Mild autism and dating
Many of the people I dated had good intents, but they may not have understood some of the quirks that people on the spectrum like me may have. Ten years later as a 28-year-old adult, I embrace affection.
Here are some things you need to know when it comes to dating someone with autism.
While this is partially due to the insecurity caused by disproportionately experiencing various forms of social rejection for years and years, even people with AS who received predominantly positive reinforcement in their early lives can still feel detached and isolated due to their inability to fully communicate with others.
This could be compared to speaking a different language, although that analogy would imply that individuals with AS could at least “speak” to others with the condition, when in fact AS manifests itself so differently from person to person that we are generally as unable to relate to each other as we are with the non-AS population.
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Thankfully having AS certainly doesn’t inhibit one’s ability to desire or enjoy sexual intercourse, but the same cannot be said of cultivating the kinds of connections necessary to escape from the “existential loneliness” described by Russell.
While the merely awkward are at least subconsciously aware of these variables when they’re engaged in an interaction, someone with AS is wired to assume that (a) if someone finds us attractive, they will directly and immediately state it from the get-go and (b) they would want us to do likewise.
For better or worse, there is a music to dating, and while people with AS can understand the verses (and often have a distinctly straightforward way of expressing ourselves that can be refreshing), we struggle with the pitch, rhythm, dynamics, timbre, and texture. The idea that people communicate interest other than through what they actually say, or that even what someone says is fraught with layers and nuances—none of this occurs to us, since our instinct (which we assume the rest of the world shares) is to just say what we think and feel at length without any filters.
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When I started dating at 18 I had NO idea how to talk to people, let alone women.
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If we learn it at all, it’s because we’ve had others bluntly explain to us the “rules” regarding these and other related matters.