Book cover: Asperger Meets GirlTop Tips on Love and Relationships from Jonathan Griffiths

Jonathan Griffiths designs software for a living and had no girlfriend until the age of 22, but is now married to a beautiful Australian. His father used to be a train-spotter, so his very existence just goes to show that there’s hope for us all. He lives in Western Australia with his wife and children.

Jonathan is the author of Asperger Meets Girl.

What is wrong with this picture?

Everyone has someone – at least, everyone worth speaking of. On Valentine’s Day, people show off – themselves to their partner and their partner to their peers (as in “You’ll never guess what [name of squeeze] did for Valentine’s!”). That’s how the world can track who’s a winner and who’s a loser.

From our point of view, People of the Spectrum, just about everything is wrong with it – but what can we do about it?

  • The first thing we can do is refuse to be ashamed. If it looks likely that another 14/02 is going to come around for you with no date and no incoming card, make sure that you have a positive plan to spend that evening doing something that you enjoy.
  • Second, we can refuse to be hurried. We should build our relationships at our own pace, and if that means a particular friendship is not ready to go to another level this February, so be it. Don’t let the calendar add to the pressure. For us, it’s difficult enough already.
  • Third, don’t stalk. In the past, Valentine cards were largely a means for hinting at undeclared feelings but, if we use them in this way nowadays, it tends to reinforce the worst stereotypes about us.
  • Fourth, if you do have someone, use your knowledge of them to devise a Valentine’s experience that’s in some way specific to them. For various reasons, we’re unlikely to do well in a direct competition with other lovers, or other couples. However, instead of competing, we can specialize and innovate. Those are things we can do well.
  • Fifth, don’t devise an over-elaborate plan with multiple points of failure. Instead, leave some space for the other person to shape the occasion.

It’s a struggle, but not an unwinnable struggle. Good luck in it.

More Top Tips on Love and Relationships from JKP authors »

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2012.

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