[Discrediting The Myth]
One of the most common and wrong misconceptions about people diagnosed with ASD is that they are not interested in romantic and sexual relationships, that people on the autism spectrum have no interest regarding human interaction that involves social and communication skills. It is very wrong. We cannot generalize the population of people with autism to be incapable of love and intimacy.
They Too Are Humans, So They Too Have Desires
“Humans are complex and all of us experience emotions like anger and sadness, so it’s very normal that at some point in the relationship, you will disagree with your partner.” Maryann W. Mathai, LPCC, LMHC, LPC, NCC. Like humans, they too desire the basic yet complex human needs which are to love and be loved. Their sometimes inability to show affection does not in any way equate to having no desire for it. They may lack the social skills to interact with people, but it does not mean that they lack interest in socializing. These are misguided stereotypes about people with autism that should be stopped as it does not generalize the entire spectrum. They too are attracted physically, intellectually, and emotionally.
Capability To Love
People belonging to the autism spectrum are capable of love, intimacy, and romantic relationships. It may not come as natural to them, it is possible, but it takes time for them to develop and learn the confidence and social skills needed for them to find and maintain these kinds of relationships. Though the stress and sense of rejection involved in the attempt to find a romantic partner are hard for them to handle, it is unquestionably not impossible for them to feel the desire and the capability to love. “Acknowledging our own capacity for violence—toward ourselves and others—is the beginning of change for all.” A reminder from Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT
We Fear For Them, Can We Not Be Happy For Them?
“Fear makes us feel alive and know we are stepping outside our comfort zones, which is exciting,” says Steve Orma, PsyD, a clinical psychologist. Everyone fears the vulnerability that comes with loving someone. We often tend to create illusions that would satisfy our what seems to be endless internal struggles that usually revolve around the idea of losing that special someone we care for and love. It is not just true for people on the autism spectrum, but a big and great deal for them as it encompasses a more heightened sense of fear. People with autism may know what they think and feel about someone they love, but often are unaware of how others feel or think about them.
People with autism may find it difficult to interpret the love that they receive, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy it. They too yearn for the satisfaction of being loved and cared for. While some may dislike the physical contact and the minimized personal space, some can be affectionate, too, when in a relationship. Sometimes, it is difficult for them to express their feelings towards their romantic partners but it does not mean they lack the affection towards their partners. They would often rely on words to communicate their love and affection.
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Love comes unexpectedly and mysteriously. People with autism are not exempted from the devastation and the euphoria that love may bring about. They too can fall victim to the strange and crazy little thing called love. They are capable of loving, to those that can manage to enter and break through the high and strong walls they have built to guard themselves. And as people say, love transcends all differences and spectrums of life.