Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder could be straining your relationships - - and you may not even know it. WebMD tells you more. Not being heard is a major complaint of those in intimate relationships with partners with ADHD. For many who have ADHD, listening to others is hard. When a romantic relationship is impacted by ADHD, what can the partner who doesn't have ADHD do about it?.
Men can describe these interactions as making them feel emasculated. They often hide a large amount of shame, sometimes compensating with bluster or retreat. Constant reminders from spouses, bosses, and others that they should "change" reinforce that they are unloved as they are.
Afraid to fail again. As their relationships worsen, the potential of punishment for failure increases. But ADHD inconsistency means this partner will fail at some point. Anticipating failure results in reluctance to try.
Longing to be accepted. One of the strongest emotional desires of those with ADHD is to be loved as they are, in spite of imperfections. How the non-ADHD partner often feels: The lack of attention is interpreted as lack of interest rather than distraction. One of the most common dreams is to be "cherished," and to receive the attention from one's spouse that this implies.
Angry and emotionally blocked. Anger and resentment permeate many interactions with the ADHD spouse. Sometimes this anger is expressed as disconnection. In an effort to control angry interactions, some non-ADHD spouses try to block their feelings by bottling them up inside.
The Effects of Adult ADHD on Relationships
Non-ADHD spouses often carry the vast proportion of the family responsibilities and can never let their guard down. Life could fall apart at any time because of the ADHD spouse's inconsistency. The non-ADHD spouse carries too many responsibilities and no amount of effort seems to fix the relationship. A non-ADHD spouse might feel as if the same issues keep coming back over and over again a sort of boomerang effect.
Progress starts once you become aware of your own contributions to the problems you have as a couple. This goes for the non-ADHD partner as well. The way the non-ADHD partner responds to the bothersome symptom can either open the door for cooperation and compromise or provoke misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Your reaction can either make your significant other feel validated and heard or disregarded and ignored.
Break free of the parent-child dynamic Many couples feel stuck in an unsatisfying parent-child type of relationship, with the non-ADHD partner in the role of the parent and the partner with ADHD in the role of the child. It often starts when the partner with ADHD fails to follow through on tasks, such as forgetting to pay the cable bill, leaving clean laundry in a pile on the bed, or leaving the kids stranded after promising to pick them up.
The non-ADHD partner takes on more and more of the household responsibilities. The more lopsided the partnership becomes, the more resentful they feel. Of course, the partner with ADHD senses this. So what can you do to break this pattern? Tips for the non-ADHD partner: Put an immediate stop to verbal attacks and nagging.
Adult ADHD and Relationships
Encourage your partner when they make progress and acknowledge achievements and efforts. It is destructive to your relationship and demotivating to your spouse. Tips for the partner with ADHD: Acknowledge the fact that your ADHD symptoms are interfering with your relationship.
As you learn to manage your symptoms and become more reliable, your partner will ease off. If strong emotions derail conversations with your partner, agree in advance that you need to take a time out to calm down and refocus before continuing.
Find ways to spoil your spouse. If your partner feels cared for by you—even in small ways—they will feel less like your parent. One partner feels overburdened. The other feels attacked. They end up fighting each other rather than tackling the issue.
To improve communication, do what you can to defuse emotional volatility. If need be, take time to cool off before discussing an issue. When you have the conversation, listen closely to your partner.
A couple fights over dinner being an hour late.
How does that make me a bad wife? Fess up to your feelings, no matter how ugly. Get them out in the open where you can work through them as a couple. If your partner does something that upsets you, address it directly rather than silently stewing. Watch what you say and how you say it. Find the humor in the situation.
Learn to laugh over the inevitable miscommunications and misunderstandings. Laughter relieves tension and brings you closer together. The following tips can help you have more satisfying conversations with your partner and other people.
Communicate face to face whenever possible. Nonverbal cues such as eye contact, tone of voice, and gestures communicate much more than words alone. To understand the emotion behind the words, you need to communicate with your partner in person, rather than via phone, text, or email.
While the other person is talking, make an effort to maintain eye contact. If you find your mind wandering, mentally repeat their words so you follow the conversation. Make an effort to avoid interrupting. Instead of launching into whatever is on your mind—or the many things on your mind—ask the other person a question. If your attention wanders, tell the other person so as soon as you realize it and ask them to repeat what was just said. Inattention can also lead to mindlessly agreeing to things that you later forget.
This can be frustrating and lead to resentment. Even when adults with ADHD are paying attention, they might still forget what was discussed. This can cause others to see the person as unreliable or incapable. This symptom of adult ADHD can lead to frequent interruptions during conversations or blurting out thoughts without considering the feelings of others. This can result in hurt feelings.
ADHD and Relationships: How to Make it Work
This can cause resentment and frustration for the partner, who might feel like he or she does more of the work at home. Many adults with ADHD have difficulty regulating their emotions. This can result in angry outbursts that leave partners feeling hurt or fearful.
While the adult with ADHD in the relationship is at risk of feeling micromanaged and overwhelmed with criticism, the non-ADHD partner might feel disconnected, lonely, or underappreciated. More often than not, the behaviors on the surface i.ADHD And Relationship Issues – 11 Ways to Fix Them
This chronic pattern of micromanaging and underachievement can result in feelings of shame and insecurity for the ADHD partner. It also increases the risk of depression. When couples work to improve communication skills, they can restore balance to the relationship. Try these strategies to communicate effectively with your partner: Sharing your struggles helps your partner understand how ADHD impacts your behavior Hold eye contact when listening For long conversations, consider a fidget toy like a squeeze ball to keep your mind engaged Focus on teamwork.