Last week, the Australian dating show Love on the Spectrum dropped on Netflix, and it's been praised for being sensitive, educational and life-affirming, exactly the kind of content so many people are looking for right now. Instead of dropping its subjects on an island and hoping they'll hook up, the show is a resource for its daters, teaching people on the autism spectrum how to date and engage with other people in a romantic context.
“Look, it’s not for everybody, which is the case in the general population as well,” Jodi Rodgers, a relationship specialist for people with autism, told the LA Times. “But what I’ve found is that once people on the spectrum hit adolescence and early adulthood, they desperately want those relationships. The difficulties they’ve had weren’t for lack of warmth but the complex social skills needed to develop and maintain those relationships.”
Though there's definitely a second season in the works, most viewers are now wondering what happened to the 11 subjects of the reality show/docuseries. Here's what the Love on the Spectrum cast members are up to today:
Thomas and Ruth
Thomas and Ruth were one of the couples who appeared on the show, and they had been together for four years before filming. On Instagram, Ruth shared that they got married.
A post shared by Ruth Wyndham (@autistic_anecdotes) on Jul 4, 2020 at 7:09pm PDT
A post shared by Ruth Wyndham (@autistic_anecdotes) on Jul 4, 2020 at 7:10pm PDT
And after the wedding, the happy couple went to a cat cafe.
A post shared by Ruth Wyndham (@autistic_anecdotes) on Jul 4, 2020 at 10:00pm PDT
At the beginning of the series, Michael was new to dating, but he made a plaque for his future wife, picked out a wedding ring, and kept a list of dealbreakers, like being goth of "tomboyish." On the show, he dates Amanda. While they're no longer dating, Michael learned a lot about how to be on a date.
“I did learn that you have to feel some kind of connection with the person you are dating,” Michael told Refinery29. “If it becomes clear that the person isn’t enjoying themselves, I don’t think the date should continue."
At the beginning of the series, Maddi wanted a "tall, blonde, green eyes, ripped" partner who is also on the spectrum because “similar personality traits is quite good." She loves video games, books, and animals, and throughout the show, sits down with her family for some heart-to-hearts.
There's not much known about what Madi is up to today.
Mark appears on episode three and attends a dating boot camp where he goes out with a handful of women, including Maddi.
“I learned to ask a lot of questions and how to talk and behave when dating,” he told Refinery29. “Having these skills has really built up my confidence, and it’s given me a new lease on the wonderful but complicated world of love and relationships.”
Chloe is bisexual, and before the show, she would go out with anyone who asked. She said she learned to be more selective. "Before the show, I would accept dates because I was asked. I thought it was rude to decline," she told Refinery29.
However, being on the show made me realize what I’m looking for, and it’s okay to be picky. You don’t have to accept every offer you are given." On the show, she meets Lotus, and they bond over Sailor Moon. “With Lotus, the conversation kept flowing and was hardly ever awkward,” Chloe says. “No one made me feel the same way as she did before. I kept smiling for hours after our date ended.”
Though they're not dating anymore, she said she's excited to put herself out there again.
Jimmy and Sharnae
Jimmy and Sharnae are the second couple on the series. They'd been dating for three years before filming, and had just moved in together. Spoiler: They get engaged!
Details about their wedding have not yet been released.
Olivia is an actress, so one of her biggest hurdles was being herself onscreen. "I had advice from my director before going into this ... 'Oh, just be yourself,'" she told the CBC. "But there's this weird thing with actors: You can't actually be yourself on screen. You physically can't because another version of yourself comes out."
She said dating wasn't something she really thought about prior to the show. "I didn't really see many people with autism with partners...The stereotype is like, us weirdos living in our parents' basements until we're like 80, alone and single," she said. "So, I just assumed that would be my life.
Not much is known about what Olivia's dating life is like these days.
Andrew lives at home with his family and works at Family and Community Services in Newcastle. He's very good at building things, and even constructed a six-foot-tall Ferris wheel at his family's home. He loves teddy bears and jigsaw puzzles, and goes speed dating on the show, though he worries that 27 might be too late to find love.
It's unclear what Andrew's life looks like since the show.
Kevin grew up with a single dad, and is an artist who draws manga and is an avid Comic Con cosplayer. He views his autism as a special ability that helps him zero in on one activity “rather than getting distracted by others." On the show, he also attends a dating boot camp.
A post shared by Kelvin Wong (@227kelvinwong) on Jul 14, 2019 at 3:41pm PDT
Kelvin's Instagram indicates that he is still living his best life in Sydney. However, his feed shows no indication of a girlfriend in his life.
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