In my last post, I said that I had some “new and awesome things” to tell you about. Well, the biggest thing that has happened to me this past year is that I have met a young woman named Megan, and she has become my girlfriend! Like me, Megan is a Christian diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. We actually met through this blog and started a discussion about our shared experiences with Asperger’s that spread to all sorts of topics. Over the past several months, we’ve been able to travel to see each other a few times and meet each other’s families, and we have had a wonderful time together. Megan has been such a blessing to my life, and I thank God that we met!
I’ve been thinking for a while about what I want to say about my relationship with Megan on this blog. In online discussions between Aspies, the topic of “How can I find a girlfriend (or boyfriend)?” is understandably one of the most frequent and earnestly asked questions among young adults with Asperger’s. Loneliness can be such a nagging, wearing thing to deal with. Of course, I have sometimes wondered whether a message board full of people who struggle with social skills might not be the best place to get relationship advice! 😉
In truth, it might not be much different from advice you’ll find anywhere else on the Internet, or in the world in general, though. There are people who think they have relationships simplified to a formula, a set of steps that is guaranteed to work. There are plenty of people who’ve become bitter because of past experiences and will try to tell you why “All women/men are the same.” There are those who will try to convince you that if you don’t hurry and conform to a specific pattern, you will be “too late” and forever undesirable.
There have been a lot of specifically Christian relationship trends during my lifetime: During junior high and high school, the main advice was “Wait and go slowly; better safe than sorry.” Then in college it was “Dating is unbiblical; you should only date someone if you want to marry her.” Then, “Not enough men are taking responsibility; stop being afraid to take the initiative and ask a girl out.” Then after college, “Too many people are waiting too long to get married! What’s going on?”
(For my part, I was so withdrawn from social activity in general that I would shake my head and laugh at all of these trends as they zipped by. If you’ve been on zero dates, it’s all pretty theoretical, isn’t it?) 🙂
Ugh; I feel like I’m getting far away from the point of this post. Anyway, now that I have a girlfriend for the first time in my life, I feel like I should have some sort of wisdom to impart to those who want to know how to go about finding one. Except I really don’t. Honestly, I’m probably more surprised by this situation than anyone else. I still get a stupid grin every time Megan calls me her “boyfriend” because it sounds so strange!
The only thing I can say is that long before I met Megan, I’ve always taken comfort in the idea that I don’t have to become what “every woman” expects in a man. I don’t have to meet the expectations of every woman in the world, or of anyone on a website, or even every Christian writer who’s published a book about the topic. I reject the idea that all men or all women are the same, anyway. In the end, all that matters is pleasing God, and if it’s His will that I meet a woman to be my girlfriend, wife, whatever– then what I need to do is love *her* as the individual creation– the bearer of God’s image– that she is.
That’s an awesome task. And it’s an exciting one! I don’t know what God ultimately has in store for me and Megan, but He designed each of us down to the most intricate details of our hearts and minds, and I trust that He has the best in mind for both of us. A boyfriend-girlfriend relationship between two Aspies might very well be expected to look a bit different from one between two neurotypicals. And it will be different again because of the two unique people that Megan and I are.
I’m sure that I have a lot to learn, and I look forward to sharing some of our experiences here, in hopes that they will be helpful or at least interesting! Thanks for reading.