4 Tips for Rewarding Relationships with ADHD
Friendships, family relationships, and romantic bonds can be hard. In a relationship, you need to be attentive, careful, and thoughtful. But when you have ADHD, you’re often inattentive, forgetful, and impulsive. Follow these solutions to help you connect with others effectively.
1. The problem: You forget to be somewhere. You miss a date or go to the wrong location.
Relationship Rx: When making plans with friends or your significant other, always confirm what you heard. Inattention can cause you to miss pieces of information. Say, “We’re going to meet Thursday at the bistro on the corner at 7 p.m. Did I get it right?” Set your cell phone to alert you before you’re supposed to be there.
2. The problem: You have a difficult time enjoying leisure activities like others do. People without ADHD may find this frustrating.
Relationship Rx: Hyperactivity makes it hard for you to sit still. As a result, going to movies, concerts, or the beach may not be right for you. Get creative. Map out hikes or bike rides and pack a picnic. Cook a meal at home together. Join a recreational sports team if you’re both interested. The important thing is that you share an experience that you both enjoy.
3. The problem: During an argument, you make hurtful remarks.
Relationship Rx: Impulsiveness causes you to speak before you think. Whether arguing with a family member or spouse, ask if you can have a few moments. Write down what you want to say. This helps you think first and talk second. Stick to the list so you don’t accidentally hurt the other person’s feelings.
4. The problem: You zone out while your spouse is speaking. This can seem like you don’t care what your significant other is saying.
Relationship Rx: It is hard for people with ADHD to pay attention for long periods of time. Still, this is an important skill in relationships. Here are some ways to improve it:
Maintain eye contact. This helps prevent you from becoming distracted by things around you.
Tune in to body language and tone of voice. These are cues that will help you better understand what your partner is saying.
If you’ve done your best but still can’t stay focused, ask your partner if you could take a short break. Say, “What you’re saying is important to me, and I want to give you the attention you deserve. To do this, I need a few minutes to recharge before giving you my full attention again.” Get a glass of water or go for a walk around the block. Then, continue the conversation.
If you are not clear that you understood everything that your partner said to you, ask him or her to repeat it. Then repeat it back to your partner.
Having to work at a relationship doesn’t mean it’s a bad relationship. Healthy partnerships involve problem solving. Follow these strategies and communicate effectively with your loved ones to make sure everyone feels loved and respected.