Wednesday , September 20 2017
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What It’s Like to Date When You’re on the Autism Spectrum

Anna*, 21

VICE: Have most of your partners known about your ASD? If so, when do you tell them? 
Anna: Typically I don’t tell someone I’m on the spectrum unless we’re pretty serious, like if we’ve been dating several months. I’ve never been in a relationship where I felt it was necessary to tell the other person that I’m on the spectrum. My friends and family have always told me that I shouldn’t tell someone I’m on the spectrum unless I feel it’s necessary and will benefit the relationship.

What’s the hardest thing about dating?
If I feel like I’ve made a guy upset, I’ll keep texting, and texting, and texting until he replies, which makes the situation even worse. Eventually he comes back an hour and a half later and tells me to stop texting, which then makes me feel like he’s even angrier so I keep texting, and texting, and texting all over again. It’s an ongoing cycle. When people give me mixed signals it freaks me out. I need to have straightforward, direct signals: interested or not interested—nothing in between.

“When people give me mixed signals it freaks me out. I need to have straightforward, direct signals: interested or not interested—nothing in between.”

What do you think is the best thing about dating an Aspie? The worst?
The one thing I’ve really enjoyed about dating someone else who’s on the spectrum is that they don’t play stupid dating games like waiting several hours to text someone, an entire week after the first date. Aspies get straight to the point. Their intentions are very easy to decipher. The one thing I do not like about dating an Aspie though, is that they can’t pick up on social cues that a neurotypical would. For example, if a neurotypical tries to hold your hand or kiss you on the first date, they would give you direct eye contact and know that if the person doesn’t move, that’s their signal saying, “it’s OK to kiss me.” An Aspie wouldn’t pick up on any of that, and wouldn’t understand that if the person backed away that was a signal that they were not with comfortable kissing them.

Can you describe to me what your experience has been like with online dating? Would you recommend it to somebody else on the spectrum? 
I would definitely not recommend it, because a lot of the guys on those sites are players. They like to play with girls, and I’ve noticed that a lot of girls on the spectrum tend to get played with. When you’re talking to people online, you can’t see their facial expressions, so if you say something inappropriate or weird, you’re not going to see your facial expression. Getting stood up has also been a problem for me. Nearly every date that I tried to meet up with on those sites has done that to me.

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