Decoding Dating, Chapter 1

Typically when you hear of disclosure in regards to Autism it is usually is in terms of employment. However, disclosure of Autism in regards to dating can be just as important and can cause many positive and negative results if one does decide to disclose. In the first chapter of “Decoding Dating”, John Miller gives his advice on  this topic.

There are a few  tips that Miller gives if one would decide to share this information. The first is to take your time until you get to know the other person and feel more comfortable.  Then it will be a good time to speak about living with autism. This is logical and sound advice, but figuring when a “good time” to speak about this can be very challenging for those with Autism because this isn’t specific and its very open-ended. I would suggest if you are thinking about disclosing this information that the best thing to do would be to communicate this  with a good friend or family member that you trust.  This person or person’s may be able to help guide you through when the appropriate time may be to tell the person you are dating.  Each situation is unique, but its probably not the best to disclose this information on the first or second date.

The second tip that Miller discusses is that people have distorted views and stereotypes about ASD. This results in the masses having misconceptions about what Autism is and isn’t. If you do disclose it would be a good idea to answer any questions the person has as well and ask what that person knows about Autism or Aspergers. This should be filed in the “easier said than done” category, but try to not be offended with what the person may ask or may tell you he/she knows about Autism. It is important to remember that the person you are dating may not know much about Autism prior to dating you so if they mention a stereotype about Autism you really dislike try to stay calm and listen what this person is saying. If the person you are dating is coming from a good place and truly cares about you then their questions will be based on learning about you and how they can help and better understand you.

A third tip is not just to tell the one your dating , “Guess what? I have Autism”.  It is important to come up with a  plan on what you are going to say when you disclose. Not to sound like a broken record, but talking to someone who you trust is helpful in this situation.  Either you figure out what you want to say and get some feedback or if your not sure ask someone you trust what they think you should say.

Miller concluded the chapter with what I thought was some outstanding advice: “If you decide to disclose, remember that what you are used to will be new to her.  Think of it as a learning process for her.  You need to be patient and understanding.  Answer her questions and concerns.  Disclose doesn’t absolve you from your responsibility to grow as an individual.”

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