Intimate Relationship Failures From an Autistic Perspective

By: Zosia Zaks, MEd, CRCZaks Autism Consulting

The standard narrative positions autism as the cause of relationship trouble when a non-autistic person dates or falls in love with an autistic person. The autistic partner is assumed to be the disruptive or difficult one. Self-help books offer non-autistic partners tips on how to cope with their autistic partner’s neurodivergent traits and behaviors. This paradigm is rarely questioned. Even many autistic people assume their autism-related features are a serious barrier to relationship success. This is simply not true. My three serious, long-term relationships of many years all ended in total failure – but ultimately, discrimination and ableism is to blame – not autism.

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