Working Through Conflict with a Partner Who Suffers from ADHD

Working Through Conflict with a Partner Who Suffers from ADHD

Posted on: April 5th, 2018 by Neurohealth Associates

Conflict can and does arise from time to time in every serious relationship. Add someone suffering from ADHD to the equation and it can be a recipe for disaster if some key tools are not implemented. The script usually goes something like:

“I want my husband to understand that I don’t do it on purpose. He thinks that I ‘forget’ to close the cabinets or ‘forget’ to put something away on purpose,” said one woman, a member of a support group for adults with attention deficit disorder (ADHD). She was sharing her frustrations over living with a husband without ADHD. Her need for ADHD relationship advice is common.

A man, who nodded in agreement, added, “I wish my wife understood how hard I’m trying. She just doesn’t get how much effort it takes for me to do things that come easily to her.” Those two comments began a lively discussion about “loving someone with ADHD.”

In scenarios like these, the partners, many of whom don’t have ADHD, have their own frustrations. Common remarks may be: “Sometimes I wonder if I have another child,” “Why are they able to focus on things they enjoy?” “If they can do it sometimes, why can’t they do it all of the time?”

Although all married couples have to navigate challenges, communicate effectively, and work cooperatively, ADHD places strain on a relationship. Many of people suffering from ADHD have partners who are so highly organized that they are jokingly accused of having Attention Surplus Syndrome. Over time, it seems, the opposite qualities that originally attracted the two to each other lose their appeal and can even become the focus of conflict.

When relationships are navigating hardship such as these it is best to:

  • Focus on each other’s strengths
  • Consider that your partner’s weaknesses are complimented by your strengths
  • Consider that your partner’s strengths fill gaps in your own weaknesses
  • Take time to calmly communicate your frustrations with your partner before they grow out of control.

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