Love and autism

Love on the spectrum is very complicated. There is a stigma that, as the relationship progress, adults on the spectrum are losing interest, empathy and tend to treat their partners as a trophy or break the relationship. Most comments which I have met during my practice:

They pick someone who compensates for what they lack.”

Anonymous neurotypical partner

“He fell for me; he wanted me, and nothing was going to stop him… I am afraid he was so kind and thoughtful and loving and giving when we were courting, but it changed the moment we were married.”

Anonymous neurotypical partner

The question arises: What is happening with an autistic person that he or she is changing so much when the relationship progress?

People on the spectrum can have problems at each phase of the relationship because they need to understand how to interpret someone’s intentions, body language, emotions behind actions. For an autistic person, there is a lot to process in one moment and reflecting how their brain functions can lead to over-stimulus and result in a meltdown. However, adults usually master their ability to mask their real feelings and thoughts. Neurotypical partners do not understand why after marriage or childbirth, everything has changed. The fact is that most likely for an autistic person, nothing has changed. They do not feel urgency or need for masking. That does not mean that neurodiverse partner suddenly has changed to a cold disconnected person. It means that a neurodiverse couple needs to establish new ways of communication, new boundaries, and strategy to go forward.