Dancing in the Grey – Life with my Asperger’s
© Rory Matier 2015
This chapter is in three parts.
Please Note this book was written in 2015.
The views within these chapters are mine and may not necessarily resonate with others on the spectrum – however bear in mind the quote by Dr. Stephen Shore .. “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”
Chapter 13 – Ep 20
Don’t ask me to Mask Up
When l started to write the original book back in 2010, l think it would be very fair to say that l was incredibly jaded, dark and cynical with regards relationships and especially my actually ever being involved in them again.
My marriage of sixteen years and the relationship that followed for just over two years, with both ending hostile and acrimoniously knocked my confidence levels down into the sewer! If that wasn’t enough, on top of a huge stress load to do with my business slipping beneath the waves for not just the recession, l had a puzzle to deal with. A very intricate and personal jigsaw of my own, that whilst l received with some relief equally awarded me more questions than l knew what to do with.
My ex wife to this day knows not that l am Aspergic, and whilst l received the diagnosis with my ex girlfriend and as such she knew of it and understood its implications regarding my behaviour only used it as a deadly and poisonous weapon against me! In fact when l started the life of a bachelor and commenced my tour of duty in the hell hole otherwise known as the caravan, l knew very little of any of the disorder and its complexities. I knew nothing of CADD, [Cassandra Affective Deprivation Disorder (AfDD) ] but had it been explained to me, l would have then understood perhaps why my Mother always seemed to be in a constant state of depression with a husband who cared not for her plight!
Prior to January 2013 l had not read any books on my disorder and had only done intensive research over the Internet, after my diagnosis l was awarded no further information regarding any kind of support or help, just told that with the state of opinion regarding the United Kingdom’s own views of mental health, what ever l found of any benefit best be kept to myself, l had during my life received no formal therapy on the disorder indeed why should l have had, no one knew it was there, but l had received advice from various Doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists alike that l suffered from a form of depression. My ex wife wanted me to go for anger management therapy, not that it was ever aimed at her just me, and that l should be locked away because of my self harm and that was really the extent of everything known or unknown.
So during my discovery years if anything was solid – it was only the sad fact that l may never be in a relationship again as l was simply not worthy – but the caravan was a very dark place indeed, dismal in fact, enough to make saints want to commit suicide – so my moving into brick foundations started to show me the light again.
Thankfully, l am not that dark and cynical anymore, l am happy with who l have become as a person, and am again involved in a relationship, yet this time l am armed with more ammunition not only about who l am, but ‘what women want’.
My Mother once said to me, ‘when you grow up and have a wife or a girlfriend of your own, always make sure that you work with them in your relationship and not appear to work against them’. It always baffled me this phrase, and l thought why on earth would l work ‘against them’, what did that mean? As l have aged and been married and consequently divorced, had relationships and separations, the phrase always was sitting there in the back of my mind?
As l write now and embark on the chapter concerning relationships, l now know what she was referring to, to make a relationship work, both parties not just one, must work at its success. Trust, loyalty, communications a sharing of the emotions, being part of a couple, loving and supporting each other, understanding each other as best you can.
Such simplicity one would think, perhaps even an instinctual thought process, but alas l have learned to ‘work at relationships’ only because l have failed so many times. Life is trial by error in many respects, and so can be said of partnerships with those that you love.
But it isn’t easy as a subject, you are attracted to someone, you can talk and be yourself, you date, you court, you live or spend more time together and there is a very good chance that you may make that commitment of being together in either marriage or a long term relationship. And yet, it is strange when you look at it like that, how can something so simple be so hard?
But if you think on it, why would you not work to keep that relationship together for a longer period of time. You spend all that time making sure it happens and then what? Once you are together as a couple you stop? Breathing a sigh of relief, thanking the stars all the hard work is over and now you can relax?
No, it still takes work to make it function all the time.
