What kind of person attracts you?
In terms of friendship, I value those who can take my words at face-value instead of thinking ‘she’s autistic, that explains things’. Sure, there will be plenty of times in which my friends will have to pass off my behavior as being a part of my disability identity. My best friend here at school seems to be doing incredibly well with my constant pleas of ‘are you working today?’, ‘How’s your homework load?’, ‘Can we go somewhere?’.
She probably noticed long ago that each of those questions is really a statement–‘I want to go to Disney/Universal/Publix/Target/etc and you always drive me and I have not become bored of you or these places (and never will). You complete me! Let’s go!’. But she still answers the question, because it’s part of the conversation and part of my thinking and it’s important. And I value it more than she knows. I get to feel normal despite us both knowing that the kinds of interactions I’m starting up aren’t. She is my best friend, and she probably has no idea of that. (Hello, dear! You’re probably reading this. Can we go somewhere? 😉 )
In terms of romance…someone who can deal with me. I don’t give a shit about ‘oh, I don’t deal with you, I love you unconditionally’. Unconditional love does not exist. Humans have a specific set of parameters for the humans they like to interact with, and if I don’t happen to be within them, it’s not going to work out very well. I don’t change for anyone. I learned that lesson long ago.
I appreciate someone who can connect the dots with me. If you know that autistics love to be wrapped up, and that one of my exes used to cuddle with me for 6-8 hours at a time (we’re talking days in bed here, not nights), you can infer that I love to cuddle and will be very happy if I can. You can also notice that so much cuddling is counterproductive to homework…and so, the logical next step would be to explain that frankly to me and to then plan the cuddling around the homework. When both partners are autistic, this just happens, I’ve found. When one is neurotypical, it’s a bit harder. So either way, I value the ability to adapt to not having that innate knowledge.
Hard work is the basis of any relationship. It sometimes has to be thought out and feel like work. In other cases it isn’t noticeable but it’s still going on. So I guess I value people who are willing to put in the effort to learn about being with me, since I put in the effort to learn about being with them.