Navigating ADHD in a Relationship
Surprising spontaneity, contagious energy, and unrestrained creativity come together to make individuals with ADHD great partners. They tend to have the power to show lasting love no matter how bumpy the relationship road gets. When left unaddressed, however, ADHD in relationships can become a particularly destructive third wheel.
A Spouse and ADHD
For an individual with ADHD, it can be difficult to self-regulate how they act or react. It can be challenging to be aware of how your symptoms can put your relationship in a tense and fragile spot, when:
You zone out during important conversations or mindlessly agree to something you’ll end up forgetting later. This can make your partner feel neglected or devalued.
It’s difficult to keep promises or remember important events like birthdays or anniversaries. This can make your partner think you simply don’t care.
Household tasks can seem overwhelming so you end up avoiding them entirely. This can make your partner feel you’re unreliable and that they’re the only party handling a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the relationship.
Your impulsivity makes you blurt things out which can end up hurting your partner. Impulsivity might also cause you to make unnecessary splurges that can trigger arguments related to finances.
A pattern like this can often expand over time, draining all the positivity out of a relationship. After all, complaints, judgments, misunderstandings, defensiveness, and nags certainly get overwhelming – especially when couples with ADHD make no efforts to repair the broken areas of a relationship.
Falling in Love with ADHD
Sure, falling in love is beautiful. Individuals with ADHD tend to hyperfocus on romance. However, when the initial rush of biochemical euphoria subsides, and problems slowly begin to creep in – it’s important to be conscious of your symptoms and the way they manifest in your relationship.
Always remember to:
Go on frequent dates.
Both partners absolutely cannot “lose it” at the same time. One of you MUST stay calm and collected.
Respect each other.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who is right.
Be aware of your symptoms and try to separate them from who you are.
Perceive problems in a more light-hearted manner.
Try to forgive and forget, instead of drowning in arguments.
Seek professional support.
For couples with ADHD, sustaining relationships takes more than just highly charged emotions and wonderful feelings. When relationship problems creep in, talking to a therapist is often the best remedy. For couples counselling, I recommend Melissa Orlov.
My role as a coach allows for me to work with the spouse who lives with ADHD and help create the strategies, get things done, create habits or whatever the goal might be. Connect with me to begin understanding how you, as a spouse, can gain the proper tools to navigate your ADHD while teaching your spouse about your ADHD.