Adhd and dating

Adult ADHD, Dating, and Friendships

Written by Hope Cristol

In this Article

  • How ADHD Makes Relationships Hard
  • What You Can Do

If you have ADHD, you might find it hard to date, make friends, or parent. That’s partly because good relationships require you to be aware of other people's thoughts and feelings. But ADHD can make it hard for you to pay attention or react the right way.

That doesn’t mean you can't find a romantic partner or good buddies or be a great parent. It just takes patience, self-awareness, and practical strategies.

How ADHD Makes Relationships Hard

The most common ADHD symptoms can complicate your social life.

Forgetfulness. Miss a friend’s birthday bash? A no-show on your own date? Do you feel like you’re always getting blamed for forgetting things, when you know no one actually told you about them? You may well forget if you don’t write it down or set reminders.

The condition often causes people to forget things they’re told. That can lead to major problems in relationships. If people have been telling you for years that you’re forgetful, they may be right.

Impulsiveness. Fights over finances tend to be another problem. A common ADHD symptom is doing things on impulse, and that includes buying things. Adults with the disorder can have reckless spending habits and trouble saving money.

Distraction. You meant it when you said you’d get to your son’s basketball game by 4:30 p.m. You really did. But then you got distracted at work, and your cellphone rang, and then you realized you needed to pick up the dry cleaning. And before you knew it, the game was over -- and you were in the dog house.

Indifference. Many romances start intensely and cool down over time. But your ADHD brain can zap a crush too soon. Why? It’s wired to shift attention from old to new more quickly. When your passion fades, it can leave your love interest confused or upset. If you have ADHD, your loved ones and friends might have a hard time getting your full attention, and they may get frustrated with you. On the other hand, you might feel like they're nagging you.

Social miscues. To connect with people, you need to be able to read body signals and social situations. ADHD can make you misunderstand other people’s comments or not notice how they react to your behavior.

Miscommunication. You might not catch the emotional meaning behind words. You might easily overlook the sarcasm, fear, or other unspoken messages. That can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

Disorganization. Household clutter can drive a tidy roommate mad. But the tension can go higher if your ADHD leaves you overwhelmed or anxious at the thought of tackling the mess.

If the people you live with tell you that you aren’t doing enough, take a step back and consider whether they’re right. When was the last time you took out the trash? Is your clutter taking over the house?

Your family members may be doing more than their fair share of keeping the household running smoothly.

Sex and intimacy. Your ADHD can get in the way of intimacy -- the emotional bond with your partner. Studies suggest that discomfort and fear of getting close may be stronger the more serious your symptoms are.

At the same time, the impulsivity that’s a hallmark of ADHD can lead you to do risky things. People with the condition tend to start sex at a younger age, have more partners, and have unprotected sex more often.

What You Can Do

If you think your ADHD is coming between you and your friends or romantic interest, these tips may help make your relationships more mutually satisfying.

Listen beyond words. Pay attention to body language and tone of voice, too. Don’t interrupt.

Think ahead. When you're about to have a tough talk or feel like an argument may crop up, think about what you want to accomplish before you speak. Try to visualize how you'd like to act before you see the other person. This can help you keep your cool in a heated situation.

Get a trusted buddy to help you interpret conversations. They can help you pick up subtle social cues you might miss.

Watch others for clues on what to do, like where to sit or what to wear.

Role play with a friend or romantic interest to get feedback and improve social skills.

Repeat what you think you heard in a conversation, and ask if you need to know anything else. Let the other person know you understand them by using phrases like “It sounds like you're saying,” or “Tell me if I'm hearing you right ...” Ask questions when you don't understand something.

Talk face-to-face. Texts, emails, and phone calls can’t give you important cues like tone of voice and eye contact you get from a direct conversation.

Concentrate. Look at the person’s eyes and make a mental note not to interrupt. If your mind starts to wander, repeat what you hear in your head to stay focused.

Tell your partner. Some ADHD meds can cause sexual problems. Talk to your partner openly about this and any other issues that may affect your relationship.

Plan it out. If it's tough for you to follow through, and it's a regular source of conflict, work with your loved ones to come up with a “get it done” plan.

For example, you might ask your spouse to let you know about an important birthday the day before it happens. Or you could decide when it's OK for someone to remind you about something. Knowing when to expect a reminder can make it feel less like nagging and more like help. That can hold off a fight.

Don’t play the blame game. When you’re a parent with ADHD, you might feel like you’ve failed your child. If your child has it, too, you may feel twice as guilty -- like you’ve “given” your child the condition. ADHD isn’t something you “let” happen to you. Bad parenting or chaos at home doesn't cause it, either. It’s a biological, neurological, and genetic disorder. Instead of focusing on feelings of guilt and shame, try to find solutions to make your home healthier and happier.

Keep disagreements short and simple. It takes two to argue. When you and your child don’t see eye-to-eye, staying calm -- rather than “winning” the argument -- should be your top priority. One way to do that is to stick to the facts. For example, if your child insists on doing something you don’t want them to do, you can say, “No, and I’m not going to keep discussing it with you. We’ll talk again when we’re both calm.”

