It’s no secret that my husband and I struggled greatly for many years. And yet the other day I found myself texting “life is better when we’re together” to him as he was complaining of a hard week out of town on business. It made me want to write to all of you and remind you that though it doesn’t happen for every couple, your life can change dramatically when you both finally understand how ADHD – and responses to ADHD - impact your relationship. I see this transformation regularly.
How? The most important part is getting to a point where the two of you can discuss ANY issue without either aggression or defensiveness. Reasonably, charitably, and with respect. The path to get there is, in a nutshell:
1. Educate yourselves well about ADHD and responses to ADHD. Your partnership is not like those of your neighbors
2. Don’t blame your partner. Own your symptoms, anger and other issues you contribute to the relationship. Focus on fixing yourself.
3. To ‘fix’ yourself, use strategies known to help couples impacted by ADHD
4. Make it so you can contribute your best, most respectful self. Seek great ADHD-savvy treatment, therapy, coaching, seminars…whatever it takes to make you a good partner in every way. This is HARD – you don’t have to do it on your own.
5. Stay respectfully engaged, rather than disengaging.
6. Choose love and empathy over frustration. For yourself and your partner. Seek the positive every day.
7. As things improve, consciously make time for joy, laughter, and attending to each other your number one priority.
This sounds simplistic. But think about your relationship and feelings…it’s not easy. So why not start at the beginning, and learn everything you can about how ADHD impacts adult relationships?
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including: a free online treatment overview; free downloadable chapters of my books; a community forum with other couples facing similar issues; a large number of blog posts on various topics; referrals; and my very popular couples course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This highly acclaimed, eight-session phone seminar has helped many couples turn around their relationship.