Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dating and ADHD

How have I not touched on this?  Ever?

Dating with ADHD can be SUPER tough, or super easy, depending on how your life so far has affected your confidence and your social abilities.  I sucked.  I ruined a lot of friendships and relationships for the simple reason that I had no idea what I was doing.  I had no idea that hanging out with a girl would lead my girlfriend to think I was cheating.  I had no idea that when I started dating one of my best friends, I'd have to kiss her (regularly).  Then I grew up a little (or not at all LOL) and discoverred that even though I now knew these things, I could still not control myself enough to have a meaningful relationship.  I honestly wish I had learned what I know now when I was like, 11, so I wouldn't have spoiled so many opportunities as a teenager to actually have an enjoyable relationship.  I was drawn to people who were drawn to me.  Either those who were a bit socially awkward like myself, or complete narcissists who need the attention they got from a People Pleaser. The latter could never understand why I suddenly lost interest and accused me of not caring (which, at that point, was accurate).  The former expected who-knows-what from me and I didn't provide it, because neither of us ever knew how to talk to each other.  I'm glad my wife is awesome and we're married, because if I had to get back into the dating world these days, I wouldn't survive LOL.

My advice, based completely on my own experiences and probably not nearly applicable in anyone else's circumstances: Date often,  don't force it and don't go professing your love for the first boy or girl who gives you the time of day (otherwise everyone after becomes the new "love of your life" and you never get to learn what love is).  Relax and have a good time.  Don't be afraid to hold hand or give a kiss, and don't feel obligated to go any further than you're comfortable.  It should be a learning experience until your 20's (it WILL be a learning experience at least that long.  I'm 33 and still learning!)

On the flipside of things, if you are dating or married to someone with ADHD, understand their emotions and thought processes ARE NOT the same as yours (even if you have ADHD also) and remember that your relationship should- and hopefully will- be an enjoyable adventure from start to finish.  If it turns into a "Wrong Turn" kind of adventure, don't just let it be.  Fix it, and fix it together.  This can be done.  I've done it.  It's not easy, but knowing that ADHD relationships are high maintenance from the start will help you get through.  Communication is key.  Therapy may be needed.  You may experience a desire to throw away all the laundry that keeps piling up (and you're welcome to it, I hate laundry).  You may need time away (I call this "going fishing").  Don't be afraid.  Tough it out whenever possible, because afterward a successful relationship is all the more appreciated for the work you put into it.

Lastly,  Remember that there is ADHD involved.  Address your relationships just like you would anything else in your ADHD life.  Talk to your therapist, friends, or parents if that's what you do.  Be open and honest.  Do NOT judge. 

you'll be alright.

Finally (yes I just did that) remember that bacon will always be common ground for you to rebuild on.


  1. just to be clear: I'm happily married and have no business giving dating advice. And yet, that's what this turned into, as I was thinking about how screwed up my dating experiences were. Feel free to debate any of this :)

  2. I am a people pleaser who seems to date and marry narcissists, so I do not understand why they want to divorce me. Oh wait, you said something about attention, didn't you? After a while people pleasing ADD'ers want to be on the receiving end of some attention too. I started to think my current husband never loved me. So I stopped giving him attention to see if he would give me any in order to find out if he even still wanted some from me. Ah...that didn't go over so well. Yeah, I suck at relationships. I am happy for you that your wife is awesome. I wish my husband understood me.

  3. so I replied to this and it's not showing up, so if there ends up being 2 comments, that's what...

    I've definitely had my share of sheisty relationships, most of which were due to my inability to communicate with women. So I'll be the first to admit that I'm no expert on the matter... but it seems to me like you should tell him you feel this way. If you don't try to discuss this with him, you are only guaranteeing that he'll never understand you, right? Discussion will get results. They may not be the desired results, but any results would be better than letting a relationship grow stagnant, right?