dating

thoughts on dating while autistic

Anonymous said to :

Hi! I’m autistic, and I’ve never dated anyone, although I have been asked out before. Truthfully, I’m terrified of dating or being in a relationship, because I’m almost 18 and I’ve never even kissed anyone before, and I’m embarrassed!

I’m a pretty attractive girl and very good at hiding my autism, so people are interested in me at first, until I totally mess up flirting because of my social awkwardness.

Can you tell me what dating/relationships are like, so I know what to expect/how to act? thanks!

realsocialskills said:

I can’t answer this directly because dating and relationships are different for everyone. They aren’t about scripts; they’re about building something with another person that works for both of you. I don’t know what they will be like for you. That is something that you will figure out as you get more experience.

But I can tell you some related things:

It’s ok to be embarrassed. Figuring out dating is embarrassing for most people. That doesn’t mean that you can’t date or have relationships. It just means that you will be embarrassed sometimes.

Flirting is at least sort of embarrassing even when it’s working. Figuring out whether or not someone is interested in you is at least somewhat embarrassing for almost everyone. Flirting is a way to make the process of figuring it out more pleasant than embarrassing.

Flirting effectively is a bit like learning to play the violin — just like initial attempts to play the violin sound terrible, initial attempts to learn how to flirt tend to be acutely embarrassing. That’s ok. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. It just means that there’s a learning curve.

Also — it’s not unusual to be 17 and not have kissed anyone yet. Sometimes the way people talk about teenagers can make it sound like everyone is dating and having sex, but it’s not true. Some people are, and some people aren’t. Both are ok. A lot of people your age haven’t kissed anyone. And the people who are kissing others also get embarrassed and unsure of themselves.

(It would also be ok even if it was unusual. It’s ok if some things are harder or take longer for you than they do for most people.)

Many of the skills involved in romantic relationships are the same skills involved in friendship. And one of the most important skills involved in friendship is figuring out how to tell whether you like someone, and whether they like you.

Figuring out whether you like someone can be hard for a lot of autistic people. Among other reasons, a lot of us are taught that we have to be friends with anyone who will tolerate our company. That’s not how dating works and it’s not how friendship works either.

If you don’t like someone, you shouldn’t date them. If you don’t like spending time with someone, you shouldn’t date them. If you’re hoping that they will change dramatically, you shouldn’t date them. It’s only a good idea to date someone if you like them and enjoy their company as they are now. You can’t build a good relationship with an imaginary person.

Similarly, it’s important to only date people who like you. People who are hoping that you will change, or who want you to act nonautistic all the time, are not people who like you.

You can’t become nonautistic to please people who find autism repellant, and you aren’t going to be able to hide autism from them forever. It always becomes noticeable sooner or later, because autism affects you and your experiences and impairments matter. You are who you are, and your disability is part of that. And that’s ok, because disabled people can date, and we can do it well.

The most important thing to know about dating and relationships is that, in good relationships, the people involved like and respect each other. Respecting and liking yourself is an important part of learning to build a mutually respectful relationship. Liking yourself helps you to like others; and to tell whether others like you. Respecting yourself helps you to learn to treat others respectfully; and to understand whether or not the ways others are treating you are ok.

From the way you phrased your ask, I think that you might be having a lot of trouble feeling ok about yourself as an autistic person. I think that it would help you a lot to work on understanding that it’s ok to be autistic, and that you can be a fabulous autistic human being.

It sounds to me that you think that you have to pass as non-autistic to be dateable. You don’t have to do that. Autism doesn’t prevent kissing and it doesn’t prevent love.

A lot of autistic people struggle to feel worthy of love and friendship. A lot of us feel repulsive a lot of the time. We’re often made to feel that our thoughts, feelings, interests, and body language are disgusting flaws. But they are not. We’re ok. Being autistic is ok.

We are beautiful. The way we look and the way we move and the way we think is beautiful. Autistic beauty is real, and there are people in the world who appreciate it.

We are often taught that, unless we learn to pretend that we’re normal, no one will ever like us. (That’s the basic message of the Social Thinking curriculum, for instance). We’re also often taught that we’re not allowed to make mistakes. A lot of us feel like every time we make a social mistake, it’s showing that we’re deeply flawed and hopelessly unworthy.

