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 14 – Ep 23
She’s All That!
I have had several previous relationships with women, including my marriage, so the concept is not ‘new’ to me, and yet with Suzanne it is like l am experiencing a proper partnership for the first time in all of my life.
This is not as odd as it may read, but l believe it to be an actuality!
In this relationship, l am me no one else, l don’t wear masks, nor cloaks, l no longer have to shroud my emotions from the eyes of others. Unlike the others however, it is in many senses of the word an openly honest relationship, with no deception. And by deception, l mean and refer to accusations from afore by previous women, that ‘ l was not the man, they dated or courted’.
Suzanne knows who l am, as l do her. She knows without a shadow of doubt, l have Aspergers syndrome which falls under the Autistic Spectrum disorder banner. There are no guesses about it, it is a fact. It is who l am, and whilst l am no longer obsessed with its learning’s, l am more aware of who l am as a human being today than ever before. Through my own study and research l can finally come clean about my personality and more importantly my identity.
I am not specifically a label hunter, but everyone needs to know where they fit in, not just into society but in the world in which we live in order to achieve a completeness and happiness. I have those now, and so much more.
Today l am still quirky and joke about being a NeuroAspie, but my confidences have returned. I am no longer darkly cynical and jaded about ‘relationships or women’ as a whole. And whilst in many ways, l have self taught my own teachings and understanding into how it affects my life, l have her to thank also, for she taught me how to live and love life again and how to believe in who l was, and to be proud of all of my accomplishments.
This came around as a result of both of us sitting down and truly discussing who we were, realising each of our limits and boundaries and not just mine. Of what we wanted from our relationship and life together and where our previous commitments had gone wrong and learning from those days.
We have known each other now for a period of nearly 28 months, and our two year anniversary as a couple will be reached in June of this coming year. It has been a long journey for both of us, filled with the normal obstacles of a new relationship, but ours was a longer trek in consideration to others. Initially we did not live together, not just because of our personal distances from each other – she in Kent and l in Lincolnshire, but because we wanted to truly get to know each other properly first.
We only started living together in the traditional sense of the word in March 2015. We had shared times together living in each others houses prior to that as testing periods and knew that as a couple we could work well. We balanced each other out, and were terrible when apart. In simple terms our connection was very strong when we first met and we clicked, and knew that somehow we were in fact right for each other.
It is said that NT/Aspie relationships can be fraught with peril, and this is said and repeated many a time, but it also said that opposites attract. We could not be any more opposite at times if we tried. Suzanne is very emotional and l am very black and white, this does not mean we can not be vice versa, but it is the way we roll.
And whilst these days l can safely say l and we are truly happy, l do remember the hardships and challenges we faced as a couple first starting out those two years ago in 2013. When at times l know, Suzanne had thought of simply walking away, as it looked like it might be very hard work indeed.
Living in isolation as l had done not just for the years in the caravan but to a certain extent during my marriage did change me and my outlook considerably on everything. Before us l had been a very established and routinalised bachelor for almost four years, l had developed some very odd behaviours again mostly due to my isolation from society. I had given up on my appearance and my health; l lived only for my two dogs.
I had become very absorbed with my use of time, l ate badly, l lived mostly in the dark, l hardly spoke to anyone, l was obsessed with an online game, l smoked way too heavily and my health was deteriorating through the effects of that. I had become in many ways oblivious to everything else in life and what it had to offer.
And whilst l finally knew who l was, and was able to say l had journeyed long and hard into my very soul, l had no reason to exercise any of my new findings. I was not only a far cry from the man who types today, but l was further away from the man l used to be before l had allowed myself to succumb to the greyness of the disorder itself.
Suzanne over the first twelve months of meeting me, not only made me believe in life again, but more importantly is responsible for bringing back the man of yesterday, which to her credit was no easy feat and was beset with more challenges than a mere spectrum disorder!
If l am honest we both knew back in the early days that we shared a chemistry, it was just there, we had clicked from the first time we spoke at length, laughed with each other, all the usual romantic crooners and we had flirted, agreeing that both of us were naturals, but what ever it was, it was present. Personally l simply wanted to only be friends.
In essence Suzanne felt the same way, we agreed to just be friends, but as l have said many a time during this book, things change when you least expect them. She had read the original darkly penned manuscript, and knew that l was not happy with it, and urged me to rewrite it.
I remember saying that if, and that was a big IF l was to ever be involved again with another woman, it would only be as a result that she knew me inside out, and l her but more importantly that whoever she was they would understand that l was not simply an ex from someone else’s heart but l was an Aspergian male and that alone came with all sorts of challenges!
