Entries in memoir (149)
You’ve met that perfect someone but you find out they are on the autism spectrum. What do you do? Being on the autism spectrum is not the end of the world, but it can make dating a challenge. For those of you that know me, I am Arman Khodaei, and I am a 27 year-old on the autism spectrum. Today’s article will address some of the challenges you might encounter and how to overcome them when dating an individual with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome (which is technically a form of autism).
First, let’s go over some of the barriers that might crop up in a relationship when you are dating someone on the autism spectrum. The most common thing that couples are likely to encounter are communication barriers. However, communication barriers in this sort of romantic relationship might be different than in relationships you’ve had in the past. Your partner might be trying their best to communicate with you, but they just don’t know how to describe how they are feeling. They might not like to be touched often and this might make you feel rejected. They might also get absorbed in their hobbies or work and that might also cause you to feel rejected. And, they might also never make eye contact, but what you may not realize is that eye contact does not come naturally for your romantic interest.
There are other things that might come up. Your partner might repeat themselves often about their interests and maybe you just are not as interested in their hobbies and this causes you to get frustrated. Perhaps, your partner has meltdowns and you are not sure what to do when this happens. Maybe, your partner has tendencies that you tend to think of as strange. Or, perhaps, they are a little too obsessed with you and won’t give you the space that you need. There are many different barriers that might come up, so what do you do?
The most important thing to remember as in any relationship is that communication is crucial. Sometimes, things can be bit difficult in this department when dating someone on the spectrum. After all, communication is more often than not, the greatest weaknesses that we individuals on the autism spectrum face. So, how do you improve communication with someone on the spectrum?
To improve communication with your significant other it is first important that you try and see things from their perspective. This means taking an interest in their interests and trying to become one with their world. Perhaps, you are already doing this and that is great. However, it is also important that your partner reciprocates. Sadly, some of us are very self-absorbed individuals. This is both good and bad for a relationship. It is bad in the sense that this person might not show an interest in the things that interest you but doesn’t interest them. But, it is also good because chances are you mean a great deal to this person and they are very loyal to you and love you with all their heart.
Nonetheless, this communication barrier needs to be worked on. Sometimes, you just have to be honest and tell your partner that they need and try to see things from your perspective. It is often very hard for those of us on the spectrum to see things from another’s perspective unless we have gone through the same thing. Unfortunately, this can lead to a relationship coming to an end because the other partner just wasn’t listening and getting it. However, just like anyone else, we are human and when a breakup happens, we are devastated. Unfortunately, we might mull over for many years about that relationship and not move on.
Ultimately, in a relationship, both parties must meet half-way. This is very true in a healthy, romantic relationship. In order to make a relationship with someone on the autism spectrum work, you must be willing to meet half-way and you have to work on communicating to your partner that they will need to meet half-way. The trick is to not make your partner feel like they are forced. For instance, one thing you can do is tell your partner how much it would mean to you if they would sit down with you and take an interest in one of your hobbies like you take in an interest in their hobbies. The possibilities are endless. Get creative.
Now, let’s say that your partner has a thing with touch. That sometimes happens when dating someone the spectrum. My suggestion is to try variations on touch. Some people on the spectrum like heavy touch, so see how they react to a very hard hug. Some of us prefer light touch. See if any sort of touch makes your partner comfortable. Maybe, nothing will work, and if that occurs, you will either have to accept it or move on if this is a deal breaker. But, hopefully, the two of you can communicate and work on this. Who knows, maybe your partner will agree that twice a week you guys will work on touch. Use that time to cuddle, hold hands and with time, perhaps, your partner will get used to touch and even appreciate it much more.
