Dear Annie: Dating with autism
Dear Annie: I am a 36-year-old man living with my father. I also have autism, and because of this, I have had difficulty in dating women.
For a few years, I was on the dating website called I Love Your Accent (I had been on 10 other sites prior to that), which matches American and British singles, but nothing happened.
Then, last fall, I downloaded the app UK Social and became friends with a British girl from Birmingham. As it turned out, she was not trustworthy. She asked for money, and I had to end the conversation. My mother got upset and intervened.
Now I am starting a relationship with a girl around here named “Erin.” There is a problem: She is somewhat nerdy and has the same condition I have. What should I do? Should I wait for the ideal girl to come around or stay with Erin and see what happens? — Ethan in Hanover
Dear Ethan in Hanover: There’s no such thing as an ideal girl. There is only a girl who is ideal — or close enough to ideal — for you. Don’t dismiss Erin simply because she’s “nerdy.” If she’s a nerd, that just means she has interests she’s passionate about. Strong interests make people interesting. And if you both have autism spectrum disorders, you might find that you understand each other in a unique way. I say give it a try. You don’t need to make any major decisions right away, but go on some more dates with Erin and see how you two get along. Good luck.
Dear Annie: Recently, you printed a letter from “Betty,” who wrote about the death of a friend and how she was treated by family.
I loved her suggestions regarding caring for the dying. Back in 2013, my 92-year-old mother went downhill in a hurry. We called in the angels from hospice, and they talked us into using a hospital bed in a second bedroom. Even though I wished there were some way for her to continue sleeping with my dad, she became too fragile to move.
The day we were warned that her struggle was not to last very long, my dad and I took up a vigil. Most of the time, we were both with her, praying the rosary and talking softly to her, reminiscing about happy times. Shortly after midnight, I needed to take a break and went into the living room with the nurse. Not five minutes later, I heard my dad’s chair creak, and by the time I got to the doorway, he was kissing her goodbye. He passed me without a word and went to bed. I sincerely believe she was waiting until she could be alone with him before letting go.
When my dad and I had a chance to talk about it much later, he agreed that he was happy to have had alone time with her. I thought he needed my presence to bring him comfort. I think I should have given him more alone time with her. They had been married for over 73 years, and except for during World War II, they had very rarely spent bedtime away from each other. — Fortunate Daughter
Dear Fortunate Daughter: I believe your letter will touch many hearts, as it certainly touched mine. Thank you for writing.