DATING ISSUES FOR PEOPLE WITH ASPERGER'S
By Mr Coffee
There are places on the net that suggest that
people with Asperger's
Syndrome are able to function on a normal level, date, marry,
and have families. I have stated in the definition of Asperger's
Syndrome that the divorce rate remains high for people who are diagnosed
with it. Yet, a number of people with Asperger's Syndrome are able
to successfully date, marry, and raise families. Most don't actually
have the diagnosis.
Instead, the medical community often considers them to be "autism
cousins" or "cousins of autism",
meaning that they don't fit the criteria for a diagnosis, but have
a scant few minor traits of the disorder. The sad fact is: relationships
and dating are a big challenge for the autism
community. It can be done, but there is considerable work involved.
Usually, people develop the ability to make friends
by the time they are six years of age and start more serious relationships
by the time they are 13. On the other hand, someone on the spectrum
may struggle for quite a while longer. For the most part, this makes
a marriage or family highly unlikely for some of them. An added
burden here are economic factors related to the inability to hold
down employment, which serves to make them even less of a candidate
for a permanent relationship.
A characteristic that many people have with Asperger's,
is what is called an "extended adolescence" throughout
adulthood. In my case, I was not able to understand why a couple
in their late 20s would get together to marry and start a family.
It defies logic for some people with the condition, when they have
never had a relationship that has any seriousness.
Unspoken body language
A part of the whole issue involves the lack of
ability to use and understand unspoken body language. The ability
to interpret eye contact may be there, yet the person with Asperger's
Syndrome might not be giving the right message or signals. In order
for the recipient to get the correct message, the person with Asperger's
Syndrome often has to state the message directly, and the recipient
has to give a direct response. If read the wrong way, the message
ends up getting lost or misinterpreted.
For the recipient to understand someone with Asperger's,
they have to pick apart every thing the sender is trying to say
because the sender might not have the capability to use the correct
gestures. This in itself will set someone up for failure in a relationship
just about every time, unless the person sought has a very high
degree of compassion and understanding.
Click here for the full
range of Asperger's and autism fact sheets and personal stories
to read the Adults with Asperger's syndrome fact sheet
This story is reprinted with the permission of
Mr Coffee who organizes an Asperger's syndrome forum at www.autismforum.net