Do Autistic People Get Married? Autism & Relationships

Yes, people with autism are more than capable of forming long-term relationships and getting married.

steven zauderer
Steven Zauderer
September 20, 2023
min read

Can Autistic People Get Married?

Autistic people are more than capable of forming long-term relationships and getting married, no less than people with no behavioral disabilities.

However, this question has become popular, as more of the population has been diagnosed with autism than in previous years. What is the cause of this?

First, psychologists have begun to lower the threshold for what is classified as an autistic spectrum disorder. Several decades ago, the majority of people that did receive a diagnosis were those with severe to extreme behavioral conditions.

People with mild autism were often ignored or were written off as having another disorder entirely, like anxiety.

As time went on, psychologists' understanding of autism increased, and with it, more patients were being diagnosed.

The population of those with ASD never went up by an exponential amount, but the percentage of young people diagnosed did. With this has come a deeper understanding and awareness of autism, so naturally, others that want to know more about it have begun to ponder questions about their autism in general, and how they go about life, love, and relationships.

Marriage is a partnership between two individuals that share finances, receive marital benefits, and cohabit with one another for an indefinite period, assuming no divorce occurs.

It requires a large amount of responsibility for both parties, many sacrifices, and financial security for future children.

Each one of these responsibilities mandates a level of social awareness.

Errands as simple as going to the store and complex problems like handling taxes must be carried out with the person doing it having some intrapersonal skills. ASD spouses that are highly functioning can manage issues like this without any hiccups, yet unfortunately, not everyone with the disorder can do this.

For those that can't, some amount of assistance might be necessary for their spouse, though most of these will be trivial things such as encouraging social behavior when required, making sure they're prepared for managing issues that spontaneously spring up, and how to deal with uncomfortable positions they may find themselves in.

They amount to problems that husbands and wives that aren't diagnosed can have trouble dealing with on their own.

When entering adulthood, most with ASD can manage their symptoms on their own, since the disorder is most often treated when they're young. But for adults that have had limited or no treatment at all, spouses may notice mild to moderate symptoms.

When autism is suspected, even into adulthood or later on in marriage, it's highly suggested that partners encourage their husbands or wives to see a physician or psychologist.

If a diagnosis is made, the partner should consider following up with therapists specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis, the best solution to teach anyone with autism, both young and old, how to better manage symptoms as they appear.

Is It Common For People With Autism To Marry?

Although all relationships have their obstacles, it remains quite common for ASD people to get into close partnerships and even marry. It's not as impossible as some might believe it is.

Marriage rates with spouses having the disorder since it's been found in more people. Yet there remain plenty more husbands and wives that have autism without knowing so.

For most of them, their autism has no bearing on anything. When autism is discussed or shown in the media, it's sometimes portrayed in ways where people have moderate symptoms. Truth be told, the autistic populace is one is overwhelmingly mild features.

Researchers anticipate a rise in autism detections, though by a small amount. Of those will certainly be people that are engaged, married, or in a long-term relationship with somebody.

What Percentage Of Autistic People Are Married?

About 35% of autistic people are married, though such figures don't always take into account people that aren't diagnosed or have received a potential misdiagnosis.

Did you know that about 50% of all people with ASD live at home with their families or their parents? Additionally, only one out of every five isn't currently working. However, this shouldn't be looked at negatively.

Someone may feel uncomfortable living alone or socializing better among people that they know, versus trying to do it while alone at home.

Furthermore, in some societies, such as Italy and other nations across the world, it's quite common that children of parents stay with them until they pass or one day become married.

Most studies show that the unemployment rate for people with autism is about 28%. That's higher than the national percentage, but it does show that workers can evolve enough to tackle employment and live independently.

Average Age To Marry On The Autism Spectrum

Most individuals with ASD get married at 20 years of age, yet this percentage could be higher. The study that accounts for the percentage pooled a limited number of men and women.

In the study, 22% of the participants were younger than 20. In other figures, marriage is most common in the mid to late 20s or even early thirties. There's no indication of it factoring in those who aren't diagnosed.

How Does Autism Affect Marriage?

The single greatest impact that ASD can have on a marriage between two people is problems with communication. Talking and carrying on a conversation is harder to do when someone interprets the things said differently. But this doesn't only concern verbal communication.

ASD is characterized by the inability to read body language and social cues. Although such abilities are easy for most to conduct, anyone with autism might need help in understanding things said to them in conversation, proper decorum in the company of guests, and dealing with children's needs. Autism can also impact marriage through the greater chance of couples having a baby that's autistic.

What Is The Divorce Rate For Autism?

Unfortunately, divorces between couples where one is autistic do frequently happen and number about 30%. These tend to happen before reaching 30 years old. Divorce rates have climbed among the general public, but that where autism is a factor is notable.

The greater rates of divorce tend to be linked to the education level of the spouse that has autism. The severity of ASD in someone is also connected to a higher chance for divorce, as is the age of both partners when children are born.

What Is It Like To Be Married To Someone On The Autism Spectrum?

Someone with autism could display problems recognizing and interpreting facial expressions and changes in one's tone and outward demeanor.

This often leads to much frustration unless the other spouse married is educated well about autism or knows what to expect. Speaking could always be a problem or even looking at people when it's expected of them too.

These are considering mild symptoms, but a high-functioning ASD spouse can get on to the level of no symptoms showing up.

Is It Hard To Be In A Relationship With Someone With Autism?

It might be hard for some at first, but through understanding and education, spouses can make it work out. Autism doesn't inherently rule out a successful, happy, and fulfilling marriage.

With the right amount of patients and understanding, the disorder itself could become an afterthought having nothing to do with the daily lives of married couples.

steven zauderer

CEO of CrossRiverTherapy - a national ABA therapy company based in the USA.

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