In our current culture, both ADHD and online dating present distinct challenges. As our culture has become more mobile, people have become more spread out and distant. This makes meeting and starting romantic encounters more and more challenging. Such transitions have let to the meteoric rise in online dating sites and apps.
Every year, more and more people connect with romantic partners online. In fact, some online matchmaking sites believe that by at least the year 2031, 50% of couples will meet first online. While many people initially had skepticism towards online dating, such reservations have done little to slow its rise. Not only that, but more and more research is beginning to show the benefits of couples connecting online. For instance, some researchers argue evidence points to online matchmaking creating more diverse and stronger marriages.
While online dating has risen in popularity, many people with ADHD might still find difficulty connecting with it. To begin with, many people with ADHD struggle with social situations in general. Additionally, some people with ADHD have issues with empathy and connecting with the emotions of others. They also can find conversations challenging or find difficulty connecting on any level.
As a result, ADHD and online dating can feel like trying to learn a foreign language. In this post, we want to talk through making ADHD and online dating feel less distant. In the end, online dating can provide the emotional and relationship support that many people need. Those with ADHD don’t have to feel left out of that connection. Let’s talk through some of the ways for making online dating more approachable.
Tips for ADHD and Online Dating
To help down the journey of ADHD and online dating, you need to start with a roadmap. Many of us like to believe that we have meeting people and dating figured out. Unfortunately, though, many of our attempts and relationships just don’t seem to work out.
In reality, almost all of us could use some tips and help when it comes to trying to strike up a new relationship. If you already struggle with social interactions, any help can provide some benefit. Let’s talk through some tips that can act as the roadmap for your approach to finding success with ADHD and online dating.
Keep Your Focus on One Platform
People with ADHD often struggle with feeling overwhelmed. This can make multitasking or attempting to follow several tasks at one time difficult. We mention this because when it comes to ADHD and online dating, you should remember to pick one site or app and stick with it.
Many people using online dating sites use several at the same time. Why not go for as many sites as you can? After all, one industry magazine estimates that there exist more than 2,500 online dating sites in the US. The more apps and websites, the greater chance for success, right?
While that seems to be good advice, in reality, most people don’t find more success across more platforms. Instead, they just waste more time with little benefit. For people with ADHD, the more sites they feel they have to keep up with the more anxiety they tend to feel. In the end, the extra time and effort simply aren’t worth it.
When it comes to finding success with ADHD and online dating, your best bet is simply to pick one site and try it out for several months. If you need suggestions on which sites to try, you might consider suggestions from friends or family. Ask a friend who found success about the pros and cons of the sites they have tried before picking one. Outside of friends and family, you can next check recommendations from other sources like this article.
Once you pick a site, you don’t have to stay with it forever. Instead try it out for several months. If it simply doesn’t feel like a fit, then you can move on to try something else. This way, you avoid the hassle and frustration of trying to stay on top of two or three profiles at the same time.
Highlight Your Strengths
A second tip to remember when it comes to ADHD and online dating is to highlight your strengths. This seems to make obvious sense to most people. If you want someone to like you and potentially start a romantic relationship, you naturally want to put your best foot forward. Unfortunately, sometimes we only see the negatives in our own lives and we project those negatives outwards to others.
In general, many people see many aspects of ADHD as negatives. As a result, people with ADHD sometimes feel as though they don’t have any real strengths. They look at their efforts of trying to fit into “normal” expectations and only see constant failures. When they try for a job interview or go on a date then, people with ADHD sometimes struggle to talk positively about themselves.
For online dating, you need to first remember that you do have many positives to offer. No matter how much you feel like you don’t fit with the “normal” expectations you need to remind yourself that with ADHD you have unique advantages and super strengths to offer. For instance, people with ADHD tend to be more creative and innovative than others. They also tend towards entrepreneurial endeavors and can often be self-starters and hard workers.
When you go to set up your online profile, make sure you highlight the strengths of what makes you special. If you need help coming up with something, ask your close friends and relationships to write down some of your strengths. Ask for words or phrases that highlight your uniqueness. Then when you have a good list, incorporate those things into your profile. You have something to offer. Make sure to put that on display when you approach online dating.
Set Boundaries and Don’t Get Overwhelmed
As we mentioned already, people with ADHD tend to feel overwhelmed. One way to fight against feelings of anxiety and getting overwhelmed involves keeping things simple as we discussed. Another way to fight getting overwhelmed, though, involves setting fixed boundaries to live by.
Boundaries and structure provide safety and security. No matter who you may be, we all depend on boundaries in some regard. For people with ADHD, schedules and boundaries provide necessary tools to help in an effective comprehensive ADHD treatment plan.