Cut yourself some slack when you screw up or don’t respond the way you’d like -- and vow to try again next time. Show the same kindness to your child, too. Research shows that kids are less aggressive when their parents are kind and understanding.

Seek help.Therapy may give you insights and tools to manage relationships. Talk therapy, for example, could help you work through your frustrations and other emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapy can teach you to recognize and change thoughts and behaviors that might be affecting your social life. Talk to your doctor about medication, too. Many people find a combination of therapy and medicine works best on their ADHD symptoms.

If you think you or someone you care about has adult ADHD, the first thing you should do is learn about the disorder and how it’s diagnosed.

You can start by looking over free online resources from organizations like Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) and the National Center on ADHD. These sites can help you find local doctors, along with support groups where you can meet people facing similar issues. You can also find out how to get tested for the condition.

8 Relationship Tips for Adults with ADHD

So you’re looking for love. Maybe you’re dating for the first time, or you’re returning to the scene after the end of a long relationship. No matter the stage or circumstance, dating can be complicated, confusing and anxiety-inducing — and maybe more so when you have ADHD.

To help keep your cool as you find the one, here’s some dating advice (the same I give to my clients) for adults with ADHD — from how to avoid red flags like gaslighting, to how bring up your ADHD for the first time.

Dating Tip #1: There Is No “Appropriate” Timeline

If you are recently coming out of a relationship, no matter the reason, know that there is no set time for when it is OK to start dating.

Well-meaning people may tell you that it is too soon or that you should wait a year, but the timeline is up to you. Follow your intuition. See a counselor if you feel that emotions rooted in the separation, like guilt or grief, are preventing you from participating in life activities.

Dating Tip #2: Keep a List

When you meet someone with whom you connect, emotion can overtake reasoning. To remind yourself of what you are looking for in a mate, make a list of your ideal partner’s qualities. Phrase your list in positives, such as “Likes my kids” or “Enjoys the beach. ” Instead of “Doesn’t like being late,” write “Likes being punctual.” You might add, “Understands my ADHD,” “Is open and gentle when discussing concerns,” “Sees my medication as a positive that is important to my treatment.”

[Click to Read: How to Find Love (and Like!) When You Have ADHD]

When you have met someone special, go back to your list and see how many items your potential mate matches. Reviewing your list is a good way to consider someone’s long-term suitability.

Dating Tip #3: Don’t Move Too Fast

Your brain may get jazzed by a whirlwind romance. For many with ADHD, relationships escalate — and burn out — quickly. Knowing that the ADHD brain behaves this way can help you put on the brakes if things start to get out of control.

In addition, people with ADHD are more likely to develop sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), so slow down before getting intimate. Be sure you feel connected to this person, rather than trying to be who you think he or she wants you to be.

[Read: “When Do I Tell a New Boyfriend About My ADHD?”]

Dating Tip #4: State the Obvious Up Front

ADHD treatment is important to improve your quality of life. Make sure you are on a treatment regimen that works for you. This probably includes medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

ADHD habits often include interrupting conversations or sometimes running late, so tell your date about that early on. You don’t need to say that you have ADHD. You can say something like, “I have a tendency to interrupt, so I apologize for that up front.” You may actually find that admitting to the habit will lessen its occurrence.

Dating Tip #5: Soften the Blow of Rejection

People with ADHD take rejection harder than do neurotypicals. But other people’s behaviors are rarely intended as attacks on you, even if they feel personal. It may be that your date didn’t feel about you the way you felt about him. It happens. If someone “ghosts” you and you don’t hear from him, remember that, sometimes, no answer is the answer. And when you don’t know the reason why the person doesn’t want to stay in touch, don’t blame it on a personal flaw.

Dating Tip #6: Listen to Your Intuition

When going on a first date, stay safe by meeting in a public place. If something feels “off” about a date, excuse yourself and go home. Some people with ADHD are people pleasers, so they worry about seeming rude if they end a date abruptly. It is better to leave than to get sucked into a potentially dangerous situation.

If you are dating online, beware of people who create a fake profile to lure you in. It is called “catfishing.” If you meet a date who doesn’t look like the profile photo, or if details don’t match up with what you remember about his profile, leave immediately.

Dating Tip #7: Watch Out for Red Flags

You should run away from a date who asks you about your biggest fears or failures in life on a first date — this behavior is different from someone with ADHD saying something inappropriate. Someone who asks you personal questions early on may be gathering information to use against you. Another reason a date may ask intrusive questions is to learn your vulnerabilities and take advantage of them — typical “gaslighting” techniques.

Equally troubling is a date who asks you nothing about you, even a simple question like whether you’ve had a good day. If your date later writes off this behavior as just being “nervous,” watch to see if the pattern repeats itself. If it does, it may be more than being nervous.

