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Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 1:38 pm
by BuddyBoi21
I haven't used this account in along time. I want to apologize to the staff of Scarleteen but also thank them for doing more than what was required of them to help move me forward from the last time I posted.

It turns out I am on the Bipolar spectrum AND that I'm on the Autism spectrum. So I come back here despite posting again feeling mildly anxious while doing (due to fear/guilt/shame) it because I've given myself some time to be single and reflect on things and overtime realized my issues with vulnerability stemmed from a long line of being hurt by loved ones.

After that I basically spent the last 2 years going about any relationship like "You can't get hurt if you don't attach to anyone!".

I realize I'm now exceedingly lonely because of this. Since then I have been actively working the past ~5 months to be more conscious to better my communication skills, letting my guard down with friends and family and acknowledge my feelings rather than run away from them.

I guess now I'm asking how do I navigate dating?
I'm neurodivergent, a person of color, queer, non-binary and more masculine presenting.

At first glance I look like a shy but polite and smart young man one of these things is very incorrect about me and I have no idea what to do.

I also am trying to meet other autistic people in my age bracket (aside from my friends) in hopes I could get to know someone and eventually date. For myself personally, my most intense feelings (at least in terms of just chemistry and sexual attraction) have been with other autistic people.

Knowing that despite my age I don't like to drink or smoke is any of this realistic to seek or even find right now??

Thanks a lot!

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 2:06 pm
by Heather
I don't know if I personally will be able to get to this today, BuddyBoi, but I just wanted to let you know that any delay in an answer is about low staffing NOT about it not being okay for you to post here. I don't want to dismiss your feelings, but I don't think you need to feel guilty or ashamed of how you have posted here in the past. We're happy to help you. <3

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:03 pm
by Heather
Turns out I was able to find some time.

Those are pretty big diagnoses to get and process, and by all means, each of those things adds to the challenge of managing the other. How are you feeling about all of that? I know that sometimes a diagnosis can feel like a relief -- finally, we have some answers and some concrete things to work with. Other times, it can add stress and feel like a burden. It's complicated, obviously.

I think the best place to start with your dating questions might be to first take an inventory of what you're looking for and what you also feel like you have to offer and can handle. For instance, what do you want out of dating right now? Are you looking to just get your feet wet and see how you feel, or are you looking for something that could turn into an ongoing intimate relationship? What general kind of relationship would you be looking for in dating? What do you feel like you really bring to the table right now? What feels like it might be too challenging or otherwise too much?

You don't have to smoke or drink to meet people, thank goodness. :) But in addition to those questions above, how about taking a look at where you CAN meet people? How do you feel about your options with that? Are you open to using apps or online dating, do you instead really want to meet someone out in the wild, as it were, or both? What kinds of environments or places in your life that you already spend time in might be places you could meet people to date?

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:13 pm
by BuddyBoi21
Hi Heather,

Thank you so much for the reassurance it really helps to dispel a lot of my anxiety from posting again.

As for the diagnoses, with bipolar disorder it was definitely tough because I was told I'd have to start medication. While I was still talking to my ex girlfriend, she helped me dispel that stigma and at least try the medication before we stopped speaking to one another entirely (there's quite a messy situation as to why we don't speak anymore but that's another tangent).

I've now been on my medication for 3 months and I'm a lot happier and more stable. But a few weeks ago I felt something else was "off". I often felt anxious especially in social situations and after having a lot of conversations with friends and revisiting the conversation with my psychiatrist, I was diagnosed with "high-functioning" autism (which I think from research is supposed to be asperger's syndrome?).

Pretty much this dug up a whole ton of childhood trauma related to bullying and having to create a lifelong mask in order to hide. I now understand why I feel so detached and find it so anxiety inducing to navigate social situations, especially romanitic/sexual ones.

So it was a relief but now I fears (one part financial and another part social) like "Will I be able to hold down a job that doesn't drain me everyday while still having a livable paycheck?", "Will I ever actually find a girlfriend/partner because of this?", "Will I ever figure out how to socially interact with people I'm attracted to without coming off as threatening or weird?".

It's good to know because it means I can move toward better navigating the world around me but anxiety inducing because it feels like another trait I have to "worry about" when talking to people I like. I'm nonbinary but I look "like a man" and use a prosthetic, I'm exceedingly interested in sex but I love to cuddle and be romantic too, I'm both an advocate and leader in my community but I'm also still a meme-loving 20 year old.

