Attention deficit can test even the strongest couples. Are you and your partner in trouble? Find out with this quiz.
by Stephanie Manes, LCSW
Have you or your significant other been diagnosed with ADHD? ADHD symptoms may affect the way you relate to others. This is especially true in marriages and romantic partnerships, in which differences in perception and brain function are usually interpreted as lack of care, interest, or love. Failure to recognize ADHD’s effects on your relationship causes frustration and resentment -- and possibly separation or divorce.
The following questions will help you assess whether ADHD may be causing problems in your relationship. Identifying your ADHD struggles is the first step in finding lasting solutions for you and your partner.
>> Does your spouse or partner complain about one or more of the following: chronic lateness, forgetfulness, messiness, or poor time management?
>> Do you have frequent arguments about one partner bearing significantly more of the domestic burden than the other?
>> Does your partner complain that you pay more attention to work -- or something else -- than your home life?
>> Do you find yourself promising to do things to “get out of trouble” and end up arguing when you can’t make good on the promise?
>> Does your partner distrust you because he or she believes you are impulsive, unreliable, or that you never follow through?
>> Do you and your partner repeatedly argue about the same challenges, which never get resolved?
>> Have you and your partner fallen into roles similar to that of parent and child or jailor and unruly inmate?
>> Has your relationship been affected by repetitive job loss, financial mismanagement, or instability?
>> Does your partner complain that you are emotionally unavailable, unresponsive, or intentionally ignoring their needs, no matter how many times they are expressed?
>> Do you fall into the following pattern: one partner feels habitual resentment while the other partner becomes defensive and withdrawn or hyper-critical ?
>> Do you frequently lose your temper with your partner or express anger that you later regret?
>> Does your partner experience chronic anxiety in response to your perceived unpredictability or unreliability?
>> Has your sex life significantly diminished because of disconnection, anger and resentment, or boredom?
>> Have you kept a significant secret from your partner, the disclosure of which has (or would) create a crisis in your relationship (such as infidelity, a risky financial transaction, or withholding the truth about other important matters, such as your college record or job title)?
>> Have you and your partner considered separation or divorce because of recurring problems with any of the above?
If you answered yes to four or more of these questions, ADHD is taking a toll on your relationship. The good news is there are resources to help you and your partner understand the root causes of your problems, repair damage from the past, and build a more peaceful relationship.
Consider seeking help from a therapist or coach specializing in ADHD. He or she can give you concrete tools that you can use to manage the impact of ADHD on your relationship and to maintain your intimate connection.
It’s also important that you treat ADHD symptoms through medication and/or behavioral management therapies.