By Max Williams
I don’t know about you, but to me, courtship is like juggling bars of wet soap while blindfolded, walking a tightrope, and reciting Shakespeare in Elvish.
Apparently I’m not alone in this, especially when it comes to people on the autism spectrum, where the social challenges we face can make finding a partner seem impossible.
There’s an interesting response to this difficulty that I’m seeing more and more often; people on the spectrum ruling out people who aren’t as potential partners, and specifically seeking someone who also has autism.
Now, far be it for me to give anybody dating advice; I’m certainly no expert. But this approach seems to me more harmful than helpful.
Firstly, it generally seems to stem from the view that a non-autistic person would “never go for me” and that they are “out of my league”. This categorizes non-autistic people as being “superior”, and that’s quite a negative and divisive mindset. In addition to damaging one’s self esteem, this attitude also runs the risk of sowing the seeds of resentment.
Another common motivation is that they think someone else on the spectrum will understand them better. While this may be true in some cases, the sheer diversity within the autism spectrum means there’s no guarantee. Furthermore, people off the spectrum are perfectly capable of learning to understand and relate to somebody on it; several of my close friends are living proof of this.
Speaking of living proof, I myself can vouch for the viability of cross-spectrum relationships. My ex-girlfriend was not on the spectrum, I was. We still had an amazing year and a half together as partners, and remain close friends to this day.
Don’t limit your options out of fear you won’t be accepted; love doesn’t discriminate.