Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Acquisition of a Mate, redux

Almost a month ago I posted a short story titled “The Search For a Compatible Mate.”

In that post, I suggested that those of us on the spectrum may be drawn to people who are like us, but we may benefit from being with an opposite, because that person’s skills would complement ours, rather than match strength for strength and deficiency for deficiency.

To my surprise, that post continues to draw comments and emails, so much so that I’d like to expand upon some of the original ideas.

First of all, I would like to thank those of you who sent me encouraging emails, saying I would find a mate one day. I am touched by your support, but my post was in answer to questions I get at speaking engagements, not my own situation. At this moment, I am not seeking a mate.

But on behalf of all the people who ask this question at events . . . I AM seeking the answer to the question because there are many lonely Aspergians out there who would like to find the right mate, and they feel a bit lost about how exactly to do it.

The premise of my post was rather simple, and I’ll restate it here. Let’s say you’re an Aspergian who wants to find a mate with a lot of emotional insight to complement your own blindness to non verbal signals. How do you do it? How does someone with a weakness in that area recognize someone who’s strong?

Anna made a good case for having a mate like herself; an Aspergian-Aspergian pairing. I pointed out the advantages of opposites, and she countered with the advantages of like-kinds. They included:

Being able to talk al lot about math and science; seeing the crazy world outside in the same way; building a safe haven against the outside world; and understanding one another in a different or deeper way. I touched upon the "deeper understanding" and how we Aspergians sometimes feel apart from the nypical world in my post on loneliness, last month on Psychology Today

I have no argument with Anna. For some, like-like mating that works. For others, it leads to disaster. But you could say the same for opposite-pairs, and who can say if one is statistically more successful than the other. Perhaps a PhD candidate in psychology will do a dissertation study on that and tell us the answer.

Barbara is another Aspergian who echoes Anna’s enthusiasm for a mate who’s on the spectrum too.

Stewart is a fellow Aspergian who wants to know more to help in his own quest for a mate.

Shiny Monkey raised a good point. She asked, in essence, what about the other person? She said:

I also have a fairly logical mind, so I bought into the "logical" side of things... only to realize that that approach always ended up with him getting his needs met (i.e. an emotionless relationship that revolved around machines and code) and me feeling like chopped liver 95% of the time.

What she points out is that both people enter a relationship looking for something. Clearly, in this example, even if Shiny Monkey was just what the guy was looking for, her own needs were not met and it didn’t work.

The significance of her post is to point out that both people have to get their needs met in a relationship for it to work. That said, I still believe in the concept of people who complement one another. Tipping my hat to Shiny Money I’d like to add that we Aspergians have to make a special effort to make sure our partners are getting what they need from us, because we may be partly or totally oblivious to that issue until it becomes a big problem, and by then it may be too late.

Samwick reminded us that Aspergians really need social skills more than anything else. In other words, we have to learn how to behave so that we don’t drive potential mates away. That covers everything from basic manners to saying strange things to invading personal space to farting loudly at the movies. That is certainly an essential truth that I skipped over. So thanks for pointing it out.

Anastasia, Chumplet, Jess and a few others chimed in to remind us that there are plenty of emotionally sensitive people who are drawn to sweet logical folks like us. It’s encouraging to think there are more out there.

Kanani points out that physical attraction is essential, too. I can’t argue with that.

ThereseC pointed out the things she felt made her second marriage work. They were:
Her mate treats her with respect
Her mate treats her kids (from the first marriage) like they were his own (presumably, in a good way!)
She and her mate have similar money management styles
Finally, she and her mate have similar parenting styles.

Reading all that, I am struck by one thing . . . this mate acquisition stuff is really complicated!!
But I will try to sum it up.

1 - We Aspergians need to learn how to behave, so as not to drive people away and indeed to make ourselves interesting to others. That is step one, in mate acquisition.

2 - We Aspergians need to place ourselves in the path of potential mates. For some of us, that may be the Science Fiction Society, for others it may be the church social. Some of us want people who are like us, while others want people who are different.

3 - When we meet someone, we have to recognize that we may not be the only “blind” one entering the relationship. We may be blind to nonverbal cues, but our potential partner may see us through rose colored glasses and thereby be blind to something equally important about us. And that “something” could be anything at all, so we have to be doubly vigilant about what both parties need and whether both can provide what the other person is seeking.

