Is ADHD ruining your relationship? All is not lost!
If you’ve been in a relationship with someone who has ADHD, you know how frustrating it can be. Those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be disorganized, impulsive, and impatient—qualities that are hard enough to deal with when they’re happening in people we don’t love and care about, but even harder to deal with when they’re in the people we love most in the world. But just because your partner has ADHD doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed to fail—here’s how to keep your relationship alive and well in spite of the disorder’s many challenges.
Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD
Having a relationship with someone who has ADHD can be tough. If your partner’s ADHD symptoms are in the moderate to severe range, you may find yourself spending a lot of time giving reassurance, making decisions and doing things on their behalf. You might also find that the only way to get anything done or any sense of routine in your home is if you just do it all yourself.
Couples therapy with an ADHD specialist can be so helpful for relationships where ADHD is taking over. Not only can a therapist help you diagnose ADHD, but they can also provide additional support for both partners, and help you navigate your way back to productive, honest communication. Managing the disorder as a couple can help people rebuild their bonds and adopt healthy roles in their relationship.
A diagnosis often leads people to believe that nothing can be done and they’ll never have a normal life with their partner. That’s not true, though! The key thing here is understanding that there are ways you can work with what comes along with having an ADD/ADHD partner.
Things to know if ADHD Lives in Your Relationship
Couples dealing with ADHD must realize that the condition, not the individual, is causing the problems in their relationship. Blaming one another for the side effects of ADHD will only widen the gap between them. These tips will help you put things in perspective.
1. Recognize that living with ADHD means your partner will have extra challenges to face.
2. Keep in mind that treatment options exist, including medication and therapy, so they can learn coping skills and strategies to overcome obstacles.
3. Be patient with them when they make mistakes or forget something important you’ve discussed recently. The way your partner views their behavior may be different than how you view it due to their personal experience.
4. When you have concerns, be direct and honest, but try to do so without blame or criticism. Instead of saying “You never listen to me”, for example, say “I feel hurt when I see that you haven’t responded to my last email.” It helps if you know your partner’s triggers and sensitivities as well as their goals for living with ADHD so you can frame your feedback in a way that will help them meet those objectives.
5. Realize that just because one or both of you have ADHD doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed to fail. If a couple can make it through several years of dating (with no marriage plans), then they can certainly survive having a spouse with ADHD.
Tips for the Non-ADHD Partner
Tips For The Non-ADHD Partner
1. Try to find a balance of structure and flexibility in your life.
2. Plan on visiting a couples counselor who specializes in ADHD at least once a year for a few sessions to help you both organize your feelings and thoughts in a productive way.
3. Focus on how much you love each other, not how many issues there are in the relationship.
4. Let go of things you can’t control.
5. Find a constructive way to communicate with your partner when you’re not feeling heard.
6. Focus on supporting your partner rather than fixating on their shortcomings
Tips for the ADHD Partner
If you’re the partner with ADHD, be patient with your spouse and have compassion. It’s not easy for partner to keep you track and forgive all the forgetfulness.
1. Remember that it’s difficult for people without ADHD to understand what it’s like to live with this disorder.
2. Ask for help and offer reassurance, love, and understanding when necessary.
3. Write down important dates and use your reminders as much as possible. Little gestures like this will make your partner know how much you’re trying.
4. Set-up an appointment with a marriage counselor that you’ve already established a relationship with to get some routine, relationship maintenance.
Knot Counseling in Lakewood, Colorado specializes in working with couples with Adult ADHD by helping them manage their ADHD symptoms and feel close again. Learn all about our ADHD coaching program or call today to meet Stephanie (our ADHD coach and therapist) and see if she is good fit for you and your situation.