Autism and Relationships – Part 1 – dating other autistic people

Some people believe that autistic people should only date other autistic people.  The concept of autistic people and neuro-typical people dating is very strange to them.  Surely there must be some benefits for two people with autism being in a relationship?  But does this mean that autistic people should date exclusively within the autism community?  Below are some of the possible pros and cons.

Pros

  • Greater Understanding – autistic people may have a greater understanding of each other’s behaviour, and way of being.  A lot of neuro-typical partners do struggle to understand their autistic partner’s need for routine for example, but an autistic person might understand them completely, and have similar needs themselves.
  • Less Pressure to show Affection – some autistic couples report that it is easier for them not to show outward emotion to their partner when their partner is autistic.  Because neither partner has the need to give or receive that kind of overtly demonstrative affection, this is not the same issue it might be if one partner was neuro-typical.
  • Routine and change – if both people are autistic then it will probably be easier for them to find a routine that suits them both, and stick to it.  There might not be that level of need for flexibility that a neuro-typical person may have.
  • Socialising – it would be easier for both parties not to have to go out and socialise if they don’t want to as their autistic partners will understand why this is.

Cons

These cons are more about the idea of autistic people thinking they can only date other autistic people, rather than negatives to any particular relationship.

  • Less options – planning to only date autistic people will massively limit somebody’s range of potential partners.  It may mean that they end up thinking there are very few people for them out there, when in reality this is because of conditions they have imposed upon themselves.
  • Self-confidence – self-imposed conditions can often lead to a drop in self-confidence.  If somebody with autism begins to think that they don’t have what it takes to date neuro-typical people then they are doing themselves a dis-service.
  • Encourages Segregation – people with autism should have all the same rights as anybody else, and this includes dating and relationships.  There is no reason that being autistic should get in the way of a relationship with anybody.  If somebody wants to date another person with autism then this is fine, but they shouldn’t feel there is an enforced segregation.  It is similar to somebody deciding they are only going to date within their own race, even if they like someone of another race.

In conclusion, there can be a lot of positives in a relationship between two people with autism, but people with autism shouldn’t feel that they have to only date others who are on the spectrum.  As long as they know that they are able to date anybody – autistic or not – then there are no particular negatives to a relationship between two autistic people.  The negatives come in more when somebody with autism lacks the confidence, and self-belief to attempt to date somebody who is not also on the autistic spectrum.  Autistic people are no different from anybody else, and who they date and fall in love with will vary from person to person.