The logical thing to do would be to marry my amazing dog. 🐶❤️👰
To “be” was to mask. Doing this allowed me to:
1). Pass as neurotypical. It had been hammered into me that my way of existing was wrong. I needed to survive in an environment that was in no way accommodating or supportive of me. We didn’t have social media back then – didn’t even really have the internet – so I (brown, queer, disabled, autistic) was very much alone. Everyone around me was pairing up. Everyone on TV was pairing up. It seemed like the right thing to do to be like everyone else. Being like everyone else meant being safe.
2). Compartmentalize. It is exhausting to be told over and over again how I am “too much” and “too intense”. I have big feelings. Regulating them while always on the verge of a meltdown or burnout is nigh impossible. So, it made sense for me to choose a partner in whom I had no romantic interest. We were friends hanging out.
Of course, this made me vulnerable. M didn’t want to be friends hanging out. He wanted/expected sex. And since everything I believed, felt, and thought was wrong per society, I’d learned to ignore my own wants and needs. I had learned to comply as I did with M.
This is also how ABA works.