0 Blogging About Autism: How to Date With Autism

Saturday, 28 September 2019

How to Date With Autism

I had a suggestion from a reader of one of my answers on Quora to cover this topic and I am thankful they gave me that idea. I feel like I might be able to help give some insights into keeping safe whilst dating as an aspie and how to prepare yourself emotionally for it too. I am not speaking on behalf of anyone with autism except myself. I do believe much of this information could be valuable to them though and perhaps it could even be valuable to NTS too. I will discuss in detail what worked for me and against me and sadly autism goes against a lot of us. I had many experiences but don’t base your potential experiences of mine because you might be lucky enough to find that you meet lots of the nice NTs. My situation in life meant my only way to meet people was online and I was very isolated. If you are autistic you might have to do a lot of changing not to suit the NT but to suit yourself after years of trying to suit the NTs. My article covers dating from the perspective of an autistic woman but I think some men with autism could find it helpful too.

Non-Verbal Cues and Reading Between the Lines
The dating world is so full of non-verbal cues and reading between the lines and with autism often those things are not built in or sometimes even on our radar. There are also a bunch of unwritten rules and intricacies in terms of when to text or when not to or even how soon to. Should you reply right away or will it make you look too keen? Should you wait a day or two to answer to keep that special person on their toes? My immediate thought is confusion as to why I would I treat someone who is special to me as though I have to keep them at arm's length. Is it to act unobtainable or to test how dedicated they are to me?
If the goal is to perhaps fall in love with that person then that sort of behavior makes no sense and seems egotistical to me. I often pondered as to why people can’t just be honest with each other. Life is so complicated does dating really have to be? I thought dating was supposed to be a pleasant experience that one day leads to love not tears and pain. I am an extremely shy person and I respect boundaries one hundred percent but these types of unwritten rules make zero sense to me.
Experts at Non-Verbal Communication
The people who seemed to be experts at using all of these unwritten rules were the same people who would say one thing and mean another.
Those were the people who would ask me to do something sexual telling me it was just a joke but then consistently and randomly they would drop the same things into our conversations over time. I was emotionally drained by this type of behavior and it felt like they were trying to wear me down. It impacted on my sense of stability in the world because I got so use to people saying one thing and meaning another. I became use to being groomed and I couldn’t ever tell when it was occurring. I never picked up on any of the warning signs at the time. I just felt the devastation and loss of someone who never even really existed or cared afterwards.
Those were the people who used guilt trips and manipulation and they used my honesty and wanting to keep to my promises against me. They used compliments and insults in a systematic way to build me up and break me down and keep me never knowing how I felt and in a state of confusion. They mirrored my likes and dislikes and pretended to care about me and some of them knew about my traumas and insisted they were not like that. Ironically some of them ended up being worse than the people who I had confided in them about. They spent so long reassuring me they wouldn’t hurt me and yet it was their intention to hurt me all along.
Kindness Can Become Our Weakness When Shown to the Wrong People
They used me kindness against me and if you are autistic or even just a very kind hearted person this is a very real thing to be aware of. Some people will use your kindness against you and I am still perplexed that this is a thing at all but unfortunately it is. I am not going to generalize and say all autistic people are kind because I haven't met them all. I do however believe a lot of us are and I would also guess there are probably a lot of us with overly protective parents who have grown up pretty isolated.
Or there may be those of us who have isolated ourselves because the world is so constantly overwhelming. When we get lonely and come out of our little bubbles seeking company that is when we are vulnerable to the sharks of the world. We have often been disconnected from social situations entirely and the people who we sometimes gravitate towards have always been plugged in.
Over Protection Can Lead to Vulnerability and Even Harm
Unfortunately, being isolated and having people make decisions on your behalf for most of your life can make you the perfect target for the people who wish to abuse you. Sometimes people's best intentions to protect you can put you in the path of danger in your future because you don’t know how to protect yourself and you have no experience with the negative side of the real world to draw from. If you have problems with processing and social cues you are at an automatic disadvantage please don’t let it scare you just be aware of it. I didn’t get diagnosed until I was 26 years old and I whole heartedly believe this impacted on my vulnerability because I was struggling with the effects of a disability, I didn’t even know I had.
