Relationships / Friends

Friendships and relationships can be challenging for many people. When you add an Asperger Profile to the equation, they can become more difficult. While some individuals are content without friendships or relationships, many people seek them out and crave that human connection. With knowledge and support, you can identify and overcome barriers to finding friends and relationships.

We recognize what you have to offer as a friend and partner. AANE is here with the support and resources you need to build skills and make connections.

Essential Resources:

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Social Activities and Events for Adults
For Couples and Partners

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Marriage with Asperger’s Syndrome: 14 Practical Strategies

By Eva Mendes, M.A., Psychotherapist & Couple's Counselor The excerpts below focus on interventions for relationships in which an individual with Asperger Syndrome (AS) is partnered with a spouse or partner who does not have AS (a neurotypical). The article in its entirety may be found at... more

Asperger/Autism Spectrum Fact Sheet

About Asperger/Autism Spectrum: It is neurological and affects the way information is processed in the brain. It is often an invisible difference. Many people appear very competent, but have difficulties in areas of communication and social interaction. It has a genetic and hereditary... more

Living with an Asperger Profile for Adults

For more than two decades, AANE staff have learned about the talents and struggles of adults with Asperger profiles. Working closely and talking extensively with adults with Asperger’s, ranging in age from 18 to 83, along with their parents, relatives, and spouses, we have together explored... more

Mutually Assured Distraction

Gus and Leah are a married couple on the autism spectrum and members of the AANE Speaker's Bureau. Read their full bio here. ***** We are an adult couple, both of us on the autism spectrum, married for almost exactly five years. Gus is more of a classic STEM geek, working as a computer... more

Dating and Relationships

The arena of dating and finding someone special continues to be an issue for many people on the autism spectrum. Executive Director Dania Jekel discusses this topic and offers advice to those with Asperger/autism profiles who are considering whether or not a relationship is right for them. To learn more about AANE programs and services, visit:... more

Neurodiverse Relationships

While any relationship can have its challenges, couples in a neurodiverse relationship (where one or both partners are on the autism spectrum) can face a unique set of issues. Dania Jekel, Executive Director of AANE, explores this difference and announces AANE's new training for therapists to better understand and serve these relationships.... more

Communication Challenges in Neurodiverse Partnerships

Do you feel like your partner is "speaking a different language"? Does this communication impact important conversations you want to have with your partner? While communication is vital for all relationships, unique challenges can arise when there is neurodiversity between partners. Whether your goal is to maintain and strengthen your... more

First Person Account: Dating Challenges with an Asperger Profile

As an individual with an Asperger profile, AANE community member Sam Farmer reflects on some of the communication challenges he faced while he was dating and how he how he learned to become more... more

Undue Influence: Cults and Predators

In this webinar, Steven will teach you about the basics of undue influence, and why individuals on the autism spectrum are uniquely susceptible to it. He will explain the difference between healthy and unhealthy influence. Undue influence is not just an issue for religious cults; it is used by... more

The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality and the Law: What every parent and professional needs to know

Recommended Reading
The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality and the Law: What every parent and professional needs to know Jul 21, 2014 by Nick Dubin and Isabelle Henault   A good resource for families and professionals interested in legal and criminal issues in regards to AS and... more

Viewing Marriage and Relationships Through the Asperger Lens (in Spanish)

Learn how to view marriage and relationships through an Asperger/Autism Lens. Includes helpful tips for partners and spouses. This version is in... more

Romantic Relationships with Asperger’s and Autism: Successful Strategies for Couples and Spouses

Strategies from Eva Mendes, author of Romantic Relationships with Asperger's and... more

Viewing Marriage and Long-Term Relationships Through an Asperger’s Lens

Learn how to view marriage and relationships through an Asperger/Autism Lens. Includes helpful tips for partners and... more

Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder)

Recommended Reading
In “Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Asperger Syndrome,” Eva Mendes presents proven strategies to help neurodiverse couples in tricky relationships.  What makes this book so helpful — what makes it stand apart — is her ability to elucidate the realities of both partners in a... more

Autism-Asperger’s and Sexuality: Puberty and Beyond

Recommended Reading
Many people on the spectrum never get "the talk" from their parents, and suffer from "information deficit." This book goes a long way toward filling in the gaps in their knowledge. It takes a candid look at aspects of sex and relationships as they apply to people on the autism spectrum: Learn... more

The Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations

Recommended Reading
A few years ago, I was speaking with a friend who is on the spectrum when he noted that life would be much easier if someone would just show me the rules. With the publication of The Hidden Curriculum, Myles, Trautman, and Schelvan have done just that. Utilizing concrete examples of hidden... more

Living Well on the Spectrum: How to Use Your Strengths to Meet the Challenges of…

