As a neurodiverse adult who is dating, you should plan for your dates.
Before the Date
When possible, you want your social battery to be fully charged before going on a date. Dating takes social energy. It’s important to know what depletes your social battery. If you know that you’re going to have a rough day and will feel drained by the end, then maybe it’s not the best day to go on a date. You just won’t have the energy to focus on another person and their social cues. For example, if you know you are going to be in back-to-back work meetings all day, and this depletes your social battery, then it may be best to reschedule your date. Pick a day that is less likely to drain your battery.
During the Date
Dating Tips for Neurodiverse Adults
First, make a list of 5 activities that both you and your partner enjoy doing
Next, make a list of 5 of your favorite activities that you really enjoy, but your date might not
- Next, make a list of 5 of your partner’s favorite activities that they really enjoy, but you might not
Then, use the 3:1 ratio.
What is the 3:1 ratio for showing interest in a neurotypical partner?
- “When did you first become interested in this?”
- “What do you like most about it?”
- “Tell me about a time when you did this in the past?”
- “Did you used to do this with your family? What was that like?”
Keep at the forefront of your mind, why you’re doing the activity. It’s a way to learn about your partner and show them you care about their needs and desires. You are honoring them.
Ask your partner questions about the activity. This helps you learn more about them and the important role this activity plays in their life
Express to your partner how much you care about them, and want to do this to make them happy
Take brief self-care breaks. For instance, maybe you’re at a sporting event with them. Go to a bathroom stall for 5 minutes. Then, put on your headphones and listen to music or watch something on your phone. Be sure to set a timer so you don’t forget that this date is about honoring your partner and their interests.
Group Therapy for Neurodiverse Adults can help you practice social skills you can apply on your dates.
Social Skills Groups at Open Doors Therapy in the South Bay area:
Working Professionals Group for Aspie Adults:
Autistic Adult Group:
Our Adult Group for high-functioning autistic adults focuses on the unique struggles autistic adults face. In this group, we really focus on building relationships with others. Like the Working Professionals Group, we discuss building relationships, managing miscommunications, non-verbal communication, listening skills, perspective-taking, empathizing, and unwritten social rules. These are social skills are all useful in romantic relationships.
Neurodiverse Women’s Group:
Join an Autism Social Skills Group in Palo Alto, CA:
If you are an autistic adult looking for support, we have a group for you. Our social skills groups are designed to provide you with relevant tools you can use to help you navigate challenging social situations, like dating! To join an autism support group in the South Bay Area, follow these three steps:
- Schedule a free 30-minute phone consultation using this link. During this consultation, we will work with you to find a group that will best fit your needs.
- Like me on Facebook and stay up-to-date on our autism services.
- Sign up to receive my newsletter for useful information about living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Other Autism Services at Open Doors Therapy
Our Palo Alto/Bay Area autism therapy clinic serves teens and adults who have autistic traits. This includes individuals who identify as having Asperger’s, high functioning autism, undiagnosed autism traits, etc. and their families. We are proud to offer a variety of autism therapy services including individual counseling for autistic teens and adults, parent counseling, and group therapy. Additionally, our autism therapists offer several different social skills groups for neurodiverse working professionals, college students with autistic traits, gifted youth & caregivers, autistic adults, women who identify as neurodiverse, a summer social skills college transition training program for youth transitioning to college, teens & caregivers, and a mothers group. Contact our South Bay Area counseling office to learn more and schedule a free consultation.
About the Author
Dr. Tasha Oswald is a trained developmental and clinical psychologist. She is the founder and director of Open Doors Therapy, a private practice in Palo Alto, near San Francisco, CA. She specializes in working with teens and adults on the autism spectrum and facilitating social skills groups.