Many neurodivergent clients I work with have shared with me that the idea of dating is terrifying. They feel nervous about holding their own in a conversation with someone they have just met, as most find small talk absolutely distasteful. They don’t know how to pick up romantic cues from the other person, and sexual relations pose entirely different challenges!
Dating is hard for everyone, but neurodivergent people have their specific challenges. And much of these stem from a childhood where they were bullied for being different. Neurodivergent people know the pain of rejection and often don’t want to put themselves “out there” for fear of being rejected all over again.
Here are some tips to help you feel more comfortable in your skin and in different social situations that come with dating.
Identify Your Sensory Triggers
Only you can really know yourself and understand what exhausts and overwhelms you. What level of stimulation can you handle and enjoy? What may cause a meltdown?
The more you know about your triggers, the more you can steer your dating experiences so they can be as successful as possible. For example, if noise exhausts and overwhelms you, then you may say something to a prospective date like, “I can’t really do concerts, but how about a picnic in the park during the afternoon?”
If you don’t know yourself, how can you share the important aspects of yourself with someone else?
Take the Time to Process Your Feelings
Most neurodivergent people are extremely sensitive, not only to environmental stimuli but also to emotions. Neurodivergents experience feelings and emotions in their unique way. And it can often be incredibly hard to put feelings into words. For this reason, you must give yourself the space and time to process your emotions. Just be sure to tell the person you are dating that your silence only means you are trying to communicate more clearly.
Get Dating Advice
There is no shame in having a dating coach in your corner who understands you and your unique challenges. I am a therapist specializing in helping neurodivergent people live and love to the fullest. I offer my clients a safe space to process their feelings and help them navigate those areas that can be tricky.
If you’d like to get more information on what it would be like to work with me, I invite you to give my office a call or drop me an email, whatever you’re more comfortable with.