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Experiences of Neuro-diverse people with online dating?
Posted:Dec 1, 2021 4:56 am
Last Updated:Dec 23, 2021 9:16 pm
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I'm going to explain a bit about my experiences of dating, and in that context, then ask for some feedback from people with experience.

Let me start by saying I have not been assessed for neurodiversity, and don't (at this point) intend to be. However, I do feel that I have some neurodiverse tendencies and various online self-assessment tools tend to confirm that diagnosis. Yes, I know the online tools are worth precisely how much you pay for them (ie. nothing), but they verify my self-assessment so they seem credible to me . If were to be assessed as neuro-diverse, I would guess I would be considered "very highly functioning", to the extent that I made it through 40 years of my life without feeling that it was an impediment. As neurodiversity has become more talked about (and less of a stigma), I have started to recognise some of those traits in myself, and have started to question whether some of my "quirks" might actually be related and have a name.

I struggle at the best of times with knowing what is the appropriate way to interact with people. Unless I'm talking about something I know and I'm confident about. Then I can talk the legs off a table - and actually, that might not be appropriate either. At least when dealing face-to-face I can get some feedback and will have some inkling when it is time to admit defeat and beat a strategic withdrawal, which at least minimises the impact on the other person. When online, and especially text-only, I am missing a whole range of cues and I often feel completely out of my depth. I just don't know what is considered normal or appropriate things to talk about. Am I being too boring? Not saying the sorts of things you're expecting me to say? DId I say something which was taken the wrong way? Am I not picking up on the hints you're trying to drop?

In retrospect, I don't think I have met very many people in my life where I truly felt understood. I think the number of people with whom I have been able to have a truly relaxed conversation - where I don't have to think about and filter what I'm saying, and try to guess what it is they're meaning - can probably be counted on one hand.

Maybe all this is perfectly normal. Maybe everyone feels this way, and other people just have more practice at managing it. I don't know. I struggle, and I hate it. It takes considerable intellectual and emotional effort, and that doesn't seem to be the case for other people.

If I were to give you advice on how to interact with me, it would be: BE BLUNT. Don't worry about offending me, I have tough skin. And if you do manage to offend me, don't worry about me "hitting back" (literally or figuratively) because I can't even imagine how anyone could do that (and I mean that quite literally). For example: You're not interested and you want me to go away and leave you alone? Please just say so, and I will - no fuss, no whining, no coming back in a week or a month to ask if you've changed your mind. You have clearly communicated your desire, and i will comply. And until you very clearly express a different intention, I will assume that continues to be the case. Forever.
I know blocking me is also effective, but that it is upsetting to me because it means I've upset you, and that shouldn't be necessary. I realise you probably don't care about that, but I put it out there so you understand. I think the logic in my mind is that blocking me says I have done something wrong, and as that was absolutely not my intention and I possibly don't even know what it is I did wrong, that hurts.
I understand that is not the case with a number of males in particular. I include this in my list of quirks.

I will stop rambling now. i would be very interested in hearing your experiences, especially from neurodiverse people, and how you cope with/manage online dating (the whole gamut from the more "serious" dating sites through to the not-very-reputable pick-up sites) - to the extent that you're prepared to share publicly, anyway. I realise everyone's neurodiversity is different, but I'm looking for reassurance and learning possible strategies that I might try - both to help me, and prospective partners, negotiate the experience.

If you have dated someone who was definitely neurodiverse, and have some experiences to share on how you coped with that situation, that is also welcome. If you're unsure of the term, please google it.

I am not a paid member at this point and have had trouble receiving private posts, so I regret if you have something you'd prefer to share privately I may not see it.

Thank you for sharing!

TYL
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