ADHD and Dating: How Do They Impact Each Other?

ADHD and Dating

An estimated 2.8% of adults worldwide have ADHD, and that number is likely low due to a high rate of underdiagnosis. Are you an adult with ADHD?

If so, it’s likely that you’ve struggled at some point in yourΒ interpersonal relationships. Making friends and dating with ADHD can be a challenge!

We’re here to talk about how ADHD and dating can be challenging as well as how you can make it easier. Keep reading to learn more.

Rejection-Sensitive Dysphoria

This is a problem that many people with ADHD face, though there isn’t yet a lot of research about it. It is, however, something that can cause serious problems both during the casual dating stage and in actual relationships.

Rejection-sensitive dysphoria basically means that someone takes rejection very poorly. While no one likes to be rejected, someone with ADHD who struggles with rejection-sensitive dysphoria will have a more intense reaction.

Those intense reactions can happen even if no actual rejection took place. For example, someone canceling a date, even if they offered an alternative date, could send someone with ADHD into an emotional spiral because it feels like rejection.

This fear of rejection can also demotivate people from dating altogether. One bad experience may make them too nervous to continue.

Disorganization and Messiness

It’s no secret that people with ADHD struggle to stay neat and organized. While creating a schedule can help, sometimes things get out of hand. This can be difficult to understand for people who are neurotypical!

Anyone with ADHD who’s dated another person with ADHD knows that there’s less judgment about the messiness, even if you’re on totally different levels of messy.

Inviting someone to your home can be stressful when it’s messy. Someone may feel too embarrassed, and thus refuse to have people over. This could make the other person feel unwelcome.

If someone does come over, they may be put off by the mess. This is even worse if you live together and the person without ADHD feels as though they have to “pick up the slack” for the person with ADHD.

Trouble Being On Time

Are you always late? That’s the ADHD. ADHD time blindness and dating don’t go well together, but it’s also not necessarily a huge problem if you can keep it under control.

It’s common for people with ADHD to lose track of time while getting ready, or even while going about their daily tasks. Being ten to twenty minutes late for a date isn’t unheard of.

While this might seem negligible, it can be frustrating for the other person, especially if it happens often.

One of our best dating tips for ADHD is to set a timer on your phone for when you need to start getting ready and when you need to leave to get to the date on time.

It’s also a good idea to set up everything you need (clothes, makeup, and so on) ahead of time so you can get ready quickly if you have to.

Perceived Indifference

Many people tend to perceive people with ADHD as “aloof.” This isn’t because they’re disinterested. It’s often due to distractions or masking. It can even be the result of rejection-sensitive dysphoria if the person with ADHD is cautious about sharing their emotions with someone that they like.

Some people with ADHD can seem cold even to longer-term partners.

This is a challenging situation because it’s difficult for a person with ADHD to overcome this “aloofness.” They don’t usually know that they’re doing it!

Someone with ADHD may be head over heels for their partner, but their perceived indifference will ward the partner off.

Poor Emotional Regulation

On the other side of the emotional coin, some people with ADHD have trouble regulating their emotions. This can be problematic in several ways (though in rare cases, it can be beneficial).

First, during arguments, people with ADHD can get heated quickly. They may respond with anger to innocuous statements (especially if those statements trigger their rejection-sensitive dysphoria).

Someone with ADHD may also find themselves getting too emotional or “lovey” with partners in an effort to push past that “aloofness.” Some people find that level of affection overwhelming, but others prefer it. This can go either way.

How to Make Things Better

There are plenty of people with ADHD who also have successful romantic lives! Don’t worry. Dating with ADHD gets easier as you get more used to it.

But how can you move past some of these struggles and have successful dates (and later, relationships)? Let’s talk about a few tips for how to date with ADHD.


This is the number one thing you should do if your ADHD is causing you to struggle while dating. Make sure that you’re communicating with the other person!

This isn’t to say that you have to talk about your diagnosis, but it can help the other person understand if you choose to do so.

Even without talking about your diagnosis, you can communicate about specific issues. For example, if you have the “aloofness” problem, don’t be afraid to mention it.

If you’re feeling rejected and the situation is ambiguous, be brave and ask about it. Communication can stop problems before they start.

Work on Structure

Structure makes a big difference for people with ADHD, and it’s no different in the dating world.

If you’re in the “dating around” phase, it might not be a bad idea to leave notes about people in your phone on their contact pages so you can remember specific things.

Put dates in your calendar and set alarms for them so you don’t lose track.

Try Self-Soothing Methods

It’s helpful to learn coping methods (if you haven’t already) for your ADHD. Working together with a counselor is the best option, but you can also learn some coping skills online.

By learning how to cope with big emotions and calm yourself down, you’ll be able to have calmer conversations and better relationships overall.

ADHD and Dating: It’s Not Impossible

Struggling with ADHD and dating can be a challenge, but with enough effort and mindfulness, you can have fun dates and even find a satisfying relationship.

If you’re looking for friendships or relationships, why not take your quest online? No, not conventional dating apps. Try Special Bridge!

We can connect you with people who understand what it’s like to be neurodivergent. Register and start making new friends today.

Leave a Reply

Questions or Concerns?

Have a question about Special Bridge? Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Contact Us
Mailing List Signup

By subscribing to our mailing list you will always be up-to-date with the latest Special Bridge news and articles.

Your privacy is always important to us. We will not give your name or email address to any third-parties.


Your privacy is important to us and we will never rent or sell your information.



Go up