That makes dating really hard, because everyone makes acutely embarrassing social mistakes as they learn how to date. (And often even after they have a lot of experience.). It sounds to me like you might feel like you have to earn the right to date by never making any embarrassing mistakes. You don’t. If that was the standard, no one would ever be able to date. It’s ok to be fallible and embarrassed and unsure of things. You’re ok.

There are people who will appreciate your beauty. There are people who will find you attractive. There are people who will love you.

You can learn how to date, and you can do it as yourself.

Disability acceptance for partners

Anonymous said to :

Hi, my boyfriend is autistic on the Aspergers spectrum and I don’t know what to do when he’s overloaded. I just really want to help him calm down again.

Is there any advice you can give me?

realsocialskills said:

There’s a lot of things that could be going on. I don’t know you or your boyfriend, so I can’t really tell you much that’s specific to your situation.

I think it’s possible that you may be taking too much responsibility for your boyfriend’s overload. If so, it would be better for both of you if you let it go a bit.

There’s a narrative in the media that’s common, and destructive, that goes like this:

  • Disabled person (usually a man) can’t function
  • He meets an amazing person (usually a woman), and they get involved romantically
  • Through the transformative power of love, he is healed
  • Then either he stops being disabled or his attitude changes in a way that means disability no longer matters in any significant way

Sometimes this goes along with another trope, “the only disability in life is a bad attitude”.

  • People who buy into that trope believe that disability only matters if they let it matter.
  • And they disability can be ~overcome~ by positive thinking and not being bitter.

For disabled people, this narrative pressures us to pretend that disability doesn’t matter. Or to make it stop mattering through sheer force of will. For people who love us, it creates pressure to fix everything and make disability irrelevant through the power of love and support. In real life, neither of those things work.

In real life, disability matters no matter what people think about it and no matter how much others love them. Having a good attitude can make life better; it can’t make disability irrelevant. Love can make life better; it can’t make disability irrelevant either. Disability goes deep, and it affects a lot of areas of life. And sometimes things are hard.

Part of being a good partner to an autistic person is accepting that autism is going to matter. No matter how wonderful you are, you’re not going to be able to stop autism from mattering.

I don’t know what’s going on with your boyfriend and his overload. I do know that, for many autistic people, overload is an inevitable fact of life. Sometimes, it’s the price of admission for doing certain things we care about. Overload is not always something you can prevent or fix. Sometimes the decisions get complicated.

Your boyfriend is the one who is responsible for figuring out how he wants to approach overload. He is the one who needs to decide which risks are worth taking, which are worth avoiding, and how he wants to handle it when he is overloaded. You can’t protect him from this.

You might be able to help with some of it some of the time. Many autistic people like certain kinds of support in dealing with overload, for instance:

  • Having someone else pay attention to signs of imminent overload and point them out
  • Being reminded that leaving is an option
  • Being reminded that it’s ok to be autistic in public and that they can stay if they want
  • Help leaving an overloading place
  • Being left alone and having someone else run interference to keep other people from trying to intervene
  • Having a stim toy handed to them
  • Knowing that people they’re with aren’t going to try to stop the overload and will leave them alone
  • Water
  • Help finding a quiet place to go
  • Being able to hold someone’s hand
  • And any number of other things

Note that many of these things are mutually exclusive. Autistic people have wildly different needs and preferences around handling overload. I don’t know what your boyfriend needs or wants; that’s for him to determine.

The only way to find out what your boyfriend wants you to do when he gets overloaded is to ask him, and to listen to what he says.

  • It’s worth having this conversation when he’s not overloaded and is able to communicate readily.
  • It’s also important to listen to what he says when he’s overloaded, even if it contradicts what he’s said before (unless he told you beforehand not to)
  • The question shouldn’t be “How can I calm you down?”, because that might not be possible or something he wants.
  • The question should be something like “When we’re together and you get overloaded, how do you want me to react?”
  • It’s ok if he doesn’t want to have an intimate discussion about overload, and it’s ok if he doesn’t want your help.
  • But you do need to know what he wants you to do in that situation, and so it’s ok and important to ask.

tl;dr Autism acceptance is important for partners of autistic people too. You can’t fix everything or make autism stop mattering. Sometimes things are going to be hard for us no matter what you do. Whether we want help, and the kind of help we want, varies from person to person. If you want to know, it’s important to ask.

