50+ First Dates Didn’t Prepare Me for …
… dating at 50!
The dating game is frought with perils and pitfalls, l don’t care two shakes of a monkey’s testicle what others may highlight with regards online dating, if it works for them brilliant – it never worked for me, simples!
It was seriously hard graft navigating through all the tripe, and of course being hopelessly cynical as l was back in the years leading up to 2013, this didn’t help me one little bit, nope, na ah, nada and zilcho!
I contented myself to simply being a bachelor for the rest of my days and just living out the time as some kind of quirky recluse with a tendency to say the wrong things at the wrong times to the opposite sex. Lord knows where the younger me had gone, because the older me was seriously struggling to comprehend anything about the world l was living in!
After being rescued by the Lincolnshire Housing Team in October 2012 from modern slavery l was classed as vulnerable in their eyes and awarded a house, a small bungalow of my own with my two dogs. It was a nice little place, not too large but large enough for a single person, but it was also isolated from the world in many respects. I was at age 50 awarded an elderly person’s house in a little village called Whaplode Drove on the Fens and not far out of Spalding, which was the nearest town.
For the first time in quite a few years l actually found l could breathe again, and not be worried about being bullied by landlords who were hell bent on killing me. My dogs were safe and l was safe and l was surrounded by elderly people who were friendly and didn’t want anything from me, except friendship.
During the rescue l remember crying as l left the forty foot caravan, not out of sadness, but out of relief to be getting away, but l did feel twinges of genuine sorrow to be leaving, not the people, but the horses and the dogs the landlords owned, and worried about whether they would be alright. But also, l was leaving the sanctuary of my bubble, for as insular as it was, l was able to rediscover who l was because it offered a form of tranquility.
It was suggested that l had allowed myself to become a victim whilst on the quest of searching for who l was, and that l had opened myself up to bad behaviour. That because of that l had made the worst come alive in people. I didn’t agree with this sentiment. My landlords were basically evil people, who saw an opportunity to take the piss out of a broken person, and by threatening the lives of his dogs, they had him over a barrel. That is the way l see it. Just because l was back then yeah sure cynical to many things, l was stupidly still trusting of people who l thought cared and l was proved wrong, l always tried to see the good in people. Where as these days l am so weary that l see faults with everything, although l am getting better now, thanks to Suze.
This tale is about my partner Suze and how she and l went on a ‘first date’ of sorts back in June 2013. However l have digressed slightly ……….. because l want to give you the back story to where l was and how we met, and how her first ever visit to me was beset by more challenges than l could ever hope to pose to potential winners of a few Snifty pens here in this blog. She never knew ‘really’ what to expect!
The white caravan was where l was 2009 – 2012
The problem for me in 2012 living isolated from society and daily interaction as a bachelor in a forty foot caravan, with two dogs, not seeing more than a handful of people in a given week, behind a stable yard and in truth only really working with animals, with no visitors or really allowed them was l had to certain extent not just become a recluse but equally as much a hermit. I was oft talking to myself and out aloud like there was another person there in the conversation – l had fast become a bit of an oddball. My Asperger’s was happy, but the actual human being was far from happy.
I sometimes laugh a little when l hear many on the spectrum say they could survive without any interaction from people and live in the middle of nowhere and l can say that it is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle having done it and lived through its wild brutality – we need people and interaction and community to balance the autism out. Sure we can escape into a bubble and we don’t have to be completely ‘out there’ like a rabid party animal, but we do have to be out there to a certain degree for that integral part of the curve of balance.
I fed my Asperger’s for three and half years and it thrived, but l didn’t. So when l moved away it was a huge change and really quite frightening! My new neighbours in Whaplode Drove although introduced themselves to me in the first few days didn’t really see me properly for the months of October and November, l was like a little mouse. I walked my dogs and l started to rebuild my life again, having said those very same words in June 2009 when l first moved into the caravan, l started to believe these would be words that may appear upon my gravestone!
With the new council house that was mine, l was allowed to decorate it the way l wished to and that MAY not have been such a grand idea, but l filled it to the brim with vibrant colours. I had bright yellow, bright orange and dark red walls! i know, looking back it was not an ideal colour choice, but l figured l was happy and it wasn’t really like another person was really going to see it … let alone a female. But life has a funny way of throwing you a curve ball.
I never really knew how much l had changed from my days before the caravan to where l was now in early 2013 as a person, until another female came into my life. I never for one minute considered that l suppose it would ever happen again. I had allowed my new diagnosis to control my life, curb and mould who l thought l wanted and needed to be. The years at the caravan and the ‘rediscovery’ time, really l found out was a time of coming to understand who l wasn’t just was at the end but who l had always been, but it was either hidden, or denied full access to my mind. I had played the game of life in society for so long that when the magical can of worms was opened in 2008 with a silent fanfare of “Hey Welcome to Asperger’s Syndrome!” I really didn’t know who l was if l wasn’t the person l thought l was in the first place?!
I had studied everything to do with Asperger’s during those cold hard years about Asperger’s but had almost obliterated everything l had learned all the years prior to the diagnosis about me. I questioned everything, became angry, upset, bitter and infuriated that no one had spotted the damn disorder previous to the time of the diagnosis!
Everyone goes through the phase of “Why Me?” It didn’t matter that prior to the diagnosis l had been happy about being different or quirky or a bit of a nutter, that didn’t matter at all. What did matter was now l knew WHY l had been that way and displaying those behaviours – what the caravan years did teach me in the end, was that it was who l was and l learned to embrace it as part and parcel of simply being me, quirks, warts and all!
I knew everything about the new me, the old me and a pretty rough idea of who l wanted to be, but l was absolutely clueless as to how l was to achieve a ‘balanced’ me which everything l read said was absolutely imperative to leading a healthier lifestyle? That was going to prove quite a nightmare, and it was something l never thought l would successfully navigate … well, until l started talking to Suze that is!
Of course Suze never knew what she was letting herself in for!