Autism and Relationships – Part 2 – dating neuro-typical people

Note: there is an assumption when writing these articles that the individuals dating, or in a relationship are of equal capacity, and no one is being taken advantage of, or being exploited.

This article deals with the pros and cons of autistic people dating neuro-typical people, however it is worth pointing out why it was written in the first place – a lot of autistic people believe they can never have a relationship with somebody who isn’t autistic.  This seems to be a pity as people shouldn’t be limited in who they can date, and have relationships with.  There is absolutely no problem with two autistic people dating, but this article will look at some of the reasons why it is also OK to date non-autistic people, as well as addressing some of the problems which may arise.

Pros

  • Variety – this might sound a bit silly, but it gives people more variety in who they can have relationships with.  If they choose to date somebody who is autistic that`s fine, but they will also have the option to date somebody who is neuro-typical.  There is no problem, with autistic people dating each other, but if they feel this is their only option then it becomes an almost enforced segregation.  It is the same as people segregating themselves on a race basis – variety is important in everything, including relationships.
  • Equality – if people want equality this should spread to all walks of life.  People shouldn’t feel that for some reason they are not able to date another person.  For autistic people to be truly equal they have to have equal rights in all areas.
  • Perspective – people shouldn’t start relationships just because they want to gain a new perspective on the world, but it can be an added bonus, both for the autistic and neuro-typical person.  They get to be close to somebody who may view the world in a completely different way to them.  This helps both of them gain new perspectives and knowledge.

Many of the cons here will be specific to certain relationships rather than every relationship between autistic and neuro-typical people.  They are not meant to put anyone off, but they are concerns that have been raised by autistic people and their families.

Cons

  • Being vulnerable – people can understandably be concerned if a particular individual’s autism means they aren’t fully aware of things such as danger, or sexual relationships.  They would worry that the neuro-typical individual was taking advantage of this person.  For a relationship to truly work both people have to have a similar level of capacity.  It is wrong to have somebody who is vulnerable being taken advantage of by a predatory individual.
  • Culture clash – autistic and neuro-typical individuals can have completely different ideas of how much socialising is acceptable; the non-autistic person may be going out a lot, seeing friends and family, or having people round all the time.  The autistic partner might be quite happy to see nobody for weeks on end.  The neuro-typical partner might pride themselves on being spontaneous.  The autistic partner might need strict routine.  The neuro-typical partner might want to spend all their free time with the autistic partner, who in turn might need a few hours alone each day.  There are many more issues which could arise.  None of them have to be deal-breakers.  The reality is that all relationships are based on compromise.  And with enough time, and effort all of these problems can be sorted out.
  • Public opinion – it is not so much public opinion that is a problem, it is just learning how to deal with it.  If two people are in a relationship then what others think shouldn’t matter at all.  But the way society works, people may well face criticism.  People will deal with this in different ways.  The important thing to remember is that opinions don’t really mean anything.  If two people are happy together then they shouldn’t let what others say get in the way of that happiness.

Hopefully this article will not be misunderstood as either a criticism of two autistic people, or an autistic person and a neuro-typical person being in a relationship.  It is meant merely as a way of addressing some common concerns, and reiterating what was stated in the last article – namely that relationships should not be based on whether somebody is autistic or neuro-typical, but merely on the connections forged between those two people.

 

  • sean conlon says:

    How do people with autism date anyways when the media shows us as monsters.

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