I've never kissed a girl. Well... for real at least. I was in a show that involved kissing on stage, but that didn't really count. While my character acted otherwise, there was definitely no passion on my side.

I don't think I've held hands with a girl while walking, either. Pulling her on to the dance floor, helping her up or down a staircase, pulling her up from the ground, escorting her into a formal event, letting her take mine, or anywhere else where contact is incidental, yes. But intertwining fingers or just holding hands to be together? No.

Dating me is a two-edged experience. At least it seems like that from my perspective. All the girls I've talked with after the fact feel like our relationship, however short, was worthwhile. But many also explain that it was one of the more painful and confusing times of their lives. Part of it is probably because I don't show physical affection, but still try to engage on a spiritual or emotional level. Or because my dates are usually gospel conversations that flow through activities. Or because autism affects my ability to understand social norms and I either leave the girl hanging or completely overwhelm her. Either way, it makes the experience completely unlike dating anyone else.

I guess the issue is that I want to always send the right message, but I have trouble communicating in the first place. I don't want to hurt people or distance myself through dishonest communication, verbal or nonverbal. And since I've never felt the desire or need to tell a girl I had same-sex attraction, I felt the need to communicate in another way... so that I wasn't leading her on.

The ironic thing is that if I weren't totally afraid of miscommunicating, I'd be a much more physical person (within the right bounds, obviously). Right now I feel sort of isolated from the rest of the physical world of relationships and my standoffishness in initiating contact probably doesn't help.

I'm wondering if my paranoia (and that's probably what it is) about miscommunication will be easier to assuage now. If girls, and guys, know who I am and what my lifelong goals are, then I don't have to rely on partial information to say what I really want to say. Like, "I like spending time with you, but I'm not there yet to be able to show it. We'll see if it happens." Or, "I just need a hug & a guy to sit with and talk to. Are you cool with that?"

It'll be interesting to see how this impacts my dating life. I'm not interested in finding a girl who would settle for a guy who isn't totally in love with her. I'm not looking for pity or someone who wants to prove that sheer guts and faith can take you all the way to Heaven. I am looking for a girl who is willing to give faith a chance, though - who is willing to love enough to see if I can love her back. Vulnerable? Yeah. But I guess at least we'll be on equal grounds there - this is as vulnerable as I can get.

That's why I date, and why I don't. Because I honestly care about girls and want the best for them and for me. And because I'm exercising my own faith. That hopefully, someday soon, I'll meet a girl, and a miracle will happen. Something will click, the impossible will become reality, and I'll be attracted to a girl. We'll both fall in love - and be on equal grounds - get married, and spend the rest of our lives working and growing to make it work.

Before that happens, though, I'm still involved in the world of dating.

Maybe I can leverage the issue of same-sex attraction to overcome the awkwardness of the whole dating game. Or maybe it'll be worse. Is it okay for me to tell a girl that I'm not physically attracted to her... when it's a universal thing and not specific to her? Should I even care about the social rules that govern normal guys? Are there any implicitly understood social contracts about having SSA and dating? I know I've never found any. Maybe I'll write my own. I think I will. Whatever.

Random side note: The Post Index is updated. I was 178 posts behind. That's 50 pages of index. I think I may need to find a better way of organizing the past.
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