Those who are on the autistic spectrum or have autism of some kind struggle with all kinds of social interaction; body language, eye contact and speech. Obviously depending on how severe the autism is depended on how much the person then struggles on a day to day life.
As someone who has a couple of family members who suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism, I tend to notice the signs of mild autism. I have had friends and partners who have either been diagnosed or have shown mild signs of autism. Most of the time I have been able to pick up beforehand.
I’ve even had family members and friends believe that I may be partially autistic.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with those who are autistic they are different and especially when it comes to being in a relationship you might come across obstacles that you wouldn’t necessarily experience with someone else.
There is no point playing mind games or beating around the bush, you have to be blunt and honest with them at all times for they won’t be able to read between the lines. If there is something is playing on your mind or is upsetting you in some way you are best off having a conversation about it, rather than waiting for them to pick up on any social cues you give out. They won’t be able to read your tone of voice or any body language so it is best to always be 100% honest.
They aren’t “damaged” or “broken”, their brain just works slightly differently from most. You shouldn’t see autism as a problem because you’ll then believe you can “fix it”, which you can’t. When creating a relationship you have to accept their autism and not try to get rid of it. You have to be there for them and show empathy towards all the struggles they face.
One of the main characteristics of autism is having a limited focus and a short attention span. You may find they zone out or get distracted easily when you talk to them. If you are trying to have a long conversation with them there is no point getting angry or frustrated with them. Give them the time and support that they need even if it means repeating yourself several times to get the message across.
When in a relationship, every so often, we require reassurance that the person we are with is as in love with us as they say. Words mean nothing without being backed up with actions. This is especially difficult with autistic people as they tend to come across emotionless. Because they struggle with social cues a lot of the time their expressions don’t necessarily show how they feel. You have to be able to trust that they do love you even if their face or body language says differently.
They can be sensitive to touch and won’t always be in the mood for overly touchy behaviour. For example, my 14-year-old sister has Asperger’s and she can through moods where all she wants is a hug and moods where all she wants is space. You have to be understanding no matter how petty it may seem. They can sometimes find being touched uncomfortable and so make sure you respect what they want and when they want it. Just like you should with anyone else.
Not every autistic individual is the same and this isn’t me putting every single one into a box. It affects different people differently. I have personally dated two people who have suffered from mild autism and I have had two completely different experiences.
Their autism doesn’t define them. They will still want to have fun and enjoy themselves like anyone else. Don’t treat them like there is nothing but their autism.
Love them as you would anyone else.