Responding to desexualization without hurting others

Content note: This post is about ableism and desexualization of adults with disabilities. It is highly likely to be triggering to some people who have experienced degrading desexualization, as well as to some people who have been sexually assaulted or otherwise had people violate their sexual boundaries.

Anonymous said to :

As an autistic person I often feel desexualised, and I don’t like it but I feel sorta uncomfortable stating it for some reason? How should I like, deal with this and enforce my sexuality without making people uncomfortable?

realsocialskills said:

This gets really complicated.

Being desexualized is awful, and it’s also really hard to talk about without sounding like you feel entitled to sexual or romantic attention from other people. Especially when you’re talking to people who’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of intrusive sexual attention and who aren’t aware that desexualization also happens and is also a problem.

Another complication is that many adults really are asexual or aromantic. That’s an ok way to be, and it’s important to acknowledge that those people exist and aren’t broken. Objecting to desexualization does not mean objecting to asexual people.

People who desexualize adults with disabilities in these ways aren’t recognizing asexual adulthood; they’re denying disabled adulthood and expressing it in sexual terms. (And this denial of adulthood expressed in sexual terms also hurts asexual adults).

I think that desexualization is when people refuse to acknowledge or respect some basic things:

  • That you’ve reached adulthood or you are a teenager
  • That you’re as likely as anyone else your age to experience romantic and sexual attraction
  • That if you are experiencing sexual and/or romantic attraction, it’s as significant and important as attraction anyone else experiences
  • If you want to, it’s completely appropriate for you to act on your sexual and romantic feelings (either with yourself or consenting other people)
    • You have the same right to physical, sexual, and emotional boundaries as anyone else

    People who desexualize you might treat you inappropriately in group dynamics, eg:

    • By assuming that you will never have a crush on anyone in your friend group
    • By assuming that you don’t date for real and will always be available to go to couple’s events with someone who is caught without a partner at the last minute
    • By saying things like “I hate men/women/whoever. You’re so lucky you don’t have to deal with dating them.“
    • Or like “It’s so great to talk to you about this stuff. I’m so tired of how everyone else is making the group awkward with their dating drama.”
    • Or venting to you about how hard it is for them to find a partner without considering that you might share this frustration, and that it’s probably harder for you than it is for them
    • Or making jokes about how you’re their ~boyfriend~/~girlfriend~, ignoring the possibility that you might want to be someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend and that you might, in fact, be attracted to them.

    People who desexualize you also sometimes don’t observe appropriate sexual boundaries, eg:

    • Assuming that rules of modesty don’t apply to you
    • Undressing in front of you (in a community in which it would normally be considered inappropriate for someone of their age and gender to undress in from of someone of your age and gender)
    • Touching you in ways that are considered inappropriately intimate in your social circles for people who are not romantically or sexually involved
    • Adopting suggestive poses or being inappropriately close (eg: by having their breasts or crotch way too close to your face)
    • (The rules of acceptable nudity, physical contact, and closeness are different in different cultures, and that’s fine. What’s not fine is having established rules of modesty/boundaries but ignoring them when interacting with disabled people)

    It’s ok to be angry about this kind of thing, and it’s ok to insist that people knock it off and treat you with more respect. It’s ok to expect people to respect your maturity, your romantic and sexual capacity, and your physical and emotional boundaries.

    For instance, it’s ok to say “I’m a grown man; you shouldn’t be changing in front of me,” or “I’m not your girlfriend; stop touching me like that,” or “I don’t want to go to that event with you unless it’s a real date,” or “I don’t like it when you make jokes about dating me,” or “I get crushes too you know.” This will probably make some people uncomfortable; and that’s ok. You don’t have to do all of the emotional labor of making social interactions comfortable; it’s ok to have boundaries even when other people don’t like them. It’s also ok to insist that people acknowledge and respect your age even if they’d rather see you as a child.

    It’s ok to be angry about people treating you badly in areas related to sexuality, and it’s ok to insist that they knock it off. It’s ok to be upset when you’re single and don’t want to be, and it’s ok to be upset about the role that ableism is playing in making it hard to find someone.

