Why Do Some Aspies Struggle With Dating While Others Dont?

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Joe90
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31 Mar 2021, 6:30 pm

I'm an Aspie female, and I've never really struggled with finding a boyfriend, and I'm rather fussy too. But usually I attract older guys, but they seem genuine, not creepy or wanting to take advantage. My boyfriend is 20+ years older than me, I've been living with him 3 years now and he's definitely not taking advantage.

I don't know what it is. I didn't have boyfriends at school, but I was shy and didn't make much effort with myself, and so it's quite common for teenage boys to be shallow and go for the popular girls.

I had my first date when I was 17, with an autistic boy the same age. But I didn't really fancy him, so I had to tactfully dump him but we're still friends to this day. I had a date with a couple of other boys as well but again I didn't fancy them. Then I met this guy at one of my volunteering jobs, he was NT as far as I know, but again he wasn't really my type. Then at my last job I had a couple of guys after me but they were both married (both definitely NTs). Now I have my (NT) boyfriend (who I DO fancy).

I believe it may be harder for autistic men to find a girlfriend than it is for autistic women to find a boyfriend. I've always found dating easy, but making friends with NT women seems to be a lot harder. Well, I don't feel it's very hard but when I think I've made a friend with an NT female, they suddenly ghost me or even unfriend me on Facebook, and I never know why. I'm not the clingy sort. It's just something about me that makes women back away from a friendship with me. Maybe it's because I'm teetotal, or because I don't dye my hair or wear much makeup, I don't know. But guys don't seem to care about that. My boyfriend says I have natural beauty and that I don't need to apply makeup to be attractive.


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Muse933277
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31 Mar 2021, 8:32 pm

Joe90 wrote:
I believe it may be harder for autistic men to find a girlfriend than it is for autistic women to find a boyfriend. I've always found dating easy



You are definitely right, autistic women generally speaking have it easier finding a romantic partner compared to men. There are several theories on why this may be the case.

For one thing, in most societies, it's usually the man who's faced with the burden of doing the approaching and initiating. So men who are shy or aren't as socially skilled are going to be at a disadvantage. Women can get away with shyness and introversion more because they're not the ones doing the initiating in the first place.

Another reason why women have it easier is because a woman's physical appearance is the main factor in her overall attractiveness. If a woman is seen as physically attractive, her personality, behavior, and level of social skills are more likely to be more forgivable. As for men on the other hand, looks do matter but so does being confident and having decent social skills. So men who are not confident and have questionable social skills are going to be more penalized for it.

Finally, the reason why women may have it easier is because they're perceived to be less creepy compared to men. Coming off as "creepy" is mostly seen as male phenomenon because we're bigger, stronger, and have higher rates of violence so as a result, we're seen as a bigger threat. Autistic men with poor social skills may accidentally come off as creepy to girls. Where's if girls do the same behavior, it's more forgivable because girls are perceived to be less creepy compared to guys.



Although autistic women DO have it easier finding romantic and sexual partners, there is a trade off. Women with autism are particularly vulnerable to abusive relationships partially because they're more likely to be manipulated compared to neurotypical women.



Joe90
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01 Apr 2021, 1:11 am

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Finally, the reason why women may have it easier is because they're perceived to be less creepy compared to men. Coming off as "creepy" is mostly seen as male phenomenon because we're bigger, stronger, and have higher rates of violence so as a result, we're seen as a bigger threat. Autistic men with poor social skills may accidentally come off as creepy to girls. Where's if girls do the same behavior, it's more forgivable because girls are perceived to be less creepy compared to guys.


I think this is the most true. I often used to get obsessions with men and throw myself at them even if they were married, but they liked the attention. If I had been a guy throwing myself at women, they'd probably have thought I was creepy.

Also a lot of autistic women can mask more or come across as less autistic, if not at all. So that can help too.

And it seems that women are hard to impress too, even when you're an (Aspie) woman yourself trying to make friends with other (NT) women.

Disclaimer: Some autistic women do find it hard to find boyfriends, just so people here don't think I'm implying that all women on the spectrum find it easy. But being a member on WP for 11 years I can say that I've noticed a lot more guys here saying they have never had a girlfriend or are looking for a girlfriend but can't find one than I have noticed women here saying the same thing about boyfriends.


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OutsideView
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01 Apr 2021, 5:35 am

Muse933277 wrote:
Another reason why women have it easier is because a woman's physical appearance is the main factor in her overall attractiveness. If a woman is seen as physically attractive, her personality, behavior, and level of social skills are more likely to be more forgivable. As for men on the other hand, looks do matter but so does being confident and having decent social skills. So men who are not confident and have questionable social skills are going to be more penalized for it.

