Dating a man with aspergers
Dating Someone With Asperger's? Here's How To Strengthen Your Bond
All relationships can get complex at times. Dating someone with Asperger’s is no exception, and it brings its own joys and opportunities.
If your partner is on the autism spectrum and you aren’t, it’s natural and not uncommon for both of you to wonder about each other’s reactions or behaviors.
You might find yourselves searching for ways to address your concerns and tips on how to strengthen your bond.
Learning more about autism and Asperger’s can help you navigate some of the situations that may arise. This, in turn, might become the first step toward a stronger relationship.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an umbrella term for a number of conditions, some of which were previously diagnosed separately.
Asperger syndrome, also referred to as Asperger’s, is one of these conditions.
In this article, we’ll be referring to dating someone who has previously received an Asperger’s diagnosis or who identifies with this term.
According to Eva Mendes, LMHC, NCC, a diagnosis of Asperger’s is defined mainly by differences in social communication and emotional regulation reciprocity.
“The communication challenges can be verbal or nonverbal,” Mendes, a psychotherapist who works with adults with Asperger’s, told Psych Central. “Sometimes they can also have rigid behavior patterns and routines.”
“They also tend to have sensory sensitivities,” she added. “That can cause issues with relationships because sometimes they have trouble with touch and sound, and sight and smell and taste.”
These differences in how someone with Asperger’s communicates, perceives touch, and reacts to your emotional expressions might be confusing at first.
Despite the potential challenges, though, it’s possible for a neurotypical person — one who is not on the autism spectrum — to develop a fulfilling long-term relationship with someone with Asperger’s.
In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed. ) removed Asperger’s as a standalone diagnosis and made it part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
However, some people who were previously diagnosed with Asperger’s still self-identify with the term.
In this article, we use Asperger’s to refer to those people who received the diagnosis or who still identify with it.
In the past, it was believed that a diagnosis of Asperger’s or autism was incompatible with love and relationships. But love is an emotion that can be fully experienced by nearly anyone, despite differences in perception, social interaction patterns, or emotional expression.
In other words, someone with Asperger’s is capable of falling in love. There are, however, some potential challenges both of you could experience along the way. But, isn’t this the case for most relationships?
Some of the challenges might come, in part, from what researcher Damian Milton has called the “double empathy problem.”
The concept refers to the potential difficulty both neurodivergent and neurotypical people may have when attempting to understand each other.
This is not “a problem” someone in the relationship has. Instead, it’s a common occurrence when two people with different outlooks and experiences relate to each other.
According to Milton, autistic people don’t lack empathy, as some people may inaccurately believe.
Neurodivergent people express emotions differently, mostly based on their particular way of experiencing the world.
This might make it difficult for nonautistic people to understand and sometimes empathize with an autistic person.
The same can be said for autistic people understanding nonautistic individuals. It’s a bidirectional experience.
The major challenge comes from assuming that the nonautistic way is the correct and only way.
This might lead to assuming that the autistic partner must make a greater effort to understand and comply with the feelings and needs of the neurotypical partner.
A good starting point, then, for strengthening your bond with someone with Asperger’s might be considering that they shouldn’t always have to come all the way to you.
In other words, it may be important to understand that there’s no one way of “doing relationships,” and that the correct way to relate to others isn’t simply the neurotypical way.
You can meet the other person halfway, and sometimes, you can meet them all the way.
The same way a neurotypical person may be used to certain relationship patterns, a person with Asperger’s may relate to others from their experience, too.
This presents with unique opportunities to learn to relate in different ways. Here are some of the ways someone with Asperger’s may relate to you that may be surprising at first.
Flirting is perceived differently
A person with Asperger’s may not notice your subtle hints when flirting. You may be using your best “moves,” and they could go unnoticed.
“Sometimes, they don’t know when someone is interested in them or flirting with them unless someone is very explicit,” Mendes explained.
This doesn’t mean they aren’t interested. Instead, they could not be reading or interpreting your cues correctly. You may need to be more direct if you’re interested in some romance.
Taking initiative may be up to you
Making the first move, or organizing a date, may be a difficult task for your partner with Asperger’s. This, again, is not necessarily lack of interest. Instead, it may be linked to potential challenges in executive functioning.
Executive functions are cognitive processes that have a direct impact on behavior. They’re what makes you formulate a plan when you set a goal, for example.
