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Finding Love as an Adult on the Autism Spectrum

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I have seen and read a lot of comments from many adults on the autism spectrum, and I have heard from parents of adult children saying that many of them have and have not had a relationship with either a guy or gal. Or they find a lasting relationship. Or they are in a relationship for a short period of time, and then that relationship fizzles out. Why is this? Many of those on the spectrum, both males and females, can have a hard time finding or maintaining a loving relationship, because those of us on the spectrum sometimes have a harder time deciphering social cues than others. But that does not mean we can’t have an easy time finding a partner or dating, because we can. There are many places to look: Millions of people go to bars, social clubs, church, or even supermarkets and dating sites — but do these always work? The answer is yes and no.

When anyone does this, does it always mean they will find the person of their dreams? No, it does not. It can take several tries in the dating scene to find the right someone. But for those of us on the spectrum, finding that someone special can also involve other challenges. We might have trouble asking someone for a date because of anxiety, or we may be looked at as “weird” or “socially inept.” Many books have been written about love and the spectrum. The book I have is “Autism and Falling in Love” by Kerry Magro, and PBS aired a documentary film on this subject earlier this year. The documentary looked at three stories of adults on the spectrum who were looking for love. It was a very interesting look at relationships and love on the spectrum.

I am not saying all relationships for those on the spectrum are failures, because they are not. One such example is a friend of mine. He has been married for many years, and he is on the spectrum while his wife is neurotypical, and they have made their married life work. I have a couple of friends who have tried relationships with others on the spectrum, but those ended after a short period. Why is this? It could have been they were not ready for a long-term relationship, or problems developed during the relationship that caused it to end.

As for myself, I am still single at nearly 56 years old. I have never dated, nor have I ever had a girlfriend. Why did this happen to me? There could be a myriad of reasons: I did not play sports in high school. I was a bit of a loner. I may have been seen as a “geek,” and I did not pick up on social cues. Yes, there are times when I wonder what my life would have been like if I had someone special in my life. But if it does happen — great. If not, I am not going to worry about it.

Image via Thinkstock.

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Originally published: December 21, 2016
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