That disability revolves around seeing the world differently to others and not understanding intent, tone, facial expressions. An undiagnosed autistic is extremely vulnerable but a diagnosed autistic still is too because the intricacies of socializing do not come naturally for most of us. I grew up with parents full of anxiety because they were told I had 8 or 9 different disabilities back then and they were not given any clarification in regards to what they all were.
How You See Others
You may see shark people in the best light no matter what they do and you may have such low self-esteem that if they do something bad you somehow end up blaming it on yourself. You might fixate on one little thing like their kind smile or the fact that they make you laugh and entirely miss a million different red flags that would be glaringly obvious to a NT. You might even just feel lucky that they are speaking to you because you are no longer alone. You can trust me when I say that it is better to be alone than to be around the sharks of the world.
How You See the World May Not Always be Accurate
You may be extremely honest and full of unconditional love for others. The sharks of the world wouldn’t even know what honesty is. That might seem ridiculous to you, you may wonder how can someone not understand the importance of honesty. Many people in this world really don’t and they use lies to get to where and what they want. You may have no outside input from people who can warn you about the bad people of the world based on their knowledge from actually knowing them. You might not really know anyone at all or even trust your perceptions about the people who you do know.
Accept That Bad Exists
This is so important because for some of us we might always want to see the best in people and we might have extremely low opinions of ourselves. This can be a consequence of various things we experienced growing up such as bullying or other types of abuse. Perhaps you are surrounded by people who try and make you into someone else. Any or all of the things mentioned above are risk factors for your self-esteem. For example, if you have pushy people asking you to dress like them stand up for yourself and don’t be afraid to be yourself. You have a right to be yourself and remember you are no better or less than any other human being in this world.
Maybe you never had a bad experience growing up but you still feel so much push to connect with those who don’t understand you because you know how frustrating it is to not be able to. You may be so busy trying to be normal and connect that you really cannot see the bad in others because all of your spoons of energy are used up just trying to be normal and fit in. If you identify with this you are vulnerable to the sharks of the world and you must accept that there are bad people for your own protection. Believe they can be bad and don’t let your ability to reason be overtook by their smile or their words.
Evil is real and even the people who look kind or appear friendly can be rotten on the inside don’t be fooled by a pretty face. Believe in yourself and practice making decisions for yourself because this will build your confidence and it is essential to work on if you struggle in this area. If you are not allowed to make your own decisions seek help to get to a point where you can.
The not so nice people of the world seem to sniff us out like a shark that smells a drop of blood in the ocean. They then swim around us by starting to get involved in our life and pretending we have things in common with them. Whilst this is happening, they have a charming mask on which assists them in hiding their inner shark.
The shark is there underneath though and it is circling and focusing all of its attention on us and cleverly sizing us up as its next meal. They reassure us and pretend to understand us and that is something a lot of people with autism desire. Understanding from others is a big thing that is missing in a lot of our lives. Autistic people mask to be accepted and to not be bullied and to keep ourselves safe. The predators of the world mask too but with bad intentions and a plan that you never even knew they had hatched.
Sharks spend a lot of time building an illusion of who they are and you are not stupid if you fall for it. It is very hard when you have problems with picking up social cues to know what is happening. I was always trying to figure out what someone said to me moments before and simultaneously trying to answer the next question whilst I hadn't processed the words before. I was giving my acceptable answers to these people which are just kind of automated answers stored at the top of my brain. Meanwhile my brain was ruminating and being sidetracked by a seemingly endless list of questions in regards to the one they just asked. In the absence of a question it was the same scenario even just over their words. My brain was always fighting to make sense of their words and it was trying so hard it missed a hell of a lot of stuff.
