In love with an autistic guy

Hey, I don’t have autism but the guy I really like is on the spectrum. He’s high functioning, is incredibly smart etc and to be honest I don’t really see his autistic traits as his autism I just see him? (I hope that makes sense, in my head it does) like it’s part of him and I love that about him. We’ve been friends for years and first had sex a couple years ago after I had been flirting for a year and dropping extremely subtle hints that I liked him and in bed one night he finally gave in. We spoke about feelings and he said he needed time to figure it out, we flirted/seen each other over the year before he was like I just don’t think I can be in a relationship, this has probably been the hardest time of my life, I love you it’s just the stuff in the middle, will you still be my friend etc. Things have been a little awkward since but getting better...but I still love him, I still want him but any chat about feelings or flirting will freak him the f*ck out. He’s not too long out of the closet and I know he doesn’t do hook ups etc, he’s literally the most amazing guy I’ve ever met and he also said to me ‘he doesn’t think he can ever be in a relationship and that hurts’. I was just looking for advice on anything I can do? Or what’s the best thing to do? And is it normal for people with autism to have such low self esteem and to feel like that. I want him to be open to being loved but he doesn’t seem to want to let people get close? Apologies if I’ve used the wrong terms or offended anyone. Feel free to correct me, I’m dying to learn more even if we are just always friends like I want him to feel understood.