The dating life of teens with Asperger’s Disorder is rather limited if not nonexistent. While they have the same wants and desires as any teen, their social deficits prevent them from dating. Teens and adults report that they cannot tell if someone is rejecting them politely or flirting to show interest. An adolescent boy with Asperger’s Disorder may pursue a girl until her parents have to put a stop to it because he does not understand her polite attempts to tell him she is not interested. Others miss out on opportunities to ask for a date because they cannot recognize signs of interest.
The social skills of the adult world and the dating world are much more subtle than the skills they used during childhood and adolescence, and many adults with Asperger’s Disorder describe that instead of getting easier in adulthood, dating actually becomes more difficult. Other than knowing not to ask out a married person or someone in a relationship, they do not know how to judge who is an appropriate choice for a date. While many Asperger’s Disorder adults do date, a large percentage has never dated.
Once dating begins, the difficulty Asperger’s Disorder teens and adults have with expressing emotions and sharing feelings is a barrier to advancing beyond dating. Loneliness and depression often emerge in the young adult years as the result of the inability to date and establish a close relationship.