Do you have a friend or partner who has autism? If so, you may be wondering how to help them and what it means for your relationship. It can be tricky, but relationships with people with autism can be rewarding and they grow you as a person. The key is to understand their needs, communicate well, and have patience. If you have a friend or partner whose social skills may not yet be at an adult level, here are some tips on how to be in a relationship with someone with autism.
People with autism spectrum disorder often struggle to form relationships. Many struggles to get their first job, maintain friendships, and find love. The reasons are many. People with ASD may be reluctant to make eye contact or talk about personal topics like their interests, friends, or dating. They may also struggle with social skills, speech, and other sensory sensitivities.
That doesn’t have to be a barrier to forming relationships if you’re open-minded and willing to go beyond your comfort zone. You just need to understand some basics about how people with ASD think, feel, and behave. Once you do that, it opens up a world of possibilities for an amazing relationship.
How To Be In A Relationship With Someone With Autism
People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be brilliant, insightful, and quirky. They can also sometimes struggle to read social cues or maintain relationships. Often, people with ASD also have difficulty finding a partner who understands them and accepts them for who they are.
These Tips Are Not Exhaustive And There Is No Perfect Way To Be In A Relationship With Someone Who Has Autism Spectrum Disorder. Each Case Is Different And Every Individual Is Unique. However, If You Have Found Someone Whose Company You Enjoy, And Whose Characteristics Resonate With You, Then Read On For Some Advice From Someone Who’s Been There…
1- Talk About Boundaries And Expectations
When you’re in a relationship, there are certain boundaries and expectations that are natural and help both people feel comfortable. For example, if one person wants to be exclusive and the other doesn’t, or if one person likes to cuddle and the other feels weird about it, those are boundaries that need to be discussed. You can’t assume that your partner knows what you expect or how you would like to be treated unless you talk about it. Likewise, you can’t assume that a person with autism has figured out your expectations, either. You have to talk about it and be specific about what you expect from each other.
2- Help Them Understand Social Situations
Sometimes, you may know that your partner wants to do something social and you want to help them succeed, but you don’t know how. What can you do so that they don’t feel left out and so that you don’t feel overburdened? During my dating years, I learned to have what I call “hangover prevention plans.” These are plans for how to help the other person who may not have all the skills required to navigate social situations. For example, if your partner wants to go to art openings and openings with friends, but they don’t know how to mingle, you could grab a friend and show up together. Then you can introduce your partner and let them know they can wander off if they don’t feel like talking.
3- Don’t Take Behaviour Personally
If you’re in a relationship with someone with autism, there may be times when you get upset and find their behavior challenging. At those times, try not to take it personally. Instead, try to figure out what is going on for your partner. For example, if your partner doesn’t respond to you or doesn’t return your calls, don’t take it personally. Don’t jump to conclusions like “They don’t love me” or “They are being rude.” Instead, try to figure out what is going on for them. For example, maybe your partner doesn’t respond to you because they are overwhelmed by social situations and don’t know how to explain that they want to be left alone. Or perhaps they are anxious about their ability to be a good partner to you and don’t know how to express their feelings.
4- Find Out What Works For Them With Regard To Communication
Some people with autism are able to use spoken language and some are not. Others can only use spoken language under certain circumstances. In order to have a healthy relationship, you need to find out how your partner wants to be communicated with. Some people with autism are more visual and prefer pictures or visuals, while others are more auditory and want to be spoken to in specific ways. For example, if your partner is non-verbal, you can hire an aide to help them communicate. Or, you can use technologies like an iPad to help them make their needs known.
You may see that your partner wants to make friends, but they don’t know how. Make friends with their friends. This can help you learn what works for your partner and what doesn’t work for them with regard to friendships. Be patient. People with autism are like anyone else, but they may need more time to learn how to be good friends. Be willing to step in when other people are not respecting your partner. Be willing to step in when other people are being rude to your partner.
Being in a relationship with someone who has autism can be tricky. It often requires patience, determination, and a willingness to learn new things. However, if you are willing to put in the work and keep an open mind, it can be incredibly rewarding. Relationships with people who have autism can teach us a lot about acceptance and self-love. They can also help us to become better people in the process. With the right communication, understanding of social situations, and mutual respect, you can make this relationship work. With the right partner, you can make this relationship thrive.