The Final Confession of an Autistic Lover

I hand the book over to you, where I go next may change me forever, so keep this as a record. A record of just how much, someone with so little, can feel.

Valerie, when I first met you, I couldn’t help but stare. There was something about you that drew my attention though I would never know quite what that was; I was inexplicably drawn to you. It was for this reason that I acted upon my instincts and sought you out, I knew there had to be some reason I felt this way towards you even if I didn’t fully understand why. Nothing deterred me; when I was told you had feelings for another, when you told me you wanted to take it slow and cautiously, none of it stopped the fact that I was drawn to you, and therefore I had to have you. It wasn’t lust, as I’m sure you knew all to well. But there was something else in you that gravitated me.

I’ve lived my whole life unsatiated, nothing I had or did was ever enough. I was never good enough for my parents, never good enough for my friends, and especially never good enough for me. It was only after my suicide attempt that I started to try and come to terms with the fact I would have to learn to accept this or I would never be truly free of my own personal hell. That was a never-ending struggle, but then you came into my life. In such short time you changed everything. I know it may be hard to believe, as I always seemed to be struggling with something when we were together, be it classes, my family, or the problems you faced that you shared with me. But I did have one thing that always kept me going, that put a smile on my face; you. No matter how hard my day was, what situations life threw at me, I fell asleep and woke up next to you, and that was enough. I finally had one slice of my life that I felt I no longer needed to strive for, that I needed to constantly try to improve or otherwise change. I had you, and every day I woke up and saw that this was true, I was contempt. The part of my life that mattered most was finally enough, because of you.

Do you remember the night when I told you I found a job? ENLC, the company that would put me on track to leave Arkansas and start a career that I wanted so desperately to be apart of. I was elated to share how many doors that job could open for me with you. Then you cried in my arms because not once did I mention you, I didn’t mention us as a part of my plan for the future. That was the first time in a long time I was scared. I was scared I was going to lose you, I didn’t want to lose you. I could always proudly tell you the truth, and I never lied to you. I told you the truth; I had no intentions of giving you up for that job. I told you that the one thing that drove me more than anything else was to find someone I could build a home with, and I wanted that to be you. So that’s what I told you, that as long as you were willing to follow me, I would take that job, and I would happily wait for as long as I needed to for you to join me. This never changed, and I was pleased to hear you accept those terms.

When I finally moved to take that job I found people that shared my passions, friends that were all about sharing experiences that I wanted to partake in. I’d never experienced this before, and I haven’t experienced anything like it since. Watching that slowly fade away wasn’t something I was very fond of, but I was powerless to stop; the world doesn’t revolve around me as much as I’d like it to sometimes. But that whole time I was with those people I couldn’t believe how much I felt was going right in my life. I worked on something I enjoyed, spent leisure time doing the things I liked with the people I wanted to do them with. Every day I slept and woke up alone, missing a single puzzle piece. Yet I was comforted by the thought that in the not-so-distant future, I would have you by my side again, and that was enough. I was finally satisfied. However, there was one thing that bugged me. I told you when I moved that the greatest strain on our relationship would be my lack of constant communication with you, that it was something I’d never been able to fully grasp. I tried harder for you than anyone else I’ve ever known, even my own mother; she knew this and was grossly jealous of you for it. But despite my efforts, it wasn’t enough for you, and this troubled me. I texted you, called you, and wrote you letters. Sometimes all in the same week! I’m simply not capable of seeing the importance of telling someone how little has changed in the day-to-day monotony of my life. I’m a creature of habit, my habits don’t change. I wasn’t going to call you to repeat the same thing I told you the day before, except that I had something different for lunch, or that the weather had changed. If that came across as me not caring to know about you, or what you went through daily, I’m sorry. What I don’t consider important in my life doesn’t mean I hold it to be the same for others, if you wanted to talk all you had to do was speak, I would happily listen. Don’t force me to talk too.

When you made plans to come and see me, it’s a complete understatement when I tell you that everyone at work knew how deeply I cared about you, and were so exited to finally meet the person I wouldn’t shut up about. I talked about you visiting for weeks, asked for ideas on where to take you, places to eat, group activities to take part in so you could see just how much I’d come out of my shell and show you the people that I called friends, people that I just knew you would be able to call friends too. The day you arrived I took off work, the only official day off I planned the whole working season. Greg told me to stop talking about you that morning before he left for work. When I realized shortly before you called me that I had completely forgot the time change and was going to be an hour late I was gravely upset and embarrassed with myself. I went 20 miles over the speed limit to try and make you wait as little as possible. I didn’t tell you just how sorry I was about being late, I was beating myself up the whole way back, especially when you told me that it was totally a mistake I would make. I decided I would do everything in my power to make it up to you the rest of the time you spent with me. So I filled our days with activities, I wanted to show you just how much fun we could have together there, when I think now all you really wanted was to rekindle our relationship. I didn’t see any signs that things were wrong, all I knew was that I had you beside me again, and that was enough to make everything okay. But that was just for me, I never stopped to ask you anything of the sort, I just expected you to air grievances like you did when we lived together in Russellville.

The night you accused me of harboring feelings for Jess was the first and only time I was ever mad at you. I always told you the truth. I never harbored feelings for anyone I worked with, they all knew I was happily taken and I would’ve rejected any and all advances. I was hit on countless times by random people at bars but I never once entertained the idea of being with anyone else, because I had you, and you were all I needed. Hearing your accusation cut me like a knife, and the only reason I was able to let that go was because it was you. I couldn’t stay mad at you, especially when you apologized for it. But those words changed me, they planted a seed of doubt inside that I fretted over for the rest of our relationship. Before you left you asked me a question. A question I had heard from you before I moved to Elko; “What happens to us?”. I gave you the same answer that I did then. I was here, waiting for you to join me, and I would wait for as long as I needed to. But this answer didn’t convince you like it did the first time. I had to try harder to impress upon you that my words still rung true. I’m not convinced I ever did just that. When you finally told me your schoolwork was done, and you were ready to start looking around for hospitals to finish your schooling in was simultaneously the happiest and worst day I’ve lived so far. It was when I thought I could finally have you again, and when I lost you. I’ve spent the last three years trying to slowly forget that phone call, but I’ll never forget those two fateful questions you asked me.

After you left I thought deeply about the time I spent with you, how it seemed we didn’t connect like we once did, how you seemed to be more withdrawn from me, as if you were preparing for something that I hadn’t yet fully come to terms with. Then you called me. I’m fairly oblivious to most things, but the tension in that phone call I could have cut with a knife before I ever uttered a word. I knew what was coming and I did not like it. You asked me that question again; “What happens to us?”. I, once again, gave you the same answer I had twice before. I was waiting for you to come to me, my last precious puzzle piece. I was dreadfully scared of how much you were potentially sacrificing to move to the middle of nowhere for me, I was intimately aware that I could never have as much to sacrifice as you did in terms of career potential and I let that weigh heavily upon me. I see now that me spending all that time cautioning you about how much you could be giving up to be with me could also be seen as me trying to convince you not to do so, that was never my intention. My answer wasn’t enough this time, so you asked me the last question I ever wanted to hear from you. “Do you love me?”.

I knew that this question was coming, and I hated every moment I waited for it, and hated it all the more when you finally said it aloud. All the times you had told me you loved me before and I had never reciprocated, it was all coming to a head and I wasn’t ready for the curtain call. But I never lied to you, I have always told you the truth about how I felt and my answer to your question was no different. I told you I didn’t know. That answer I have always held to be the truth, even now. The conversation could have ended there, no words needed to be said afterwards, I knew how much me saying those words would hurt you, I was acutely aware of just how painful hearing them from me would be for you. But you didn’t accept them, you made me pick yes or no and asked me to call you back with an answer you could accept. I never thought about that question, not even in the slightest. I sat alone in my apartment thinking about the answer I had already given you. What more could I possibly say to you after I told you those words? What future could I ever hope to build with you after you rejected the truth? I lied to you Valerie, I called you back and lied to you and said I didn’t love you. The same conclusion you came to when you waited for me to call you back. I was defeated, and there was nothing more I thought I could do. I didn’t want to lose you even though I already had, I begged you to stay, to be my friend, to not leave me even though I knew I had hurt you more than I ever wanted to and that there would be no chance you would ever stay with me, and I hated every moment of it.

