Do you have ADHD or a romantic relationship with somebody who does? If so, you probably know that it can put a strain on even the strongest of couples bonds.
Are you sometimes left feeling frustrated by this disorder’s interference in your daily life? You aren’t alone. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with ADHD, and today there are more resources than ever to help you and your partner cope.
When it comes to ADHD and relationships, there’s no one solution that’s guaranteed to help. In this article, we’ll share some helpful tips and strategies for you to experiment with until you find a few that work.
Keep reading to learn more!
ADHD and Relationships
ADHD and romantic relationships can be a tricky combination. This is especially true for partners who are unfamiliar with the common symptoms of adult ADHD. So, reading this article is an important first step!
Once you are able to recognise and address typical and sometimes frustrating behaviors like distractibility, disorganization, and impulsivity, you can begin working together on solutions for better communication and teamwork.
If you are a single person living with ADHD, you can use these tips to build your next healthy romantic relationship from the ground up. You might also consider joining an online dating community where you’ll meet a support network of other singles facing the same challenges as you.
Know the Symptoms
ADHD is defined as a persistent pattern of inattention and or hyperactivity and impulsivity that interferes with daily life. In relationships, these symptoms can manifest in a variety of ways.
Forgetfulness and Inattention
People living with ADHD often lose focus or “zone out” during conversations. This can leave their partner feeling like they haven’t been heard.
And, even when they are paying attention, people with ADHD might still forget what was discussed. This might make them seem mindless, unreliable, or incapable.
Inattention can also lead to making agreements that are later forgotten, eventually leading to frustration and even resentment.
Many adults with ADHD experience difficulty organizing their homes. They might also struggle with completing everyday tasks like cleaning, often leading to household chaos.
This can cause high-stress levels for those living with someone with ADHD. And, it can lead to resentment and frustration for others who might feel that they are forced to pick up the slack or live in a hectic and cluttered environment.
Disorganization can also present itself in other ways, like chronic lateness and failure to stick to a schedule.
Impulsivity can lead to difficulty during conversations in the form of frequent interruptions, blurting out thoughts without considering the feelings of others, and a “no filter” way of speaking. Unfortunately, these symptoms can come across as aggressive, controlling, and even mean.
Many adults with ADHD also have difficulty regulating their emotions. This may result in angry outbursts, fits, and tantrums, sometimes seemingly with no real catalyst.
If left unchecked, this rollercoaster of emotions can leave a partner feeling hurt, or even fearful.
Communication is Key
Communication is the most important method for managing ADHD in relationships.
In many cases, a partner is feeling frustrated by the surface symptoms and behaviors they are dealing with, like a messy home. But, there is often a deeper issue, like feeling underappreciated for cleaning the majority of the time.
This can allow couples to fall into a “parent-child dynamic” where the non-ADHD partner feels responsible for everything, and like a caretaker. The Partner living with ADHD, in turn, feels like a child. This can lead to patterns of micromanaging, underachievement, and insecurity.
But, you can restore the balance!
Try some new communication strategies to help discuss your feelings openly and effectively, and move forward after disagreements without the building of frustration or resentment.
To keep the balance in your relationship, you and your partner need to work together. So, no matter how frustrating a problem might be, remember that you are on a team! You can help one another overcome the issue, rather than letting it divide you.
Be honest with your partner about which tasks each of you performs best, and divide your workload based on those strengths. This will help you get through a to-do list without one partner feeling stressed or overburdened. And, it can help build trust, too.
After a minor disagreement or frustrating situation, sit down and talk things out together. You should both be able to voice your concerns while keeping the conversation constructive.
Getting things off your chest will help avoid resentment and other toxic emotions that can make things worse, not better, in your relationship.
Rely on Routines
Daily routines, schedules, and visual planners can help adults with ADHD stay organized. This is especially true for often overlooked tasks like household chores and errands.
Knowing what to expect and having visible deadlines can keep people living with ADHD on task, and make it easier to prioritize everything that needs to get done in a day. This also takes the guesswork out of things and helps to avoid miscommunications on who is doing what.
While you and your partner don’t have to delegate or manage every aspect of your household, it does make sense to control what you can. And you can also use technology to make these tasks easier. Set up automatic bill pay, cell phone calendar reminders, or even a weekly cleaning service if you need to.
While you and your partner might struggle at times to keep a perfect house or be on time to every single event, remember not to sweat the small stuff. Nobody is perfect!
Make it Work
Now that you know a bit about ADHD and relationships, you’re better prepared to make things work with your partner.
Remember, patience and compassion are key, no matter which side of the equation you are on. And, so long as you’re communicating and working as a team, you can overcome the symptoms and frustrations that come along with adult ADHD.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out our other dating blog posts. Our site content is packed with tips and strategies for improving your relationships!