Dating autism spectrum
Three speed-dating events were held, incorporating a total of 24 participants (18 male, 6 female), ranging from 18-30 years old. Participants went on 5-6 `dates' each lasting 5-minutes, with members of the opposite gender.After each date, participants rated their initial romantic attraction towards each partner.One of the diagnostic characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome is the development of a special interest that is unusual in terms of its focus or intensity.
Results from Social Relations Model (SRM) analyses suggest that initial attraction was a function of the actor, partner, and the unique relationship between the couple, with greatest factor, for men, being the actor and the greatest factor, for women, being the unique relationship between the couple.Teenagers with Asperger’s syndrome often are eager to understand and experience the social and relationship world of their peers, including romantic relationships and sexual experiences, but there can be problems regarding the source of information on relationships and sexuality.An adolescent with Asperger’s syndrome usually has few, if any, friends with whom he or she can discuss and be informed about relationship topics such as romantic or sexual feelings and the codes of sexual behaviour.The predisposition to develop a special interest can have other effects on the development of relationship knowledge.Special interests have many functions for people with Asperger’s syndrome, and one of these is to acquire knowledge to understand bewildering aspects of their experiences.
Findings suggest that initial romantic attraction for adults with ASD was positively associated with perceived similarity, ideal partner preferences, and dyadic reciprocity, negatively associated with generalized reciprocity, and not associated with actual similarity.