There are a lot of prejudices about autism. Some of them are about love and feelings. Some examples could be, that autistic people don’t even have feelings, that they can’t fall in love or that they will never find a partner. The difficult part about prejudices is, that they assume that ALL people are the same. But that probably doesn’t ever fit to any group of people because everyone is unique. But the easy part about this kind of prejudices is, that you only need one example to prove them wrong. Because then not ALL are the same anymore. I know some autistic people, who found love. So, I can prove that prejudice wrong.
In this blog post I want to give you a better insight into, how it can be for an autistic person to find love. Of course, everyone’s different, so I want to take myself as an example. Some of you might already know that I have a boyfriend. I wrote about him and our relationship before. But now there are some huge news. We recently got engaged!
Challenges with dating
Obviously, there’s a reason, why it is so hard for autistic people to find love. I could imagine that one of the reasons is, that a part of our diagnosis is difficulties within social interaction and communication. So, everything, that has to do with being together with other people, can be a challenge for autistic people. Some of the things I struggle with, are keeping eye contact, interpreting facial expressions, keeping conversations going or even starting a conversation. When it comes to dating, there are even more challenges. For me, the hardest part was figuring out, when my boyfriend was flirting with me.
How my boyfriend and I met
Maybe you already know the story about, how my boyfriend and I met, so I will keep it short in this blog post. When I started at university, I needed a mentor. A mentor is mostly someone from a higher semester, who can help you with structuring your work. After a few months of working with my mentor, he asked me, if we should get together for a cup of coffee at some point. I was sure, he just wanted to be friends. And I thought he was quite nice, so I said yes. But, obviously, he wanted to be more than just friends. For him our coffee get-together was more like a date. But I didn’t really mind, because I liked him more and more. So, a few weeks later we became a couple.
Challenges in the relationship
A lot of people, who are interested in autism and my life story, ask, what kind of challenges my boyfriend and I have in our relationship. I think, it is really hard to answer, because I feel like our relationship is perfect. But there are a few things that can be challenging. Sometimes I can have a hard time figuring out, what my boyfriend is feeling. Especially if he’s exhausted, I can feel like he’s mad at me instead. Another thing that can be difficult for me, is, when my boyfriend does something different than I would do it. An example could be, if he puts a bowl on the “wrong” cupboard. If I’m already exhausted, I can get quite annoyed by that. But I don’t feel like I’m allowed to get mad at my boyfriend, because he didn’t actually do something wrong. So, in those cases, I need to just lay down and relax, until I’m feeling better.
I actually think, that my autism also gives something positive to our relationship. I would say, that one of the best things in our relationship is, that we are really honest to each other. And I think we are so honest, because of my autism. Already when we were just dating, my boyfriend knew that he had to communicate his feelings openly, so that I would know he was flirting with me. So, he got used to being really opened and honest. And so am I of course. I think that’s a huge strength in our relationship.
Everyone can find love
I’m a good person. I’m caring, sweet and supportive. But I could imagine, that it could also be challenging to be with me. I’m struggling with mental health issues all the time. In the beginning it was self-harm and an eating disorder. Now it’s more anxiety and depression. That can be hard on a relationship. But I really have a perfect boyfriend. He just takes me as I am and never complains. What I want to say with that, is, that I believe that everyone can find love, no matter what challenges they have in life. Maybe it sounds naïve to some of you, but that’s just really what I believe.