Dating with PDD-NOS: problems with subtlety and social signals

Hey all,

Since a few years I am trying to get out of my shell in terms of women. I looked up all the PUA lecture etc. and really made some progress in terms of approaching random women and te like.

But here is the trick, I have the impression that because of my psychological condition I am reaching a ceiling. PDD_NOS lies within the autism spectrum but is really just a bin where they throw in all conditions that cannot really be classified in the other categories and might not be so severe as real Autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

That being said, my problem is eerily specific and lurking and posting on other forums still leaves me in the dark. The problem for me with making contact is not so much making contact itself (which is just average, not that great but better than it used to be) nor that the opposite sex is not attracted to me but the problem lies with me. With my mind.

Even though the PDD-NOS diagnosis is some kind of rest term (hence the not-otherwise-specified at the end) there are some real psychological conditions that are common. One is that neurological information (especially social information) does not get “ingrained” into the brain. Normally people develop neurological “short-cuts” when they encounter a certain situation more often and learn to respond to it. With people with my condition and even more so with more severe forms of Autism this does not happen and there is always some sort of “delay.”

That being said, my problem is if for instance I’m at a party and start chatting up with a girl I know or a stranger, she might be interested or she may not. If she’s interested and tries to communicate that to me, my mind has a hard time picking that up. Especially when drinks are involved. The result is that I end up doing nothing or get too blunt. Under normal social circumstances I am just fine dealing with people but even for people without such a psychogical conditions things get hard and confucing when trying to step things up.

It can get incredibly frustrating because I know I could get more succes and have a joyful love-life like anybody else. I’m also aware that I should not blame everything on my psychological condition and should go out there but the thing is that it’s always either way for me. There is hardly any room for subtlety because in the heat of the moment that does not exist for me. Of course, in hindsight I would do everything right but there are just too many “errors in the signals” for me to deal with it.

So most of the time, if the moment is right I do nothing, if the moment is not there I start trying things and get them annoyed.
None of the regular dating advice really delved into it and none of the information for people with an autism-spectrum-syndrome deals with it because it basicly repeats the standard dating tips.

I was hoping that maybe some of the readers encountered this or that I just get some words of encouragement or acknowledgement from others. Or maybe some of the “gurus” have some general words of advice that deal with being subtle.

5 thoughts on “Dating with PDD-NOS: problems with subtlety and social signals

  1. Eleanor Roosevelt says:

    [I wish I had better advice to offer, but it seems like you’ve already tried a lot of the right things by researching online and putting yourself out there in the first place. The only suggestion I have is try meeting people outside of party situations, where drinks and other factors involved may make it more difficult for you to pick up on any signals. Try taking a class, or volunteer for something like Habitat for Humanity, or a book reading or something. Good luck!

  2. Happy Pants says:

    [I think the fact that you are aware of what’s going on is really important. Is it possible for you to tell that to the person you’re interested in when you meet them? Not as your opening line. but when you feel like you’re getting frustrated, tell them what’s going on? I admit I don’t have a whole lot of experience with PDD-NOS, but I feel like honesty might take you pretty far in those situations.

    Of course, I second Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice of trying to meet people outside of those party situations. Classes, book clubs, readings… Or even volunteer to be the designated driver in party situations, so you really can’t drink?

  3. New User 395550 says:

    [Thanks for the support you guys!

    Fortunately I am doing a lot of different things next to my study, but the problem with that is that most of the time any contact I make in this category kind off grinds down because of my unwillingness to act. I am a bit cautious not to be too frank and to not take things too far too soon..

    The thing with the party scene in the Netherlands is that bluntness by guys is actually widespread. I can just give it a go without really having to worry about the consequences (as long as I don’t harrass them). If I like someone I meet more often I don’t want to get too “friendzoned” in the sense that she’s treating me like “the guy that tried to hit on me.” I have some nasty experiences with that in which they kept giving me relationship advice..

    So yeah, I actually like Happy Pant’s advice that I might want to try and be a bit more vocal about my interest in her without really being too upfront. Maybe that will work out a bit better in the situations that Eleneor proposed I should focus on because currently I try to wait for the “right moment” to create a good vibe with girls I know from my regular social life. And most of such moments occur at parties rather than at (for instance) my debating club so there we are back at square one!

    The problem is not so much that I don’t know how to handle my condition in general, but that there is not that there are hardly any resources that go beyond the obvious. So thank you all for your feedback =)

  4. Dennis Hong says:

    [Since this is an actual psychological condition (sort of), I’m not sure if anyone other than a licensed therapist would be able to give you proper advice as far as how to live with the condition. I do like HP’s suggestion about being honest and upfront. If you have learned to approach women and start chatting them up, you’ve already taken a huge step.

    Or, maybe you can just make a joke out of it. Women appreciate confident guys who are also willing to self-deprecate once in a while, you know?

    So, once you get the conversation going (and only after you’ve gotten the conversation going–don’t bring this up first), maybe you can say something to the effect of:

    “Hey, I’m really enjoying talking to you, and I hope you’re enjoying talking to me, too. I have a secret confession to make, though. Can you keep a secret? You can? Awesome. So, I actually have this little-understood condition called PDD-NOS. It’s totally not a big deal, though. All it means is that my brain sometimes fails to pick up on the subtle social signals that women give. So, you know, it’s like I’m your boyfriend already….”

    I dunno. I feel like if you just own it, it could actually end up being a charming quality for you….

  5. theattack says:

    [One thing that sticks out to me is that you’re focusing on “the right moment.” Well, what is the right moment exactly? Think about what that means to you. The “right moment” doesn’t just fall into your lap. It probably exists because various factors line up to create it, right? Why don’t you actively try to make a moment the right one, instead of trying to interpret when it comes about? If the “right moment” is when you’ve been talking for a few minutes and her attention is focused on you, then you can recreate that after you’ve missed it. It may be that dating for you can’t be something that you slide into easily at parties. It might be that you need to deliberately create situations where you can ask a girl out. If you miss your first opportunity, no big deal. I think you should adopt an approach of slower courting, so it gives you time to process everything that’s going on, and it’s actually really sweet.

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