How Do You Date Neurodivergent People?

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.

Can Two Neurodivergent People Love Each Other?

Perhaps the most difficult thing we must overcome is our own neurodivergence.

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           It’s as if some people are trying to shield themselves from relationships by erecting walls around them, and everyone else has some sort of radar that locks onto those with neurodivergent conditions like autism or bipolar disorder.

           People with disabilities often don’t want to feel like a burden to their loved ones, and they find it hard to trust anyone enough to share their deepest secrets, but how can someone who isn’t on the same page as you connect deeply enough for a real relationship?

           They need love too… but can we give it? As we begin to understand what makes a difference, it becomes clear that this is an issue that must be addressed.

           “I don’t trust anyone,” said 19-year-old Katelyn Coppola, who is bipolar and autistic. “It’s hard to let people in when you never know what mood the person with Bipolar Disorder will be in.”

       Eventually, relationships can become very hard if not nearly impossible to manage without the right care and understanding.

           When dealing with autism or any other neurodivergence, it requires lots of patience and a willingness to go outside of your comfort zone to help someone connect with society better.

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           It’s one thing we all share: we’re not wired like everyone else… but does this mean we cannot learn how?  

           It’s a good thing to try, and the best way to figure out how is to put ourselves in a situation where we can actually show our neurodivergence.

           We must take off the mask of normalcy… it’s just not as easy as you’d think.

           “It’s exhausting being me,” said Stephen Phelps from San Diego, who was diagnosed with Aspergers at age nine. “I have no idea why this happens or where I’m sometimes going.”

       The first step towards getting better is learning how to be accountable for your own actions instead of letting someone else decide for us what we need… maybe they do know better than us, but should a doctor really know a person better than the person themselves?

           The answer is “it depends,” but when it comes to love, it’s important to be able to make our own decisions.

           When it comes down to it, you can’t expect someone else to understand your neurodivergence if you don’t even understand yourself.

       It takes time… and lots of hard work. If someone has accepted their own neurodivergence, then that is a great start in itself!

           Being open about who we are will not only help relationships along, but acceptance of ourselves so others can accept us too.

Advice for dating someone with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder

I was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (Asperger’s Syndrome) in 2020. My specific diagnosis is high-functioning autism, “classic” autism, or atypical autism – which are all the same thing. Before I got my diagnosis, I did not know that I was Neurodivergent. After a failed suicide attempt and ending up in a psychiatric hospital, my life changed.

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The biggest area of difficulty for me seems to be recognizing social cues and understanding gestures, verbal tones of voice, facial expressions, etc., along with body language.

I was formally diagnosed when I was 41 years old – but these things have been the norm for me since childhood… because I am a classic example of someone who is ” high-functioning .” Like many people with autism, I had no idea that anything was wrong with me. Autism isn’t a disease or a disorder – it’s a neurological variant. A disability, sure – but not an illness.

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When I went looking for information about how to manage the challenges of my Asperger’s Syndrome as a partner, I found zilch. And by zilch, I mean almost nothing even close to any kind of practical advice that might help me handle dating and relationships.

So then what happened? Well, I decided that if there weren’t other guys like me out there talking about their experiences regarding this topic (finding dates, relationships), then maybe I should write about them.

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I’ve had my share of dating, and I’ve seen things go well – and badly. I’m not married, but I have had two, one for less than two years. My last relationship was broken off by the other person because of reasons I do not share to still be respectful of their honor. Also, she is the mother of my child.

If you are thinking about dating someone who is high-functioning on the Autism spectrum, here are some points to consider:

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They won’t do well if you’re looking for a quick hookup or something purely casual where there’s no emotional involvement involved. They need love and affection as everyone else does – it just takes them longer to recognize when they’re feeling that way.

They might not be able to read your non-verbal cues or gestures, so it’s important for you to use their language (autistic symptoms/traits) in order for them to understand what you mean. For example, if it makes you uncomfortable when someone stands too close, then let the person know by saying something like: “Hey, I feel uncomfortable when people stand this close… please give me some space.” And vice versa – if you want more affection and physical contact, tell them directly: “Hey, I really enjoy this… can we do __?” If it’s OK with them, then great! If not, then at least you tried.

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They can have trouble expressing their needs and desires… so it’s important for you to learn the things that matter most to them. What does a particular topic or activity mean to them? A lot of times, they’ll get upset if you don’t understand what one thing means to them. It’s important for you to realize that their issues shouldn’t be ignored or discounted. Their problems are real, even though they might look like yours. Their feelings are real.

Be willing to work with them on their issues. Set a goal for yourself of being a lifelong student about Asperger’s Syndrome and autism in general. It will help you understand your significant other, and it will help them feel more accepted if they have someone who is trying to learn from them.

