Dating on the Spectrum: Navigating Relationships through Autism
Spring is in the air, and with warm weather comes an increased time for dating. This is also the time of year when I start getting many questions from my clients on the Autism spectrum about how to date and navigate romance in a predominantly neurotypical world.
I want to talk to the individuals on the other side of the table in the blog. The individuals who are dating or married to someone with ASD ( Autism Spectrum Disorder). What do I think someone should know about having a relationship with an individual who looks at and processes the world in a slightly different way? Here are some things to consider:
Social cues and Norms
Sometimes, these make very little sense to someone with ASD. There will be times when what you perceive as common sense will be oblivious to the individual with ASD. An example of that will be someone asking them how they are doing, and they could respond with a lengthy explanation of being angry at the 45-minute wait time at a restaurant. Do they really want to know how you're doing? No, but they did ask.
Things neurotypical individuals might not ever be willing to say out loud is just a conversation for someone with ASD. If you ask if these jeans make me look fat, be careful. You did ask. It isn't that they are being mean; they are just answering the question that was asked of them.
This can be a genuine struggle at times, and feeling left out, disconnected, or less can result in a meltdown. That meltdown can come out as anger, tears, or being shut out of their lives. Everyone needs to feel connected regardless of whether you're an introvert or an extrovert
Love has a lot of nuances that can be learned but may not come naturally. Please don't take for granted that they know to buy flowers and candy. Tell them what you like and want.
This is a highly sensory experience, and individuals with ASD sometimes struggle with processing all that information. Slow and steady wins this race with lots of communication.
At Mind Works Counseling Services in Lubbock, Texas, we specialize in working with adults with autism and we are prepared to help you and your loved ones navigate the world in a way that hopefully puts you in place to be successful and happy. Please don't hesitate to reach out if we can be of assistance.
Learn more about the Autism Counseling services we offer.
Contact us to make an appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.