For my second weekly forum for Autism Acceptance Month, I wanted to discuss love and relationships among people on the autism spectrum. As with last week’s discussion, do consider a few things: 1) this forum is not to demean or belittle any individual participating in it, 2) that through this discussion, I hope to learn what sort of struggles and challenges are experienced by people on the spectrum, so we can design better behavioral and educational interventions for autistic people later in life, and to know what autistic people as a whole, do not need help with, and what therapies and interventions are doing right. If not, we hope you as the readers gain valuable insights into your love life or that of those close to you, but let them all speak for themselves, as their impression may be entirely different from yours, 3) if you not to feel comfortable sharing your name, that is fine, and if you do not want your personal information to be shared without a need-to-know basis (should that be an issue) please mention that at the beginning of your comment. If sharing your name could create negative consequences or trouble in the life of you or others do not share it, and 4) that bashful and abusive comments are not welcomed and any will be deleted. Also do not share any information that is too personal (e.g. sex life) using you’re the names or identifying information of yourself or others involved. For this discussion we welcome all autistic people and their committed partners, regardless of whether they themselves are autistic or not. If both people in the relationship are answering, please answer in the same comment space while making sure you distinguish yourself as the one making each passage. With that said, here are my questions:
1. Are you first off in a committed relationship?
2. Are you the autistic person in the relationship, or the partner? If you are the partner, are you yourself autistic, allistic (not autistic but having other intellectual/developmental disabilities), or neurotypical?
3. Are you married? Dating? In a civil union? Divorced? Separated? Engaged? Widowed? Seeing multiple partners?
4. What is your age and the age of your partner?
5. How long have you and your partner been together? If you have been together in different capacities (e.g. first dating then married) please state the amount of time you have been together in each capacity.
6. How did you two meet?
7. What is your employment status (if applicable)? What is that of your partner (again, if applicable)?
8. What is your level of education (high school, college, some college, graduate school)? What is that of your partner?
9. What do you love about your partner (looks, personality, money, etc.)?
10. What does your partner love about you? Why is he/she with you?
11. What have you two done together (e.g. travel, live together, raising children, etc.)?
12. How do you two spend your time together (e.g. watching movies, eating out, hiking in the wilderness)?
13. What conflicts exist in your relationship (e.g. financial, emotional, etc.)? How do you two deal with these (talking, couple’s counseling)? How has that worked out?
14. How often do you two spend time alone together (once a week, every day, etc.)? How frequently do you two enjoy each other’s company?
15. What are your future plans (move in together, start a family, get married)?