No Warnings and Everlasting Hope
I never got any red flags when someone sent me a picture of their private parts. I just wondered why and then told myself off for being so clueless about how the world works. This must be normal now a days I would tell myself before scalding myself for even wondering. I hardly ever left my bedroom let alone my house and every time I did meet a person, I had to beg my mother to let me. I was always shaking and in tears before I ever met anybody. I would spend time getting myself dressed nicely and trying to be everything they wanted and I never even questioned if they were what I wanted.
Many people online treat dating like a candy shop and they sometimes ask the person to dress or act a certain way on meeting. Some men requested that I wear high heels and this was actual murder for me due to pains in my feet. I had confided that I had pains when walking and difficulties in general but it never mattered to them. I wanted more than anything to be loved and accepted so I did what they asked.
Then I would come downstairs and be in the middle of a war at home with my mother filling my head full of doubt and trying to stop me from meeting them. The truth is a lot of the people I did meet were bad and abusive but as an autistic person I still have the right to love and be loved and I persevered until I found that. My dad said maybe dating just wasn’t right for me. He said that he hated seeing me so upset because when I was hurt my parents were hurt too.
He would sometimes say I needed to meet someone special and I think what he meant by this was someone understanding and he was right. That person exists in this world for me and I believe they do for every single person with autism or without it. The problem is that love and finding it is no simple task. It doesn’t often happen like it does in the movies and movies were my only point of reference.
How to Find Love with Autism
To find it I had to try to peel back layer upon layer of self-doubt caused by parental anxiety about my condition and bullying and low self-esteem that was worsened by childhood sexual abuse. Parts of autism drive people away and one of them is our honesty about how we feel and confusion as to when it is appropriate to tell people that.
It scares people who are not in touch with their emotions if you are in touch with yours. That’s a good thing though because it makes the wrong people do a runner and those are the wrong people. If you lose people who aren’t willing to be considerate towards you then in that case you haven’t lost anything. If they haven't done any work on their emotions and you are constantly working on and improving your ability to be more careful and respectful towards theirs that is a very one-sided situation. There are people who will be considerate towards your feelings and for whom you can get on with wonderfully so please don’t waste time crying over the ones who won’t.
Going with the Flow
I really think I just kind of went with the flow and that was truly terrifying. I needed to ignore the voices in my head which were those of well-meaning relatives. The voices of those people were drowning out my own. Most importantly I took a leap without knowing what would happen. I tried to focus on all of the good things and let go of my fear that something bad was always doomed to happen.
I forced myself to not ask my fiancé for constant reassurance and I suffered inside for it because I really do need that reassurance. When people are just getting to know you, they won’t always understand. I wasn’t diagnosed yet so I couldn’t even explain to someone that I had autism because I wouldn’t say it until I knew it really was a fact. Some people had said they thought I had it even a medical person who came out to see my dad. She told me to go on a forum because it was full of other people like me. Looking back, I can see that I would not have had to hide my worries from my fiance but then I was just trying not to do any of the things that drive people away. I was still blaming myself for every time I got bitten by a shark. I text some of the sharks more than would be natural for me due to anxiety created by them. They always left me confused and not knowing where I stood. They had me a nervous wreck of a person at times and I never could have seen it coming because they were all so nice in the beginning.
Perceptions and Questions
My fiancé is sitting here with me as I type this, he is watching Jeff Dunham and occasionally bursting into laughter at his jokes. I asked him if I would have driven him away by constantly texting him if I had and he said no but after pondering my question for a moment he said he hates clinginess. The thing that people need to understand is that clinginess often comes from wanting clarity and it is not always possessiveness. I am not naturally a clingy person but I need reassurance often because there are bruises left behind from the sharks and as an autistic person, I struggle with perceptions especially in the outside world. There are so many things in the outside world that leave me extremely puzzled.