4 - To do that, we need to figure out (by various means) what the other person needs, and ask ourselves if we can provide it, as well as asking if they can meet our needs. Before that, we need a sense of what our needs are. Perhaps those things can only be answered by life experience, but we need to be aware of their importance. At the same time, we need to feel attracted and drawn to the other person.

5 - As a relationship develops, we need to sense whether we are compatible in the big things. As Therese pointed out, shared spiritual values, life philosophy, mutual respect, kid management and money management are biggies for most, but there are others that vary from person to person.

So how do we do those things, and what else do you add to that list?

I think steps one and two are really under our control. We absolutely have the ability to teach ourselves how to behave, and we can place ourselves out there in the flow of humanity, where passing potential mates can spot us.

But getting from there to step three takes a bit of luck, or divine intervention, or whatever else you believe in. There’s really nothing we can do to MAKE someone else like us. It has to happen naturally. Still, I believe luck favors those who are prepared. The better a job you do with 1 and 2, the better your chances of attaining step 3.

25 comments:

TheresaC said...

You made me smile, John. Yes, my mate treats my kids in a very good way!!:)

I think everyone, Aspergian or not, looks at new potential mates through rose-colored glasses. When we fall in love we only see what we want to. If we all were more vigilant as to what can I do for him/her as much as what can he/she do for me, then I think we would have far lower divorce rates.

I'm going to confess something...Sometimes I still watch Jerry Springer and such style talk shows (just for entertainment). Yes, I know they are mostly staged. But (even on Dr. Phil) there's one thing stands out to me, besides the usual circus acts. The partners who are usally one or both cheating are always using as justification for their cheating, "What have you done for me????" I never hear "What can I do for you?" They go on to whine "You are never around, I'm ignored, you're always working," etc.

Do you see my point? When we think we want to enter marriage with a mate, we all need to be vigilant as to whether we can satisfy that mate's needs, and whether we are willing to over the span of a lifetime, as well as all the other things I've mentioned previously that I think makes a union more successful.

But I do agree with you that Aspergians probably need to be doubly vigilant. And I do agree that these issues may only become clear over years of life experiences. I believe that if I were more aware of these issues before my first marriage, that marriage probably would never have happened. But those issues were not clear to me until I lived through a bad marriage and ten years as a single mother. I don't regret having my kids, but sometimes I wish I had held off until I knew more. But how do you know when you know enough? Beats me.....

Lisa said...

Well, this whole 'mate' thing has eluded me. Romantic relationships have lasted for me - at the most - on and off for five years. That tells me something, which is that there is a lot I have not figured out still, or that I never will have a 'mate.' And I am kind of at the point where I believe it is almost BETTER not to have a mate: No having to worry about pleasing someone else, no need to compromise on this and that, and the other thing, the ability to really relax when you come home, rather than be on pins and needles as to what you might be doing at any moment that unintentionally alienates and distances the other person. No, I think though lonelier, it's much better this way - for me, at least.

Michelle O'Neil said...

1) I find your thought process delightful.

2) So glad you found Unit 2.

3) Happy New Year!

ReineDeLaSeine14 (Stephanie) said...

I have noticed as a gay woman and an autistic woman that women on the spectrum often act differently then men on the spectrum.

My male friend and I are both autistic but he has much more difficulty expressing emotion than I and is non-confrontational. I have noticed that even non-autistic men seem to have difficulty expressing emotion especially if they are upset, sad or angry.

I'm glad that you are writing on finding a mate. Right now I am not interested in a mate but I had always seen myself alone and hearing about more autistic people finding mates (whether they be autistic or not) brings hope that maybe I can find somone who would want to share her life with me.

<3

jess said...

the most striking thought for me as i read through this (other than wondering if i really called you 'sweet' .. haha!) was the variety and disparity of perspectives on the subject.

as much as i wish there could be a one size fits all answer to a lot of these quesions, i think your post shows just how difficult it can be to offer universally helpful advice.

i've often heard (and repeated) the adage that 'once you've met one person with autism (insert asperger's if you prefer) you've met, well, ONE person with autism.'

people are so different from one another and as such, we tend to need or want very different things from relationships. even though there are obviously some similarities among those with a shared diagnosis, there can still be VAST differences in how they approach dating, mating, love and marriage.

i do think there are some universals though ..

putting oneself in the way of potential friends / dates is wonderful advice. one can't sit at home thinking that love will come knocking on their door. well, not usually. follow your interest - art? hang out at galleries .. movies? subscribe to a movie lecture series at a local theater.. i think it's huge to have a built in conversation starter i.e. discussing the artist's work, talking about the movie that you just saw .. that is based upon a common interest.