It all feels scattered and as though either no one person will be okay with all of these parts or no one person can satisfy certain desires I have for a relationship.

With what I want from dating now, I want to make a connection but I also recognize with that connection (for me personally) usually comes sexual desire in some cases. So I'm aware that, and can usually separate, different needs. Sometimes I'm horny and would like sexual stimulation, other times I'm lonely and desire romantic connect over platonic connection. And I notice is can be both. I need that sort of "chemistry" between people to enjoy sex but also want some for of emotional consistency.

By no means do I need this relationship to be marriage material or some other serious equivalent but I definitely need it to be closer to a "if this relationship escalates, will I be okay with this partner(s) being in my life more intimately?"

I guess I want something to start casual and proceed from there. I notice that if a relationship escalates too quickly it can exacerbate my anxiety if I'm still unsure of the person I'm with. I also need someone closer to my age or at least closer to the amount of experience I have in both the general relationship and sex.

In terms of what I can "bring", I'm a relatively self sufficient person, I can communicate rather well and I try to be a decent and understanding person. I'm really empathetic and while I do express more masculine I always strive to express so in a positive manner; I allow myself to have a full range of emotions and try to cope with them in a healthy way. I'm interesting? I've been getting back into music and I'm more consistently working out, I'm also involved on my campus and do a good job at keeping my grades up.

Financially, I'm not in the best shape because of some instability but I try to keep going and be proactive in the meantime.

What might be too challenging or too much is if I end up in the same situation as I did before. I'm with someone who has some big values of mine in common but fundamentally we're very different people and nothing like compromising can change that.

There's also just the act of getting there. Talking to people, trying to even ask someone out on a date; it's all terrifying if I think about it too much or too hard.

There's also that underlying distress over whether or not what I want in a partner is an unhealthy expectaion, a value, a boundary or a need.

The best I can think of is my campus but a good chunk of single and polyam LGBTQ+ students (at least the ones I know) like to drink and/or smoke. I tried going to a sobriety club but it was both very small and the people there weren't people I felt interested in (plus I think everyone there was not attracted to transmasc people).
I started attending an autism support group outside of school but everyone is almost 10 years older than me.

Basically I feel like my options there are very bad or super slim. As for apps, I'm already on dating apps but the problem there is that I "pass" very well as a 17 year black cis boy. I try to put somewhere in my photos and biography that I'm trans and not not hypermasculine in personality but that can only go so far.

Another sucky thing I come across is that many apps still have the "men" or "women" section despite allowing a nonbinary gender option. This in turn allows straight men to swipe right on me and straight women to look completely past me. And I've unfortunately tested this in the past that men online seem to be more interested in me than women! And even if a woman matches with me we never get around to meeting in person.

I used to always feel like I was doing something wrong but it turns out it's a running joke in the LGBTQ+ youth community that no one who matches on dating apps ever meets in person or even speaks.

Other than that it's safe to say I feel pretty defeated. I would say I could meet people on campus, nightclubs/bars, coffee shops, or the place I'll be taking music lessons at.

These all present a plethora of problems in my mind:
1. If the space is public and not LGBTQ+, what are the chances the woman will think I'm a teenage cishet guy trying to hit on her?
2. What are the chances she feels threatened by some strange dude-looking person speaking to her?
3. In LGBTQ+ clubs/bars there's a bit more leeway but the same still applies.
3. b) On top of that, if I present too feminine with how well I "pass" people think I'm a gay twink and either think I'm a nice gay boy they can dance with or someone that a guy could take home. Pretty much attracting people I'm not interested in.
4. The racial aspect plays into the earlier stated fear and makes it feel even worse if the person I'm approaching is outside of my race.
5. In the place I'm taking music lessons it's religious affiliated so I won't know if who I'm trying to speak to is straight or not.
5.b) This again applies to every non-LGBTQ+ space I go to.

So yeah I have a lot of anxiety with "in the wild" experiences and I don't feel too hopeful with online dating which is why I tend to default to "Why bother?" even though I'm clearly not having the best time.

That was a whole lot but I hope you have better insight on what's going on in my head when I'm trying to date!