And from that point my new friend decided to take up the challenge of researching the disorder itself, which was not a simple task, but if anything our friendship warranted it. At her own concession many a time she would say she had thought friends would only ever be on the books. Combine her research with my first manuscript in which l had painted the darkest personality profile possible concerning my identity and behaviour and l am surprised we are anything more these days at times. But that is the difference when you are with the right person, when compatibility is present, when a connection so profound develops, you know you can not walk away and will do anything to make it happen or be lost forever.
I had been lost for far too long and needed both discovering again but more importantly l believed, l needed to be saved. In addition to that whilst yes l had accepted Aspergers into my life and was beginning to sail along again, l had forgotten how to actually live my life the way it should be lived. My confidence was just starting to rekindle, and my belief system which had for years taken such a battering that l no longer truly cared for anything bar my dogs was also starting to see that there were other ways forwards again.
In the years from 2009 – 2012 l had done something which not many people get the opportunity to do, tear your life apart, dissect and examine the pieces and slowly start to redesign the balance puzzle. Finally after years of feeling empty and wanting, was l able to understand my life, and slowly was l able to recognise the voids l had developed for self preservation and safety. Masks which for years had been worn were cast aside and a decision to not wear them again when with the person l loved if that ever happened again.
To not fall victim to manipulators and bullies alike, those who have a desire to cause you pain and emotional angst, accepting that l was still vulnerable – hell l am more pliable than a workman’s putty to some people! Suzanne like me also had her fair and unfair share of relationships that had headed south and was beginning to believe that she would probably spend the rest of her days as a singleton, so friendship with a quirky Aspergian could do no harm.
We had arranged a day out for my birthday treat which although l was born in May our first date did not materialise until June. She was so nervous of meeting me, even for a simple trip to a seal sanctuary [we both love animals] as she was expecting the worst, the knowledge she had read to date on the disorder about sociality and especially combined with my own dark writings perhaps was understandable. Yet l was not as apprehensive as l thought l might be, l had done the usual research into crowd control and so forth to know what l might be expecting in terms of stress, however the moment l actually met her instantly knew l was going to be alright, the chemistry was not false like some urban myth and the connection was instantaneous on both counts.
From that point onwards our friendships and relationship really started to roll forwards. Already challenging due to distance, but we spoke frequently, Skyped when possible and she came to visit when she was able, as l do not drive. She had a heavy schedule with her own life and commitments and as such we only really saw each other once every six weeks or so. At first that was not so hard an ordeal, but as we developed further, and started to fall in love, it became harder and we decided after a year and half of this arrangement that we needed to live together.
I remember reading that one particular Aspie/NT relationship, saw each of the partners living in separate houses and their relationship flourished like that, and initially my own partner and l thought along similar lines, in fact in many ways that is what we were doing.
My Mother was not okay with our relationship and was quite cutting with her thoughts at the time, and it is because of her behaviour back then, that we now have a vague relationship as Mother and son these days. Of course when she realised we were going to live together, she desperately tried to back track, but the damage had been done.
I of course had to analyse the pro’s and cons of living together with a new partner, as l was somewhat concerned that in many respects my own behaviour had to some extent ruined previous ones, l had to be sure.
Would l be ready for another relationship?
Perhaps the biggest changes of all were realised in the original layout of 2014 which are below as l saw them then.
Selfish with my time
I do need time for my own needs or hobbies, but have discovered in the last year of my relationship with my current partner that it is not the taboo subject l believed it to be. I do not suffer at the hands of many downtimes these days at all, perhaps it is because l am happier, and that she understands me more than any previous partners and of course knowledge is truly a beautiful thing. We have decided that when we live together we shall go for a slightly bigger property so that l can have an office or den if you wish, that should l need to take such time, then l can retreat here, but more importantly that it is also to be used as an US relaxation room for reading and such.
The fact that l can detach my emotions is l believe an Aspergic quality, and many NT’s that l have met have said how they would like the ability themselves. We agree that these days this detachment of mine is not so much a hindrance as was once seen and thought of – l do not miss her less than she misses me. But if we live together we will be together so there is no need for either of us to ‘miss the other’ is there?
The big $64,000 question …
I have given this much consideration not just with regards this relationship of course but as a subject of interest.
Do l believe that l could share my living space with another again?
Yes l do, because it would not be my space but our space. We share as a couple years of experience in life; l have learned much about myself during my absence from the world, but l also share more with this woman, more than l have shared with any other woman in my life to date. We talk about everything; we have a very good and deeply profound connection. Additionally we understand our needs, we communicate with each other. We are not rushing into anything like we have both been guilty of in our past. Above everything, l am an Aspergic and she knows this that truly is the biggest battle won.