Kim Stagliano said...

Are you discussing FINDING a mate or KEEPING a mate? I think there's a difference. And none of us, NT or not, has that secret. It seems that the more trials my mate and I face, the happier we become as mates, in spite of them. I can't explain that at all. Not at all.

These conversations are really interesting though. Woof!

Polly Kahl said...

Interesting entry, John. I and many counselor friends have noticed that many of us (more are than aren't) are attached to engineers or engineer types. Not only are female counselors attracted to male engineers but also male counselors are attracted to female engineers. I think this is because of how well we fill in each others' deficits. I honestly couldn't manage without some of my engineer husband's skills, and he relies on my special abilities the same way. We have different approaches to many things, but when we focus on finding solutions as a team it is amazing what we can accomplish, and also how much closer we become in the process. Although we have been together for many years we both still marvel at new things we continue to learn about each other. I also think the emotional/scientific mix is good for raising kids because it gives them opportunities to develop both sides of their brains.

Jill Elaine Hughes said...

I'm what you call an emotionally sensitive type married to an Aspergian (who vehemently denies what he is, natch). We have our share of challenges. My hubby has no social life or friends outside our marriage. He lacks understanding of basic manners and social conventions, other than the ones he needs to use at his job. A continuous point of friction between us is the fact that the instant he steps foot inside our home, he instantly takes all his street clothes off and changes into ratty sweats, even if he plans to go back out in an hour or if company is coming over. He doesn't understand why I want to visit with family and friends. I could go on and on.

And yet, this same person is capable of doing many very sensitive and thoughtful acts within our marriage.

We are opposites, to be sure, and we have trouble getting along sometimes, but overall I think our marriage is successful.

Deber said...

I am a 54 year old woman recently diagnosed with AS, married to a 65 year old man who we suspect has AS. We have been together for 29 years and married for 27.5 years.

I can't imagine life without my mate. He pets my head, it makes me happy. There are some areas that we don't handle well, for instance we got scammed for a lot of money because we are gullible, and we got taken by a couple of unscrupulous real estate people. Most of the time we do okay.

I love the fact that I can be myself around my mate and don't have to dress up or act a certain way. We try and notice when the other person is disheveled so that they don't go out in public looking bad but we really don't look at each other much so that pact hasn't worked well. Neither of us remembers to look in the mirror so we look pretty ragged at times. I had the thought the other day that if my mate disappeared and the police asked me what he looked like and what he was wearing that I couldn't describe him.

My mate understands but sometimes ignores my sensitivities but always leaves me alone when I overload. I try to be considerate of him but sometimes fail. He doesn't like to be spoken to or speak for at least an hour after he wakes up in the morning or when he is reading or watching TV. I have a problem not talking. Good thing is that we don't hold grudges. We only have a few friends and don't have much of a social life. Works for us. Sometimes I talk non-stop and he ignores me; I do the same for him. I have learned to ride in the car for hours, without speaking, in a comfortable silence. I like going places with my mate except when we get separated from each other. We get sucked into looking at things and forget that we are with each other. I have a hard time finding him. We read when we go out to eat. Neither one of us remember birthdays or our anniversary. We tell each other "I love you" a couple of times a year (more or less). It's not important. I keep the house reasonably clean, do the laundry and feed him and he fixes things for me. We will be together until one or both of us die.

Michael said...

One of my favorite books of the last few years is “Banishing Verona”, by Margot Livesey. It’s about a man with Asperger’s who meets a very pregnant woman and falls instantly in love, a phenomenon that he did not believe was possible until it happened to him.

Not only does he fall in love, she does as well. The rest of the novel is about how they become separated, and his struggles around whether to pursue her—and by doing so constantly move way beyond his comfort zone—or return to his mundane, routine (boring) daily life, where everything is relatively safe and predictable. She brought a lot a “baggage” with her as well, and some of his Aspergian traits were, perhaps, a comfort to her. A great, and entirely believable love story.

Both my sister and sister-in-law have Aspergian traits, and both have experienced love and long-term relationships with complimentary (non-Aspergian) mates.

