Attention ADHD Adults: 7 Creative (last minute) Valentine's Ideas that Show Your Love

Valentines is one of the most difficult holidays for those with ADHD.  But even if you're behind the eight ball in planning, here are some creative ways to please your partner.

If you have ADHD, it’s quite possible that you hate what my husband calls the ‘Hallmark Holidays.’  You know them – Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…holidays on which you are expected to remember to plan ahead and do something very specific for your partner.  If you don’t think ahead, it’s hard to catch up.  (Ever tried to make a last minute dinner reservation for Valentine’s Day?  It’s virtually impossible!)

Here are seven ideas that will help you put a smile on your partner’s face for Valentine’s Day…even if you are starting out late.  The idea is to communicate “I am thinking about YOU” and “I care and want to connect”…and to set some reminders for yourself now!

Do something new and challenging:  Research suggests that connection is gained the fastest by doing something ‘new and challenging’ with your partner.  Not sure what that might be near you?  Do some research right now for things like this:  a date at a local cross-country skiing area (where you can rent skis); a local dance studio that gives lessons in the Tango; a local art studio that may offer a one day class you could do together; an upcoming local hot and spicy food festival or car show (ONLY if your partner likes cars!!!).  It the thing you find isn’t happening on 2/14, make a coupon and put it in a card with small bouquet of flowers.

Instigate a family appreciation effort:  If you have kids at home and your partner is more into being appreciated than candlelight dinners, consider enlisting the kids to create a ‘my partner is special’ meal.  Kids can bake and decorate cookies (pre-packaged dough works well for this); put candles and flowers on the table; tell your partner ahead of time s/he isn’t cooking if s/he normally does so, and cook or bring in a meal.  Add a home-made card (a kid can do this, too!) on which you write something sweet.

Give your partner a “honey-do” coupon…for something s/he really wants done.  That, of course, means that you’ll be tasked with doing that thing…so make SURE that’s realistic…else you’ll set yourself up for failure and disappointment.  But if you know you can get organized to do something, but just haven’t set aside the time, this can be a meaningful option.  Particularly if accompanied by blocking out said time in your calendar…and lots of expressions of love.

Take out by candlelight, a snuggle movie and “I love you”.  You’ll know if this one will sound good to your partner or not.  In our ‘no muss, no fuss’ household, just having my husband think of this and then order and pick up the take out would be a treat (as I normally cook…) Plus, snuggling up to watch a movie makes us both feel connected.  A tip here – let your partner pick whatever movie s/he wants…and NO complaining!!!

Send a bunch of emails or texts.  Feb 14 is a work day.  So you may not be together for much of the day.  Set a reminder in your calendar to send your partner one email an hour that just says something romantic, appreciative or loving.

Don’t confine yourself to Feb 14.  We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day on Feb 12 this year – just because we can.   Plus, it reinforces that love is more than a day.  But if you do this, make sure your partner agrees to the shift.  (And a ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ on the 14th would still be a good idea.  Again, set an alarm to remind yourself to do this…

Have a different kind of date.  Relationship researcher Arthur Aaron created a list of "questions that lead to love.'  These are the question equivalent to 'doing something new and challenging' and are a lot of fun to work through;  You won't get through them all...but will have fun doing them.  Tell your partner you're going to have an evening 'stay-cation' special kind of date, build a fire (or hit the patio with a favorite drink) and have some fun with it.  The questions are here, in this New York Times article.