    It’s also important to be careful that this doesn’t turn into anger at people for having sexual boundaries of their own. It can easy for some people to become confused about this when start realizing that it’s ok to have sexual feelings, and not ok that others treat you as though your disability means your sexuality doesn’t count. If you’ve been treated as outside of legitimate sexuality for your whole life, you likely have missed opportunities to learn about consent and appropriate sexual and romantic interactions. That’s not your fault; it is your responsibility to address. Being the object of discrimination does not give you a free pass to violate other people’s boundaries, even if you’re not doing it on purpose.

    It’s important to keep in mind that no one is obligated to date you, sleep with you, allow you to touch them, consider dating you, justify their lack of interest in dating you, or anything else like that. (And that it’s not ok to hit on people if you’re in a position of power over them).

    You’re human, so it’s likely that you’re having some less-than-ideal feelings about this stuff some of the time. You might feel jealous, or upset, or even angry at people who haven’t really done anything wrong. (Because they’re dating visibly and you’re lonely, or because you asked them out and they said no, or other things like that which can hurt to see but aren’t their fault.) It’s ok if you’re feeling that way; you don’t have to have superhuman control of your feelings to treat people well. What’s important is that you don’t feed it, and that you don’t act on it.

    In particular, it’s important not to cultivate offense when people you’re interested in dating aren’t interested in you. That leads nowhere good. (eg: I got an ask about how to stand up to a person who was using disability as an excuse to grope people a while back.)

    Rejection sucks, and it sucks more when you’re already really lonely, and it sucks even more when you know that ableism is probably a major factor in why some people you’re attracted to aren’t interested. It can be really tempting when things are that hard to take offense. It’s important to stay aware that people who reject you aren’t wronging you, and to find constructive ways to deal with it that don’t involve contempt for the people you’re attracted to. (In particular, stay away from pick up artist communities. Adopting that worldview makes it much harder to learn about good consent and have respectful relationships).

    It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s ok for you to be sexual and to express interest in dating people. (Even if you encounter people who are profoundly uncomfortable with the idea of disabled people having and acting on sexual and romantic feelings. Those people are wrong.) Your sexuality is not ever the problem. (It’s possible sometimes that things you’re doing might be a problem, but having a sexuality is never a problem in itself.)

    In particular - if you ask someone out or hit on them and they say no, that doesn’t mean that you did something wrong. It just means that they aren’t interested. Asking people who turn out not to be interested is ok; asking is how you find out. You don’t have to be a mindreader in order for it to be ok to ask someone out.

    All of this can be really, really hard to navigate. I hope some of this helped.

    tl;dr Disabled adults and teenagers are often treated like children. People often express this in sexualized terms by assuming that disabled adults are all incapable of legitimate sexual expression. It’s awful to be on the receiving end of that. It’s also hard to talk about or object to effectively. Scroll up for more thoughts on how to navigate this.

    if you don’t have a date for prom

    Anonymous asked:

    How to cope with not having a date at prom? Everyone else has someone to go with but I don’t even have anyone to ask out. I feel that I will just stand in a corner while my friends and class mates will have their own company.

    realsocialskills said:

    I’m sorry you’re having to deal with that.

    I think that you’re probably not as alone as you feel. Dating is hard, and it can be especially hard when you are young. Finding people to ask out doesn’t always happen on a schedule, even if seasonal events like prom mean you’re surrounded with messages that tell you that it should. It doesn’t always work out that way, though. It’s not just you. It’s that this stuff isn’t easy and the reality isn’t like the cultural mythology.

    It’s also worth realizing that it’s ok if you don’t want to date, or if you don’t want to date yet. Some people aren’t ever interested in dating. Some people are eventually interested in dating, but aren’t ready in high school. Some people need some time to mature before they’re ready to date. Some people don’t have so much of an emotional or social peer group in high school, and so don’t meet anyone they want to date. Some people have a sexual orientation or gender that is stigmatized in their high school in a way that makes dating exhausting to even consider. Some people are still figuring out their sexuality or gender and don’t want to date while they’re struggling with it. 

    All of those things are common, and normal. So are any number of other reasons you might not want to date. If you don’t want to date, or don’t want to date now, that’s completely fine. I don’t know whether or not you want to date now; only you know that. It’s worth realizing that either answer is fine, and that it’s also ok if you’re not sure. 

    You’re probably not the only one at your school who doesn’t have a date for prom. Unless your school is tiny, there are almost certainly several other people at your school who don’t have dates either. You’re definitely not the only one in your state, and there will be any number of people online during prom who didn’t have dates either. When the culture tells you that you should have a date, not having one can feel like a failure, but it’s not. All it means is that you don’t have a date. It doesn’t reflect poorly on you. These things happen.

