If your relationship is making both of you happier, then why is it wrong to need each other? How did independence become the mark of a “healthy” human, when our species literally only got this far through social cooperation?
My brother has higher support needs than me — he lives with my parents, and they worry about what will happen to him when they’re gone. It’s the biggest fear for most parents of autistic people, and I suspect a huge driver of the Autism Mom obsession with cure (something my own mother, thankfully, never bought into).
I don’t worry about him though, because the answer has always been obvious to me. My brother and I will grow old together, tinkering with train sets and watching our birdhouses through binoculars.
He is a part of every long-term plan for my life I’ve ever had, ones that will include an expansive, chosen family, that will look different to the American nuclear ideal. I don’t expect him to learn how to live alone, and I don’t expect that for myself anymore either.
When her sister died three years ago, Ms. Ingersoll joined the ranks of older Americans considered “kinless”: without partners or spouses, children...