I am writing this while lying in bed in the early hours of Sunday morning, while Johan is sitting at his computer on the other side of the living room playing World of Warcraft. We are both comfortable and happy.
I feel very lucky to have met Johan. We are very similar in a lot of ways, and this means we understand each other in a way that most other people don’t. We often think the same things, which results in us saying exactly the same thing at the same time. We have similar interests.
I met Johan in Second Life, introduced by a mutual friend, Alexa. Alexa and Johan were best friends in Second LIfe, and I was roleplaying as Alexa’s daughter. At the time of meeting, Alexa and Johan decided to try being boyfriend and girlfriend, which didn’t work out. They remained very good friends though.
A few years ago, there was a meeting in London of Plurkers and Second Lifers, which we both attended. We immediately got on as well in real life as in Second Life, and everyone there (except Johan) could see that there was something between us. We met up a few times in London, often with other Second Life friends, and eventually I asked him out (very clumsily) over lunch in the Science Museum. He said yes, and told me that he’d been too shy to ask me out. Most of our friends told us they knew it would happen
After Johan had spent a year at university, he came to my flat for a short holiday, and never left. Once we’d decided he was staying long term, we went and declared everything to the benefits agencies as required, and he brought his computer and not much else up with him from where he was staying in Hull. This was partially because I wasn’t coping with living alone (Vicky had moved out at this point to be closer to her work) and we were worried I would have to move back into less independent acommodation, but also because we enjoyed being together and Johan felt at home here. I soon discovered that Johan’s self care skills weren’t exactly the greatest, but I was able to help him with them as he was able to help me with my mental health problems. People started asking us when we’d be getting married, and while out with my brother at the MetroCentre we mutually agreed that getting married would be a good thing to do.
It was rough while my mental health was bad, especially when I became severely depressed late 2009/early 2010. Johan helped me though, and eventually I came out of it. Having a stable home with someone I loved was one of the bigger factors in my recovery from depression. Also by this point I had M.E. but wasn’t aware of it (I was putting my symptoms down to depression) and Johan helped me with dealing with the gradual loss of ability as it got worse, including pushing me in a wheelchair for the first time while on holiday in Edinburgh.
We got married in August 2010, inviting only very close friends as we wanted to keep it small. We both don’t deal well with crowds of people, and the tiny wedding we had followed by playing Rock Band and eating pizza in our flat with friends was perfect for us. We also enjoyed our honeymoon in Durham.
One of the reasons I suspect Johan is on the autism spectrum is because he is so similar to me. He gets anxious about many of the same things, thinks in a similar, logical way, and doesn’t display emotions in a typical way. Because we are so similar, we’re very good at reading each other, so we can tell when the other person is happy, sad, anxious or frustrated, even when it isn’t obvious to other people. Unfortunately this also means that are emotions tend to feed into each other, so if one of us is upset (especially if it’s because we think we’ve upset the other) both of us will become very upset and often results in us both having meltdowns. Luckily though it blows over very quickly and everything is back to normal within a short time.
Being so similar also means we know how to comfort each other. Johan will mention penguins to me if I’m sad, as that normally makes me happy. I’ll offer him a hug if he’s sad, as that makes him feel better. We can deal with each other’s physical contact even though we don’t normally like it, because we love each other so much and know how to do it without it hurting (or for me, hurting too much).
We also both like being silly. We can be serious when we need to be, but if we don’t need to be then silliness is the norm for us. When I mentioned to Johan I was writing this blog post, saying it was about how I love him and he loves me, he followed it up with “we’re best friends as friends can be”- a rhyme from Barney, of all things We feel so comfortable with each other that stuff like that is how we like to interact, and normally results in smiling and giggling.
Johan has also been exceptionally understanding about my health problems, first my depression and then my M.E. Sometimes he can be a bit overprotective, but it’s because he doesn’t want to see me any more ill. He’s done way more for me than should be expected from anyone, and he does it because he wants to, not because he has to. In return, I try and help him with his mental health problems, and help him with prompting and things for his self care needs. We both find it a lot easier to do things for the other rather than for ourselves.
I love Johan. He loves me. We’re very happy together, and very compatible. We both want to spend the rest of our lives together. I’m grateful to Alexa for introducing us, and one day we’ll go over to where she lives to meet her in person. I’m sure there’s lots of other things I could mention, but I just wanted to write this about the most amazing man I’ve ever met.
To Johan. Thank you.