Others with AS have told me about similar stories, all linked by a common theme: We experience dating, as we do all other social rituals, as non-native bumblers, struggling to comprehend a culture of Byzantine complexity (in our eyes) and lacking the unassailable logic of being entirely direct, straightforward, verbalized, and emotionless (which is clearly reasonable… I recently had a conversation with a friend who commented that people with AS should “just use common sense” when navigating the dating scene.Few pieces of advice are more frustrating to a mild autistic, since “common sense” in dating involves intuitively knowing the assumptions that others will make about you based on the cues you give off through what you say and do — which, of course, is precisely what AS causes you to miss.
Setting Yourself up for Success Putting Yourself out There Having a Successful First Date Building on the First Date and Beyond Community Q&A It can be difficult to strike a good balance when dating.
How do you appear interested without coming off as desperate or needy?
Since people communicate through both verbal and nonverbal methods, those of us with AS are frequently at a disadvantage when attempting to socialize in our personal and professional lives.
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.
and assumes you do too.”Of course, one of the twists of having AS is that you tend to develop an outsider’s perspective on social rules in general, and the world of dating is no exception.
I remember feeling disgust and then curiosity the first time someone explained the concept of “dating leagues” to me, or being stunned to learn that a girl who invites you to a hotel room to “just chill for a night” might actually mean the opposite of that, or that one who keeps postponing seeing you again is blowing you off. A lot of the “obvious” rules about dating are actually pretty arbitrary, so we aren’t instinctively aware of them.The male brain was harder to study during orgasm, because of its shorter duration in men, but the scans nonetheless revealed important differences.Emotion centers were deactivated, though apparently less intensely than in women, and men also appear to concentrate more on the sensations transmitted from the genitals to the brain.Regardless of whether two people are meeting on a prearranged date or striking up conversation in a casual setting, each one’s emotional response is determined by the assumptions they make based on a multitude of factors, from body language, facial expression, and eye contact to manner of dress, choice of conversation topics, and tone of voice (the same principle applies to online dating, although the cues are different).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.The scans show that during sexual activity, the parts of the female brain responsible for processing fear, anxiety and emotion start to relax and reduce in activity.