It’s always nice to be asked on dates. But at the same time is isn’t. For the most part it’s got very little do to with the other person, and a lot to do with myself. It puts pressure on me to be ‘socially ready’ on that particular day. A lot of anxiety will develop, down to minute i’m due to meet this person. Don’t pester or pressurise to meet up and go out on a date with you. If i say i’m not ready, then be patient. You can try again, but give it some time. Most likely when i am ready, and you haven’t asked me again, i will tell you that i’m all good to organise something with you soon.
Meeting someone for the first time, as i already pointed out, is very difficult for a person on the autistic spectrum. Dates are even worse, because the wrong bit of body language, saying the wrong thing, and not being aware of it, can lead to misunderstandings and ultimately, hurt feelings.
The location is quite crucial too. Because it needs to be somewhere i know, and somewhere that is quiet and comfortable. So when going on a date, if its a date with someone i met online, things can get tricky.
When i go out with a friend in general, i know this person and i trust them. And i will find it easier to speak up if i feel uncomfortable in some way. But with someone i don’t know, and its a date, there isn’t that same level of trust involved, and so i most likely won’t speak up, and spend the rest of the date, tense and wanting to go home.
Again, it most likely won’t be a reflection on the person i’m with, but more on the surroundings and on the circumstances of that time.
What to do.
Keep it simple, keep it local and keep it short. Generally once the first couple of dates are done and dusted, i will feel more relaxed and be able to enjoy spending more time with that person. I like to keep dates to a minimum before beginning a relationship, because dating, it gives a element on uncertainty, or instability. Which is something us autistic people struggle with, we like set roles, routines, boxes, etc. Dating is similar to purgatory, where you’re more than friends…but not quite bf/gf (of gf/gf, bf/bf, etc). So it’s a blend between the two, which is filled with a lot of grey area and figuring out how you fit together and compatibility, feeling being developed..or not being developed.
3 months minimum
From past experience, I’ve found spending 3 months getting to know someone from afar (texting, calling, video chats, etc), helps with this. Because by that time you’ve got a fair indication on this person, who they are and if they’re compatible with you. So when you meet up, it’s literally just putting the last piece into the puzzle. So it cuts out some of that ‘grey area’, because by then, hopefully you’d know if you’re compatible and how much you like each other. It also means the majority of things are done in a written format, so there’s not chance of giving conflicting body language or misinterpreting the other persons. Emoticons can be extremely helpful by the way!
Anxiety is rife with autism. And dating is even worse for that! So autistic people might require a degree more reassurance on things than others. Try to be patient and understanding, i understand how frustrating it might be.
Having the reassurance in words, rather than hugging, kissing, etc, is better. Because it’s something we can refer back to, instead of asking you over and over, on the phone or face to face.
Most of your communication with someone like me, will be mostly text based. Because it limits misunderstandings and miscommunication. Personally, i enjoy texting someone throughout the day. If someone has a busy day or can’t text at work, i do ask of them to let me know in advance, because otherwise i’m there trying to figure out why they’re not texting back like they normally do. Which can lead to tension and stress, next thing you know you have a stressed out Jacy on your hands, asking if everything is okay, etc.
I should point out and stress here, that i’m not saying, if someone hasn’t text me back in a few minutes, i’m there jumping up and down. It’s more, if its gone past the half hour or hour mark, i start to get a bit concerned.
Again, consistency is it’s own reassurance. If you’re consistent in your behaviour, feelings and actions, the anxiety will be kept to a bare minimum. Think of me, or people like me, as your own personal litmus test. If something is wrong, it will show.
In the past, i used to take break ups pretty badly. Now that i’m older and survived many a break up, it’s not so bad. I find that breaking up or being broken up with someone, is better and easier via text messaging. Many seem impersonal and a cowardly way out, but it means i can distance myself, that i can process things easier. With things like that, i wish to do it privately and on my own.
I do try to remain friends with people after the relationship has ended. Because, with someone people, although having a relationship has not worked out with them, having a friendship could. There are some exceptions to that, if they have hurt me or treated me badly, i will find it best to let them go completely.
Some, decide they don’t want to be friends, and again, as sad as that can be, i understand. What i do ask, is that you let me know that, and encourage a discussion about it, so that i can fully take it on board. Don’t just stop talking, without any notice at all. Because not only is that disrespecful, but also unfair. There has been the odd occasion where that has happened and my poor friends have borne the brunt of me trying to decipher why, and what went wrong, etc. Over and over. Autistic people tend to have obsessive ways of thinking, much to our own detriment. So please, don’t do that to us.