I am confused and, as a result, very frustrated about a long-term issue in my relationship. I am sure this is an issue for other people who are in relationships with individuals with ADHD and so I hope that readers (and bloggers: Melissa, help please!) will offer their thoughts.
(A) Here are some facts about relationships generally.
1) Relationship problems often arise from the behavior/response/response cycle.
2) This means that both the person who engages in the original behavior and the person who responds contribute to whatever is happening.
3) Thus, to deal with the problem seems to require action by both people.
(B) Here are some facts about people with ADHD and their partners:
1) People with ADHD often struggle to change their behaviors.
2) People with ADHD often deflect responsibility for their negative behaviors.
3) People with ADHD sometimes want other people to take care of them.
4) Partners of people with ADHD often are highly functioning; they are active and assertive and used to getting things done.
5) Partners of people with ADHD often are focused on problem solving.
6) Partners of people with ADHD often are told that they do too much, that they control the partner with ADHD or that they "parent" the partner with ADHD.
So, if we put the factors in (A) and (B) together, what results is that both partners need to make changes to mitigate the problems and improve the relationship but it is highly likely that only one of the partners (the non-ADHD one) will actually make changes in his or her behavior.
Also, it is not unusual for the non-ADHD partner to be told that he or she is causing the dependence of the ADHD partner, by doing too much.
As a result, the non-ADHD partner is likely to feel even more resentful because even in treatment, he or she is pulling more weight than the person with ADHD, AND is told that he or she is wrong for doing more.
So, folks, what do we do?