Well, we went as a shiny, happy, sociable couple to the wedding reception!
Ethan was making a concerted effort after the near-divorce proceedings that had arisen in the build up to it (see my earlier post) and we had a really lovely time!
I also, it has to be said, was making a concerted effort to be sensitive to Ethan's needs while we were there. When we first arrived there were quite a few single sex groups of people we knew a little bit that ordinarily I would have zoomed right in on and joined the conversation, leaving Ethan floundering. This time, knowing that Ethan would find this group chat overwhelming, I held back. We 'warmed up' in the little seating area next to the main bar where the music was quieter and chatted amicably one-on-one (which is really the only kind of chatting Ethan can comfortably do) with the other people who were hiding out there!
After a while, seeing that Ethan was safely enjoying a conversation with one other man, I went and had a dance. Ethan was able to legitimately excuse himself at regular intervals to go to the bar (I've never been so well attended to!) or the buffet table (proper man-size sausage and bacon butties!) meaning that he had short but regular 'breathers' from conversation.
After a while, when we'd both had a couple of drinks (and sausage sarnies) and were feeling relaxed and people had dispersed a bit either to the bar or to dance or to sit at tables, it was easier for Ethan to chat to one or two people at a time - and he did. I didn't even have to be around. Allowing me to catch up with my friends and to dance - with all the gay abandon that comes from three glasses of wine!
The fact that he was feeling relaxed and comfortable and was chatting easily with people boosted Ethan's confidence which, in turn, made him more sociable which made him more confident. It also helped that he had something specific to talk about that he was interested in and that was interesting for other people (blokes at least). Yes, you've guessed it, (that bloody car) that I ranted about in an earlier blog has come into its own in more ways than one!
We came home and didn't argue. There was no awful feeling of dissatisfaction or embarrassment or frustration or of not fitting in for either of us. And we fell asleep cuddling (a bit too much wine for anything else!)
The night really was an on-the-job tutorial for how to get the best from a night out with an AS partner. And all it took from me was a bit of patience, a bit of understanding and, until Ethan was ready to wade in, a bit of holding back.