Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a mental health condition that affects 2.5-4% of the adult population. Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity was only added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980. That means there is a strong possibility that an even larger percentage of the adult population has undiagnosed ADHD. Let’s look at helping a partner with ADHD.
Helping a Partner with ADHD
ADHD is a challenging mental health disorder. If you’re in a relationship with someone who has been diagnosed with ADHD, you’re likely to encounter particular types of conflict. With a better understanding of the condition and a few targeted approaches to common struggles, you can help your partner and improve your relationship.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a complex diagnosis. People with the disorder tend to struggle with concentration. This may cause them to interrupt you, leave important tasks undone, and forget things frequently.
On the opposite side, they can also become hyper-focused on select activities and these activities tend to change frequently. These changes are linked to the impulsivity and restlessness often seen in people with ADHD.
Ways to Help Your Partner
ADHD can make certain aspects of life challenging, particularly if your partner hasn’t received adult ADHD treatment in Los Angeles. Fortunately, there are specific things you can do to help them while improving your relationship with them.
Use “I” Statements Whenever Possible
In relationships where one person has ADHD, it can be tempting for the neurotypical partner to try to “parent” their other half. You may be tempted to tell them what to do, admonish them for forgetting, and get angry when they don’t act in the way you expect.
Using “I” statements allows you to express your feelings and feel heard without directly attacking your partner. An example might include, “I feel undervalued when you forget we have a date.” You’re letting your partner know you’re hurt, but you aren’t taking an accusatory stance. In these scenarios you can frame frequent conflicts as something you can work on together.
Living with someone who has ADHD isn’t always fun, but to be honest we all have our flaws that make us difficult at times. To maintain a healthy balance in your relationship, it is really important to recognize your partner’s best attributes.
Don’t just assume they know they’re great in specific spheres. Tell them. Even on your worst days, think of the things that make them special to you and tell them directly. Having ADHD is hard, and your partner probably feels frustrated a lot. Let them know what they’re good at so that they feel a little better about themselves.
Offer Advice When Asked
You might have a thousand tips that you can think of to make your partner’s life easier. Still, too much advice can feel incredibly condescending. Your partner should stay treated as your equal. Also, it sometimes that means realizing that they don’t want or need your advice.
When your partner is struggling, you can always ask “Do you want advice or do you just want me to listen?” It’s that simple. They will let you know when advice is helpful if you’re willing to ask.
Look into Therapy Options
Many relationships benefit from therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy in Los Angeles could be helpful to you and to your partner if you’re interested in making long term changes to your cognitive and behavioral patterns.
It isn’t an easy fix. Once you learn to recognize your own harmful thoughts and behaviors, it’s up to you to actively challenge them with the guidance of your therapist.
Living with ADHD
With a bit of guidance and a lot of kindness, there’s no reason that you and your partner can’t have a perfectly healthy relationship.