When we hung up, for what I expected to be the last time I would ever hear your voice, I sat dumbfounded. I was one step away from completing the puzzle I’ve always dreamed about, the piece I had held on to longer than any of the others, the one I never had to worry about losing, I just lost. It turned to sand in my hands and fell between the cracks of my fingers, taking the rest of my puzzle pieces with it. I expected to cry, I expected to scream in frustration for letting you just slip away and not even putting up a fight. I wanted to be angry, sad, enraged, devastated, mournful, guilt-ridden, grieving; I wanted to feel something, anything! But the truth is much more cruel. I felt nothing. I felt nothing when I gave you my answer, I felt nothing when I lied to you, and I felt nothing when I said goodbye. Nothing. Absolutely nothing at all.

I didn’t go to work for three days after I talked to you, everyone was trying to contact me but I wanted nothing to do with anyone, I had lost the one person I never wanted to lose, and it was all my fault. My life fell apart, I started missing work days, I stopped hanging out with others, I started drinking and smoking heavily trying to cope with my new reality. Over the next few months everything crumbled around me. Work stopped and everyone I worked with went away, my roommate Greg accepted a job in Colorado and I couldn’t afford the place by myself, and the funding for the job dried up and next year the crew would be cut to only 3 people. Like the flick of a switch I was all alone again; I had no work, no friends, and I didn’t have you. So I made plans to move back home. The day before I left I got your letter in the mail; I read that letter over and over, but I felt nothing. After everything you still left a small flicker of hope in me, that I could still keep you in my life. I moved back to Little Rock, and I wanted nothing more than to see you, to hear you, feel your touch again. But all I could think about was how much I hurt you, and how you called me apathetic. How after everything, I felt nothing. So I did what I do best.


But my self-destruction doesn’t end there. When you sent me that text asking about the rest of my belongings you still had, I lived only 15 minutes away from you. I lived a short drive from you for months and you handed me the perfect opportunity to see you again. I couldn’t do it, I asked my mother to meet you and gave her implicit instructions to lie to you and tell you I still lived far away. I wanted her to say no, I wanted her to not lie to you and to tell you I was there with her, but she told me she went through with the lie. I hated myself for it then, and I hate myself for it now. Eventually I moved into an apartment with John, my friend you met in college when he came to visit. I lived with him for a year and a half in Bryant as I worked a dead-end job, and every time I ever brought you up he told me how stupid I was for letting you go, and how much of a coward I was for letting all of my chances of reconnecting with you slip through my fingers. I hated hearing the truth thrown back at me, I had every chance and I repeatedly threw them all away. Almost a year ago now I contacted you out of the blue, a desperate attempt to see if you were still there, if you would still listen. I knew what I did was fruitless, but I couldn’t live with the idea of going the rest of my life without trying to contact you again. The answer I got was what I deserved, and I have no one but myself to blame.

You told me I should seek therapy, I didn’t want to. I feared what I would be told, because it would be the same thing I’ve known since I threw all of those early chances away. That I would just need to move on and find someone else, that you had moved on and what we had would never again grace this Earth. A rather bleak outlook but the honest one. Out of respect for you I went to therapy and two months later I moved to where I am now, in Iowa pouring all of my time and effort into a job that will happily let me work 50, 60 sometimes 70 hours a week to keep myself preoccupied. Yet I still found time to get therapy, and the truth about myself that I found out was absolutely catastrophic for me, and, if anything, made me worse because I now know the truth about myself, a truth that I wish with every fiber of my being wasn’t true, but like the passage of time I am powerless to stop, I can only learn to come to terms and cope with this new me. I want desperately to share this with you because you are the only person I’ve ever connected with in a way that makes this meaningful, and I think even though you have probably buried our past it will tie off any loose ends you may have had.

The therapist I saw before I left the state told me that she thought I was autistic, but she lacked the qualifications to properly diagnose me. She recommended several hospitals near where I planned to move that helped diagnose children and teens with autistic disorders. On my birthday this year I called and told my mother the news, that the therapist I had been seeing in private told me I was autistic and asked for her guidance in moving forward. She broke down and cried on the phone with me. Then she told me she already knew. I asked her to explain and what she shared with me rocked me to my very core. I told you about my past, how when I was seventeen I was diagnosed with severe depression and bipolar disorder. But there was another diagnosis that wasn’t disclosed to me. I was also diagnosed with Asperger’s. After I had thought my battle with depression and and bi-polar disorder were through, there was still something about myself that I struggled to understand, even with you I felt it there, always lingering in the back of my mind, yet I could never quite put my thumb on it and give it a name. Now I have it, and it was kept a secret from me for almost 10 years. For 10 years I have been desperately searching for an answer to what ails me, hoping it was something else I would be able to “cure” or “fix”. Only to find out that the person I trusted the most had the answer, and never told me. It was not a reality I wanted to accept. But nonetheless I moved forward and sought out therapy with someone experienced with young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I found that person, and after months of expensive screenings, tests, and hard-felt conversations later I know now that I have what was formerly called Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, and Alexithymia. Getting these diagnoses was honestly sickening. Not just because of what they are, but because of the fact they aren’t treatable. These are conditions I will live with forever, no amount of medication, wishing, or praying will make them go away or lessen their hold on me. All I can do is cope, understand that I have restraints on the parts of my life that I so desperately hoped I wouldn’t have, and that I will live with them until the day I die, for better or worse.

Why is this so important to me? Because when I discovered this truth I was teleported three years into the past, and now I’m stuck. I’m stuck where I altered the entire course of my life. All of these emotions, thoughts, feelings that I so desperately wanted to scream into existence for you, I just didn’t know how. All of my actions from that time haunt me, they haunt me in the waking world, and even in my subconscious. My therapist called it my own personal form of psychological flagellation, that I’m punishing myself because I can’t punish anything or anyone else. But that’s not true. There are people I can blame and punish for doing this to me, but I can’t bring myself to do so. Instead, I am working through my past and identifying what once felt like nothing, and am giving bits and pieces of what once seemed like emptiness names, names of emotions I was feeling so that I can learn to express myself better. It’s painstakingly slow, and agonizing at times, but I’m learning nonetheless.

So with this I want to share with you what I was unable to before. To prove to myself that I’m not an unfeeling monster, to show you just how much I cared for you, and just what you forced away.

The first time you told me you loved me, I was shocked. It had only been roughly two months into our relationship and I was surprised, and frankly scared, of how quickly you attached to me. Only one person had done that before you, Emily. I don’t need to remind you just what she put me through for you to understand my hesitation to reciprocate then. But she wasn’t the only one. I told you that I had used the word ‘love’ before and it was weaponized both by me, and against me. Julie used it to hurt me again and again for months on end, and I used it in haste with Nhu-Thao because I was blinded by passion and naivete. I didn’t want to make the same mistake with you, so I held back. The next time you told me you loved me was before I moved to Elko. We had been together roughly six months then. Once again I didn’t reciprocate but the reasons were slightly different, and these I never fully explained to you. The truth is I didn’t know what love was supposed to feel like. I had only ever used it under times of great duress. I used it when I thought I was going to lose Julie, I used it when I tried to convince Nhu-Thao that my feelings for her were genuine, and I used it constantly with family to try and reciprocate it back to them. I thought love was supposed to feel a certain way, like how it’s portrayed in movies and fairy tales. But I never felt that type of love for you and it scared me. There was no doubt in my mind I wanted to be with you, I was fearful of losing you, and I was willing to do anything for you, except say those three simple words ‘I love you’. Every time I texted you, called you, and wrote you I thought about this. I thought why could I not convince myself that what I felt for you was love, why didn’t it feel like I was in love with you despite me actively trying to build my world around you? Was I scared? Confused? Why was I so apprehensive to convey a deeper meaning of my feelings for you? When you came and visited me I had a fantastical illusion of grandeur on how our time would be spent together.

I was planning on spending a wonderful time with you and on the day of you leaving I was going to finally reciprocate, and tell you I loved you. Even if I still didn’t know if it was love I felt, with the intention of taking you back to Jarbidge when you moved to Elko, and asking you to marry me.

