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6 Tips for Autism and Dating 

Dating and Autism

Dating can be a challenging experience for any teen or young adult, but for autistic adults, it can present some unique obstacles. Many people on the autism spectrum struggle with reading social cues, sensory sensitivities, and communication, all of which can make navigating the dating world that much more complex.

However, with some careful planning and preparation, dating can also be a fulfilling and worthwhile experience. If you are a young adult looking to enter the dating world, or are a parent of an adult on the autism spectrum, these tips will help give you the confidence you need to move forward.

  1. Be honest about your needs and boundaries

One of the most important things to keep in mind when dating as an autistic adult is to be your own advocate. This can be difficult, especially when it comes to communication, but it is essential for building healthy relationships. 

Prior to setting up a date, you may want to think about what types of social situations you are comfortable with, what topics of conversation you enjoy, and what sensory sensitivities you have. By communicating these needs with potential partners, you are setting the stage for a successful relationship.

  1. Find common interests

In the dating world, finding common interests is the most direct route to building a connection with someone. If you have a particular interest you are very passionate about, finding someone who shares those interests can give you a headstart in establishing a solid foundation for a potential relationship.

If you don’t know the other person’s interests, make it a point to ask them questions about what they like to do. Practice taking turns in conversation, both answering and asking questions, and determining if the other person is expressing interest or engagement

  1. Consider online dating

Online dating can be a beneficial option for autistic adults, as it allows for more control over the dating process and doesn’t require initiating a conversation in person. You can take your time getting to know someone, learn their likes and dislikes before the actual date, and talk back and forth through the app or site first. 

Many dating sites and apps have features that can help you filter potential matches based on interests, location, and other factors, which can make it easier to find someone who is a good fit. 

  1. Practice social skills

If you have watched Netflix’s popular show Love On The Spectrum, you have seen many young adults with autism meet with a specialist to prepare for the social skills required on a date. This is because dating demands the use of many of these skills that don’t come as naturally to those on the autism spectrum, including making eye contact, initiating conversation, and interpreting nonverbal cues.

As a date approaches, practice conversations with friends or family. It is important to let your date know you are interested by showing engagement in what they are saying and asking them questions. Watch movies focusing on relationships with a trusted friend who can help you practice reading cues. That way, you are ready to determine if the other person is showing interest in you as well.

  1. Look your best

Another way to show interest on a date is to dress in a way that makes you look like you put in effort. Pick clothes in which you are comfortable so you are able to focus on the date, but also make you look good. Practice good hygiene leading up to the date, including brushing your teeth, showering, and putting on deodorant. Bring mints or gum in case you feel your breath isn’t fresh. Showing that you can take care of yourself tells your date you are relationship-ready.

  1. Prioritize safety

Any time you are out with someone you don’t know, safety needs to be a top concern. As you work to get to know your date better, consider the following:

  • Meet in public locations with people around.
  • Let close friends or family know where you will be and when.
  • Avoid sharing too much information right away, like your address, where you work, and times you are alone.
  • Take your own car, utilize public transportation or have someone drive you.

As you get further along on your dating journey, you will gain lots of experiences, learn more about yourself and others, and have a ton of fun! Just remind yourself it is worth it to put yourself out there and get to know potential matches. 

At Gersh Experience, we offer our students unique opportunities for regular socialization with others in the program, increased independence through the use of public transportation, and continued compassionate support as they transition into adulthood. If you have any questions about our program and how it can promote growth in your teen or young adult on the autism spectrum, don’t hesitate to reach out


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