Neurodiverse Dating App Founder Discusses Dating ‘Addiction’

The founder of Mattr, a dating app designed for people with ADHD and autism, has revealed his own addiction to dating. 

In an interview with BBC News, Jamie Johnston explained that his own addiction to the “stimuli and dopamine” he received from dating prompted him to launch the dating service aimed at the neurodiverse in 2023. Mattr now has 1,200 active users in the London area where it largely focuses. 

Explaining how he felt dating apps had become a game as opposed to a quest for love, Jamie says: “I was addicted to the dopamine of it rather than actually trying to find a partner. It was exhausting and I knew something had to change. I wanted to create a space where everyone feels comfortable being themselves, without fear of judgement from others or the app itself.” 

Studies have previously explored how the dating app experience differs for those with autism and ADHD, with neurodiverse users more likely to ghost potential matches, avoid small talk, and regularly delete and reinstall apps. A recent NHS article also shone a light on the tendency of neurodiverse daters to struggle with the ‘reading between the lines’ element of dating, leading to less successful relationships. 

Mattr incorporates a range of features designed specifically with the neurodiverse in mind, from daily mental health check-ins to the option to openly take a break from dating without needing to hiding the reasoning behind it from your matches. Other features like limiting matches to four each day look to help users avoid overwhelm and acknowledge executive dysfunction.

A standout feature of the app is a “You’ll need to know” section, in which people can opt to share whether they are neurodivergent. It was an important element for Jamie, who feels authenticity and openness is the key to successful partnerships through Mattr: “The vast majority of people use it,” he said, before continuing, “It’s about creating an environment and space where people feel free and open to articulate it.”

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