Four Ways Autistics Show Love


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The way that love is communicated and shared by someone who is autistic can be really different from social norms.

So, how can you tell someone who is autistic loves you? Not everyone who is autistic will love in the same way or will have the same traits.

Here are 4 common ways autistic people show love


Jodi Carlton, MEd: How To Know If An Autistic Person Loves You

# 1. They will want to be in your presence.

It may not be as much as you’d like, but they will make time for you. Pay attention to what they do to be in your presence. They may not wanna be right next to you. They may not want to share as much physical contact with you as you’d like, but they will make it a point to be near you and to be in your presence. It may be across the room or while you each do your own tasks. 

#2. They will accept physical contact from you more than from others.

Even though physical contact is really uncomfortable and even painful for some autistics, they may accept it more from you because you are loved. My daughter is autistic and physical touch is hard for her, but she understands that I need hugs from her so she will initiate and accept hugs from me. The person in her life who gets the most hugs is her brother who is three years younger than her. She loves him very much. Her hugs are brief and it’s kind of sideways, but we all know it’s a huge gesture of love from her. Some autistics crave physical touch and can even be more touchy than you’d like – this is usually reserved for people they love, though versus acquaintances.

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#3. If they say they love you, they mean it. 

Don’t be tempted to badger them about IF and WHY they love you – they do!  They may not know how to put into words WHY they love you, but it doesn’t mean they don’t.Share how you receive love. Autistic individuals often need a script. It may seem unnatural because you want them to just know how to love you. Truthfully, no one can ever “just know” how you receive and feel loved – there is no standard for how to love and be loved.

Share how you receive love. Autistic individuals often need a script. It may seem unnatural because you want them to just know how to love you. Truthfully, no one can ever “just know” how you receive and feel loved – there is no standard for how to love and be loved.

Autistic individuals don’t pick up on subtle cues, so your responsibility is to be clear and specific about how you like to be loved. Tell them how to love you. Is it getting flowers? Is it hearing “I love you” or other kinds of affectionate words? Could they make you a playlist on Amazon of funny podcasts? 

Give them choices and options – know yourself, first. You have to know how you feel loved.

Sometimes they won’t feel comfortable loving you in one or more of the ways that you receive love. So be sure to take note of how your autistic partner (or other family member or friend) shows love in their own way.

#4. They include you in their special interests. 

A characteristic of autism is highly specialized interests, expertise, or hobbies. Sometimes these interests will change over time, but at any given time a special interest will get focused attention, often at the expense of other important tasks. Sometimes special interests turn into careers, but often they are side hobbies or interests. 

If you are loved by an autistic person, they may invite you into their world, share with you about their special interests, trust you with their highly prized valuables, and ask you to get involved. This is a way of sharing life and spending time with you. Most autistic people can talk to anyone about their special interests to most anybody, and sometimes they do well past the point of boredom for the listener.  However, if you’re loved, you may actually be included.

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