“Sometimes there is lack of initiation; [someone with Asperger’s] might hesitate to ask their partner out on a date,” said Mendes. “Executive functioning is planning and organizing tasks […], and a lot of them do struggle [in that aspect].”
Apparent lack of support
When you’re dating someone with Asperger’s, there might be times when you feel a lack of emotional support or understanding from them.
For example, your partner might not notice when you’re feeling sad or not know how to respond when you tell them you are. This doesn’t mean they don’t care.
“They may miss cues about how their partner is feeling [and] there might be a lack of emotional reciprocity,” Mendes said.
In the same way, it might be possible for you to miss cues about how your neurodivergent partner is feeling because they express these feelings in a different way. This might make them believe you’re not being supportive.
When dating a person with Asperger’s, you may find you’re on the receiving end of some blunt comments. Experts say it’s important to remember that your partner may not have meant to upset you. It might be just a matter of differing communication styles.
In the same way that someone with Asperger’s might not realize you’re flirting with them until you clearly state your interest, they may be inclined to tell you what they feel or think directly without subtleties.
“Sometimes, a lot of people on the spectrum don’t have a filter,” Mendes explained.
This means they might say things without realizing the content or tone they’re using. This could lead to some friction unless you understand there’s no intention to upset you.
Verbally expressing love
You may find your partner with Asperger’s doesn’t say “I love you,” or express their emotions, as often as you need them to.
Mendes says this may be because, to your partner, the love between you two has already been established. They might see no need to vocalize emotions any further.
“If their partner says ‘I love you,’ they may say it once and then they feel like ‘I don’t need to say it again because it hasn’t changed,” Mendes explained.
A mismatched libido
Sometimes, people with Asperger’s might have a significantly lower or higher sex drive than some people not living on the spectrum.
As with any romantic relationship, a mismatched sex drive could potentially lead to some difficulties.
“Sometimes, people on the spectrum might have a low sex drive, so that can be a little mismatched. Although that’s not true for everyone,” said Mendes.
Mendes says there are many ways to address the differences and challenges you may experience when dating a person with Asperger’s.
It’s important to remember that “your way” is not necessarily “the way” to a successful relationship. This applies both ways, and compromises are required from both parties.Communication is everything
Mendes suggests that all couples schedule time each day to talk about how each partner is feeling. This could also be an opportunity to air any grievances.
Scheduling this time, she says, is particularly important when dating a person with Asperger’s.
“Sometimes when you have a partner on the spectrum, those random conversations or points of connection aren’t happening, so one has to be deliberate about it,” she said.
Saving time to communicate about your feelings and expectations can help you both understand where the other person is coming from.
When having these moments, it’s important to make a conscious decision that whatever is said will not end up in a fight. Your partner might have different needs or different perceptions about your needs.
Clear and straightforward communication is an opportunity to learn about these perceptions and clarify any misconceptions.Be clear about intimacy needs
“In terms of intimacy issues in the bedroom, you want to be very explicit in communication,” Mendes explained.
“I have one couple where the spouse might say to their partner, ‘Hey! Tonight I think it’ll be good to have sexy time,’ and the partner is like, ‘OK, I’ll be ready!’” Mendes said. “They can get themselves mentally prepared and ration their energies if that’s going to happen.”
Mendes says this approach may feel unromantic to some people but argues it’s important to be explicit and not assume physical or emotional intimacy is going to happen spontaneously.
You might also come up with additional ways to express your emotional and physical intimacy needs to your partner.
For example, you could set alarms for them to call you at specific times of the day just to check in. Or you could remind them you enjoy it when they say “I love you” before leaving the house.
Understanding the need to be more explicit with your partner in order to get what you need can help avoid feelings of rejection.
It’s also important to ask your partner with Asperger’s if they’d like you to do or avoid certain things so they feel your love.Research Asperger’s
Learning more about Asperger’s may help you better understand your partner.
Mendes uses the example of a couple she works with where one partner has sensory differences.
In that case, the partner with Asperger’s didn’t like being touched on the shoulders. Whenever their partner would initiate touch in that area, they would flinch. Then, their partner would feel rejected by this reaction.
Reading more about sensory differences in people on the spectrum helped the neurotypical partner understand this reaction. They were then able to work together to find other zones that were better for touch.
Learning more about Asperger’s but also asking your partner about their preferences could help you bond in new ways.Let them know how you feel
Communication is key in any relationship, particularly one where differences may be more evident.
