Updated: Nov 21
What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, otherwise known as ADHD is a neurological developmental disorder that is characterised by a few very common symptoms which may make pursuing a romantic relationship challenging. However, by educating yourself about ADHD and being patient dating an adult with ADHD the relationship can be enjoyable, the key is communication and honesty!
What to expect when dating someone with ADHD
A collection of common symptoms are observed in those with ADHD which include: Disorganisation, Impulsivity and difficulty paying attention. This neurodevelopmental disorder significantly affects an individual's ability to control impulses and concentration levels which may become a hurdle for a relationship, however by educating yourself about these symptoms and through communication the symptoms can be minimised and managed healthily.
Disorganisation and Time Management difficulties:
ADHD makes it challenging for individuals to manage their time effectively, therefore, resulting in poor organisational skills. You may observe your partner struggling to meet deadlines, create plans and stick to them or difficulties in planning overall Understandably this may be frustrating especially when important plans were made however it is important to keep in mind that your partner has no intention of causing distress, ADHD creates this difficult for him/her. Therefore communicating openly and perhaps creating a written schedule or through other means of guided planning, it will help your partner stay as organised as they possibly can.
Another common symptom of ADHD is erratic and impulsive behaviour. For example, your partner may make a big purchase without prior discussion or speak their mind without filters at inappropriate times. This occurs as individuals with ADHD may act without thinking about the consequences that may follow which may lead to potential disputes. Setting clear boundaries and having honest discussions will help create a healthy relationship. If however your partner struggles and finds it unmanageable we advise you to seek professional support.
Hyperactivity and Difficulties Listening:
Many individuals with ADHD exhibit hyperactive behaviour which makes it extremely difficult to sit still for extended periods and listen or concentrate caused by a surplus amount of energy. This hyperactivity can be managed by encouraging big engagement with physical exercise as well as understanding the difficulty your partner with ADHD is going through therefore being patient.
Whilst these distinct symptoms may create a romantic relationship to be challenging in some aspects, there are also plenty of perks! People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder tend to be extremely creative people who are very sociable and flexible. By implementing coping strategies and working through these hurdles together the relationship will be exciting and rewarding.
How to improve your relationship if your partner has ADHD
Being in a romantic relationship with someone with ADHD may be difficult at times therefore it is important to educate yourself about ADHD prior and discussing this with your partner. Since symptoms of ADHD include disorganisation, hyperactivity and impulsivity, at times this may seem challenging. Nevertheless, respecting one another boundaries and working through each problem individually by implementing coping strategies or changes to a routine will enhance your relationship and create a stronger connection.
It is beneficial for you to understand what ADHD is and the symptoms that tag alongside it to better understand and manage your partner's behaviour. Adults with ADHD struggle with organisation and hyperactivity levels, however, are very sociable and flexible individuals. Gaining this knowledge will help your relationship improve due to a better understanding of your partner's frustrates and needs, enabling you to approach the romantic relationship with empathy and patience.
Establish routine and schedule:
As mentioned previously, poor organisational skills are a very common symptom of individuals with ADHD therefore creating a schedule, preferably a visual one so for example writing it on your fridge, will make sure your partner doesn’t forget plans and works around them. This will help curate a sense of stability and routine in your life which will in turn reduce stress levels and maximise productivity levels.
A relationship with someone who suffers from ADHD may be a new experience for you and therefore challenging. Thus actively listening to your partner's needs and tailoring certain behaviours, such as maximising physical activity and prating mindfulness can be important in building a healthy relationship. It is also important to note that each partner's needs should be listened to and open communication is necessary.
Seek professional support:
An individual with ADHD may cause many new experiences to occur and you may struggle with the rapid change. Therefore it is important to seek professional support if you or your partner as you can receive beneficial help including guidance and strategies specific to the dynamic of your relationship. Make sure to not neglect your own mental health and take time to practice self-care through meditational methods.
Can a relationship work if your partner has ADHD?
Absolutely! Building and maintaining a healthy relationship requires effort, however through communication, mutual effort and understanding it’s possible. Your partner having ADHD means that certain things such as organisation or listening skills are not their strength however everyone has weak spots. The important thing is setting realistic standards and being completely honest and open about what frustrates you in the relationship and working together to minimise or deal with these problems. By implementing different strategies such as implementing a scheduler in your daily routine, many symptoms can become invisible and stop being challenging.
What are the ways to support your partner if he/she has ADHD?
It is very important to not become a parent when dating someone with ADHD but in turn, become a loving partner to support one another. It is crucial to educate yourself about ADHD to understand that an extra bit of patience may be required due to their difficulty in regulating attention. There are numerous ways in which you can support your partner with ADHD. For example, highlighting the strengths of your partners will enable the relationship to look past the challenges and encourage positivity. Moreover, encouraging healthy coping strategies can support your partner in managing ADHD symptoms. Motivating your partner to take part in regular exercise, getting an adequate amount of sleep and practising stress reduction strategies techniques such as meditation sessions and yoga, will encourage a healthy, calm relationship. Lastly, make sure not to neglect your own mental health and seek professional support if you feel it is necessary.
Dating someone with ADHD can a be thriving and rewarding experience although it may require a bit of extra time and effort, nevertheless, it is completely possible. By fostering patience, empathy and practising active listening and implementing strategies such as creating schedules and routines, ADHD-related symptoms are manageable and help you have a healthy, long-lasting relationship. If you need get in touch with a leading specialist in London DR Liliya Korallo at Citypsychologicalservices.com