While ADHD is typically associated with children, it carries into adulthood. Unfortunately, some of the symptoms of the disorder can negatively impact adult relationships.
In romantic relationships, especially, ADHD can create uneven “roles” in which one partner might feel they have to take care of the other or always be the responsible one.
That doesn’t have to be the case. However, it’s important to establish an understanding of how ADHD can impact your relationships. The more you educate yourself on the possibilities, the easier it will become to work through those issues.
1. Not Believing It Makes a Difference
If you deal with ADHD, you might try to convince yourself and your partner that it doesn’t matter. You might try to believe that it won’t make a difference in your relationship. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. It’s important to acknowledge your ADHD so you can work through it with your partner. When you do, you’ll both be better equipped to handle it when your symptoms creep in.
2. Your Partner Can Misread Your Symptoms
Another reason to be open and honest about your ADHD is so your partner can understand your symptoms. If they don’t, they could end up misreading things, and it could cause contention in the relationship. For example, if you tend to get distracted easily, they might think you don’t care or aren’t interested in them. That can cause hurt feelings and underlying issues in the relationship that can be hard to overcome.
3. An Imbalance in Responsibilities
As stated above, it’s not uncommon for ADHD relationships to have adopted roles for each partner regarding responsibilities. Unfortunately, that can leave one person feeling more like a parent than a partner. If workloads aren’t balanced properly in your relationship, the non-ADHD partner could start to feel burnt out, hurt, and even resentful. You might not be able to contribute to responsibilities the same way as your partner. It’s important to talk things through and come up with different ways you can contribute to the relationship, so things feel equitable.
Forgetfulness is a common symptom of ADHD. However, as you might expect, it can wreak havoc on relationships. Forgetting important dates on the calendar is one thing. Forgetting the little things that are important to your partner and your relationship can often feel worse to the other person involved.
Your forgetfulness can cause your partner to feel unimportant and unloved. Obviously, that isn’t the case, but finding ways to remember more can show your partner that you’re putting forth effort. Technology makes that easier, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of it.
5. Distracted Conversations
Communication is key in relationships. Without effective communication, you and your partner will feel disconnected, and it can take a toll on your intimacy. For someone with ADHD, it can be hard to focus during conversations. You might get distracted, interrupt your partner when they are speaking, or have trouble listening for long periods of time. Obviously, that makes it harder to retain important information and have balanced conversations. But, it can also be unintentionally hurtful to your partner.
What Can You Do?
As you can see, many of the ways in which ADHD affects your relationships are similar. Your symptoms can cause your partner (or others in your life) to feel undervalued, over responsible, and unappreciated. These relationship dynamics can even damage their self-esteem. Thankfully, there are things you can do to manage your symptoms and be more directly involved in your relationships.
Don’t ignore your ADHD or pretend it isn’t there. By acknowledging it, you’re more likely to seek out the help you deserve. When you’re ready, don’t hesitate to contact me for a FREE 30-minute phone consultation for more information or to get the help you need to manage your ADHD and improve your relationships.