For as long as I can remember having first experienced love I've had trouble finding a partner and building a strong relationship. More so, the only relationships I found, followed the pattern, that my partner was usually as desperate as I was to find a relationship, it was just a matter of days getting together and the relations rarely hold for longer than a few weeks.

Having been observing others I feel like what happens to me is different from what happens to others, as no matter how weird someone is in their looks or personality they at some point just get into a relationship, no matter if actively looking for it or not. Even those not actively looking to get into a relationship usually have more success in finding someone feeling attracted to them than I had while still desperately trying to find someone to get a relationship with.

For years I've been trying to figure out what the reason for this might be, and made it often a topic to talk about with my therapist. We came up with a lot of reasons that might be the source but due to trial and error behavior I figured out, most of them didn't have any impact on the outcome.

Talking about it with friends they usually tell me "Don't get so desperate finding the right one takes some time." And while I agree on that one, that's not my point. As to be clear about it, in my whole life, thinking back into the 5th/6th grade, I never got a love letter from anyone, despite everyone(!) else receiving them a few times. I never had a "date" with someone in my late teen age. It was always from the very beginning pointed out if I had an appointment with an girl I liked "This is just friendship, don't consider it a date." And even the recent years, people just keep pointing out if a relation to someone gets more intense, that I shouldn't expect anything but friendship from it.


Question

The fact that I have autism makes it difficult for me to conceal that I feel attracted to someone, probably making my attraction to them visible very early. And the way I experience attraction is from what I know way more intense for an autist than for an allist.

So I started wondering if this might be (as slowly I am running out of ideas what else might be the reason for this) the reason that I fail to make (almost?) everyone unable to feel romantic attraction towards me?

To be clear, this is just a yes/no question supported by some kind of evidence.


I removed the again, since commentator agreed with me: This is something I encountered cross countries and the observations I made were similar independent of the culture.

  • @Nygael: Yeh, I tried it back in the time when I was desperately looking for a relation. But there it was usually the same. We had a few dates (usually 2-3) before it turned out that ones interests just like out of a sudden turn into only friendship intentions. Same is true if I meet someone on a non online way. I am usually good in waking someones interest in me. I am kinda intellectual and am also good in making the stuff I am saying sounding interesting. But then after a time that's usually about one week there is a notable change in the way someone is approaching me. But why... – dhein Nov 6 at 13:48
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    At the close voters, could someone be so kind leaving me a comment, why it is unclear? Even the original post contained already the info of what I am asking for: This is supposed to be a simple yes/no question with some findings to to underline an answer. Dont know why so many readers of OP find this not clear enough. – dhein Nov 6 at 15:12
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    It's not an issue of being unclear, it's about what this stack is for. IPS is about addressing specific goals that can be accomplished through interpersonal skills. This question seems to just ask for commentary, and does not have a goal nor an interpersonal skill component. The answer to "could it be" is generally going to be yes, it's possible. So it's not that your question is unclear so much as that it is unclear what you are looking for that is on-topic with IPS.SE – Upper_Case Nov 6 at 17:22
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    Thank you for responding. However, I don't see that your question fits. Being in some way related to IPS is not enough. If you can express, clearly and directly, what in your question is the specific goal you want to achieve through applying interpersonal skills, then your question will almost certainly be reopened. "Is it possible that showing my attraction to someone makes being able to date them less likely" doesn't fit that standard, and so it does not fit the stack. You can bring your question to the sandbox for help making sure the question fits IPS policies. – Upper_Case Nov 7 at 16:42
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    Please don’t write answers in comments. It bypasses our quality measures by not having voting (both up and down) available on comments, as well as having other problems detailed on meta. Comments are for clarifying and improving the question; please don’t use them for other purposes. – ElizB Nov 9 at 21:00

No, displaying the fact that you feel attraction will not, by itself, drive someone away. In fact, this is how most people progress from a friendly relation to a romantic relation: by, somehow, expressing their attraction. Of course, they are all sorts of ways to express this, some offensive and some charming: the WAY it is expressed is the critical part (assuming mutual attraction), and plays a major role in whether or not your overtures are accepted or rejected.

However, if the person does not ALSO feel attracted to you, expressing your attraction WILL make them uncomfortable. And here is where, I suspect, your Autisim comes into play. Most people are able to "figure out", or at least "suspect", if someone is attracted to them, by picking up a hundred different subtle clues; posture, eye contact, words chosen.. etc.. Without the ability to pick up on these clues, you are at an extreme disadvantage in this area.

