4 Tips to Improve Your Communication with Your ADHD Partner

It’s estimated that up to 5% of the adult population has ADHD. If you’re in a relationship with someone living with and managing their ADHD, you’ve likely experienced some of the unique challenges that can come from trying to communicate with them.

People with ADHD tend to have trouble concentrating and focusing. They might not get things done on time, have trouble with time management, and they can be forgetful and absentminded. While those characteristics can cause problems in your relationship, it’s important to understand they aren’t being done on purpose. 

Being able to bolster communication within your relationship will help to improve the connection between you and your partner. Strong communication is essential in every relationship, but it’s especially necessary when one person in that relationship deals with ADHD. 

With that in mind, let’s cover a few tips you can use to improve your communication with an ADHD partner. 

1. Use “I” Statements

Remember that your partner cares about you. If they forget things or seem distracted when you’re speaking, it’s not because they aren’t invested in the relationship. Calling them out on those things by playing the blame game can hurt their feelings, cause them to become defensive, and create tension in your relationship. 

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share your feelings and frustrations. Focus on using “I” statements when you want to address something with your partner. For example, you could say, “I feel like my feelings don’t matter to you when you’re doing something else while we’re talking.” 

2. Be Clear and Concise

A lack of clear communication can muddy the waters of any relationship. But, if your partner has a hard time focusing for too long, trying to draw out long conversations can make things worse. Don’t automatically assume they know what you’re thinking, and don’t risk creating more confusion by skirting around subjects. 

It’s best to be as clear and concise as possible with an ADHD partner. Keep things short and to the point, and they’ll be more likely to stay focused and fully hear and understand what you have to say. 

3. Be an Active Listener

Communication is always a two-way street. It’s just as important that your partner understands their needs and wants are valid, too. Once you share your thoughts and feelings, don’t hesitate to ask about theirs. 

Give them your full attention while they’re speaking. Ask questions if you need clarification. Use verbal and nonverbal cues to let them know you’re interested in what they have to say. If you show respect, compassion, and kindness, you’ll let your partner know you want to support and encourage their communication efforts in the relationship rather than trying to belittle the way they already communicate. 

4. Express Things As Soon as Possible

You might think you’re doing yourself or your partner a favor by keeping the things that bother you inside. Unfortunately, that often makes things worse. Emotions always demand to be felt, so don’t hesitate to let your partner know about your feelings in a timely manner. 

If you’re exceptionally stressed or overwhelmed, it’s okay to pause and take a short break to collect your thoughts and get your emotions under control. Stress can sometimes cause us to lash out or say and do things we don’t mean. Give yourself time to organize your thoughts so you can speak to your partner clearly, kindly, and directly. 

Additionally, consider encouraging your partner to work with a counselor or therapist who specializes in Neurodivergence. A mental health professional can help you both learn more about ADHD, while also helping you improve your communication skills. It’s a journey you can go on together as a couple, so you’ll both feel supported and validated along the way. At Spectrum Connections Therapy, we specialize in Neurodivergent Intimate Partnerships, and if you would like more information on how we can be of support, please reach out for a free phone consultation.

Be well,

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