Dating when autistic, need general dating tips

(17 Posts)
wombatsandaplant Wed 13-Oct-21 10:55:52

Basically I’m autistic and I’m trying to find that special woman (I’m also a woman just fyi)

I’m 26 and just had my second ever date. The first girl I went on a date with I liked but she said we should meet up again and to send my number on tinder but she then never contacted me again. The date today she was nice but not really my thing.

Both times were a bit awkward, I end up saying the wrong thing or don’t have enough chat and there’s awkward silences. I just don’t know how to get across the essence of me in an hour. I’m just not great at chat.

I don’t necessarily want to go with someone also autistic but maybe if we both knew we were autistic or the other person knows I’m autistic then it might be easier. The dating agencies on the undateables look good but none of them are based where I am in north east Scotland.

I just need some help.

OP’s posts: |
PartTimeVampire Wed 13-Oct-21 11:46:02

I'm autistic and mid 40s. I've never had a successful long term relationship. I know one autistic man who has but his wife is unbelievably tolerant and I don't know any autistic women who have.

I think men are less tolerant of women's 'quirks' in a way that women are moreso so you might have more luck than me!

I also struggle with the small talk and so getting to know someone in a short space of time. I have certain topics I start with where I've almost rehearsed my part in a conversation. Things like music, hobbies, work eg. I don't watch TV so I can't talk about that and I try to keep my tendency to hyperfocus on topics to a minimum.

But I do find that the other person's personality very much influences how well I can communicate with them. Eg I'd they are quiet or don't ask questions then I can't carry the conversation. If they are quite outgoing then I tend to mirror that and it's easier.

Also people like to talk about themselves so I have a bank of questions that I can ask or just generic ones which keeps them talking if I'm struggling.

It's hard because, without this, I tend to find ind9nt focus on what they're saying well because I'm just worrying about what I'm going to say next!

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 13-Oct-21 11:54:17

I've never had any luck with apps/dating sites etc (also autistic and a woman).
I've met women I've clicked with by going to events, groups etc. In a context where it's a good thing to have specialist knowledge, I probably give a better impression.
It's probably better to work out where you shine rather than trying to force yourself into a box you're not going to fit into.

Magicstars Wed 13-Oct-21 11:55:02

I would recommend that you show an interest in what she tells you interests her. Eg ask about her hobbies, remember details & bring them up in conversation so she knows you were listening.
Be mindful of your facial expressions- sometimes people present as looking a bit cross, when they are just feeling neutral. That can be off putting when you don't know someone well.
Being polite & smiling is a huge win. Offer to buy her a drink, remember how she likes her tea & make it right for her when you get the chance.
Ask questions about her- there are bound to be good tips online about making conversation but asking about her interests/ family/ friends/ work/ music/ fashion is sure to be a win.
When you are talking about your interests, find a way of reminding yourself when to stop talking about the topic you enjoy (ie after a few minutes) and to check in with her by asking her about herself.
Good luck.

romdowa Wed 13-Oct-21 11:57:57

Unfortunately nd or nt dating is just a slog , it's sheer luck that you will come across the right person. I randomly met my dp online through a game , he is nd as well. But before him I spent years going on dates and being bored to tears while drinking coffee. My only advice is not to expect too much from people or yourself. First few dates I always presume it won't go anywhere and that seems to keep the pressure off.

TheFoundations Wed 13-Oct-21 14:37:53

I think you need to recognise that with the right person, you will feel comfortable. It's not that these people you've dated have been the right person and you've got something wrong.

Autism or no, the only dating tip worth anything is 'be yourself'. Autism will make it harder to find the right person, because your filter will be finer, but that doesn't mean you need more 'instructions' or 'guidelines' than anyone else. The right person will love you as you are, and nobody but you can give you tips on how to do that best.

Are there people in your life (family/old friends?) with whom you do feel comfortable to chat with?