Dating Tip #8: How to Bring Up ADHD

Having ADHD is part of your personal medical information. There is no “right” time to disclose it to a person you are dating. If you feel a connection with someone, and have built some emotional intimacy (different from physical intimacy), you might want to share your ADHD diagnosis. Some people find that disclosing ADHD early in the dating process “weeds out” people with whom they probably won’t get along.

[Read This Next: 7 Traits to Treasure in an ADHD Partner]

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acquaintances with ADHD - Council for Relations

In this article

  • Dating with ADHD
  • How to meet with a person with ADHD
  • Find your passion
  • Sorry and forget
  • Act as guide
  • Don't forget to have fun

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder which makes it difficult for a person to pay attention and control impulsive behavior.

Sounds like a minor problem, but lack of attention has a huge impact on a person's ability to learn and impulsive behavior can lead to annoying or legal consequences.

Toddlers have "natural" ADHD, but true ADHD is when teens and adults never outgrow it.

Adolescence and adulthood are also times when social skills and intimate relationships are formed as part of the life cycle. ADHD can have a huge impact on him.

Dating someone with ADHD

Dating someone with ADHD is like having an intimate relationship with a toddler. Unless you have an unhealthy fetish, most people want their romantic partners to pay attention to them and their relationship.

If a person does not know that their partner has ADHD, it may seem that their partner is a big person with a sexually rebellious attitude. As funny as it may sound, many people, especially women, are attracted to it.

Overtime, impulsive behavior and lack of attention will have consequences , and in general this can be perceived as irresponsible behavior.

If you're dating a guy with ADHD, his "rebel for no reason" attitude can start sexually but will eventually ruin your life as you get older.

On the other hand, when you date a girl with ADHD, it can start with a strong and independent woman as your partner. But it will soon become apparent that they are simply obsessed with the bat.

How to date someone with ADHD

But love is also crazy, even if you are dating someone with ADHD, and the consequences seriously affect your life. Many people will continue to think that this is part of any relationship (by the way, it is).

Here are some tips for dating someone with ADHD.

1. Find your passion

People with ADHD are known to have short attention spans However, this is not true 100% of the time. There are things that they are passionate about and can focus on such topics.

For example, if you have a girlfriend with ADHD, they may seem narcissistic and conceited but they are passionate when they talk or learn about fashion or shopping.

Success in life means being an expert in one thing. It's much better than being a jack of all trades.

World-class experts in boxing, football, games, programming, fashion and extreme sports earn a lot of money and respect.

Even if some of these people are considered inferior in other departments, it is fair to consider them winners in life.

Channel their energy into your passion and support it. Guide them to turn their passion into constructive effort.

2. Forgive and forget

Dating a woman with ADHD (or some men for that matter) requires a lot of patience. Act like a scabbard for their sword. Ignore their little eccentric behavior these are just manifestations of their ADHD.

It will hurt. If they're forgetful, insensitive, and outspoken, they don't seem to care. if you love this person enough, you can look past them and maintain your relationship.

3. Act like a guide

People with ADHD are difficult to control but they are not stupid. If they love you, they know they have duties and obligations to you and your relationship.

ADHD will get in the way, but if they care about you they will try their best. If you can use this influence to improve your life both individually and as a couple. This gives not only your relationship, but also a chance for success.

4. Seek help

ADHD specialists and peer groups exist all over the world. Consult a specialist privately before attempting to involve your partner.

Completely people with ADHD don't believe there is anything wrong with them , (but instead there is something wrong with the world), and if they see you as an ally, break that trust by introducing them to strangers, "who want to help" is counterproductive.

Gradually develop their trust and make them change on their own before opening up the possibility of external support.

At this time, peer groups and professionals can advise you on how to get your partner to seek help . They won't be surprised if you show up for a session and say, "My girlfriend has ADHD" and support you and your relationship.

5. Don't forget to have fun

Meeting someone with ADHD isn't all fun and games , but all relationships are like that. The important thing is that you enjoy each other's company and develop intimacy.

The previous advice may seem like one partner is watching over the other. This is partly true. However, don't forget to enjoy the love that you both share.

Even if your relationship has problems, they are in every way, try to keep the romance.

Once conflicts take over a couple's life, both of you can develop anxiety and dating someone with ADHD doesn't end well.

Take the time to be spontaneous and exciting. People with ADHD with their impulses and short attention spans will like it. Like children, they get bored quickly, so constantly shuffling things around will keep them interested.

Make sure you do what you like otherwise there is no point. You are a loving intimate partner, not a babysitter.

Meeting a person with ADHD can be exciting in this way. Encourage your partner to do the same.

Dating someone with ADHD will not be easy. If you love a person, then there should not be an insurmountable problem. Just make sure it doesn't turn into a dependency relationship. It's toxic and unhealthy, and it won't last long anyway.

It would seem that a non-ADHD partner would do the hard work. In the long run, this may seem true. That's why it's so important to seek help as soon as you notice that your partner has ADHD.

This is not something you have to do alone. Support groups and professionals are always ready to help.

Marriage tips, tips, help articles, goals and more, November 2022

Marriage tips, tips, help articles, goals and more, November 2022
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