Relationships With ADHD: Signs Your ADHD is Impacting Your Partner
It is estimated that about 8% of adults in the United States have ADHD.
While this number may not seem large at first, this is almost one-tenth of the entire population. And having ADHD can present its own problems for individuals as well as those in romantic relationships.
When it comes to dealing with relationships with ADHD, it can be tricky to know how to deal with your partner and understand how ADHD affects relationships. ADHD in relationships can often create some struggles because of the persistent distractibility, difficulty staying present, and impulsive behavior that may occur.
If you are ready to learn more about how ADHD may be negatively impacting your relationship, keep reading.
Difficulty Staying Present
When someone has ADHD in relationships, they can have difficulty staying present in the relationship all of the time.
This can be tough on the partner as one moment they can feel very connected as they are both being present, and the next feel a large disconnect for no reason.
This is simply because adults with ADHD can feel present in the moment one moment and not in the next. When this happens, it affects the other partner.
Annoyance When Interrupted
Adults with ADHD have a difficult time staying focused on one task for a long period of time. This means that when they do feel focused, if there are any interruptions, it can be frustrating to them since they may lose their train of thought and not be able to get it back.
When this happens, they may be annoyed at you for interrupting them, especially because they may not be able to remember what they were doing or saying before.
When it comes to ADHD and romantic relationships, as a partner it’s important to wait until your partner with ADHD finishes a thought or a task so that they can maintain that focus for as long as they need.
When they are done doing something, you can then try to talk to them. Making sure to do this when you want to have a full-blown conversation is also essential.
Struggling to Pay Attention and Forgetting Details
One of the biggest struggles with relationships and ADHD is that the partner with ADHD often struggles to pay attention. This could be to what you are saying, what you are wearing, your nonverbal cues, or something entirely different.
However, when they struggle to pay attention to you, you may start to feel that you are not important in their lives.
It’s important to mention these things to keep that line of communication open and flowing to discuss how it makes you feel. In fact, they may have noticed that you did your hair differently, but not have said something because the thought came and passed too quickly.
This is because having ADHD can also lead to forgetfulness. ADHD affects the part of the brain that has to do with remembering details like events and dates. Because of this, it is easy for people with ADHD to forget about something important, leaving their partner feeling unimportant in the relationship.
ADHD Can Cause Too Much Impulsivity
ADHD can bring about a lot of impulsive behavior in someone. In a relationship, this can be difficult to deal with. It can also be harmful to a relationship.
For instance, impulsivity could mean engaging in a type of behavior that could be dangerous for you. Or, it could mean saying something out of the blue impulsively that could hurt your partner’s feelings.
In order to avoid impulsivity as much as possible to form healthy relationships, all decisions between the two of you should be made together. This can reduce the feelings of disrespect and grow a stronger bond and trust in the relationship.
Anger also has to do with impulsivity. It can be hard for those with ADHD to control their feelings all of the time, especially if they are trying to sort through multiple emotions that are overwhelming to them. When this occurs, it can also be damaging to the relationship because of the impulsivity that comes with anger as well.
Sensory Overloads Can Happen
A lot of people who have ADHD and relationships can have problems dealing with too much sensory input. For instance, if lights are too bright or a sound is too loud, this can irritate them. Even being touched in the wrong way can irritate someone with ADHD.
In romantic relationships, this can be quite difficult since partners can sometimes be loud or want to use brighter lights. It’s even more difficult when a partner wants to engage in physical touch, but it may not be the right time for the partner with ADHD.
Learning to deal with this part of your partner’s ADHD can be difficult, but keeping communication open is key for a healthy relationship between the two of you.
Dealing With Relationships With ADHD And Looking For The Positive
It’s inevitable that you will have relationships with ADHD during your adult life whether that is a best friend, an acquaintance, a coworker, or a romantic partner.
However, these relationships may look a bit different than having a relationship with someone who doesn’t have ADHD. This can be quite difficult in a romantic relationship. You’ll notice more sensory overloads, more sensitivity, distractibility, and forgetfulness.
Since this can cause some struggles in relationships, there may be a negative impact on the relationship as a whole.
You may find yourself focusing on the ways that ADHD impacts your relationship in negative ways, but after working with ADHD couples for more that 10 years, I address the negative impact and find ways to explore the positive aspects, such as spontaneity, creativity and energetic and fun.
If you are curious about how counseling can help your relationship, Check out our page today.
Additional reading to support your relationship as you explore options for couples therapy and healing:
Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC is a licensed counselor in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Vermont and Florida. She also works with international couples and expats. With her support, you can learn how to reduce stress and conflict in your relationship through an intensive marriage retreat or couples counseling. Reach out to Lisa for a 20-minute free private consultation today.