Now, we are not going to touch upon every possible scenario that can come up when dating someone on the spectrum, but another one worth touching upon is what to do when your partner is obsessed with you, constantly wants attention, and calls you up all the time and essentially makes you feel suffocated. Now, your first thoughts on reading that are probably yuck! But, some of us on the spectrum don’t know when to give the other person space. Although, some of us have the opposite problem and only seek out attention when it is convenient for us, but that is beside the point. Anyway, in this situation, communication is key and you have to be firm. Personally, in most cases, the person would just breakup with the other person, but I am a believer that things can be worked out. What you ultimately need to do is tell the person that what they are doing is unattractive and it is making your feelings for them go away and that you need some space. Now, you have to be a bit careful. You don’t want it to seem like you need space to take a “break.” Everyone knows that means you are breaking up with them. But, you do need to make it clear that they can’t call you all the all-time and constantly need attention. Encourage your partner to seek out other hobbies, anything, and if all else fails, end the relationship.
The thing about dating is that sometimes things can be a challenge, but when you work through difficulties the reward is well worth it. Someone on the spectrum can be the most amazing romantic partner one could ever hope for. But, like with any relationship, both people need to work together to make things work out. If you have any specific questions related to dating and autism, please send me an email email@example.com I wish you the best of luck and may you have a most awesome day of awesomeness!
Also, I want to mention that I have the honor of being a part of special documentary called Autism in Love. You can view a preview below with me in it. Right now, they need our help to raise $100,000 to continue production. Over $10,000 has been raised so far, but they have a long ways to go. And, they only have two weeks left. Please check out the Kickstarter and support them by donating and sharing! Thanks!
A couple of times, I have flirted with the notion of running for US Congress put never followed through. I wasn’t ready yet, and I wasn’t sure if it was something I really wanted to do. I felt that perhaps there was a more effective way to make a noticeable difference in the world.
With the election coming up, I keep having fantasies of me running for Congress in 2014. I have even thought out my entire campaign including what I would say at the debate in response to a myriad of questions. I’ve even thought of my opening and closing statement, and I even have a platform to run on.
In two years, the most pressing questions on people’s minds might be very different than the one’s today. The economy will likely be better. Gay marriage will have likely come up in the US Supreme Court and have been ruled on. And, the war(s) in the Middle East will either be finished or we will have entered a new one with Iran and there wouldn’t be much to be said on the matter either way.
So, what would I primarily run on? The answer is, I would run on the future. My campaign would be focused on ensuring that the future of the United States was prosperous and better than before from improving education, science and innovation, and the quality of life for American Citizens. However, that alone isn’t enough to run on. Here’s the big thing that everyone needs to start thinking about. And, when I say it is big, I mean it is big, big like the creation of the Internet big.
So, what is it that I would push with my campaign? The answer is legislation that would enable Americans to get self-driving cars. In a couple of years time, self-driving cars will become a reality. Various motor companies are developing such cars as you read this very article. And, the benefits of self-driving cars is immense to society. Here are some of the benefits that we would get if our society embraced self-driving cars
- · Fewer accidents and car fatalities
- · Reduced or no traffic even in heavy traffic areas like Los Angeles
- · A cultural revolution on the scale of when the Internet was first introduced to the general populace
So, the question is how do we get there. And, the answer is by creating a buyback program that allows owners to trade one card per driver and replace it with a self-driving car. It could also be a sliding scale so that people of a lower-income pay little or no money to trade in their car. This would enable our society to embrace self-driving cars quicker and get the benefits which would be immense. And, yes, as unrealistic as it might sound today, self-driving cars really are going to become a thing of reality.
Now, that wouldn’t be the only think I ran my campaign on, but this is something that I know would benefit our country as a whole and would have a very positive impact. And, I have even thought about the counter-arguments and my responses as well, but I won’t go into those for right now. But, to say the least, I have really thought things through.
To be honest, I am not sure if I will run for Congress in 2014 or ever in my lifetime, but it is something that keeps popping into my head, and I keep having visions of me campaigning. So, maybe it is something that is meant to happen. Maybe it isn’t. But, to be honest, it also feels like a lot of work with little reward. It takes a lot to try and get a Bill passed and voters can get nasty on you if you don’t vote on Bills as they would like you to. Being a Congressman means facing a lot of tough decisions, and I am not sure I would want to deal with all of that. But, I guess we shall see in a couple of years time.
Until then, may you have a most awesome day of awesomeness!