Pinkbonbon Wed 13-Oct-21 14:53:46

I would suggest keeping the first date short and sweet. Just a coffee for 40 min or so, max. Just maybe say before hand 'I'll be u town on *, have you time for a quick coffee?'. So they know its just a quick date.

And any further dates, you could make an activity date so that there are opportunities to fill any awkward silences. Movies or bowling or horse riding or something.

Advertisement

Dipsydoodlenoodle Wed 13-Oct-21 15:01:08

You have had some good advice above.

My best advice is to be yourself, autistic or not, dating is difficult. Once you meet someone you click with you'll know.

One of my best friends has Aspersers - he is an amazing human; he just needs to realise this for himself too instead of worrying what everyone thinks (easier said than done I know!)

FoxgloveSummers Wed 13-Oct-21 15:37:09

My sibling was in the same position, they revamped their approach to online dating and are now happily settled down! A lot of luck went into that, of course, but they'd never really had a "proper" relationship as I would think of it, and then straight into something really serious.

My top tips for them were:

- be as casual as you can at first, don't think of it as Finding A Relationship, just a bit like making friends (plus maybe some compliments e.g. "I really like your necklace" or "your taste in books is great")

- try to have some things to say that will stimulate conversation rather than shut it down. For example if someone asks you "what's your favourite film?" and you say "I don't know" or "I like all films", what are they supposed to say to that? Whereas if you give a definite answer ("Men in Black is the best film of all time") or ping it back to them ("that's a tough question - what about you?" or "I prefer comedies - how about you?") then it keeps the conversation going. Think of conversation as a game of tennis - but you score points by keeping the rally going as long as possible, so you want to give them things that will keep them talking.

- Run date outfits past a trusted friend or sibling, shopping may need to happen

Just to reassure you, you don't need to "get across the essence of me in an hour". I think the first date almost doesn't count, it's just a matter of seeing whether you like the look of each other and you enjoy spending time together. The second date is usually where the real conversation starts in my experience, so don't put that pressure on yourself at all.

If you feel you want to explain that you're autistic - do that. Either on your profile on OD or on the date - it doesn't have to be a big deal. If you get a bit quiet you can just say "Sorry sometimes it just takes me a minute to think about what you've said - maybe because I'm autistic." It's nothing to be ashamed of (obviously) and if someone said to you "I'm dyslexic" or "I'm partially deaf" you'd be understanding and it might be relevant. Do what you feel comfortable with.

wombatsandaplant Wed 13-Oct-21 18:44:39

Thanks for all the tips guys. I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to help.

I have I’m autistic on my dating profile as I’m open about it, so want to be upfront about it.

@TheFoundations yes I’m comfortable chatting to my family and two friends but that’s about it. I only have two friends, they’re supportive but busy so we don’t meet up much.

OP’s posts: |
TheFoundations Wed 13-Oct-21 18:55:43

So it is possible for you to find people you are comfortable chatting with. That's great. So, for dating, all you have to do is make sure that you have a quick 'out', if you find yourself uncomfortable. Meeting up for a coffee is great. Once you've had a quick chat about the weather and how your journey was to get there, if the conversation isn't comfortable for you, you can just say 'OK, well, it's been lovely meeting you, good luck with everything!' and make your exit.

It's paramount that you don't pressure yourself to be something you're not. You might find yourself having lots and lots of very quick dates, but that's also known as having strong boundaries. When you find yourself saying to someone 'Shall we have another, or maybe go for a walk..?' BINGO.

wombatsandaplant Wed 13-Oct-21 19:52:52

I feel like half the problem is I don’t realise I’m uncomfortable or I’m not confident enough to go actually I’m uncomfortable I’m gonna go now.

I need to calm down a bit, I’ve only been at it for 3 weeks this time around, so one date in 3 weeks is actually quite good.

I just get a bit downhearted when I like lots of women (not too many but a few) but then get no likes in return.

