ADHD And Relationships: 3 Common Conflicts & How To Solve Them

ADHD causes behaviors that can frustrate the other partner in a relationship.

Marriage & ADHD: 3 Common Conflicts & How To Solve Them getty

Many people don't understand the many impairments of Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, which create difficulties in life management and goal attainment. It's also not commonly known that ADHD doesn't disappear in adulthood — a relatively recent revelation.

Given these facts, imagine how marriages and relationships can be affected when one or both partners have ADHD.

Information and communication become important when dealing with symptoms, because knowledge strengthens the relationship.


Symptoms of ADHD — which affect both men and women — include disorganization, time management issues, altered working memory, inattentiveness, distractibility, and fidgety behavior, to name a few.

But let's talk about some possible scenarios between ADHD and relationships, and how it affects couple. 

RELATED: 10 Struggles Only People With ADHD Understand


1. Discussing your personal career achievements

The problem: You're attempting to talk about an accomplishment at work.

ADHD partner's potential response: No or intermittent eye contact, fidgeting, looking at his iPad, interrupting

Your response: Anger

Better response: Reflect back on your observation that he doesn't appear to be listening to or focused on you. What's keeping him from doing so?

Talking to him could determine that you're speaking too fast, your speech contains too many details, or that there is something else on his mind from the day that is creating hyper-focus — an ability people with ADHD have that can work to their advantage at times.


Once you've determined what's keeping him from listening to you, perhaps you can schedule another time to talk about the topic you want to discuss.

2. Disorganization around your home

The problem: Clutter! You assume that he expects you to pick up his dirty clothes, papers, or dishes.

Your response: Anger

Better response: You could discuss the cues needed to get him to pick up the dirty underwear, put that milk away, and take out the trash. The problem is that his physiological boredom and distractibility gets in the way of doing those mundane things.

But cues from you, as well as positive affirmations when the act is actually completed, can really help. Also, once you understand that what he's not doing is not an attack on you, you can even let some of these things go.


Yes, for the sake of the relationship, let it go sometimes!

RELATED: The 5 Best Tips For A Happy Relationship With Someone Who Has ADHD

3. He upsets you in some way

The problem: He slights you in one of the following ways, which you (understandably) can't help but take personally:

  • He goes to work and leaves his wedding band on the nightstand. 
  • He forgets dinner plans you made with mutual friends on Friday night, stopping by a favorite bar after work instead.
  • He comes home late on your anniversary night, without a gift for you to heal the wound.
  • For weeks, he promises — but continually forgets to do — a couple of odd jobs.

Your response: Anger


Better response: Of course, any of the above can create stress, but ADHD is not an excuse to fuel a fire and blow up a relationship.

Your partner has so-called executive functioning deficits, which are part of the medical diagnosis of ADHD. These issues can be dealt with in a positive manner.

It's not easy, but maintaining the "disability perspective," as CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD) dictates, is necessary. Understand and communicate.

RELATED: 4 Giant Ways To Tell If You Have Undiagnosed Adult ADHD

Karen Lowry is an ADHD coach. She's the author of 'The Seventh Inning Sit: A Journey of ADHD.'