Mendes says it’s important, for example, to let your partner know when the language they’re using feels hurtful or upsetting to you.
“There’s a lot of misunderstandings with how people on the spectrum phrase things. They can be very blunt; they can have no filter,” Mendes explained.
Understanding that this is how they communicate is important. Similarly, you may be communicating in a way that makes your partner feel misunderstood or challenged.
It may be a good idea to let them know how you feel and ask them how they feel.
It’s also important not to assume verbal communication is the best approach for your partner with Asperger’s. They might prefer other communication outlets when feeling overwhelmed, such as sensory input.Build your support network
If you believe your partner with Asperger’s may not provide all of the emotional support you need, consider seeking help outside the relationship.
Mendes advises practicing self-care and seeking emotional support through other avenues.
Reaching out to your friends or family can help. You may also consider getting a pet, she says.
It’s not uncommon to feel guilty for investing time and effort in you and your needs outside of your relationship. However, when dating someone with Asperger’s, doing this could take the pressure off your partner and help you meet some of your needs.
In the same way, your partner may also feel the need to reach out for support in other spaces. Support groups or therapy can be a great alternative for both of you.
Reaching out for professional help can facilitate strengthening any relationship.
If you and your partner are trying to work on your challenges and establish better communication, couples counseling could help.
Seeking someone who specializes in supporting autistic people is highly recommended.
“If you feel like there are some recurring things, and you talk about it a few times and you’re just not getting any traction, sometimes it’s just helpful to have a neutral third person there,” says Mendes.
“All of a sudden, hearing it from another perspective will open your mind a bit and make you feel lighter. You might even realize, ‘Wow! I’m actually happier in this relationship than I thought I was!’”
Being in a romantic relationship with someone with Asperger’s might bring its own opportunities.
Whether you just started dating a person with Asperger’s or you’ve been married to them for a while, there are a few practical ways to strengthen your bond.
Learning more about Asperger’s, becoming aware of the opportunities, and seeking professional help are some of the ways you could work together.
“With hard work, awareness, and the right counselor that specializes in this […] you can create a good relationship,” Mendes concluded.
5 Tips for Loving Someone with Asperger's Syndrome
If you and your partner with Asperger’s have hit a speed bump, some strategies and insight into loving someone with Asperger’s may help improve your relationship.
Asperger’s syndrome is part of the autism spectrum. While doctors no longer use the term “Asperger’s” and instead provide a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), some people still identify with this classification or its shortened version, “Aspie.”
Whether you’re allistic (non-autistic) or have Asperger’s like your partner, reviewing the social and communication characteristics of people with this condition can help you navigate your relationship.
If you’re having relationship difficulties, it may not mean you’re incompatible. All you need might be some insight into the best ways to communicate and understand your relationship.
People with Asperger’s are autistic people with typical or higher than average intelligence and strong verbal skills, who often lead independent lives. They can find career success because of their focused interests and strengths, including an affinity for detail, intrinsic motivation, and work ethic.
Yet differences in social interaction and communication can lead to concerns if you’re in a relationship with a person. For example, they may sometimes:
- miss social cues
- react in unexpected ways
- hide their rich, emotional experience behind a flat affect that makes them seem lacking in empathy
Autistic people can also have sensory differences that interfere with socializing. Sound sensitivity and touch aversion are two examples.
People with Asperger’s also have strengths that make them wonderful partners. They tend to be honest, loyal, humorous, and champions of the underdog. Autistic people don’t often get caught up in social constructs, so they can see right to the heart of what matters.
Understanding how Asperger’s affects relationships can help you interpret your partner’s behavior. It can also provide you with strategies to nurture and strengthen your bond.
Can a person with Asperger’s feel love? Even though they may not show it in ways that you’d expect, the answer is a resounding yes.
You might see other couples holding hands or embracing and think that this is what a relationship should be. Meanwhile, your autistic partner might have sensory preferences that involve less touch. This doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings for you.
Keep in mind that there are many ways a person can express affection. While your partner with Asperger’s might not want to hug as much as you’d like, they might be the person you can count on to remember the things that are important to you.
Each relationship is unique, and what works for another couple may not be what works for you. What matters is that you both want to be in your relationship, and you’re both happy.
Just because people with Asperger’s are fluently verbal doesn’t mean they communicate the same way as allistic people.
Your partner with Asperger’s may be more articulate than is typical, with a sophisticated vocabulary. At the same time, they may not respond to other elements of communication that are nonverbal or paraverbal (how you say words).