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:40 pm
by Mo
My understanding is that dating apps can involve a good bit of frustration, and I definitely hear you on how nonbinary-unfriendly a lot of them are! It might be worth sticking with one or two, even if you don't check them a lot, to see how it goes; if nothing else, maybe you could look at dating apps as a way to practice approaching people and initiating conversation when you do get a match. For sure, though, if it winds up feeling more frustrating than not, I hope you can feel free to take a break or decide they aren't for you.

There's only so much you can do to change or impact people's impressions of you when they first see you (either in person or on a dating profile). What might make one person read you as a teenage cishet guy might not cause that impression in someone else, so it's hard to give any really clear advice on that, and I wouldn't want you to feel like you have to present yourself in a way that doesn't feel positive or natural to you. I think the best you can do is be open and honest about who you are, to whatever extent you feel comfortable, and hope folks want to listen.

In terms of not making people uncomfortable, or knowing if they're straight or not, it may help to focus first on making friendly connections with people before bringing up sex or dating; that can help you ease into understanding their communication style and give you time to see if a good rapport develops and you feel like there's a stronger interest for something more on your part. I think approaching social situations or events as a chance to have an interesting conversation with two or three new people, or something similar like that, can feel easier and less anxiety-making than having an explicit goal of seeking out potential dating or sexual partners. It can absolutely still lead in that direction, but I think it can be helpful to think of it in that slightly different way.

I know you brought up more than what I addressed here, but this is what immediately came to mind when reading your post. I know that dating, and actively looking for folks to date, can be stressful, but you've clearly put a lot of thought into yourself and what you want and that is honestly a fantastic start.

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 10:00 pm
by BuddyBoi21
Hey Mo!

I'm happy to hear from you. The frustration is a hard yes! I've been on and off deleting dating apps from my phone for months but after careful consideration I want to try and be consistent with them for a while despite them not being nonbinary friendly.

I definitely get that approaching it with a connection aspect can and does make it easier. I think this is where being autistic can come into play for me personally. I don't know when people are flirting with me until they do or say something extremely direct!

Some examples are when I first hooked up with someone in a club it took for them to get into my personal bubble and kissing my neck before realizing it was okay to move forward. Another is a date I went on with another autistic person. The funny thing is I didn't exactly catch on it was a date until later on and didn't think she was super interested in or sex until she outright said something later on.

The stereotypical "shyness" people assign to autistic people definitely shows in my expression and oftentimes (especially around women I'm attracted to who are forward with me) I'm like an awkward "school boy" archetype. I feel and apparently show very easily when I'm attracted to a woman and I feel a bit embarrassed by it which is why these connections sometimes feel hard or difficult to make.

Due to this, people could be attracted to me and I just don't pick up on the "signals" and brush it off which could in turn make the person think I'm not interested or I'm trying really hard to be friendly and still come off as flirtatious or trying to date someone. I end up feeling embarrassed when that happens and before I choose to acknowledge it I'm just told they aren't interested.

If I try to do so organically (say just have the intent to make friends and friends only) I can also either swipe away whatever natural feelings arise when I notice I'm starting to take a liking to someone. Usually because I joke internally, "something is wrong". Not that the person is bad but there is something that conflicts and makes the possibility of a romantic relationship unattainable.

The woman is straight or a lesbian. She is be in a closed and/or monogamous relationship. She is be asexual and/or aromantic. She's actually a minor, she has recreational habits that would cause strain on the relationship later or has conflicting values.

These are just some of the things I've come across in trying to simply let things develop naturally. Either I miss my shot entirely because I'm oblivious or I shoot my shot into the wrong basket.

It's why I tend to keep to myself but I'm trying to get myself back out there because the people I'm mutually interested in almost if not ever actually approach me first.

I sink further into my dissatisfaction by not doing anything about these feelings or trying to constantly distract myself from loneliness to the point of aversion, emotional unavailability and even exhaustion from taking on a lot of distractions. So I need to do something different and waiting around hasn't been my best method.

So it's why I'm trying to be more proactive in approaching people and just being direct in hopes it'll work with someone.

Note: I don't walk up to people or message someone and ask to have sex or date right out the gates. I just try to state what type of relationship I want and just invite people to either accept or decline depending on what they're looking for. I find the "dead ends" tiring in online dating and would like to actually meet people in person. As for in person approaches, most of my friends are either in relationships or happily single so when we go out I feel like it's supposed to be us hanging out, not me trying to hit on people in public and get teased by my friends later on for it (it is a bit funny but still not the point). I also don't see my friends as often anymore so I try to put whatever silly romantic feelings I have aside and focus on spending time with them. I might casually say, "Oh that she's really pretty" in passing but try to avoid thinking much of it in those situations.