My sister’s is still going strong, but my sister-in-law’s ended after about 10 years. It seemed to me at the time that it ended because she seized an opportunity to enroll in graduate school, which meant quitting her job and moving 200 mile away, but didn’t really discuss the decision with her mate, who didn’t want to/couldn’t leave his job and home. I think it was her difficulty with empathy that led her to inadvertently demolish the relationship, and I don’t know whether she understands what happened to this day.

As for myself, in my relationships with Aspergians (I’m neurotypical), it seems that the person’s personality and the ‘chemistry’ between us is more important than their Aspergian traits. In my experience knowing people with Asperger’s, they are soooo different from one another/unique, and the way in which their Aspergian traits manifest and interact with their personalities is very important.

I work with an Aspergian woman who is a psychologist. The thing that drives me (and many others) crazy about her is that she is very smart, and KNOWS she is RIGHT about everything (and, so, the rest of us are wrong), and that she is more knowledgeable than any of us. The problem is that she is knowledgeable within a very narrow perspective, and her inability to put herself in anyone else’s shoes prevents her from having a wider, more abstract knowledge, so she is often acting on incomplete data.

But she NEVER sees that. She comes across and arrogant and pedantic, and I could never imagine liking her in any way. But it seems that the way she is is an interaction between her Aspergian traits and her personality. What’s interesting is she has fair empathy with her clients, who are people with severe, chronic mental illnesses, but zero empathy with her colleagues. But she is in a very long-standing marriage. I wonder how she is with her mate? (I’ve worked with her 20 years + but have never met this mate and don’t know anything about him. No one at work knows much about her personal life--she has an inpenetrable wall up.)

Stewart said...

First of all, John thanks for mentionly me - as an Aspegian in the past, I never did that much.

Yes as late bloomer to love and Aspergerian - I find myself desiring ask others what to do but I think some times this may get back to one that I am desirng and may hurt of without me knowing. I think this is because I desired to do this techically and can not do this naturally.

Yes I am very blind to some of emotions - but deep down I am very sensitive them when I am alone.

So my big question to fellow Aspergians that are successful with there mates, how to bridge the gap and take the relationship more naturally.

I truely believe that ideal mate is one that is not technical at all but a very caring person. The big issue for me is when I in this situation, which may or may not be the situation with someone that I know that as help me express my feelings to others and desired to help others like my self, how do approach her in way that will be sensitive to her emotions.

At 47, I believe that I should not give up on my dream. It's not too late to live and enjoy your life with another.

Anyway I love you book - especially on audio.

Kisha said...

Keeping the mate is undeniably the most difficult part of marriage. There is no doubt in my mind that my husband has Asperger's. He reads so similar to things described in your book right down to the pranks, and the dead baby joke. I'm more the sensitive type. We were great until our son was born. He is now three, and exhibiting symptoms of Asperger's himself. My husband has difficulties understanding our son, and feels that as a three year old he should be a certain way. There should be no deviation from his preconceived notion. Needless to say this has provided quite a bit of friction to the marriage. I don't know how it works being completely opposite, raising a child, and staying together forever. I don't know that I can meet all of his needs, and keep our home a peaceful place.

Stewart said...

Kisha, the hope part in John's book is over coming the issues if being an Asperger and realling doing something special at the end.

I am not there yet, but I believe I will be - I personally found that doing step aerobics helps me with others because to do it right, I must not think about other things.

One thing to remember that Aspergians - no matter how logical they are, they still have heart that is trying to come out. Sometimes the heart of the Aspergain may be the greatest heart of all. Bill Gates has his wife and look it what his foundation is doing now.

Just something to think about. Never give up and encourage a fellow Aspergian top find a way to use his/her heat.

Stewart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stewart said...

I found the followin article about Melinda Gates that is very imspiring and helpful.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/04/news/newsmakers/gates.fortune/index.htm

Vik said...

Lots of people think I have aspergers so I figure I get diagnosed.

I was curious though. If I do have it. Do you think I'd be the first network television editor to have it?

My job revolves around working minute to minute with randomness all around you. It's like being in a newsroom, an ER, and wall street all at the same time, since shows and commercials are being slammed together and created hour by hour.

It's high stress and high gossip/politics, its a lot of looking out for yourself and reading client's faces.

Just wanted your take.

I'm a younger guy but I figure one day I might also write about how I've gotten to this level of interaction with people.

I haven't dated yet! But I think I can do it!

