Telling My Partner I Have ADHD

Filed Under: ADHD and Relationships, Talking About ADD

Q:

How -- and when -- should I tell my significant other that I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? The last boyfriend I told acted as if I had bubonic plague and ended 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:

Tell a person about your attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) after you feel close enough to think he or she should know. As you explain the condition to your partner, give them a copy of Delivered from Distraction or another book that will tell them everything they need to know about the condition -- in a positive way.

Make sure your partner understands that you are more than your ADD symptoms, that there is a person underneath the inattention and impulsivity. Explain that you are doing your best to manage those symptoms through medication and/or alternative treatments.

ADD is an integral part of who you are, and it is important for any potential long-term partner to know about it. If a person ends a relationship after you tell them, they're probably not a good choice for you. You want to be with someone who understands the challenges you’re facing, not someone who runs away from them.

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.

What do you think of this article? Share your comments on www.ADDConnect.com, ADDitude's community site. Check out the new ADHD Medication User Reviews and the ADHD Adults Support Group. Your fellow ADDers want to hear from you!

 
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