The Autistic Journalist

Using words to explain the mind

The relationship side of things

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I went bar-hopping for the second time of my life Friday (I didn’t go prior to my 21st) and I’m fascinated with the personality shift my peers go through from daytime to nighttime. I suppose you make these observations when your BAL isn’t as high as everyone else’s.

I also noticed another characteristic that separates me from the field; I assume the role of “captain” among my peers. No, I’m not the leader everyone follows and/or idolizes, but I apply logic and reasoning while balancing pleasure and risk-taking, as many of you know how bars can be attractive places for students to push themselves beyond their limits. I downed a couple shots, but knowing I had to meet with a client who hired me for a $500 video project, the money did a lot of talking, so I refused any more shots.

But it wasn’t the end of that adventure just yet. I’m assuming there was a tinge of silliness, but a friend suggested I buy a drink for a student who looked like she had a few already, not to mention she already has a boyfriend (that’s not how you engage in relationships), so I inconspicuously declined out of her well-being. The last thing I want to do is make someone sick when I can’t sense their ability to function.

My behavior when bar-hopping though may explain my inability to land a relationship. I’ve never even come close since my life began. I just don’t find bars as a hot-spot for seeking relationships. You never quite know how many drinks people have had, and we all know how alcohol impairs the body. Remove alcohol from the equation, and there’s still a sense of unfamiliarity about who you’re dealing with. My minds creates a shield as I try to assess several things in my head, from the overflow crowds to the mental capacity of customers. Still not enough? My memory serves me almost too well as I can tell you the countless stories I’ve read and/or watched of students dying from alcohol-related incidents.

I wonder if those traits are preventing me from having any success in initiating relationships. My defense mode plays off my weakness to overanalyze social situations. Perhaps loosening up would ease those tensions and increase my comfort level, but there’s always a part of me warning me that opening up too much could trap me in a situation I want to avoid. Seeing how several of my peers are in relationships (but not everyone, so I’m not entirely alone) as time goes on, I start to wonder the likelihood of succeeding in one, or if I’ll end up like many other autistic people and remain single. Conversely, I also think about how accepting or open women would be about my quirks. Would they want to face these things every day of their lives, and what if they wanted children? Suggestions point to a genetic connection, but there’s many unknowns, and the thought of potentially having more than one family member on the spectrum can be overwhelming. Conventional wisdom would place in that category of never marrying or having children. I’d like to sway from that trend, but reality is a tough thing to accept.

Relationship scenarios remind me of how much I miss my old roommate and his experience in psychology. He would always attempt to break down my emotions and how to gear myself for repeat occurrences, but without his expertise, I do feel lost and sometimes unable to convey my feelings with others. This is one of those times where I could use some help, but where do you turn when few people share this experience?

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Written by TheSportsBrain

April 12, 2009 at 3:32 pm

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