One of my lovely commenters mentioned having Asperger’s and tending to express love by helping a partner with practical things. And since The Pedant is constantly offering to do things for me, it suddenly occurred to me that this might actually be A Thing and I should look up how Aspies in general feel/express love. I do not know why I hadn’t thought of this before, overthinker and prodigious Googler that I am.
Bingo: most of the articles I read said that it’s common for people with Asperger’s to express caring through offering to help with things. And also common for them to drop the ball on certain social aspects of dating, like sending mushy texts (which I kind of already assumed).
A number of the things I read said that Aspies may not know when they feel love, or may refuse to say the words I love you unless they’re one hundred percent sure they feel it. One page claimed that neurotypicals generally define love through practical concepts (“Do you respect me? Do you want to commit to me?”) while Aspies think of love in a much more nebulous way, as a feeling (“I’m happy when you’re around”). This seems counterintuitive to me; I thought Aspies were the ones who wanted to define everything in as logical and concrete a way as possible and NTs were the comparatively flowery poetic ones. If NT’s think of love in practical terms, then why (according to a bunch of stuff I read) do they usually want mushy words and are disappointed/don’t understand when Aspies give them help around the house instead?
That was just one web page, though, and so it may be wrong.
One or two sites also said that an Aspie might feel love for someone, and know zie feels love for them, and yet have a hard time saying the words for whatever reason.
Now I’m more sure than ever that if I tell The Pedant I love him, he won’t say it back. Which is pretty okay, I guess? The main reason I want to hear the words from him is as an assurance that my position in his life is relatively secure. If he barely tolerated my presence, for instance, then it would be quite easy for him to meet a woman who distracted his attention from me. If he likes me a lot, it’ll be more difficult for someone to eclipse me. If he loves me, well, that would make it even harder for someone else to claim all his free time.
So if The Pedant can’t or won’t drop the L-bomb on me, I can just express my concerns and ask The Pedant if we’re relatively stable. Or I can ask him how he defines love; chances are if he doesn’t say that word back to me it’s because he defines it differently from me, not because he’s feeling something different or lesser than I do. The way he holds me, the way our sex has gotten so intense, the way he constantly offers to help me with things, the way he’s immediately made compromises for me every time I’ve asked him to – we are on the same page here. I’m quite sure.
In other news, the FetLife guy from last night sent me a follow-up text today asking how my day went. I loooooove when a guy does that. He seems pretty awesome. ❤