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Matthews is funny, intriguing, eccentric, articulate, a talented artist — all qualities that many people find appealing.The problem with having Asperger’s is simply that he doesn’t know how to market himself.Even though Asperger’s causes Matthews to miss social cues and fumble when attempting to cultivate romantic chemistry, it also imbues him with an authenticity and honesty that, theoretically, should benefit someone whose stated goal is to find: “a companion. Someone with whom to share my life.” Unfortunately, as the movie painfully demonstrates, the openness necessary to forging deep and meaningful connections too often clashes with the rituals and unspoken rules that govern success or failure in finding love.Matthews can win friends, wow fans, and bond with cats and other Aspies, but in love he is blocked by the layers of artifice that are shown to impede rather than facilitate the meeting of that fundamental human need.I remember feeling disgust and then curiosity the first time someone explained the concept of “dating leagues” to me, or being stunned to learn that a girl who invites you to a hotel room to “just chill for a night” might actually mean the opposite of that, or that one who keeps postponing seeing you again is blowing you off. A lot of the “obvious” rules about dating are actually pretty arbitrary, so we aren’t instinctively aware of them.Others with AS have told me about similar stories, all linked by a common theme: We experience dating, as we do all other social rituals, as non-native bumblers, struggling to comprehend a culture of Byzantine complexity (in our eyes) and lacking the unassailable logic of being entirely direct, straightforward, verbalized, and emotionless (which is clearly reasonable… I recently had a conversation with a friend who commented that people with AS should “just use common sense” when navigating the dating scene.

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Regardless of its origins, loneliness is usually a far more terrible affliction than any of the variables — internal or external to its victim — that may cause it.

Put your emotions on paper, and decide to resolve them at a more convenient time.

Finally, ask yourself, what benefit did I take from today?

While the merely awkward are at least subconsciously aware of these variables when they’re engaged in an interaction, someone with AS is wired to assume that (a) if someone finds us attractive, they will directly and immediately state it from the get-go and (b) they would want us to do likewise.

The idea that people communicate interest other than through what they actually say, or that even what someone says is fraught with layers and nuances — none of this occurs to us, since our instinct (which we assume the rest of the world shares) is to just say what we think and feel at length without any filters.

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