Dating with autism: ‘You have to find someone who understands’
This navigation is new. We'd appreciate your feedback. Share your thoughts here. It is not a quest he is finding easy. Tom has Asperger syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum, and like many other young autistic adults he struggles with many elements of dating and relationships. In January he appeared on the Channel 4 documentary The Undateables.
His Twitter account was immediately inundated with messages from women keen to volunteer their help. Sometimes it feels like it might be easier to be alone. One of the problems, Tom explains, is that going on dates can be an extremely uncomfortable experience. The noise, bustle, lights and tastes that for many people contribute to the fun, are for him a source of real anxiety.
A first date in a restaurant or cinema is really difficult for me. In addition, he explains, he finds it hard to keep still. His ideal first date is a countryside walk. We are doing something apart from just making small talk and eye contact aspergers adults dating the time, both of which I find hard. He worries though that this does not fit in with expectations of dating. Knowing how much, and when, to open up about his autism, is another dilemma. I want people to know I have a condition but also to get to know me as a person.
If he meets someone with whom he feels a connection, says Tom, he often sends web links to sites with information aspergers adults dating autism. That is a wish that Sarah Hendrickx, 48, a professional autism consultant who lesbians dating transexuals herself on the autism spectrum, understands very well. Her partner of 12 years, Aspergers adults dating, also has autism. Both were diagnosed as adults. It is, she says, the first relationship in which she has felt truly accepted.
If someone says something I believe them, which can make me very vulnerable. I always needed to know if we were going to see each other again, if it was exclusive, so I had a framework. Is it ok for me to text, or indeed not to text? It is just very pragmatic, not necessarily an emotional attachment, but from a neurotypical perspective aspergers adults dating often seemed way too intense. With Keith, she says, the shared need to speak candidly — without relying on non-verbal signals people on the autism spectrum can find extremely confusing — is a huge relief.
In my work with couples I see that is often a massive problem. We just communicate clearly what our needs might be. How would we know for sure otherwise? It might seem blunt to others but it works brilliantly for us. The sensory demands of a relationship are thus much more manageable, she explains. It is a need, not a rejection. Should they decide to go out to dinner, Sarah and Keith select quiet venues without bright lights — for which Sarah also uses tinted glasses — or crammed tables.
I develop a migraine and I aspergers adults dating totally unable to speak. Like Tom, Sarah and Keith have found other activities they can enjoy together. Long-distance cycling is a favourite. I feel very lucky. Find out how you can help: To find out more about autism and the change you can make, visit autism. International edition switch to the UK edition switch to the US edition switch to the Australia edition. The Guardian - Back to home. Paid content About Paid content is paid for and controlled by an advertiser and produced by the Guardian Labs team Learn more about Guardian Labs content.
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