5 Ways To Succeed In A Relationship If You Have ADHD Or ADD

Love, Self

It's an unfortunate reality.

There still exists a stigma when it comes to mental health conditions that deviate from the norm. This makes it challenging for those with ADHD or ADD – in terms of career, relationships, and day-to-day activities. People are quick to judge – and they can be equally quick to misunderstand what ADHD really is. 

This stigma and lack of understanding and awareness about ADHD becomes particularly troubling when it comes to dating and romantic relationships. For instance, people who don't know what ADHD actually is might think you are being rude because you can't always focus on what they are saying.  Or they may think you are distracted, disorganized, a poor planner, etc. 

Of course, the truth of the matter is that the distribution of chemicals in your brain make it far more difficult for you to consistently focus on whatever someone is saying.  All of this means having ADHD and trying to maintain a healthy relationship can be quite difficult. So is there any way to make things easier for both you and your partner? Actually, yes. Yay! 

Based on psychological research, the experiences of others with ADHD, and my own clients, I have compiled a short list of suggestions you can try if you have ADHD in a relationship – steps that will smooth things over in your relationship so it's more pleasant and ultimately happier. 

Have a look:

  • Explain the importance of communication done in the right way. Your significant other might not intuitively understand your communication needs.  So explain to him that because of your ADHD, it would be a big help if he minimized distractions before trying to have an important discussion. That might mean that the TV shouldn't be on, or that such discussions shouldn't happen when you're both busy browsing the grocery store aisle, and so on. If he's a partner who's truly interested in your well-being, then he should be understanding that this is something you need.
  • Assume you will forget some (or many!) things.  By operating under the assumption that you will forget (unless you write things down or employ some other memory aid), you won't make your partner feel let down as much by making promises you might not be able to keep.
  • Take notes (especially if you're having an important discussion with your significant other). Use a notebook or your phone to record your notes. In this way, you will be able to refer back to your notes when thinking about that discussion. Or if your partner brings up that discussion sometime.
  • Set up reminders on your phone.   This can help with your life in general, but when it comes to relationships it can be especially useful: first, doing the things you tell your significant other that you will do will help make him or her feel important and prioritized; second, by programming a reminder in your phone you won't have to rely on your own thought processes in order to get those things done.
  • Start a list in a notebook, phone, or computer about gift ideas for your significant other and fun activities he or she might like. And whenever a new idea pops up for a gift idea, immediately record it in your list. This really helps make your significant other feel appreciated, as little gestures like this can go a long way in a relationship.

ADD/ADHD can make relationships a bit more challenging to manage, but it doesn’t change how much love exists between you.  Being open and honest about what you need is always a good place to start. 

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If you think you may have ADD/ADHD, take this thorough clinical assessment. It will not only indicate whether or not ADD/ADHD may be present, it will also measure how much your life is being impacted by it. You can then use this information to make decisions about what to do next to help yourself— and your relationship!