Welcome to The Nerd's Quest, my journey of learning how to meet and date women as a computer nerd on the autism spectrum.
We were both super excited to meet each other in real life. We had been DMing for weeks. We already knew we had some kind of special connection. I had a crush on her, but at the same time I already knew that the two of us were at very different stages of our lives and were looking for very different things.
Yet I couldn’t help but feel giddy about the prospect of actually getting to meet her. My crush on her had been growing in the weeks leading up to vibecamp. Did she have a crush on me too? What was going to happen? I had joked with her that the first one of us to spot the other would win. She won.
She was so excited when she first saw me. I can still picture the look on her face. Wow. That’s a look that I’m never going to forget. She went straight for a tight hug. We were glued to each other from the moment we first met. We sat together at the Opening Ceremony, we ate dinner together, we explored the camp together.
That night we thought about going to one of the dance parties, but she was too scared at first. We decided to drink some more alcohol and explore for a while, socializing with people as we went. A few others had joined us, and we were all walking around together as a group. But the others started to wander off to do their own thing, and eventually she decided she was ready to give one of the dance parties a try.
The song “Get Low” came on right as we entered. At first we awkwardly shuffled from side to side, but then I asked her to get in front of me so that we could start grinding. That's how you're supposed to dance to this kind of music, right?
We started doing a very poor attempt at grinding. I had one hand on each of her shoulders, trying to guide her body back and forth as we rubbed against each other. After a little while her body language indicated that she was uncomfortable, and when I leaned over to look at her face, it was obvious. I asked her if she was okay, and she said she was. I didn’t really believe it, but we continued until the song ended. Once it ended, I asked if she wanted to keep dancing and she said that she wanted to leave.
We left together. She seemed relieved to be out of there. She started frantically talking about how things were moving too fast, how it had been a very long time since she had been intimately touched and so this was all so overwhelming for her, and how she wanted to just be friends.
I immediately apologized for getting too physical. I felt really bad about it. She said it was fine and that I hadn't done anything wrong and that my actions had been perfectly reasonable given the circumstances.
We kept hanging out together, and a few others joined in as we walked around exploring the camp some more, but I could feel the uncomfortable energy in the air. Eventually I pulled out my phone, wrote "I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable", and handed it to her. I didn’t want the other people to overhear.
She quietly replied that I didn't make her uncomfortable and that the situation was just too overwhelming for her.
Then I asked her if she wanted me to leave. She said no and made it very clear she wanted me to stay. I nodded, and so we kept hanging out.
A little while later we sat next to each other on the grass in front of the lake. Someone was doing a light show with music. We sat there and watched for a while, and when the light show people were asked to move to a different area because quiet hours had begun, we just kept sitting there instead of getting up to move with them.
I asked her if she wanted to cuddle. She said she did, and then she leaned her head against my shoulder. I had been secretly hoping all day that we would end up cuddling, and I was very happy that we did. I had been starved of intimate physical touch for so long that I couldn’t get enough of it.
For the most part we were silent, but eventually we started talking about what we were to each other. We agreed that we were in different phases of our lives. I was just starting my slut phase, she was already past hers and wanted to immediately find a husband and start having kids. I couldn’t imagine getting married for at least another five years. I wanted open relationships, she wanted monogamy. We were on totally different pages. What each of us wanted was totally incompatible with what the other wanted.
But we were cuddling closer and closer. She had gone from simply leaning her head against my shoulder to having her arms wrapped around me. I asked her if I could kiss her and she said no, that would be too physical and she didn't want to get too emotionally committed. I said that was fine, and so we just kept cuddling. In total we spent at least an hour together there on the grass, gazing up at the stars. Eventually she decided that it was time for her to go to sleep, and so we wished each other a good night and went our separate ways.
So it was settled then. We were to just remain friends.
Or was it?
I spent most of the night tossing and turning in my bunk, trying to process all the emotions I had gone through in such a short period of time as the wind caused the cabin coverings to flap loudly against the walls. I’m not sure I slept a single wink that night.
We ran into each other a few times over the course of the next day and had a few small interactions. We were just being friendly with each other, right? Later that night, we saw each other at one of the dance parties and started talking. I don’t remember exactly what was said, but somehow we ended up hanging out again, just the two of us. We were both drinking a lot, especially me. We left the dance party and sat down at a picnic table and finished our drinks. Then I asked her if she wanted to cuddle again. She said she did. We hunted around for a good spot and ended up in the middle of the football field. The grass was softer there.
We held each other and laughed at our drunkenness. After a while, something unexpected happened, something I hadn’t predicted at all. She suddenly announced that she had changed her mind about the kissing and in an instant we were passionately making out. I had never been kissed like that before. We kept at it for a good long time. She told me that I was a great kisser, which made me feel amazing. I was very insecure about my kissing ability, and this compliment caused my confidence and self-esteem to shoot through the roof.