Both people in a relationship usually have baggage don’t judge each other for how much baggage you each have. if you care enough about the person you can help each other to unpack it. I have asked my fiancé about his exes because I have seen how much hurt he still had at one point based on how they treated him.
He is not one to talk about his feelings and so I make a point of asking him things and getting him to express how he feels. Talking openly about our pasts has bought us both closer together tackle the conversations you are afraid to have. If you are not sure about something don’t be afraid to ask and if the person really does care about you, they should be willing to listen and try to understand.
My Brain Fought Me
I was in despair when we went any amount of time without talking because at that point in my life, I was so lonely. I felt that my family (mainly my mother) were punishing me for having dared leave their home to escape the abuser. I kept thinking my fiancé would abandon me and remembering when someone had made me feel undatable, defective and unworthy for being anxious. I could not switch off from my anxieties at any point and I was always drowning in them.
My restrictive, repetitive thought patterns and inflexible thinking meant I couldn’t see a way to fix things and problems with imagination meant I couldn’t imagine a better future. I had no positive past experiences to draw from and so I really couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
When I was trying my hardest not to get hurt that is when I was most vulnerable. Going with the flow does not come naturally to me and it is actually pretty terrifying. I have built so many routines around trying to keep myself safe and that has been my goal since I was a child standing in the playground all alone whist other people communicated so easily with each other and I wondered why I couldn’t connect to whatever invisible force they were all connected to and feeding off. It is traumatizing as a child to be so incredibly alone in a playground full of children.
My Fiancé
My fiancé was just wonderfully patient and having already met him in my teenage years I knew a little bit of what to expect. I knew he liked to make me laugh and that he kissed me on the forehead. This is something I never observed with any of the other NTS and things just felt right with him. I knew he was very thoughtful and that he went out of his way with little things to show me his feelings. I often find myself thinking he must be an aspie like me because we have so many things in common. He is not an aspie though but he has communication difficulties which are caused by deafness and he has global developmental delay. I also have GDD so we share some of our problems and we can understand each other extremely well.
He was not and is not a charming wizard with words but I could see his feelings towards me in his reliability and his dedication and the fact that he just kept showing up. I started to realize there was nothing I could do to drive the right man away and that is an important byte of information to take away from this for anyone who is aspie or not and looking for love.
The Right Person vs The Wrong Person
The right person won’t ever leave you as long as you treat them with the love and respect they deserve. The wrong people will leave you for the ficklest of reasons and the main reasons I encountered were that things weren’t getting physical fast enough for them or because I had anxiety or I wasn’t willing to do the sexual things that they wanted me to.
How Can You Give Someone a Clean Slate if Yours is Always Foggy?
I tried to give my Fiancé a clean slate and the problem for a lot of aspies is that we are beginning with a very foggy slate and just as things begin to get slightly more visible another of the not so nice of the human species usually comes along and fogs up our slate again. We get so use to that slate being so foggy and navigating the dating world in absolute confusion with no built-in social cues and often problems with inflexible thoughts or repetitive thoughts on top of everything.
Often, we are in such a state of confusion and sometimes even drowning in the memories of sometimes not so wonderful advice from others. All of that fog begins to accumulate and expand to other parts of our life. The not so nice suitors take advantage of us in this overwhelmed cloudy state of being and they make it even more cloudy. Perhaps they even paint it black yes that seems appropriate. They don’t just make it cloudy but they get a bucket of black paint and throw it over our already fogged up slate.
It is not just bad people who make that slate foggy though it is missed interactions and communication problems. It is alienation, ignorance and rejection from others. It is problems with trusting or just making sense of our own perceptions. It is beating ourselves up for the problems caused by ASD which we all need to stop doing but it is so much easier said than done.
Clean That Slate
Start to find ways to tackle each little thing that fogs up that slate and accept that it will be a long, slow and sometimes painful path to getting there.