So yeah there is a lot but it helps to address these points in depth!

I look forward to your response, thanks again for understanding!

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:28 am
by Siân
Hey Buddyboi,

It sounds like you've done a lot of thinking about what you want from a relationship and what you can bring to it. One of the potentially frustrating things about dating is how much of it is down to luck and timing. Yes, we can put ourselves out there - both in the world and via apps - and have honest conversations with ourselves about how we go about it but ultimately we need to rely on a bit of chance to for us to meet people that we connect with, in a moment where they are open to the same things we are looking for too.

I'm not saying this to be disheartening, but because it's actually one of the most comforting things I can think of. An absence of romantic connections in this moment is generally not because you are doing something wrong. You've created the circumstances in which connections can happen, but it sometimes takes a while for them to come along. Does that way of thinking help you?

I get that flirting and understanding "signals" can be difficult. I mean, it's confusing enough as someone who is neurotypical which is why I tend towards exactly what you describe - asking direct questions and being proactive. If you're interested, Sex Ed for Self Advocates is written specifically for folks on the autism spectrum, and has a section on dating which talks about flirting in more depth and may cover some of your specific challenges: .

The good news is that loneliness isn't and inevitable part of being single. It's great that you're putting the effort into being present in your friendships since those tend to be the relationships that really sustain us. If you're feeling frustrated by their response to your efforts to speak to others, perhaps that's something you could speak to them about? We have a great new article here about asking for the things you need from the people around you: Expressing Your Needs Isn’t Asking Somebody For “Favors”

It's part of a series of new articles on dating with autism, which you can see gathered together under the autism tag.

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:15 am
by BuddyBoi21
Hey Siân,

Sometimes that perspective on dating feels a bit tiring at times. For the most part though, I'm very neutral about this way of thinking and typically don't care one way or the other. Like yeah it can suck but the best I can do is cope with those feelings and move on.

All these resources on signals and flirting for autistic folk are very helpful. Thank you!

On a slightly different but still relevant tangent, I went out to a local(ish) convention last night. Another place I realized I could meet people!

I decided to go shirtless after some encouragement from friends when I had mentioned it. It was my first time being in a public space in which I wasn't entirely sure EVERYONE was LGBTQ+, so I was a bit flustered and nervous at first but eventually rocked it with confidence. I also put glitter on my top surgery scar and kept my shot day bandage on so people would pay more attention and realize I'm not cisgender.

I attend all the 18+ events I could. The larger ones were an 18+ burlesque show and an 18+ rave. I was kind of successful in both flirting and somewhat escalating things with cute strangers as well as taking rejection gracefully. I also did my best to keep my intrusive thoughts and overthinking at bay the majority of the night and am proud of how well I grounded myself.

With one person, I befriended them while waiting in line for the burlesque show. I later slowly started to get in their personal bubble and asked them to dance. They accepted and after a bit clarified that they have a partner. I was completely calm and said "no worries" and kept enjoying myself by dancing like a complete dork. It was great!

When I ducked out from the burlesque to go to the 18+ rave I was dancing with friends. One of my friends told me two really pretty women thought I was cute and I felt very flustered (in a good way of course).

I was flustered pretty much the entire day because when I see people I'm attracted to that I don't really know, especially in a sexual manner, I find it a bit embarrassing to look or stare or even feel that attraction even when it's encouraged.

We move forward in the night and I notice someone very attractive dancing by themself. I noticed they had a cool looking fishnet style shirt on so I walked up to them complimented the shirt and then asked them to dance.

Considering this is a rave, asking for consent was kind of hard to do because of the music but I still managed. Anyway, I then asked if they had a partner due to the slight mishap from earlier. They said not at the moment so I asked if they wanted to get closer.

I wasn't necessarily aroused but I was enjoying myself and this interaction with this this person. I'm also hella awkward but was working with what I had. Soon after I asked if I could kiss them and they were okay with that!

Without asking, I tried to somewhat move things forward by moving down to their neck before kissing them again. After however long this interaction lasted they told me they had to go find their friends and told me I was very cute.

