by Daniel Antonsson
In my teenage years, I was a cautious boy. Girls seemed like they came from another planet and I had no idea what to talk with them about whatsoever. I was interested in motorcycles and martial arts while girls liked stuff like fashion, horses and boys (at least as far as I knew).
There were not many girls that caught my attention and in the case I found someone interesting, I did not know how to approach them anyway. I was not in the cool group in school and I never tried to either. In senior year of high school, I went to some parties and discos where I slowly made some progress in my interaction with girls, but I felt different and at that point I just lacked the tools to grasp how to be confident around girls.
With boys I could talk smoothly because with them I had things in common. I saw other boys act cool, joke, and have a good time around girls, but for me I just was not there yet. When I was around 19-20 years old, I started a new life and never looked back. Despite being autistic and somewhat introverted, I would not let this stop me.
I realized that we create our own destiny, have to believe in ourselves, be prepared to learn, and overcome obstacles that we face along the way. I decided to give it my best to meet women and explore a slightly more extroverted side of myself in search for my own happiness and you know what, that was exactly what I did.
I went to clubs, did online dating, went to private parties and started to travel the world during my holidays. The following decade, I was gaining both experience about life in general and about women. I won’t say that it was easy, but it was a process. Of course, I was shot down numerous times but I raised again and did not let it wear me down. I continued to get to live and enjoy fantastic moments. With more experience about life, I had more to talk about, even if I always had my special interests closest to my heart. I found myself in different social situations with girls and sometimes it worked out fine, but sometimes not. The key is to not take yourself too serious (with a good or bad outcome), so you can always smile about it.
I realized that being different doesn’t mean that you are worth less, being different is positive and I can honestly say that I don’t want to be like everybody else. Why walk in other people’s footprints when you can make your own? When it comes to finding true love, remember that it is rare and if you are lucky enough to find it, be grateful. It can be difficult to find that special someone, but that is the case for most people.
I had saved the words “I love you” for that person and I had to wait until I was almost thirty one years old to use them. I met my woman in Paris after chatting online everyday for 6 months. She told me that she had a dream to visit Paris, so I asked if I could go there to meet her and she said yes. When we met, everything just felt right and natural like it was meant to be. We spent a week together and it was the best week of my life. It was spring in Paris with amazing weather and the best company I could have ever asked for.
After a tearful goodbye, I returned to Sweden and she returned to Venezuela. The love was real and we both felt that we had to continue this story together. Our time in Paris was not the end, it was the beginning. Following this, we visited each other’s countries, which was fantastic. I met her parents, siblings, relatives and friends. It was a big and important step to be accepted by her mother and father. They understood that I loved their daughter and wanted all the best for her, so they gave us their blessings.
Even though Venezuela has a lot of internal problems, it is my favorite country. I got the chance to experience everything from the inside, through all the fantastic people that opened their homes and hearts for me. We also celebrated my girlfriend’s 30th birthday when I was there and what a party it was!
I later returned the favor when Yarimar visited Sweden. Me, my parents, and friends all did our absolute best to make her feel welcome here and have a good time. We did some sightseeing and Yarimar really liked her time in Sweden because above all we were together. We discussed our future and came to the conclusion that we needed to start living together from that point. My brave woman Yarimar Pereira decided to move to Sweden. It took time to receive the residence permit that she needed, but after a long 8-9 months, we got the all clear.
A cold winter day in 2013, she came to Sweden and since that day we have been there in good and bad times at each other’s side. Yarimar is my big love and now we have a four year old daughter, little Victoria. Many times, I have had my doubts if I would ever find my match. We can never be sure of the outcome, but at least we have to try. Better to lose and have tried than live life not even trying.
Daniel Antonsson is a 43 year old Autistic man living in Sweden with his Venezuelan girlfriend and four year old daughter. He has always enjoyed writing about different subjects and being able to publish for the Art of Autism make him feel truly blessed.