I’m an almost 41-year-old male who suffers from a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome, and also a virgin. I feel my “affliction” has impaired me from the quality of life I know would make me satisfied. I feel I’ve never had a decent relationship with a woman. (If some critics saw how I look, they’d think I never will!) But I’ve been a client with a mental health agency for nearly one decade, but sometimes I wish an employee there could help me figure out how to meet that special someone. If I ever do, she’d have to have similar interests because they’re my standards. Two of my biggest interests are heavy metal music and Sabres hockey.
One problem is that I live in a really boring senior’s apartment complex, where due to my age I feel I’m the only one of my kind living in it. I’m on a tight fixed income, which is something I feel that most, if not all, the world’s really attractive women don’t want to deal with. And I’ve been unemployed since age 17.
But the mental health agency sponsoring me has done great things for me.
So what would you suggest that I do in order to boost a possible lack of self-esteem?
The Back Room Guy says: A quick internet search revealed a couple of useful websites; one called AutisticPersonals.com and another called AutisticDating.com These might be a good start, and you’re likely to meet someone who understands you better than most. I’m not sure how many people from Buffalo are signed up for these websites, but you won’t find out unless you try. Everyone needs companionship and your counterpart is out there somewhere waiting for you.
Dining Out says: Meeting someone special and dating is tricky for everyone so you’re not alone! Look at all of the dating websites out there for single people of all ages, races, income brackets, professions, etc. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders and you’re already off to a positive start because you’re into music and sports! If you want to increase your chances of meeting even more people, try to get involved in more fundraising events or volunteer your time in the community. You may already be a member of the Autism Society of WNY so if that’s the case, look into getting involved with a different organization like The Heritage Center Foundation of WNY (101 Oak Street, Buffalo, NY 14203, Tel: 716-856-4201). They’re always looking for volunteers so you can call over there to inquire about volunteer opportunities. And they even have opportunities where you can organize your own fundraiser, which is very rewarding and a true self-esteem booster.
The Straight Skinny: That’s a real conundrum. I suspect that there are lots of people who, for one reason or another, are in similar circumstances—and nothing culturally or socially or even economically in our country is helping them out. It’s great that you are being proactive about things. And it’s more than great that you recognize that you are right to want companionship and sex and someone who shares and admires your interests.
Some questions: Does your agency have a psychology department that can help you start to manage your thoughts here? Maybe they need to be told that concerns like yours are just as important for their clients as the sort of things they’re dealing with.
Is it possible for you to be engaged in any community activities—church, say, or volunteering, or interest groups—where you might meet people? Perhaps there’s a movie club, ar a church singles meet-up, or an activist cause, which you could get involved with, and give people the chance to meet the real you—not just the one they see from outside.
Do you have access to the internet? For all the difficulties it presents, it has made possible relationships that never would have existed without it.
You claim that you’re not good looking, but if you are half as bright and self-aware as your letter suggests, it seems people will want to be with you.
Aberrant in Allentown: All I see here is a list of excuses you’ve made for yourself that has you set up for failure before you even begin. The problem has nothing to do with your affliction, your income, or where you live—it’s your point of view. Look at all the space you used up explaining all the reasons you think you’re somehow inferior—and yet only a quick sentence about what you’re interested in? A person is way more than what they do for a living, more than where they live or what they own, and even more than their physical self, so your looks or medical limitations aren’t who you are either. Everyone has their own limitations and faces hardships, and what sets people apart is how they deal with them. On the other hand, everyone has their own talents, abilities, and things that make them unique and interesting, and again what sets people apart, is how they take advantage of the positives.
So the solution—while not easy, and will take a conscious effort at first—is changing that point of view. Start by re-writing the question you asked, pose it to yourself, and list all the reasons somebody WOULD enjoy being with you, instead of a list of why you think they wouldn’t! Once you get going you’ll find you’ve probably got a lot more to list than you realize. Don’t see things as obstacles in life, but consider them challenges instead. Living with your condition you’re probably better than most of us at taking on challenges already—this should be no sweat compared to some of the things you’ve already overcome. The important thing though, is you need to like yourself before somebody else will—so you’ve got to start there.
Ask Anyone is local advice for locals with problems. Send your questions for our panel of experts to firstname.lastname@example.org comments powered by Disqus
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