While this is partially due to the insecurity caused by disproportionately experiencing various forms of social rejection for years and years, even people with AS who received predominantly positive reinforcement in their early lives can still feel detached and isolated due to their inability to fully communicate with others.
This could be compared to speaking a different language, although that analogy would imply that individuals with AS could at least “speak” to others with the condition, when in fact AS manifests itself so differently from person to person that we are generally as unable to relate to each other as we are with the non-AS population.
Asperger’s men often seek partners who compensate for their shortcomings, such as their social awkwardness, their focus on routines, and their trouble expressing emotions.
Asperger’s women, on the other hand, tend to look for romantic partners who are similar, who share the same characteristics and goals in life, and who have comparable views of how relationships should work.
If life in a society is a game (and make no mistake about it, it is), having Asperger’s forces you to play while learning two-thirds of the rules as you go along, even as everyone else knows them instinctively … There is more of a connection between these two things than you might think.
After all, there are few places in society where social rules are as crucially important and deeply entrenched as in the sphere of courtship, and being mildly autistic—or having Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), if you use the label as it was before the APA revised its diagnostic criteria last year—impairs your ability to comprehend nonverbal communication.
If making conversation is hard for you, suggest an activity for the two of you to do that takes the pressure off of talking.
A movie, walk, visit to a museum, bowling—activities like these take the stress off of talking and provide a ready-made focus for more relaxed, less personal conversations. Don’t track your date’s every movements on social media and respond to every one of his or her posts. Most people prefer taking things slow, not rushing into anything and not overdoing getting to know someone.
Love requires not only the ability to have “loving” feelings for someone else, but also the ability to have those feelings reciprocated, create “chemistry” in a relationship and, ultimately, create a deep and mutual romantic bond. This isn’t to say that there is no hope if you have AS.While the merely awkward are at least subconsciously aware of these variables when they’re engaged in an interaction, someone with AS is wired to assume that (a) if someone finds us attractive, they will directly and immediately state it from the get-go and (b) they would want us to do likewise.For better or worse, there is a music to dating, and while people with AS can understand the verses (and often have a distinctly straightforward way of expressing ourselves that can be refreshing), we struggle with the pitch, rhythm, dynamics, timbre, and texture. The idea that people communicate interest other than through what they actually say, or that even what someone says is fraught with layers and nuances—none of this occurs to us, since our instinct (which we assume the rest of the world shares) is to just say what we think and feel at length without any filters.If we learn it at all, it’s because we’ve had others bluntly explain to us the “rules” regarding these and other related matters.Similarly, many of the practices that are generally regarded as “obvious” parts of dating feel like intimidatingly strange concepts to us, such as “flirting” and “bantering,” creating an intangible “chemistry,” or spacing out how often you call, text, e-mail, and/or suggest hanging out with a dating prospect.Sometimes adults with Asperger’s get overly excited and go overboard when meeting someone they are excited about. It takes time to develop a lasting relationship, and you are wise to put your efforts into the slow, steady process of getting to know someone and building the intimacy that creates a successful relationship.There is nothing wrong with being interested in developing a relationship. Overwhelming someone with too much communication and rushing towards a commitment is not a recipe for success.For better or worse, there is a music to dating, and while people with AS can understand the verses (and often have a distinctly straightforward way of expressing ourselves that can be refreshing), we struggle with the pitch, rhythm, dynamics, timbre, and texture. This could be compared to speaking a different language, although that analogy would imply that individuals with AS could at least “speak” to others with the condition, when in fact AS manifests itself so differently from person to person that we are generally as unable to relate to each other as we are with the non-AS population.Thankfully having AS certainly doesn’t inhibit one’s ability to desire or enjoy sexual intercourse, but the same cannot be said of cultivating the kinds of connections necessary to escape from the “existential loneliness” described by Russell.Generally, this is because interacting socially is the most difficult part of having Asperger’s.When it comes to dating, not only is it hard to meet someone you might want to date but when you do it’s even harder to know what it takes to make that date successful.