Whether you're an autistic adult or are in a romantic, familial, or platonic relationship with an autistic adult, you've probably run into your share of frustrations.
Autism affects the way an individual processes experiences and interacts with the world around them. Autistic individuals sometimes approach relationships and social interactions in ways that neurotypical people don’t completely understand.
If you’re autistic, you might have a hard time reading social cues that neurotypical people consider commonplace. This can lead to misunderstandings. Perhaps you overlook your loved one’s irritated facial expression or tone of voice and misread their mood.
If you dislike when schedules and plans change, your need for consistency might come into conflict with your partner’s sense of spontaneity. Maybe your spouse wants to liven up the relationship with surprises, but unscheduled events make you feel anxious and upset.
It’s not uncommon for autistic people to experience high levels of stress and anxiety. This can lead to a tendency to overanalyze situations. You might spend hours worrying about whether you misunderstood your friend or if they’re secretly mad at you.
If you have special interests, your loved one might feel as if you prioritize those interests over the relationship. They might also grow annoyed if your enthusiasm leads you to “info-dump,” or overshare details about your passion.
Discomfort with certain sensations can lead to frustration and awkwardness in both sexual and non-sexual situations. Maybe you have to repeatedly tell your friend that tapping their feet, popping gum, or speaking at a certain volume bothers you.
It’s also important for the neurotypical partner to recognize that their loved one’s traits aren’t the only factor at play here. For the relationship to work, the neurotypical person will also need to reflect on their own traits and habits.
These differences aren’t necessarily a bad thing. But you will need to open yourselves up to new perspectives.
Every autistic individual is different. However, learning about common autistic traits and experiences can help educate and empower both of you. If you’re autistic, you might feel relieved to hear about other people who are dealing with similar issues