A person with the condition can have a range of effects, including the way they think, learn, and behave. People on the spectrum are often unable to form and maintain relationships in adulthood because of their social and communication skills.

There are some unique challenges that can be faced by people with a learning disability.

You can learn more about how to manage issues in your life if you read this.

Asperger’s syndrome was once classified as a unique condition separate from autism but within the same family of neurodevelopmental conditions.

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association eliminated Asperger’s as a diagnosis in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5).” It classified it under the umbrella term “autism spectrum disorder (ASD)” instead.

Asperger’s joined several other conditions, including Rett syndrome, as a part of ASD.

ASD is not common. Experts believe around 1% of the general population are autistic. It’s important to point out, though, that the actual numbers could be higher. A number of autistic people likely do not have an official diagnosis, especially women and older adults.

Older autistic adults may not have been screened for the condition when they were younger despite showing signs of it. And autistic girls sometimes have less obvious or atypical signs.

Males are much more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than females, at a ratio of 3-to-1. And ASD is more often diagnosed in non-Hispanic white children than in children of other races and ethnicities.

People with the neurological disorder need less support than other people.

Some people with a condition calledaustical have higher impairment in social and communication skills.

It can cause these effects to a lesser degree.

ASD causes a diverse set of signs and symptoms. The most common signs of Asperger’s in adults are:

  • Speech patterns.
  • Average to above average vocabulary.
  • Intelligence is average to above average.
  • There is a focused interest in one subject.
  • They can talk for long periods of time about their interest.
  • There are strict routines or rituals.
  • Difficult to adjust to changes in routine.
  • It is necessary for long periods of alone time.
  • Speech and language have differences.
  • “It’s not possible to engage socially with peers.”
  • Difficulties with small talk make people disinterested in social interactions.
  • There are problems with nonspeaking communications.
  • Uncoordinated movements that may seem clumsy.
  • Sensory issues include sensitivity to light, smell, or touch.

Many people with the condition are able to live independent lives. They can also develop close personal relationships that lead to marriages.

It’s entirely possible for autistic people to have intimate relationships, whether they’re platonic or romantic. But ASD may present particular challenges for couples and friends.

People with a learning disability may face communication and social differences in relationships. They may have less experience forming close relationships.

“It doesn’t mean that people with disabilities won’t succeed in a relationship.”

Here is a look at some of the ways that the condition might affect relationships.


Communication differences can be experienced by people with a learning disability. They may have trouble understanding what other people are thinking. People with a learning disability may not read nonspeaking cues well. This includes facial expressions and voice changes.

It may be difficult to express yourself in a verbal way. An individual with an intellectual disability may say something unintentionally that is not nice and have trouble understanding why someone would react negatively.

But communication issues go two ways. In fact, in one 2018 study, autistic people reported difficulty understanding what their loved ones were thinking — but close friends and family also reported difficulty understanding what their autistic loved one was thinking.

“Communication can be difficult when these issues are taken together. It may mean that both people don’t understand what the other is thinking. This can affect the development of close relationships.”

It can make important relationship aspects difficult to build and maintain if not addressed.


People with a neurological condition often have interests. They may turn to this interest to cope with challenges at home, work or school. It can be difficult for their partner to navigate this behavior.

“It can be difficult for a partner or friends to understand a loved one’s interest.”


“People with a neurological condition may have difficulty understanding and showing affection. If they don’t think to initiate them, these expressions of love may be hard to understand.”

Some autistic people are also asexual or aromantic and seek partners with similar preferences.

Touch avoidance is common in the condition. It can be hard for people with a sensitivity to touch to like hugs or kisses. They may be uncomfortable or even angry because of unwanted affection.

“The affection continuum can also be crossed by people with a neurological condition. They may show great intensity. Potential partners may feel overwhelmed by this if they don’t understand it.”

A couple can work together to find expressions of affection that fulfill what they want and need.

