I feel like I've let all women down, and can n... - OCD Support

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I feel like I've let all women down, and can no longer call myself a feminist, after making these two mistakes.

Odd_Peak_8442 profile image
2 Replies

Hi, this is my situation. I'm a 23 year-old male, and I've always considered myself an intersectional feminist, but I feel as though I'm a bad person who has done something irrevocably bad, and has betrayed women everywhere.

I have Asperger's Syndrome, as well as clinical depression and at the time the events below happened, I was wrestling with what I later that same month realized was an aggressive form of OCD caused by extreme anxiety and stress (Pure-O), (with general OCD being something I Iater realised I've always had).

Around this time, due to an increasingly non-existent libido, I began to suspect that I was, indeed, asexual. I can't really explain my attitude towards women in any other way than to say I've never sexualised women really; while I sincerely respect a woman's sexuality (or lack thereof), my most enriching relationships with women have always been wholly platonic, and non-sexual.

At first, in 2020, I assumed this was just an over-reaction to the stress of experiencing sex and overthinking things, but now I realise that (irrespective of whether I'm on anti-anxiety medication or not), I seriously don't desire romantic or sexual relationships. The world of sex and its cyber-communities are too confusing and boring for me (no offence), and I just don't feel drawn to them whatsoever.

1.) One morning last May, I woke up in an uncharacteristically 'horny' state and didn't want to relieve myself because I knew that this fleeting, uncommon feeling would go away soon.

At the same time, I also felt I'd like to just vent the feeling somewhere, but my OCD anxiety had conditioned me by this point of 2020 to avoid doing anything 'traditionally', as it were, lest I received intrusive thoughts.

Also, I didn't want to watch pornography because I've always hated the artificiality of it, and felt (due to my perhaps too-rigidly fixed moral compass) that "a feminist doesn't watch porn!" (which is just my view, personally, but every time I'd watch even a second of a clip, I'd feel unreasonably guilty, thinking, "this is somebody's daughter!").

In the end, faced with "no other options" (as far as my OCD was concerned), I messaged a text to a woman who I'd been friendly with for nearly a week at this point.

I didn't even do this for gratification or a dopamine 'hit', it was simply to get rid of a feeling; like how you can write a problem down on a piece of paper, and symbolically 'destroy' it by tearing the paper up.

I quickly unconsciously rationalized it as, "Well, I think this is okay because she called me 'cute', and generally in the past, that's meant that someone's been flirting with you, but you were too aloof to notice the behaviour, and someone would have to tell you after the fact".

After falling asleep and waking up some time later, the fleeting feeling of randiness had of course gone, and so I thought, "What an impulsive thing to do, that's unlike me, and regardless of what she responds with, I'll make amends by U-turning and moving the conversation forward onto a separate topic".

She responded, not knowing what the abbreviation I had used meant, and so I said "nevermind" and we carried on talking as normal and I realised that that was a silly thing to do due to the fact that I deep-down didn't want to be sexual with her or any lady, as stated prior.

And so, since I didn't really mean it, to myself, I didn't worry about it. In my mind, I'd wised up way before dire repercussions would start, and had done the adult thing.

About 12 hours later, after our conversation had all but died, due to an exhaustion of conversation points, she blocked me. I remembered this last month when reading a Me Too article, and went out of my way to apologise via a new Snapchat account, but I still feel like a bad person.

At the same time, my lady friends have counseled me on the matter, saying "If you'd sent a dick pic, (which I've never, ever sent unsolicited, or to a young person) that'd be sexist, but this is just an awkward moment, we've all done it, you didn't mean anything by it", and other similar sentiments.

Another friend said, "Bab, the amount of times I've misread a situation and said something sexual and then realised that the person wasn't feeling it, is a lot. Don't worry about it". Another friend said, "You're amazing for having apologised, but honestly, it's all good".

Also, this has happened to me with the roles reversed, where an acquaintance of mine messaged me, saying "I miss being choked", with a Snapchat video of her neck (out of the blue) and I think maybe I'm overreacting due to the moral scrupulousness of my personality, in that I'm holding myself up to a higher moral standard than everybody else. Is this a normal thing that everybody does?

Hell, my best friend once messaged me when she was drunk, asking me what ahem, "(p-word) tasted like".

I think that what both of my friends did here doesn't in the slightest constitute being a 'misandrist' (to flip the loaded, judgmental language of my OCD's finger-wagging) of course, they were just doing a spontaneous thing and they don't need to feel bad.

In a similar vein, I'm not a misogynist, and don't need to feel bad, right?