Perception problems
If you have problems with perception ask someone who you can trust for clarity. I have never been able to fix my own perception issues but I have tried quite hard and often. I feel like I spend a lot of my life confused about the world and when I can’t make sense of it which is pretty often, I withdraw and go within and then my mind tortures me. Either way it is a losing battle and so if you are like me try and find someone who you can trust to turn to for clarity. I know this is far from easy because if you are like me you won’t want to inconvenience people and you will be beating yourself up saying “I should know these things” but if you don’t it is not your fault because you have a developmental disability and you never asked for it.
I must note here though that this won’t always go to plan and some people will give you horrendous advice. Never make a permanent decision based on temporary emotions or the advice of someone who doesn’t have to deal with the consequences.
Low Self Esteem
If you struggle with feeling not good enough do things that make you feel good enough. Exercise if you want to be healthier, lose weight if you feel it is an issue but not on my advice or the advice of others (unless it is medical health professionals) and you have to be doing it for you if you want the results and the motivation to keep them. I once lost weight because I was being bullied and almost immediately after I lost the desire to maintain because I had proved that I could do it to the bullies and that was my only real reason to do it then.
I lost weight again this time and have maintained since and it has been a very long time and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon because I did it for me. Find things you like and not what other people have told you to like.
That has been such a battle for me to have my own natural hair color for example. My sister was a hairdresser and she used me as her guinea pig growing up, I had every hair color you could ever imagine and I honestly hated most of them. Other people liked them so I kept them because I struggle to trust my own perceptions. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life at this point and my hair is my own color. I needed support through CBT to realise that and to have the confidence to be myself in a world that constantly is trying to change us all.
Some days you might feel like you are slipping off track and you might not even feel like looking after yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for it just promise to do it the next day and the day after that.
Heal your inner child
Because of things that happened to me in childhood I can’t even look at some photos that my mum showed me of me back then. I just see a destroyed child with no hope or sense of self. I lost myself and a photo that my granda had of me from childhood school picture (before the abuse occurred) is one of the things that helped me to find my way back. I put that picture somewhere where I can see it daily and I remind myself that I am not the one who was bad. It also reminds me that someone loved me enough to keep it because Granda kept it close up until the day he died. My fiance actually helped me find the real me too and he helped me to see when people were trying to change me for stupid reasons like because I didn’t have a tan. My inner child was lost to a world that had constantly told me I wasn’t good enough.
This is takes time but there aren’t any drawbacks to this and you can only benefit from accepting all of the things about yourself that people sought to destroy or make you hate.
Accept Your Autism
I find this extremely difficult and I actually sometimes outright hate being autistic because autism has taken so much from me and I have been hurt by it so many times. My family isolated me to protect me because of my autism and yet when someone in my own home where I should have been safe sexually abused me and threatened (even attempted to take my life) nobody was protecting me then. Autism made it impossible to maintain friendships and I have lost so many friends because of the problems it causes with how I see things. This can cause me to think people are out to get me when they are not I am trying each day to come to terms with the diagnosis and I think that is vital for anyone who is diagnosed early or late.
You might never fully accept it and I don’t know if I ever will be able to fully accept mine but I wish you luck on the path to trying.
The Right Person Will Come at the Right Time
My fiancé returned to me at the worst part in my life by that point I wasn’t trying too hard to be perfect and I had almost given up on myself. I never needed to put on an act or try to impress him though because he wasn’t doing that with me. In the words of Phil Collins, you can't hurry love.
Where are the Red Flags?
By the time I met the creeps of the world I didn’t have any spoons of energy left to even recognize if there even were red flags and now looking back, I can see that there were many but, in the moment, I had two choices. Stay in an abusive home or find a way out of it.
Being autistic I never was able to keep up in conversations never mind control them. Some of the experts at Non-Verbal Communication accused me of being controlling if I asked for the smallest amount of consideration to my feelings.
