For those who have struggled with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and all the consequences of being inattentive, forgetful, impulsive, disorganized, hyperactive or restless -- life can sometimes feel rather difficult. These frustrations can take a toll on a person making them feel uncertain and self-conscious. This can especially create a problem within relationships.
Positive connections with others are so important in our lives. For someone with ADHD, there are often many challenges that get in the way of relating to others in a way that is rewarding. Repeated failures in friendships, dating and intimate relationships can cause a person to withdraw and become isolated as a way to protect themselves from further hurt.
If you see this is a pattern in your life, make a decision to take a chance again. Rather than avoiding relationships, make a positive effort to re-engage. Step out of your comfort zone, examine your old patterns, develop new habits and actively work to improve the areas that have caused you trouble.
Sometimes the easiest part of a relationship is the beginning, when your ADHD qualities are often an asset. You may be high-energy, creative, open, honest, engaging and talkative, and others may be drawn to your charisma, enthusiasm, sensitivity and likability. The excitement of the "honeymoon phase" of the relationship keeps you interested, too. As the relationship continues, however, difficulties related to your ADHD may soon become more evident and problematic.
The intensity and high pace of the relationship may begin to feel a bit suffocating to your partner. Your tendency to relate impulsively or in an inattentive, distracted manner may begin to take its toll.
As you become more aware of how your ADHD symptoms affect your relationships, you can begin to make changes and learn alternative ways to interact that are more productive. Understand that these ways of interacting may not come naturally. You will need to make a conscious effort to make these changes, but doing so can help relationships grow and become more rewarding and fulfilling.
Below are three problems areas often experienced by individuals with ADHD. Click on each link to learn strategies for addressing each one.
- Saying Things Without Thinking Through Consequences
- Difficulty Staying Focused on What Others are Saying
- Forgetting Promises and Commitments
- Tips for Better Anger Control
Michael T. Bell. You, Your Relationship and Your ADD. New Harbinger Publications. 2002
Michael T. Bell. Dealing with the Impact of AD/HD on Marriage. Attention Magazine. April 2003
Nancy A. Ratey. The Disorganized Mind. St. Martin’s Press. New York. 2008