Examples of communication aspects your partner might miss include:
- voice tone, volume, pace, and pitch
- facial expressions
- body language
A simple solution is to pay attention to the words you use. This works because words are what your Asperger’s partner will notice.
For example, rather than assuming your partner will recognize when your energy is low, it’s helpful to say, “I’m tired today.”
This approach can help you, too. If you’re also feeling irritable, talking about being tired offers you some insight into why your mood is altered.
A talent for word accuracy may mean that your autistic partner misunderstands pragmatic (social) language. They might misinterpret common expressions like “Hold on” or “What’s up?” It’s helpful to use more specific wording like “Please wait” or “What’s happening?”
Autism is neurodivergence — not error. Expecting your autistic partner to change all their relationship behaviors to suit yours sends the message that you think their ways aren’t right.
It can also put your partner in some uncomfortable situations, which isn’t how you want to treat someone you care about.
Instead, you can solve this issue with compromise. You’ll need to clearly communicate your wishes and preferences, plus the things you don’t like. Have your partner do the same. Then, meet in the middle.
For example, you might both enjoy movies, but your autistic partner may be uncomfortable with the sensory onslaught of a loud movie theater. You could compromise with dinner in a quiet restaurant followed by a volume-controlled movie at home.
If you ask your Aspie partner whether your outfit looks nice and you don’t get the response you’d hoped for, they haven’t intentionally been cruel. Instead, you’re the lucky recipient of truth from someone you can trust.
Autistic people tend to be more comfortable with clear, truthful communication than flattery intended to spare feelings. The truth is clear and easy to understand.
Whether your partner’s unflattering remark is hurtful or helpful depends on how you choose to see it. Keep in mind that their blunt honesty also applies to positive feedback — and if this is the reaction you get, you can savor and enjoy it.
A lot of people appreciate routines, and autistic people are no exception. In fact, a predictable schedule is favored over spontaneity by many people with Asperger’s.
Communication is important enough to include in your schedule. Pencil in regular times for conversations about thoughts, feelings, and ways you can both improve your relationship.
If needed, you can use conversation prompts, such as stating one thing you’re happy about and one thing you’d like to change. Be prepared to navigate through disagreement, and have strategies in place to mend hurt feelings.
Conversations aren’t the only thing you can schedule. Consider making regular plans for enjoyable activities like movie night, pizza night, outings with friends, or even alone time.
Don’t feel like you should plan every moment together or schedule everything you do. However since schedules can reduce anxiety in autistic people, it’s worth testing to see if this is a strategy that can help your relationship.
Most relationships require work, and yours is no exception. With some time and effort, you and your partner with Asperger’s can grow closer and have a fulfilling connection.
It’s worthwhile to learn as much as you can about Asperger’s syndrome to gain insight into how this cognitive difference can change the shape of relationships.
Clear and specific communication is vital. It can be the difference between repeated episodes of hurt feelings and insight, understanding, and a strengthened emotional bond.
Couple’s counseling can also help. You can try the American Psychological Association’s psychologist locator to find a qualified therapist near you. You can also check out Psych Central’s Find a Therapist resource pages.
How can romantic relationships develop in young people with Asperger's syndrome and high-functioning autism?
Clinical psychologist, specializing in Asperger syndrome, about the features of romantic and intimate relationships in adults with RAS
Author: Tony Etwood
Translation: Tamara Solomatina
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While young people with classic autism usually suffice with a solitary “hermit” lifestyle, people with Asperger's syndrome and high-functioning autism often do not. Clinical studies have shown that most of these adolescents and young adults are interested in romantic relationships. However, very little research addresses this aspect of autism spectrum disorders or strategies for successfully developing these relationships.
We know that young people with Asperger's have significant difficulty developing relationships with peers and understanding what the other person may be thinking or feeling. Ordinary children learn this naturally and practice the skills to develop relationships with family members and friends long before they use these abilities to successfully develop romantic relationships. Young people diagnosed with Asperger's and high-functioning autism have limited communication skills and may find it difficult to express emotions, especially affection. They may also have very high sensitivity to certain sensory experiences. All of these diagnostic characteristics affect relationship-forming skills as the child grows and will ultimately reduce the adult's chances of a successful long-term relationship.
