After an argument, someone on the spectrum isn't likely to initiate a resolution, making it difficult to dig out of the troughs that plague all relationships."Prior to my diagnosis, I used to always think that, one of these days, I'm going to wake up and I'm just going to be an adult, that I'm suddenly going to understand things.
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Finding the balance between planning and improvisation is easier said than done.
According to Maria-Niki Bardzakos, a life-skills specialist at Giant Steps Montreal, it can take years of training before becoming proficient.
Alex's success finding a mate, as opposed to Simkover's struggle, is not coincidental.
Certain qualities of people with ASDs, such as being very logical and straightforward, can be attractive.
Yet the daily challenges that people with ASDs face – interpreting non-verbal communication, engaging in unfamiliar topics of conversation and managing social anxiety – can be formidable obstacles.
"Sometimes I feel that girls see me as awkward and not suitable for dating," Simkover said.
So Simkover needs to prepare extensively for his dates, breaking down everything into a step-by-step process.
Any deviation from the plan, such as a last-minute change of venue, can be very stressful for people with ASDs, and he has had to learn to be spontaneous.
Before going out on a date, Todd Simkover runs through a mental checklist that he has worked hard to compile: Make sure the setting isn't too noisy. In reality, people on the spectrum covet intimacy as much as anyone; they just lack the tools to find it.