Tips for Dating Someone with ADHD.

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The early stages of dating can be fun and exciting as you get to know a new person. When you are dating a person with ADHD though, it can also be confusing. There are many ADHD behaviors that could make it look like your date isn’t interested in you, even when they are. You might feel like you are getting mixed messages. On the one hand they seem to really like you, but then they don’t  follow the usual dating traditions.

Here are 5  tips to help you understand your ADHD date.

1) Attention Inconsistency

When someone with ADHD gives you their full attention it feels incredible. Their focus is very intense and after spending 3 or 4 hours together you feel special and connected. You are confident things are going well between the 2 of you. However, when you say goodbye, you might not hear from them for a week and that is confusing! This inconsistency of attention doesn’t fit with the usual dating behavior. If a date went well, they usually contact you in a day or 2 , not wait a week.  However, a person with ADHD won’t necessarily know what the social norms are. They had a great time with you, but then they got engulfed in their life again and, when they emerged, they called you. This is common ADHD behavior and not  sign of their feelings towards you. 

2) They seem bored

ADHD affects everyone differently.  While some people can focus on you completely, (as in the previous point) many people with ADHD find it uncomfortable to look directly at you while you are talking.

Your date  might look at the ceiling, out of the window or at other people. Usually we consider those actions to mean the listener is bored with or not interested in what you are saying, or they are simply rude. Yet, for someone with ADHD, looking around doesn’t necessarily mean those things. Many people with ADHD find it uncomfortable to maintain eye contact so they look away.

  Even if you are tempted to stop talking, continue your story!

3) Social Norms

Many people with ADHD aren’t aware of the social norms and ‘usual’ dating etiquette. If your initial dates don’t follow the generally accepted timelines with the usual milestones, it can feel unsettling. However, when you realize the usual rules don’t apply, it’s quite liberating. You get to create your own rules based on what works for the two of you. If something is important to you, be sure to let your date know.

4). They don’t call

If your date doesn’t text or call you when they said they would, it doesn’t mean they don’t like you or that they mean to be disrespectful. They properly just forgot. Memory is a big problem for people with ADHD. In the moment, when they said they would call you later, they did mean it. As you get to know each other you will be able to create a strategy or plan B if this happens. In the meantime, know that it is not personal.

5) They don’t plan

When someone likes you, the typical dating protocol is to create a plan a few days ahead of time and reserve that time for each other.

However, when your date has ADHD you might find plans get cancelled at the last minute because of a work emergency etc. Alternatively, they might call you and suggest you do something right now that you hadn’t planned for. This can be a deal breaker for some people. Other people enjoy the spontaneity of it.

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