About ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, better known as ADHD, is a neurological (brain) developmental disorder, with specific symptoms. Building a meaningful relationship can be a challenge for anyone, but if a partner has ADHD, even normal challenges may be very difficult at times.
However, although ADHD may negatively impact adult relationships, understanding the condition and working as a team by both partners can help keep relationships on an even keel.

Understanding the symptoms of adult ADHD

This disorder is classified as chronic, which means that people with ADHD will suffer from it throughout life. Relationships may be characterised by angry outbursts or inappropriate words spoken by the ADHD partner. Although these fits of anger may pass quickly, sometimes the nature of the words spoken on impulse may add to the tension in the relationship.

ADHD folk may experience difficulty with the following issues:

  • Struggle with concentration, which may lead a partner or family to believe the person is a poor listener, or insensitive to what others have to say.
  • Have difficulty being organised at work or in the home.
  • Have very little self-discipline, and be prone to procrastination.

Being easily distracted and forgetful are also factors which may cause a relationship to falter. But making the effort to understand the effects of ADHD on relationships by both partners, will go a long way towards helping to prevent relationships from breaking up.

Why breakups may happen

Even though there has been a proper diagnosis of ADHS by a medical practitioner, and partners have discussed the pros and cons together, and also have a full understanding of the of the condition, disappointments and frustrations can still arise. For example, if the relationship is a marriage, and the wife has ADHD, she may to begin to feel overwhelmed by housework or caring for the home, and withdraw mentally and emotionally from her husband and family.

The non-ADHD partner may feel neglected, and interpret the withdrawal as a sign that love is lost. This can easily lead to a breakdown of the marriage and unless remedied, might even lead to divorce. If a couple coping with ADHD want to revive their relationship and overcome obstacles, research has shown that both should accept that ADHD is the problem, and not the person.

Other factors which can lead to tension in a relationship include:

  • A lack of sexual desire and no interest in being intimate, leading to a very diminished sex life.
  • Frequent mood swings.
  • A home which is always messy.
  • Financial struggles.

Managing the disorder as a couple, can help rebuild a crumbling relationship, and adopt healthy roles in their marriage.

Recommended treatments which can help

Here are some treatments which have been proved to ease the symptoms of ADHD:

  • Medications to decrease the ADHD symptoms. 
  • ADHD is a psychological issue, so it has been suggested that behavioural therapy should be considered, to help create a new mindset free of tension and anxiety, as well as improve responses to daily challenges.
  • Encourage mutual consideration and empathy for each other.
  • Wherever possible, share responsibilities in the home.

Issues of a negative self-image and a lack of self-confidence, can also be repaired by the efforts of a trained therapist helping to ease the effects of ADHD.

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March 24, 2023

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