Learning to Treat and Cope With ADD/ADHD to Avoid Relationship Problems
Discovering that one or both partners have ADD/ADHD is just the beginning. Medication is an efficient way to jump-start treatment, but behavioral changes need to be made. What you do once you’ve started treatment is crucial to your relationship.
If inability to follow through on tasks makes you unreliable in your partner’s eyes, use a smartphone reminder system or another organizational plan to get the task done. Coaching and cognitive behavioral therapy can also help.
Understand that such changes must be voluntary. No matter how much a non-ADHD partner may want to, she can’t force her significant other to get organized or become more attentive. Both partners must change. Often, an ADD/ADHD partner sets up a system that works well for him yet seems inefficient or strange to his non-ADHD partner. Her criticism or suggestions about how to do it better demoralize him. My husband and I learned this the hard way, mostly at his expense, as I kept trying to force him to do things differently. The harder I pushed, the more he resisted, and the worse our relationship became. Sound familiar?
Rediscovering romance and joy in your relationship again after years of hurt is a journey. Each partner works at reframing the challenges that ADD/ADHD introduces into his or her life. They work on systems and treatments for managing ADD/ADHD symptoms. And, one day, each finds that the good things about their partner are what he notices most.
The rewards are worth it. My husband and I moved from dysfunctional to happy. We thrive in our careers, and our relationship is stronger now than before. My husband’s ADD/ADHD symptoms are under control, and I understand and appreciate the effort that it takes. We recognize and accept -- and laugh about -- each other’s faults, and rejoice in each other’s strengths.
You can do this, too. You can move past unhappiness and create something better, if you recognize how ADD/ADHD affects your relationship and make adjustments in your attitude and behaviors.
This article appears in the Spring issue of ADDitude.
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