I think the most important things to do to get farther if you have this aspergers thing, is to ask and talk about feelings rather than facts. Also make sure you make small talk about current events and things going on in the world or your life rather than facts. It'll help show your character. Also use your hands and when you say a word like Ice Cream draw an icecream cone with your hand sa your talking, draw shapes with your hands in the air as you say words, it shows expression.

Just a tid bit to people with aspergers!

Kisha said...

Thank you Stewart, truth be told I do love my husband more than life. He enriches my life like no one could. His heart is huge, but his struggles are many. The only thing I know to do is to obviously stand by him. I took a vow for sickness and health, and I'd want him to stand by me. It's the figuring out how to do so, and keeping everything somewhat peaceful. I think many non-Aspergians need to remember that while their mate may look like a robot sometimes they are still affected by things. My husband is very mechanical, and it drives me nuts. In the long run, no marriage is perfect. I agree with a previous poster, one just has to be vigilant. I just hope our son can understand all of this one day.

Stewart said...

Kisha, truth be told my relationship history is not much at all but I believe now there should be a balance between the emotion and technical. Yes the technical part has made me successfull at what I do but I what cost.

Looking back if things were different in my youth ( as a Wild at Heart believer - this is important ), would things be different now. Yes but I believe that my past has a purpose for my future and everything is connected.

Just recently I been indirectly encourage by a certain special person to speak out on this issue and this includes co-workers and family that have known me for years.

For your son, as reference on my past experience - I would recommend him to still stay interest in technical but be encourage to open his heart to others. This is my difficult part because commincating with others on non-technical issues is difficult.

I always believe there is hope in this area even at my age.

R said...

I don't know---this is a very good topic. I didn't know you were mateless, John.

I think though that being Aspergian or not, a person needs to love I guess as a verb, and make the effort for it to work with anyone.

My son who is an Aspergian had issues showing affection (obviously) but my husband, who saw that he needed to learn how to give affection, started really making an effort when he was fairly young. I am not a very affectionate person with my kids (although I am trying my best to change that) so this was a hard thing for me to do. The good thing is that my Aspergian son actually gives hugs in an act of affection when not prompted even, just because he understands that when you feel love you ought to act like you love! But I am sure he did not feel love at first.

What I am saying is that one can do this with anyone, affectionate or not, I guess. Aspergian, not Aspergian, etc. Love is love, right?

it'sme said...

Hi, I just finished transcribing all the interviews for The Social Media Bible. I became part of the team virtually; I am a virtual transcriptionist. I only mention this as a testament to the power of social media, or as I like to call this combo, Social Media ². Social media allows us to "turn down the volume" and participate on a level playing field.

This social media tool can help us eliminate our isolation; it is the largest social skills group session you will ever get.

onthespectrum

Kanani said...

John,
I think what you're doing is invaluable, as the number of resources for autistic men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 seem to be lagging behind those for children.

In fact, the most common image used on a website of a person on the autistic spectrum isn't one of a young adult, it's of a child.

Which almost sweeps under the carpet the realities of those in the age range who are starting to experience the world on their own terms, and also don't have the legal protective shelter of their parents anymore. It's a highly risky period where they're trying desperately to fit in, but aren't quite sure. And though there are many who do okay --take math, find their path, there are probably just as many who have brush ins with the law.

And those are the ones the AS needs to reach out to the most.

As for the pairings --I think any set decision on "AS adults should only marry other As adults" or otherwise, are a bit difficult to ascertain. It's all so individual, and what works for one might not work for everyone.

Anyway, keep clarifying, stay on course. You're doing a lot of good asking questions, ingesting the answers and trying to help your brethren.

Samwick said...

This is all so unnecessary. Women are the least mysterious creatures on the planet.

What women "want" is utterly irrelevant.

The question, when it comes to attraction is: what do they respond to?

Women respond to confidence. Period. End of story. All of this hand-wringing about how to match people up, it misses the point.

Doesn't matter what the confidence is based upon...as long as it's there, women will respond.

If as a result of being intelligent, someone expresses confidence...they'll trigger the right reaction in women.

If someone is smart...interesting...unique...but lacks confidence, they'll remain alone.

If you're an idiot but you know how to grunt, mumble about sports and project confidence...you'll be getting laid regularly.

Women will deny they go for monosyllabic sports idiots...but set their words aside and look at their actions.

Men are from Mars. Women are from the planet Submissive. Capitalize on that fact or stock up on Star Trek DVDs and get used to a lonely existence.

Stewart said...

