Has My Distracted ADD/ADHD Partner Fallen Out of Love With Me?

Q:

"My ADD/ADHD partner says she loves me, but she doesn’t seem interested in me. How can you lose interest in someone you love?"

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

Showing interest and feeling love are not the same thing. You can feel love for a person, but still appear uninterested because you’re distracted. The best way to talk about the problem is not to demand attention but to explain how sad and lonely you feel. When my partner, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), seemed uninterested in me, I lashed out, saying, “I can’t believe I’m married to you! You never pay attention to me!” I should have said, “I know that it’s hard for you to pay attention to me all the time, but I need your attention some of the time.”

The key to solving the problem is twofold: First, don’t complain about your partner when you spend time with him. Many adults with ADD/ADHD avoid a partner who complains or blames them. Second, don’t be shy about scheduling time to connect. This will limit distraction while you’re together, even if scheduling seems unromantic.

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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