Dating an Autistic Person: A Helpful Guide
Last Updated on August 10, 2022
From an early age, autistic children are remarkable recipients of emotions. They are hypersensitive about specific abilities. These abilities continue to influence their behaviors in relationships during their adult stage.
Navigating your way through dating an autistic person can be tricky at the beginning as you familiarize yourself with your soulmate. In time, you will find yourself dating a precious mind with so much to give. At the same time, you should have a few tricks up your sleeve to handle the challenges in different situations.
What Do You Need to Know About Dating an Autistic Person?
1. Don’t Ever Question Their Ability To Fall In Love
One of the most offensive questions autistic people get is about their ability to give and receive love. Autistic people are not emotionally blocked. They are empathetic and even more sensitive to feelings than regular people.
Having autism does not impair one’s perception of love. The misunderstanding comes from the differences in displaying affection between autistic people and neurotypical folks. It is humiliating to assume someone’s capability of love based on a condition.
2. Get To Know Their Condition Well
Unlike most other conditions, there is not a single line that connects all autistic kids. Everyone is unique with varying qualities and traits. While reading up about autism can smoothen out the transition as you learn to love your partner right, you will need to spend time with them to find out their specific condition.
There is not one type of autism. Very often, you will encounter autistic matches with drastically different personalities. Instead of analyzing your date with a textbook, ask them about the details so you can create a more comfortable environment.
3. Decipher Their Words And Actions
Maneuvering a romantic relationship can be daunting for autistic people as they struggle to express themselves. As the neurotypical partner, you have to bear the role of the interpreter in the relationship.
At first, it can feel like you have to move mountains to get to the bottom of their true feelings. Once you get the hang of the tactics to decode them, it will get a lot smoother. The skill comes with time as you develop a sense of what your partner is referring to without having to say it.
4. Plan Your Dates Smartly
Date ideas hugely enjoyed by neurotypical couples will not fly with your precious lover. For example, taking them to a pub or a music festival can cause immense stress due to their heightened senses. They will not be able to have a good time in these usual date activities.
Figure out the perfect date idea by sorting through their favorite pass-time activities. If they are into reading, join a book club together. Having a book-sharing session is better than seeing any rock star going at it. Alternatively, if you want to push the boundary a little with new ideas, you can try to do it slightly by upping the challenge like taking them to an open-air cinema.
5. Be Understanding If They Seem Distant
Every now and then, autistic people will need some distance. They need to have some time to themselves to sort through their overwhelming emotions. In times like this, it is best to leave them alone. Forcing them to give you their attention will lead to a more serious breakdown for them.
Breakdowns can happen anytime. The combined life stress or work responsibility can crumble on them. You should not blame yourself for it. It is highly unlikely that the relationship is the smoking gun. Much rather, relationships help them to get out of their breakdowns. And their detachment in no way reflects their negative sentiments for you.
6. Let Them Open Up On Their Own Terms
There are many questions you want to know about them. It is natural for couples to ask each other questions. But not all people are ready to give answers. It takes time for an autistic person to build trust and open up about their darkest secrets.
Love does not translate to explanation. They don’t owe you a story to fulfill your curiosity. If you feel the dying need to know about something, at least let them open up on their own terms. When the time is not right, waiting for the story is the right approach to respect your partner.
7. They Are The Most Loyal People You Will Ever Meet
Autistic people don’t spend their time thinking about how to cheat on their partners. They would much rather use their energy to build up a hobby such as repairing, painting, or sculpting. Their innocent mind will never comprehend one’s needs to cheat on their beloved one.
Their straightforwardness and directness infiltrate every aspect, which obviously includes the romantic field. When they are around, you can instantly feel the security you seek in a relationship. Their pure hearts forbid them to hurt anyone they love.
Is It Hard To Date An Autistic Person?
Dating an autistic person is never going to be effortless. If you grew up with autistic family members or friends, you would know how unique each of them is. Painting the whole picture requires a lot of patience. And if you have never dealt with an autistic person, there is quite some catching up to do.
Sugarcoating the adjustment period will not make your life smoother. There will be challenges as you adapt to each other’s comfortable settings. Occasionally, you may feel the frustration of not having the same emotional payback.
