A recent NPR interview highlights some of the challenges that those with Asperger’s face while dating. Jesse Saperstein, a 32-year old man with Asperger’s Syndrome candidly shares his experience in his new book, “Getting a Life with Asperger’s: Lessons Learned on the Bumpy Road to Adulthood.”
Here are some points I appreciate that Mr. Saperstein shares:
- “Be up front in telling your date that you have Asperger’s.
- Sincere interest can all too often be perceived as creepiness.
- Relentlessly pursuing a relationship, i.e. 100 phone calls a week, doesn’t work. People view this as stalking.
- When someone demands to be let alone you have to respect that.
- Don’t invest a lot of money the first or second time you meet someone, because you can’t buy their affection.
- Success with autism or any kind of challenge comes from knowing you have incredible things to offer. Mistakes don’t mean you’re a loser.”
Kudos to Mr. Saperstein for candidly sharing his experiences. It’s my hope that everyone with Asperger’s can find a specialist trained in Asperger’s who can help them navigate more smoothly through life.
What can parents do to prepare their child with Asperger’s Syndrome for dating?
They need to be given proper guidance to develop relationship skills throughout the course of their life. Starting at a young age, the child’s parents need to focus on the necessity of developing healthy friendships that will also promote stronger self-esteem. Once they have reached adolescence, there’s an ongoing need to teach an accurate portrayal of attraction, dating, and sexuality. It would be a good idea to have a trusted friend or family member meet possible dates. They can give insight and perspective on whether that person will be a good choice before the dating process begins.
Can AS/NT couples make it work? It does take a lot of commitment and work. You have to go into the relationship knowing that the quality of the relationship will be different than a Neuro-Typical relationship. It’s helpful for the NT’s to help their Aspie date create rules of engagement that tells them what to do and when to do it in an acceptable manner.