good relationship

ADHD: 4 Tips to Improve Relationships

Relationships in which one or both partners have ADHD may be at greater risk of falling into harmful patterns. The cardinal symptoms of ADHD —inattention, difficulty planning, and impulsiveness — can undermine the bond of a couple, leaving one or both partners feeling neglected, lonely, or unhappy.

In this article, we will talk about 4 tips to improve relationships where ADHD is a factor.

1. Talk openly about ADHD symptoms

In couples that include a partner with ADHD, it is important that the partner who does not have ADHD understands what the condition is, what the symptoms are, and get a clinical explanation of their partners behavior.

This is a practice that usually comforts the partner who does not have ADHD and frees them from the idea that their partner’s behavior is because they have stopped loving them or are no longer interested in marriage.

Communication strengthens the couple bond

When a couple openly communicates a problem, annoyance or desire, they put into practice three fundamental pillars of life as a couple:

  • Trust in the other to communicate a topic considered important
  • Share something personal or related to the couple’s dynamics that may require adjustments
  • Respect for the partner by recognizing their active role both in decision-making and in the search for solutions.
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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

2. Be equal partners

ADHD may lead to partners falling into a dangerous dynamic originating in the confusion of roles. In couples with ADHD, there is sometimes an unequal distribution of responsibilities that sometimes results in the overburdened party acting as a parent to the ADHD partner.

Acting as if you were the parent of your partner can end the attraction and lead to unwanted behaviors on the part of the other person.
Instead of a disciplining parent, your partner likely needs your support, understanding, and willingness to go along with them. Set boundaries, validate each other’s opinions, avoid criticism, and be assertive.

Start by helping them continue treatment, keep medical appointments, and develop healthy habits.

3. Focus on what unites you as a couple

The challenges that ADHD can add to a couple are part of what both must attend to and improve. This may be different from what brought them together in the beginning.

Successful couples are often characterized by the ability to connect with the things that unite them and manage problems without letting them become the center of attention. It is about avoiding tunnel vision focused on ADHD as a problem. Although it is important to identify the problem in order to work on solutions, the health of the couple, and their cohesion, require not losing sight of all the special things that also form part of their lives.

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Achieving this may consist of having gestures of mutual affection, reminding the other that they are admired, taking time to go out together, verbalizing the feelings of affection and how important it is in each other’s lives. It also includes not neglecting sexuality and preventing day-to-day incidents from interfering with enjoying this aspect of life as a couple.

4. Use external support to plan together

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Broken promises, the difficulty in identifying and satisfying the other’s wishes, and the delay in carrying out common plans can become wounds that weaken the relationship. No doubt all of this may stem from ADHD and can be improved with external help.

Apps and the use of alarms are a good way to use external help for the planning and execution of plans in common.
Making lists and working things out little by little may help you move past some of the problems caused by ADHD.

Making lists and working things out little by little may help you move past some of the problems caused by ADHD.

ADHD may predispose couples to fall into predictable and damaging dynamics. If you believe that your relationship is being affected by ADHD, do not hesitate to seek professional help to accompany you in the process of improving your relationship.

Animo Sano Psychiatry is open for patients in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and New York. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

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