50+ First Dates Didn’t Prepare Me for …
… dating at 50!
2009 – 2012
The problem l had with living the way l did in the caravan from 2009 – 2012 or to be more specific 40 months, away from society and not much better than a hermit, doing my own thing, working alone and having very, very little contact with people on a regular basis. I had no social outings where l mixed with people on a day to day basis. I wasn’t in a relationship, there were no casual affairs or sexual activity. Whilst l had a couple of trysts during those 40 months with the same person, l soon learned that l was being duped out of revenge, and this made me more inclusive, more bubble like and more cynical to romance, love and relationships.
I lived with my dogs, worked with dogs and horses, and l might on any given week and more so from December 2009 when the landlord decided to make the DIY stables private for only her two horses, see three people in a week. Prior to that at least l saw the DIYrs. I wasn’t unused to living and working alone, during my years working with my business l spent 7 days a week working as a sole trader and only surrounded by animals. But back then, l was still seeing perhaps 20 different people over the course of any thirty days in each month, so l had variety. Also, when l was married, our relationship was a sham, my then wife was out most nights and so once more l found myself in the company of my animals and would have full on conversations with them.
So l was more than comfortable with my own company, in fact so much so, l actually preferred it in comparison to being with other people. But in the caravan, l had nothing. I was a gamer and once maybe twice a year some gaming friends came to visit, but the landlords didn’t like that l had visitors and made my own guests feel very unwelcome.
I got used to being by myself, and sure whilst l could Skype at night with my friends, the social graces one develops when in proximity of people on a daily regular basis, soon faded and by 2010 and less than a year from moving in, it really was a case of Scrappy, Dora, myself and my Asperger’s syndrome that lived in the caravan.
So for forty months, l worked with animals from around 6am – 4pm, was paid a pittance, would game, smoke, eat very little, had no contact with people, spoke to my animals and the horses, read, watched films and write, wash, rinse and repeat. During that time as l had learned with my years working as said sole trader with my business, animals couldn’t give two shakes of a tail if you were unshaven, scruffy and talked to yourself. I washed every day, wore clean underwear and socks so l hadn’t got to the point of bad hygiene. But in winter l had to wear up to seven layers of clothing, huge coats and boots and any additional facial hair was just seen as another skin layer and provided extra warmth.
I had fancy clothing but no opportunity to wear them and learned rather harshly on my first winter in 2009 that the damp damaged everything l had, so a good 85% had to be thrown away leaving me with a very grunged attire.
So when l did move away and got back into closer range of society l was a bit lost – l lived next to people which was odd, more astonishly they were talkative and friendly.
Suze and l started talking in January 2013, we had been vaguely introduced through an indirect mutuality of a friend of ours, and all we did was talk. She had come out of a bad relationship herself, and wasn’t looking for a new one and l was Mr Cynical and Proud Aspie who if anything was heavily clouded under the impossibility that l was never going to be involved again with anyone and friendship was the best l could offer. So between the two of us, it was equal grounds.
I wasn’t prepared to get involved with a female ever again unless they completely knew me and my Asperger’s as l had become convinced that l was turning into my Father as he and l and indeed his own Father were sharing some very similiar traits and behaviours. By that time, all my years alone with my new found diagnosis l had firmly come to the conclusion that the genetical strain of ‘autism’ was with us all and by that time in my life with a failed marriage, and failed relationships and a terrible familiarity that l was never going to see the inside of a healthy relationship. The biggest flaw as l saw it, was that previous the diagnosis no one knew about the spectrum, or autism or the Asperger’s all everyone including my family knew was that my Father and myself were odd.
It is NOT a great realisation to come to when you become aware that the life you have led and you now find yourself living is a lie, and not so much a lie, but an untruth to who you were supposed to be had you known from the start. It could have made my life so much easier understanding why l was perceived and ostracised as the oddball of the family, next to the other oddball, my wacko Father. It would have made sense why l never felt ‘normal’ and that l always felt it a struggle to fit into peer behaviours, it would have been easier on so many levels knowing that whilst l wasn’t disadvantaged in the classical sense, that l was at a disadvantage as far as life and society went.
If l had known of the Asperger’s syndrome would l have married in the first place? No, l most assuredly would not have done, l only did it to show to my parents that l was like everyone else, that l was normal, just that l thought differently. My parents wanted me to be a husband, a wage earner, a career man, a Father, a loving husband, a social person and the list went on of all the expectations that they wanted.
It didn’t matter that l was happy, or that l loved my career, that l was OK about being a carefree bachelor who screwed around, and didn’t chase commitment, that didn’t matter because that was abnormal in their eyes, and that age in my early thirties, l was getting too old to be still thinking l was in my twenties. I should have a house, a car, l should have all the trimmings of a 2.2 lifestyle, l should have friends and everything that goes with the so called defined normal society life! It JUST didn’t matter what l thought, and back then l was eager to show l was successful. But the thing was, l was successful already, l was differently successful, and by the stars l was much happier. I had battled great demons by the time l hit my thirtieth.
But by 31 l was married and by 45 l was divorced. My then ex-wife was acroimonious in her scathing attack of my behaviour l was the oddest person going since the discovery of Area 52, if not worse. So would a diagnosis have mattered? Nope, we should never have got married it was that simple, we were not right for each other. By the end years of our marriage l was loyal and she was having one affair after the other and l was working with my business, but we were not a couple and truth be known l considered her strange, she considered me odd and we had not been a loving couple since 2000. I had been sleeping on the couch downstairs for 4 years, and so by the time of 2007 when l had had enough and said ‘Let’s just divorce because we actually hate each other, and may end up killing each other!” That comment of mine was the most ‘normal’ thing l had actaully performed during our marriage. I had wed a girl to fit in to expectation. She had wed a man so she could live her defined code of normal by becoming a stay at home Mother, but thankfully we had no children together and that meant we were not suited to each other.
So when l told Suze “I need you to know the real me, l need you to learn about Asperger’s and think like an Aspie, without actually becoming one”, l never for one minute thought she would try. I never truly believed that anyone would believe in me enough once they learned that l had this horrible anti-social disorder. No, l didn’t think it was horrible, l had become used to it by then, but l didn’t expect others to appreciate all my better talents and behaviours.
Over the months of February to June of that year, we became friends online, we chatted every day through Skype or by telephone, and l was impressed at the discoveries she had made with regards Asperger’s syndrome and also sadly, how little qualitable information there was even in 2013 of the disorder in the older population, everything was so hyper-focused on the youngsters and for that matter five years on, it’s still pretty much the same.
Everything was dandy, and then one day in May, she said as it was my birthday that month, whilst she couldn’t get to see me during that month due to commitments would l like to go out in June sometime on a day out?
“What like a date?” I remember asking apprehensively.
“Well, you like me, l like you, don’t you think we should meet and see how we get along?” Suze asked.
“Really? You want to do that? So it’s a kind of day out date then?” I asked.
“Yes, it’s a date – how would you feel about that?”
“Don’t know in truth, sounds ok, what’s the worst that could happen?”
“Oh l don’t know maybe that we really like each other, get along, fall in love, get married and have kids together.” She answered laughing.
“WHAT??” I was mortified.
“Mm, l still have some things to learn about the Aspergian literalness l see. It was a joke Rory, what l mean, is we may just get along, ok? How bad could that be?”
So our day out date was set up for the 22nd June 2013 …… yeah, what could possibly go wrong. I was ready ……ish, l think ……ish, probably …….ish, sure l was confident ……… ish
Dating at 50, lots of people did it, how hard could it be?