Was it just Hyperfocus in dating?

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    • #98515

      Hello guys,

      I have spent the past week trying to find an answer to my situation. I would be most grateful if some of you could enlighten me please.I was dating this wowonderful woman who has ADHD for nearly 2 months. Everything was amazing, very intense, loving, caring till the very last day when she suddenly started ignoring me. Then she broke up with me saying she had way too much stress going on in her life and doesn’t want to be in a relationship. She totally adored me the same way i adore her. Im utterly confused at what’s happened. We were making plans for the future even after such a short time. She has a child and an ex boyfriend who is divorcing her at the moment, a lot of financial stress, and some other things that bother her right now. She said i was the love of her life but its hard to believe now that she has finished with me from one day to another.
      My question is, was i a victim of hyperfocus dating, were her feelings actually true, is there a chance her feelings can change back as suddenly as the decision about the break up? Im pretty upset as i have never felt anything like this sort of love towards anyone.


    • #98542

      Hi Luke,

      I cannot tell you if you were the victim of ‘hyperfocus dating’ or not.

      It’s not because I don’t want to tell you a difficult, hard, or unfortunate truth, either. There’s not a single way that you, I, or anyone else in this world but her, could tell. Only she could try to relate to you what’s rattling through her head. If any two people could see into each-other’s heads that way, although some seem to get close, we’d be living a utopia. Communication isn’t always effortless, but.

      Here’s the thing though. You said it all yourself, she’s going through a lot right now. She’s holding a full plate. That’s clear to see, I’m glad you see it too. It’s clear to see that you care.

      I know that, when there’s far too much going on in my world, that sometimes I pull inwards and lose touch with others. When I’m spinning so many plates that it feels like I can’t even string two social words together. Sometimes, when they hang on anyway because they mean well and want to help, I nudge them away. I don’t mean to hurt them. I need a little more cognitive space in those times, and my ancient lizard-brain knows they’re using a lot of mine. I reclaim it.

      Commitments and communication are two tricky, complicated beasts. I could spend an eternity chatting with people. Helping people. Laughing with people. From dawn til dusk, and further still. When times are good, I glide through soaring winds with the breeze at my back.

      Start throwing some big stressors in, though, and it can be a struggle. If I haven’t slept, or have worked myself too hard, am starving, if I feel more ache than person… It’s effort. I have to kick the brain to engage. Often I can look at a message for an hour, fighting myself. I know what I want to say… but how? Overthinking. Frustration. Knowing they’ve seen my ‘seen’. Feeling their nonexistent judgement burn through me. Even for those I’d die twice for. Those I’d burn the world down for, without a second thought. And nothing comes.

      It’s not only an ADHD thing, either. You’ve likely already realised this. You’ve likely experienced the same spectra of stress and ranges of emotions involved. This mightn’t sound new and alien to you, because it’s the human condition. Those of us with ADHD are capable. Though we can’t spin as many plates without over-extending, or we can’t sit still long enough to hold on. Then the houses-of-cards that are our lives come tumbling down again. The threshold is a little lower, and it’s frustrating. Management helps us to leverage a bit more capacity within those spheres, is all. In the stimulant sense, through dopaminergic-pathway amplification to counteract prefrontal dopamine deficiencies. Deficiencies that hinder our capacity to apply the higher-order executive functions of thought. At least, reducing our ability as compared to the average everyperson. Otherwise, we’re you.

      Did she tell you not to talk to her anymore? Or that she doesn’t want to be in a relationship anymore at the moment?

      If she isn’t angry at you, and hasn’t mentioned wanting you gone, it sounds she’s a tad overwhelmed right now is all. It happens to the best of us. Life is big, and often challenging. Everything that ever has lived, breathed, or walked this world could relate.

      Her feelings were most likely genuine. Yes, we’re liable to be somewhat more impulsive than some. Hell – I’m here writing this gargantuan mess for a stranger, who might not actually ever come back to see it. I’m supposed to be shopping for tomorrow’s dinner. We can be emotionally-short-sighted too, like anyone else, for the sake of inattentivity. Spread too thin to catch the nuance of other’s responses, at times. But it sounds she enjoyed spending time with you, like you did with her, and that’s special.

      So here’s what you do.

      If she doesn’t mind staying in contact, and if you care for her, be her friend for now. Be gentle, trying to solve her problems for her isn’t likely to go over well. Be there to show her what she’s capable of. Remind her, when she’s having a rough time, of what she has achieved before. And of how strong she is in that moment – for herself and her child – for holding up against the storm.

      Be a sounding board for her ideas, her thoughts and plans and frustrations and her successes. Her wins and her losses. Remind her to take care of herself too. It’s easy to do so much for others that you forget to stick to your normal routines of nutrition, sleep, and exercise. Be kind to her, like I know you will, and let her know that she’s got an emotional outlet in you when she needs it. A problem shared is a problem halved and burden lightened, even if you can’t provide a path to a solution.

