It’s hard enough to date, period. But dating and Aspergers can seem incompatible. As one Aspie said, “How do you know when a person is interested, friendly, or annoyed?”
That comes back to learning how to read body language and signals. Which, of course, is the crux of all social communication, but only at a new and different level. I am definitely not going to pretend to have the answers, because I don’t. What I do have is some starting points for conversation that I hope you, the reader, will add to. Below are some aspergers dating tips I found on the net.
Oftentimes, adults with Asperger’s, due to the challenges of navigating the social world, may have taken a while longer to develop socially. You may feel defeated, or think that it’s just too difficult. Well, you could just give up. But then you would stay where you are, and you don’t necessarily want to do that, especially if you are reading this with interest now. By admitting that it’s difficult, and that you have a lot to learn, you are putting yourself in a place to reach out and receive help.
2. Find places to connect.
There are places to connect online with others who have Asperger’s Syndrome. Alex Plank, a young man with Asperger’s, founded one of the largest online support communities for persons on the autism spectrum. It’s called Wrong Planet. In fact, that’s how he met his girlfriend! (Here’s a clip of how he met his girlfriend–it’s the third video down on the page, around the 27 minute mark). Once you feel comfortable connecting in that community, you might want to check out another dating forum online for people with Asperger’s syndrome, called Aspie Affection.
You may also find it helpful to connect offline with other adults who have Asperger’s Syndrome. OASIS has links and resources to help you do this. You can also, if you want to branch out beyond your local support group, get involved in groups that share your values and/or interests. I went to the site, Meetup.Com and typed in a search for Aspergers in Chicago, IL, which is my area, and came up with a list of 6 groups. You may have interests in the Civil War, for example. I typed in that term, and came up with 4 groups in the Chicago area. I think you get the idea.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
You may find it helpful to go to a coach or a therapist who specializes in Asperger’s sydnrome to work through the aftermath of your outings. Just because it’s hard or difficult the first time, does not mean that you will not succeed in the long-term. Remember: Learning to interact socially with others is just one of those emotional intelligence skills that you will be working on for a lifetime. NT’s have to work on communication skills, and so do Aspies.
Albert Ellis, one of the founders of cognitive behavior therapy: as a young man, was shy about meeting other women. He figured that the more he practiced meeting women, the more comfortable he would become, so he asked out 100 women in a row! By the time he had finished the process, it’s safe to say that he was no longer shy! As you practice, continue to learn.
Here are some resources from across the net that you may find to be helpful:
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