Posted by: Shula Asher Silberstein | 29 June 2010

Thoughts About My Romantic Quest

I just posted a link to my OKCupid profile on Facebook. I figured I have a better chance of finding a match among my Facebook friends who didn’t realize I had an OKCupid profile too or how absolutely awesome it is than by contacting random people on OKCupid itself who I might have something in common with.

OKCupid is frustrating for a couple of reasons. First, although the site is LGBT-friendly, I think it’s geared towards heterosexual people. Many of the quiz questions, as well as the personal survey questions you can answer, seem to assume readers are heterosexual. Any statistics OKCupid puts out about matches always seem to be exclusively about guy/girl couplings. Plus the choices for sexual orientation are kinda limited. Straight, Bi, or Gay. That’s it. Asexual and Pansexual are not options, and there’s no real place to mark your gender identity, either. The choices there, as on most dating sites, are Male or Female. Since I identify as neither, nor as any particular orientation, I have to decide what comes closest to what I’m looking for.

I’m listed as Bi and Female on OKCupid. Bi because for the most part, I don’t care what gender my partner is, although I’m mainly attracted to Transgender women, whatever stage of transition they are at or want to be at. Female because I’m biologically female and not committed enough to a masculine identity to label myself as male. Sometimes I wonder if these labels interfere with finding what I’m looking for. A Transgender woman would have to be Gay or Bi to want to be with me as a woman, but would have to be Straight or Bi to want to be with me as a man. Is labeling myself as female good marketing considering that I prefer to be mainly masculine yet don’t consider myself fully male?

If I can work THAT one out, I still have the asexuality thing to deal with. I’m liking it better than I used to. I used to think it was an absolute barrier to any kind of romantic relationship. Now I don’t think so… I think it’s just another special factor I have to consider when looking for my romantic partner. The asexuality sometimes makes me question if I really want a romantic relationship at all. Sometimes I wonder what I can get from romance that I can’t get from a good friend…well, other than a few kisses and holding hands, the small little bit of romantic contact that I’m interested in.

It feels weird to me to even be writing about this. I’ve been so busy, between getting my own life together and exploring Transgender issues and watching Gavri’el blossom into the gorgeous, confident woman she really is, that I haven’t really thought about dating in a while. I’m more concerned with making the world comfortable for Transgender people than my own relationship status, I guess. I read somewhere that people with Asperger’s have a strong streak of social justice…well, I’ve always wanted to make the world a better place. The Impossible Dream has been my favorite song since I was 10 and the story behind the Jewish ideal of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) us the only thing that made an impression on me in the sub-standard Hebrew school class I attended when I was a kid. Anyway, the point is, if it’s a choice between fighting for people’s rights and finding a life partner, activism wins every time. It would be nice to have someone to share the fight with, besides my sister of course, but I guess it’s not essential.

Except sometimes it is. Once in a while I realize how close I am to 32, how I’m the only member of my immediate biological family who isn’t married, how if I decide to have kids I want to have them before I’m 40. Of course, I’m not in a financial position to have kids now anyway, so when I start thinking about that I also start thinking the whole thing is silly because I’m making just enough to pay the bills and feed myself and Gavri’el right now. I know that will change, but it hasn’t yet, so isn’t it a little premature to be thinking about planning a life with someone else who I haven’t even met yet?

I’m quite reflective about this tonight. I think it’s because Gavi’s got a long-distance boyfriend who is coming to visit next weekend. She’s happy and excited, which is awesome. It also reminds me that it’s not impossible to find someone when what you’re looking for only exists in 1% of the population. Plus it reminds me that as awesome as it is to live with my best friend, she’s eventually going to move in with a romantic partner, as she should when the time is right.

So I’ve started thinking about romance again. I’ve been flirting with the idea (pun fully intended) of dating other people with Asperger’s Syndrome. One of my counselors at the Autism Center suggested that because many Aspies are either asexual or uninterested in sex because of sensory issues. I’m not sure I want to do that, though, because my experience is that many people with Asperger’s Syndrome use their label as an excuse. People I have run into online who have it tend to have an attitude of “I should be able to do whatever I want even if it offends others because I have Asperger’s.” One person on OKCupid even sent me a long email debating everything I’d written in my profile. He was very rude, yet felt this behavior was appropriate because friends call each other on their shit.

I do not want to be with people like this, obviously. Nor do I want to be with the people who say, “If you have Asperger’s everyone hates you.” and refuse to pay attention when others give them constructive feedback or try to learn social skills because “I have Asperger’s so what’s the use?” or “I don’t get why it offends people when I do this, so why should I stop?”

And yet I do want people to understand what it’s like to have Asperger’s. It sometimes feels like being an alien on your own planet, at least until I started pushing myself to study social skills on my own. At first, I couldn’t get people’s hobbies or jokes or how “normal” people acted. I felt like I didn’t fit in and like everyone else spoke another language I couldn’t speak. Sometimes I still feel that way, though not as much as I used to. I hope, though, that my partner, whoever she is, will be patient with me when I don’t get it or don’t get it right.

I hate writing blogs about my romantic journey, even though that’s what this blog is supposedly about, because they always sound whiny to me when I read them back, and I am not a whiny person. In fact, I can’t stand whiny people and try to be an optimistic, positive person in general. I actually sincerely believe that the time is not yet right for me to meet someone (otherwise I’d meet them LOL), but I don’t want to give up completely because then I won’t be open when the time IS right. So I keep my profile up and occasionally post a link to it or post about it here on my blog, complete with all my feelings…including the insecurities and my wondering if I will find someone or even if I want to find someone and all the rest of it. Yet at the same time I know it will happen when it is supposed to happen. Hopefully it will be soon. I’ve already picked out my wedding song and am excited about someday having a wedding. I just want a Transgender woman to share it with.



  1. Wow. Thank you for saying the things I didn’t know I needed to say.

    Among my sometimes-useful labels, you could count asexual, queer, activist, sensory defensive, and potential Aspie. And single woman trying to meld all those labels together.

    “Anyway, the point is, if it’s a choice between fighting for people’s rights and finding a life partner, activism wins every time.” YES. I’ve never heard anyone else say this, but this is how I have always lived my life. It’s sometimes funny how difficult this is for other people to understand.

    Thank you for blogging here. I hope to read more from you soon.


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