5 Rules Everyone With ADHD Needs To Know About Online Dating

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So. Many. Options.

It seems like nowadays, if you’re dating, you’re online dating. For those of us with ADHD, there are some important best practices to keep in mind. Here are my top 5 rules:

1. Beware of Distraction Overload

I’m going to jump right in with the absolute most important piece of advice: Keep tabs on your attention span. We all know how the rapid-fire ADHD brain thrives on stimulation, and there is always something new to check out on an online dating site. Whichever tactics you use in other settings to keep yourself focused, but not hyperfocused, use them here.

Online dating is like falling down the rabbit hole! You need some boundaries. A timer works great in this scenario, giving yourself 15 or 30 minutes of browsing time per session for example. You could also limit yourself to a certain number of profile views per visit or private messages per day. Just make sure that you’ll enforce your own rules on yourself.

Beyond the dangers of distraction from simply surfing these sites, there is the downside that you’ll be so engaged in the hunt for perfection that you’ll pass up perfectly good matches. It can be so addictive to keep clicking and swiping to see who pops up next! The key here is to identify your goal and hold yourself to it. Some sample goals:

  • To go on at least two in-person dates per month
  • To only contact people who live within 30 miles and indicate a preference for serious relationships
  • To have no more than five message threads going at once, and they all must have an interest level of 7 or higher on a 10-point scale

2. Select Your Dating Site Strategically

Whatever your culture, creed, interest group, pastime or relationship goal, there is an online dating community out there waiting for you. The selection is huge! To refer back to tip #1, you should narrow your focus from the start.

Each site comes with its own rules, and fees, so make life simple and choose the one that most closely aligns with your priorities. Click around to get the vibe of the different sites, and then make your choice. You’ll register, answer a questionnaire, and suggested partners will begin popping up on your screen. Easy!

3. Put Your Best Smile Forward

There is no denying how important the profile picture is on online dating sites. You might feel the impulse to rummage around for that one picture of yourself that you love from 10 years ago, but resist that urge. There’s just no point in putting up an image that will make your date feel misled the minute you lay eyes on each other in the real world. That sort of disappointment is the worst way to begin a date! Not to mention, this person will be wondering what else you’ve fibbed about for the rest of the night.

4. Explain Yourself

Each site will have different requirements for its profile, but that is the place to let your personality shine. The keywords you put in your personal description will help the site connect you to relevant matches. It’s tough to describe yourself in so few words, but keep things candid and positive.

If it’s something you’re comfortable with, say that you have ADHD, and even add a few of the good personality traits it brings out in you. That way, you’ll start your relationship with it already out on the table.

5. Don't Get Overwhelmed

Online dating is meant to take the fuss and stress out of finding a great person to spend time with. The people who are on the site are there for a reason, and you can skip over the nonsense to find someone you really connect with. Here are some pointers to keep you from feeling overwhelmed:

  • Identify your boundaries about when and how to give out additional personal information, like your phone number, videochat screen name and home address. Be careful!
  • Pick a maximum number of relationships to develop at a time, like three or four. When a message thread feels like it’s going nowhere, cut that person loose and replace him or her with a new match.
  • As soon as a relationship starts to feel serious, take it offline and meet in person. You’re on the site to find a significant other, after all, not to find an instant messaging pen pal.
  • Don’t hold out hope for a fantasy person and miss out on the amazing, real, local people you get matched with.

I wish you all the best luck in love!



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