I agree on your other two points (and that Aspie men have more trouble with dating in general) but surely this one makes it easier for men. It's easier to appear like you're a confident person than it is to change how attractive you look. Then when you add in all of the men who only want younger women or who think women aren't worth dating after they turn 30 (since you literally can't change your age).


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01 Apr 2021, 4:05 pm

that1weirdgrrrl wrote:

Approach humans, women, men, old folks, hot or ugly, as human beings and potential friends. They will appreciate you for it.

Attraction may develop over time, or not, but you can remain friends with a person if attraction doesn't develop. Not harm. Just let her down gently...

I'm not suggesting "lowering standards " I'm suggesting taking into consideration the entire human being, personality, interests, sense of humor, and all physical aspects (maybe she has a gorgeous smile?)

If you look for the good and positive in people, you will start to see it more and more.


I find this VERY true. Especially the first sentence. I think that a significant part of why certain men (Aspies or not) have a hard time with women is that they sort of objectify them, especially the attractive ones - making out of them some sort of "object" to be "conquered" or worshipped rather than a human being to relate to. That objectification then leads to a situation where they see the romantic interaction in terms of "winning" and "losing" (like "How to play the game to get that piece of a**?"), instead of seeing it as a mutual exchange where both parties get something good out of the interaction.

They don't seem to realize that even attractive women have their own problems and some times quite significant insecurities and wish someone would understand and relate to them instead of either just trying to score with them or grovel at their feet. I have personally been a victim of having this type of distortion in perception of women and found it neither healthy nor helpful for dating.


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Oathdagger96
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03 Apr 2021, 3:02 am

nick007 wrote:
Autism is a spectrum that can potentially have lots of various comorbids & limit different people in different ways. There are numerous factors that can potentially hinder or help with dating. Different people can find different things attractive & be turned off by different things.

One of the most limiting factors that I notice on this forum Muse is that some have very unrealistic expectations & requirements. They go on & on about how they are lonely & hate being single but they have very strict criteria for who they will get in a relationship with. When that is mentioned to them, they go on about how they did not ask to be born with their disability so they should not be expected to have to compromise in anyway what so ever. I think they must majorly s#ck at life because compromising is a major aspect of life. For example most people want a job that pays them a lot of money but lots of people are not able to get those jobs because they do not have the skills/talent, education, experience, connections, &/or they have some disability that limits them. Should those people refuse to work & end up homeless starving on the street because they are refusing to work at all unless it's a job where they make crazy money on the basis that they did not chose to be born into that situation? Or would it be better for them to accept a job they can perform & know they will not be rich but they can still have a home to live in & afford the food they want? I think the latter would be much better but I'd suspect that those complainers with unrealistic expectations would chose to be on the street. If those people would rather not work at all or would rather have no relationship, it is their choice to refuse but I think lots of others would get frustrated with them very fast & they will be in for a very difficult time. People have the rite to make idiotic choices & I have the rite not to feel sorry for them. I can only help someone who wants to help themselves.

That said there are autistics who struggle majorly to find most any romantic partner. I've been in that crummy situation myself & it can really s#ck. I know I sure complained aLOT about it but I sure was NOT gonna refuse all women that did not fit a long laundry list of superficial criteria when I sure as f#ck knew that I would NEVER measure up to it. It seemed like it would be very hypocritical of me & I would figuratively be shooting myself in the foot by automatically ruling out some great women. It is VERY common for us Aspies to make bad impressions & for others to misjudge us so I do not want to do that to others. I really NEEDED a relationship partner who was willing to give me a real chance & I have that with my current girlfriend. Sure she would not be considered conventionally attractive physically or otherwise but having a partner who accepts me & respects me is a hell of aLOT better than being single & lonely.

In reference to Fnord's post here :arrow: One major problem I have regarding being disabled is that others do not really understand or fully grasp my entire situation. Growing up I would hear stories from my mom about different disabled people she knew who could do various things that I couldn't even thou those disables were more disabled than me in one specific way/area. They only had one specific sever disability instead of various multiple disabilities that are a little less sever. They also tended to receive a lot of useful help & support growing up that I did not have & others also cut them some slack because of how severely & immediately noticeable their disability is/was. There is NO one size fits all approach with this stuff. I'm certain that at least 85% of the advice I received regarding life &/or romantic relationships did not work for me when I tried to apply it. Something would go wrong & I would then get accused of intentionally screwing up when I was trying my best but was outside of my element & drew a blank or something. In reference to the confidence thing, I actually did have some confidence in myself but I also was very painfully aware that others would misjudge me & not give me a fair chance. There are LOTS of things I can do or learn to do well if I was put in the right environment or situation but others will not give me the chance to put my foot in the door & prove it to them.


