For a few years now I’ve been scouring the web and SPD books for information on SPD teenagers and adults and how they manage with relationships. There’s literally no information out there, apart from a few chapters in some SPD books but they never went into enough detail. I never thought I would have a boyfriend, It’s not something I thought I would be able to manage so I steered clear of relationships, I just didn’t know enough about them.
I’ve had a boyfriend for 2 years now. 2 YEARS! I never thought I would be able to cope but actually I’ve learnt so much from being with him and I’ve become a better and more outgoing person because of him. Its been challenging definitely but he is very understanding of me – even when I can’t explain how I feel when I’m having a sensory meltdown. We started out as friends and then it became more – I think this is the best possible way to start a relationship if you have SPD. As friends it means you already know what the other person likes and dislikes and you have a foundation that you can build a relationship on.
Yes I had to work really hard at the start in order to cope with my boyfriend touching me – I still flinch sometimes when he touches me from behind or if I’m not looking! Tight hugs are the best (it’s literally like having a human weighted blanket!) and we’ve had some awesome adventures together. Neither of us enjoy partying or clubbing and would much rather a night in with yummy food and Top Gear on the TV! I’ve found an awesome friend and boyfriend in the same person and I consider myself very lucky. At school I always found it easier to make friends with boys rather than the girls in my year – boys are less judgemental and I had similar interests with them such as football, skateboarding, surfing and gadget/car TV shows!
My top tips for managing with sensory problems in a relationships:
- Best friends – I found it much much easier being friends with my boyfriend before hand, it gives you more to talk about and you’ll already have a background on the person.
- Go slow – It wasn’t until we were going out that I explained I had SPD, etc. Take it slow there is no rush or pressure to explain your difficulties straight away, but it might help the other person understand your needs better.
- Be yourself – so so much easier said than done, I know, but I used to do my body brushing (see my sensory box blog post) and take rescue remedy before I went out with him for the day and that helped.
- Don’t think ahead – it will only overwhelm and worry you – just think about each day as it comes and getting to know the person better and enjoying yourself 🙂
- Suggest activities to do together – e.g We both like to go on dog walks, go on the swings in children’s playgrounds (I know I’m so cool), go out to quiet restaurants, watch films and TV, help out with family DIY, you don’t have to always go out on ‘dates’.
In the future I will be posting more on the topic of relationships so keep an eye out 😉