Conquer Our Fears

Conquer Our Fears

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Navigating Dating with Aspergers

I'd like to talk about a more personal area today, sharing with you some insight into my successes and failures in the dating world, as a current 24 year old with Aspergers. To begin, let me start with some encouragement. It goes without saying that the more practice you put into any venture in life, the more experienced and knowledgeable you will be in that area. Looking back at my high school dating, college, and even current dating experiences, there is such a distinct difference in my demeanor, outlook, and perception of dating. In high school, before I was even diagnosed with Aspergers, I knew my kinks in social navigation went beyond your typical teen awkwardness. It began with my eventually realization that I lacked social-awareness.

When it came to dating, I would actually surprise myself by getting a girl to want to go on a date with me. It was the failure to hear back after that let me know I was doing something wrong. I finally had a girl who was blunt enough to tell me I was probably single because I spent the whole date talking, and none of it listening. After bombing what seemed like countless first dates in high school, it finally clicked...start listening. Ask questions. In fact, make it a habit to alternate between asking a question and answering a question. Get to know the other person. This applies to cultivating friendships just as much as relationships. For so long, it had just never occurred to me to step outside of myself. It sounds so simple, but to me, it's so easy to get locked into my own interests. Developing a give and take mentality was a crucial first step to my success in relationships. During college, I maintained a two year relationship that ultimately taught me the value of putting in a regular conscious effort to be aware of the needs, and wants of others.

As for the best way for an Aspergian to meet someone? I found success in online dating once I graduated college. I've come to find how much I enjoy predictability and structure, and the process of getting to know someone else online before in person, was a much more comfortable, gradual process. Wouldn't you rather go into a date knowing you have things in common, and having gotten to know them a bit beforehand? I eventually stopped worrying about saying something wrong or coming across as awkward, but rather coming away from each date knowing I was a little more confident, a little more experienced, and that there is someone out there that will accept each one of us for who we are, Aspergian quirks and all.

What has your experience been like, dating someone with Aspergers, or as an Aspergian?

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