Aspergers question - how do you explain Aspergers on a date

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Safetymonkey
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13 Oct 2013, 9:27 pm

Hi everyone,

I've been reading these forums for a while, but this is my first posting. I want to ask for some advice, and if this topic has already been brought up elsewhere just let me know.

How do you explain Aspergers to someone you're interested in? And when do you mention it?

Earlier tonight it came up while I was out with a girl I like, our second date. While I could explain my personal experience with it, I found my self struggling to describe it in general terms. For someone with no experience with Autism Spectrum Disorders, how do you explain it simply and accurately? I want to be honest, but I also don't want to over emphasize the negative side of it and scare someone off.

Thanks for your thoughts and idea,

Safetymonkey



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13 Oct 2013, 9:38 pm

When you explain to them, focus on it more as a "difference" then a "disability". Dont make a big deal out of it. Dont make it out to be a bad thing, simply inform them. Tell them how it affects you specifically. You do not need to tell them about symptoms aspies have that you dont. You'll confuse them.
Maybe something like,

"I have aspergers, its a mild form of autism, and because of that I have a tendancy to ________________"

Some examples can be: "not make good eye contact", "ramble a lot", "have very strong interests" etc etc etc



Rudywalsh
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14 Oct 2013, 5:17 am

I use to make the mistake of blurting it out as soon as I met someone new, and if they seemed interested and needed to know more I would ramble on too much about it. After woods I would regret revealing too much about myself and feel down.

Ask your date if they now what asperger is, many people don’t seem to know. Ai-Ling has given good advice, explain it’s a mild form of autism, many people if they don’t know show plenty of intrigue.

Because my symptoms go from mild to severe, it takes me a whole world of explaining to whomever, that’s when I lose control and go on and on like a broken record.

Good luck with your date.



tonmeister
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14 Oct 2013, 9:09 am

I don't think you should bring it up too soon. Just be yourself, and if the person likes you, he/she will accept you for who you are. If not, chalking up your non-NT traits to Asperger's isn't going to change things. In fact, it might make things worse. Wait a bit until after you've gotten to know each other to bring it up.

I'll admit that my situation is a bit different, as I wasn't diagnosed until after I met my wife, but I always knew I was different from people around me at a very young age. When I would go on dates, I would try to be polite and carry on the small talk, but I'd make no secret of my special interests, since they are such a part of me that anyone who is going to be involved with me would need to know about them upfront. Some things I couldn't help (eye contact, for instance), but as I said above, I think it's about getting the person to like and accept you for who you are before you bring up Asperger's.



Joe90
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14 Oct 2013, 11:58 am

It depends on how much your symptoms show on the surface and how obvious they are. If you stim a lot like rocking or flapping hands a lot, or getting easily overwhelmed and not having much control over your reactions and reacting to things that overwhelm you in ways that are unusual to NTs, like having a meltdown in public - then it's best to tell your date straight away, otherwise they might not quite understand.

If you are mild, like me, and can hide your symptoms and just come across as an NT, then you don't need to announce your condition straight away. Small things that are related to your AS but can also be a personality trait, like being shy or sounding nervous, aren't strong enough to be notified by the other person that there is something wrong. If you speak in a monotone voice, that doesn't always scream out that you have AS anyway, because I have actually met males that spoke in a monotone way, and they were definitely NT.

If you're ashamed of telling someone to their face, even if you've known them a few months or more, then there are ways round it - if you don't show obvious symptoms, that is. You can say you have something else what could still cover you up, like saying you have ADHD or social anxiety or anything. That's what I do - or try and do, if other people who already know about my condition (relatives, for example) don't give me away by telling them ( :roll: ). I'm in the early stages of a relationship myself and a man who is quite a bit older than me and so knows more and is ambitious, so to him I'm quite intellectually underaverage, so I can get away with saying I have some learning difficulties. At least learning difficulties doesn't have so many stereotypes attached to it. Then if our relationship lasts long enough (and I mean years), and I begin to feel less shy of expressing my thoughts and feelings in intense ways around him and show other symptoms that might give away that I have something more than learning difficulties, then I can pretend I was never diagnosed and can look up on the internet one day and go, ''oh, maybe I've got this Asperger's Syndrome thing. Look here.''

I'm going to do it that way. Don't know if it would work for you or not. You only know yourself, so if you feel comfortable doing it my way then do it. If you feel it won't be worth it depending on your severeness, then it is probably best you don't do it.


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Codyrules37
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14 Oct 2013, 12:44 pm

Well make sure you know the girl well enough first. You woudn't wanna tell her immediately you have aspergers. Make sure she likes you and you been dating for at least a week or two. Then mention to her you have Assburgers like it's no big deal.



Codyrules37
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14 Oct 2013, 12:50 pm

So now that you have told this girl you have Aspergers

tell her that you have problems understanding non-verbal language such as body language, facial expressions etc and tell her its best to communicate with you verbally. Also tell her sometimes you have trouble putting yourself in other peoples shoes and understanding how other people feel. Well thats all I got.