I never realised before that l still needed to work at the relationship once a couple became united as one – l am guessing by my Mother’s phrase, neither did my Father, and yet that is not entirely true – it has not been a case of not working at these things, l think personally that it is more to do with not meeting the expectations others have of you. Perhaps that is what happened with my Father, he may not, not have tried, it was simply that in the eyes of my Mother he appeared to be working against her, rather than with her.
In my own relationship, my own ex wife would say l simply stopped bothering. But that is not the case either, l did, l tried to do and perform everything l could in order to fit into the marital lifestyle, but every path l walked, and every corner l took, it was never good enough, l could never meet the expectations she had of me.
A Sense of Belonging
During the years previous to my marriage, l was at best described as promiscuous – many reasons brought this around, a sad ending to a relationship in my early twenties, a desire to ‘improve myself sexually’, a nonchalant attitude towards relationships as a whole and above everything else curiosity. Relationships just did not seem to fit in with me any more, l had become disillusioned with being with one woman, and wanted to sample many, and lead a more casual air to my life. The one night stand became almost my middle name, my career was important to me and l did not have the hankering for the senses of belonging that many seek in so far as commitment, mortgage, wife and family.
From my mid twenties to thirty l lived a somewhat carefree lifestyle, l had many partners, enough to slap the title of male tart onto my forehead and as l was aptly named by a passing stranger or two l was in many ways nothing more than a gigolo. I had a few small relationships during these times that would range from anywhere between two months to the longest being six months, during this period however l loved no one woman.
In the early nineties l did meet and fall hellishly hard head over heels in love with a lass, but this floundered and disappeared because of the green eyes of envy – jealousy – an emotion that l had never displayed prior and having been burned badly for the one time l did so – have never displayed since. Instead l learned to turn compliments around that are presented to my partners as polite flattery. It is also a compliment to both my partner and indeed myself for it is nice to think that another man finds my partner as sassy as l do!
Prior to that time, l never knew l had the emotion jealousy within me, l was always so laid back and casual, however it cost me a woman l seriously loved. Not only did we stop living together but we split completely never to talk again. I was very saddened to lose her from my life over something which was so completely childish as jealousy and so vowed l would never become its victim again, and since that one time, l never have.
We were together for only a short period of time and whilst yes even then l was considered quirky, it was not seen as anything but an ambience with my life, happy, carefree and frivolous and somewhat flippant – but not shallow, l was never shallow. My career was serious to me and if l fell in love l was devoutly loyal not too dissimilar to that of a dog with a bone, l was just seen as eccentric in some of my ways, behaviours and beliefs.
I am not a religious man in the normal sense of the world in so far as believing in one God, but l have my own sense of belonging in so far as my belief system, sure l may have been promiscuous in my youth and not cared for a deep set relationship, but where possible did try to provoke or in the very least attain a kind of connection with the women l shared my time and chambers with.
I have a very deep connection with Suzanne, we can think as one at times, and that can be tricky, but not really, not when you know each other very well as we do.
And for those Aspergians who are reading this and currently lost, the black and white layman’s terms is simple, having the right connection with a woman/man is the start to our lives seeming less rockier, they place a surreal calming into our lives, are understanding of who we are, non judgemental to our mind sets and accept us. But l have learned that this is only one step forwards, albeit a large 50% segment, but it is our return 50% that makes their lives complete, we can and will balance them as much as they balance us.
It can take a considerable amount of time to find the perfect partner, and some times some people never meet them. My Father may have failed with my Mother, but he managed to balance his ying with his last partner, yet sadly this did not continue on for them. These connections can break and why? Because when you have something special that you have worked so very hard to achieve in the first place, the secret to success is not to simply accept them for what they are, but to continue to work at them in order to accomplish all that they can be.