Recommended Reading
Navigating the "neurotypical" world with an Asperger/Autism profile can be extremely stressful. But by understanding the specific ways your brain works differently--and how to tap into your personal strengths--you can greatly enhance your well-being. In this wise and practical book, experienced... more

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s

Recommended Reading
Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had... more

Parallel Play

Recommended Reading
In 1997, Tim Page won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his work as the chief classical music critic of The Washington Post, work that the Pulitzer board called “lucid and illuminating.” Three years later, at the age of 45, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome–a form of autism... more

Asperger’s From the Inside-Out

Recommended Reading
Michael John Carley was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at thirty-six-when his young son received the same diagnosis. This fascinating book reveals his personal experience with the confusion associated with this condition-and offers insights into living an independent and productive life. Former... more

Making Sense of Sex: A Forthright Guide to Puberty, Sex and Relationships for People With…

Recommended Reading
Sarah Attwood has written a clear, practical guide to help teach teens with Asperger profiles about an essential subject that many parents and educators find it difficult to address. Learn More and... more

Living Sensationally

Recommended Reading
Winnie Dunn has worked with many people with Asperger profiles. Based on her deep understanding of how their sensory issues impact their experience and functioning, she offers strategies to creating more hospitable environments and practical solutions. The book is refreshingly concise, with handy... more

Meet the People Being Left Out of Mainstream Conversations About Autism

"It was a white people's thing... it was a guy's thing." Michon Neal, 27, a genderqueer person who uses the pronoun "ze," didn't realize ze had Asperger's until less than a year ago. The only people ze had seen representing the syndrome were white men. As an intersex, mixed-race person who is... more

Married, with Asperger’s

He’s finally trained! My husband of 26 years has scarcely completed a single one of my sentences all this year. Like most neurotypical people, Christopher has a tendency to want to finish someone’s sentence when there is a pause. That is not helpful for me! I received my diagnosis of... more

Asperger Profiles: Understanding Strengths and Challenges

When parenting, teaching, befriending, treating, working alongside, or supervising someone with an Asperger profile: Consider both the person’s challenges and his or her strengths. Balance acceptance with teaching necessary skills. Strengths-based interventions foster hope,... more

Asperger Syndrome and Anxiety: A Guide to Successful Stress Management

Recommended Reading
Many people suffer from feelings of stress and anxiety in their everyday lives. For people with Asperger Syndrome (AS), this stress can be particularly difficult to manage. On a daily basis people with AS must fit into a world that seems totally foreign to them and this can increase feelings of... more

Ask and Tell: Self-Advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum

Recommended Reading
Edited by Stephen Shore, Ask and Tell aims to help autistic people effectively self-advocate in their pursuit of independent, productive, and fulfilling lives. Ask and Tell is unique by being the first book to speak to the twin issues of self-advocacy and disclosure for people on the... more

Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome

Recommended Reading
Girls with Asperger/Autism profiles are less frequently diagnosed than boys, and even once symptoms have been recognized, help is often not readily available. The image of coping well presented by AS females of any age can often mask difficulties, deficits, challenges, and loneliness. This is a... more

Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to…

Recommended Reading
At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, What the @#!% is wrong with my husband?! In David Finch’s case, this turns out to be an apt question. Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis explains... more

Romantic Relationships

Romance, dating, long-term relationships, and marriage enter into the lives of some people with Asperger profiles, and of these, many start their own families and become successful parents. Dating presents challenges for many with Asperger profiles because it involves subtle social communication... more

Who’s on Your Team?

Many children with Asperger Syndrome (AS) are fortunate enough to have a team of people to support and work with them. In addition to parents, the team can include any number of professionals who think about, focus on, and implement recommendations to address the specific needs that arise as a result of AS. Although some people on the team may... more

The Dating Scene — Are You Interested?

Let’s look at dating as a pastime for teens, young adults, and adults. Webster says a pastime is “something that amuses and serves to pass time agreeably.” That is dating at its best. Most of us know that it also produces times of high anxiety, anger, sadness, and confusion. Dating, after... more

Friendships and Relationships

Friendships and relationships can be challenging for many people. When you add an Asperger Profile to the equation, they can become more difficult. While some individuals are content without friendships or relationships, many people seek them out and crave that human connection. Adults with Asperger profiles may have difficulty navigating the... more

Asperger Marriage: Viewing Partnerships Through a Different Lens

The excerpts below focus on interventions and suggestions for relationships in which a man with Asperger Syndrome (AS) is partnered with a woman who does not have AS (or a non-AS woman). The article in its entirety may be found at (AANE can also assist non-AS men partnered with women... more

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Asperger/Autism

Individuals on the Autism spectrum tend to be less influenced by or responsive to societal expectations or constraints. In many ways this individuality and “marching to a different drummer” leads to greater challenges fitting in socially and in the workplace; in other ways this out of the box... more