I recently received an email from a woman who said that she is over 50 and has been dating a man for four months now who is on the spectrum and mentioned that he was very upfront about it right from the beginning.
First off, good for him for owning it right away and letting this woman he was interested in know about his autism. I believe that our autism doesn’t define us, but it certainly is a part of who we are and absolutely plays a part in our daily lives, especially when it comes to close relationships.
She said that things are going well and have been, but that no matter the circumstances, dating over 50 can be rough. As someone over 50, I can assure you that she’s absolutely correct. Throw in that the person you’re seeing is on the spectrum and the challenges can go up from there.
She went on to say that in her eyes, the autism doesn’t define this man and I applaud her for that. As mentioned above, our autism shouldn’t define us, though it is a part of our daily lives.
This woman mentioned that she has come to realize that this man doesn’t have the social abilities that many neurotypicals (those off the spectrum) have and that’s a trait that many of us, including myself, share.
She has to be very blunt with him and never assume things. She also has to communicate and voice her opinions very clearly, directly and immediately. She asked what else she could be doing and asked for information on any books that she could read.
Well, it sounds to me as if this woman is doing just about everything she can to make this relationship work. She’s doing what I mentioned in my book, An Asperger’s Guide to Dating Neurotypicals and is communicating like a champ!
When it comes to those of us on the spectrum, direct and immediate communication is key. Never assume that we just understand what you mean, because chances are that we don’t and, in my experience, when we try and guess at what the other person means, more often than not, we guess incorrectly.
I applaud this woman for communicating the way she does with the man that she’s interested in and if they’ve been able to keep it going four months now, they are definitely on the right track.
If there are going to be communication problems, they will typically show up sooner rather than later. I say, keep doing what you’re doing, and I would love to hear how things are going after six months and then a year. I have no doubt that with the strong communication this woman is displaying, that they have great odds of having a successful relationship.
I did share the basics of the e-mail with my partner and podcast co-host, Shannon Hughes, and she did recommend a book by Cindy Ariel titled, Loving Someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. Shannon did mention, however, that she thought the book, as do most books in this category, focus too much on the negative and not enough on the positives. Still, she gives it her recommendation, which is good enough for me.
Thanks to the woman who sent me the e-mail and I am very happy that you two found each other and that things seem to be going well for the two of you. Keep up the excellent communication and I’m sure that things will only get better from here!
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