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More Than Meets The Eye

"Why can't you look me in the eye?"

Have you ever heard or said this?

In the realm of human connection, eye contact is often hailed as a cornerstone of intimacy and understanding.

However, for those of us living in a neurodiverse relationship, the act of locking gazes isn't always the golden key to connection it's made out to be.

For some of us, eye contact can be a challenge, a discomfort, even an impossibility at times.


For these people, connection doesn't need eyes to flourish. In fact, it may be easier for them to listen deeply without maintaining eye contact.


Yet, for their partners who are not neurodiverse, the absence of eye contact can sometimes feel like a gulf, a silent space where connection is sought but not found.

It's a valid feeling, stemming from a world that teaches us to seek the soul in the eyes of another. This dissonance can be painful and can feel like rejection, even when it's anything but.


It's crucial, then, to acknowledge this pain, to understand that it comes from a place of deep longing for connection, not from a lack of love or desire to understand.


Next Steps: Start Seeing Differently

Here are some steps we can take, together, to bridge this gap, to build a world where connection thrives in every look and in every look away:


1. Share Openly. For the neurodiverse partner, explain what eye contact feels like for you, and for the allistic partner, share why it's important to you. This mutual understanding is the foundation of empathy.

2. Find Your Language of Love:  Connection wears countless faces. Discover yours. It could be through words of affirmation, shared hobbies, touch, or simply sitting side-by-side in comfortable silence.


3. Celebrate Small Victories: If eye contact is something you both wish to explore, approach it gently, as a journey you're on together. Celebrate the moments, however brief, where comfort is found in a shared glance. But remember, it's not a measure of progress in your relationship.


4. Seek Support, Together:  You're not alone on this journey. When you're ready, reach out to one of our neurodiverse couples counselors.


As you move forward, hold close the knowledge that connection is not confined to the eyes. It blossoms in the spaces we create for each other, in understanding, acceptance, and the countless ways we choose to say, "I am here with you."


Ready to explore this journey further?

All the best,


Dr. Motro is a registered Marriage and Family Therapist #53452 and the Founder/Clinical Director of the Neurodiverse Couples Counseling Center.



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