Love and affection
People with autism spectrum disorders have difficulty understanding and expressing emotions, and the most difficult emotion for such people is love. Ordinary children and adults often express their affection with pleasure, know how to express it to exchange mutual feelings of affection and love, and know how to support someone through the expression of affection. A child or adult with autism may not need the same depth and frequency of expressions of love through actions, or may not realize that the situation requires them to display their affection in a way that would please the other person. He or she may be annoyed by how "obsessed" other people are with expressing love for each other.
Some autistics may be obviously immature in their expressions of affection and sometimes perceive them as a negative experience. For example, a hug may feel uncomfortable and limit movement. A person may become embarrassed or overwhelmed when expected to express and accept fairly moderate expressions of love. I recently developed a cognitive behavioral therapy program for children and adolescents with Asperger's Syndrome that teaches them about the emotion of love and how to express that you love or feel sympathy for someone. The program will soon be evaluated in a study conducted by the University of Queensland in Australia.
One of the diagnostic characteristics of Asperger's syndrome is the development of a special interest that is unusual in its object and significance. For adolescents and young adults, the target is sometimes a person, which can be interpreted as a typical teenage crush, but the degree of interest and associated behavior often lead to accusations of stalking and harassment. The propensity to develop a special interest can also influence the emergence of relationship knowledge in other ways. Special interests help people with Asperger's in many ways, including acquiring the knowledge to understand the annoying aspects of their life experiences. Adolescents with Asperger's Syndrome often seek to understand and experience in terms of communication and relationships, including romantic and sexual ones, the same as their peers, but they may have problems with sources of information about relationships and sexuality.
A teenager with Asperger's syndrome has few or no friends with whom to discuss topics such as romantic or sexual feelings and sexual behavior. Unfortunately, the only source of information for teens with Asperger's can be either porn movies for boys or soap operas for girls. A person with Asperger's Syndrome may decide that the actions shown in pornographic material can serve as a "script" of what to say or do on a date, but this misunderstanding can lead to allegations of harassment. Such allegations are more often related to inappropriate behavior than to violent or aggressive acts of a sexual nature. Girls with Asperger's Syndrome may use movies and TV shows as a source of knowledge about relationships and fail to recognize that TV shows do not accurately reflect the beginning and development of relationships in real life.
Clinical studies show that unpopular girls with Asperger's syndrome, who are not accepted into any company, after the physical changes that occurred during puberty, are flattered by the attention from boys. Because of her naivety, the girl may not realize that their interest is sexual in nature, and not at all a desire to simply communicate with her and spend time in her company. She may not have female friends to take her on a first date or give her advice on social and sexual rules. Her parents may have strong concerns about her vulnerability to negative sexual experiences and possible date rape.
There is a transition from acquaintance to partnership in the relationship. Individuals with Asperger's may find it difficult to cope with each step of this transition. To move from friend to partner status, a teenager or young person with Asperger's needs to understand the art of flirting in order to accurately read the signals of mutual sympathy and not get lost during dates. People with Asperger's do not understand this intuitively. These teens and young adults often ask me, “How can I find a boyfriend/girlfriend?” And this question is not easy to answer. One of the difficulties can be the correct interpretation of someone's intentions. A simple expression of kindness or sympathy can be taken much more seriously than intended. I have had to explain to men with Asperger's that the smile and attention from female flight attendants are just courtesies, not a desire to start a relationship.
Despite the relationship problems that most people with Asperger's have, some can develop relationships and form romantic and intimate relationships, even marriage. To achieve this level of relationship, partners need to initially notice the attractive qualities of each other. What is so attractive about a young person with Asperger's Syndrome?
Attractive qualities of people with Asperger's syndrome
Men with Asperger's syndrome may have a wide range of qualities that are attractive to a future partner. When I counsel couples in which one or both partners have characteristics or a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, I often ask the neurotypical partner, "What qualities did your partner draw you to when you first met?" Many women describe that a partner with Asperger's syndrome initially impressed them as kind, considerate, but socially or emotionally immature. The term "silent handsome stranger" is often used to describe anyone who seems relatively quiet and likeable. Appearance and attention can become very important, especially if a woman has doubts about her own self-esteem and physical attractiveness. Lack of social and conversational skills lead to the formation of the image of the "mysterious stranger", whose naivety and immaturity the partner can compensate for by becoming an expert in empathy, socialization and communication.
