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I feel attracted to someone. I did have a relationship with her before (we were little children at that time, 5-7 years old), but we couldn't continue because of age and distance.

We are both introverted and both have PDDNOS, a form of autism. I can talk to her in person, and I seriously don't feel awkward when I do. I do feel awkward when I text her, skype with her or call her.

Age is not a factor anymore, I am 18 and she is 17. We live in the same country (Netherlands)/province and now that we are older it's easier to keep in touch. But, because of autism, being introverts and not being very good at keeping in touch, distance might still be a tiny problem. We live about 30km away from each other, which I know doesn't sound like a lot, but in my situation it is. If I don't visit her, sometimes we might not speak for a month.

She is almost a female version of myself, we share a lot of problems, interests and other things, which, to be honest, is kinda scary.

I do think she loves me too, but I'm just not sure and if I make one mistake, my chances could be over. I'd like to tell her how I feel about her, without risking our friendship being over if she doesn't share my feelings. I'd love a relationship as the outcome of telling her, but I don't want to lose our friendship if that's not something she wants as well.

Can you help me with possible approaches to opening up to her and telling her how I feel about her?

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    @Termatinator Since you say "If I don't visit her, sometimes we might not speak for a month." I am taking this to mean that you are doing all the heavy lifting in terms of maintaining contact with her. Am I right? – Bharath Oct 11 '17 at 17:25
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    Okay . But one of you has to reach out right ? Who does it more often ? It cannot be that both of you do it equally – Bharath Oct 11 '17 at 17:51
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    Be careful you don't rely too much on your experience with your childhood friendship. Like others said, people change a lot. I've got a similar problem to you and also had a childhood friend who eventually became my "girlfriend", but because we hardly ever talked due to distance and conflicting school schedules, we both built up ideal mental images of what the other person was like. Once we eventually sat down and talked with each other, it turned out we were actually very different, and things fell apart from there. – Pyritie Oct 12 '17 at 9:39
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    This question is being discussed on meta – Tinkeringbell Oct 12 '17 at 13:09
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    Had you any previous experiences with having a crush/feeling attracted to someone? If so, how well are you in control of your feelings? I mean just talking about it without any demands shouldn't destroy anything. – dhein Oct 12 '17 at 13:36
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Don't start with "I love you." Don't even start with "I am falling in love with you." That is leaping too far "down the track" and could startle or scare her. Even if she is feeling exactly as you are: how would you feel if she called you tomorrow and said "I love you, let's get married!"

How about asking her? Something like

Would you say our relationship is friends only, or something deeper? Could there possibly be a romantic component or aspect to how we interact?

Then listen to her answer. Not just "yes" or "no" but does she sound scared? Excited? Nervous? Happy? Does she look you in the eye or look away (compared to how you usually speak together)? Does she blush? If you can't figure out what's happening from cues like these, then ask her:

Does that scare you?

Is that an exciting idea?

Are you interested in trying that?

You don't say, in effect, "I have changed the terms of our agreement" by declaring a romantic interest. But you raise the subject. If she shuts it down totally, you back right off and say something like:

I'm glad I asked. I won't consider that possibility again. I like having you as a friend. I want us to be friends for a long time, for always.

If she's open to the possibility, then the two of you need to decide what your next steps would be. What a fun journey to take together! Once she knows you're attracted to her romantically, and she is attracted to you too, you'll work out what to do about it in a way that's good for you both. At some point you might feel you are ready to tell her you love her, and that she's ready to hear it. But it's not how you start the conversation.

  • We were in a child-relationship before, could that be a factor to what i should say (or anything else)? – Termatinator Oct 11 '17 at 17:33
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    I have no idea what child-relationship is that isn't simple friendship. If you mean your parents had planned for you to marry, that might be relevant. But probably not. – Kate Gregory Oct 11 '17 at 17:39
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    @Termatinator I see you referring to your 'child-relationship' in multiple comments. If at all possible, keep it out of the whole affair. You're both grown-ups now and should build a relationship as grown-ups. People change a lot between the age of 5 and 17 ;-) Although it may have been very special to you, you don't know how she thinks about it (she might even be embarrassed and remember it as being a very childish thing). – Tinkeringbell Oct 11 '17 at 18:23
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    Adding on your answer: I feel like it’s a very American thing to tell someone you love them. I’d advise you to take slower steps: Visit the cinema/sports game/theatre/restaurant together, and things will take their natural course from there on. – Narusan Oct 11 '17 at 20:29
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    @Termatinator No, I don’t. This is also too specific. You have to find that out for yourself, I worry. You could also simply ask her along the lines of “Hey, do you want to hang out sometime together?” and “what would you like to do”. Make sure she doesn’t think of it as the American date, because that’s not what it is. – Narusan Oct 12 '17 at 4:43
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I would try to create new activities/hobbies in which she can be interested. Maybe ask her opinion or help in some projects etc. From that point ask her more what she wants to do in the future, does she have a plan, what she would really like to do/achieve, what does scare her etc. I would focus more on the future and try to find the things in which I could help her or get involved.I think that kind of actions will show her that you are not only interested to spend time at the moment but you are interested in the future.

