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ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is usually thought of as a child’s condition but it carries on into adulthood where it can cause a whole new set of problems, namely in the relationship arena. If you have ADHD, or you are in a relationship with someone who does, you know how symptoms like inattentiveness, forgetfulness and poor impulse control can strain the union. Research has found that a relationship where one partner has ADHD has a two times greater chance of ending in divorce compared to other marriages. Many of the problems faced by these couples are actually not that different from the challenges of other couples, but when you throw ADHD into the mix, their severity can intensify significantly, making the tough task of forging a successful relationship that much tougher. Here are some tips to help navigate this challenging path.
The forgetfulness characteristic of this condition can be a big source of relationship trouble. If you are constantly forgetting to do things your partner asked you to do, or that you said you would do, it can cause tension and stress. Your partner may sometimes view it as you not caring enough to remember. Feeling like they have to take care of everything ,or that it will not get done unless they do it themselves ,creates a sense of burden that can lead to fights and resentments. One of the best ways to tackle this is to divide tasks and stick to this division. Your partner might consider taking on the tasks where timeliness is more important, such as paying the bills while you may be well-suited to take on more of the childcare responsibilities or housework. By clearly establishing what you are responsible for, it will help you get these things done. Write everything down and check it off as you complete it.
Since the ADHD is the main issue, it is easy to place all the blame for the relationship tensions on the person with the condition, but this is not a good approach. Chances are, the other half of the union can make some adjustments to help everything run more smoothly—this can be a hard pill to swallow for this party but with some honest examination, there will likely be some truth to this for every person in this boat. If you are the one dealing with a partner with ADHD, think about any of the ways you could change to make things run more smoothly.
For example, if you have made the decision to take responsibility for everything to the point your relationship has shifted from equal partners to more like a mother and her child, you are probably dealing with a lot of frustration and resentment towards your partner because you think you need to do everything. But, perhaps you may try shifting some of the responsibilities to him and implementing strategies that will help him successfully manage them.
The idea that couples need to communicate better to have a better relationship is one of the truest things ever to be uttered yet we hear it so much, we just dismiss it without ever making a serious effort evaluate how we communicate with our partners and implement changes. With ADHD, the importance of improved communication is even more important than in a ‘’regular’’ marriage. This does not just mean talking about what is bothering you about the other person, but all types of communication.
You and your partner need to establish strategies for helping you keep on task with your responsibilities—this may involve your partner making a to-do list for you or throwing up a dry-erase board on the fridge that outlines what you need to get done for the day. To help you better process what your partner is saying, make a conscious effort not to interrupt. If you drift off or need them to repeat something, do not be afraid to speak up and ask them to do so. If you find you are having trouble paying attention to what your partner is saying, try repeating what they are saying in your head to help keep your attention focused on the conversation.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who focuses on health and wellness content. She particularly enjoys researching and writing pieces that help people successfully manage their health conditions so they can live their best life. If you are looking for a great resource for information on managing this condition as an adult, AdultADHDnet can provide a wealth of information; check it out by clicking on the link.