What dating an autistic man is like

Matthew Rozsa


When you have an invisible disability, the first challenge is getting other people to believe you — to encourage them to express empathy for someone else. After that, though, you need to learn to listen to how your disability may negatively impact them — that is, to show the very empathy for others that you insist on receiving.

I've consistently confronted this dual task when writing about being on the autism spectrum, a task that can be especially sensitive (if rewarding) when discussing dating with autism. Indeed, my first article published at Salon discussed autism and dating. That was more than four years ago. When my writing career began in 2012, I never dreamed that I would open up about being on the autism spectrum, much less delve into the vulnerable details of my personal life. Yet the subject proved popular and was cathartic to discuss, so I periodically returned to it over the years.

Starting on August 28, 2016, a new chapter began. On that day, I entered a long-term relationship with my current girlfriend, Charlotte.

It took me awhile to develop the nerve to ask her about what she has learned while dating an autistic man, with what is colloquially known as Asperger's Syndrome. Before we started dating, I shared a pair of articles with her that I had written on the subject. In one I reviewed a documentary about dating autistic people, and in the other I interviewed several of my exes. Now it was my turn to ask her: What advice would she give to individuals who were thinking about long-term romantic relationships with people who are on the spectrum?

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