During a recent conversation with our illustrious boss and Planet Neurdivergent Marketplace owner, Mel Howton, we chatted about my recent calculated impulsivity as I navigated the Tinder (dating app) universe. I had been on an intimate “date” with another app user and understood that there would be no follow up date, no additional contact etc. An interesting conversation to say the least.
During the past month, I’ve had a serious amount of time to contemplate the many men on whom I’ve swiped right or left. I’ve had very few interactions, most men never acted on a match. Some only texted. The aforementioned date was the only one I had out of about 20 matches in a three week period.
Believe me, I understand that Tinder is a way to connect without actually connecting. It’s shallow, it’s easy and if you need free sexting, it’s right there. For me, an ADHDer, it’s fun at first, then it’s really, really boring. I typically only turn the app on when I’m in a major metropolitan area. I’ve never actually really connected with anyone.
I have also been musing about my poor, underdeveloped brain. It was during a therapy session last August that I learned I have ADHD. That nugget was uncovered as I discussed my inability to stay in relationships for longer than about two years. I explained that the longest relationship I had was five years, but since then none has lasted longer than two years. I get bored, I don’t need the flow and normal day to day attention that most neurotypical people like.
“For me, an ADHDer, it’s fun at first, then it’s really, really boring.”
I loathe boredom and would rather be alone hyper-focusing on things I like than spending time with another human being who doesn’t have anything interesting to say or contribute… unless we’re drinking, then we’re fine.
My inattention has allotted me very few friends, all of whom love me exactly as I am, with whom I have deep meaningful connections and conversations, a lot of vulnerability and they are extremely smart and observant.
When it comes to dating, I rarely do. I love the initial phases of dating – flirting, the newness, learning about someone, finding similar interests. But if my date isn’t constantly learning and exploring like I am and has little to contribute in the deep conversation realm, they’re doomed. And let me tell you most are. I have had two decent experiences but neither worked out.
In my early 20s, I was fortunate to date a guy for five years who had similar interests, was funny as hell, informed and well read. We lived together and were able to engage in our own interests without worrying about one another needing attention. We were great friends, but we were also in our early 20s, and we changed a lot during the course of our relationship. By the time we broke up, he was working a job about an hour from me, and I was completing my degree – something I don’t think he expected of me.
I also had a relationship with a man in an open marriage. That was optimum for me. He wasn’t around enough to ever bore me with day to day BS. He wanted to do everything I wanted, he gave me everything I needed emotionally and physically. His wife, however, nixed our arrangement (even though she had her own) because both he and she knew I would be the end of their marriage. Again, boring and, dare I say, hypocritically petty. If I’m honest with myself, I’d likely grow bored with the poor guy eventually anyway.
“The most interesting part of this self exploration has been understanding that my needs aren’t the same as a neurotypical person’s needs. My needs and desires also don’t fit social constructs as we understand them in American, and most western cultures. My needs and wants are genetically dictated by my neurological wiring. It’s atypical, and there is no shame in that.”
What’s curious is that there are still men and women who would judge otherwise. Just a couple of weeks ago, a female parent judged her 16-year-old stepdaughter a slut because of age appropriate, exploratory behavior. I was floored and disappointed by this human being, not just because of the sentiment in general, but because she said it about her husband’s child and in front of her own daughter. Passing on that type of toxicity is so vastly unloving, unkind and limiting on a host of levels.
What I will say here is what I’ve said to my son, “Regardless of the gender of the person, deem no one a slut, whore, or otherwise. What people choose to do as consenting human beings is their choice and none of our business.”
I choose my situations and encounters and relationships based on my wants, needs and desires. I do so based on impulse – it is my nature.
But do understand that as I act impulsively, I also quickly calculate risk – an ability that is a gift. If the risk is too great, I will not act. If it is great enough to increase dopamine and norepinephrine uptakes, I’m all in.
“So as you navigate your life, do what is normal for you, keeps you healthy and safe and empowers you. Do so knowing that your normal and someone else’s normal are vastly different.”
I invite you to embrace your neurological wiring and honor and respect what is right for you. I urge you allow others to the same, in their own way.
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