Over and over again the concepts of Autism Spectrum Disorder and dating seem to come together. And yet when they mix it can be a messy area. Like baking soda and vinegar they are two innocent components that when they collide, lead to a mess. I’m here to tell you that this does not have to be a challenge.
We cannot deny that dating is a very social world. And of course anyone with ASD knows the difficulty we have with a lot of social interactions, dating being just one of many walls that we can’t seem to find a way around.
We are all human beings with very human attractions and the desire for companionship. We see couples kissing or holding hands out in the world and it’s something to be desired by many of us. But we don’t understand the right way of achieving that same success.
We ask ourselves the same questions in our heads and replay them over and over again like a bad love song.
“Why can’t I find someone?”
“What does he/she see in them?”
“Why doesn’t anybody notice me?”
“Doesn’t anybody find me attractive?”
If you identify with those questions carefully you are probably sensing a recurring theme. That’s right. They are all questions that mean you have negative mindset about yourself.
Where the Negativity Comes From
Any serious plans to date someone are likely not to come until at least the time of puberty. So for those with ASD, we hardly have a clue how to interact with those we are attracted to. We don’t know how to introduce ourselves, we don’t how to flirt and we certainly don’t have the first idea how to ask them out on a date.
A lot of people with ASD struggle with the insecurity of being accepted. We know that we are different from the majority of people on a social level, and of course that means in the world of dating we feel extra different. And because we see our differences as negative we see that as a barrier from connecting with those we are attracted to.
Back in grade school I was at a dance with some friends and we met a couple really cute girls. One of them in particular caught my eye and I could barely talk to her without slurring my words together and feeling like a doofus. But I knew I wanted to dance with her.
So instead of manning up and asking her myself I actually pulled one of my buddies aside and asked him to see if she would dance with me. I even paid him to do it and he looked at me like I was crazy. I had absolutely no understanding of how the dating world worked and was desperate to make some sort of impression. Much like a lot of us.
Where A Negative Self Image Will Lead Us
So we spend many years hiding in our shells like frightened turtles afraid to stick our necks out there. And guess what? As long as you don’t feel confident about yourself you are never going to find the person you are looking for.
Oh sure you might get a boyfriend or a girlfriend eventually with that mentality. Maybe they will even be gorgeous. But you know what else they will be? Emotionally manipulative.
That’s right, they will be able to tell you have no respect for yourself and they will totally take advantage of you. This is especially dangerous for those of us with ASD because we will often not be able to pick up on these warning signs until it’s too late.
They will ridicule you, cause you to pay for whatever they desire and they will probably even cheat on you!
To them you will be nothing more than a puppet on a string. Now even if the person you were dating was absolutely beautiful. does that sound like a relationship you want to be a part of?
No! Because that’s not a relationship, my friend. It’s called abuse. You deserve far better than that. The only thing that will keep you from a relationship with that is finding confidence and self respect.
Take Pride In Who You Are
There is a great quote by Oscar Wilde that says “Be yourself. Everybody else is taken.”
Inside your soul is an amazing person who wants to be let out. And you should be comfortable with your own identity before you are comfortable with a potential match.
I get it. You feel different than anybody else. Anyone with ASD is bound to be different. And that’s something to be proud of!
As is common in any ASD diagnosis you have specific set of interests that have gained your attention. It could be reading, wildlife or a number of different hobbies.
Whatever it is, these are interests you are obviously passionate about or else you wouldn’t spend so much time on them. So what you need to do is show passion in your life surrounding your interests.
These are things that make you happy. So let the world see it!
Not only is passion attractive, it is something that can help build a confident self image in you. By recognizing your strengths you are realizing that you are actually a stronger person than you might get realize. Because of our condition, we often can be so caught up in our interests that we don’t see the positive impacts they can make in the lives of people around us.
How to Build This Confident Mindset
I guarantee you that there is at least one person in your life who has great things to say about you and your interests. Maybe it’s a handful of people. Maybe a dozen. Maybe even a hundred! Those are people who are recognizing your true identity and saying in their own words, “You are an awesome person!”
I’ll even take it a step further for you. You are an awesome person for somebody to go out with. Think about it. There are things you can offer that nobody else can to a boyfriend or girlfriend.
I am not talking about physical things like kissing or sex, I’m talking about on a relationship level. You can give compliments different than anybody else can. You can make your match feel appreciated in a way that nobody else can.
Yes! You can make your potential boyfriend or girlfriend feel awesome!
Let’s take confidence out of the picture for a minute. Here’s a list of great qualities that most people consider attractive. You likely have at least one of them.
You might be…
-A great listener
-A good storyteller
And that’s just to name a few. When you ask a couple what made them fall for each other, listen for what they were caught on by. Odds are that you might have some similarities. Everyone has different ways of expressing those characteristics because we all think differently. But an attractive quality is still an attractive quality.
Guys and Girls Are Looking for Confidence
You will hear it almost everywhere. Whenever companies do those polls where they ask hundreds of people what they are looking for in a match the most consistent answer is “confidence.”
From personal experience, the best dating relationships I ever had involved confident people. In dating and friendships, I like people who can inspire me. Someone who has bravery in their character like its something contagious. That makes me want to be around that person more. And your partner will be drawn toward you like a magnet.
Confidence in your own identity means letting go of your insecurities. You need to be happy with who you are. That means whether you are single or not.
Your happiness in life should not revolve around a boyfriend or girlfriend. Imagine being on the receiving end of a relationship like that. Let’s say you were in a relationship where your partner was always discontent with themselves. They feel crappy about how many things are wrong in their life but say nothing but good things about you. It would put way too much pressure on you to live up to their expectations of a perfect person.
Now if you walked into a relationship with a confident self-image, that is something to be admired. They will see you as someone they can get their energy from. A positive person they will want to keep coming back to. A motivator in their life for when they feel down about themselves.
Happiness in Your Identity
We all have little areas of our character we want to improve on. We call them weaknesses because that’s what they are. But there is no reason to let those weaknesses weigh you down. Don’t prevent yourself from letting the world see your most attractive qualities.
Everybody is imperfect no matter how flawless they may appear to the rest of the world. And if they come across the attitude that they are perfect, that’s arrogance. So that’s flaw right there.
Take a good look in the mirror and find your best qualities as a potential match for someone. It’s the first brick in a solid foundation.