Me and My ADD Partner: Be Prepared

Don’t let adult ADD/ADHD symptoms cause fights between you and your ADHD partner. Learn to anticipate your partner’s symptoms — disorganization, forgetfulness — and you’ll be better prepared to handle ADHD frustration in your relationship.

I hear from girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, and wives who march to their attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) partner’s drum. Their partner’s habits eclipse their own — when in a relationship with an ADD/ADHD adult stuff is piled everywhere, decisions are made on the fly, everything is an emergency.

They can’t take the heat, but they don’t see a way out of the kitchen. They don’t want to control their partner’s every move (nor should they), but they can’t continue to live in what, to them, seems like chaos. I understand. And my relationship advice is: Be prepared.

My partner, Jen, handles her ADD/ADHD challenges well, but it’s still an ADD/ADHD household. Stuff is in weird places, and nothing is planned for. “Where are my shoes?” It’s anybody’s guess. “What’s for dinner?” Oh crap, the fridge is empty.

No one can live well under these circumstances. So, like the Boy Scouts, the best defense for you to avoid arguing and fights is to be prepared. If you come upon a stray sock in the kitchen, don’t ignore it. Pick it up and walk it to the laundry bin. If you see dishes starting to pile up in the sink, don’t leave them for later. Take 10 minutes and wash them.

Do it all without being resentful. If your ADD/ADHD partner left a coffee mug in the bedroom, it’s not because he was trying to piss you off. Remember that your ADD/ADHD partner isn’t wired for organization, time management, or preparedness. So stay one step ahead, and take pride in it! I do. It will make your — and your family’s — life a lot easier.

More on Adult ADD/ADHD Relationships

My Spouse, My Child: Who Invited ADD/ADHD into Our Marriage?
The Right Way to Fight: ADD/ADHD Relationship Advice