Dating for me is like being guided to a destination by a drunk person using the GPS on his phone. I rarely get there before I’ve dropped him off and sent him home in a taxi.
You meet someone whom you feel attracted to and you can feel that he feels the same way. So, you both want to get to know each other and that takes communication. This is where it gets tricky, for all of us sure, but in my case, it can make me sick.
“With my ADHD I’m very challenged when it comes to emotions and communication. I get very stressed and that ends up triggering my bipolar, making me very sick if I don’t pull the breaks on in time.”
Let me try to give you a metaphorical picture of what dating is like for me:
You meet a guy in a bar. He’s cool, cute, interesting, sexy and you’d both like to get to know each other better, so you decide to go for a ride. He’s been drinking a bit too much to drive though.
You both get into the car and you’re going somewhere together neither of you have been to before. You’d just turn on the GPS, type in the address, press on play and put in the holder. Follow the guidance of the women’s voice and preferring him not to talk too much, so you won’t get distracted or overwhelmed with information. Of course talk a bit to get to know each other, but just enjoy the music together and hold hands as well.
Him, on the other hand wants to hold the GPS and guide you himself. He’s stubborn, so you give in.
He turns it on, types in the address and tells you to drive … forgetting to tell you in which direction, so you try to clarify that with him, but he’s distracted and has double sight from the alcohol, so the screen on the phone is not clear.
Finally, you find out, mostly by guessing from glimpsing at the phone screen, which direction you’re going. He then tells you to go left at the next traffic light, so you change lane and prepare to go left, once you get there, he says it’s the other left, but it’s too late, so you have to find some where to turn the car around to get to the traffic light and get to the right road. While you try to do that, he starts chatting and changing between radio stations at the same time, which distracts you a lot.
When you’re back on the right route, you can relax and listen to him. You like his voice and he chose good music, so all is good. He asks you questions as well and listens when you tell a bit about yourself. Out of the blue he gets very quiet and at some point, you find yourself driving in an industrial area. Now you start worrying, why she so quiet and why has he guided you to a dark industrial area? it turns out that he forgot to guide you while you were talking and now, he has dozed off.
You try to take the phone to find the right route and get you both to the destination safely. You’re a bit annoyed with him, but at least he didn’t do anything bad on purpose. When you try to take the phone, he wakes up and wants to be in charge of the GPS again. He gets you both back on the right route and all is good, but he’s still quiet, so you think he might be upset because you tried to take the phone and become unsure of if that was an ok thing to do or not.
You start feeling a bit stressed out. You can feel your body get tense and its like you have a thousand bees in your stomach. This drive has been longer than planned, he’s changing from sweet to quiet, you don’t know where you are and you don’t really know the guy. When you ask him of everything is fine, he assures you that all is good, but on the inside he has been afraid that you like him less now, because he had been distracted and dosed of so you got off the route, but he doesn’t share this with you.
Anyway, it seems that you’re on the right route now, which makes you relax, plus he said all was fine, so you start chatting now. Share personal information about your life and asks about his life. He shares too. It feels nice to be open with each other. He then gets quiet again and you worry that you shared too much personal information and some of it has make him less interested in you. Once again you start feeling stressed out, your hands are sweating and your thoughts are racing and ask him if everything is ok. once again, he assures you that everything is ok, so you choose to believe him, but you can’t shake of the feeling that something is wrong. Turns out that he had forgotten to tell you to take a left and feels ashamed of that. He doesn’t want you to know, so he is quiet because he’s trying to find a new route that will get you to the destination.
You’re getting tired from driving and the uncertainty of why he keeps changing from chatty to quiet makes you feel uneasy. The fact that he says everything is ok but you sense that it isn’t makes you start to overthink, so you can no longer focus on driving, but you have to. At this point you need the GPS and ask’s him to give it to you. You then get it, type in the address and put it in the holder. You explain to him that it’s not because you don’t trust him with it, it’s just that you’re so tired now, that you just need it as simple as possible. Plus, this way you can also enjoy the music together and you take his hand. This assures him, so all feels good.