I have no fears these days of living with another woman again, l am finally at ease with my identity and can look back at the parting comment of my ex wife – l have found my peace, but above everything l am very deeply in love with her, and we know we are right for each other. This is not a move we take lightly, this is the end tableaux, we are not seeking other partners in our lives, we just want our souls together – it may seem so very corny and non Aspergic, but hey for me it’s black and white and does not defy logic.
Accepting Aspergers in your life is accepting all that comes with it, the first rule is the understanding of each partners needs, l am not the only one with quirks and eccentricities, she too has them [personally l think she is OCD]. She knows that l am not family orientated or overtly social, and is aware of all the trimmings that travels with those terms – hell she was my ideal reader during the writing of this book, she knows only too well why l am neither of these things – and is not bothered by them. She also knows that l will never prevent her from seeing her family which is important to her, that l am not clingy, or possessive of her time, and that l will always encourage her to lead the necessity of having a social life of her own. But more importantly she recognises that my behaviour as such is not so much quirky, but simply unique of my personality, and equally as such l also recognise her needs and desires are different to mine at times.
We currently live in this status, and we know that it is not for us, there may be other Aspie/NT relationships that find living apart conventional to their needs, but as we are both tactile and sensual people, we need the strength we award each other daily, and this can only be achieved by living under the same roof. In simple terms when we are apart we miss each other, three weeks between each visit is just becoming unbearable.
Dancing in the Grey
I am always going to have grey moments in life, why write a damn book about it, if they never occur? But at least this time around, l am with the right person who understands and acknowledges that l do have them. The more we communicate and as such understand each other, perhaps l will see less of them … yeah like that’s really going to happen! The point is that together we will get through them. I like the black and white logic of life, it is in my makeup, my partner is an NT, she can blend all three together without the need to segment them all up, it is the way of life, but as l like to say these days, never say never and nothing is impossible.
AfDD or aka Affective Deprivation Disorder and CADD Cassandra Affective Deprivation Disorder one and the same, my Mother l believe suffered from it, and so too to a certain degree did both my ex wife [who was very clingy] and my relationship [who was very possessive of my time] that followed. My partner officially is diagnosed with SAD aka Seasonal Affective Disorder, whoa double jeopardy there l hear some of you whisper!
I will not let it happen to her in so far as CADD or whichever name you prefer to use, before l knew of these disorders l was always encouraging my partners to lead as much of an independent lifestyle to mine as they were able. She is family orientated and already has an active social life, yes we will do things together as well as enjoy relaxation times and work, as long as we continue to work with our relationship, l hope to never see any woman l love again fall victim to the side effects of my own disorder, and l do not believe l ever will.
Well l have suffered from various forms of this since l was in my late teens, there are good times and there are times like now when it is nearing six am, and l have been awake since ten am of yesterday and still am not feeling tiredness creep in. My partner also has a sleep problem, but l am of the belief that the two of us can work something up to expend our energies and tire us out and remain asleep for you especially when under the same roof, don’t you? However that comedy aside, we do share a very lovely connection, and feel very at ease and comfortable with each other when we are together. Once we do live in the same house our lives will not be so fragmented and we will again establish a pattern that only two people can share when in the same bed, it is called being an US again. But also, if needs be, we have two double beds, there is no harm in sleeping in different rooms to each other.
My biggest question and l guess also a deep set fear was would l be the right material for a relationship again as well as living with another?
I said once before that if you have the right partner to begin with and that you shared honesty, communication and trust, belief and confidence in each other as individual people then perhaps it would be a walk in the park. Well l truly believe that, l have believed it from the first time l ever fell in love, so many years ago. I have known some terrible times and I have caused upset amongst those that l have loved before today and as such received much pain in the process.
I now know more about myself than l ever did and l am totally accepting of my flaws as well as my disorder and accept it thoroughly into my daily life and personality. I am with the loveliest woman whom l adore, and have found a peace l never thought l would ever secure again with her in my life, l have no more doubts.
There is a line from the film ‘Six Days, Seven Nights with Harrison Ford and Anne Heche’ and l will use it now to end this chapter.:
“I decided my life is too simple, l want to complicate the hell out of it!”
Above is the 2014 A-I analysis of my feelings concerning questions l had then, how do l feel now?
I don’t know why l carried it out, as everything is more than fine, and Suzanne is as l stated at the top in the title – ‘she is all that!’ and so very much more. You will have already read that many of these issues are no longer issues at all. Although we have this thing called menopause on the horizon apparently – mm, well we will tackles that as and how l guess.
Chapter 15 – Ep 24 – Soon