Dating my girlfriend is like a box of chocolates. I never know what I’m going to get each day I’m with her. There are days when she has a lot to say, a lot of energy to expel, and her feelings and expressions have a wider range, and then there are days where she has the thousand-yard stare, with her face almost completely devoid of expression, and she looks like she’s about to pass out into sleep right where she’s standing.
Do you ever have that moment in your life when something so small and seemingly insignificant happens that means something amazing to you that you feel like popping open a bottle of champagne? That’s me just about every time my girlfriend has a topic of her own she wants to bring up when I text her at night. It means conversation will be had, and it’s wonderful. Whenever my girlfriend suggests doing something with a group, the feeling is like soaring high on wings like eagles. You feel like maybe, just maybe, introducing her to other people has helped her step out of her comfort zone.
After a couple hours being around other people, she says that her brain is screaming at her to retreat to be alone somewhere, and there’s nothing I can do about that but let her go be alone. Whenever we part ways, she goes to regain her energy while I spend some time losing my own and soon have to talk to someone else to get it back.
There will be times when our conversations are on fire and we go on for a while bouncing our words back and forth between each other, but then the fire will start to die out, and I still have the energy to keep going but the ‘social light’ is dying in my girlfriend’s eyes.
I asked her once why she, as an introvert, would ever even glance at the idea of getting married, and her response was that it’s because she would be marrying the person she ‘hates the least’. In other words, she would be marrying the one person she enjoys spending time with the most out of everyone her introverted nature allows her to interact with.
You might think I’m frustrated. You might think I’m venting about my girlfriend in a negative way. These aren’t complaints. These aren’t criticisms. They are part of what makes up my girlfriend, but only part. She is an introvert, and nothing will change that aspect of her. She may be able to step outside her comfort zone and meet more people or spend longer periods of time around others including me, but she will always be an introvert that needs time to herself every now and then, so that she can regain energy to give next time we see each other.
Dating someone who is not only introverted but also on the autism spectrum has brought on a very educational and informative two and a half years for me with its own ups and downs, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Though my extroverted self and her introverted self have clashed, very few moments in my life can top the time when my girlfriend called me ‘God’s best for her’. Very few moments can top the time when my girlfriend told someone we know that God brought along the guy that was meant for her. Her lack of emotional expression doesn’t mean she’s beyond any feelings. She gets stressed, even anxious at times. She gets happy. She gets frustrated. She has even cried. Not often but enough to show that at the end of the day she’s still a human that needs to be treated as such. She’s not emotional, but she has a talent of being emotionally supportive. The times where, despite her pragmatism and lack of emotional expression, she reaches out and makes my day with encouraging words, physical affection, and random, infectious smiles reminds me that what makes her different from me is partially what makes her precious, and doesn’t make her any less lovable.
I don’t just love her. I’m also proud of her, for how much she has grown during the time I’ve known her and how much I’ve seen her step outside her comfort zone and try new things, just as I have in the process thanks to her. Women like her can and deserve to be loved, just like neurotypical women, both extroverted and introverted.