At some point you need your hand to shift gear. After you try to take his hand again, he instead uses it to scratch his head and you feel rejected. You overthink again, did his head really scratch or was it because he didn’t want your hand. You wonder if you should try again, but you fear the rejection again. From getting so stressed so many times, you’re now completely distracted and extremely tired. Pressure is building up inside you and you need to park the car for a bit to give your brain a rest. You explain to him why you have to take a break from driving, he says he understands. You go to a café to eat. He takes your hand; you kiss and love looking in his eyes. It seems like he enjoys this as well. So, you feel a bit refreshed, get back in the car and drive again.
You both start chatting and laughing while driving together, but then his phone rings. He talks to someone for 20 mins. Not about something special, just chatting and laughing. You wonder why he picked up the phone in the middle of the two of you having a good time and just kept talking to the other person for so long. Once again you start overthinking.
“Does he find you boring, is that someone he likes better, did you say something stupid or rude?”
Now your stress level is through the roof. Your body is shaking and you can’t focus on the GPS. Not only are you too tired to drive, it’s dark, you’ve been off the route several times and now he prefers to take to someone else besides you, just leaving you to yourself. When he hangs up, he apologizes and tells you that it’s a friend he has been trying to get a hold on for ages, who lives in a dessert and rarely have phone access. You try to be understanding, but you can’t figure out if you feel this is true or not. It turns out it is, but you still find it rude that he didn’t at least shortly mentioned that or apologized when he abrupted your conversation and took this call. You would have done that. It would be so easy to do and considered.
He tells you that he would like you to meet this guy someday and maybe travel there together. That surprised you and you think he wants a future with you. You then tell him that you’re going out with friends next weekend and would like him to join you. That seems to make him happy and you both talk about if you should meet before that and what time. The conversation is flowing, but suddenly he changes his mind. He thinks it’s going too fast.
He then starts texting and you’re once again left in your own overthinking. You can barely keep your eyes open and you can feel the tears running down your cheeks, which makes your sight blurry. You’ve been through this before. Actually, once it ended in a car crash and even though you came out alive, you have deep ugly scars from it.
At this point you know that he’s just not a good or at least the right passenger for you. In his mind he hasn’t been rude or anything, and he’s actually a pretty decent guy, he’s just acting in ways you don’t understand and the drive is hard enough itself.
But you decide to stop the car when you can find a side street and get off the main road. You tell him that you’ll call a taxi for him, because driving with him is stressing you. You can’t figure him out, he changes behavior all the time and you’re extremely tired. You try to hold back a breakdown but you feel like you’re losing it, but then he expresses that you’re over reaction, because for him you are.
Because of that, you decide to drop him off instantly on the main road and you’ll just tell him to get out of the car as soon as you park it. Because you know, that if you spend another second with him, you’ll scream and fear you’ll crash the car. You know that his seatbelt works fine, but yours is broken, so you aren’t sure you’ll survive a car crash.
Once you dropped him off you feel a bit relieved. The rest of the drive only in your own company is very slow, because you’re exhausted. You feel calm though, because there’s no longer someone sitting next to you, whom you don’t understand. You put on your favorite music, sing along, feeling good and safe in your own company.
But you still wish that someday you’ll meet someone who’ll sing along with you while driving together, peacefully.
“ADHD makes communication hard for me and I can’t read people, so I don’t understand people if they’re not clear. I do my best to understand them, but when dating I’ve noticed that many people change how they communicate and behave on and off, which confuses me tremendously and challenges my mental health.”
If I don’t pay attention to and respect those challenges, plus the signs my body gives to me, I end up triggering my Bipolar. Result being hypomania or depression. The more confused I get and the longer that lasts, the stronger my bipolar symptoms gets.
That’s why dating scares the living shit out of me.
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