I sort of facepalmed myself later in the evening for not getting their social media or even their name! I kind of hope I can come across them again somehow (or maybe just another situation like that).

Another moment is I tried to insert myself into a group of women (at this point I'm completely by myself because my friend tapped out, the other were still at the burlesque show). One of my friend's advice was just shimmy into a group that seemed friendly or open and just be social.

I made eye contact with this woman from across the room and smiled, she smiled back so I decided to shoot my shot. I made my way over, introduce myself ask if I could dance with her, she said yes but said as long as I don't try to get to close to her or her friends.

It took me a few awkward minutes but I caught on that they weren't comfortable with me being here. She told me I was doing great (probably with dancing) which was nice of her. I genuinely saw one of my other friends that I didn't show up to the convention with. I said I see my friend, said it was nice to meet them and semi-awkwardly left.

It wasn't a huge blow to my confidence. Later on in the night I these big intrusive thoughts:
1. What if I went too far or scared off the person I was kissing by not continuing to ask?
2. What if they thought I was a lesbian or sapphic and then proceeded to be turned off because of my packer?
3. I was interested in sex. Maybe they weren't and just ducked out because they didn't feel comfortable.
*However what if they genuinely had to leave? They were alone so they probably did get separated from their friend group. There isn't much I can do about it now anyway.
4. I may have come off as the creepy or "off" guy to the group who probably was getting unwanted attention from everyone.
*The best I can hope is that I was the most kind and courteous of whoever decided to interact with them that night.
5. I didn't have sex. I sort of wanted to but have no specific reason as to why. Maybe I was just hoping for some semblance of a connection with a cute stranger?
*A vague part of me feels bummed. Like I didn't achieve something but I think logically I was able to kiss 1/3 people I found attractive and 2/3 accepted rejection gracefully in the moment, in a public setting.

Most importantly, I had fun! So I hope maybe this blurb will five more insight on me and how I navigate some form hooking up "in the wild".

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:03 am
by Alexa
Hi Buddyboi:

That sounds like a very successful night! It's great that you put yourself out there so much, and pursued your own interests while also actively getting consent. I'm happy for you -- and also am jealous of this party! It sounds so fun!

I should share that I am not autistic, but I DO have intrusive thoughts as a result my own mental health diagnoses, so I can empathize with having them bombard you, even when you've had a good time. In response to them, I'd like to affirm that you seem like you were thoughtful with folks, responsive to their needs when they stated them/you noticed a change in their body language, and also that others had a good time with you! I also tend to value my intrusive thoughts for what they tell me, even if it's not what I initially *think* they're telling me. For example, if I'm worrying about consent or creeping other folks out, I'll recognize that I can't be sure of how I was perceived, but I *can* note that consent and the comfort of others are really important important to me and remember that in navigating future interactions.

Also, a note on whether you were perceived as lesbian/sapphic/folks were turned off by your packer -- the best kinds of people will not need to know the details of your gender/sexuality and how you navigate it to be attracted to you and pursue that attraction. The only folks who need to know those things are those with whom you choose to share them. If folks are "turned off" by any aspect of your gender presentation, that's their loss!

Happy flirting,


Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:15 pm
by BuddyBoi21
Hey Alexa,

I wanna thank you so much for validating my experiences. That coping skill sounds like something I should try more often.

Also an extra thanks to validating my gender expression. I almost constantly feel like I need to express my gender a very specific way to attract the people I want and repel the people I don't want to be involved with.

I even had a mini crisis over whether or not I should've shaved that day in order to look "cute and more approachable". I've understood that without realizing I internalized that looking masculine means I can be "hot but possibly deemed threatening or gross" by a person I'm attracted to.

I want to express how I want without people placing assumptions about my body, preferences and/or sexuality. So I'll do everything I can to keep this message in mind.

Thank you so much again!

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:52 pm
by Mo
That sounds like a pretty great night overall! I'm glad you had fun, and getting to chat with and kiss some people you were attracted to sounds like a success by any measure. :)

I can definitely sympathize with wanting to present in a certain, specific way to send the "right" message to people and attract the folks you're most likely to be interested in. I don't always feel like the way I feel most comfortable presenting myself results in people reading me the way I'd like them to, but it's always hard to get a sense of what signifiers other people might pick up on. I also don't want to try so hard to be read correctly that I wind up somewhere that's outside of my comfort zone. I don't have a great answer for this, to be honest, but I feel you--it can be complicated!