I have noticed that the partners of many men and sometimes women with Asperger's are on the other end of the social and empathic spectrum. On an intuitive level, they are experts in the "model of the mental" (understanding someone else's consciousness), that is, they understand and sympathize with the experiences of other people. They have the gift of seeing the world as it appears to people with Asperger's to a much greater extent than people with average empathy. Being understanding and sympathetic, they help their partner cope with difficulties in social situations. Undoubtedly, adults with Asperger's Syndrome need these traits and want to see them in a potential partner. He or she will actively seek out someone with intuitive social skills, someone who will explain social situations to them, educate them, and care for them. However, while a socially gifted and empathetic partner may be able to understand the experiences of a person with Asperger's Syndrome, that person will have significant difficulty understanding their neurotypical partner.
Intellectual abilities, one's own career, and increased attention to one's partner during courtship can make a person with Asperger's syndrome more attractive. Sometimes, however, this attentiveness can be perceived by others as excessive, and words and actions will seem as if they were memorized from Hollywood romantic films. A person can be admired for his straightforwardness, even if his comments hurt other people, because of his strong desire for social justice and clear moral principles. The fact that he may not be "macho" at all or not eager to spend time with other men at sports matches can also be very attractive in the eyes of some women. And the fact that a person with Asperger's syndrome entered into a relationship quite late can also be a plus. He may not have the "baggage" of previous relationships. I have also heard many women say that a partner with Asperger's Syndrome reminds them of their father. The fact that they grew up with a parent with Asperger's traits may also have influenced their choice of partner in adulthood.
What traits do men find attractive in women with Asperger's syndrome? They may be similar to what women find attractive in men with Asperger's, especially the degree to which they are attentive. The social immaturity of a woman can attract men who are prone to guardianship and compassion. They may admire her beauty or her talents and abilities. Unfortunately, women (and sometimes men) with Asperger's have a hard time assessing a person's character and knowing when a relationship becomes "dangerous." Such women often have low self-esteem, which affects their choice of a partner for a relationship. They may become victims of various forms of violence. As one woman with Asperger's syndrome explained to me, "I had low expectations and as a result I was drawn to violent people."
Strategies to Improve Relationship Skills
People with Asperger's will need help developing relationships at every stage, and possibly throughout their lives. Younger children will need the help of a speech therapist to improve their conversational skills, and an educator or psychologist will help with friendship skills during their school years. Developing these skills should be a priority for an educational institution supporting a child with Asperger's Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism, as positive friendship experiences will increase self-esteem, help avoid bullying from classmates, lay the foundation for developing friendships in the future, and improve teamwork abilities. for more successful employment.
Adolescents will need truthful information about attractiveness, courtship and sexuality. While such information is readily available to typical adolescents (most often from parents, friends, and personal experiences), adolescents with Asperger's Syndrome may have difficulty obtaining it. Lack of peer help, adult information and practice will hinder the acquisition of relationship development skills. Fortunately, we now have special relationship and sexuality education programs designed specifically for teens and young people with Asperger's Syndrome that include the opportunity to get advice from a peer with the same syndrome. Several doctors and therapists in Australia are developing relationship skills training materials for adolescents and young people with Asperger's Syndrome. Such training will include everything from dating rules and a sense of style to ways to recognize and avoid dangerous partners. A valuable strategy here can be to meet socially receptive friends or relatives with a potential partner to determine if they are a good person before starting a relationship.
Young people will need support and opportunities to meet new people. Here you can offer to do something or join an interest group related to their own special passion, for example, take part in Star Trek or Doctor Who fan meetings, or apply their talents, say, to taking care of animals. and join an animal welfare group. There are also opportunities to make new friends at community events, such as a local choir or adult education courses. Local support groups for parents of children with Asperger's have also established support groups for young people with Asperger's. In this case, specialists can come to the group and hold a group discussion or give advice. Such groups can provide an opportunity for the development of relationships between members of the group. The relationship between Jerry and Mary, two people with Asperger's who met at a support group in Los Angeles, has been the subject of a book and film (Crazy in Love). Some people with Asperger's Syndrome use the Internet and dating agencies to get to know someone, but this method of dating can also be used by dangerous partners, so you need to take into account the high risk when using this dating strategy.
I have noticed that adults who had prominent signs of autism in childhood (significant language delay, learning difficulties, avoidance of social situations) but progressed to high-functioning autism later in life have much less desire to develop long-term relationships. Most likely, they will be content with loneliness and will not maintain sexual relations, preferring superficial acquaintances to friendship. A sense of self-identity and self-worth in such people is achieved through a successful career and an independent life. Temple Grandin is a good example of this. Some adults with Asperger's also choose not to form close relationships for reasons that seem logical given the traits associated with the syndrome.
