It’s Not Me, It’s My ADHD

In a relationship? Ever argue with your partner? All couples have arguments.  Successful couples know how to manage their arguments. Six of the most common arguments between couples are about sex, kids, in-laws, attention, money, and messes. When it comes to attention and messes, this can get trickier when one or both partners have ADHD.

Do you or your partner have a tendency to drift off when the other is talking to you? Are you or your partner likely to interrupt when the other is speaking because either they were talking too slowly or a thought popped up that couldn’t wait? Do distractions sometimes get in the way from paying attention to what might be important to the other?

Maybe you forget things easily, and your partner feels like he or she can’t relay on you, or worse he or she feels like you don’t care. Organizing and remembering thoughts is part of the challenge, but equally as stressful on a relationship is lack of organization around stuff…too much stuff, misplaced stuff, or procrastination about dealing with stuff.

All of these issues might indicate that you have attention deficit disorder, known as ADD or ADHD. People with ADHD are wired differently. It’s not a matter of trying harder when your brain functions in a non-linear fashion. However, this does not mean your relationships with significant others is doomed.

It is possible to develop strategies and habits, as an individual and as a couple, that help minimize these challenges. Taking notes during an important talk so you won’t forget your question is one tip. Letting your partner know that if they wish to have an important conversation with you it’s helpful to say, “I need to speak with you and have your attention. Is this a good time?”

There are many ways to develop organizational and communication skills. With practice skills can become habits. When people understand how to work with their non-linear thinking, and their partners understand how to both support their partners and get their own needs meet as well, the couple becomes “expects” at being in relationship with each other. And, as a team, can have a fulfilling and loving relationship.

For additional communications support, I recommend Craig Toonder, MFT who co-authored this post. www.OaklandCouplesCounseling.com

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