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Not everyone with autism is the same. The best way I can describe this is that there are many points on an “autism spectrum” – just like how “tall” or “short” represent two ends of a physical spectrum…. while height is only one aspect of a person. Someone might be short, but they could also be intelligent, athletic, funny, etc… it goes beyond height.

And some people with autism are more high-functioning than others. For example, I have high-functioning Autistic Savant syndrome with co-morbid ADHD and OCPD. Someone else might be so severely affected by autism that they cannot hold down a job or take care of themselves.

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Everyone is unique and will react to things differently. Just because one thing works for me does not mean it’ll work for everyone on the spectrum. With this in mind, you shouldn’t assume that all people with autism think and feel exactly like you do (and vice versa).
Be willing to be patient. It takes time for them to learn how to function in different situations, and it won’t happen overnight – especially if they’ve never had anyone teach them how.

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Take things one step at a time. Don’t expect to learn everything all at once. Just because you know a few things about autism doesn’t mean that you can take care of your significant other all on your own – this is a team effort. It’s important for them to have friends and family members who are willing to help out from time to time, so don’t try and do everything yourself.

Keep an open mind. Keep in mind that “autistic” doesn’t mean less human or inferior in any way. In fact, I’m proud to be autistic because it makes me uniquely me. There’s nothing wrong with being different – it just takes some people longer than others to realize this!

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Remember that there might be things that are important to them, but you might not understand. For example, some people on the spectrum have an intense obsession with a particular TV show or character. While this might seem silly or trivial to you, it’s an aspect of who they are and must be respected regardless of whether you understand it or not.

Be willing to get creative when trying to communicate needs. My fiance once wrote out her preferences in pictures because she has a hard time reading emotions that aren’t explicitly written down (for example, if someone is smiling while they’re talking, then she’ll often assume whatever they’re saying is positive even if it isn’t). It took me forever to figure out what she meant by “I want __” – in fact, I didn’t figure out what she wanted until after she let me read her journal about it! So I surprise her with my creativity every now and then.

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If you’re patient, willing to learn, open-minded, willing to get creative (and honestly, that should be the bare minimum), then your relationship will flourish. If you both constantly try to bend over backwards for each other, then things will go much better than if one of you is constantly trying to “fix” the other person because they don’t understand where their significant other is coming from… or worse yet – constantly criticizing them instead of offering suggestions for how they can improve themselves.

I am far from an expert and still figuring it out, but what I do know is that we allow each other to be ourselves unless when it is detrimental to the other person or our relationship. Also, don’t believe everything you think…

Good luck!

Autism in adulthood: What it does to your romantic relationships

Many high-functioning autistic adults are in romantic relationships, and as a result they experience the same relationship challenges that neurotypical people do. One major difference is that high-functioning autistics may not be able to express their emotions well or know what other people’s emotions are, which can lead to misunderstandings. This article will discuss how high functioning autism affects an adult’s romantic relationships.

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– high-functioning autism can make it difficult for an autistic adult to express their emotions well or know what other people’s emotions are, which leads to misunderstandings.

– high functioning autistics may not be able to read social cues as easily and they won’t be good at picking up on nonverbal communication like body language. This means that high functioning autistics often have trouble understanding when someone is trying to tell them something important, such as a warning about the safety of an activity.

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– some high functioning autistic adults will need time alone, while others crave more intimate contact with friends and partners than neurotypical persons do. High functioning autistics who require less intimacy in relationships might find themselves feeling isolated from everyone else and may withdraw.

– high functioning autistics have a high level of sensitivity to sensory stimuli and as a result they might be more affected by loud sounds, bright lights or strong smells than other people are.

– high functioning autistic adults experience relationship challenges much the same way that neurotypical people do; however, one significant difference is that high functioning autistics often lack social awareness and interpersonal skills because of their autism spectrum disorder. This means that high functioning autistics will need extra time outside of relationships for personal development so they can become better at reading subtle cues in others’ behavior and communicating effectively with them later on.

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Marriage

I have been married twice. I got divorced twice. I have 2 beautiful daughters, one with each ex. All of this happened before I received my diagnosis.

I am certain that if I had been aware of my condition earlier, that it would have gone differently, but, having gone through the darkness has taught me invaluable lessons.

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I am in a relationship now with a wonderful woman and she knows about my condition, accepts it and support me.

I think I got this now…but I do have to point out that it was hard on all my previous partners. But then again, I was not the same person back then, I am now myself.

Be yourself, only to such an extent that the world does not reject you entirely.

Remember, there are a lot of kind people in the world, if you cannot find one, be one.