Dating as it relates to Asperger’s Syndrome

In our community, it is often thought impossible for people ‘on the spectrum’ to date, have a relationship, or ‘love someone’.

Anyone you run into, will tell you that dating for anyone can be difficult.  For us with Asperger’s, the concept can be more difficult.  Many of us feel that dating is impossible, others claim it’s a difficulty that makes them not want to engage in the behavior.

Among the things one has to contend with are:

  • The perception and understanding of social cues that may not be obvious in nature.
  • Unexpected or unpredictable touching, or other shows of affection.
  • The concept of reaching out and being social without being asked first.
  • Meeting new and strange people.
  • Having to introduce your significant other to new and strange people.
  • Changes and transitions as it pertains to personal routines.

Even neurotypicals will attest to the fact that there are a lot of dynamics that make a relationship what it is:

  • Trust and support.  Many Aspies feel the need to remain private with their thoughts, especially in personal situations.
  • Understanding your partner.  Ensuring that they understand that you don’t want to be hugged from behind, or maybe that only kissing on the lips is what you’re comfortable with.
  • Being on the same page with your partner in terms of what they want and what you want.
  • Compromise and accepting when change needs to occur.  If you eventually decide to marry your partner, understanding the changes that happen.
  • Many neurotypicals don’t realize that sexual relationships are based predominately on emotion – something that Aspies struggle with.
  • Adaptation to each other’s quirks and personality traits.  Imagine if your partner had Bi-Polar Disorder; how would you adapt to each other?
  • Making sure you have support from people on your side to help you through things that your significant other may not understand.  Also being able to accept advice and input from people whose opinions and intentions you disagree with, is key.

While this entry is placed on the ASA Facebook Page, I had someone message me earlier with a group that I’d like to share.  It’s called “NT Women Who Love an Adult Aspie”.

I volunteer for a non-profit organization in my state that provides services for those with Asperger’s and Autism.  I’ve attended workshops and seminars that they’ve hosted, where the host/moderator themselves was an Aspie, married to a neurotypical.  When I have run into those people, or others that are neurotypical and have an Aspie significant other, I’ve asked them how they do it, and they have responded with:

  • I’m patient with him/her and I have to realize that he/she is wired different than I am.
  • We dated long before we married, so I was able to learn how he/she functions, making our married life that much better.
  • I became friends with his/her family and they helped me better understand him/her.
  • Once it became clear that I cared deeply for him/her, I offered to attend therapy sessions or participate in activities that he/she enjoys; it also helped me understand him/her better.

Having said that, I can conclude that it is possible for NT’s and Aspies to have relationships, but they just require more effort and work than the average relationship.

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