On dating apps, some autistic people choose to include that they’re asexual or aromantic in their bios to inform potential partners of their preferences.

Sexual activity

The spectrum of interest in sexual activity for people with a mental illness is similar to that of the general population.

“Some people with sensory issues have trouble with sex. Sex is a cornerstone of many romantic relationships, but others may not know how emotional it is. They may be hard to gauge their partner’s needs.”

Other people on the spectrum experience higher than average levels of sexual desire and activity. Research on “high-functioning” autistic people found that autistic males spent more time masturbating and fantasizing than males without autism. Although the sample was relatively small, the study also showed greater interest in voyeurism, masochism, and sadism among the autistic participants.

Research has found that autistic people have less sexual knowledge than the general population and that they are more likely to learn about sex from non-social sources, like pornography. Autistic people of all genders are also at increased risk of sexual victimization, including sexual coercion.

Social life

It may be difficult for people with a mental illness to have a good relationship. Small talk may be hard for them to listen to, and conversations may cause a lot of anxiety. It can be hard to make friends and start a relationship.

“Many people with disabilities enjoy solitude. They can’t establish and practice social and communication skills because of this.”


Parents with a mental illness can have good relationships with their children. They may encourage them to explore their interests by engaging with them on a creative level.

Some parents with the condition may have difficulties with certain aspects of parenting. Discipline and empathy can be included.

Other parents with the condition may not be able to provide the same level of emotional support. They may struggle with signs of affection and may be difficult to comfort.

It is possible for people with a learning disability to have healthy and happy relationships.

All relationships are hard work. Relationships between two people with different types of brain are the same.

Consider the strategies for managing issues in a partnership.

  • Be intentional: For neurotypical couples, communication exists in many forms: verbal, written, emotional, nonspeaking, etc. Autistic people may not be able to interpret or use all of these. Instead, both partners can aim to be as direct and clear in their communications as possible. Leave nothing as a hint or suggestion.
  • Set clear rules: This is especially important for parenting, where you both need to present a united front. You can also discuss each other’s strengths and opportunities, and divide tasks based on them. For example, perhaps the nonautistic parent takes charge of disciplining your children.
  • Consider therapy: Individual therapy can be helpful for both partners. You can consider couples therapy, too. While therapy is not an immediate “fix,” it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to learn ways to communicate and cope with challenges in their relationships.

“It can be difficult for people with nonautistic partners to deal with their expectations. It can be difficult for a nonautistic person to cope with their partner’s demands.”

There are a few tips for nonautistic partners.

  • Learn about ASD: ASD is a neurodevelopmental condition. That means it fundamentally affects the way a person perceives, engages with, and responds to the people and world around them. Understanding how ASD impacts a person’s thoughts and behaviors can help you better navigate daily life.
  • Delegate tasks: Autistic people may have a hard time with executive functions like planning and organizing. This leaves these important tasks up to the nonautistic partner. But it’s possible for the autistic partner to take on certain tasks in other areas of the home, such as homework with kids or walking and caring for pets.
  • Seek support: Whether you’re newly in a relationship with a neurodiverse person or you’ve been married for several years, it’s a good idea to seek knowledgeable professionals and individuals in similar situations. This can include working with a therapist who has experience in neurodiverse couples or turning to online support groups.
  • Find outside fulfillment: It’s possible to find personal fulfillment outside your relationship with your partner. In fact, it can be healthy. Consider ways to connect with friends and your community. Look into classes for things that interest you, or practice some self-care.
  • Remember the positives: You likely fell in love with your partner for very specific reasons. And despite the challenges, remembering the things you love about your partner and about the two of you together can help boost your self-esteem and reengage your dedication to the relationship.

It is possible for people with disabilities to have healthy relationships. These can be personal friends or romantic partners.

Any relationship will likely have issues. Communication is a big area of concern and often requires work and patience.

Issues may arise with elements of socializing and parenting. People in relationships are challenged by the challenges created by ASD. They can be overcome with effort and attention.