OP’s posts: |
TheFoundations Wed 13-Oct-21 20:03:23

You only want one though, don't you? Doesn't matter if 6 million people don't return your like, as long as the right one does. It's all just filtering. It's numbers and averages. There's a lid for every pan, as they say, but you can't expect the first lid you come across to fit. You might have to try 25; so be it.

And when you leave, you definitely don't have to say you're uncomfortable.

Don't you get that kid inside you saying 'I want to go hoooome!'? That's what uncomfortable feels like!

Fluffypastelslippers Wed 13-Oct-21 20:15:43

Magicstars

I would recommend that you show an interest in what she tells you interests her. Eg ask about her hobbies, remember details & bring them up in conversation so she knows you were listening.
Be mindful of your facial expressions- sometimes people present as looking a bit cross, when they are just feeling neutral. That can be off putting when you don't know someone well.
Being polite & smiling is a huge win. Offer to buy her a drink, remember how she likes her tea & make it right for her when you get the chance.
Ask questions about her- there are bound to be good tips online about making conversation but asking about her interests/ family/ friends/ work/ music/ fashion is sure to be a win.
When you are talking about your interests, find a way of reminding yourself when to stop talking about the topic you enjoy (ie after a few minutes) and to check in with her by asking her about herself.
Good luck.



I completely disagree with every part of this advice. Essentially it just says 'mask' to suit the other person.

I'm sorry your dates didn't go well, that just means those people were not the right ones for you though. This happens with all dating and you absolutely do not need to remind yourself about your facial expressions etc to find the right one for toy. You need to be yourself and it will happen when it happens. It's hard work dating as an autistic person. My history pre DH (of 20 years now) and as basically get pissed and shag because I had no idea how to do it 'properly' - when I met DH things just worked.

Please don't ever make yourself present as NT to suit someone else, I'm really upset by that advice to you.

wombatsandaplant Wed 13-Oct-21 20:17:38

Yeah I know. I just want some people to like me though.

I just don’t don’t think I could leave after 5-10 minutes, I’d feel even more uncomfortable lol.

I don’t tend to recognise it to often, or I think it’s just my autism and I can push through and relax later, or it’s something I just have to put with as my autism makes me uncomfortable in situations where I shouldn’t be uncomfortable.

OP’s posts: |
TheFoundations Wed 13-Oct-21 21:20:18

Who do you think makes the rules about when you should and shouldn't be uncomfortable?

If you're uncomfortable because of autism, you're uncomfortable. It's very simple. Just like you might be uncomfortable with a very loud person because of your shyness, or you might be uncomfortable with a shy person because of your loudness. Autism is a part of you, to be respected and looked after; it's not a fault that you need to over ride. Be who you are.

TomPinch Thu 14-Oct-21 20:56:29

Hi OP,

DW is autistic. We've been married for two decades.

You have been advised to be yourself. This is true, however, as an autistic person you will know that your autism will not define your personality. Other (potentially suitable) people, however, may have a very fixed idea about what an autistic person is like. So in addition to 'be yourself' I add: know what your specific strengths and weaknesses are, what you need and what you can bring to a relationship.

DW and I didn't meet via online dating (or any equivalent). We met via a shared activity that gave us a strong common framework. Over the years we have both undergone a long process of adjusting to each other. We have had some very difficult times. Speaking as the NT partner I have learned to accept and appreciate the character traits that arise from DW's autism. For example, I have learned to accept that I need to tell her directly what I'm thinking and feeling and making a virtue of this. DW is also a very loyal person and very physically affectionate. I recognise that this is what I need and that DW gives me this.

I will say that we hit it off immediately and DW's autism (which neither of us knew about then) was an issue. I simply found her an interesting person. It certainly helped that I didn't mind a lack of small talk.

I think the key thing that I bring to the relationship is loyalty. DW is quite mistrustful of people.

What also helped was that we were both looking for a serious relationship that if successful meant marriage and we were both clear about this from the start. Obviously I am not on dating apps, but everything I have read about them suggests to me that the people who use them often don't have any fixed idea about what they want and I think this is likely to pose a particular challenge for you.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in