    There are some options for how you might deal with this:

    You don’t have to go to prom if you don’t want to:

    • Prom doesn’t have to be important
    • Nothing awful will happen if you don’t go
    • If you think you won’t enjoy it without a date, it’s completely ok to do something else instead
    • If you decide not to go to prom, it might be a good idea to plan what you’re going to do instead
    • That will raise the chances of enjoying the night rather than dwelling on the fact that you’re not at prom
    • (Eg: You could go to a movie, make a cake, have a party with friends or family who aren’t prom-aged, go to a concert, check out a store, etc)

    Asking your friends to set you up with someone:

    • If you have friends who you trust, it might be worth asking if there’s anyone they can set you up with for prom
    • There’s a good chance that they will know someone
    • Going to prom with someone doesn’t have to mean that you’re dating them
    • Or that you’re particularly into them
    • It can just mean that you’re both going to an event together and attempting to enjoy the event and one another’s company
    • (It’s not such a good idea to do this if you don’t have friends you trust; some people use this situation as a way to be cruel)

    Going without a date and enjoying the other aspects:

    • Some people go to prom without a date
    • You probably won’t be the only one
    • People don’t spend the entire night glued to their dates 
    • (especially since a lot of people go with people they’re not actually dating in order to have someone to go with)
    • Going without a date doesn’t mean that you’ll spend the evening alone
    • If you have friends you like who enjoy your company, they’ll still be your friends at prom, and you’ll still get to spend time with them
    • If you want to do the rituals like dressing up and taking pictures and eating the fancy food and celebrating the end of school, you can enjoy all of those aspects of the event even without a date

    Have an escape plan and distractions:

    • If you have a phone, bring it
    • You can use your phone as a distraction if the night is miserable
    • You can also use it to take breaks
    • If you get overwhelmed and upset, you might be able to take a break, distract yourself with a phone game or Tumblr, then go back in and enjoy things
    • It’s also ok if you need to leave. You don’t have to stay if it turns out the evening is miserable
    • If you have the option of driving yourself, or otherwise having access to transportation you control, do it that way
    • If you know that you can leave if you need to, it can also make it more likely that you will enjoy it and not feel trapped

    Go to or throw an after party:

    • Prom often isn’t just about the official part; it can also be about parties that happen afterwards
    • If you like parties, you’ll probably enjoy them even if you don’t have a date
    • And you don’t necessarily have to go to prom to go to a party
    • And even if you go and hate the actual prom part, you can decide that the party is the main part and enjoy that
    • You also might be able to throw a party after, if you have friends who would be interested in going.

    tl;dr: If you don’t have a date for prom, you are not alone. You might feel like the only one, but it’s actually fairly common. You have options for what to do on prom night. Scroll up for concrete suggestions.

    jasleh:

    if you don’t have a date for prom

    realsocialskills:

    realsocialskills:

    Anonymous said to :

    How to cope with not having a date at prom? Everyone else has someone to go with but I don’t even have anyone to ask out. I feel that I will just stand in a corner while my friends and class mates will have their own company.

    realsocialskills said:

    jasleh said:

    I took a book to prom and called it my date

    Really, I only went because so many people told me I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t go. (I seriously doubt that.)

    All in all, it was loud and boring (even with a book) and there was no way to leave early. If I had to do it over again I wouldn’t go. I didn’t go my senior year.

    not sure if any of that’s helpful… but that’s what I did.

    if you don't have a date for prom

    genderhawk:

    realsocialskills:

    Anonymous said to :

    How to cope with not having a date at prom? Everyone else has someone to go with but I don’t even have anyone to ask out. I feel that I will just stand in a corner while my friends and class mates will have their own company.

    realsocialskills said:

    I’m sorry you’re having to deal with that.

    I think that you’re probably not as alone as you feel. Dating is hard, and it can be especially hard when you are young. Finding people to ask out doesn’t always happen on a schedule, even if seasonal events like prom mean you’re surrounded with messages that tell you that it should. It doesn’t always work out that way, though. It’s not just you. It’s that this stuff isn’t easy and the reality isn’t like the cultural mythology.

