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For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved love. From seeing all the people around me have it and watching it consistently on tv and in movies it’s all I’ve ever wanted. One might argue that these are neuronormative ideals pushed onto me, to want a relationship, a family etc. but for me it’s something I truly want and yet have been no where near as never even had a relationship.

Personally I feel dating these days is hard enough without being Autistic or otherwise ND but add my difficulties with social communication, my crippling anxiety that keeps me mostly house bound and my strong rejection sensitivity and that makes it near impossible for me to meet someone. And to see all those around me and around my age or even younger finding love, getting engaged, moving into houses or even starting a family that sense of jealousy and FOMO sinks in hard.

I can’t speak for all young people or all Autistic people but I find my options limited to meeting someone whilst going out (usually involving walking up to a stranger and starting a conversation) or meeting someone on a dating app (usually involving people only wanting one thing or being drawn to the most attractive). For the former, clubs, pubs, or wherever people meet is a no go because I don’t really have anyone to go with or can withstand the anxiety of going out to a busy social place, alongside the fact that walking up to a stranger to start a conversation is a personal hell, yet alone that the engagement isn’t friendly chit chat but an opportunity for my RSD to hit hard and publicly. For the latter, I’ve been on dating apps for years and never got past a proper second date with someone. Instead dating apps have introduced me to the painful world of ghosting and sudden blocks which once again trigger major RSD and increase my insecurities and low self esteem which in turn makes it harder to attract someone.

All signs point to me finding someone an impossibility. And, quite frankly, if I say this I am then bombarded with the classic: “don’t worry, you’ll meet someone some day” or “don’t look for it, it will find you” or “you’re young, you have plenty of time”. All of which invalidate my feelings and my desires. I am aware that we all move at our own paces and just because others at my age are in relationships doesn’t mean I have to be but at the same time when many of those, usually NT, people, point any of these things out they usually have the privilege of being able to get into relationships or date easily. Very few know the struggles of dating as a young Autistic person.

I’m not writing any of this for pity or to make myself seem like a victim of the modern dating world. I don’t know why I’m writing this. I’m simply fed up of being alone and feeling like no matter who I am or who I try to be I get hurt, I get rejected, I don’t get seen or wanted and after years and years of that believe me it takes it’s toll more than anyone can realise. Who knows what my future holds and if you’re older or younger than me and feeling the same then I hope this lets you know you’re not alone in this.

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