You might be Autistic if dating is alien to you because how can you know if you "connect" with someone before you "know" them?
This is often a phenomenon called Demisexuality. A subset of asexuality where your sexual interest only manifests after an emotional conenction is made.
A way to navigate Demisexuality in dating is to understand that your first "outing" is not a date, it is a pseudo-intimate outing to see if "a first date is warranted"
You can be up front and clear on your boundaries prior to the outing that there will not be any expectations of intimacy until you decide how you feel.
This can take all the stress out of this situation and make these outing a lot of fun.
It can be extremely difficult for people to grasp the concept of "demi-sexual" because people in general have difficulty honestly discussing general sexual desire for other people.
It is the "default" for people to have sexual attraction to members of the population that are compatible with their gender identity, without personal knowledge of the person, this is how systems like Tinder are able to function.
demi-sexuals can become aroused by physical attractiveness but, in general, do not feel a sexual desire for a given individual until after a connection is formed.
The complication is this:
- A demi-sexual does not have sexual desire for a "stranger."
- A non-demi-sexual may have sexual desire for a "stranger" but might not act on that desire for any number of reasons.
- An outside observer may not observe a distinction between the two.
Because the observational effect is so similar, many Demi-sexuals go through life unaware of the nuances of their gender and fail to develop usefully and healthy relationship strategies for navigating modern dating and many non-demis are completely unaware of the gender.
btw, Demisexuality is a form of Asexuality and is part of the Q in LGBTQ as in Queer!
If you didn’t know you're Queer! Congrats!