  • what kind of activities? – Termatinator Nov 7 '17 at 10:11
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You don't have to tell her that you love her.

Telling somebody that you love her, doesn't change how she feels about you, so there is no reason for you to say it right now. If she likes you, she likes you...if she doesn't, she doesn't. Saying it won't change any of the 2 states.

At first try to show her that you are romantically interested in her (leave the feelings talk for later). Show her that you want to date her and that you want to be more than friends. Flirt her...tease her!

Watch for signs whether she is also romantically interested in you and if so, make a move.

You just need to date her and make a move (a kiss) after you are sure that she is also romantically interested in you or else if you are not sure you need to expect either outcome (good or bad).

EDIT: Make your move slowly to give her the chance to react if she doesn't want a kiss to happen. I repeat though, don't feel bad if she doesn't accept the kiss. Many women get alarmed at first but make up their mind later. In that case she must be the one to chase you. So if she doesn't wanna be kissed, be a gentleman and continue to be relaxed and have fun with her. She might reach out to you later!

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    I don't know how things are different for autistic people and introverts but I think the whole point of flirting is to alarm her. You want her to know! The only things that alarm girls in a bad way are saying too much (like I love you) and releasing too many feelings. Say that you want to date her! ask her out! If she doesn't like to go out with people ask her to go for a walk or a pic nic with you but you can playfully tell her that it is going to be a date. – papakias Oct 12 '17 at 10:37
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    This last comment is bad advice. You can tell because it contains the phrase "women like". Some women might and some might not. Further, "decisive men" is not the same as "men who take physical action without making sure it's ok first." Suggesting an introverted person "make a move" is one thing. Suggesting you kiss someone who may not think of you romantically is foolish. Saying "I would really like to kiss you" is not needy and feminine. It's much smarter than just randomly kissing someone. – Kate Gregory Oct 12 '17 at 12:36
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    Kissing someone without their consent is a crime. And it can genuinely make someone feel assaulted, especially if it's a sexy/hard kiss on the mouth, not a gentle little peck on the cheek. Every adult should know that. – Kate Gregory Oct 12 '17 at 13:03
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    @KateGregory Trying for a kiss is different than kissing. If the other person doesn't want it, they will show it to you before you kiss them! If we all thought so hard before we tried to kiss each other, the human race would be extinct by now... – papakias Oct 12 '17 at 13:06
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    That is much clearer. When you're talking to someone without a lot of experience, it's best to be super clear. Moving towards someone to indicate you want to kiss them, but slowly so they can turn away or indicate they don't consent, is better than "grab her and kiss her" or "make a move (a kiss)" right? – Kate Gregory Oct 12 '17 at 13:55
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In sensitive matters such as this , you should cover your bases by making sure that she could be romantically interested in you. In your comments , you mention that she still keeps things that you both shared as children . That is really sweet and she does treasure your company and friendship , but don't let that confuse you for romantic interest . The problem is when your attracted to someone , you overanalyze and you see everything optimistically.

I was in your situation before and I made the mistake of not making sure whether her interest was of a romantic nature. Needless to say , It didn't work out well for me , but I did salvage my friendship after a while.

I suggest you to try the following before you actually make up your mind and tell her

  1. Break your contact with her for a few weeks and see what happens. If she gets in touch with you , that is a good sign

  2. Put forth invitations where you two will spend time alone , not visiting each other's homes , which is a friendly thing to do. Maybe go out for a walk , dinner or any kind of date like situation. If she doesn't refrain and accepts , it is a good sign.

  3. Flirt with her and see how she reacts . If she reacts positively and flirts back , that is great.

If you find that she is receptive, go for it !

As @Kate says in her answer , do not say that you love her , that will scare her away. I suggest that you could ask her out , let her know explicitly that she is going on a date with you.

I hope this helps you out !

Best of Luck

  • 1. would it be possible we are both doing that. 2. good idea, but i think her home would be a good start (it's where she feels most comfortable(introvertism)). 3. can you give me a few examples where I am not alarming her. edit: I know I'm fishing for positive things (sorry) – Termatinator Oct 12 '17 at 6:12
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    Will edit my answer to include them – Bharath Oct 12 '17 at 6:20
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I'm going to pick up on your line

I do think she loves me too, but I'm just not sure and if I make one mistake

as I think this actually highlights quite a few things that I think are worth discussing.

