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The Root of It All

I grew up in an Aspie/NT home. My dad was Aspie, my mom was NT, and I was adopted. My siblings – who are not adopted – are on various ranges of the Aspie spectrum. I knew we were odd. Our neighbors knew we were odd, but looking back, it was a safe, happy sort of odd.

I remember my mom asking who wanted pie. My siblings shouted out the mathematical definition of Pi, and I just answered with, “me, I’d like cherry, please.” My siblings considered me slow but lovable. I considered them ridiculously smart, socially awkward and equally lovable. It worked. It still does.

My parent’s marriage was a happy one, despite the NT/Aspie odds of failure. They worked at it. It wasn’t perfect, but I have seen, firsthand that NT/Aspie marriages can work. My mom was my dad’s “special interest,” something common for Aspies. They focus enthusiastically on narrow subjects. When my mom died, my dad’s “special interest” moved on to building a solar refractor, in which he fried eggs with reckless abandon. But he never stopped missing my mom. On his deathbed, 25 years after she died, he said that mom had been waiting for him a long time, and she wasn’t a woman known for her patience. He was right. Her patience was limited – except when it came to him. Something I think that was the glue to their version of happily ever after.

When looking at marriage, I always wanted what they had. For me, their marriage was the gold standard. It was a work in progress until the day it ended, and my mom often said that being happily married to my dad was a choice she made daily, as did he.

I suppose that the chances of marrying Mr. Spock were not as random as first thought since my standard of a happy marriage came from my parents. When the red flags appeared during those first months of dating – and there were red flags – I ignored them. For many NTs, when dating an Aspie, red flags are easily ignored, and here’s why (just my take, of course); when you are the focus of an Aspie “special interest,” it’s magic. It feels like nothing else. The deep conversations, the intense passion, the freedom to be yourself is the most amazing aphrodisiac. Quite frankly, those pesky red flags paled in comparison to Mr. Spock’s intense focus on all things me. During one of our first outings to the grocery store, I picked up a Cosmopolitan magazine while waiting at the checkout. Mr. Spock casually said that he had read the issue. Wait? What?

Me: “You read Cosmo?”

Mr. Spock: “I understand that it’s the leading women’s magazine. I read the last three issues. I just want to understand what women want and need, and with you, I want to get it right.”

Yes, he said that. Yes, I melted into a pool of goo at the grocery store. I remember mumbling something incoherent back, but inside, I was already thinking that we should move in together immediately. It never occurred to me to question why he thought he needed to get it right. My mind was on the magazine headline that said something about having the best sex of my life and a man who just admitted to reading it.

Being Mr. Spock’s “special interest” didn’t last a lifetime. It lasted about six months. He didn’t move onto frying eggs in solar refractors – for which I am deeply grateful. But there have been many other special interests since me. They last about six to eight months. I often wonder – a lot, actually – if past special interests are ever revived. Keep in mind, I have a vested interest in the answer, which seems to be unclear. But the thought that it might is, for me, like the Holy Grail of this relationship. Just yesterday, I wondered if Cosmo is still in print.


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