Every time I met a man, I was the good girl and I was always told of how they couldn’t believe they were actually with a nice girl or that they weren’t use to being around someone like me. They said the other girls they were with were not nice. They didn’t treat me nicely at all though and they seemed intent on making my goodness disappear.
Logical Feelings
If I feel something, I think it is logical to express that and it is not any more complicated than that. At those times I am never trying to be annoying or smart with people but they often seem to think I am. I just don’t want to complicate things and I can’t deal with the stress of trying to guess the NT language because it can feel like a full-time job as it is just to exist amongst people with different brains than mine.
I really like NT people a lot and I actually became interested in psychology because I would like to understand them much better. I feel as an autistic person my emotional balance is off the scale and I am way too sensitive. Some people advised me to hide my disabilities from potential suitors until later since they are invisible and I never did because that just seems deceitful to me.
A lot of autistic people grow up constantly being chastised for getting social rules wrong. You can assume that a lot of us are not trying to upset you but it seems that our honesty sends some NT into a spin. It is almost as though they can’t believe they are actually speaking to an honest person. Are they assuming we must be sarcastic or that we are being smart? I really don’t know I just know that being autistic and seeing the world differently is emotionally exhausting for me and I don’t have the energy to try to make my brain act in a way that it is not built too.
The Bad NTS
The NTS I met before meeting my soon to be husband were not sensitive at all and they were only interested in their own wants and needs. They only got emotional if they didn’t get their way and I saw this play out when one of them tried to blackmail me into playing strip tac toe on webcam by telling me he would tell everyone I had a secret. He actually cried when his little hair brained scheme didn’t prove fruitful. He didn’t shed a tear after when he asked me to meet up with him and have sex and he saw how upset I was by his callous and cold approach.
I thought he was my friend and had talked to him for years and I had actually grown to trust him. This ended our communication because I was disgusted with him by that point.
One person asked me back to his apartment on our first date and I didn’t go. When I asked him if he liked me, I was too forward and interrogating him. The NT world is so confusing and it seems like us aspies are doomed to fail.
As an autistic person I believe that we should be honest about our feelings and not string people along. We don’t live in a world that is dominated by autistic people though and some NTS really love to make use of the nonverbal hints and signals that baffles us aspies.
To me as an autistic person it looks as though NTS beat around the bush a lot. For them this seems thrilling or even fun but for an autistic person it feels pretty much like hell. I do not see any reason to hide my feelings and keeping someone guessing makes no sense to me.
Find Out Who You Are and What You Want
When I went looking for Mr. right, I had no sense of self at all and I didn’t know what I needed from love or even how to be in a relationship. I had loved the animated film Anastasia growing up and I longed for my Dimitri. I can see how irritational that is now but my mind clung to that idea like dobby from Harry Potter to his sock granting him freedom. I just wanted someone to come and rescue me from the instability and evil around me. I was under the impression that I needed to be rescued but the surprising truth is some men actually are looking to be rescued too. My fiancé has often said that we rescued each other as he was going through an awful lot when we met too.
I didn’t even know I had the power to escape by myself and someone who I thought was a friend did help me escape but then he deserted me and blamed me on something I didn’t even do. This was after I had left and he had encouraged me to so when I was alone, I was really and truly alone.
At that stage in my life the hope of finding Mr. right kept me sane. My only consistent connection to the outside world was my TV and computer and the films I saw seemed to show that as a perfect and plausible solution.
I had given up on hopes and dreams of a career because my confidence had been destroyed by an abusive brother who insulted my intelligence at every chance. He degraded me often and made me feel like a sexual object. He made me feel like I wasn’t capable of anything in a different way to how the rest of my family did. The rest of my family made me feel that way because their worries about my future and how I would cope with being disabled and what might happen to me were spilling over and out.
They never expected that I could ever be independent and so I guess I didn’t either. I also had my confidence knocked by teachers of all people and some of the things they said really had an effect on me. Being told I didn’t have to write as much because no one else was like the final nail in the coffin. It might not have been meant that way but it felt that way to me. I started to wonder why I even bothered trying my best because it didn’t seem to get me anywhere. I had an overwhelming feeling that I was being set up to expect nothing from my life.
