Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition that results in focusing issues, impulsivity, and forgetfulness. While it can be turned into a superpower, it can also impact how one feels and behaves, leading to misunderstandings with those around them. As a result, ADHD and relationships can be a problematic duo from time to time. If a couple who is struggling doesn’t know how to manage the impact of ADHD on their relationship, it can lead to feelings of isolation, invalidation, and frustration.
The best thing an ADHD person can do to improve their relationships is to learn the right tools. Similar to tools for organization and productivity, learning the right skills for managing relationships can be key to any holistic ADHD treatment plan.
How ADHD Impact Relationships
ADHDers tend to be impulsive. This can result in fast decision-making and even faster talking. Some ADHDers report that it’s hard to not speak their mind, particularly when their emotions are high.
Experiencing tunnel vision means you are thinking solely about one thing (or one point of view)…at the expense of anything else. This is part of hyperactivity and can result in being quick to respond and slow to let things go. It can also mean having difficulty seeing another perspective when arguments are heated.
Part of ADHD is losing focus in conversation. This can result in a partner of an ADHDer feeling invalidated when their partner seems “checked out” in conversation.
Different Organizational Styles
ADHDers can struggle with planning ahead and maintaining systems of organization. Partners of ADHDers can find themselves feeling like they are carrying more of the burden of chores and family organization.
Working memory impairments are common in ADHD and can result in forgetting what a person said they would do. Like picking up the dry cleaning, calling the insurance company, or closing the kitchen cabinet doors…to name a few.
Tip for Improving ADHD Relationships
ADHD can make one’s relationship life more stressful. However, a huge amount of that stress comes from years of misunderstanding each other’s intentions or not having a solid understanding of how the brain impacts ADHD. ADHD is not a disorder of willpower. An ADHD person is not likely intentionally forgetting to schedule an appointment, pay a bill, or clean the kitchen. Everyone should be on the same page about the science of adult ADHD to better understand how the ADHD brain works. Moreover, an ADHD couple should talk about ADHD often, read articles, blogs, and listen to podcasts. Learn together in a curious and non-defensive manner.
Speak from Your Own Experience
People often have empathy if we let them. However, what clouds empathic responses are criticism, blame, and dismissiveness. It can help ADHD couples to be clear about how they feel (e.g. using “I feel” statements). Or to talk more about why things (such as remembering to clean the kitchen) would be helpful and why it’s overwhelming when it’s overlooked.
Start Recognizing Patterns
In many relationships, predictable patterns occur between partners. In ADHD, it’s often parent/child dynamics or patterns of conflict avoiders vs. conflict pursuers. An ADHD person could be someone who avoids communication and struggles with assertiveness, and a non-ADHD person could be as well. For example, a non-ADHD partner might try and “test” an ADHD partner to see if they will remember something, rather than just asking for what they need at the moment. Whatever the interaction style, knowing your own patterns will help you start to come up with alternative ways of communicating.
ADHD relationships can be filled with connection, spontaneity, and creativity. However, if ADHD is becoming a point of contention, then one or both partners might benefit from more support.
Learning the best tools that work for each person can help rebuild connections and strengthen the relationship.
Begin Adult ADHD Treatment in Columbus, Ohio
Looking for a more individualized approach? ADHD-focused counseling can help you feel more heard. Our Columbus, OH counseling practice in Columbus, Ohio has caring therapists who specialize in ADHD Treatment. To start your counseling journey, follow these simple steps:
- Fill out the contact form to schedule a free 15-minute phone
- Meet with one of our caring therapists.
- Stop feeling invalidated. Start feeling understood.
Other ADHD Services Offered at Focused Mind ADHD Counseling
Adult ADHD treatment is not the only service we offer at our Columbus, OH counseling practice. At Focused Mind ADHD Counseling, we offer a variety of mental health services including ADHD testing. As an adult with ADHD, we know you may also benefit from anxiety treatment for ADHD, counseling for men with ADHD, or depression counseling for ADHD. You can also view our blog for more resources and helpful info!