Love in the Spectrum – ‘Pre- Recognition Relationships’
I did not have many relationships before my marriage apart from two that ended rather badly, in the interim periods l bed hopped as a form of existence, roaming around like some nethanderal man with no purpose except to work and ignite illicit passion where possible to sate an insatiable desire, to quench the thirsts of all time, a holy grail of my own even then to discover some comfort, some sense of belonging, a fitting into society, to endeavour to feel whole again. That was a life of no meaning, just a way to stay off the emptiness l felt l had that rocked me to my inner core. I trekked long and hard along the path of sexual conquest and discovery, and ploughed on with my safety net – my career.
I had no true notions of love and gave up looking on the premise that l still had a lot to learn. The conquest was a game to me similar to that of chess, just pieces in an overall strategy to be moved and taken out of the equation in order to achieve the end result, problem was, l was not too sure what that end thing was.
I was becoming quite a good chess player, l had researched all l could and knew exactly what to say to women to get them into the sack, there was no emotion, it was always sexual discovery for me, to learn more about women. I got so good at my game, that l could look at a woman and know exactly what she was like in bed, before l got her into it. Then l could make an assessment quickly and see if it was worth the effort? If l was so terrible at relationships, why bother with them at all, just basically have fun.
By the time l was thirty truth be known even not accepted by myself l was starting to become worn out, run down emotionally, without love, without the hint of a true romantic excursion, work was predominating my daily hours and sex my nightly ones. Life and society was taking its toll from me, l was unawares that l was fast heading into a breakdown, had ignored all the warning shots across my bows.
I had taken up another professional role, this time in a city by the name of Peterborough in Cambridgeshire; it was here that l met my ex wife to be.
She was a lovely girl when we first met, she was an embittered woman when we parted, and l can not simply blame her for everything that went wrong in our relationship, l was a changed man from the one she courted, l continued to change long after my breakdown, and the person whom emerged from the shell, was unlike the man she had previously known.
In reality, l did not specifically want to get married, it just felt like the righteous thing to do, not in the pretentious sense of the term, l mean she was not pregnant or anything like that, but l think looking back, l was in a real mess mentally, and that aspect combined with a behavioural pattern might have been seen as appealing to someone like her, she maintained she was of a caring disposition when l first met her, she was not that sort of woman when we parted, she could not have cared if l was hit by a bus. Also she was very materialistic, l was considered a fine catch by both herself and her family, although l was much older than her, she was eighteen and l was thirty. She could have children and not have to work again and become a SAHM – ‘stay at home Mother’, l was earning an excellent income, why should her dreams not come true?
The last five to six years in that marriage were l now believe hell for both of us, so desperate was her need for children, l should imagine that she believed that her biological clock was ticking away and she may lose her time completely. Before we were divorced, in fact before l had even left the matrimonial home, she had had a miscarriage Christmas 2006. I got blamed for that also, despite the child not being mine. After all it was not l who had committed adultery, but my behaviour was used against me as a deadly weapon. If l had been a normal man, then she would not need to have sought comfort elsewhere!
Right to the very end she played the role of stupidity, categorically denied she had been seeing another man, although the miscarriage spoke volumes and l am not stupid, at that point in time l may have been guilty of many things, but lacking intelligence was not one of them.
She decided to tell me something when l already knew what it was, but l think in her eyes l was nothing far short of an imbecile! At the very end she told me she had had numerous affairs with other men, perhaps she thought by shouting that at me it would leave more of an indelible mark on my soul.
The thing that cut me the most was not that, months before l had asked her if she was seeing someone, l had said to her even then, just tell me the truth in the black and white, l will not be annoyed, and she still denied it. So when she had her chance to tell me, she declined, and when it was worth nothing and there was nothing to save anymore she let loose her so called guarded secret. It was that that got to me the most oddly enough. I was not worried that we were ending, it was that she had been offered a chance to say her piece months before and quite simply chose to be even more spiteful.
We were finally divorced in 2008, but by Christmas 2007 she had a daughter with her new lover.
Chapter 13 – Ep 21 – Soon