Having set boundaries also helps to realize your own limits before you go beyond them. People with ADHD oftentimes tend to make quick impulsive decisions. As a result, sometimes they can get into financial trouble with impulse buying or can have issues with relationships by making impulsive decisions.
For online dating, set boundaries for yourself in advance so that you don’t get too overwhelmed. For instance, you can set a limit on the number of people you talk with online. Also, you can set a timeline on how soon you meet someone in person. Then you can put boundaries on where you might meet someone and how many dates you plan to have. All these boundaries help to define your expectations. They also keep you from self-sabotaging potential relationship opportunities.
Going Out on the First Date
So far we have covered tips for getting started into the world of ADHD and online dating. After you have gotten your feet wet, though, you next want to set your eyes on the next challenge: going out on an actual date. Making the transition from online to the real world can feel daunting for almost anyone. For people with ADHD, it can simply add to the anxiety. To help remove that barrier, let’s talk through some helpful tips for actually going out on the real date in ADHD and online dating.
Be Honest About Yourself and ADHD
For starters, when it comes to meeting in person, you need to remember that honesty really is the best policy. Many people don’t like social media and online dating sites because they feel as if everyone acts fake. Unfortunately, that stigma doesn’t arise out of nothing. People steer away from online dating because people do lie on their profile and people do use misleading information.
In the end, though, lies don’t get anyone very far in a real in-person relationship. To find success with ADHD and online dating especially when it comes to a real date, you absolutely must be honest. You need to act honestly in line with your personality. Not only that, you need to be honest and upfront about your ADHD, as well.
Many times, people want to hide things like ADHD from the outside world. If you want to share your life with someone, though, you need to let them see all of who you are. You have no reason to hide your ADHD or feel ashamed of it. When you try to hide your ADHD or other perceived defects in a relationship, you only cause yourself more anxiety. Get rid of the stress and stick to living honestly and transparently. Tell your date you have ADHD and let them get to know the real you.
Prepare in Advance
Secondly, finding success with ADHD and online dating and meeting in person depends on how you prepare. People with ADHD usually are not known for their ability to plan. In fact, most people with ADHD have trouble with remembering dates and times and they often lose track of time. As a result, many times people with ADHD miss dates and events or show up late.
When it comes to meeting in person, especially on a first date, you really need to make a great first impression. That means arriving on time at the right place and ready to go. To make sure you have everything ready, make sure to plan ahead.
As soon as you make plans for a date, set yourself multiple reminders. You should set an alarm on your phone to alert you a few hours before. You should also set a reminder on your email calendar and write it on your paper calendar. After you have several reminders set, set about to planning out the actual date. Make sure you know what you are doing and when. If you need a reservation, make the reservation well in advance of your date in question.
Good preparation can make for a good first date. Set yourself up for success by planning and preparing well. If you need help making good plans, get someone you can trust to help you. This could be a friend or family member. Tell them about your dating plans and have them assist you with making sure your plans go off without a hitch.
Remember to Focus on the Other Person
To find success with ADHD and online dating with meeting in person, you need to remember to keep focused on the other person. For starters, first dates make most people nervous. When people usually get nervous a common response usually involves talking rapidly or rambling. Not only do a lot of people talk too much when they feel nervous, they also can get so caught up in what they want to say next that they don’t even hear what the other person says.
When it comes to actual relationships, first dates matter in terms of setting up a strong foundation. First dates act as the first real opportunity to see if two people sync up well. To get a good sense of whether or not a connection really exists both parties need an opportunity to speak and to be heard. If the person you go on a date with doesn’t feel like you hear them or care about them, they probably won’t want to consider another date.
For people with ADHD, they also carry the stigma of being self-centered and not caring about others. Many people see them as lacking empathy or concern for others. This can make romantic relationships difficult to start with. To get out ahead of this impression, you need to try harder to keep focused on the other person. This can help make your first date and any dates that follow much more successful.
Figuring Out ADHD and Online Dating in our Current Culture
Every year and every decade, it feels more and more like our culture changes drastically in innumerable ways. In fact, each New Year, it simply feels like we change faster and faster from the year before. This makes it so that almost anyone can quickly feel out of place and out of date. When it comes to knowing how online dating and relationships work, this can be just as true.
Fortunately, if you find yourself at a loss when it comes to approaching ADHD and online dating, you don’t have to figure out the way ahead alone. We hope that this article gives you some helpful pointers on how to get started. If you have ADHD, you shouldn’t feel as if you won’t ever meet the right person to have a relationship with. It can be challenging and difficult. With the right tools and support, though, you really can figure out how to make ADHD and online dating work for you.