How to Fix a Relationship: 9 Solutions from ADHD Couples

“My partner is very level-headed. When I have a meltdown, even in public, he is steady and calm.” Learn how ADDitude readers resolve conflict in relationships impacted by ADHD.

Red female silhouette overlaps blue male silhouette,
Сoncept of divorce, quarrel between man and woman. Male and female profiles. Family relationships break up, hatred

Problems with communication, organization, and emotional regulation are not unique to relationships touched by ADHD. Symptoms such as impulsivity and executive dysfunction can, however, exacerbate these challenges. If you and/or your partner have ADHD, you’ve likely found yourself in need of long-term solutions that work for neurodivergent couples.

We recently asked ADDitude readers how they solve big relationship challenges with their partner or spouse. Romantic relationships don’t come with an instruction manual, but the following examples may help guide you. Let us know how you resolve conflict with your partner in the Comments section.

ADHD Relationship Remediation

Problem: “Having my ADHD spouse clean up (either after himself or just in general) is a big struggle for our marriage. We feel that it’s magnified by ADHD as he is currently not on any treatment.”

Solution: “One thing that was helpful was to create a chart for the whole family with tasks that needed to be done and assign each of them to one person. This gave him direction and responsibility to do his tasks.”

— An ADDitude Reader

Problem: “Organization. My non-ADHD partner and I have very different organizing systems. He likes to group things by type; I like to group things by how they’re used. My partner felt I was trying to control him when I insisted things be organized using my method.”

Solution: “We visited a marriage therapist who had a strong background working with split marriages (one neurodivergent, the other neurotypical). She helped [my partner] see that my organizational methods were external systems for my executive function. Most importantly, she validated me and the way I think. Now when he’s organizing, he doesn’t take offense when I tell him the system isn’t working for me. I have better language to describe why it’s not working. It makes for a more equitable partnership.”

— An ADDitude Reader

[Download: Get Control of Your Life and Schedule]

Problem: “I have emotional meltdowns when I’m confused, frustrated, or overwhelmed. It usually is a ‘perfect storm’ of not getting good quality sleep, not eating healthy, and having too much piled on me all at once. Or, we made plans that the universe decided to change last-minute.”

Solution: “My partner is very level-headed. When I have a meltdown, even in public, he is steady and calm. He never adds fuel to my fire. He reminds me he loves me. He speaks to me in a quiet voice. He holds my hand and reminds me to breathe. He tries to find compromise where possible, and he never, ever shames me for it.”

— Wendy

Problem: “The biggest challenge for us was communication. Our communication styles are very different; my partner skims over finer, less important details when telling me something and expects me to fill in the gaps. I tend to go into too much detail, waffle on, and lose track of where I am.”

Solution: “We solved this problem by seeing a counselor. With her assistance, we learned about each other’s communication styles and how ADHD affects my processing speed. Through this, we began gently reminding each other that more or less detail is required. Over time, I have learned to skim over the finer details more often. He has learned to be ready for clarifying questions from me without getting frustrated.”

— An ADDitude Reader

[Read: Slow Processing Speed: Signs & Solutions for a Misunderstood Deficit]

Problem: “My husband and I both have ADHD and weren’t diagnosed until we were in our 40s. Seemingly unsolvable disagreements and conflicts often turned into weeks-long fights and stonewalling. We have been on the brink of divorce dozens of times. It has been devastating to us to love each other so passionately and not be able to figure out how to simply get along.”

Solution: “After 30 years of marriage we have finally started daily, weekly, and monthly rituals that have helped us stay connected through conflict. The rituals are not negotiable. They happen in some form no matter how we feel about each other.”

— Emily, California

Problem: “Getting bored. I think this seeming need to self-destruct is sometimes related to boredom. When everything is even-keeled and mundane, it just doesn’t feel right to me after a while.”

Solution: “My partner is patient. He also loves — and goes along with — most of my new ideas. After I spin around for a while, I usually come up with a new plan to change the pattern of our lives. He is usually willing to try it or support me.”

— An ADDitude Reader

Problem: “One of our biggest challenges is how we approach tasks. My neurotypical husband is someone who wants to do the task right away. I have ADHD and naturally don’t follow his timeline all the time.”

Solution: “The two big things that have helped are delegating and communication. Does he need me to do the thing, or can he do it himself? Why does he need me to do it, and by what deadline? (Deadlines are always helpful.) Body doubling is also amazing.”

— An ADDitude Reader

Problem:Time management was our biggest problem. It made my husband very frustrated with me getting the kids to school on time, to appointments, and to events.”

Solution: “We have worked to resolve many of these things through him telling me different times and continuously holding me accountable without negativity or putting me down.”

— Erika, Tennessee

Problem: “I have ADHD and don’t remember plans, manage to schedule out the week, or nail down details. This leads to chaos at times. Remembering plans with friends or family last minute and being generally very unorganized really affects my partner.”

Solution: “We’ve decided to try to check in actively at least twice a week to voice things that are coming up, events we’d like to go to, and things that need doing. Active organization is something I need help with; identifying that has really helped.”

— An ADDitude Reader

Relationship Solutions and ADHD: Next Steps

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