But then I was an hour late picking you up, then came the accusation, and I spent the rest of my time fearing I was teetering the line of losing you, and that fear struck home when you didn’t tell me you loved me the whole time you were with me, or before you left. So I never said anything, and I waited. I waited for that phone call with bated fear, dreading what was to come, that I was going to fall short with you just like I had with everyone else in my life. And when that time came, I failed. You gave me a second chance, more than I ever deserved, and I failed again. Nobody could reach me in those three days after that phone call because I was in the Ruby Wilderness. I hiked a full day deep into the mountains, I dug a hole and I tried to bury my dream. I buried it with countless tears and words. Words of anger, pain, sorrow, longing, and love. Then I drank myself into a stupor, vowing never again to pour as much emotion into something as I did that dream. When John asked me why I never tried to see you when I moved back the answer was never the same, it always changed. Even if only slightly. I never gave him the honest truth because I thought that fear could never manifest if I never spoke it. I was deathly afraid of seeing you because I didn’t know if I would become overwhelmed by emotions and break down in front of you, or if I would stare into the eyes of the woman I wanted more than anything in the world, and still feel nothing.

I want to hate my biological father. He was never there for me, dropped me every chance he could, and gave me this wretched curse that robs me of the only things I wanted to feel with those I care the most about. I want to hate my step-father for all of the years of physical and emotional abuse, for shunning my feelings and wants because he had to settle for me to be with my mother. I want to hate that therapist that diagnosed me and didn’t tell me. Who didn’t even make an effort to treat the root-cause of my conditions. I want to hate my mother, for not telling me for nine straight years, despite the countless times I came to her expressing how much I longed to understand what was wrong with me. Years she spent silently watching me struggle with the things I cared most about, while she watched me lose you, the first person she actually thought I was going settle down with. I’ve had to listen to my mind tell me that if she hadn’t kept this from me, that if I had only known of my condition, I could have understood that my confusion and fear were born from my struggles to understand emotions. That if I could have had that chance to share to share any of this with you; why I struggled to connect with you on the level you wanted, on a level that I wanted. That you and I would still be together right now. That I wouldn’t be struggling alone with all of these emerging thoughts and feelings because I would have the best therapy anyone could ever ask for beside me every day and night, telling me that they love me, and that I’m enough, and that WE can get through this TOGETHER. But if I hated everyone, I would have nobody. I’m alone Valerie, I’ve been alone since you left me and I’m so very alone right now. I’ve tried to be fine by myself, and I am. I find some pleasure in my success and stability, but it will only ever be just fine, those alone will never be enough. I only wanted these things for one pivotal purpose, to better care for someone, someone I could start a family with. I wanted that person to be you.

Thus ends our story, a storybook I have refused to close for all these years after. I’ve laid my soul out before you, all of my guilt, my anger, my shame, and my love. I do this knowing I’ll never have you again, you have him now. I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t envious, but I have only myself to blame. You gave me two chances to be your everything, then you gave me a chance and countless time to be your friend, and I did nothing with it. He better thank whatever powers he believes in that he has you, because if life was even only slightly more forgiving. I would tell you the hardest thing I’ve had to come to terms with.
I loved you, I still love you, and I don’t want to stop loving you.

My final confession is to you Valerie, because it’s the most shameful, selfish desire that I have. I don’t regret that I lied to you and told you no. I regret that I didn’t say yes.

The Final Confession of an Autistic Lover

Confessions of an Autistic Lover

Valerie – Here’s to the most emotion you’ll ever receive from me, that you’ll never know about.

Congratulations, I was on a strong writing streak there for awhile, but when I realized I would eventually get to you again, you stopped me dead in my tracks. I’ve struggled so much with the inner turmoil of my emotions building up to this that I’ve lost the desire to do most anything I would normally enjoy. Years have gone by but your grip has hardly faded. After you left me, I did my best to move on, I had a very active social life that didn’t involve you, so I didn’t see a reason that you leaving me would change anything. Then the working season was over, and my roommate moved. All of a sudden my budding circle diminished to just me, and just how alone I had become started to set in.

Once Covid had a firm grip on the country my career path suddenly closed. So I moved back home and moved in with my best friend John. Working a stable 8-5 job with John to come home to worked for the time I lived with him. It didn’t stifle my want for intimacy, but I wasn’t lonely, which was good enough. But now I live alone, and I have nobody to talk to, nobody to confide in or to console. It’s been chipping away at me for months now, and I’m starting to desperately crave affection. The affection I had with you, that I didn’t want to lose. But you forced my hand and I’ve just been coping ever since. After you left me I spent a lot of time trying to decide what I did wrong, what I could have done differently, if there was anything I could have done to prevent it. I spent years trying to isolate what broke the relationship to a single point. I wondered if it was because I really didn’t love you, or because I was hesitant that you were willing to sacrifice so much for me when I didn’t have nearly as much to sacrifice for you.

I’m beginning to understand that there was no breaking point, but rather just breaks everywhere.

It took me a week with the help of one of our mutual friends to convince you to consider me as a romantic partner. It took a single date for you to decide you wanted sleep with me, and I made you wait for 3 before our first time together. After that night you asked me to stay over and I told you that if I stayed you’d never want me to leave. The next two visits you asked me to stay the night, and then that following weekend you asked me to move in with you. I reminded you of my parting words just over a week prior and you got upset, but asked me to stay nonetheless. In just one month I went from a stranger, to somebody you shared a house with, and this was with me still reigning you in, if only ever so slightly.

By the end of the second month you told me you loved me.

You were crestfallen when I didn’t reciprocate that love back to you. The reason I told you why still holds true, but looking back on it now is there not something wrong with how fast you were wanting to push our relationship? After two months I was satisfied with what we had, it was rushed, but I never felt uncomfortable. But you were insatiable, both sexually, and romantically. You were always the one that spurned the relationship forward, and I was always the final say on if there was change, it was one-sided, but it was intentionally made that way. By both of us. You were willing to meet any and all resistance without hesitation as long as you continued to make progress towards your desired goal. But just how much of your goal actually involved me?

I think the present speaks for itself.

Neither of us knew it, but I was autistic. You were fascinated by how differently my mind worked compared to yours and others you dated before me, and my love language is definitely physical, so your want for rushed intimacy was something I was very welcoming of. Unfortunately, you started to hit walls, the barriers that surrounded my heart that I was somewhat aware of, but didn’t truly understand. You’re the most understanding person I’ve ever been with, and I think this allowed you to hold on for so long. But there were several things you relied on to keep you going, things that I couldn’t provide. You were infatuated by how I expressed my emotions, early on you said my explanations were well thought out and mature. You eventually replaced these words with cold, and apathetic. You heavily craved sexual intimacy, intimacy that I wasn’t willing to provide. I will admit that I was more attracted to your personality than your body, but that’s not to say I thought you unattractive. When you looked at me I could see in your eyes you were smitten and had a strong lusting for me. I had a deep desire for intimacy, just one not as sexual as yours.

I think the distance between us was sobering for you. You realized just how much you relied on physical intimacy, and how severely lacking I was in communication. What was normal for me was your worst-case scenario. Seeing how little the distance affected me hurt you more than you ever confessed to me, but you didn’t have to. I’m very good at reading people when they open up to me, and I could see the hurt and doubt written all over your face. My words were always true, and I wanted to be with you, but you were beginning to realize that what we felt for each other was not the same.

When you asked me if I loved you, I told you I didn’t know. That was, is, and always will be the truth. In the end love meant two very different things for us, and we couldn’t compare our definitions at the time. Yours was something that was said, affirmed through reciprocation. Mine was something that was seen and felt, only heard by those who knew what to listen for. You didn’t know what you were listening to, and I didn’t know how to teach you. This culminated in your conclusion that I didn’t love you and I was apathetic, heartless even.

I’m not heartless, I’m autistic.

It’s been almost three years since we’ve been together. Since then I’ve not been in another relationship, I’ve only recently even started making an effort. You however started seeing someone new only several months after we parted, and now you own a house together. How could such fondness pass so quickly? You claimed to love me so much, but moved on in months. I know why this is, because I was once this person, someone ruled entirely by dreams of fancy. You were fueled much more by your emotions than I, yours burned like leaves in the wind, whereas mine smoldered like cinders after the fire. You were hot and wild, whereas I was warm and consistent. You were passionate, and I was dedicated. No matter what you were dealing with you could always come home and have me ease your worries and doubts because I was safe, I was your rock.

