Relationships with ADHD: Perspectives of the Person with ADHD vs. Person Without

Day 8 of “10 days, 10 ways you can Shimmer”. Brought to you by Shimmer and Agapé.

Published on
October 19, 2022

Like every brain, every relationship is different. On day 8 of “10 days, 10 ways you can Shimmer”, let’s talk about the beauty of relationship diversity and tips on how to improve YOUR relationship.

Did you know ADHD can have a major impact on relationships?

Here are a few of the most common challenges:

Partners with ADHD

  • May feel invalidated, hurt, unheard because the partner without ADHD attributes mistakes to laziness, etc.
  • May feel hurt, unappreciated because their partner doesn’t see how hard it is for them to do what they do
  • May struggle to maintain interest in the relationship and break things off
  • May struggle with impulsivity and say/do things they regret later, damaging the relationship in the process
  • May struggle to put up boundaries, avoid confrontation, or put up with undesirable behavior from a partner due to poor self-esteem, shame, overwhelm, overstimulation, etc

Partners without ADHD

  • May feel ignored, unheard, neglected because their partner is often distracted/struggles to pay attention in conversation or gets bored quickly
  • May feel hurt because the partner forgets details of life or conversations (birthdays, names of relatives, the task they asked for help with 5 min ago)
  • May feel frustrated at a partner for disorganization/clutter or chores that don’t get done regularly
  • May feel misunderstood because their partner struggles to understand social cues, body language, etc
  • May feel frustrated at a partner’s struggle with time management, and shoulder an unequal load of taking care of time-sensitive issues (paying bills on time, mail, scheduling appointments, etc)

How can we work it out?

  • Communication is key. Tell your partner how you feel so that frustration, hurt, etc doesn’t turn into resentment down the line
  • On that note - make a habit of regular check-ins, either weekly or monthly, to discuss how the relationship is going - both good and bad
  • Make sure to set clear boundaries and expectations around the time you spend together. For example, you might have a no-phone rule for movie night, or an expectation that you check in on each other at least once a day.
  • If you live together, make list of household chores each person is responsible for. It doesn’t have to be “equal,” but it should be equitable. Negotiate what is doable for each person, and discuss in advance how you’ll handle it if the other person doesn’t do their part.
  • Be open, be trusting. When something goes wrong, try to assume the best first, and follow up with them when you can for clarification.

A note & freebies from our partners

For day 8, we have partnered with Agapé. Hear from them about why Healthy Relationships are important:

We are also super excited to announce a blog post collaboration with Agapé, where we will be deep diving into Relationships and ADHD. Subscribe to our newsletter to check out the full blog on October 26th!

Thank you for tuning in, and remember to keep an eye out for the next 2 days for more resources, tips, and freebies!

With love,

The Shimmer Team

Thank you to our partner: Agapé & Khadesha Okwudili (Agapé, Founder and CEO)

And to our content team: Noelle Daoire (Shimmer, ADHD Coach), and Molisha Shah (Shimmer, Founders Associate)

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