Relationships are hard.
Relationships with an added crunchy layer of neurodivergence can be even harder. When people think about ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), they generally just think about focus, but it is so much more. People rarely consider the emotional and relationship difficulties that can accompany this diagnosis.
If you or your partner (or both, let’s be real) are living with ADHD, you may notice some unique relationship challenges. It may be difficult to appropriately communicate, process emotional sensitivity and impulsivity, or just navigate the day-to-day grind of time management and organization.
Open communication and finding strategies to work together can help mitigate the challenges posed by ADHD in relationships. Patience, empathy, and seeking professional support, such as therapy or counseling, can also contribute to building stronger and more harmonious partnerships.
So let’s get into it.
Set clear communication channels.
Open and honest communication is key. Be patient and understanding when your partner gets distracted or forgetful. Find a communication style that works for both of you, whether it’s using reminders, visual aids, or even playful signals like a secret handshake to grab their attention.
Learn to regulate emotions together.
ADHD can sometimes bring emotional turbulence. Stay calm during the stormy moments. Offer a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on. Create a safe space for open conversations about emotions, and find activities that help your partner relax and unwind. This moves the process from confrontational to collaborative.
Make time for organization.
Help your partner stay organized by creating routines and schedules together. Use colorful calendars, sticky notes, and smartphone apps (stay tuned for FocusGenie in August to help!) to keep track of important events and responsibilities. Remember, a little organization can go a long way.
Celebrate the wins, big and small.
Celebrate their accomplishments, whether it’s finishing a project, staying focused during a conversation, or simply remembering to grab the keys. Small victories can be big milestones in their journey.
On the positive side, ADHD often brings creativity, spontaneity, and a sense of adventure. Partners with ADHD can inject excitement and novelty into the relationship (iykyk). So enjoy the good, manage the annoying, and remember that every relationship has its unique challenges. With love, patience, and understanding, you can cultivate a fulfilling partnership while navigating ADHD.
You ask, we answer. Send your relationship questions to [email protected], and one of our experts may just answer them in an upcoming column.
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