      You can be these people for each-other. Caring, considerate, thoughtful. A support, someone you can lean on, someone you make a great team with, who can keep a good head when yours scrambles. A brilliant, meaningful, enjoyable connection – something you can preserve here. A partnership with a healthy mutual respect and a special history. Something you’ll both be proud to have for a long, long time. That you’ll both be better for, and is worth the world on it’s own. And if she does have feelings for you, you two can work that out when the storm passes, and the waters are calmer. At a time you’re both ready.

      If she told you to back it off a bit, keep yourself out of the picture for a little while. Let her weather the storm her way, to captain her own ship. She’s managed it so far. Wait until she’s through it a fair bit more, and starts to find her feet again. When it feels respectful and appropriate, put some casual feelers back out there. Grab lunch or something, see where it takes you. She sounds like she enjoyed her time, but needs space so she can become her best self again.

      Either way, in the meantime, it’s a big, wide, sunny world. Shape your day, frame it well. Be mindful of the tunes you play in the car or at home. You might reach for the sad or romantic soundtracks, but these keep you down after a while. You forget how the sky looks without the clouds. Reminding yourself to carve a lighter soundscape is healthy. Eat well, exercise as normal, keep your place well-lit, and look after yourself in all other ways also. We all bleed the same red, and we all need to cover the same basic needs to be strong of body as well as of mind. These keep us alive. Live this as a side-story in your life, or you risk instead dwelling in the illusion that it’s the only story.

      Congrats if you made it this far. Stand tall. Life is full of infinitely-uncountable possibilities. I hope you enjoy the boundless joy and wonder that this world has ready for you to experience. Get in touch if you feel the urge to chat. You’ve got my word that it won’t be as overarching and monolithic as this. All the best.

      – Menelaus

    • #98666

      Hello Menelaus,

      Thanks for your long reply, I really appreciate it that you took the time to write to me.

      My lady says she doesn’t want a relationship with anyone and just wants to be alone. Although that’s not what she said a couple of weeks ago when we were making all sorts of plans but I understand that right now that is her answer. It makes me ferl terrible as I’m still not sure what’s caused this sudden change. She also says she does want me in her and her son’s life but right now it just doesn’t feel like it. She is ignoring me and it really hurts tobe on the receiving end of it.

      Is that possible that the past over two months was a lie and she would have said the exact same loving words to just anyone and would have been just as focused on anyone or not? I’ve never come across anyone with ADHD hence I am not sure whether this is quite normal behaviour in the begining of any relationship or it was a one off.

      I love this lady and I wish things were different.


      • #98908

        Fairly agreed with this lot. It’s hard to dial in anything other than “all or nothing” because my dimmer-switch just wasn’t wired in proper. She doesn’t want you gone, and you don’t want to leave either. That’s great to hear, and definitely preferred over the major alternatives. If I were her, trying to get into that headspace now, I imagine I’d be exhausted by everything that’s causing me grief. I’d be overthinking on everything, especially on the fronts of relationships. Both platonic and romantic.

        I’d convince myself that I wouldn’t be cruel enough to subject anyone else to living with me with all the stress and struggle that just comes with how my head ticks over. Especially someone I cared about. Even though I’d jump at the opportunity to be that person for another with the same, to be on the other side of this thought process, because it wouldn’t burden open me. Isn’t it ironic just how self-isolating it can be? I can constantly see how rediculous it sounds, but I still battle my way back atop this concept so often in regards to certain friends and certain people I know.

        It’s hard at times to convince yourself that you’re not being cruel to them to be with them. But little reminders that show that they think about you when you’re not there, that you exist in their world beyond that moment between walking in and out that door, help hammer home the idea that they’re not humouring me. That they don’t just feel sorry for me, they don’t pretend to be my friend when I’m around to pity me, and that they actually enjoy me as a person.

        She’s probably having a frustrating time and, as mentioned above, might’ve become paranoid in overthinking that you would be put off by all this.

        I don’t introduce myself as a man with ADHD, but even I’m surprised how oddly common we are out there in the population. You’ve definitely come across us before, even if you didn’t know it, even if they didn’t know.

        To the question about whether she would’ve said the same loving words to anyone… I don’t know her, but I don’t reckon so. My emotions at times might be more intense or less intense than others, and my feelings do grow fast, but they’re still there and they’re honest. I don’t fall for everyone, but it’s tricky to regulate “am I being too clingy? Too distant?” and all that jazz for anyone. Even more so when you’ve chronically got more splintering tangent threads of thought streaming through your head at once than you have fingers to count them on, and you’ve so absolute overthought yourself into a hole. If you think something enough, it becomes truth in your own head.