"What women "want" is utterly irrelevant."

I would disagree even I don't have much experence with this subject. With all the self confidence in the world - like technical stuff and you don't support what they care about - they you be left out in the cold.

"If you're an idiot but you know how to grunt, mumble about sports and project confidence...you'll be getting laid regularly."

Yes I would agree that working out at gym and other sports stuff helps, but if a man does all that and gets that women and doesn't care about her, that would not be nice to the woman. A true woman should she past this artifical stuff and see what is inside if it truely matters to her.

There is one women I know, that has a very beutiful picture out there - but I believe she is beutiful before seeing this picture, this is because what is inside her that makes the difference. Zn lots of way, she is what making me speak out of Asperger's now. I don't know what is going happen there, but one thing is for sure, a women that is caring like her is what I desired.


That was problem with past, I had all the techical confidence in computers and such, but I didn't care about others.

My problem in this area is not caring in this area, it basically getting chance to get up the nerve. But I believe once I am there, her needs will become important to me.

ShaniaGirl said...

Hi John,
Im new to AS and all of this. Im the partner of a person that I love dearly but felt something was off and couldnt never totally pinpoint what it was and it was giving me doubts as to the future for us. The timing was perfect I was reading your brothers book Magical Thinking and how you told him you had Aspergers and him describing you. I was reading the book out loud and said "That sounds just like you" and well, here I am.

I am in a relationship for 8 yrs and I read your comment about a male with AS looking for a woman with high emotional intelligence and complimenting one another and your example of mothers in a park. Me and my partner sat many years ago at a park talking and a little girl came down a slide and bumped herself and was crying and over walked her mommy and shes kissing her boo boo and the whole mommy routine. My partner was saying how silly this mothers behavior was and the little girl was just fine and on and on with logical talk. I said "Did your Mom ever take you to the park when you were little?" He replied "NO" I said "Did anyone kiss your boo boos?" He just looked at me as I was telling him this is a normal part of early parenting. I always took it that he wasnt nurtured as a child and its why he is disconnected the way he is (I wonder if you feel that way at all or how your own Mom was?)
Anyways, I think we can compliment one another but the problem is if there is no awareness of each side, where each is coming from, and each side grasping that, then it becomes very difficult. I couldnt understand him, he couldnt understand himself and convey that well to me, and so we just kept coming up empty handed. So that part makes it difficult. I know I have had to have great patience. In all these years because I didnt know how to read his "Offness" and I racked my mind with suspicions, Ive read up on all kinds of behaviors, Ive felt hes keeping things from me, you name it but always came up empty handed in the long run when trying to prove that end also.

I do think we work well together in many cases, but I also came from a situation I think that set me up to be more patient of the way he is. I came from a very controlling/abusive marriage. Someone who tried to manage and dictate my life, so having someone who wasnt all over me was beneficial for me and made me feel safe. At times I wondered "Does he care what I do at all?" because it feels like the other extreme. I am awaiting your book and am curious to read more on your take on relationships. I hope to have more to comment later, Im just excited to finally have some insight. Oh and how did I meet my AS partner? Through an internet group and bonded over a shared interest in a particular vehicle. We became friends for years via the internet and chatting, what appealed to me was he wasnt a dog like so many men online wanting to talk sex, he REALLY talked to me and wasnt a pervert. It paid off, way down the road when I was split up from my husband is when things took off between us, but not on purpose, and yes physical attraction and mutual respect were the two biggest initial components that brought us together.

Denise said...

Thanks John, this is a terrific site and very helpful for me as I have an eleven year old nephew who is an Aspergian.

I read your book mostly in the bus on my way to work and every so often I would laugh out loud, look up in embarrassment and find people smiling at me. One morning a woman asked me what I was reading and two mornings later she hopped on the bus with a copy. In the end there were five of us on the bus laughing and crying with you. (I thought you might appreciate the image of a bus in Sydney (Australia) full of people loving your book.)

I shall follow this blog as Hayden (my nephew) is approaching puberty and already I can see he is going to have problems. He is so matter of fact about sex which of course sends his peers into paroxysms of hysteria and parents into a tailspin. "Oh my God Hayden is strange do we let little Eddie play with him?" etc.

I shall send this site to his parents and check in from time to time for anything useful which might help to make his life a little easier. He is a beaut kid and your story gives us such hope for him. Keep on keeping on, you are doing a great job.
Thanks mate,
Denise