  • Could you maybe give some more insight on HOW the way it is expressed is critical? does this mean there might be some kind of fauxpas‘ that might lead to rejection? Or more like it is dependable on the person if it leads to rejection or not? – dhein Nov 8 at 19:50
  • @dhein From what I understand, in this as well as many matters the way its shown is as important as what is said. Much as one cannot expect a positive response for yelling at someone for doing a chore wrong as opposed to gently expressing how to do better. How one expresses their attraction to another is more important than expressing it. Saying it too bluntly too early will likely make others uncomfortable, and as you describe yourself as desperate this is possible. For most the right time and way to say this gently is somewhat natural. This may not be the case for someone with autism. – Vality Nov 8 at 22:47
  • @Vality yeh, thats why I am asking... for me all this feels like interactions taking place in a dimension not accessible for me :/ – dhein Nov 9 at 4:56
  • @dhein Generally what makes people uneasy is "not knowing". Like: Why is that guy staring at me? "What does he want from me"? "Why is he behaving differently from everyone else?" The best way, I've found, to avoid this, is to just be direct. I would also suggest, providing an "easy out", so that she won't have to be blunt about rejecting you, if she's not interested. – Glurth Nov 9 at 12:16
  • @Glurth: yeah, thats the same I have come up with for me. But my impression is that people still tempt to interpret something into my direct and literal wording what causes even more confusion on my end, as it feels so random what people might think I could mean with it, despite there is no additional info I intended to give. Thats by the way one of the main reasons leading to situations like the one having made me ask about OP thematics. – dhein Nov 9 at 12:42

I think I can relate with your feeling of desperately wanting a relationship from my high school days, I can tell you for sure you aren't the only one to see others and think it's so effortless for them to find a relationship but there was certainly work involved in getting it to that point though those efforts may not be easily seen. I don't think though that expressing attraction or a want to be in a relationship on its own would lead to rejection. As a rule of thumb I think you are always safe with masking your attraction enough to match the attraction the other person appears to be showing though if you still feel that is the problem.

A quick thing to note though, if the other person is not attracted to you and you choose to pursue them that could lead to them speaking up and rejecting your advances.

You also mention that usually a couple of weeks is the longest your relationships last once they've started, if you're expressing very strong emotions about them already a few weeks in that is probably a little early for serious signs of attraction. If they are still warming up to keeping your relationship going and you show that you're all in it can create a pressure for them to either come to their own decision, sometimes that pressure is enough for them to want to back out of the relationship.

Relationships do take time to figure out though, I'm in my late 20's and only now starting to figure out how to keep relationships going, so keep an eye out and don't be afraid to go for it when you find your chance but like your friends and family say, don't worry about it too much yet if it doesn't work out right away. If you can learn something from it it wasn't wasted effort.

  • Well for me the problem in a relationship is more like the first days, maybe even weeks, I start mirroring the behavior of the other person. Like frequency she wants to meet, amount of body contact kind of interactions. But then she starts reducing most of these aspects and I have trouble understanding and adjusting to that, so it starts being a vicious cycle me keeping with the contact she choose in the beginning, she feeling pressured and reducing it even more. But it makes no sense for me why someone reduces it if I just try to mirror that, if there is no other influence from something. – dhein Nov 7 at 7:13
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    @dhein I think some loss of excitement is normal after the newness of it wears off, that happens even for relationships that do last longer. Once the initial excitement wears off it can help a lot if you've established a shared interest in something. Maybe you both like talking about a certain show, or you both enjoy playing board games or a sport. That way you still have something left after the excitement to keep things going. With so many things people can take interest in though its going to take time to find the right person – BKlassen Nov 7 at 16:15
  • yeah, I heard that one often aswell. But this change usually happens after 1~2 weeks already, is that usual? – dhein Nov 8 at 13:52
  • @dhein I think it all depends, I've had a relationship where 2 weeks in the initial excitement had already worn thin, certainly I can't remember it ever lasting the full first month – BKlassen Nov 8 at 16:08
  • Huh... well to know, as it for me usually takes multiple months to wear off and as usual I tempt to assume others feel the same as I do rather than just default assume for everything „Its diferent for me cause.... autism...“ – dhein Nov 8 at 16:18

For someone who has autism these interactions are less accessible than for most people. And there is not really a simple solution, unfortunately. This isn't impossible, but a person on the spectrum may need to jump through a couple of hoops.

  1. You may need to get to know them fairly well first - long enough where you can either pick up on their cues more easily, or where they know you well enough to understand that their cues need to be more obvious. But, of course, that takes time.

  2. Another approach is to try to think of this process a lot less seriously. If you are open about your intentions, they may be put off by it; however, if you are open, but with some degree of humor about it, they will understand that it is not a big deal to either of you - and will feel free to reject you or laugh it off without worrying about opening up a whole can of awkwardness.

It may be a good idea to ask them out when you are having a fun conversation - for instance, you are both sitting there laughing at something, then at the end of the conversation, you go "Say, want to get a beer one of these days?" If they say yes, good. Suggest a time / place. If they say no or hesitate, say "hey, it's totally cool. No worries :)" Then leave to do your thing. Then later, say hi and have a normal conversation with them as though nothing happened (because really, nothing happened). This will let them know it's fine, and you are not obsessed with them. Do not bring it up again. Let them bring it up, if they feel like it.

Obviously that's just one abstract example of an interaction. But the point is, if you don't take it seriously, it takes a great deal of pressure away from both of you. In truth, most people like being liked. They just don't like the awkwardness that often goes with not liking someone back, or with the idea that someone is obsessed with them. If you remove that awkwardness, things get a lot more pleasant. However, you probably don't want to wait until you develop an obsession, since that will make it very difficult to have genuine humor about it. And, in both 1 and 2, you would need to actively interact with them first. Luckily, that is also true for most people - autism or not.

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