Rachel and her neurotypical partner, Sam, first became friends in high school but didn't get together until they'd both graduated. Their slow walk toward romance wasn't for Sam's lack of trying, Rachel said.
"It's actually kinda funny," she said. "I slowly developed feelings for them throughout our friendship. Only after I finally gained the courage to ask them out, I learned that they had a crush on me and had been flirting the entire time."
It was a year into their relationship that Rachel was diagnosed with autism. Things had gotten pretty rocky by that point, and Sam and Rachel were in the midst of relationship counseling for persistent problems with communication.
"They actually almost broke up with me, and we had to go to couples therapy because of what essentially boiled down to us having difficulty understanding each other's emotions, especially when we had arguments," Rachel said.
Now, three years into the relationship and looking back, Rachel said these problems started to make a lot more sense after her diagnosis. Repairing their relationship involved an effort on both Sam and Rachel's part to