Planning With A Chronic Illness
Online dating is hard and being flaked on is supremely annoying. That last minute change especially annoys us all to no end. Let’s take a look at it from the other side. Imagine having to constantly make that change or having your life be so variable you can’t even make plans in advance. Imagine having to constantly change your plans when you do actually make them because of how you are feeling. It is incredibly difficult and unimaginably frustrating to the person having to “flake.”
When someone asks me to go to a concert I have to predict how my ridiculous variable health status will change by that time. I have to predict if I have enough energy to make it to the concert, stand in line, or if I can even enjoy myself sometimes months in advance. Even simpler plans have huge obstacles because I literally never know how I will feel.
There is no easy fix. Low-key hangouts or dates run amok too. Sometimes I grab dinner with someone and then end up getting stuck puking in the bathroom all night. Other times people come over to watch a movie and I end up fainting (turns out dates aren’t too fun when someone is unconscious- who knew???). When these situations happen I feel guilty, embarrassed, and frustrated. Having no control of your own body is infuriating. When I cancel last minute it is because I am trying to keep my date from feeling awkward and frustrated as well. My attempts to do so usually have the opposite effect. Often they end up frustrated and I awkwardly apologize for something I have no control over.
How To Find The Real Flakes
There are plenty of people out there in the dating world who are genuinely inconsiderate flakes. But what about those of us who have to “flake” and do the best we can to fix it? When you make “flaking” a deal breaker you are shutting out people like me who are trying to date with a disability, as a parent with a sick child, or anyone who needs a mental health evening. The only way to get to know if someone is going through all that is to give them a chance- and actually get to know them.
You might ask, how do I tell the difference in people who have something legitimately come up and the inconsiderate jerks? Well, when I flake on people I feel bad and I try to reach out to them to plan the next thing. I try to explain the situation (my illness) and explain why I had to flake. I let the person know explicitly that I am interested in them. If someone wants to try again then I gladly work with them.
“Sorry I had to cancel last night. I was super bummed because I am excited to get to know you better. Are you free anytime after next Tuesday?”
Use The Free Time
Are you seriously telling me you can’t use that one night they flaked on you? I know very few people, especially polyamorous people, who don’t need a night to themselves. So use it! It sucks they had to cancel, but prioritize some alone time.
If you can’t be understanding about things coming up then I don’t want to date you anyway.
Healthy people have the privilege of not having to constantly change their plans and cancel. If they plan to go to a concert three months from now they will likely be able to go. If they plan a date next week you will be able to go. Not all of us are as lucky to be so able- especially those of us with disabilities. Writing off everyone who has a disability, is a parent, or needs mental health days is going to keep you from meeting some amazing people. So give someone the benefit of the doubt and don’t write them off for canceling.