Jennifer explains her decision: “How can I live in the same house with a person who can touch my collection of model airplanes?” And so: "Airplane models do not want to be designed by someone else, even if it is more attractive or less dependent." However, she is quite satisfied with her life. She says, "I can assure you that falling in love and special interests are about the same feeling." For some people with Asperger's or high-functioning autism, giving up romantic relationships may be the right choice if they enjoy and fully devote themselves to their special interests, such as wildlife photography or a career in information technology. They don't fit the cultural mold that marriage and long-term relationships are the only way to achieve happiness.
Future Research Perspectives
We know that people with Asperger's have significant difficulties developing relationships, but there is not enough research to provide us with qualitative and quantitative data about their relationship abilities, circumstances, and experiences. A study has recently been published on the ability to maintain friendships in children with Asperger's syndrome, but there is very little research on adolescent relationships and sexuality. Dr. Isabelle Henault of Montreal is conducting a study with me on the sexual profile of people with Asperger's syndrome, and preliminary results show that this profile differs from that of ordinary people due to less sexual experience, although they develop sexual interest in the same period, which and their adolescent peers. They may also have a more relaxed attitude towards sexual diversity, such as homosexuality and bisexuality, and a rich sexual fantasy. They may be less concerned about the partner's age and cultural differences. However, further research is needed, and the Autism Interactive Network database may be useful in providing information on the romantic relationships of adolescents and young adults with Asperger's and high-functioning autism.
Thanks to Tamara Solomatina for the translation.
Autism in adults, Asperger Syndrome, Social Skills90,000 Men with Asperger syndrome
Symptoms and manifestations of,
Relations and creating a family
Many men with Asperger's Syndrome (HA), also called high-functioning autism, have never been diagnosed and are perceived as eccentric, a little weird, or loners. If you are in a relationship with a man on the autism spectrum, you may have noticed many of the following traits. Note, "traits", not "character flaws". This article is about the symptoms associated with the disorder. And the affected person can often have very little or no effect on most of these symptoms. This article is not written to accuse or ridicule men on the spectrum, and it should be noted that they have more advantages than weaknesses (and there is a lot written about them on this site). But in this article, we will focus on some of the features associated with Asperger's syndrome that can negatively affect romantic relationships.
A man with Asperger's syndrome often has the following features, expressed in different people to varying degrees:
- Special interest (eg coin collecting) is common among men with Asperger's and may have been something they have been doing for years. They are literally in love with it and often have an exhaustive collection of things related to their interest, as well as incredible knowledge in their subject area.
- Although men with Asperger's Syndrome often have a high level of intelligence, it happens that they remain in low-skilled jobs for years or move from one job to another. This is the result of their problems with social skills and communication.
- A man with Asperger's may have a pet (often a dog) to which he has a very strong attachment. A pet is a friend who does not make demands on a person and accepts him as he is.
- Men with Asperger's appear selfish or indifferent. They can speak without considering how their words will affect others.
- Men with Asperger's have a tendency to blame other people instead of themselves. In an attempt to maintain their image and protect their unstable self-esteem, they blame others for things they should be responsible for.
- Short temper is not uncommon in men with Asperger's syndrome. They "explode" over relatively minor things (for example: a burnt dish, a missing book, etc.). Disruption of plans is another reason for the manifestation of their temper. At the same time, the man himself may understand that he is behaving badly, but feel unable to influence it.
- In a romantic relationship, a man with Asperger's may resist physical contact and open displays of affection or hints of affection.
- Job interviews are often a problem for men with Asperger's Syndrome because, due to impaired social skills, they cannot respond correctly or misunderstand the interviewer's non-verbal cues.
- Men with Asperger's have spent decades learning how to be acceptable in society.
- Men with Asperger's Syndrome often have a reputation for being difficult to communicate with. Others believe that they have a bad character or that they prefer their own social circle.
- Many men with Asperger's want to have friends but are considered loners. They usually have a much reduced capacity for social interaction compared to "ordinary" men.
- Many men with Asperger's have learned to lie in order to cope with life's challenges. For example, instead of admitting that they are overwhelmed by noise, that they are tired of being around people, or that they want to pursue their special interest, they may lie and say that they are not feeling well or that they have an appointment.
