Autism and Flirting


Flirting makes me seriously uncomfortable. Why? Probably because I am autistic and can’t actually tell when most people are flirting, unless they say something blunt like “I want to do you” (which has happened to me, I guess I didn’t catch their subtler hints or something so they decided to just go for it…sadly, it didn’t work for them).

Anyhow, back to the subject of flirting, whenever a male stares at me for uncomfortable amounts of time or keeps flashing me smiles, I do wonder if they are flirting or if they are just being outgoing and friendly. I really don’t know the difference. It puts me in a rough spot, because as a happily married woman, if they are genuinely flirting, I don’t want to encourage their attention or make them think I’m interested in return, but I also don’t want to be rude or mean if they are just being friendly. I also don’t want to seem presumptuous by assuming someone is flirting with me if that is not their intention.

For me, this issue of being oblivious to what the opposite sex wants has been lifelong. Even before I was married, I never really thought anyone was interested in me unless someone told me they were. Even then, I often thought they were joking. Sometimes not taking it seriously or not recognizing flirting got me into some awkward situations, or made people think I was interested back simply because I was kind to them, which then meant I had to hurt their feelings and let them down, which I hated. I know this all may seem weird to non-autistic folks, but I wonder how many Aspies can relate to my experiences?

*Art by Maranda Russell

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Hi! I am an artist, author, and blogger who also happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome. I have won several awards and honors for my writings and artwork. I suffer from a few severe mental illness and chronic pain conditions (Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, CFS/ME, Ehlers Danlos, Degenerative Disc Disease, etc.), which greatly affects my life and makes me want to advocate for others going through similar things. Other interests of mine include reading, writing, drawing, watching cartoons and movies, collecting toys, hanging out with my family, and annoying my 3 cats.

11 thoughts on “Autism and Flirting”

  1. As an Aspie, ditto to this! I definitely don’t/can’t flirt and I’m sure I wouldn’t recognize someone’s flirting with me either, unless they made it comically obvious. I’m mostly resigned to the fact that if and when I do enter into a relationship that lasts, it will have to arise somewhat organically out of a friendship that already exists in some form (though other dangers lie here). So it’s definitely frustrating. But hey, even though this is still an issue for you in terms of reading other people, you’re married, so you don’t have to worry about “actively” flirting any more! Maybe sometime you could write a post with some tips on what Aspies (and/or anyone who can’t flirt) should do if they want a relationship…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Landon! Maybe I will write a post about how I managed to get a working relationship and ended up married. It might not work for everyone, but it worked for me lol. I do think my husband is on the spectrum too, so that helps a lot in some ways. We understand each other.


  2. Both of my blood nephews were diagnosed with Aspergers. They dated a couple times, but the dates never yielded any serious relationships. My younger nephew died at 24 never knowing romantic love. My older nephew is in his late 20s and hasn’t either, but I know there is a bit of a romantic in him.

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    1. It is really tough when you have Aspergers to create and maintain romantic relationships, at least I think it is. I think the only reason it worked for me is because I really think my husband is on the spectrum too, so we understand each other in a way I don’t think I could find with a neurotypical. There are other challenges to having two people with similar social issues in a relationship though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you found your husband. A difficulty for my nephew is that he is so homebound. He didn’t find anyone at community college, and now he only works part-time at a grocery store. He is looking for jobs in the electronics field, but they are often 10 hrs per day jobs, and he doesn’t want that. I’m not even sure how many women work in that field. Unfortunately, my brother-in-law always discouraged he and his late brother from joining clubs, support groups, and such.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, just getting out there is difficult, especially if you have social anxiety. I met my husband online and we became friends online before we ever met in person. I’m not sure we ever would have gotten to know each other had we only met in person first. Neither of us are outgoing, but online it is easier.

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