  1. Saying that you love someone is a bit much when you're not already in a relationship as it means different things to different people at different points. I can think of very few situations where this can work out well. So let's migrate to 'you'd like to be in a more than friends relationship'; as this is what you actually what you want to come out of it.

  2. "She loves me too". Very possibly, and if true she's stuck in the same problem; how to touch the subject without scaring you off.

  3. "I'm not sure if I make one mistake". Everyone makes mistakes. The key in my opinion is to make them, learn from them, and improve where you can. Having some confidence (but not too much) is actually something that is (I believe) generally considered attractive anyway.

  4. "mistake". Would you really consider being honest with a friend a mistake?

So putting those together, I would NOT suggest trying to make a romantic setting and declaring your love for her over a candle lit dinner; if it's something that you'd feel unconfortable with her doing to you, then she probably will too.

I would suggest that after a casual activity (meal / sport / game) with just the 2 of you, while alone and somewhere you're both relaxed and comfortable, you just say that you like her. I would rank this at the top of my "things that are hard to do" list, because it really does feel like you're taking a risk; but you're not, and I'll explain why.

If she likes you, then she'll smile, happy that you've said it, and say something positive back. Who knows what will happen after that, but the key thing is that you're both now aware that you like each other.

If she doesn't like you, then she'll probably say 'ohh, that's a surprise' or 'I don't feel the same' ... but by staying relaxed, and dropping the topic (you've made your point, and so has she), you won't change your current relationship; but most importantly, you now know she's not interested. This gives you freedom to consider if you want to put your friendship at risk to try and court her, or to just move on knowing that you tried, still have a good friend, but it wasn't to be.

Whatever you choose to do, and however you choose to do it - good luck! :)

  • To clarify why I think she loves me too: she's kept photo's of me and her (one in a sort of glass snowball, those things that if you shake, it looks like it's snowing) and she does have old 'friendbooks'. you know, Those books where others write in it to say how they feel about her (remember, we were kids). Well we were in a child-relationship back then and i wrote that i wanted to marry her (she did keep it). how high do you think the possibility is, that she also loves me? – Termatinator Oct 11 '17 at 17:31
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    @Termatinator impossible to say... honestly, you won't really know the answer until you ask and expose your heart to her. Once you do so you'll find out hers. You're nervous now, but once you've said it you'll feel much more free whatever she says. – UKMonkey Oct 11 '17 at 23:38
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    I do not feel that this is currently a useful answer. My understanding is that people on the autistic spectrum often struggle with euphemisms. You suggest that the OP should tell the girl that he likes her. I suspect both the OP and the girl associate the word "like" with friends, and not with anything more. I think wording from elsewhere in you answer: "a more than friends relationship" would work better. – AndyT Oct 12 '17 at 13:33
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This answer comes from somebody who is generally not introverted but really bad when it comes to love and admitting feelings.

Since you told us that age is not a problem anymore and distance is less of an problem by now but still a problem I would like to suggest this. ( My suggestions will take some time but is also a slightly safer approach )

Both of you are bad at keeping in contact and as a result you don't have a lot of contact, which would lead me to the first suggestion.

If possible try to increase the contact. This will also sign some sort of interest in her generally without directly risking something. This has two advantages. First you get to know her even better and can see if you get along well. Second you can see how she reacts to that. If she is happy about having more contact and is enjoying it that already is a really good sign. Let's just say to see her at least once a month would be a good start and not too sudden or pressuring. ( Also try real meetings since you feel awkward with skyping etc. ) skyping can be awkward for everybody so don't worry too much. That's just a charasteristic

If you still get along well and you think you are a little bit more sure if she loves you, try to get a good setting for a conversation. Take her somewhere where she is comfortable and were you are some kind of private ( no crowded place ). Just have a nice day for the beggining and then try to tell her about how you feel. Try to just express your feelings in the beginning. ( I really like you, you are important for me, I need you etc.). If she doesn't stop there you can to continue asking how she feels about hearing this and what her feelings are. Depending on the answer of this you can ask for a relationship. When you have this conversation you can always state that the friendship is very important to you and that if she does not want a relationship you can stay friends. ( If that is ok with her and you )

Staying friends after such a conversation ( I hope for you that this doesn't happen) can be slightly awkward in the beginning but it's possible.

I wish you the best of luck!

  • Because of the child-relationship i do know her well and I know we can get along. your second point might be hard for me, people with PDDNOS handle things more out of knowledge than feelings. let's say there is a slight error in my feelings (that's why it's extra hard) – Termatinator Oct 11 '17 at 11:50
  • You could say I am doubily introverted, maybe triple because of the awkwardness. – Termatinator Oct 11 '17 at 11:53
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    Ok thanks for the input. I will try to adjust my answer to that if I find time soon. – Nico Oct 11 '17 at 11:54

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