What To Expect When You Enter the Dating World as an Autistic Person

I won’t lie, I’ve had serious writer’s block this year. Finding something worth writing about for this site has been hard. When you do a topical; blog, you inevitably run out of topics. That’s been me. A lot of the ground I’ve been feeling is ground I’ve covered. I don’t need to rehash.

But there is one topic I’ve needed to cover: Romance. I don’t have an epic amount of dating experience but I have some. I have several years as a husband under my belt and some insight into the topic. So what follows is my best approximation of the advice I would give someone trying to figure this out. Much of this can apply to NTs as well but my focus is on the tribe.

First piece of advice: Go in knowing that it WILL be harder for you than it is for NTs. Much of courtship in our society is reliant on cues like eye contact, body language, verbal nuance, etc. These are things we are awful at. But that’s just how it is. Don’t whine about it. Don’t try to act like these things don’t matter. The world will never reshape itself for you. We just have to adapt.

It’s also vital NOT to get your ideas about how the dating scene works from the media. Most characters on TV are chronic sex addicts. This is not what it’s like in real life. In fact, finding someone to go out with is very tricky. Come to think of it, a lot of sitcoms seem to avoid the introductions. In reality, it’s a messy and awkward sight.

Online dating is definitely your friend. As I noted, the entire dating scene is hard, but this is at least a tool. Now, it’s not a perfect fix. There are a ton of cues you will miss. I had a girl subtly try and try to get me to ask her out once before she finally outright asked me. (She’s now my wife.) But it helps.

You’ll have to perform. This is a tricky subject and I’ve even rewritten this entry based on criticism. The hard truth to me is I’ve found that there is some measure of performance in socializing. You want to be appealing. The key is to be the best version of you that you can but never to lie. Be confident. Be strong. Take pride in who you are. Think of yourself as a product you’re proud to sell. Don’t lie I stress. But remember there’s a lot about you worth highlighting. 

You’re going to get rejected. Rejection stings but it’s absolutely guaranteed to happen. Nobody gets around it. What you need to know is this: it’s not always a sign of something wrong with you. Often it’s just a lack of chemistry. There’s no connection there and trying to force one is a horrid idea. Be sad but don’t be angry.

We really have no business trying to find romance in bars. I’m going to take this big cliche off the table for my autistic peers. It’s not a good place for us to socialize. Too loud, too intense. Go elsewhere. However, there are worse things than sitting and having a pint if you find a good one.

This is a big one for me: You’re not in this to find a trophy, you’re in it to find a companion. I hate the way movies focus on the idea of finding the hottest girl. What you’re really looking for is someone to have an amazing time with for the rest of your life. Contrary to cliche, opposites do NOT attract. Find someone with common interests.

Lastly, enjoy the journey.

 

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