Communicating With Forgetful ADD/ADHD Adult Partners

Q:

"Our phone service was shut off because my partner forgot to take his ADD/ADHD medication and didn’t pay the bill. I started to lash out at him. How can I keep this from happening?"

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

It’s unrealistic to think you won’t get angry with your partner -- or he with you. It happens. The key is to respond to your anger in more productive ways. Try the following four steps:

1. Acknowledge that you don’t feel angry most of the time -- and put his recent misstep into perspective by recalling all the good things he has done.
2. Address the issue that made you angry: Get your phone service restored and take over paying the bills yourself.
3. After you’ve calmed down, tell your partner -- nicely -- why you were angry. Be sure that he agrees beforehand to discuss this, and focus the conversation on the cause of your anger, not on him.
4. Forgive yourself for becoming angry, and forgive him his lapse.

Note: ADDitude does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this website is provided for educational purposes only. See additional information. While comments are appreciated, due to the high volume of inquiries we receive, there is no guarantee that either ADDitude or the expert will respond to follow-up questions.

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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