Eventually the massive amount of whiskey I drank earlier was starting to really get to me, and she ended up helping me get to the restroom and then brought me some water. I thought I might puke, so I wanted to be right next to a toilet just in case. I thanked her and assured her that I would be alright and could get back to my cabin on my own once I sobered up a little, and so we wished each other a good night and parted ways.
I went to bed that night feeling like a champion.
I saw her again at the Closing Ceremony. I told her that the previous night was amazing. I was still glowing from the compliment she gave me about my kissing ability. We made plans to meet up at one of the afterparties. We weren't ready to say goodbye yet.
We met up and hung out at the afterparty. We were sitting together and chilling, talking about random stuff and enjoying some alcohol. Eventually, she asked me if we could kiss again. She said she was a little nervous about kissing in front of other people, but I told her it wasn’t a big deal and we just decided to go for it.
After some kissing, we ended up back in the same conversation that we had the first night. We were in different phases of our lives. It couldn't work between us. We both agreed that we felt this magnetic draw to each other. Logic told us it wouldn't work, but our feelings told us to stay next to each other and not to break away and go find other people to talk to. Our brains said one thing, but our hearts told us the opposite. And our hearts were winning.
But eventually we decided to kiss one last time before getting up from our spot and going to talk to other people at the party. This was the pragmatic thing to do. So that’s what we did, and I started exploring other parts of the party and talking to a variety of different people.
A while later I noticed that she was sitting alone against a tree in the backyard, looking very sad and lonely. I walked over and asked her if she was okay. She said she was fine and thanked me for checking on her. If you see that a friend is looking lonely and depressed, you check in on them, right? After she told me that she was fine, I went to go socialize with other people again.
It was a great party. I had never been to a party where people were getting naked before. I ended up dancing naked for a little while myself, an exciting first for me. I had a number of interesting conversations, both with people I had met before and with new people.
We bumped into each other again later on in the night. She looked like she was about to leave. I asked her if she was leaving, and she said she was thinking about getting food and invited me to come with her. I decided I would go get some food with her and come back to the party afterwards.
That's how the two of us ended up at Waffle House. We were sitting across from each other and liking each other's tweets while laughing out loud about the ridiculousness of the whole situation. It was a special moment.
She mentioned that she couldn't invite me over to her Airbnb because she was sharing her room with a friend. I mentioned that I had my own bedroom at mine, and she asked if she could come back to my place. I was happy to agree. This isn't how I had envisioned the night going, but I was happy about it. I had been planning on going back to the party, but her suggestion sounded even better.
As someone who has been starved of physical contact with the opposite sex for so many years, opportunities like this feel almost impossible to say no to. She was literally asking to spend the night with me! It was her idea! How could I possibly say no?
We spent the night in each other's arms. It was very intimate. This was the first time in my life that a girl had ever actually slept in the same bed as me, setting aside sharing a bed with relatives.
I woke up Monday morning to her spooning my naked body and kissing the back of my neck. She was wearing a disheveled dress with her breasts exposed. It was one of the most amazing feelings I had ever experienced. It was magical.
My flight was leaving that night. She went back to her place to go through her morning routine and say goodbye to the friend she was staying with, but we met up again that afternoon. I packed before she arrived so that we could maximize our time together.
We ended up spending hours in bed together, cuddling, kissing, and exploring each other’s sexuality. It felt like heaven. We never had sexual intercourse itself, as she was very serious about only having intercourse within the bounds of a committed monogamous relationship, but we still did a lot. She showed me how to do certain things better, and I experimented with new techniques and received honest feedback from her. It was a tremendous confidence boost and a valuable learning experience for me. I feel so much more confident in my ability to please a woman sexually now.
After we took a break to eat some food, I knew that it was time to have a difficult conversation, the same conversation we had already had at least twice before since this all began on Friday, but this time it felt more serious.
I talked about how we were both in very different phases of our lives. I talked about how I am not ready to settle down and get married, nor will I be for at least another five years. I talked about how I couldn’t handle monogamy right now. There was still so much I wanted to do and try, and I couldn’t give that all up to marry the first girl to ever fall in love with me. For me, monogamy just isn’t an option right now, and I’m not sure if it will ever be. I don’t know how I’ll feel in five or ten years from now, but it’s hard to imagine a future where I could be 100% monogamous.
She told me that she couldn’t handle an open relationship. She couldn’t handle the idea of me continuing The Quest (she knows all about it of course) and going out and pursuing other women. For her, monogamy is a must.
We had joked that we were opposite-gender doppelgängers. She was the female version of me, and I was the male version of her. We were both in agreement that the connection we had was very special, but we fundamentally disagreed about what this connection meant for us.
From her point of view, we were soulmates. She wanted to run away with me right then and there and begin our lives together. She was ready to almost immediately get married and start having kids.
I imagined what it would be like to go along with her dream, to commit to her for the rest of my life and to be fully monogamous. It just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel right at all. I’m not in that phase of my life yet, and like I said earlier, I know that I cannot commit to monogamy right now (if ever). My gut was saying “No! Don’t do it! This isn’t right! Don’t do it!”