I was your Nhu-Thao.

The story tells itself again, except this time I played the opposite part. I was the one that watched their partner slowly fall apart, feeling powerless to help. The only difference is I still had to decide at the end of it all when it was over. Life can be so unkind.

In these few short months I have sometimes caught myself wondering about that night we ended. How I failed to tell you why I wanted to stay with you, even if I couldn’t tell you I loved you. I sometimes ponder how different would things have been if I had known I had Asperger’s. If I could have named the affliction I had then, been able to describe just what I was going through. Would we still be together? Would it be us living in that house right now? I’ll never know, and I don’t think I want to know. I know if I was to contact you right now and share this information with you the answer would be the same, that none of this matters now. So this is me letting go of these wants, these thoughts because they will only hold me back.

Confessions of an Autistic Lover

Confessions of an Autistic Lover

Emily – You did exactly what I wanted, maybe a little to well.

After our disaster of a first date, I wanted nothing more to do with you. I knew from then going forward that you would never be able to offer me anything that I would want for any length of time. Turns out I was wrong. The next time I met up with you we went back to your house, and that night I confessed that I wasn’t in a place to be what you were looking for. You immediately took all the blame and placed it on your father, that he was the catalyst for why you acted the way you did. You were moving out to go to your college dorm in a month, if I could just give you that long, everything would be okay.

I wonder if you’ve ever stopped lying?

I put up with you for a month until you asked me to celebrate you moving into your college dorm. I drove 30 minutes to see you, and you kept me waiting outside your dorm for two hours. After I finally threatened to leave I saw you slowly enter the lobby, drag your feet to the door, and barely push the door open without even so much as looking at me. I came and visited you because you enthusiastically asked me to, only to stand outside for two hours, and have you let me in with the most pathetic, unenthusiastic, slap-to-the-face greeting I’ve ever received. You told me that you were so worried about ruining the evening that you worked yourself up into a fit, and did exactly that, you ruined it by greeting me with nothing short of an insult. You’re extremely lucky I waited as long as I did and told you I was going to leave, because I should have just left after you did nothing for 30 minutes. Yet I waited and when you finally conceded, you stayed in that mood the entire night. You expected me to console you, for something that was purely your fault; and when I tried to, you had the audacity to get mad at me for failing to console you. This unfair/unjust punishment would be the perfect label for the next 5 months I spent with you after this incident.

But a switch must have flipped in my head, a part of me knew that you were perfect for what I wanted. I didn’t want to hurt myself anymore, Nhu-Thao worked really hard to help me stop that. But I wouldn’t need to hurt myself as long as I had you. So I kept coming back, month after month as you slowly got worse, I subconsciously reveled in the pain you caused me, because even though I didn’t deserve it from you, I told myself you were giving to me on behalf of Nhu-Thao, and that made it okay. After several months I decided that my flagellant streak was over and I did my best to drop you accordingly. You were surprised that I just up and left so suddenly and were greatly angered that your toxic attempts to stop me didn’t work. I will admit that I’d had enough of others for quite some time after you, and you left many negative impressions in me that haunted me for years afterwards, but in the end you left nothing more than a footnote in my memory.

So that’s all you’ll get here, a footnote. Consider our business finished because those loose ends with you will never be worth dealing with.

Confessions of an Autistic Lover

Confessions of an Autistic Lover

Nhu-Thao – The daydream becomes dangerous when it bleeds into reality.

Nhu-Thao, or should I call you Selena? The time I shared with you are some of my most treasured as I couldn’t seek the comfort of your physical touch. But much of my memory of our time together is troubled and clouded. I was still in great inner turmoil and was wreaking destruction on everything that was apart of my life, even you. Whilst my short-term memory is laughable at best, the parts that make it to long-term I never forget. Ever. But so little of it does that the gaps in-between manifest their own story, one that can be hard to recall. I’ve spent quite a long time analyzing my relationship with you, because it was the most unique, and the most emotional.

The final moments of intimacy between us were here, on this very site that I have you to thank for introducing me to. I wrote you a rather callous letter about how I could see no future for us because I had told you my greatest desires, what I lived for; and you shared that if we were to be together you would never allow me the chance. That due to your own childhood trauma you would never give the past a chance to repeat itself. I still feel that cut even now when I heard you speak those words.

Shortly after you replied in kind, telling me that that was not what you meant at all, that I didn’t understand. But there was no point in debating as it was over, just a far away memory. But I heard you say those words. I heard you. How could they mean anything else? The age gap between us was the same as between me and Julie, you were more mature and from a completely different culture. So I’ve spent the last 7 years debating with myself if my altered mental state caused me to misremember or mistranslate. But looking further back I can’t shake that maybe I was just too attached to a dream instead.

When we first started talking more intimately you told me there was nothing more than friendship between us. When you ousted me as behaving weirdly when I was seeing someone else I admitted that I was, and came out as unfaithful to you. You once again said that nothing between us changed, that there was never anything there to break. I didn’t know how to take those words back then, so I glossed over them. Painted the picture in my head that you were just being strong and polite, offering me a second chance to continue moving forward. That’s what it felt like to me, and that’s what I tried to do.

I heard you tell me you loved me on the phone. The only time I ever heard you reciprocate them to me, and you whispered them when you thought I was asleep. I can still hear those words in my head even now, crystal clear. But they share the same space with the words you told me when you confessed we could never be together. When I had broken your three-strikes rule. The timeline gets muggy in my head around this time, it all flows together. My record shows that you were already in another relationship before we had our last catastrophic meltdown. But you would have never lied about something like that to me, right? I recall just how much pain there was in your voice every time I tried to run away from you, how desperate you were to find me. Somethings can’t be faked and I don’t think, I refuse to believe, yours were untrue.

But even if my recollection is off, the timing is uncanny is it not? If not well before we ended you came out as dating him at most two months after we ended. I can only draw two conclusions from these thoughts, you had moved on from me long before I even knew there were serious problems, or I was never that important to you. Either option is very telling of how I must have been in the relationship, and neither leave me with good feelings. So what of this is true? What part of my memory deceives me?

I’ll never know, and it eats me up inside.

Every relationship I’ve had after you I always use you as the shining example of what a great relationship could be, and how bad it can go if one of them gives up. I’ve spent years bragging about how I managed to convince such a wonderful person like you to be with me, and lamenting that I hadn’t found you years later when I was a healthier person with a stable state-of-mind.

Now I can’t even fully convince myself that it wasn’t all a dream.

Oh the questions I could ask you right now, all of the unknowns I wish I had the answers for. I can’t let them go because the autistic part of me doesn’t want to. Your memory is too precious to me. I have kept everything you’ve ever sent me in the mail, and I would still have our texts and phone-calls if that phone didn’t get swallowed by the Humboldt River. Even if most of those final moments were painful I want to keep them all, because it was when I still had you. Because now all I have is memories, memories that I can’t separate the reality from the imaginary, and it’s agony that I’ve lost so much of you in the process.

I write much more regularly now. I can’t convey emotions well verbally, but I’m much more fluent with my feelings on paper. It’s a shame I didn’t discover this when you tried to share a common space with me. I keep a journal in the notebook you sent me, bookmarked in the special place you picked. Some dreams I dare not dream for how painful even the false pain can feel. I started it with the intention of sending it to you. I settled on the reason being you would get some understanding of how I felt, what I went through, how I processed and handled it, and how I eventually ended up where I am today, someone you might not even recognize anymore. But now that I’m on the final pages I keep asking myself the same questions.

What would I get from this? What message is this sending?

Whilst I’ve struggled letting you go, you have completely moved on. You have been with him for 6 years now. I’m not even a blip on the radar in comparison, and our last contact was over a year ago and consisted of me completely shutting down the conversation by not opening up. So me mailing you a journal out of the blue… what would I gain from doing this, what or how would/should you respond to something like that?

