It is also important to be aware of their individual needs and preferences and be respectful of them. Autistic people often have difficulty in social situations and can be withdrawn and introverted. They may not pick up on social cues and can interpret what is said to them literally. When you’re in a neurodiverse relationship, social cues may appear as one thing, but mean another. Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition. Like many neurodiversity conditions, autism exists on a spectrum based on how much it impacts daily function.
Try to be open with your partner, telling them what you are thinking, feeling and what you need from them. Partners often contact us to talk about relationship strategies and other support. At home, sleeping in total darkness and using a weighted blanket can be helpful for some. At home, hopefully, it is easier to adjust lighting and control or mask sounds and smells in the environment. Sometimes working with an occupational therapist who is trained in sensory integration can be beneficial. This article is a brief summary highlighting information gathered from my experience as well as many women who have shared their stories with me over the years.
As an autism therapist, I am passionate about helping neurodiverse women thrive.
Being able to have deep conversation, a glass of wine, and sex with someone I liked without the hassle of leaving the house was, in my mind, fantastic. Counseling can also help, even if you don’t experience mental health symptoms yourself. Therapy offers a safe and private space to talk about relationship concerns and explore strategies for working through them.
But because life is difficult for many women with autism, it is common for them to experience mental health issues like anxiety, depression, or problems with addiction. People with autism spectrum disorders often have difficulties in reading other people’s emotions, understanding body language and subtle hints. Therefore, try to speak directly and clearly, do not create complex verbal constructions that draw the interlocutor away from the main topic of conversation. I help high functioning individuals who identify as having Aspergers, high functioning autism, undiagnosed autism traits, etc. and their families at my Palo Alto autism therapy center. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am offering all my autism therapy services online.
My Strengths as An Autistic Woman
In addition to learning different cues and social norms, autistic people could learn and understand more about limits in love and, at the same time, interests of another person and a potential partner. Being autistic can mean sensory overwhelm and feeling wiped out from social interactions. For some autistic women, they look for a partner who can create security and take care of everyday tasks, like grocery shopping or calling about bills.
This might make them believe you’re not being supportive. For example, your partner might not notice when you’re feeling sad or not know how to respond when you tell them you are. If you’re dating someone with autism, then there is just one thing that you should remember above everything else and this is you need to love them for exactly who they are. You will learn and adapt to their quirks over time and they will do the same for you.
Your girlfriend may not always understand social nuances, so she might do things that are socially inappropriate without realizing it. Talk to her if she came off as rude or cold; she probably didn’t know what she was expected to do. She may need time to rest or stim after a difficult situation, such as a noisy building or family gathering. Autistic people may worry that their needs are burdensome or not cared about, and be afraid to speak up when there is a problem. You can help by listening to her, accommodating her needs, and asking if something is wrong if she looks upset.
You and your partner likely have different ways of alleviating stress. Being a neuro-diverse couple, there may be more differences you will experience that will, at first, challenge you both. It is important that you both learn your personal ways of de-stressing and express these needs to each other. Partners must also respect each other’s needs and means to get rid of tension and anxiety. At times, this will mean separate and/or “parallel” activities. The partner, on the autism spectrum, may need much time to themselves and/or “extra” time to pursue their special interests.
It can be beneficial if a “role” can be established for your partner at various social functions. This role could be any task that would contribute to the event, such as helping with setting up or checking drinks or food. Also, discuss options for a quiet space or place to retreat to take seekingarrangement search without registering a break during social activities. Consider scheduling a time each day to both sit and communicate. People with ASD almost universally say it is difficult to process verbal information while maintaining eye contact. This would be especially true when discussing each other’s needs.
It’s Autism Awareness Week and most advice articles out there are aimed at autism sufferers. Being autistic doesn’t mean a person is uninterested in sex. In fact, most people on the autism spectrum want to have romantic relationships, sexual relationships, or both.
But, as a neurotypical partner, it’s important to acknowledge you can grow, too. Your autistic partner is spending most of their waking hours in a world biased for neurotypical people and trying to interpret your neurotypical messages. However, their brain was not wired to process neurotypical messages easily. So as a neurotypical partner, you can help by playing the role of interpreter and explain what you’re trying to tell them by saying what you mean. Differences in romantic relationship experiences for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder.
It may even help to dedicate certain nights of the week as social nights so that these events feel like part of your partners weekly routine. They may struggle to interact with others and convey what they think and feel. They may also miss important social cues, respond inappropriately during an interaction, or withdraw during conflict. Everyone has different thresholds in terms of what feels comfortable to them. When choosing a venue for a date, keep in mind noise and other sensory stimuli that may be distracting to you or your date.
Dr. Brinster received her BA in Psychological and Brain Sciences from Johns Hopkins University and her doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed her clinical internship in pediatric and child psychology at the University of Miami Medical School and Mailman Center for Child Development. She is a member of the Society for Research in Child Development and the American Psychological Association . Its important to remember that Autism Spectrum Disorder is a spectrum and no two cases of autism are identical, but there certainly are similarities. The good news is the brain is plastic and over time new behaviors can be formed and people can learn how to better serve their partners.
Women with autism tend to present differently than men, a fact which has often led to misdiagnosis and under-diagnosis. As a result, women who have autism and don’t receive a diagnosis tend to judge themselves harshly for finding life difficult; what’s more, mental health issues are common in women with autism. One of the most important things to remember when dating an autistic woman is that she might not always mean what she says.