Dating Groups for Neurodivergent Adults

We offer dating groups for neurodivergent adults (18+) who want to learn about and discuss dating. Participants will have the opportunity to learn evidence-based, practical tips and skills.

Get READI: Romantic Education for Adult Dating and Intimacy

Many autistic adults want to find a partner and maintain a healthy romantic relationship, but struggle with the nuances of dating. In fact, many people find dating overwhelming and stressful! We aim to demystify this by breaking down the steps, decoding signs and signals, and discussing some of the more sensitive aspects of dating and relationships.

Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Choosing the right partner
  • Planning a date
  • Date etiquette and tips
  • Decoding cues
  • Maintaining a relationship
  • Self-disclosure
  • Online communication
  • Boundaries and intimacy
  • Handling rejection

Back in 2010, Dr. Sterling was completing her postdoctoral training at UCLA and was asked to help oversee a study examining qualities that autistic people look for in a partner. As part of the study, Dr. Sterling and her research colleague held a speed dating event and focus groups, where neurodivergent adults shared their experience about dating and relationships. As it turns out, many of the adults reported that they found it easier and more fulfilling to navigate one romantic relationship as opposed to handling multiple friendships. They also reported improved quality of life, including lower levels of anxiety and depression. With this information at hand, we understood how important dating and relationships can be for autistic people.

From there, Dr. Sterling and her colleague developed a 10-week program called Romantic Education for Adult Dating and Intimacy (READI), informed not only by research, but by neurodivergent adults themselves. The program highlights the strengths that autistic people have to offer, as well as the challenges that often come with navigating the ups and downs of dating. We are excited to implement this program at the Sterling Institute for Autism!

Enrollment is ongoing, with new groups starting several times throughout the year. Please contact our front desk coordinator at frontdesk@sterlingautism.com to learn more!