Relationships are hard. And with ADHD, they can sometimes feel harder.
If you or your partner are living with ADHD, you’re likely very familiar with the strain that symptoms can place on relationships. Countless studies have highlighted the unique challenges that ADHD brings to couples and friendships alike: making relationship satisfaction, communication, and healthy conflict resolution more difficult to achieve and maintain.
The questions below were written to facilitate meaningful reflection and conversation about the impact of ADHD symptoms on your relationship. Feel free to move through them yourself as a journaling exercise, or to tackle them with your partner during your next date night together!
For partner(s) with ADHD:
- Many people with ADHD struggle disproportionately with things like defensiveness, impulsivity, and attentiveness during important (and heated) conversations. How do your symptoms make it especially challenging to resolve conflicts with your partner? What are some things you can do to begin working on that? What books or resources might be able to help you learn some coping strategies? What can your partner do to support you as you begin implementing those changes?
- It’s common for folks with ADHD to be more predisposed to anxiety and feelings of panic. If you experience anxiety, how does it impact your everyday life? How does it impact your relationship, specifically? Is there anything in particular that tends to reliably trigger or exacerbate your anxiety?
- How is your partner impacted by symptoms you’ve reflected on above? In what ways are you grateful for their patience, understanding, empathy, and support?
- Dedicating time to quality education is the first step to overcoming mental health challenges. What’s something that you and your partner can do together in the upcoming weeks to educate yourselves on the impact of ADHD on intimate relationships?
- How does your ADHD positively impact your relationship? In what ways does it make you a stronger and more unique partner?
- How can your partner be more understanding of the way your ADHD symptoms impact your life and relationships? Kindly and compassionately share what they can do differently in the future.
For partner(s) of others with ADHD:
- In the time that you have known your partner, in what ways have you seen their ADHD symptoms impact their work, emotional well-being, and personal relationships? How does it tend to impact your relationship with each other in particular?
- Do you think your partner’s ADHD has contributed any difficulty to resolving any issues that tend to appear frequently in your relationship? Without assigning blame, use this space to engage your partner in a conversation about them. Try taking the time to pinpoint the symptoms that make long-term resolution more challenging. Together, research some coping strategies and ADHD-specific solutions that may help you navigate this challenge together.
- It’s perfectly normal for partners of folks with ADHD to find themselves frustrated at the way symptoms impact both them and their relationship together. Use this space to share any frustrations that you might have. Do you have a good source of support outside of your partner to lean on as you navigate and release these frustrations? What can your partner do differently in the future to help ease them? Kindly and compassionately bring some ideas to their attention.
- What are some positive things that your partner’s ADHD brings into the dynamic of your relationship?
- In what ways are you proud of yourself for supporting the unique challenges that your partner faces?
Relationships are hard - for all of us. But, effective communication is a great first step to strengthening your relationship with both yourself and your partner!
Here’s to SPREADING the LOVE.