10 Things You Need To Know If You Love Someone With ADHD

If your partner has ADD or ADHD, here's what you should know.

Relationship Advice For Loving Someone With Adult ADHD Symptoms by APHOTOX from Pexels

If you've ever dated or married someone with ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), you know that there are a unique set of circumstances and relationship problems that come with trying to circumnavigate ADHD symptoms in your love life.

Your relationship is important to you, and ADHD can make it seem like it's not as relevant to your partner. You may struggle to work through simple issues, and the symptoms of ADHD can be wide and varying.


This is especially difficult if your partner has never been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, or neither of you even realize it might be a factor in your relationship.

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

A few months back I had to break up with someone who I loved very much because he was making me unhappy. I have spent a lot of time since then very angry and hurt because I felt like he didn’t even try.


And then this week I was doing some research on ADHD for a client and it hit me — my man could very well have ADHD! The behaviors that resulted from the disease made staying with him very difficult for me. And I am sure those same behaviors make living life very difficult for him. Maybe it wasn’t that he didn’t try, but that he couldn’t try.

I have learned that many people are unaware of the devastating impact ADHD can have on relationships. I want to share with you what I have learned.

Here are 10 things you need to know about dating or marrying someone who has ADHD:

1. Sometimes, they really just can't do it.

For those of you who don’t have ADHD, you can usually get something done when you buckle down, determined to do it. People with ADHD just can’t do that.


They can, and do, try but often a bright shiny object distracts them and the task at hand evaporates.

2. They might have an "itch" to scratch.

People with ADHD can be constantly living on the edge, looking for that next thing that will make them feel something. This could mean doing drugs or having lots of sex or jumping out of airplanes.

Whatever it takes for them to feel like they are alive and in control.

3. Their self-esteem could be at rock bottom.

Because of a lifetime spent struggling to do the most basic tasks and the derision that often comes from other people when they feel let down, people with ADHD struggle from a chronic lack of self-esteem.


This lack of self-esteem can cause intense depression and actually lead to increased cognitive deficiencies.

Also, their lack of self-esteem will make it difficult for them to accept your love and support because they just won’t believe they deserve it.

4. They might not be able to listen.

…Or remember or keep promises and could always interrupt you.

The minds of people with ADHD go a mile a minute. Much faster than many of you who don’t struggle with ADHD.

Because of this, they are easily distracted by the next thing, as opposed to what is in the now. As a result, they might not remember what is said to them. They want to but they can’t.


People with ADHD also can forget to read texts, might not check their emails, and could immediately forget when you ask them to pick up a loaf of bread on their way home.

People with ADHD don’t mean to do this, but they do.

5. The division of labor might be wildly uneven.

People with ADHD struggle to complete even the most basic tasks. As a result, the non-ADHD person will be left doing a significant portion of things that need to be done. This can lead to frustration and resentment on the part of the non-ADHD person and feelings of shame from the person struggling.

Furthermore, what can often develop is a parent/child dynamic in the relationship where the non-ADHD person becomes like a parent to the ADHDer.


This is not a good dynamic for two people in a romantic relationship, for many reasons.

RELATED: 6 Symptoms Of ADHD In Adults You Probably Never Thought Of Before

6. They might not be able to make you a priority.

For people with ADHD, there are two kinds of time. "Now" and "not now." Because of this, they live completely in the moment. The concept of moments down the road means nothing to them.


As a result, it’s very hard for them to prioritize anything, much less their partner.

7. They could struggle to be successful at work.

Because they have a hard time completing tasks and staying focused, people with ADHD could always struggle at work. To be successful at work people with ADHD need two things: A boss who understands them and excellent support staff.

Without these things, success will be very hard to attain. Not impossible but very difficult. This will lead to additional self-esteem issues.

8. Finances might be a challenge.

People with ADHD are often financially challenged for a number of reasons.

The first is that having the focus to keep track of their expenditures will take a tremendous amount of discipline that they might not have.


Secondly, some people with ADHD love to spend money. People with ADHD are often in search of the next high, the next thing that will scratch their itch. And spending money is an excellent way to achieve that goal.

9. Intimacy can be an issue.

People with ADHD, particularly men, can struggle with intimacy.

The reasons are varied. Part of it is that they often just can’t stay focused while making love. They far more enjoy doing something structured and rewarding like working or being on their phones or playing golf.

Another is that the person with ADHD has that itch they want to scratch and multiple sex partners is a way to do it. Once they have caught you they could move onto the next person.


Furthermore, people with ADHD are time challenged. They don’t know how to fit sex, or other tasks, into their crazy busy, out of control schedules.

And, finally, the aforementioned parent/child dynamic. This, obviously, does not lend itself to a healthy sex life.

10. They might struggle with addiction.

People with ADHD might struggle with addiction for a number of reasons.


The biggest one is that they spend every day of their lives struggling to keep their heads above water. This is exhausting and overwhelming. And using drugs or alcohol to escape from those feelings is very effective.

Furthermore, stimulants like cocaine, and sugar, are widely abused by people with ADHD because they become way more focused when using them.

Stimulants bring them to the place they always wanted to be — focused, full of bravado, successful at whatever they try and attractive to the opposite sex. Pretty compelling stuff.

Interestingly, people with ADHD can also get addicted to things that are good for them — like exercise. They can over-do something that makes them feel more focused and helps build their self-esteem.


Loving someone with ADHD can be very challenging. To do so successfully requires a tremendous amount of patience and understanding and the development of life skills by both parties. It’s hard work. It can be done but it’s not for the faint of heart.

And it’s OK if you don’t feel like you can do that hard work or that you might not be able to accept that your mate will never be able to do some of the things that are important to you, like being intimate or hearing you.

The most important thing for someone with ADHD is to be in a relationship with someone who loves them and supports them in spite of their challenges. If you can be that person, great. If that’s not you, it’s OK to walk away and let them find someone who can.

RELATED: 4 Reasons Loving A Guy With ADHD Is Tough (But So Worth It)


Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based certified life coach and mental health advocate. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or send her an email.