November 26, 2017 at 5:18 pm #68978
I’ve been dating a great man for the past 6 years. He was already diagnosed with ADHD prior to us meeting. He did a lot of research on his own. He wanted to learn what he has and how it effected his entire life. He went to doctors, therapists, and took medications. I’m very lucky to have someone who knows his ADHD .
As with all other ADHD relationships, the beginning phase is the most amazing thing ever. And then BOOM, all that attention (hyper focus) drops and the non-adhd parter is left with the thoughts of “What did I do wrong? Does he not want to be with me anymore? Is he cheating on me?”. WE are left with the work of trying to FIX things and get them back to where they were.
This is where I was lucky that he knew he had ADHD. The drop in attention was due to ADHD and a change of dose in medication. This is when I started researching ADHD and relationships. I came across a lot of great articles that gave the non partners a lot of advice, from not taking things personally, to how to figure out that 10 mins is really 20 mins, to keep him accountable for his actions, to the “but you have to know its a disorder and you have to be understanding”.
I also came across a lot of great articles for the ADHD folks, but its all about tools, tips, tricks, medication, doctor,s on how to manage your time, organization, paying bills, etc. NOTHING on how to maintain their relationships though.
I feel like when it comes to relationships, its always up to the non partner to pick up the slack. Any articles/advice that I’ve seen that spoke of trouble in relationships gives advice FOR the non instead of FOR the adhd partner. There is only ONE article that I’ve found that spoke on the care and feeding of the non adhd partner (Orlov?) and it was spot on.
So, to the ADHD partner, take care of your relationship. Be more aware of how your actions, or lack of, effect the other person and take care of them. Put reminders in your phone to call or text, or buy flowers and chocolates, to give them massages. If they are opening up to you and sharing their feelings, WRITE THEM DOWN. Put a reminder on how they feel and what they said. If you have to have scheduled date nights, make sure you keep the plans. Remember why they had to be “scheduled” in the first place.
The non adhd partner get worn out, anxious, depressed, and the worst of all they are left wondering if they’re even loved anymore. They took the time to learn about your disorder, take the time to learn about their needs.
November 27, 2017 at 4:37 pm #69029saratopsParticipant
November 28, 2017 at 4:26 pm #69161wendy1234567Participant
I’m just recently diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit type) after 30 years of marriage and about 40 years of wondering what was wrong with me. I really appreciated your comments and I’ll add to my list of reminders to do something special for my husband at least once a week. Looking back I’m really glad that I didn’t get angry at him for trying to change me. As it turned out I needed some changing.
November 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #69169saratopsParticipant
@wendy1234567 – As it turns out, I think we can all use a little changing here and there! I’m so glad you finally got a diagnosis and can begin to understand what’s going on. I suffer from depression and while it’s certainly not the same as ADD I remember the first time I was diagnosed and could finally understand what was happening and why I felt the things I felt and that I wasn’t alone. It’s really thoughtful of you to add “something special for my husband” to your weekly to-do list. Again, I think that’s something everyone can and should do. Take care!
November 28, 2017 at 6:31 pm #69177
I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you. I know my bf struggled with it all when he was diagnosed at the age of 39.
I am thankful that my words will help you and your husband.
Please feel free to reach out anytime.
November 29, 2017 at 8:40 am #69196Penny WilliamsKeymaster
You are right, there does seem to be more advice written for the partners without ADHD. I think that’s because they need educating on what it’s like to have ADHD in general.
This article has advice for both partners:
This article/book excerpt is written for the individual with ADHD:
And this one as well: https://www.additudemag.com/marriage-advice-adhd-adult-relationships/.
You are way ahead of the game with a partner who is diagnosed, accepting his diagnosis, and actively seeking help and improvement. Those are very positive aspects!
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
December 4, 2017 at 1:51 pm #69661
Thank you for the articles.
I want to clarify something. I am in no way saying that the non adhd partner does not have to educate themselves, they absolutely do.
What I am saying, there needs to be more awareness of how ADHD effects the non ADHD partners, and how to help them.
December 4, 2017 at 1:09 pm #69660NtjhuParticipant
Thank you. We are trying. We take our medication!
December 4, 2017 at 1:54 pm #69663
Thank you! Knowing my partner is doing their part (taking meds, going to therapy) helps a great deal!
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