In this post I am going to discuss dating and being in a relationship with someone autistic when the other partner is not autistic and what will mean with regards to the dynamic of a relationship and what to expect when out on a date.
Being in a relationship with someone who is autistic will be unlike any other relationship you’ll have experienced before or (hopefully not) afterwards. Because they lack the understanding of social situations, which can result in rejection many people on the Autism Spectrum have usually led quite solitary lives and therefore could be described as unworldly or naive. These traits have some kind of appeal, however the negative side of this is your partner probably won’t understand how to fulfil your emotional needs and will struggle to inject romance into the relationship.
When someone who is on the Autism Spectrum is interested in something they will apply an obsessive level of focus toward that interest and if you are the focus of that obsession the level of attention you receive will be incomparable. Unfortunately it won’t last forever, because as your relationship settles something else might end up occupying your partners focus and the level of attention you receive dwindles.
If your partners attitude towards you ever seems like they’re not interested in you try not to be too offended, it is most likely that your partner has routines or rituals which they will have developed from a young age to provide themselves with structure and stability. As well as routines and rituals it is possible that your partner is tired and stressed from work (aren’t we all), but for your partner their tiredness and stress comes from social interaction. It may be a hard concept to grasp but your partner will be constantly having to think about how best to respond to conversation (particularly when humour is involved) and generally how to conduct themselves in a social context, as a result they will need to de-stress before engaging in further social activity.
A common trait amongst people on the Autism Spectrum revolves around isolating themselves this is because their senses will be overwhelmed from the outside world such as noises, smells and bright lights. This will impact on your relationship is that your partner might not participate in meal preparation because of the noise. Other times when these stimuli could agitate your partner will likely revolve around parties or family gatherings.
I don’t want to put you off with all of the negativity that has been discussed in the preceding paragraphs, rather provide you a realistic portrayal of what dating someone who is autistic and even though you may face some unique challenges, dating someone who is autistic has a lot of positives that will hopefully make for a happy and fulfilling relationship.
What dating someone who is autistic there will be no need for you to put on a front or feel insecure, because your date will want you to be yourself and will accept you for who are. You might find that your date is somewhat old-fashioned in the way they conduct themselves. They will also be polite, gentle and non-threatening with no intention of playing games or having an agenda for the date. As mentioned earlier, most people on the Autism Spectrum will have led solitary lives and will generally struggle to read the subtle social cues you might give off. This means that you are in control of how the date progresses, having this control will ensure a more pleasurable experience for you both because your date won’t have to struggle with making decisions (apart from what they want to eat & drink).
To conclude, what I’ve been talking about in this post is closely based on my own experiences and a result I hope I have provided you with a realistic portrayal of what dating someone autistic is like. Always remember that your partner or date will have the best intentions, but might inadvertently misread a situation or say something inappropriate, which is not meant to deliberately cause offence and in that situation you can either ignore it or gently explain why it was the wrong thing to do, because you will have a far better understanding of the world than you partner or date will have.
For a perspective on dating and flirting from somebody with Asperger Syndrome check out Girls, Girls, Girls by Tim Kirtland