DATING WHILE AUTISTIC
Life Coach Services
Single adults who are trying to find a life partner often struggle with dating. Autistic people often find it particularly difficult because of the importance of social communication and interaction in dating, not a strong suit of many with neurodivergent brains. It is so easy for a person’s intentions to be misunderstood, for communication to miss the mark, and mixed signals happen often.
Because dating can be uncomfortable and feel risky, many people give up. Just the thought of trying again to meet someone can be exhausting, discouraging. They’d love to have a guide, someone to talk to, to share insights, to encourage them and offer support.
For many, a dating coach is exactly what they are looking for. They want a guide, a partner, someone to give them self-confidence as they put themselves out there to meet new people. A coach won’t find a date for you, but they will partner with you as you follow your path, set goals for yourself, work toward them, evaluate your progress, with the hope of ultimately attaining them.
A neurodiversity-affirming life coach will not try to teach you to be different, to mask, or pretend to be neurotypical in order to be liked. You can be liked exactly as you are with no need to put on an act to please others. Finding the right person isn’t guaranteed, but it is possible. You deserve the chance to find someone who values and appreciates you exactly as you are, someone you can value as they are.
Starting in late August, 2022, Adult Autism Assessment and Services will be offering life coaching, including dating life coaching. There will be a program of curriculum to serve as a guide, structure paired with flexibility and self-direction.
Life coaching sessions will focus on a variety of topics such as:
- Where and How to Meet Someone. There are a lot of options, like speed dating, online dating, blind dates, video dating, and telling your friends and family that you’re interested in meeting someone in case they know someone you might like.
- Manage Expectations. The world of dating is not like a Rom Com movie or TV show, so it’s wise to keep expectations in check. Just because the first person you date does not end up being your perfect partner doesn’t mean you should quit trying.
- Differentiate Between Friendliness and Flirting. It can be confusing. Is that attractive person trying to hit on you, or are they just being polite? When you try to show interest in what someone is talking about, do they think you’re coming on to them? If you just wanted to be a good conversational partner, and they’re ready to hook up as a life partner, it’s awkward. Clarity up front can help avoid misunderstandings.
- Conversation Strategies to Keep the Ball Rolling. These include strategies for getting your point across even if the conversation has moved on, asking questions to show interest, enlisting a conversation partner if you want support, and tips for getting out of a conversation gracefully when you want to move on.
- Respect Boundaries: Your Own and Others’. You don’t want to overstep someone else’s boundaries, so being aware of where they are is important. Clear communication rather than hinting or beating around the bush is key. You also don’t want to let anyone cross the line with you. Let them know if they’re overstepping. You have a right to your boundaries, even if someone else has different ideas about what .
- Sense and Sensory Sensibility Issues. You have sensory experiences that you crave, and other sensory experiences you must avoid, or risk overstimulation, overload, and burnout. The people you date will have their own sensory preferences and aversions. They don’t all have to match 100%, but it’s important to be aware of each other’s issues and plan dates that you can both enjoy.
- Sharing Special Interests. We all love the things we love. Most autistic folk I know have something they are particularly passionate about. You probably have one or more interests that you love to research, learn about, talk about and think about. The person you date will most likely have their own. When you find someone with the exact same interest you have it’s a wonderful thing, but it need not be a deal breaker if they don’t. Two people with different but compatible interests can enjoy sharing their own and one another’s interests. I can say from personal experience that a happy marriage between a Star Wars fan and a Trekkie is possible.
- Take it Slow; Don’t Rush, and Don’t Be Rushed. It’s very important that a relationship moves forward at the most comfortable speed of the slower of the two partners. If your date needs to know you for a long time before they decide if they like you and trust you, be patient. If your date is in a hurry to take your friendship to the next level and you need them to slow down, say so. Nobody has the right to push anyone to go forward in a relationship before they feel ready for the next step.
If this working with a dating life coach is something you might be interested in, write me at [email protected] and we can consider what coach may be right for you.