All marriages have their highs and lows, but when you mix in ADHD it may feel more frustrating or overwhelming when facing problems in your relationship. ADHD symptoms such as inattention, low frustration tolerance that leads to tantrums, and impulsivity can negatively affect the way you and your partner communicate and resolve issues. Instead of letting the disorder take control of the relationship, learn how to recognize destructive patterns in order to best combat them effectively – together.
Transitioning to Marriage with ADHD
In the beginning of a relationship with an ADHD partner, they are interested, observant, and always focused on you. Their impulsiveness feels spontaneous and fun. This intense concentration and attention may seem like the typical honeymoon phase of a courtship, but such hyperfocus is actually a symptom of ADHD. In the same way that children with ADHD often get fixated on particular activities for certain periods of time, adults with ADHD often experience similar periods of hyperfocus on their romantic relationships – and just like children with ADHD, this focus often comes and goes in waves.
If you’re married to someone with ADHD, this loss of interest may be hard to accept or understand. However, it’s important to remember that this inattention is unintentional and simply a side effect of your partner’s disorder. While this doesn’t mean you should accept this behavior, it will help you learn to understand and sympathize with your partner.
Acknowledging ADHD’s Effect
In addition to a lack of focus or attention to your relationship, a partner with ADHD may also display other ADHD-related symptoms such as tantrums and rude or childlike behavior due to frequent mood swings, excessive restlessness, and a low frustration tolerance. This can result in a lot of anger and frustration for both partners – if you don’t have ADHD, you may feel like you’re constantly having to anticipate your spouse’s next action or behavior, and if you do have ADHD, you may feel as though nothing you do is good enough for your partner. Left unchecked, these feelings can cause even further damage to your marriage and change your relationship dynamic completely.
The most critical part of overcoming ADHD within a marriage is to acknowledge the effect that it has on your relationship. Rather than ignoring the role that ADHD plays in the anger and frustration that you feel, accept the fact that it will always be present in your marriage and take active steps to work with it. Don’t be afraid to seek treatment or other outside help, and don’t assume that the problems in your relationship are independent of you or your partner’s ADHD.
You and your partner’s focus should be on communication. Having an open discussion on how ADHD has affected both of you will open the door to focusing on solutions, rather than problems. Be clear about things that are not working for us. Avoid being defensive and focus on listening rather than speaking. Listening to one another enables you to see each other’s perspective.
Whether you have ADHD or not, the rules of marriage are the same: be honest and open with your partner. With ADHD, these guidelines are even more important in ensuring strong communication and understanding; but rather than viewing ADHD as an obstacle within a marriage, choose to see it instead as a challenge to be overcome.