Tuttle
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14 Oct 2013, 1:13 pm

Don't use the label Asperger's or autism. Just talk about your traits. Eventually you can get to the label, but don't start there. You're a person, not a diagnosis. Your traits just have a label that describes it.

It's easier to describe them sometimes by using the label, and at other times, by not using it. You don't have to start with "I am autistic" when that doesn't tell someone anything about you. Telling them that you're not actually scared and shy, but actually enjoying the time with them, you just aren't being able to communicate properly, that's useful. Telling them about your interests and that they're particularly strong, that's useful. Tell them about you.

And then eventually, the diagnosis follows, because its a descriptor, because that's all it is.

If I tell someone that I'm autistic first is dependent on things like:
a) If I expect to interact with them again
b) How soon I'm expecting to interact with them
c) How much I expect to describe my symptoms now
d) How much experience with the spectrum I'd expect they have

But this sort of situation sounds like one where you start by just describing you, including the symptoms, not using the label. Because the label is just a label. You'd be you without it too. The traits would still be there.

(And both positive and negative come up naturally I find - When choosing somewhere to go mention that you can't go to certain locations because of sensory sensitivities if that's a thing, the frequent trait of honesty comes up really easily, and so on)



Safetymonkey
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15 Oct 2013, 8:37 pm

Thank you for all of the thoughts and suggestions, it really helped to be able to see how all of you have handled this problem before.



LucySnowe
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23 Oct 2013, 6:02 pm

I have been struggling with this exact same issue. I would say that it depends on several factors:

1) How affected by AS you are. If it's something that is visible, earlier might be better than later. Talk about it in terms of your strengths at first; and even with your weaknesses, try to put them in a more positive light.

2) the individual involved. I think it can be hard for us to tell, without knowing someone well, what kind of reaction they'll have, but if you've made it beyond the first date, she's at least somewhat interested in you, right?

3) How interested in her you are, how much you want to invest in this particular connection.

Personally, I am not strongly affected, but I do want to be as honest as possible with a guy I'm interested in. I believe that early disclosure is good--that it gives the person you're dating a frame of reference for potentially understanding where your perception might be at. Not everyone will "get" it, but you can give the the tools they might need.



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24 Oct 2013, 12:19 pm

First off, I would not mention it to her until you knew SHE was interested in you. aka she becomes your GF. If you do it before then the revelation will work against you. Once she is however and you want her to know...

You could do tell her in a more interactive way... tell her there is something about you that she needs to know.

Give her a piece of paper and tell her to write her name on it. Not signature, just her name.
Then ask her to write her name again, but with her other hand. Tell her to pay attention to the difficulty she has drawing the same letters on the same piece of paper.

Then tell her about AS and how socializing is like being right handed and living in a world where you can only communicate by writing with your left hand. You have the same level of intelligence, capability,etc...but writing with the left hand is very difficult and just like the letters on the 2nd time she wrote her name look odd , so do you come out as odd/awkward.



singer_1
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27 Oct 2013, 3:57 pm

Dantac wrote:
First off, I would not mention it to her until you knew SHE was interested in you. aka she becomes your GF. If you do it before then the revelation will work against you. Once she is however and you want her to know...

You could do tell her in a more interactive way... tell her there is something about you that she needs to know.

Give her a piece of paper and tell her to write her name on it. Not signature, just her name.
Then ask her to write her name again, but with her other hand. Tell her to pay attention to the difficulty she has drawing the same letters on the same piece of paper.

Then tell her about AS and how socializing is like being right handed and living in a world where you can only communicate by writing with your left hand. You have the same level of intelligence, capability,etc...but writing with the left hand is very difficult and just like the letters on the 2nd time she wrote her name look odd , so do you come out as odd/awkward.


This sounds like a great explanation. Thank you for writing this.



chris5000
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27 Oct 2013, 4:21 pm

I would not bring it up on a date unless I was asked then then im not sure I would bring it up



LucySnowe
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27 Oct 2013, 4:52 pm

chris5000 wrote:
I would not bring it up on a date unless I was asked then then im not sure I would bring it up


Yeah, but why would someone specifically ask about this kind of stuff on a date? Honestly, I think people only hurt themselves by not sharing this kind of information.



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14 Nov 2015, 11:45 am

I was thinking this was an aspie-aspie relationship well it is not an issue there. I know my girlfriend has Asperger syndrome before we got together we met at our Monday Club which is like a support group for Asperger syndrome people. We have no issues because we have like kinds of Asperger syndrome. I see the issues in aspie-allistic or other neurotypical relationships because of little experience of it. When I had NT type dates I didn't know myself I have Asperger syndrome but they knew that I have epilepsy (now in remission for 5 years) and understood about that and one of them had epilepsy herself. I find that it is not an issue when you date a woman that has Asperger syndrome if you have it because you already know your partner has when you first meet. Which means she understands about your condition especially well because she has it as well. :idea: