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“When to Press the Panic Button”

Like countless other adults with ADHD, I’m drawn to the chase – and quick to misread signals in a relationship.

Once again I feel like I am spinning wheels when it comes to love. The new suitor, Sensitive Guy, is a tough read, although he says things that are obvious. The words aren’t matching the actions.

On one hand, he has proclaimed his love for me. He burst into tears after we watched “The Time Traveler’s Wife” together, and then again during his latest visit, when he said that, when he sees me, he sees a future that he’s always wanted. It is the dialogue of Nicholas Sparks novels. He assured me that these were tears of happiness, yet the voice of reason chimes in, “When it’s too good to be true, it is just that.”

His gifts to me are as practical as they come. They’ve included a bottle of Tums (for those late-night dinners), a box of roach bait for the former apartment, and a bottle of hand sanitizer.

He’s brought me to baseball games-which he loves-but he has yet to see the pool where I swim. There are hints of promises-meeting a friend, showing me the kind of homes that he loves, bringing me to see his workplace-and yet he really hasn’t followed up with action. The sister says that such friends and lovers are NATO (No Action, Talk Only).

And yet I am drawn to the mystery of the unspoken, of everything unsaid. I am still drawn to the chase. How can one proclaim love for someone, and not follow this up with something certain? Why is he not asking me if I am dating other people, why doesn’t he seem jealous when I mention other men who I am meeting up with, why isn’t there a sense of possessiveness? I know I should focus on the new gig, but my mind inevitably shifts to pipe dreams, and wondering where I stand with the Sensitive Man. Am I being played?

It bothers me a bit that he so easily loses track of time or seems to disregard it when we talk. “Wow it’s almost 2 a.m.,” I’ll say, though he seems to not understand the meaning of this. We end up chatting three or four hours into the wee hours of the morning, and I feel like a dead bagel when I wake up.

A bad sign was when he wanted to keep the souvenir cup from the wedding that I attended with him that had a lipstick smear on it. I am not a cup, I thought. I told him he could have it, so that I would once again be the placater, and to stop his tears.

The friend, Danielle, says I should hold onto him, but date others, too. It seems like good advice when love seems so tentative.

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