This issue is so confounding for me because I understand why I want to do it, I want closure, and want to feel close to you in some capacity again, my own special way of telling you I still care. But is that how you will interpret it? Would this do anything positive for you? I can’t help but feel that my reasons are selfish and warrant the idea as bad. But if I bail on it now, after working on it for years, I will just be sitting on a finished product, having failed to deliver by giving up. It’s the repeat of our relationship but only affecting myself this time. So which option is correct?

This is the part of autism that makes life hard. Even after all these years you affect my life in ways you can’t possibly imagine now. I battle between wanting to tell you just how much you meant to me, but doing so by digging up an old and painful past for you, one I never buried. I wish I could just let go of this desire to reconnect with you without giving up your memory, but I fear that as that memory fades, my want to reconnect will only grow, such is my curse.

So for what it’s worth I finish my confession to you with the most emotion I can give in this moment in time.

Tôi yêu bạn. Tôi luôn luôn sẽ.

Confessions of an Autistic Lover

Confessions of an Autistic Lover

Julie – Some wounds scar, to be a reminder of what shouldn’t be.

Julie, even after all this time I can’t truthfully say I have any reason to forgive you. I do know you were raised in a foreign foster home as an infant, and were suffering from having lost one of your adoptive mothers, but instead of a healthy healing cycle you chose a self-destructive spiral and tried to drag as many people down with you as you could. As someone who had suffered much like you did, I can’t relate. I’ve never tried to actively cause as much inner-turmoil to someone as you did me.

As an autistic person that had never seriously dated before I can only assume there were countless red flags I was completely oblivious to. My two closest friends at the time and your best friend cautioned us both about our relationship. I didn’t know any better, I was still naive. You simply didn’t care, I was a means to an end and you were willing to take as much as I wanted to give. You acted as a catalyst for both my suicide, and my recovery. You always managed to string me along just enough to hold out some desperate hope that maybe my unconditional love would someday stop falling on deaf ears. Eventually that came true, they just weren’t your ears.

Thank you for showing me genuine happiness when we first got together. You took things very slow and let what felt like real trust build. You showed me how to have fun when I not only didn’t think I could have fun, but when I didn’t want to. You were so pivotal in creating my headspace for me that when I feared I lost you I immediately relapsed into suicidal thoughts and attempted several weeks after, not being able to accept my life was just miserable me again. I understand that caring for someone like I was then can be very draining, I had to experience someone like that myself to understand. But unfortunately I learned to handle it just as bad as you.

Thank you for showing me just about every red-flag imaginable. You were so thorough in hitting almost every major area that since I’ve dated you I’ve been able to identify them with relative ease, and have even used this knowledge to curb some of my own flaws that I was oblivious to. Thank you for graduating and never putting much effort into contacting me again. Blocking your phone number after you sent me a random text asking how I was months later was one of the most liberating things I’ve ever experienced and helped put me on the path of better self-reflection.

You are a cheater, and you cheated on me. When you finally felt genuine feelings for me you became guilt-ridden and confessed to your friends. You came to the conclusion I didn’t need to know, and then kept cheating. You got caught by me when you had unprotected sex and contracted an STI that you then gave to me. There is no sugar-coating that, and your attempt to cover it up months later by pretending to be a rape victim was in extremely poor taste. There are no hypotheticals to consider as these series of events were lived by me, corroborated by many, and witnessed by everyone who knew us.

I harbor no ill-will against you, just a strong desire to never have anything to do with you ever again, because you helped build something special to me and used it to hurt me over and over again even as I begged you to stop. In the end I made you stop, and now I’ve become a more learned person because of it. I can only hope that you learned something, like I did, from our time together. You needed it arguably more than I did.

Confessions of an Autistic Lover

Confessions of an Autistic Lover

Taylor – Once again it starts with you.

I associate much of my pain and failure in high-school to you. You deliberately used me to achieve your own goals and when I was no longer useful you tossed me aside. At least that’s the past I choose to recall. How much of it is the truth?

Only my side of the story exists, not because it’s me telling the tale, but because you never shared your side with anyone, at least not in a way that could get back to me. But how different could it really be? I benefit from embellishment and have nothing to gain from lying here, I simply write to help myself cope with parts of my past I still struggle to overcome. But how much of this are you really to blame for?

I didn’t have many close friends in high-school. I knew essentially nothing about most of them, except you. Would it come as no surprise to many that you being my only source of attention and affection that I had so longed for that I could have simply mistaken your kindness for attraction? If this is true why didn’t you ever say anything? You were incredibly nice and welcoming to everyone, could you just have not seen it and only realized it later once people started asking if we were together? I don’t find it hard to believe since you knew very little about my personal life; perhaps you just thought I was really friendly and enjoyed spending time with you. When what I and everyone else saw was completely different.

As for why you never said anything, why should you? You didn’t have to prove or disprove anything to anyone, same as I. If I was in your shoes and I discovered that a close friend of mine was infatuated with me via other people questioning when we were going to come out as a couple I would freak out. I would have distanced myself as best as possible and hoped the other didn’t make a big scene. This is exactly what you tried to do, and whilst I didn’t make a scene, I didn’t need to. Everyone else did it for me.

Regardless of if the above is true or my initial recollection is true one thing remains clear. We were both wrong in how we handled it. I should have been more upfront about my feelings for you much sooner instead of letting you find out otherwise. If you were as close of a friend as I thought you were you would have at least confronted me and told me how you felt, I would have listened as knowing is so much less painful than wondering like I am now. However, I also failed as a close friend. When you dated someone other than me I should have still been happy for you, and I shouldn’t have let others rise up for me and berate you over some inane possibility that may have never existed to begin with.

When you texted me months later to ask how I was doing, instead of being friendly and welcoming to you I was heavy and spiteful. I told you the truth in some of the struggles I had been facing and laid the blame heavily on you. So I do not blame you for never attempting contact again, or for denying me any chance to contact you as well. It was only fair after everything, I wouldn’t want to be associated with anyone that accuses me of such things either.

While I may never know the truth, I don’t feel I need to anymore. That time in our lives was but a drop in the bucket. Both of us moved on to college and far, far away from any and all of our high-school piers. I now know that many of my high-school misfortunes were from me being completely undiagnosed of all my mental problems and my autism at the time. Now knowing the truth I can no longer unfairly place the heaviest burden of blame on you; it falls back on myself where it rightfully belongs.

So for what it’s worth, I’m sorry. You’ll never know this, but I hope it doesn’t haunt you occasionally as it does me.

Confessions of an Autistic Lover

Confessions of a Heartless Lover

Me – The only constant in my life, yet you may as well be a stranger.

All of my life I’ve tried to understand how I work, why I act and do the things that I do. I thought I had a firm understanding when I was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder. I hated myself and didn’t want to live anymore. After I attempted to take my own life I discovered for the first time how much I meant to those around me, especially my family. I realized how selfish I was living my life and wanted to change.

So I started changing my thoughts, I replaced the self-hate with acceptance. I slowly learned to embrace the things I didn’t like about myself as they made me unique. Instead of brooding over my past as mistakes, I turned them into learning opportunities that I could learn and grow from. This served me well when I dated Valerie, she admired the maturity it took to do what I’ve been doing. But is it really that noteworthy?

Almost a decade after I was diagnosed with my mental illnesses, I thought I had conquered them, but my world was absolutely rocked by a surprise diagnosis from the same time that I knew nothing about. It came when I was talking to my mother. I was talking to her about my conversation with Valerie, about how I just couldn’t understand why I feel so isolated and unable to connect on the emotional level I’d like to with anyone. That even though I love my mother, and other members of my family, I feel more like I’m trying to prove to myself I love them, just saying a word, rather than actually meaning it and loving them.

Then she told me I had Asperger’s.

When I was initially diagnosed with bipolar disorder and major depression, I was 17 years old. For whatever reason I was also diagnosed with Aspergers yet it was never disclosed to me. Not by the therapist that diagnosed me, or my parents whom he told. My own mother had been carrying this as a secret from me for almost 10 years. 10 years I’ve been searching for an answer and a solution on how to ‘fix’ my barriers. Just like that I had my answer, that I had a genetic condition that was incurable, and I will spend the rest of my life coming to terms with the fact that the answers I was hoping to find don’t exist. I will live like this forever and my only hope to cope is that I find a means to accept that I will never understand what love feels like other than what I want it to feel like for myself.

