By Megan Amodeo
Megan Amodeo reflects on autism and marriage. She found love and a lasting marriage even though she didn’t understand the first thing about dating and relationships.
We are not all the same. We are like fingerprints, unique and different. I believe that those of us on the autism spectrum are capable of becoming anything and anyone we want to be. Unfortunately, many who don’t understand us still underestimate what we can achieve and do with our lives.
My family is unique because autism is reigns in our house. My oldest daughter, youngest daughter and I are autistic. My middle daughter and husband are neurotypical. My daughters were diagnosed at a young age, but I wasn’t diagnosed until my mid-30s. My autism was, of course, a part of me my entire childhood and young adulthood…I just didn’t know that’s what made me different.
I had a childhood filled with abuse and rejection at home. I didn’t have anyone I could count on to have my back. By the time I was in high school and my peers started dating, they left me behind too. I was absolutely clueless when it came to dating. I really wasn’t great at socializing, period. I studied other girls and how they interacted with boys but it just didn’t come naturally to me the way it did for my classmates. I didn’t pick up body language or facial expressions. I spent the entirety of high school and most of college alone.
I did date one boy in college for a year, but ultimately it didn’t last. I just couldn’t understand the dating scene. Then in my fourth year of college, I met a guy through mutual friends. He seemed interested in me, at least that is what my friends told me, but I didn’t understand the art of flirting. He called several times but it’s hard to ask a girl out if she doesn’t get the hint. No, I never got the hint. I thought he was just a nice person, end of story.
Lucky for me, that wasn’t our final chapter.
About six months later, I ran into him again. This time, Sam, was living across the parking lot from a house I had just moved into with five other girls. It happened to be summer, and we were both staying on campus to take summer courses.
We spent time together, as friends, because we were both bored. The campus was extremely empty during the summer months. We usually spent time with his roommate or a few other friends who stayed for the summer too. It wasn’t until one night in the middle of the summer that I realized I only wanted to spend time with him. I went over to his apartment as I usually did to see if he and his roommate wanted to hang out. His roommate said he was on a date. That was all it took to stir my jealousy and make me realize that I wanted to date him too.
The problem was, I had no idea how to ask him on a date.
I decided that I would just make my intentions clear. Unfortunately, I came across too forcefully and extremely awkward. While we were sitting in his room studying, I abruptly grabbed his face and kissed him. I then proceeded to shout at him,
“Now we are dating!”
At the time, that was the only way I knew how to express myself. Needless to say, it scared him. It was rather horrifying now that I think about it. But it gets even worse…after shouting at him I kissed him again. Then, I said,
“Let’s do our homework.”
I’m sure he thought I was insane or, at the very least, that I was extremely forward and abrupt. Thankfully, my actions didn’t send him running out the door to get as far away from me as possible.
He actually found my quirks endearing.
He didn’t point out my flaws even when I was socially awkward and blunt. I found someone who didn’t want me to be anyone other than who I was. It was such a new experience after having lived in an abusive home for most of my existence.
My parents, especially my mother, immediately tried to sabotage our relationship. My mother would tell me he wasn’t right for me. She even went so far as to tell my future husband that I was a strange and difficult person. After we were engaged, she asked him if he really wanted to marry someone like me. I guess the joke is on her because Sam and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary this August.
I did get my happy ending.
After we dated for about six months, Sam proposed marriage. We had a lengthy two-year engagement before we tied the knot so I knew with confidence that he accepted and loved ME.
I am living proof that individuals on the spectrum can love and be loved. I know it is not always easy for a neurotypical to marry someone on the spectrum, but it is possible.
My marriage has thrived.
My husband and I complement each other. Sometimes I look back at that awkward girl who had no idea what she was doing when it came to dating and relationships. She has certainly come a long way. Our family has grown to include three beautiful daughters, 2 dogs and a cat.
We are just like any other family in your typical suburban town. Well, maybe not like every family…I like to think we are slightly more quirky, unique and exceptional.
Megan Amodeo is an autistic stay-at-home mom with 3 beautiful daughters, two on the autism spectrum and one with ADHD. She’s been married to her neurotypical husband for almost 20 years. Prior to having children, Megan worked in special education. Today, she shares her life experiences and advice on Geek Club Books blog and in Zoom Autism Magazine.
Read more articles in Zoom Autism Magazine, Issue 13:
- Lights, Camera, Activism! Up Close with Matt and Ed Asner by Lydia Wayman
- Walking with Owen by Walter Suskind
- I Will Never Go to Harvard…And That’s Okay! By Jacob Fuentes
- Parenting, Spectrum Style by Maura Campbell
- “I Have Stopped Using the Word ‘Family’ and Have Never Looked Back!” by Becca Lory
- Cummings and Goings: The Manyness of Family by Conner Cummings
- The Impact of Camouflaging, Anxiety and Trust by Robert Watkins
- What Does the Word Family Mean to You?