2.) In mid-July, while depressed and once again in an unusually 'horny' state, I re-added a woman who I'd been speaking with on-and-off as friends (mainly, despite some consensual sexting, initially) for a year and a half, and I messaged her a text message that was sexual.

In this instance, I remembered the above encounter, and double-checked in my mind that we'd been flirting recently (noncommittally), which we had, but prior to me messaging her, two weeks prior, I'd said I didn't think it was a good idea for us to talk anymore as I felt we had nothing to talk about, which she accepted and I disappeared.

After sending the sexual message, about two weeks after we'd last spoken, I was confident this was okay, as I'd not misunderstood the tone, and I thought the tone of a conversation would still be there, even after one person disappears (as usually that's how conversations have worked previously with people I've known - the conversation just resumes after any break).

After I said this, she said "Nice" (which I thought of as a good, "Nice"), but then she said "Why did you think that'd be the first thing I'd want to see?", so having realised I'd messed up the timing, I awkwardly receded then after talking to myself out loud about it, I apologised to her.

She said, "Don't worry, it's okay, do you have mental health issues?", and we spoke about my anxiety and I tried to make it clear that I'd misread a signal.

Everything was fine until I remembered this last month and felt indebted to apologise (again) and she accepted it (after not remembering at first) and I was overthinking by this point, and so said, "I didn't traumatize you, did I?"

She responded with a shrugged emoji, and then I said, "Well, I hope I didn't", and she said, "Oh well", and I said, "What do you mean?" and she said, "Never mind". I think she was being sarcastic here, and I think she got annoyed that I didn't get it and became further annoyed at how I continually kept apologizing after this point, and then she blocked me.

I then felt even worse and then re-added her via my secondary Snapchat account in order to apologise, and she saw the message and saved it and that's it.

My friend pointed out to me that she more than likely meant no ill-will by blocking me, but she probably felt like I wasn't listening to her accepting my apologies, and maybe felt annoyed that I was continually apologizing for something so incredibly minor.

I've now realised that I am totally asexual, which is totally unsurprising.

So, that's it. I don't want to go on living if I've done something awful to these women (which is just catastrophizing, I know), since my relationship with women is otherwise perfect. At the same time, the rational part of my brain is saying,

"It was an awkward moment that you corrected in both cases, both at the time and later on. It wasn't something you did out of entitlement or sexism.

Misunderstanding these nuances happens to neurotypicals and 'Aspies' alike, and it's literally a hallmark characteristic of your condition. You're not Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, or Marilyn Manson''.

I've been unable to sleep peacefully for the last three weeks due to a Gordian knot of anxiety in my stomach that makes me want to vomit, but I've been feeling a bit better recently.

What do you think?

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2 Replies
Sallyskins profile image

It must be difficult for someone with Asperger's to find their way around the complicated field of relationships! It's difficult enough for us who don't have Asperger's!

Signals are easily misread, and men are particularly bad at reading signals (or is that just my experience as a woman?) Some men take a friendly 'Hi' as a come on, while others don't realize that a woman's coming on to them at all!

It's pretty clear that you are a decent person, who wants to do the right thing and who treats people decently.

I'm a bit older than you, and I think that social media makes relationships more complicated than they were when I was young! All this 'swipe left' and 'swipe right' and being expected to send or accept intimate photos! I think it best to avoid sending intimate photos to anyone you're not actually in a relationship with.

Don't continue to beat yourself up about what happened. These things happen, and she, too, must have been confused. It's hurtful to be blocked, but she was only really an acquaintance, not a close friend. As I said, best not to send 'dick pics' to acquaintances or platonic friends.

Best not to go over and over these incidences in your mind. It doesn't get you anywhere and just makes you feel more confused than before. Just accept that it was a misunderstanding, and that it doesn't make you a bad person, and move on.

Don't necessarily rule out relationships with women in the future. It makes sense to keep your options open. One advantage of Asperger's, I think, could be that you are straightforward and honest and don't play silly mind games. Make the most of that, and don't try to keep up with other people's mind games!

Most of us have made lots of mistakes in relationships and the best thing to do is to learn from the mistakes and move on. Now go and get some sleep and stop worrying about it!

Odd_Peak_8442 profile image
Odd_Peak_8442 in reply to Sallyskins

Thank you so much for replying, I really appreciate it.

It really is difficult, because I didn't want to be overly-forward, but I ended up getting the wrong end of the stick, and I felt bad. In reality, though, as you said, it's a non-malicious error that everyone makes, irrespective of whether or not they're on the spectrum.

I'll try and not worry too much more about this, thank you again for being so understanding and taking the time to read and respond:).

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