If you’re like me, there are lots of questions that race through your mind when you prepare to go out on a date. Do I look polished enough? Am I going to click with this person? Did we pick the right venue to go out to? And then there’s the one question always gnawing at the back of my skull about my autism: can I be myself?
Suddenly, a person you’ve been regularly communicating with is M.I.A. Without warning, a fixture of recent life can become a memory. Somebody you’d bonded with has abruptly stopped contacting you. The text messages have ceased, all traces of their presence in your life have been yanked away by them, and without warning or explanation. But just because the experience is stressful doesn’t mean it’s impossible to endure. There are ways for autistic people to come out the other side of getting ghosted.
Being autistic, some things just haven’t come as naturally for me as they seem to for other people. Unfortunately, these have included hallmarks of American life often used to symbolize being “an adult” like driving on my own or getting my first paid job. But human beings are not on a strict timetable to do all the same things at the same time. This is just as true of dating like anything else. Just because you (or I) haven’t been actively dating when a lot of other people in your life have doesn’t make you (or me) a failure. You’re just on your own timetable. So am I.
Two smart, insightful and autistic people who like talking about relationships walk into an interview. What comes out is this fantastically rich conversation between Scarleteen columnist Douglas Laman and Love and Asperger's author and therapist Kate McNulty.
I didn't see other autistic people in social scenarios I couldn't manage, so I couldn't imagine myself managing them. Attending my college’s autism group provided me an environment I never knew I needed. Being surrounded by other autistic people, I had found a rare secure place to socialize, one that let me start to discover other places I could be social in, too.
You can read a book. You can read a map. But reading people, that’s difficult in any situation. Reading people to figure out if they’re actually into you romantically or sexually is even more difficult. Douglas Laman is here to give fellow autistic readers a little help.
It can be hard for anybody to ask for help. For individuals on the Autism spectrum or anyone with some kind of disability, it can be an especially trying task. Here's a little advice from someone who knows.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all process for tackling this issue, but here's a little help from one person with Autism to another, so you can figure out some concrete ways of scaling what can feel like an immense social mountain.
I am 17, and I have a 15 year old sister who is Autistic. I also come from an EXTREMELY Catholic family. I never got a sex talk - I straight-up asked my dad what sex meant when I was 9 or 10, and he gave me some very unhelpful answer about a gift that God intended to be shared between a man and a woman in marriage....