You are baffled by how distant your partner seems and their inability to understand your concerns. Meanwhile, they are doubting their boyfriend-material badge and starting to believe they are not right for you.
The highs and lows are phases you have to go through together. As the neurotypical partner, you have to take more responsibilities on your shoulder. You have to be the leader to pick your partner up when they fall, maintain a healthy rhythm of the relationship, and set the right pace.
Staying positive throughout tremendously helps as your emotions deeply impact your partner. There is no need to feel neglected when your partner pulls back a little. They are taking the time to find the right balance again. You can use the time to reflect on your own as well as to keep exploring the healthiest way to maintain the relationship.
How Does Autism Affect Intimacy?
Sex is a big topic. Autism affects sexuality on both ends of the spectrum. It causes some people to be indifferent about sex while some have extra sex drive. Since autism affects one’s desire to be adventurous, the repetitive sex routine is a consequence of the need to feel stable.
Convincing them to try out a new style or be playful is hard. Their brain cannot adjust to the new idea well. Hence, all the kinky stuff will be repulsive to them for the first time. But that doesn’t mean you are not supposed to introduce anything new to the bedroom play. When you want to bring new elements to sex, do so gradually. Break down the package and deliver it bit by bit.
Autistic people have a low tolerance for emotions. Occasionally, you will feel that they seem to enjoy sex less than you. It is all a steep learning curve. Having sex with a new partner is challenging and they have to adapt to a new person’s preferences. It somewhat breaks their routine. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel discouraged if your partner seems reluctant to take action in bed.
On the other hand, autism can also cause hypersexuality where people experience a higher craving for sexual intercourse and fantasies. This is likely due to their easy fixation on experiences. When sex is good, they uncontrollably want to experience the same feeling over and over again.
How To Nurture a Relationship With An Autistic Person?
1. Mockery Will Not Fly In This Atmosphere
Lock your hilarious jokes away in the closet because mockery will not fly in this room. Autistic people don’t think around the corner. They take the literal meaning of everything. Hence, making fun of them is not a joke to their ears. It is a direct insult.
You may want to tone down your jokester style if you are the clown in a friendship group to take care of your babe’s feelings. Their failure to comprehend jokes can cause problems no matter how hard you try to explain things to them.
2. Don’t Undermine Their Feelings
It can baffle a neurotypical person like you to see your partner getting upset over a small detail. You should not belittle their feelings by saying things like, “This is so insignificant. Why are you so fixated on it?”
Words can hurt your partner deeply. They are not able to grasp the context as to why you are neglecting their thoughts. Their hypersensitivity can trigger their anxiety and other extreme emotions. This is when they need their loved ones the most. Reassure them even if you don’t necessarily share their emotions.
3. Attend Therapy Sessions If Needed
Turning up to the doctor’s office keeps their condition in check. For the most part, autistic people rarely require regular doctor’s appointments and can live out the rest of their lives without any form of medication. Some patients will need regular therapy sessions or medications to suppress some of the more serious symptoms.
Unfortunately, not all autistic people respond to therapy sessions positively. They may demonize the process and refuse to attend. As their partner, attending the session with them is beneficial. On the one hand, it eases up their tightened nerves. On the other hand, it gives you a glimpse of professionalism and an insight into your partner’s specific condition.
4. Take An Interest In Their Hobbies
Although their interests may simply be Legos and puzzles, your effort to join in will not go unnoticed. Sometimes, they can’t grapple the word to relay the excitement of playing these games. Seeing how so many people often misunderstand them, they tend to barricade themselves in their bubble.
Actively break into their circle by bringing them the latest version of their favorite game. Despite their love for routine, they do love a good mental challenge. They usually have a brilliant mind that can focus on a challenge for hours without stopping. Be their mental stimulant and nurture their growth.
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Initially, challenges will present themselves when you first get into a relationship with an autistic person. Over time, as you get to know them better, you will reap the most beautiful romantic partnership because they are the sweetest, honest, and decent humans you will ever meet. Believe in their power and you can fight for a bright future.
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