The average or neurotypical partners also need to learn coping and communication skills to understand their AS partners. They also may need emotional reassurance as they struggle to understand their partner's signals of commitment and caring. There is some indication that for some Aspies, long term relationships and people in their lives can be like features in the landscape, valued and relied upon for continuity and familiarity. That these “features” may need periodic or frequent emotional “care and feeding” may not occur to them. Some people with AS need explicit communication about when, where, and how to offer partner and relationship nurturing.
Rather than pressing for social and emotional conformity which may not serve these relationships, we should learn more about how individual people with Asperger’s Syndrome view their relationships, their partners, and their own experiences of sexuality and gender. Books and blogs on sex and relationships, written by people with Asperger's Syndrome, are only recently published and read.
More from YourTango: Said to the Rose
In the work I have done with people who present with significant Asperger's traits, or who have a diagnosis, I generally need to convey information about sexuality and relationships in an organized, sequential manner within a context - or even a script! - of learning social processes. This requires me to challenge my own assumptions about how relationships "should" be conducted. Many relationship elements that I assume are essential are not necessarily relevant to my clients. And everyone is different.
More from YourTango: Sex and Sensory Dysfunction
I have begun to think that all of us - neurotypical and neurodiverse alike - should create our own "operating manuals" to discuss with prospective lovers and partners. We could include all kinds of useful information, taking the sting of surprise from some issues and opening opportunities for communication that would otherwise have been closed. This might leave us free to construct meaningful frameworks for intimacy which serve us best. This may not sound very romantic to the average person, but it's a sensible approach that just might work.