- Many men with Asperger's Syndrome marry, but the relationship lasts only if both partners are willing to work on problem areas.
- Many men with Asperger's fit the "computer genius" stereotype.
- Many men with Asperger's syndrome fail to make small talk. They focus on the topic of interest to them and talk about it endlessly, but cannot fully understand the exchange of remarks in a general conversation.
- Many men with Asperger's find employment and are generally reliable employees. However, even with the same qualifications as "ordinary" men, they cannot find jobs as easily due to a lack of social skills.
- Sensory traits mean that men with Asperger's don't like things like seams on clothes or tags on shirts. Hearing features are possible: such a man may not like loud noise or certain music. In addition, crowds can be confusing, and men with Asperger's may avoid all of the above.
- Sexual problems may become apparent if a man with Asperger's Syndrome has not received adequate sex education at an earlier age. In some cases, he learns about sex by looking at pornography on the Internet. If he tries to repeat such scenes with his partner, it can lead to great confusion.
- Social activity may be limited. The wife of a man with Asperger's usually forms his social circle while he stays at home.
- Some men with Asperger's syndrome come to a secluded lifestyle, they are beginning to be called "hermits", "recluses". They seem to find it easier to live this way, and they feel more at ease than when they face the complexities of interpersonal relationships on a daily basis.
- Some men with Asperger's would prefer to have a confirmed diagnosis, while others would prefer to live the same lifestyle as before. However, some people deny the possibility of having Asperger's and get offended when someone brings up the subject.
- Some men with Asperger's Syndrome become permanently defensive over time and find it difficult to confront or discuss things with them. It is often the result of bullying and isolation from peers at a younger age.
- Teamwork can create problems. A man with Asperger's works better if he has his own office without noise and distracting social interaction.
- When courting a girl, a man with Asperger's syndrome comes across as quiet and reserved. In marriage, these qualities can become a cause for disagreement, because his wife will be disappointed by his lack of sociability.
In addition to the above, some men with AS have the following traits:
- Often they are "in their own world".
- Attention narrowly focused on his interests.
- Possibly suffering from obsessions.
- Very preoccupied with their plans.
- Can be very critical of themselves and others.
- Very unhappy when others ask them for clarification or some sympathy.
- Engaged in some business (sometimes divorced from reality) for hours without a break.
- Can pester friends by asking them to confirm they are "normal".
- Can often be physically and emotionally distant.
- Can sit in the library for hours, pursuing their special interest.
- Collect items.
- Desire friendship and social contacts, but with difficulty establishing and maintaining them.
- Difficulty understanding the feelings of others.
- They don't always recognize people by sight (even some family members).
- Find emotions confusing and uncomfortable.
- Great difficulty with small talk and idle chatter.
- Have a strong desire to communicate something, because of which they may appear dull or offend.
- Intense passion for one or two subjects.
- Lack of empathy at times.
- Lack of interest in other people.
- Preferences can be very rigid.
- Limited interests.
- They are clumsy, have poor coordination of movements.
- Feel oppressed by their partner's need for communication.
- May have a stony, expressionless face most of the time.
- Have difficulty saying "I love you" and showing physical affection.
- Have a great need to leave and be alone.
- Eccentric people.
- Occasionally experience idiosyncratic attachment to inanimate objects.
- Difficulties with the implementation of the curriculum despite a high level of intelligence.
- Perhaps they don't try very hard to keep their friendship.
- "Hang out" in social situations.
- Problems in non-verbal communication (eg, difficulty understanding body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice).
- They often feel that their partners are ungrateful and irritable when they complain (eg "you don't care about me" or "you never listen to me").
- Often take words personally.
- Preoccupied with their plans.
- Repetitive routine, rituals.
- Inflexible social behavior due to an inability to automatically adapt to changes in social situations.
- Sensitivity to product consistency.
- Single-tasking (monotropism).
- Peculiarities of language and speech or developmental delay of speech at an early age.
- Great sensitivity to sound, touch, taste, sight and smell.
- Preoccupation with unusual problems.
- Use repetition of words (for example, they can repeat what you just said).
The information in this article is in no way intended to force you to abandon a relationship with a man with Asperger's Syndrome. As stated above, all of these traits are components of the disorder. Men with Asperger's Syndrome often go out of their way to make themselves look better in relationships. But unfortunately, all too often their "neurotypical" (i.