite he’s not okay.
When I worry about him most of the time its worrying about him worrying. When Dale worries, it’s not a ‘Deal With It’ situation. It’s working it our strategically and showing him that it’s gonna work out. For example, when I first started seeing Dale, he would check his oven and stove, even if he hadn’t used it in one or two days which was normal for him, every time before he went to bed. I would catch him staring out his oven, checking, double checking, triple checking maybe even quadruple checking that the oven was off. Even then, if he still wasn’t sure he would double check the knobs and check they were set to ‘Off’. He’s now at the stage of just a thirty-second glance at the oven if he’s used it that day to make sure it’s off.
We eventually got him to the state of mind of logically thinking that if he hadn’t used it since the last time he checked it was off, he won’t check it.
But, he’ll surprise me when he doesn’t worry about an issue that I was so sure that he’d worry about. Often he’ll make a point that he’s “come a long way since a year ago” and I have to admit that he’s definitely a stronger man emotionally. He’ll say it’s because of me but I think he would have gotten here with or without me.
2) Romance isn’t out of the question…
We’ve just had Valentines Day, and Dale surprised me with an incredibly romantic day (due to work, we had to have our Valentines day on the 15th instead). He took me to see Deadpool (I don’t care what anybody says, it totally was a Valentines Day Date film) and then in the evening he took me to a restaurant.
Not just any old restaurant, but the one where we had our first ‘official’ date nearly 1 year ago. He had planned for us to recreate our first date with new memories. He even sat us on the exact table where we ate. I couldn’t have asked for anything more than what he gave me. Of course it wasn’t exactly like our first date, because there wasn’t that ‘first date’ awkwardness. We already knew each other and we just talked normal things. There wasn’t ‘awkward silences’. There were pauses for the admiration of the man that sat in front of me.
He also bought me flowers (beautiful, lush pink roses) and even a DC Comics© ‘Harley Quinn’ figure, (which by the way, is thee best villain-sidekick in all comic book history). He bought me a card which was a funny topic of conversation because he bought me one with a ‘motherboard/logicboard’ design on (some technical weirdy stuff) which is so him, and I bought him a Panda card, which is so me.
Don’t assume that Asperger’s means NO Romance! You’ll be proven wrong!
3) They aren’t stone…
A common characteristic of Asperger’s is a stubborn-like personality. Some, even with Dale, once they have a routine set in their head, it’s very hard to shift or alter, even if you’re trying to alter it for the better of them. And while yes, Dale doesn’t like sudden and dramatic change (he doesn’t break down but he’ll just withdraw a few moments to recalculate the situation), he accepts it.
Now, Dale does (self admittedly) cope with his Asperger’s quite well and, we both think, better than some people that we know with either diagnosed Asperger’s or suspected Asperger’s, so don’t assume that ‘because Dale can do it, all Aspie’s can’. Even with Dale, we have to take a minute to either reassess together or me just give him his space to reassess himself. When the change is too sudden or he wasn’t expecting a result because of a miscalculation, it can spiral him into an Anxiety Attack. This did happen today, and he’s quite exhausted because of it.
If you’re going to change the routine, make sure you give time for recalculations.
4) Normal and Mundane just isn’t Aspie…
Haha, this one is a fantastic one. Dating Dale can sometimes be like dating five different people all in one body, and I have to say, it’s pretty exciting. Dale is a child at heart. We joke that he’s 29 going on 4 because some of his hobbies and personality traits are so varied. He can be that cheeky little boy sticking his fingers into the Nutella jar, painting his face and probably the walls with chocolate spread, and then he can be that caring, responsible 29 year old cleaning up after the cheeky little boy with Dettol and a cloth.
We made a Bucket List today of all the things that we want to do in our lifetime. One of Dale’s was to drive a Steam Train. When writing that particular one, he very happily told me that that would be the one time he would not mind getting dirty and not wanting to have a shower immediately after. That there, is my fun cheeky boy. And then right at the top of his Bucket List was his wish to study a PhD. He said that if I began earning enough to support us (and maybe a family), he would love to do that. There is my caring, responsible boyfriend in tow.
5) Unpredictable Predictability…
As much as I would love to say I can predict Dale’s every breath, I’d probably be lying. Most of the time I can predict him.We entertain ourselves quite a bit with sticking our tongues out at each other… at the same time. In that sense I can predict him. I pretty much know what he’s thinking most of the time. I know when he’s overthinking things, I know when he’s worrying, I know when he’s going to be an idiot and I know when he’s going to make some pun related to some mundane chore.
What entertains me most, is when I think I’ve predicted him, but then he does the unpredicted version of the predicted:
He came to visit me in my University City a couple of months ago, and we were joking around with my phone camera. I told him to give me a sexy pose, and while knowing he would jokingly over-pose a sexy pose, I didn’t expect the ‘sexy-librarian’ pose. That set me off laughing. It’s the perfect pout that he gave the camera which either tells me he spends too much time in the mirror or takes OTT posing seriously that makes this picture worth all the roses in the world.
The other day in his flat, he was trying to make me laugh so he decided to grab my attention with a ‘Sexy Walk’ (why does everything seem to be sexy with this guy?). Commence strutting like a naked-drag queen in a Sailor Strip Bar. He unfortunately strained a muscle in his leg which brought him to a halt, but he was quite pleased with the resulting belly exploding laughter that escaped my person (I was laughing at the strut, not him hurting himself).
I feel so blessed every moment I’m with him to even know this guy. He’s the light of my life and not a boring moment passes with him. I’m excited to be celebrating being this wonderful mans girlfriend for 1 year on March 29th and deeply look forward to many more years to celebrate with him.
Happy Valentines Day My Love x
And Happy Valentines Day to all you guys too!