Have you ever thought about dating a neurodivergent person? Or are you someone who wants to date someone neurodivergent but doesn’t know how? Here are some tips!
1. Recognize that neurodivergence can be fluid.
While many people think of autism as a binary – either they have it, or they don’t – there are actually many different forms of autism. This means that if you’re looking for an autistic partner, the odds aren’t necessarily stacked against you because your desired form of neurodiversity is rare. You might be surprised at how many people actually fit what you’re looking for. However, this also means that if you go into dating expecting every single person to be the same, you’ll be sorely mistaken and might give up quickly.
2. Be willing to check your preconceptions at the door.
Neurodivergence isn’t just about autism – it encompasses a wide range of issues that can manifest themselves in different ways depending on the person and their environment. For example, someone may actually be neurodivergent but not aware of it because their symptoms are mild or because they’ve been so heavily medicated, or misdiagnosed with another disorder, that their symptoms have been artificially suppressed. Or maybe they’re emotionally unstable without knowing why. The point is: don’t expect anyone to “look” neurodivergent if they aren’t aware of their own issues and/or haven’t been diagnosed.
3. Don’t expect everything to be smooth sailing.
Neurodivergence isn’t something that can be easily medicated away, nor is medication always an option. This means there are certain things you’re going to have to deal with throughout your relationship that other neurotypical people wouldn’t have to deal with – or might not even believe exists in the first place! So call them out if they make misinformed statements about mental illness without knowing any better, and try not to take it personally if they lash out at you. Remember, this is their way of expressing themselves, not a personal attack on you or anything you’ve said/done!
4. If nothing else works, remember: it’s not your fault.
Neurodivergence is a very touchy subject because it’s still so misunderstood and taboo in society – even amongst neurotypical people! I know, from personal experience, that dating someone with autism can be difficult, but remember: if they’ve opened themselves up to you like this, then they must see something positive in you. It’s okay for relationships to end – especially if one person doesn’t feel like their needs/interests are being met. You may simply not be the right match, and that has nothing to do with anything wrong with either of you. As long as everyone treats each other respectfully and works towards a better understanding of neurodiversity (for both yourself and others), there will come a time when you’ll be able to date safely and respectfully.
Neurodivergence is a fundamental part of who we are – whether we’re aware of it or not, and whether we like it or not. We all deserve love and respect for exactly who we are, neurodivergent or otherwise. If that’s really what you want, then go ahead! Date us! As long as both people in the relationship are willing to work through their issues together, anything is possible. I believe in you.