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 6:51 pm
by BuddyBoi21
Hey Mo,

I'm really happy you can relate to what I'm going through. This is actually one of the many big reasons why I still don't present in a more feminine way despite (at a certain point in time) feeling comfortable enough to do so.

I no longer feel comfortable nor am I completely free of physical diyphoria anymore because of reactions I've received through a certain MSM centered "dating" app.

With this particular app when I was curious about receptive anal sex with a partner I received a lot of messages in which I was treated more like a sexual object than as a person.

I also realized how well I "pass" as a cis man and how uncomfortable that makes me.

I've received either discrimination or have been reduced to a fetish on account of being trans, being black and not presenting masculine enough to where people felt or assumed I should be a bottom, that I wanted certain parts that I didn't even asked for. People have even outright have said that because, I don't fit into certain body standards, that I'm not tall enough, I'm not muscular enough, or that my d*ck isn't "real".

It makes me even more distraught to present that way even in public queer spaces. Which I actually have; I've been completely shirtless with a skirt like garment on at a LGBTQ+ clue and people still assumed I was a cis gay boy. The time before I went to the same club I presented more masculine and every girl I tried to speak to seemed repulsed by me.

I wanted to cry after both of those moments because I feel trapped by expectations, gender roles and assumptions made by cis and even other trans people. It's exactly why I find it difficult to even bring myself to say hello to women or more feminine people I find attractive.

That was a lot to spew out in response but I don't recall if I shared that here.

Either way, thank you for reading!

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:57 pm
by Mo
It's really sad, sometimes, when I think about how widespread the sorts of fetishizing comments and assumptions you're so hurt by can be, even in queer communities where people consider themselves welcoming and inclusive. I wish I had a great tip to help you avoid people who have those gendered expectations and try to impose their assumptions on other people, but it can be really tiring to weed out all the people or communities that are the worst offenders. I hear you: it sucks a lot! All of your frustration around this is valid.

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:25 am
by Amanda F.
Hi BuddyBoi21,

I wonder if you've tried some of the less-mainstream apps? There are a few out there now that specifically cater to people outside the binary/heteronormativity. There aren't nearly as many people using those apps, but it might be worth a look.

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2019 5:43 pm
by BuddyBoi21
Hey Amanda,

I haven't tried less mainstream apps for that reason. There aren't as many people so it sort of makes looking even harder. Unless it's somehow entirely LGBTQ+ only and has a much better algorithm then I don't think it could help me much more than the ones I'm currently using.

Feel free to send a recommendation list anyway. There's no harm in trying.

Thank you!

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 7:01 pm
by BuddyBoi21
Hey y'all,

I wanted to update this and will probably make a public post other users can respond to.

Good news: I have a date on Sunday!
Bad news: My anxiety is through the roof over it :(

I'll manage hopefully, until then thanks for all of your responses!

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 9:15 pm
by al
Hi BuddyBoi,

So glad to hear that you've been putting yourself out there, even if it's taken you out of your comfort zone!

As for Saturday, what's making you feel anxious about it? Would it help to talk through them at all here?

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:16 am
by BuddyBoi21
Hey al!

I guess for this date on Sunday, I'm nervous I won't know what to do if things escalate with this person. They're pretty flirtatious with me and they were actually the one who asked me out first. So I'm nervous because I feel flustered from the flirting.

Not in a bad way, just in a "my brain goes blank" sort of way. I can feel my face get hot and if I know what I way to say I don't know how to say it.

I guess I'm also not super used to women and more femme people flirting with me and being forward with me if I'm attracted to them. Like I wouldn't describe it as being afraid of messing up or scaring them away but just, this nervous feeling is extremely to nervousness I would have around a crush in my teens.

Does this make sense?

Thanks for reading!

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 4:39 pm
by Mo
I can get easily flustered too, so I understand why that worry might make you feel nervous! I think it's all right if you do feel flustered sometimes on your date, or if it takes a moment to figure out what you want to say and do. A lot of people experience some level of awkwardness, often related to nerves around attraction, on first dates or the first time they're physically intimate together, and I think most people are just fine at handling a flustered partner. Sometimes it helps to name the issue; many people would be flattered to hear "It's hard to think straight when you're so close" or something similar. I hope you have a nice time on your date, whatever happens. :)

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:08 pm
by BuddyBoi21
Hey Mo,

Thank you for providing the words of reassurance. My date and I have been texting a lot and she's excited to see me!

