They say – those notorious sayers of supposed truth and wisdom, whoever they may be – that appearances can be deceptive.
To anyone on the autistic spectrum, this is not news – it is a way of life. Nothing is rarely – if ever – as it seems to us. So many games; so many hidden meanings; passive-aggressiveness; sarcasm; nuance in the look, the body language, and us… A blunted hammer in a world of needles and scalpels.
This, though, is a message. From me to any of the neurotypical folk who look in on my life and my relationship and think all is fine. Appearances can be deceptive.
To everyone who tells me we “look good together”, you have no idea that I don’t really find him attractive. You have no idea that I tell him so at least twice a week.
To everyone who says he’s “good for you”, I want you to know how misguided your positivity is. As a broken and complex person, my partner meets very few of my very-demanding needs. And every failure to do so makes me more and more mad, driving us further and further apart.
To all the people who regurgitate traditional wisdom like “at least you have a boyfriend”, or “you’re so lucky you don’t have to date!”, I say that my partner and I have not spoken a word to one another in three days now, and slept apart for each of those nights. It does not feel better this way.
In the course of our arguments, rehashed and repeated ad infinitum, it has become clearer and clearer that we are fundamentally incompatible. I cannot change who I am – I cannot switch my autism off for the sake of our relationship. He thinks it is too much – too selfish – to insist my needs are more important than his and while, philosophically, I absolutely agree, in reality, it’s the way I require it to be.
He simply does not understand that I am so radically different a person to him – that it makes me an entirely different proposition as a boyfriend to all the conventional rules and rhythms of a relationship. Though I know they are few, I crave a person who will embrace that – perhaps even laud it as an exciting reason to be in a relationship with me.
I am difficult. I am not impossible. Someone, somewhere, will love me for who I am.