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I get so confused or bored trying to have a "normal" date

This discussion was created from comments split from: Hi, I'm Gill, I'm a full-time PSHE Specialist.

Replies

  • RielRiel Posts: 3Member
    Hi Gill. I'm 26 years old, and have Asperger's. I have experienced a lot of difficulties with dating in the past, like not being able to understand or pick up on someone's motives, being taken advantage of, and coming off as rude or indifferent. Most times, I take things to a physical level, because I get so confused or bored trying to have a "normal" date. I recently went out on a date with a guy that I really like, and I think my issues with recognizing boundaries and making eye contact may have killed any chance of seeing him again. I try really hard to do my best, but I don't know if it's appropriate to tell him or any potential interest about my limitations? When and how is it appropriate to let someone know that I'm different?
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community adviser Pioneering
    Hi Riel, and thank you for such an honest and upfront question. This is a very common issue for many people with Asperger's and autistic spectrum issues, but hopefully it's not one that is insurmountable. Dating can be a bit of a minefield at the best of times and if you're nervous, it can make it feel very pressurised. I'm interested that you move things to a physical level because you say you find it hard to have a ‘normal' date; is it okay if I ask if because you were hoping for a sexual encounter in the first place or whether it's just you feel it's easier to connect with someone and feel close through that physical medium? With regards telling someone about your differences, I do think that it's appropriate to be upfront about them, but it has to be carefully worded so that they are not perceived as potential vulnerabilities - does that make sense? Can I ask how you meet your potential dates? For example, do you make contact online or are they people you meet while you're out and about? Finally, if you're not comfortable talking further about this here I would be happy in this instance for you to contact the web manager and ask to be put in touch with me privately.
    - Gill 
  • EmmaEmma Posts: 100Member Connected
    Hi Riel,
    Emma, the web manager here. Please do feel free to contact me on [email protected] if you would like to speak to Gill privately and I will put you both in touch.
    Best wishes,

    Emma
  • RielRiel Posts: 3Member
    Hi, thanks for getting back to me. I don't mind talking about it here.
    The majority of people that I've gone out with, I met at my workplace. I just recently left my job, but I was working at a clothing boutique. I get asked out a lot because of my looks; and I tend to come off as flirtatious, when I'm only being friendly, which I can sometimes do too much. No one has ever asked "do you want to go on a date?", so I always assume that by going for coffee, or a drink, that's all they mean. Many times I've told people that I didn't think we were on a "date", or that I'm not at all interested in them, which usually backfires. When I am interested in them, and feel a physical attraction, I get nervous and would rather just skip to the point than try to converse or play hard to get. I also have realized that I have a problem with assuming that guys just want sex, so I don't feel the need to act a certain way, and I think that I'm doing them a favour by being aggressive. Many guys have appreciated it, I think, but I usually end up feeling like I've ruined it. Sometimes I just want to have sex, because I really don't know how to tell the person how I feel, and I hate playing games.
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community adviser Pioneering
    Hi again Riel - firstly my apologies for not replying sooner, I have had a few technical hitches over the weekend and it has held me up. Thank you for being so honest - as I said earlier, I think that this is not an uncommon issue so it's useful to discuss it openly. With regards to the question of whether or not something is a date or not; well, dates don't have to be hearts and flowers. I always think of them as an opportunity to interview someone for the position of being your boyfriend/girlfriend - I know that sounds a bit official, but that is essentially what we're doing: seeing whether they fit. I think that if someone you don't know is asking you out for coffee or a drink then there is a very strong chance that that is what is happening, particularly if they've approached you randomly rather than, say, as a new potential friend that you might have met at a new job or in a new class, etc. Do you feel obliged to go if someone asks you to join them? I'm just wondering, as you mention that sometimes your perception is that you're just being friendly, whereas it sounds as though the other person is thinking you're on a date with them. If someone asks you out and you say yes, the person doing the asking will accept that as an initial sign of interest - you're essentially consenting to spending time alone with them and that will be taken as a positive. Another thing to bear in mind is that actually for a large proportion of people, although they do find you physically attractive because they've asked you out, the point of asking for this first meeting will very often just be to get to know you a bit - not necessarily to have sex. It might be useful to make yourself a few prompts - not so that you take them along on a piece of paper and whip them out (although it's not a bad idea if you feel like you're floundering - you can always nip to the loo, get your breath, have a quick look at them and refresh yourself), but so that if you feel like you're struggling to move the conversation on, you have some suitable and familiar topics to discuss. Try taking control of the conversation a bit if you're feeling out of your comfort zone. Usually people want to know a bit about what you like and dislike and what your values are; what are your interests, where you're from, what you think about things. It's also worth considering that sometimes, feeling like you don't have anything to say to each other on a date could also be a sign that you aren't particularly well suited! Everyone goes on dates that don't really work. In that situation, it might not necessarily be a good idea to move things on to sex, as that's still a kind of communication and often there needs to be ‘something' there to begin with. I guess my concern is that it sounds as though sometimes you might feel that sex is the only way to proceed with things if you're feeling awkward - and actually if you're feeling awkward I wouldn't recommend having sex, if that makes sense? Also, having a few dates before you decide whether someone is what you're looking for definitely isn't playing games. You're completely entitled to go out once, twice, a few times, more even - and decide that actually, this person isn't for you - that's pretty normal actually and doesn't mean you're leading someone on, as long as you're honest and upfront. When you first left a message on this forum you asked about telling people about your differences; I actually feel that from my personal and professional experiences it's best to be honest because it opens the way for better communication, but that you might want to see how you feel about the person by meeting them a couple, or a few, times first. Like I said before - confident, but cautious; there is no reason that someone should react negatively to your Asperger's and if they do, they're not worth seeing again! I realise that we're starting to touch on issues that might feel more personal now and so the offer to communicate privately is still open :)
    - Gill 
  • MixxiMixxi Posts: 32Member
    Firstly Riel, thank you for talking about this so openly. So many of the things you described sound very familiar to me. (Thankfully now, I met my own special, strange person, got married and made an extra strange little person of our own.)
    Secondly Gill, great advice - I agree with every word and where were you when I was 14? Had I know that then I could have saved myself about 20 years of heartache!
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