I'll keep y'all updated!

Thanks again!

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:29 am
by BuddyBoi21
Alright everyone, I just got home from my date!

Everything went really well and honestly I realized that for myself personally this is the first time I went on a legit date with someone in a while. I kept in mind to let things progress naturally and thought of it in just an exploration of a new person rather than a goal to have sex with someone mindset.

We talked quite a bit, held hands, and even kissed! She thinks I'm cute and agreed to a second date so I'm excited. I mentioned I'm neurodivergent at some point during the date but didn't get into the details. I don't know when I'll bring up being medicated for bipolar disorder or being autistic but it'll probably come up soon-ish.

I felt a lot less anxious than I thought I would and I'm hoping things will go over well and if they end that they end smoothly.

I'll keep y'all updated!

Thank you again for the advice!

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 4:56 pm
by Heather
This is great! Yay!

I'm about to switch the boards to read-only for the break the staff are taking for the next almost-two-weeks, but just wanted to wish you well, and know we'll all still be rooting for you during that time. Take good care, BuddyBoi. :)

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:31 pm
by al
So, so happy to hear it, BuddyBoi. I’m glad you’re getting to experience those feelings of joy and sparkles and excitement and positive nerves, even if they were preceded by some anxiety. Meeting new people and putting yourself out there is always a little risky, especially when we’re disabled or neuroatypical or marginalized in some way, but it seems like it’s really paid off for you!

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:11 pm
by BuddyBoi21
So the short version is that second date never happened because of timing and "bad" luck.

I also less than an hour ago saw a friend of mine that I hadn't seen in a few months (the same person I had a crush on in the earlier stages of my last relationship) revealed the distance between us was beneficial for them.

They also noted how with the way I acted that I thought I still had a chance with them. They said that if that I still had feelings for them and that was my intention still that they didn't think they could continue our friendship.

I, in this moment of typing, don't feel all that great. I feel a lot of regret, I have this thought bubbling that anyone I'm genuinely attracted to or romantically involved with will always benefit more when I'm gone.

I also had a thought of a certain prophecy I had been told a while back by a trusted person who's in touch with their spirituality. The told me a small physical detail about "my person"; they saw I was happy with this person, well dress and muscular like I hope to be someday and overall successful. This does teeter me into a slight obsession from time to time but in the instance of thinking of this alongside my spiral, I thought that:
1. I wasn't deserving of romantic love or a partner of any kind.
2. That this "person" is someone I'll meet in the afterlife; an angel I get to meet when I die and pass over to some sort of Heaven.

Logically, I know point 1 isn't true and point 2 is basically a nicer way of saying "I won't find anyone who will romantically love me as a lifelong partner until I'm dead". Logically, I know that's false too but the "feeling" is still there, if that makes sense?

As for my date they told me vaguely life stuff happened and that they don't want to date because they feel it wouldn't be fair after what felt like am extremely long week I was fine but I still have this so of longing I guess. Not for this person but for someone. Acknowledgement of this feels "off", like it not the exactly right thing I mean to say.

Currently I'm back at school so I've been too busy to respond and will continue to do so for a bit because I'm a full time student again. As for my "love life", I'm not going out on dates, I've been getting out of my shell more with talking to people and more confidently navigating dating and crushes as an autistic person.

I find myself being more accepting of having crushes and strong initial attractions to people and these attractions seem to pass after a short amount of time. As for my interest in sex (which will leak into the other post) it's been here and there but still ties back to how I probably want to move toward changing the way I masturbate.

I less frequently use porn and recently discovered through a surprise from someone I went on a date with in the summer that I do still sexually respond to stimuli but probably miss the human connection aspect of it.

I love sex but having someone there seems to be what I'm needing in order to have any sort of higher sexual pleasure.

I hope y'all had a great break and look forward to hearing back from you!

Re: Mental Health and Romance

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:20 pm
by Mo
Thanks for the update; I'm sorry to hear it isn't a more positive one but it's nice to hear from you.

I do think it's great that you're having steady progress getting out of your shell and talking to people; getting more confident in that way is going to be beneficial overall. I hope you can continue to feel like you're making progress there and feeling more comfortable having crushes and being attracted to people.