    It’s also worth realizing that it’s ok if you don’t want to date, or if you don’t want to date yet. Some people aren’t ever interested in dating. Some people are eventually interested in dating, but aren’t ready in high school. Some people need some time to mature before they’re ready to date. Some people don’t have so much of an emotional or social peer group in high school, and so don’t meet anyone they want to date. Some people have a sexual orientation or gender that is stigmatized in their high school in a way that makes dating exhausting to even consider. Some people are still figuring out their sexuality or gender and don’t want to date while they’re struggling with it. 

    All of those things are common, and normal. So are any number of other reasons you might not want to date. If you don’t want to date, or don’t want to date now, that’s completely fine. I don’t know whether or not you want to date now; only you know that. It’s worth realizing that either answer is fine, and that it’s also ok if you’re not sure. 

    You’re probably not the only one at your school who doesn’t have a date for prom. Unless your school is tiny, there are almost certainly several other people at your school who don’t have dates either. You’re definitely not the only one in your state, and there will be any number of people online during prom who didn’t have dates either. When the culture tells you that you should have a date, not having one can feel like a failure, but it’s not. All it means is that you don’t have a date. It doesn’t reflect poorly on you. These things happen.

    There are some options for how you might deal with this:

    You don’t have to go to prom if you don’t want to:

    • Prom doesn’t have to be important
    • Nothing awful will happen if you don’t go
    • If you think you won’t enjoy it without a date, it’s completely ok to do something else instead
    • If you decide not to go to prom, it might be a good idea to plan what you’re going to do instead
    • That will raise the chances of enjoying the night rather than dwelling on the fact that you’re not at prom
    • (Eg: You could go to a movie, make a cake, have a party with friends or family who aren’t prom-aged, go to a concert, check out a store, etc)

    Asking your friends to set you up with someone:

    • If you have friends who you trust, it might be worth asking if there’s anyone they can set you up with for prom
    • There’s a good chance that they will know someone
    • Going to prom with someone doesn’t have to mean that you’re dating them
    • Or that you’re particularly into them
    • It can just mean that you’re both going to an event together and attempting to enjoy the event and one another’s company
    • (It’s not such a good idea to do this if you don’t have friends you trust; some people use this situation as a way to be cruel)

    Going without a date and enjoying the other aspects:

    • Some people go to prom without a date
    • You probably won’t be the only one
    • People don’t spend the entire night glued to their dates
    • (especially since a lot of people go with people they’re not actually dating in order to have someone to go with)
    • Going without a date doesn’t mean that you’ll spend the evening alone
    • If you have friends you like who enjoy your company, they’ll still be your friends at prom, and you’ll still get to spend time with them
    • If you want to do the rituals like dressing up and taking pictures and eating the fancy food and celebrating the end of school, you can enjoy all of those aspects of the event even without a date

    Have an escape plan and distractions:

    • If you have a phone, bring it
    • You can use your phone as a distraction if the night is miserable
    • You can also use it to take breaks
    • If you get overwhelmed and upset, you might be able to take a break, distract yourself with a phone game or Tumblr, then go back in and enjoy things
    • It’s also ok if you need to leave. You don’t have to stay if it turns out the evening is miserable
    • If you have the option of driving yourself, or otherwise having access to transportation you control, do it that way
    • If you know that you can leave if you need to, it can also make it more likely that you will enjoy it and not feel trapped

    Go to or throw an after party:

    • Prom often isn’t just about the official part; it can also be about parties that happen afterwards
    • If you like parties, you’ll probably enjoy them even if you don’t have a date
    • And you don’t necessarily have to go to prom to go to a party
    • And even if you go and hate the actual prom part, you can decide that the party is the main part and enjoy that
    • You also might be able to throw a party after, if you have friends who would be interested in going.

    tl;dr: If you don’t have a date for prom, you are not alone. You might feel like the only one, but it’s actually fairly common. You have options for what to do on prom night. Scroll up for concrete suggestions.

    Does anyone else want to weigh in? How did you handle not having a date for prom?

    genderhawk said:

    When I went to my last prom, I did it in a group that consisted of 4 singles and 1 couple and I had a blast…

    Everyone who wore a dress + me got ready together and then the other two arrived and the couple went out for a private dinner and the singles all went out for our own dinner, then we met back up at the event.