Hit the nail right on the head man. I’ve been single since I was 17 and I’m totally at peace with it. I’m always open to a relationship but I’m not desperate and of course I would like to have one someday, but that’s not one of my life goals. I learned there’s more to life than constantly searching for the proverbial “one” that’s been jammed down our throats by overly-romanticized media. If I find that special person, cool. If I don’t, that’s cool too. I enjoy my own company and being my own person and that’s what I value in life the most. And the way I look at it is, okay I’ve had 6 girlfriends (most were long distance and 3 only lasted like a week) and a boyfriend I loved dearly when we were together and I figure at least I got to experience that and that gives me enough fulfillment.



Last edited by Oathdagger96 on 03 Apr 2021, 3:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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03 Apr 2021, 3:13 am

I've had a few relationships by being friends with people and that friendship naturally progressing into romantic attraction. I haven't really kept a relationship for a very long time, but I don't seem to have an issue finding one.

I personally only confess being in love with someone or finding them sexually attractive when I notice prolonged signs of them being attracted to me, which helps avoid being rejected or being seen as creepy.

I usually notice that someone who's interested in me will bring up certain intimate topics with me that they won't talk to other people about, and sometimes they become particularly affectionate or joke about being affectionate with me. The last relationship that I had in real life my girlfriend hugged me a lot, made an unusual amount of eye contact with me like she was admiring me, and commented on how cute she thought I was, all before she admitted to liking me.


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03 Apr 2021, 6:55 am

Oathdagger96 wrote:
And the way I look at it is, okay I’ve had 6 girlfriends (most were long distance and 3 only lasted like a week) and a boyfriend I loved dearly when we were together and I figure at least I got to experience that and that gives me enough fulfillment.

I love the way you think!! I will openly admit I complain way too much about my lack of a love life for someone who's managed to get friendly hugs from female Olympians, a UFC fighter, and an NCAA Division I basketball player :P



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03 Apr 2021, 10:52 pm

Another major factor that makes it very difficult for some of us to have relationships is that we can have major problems being independent. Some of us have problems with life skills & problems finding gainful employment. That can be a major problem for disabled men in general even if they have decent social skills. This may be more of a limiting factor for us men sometimes due to the gender & social roles. Men are generally expected to pay for the dates more than women & men generally tend to earn more money than women(some think that it's cuz men & women tend to have different jobs but others think men tend to get paid more than women for the same job; I believe it's a combo of both). Maybe I noticed this more cuz I'm from the deep south. The politicians & media there go on & on about how anybody needing any kind of government assistance is a lazy leech sucking on the teats of the hard-working American taxpayer :wall: It's very good I moved away from there cuz I woulda smashed my TV if I heard that tired old sh!t phrase one more f#cking time on the news :evil: I felt like the society there wanted me to off myself for failing at life :cry: Anyways It's very hard for guys to get dates when they are considered pariahs because they do not have their sh!t together in life due to circumstances beyond their control like having autism or other disabilities. I'm NOT saying it's like that for every disabled guy or autistic guy & I'm NOT claiming that autistic & disabled women do not struggle with getting relationships.


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Muse933277
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09 Nov 2021, 4:52 pm

HeroOfHyrule wrote:

I personally only confess being in love with someone or finding them sexually attractive when I notice prolonged signs of them being attracted to me, which helps avoid being rejected or being seen as creepy.




That can actually be a good strategy for people don't take romantic rejection very well.

By knowing that someone likes you, you're less likely to get rejected, and for people who are particularly sensitive to romantic rejection, this isn't a bad thing.



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09 Nov 2021, 8:00 pm

Muse933277 wrote:
Another reason why women have it easier is because a woman's physical appearance is the main factor in her overall attractiveness. If a woman is seen as physically attractive, her personality, behavior, and level of social skills are more likely to be more forgivable. As for men on the other hand, looks do matter but so does being confident and having decent social skills. So men who are not confident and have questionable social skills are going to be more penalized for it.


I agree with most of what you said, but not this.

The standards for what makes a girl physically attractive are more heavily weighted towards things that take active effort than they are for guys. Girls need to be the ideal weight, wear just the right clothes, be skilled at applying makeup, etc. Whereas for guys, being conventionally good-looking involves a little effort (a bit muscley and not too fat, and not smelling terrible or wearing really unattractive clothing) but mostly just involves luck of the draw with genetics.