I have no satisfaction with this reality, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

I lost trust in my mother that night. To think that the one person who has been there for me longer than anyone else, that has helped me fight every step of the way, was intentionally hiding the most profound of my conditions from me. It hurt, it hurt more than I thought it would. Yet I still feel no change for how I feel for her. Perhaps I was expecting to love her less; but I don’t know how that word is supposed to make me feel, or what words I could use to describe how I feel for her now. Or for myself for that matter.

I thought I had learned to love myself, but perhaps all I did was learn to accept that I was different because of something that I couldn’t describe then. Something that I now know has a name, is more tangible, yet still just as untouchable and unreachable as before. It’s frustrating, and so very isolating. I’ve always lived my life revolving around one paramount fear, a fear that has changed little over my life, but changed nonetheless. At first it was a fear of death, then it became a fear of silence, next was a fear of being alone. Now it’s something new, a fear of never being able to truly connect with someone else. That one day my existence will end and I will feel as if I’m still a stranger that nobody can understand or connect with, even myself.

So what can I do from here? I must confess I don’t know, but maybe it goes something like this.

Confessions of a Heartless Lover

Confessions of a Heartless Lover

Valerie – Words, meaningless words. That’s all I’ll ever give.

After Emily, the loneliness felt safe. I lost all desire to seek comfort in another. I devoted myself to my final years of study and hours of undergraduate research whilst also working as a teaching assistant.

It was my devotion to myself that led me to you.

You were a student in one of the labs I taught, and you were as fatal to me as Taylor. The more I tried to push you out of my mind, the more you took over. When I noticed myself favoring you over the rest of the class I knew I had lost. An inquiry to your lab partner later and we were to meet outside of lab at her place, despite your questionable availability. Once I built up the bravery to initiate, the rest was history.

Baby steps for only a moment, and before we knew it, I had all but moved in with you, a teasing point I made on your behalf that I was more than happy to oblige with. We quickly settled into a place we felt comfortable, and it was hard at times to remember we were just dating. Our relationship was so effortless, I was able to ease your fears and cast away your doubts as far as relationship troubles, and supported healthy communication to air grievances. The few instances of trouble you had with my thoughts or actions felt like they were legitimately taken care of after we’d talk.

You were everything I was hoping for and so much more.

Shortly after I separated from Nhu-Thao, before I stopped all communication, she told me that she could never trust me or hold out hope for me seriously again. I had failed her three-strike policy by an egregious margin. Unlike me, she took great pride in holding herself to her promises, something I constantly failed to do. Despite this she said she would still meet me in person one day, and that her kids would play together with mine. After you and I talked about kids, there were a few moments I looked towards the future and thought it would be our kids that played with hers.

Until you found the flaws in my character.

The night of our first big fight, if you could call it that, is when you first exposed me for who I was. We hadn’t yet thought of a concrete plan after college that involved each other. When I received a job offer in my field months before I graduated I jumped at the chance. I ecstatically shared the news with everyone and through many congratulations I came home to you and shared how palpable the future I had planned was becoming. Your joy turned to sadness and fear when you pointed out my plans didn’t involve you. So you asked me a question.

What happens to us?

Your question took me by surprise as you had hidden your face in my chest so I couldn’t see your sudden mood change. It was obvious that it weighed heavily upon you, and felt weightless on me. I hastily told you that nothing had to change, the distance didn’t matter as long as I had you, I would remain faithful until you could join me. This offered you comfort, I suspected you thought you were going to be single before I left. But I’ve never lied to you, I’d started taking pride in my words and sticking to them again. You were no exception, I never lied to you. But what is said can hide what isn’t, for a time.

We were together 6 months before I moved to the other side of the country. After only 2 months you told me you loved me. I didn’t reciprocate. You were hurt so I told you that I couldn’t just toss such heavy words around anymore, I’d done so carelessly in the past and hurt many people I had held dear doing so. I reassured you that if you heard those words from me there would be no doubt I meant them. You appreciated my sincerity and willingness to stick to my beliefs. Thank you for that praise, I hadn’t felt I’ve deserved such words for a long time. You told me you loved me again before I moved. I reiterated what I told you before.

After I moved I told you that the greatest strain between us would be my horrible long-distance communication skills. That my narrow, one-track mind had a hard time keeping up with people and events that don’t make up my immediate surroundings and routines. I did my best to keep up with your texts and to call you once a week. We also resorted to letters as they felt more genuine. You were never hard on me for my downfalls, instead you used your disappointments in me to both rally yourself to do better, and to embrace that I wasn’t perfect. I never told you how much of an angel you were for that, perhaps if we both had been harder on me it wouldn’t have been so one-sided.

I finally felt freedom with that job, I lived with a very active roommate and worked with very like-minded people. I had finally escaped from our home, the place I had longed to leave behind for so long, and I was caught up in the ecstasy of living. Hiking, camping, bar crawling, parties, you name it me and my new friends did it. I was so busy enjoying my new life there I forgot all about my old one. Our communication was frequent for me, yet not nearly frequent enough for you. I can’t blame you, as everyone would agree that was my fault. But that would be forgiven when you visited me and eventually the distance was no more. It was roughly 6 months after my move when you flew out to out to visit me. As far as visits go I think we both learned more about each other in that week than all our time in college.

I was an hour late picking you up from the airport. I had completely forgotten about the time change I had to drive through. As anyone can imagine you weren’t pleased with such a poor start to your vacation. You said if I really cared about you I wouldn’t have made such an error, but later chalked it up to me just being the forgetful person I am. Your forgiveness made it sting more. I tried my best the next day to make it up to you, I took you out sightseeing, hiking, to lunch, and then dinner. I finished the night by entertaining you to my newest and most favorite past-time, karaoke. I invited everyone I worked with there to meet you, they were thrilled that they would finally get to meet you, and see me perform. I could tell you felt out of place and we spent most of our time secluded in the bar. Forgive me for introducing you to everyone I work with in such a manner, I didn’t want you to feel left out but didn’t intend to overwhelm you.

When we laid down in bed that night you accused me of having feelings for one of my coworkers. I’d known you were somewhat of a jealous type, you told me so when we first got together. So when I accepted a job that had me working intimately with 10 other women and only 2 other guys you were worried. But I swore to you I would remain faithful, as you did me. Never did I make myself available to anyone there nor did I ever entertain the idea of cheating on you. I told you living in doubt wasn’t living at all and I never once thought about you being unfaithful to me, and took pride in knowing that you came to me for help when people at school pressed you for more than friendship. So the idea that you thought I was becoming unfaithful hurt me deeply. That was the maddest I’d ever been at you and you quickly owned up to your mistake. The rest of the week I spent with just you, I didn’t participate or invite ourselves to be around any of my friends, and trust me they noticed.

You were finally seeing me as I could be, how I wanted to be. I was becoming a budding socialite, constantly the life of the party when I got friends together. The polar opposite of the secluded homebody I was back home. I saw you as you were, and you met a stranger. So during your last night you revisited that conversation again. What happens to us? I gave you the same answer as before, but this time it wasn’t enough. You wanted more confirmation that if you moved to be with me, you would actually be moving to something, to me, not someone you used to know. I tried my best to convince you that I still wanted to be with you, I wonder how much of it you believed at the time, your words didn’t match your face.

Less than a month later you had finished the book-work and could finally move to finish your degree. So you brought up that question again, that nagging question I couldn’t get to leave me alone. What happens to us? There was no running this time, my previous answer had left you unsatisfied. But how could I convince you that I wanted to be with you? That if you were to move in with me, sacrifice your potential, it would be worth it? I knew the answer before you even broached the question.

Do you love me?

There are few questions that I hate having to deal with; this question is one I absolutely loathe. Worse yet you asked it as an ultimatum, only two answers would suffice; yes, or no. I saw this coming, anyone would have. It’s the logical step forward for long-term commitment between two people. But did I love you? In the brief moments after that question, I gave you my truthful answer.

I don’t know.

I didn’t have to see your face to know how much that answer affected you. You had asked for a yes or a no, and I gave neither. You refused my answer and asked me to call you back after I collected my thoughts and gave you an answer you could accept. But didn’t you already have it? It took no time for me at all to return your call and give you one, because I never even pondered the question you asked me. Instead I thought about the answer I had already given. What future could be built on an answer such as that, how can our relationship move forward when my words do nothing to me, yet everything to you? What answer could I ever possibly give after my first?

I lied to you. I told you no.

I still hold to this day that I never lied to you. You forced my hand; tortured the words out of me. I gave you the most truthful answer I could give to another, and that answer ended the relationship. Everything afterwards was a lie in my attempts to ease the suffering. Of whom? I’m not entirely certain. All I knew was that I didn’t want to lose you, when I already had. I asked you not to leave me, you said there was no way you could stay. I asked to remain friends, you said we couldn’t. So I did the only thing l could do, and let you go. When I hung up the phone, I knew I would never have you in any capacity again, you would only continue to exist how I wanted in my head, once again I had lost whatever it was I was seeking. I disappointingly felt nothing. There was no pain of loss, no pain of what could have been, absolutely nothing at all.

I did nothing for three days. I didn’t go to work, I didn’t respond to communications, I didn’t even eat or drink. I was awake, or asleep; yet always thinking. Once the moment passed I went about life as normal. I went back to work, and indulged in drinking and smoking heavily, I was chasing the high they gave me, even if only fleeting. At some point weeks later I was propositioned for a one-night stand. I jumped at the occasion, yet nothing came of it, in the end I wasn’t able to perform; I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

At the end of that year, my working season had been done for over a month and I was coasting off the money surplus I had from working but my living situation became unstable when my roommate whom I subleased from moved. The landlord wanted much more than I could afford to give until the next season started so I began to desperately look for new housing and a job. Whilst I could have continued living there, I didn’t. On a whim I asked the once worker, now supervisor of the animal shelter back in my home town if he would be willing to hire me, and he said if I could be there I would have the job. So I moved back home.

Around Christmas I had written you a letter. I’m not sure why, it was an impulse that contained no reasoning or motive, rather just for the sake of sending it to you. When you got it you texted me to reiterate you wanted nothing to do with me. So I’ve never tried since. Yet the day before I moved back to Arkansas, I got a letter from you in the mail.

That letter was the hardest thing I’ve ever read, and I still read it whenever I want to feel the reminder of just what I had given up. There are several sentences that always stick with me when the rest fade. I think it’s because they hit close to a home I don’t appreciate being apart of, but have been powerless to do anything about. You said that I hurt you, because you gave me a year of your time, effort, and emotions, and that it seemed I was able to cast those off as insignificant, that the person you loved telling you they weren’t sure they loved you wasn’t someone you felt you could be with. That I was apathetic.

Yet despite all of this, you still wrote me in a positive light, that I was the best man you ever dated. That you knew my heart was in a good place and that once you had time to consider the idea of friendship, that maybe I was someone worth being friends with. That if it was alright, you had hoped to hear back from me. Armed with this information I did what I do best.


I moved back home with my mother, and worked a dead-end job. Feeling that if there was any silver-lining to all this, I hadn’t brought you down with me, that your prospects were now much brighter than they could ever be with me. When you texted me about wanting to return my belongings you still had, I was easily 20 minutes away from you. But I had my mother do it, with explicit instructions to lie to you about my whereabouts. The reasons for that change every time I think about them, but one truth is always clear. I couldn’t bring myself to see you in-person. That it could have possibly been too hard for you, it certainly would have been for me.

So years later I was still working the dead-end job, but I moved in with John, a friend you once met to stifle my loneliness. Despite our many differences I was able to live with John because of the one reason most people didn’t like him. He was an asshole, but he was an honestly blunt one. I appreciated him for it. He was the first to tell me what he felt about things and why. He thought I was an idiot for letting you walk away, and I’ve slowly come to accept that he’s was right. He always is. Years of hearing this and eventually thinking it never allowed me closure. For years you’ve periodically haunted my dreams, as if reminding me what we could have been, what I could have had if I had done things differently. It was after one of these moments that I sent you a cry for help via text. I don’t know what I expected to come of it but the outcome didn’t surprise me.

I’m sorry I reached out to you out of selfishness, It’s been so long since I’ve spoken to you I forgot how eloquent you were. The end of that conversation I was left with the reminder that any friendship I could have once shared with you was long gone, and that you thought I needed to seek therapy. Several weeks later I accepted a job and moved to Iowa where I spend so much time working remotely that I haven’t found the time to seek therapy. Though I respect your opinion and I do plan to seek help, I fear what more I’ll learn about myself, or rather a lack of what can be done.

I’ve listed a few secrets here I wouldn’t share with people I hold close. Yet alone you. But why do I still feel nothing? I always feel that something’s missing, I’m always unsatisfied but can never think why. When this feeling overtakes me and I am compelled to come here and write, to try and understand what these thoughts mean by making them physical, something I can read. Something real. The only thing I’ve discovered so far is there’s a yearning, a longing within me for something I don’t have. That this feeling has been with me for as far back as my memory goes. However, I do remember a significant amount of time it wasn’t there, and the only thing missing since it’s returned. You.

There’s more to me than meets the eye, something that I’ve lived with longer than anything or anyone else. It was there before my unexplained mood swings as a child became known as bipolar disorder. It was there before the ostracization and home abuse turned my external outburst inwards, leading to my depression and the entity that moved in with it. It was there when I finally cast that demon personality out and stabilized my mood with better thought patterns. It’s been with me so long that I wasn’t even aware it was apart of me until its existence was suddenly, and unsuspectingly thrust upon me.

Though your existence has left me unchanged, you have changed everything I thought I knew about myself, and I now know longer know who I am, or who I’m going to be with you.

You are the biggest confession of all, and you are undoubtedly, unequivocally, undeniably me.

Confessions of a Heartless Lover

Confessions of a Heartless Lover

The Diagnosis – Before I go any further, some personal secrets must be brought to light. Both for clarity, and sanity.

Like everyone, I have suffered from my own personal and psychological issues, as is evident from these writings. I was deemed a risk my senior year in high school. I was told by my family to either seek psychological help, or it would be forced upon me. So I opted to seek counseling with a therapist. Due to the severity of my situation I visited a therapist twice a week for two months until a diagnosis was reached and a therapy schedule was created for me. I was diagnosed with severe major depressive disorder and bipolar II disorder. I was taking heavy medications that severely inhibited my mental capacity. Three months in I turned 18 and my biological father’s insurance dropped me, so no more therapy. After 6 months and several medicinal changes I was unsatisfied with how the medication made me feel and stopped taking it.

I became heavily burdened by my depression and my thoughts rapidly turned suicidal by the time I met Julie. Shortly after she broke up with me and began abusing me I acted on my suicidal thoughts. I overdosed on my depression medication that I never got rid of; mouthfuls and mouthfuls of medication I downed whilst writing my death note. Once I became too unwell to write I fell to the floor and began hurling. I puked and puked until I was dry heaving. I kept 3 quarts of water in my room of which I drank and continued to vomit until I was dry heaving once more. The immense pain I felt in my stomach combined with my heavily altered state of mind awoke my primal side and I feared death. I left my room and sought out others in the hallway, confessed I had overdosed and asked for help. Within an hour I was in the ICU being treated.

Whilst my memory feels seamless, it doesn’t match reality. I only recall my moments of clarity, but I was largely unresponsive for 48 hours, in a coma that I awakened from briefly several times. When I was finally able to leave the ICU I couldn’t stand. I was voluntarily admitted to the hospital’s psyche ward in a wheelchair. I spent a week in group isolation, with one hour daily for visitation. That week may as well have been a lifetime. The lack of activities and entertainment left me mind-numbingly bored. Only a few of the people present were cognizant and capable of holding a conversation, but only before they received their pills as everyone seemed to be wildly over-medicated. I was seen by two doctors, and the first one I was warned about and was my first real interaction with the negative side of the medicinal industry.

A part of me will always remember when I first entered that small office to see him. He was somewhat polite yet came off apathetic. Quickly after we started, you could hear someone being admitted whilst he looked over my file that wasn’t very happy to be there. You could hear her scream that they “couldn’t keep us locked up here like dogs”, and that “she wasn’t fucking crazy”. As soon as she said the latter, the doctor stopped and scoffed. He looked up from my file, stared directly at me, and whilst smiling said “Well you’re in here, so maybe you are fucking crazy.”, before going back to reading my file. I’m all for a little humor, but given my circumstance, that’s not something I wanted to hear from someone who was ultimately in charge of determining if I left the psyche ward or not.

Whilst most everyone had something negative to say about this man, other than the really off-putting comment I never had any other issues with him. I don’t know if it was because he knew I was a college student and played it safe, or if it was because I identified ‘the game’ and played it accordingly. But I met him twice and the other doctor once before I received the all clear. I was released with instructions to go to counseling at a nearby clinic, one that happened to be owned by the first doctor (abuse of office no doubt). I went to this counselor once, and in the initial meeting I was deeply unsatisfied with what goals she laid out for me, and with the frequency, or lack thereof, of meetings. I never returned. Instead I spent several days at home, coming to terms with the fact that my family would never look at me the same, and how much my actions could affect others, and the startling ways that people can cope.

Whilst all of this took place I was still recovering from my overdose, my stomach had lost a significant portion of its lining, and I was still in a state of euphoria caused by the medication I overdosed on. As this began to subside I determined that if I truly wanted to get better, only I would be able to help, no medication or therapist was going to convince me to love myself, I had to do that on my own. It was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done but I either changed or learned to embrace all of the things I didn’t like about myself, and it worked. The suicidal thoughts have never returned, and I’ve been both drug and depressive/manic episode free since.

Confessions of a Heartless Lover

Confessions of a Heartless Lover

Emily – You were nothing I ever wanted, yet everything I needed you to be.

Two years. It took two years before I started to entertain the idea of possibly becoming intimate again. The hand dealt me by fate was a cruel one for sure, but if I had Nhu-Thao in my cards, then all roughs could have diamonds. I had never done any serious dating before, and had never dabbled in online dating, but I was willing to give it a chance considering I wasn’t ready or willing to go drastically out of my way to look for anyone. Eventually I found OKCupid, I was perplexed by the idea of answering questions and receiving a match percentage on which to judge others by, a relatively quick way to determine compatibility, and allowed me to skip all of the unknown. I also found how the scores changed over time as I answered more questions entertaining, so it stuck.

After 6 months I had answered over 1,000 questions. It had basically become a game to me and I learned over time that anyone that scored below a 90% or answered less than 20-30 questions wasn’t worth my time. So for 6 months I watched people come and go, watched scores rise and fall below my threshold, and talked to handfuls of people only to find out that this method found friends much easier than a partner.

Then you appeared.

You had my immediate attention when I first saw your profile. Nobody in my area had come close to the amount of questions I had answered. But you were already at the high end of that average. You were on the cusp of my bar, sitting at 89%. Enough to get my attention but not enough for my action. Yet merely a week later you were at the top of my list with a 97% at over 900 questions answered. I spent hours pouring over your answers, reading why you chose what, and read your profile countless times before I finally sent you a message.

It was perfect, like meeting my female counterpart. We were almost exact replicas in how we thought about the world around us, and where we differed was minute, essentially not worth mentioning, in almost every case. I had found someone that was looking for their perfect match, that wanted to find them just as much, if not more-so than me. But in my haste I didn’t see or think about what exactly finding someone so quickly, or otherwise so deeply motivated would actually mean. Not until it was far too late.

The night we first met I learned you were a liar. You hid an alarmingly severe medical condition from me, and the idea that you were worried I would judge you because of such offended me. You also lied about your personal character. I had never stolen before I met you, but you coerced me into sneaking into a movie theater with you. I told you I didn’t want to do it, how uncomfortable it made me feel, yet I wasn’t going to walk the 5 miles on the side of the highway back to my car either. Then you took me to your house because you had to pick up some medication, yet you brought me there with the intention of me not leaving. I told you I wasn’t okay spending the night with you when I had just met you, and that I wasn’t going to enter your parents home without their knowing. Yet you didn’t give me a choice. I was 15 miles from my car by then with no clue as to where I was, and too embarrassed to call the cops and tell them I’d been kidnapped by a barely legal teenager.

So you held me hostage all night, and all of the next day, I told you countless times that I needed to get back to my dorm room, that I wanted to go back to my car. But you didn’t care about what I wanted. You cooked me breakfast, and lunch whilst trying to keep me entertained when all I could think about is when you were going to let me leave. Then you told me that you were going to have me forcibly meet your parents that night for dinner. I decided that they could be my out if need be.

You told me you didn’t get along with your father. What you didn’t tell me was that you refused to be in the same room as him. Do you have any idea how awkward it was to have you leave me alone with your parents when I first met them? I ate dinner alone with your parents, and neither of them could get you to leave your room. Only when I asked your father to drive me to my car did you leave. You begged your dad not to take me. Your parents buckled under your pressure and “asked” me to stay the night, but yet again the choice was stay or walk. I desperately wanted to leave, but I still wasn’t willing to walk 15 miles into town from unlit country roads with no idea where I was, and I still couldn’t bear the idea of calling the police with your own parents home or beg one of their neighbors for help. I was still effectively kidnapped.

That night your parents prepared the guest room. My one silver-lining was that I could lock you out. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t stop you. The doors had a hex-key to unlock them from the outside, a hex-key you had, and used, to enter the room when I refused to let you in. You laid down beside me and asked me to come back to your room, and to have sex with you. I refused both, yet you still refused to leave me alone. You spent yet another night next to me when I wanted nothing to do with you.

Sunday came and your parents prepared us breakfast. You refused to join us because your father was present so I ate breakfast with them alone. I used this time to ask your father again to take me to my car. He agreed but you were still having none of it. I finally broke when you tried to stop me from leaving again. I told you and your parents that I was going to leave, whether I was walking or being drove was their choice to make. Your father finally caught on and ended up driving me to my car. I’m thankful it was him and not your mother as you would have then tried to come with us. But I had finally gotten away.

Our first date lasted 3 days. In those three days I knew enough about you to know how grievous a mistake I had made. Yet for reasons largely beyond my comprehension at the time it was not the last time I saw you. In fact, we continued dating for 6 months afterwards.

This is a confession, not a book. So to keep this short and not have to relive every laborious detail I can recount I will hit the highlights of our relationship. If you became anxious regarding me or your own perceived behavior you completely shut down and ruined whatever was going on around you, countless times. When I tried to reach you with sympathy you didn’t want you retaliated angrily and refused to own your actions until your mother told you in front of us that you were the problem. When I first attempted to leave you you broke into my dorm room and refused to leave from in front of my door and slid page after page of apologetic notes underneath it until I gave you attention. I helped your parents move out of their house and you later accused me of stealing from them when I did this. You lied to me about taking birth control, and refused to let me have any part in the planning, the abortion, or the resulting medical issues; instead after you refused any and all help/aid from me you held it against me and used it to try and extort me and then my family when I refused to give you money for what happened next. You guilt-tripped me into agreeing to go with you on a vacation for my birthday that I didn’t want to take with you, only to fall asleep at the wheel enough times that I refused to let you drive. Then when I got into an accident you took the insurance check, bought a much more expensive car, and then threatened to sue me for the difference. After I called both your bluffs and I reached your deadline for giving you money you printed flyers with my name, my picture, where I lived, what car I drove, my phone number, my school email, and even my parents address and phone numbers. You defamed me with everything listed above calling for people to antagonize me and left these flyers in my dormitory, my workplace, across other areas of my campus, and then created a fake Facebook account and distributed the same flyers to every single person on my friends list.

It wasn’t until I threatened to press charges, and filed a police report that you finally went away for good. I had nightmares for months that you would never leave me alone, that you would start stalking me, or try and kill me, or I’d get served papers for a court summons or the police would come and arrest me on rape charges. So many sleepless nights I spent with you, and trying to forget you. Everyone that knows about our relationship asked the same question over and over. Why the fuck did I stay with you?

I thought about an answer to that question for a long time, I didn’t know if it was out of pity, out of some self-righteous feeling, or thought that if I quit I was admitting defeat. But eventually I settled on the truth. Despite everything you put me through, I stayed with you for so long because I felt I deserved you.

Unlike everyone before you, you took nothing from me. I lost everything when I gave up Nhu-Thao. Instead, you gave me the only thing I felt I deserved. Punishment.

Confessions of a Heartless Lover