When it comes to dating or having relationships, my battle with ADHD makes having ‘normal’ interactions sometimes a little tricky. Everyone is different, but for me, the biggest issue has to do with the attention I give the person I’m dating at the beginning, compared to the reality of what will happen when I lose my focus. It’s hard for myself to know what is real, and it’s very frustrating for whomever I’m involved with.
Like all relationships, there’s a honeymoon phase, and you like being around each other all the time. So for some, it might be hard to see, but the hyper-focus I have on my partner makes it look/feel like they’re the center of my world. Even when I should be concentrating on something else, I might be making things for them or doing anything to try and make their day more comfortable or better in some way. I have a pleasing switch that I can’t turn off. Sometimes these are things I can only see, and the person I’m dating can’t, but when I go out of my way to do favors or help out, these things can be seen and are seen as acts of affection.
However, for myself, and this isn’t for everyone that battles ADHD, eventually my focus fades, which is followed by a lack of attention. After a while, it becomes increasingly difficult for me to keep up such a hyper-focus and when the cracks of tiring myself out start to happen, it slowly seeps into me becoming a little more forgetful. Errands start slipping my mind, or it’s possible that we’d be in mid-conversation and without explaining myself, I’ll look at my phone and take in a text. These types of things just start to happen way more frequently, and that’s when the problems begin.
It’s not something that’s intentional. I don’t want things to be this way, and I feel a massive amount of guilt over it as I know it’s disrespectful and in many ways very confusing. In many cases, the person I’m dating thinks I don’t like them very much anymore, and my relationships crash at the three to four month point at most.
This is my reality. It’s hard for me to stop being so hyper-focused at the beginning of a relationship and the fizzling has always happened. No matter how much I remind myself that a relationship is a marathon, not a sprint, I still can’t seem to win this particular ADHD battle.
Hopefully, the new technique I’ve been using will help me tackle this ADHD issue once and for all. Right now, I’m being open with my partner about my ADHD and doing more face-to-face check-ins during conversations to make sure I’m still there, and same with texts while I’m out. It may seem like my partner may is acting like my parent, but it’s the best way for me to stay focused. If my partner doesn’t want to help me with this type of work, then I’ll move on and find the right person that doesn’t mind doing these little things for and with me.
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Photo Credit: Jesper Sehested