Dating tips for People with Autism:
- Advice for Dating with Asperger’s (this can also apply to those on the spectrum): Don’t Call 100 Times a Week: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/08/08/338910290/advice-for-dating-with-aspergers-dont-call-100-times-a-week
Connect Through Common Interests: Date people you get to know through common interests. Do not make dating the main objective, such as volunteer organizations. Get to know people while involved in the activities. Don’t shy away from social activities. Have a graceful escape plan if needed, but do go along.
Build a Relationship Online, Then Meet Offline. But be aware that there can be predators and manipulative people online. Find tips on how to date online safely. Or, you may want to consider finding a pen pal, and getting to know each other through good old fashioned letter writing!
Work on the Uncomfortable – “NT” Social Skills. Work on learning NT communication skills. Study people. Hang out at restaurants and bars and other public places and watch people interact. Read books, look up sites, or watch movies or TV on social interaction, posture, and body language. Ask questions.
Learn How to Tell If the Other Person Is Interested.
Learn How to Ask a Person on a Date.
- Rejection: If the person rejects you, just say “ok, that’s fine,” walk away, and forget about that person. Look for other fish in the sea (not literally!) Do NOT contact the person who rejected you and stalk them. You’ll be in a lot of hot water if you did.
Tips for dating people with autism:
- Take the initiative: Since people with autism have trouble reading body language and cues, they find it difficult to negotiate the complex art of social interaction. While in the professional field, this may have only limited impact, while engaging in personal relationships, this becomes a major handicap. This is the reason why people with autism are perceived as socially awkward and sometimes even rude. So if you wish to get to know your date better, you may have to take the initiative more than once. You will have to invite him/her to join you in activities and experiences which will bring you closer. The important thing for an autistic person is to cross the “threshold” of dating. So do whatever you can to get your partner started in dating or other relationship socialization. Once they cross the threshold, they can learn a good deal of social behavior and eventually improve their knowledge as well as handling of relationships. Don’t push them or they’ll stress out.
- Communicate carefully: When dating an autistic person, don’t expect him/her to have sophisticated communication skills. They usually born with an inability to pick up behavioral cues, interpret them and then send their own response – a skill that non-autistic people learn naturally and easily but one which many autistic people take time to learn. So it is best you develop ways of communication which suit your relationship particularly. For instance. in the earlier stages while conversing with your date, stick to subjects he/she is deeply interested in. It will be easier for them to participate in a discussion based on their likes rather than merely making polite talk. Be prepared to listen to them talk to you about their “specialty subjects”. They may not realize that you are not interested without you telling them. Then again do not pressure them to have eye contact with you. It is extremely uncomfortable for most people on the autistic spectrum to look at people in the face for extended periods of time, if at all. As the individual becomes more comfortable socially he/she may look at you in the face more, or they may not. Either way it’s usually best not to draw attention to it. Remember that just because they are not looking at your eyes does not mean they are not listening to you. Also avoid pointing out or criticizing unusual behaviors your partner may have such as hand gestures, knee-jerking and pacing. If you do this you will not only hurt the person’s feelings, but possibly destroy any chance of having any sort of relationship with them. On the other hand if you keep behaving normally, without drawing attention to the unusual things that they are doing, they will be more relaxed and more capable of modeling their behavior on yours.
- What to do on a date: When going out on a date with an autistic person, it is necessary to choose the venue carefully. If you wish to get to know each other better, head for a place where there are minimal distractions or sources of stress around the individual. Try to avoid flashing lights, annoying sounds, excessive crowds which may distract or stress out your partner. Better still, organize your date around an activity like mini-golfing or chess which provides structure and regularity. Avoid forcing him/her to be part of a group or going to a place where social activity like dancing is expected.
- Give him/her space: Autistic persons are often wrapped up in their selves, as a result of which they can seem withdrawn and even emotionally distant. Another important thing to remember is that people on the autistic spectrum do not filter out things in the same way that most people do and thus it can be a lot to manage. So, if you can tell that your partner is getting more and more stressed or anxious as you talk to him/her, don’t force them to communicate with you immediately – just give them some space and maybe come back later. This does not mean that they do not like you, it just means that they have had enough for the day. If you stay on and keep talking, you can put them at risk of having a meltdown.
- Take it slow: Don’t try to push your relationship too quickly because this can cause a lot of stress for the autistic person. Take it slow and as far as possible be consistent so your partner can adapt. Physical intimacy may take time since many autistic people can have difficulty in expressing their emotions through physical gestures. In fact at the earlier stage of dating, avoid touching your partner without warning. Usually people with high functioning autism do not like to be touched unless they initiate it, like if they tap you on the shoulder. Of course one person differs from another and the general pace at which your relationship should move, will depend on your partner’s stage of social development.
Lessons from an Asperger’s-NT marriage: http://musingsofanaspie.com/2012/10/22/lessons-from-an-aspergers-nt-marriage-part-1/
Husband’s POV on being married to an Aspie: http://aspiewriter.com/2012/08/i-married-aspie-husbands-perspective-on.html
Love letter to a neurotypical husband from autistic wife: http://themighty.com/2015/10/a-love-letter-to-my-neurotypical-husband-from-your-autistic-wife/
An autistic man writes love letter to future wife: https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2015/10/13/love-letter-my-future-wife-your-autistic-husband