Wonderful. Challenging. Beautiful. Frustrating. But so worth it. My boyfriend, Kyle, and I have been dating for around a year and a half now, and he has been diagnosed with autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. I’m often asked if that makes a relationship difficult, and my honest answer is always yes. Of course it does. So why am I still with him? Well, he makes me happy for one. He is also an incredible person whose personality I love. My dad always said to me, if you’d be happy with your own child dating someone like your partner then you’re with the right one. Honestly, I would love my future children to date someone like Kyle.
However, our relationship faces struggles that some other couples might not face so in this post I’m going to list all the good points, and the bad, about dating someone with autism. Everyone with autism and ADHD are different and so this will be based on my own personal experiences, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. And before I start, I’d like to say that I’m not blaming my boyfriend for the things he does and I’m not judging him on these things- I understand that some habits he has make him more comfortable and I’m not putting him down in any way. I love him, but I want to give an honest view.
Bad News First
- His view on right and wrong can be child-like. When my boyfriend gets upset or angry he can sometime resort to very child-like thinking. For example, while we were sleeping I took all of the blanket. He woke up and then decided to elbow me until I woke up, in his mind it was the only way he could think of to fix the problem, and if he couldn’t get to sleep why should I? To try and help we have a chat and we talk about what else he could have done, I do try and remain calm (even if it’s 4am!) because he doesn’t do it out of spite.
- He obsesses over little things. He can’t eat baked beans unless he cooks them himself. Is he like that with any other food? Nope. Just baked beans. If his bus is a minute late he panics. He worries if he’s playing on his PlayStation too much, or if he’s reading too much, or if he’s on his laptop too much. But he doesn’t worry about the big things, like University or money. To deal with this I just get over it, he’s not affecting my life so it doesn’t bother me too much. Plus because of my anxiety I worry about everything enough for the both of us!
- He struggles to read my emotions. Obvious clues, such as me crying or me laughing he can figure out my emotions. But sometimes if I’m just sitting on the sofa watching TV, he struggles to tell if I’m being quiet because I’m sad, angry, or if I’m just content. This can often lead to him asking me if I’m okay a lot, or asking me if I’m angry or upset at him. I’m not going to lie, this can get frustrating sometimes but it is sweet that he cares about me so much. So, to help with this I tell him outright if I’m angry or sad because it’s just easier for both of us. I think all couples should do this! It saves so much time because none of us are mind readers!
- He finds it hard to put himself in others shoes. Kyle struggles to view the world from anyone else’s point of view. So he might do or say something without considering how that might make someone feel. Unfortunately my anxiety means that if he says something to me, I find it extremely hurtful and my brain often exaggerates it. As our relationship has gone on he has gotten a lot better at this, and I’ve learnt to let him explain what he really means and to talk to him if I find things upsetting.
- He can’t process sarcasm. I am an extremely sarcastic person, but Kyle takes everything literally. This can make our conversations difficult, and can make for some awkward explanations.
But There Is Good News!
- He can’t lie to me. Kyle just cannot lie. This means that if he tells me something I know he’s telling the truth, and I think this helps my anxiety a lot.
- He’s very affectionate. Kyle’s ADHD means he’s very hyper and once he got to know me and trusted me he’s so sweet but very excitable. This means I get constant hand holding, hugs, and kisses which I love!
- He knows so much. The amount of random information Kyle knows is astounding! I tutor a young boy, but he was struggling with History so I offered to do some lessons on it (although I know nothing about it) so I enlisted the help of Kyle who managed to teach me everything about castles, Medieval Times, and The Battle of Hastings. And my student got an A on his next exam 🙂
- He’s excitable. When Kyle finds something he’s passionate about, he gets obsessed over it and it’s so cute. He gets very excited, and it’s so nice to see something simple making someone so happy.
- It’s easy to tell how he feels. Some people struggle to read their partners emotions, but Kyle is very predictable. He has very specific behaviours for when he’s happy and another behaviour for when he’s sad. This means I don’t have to be a mind reader and I can help him out quickly.
- He doesn’t judge. He bases his opinions of people solely on how they treat him and how they act. Kyle is one of the least judgmental people I know. It doesn’t matter if you are 10 or 110, male or female, black or white, gay or straight, Kyle will be friendly towards you and that’s such an amazing quality of his.
- He is so positive. His personality is so upbeat. Although he has struggled he always has a positive outlook on life and it’s so nice to be with someone like that. He is so kind and sweet and he genuinely is a nice guy.
- He just gets on with life. Never has Kyle complained about having autism. He knows he has it and he just carries on with life, there’s no moping around or feeling sorry for himself, and I love that about him.
- He’s brave. His ADHD means he doesn’t fear dangerous situations. This means that I can send him to deal with big scary spiders, or loud noises in the night and he doesn’t even flinch! This means he’s Superman in my eyes!
- He’s a good listener. If I have a problem I know I can go to him and talk about it, whatever it is. He’s also good at giving me advice, and putting my problems into perspective, and he helps motivate me 🙂
I wrote a list of so many more good points but I realised this post is so long already! I hope this post has given you a better insight into what it’s like to date someone who is autistic. No relationship is ever easy, and autism does make a relationship extra challenging. But there are so many reasons why Kyle is a wonderful boyfriend and no, I would never take away his autism because without it he wouldn’t be Kyle. I love him and I hope he never changes who he is. Thank you for reading!