I still loved spending time with her. When we were in bed together, I had told her that there was no place in the world that I’d rather be at that moment than lying there with her, and I meant it. I still craved the physical intimacy we had, especially given how starved I have been of it for my entire life. It was like a drug that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It was amazing.
Her personality is great, too. I felt totally comfortable around her. I could be myself without any fear of judgment, without any insecurity. She is kind, extremely honest, gentle-hearted, and very smart. We are both on the autism spectrum, and we work in similar fields. We both process the world around us in similar ways. It was so easy for me to understand her. I could go on and on about how great of a person she is, and how much we had in common. It’s no wonder we got along so easily!
But despite all of that, deep down I knew that I couldn’t be the man to give her what she truly wanted. I knew that if I went through the motions and gave in that I would end up regretting it. I would grow resentful. It would be a costly mistake for the both of us. She would inevitably end up being single again, except with even more wasted time and heartbreak that could have been avoided. I couldn’t force myself to be who she wanted me to be, to want what she wanted me to want.
As the conversation carried on, she started to cry. I felt terrible. I didn’t want her to suffer. She said something along the lines of that it wasn’t my fault and that she did it to herself.
She tried to frame the whole experience as a learning opportunity for the both of us. She explained that she learned more about herself, what her boundaries should be, how she should be upfront about her intentions and filter out those who aren’t looking for what she is looking for, etc. She said that I made her feel sexy and desired, something she had been without for a very long time. I was a confidence boost for her, too.
But still, part of me feels that maybe I should have done more to prevent this from happening.
Could I Have Prevented This?
I allowed her to hurt herself with me. We had this magnetic connection where whenever we were in the same room together, we would inevitably end up getting closer and closer to each other, and before long we would end up wrapped in each other’s arms. I could have stopped this before it was taken too far. Each time I touched her, or allowed her to touch me, I was adding more fuel to the fire of her feelings for me, a fire that ended up burning her.
Maybe I should have spent some of my vibecamp time differently instead of spending so much time with her? Maybe I shouldn’t have asked her if she wanted to cuddle again on Saturday night, after we had already established that we were just going to remain friends? Maybe I shouldn’t have left the afterparty to go with her to Waffle House? Would she have been better off if these things hadn’t happened the way they did?
When we were lying in bed together, I said that there was no place I’d rather be than right there with her, and I meant it. I just feel bad that my actions led to someone getting hurt, even if it’s what neither of us intended and even if I did everything “right” when it comes to the rules of consent, respecting boundaries, asking for permission, etc. I’m starting to understand that there’s another layer beyond that, one that involves making sure you don’t enable someone else to hurt themselves.
We had about an hour left before I had to go. She asked if we could cuddle in the bed again, but this time with our clothes staying on. I asked if she was sure, and she insisted she was. So we spent the last hour in each other’s arms, even after all that was said during that difficult conversation.
Before long, it was time for me to head to the airport. I couldn’t delay any longer without risking missing my flight. We sat on the couch together watching my phone as the little pixelated Uber car approach our location on the map. It was nerve-wracking. I told her that I would treasure the memories we had made together for the rest of my life. I wasn’t planning on kissing her again given that the more physical we got, the more she got hurt, but she kissed me one final time as I got up to pick up my bags.
I walked out the front door. We had one final hug and muttered an awkward goodbye, both of us too nervous to speak properly, and then I was off.
The emotional whirlwind of it all really hit me as I walked into the airport.
The security line was practically empty, so I could afford to spare a few minutes before my plane started boarding. I went down the escalator to baggage claim and sat next to carousel number five. It was in this exact spot four days beforehand that my vibecamp journey began. It was here where I met up with the others who were waiting for the buses. It felt like sacred ground.
These four days had been the most impactful of my adult life, without question. There were so many emotions to process. As I sat there, taking it all in, I shed a few tears for the first time in I don’t know how long. My body doesn’t produce tears very often. I stood up and walked away a changed man compared to the one who sat there four days earlier. I can’t even put into words how different the world feels for me now. Wow. The only sentence I can muster right now is that I have finally found my people, that’s for sure.
A Message to Her
If you are reading this, I have a message for you:
You are an amazing woman. You deserve a fantastic husband who will take care of you, emotionally support you, and give you the life that you dream about. Someone who understands you and enables you to be your authentic self. You deserve someone who shares your vision of what an ideal relationship looks like.
Keep looking and you WILL find the love of your life. I know he’s out there, waiting for you. You just need to put yourself out there and find him!
I’m certainly no expert in this field, but I do have some advice for you if you’re willing to hear me out. I have some ideas that I’ve been writing down about how you can go about finding the man of your dreams. I am extremely grateful for how you’ve helped me, and now maybe I can return the favor by helping you.
I sincerely hope that we can remain friends, but if you don’t want to hear from me again, I understand. It’s time for you to start prioritizing what is best for yourself in the long run. Don’t worry about me.
Wishing you the best! I believe in you!