Dating is not always easy as shown in television and films. After all, media often promulgates stereotypes about different types of people and such are often wrong. This false information creates difficulty when it comes to actual dating: when people’s misconceptions take over their compassion and understanding. Something people often misunderstand is dating individuals with autism.
For you to get to understand other people better and potentially find yourself a perfect match, here are some things people with autism would want you to know about them before you swipe left on them.
Not Everyone Has An Aversion To Physical Touch
When autism is portrayed in television, film and other media, a common characteristic seems to be an aversion to physical touch. It is a stereotype that has people thinking that those on the autism spectrum all have difficulty getting into romantic and intimate relationships. This portrayal is not always accurate for all individuals.
It is correct that there are those who may need time before they become comfortable socializing with others with aspects of physical touch. However, there are also those who are very open to giving hugs, even to new friends. There are also those who are often comfortable with physical touch but do not want to be held or touched when they experience high stress and anxiety. If you’re ever unsure about how someone may react to any physical activity, you need to ask for permission first. “Healthy boundaries are necessary for self-care, and healthy relationships and most people are not equipped with these important life skills.” Janeen Herskovitz, LMHC said.
You Have to be Clear With What You Want
One issue that people on the autism spectrum struggle with is interpreting a person’s actions and words. Commonly, reading between the lines is something that they cannot easily do. For instance, if you’re upset over something and are giving them the cold shoulder, they may not understand that they’ve done something wrong. “Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes difficulties in many areas, with varying degrees of severity, most notably with social interaction and communication.” Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT explains.
If you have some issues, complaints or other problems, subtlety is not the best approach. Instead, make sure that you are direct, clear but still careful with your words. Let them know what it is you want exactly out of your relationship or what you want to be done. For some, it may take some time for them to understand heavy issues and challenges, especially when it requires them to make big decisions. Just remember to be patient.
It May Be Difficult Getting With Your Friends
Here’s a warning for the Spice Girls and their millions of fans: it may not be that easy getting with your friends. That’s not to say that they have bad personalities and they won’t get along well with your circle; the idea of meeting and socializing with a new set of people may be daunting to many individuals with autism.
Additionally, being aware of social cues is also something that may not come as naturally to them as other people. It may thus be a very stressful situation for them to meet the important people in your life, worrying that they might mess up.
Our advice is for you to ease into it. Perhaps have them meet a few of your friends at a time or individually. Likewise, make sure that they’ve become comfortable with the person before you go off leaving them on their own.
They’ll Be Very Passionate About Your Relationship
Sarah Swenson, MA, LMHC said, “It is painful and difficult to identify, because so many neurotypical partners see these as problems existing within in themselves, rather than as their reactions to confusion, to feeling systematically ignored, or to feeling not heard for many years.” However, despite all these struggles that you may face in a relationship with someone with autism, it often pays off in the end. Many people will talk about how difficult it is but how loved they genuinely feel.
When someone on the spectrum finds something interesting for them — a hobby, activity, book, etc. — they put their 100% into it. The same will hold true about your relationship. You won’t have to question whether they’re genuinely in love or committed to you.