    Even my friends who were in a romantic relationship and who went together didn’t spend the whole night together, i danced with them in groups or 1:1 and we talked and laughed and took pictures together…

    it was a great time.

    not a date

    Anonymous said to :

    I have a coworker who enjoys many of the same things I do, like superhero movies. They’re male and I’m female. How do I ask them to go see the next superhero movie with me and make it not seem like a date? I’m romantically involved already and I don’t want there to be confusion, but there’s nobody else to invite to make it a group thing.


    realsocialskills said:


    You could say explicitly that it’s not a date. I feel like that’s awkward and probably not what people usually do, though. (Not sure why; it seems like it should be the default way of handling this, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t.)


    I think it might work to mention your partner. Maybe along these lines?:

    • “Hey, that new superhero movie is coming out, and my partner hates those. You want to go see it?”

    Anyone else want to weigh in? How do you make it clear that something isn’t a date?

    Detecting flirting

    Anonymous said:

    Do you have any advice for figuring out if someone is flirting with you?


    realsocialskills said:


    I’m actually really terrible at this. Someone else will probably have better advice.


    Here are some things I think I know about flirting:

    • If you’re blushing more than usual and it’s not out of shame, that’s a sign that flirting might be occurring
    • Someone who is complimenting you a lot might be flirting with you
    • Particularly if the compliments are on either your appearance or general qualities
    • Eg: Someone who says you are really smart or really pretty a lot might be flirting with you
    • Someone who says specific compliments on specific things is less likely to be flirting (eg: “I really like working with you because you cut through the layers of corporate speak to find the actual assignments” is less likely to be flirting than something like “I’m so happy to see you! You really brighten my day!”)
    • There’s a kind of flirting that is done with eye contact. It involves briefer glances than usual, then looking away, then looking back. I don’t know how to describe it well, but it’s a major component of flirting for a lot of people.

    People who are flirting don’t necessarily mean anything by it:

    • Some people only flirt with people they’re actually interested in dating (or being sexual with)
    • Some people flirt a lot, for fun, with people they aren’t particularly interested in dating
    • I don’t understand why people do this, and I’m not totally sure how to tell the difference.
    • (One way to tell the difference is that some people flirt who flirt for fun do it with people who are obviously orientation-incompatible, eg: a gay man flirting with a straight man; a straight woman flirting with women. That’s not totally reliable though, especially since someone’s orientation is often not what you think it is)
    • People who flirt in the presence of their partner usually are doing it for the sake of enjoying flirting. Flirting in this context is usually not for the sake of dating or sex. (This is not necessarily the case for polyamorous people.)

    Anyone else want to weigh in? What do you do when you’re flirting? How do you tell if someone is flirting with you? And how do you tell the difference between fun-flirting and serious flirting?

    So I fell in love. I had a very clear idea about the temporariness and ubiquity of it. And I liked that version where it’s special because of how it makes you feel but not-so-special because it often reaches an end, nevertheless its memory intact and treasured. Until, I fell in love. The guy lives in an other city and so we tried but he ended it because it was just ‘impractical’; very less chances of us every meeting. I get it. It was the right decision. But I can’t get over it. He is my THE ONE
    realsocialskills said:
     
    He’s not your The One. He is not yours. He is his, and he does not want to be in a relationship with you.
      
    It sounds like you think that this man is the only person you can ever possibly love in that way. I don’t think that’s true. He’s probably not the one exception to your general principle that you should avoid getting too attached. It sounds to me like you found out through getting close to this guy that you actually do like to fall in love and be attached. It sounds like you found out that you want something different than you thought you wanted, but that you’re treating this as something you found out about your ex rather than something you found out about yourself.
        
    Breakups are usually awful, and they are particularly painful when you really love someone and wish you could still be with them. It’s normal to feel awful because a relationship ended that you wanted to continue. It doesn’t mean you’ll always feel this bad, or that you can never feel this way about anyone else. This is survivable, and it gets better.
       
    Push come to shove, being with someone who doesn’t want you anymore is a lot worse than being alone. It’s corrosive. It wears you down. You can’t make him want to continue the relationship, but you can get past this and find someone else who does want to be with you.
       
    You learned something important about yourself from this relationship. You learned that you can fall in love, and value a relationship enough to care about it lasting. That’s a good thing to know about yourself. It will make it much easier in the future.