When Your Partner Refuses ADHD Treatment

Filed Under: ADHD and Relationships, Talking About ADD

Q:

My boyfriend refuses to get help for his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He says treatment will stunt his creativity -- and that’s “just how he is.” We argue every day over nothing. I have doubts about the relationship.

Melissa Orlov, a frequent ADDitude contributor with Dr. Ned Hallowell, writes about ADHD and marriage and offers relationship advice to adults with ADD.
A:

Your boyfriend is right. ADHD is part of who he is. That doesn’t mean you must put up with his ADD symptoms. Learning to live together involves compromise -- each person gives a little to make the relationship and the living arrangement work.

If his ADD symptoms are threatening your relationship, and he chooses to “protect” those symptoms rather than control them, his priorities might not be conducive to a long-term relationship. If his priorities remain the same, you need to decide whether or not this is the right relationship for you.

Even if he does decide to get help, you still need a strategy to resolve arguments. Research suggests that successful conflict resolution is vital to an enduring relationship. You and your partner can disagree about things, but make sure you are consistently able to settle conflicts before you think about marriage.

Melissa is co-author of a blog on ADHD and marriage at adhdmarriage.com, and coauthored Married to Distraction with Dr. Ned Hallowell and his wife, Sue. She is also the author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage.

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