Living with someone who has ADHD

Living with ADHD as an adult is not easy, but living with someone who has ADHD can be even more difficult. Symptoms range from impulsivity, disorganization, poor time management skills, difficulty multitasking, and difficulty staying on task. Here are some tips and tricks that help you communicate with your partner more effectively without hurting their feelings.

  1. Impulsivity:

Whenever Alana went out on a double date with her husband Brett to dinner, she feared that he would interrupt their friends. Never on purpose of course, but as a result of his ADHD, Brett had a tendency to jump into the middle of conversations, completely cutting off the other person.

What to do?

Make light of the situation:

Find a time that your significant other does this with you in private and make light of the situation. Say something like, “I’m sorry, did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?”

Praise improvement:

If you notice that your partner has been waiting for you to finish your thought or sentence, give credit where credit is due! Say something like, “I’ve noticed that you haven’t been interrupting me lately and I really appreciate it.”

  1. Disorganization:

If you are a very neat and organized person, it may be extra hard living with someone who throws their clothes over chairs and on the bed, leaves the bathroom with toothpaste in the sink and generally cannot put things away. Additionally, a disorganized person has difficulty maintaining plans, and can sometimes be forgetful.

What to do?

Buy a planner and encourage your partner to use it:

Planners aren’t just for kids anymore. There is something so satisfying about making a list for your day and crossing off each item as it gets completed. Lead by example, show your partner your planner and how you use it. I prefer paper planners but you can use your phone as a planner as well.

Divide up your chores and hold your partner accountable:

If it’s his turn to do the dishes, gently remind him. However, nobody wins when you do his job for him. Give him the chance to succeed and again, praise, praise, praise.

Time Management:

Do you make plans with your significant other and they are constantly twenty minutes late? It can be very frustrating and feel as if they don’t value your time. It is important to remind yourself that they are not doing this on purpose to you.

What to do?

Invite him places 5-10 minutes earlier:

If you know that without fail, he or she will be late, invite your partner early so that they will most likely be there on time!

Avoid Multitasking:

Do not overwhelm your partner so that it becomes impossible to be on time.

Prioritize:

It is important to prioritize for yourself and in your relationship. Prioritizing goals will set both of you up for success in life and help you hit your mark each time.

Most importantly, it is important to have open and honest conversations about what it feels like to have ADHD and to live with someone who has ADHD. Starting off with open and honest communication is a great way to build a foundation of trust, support, and mutual respect for each other.

Suggested readings:

The ADHD Effect on Marriage by Melissa Orlov

Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell and John Ratey

You Mean I’m not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy? by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo

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