        Your time hasn’t been a lie, treasure it.

        Remind her that she’s there with you even when she’s not there physically. Next time you see her, bring something you found while out walking that you found neat, and thought that she’d enjoy. Or send a picture of a place you guys went if you find yourself nearby. Something organic, and unforced.

        Remind her that she doesn’t have to be an Olympic, Nobel Prize winning, billionaire astronaut acrobat, and that you love being around her because of what she already is, because she might feel she’s not enough, and that you deserve better than to tied to what she might envision as a flaming, prospectless trainwreck of a life.

        Message her, and let it slip that she just popped into your head for some reason or another. Ask her how she’s really been doing lately. Let her vent if she needs to.

        It’s hard to be the initiator most of the time, but there’s a fair chance she thinks she’s bothering you or slowing you down. She’s “doing you a favour” by not imposing her problems upon you, and that on-off switch brain actions that as “disengage entirely”. You’ve got the green light in that she wants you in her life. So, and I know it sounds like work and it IS somewhat unfair, but it’s up to you to breathe life in here because she’s holding herself off “for your sake”.

        She’s lucky to know such a kind, warm, fullhearted person.

        Much love,

        – Menelaus

    • #98765

      She herself nay not know whether her time with you was her impulsivity symptom playing out. And maybe you are right, maybe the novelty just wore off and as a dopamine junkie, she needs something new and fresh again. I would argue that in real life, it doesn’t matter why you connected. What matters is that you did. And even if it was just her symptoms, she would have liked you without them anyway. ADHD doesn’t make you fall for people a neurotypical version of yourself would t fall for. It just makes you fall in love with him faster and harder. And if it was glorious, you should protect the memory of it. Don’t waste time trying to downplay what you mean to her.

      Personally I think there are a bunch of factors playing out here that a very typical for women with ADHD. Easily overwhelmed with no natural internal self soothing system. A low tolerance of frustration. A lifetime of having to put on a mask when we struggle as women. Feelings of failure and shame and guilt at a divorce. Fear that her symptoms make her bad mother and therefore spending extra cognitive energy focusing on meeting societies expectations for good mothering. Fear that her new boyfriend doesn’t know the real her and if he did, he wouldn’t like her as much. Struggling to maintain the pace and momentum he fell in love with. Potential co-morbid issues like depression and anxiety. And of course the dreaded ADHD funk. Hiding emotional dysregulation is exhausting. And then one day you misread a word or a facial expression and start to anticipate his rejection. So you subconsciously Choose to pre-empt his rejection by rejecting him. And of course since things are not as exciting as they were at the beginning, you rationalize your decision by deciding you probably never loved him.

      This are just guesses but I expect you will one day discover that I was mostly right. If you are still talking just let her know you are there when she needs you. Be her platonic support system. Get to know her without the mask.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by Mimij.
    • #98768

      1st of all I want you to know that you sound like an amazing person who has so much love to give and I’m so sorry you aren’t able to receive that same love back from the person you want it from.

      I have ADHD and from what I’m learning from myself is is I can either be a godsend to someone or I can be useless, pretty much black or white with no in between.
      I will give you 100% or nothing at all. I don’t know any other way and I think if you ask a number of people with ADHD the majority will agree that they are the all or nothing type and I believe it’s because we hyper focus on all areas of our lives so that we could be attentive and successful. Problem is that everyday we as humans need to be attentive and somewhat successful in more than just one area.
      So here’s where things get tricky when it comes to love… We are toxic, mainly to ourselves but certainly to others at times because we love so intensely, we give 100% of ourselves and put 100% into a relationship. Sounds great, right? Sure for the receiver. It’s 100% impossible to give your whole entire supply of food to one person when there are many people relying on getting fed solely on your supply. That being said it sounds like your lady loved you too much and unfortunately she had nothing to give to any other areas of her life that were reliant on her.
      Another thing is that we don’t stay content for long. I’m sure she wasn’t trying to make this a game or trying to play you but is it possible that she felt too content and boredom struck? I ask this because you may want to play along with her but only if you can win.
      Rules are simply or not so simple, find ways to keep her engaged. Stir the pot but never allowing it to bubble over. She may need the stimulation to get her dopamine in check. Make her feel like she will never solve the puzzle of you. Always make her feel confident in your relationship but add some serious excitement.
      Good luck Luke!

    • #98946

      Thank you for all the replies, i really appreciate them all. Right now i feel really down and my confidence is knocked rock bottom. I don’t see myself recovering from this anytime soon. 🙁 We are not in touch regardless of what she has said before. I feel like the iver 2 months was a lie. Horrible feeling. Loved this lady with my all.


    • #98984

      I know how this feels, Luke. I’m sorry


      • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by gramcary.
      • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by gramcary.
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