written by: Debbie Roome
• edited by: Linda Richter
• updated: 2/27/2011
People dating an Aspie should be aware that there will be challenges and differences in their relationship. Read on to find out what these are and how to handle them.
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Challenges When Dating an Aspie
While an Aspie can bring strengths to a dating relationship, they can also leave their date confused and surprised. While these challenges can be overcome, it is easier to do this if the person understands what Asperger’s syndrome is. Here are some of the problems that may be encountered when dating an Aspie:
A person with Asperger’s may seem disinterested in a conversation as they do not look into the other person’s eyes. This is part of their condition and should not be taken personally.
Conflict management is often a problem. A person with Asperger’s may struggle with the concepts of negotiation, compromise and flexibility in a dating relationship.
Dating an Aspie can be stressful as they may come to rely on their partner as an assistant rather than a romantic prospect. This is particularly so if the neurotypical person is nurturing and caring by nature.
People with Asperger’s work well with routine and generally do not enjoy surprises.
Men and women with Asperger’s need time alone as this is how they find emotional restoration. Dating partners need to understand this so they do not perceive it as rejection.
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The Benefits of Dating an Aspie
There is a positive side to dating an Aspie and some dating relationships will eventually progress to marriage. Here are some of the strengths an Aspie could potentially bring into a relationship:
The Asperger’s person may be kind and attentive and gentle with animals.
A date may become the focus of an Aspie’s attention, even bordering on an obsession. The attention and adoration can be flattering.
People with Asperger’s normally have a strong sense of what is right and wrong and a strong moral code.
Men with Asperger’s are often less concerned about a woman’s looks or cultural background than a neurotypical male.
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Help for Those Dating an Aspie
There are three points to consider when dating an Aspie:
Both partners need to accept the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome. This knowledge is necessary for both people to gain an understanding of what the condition involves and how it affects daily life and interpersonal relationships.
Both people need to be open to changing and learning more about each other and the way they think and perceive the world. This is normally easier for neurotypical people, but those with Asperger’s can also make certain allowances and adaptations in their behavior.
A long-term dating relationship with an Aspie will benefit from expert counseling. This may need to be adapted to suit the person with Asperger’s syndrome but is a worthwhile exercise. Counseling can include face-to-face conversations, literature and support groups.
Dating an Aspie may be a daunting prospect but in spite of the Asperger person's differences and problems, they often bring positive qualities to a relationship. With work and effort on both sides, the relationship can grow into something to be cherished.
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The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome by Tony Attwood, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007
Pretending to be Normal by Liane Holliday Willey, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 1999