I recently went to my 75th birthday party at my son’s house in Wisconsin. My airfare was paid for by my niece. I also was there to meet my first born son, whom I had searched for 58 years. We connected through Ancestry DNA. The day was the happiest in my life. For the first time I was with all three of my biological children!
My partner wanted to go but didn’t have a passport. She said that I would be more relaxed if she weren’t there. It turns out that she was correct. I wondered why this was the case. After thinking about it I began to understand. Although my social behaviour does not vary much across situations, the way it’s interpreted depends on the context in which it occurs. With my partner it seems that any clumsiness with my behaviour, or any other behaviour such as impulsively interrupting, which I am modifying, is seen as due to my autism, while with others, including my family, there was no mention of my autism at any time, including when I was a bit clumsy socially.
My partners attitude is due, in part, to her role as an instruction coach for me. She has been very helpful and is invested in my becoming the best partner and person possible, which helps her deal with her PTSD. However, no one else is in that role. So, based on the evidence from my visit, my social behaviour doesn’t involve my autism worn “on my sleeve” And is not an obvious issue.
What does this mean? For me, it means that some aspects of my autism are no longer relevant to my functioning, but it depends on who I am interacting with at the time.