If I had a sense of self or purpose then or if I had a support network of people who care and that I could trust. I don’t know if things might have ended up different to how they did.
Let Them Meet the Real You
This is so important don’t overdress to impress because if they care for you, they are going to see you someday without your makeup and your perfectly presented image and you want them to love the person underneath it all. If you are held up to some perfect image you can't be loved for your imperfect self. Let them see you without your hair in place and let them see you being goofy and just generally being you. Tell them the thing you are embarrassed about and stop trying to be perfect if you are anything like me. Years of abuse combined with masking can lead to feeling like you always have to be perfect but you don’t and no one actually is.
I feel like so many things go wrong when we are trying our best due to autism and we can eventually get to a point where we don’t even know what to blame it on and so we put impossible pressure on ourselves to try and make everything the best it can be. If we keep all of the cups spinning then what can go wrong? Of course, that causes everything to go wrong because we end up overloaded.
Just be yourself and the wrong ones will leave but you will be one step closer to finding the right one who won't. If things aren’t right you would both be miserable if that person stayed so just try look to the future. I see myself typing this and I want to cringe. I mean this is the type of advice that people throw around too often but, in this case, it is the only option.
Don’t Let Hope Cause You to Gloss Over Their Faults
Please remember that the person you are meeting is not perfect and don’t put them on a pedestal. I always did this with everyone and I always thought I was so lucky to be in their lives. Most of them were liars, users and basically sharks. They were lucky to have me I was unwaveringly loyal and kind and would have done anything to make them happy. If you have become defensive or perfectionistic you might have to work very hard to gradually peel away those layers. Try doing something imperfectly just because you enjoy doing it or try saying something without worry of how others might judge you for it. Practice giving yourself permission to be imperfect every day because no one really is. If you have been bullied, abused or rejected please see that those people were not better than you. They were wrong and if they blamed you move that blame to them and away from yourself. It is not easy to do if you have been consistently blamed for other people's mistreatment of you and especially if it has occured over a long period of time but keep on trying and reminding yourself.
The Warning Signs I missed
They Bombard You
I have often had people be clingy and possessive with me and I felt like I had no say in the relationships I was in. If you are an autistic person who struggles with problems processing information you need time to process your thoughts. You need time to process others actions and words towards you. It needs to be a priority in your life because if it is not you will be vulnerable to sharks. I always put others happiness ahead of my own and often the men I met had so many problems and I was trying to fix their problems or help them. I became so entangled with that I forgot all about myself and my own needs.
I had a man tell me that I was his property when we hadn’t even met yet. Some of the men monopolized my time and my thoughts don’t let anyone do this to you and allow yourself a day away from all contact or even just a few hours.
Buying Your Love
An example would be if on your first date they offer you tickets to a concert and ask you to be in love with them by a certain point. This is a massive red flag and it was actually an experience of mine. People can buy you things with good intention but be careful of those who buy you things and think they own you.
Their exes Warn You
If their exes warn you about them sometimes not always but sometimes, they are right and so don’t completely disregard information given by them. Some people will have left a trail of pain and destruction in their path and the exes are still picking up the pieces. They can sometimes provide you with clues that can save you time and heartache.
Their Life Doesn’t Include You
If they won’t tell people about you and act like they are much better than you they are not and you are probably actually the better one in that scenario. If someone loves you, they won't keep you a secret so don’t accept it. Please don’t try and make them love you if you have to, they don't just leave. I know this is easier said than done when you have feelings invested but sitting here with someone who actually loves and cares about me and isn’t up his own butt. I can tell you that there is a better time ahead of you. You just have to believe in it and let go of the person who is making you feel like you aren’t good enough.
