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Stephen Borgman

Stephen Borgman


Dating and Autism: Free Tips

Autism dating tips from those who know: autistic adults.




Here's an honest quote from an autistic adult.  I'll call him Tony. (not his real name)

Stress during social situations, constant social misunderstandings, and an inability to understand basic social cues leads to a life of selected social interactions, on a desperate to have basis.

So naturally, dating is the worst nightmare someone with AS (autism spectrum) could face. I'm going to go up to some person i don't know, ask them out, and go on some highly formalized social encounter, where they are scrutinizing everything about you to decide if they want to keep doing it together.

Dating, as you can see, can be stressful for autistic adults.  

I've looked for dating tips from within the autism community to share with you today.  Here are some ideas I found.

Dating Tips From Autism Adults

Connect Through Common Interests.

Date people you get to know through common interests.  Do not make dating the main objective, such as volunteer organizations.  Get to know people while involved in the activities.  Don’t shy away from social activities.  Have a graceful escape plan if needed, but do go along. -Anonymous

Action Step: Go to Volunteer Match and identify organizations near you to become involved in.

You can also go to Meetup to find groups with common interests.

Build a Relationship Online, Then Meet Offline

One gentleman shared that he met his girlfriend online.  They got to know each other online, and eventually met up offline. 

But be aware that there can be predators and manipulative people online.  This wiki how gives some tips on how to date online safely.

Or, you may want to consider finding a pen pal, and getting to know each other through good old fashioned letter writing!

I've always had it easier communicating in writing, where i can take my time, form my thoughts, and freeflow edit as i see fit. As opposed to a pressuring one on one chat about whatever topic of the day strikes the other's fancy.  -Anonymous

According to this article in the Guardian, writing letters to strangers is making a comeback.

Pardon all the ads on the article I am including here, but it was one of the only places I could find that lists recommendations of pen pal sites.

You can also talk to your librarian for recommendations s/he may have regarding pen pal organizations.

Work on the Uncomfortable - "NT" Social Skills

It's inevitable.  Everywhere you go, there are NTs ("neurotypicals).  Decide to work on learning NT communiation skills.  

My college roommate has worked in an overseas country for years.  He's a linguist, meaning he's skilled in learning languages.  He told me he felt like an off-kilter child during his first five years in the country.  

He made countless mistakes, felt embarrassed, but is now proficient in relating to the people from that country.

I asked Aaron, an Aspergers adult, how he learned the social skills required for dating and getting married (he is married with two children).

Here's what he shared -

I studied people. I hung out at restaurants and bars and other public places and watched people interact. I read every article and book I could find about social interaction, posture, and body language. I asked probing questions of the people I knew. And I experimented with my posture and body language until I got the desired response.


a)     Pick one night a week, or every couple of weeks to hang out at public places, and watch people interact.

b)    Read my article, Social Skills Lessons for Adults With Autism, for tips, books, sites, and movies to help you improve your social skills.  Study those resources  to become more comfortable socially.

Learn How to Tell If the Other Person Is Interested

As you're getting to know people, you'll want to know if the person you want to date also likes you.  

Here are a couple of articles to help you with this -

Girl Body Language: How Do I Tell If She's Interested.

Here's an article for women - Does He Like Me By His Body Language: 10 Clever Clues.

Learn How to Ask a Person on a Date

It's one thing to get to know someone, it's another thing to figure out whether they're interested.  But it's easy to become tongue tied when considering asking them out.

Here's an article I wrote, which I hope will help you to think about this step and practice it before you need to do it.  It's called, Dating and Aspergers: Asking Someone Out On A Date.

The Launching Pad

This article, I hope, will serve as your launching pad to autism dating.  

What tips do you have to offer each other and the autism community at large about dating, particularly in an NT (neurotypical) majority world?  Please share in the comments below!

photo credit : rpb1001 on Flickr 





About the Author

Stephen Borgman

Stephen Borgman is a psychotherapist who frequently works with neurodiverse children and adults.