Relationships can be troubled by misunderstandings, frustrations, and resentments. Other than emotional or physical problems, a diagnostic approach should be followed too, that is ADHD.
ADHD is identified as Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; it is a chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. You can build a happier partnership by learning about the role ADHD plays in your relationship and how both of you can choose more productive ways to respond to challenges and communicate with each other.
HOW DOES ADHD AFFECT RELATIONSHIPS?
If you’re the person with ADHD, you may feel like you’re constantly being criticized and nagged. No matter what you do, nothing seems to please your partner. You don’t feel respected, so you find yourself avoiding your partner. You always wonder what happened to the person you fell in love with.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who has ADHD, you may feel lonely and unappreciated. You’re tired of taking care of everything on your own and being the only responsible person in the relationship. You don’t feel like you can trust your partner. He or she never seems to follow through on promises, and you’re forced to constantly issue reminders or else just do things yourself.
It’s easy to look at how the feelings on both sides can contribute to a destructive cycle in the relationship. The non-ADHD partner nags and becomes increasingly resentful while the ADHD partner, feeling judged and misunderstood, gets defensive and pulls away. In the end, nobody is happy. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
SYMPTOMS OF ADHD IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
LACK OF ATTENTIVENESS: If you have ADHD, you may zone out during conversations, which can make your partner feel devalued. You may miss important details or mindlessly agree to something you don’t remember later.
UNORGANIZED: This can lead to difficulty finishing tasks as well as household chaos. Partners may feel like they’re always shouldering a disproportionate amount of the family responsibility.
IMPULSIVENESS: If you have ADHD, you may blurt things out without thinking. This can also lead to irresponsible and reckless behavior (for example, leading to fights over finances).
HOW THE PARTNER WITH ADHD FEELS:
SHAMED, OVERWHELMED, UNLOVED, AFRAID.
HOW THE PARTNER WITH NON-ADHD FEELS:
DEPLETED, ANGRY, STRESSED OUT, OFFENDED, EXHAUSTED.
IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS
The following tips can help you have more satisfying conversations with your ADHD partner and other people.
COMMUNICATE: Tone of voice and gestures communicate much more than words alone. To understand the emotion behind the words, you need to communicate with your partner, rather than via phone, text, or email.
GOOD LISTENER: Make an effort to maintain eye contact. Mentally repeat their words so you follow the conversation. Make an effort to avoid interrupting.
ASK: Ask the other person questions. It will let them know you’re paying attention.
HELP YOUR ADHD PARTNER
ROUTINE: Consider set times for meals, exercise, and sleep.
EXTERNAL REMINDERS: This can be in the form of erase board, sticky notes, or a to-do list on your phone.
SELF-CONTROL: Clutter adds to the feeling that their lives are out of control. Help your partner set up a system for dealing with such issues and staying organized.