Is Online Dating Better for Spoonies?
Posted by Avory
I was listening to an episode of the podcast Note to Self about online dating, and a discussion of ghosting (as well as related concepts I hadn’t encountered like “simmering” and “icing”) left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Why? Well, I realized that in some cases I am totally that person that 2017 online daters complain about. I have a limited number of social spoons each day, and also a different understanding of what being close with someone means than many people my age. Multiple texts a day? My actual current partners get that some days. Multiple dates a week? Ahhhh! (That’s me running for the hills).
One of my favorite things in my twenties was meeting someone who would maintain the closeness of a friendship with me regardless of long periods of not seeing each other or communicating. I cherished the hell out of these friends, because they didn’t make me feel guilty for my slightly unusual social calibration. But listening to people talk about online dating definitely brings up those slightly guilty feelings. Two weeks of no texts means you’ve completely disappeared? Um… crap.
So what does this mean for dating as a spoonie? What does this mean for dating while ADHD, or with social anxiety? Is it necessary to put a clear disclaimer on your dating profile explaining how infrequent contact is not intended as ghosting, simmering, or icing? Should you only date other spoonies, given how high the social expectations seem to be these days?
It’s hard to tell how universal these expectations are, too. When I Googled around a bit, I mostly found a lot of manpain and people complaining about what a bitch someone was for not getting back to a text message spent three days ago, or how someone obviously doesn’t value you if they turn down two social suggestions in a row. Yikes. I think a lot of people in my communities would also find this obnoxious, even if they don’t have social challenges of their own.
But it does make me question my long-held assumption that online dating is better for spoonies, and particularly folks with social anxiety. I guess I always found it easier to communicate through typing in my bedroom, and I like that I can get to know someone through conversation before they have to encounter me in an environment where I’m distracted, overstimulated, and possibly exhausted. But I also assume that there’s an understanding that a lack of messages doesn’t mean anything about how I feel about you–probably I’m busy with work, or socializing to the max between my existing partners and my roommate. And I’m starting to wonder if that assumption isn’t something that most online daters share.