What is the Key to a Good Relationship Between ADHD and Non-ADHD Partners?

Relationships between an ADHD partner and a non-ADHD partner can be tough sometimes. Here, ADDitude readers tell you how they push past the setbacks – and how they make their “mixed marriages” succeed.

ADDitude asked: What is the key to a good relationship between ADHD and non-ADHD partners?

It’s unconditional love. My partner is open to doing things differently, is non-judgmental, and sees me as a “person with flaws,” not a “flawed person.” -Andrea, Kentucky

Patience, communication, and flexibility. Once we became aware of my ADHD, and started learning more about it, we were able to understand that our brains are wired differently. Now we are able to understand each other and accommodate each other’s needs. -An ADDitude Reader

Being sensitive to each other’s moods and quirks. -Bonnie, California

Not sure that I know what the “key” is. I’m an ADHD wife and was diagnosed a few months ago. The condition has caused problems in our 10-year marriage. Over the years, it has made my husband critical of me, and it has made me defensive. We are trying to hold onto our sense of humor, and we point out things (no matter how small) that we appreciate about each other. -Laura, Kentucky

[Free Download: Manage ADHD’s Impact on Your Relationship]

Acknowledge ADHD as a third partner. -Debbie, Arizona

To trust that I am working on my challenges, just as I trust that you are working on yours. Don’t count your amazing executive functioning skills as having higher value than my empathy, kindness, and love. -An ADDitude Reader

A whole lot of patience and an occasional scotch. -An ADDitude Reader

Reassuring the ADHD partner that you love her when correcting her. I’ve heard all my life how bad I am. Tell me that it’s OK, that you still love me. -An ADDitude Reader

Humor and gentle directness. I am the person with ADHD in our house, and I get defensive if my husband criticizes me. But if he says, “Oh, look, the cap is not screwed on the peanut butter jar you used,” we laugh and I make note of it. -Jess, Vermont

[“What I Wish My Partner Knew About My ADHD”]