Which means that autistic girls are more likely to come across as unattractive than autistic guys, because the genetic component of good looks is unaffected by autism, but the behavioral stuff is often a lot harder. For example, I can't wear makeup for more than a minute or two before I need to wash it off, and there's a limited selection of clothing that doesn't feel awful against my skin. And phobia of exercise due to being mocked for dyspraxia, as well as picky eating that makes me gravitate towards safe foods that also happen to be fattening, have meant that my weight is harder for me to control. Plus, the lack of an innate instinct towards conformity means I haven't put decades of effort into learning those skills, so I'm really far behind in knowledge of how to fit female beauty models.



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10 Nov 2021, 9:55 am

Ettina wrote:
Which means that autistic girls are more likely to come across as unattractive than autistic guys, because the genetic component of good looks is unaffected by autism, but the behavioral stuff is often a lot harder. For example, I can't wear makeup for more than a minute or two before I need to wash it off, and there's a limited selection of clothing that doesn't feel awful against my skin. And phobia of exercise due to being mocked for dyspraxia, as well as picky eating that makes me gravitate towards safe foods that also happen to be fattening, have meant that my weight is harder for me to control. Plus, the lack of an innate instinct towards conformity means I haven't put decades of effort into learning those skills, so I'm really far behind in knowledge of how to fit female beauty models.



I actually agree with this statement.

No offense to anybody here BUT it does seem like people with autism in general are more likely to be unattractive compared to neurotypicals. And you're right that a lot of it is lifestyle choices.

For instance, neurotypicals are more likely to take their clothes selection, their makeup, their hairstyle, and working out more seriously. I don't know a lot about women but I do know that a lot of young men like to go to the gym, like to workout, because they know that girls like fit guys. Autistic people are less likely to do this because we may not see the point and because we don't take our style and fitness seriously, we come off as less attractive.



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10 Nov 2021, 12:58 pm

Most of the autistics I know who are in relationships are women, and the vast majority of their partners were NTs. Perhaps this could be a factor as to why so many autistic men, myself included, struggle to find love.


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Muse933277
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10 Nov 2021, 1:40 pm

Zakatar wrote:
Most of the autistics I know who are in relationships are women, and the vast majority of their partners were NTs. Perhaps this could be a factor as to why so many autistic men, myself included, struggle to find love.



The reason why autistic men struggle more when it comes to dating compared to autistic women is because of the differences in what a man and a woman attractive.

You see, what usually makes a woman attractive comes down to her looks. If a woman is at least a 7/10 in looks, there will always be men who will go out with her; it doesn't matter if she's broke, sh***y personality, etc... While for men, what makes them attractive is looks as well BUT it's also confidence, good social skills, and either earning capacity or potential for earning capacity. That's why a man who's a 4/10 on the looks scale but is super confident and makes a lot of money has the ability to compensate and still do good with women and date women who are objectively more attractive than them. It's why my dad was able to get my mom; my dad is pretty average looking BUT he was smart, hard-working, and had the potential to earn a lot of money, so that's why my mom who's objectively better looking chose him as a partner.

For many people with autism however, it affects their social skills along with their ability to live independently and hold down a job; all of these factors effect your sexual market value. And the reason why this is more of a disadvantage for men is because men are judged by their social abilities and earning capacity, much more than women are. A woman isn't as negatively impacted by shyness, introversion, income, in the dating market compared to men are.

This is also a reason why the virginity rate for autistic men is so high is because a lot of people with autism are living on SSI, unemployed, or working a job they're overqualified for. They're also much more likely to be shy, introverted, unathletic so they don't take their fitness seriously, and be seen as more nerdy. As a result many women will look at these men and not even consider them as viable partners, in either short term or long term relationships.


I know plenty of autistic men who are fat, awkward, and working a crappy job and not even making 15k a year despite almost being 30 years old. Unsurprisingly, these men don't get women, and I doubt most quality women would even look in their direction. Women WANT a man who has earning potential and ESPECIALLY if they want to get married and have children. So work hard and take your education seriously.



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10 Nov 2021, 1:55 pm

The reality is that if a woman is young and decently attractive, there's going to be plenty of men that will want to either date her or sleep with her. She doesn't even have to be super hot or have supermodel good looks; there's plenty of cute girls who aren't drop dead gorgeous who find it very easy to find a guy to date or hookup with.

Most men don't get this luxury. As a man, dating is generally going to be harder and require a bit more effort. Being a man teaches you how to be confident, how to talk to women, how to get over shyness and social anxiety, because we don't have a choice. UNLESS you're very attractive (which some men are blessed with really good looks) then most women aren't going to approach us and do the initiating so being a man teaches you how to do this because if you don't, there's a good chance you'll wind up a virgin well into your twenties.



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13 Nov 2021, 1:06 am

"Extroversion and being able to emotionally connect with others are both positively correlated with dating success, regardless if you're autistic or not"

Aren't both of those traits kind of the anti-thesis of being autistic?