Sudden Changes in Behavior
You get to know someone over a period of time but sometimes the longer you know them the worse the situation becomes. Even if it began on a positive note thing can change and often you are either extremely lonely or so caught up in it all that you can’t see when someone is becoming abusive. So many of the men I knew acted how I thought was normal for months or even sometimes years and then they just asked something completely out of the ordinary from me.
Alpha Male
This one is for the girls if someone keeps on bragging about being an alpha male and they use it to try and make excuses for what they need from you. Kick them to the curb seriously don’t even think about it. This is immature and the alpha male thing if it is used in the context of them stating they are all tough and masculine is a very bad sign.
It sometimes means they care more about being masculine than anything else and sometimes it is a cover for how weak they really feel. They won’t be cuddling you if you cry or reassuring you because they will be too busy banging on their chests or stroking their own ego.
I would like to state here that there could be a few nice guys swimming around in this section but who have perhaps been misled by others.
A man can be manly without bragging to the whole world that they are manly. The person I met who fits into this box was not very manly at all. He wanted to be in control of and harm women and he harmed and manipulated me. The good guys aren’t bragging about being alpha male they are doing it without even expecting recognition for it because they know how to be decent human beings and they don’t feel they need an ego boosting title attached.
They Never Seem to Use Your Name
This is a red flag if they can never say your name and constantly use pet names such as babe, sweetie, etc towards you and other women or men. Your name is your identifier it is the most personal way that someone can address you and If they give you a pet name you might find they lack any real feelings towards you. It appears to be easier for some people to treat someone like dirt if they don’t use their real name. There will always be exceptions to this though and some people will simply love pet names and use them as a way of expressing affection. Don’t run from them all but watch out for the ones who use it to distance themselves from feelings.
If they are constantly comparing you to other people or talking about another person and making you feel like you can never live up to them this is a massive red flag. You should in most cases run from this situation. Sometimes the other person doesn’t even exist or know the person who is using them as a way to play football with your mind. Seriously just leave don’t defend yourself or explain your reasons for leaving those types of people don’t even deserve it. They are playing a game and you should just forfeit but remember they are the real losers. Let them be lonely with their ego and go and find yourself someone who treats you right.
They Live Far Away
Some long-distance relationships are beautiful and lasting but many are not and some people will try to trick you into thinking that they want a relationship with you when they just want sex. I feel that the chances for this rise when the person lives too far from you to realistically see each other often. It never occurred to me that the men I went on dates with who lived far away might just be after one-night stands and guess what they were. They never presented themselves as such though and they pretended to want relationships. Opportunistic people are everywhere and the dating world is full of selfish people who will play with your emotions. You have the power to stop it from happening if you can take a less emotional approach to it. I was never able to but for those who can be more analytical and less emotional I fully recommend it. I am not saying not to be emotional ever just hold off until you know the person you are meeting has as much invested in your relationship as you do.
They Get Angry at You for Being Emotional or Anxious
Relationships are full of emotion and if you don’t have a safe space within your relationship to express it then, when can you? A relationship requires two people to support each other and if you are not allowed to voice your concerns or even speak about your feelings it is not an equal or fair situation. Everybody gets anxious in life and some people do get more anxious than others and for some anxiety is disabling. It is not a lot to be there for somebody and if they don’t want to commit to you emotionally then using the process of elimination it is obvious what they do want from you is only physical.
Message to Parents
Parents please don’t tell your autistic children they have to stop speaking to someone or end their conversations or plans abruptly. Please don’t take matters into your own hands and end their relationships without even telling them. This is upsetting and unnecessary and sometimes even traumatizing for us. I know not every parent would but to the ones might just don’t. Instead use gentle guidance and show that you will be there if things go wrong. I know it is scary to have a child who is disabled or who has impairments going out into a world with sharks. They deserve the right to find love and to do that they need to make their own decisions and it is not their fault they are vulnerable in a less than perfect world.
P.s none of the images used in this article are mine just the words.

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