Every couple will have some communication issues. This is virtually inevitable and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. However, a vital step is to identify some of the causes behind the problems. If your partner has Attention-Deficit/
For starters, please recognize that ADHD is a disorder. It does not and cannot define your partner or your relationship. So, while there will be times you feel frustrated, remember that it is nothing personal and it is not being done on purpose. From there, you can move forward and try some of the following communication hacks.
People with ADHD are often frustrated with themselves. As a result, they work hard to do better. Try to remember this when you sense yourself getting agitated. Ultimately, what you are experiencing is a manifestation of your differences. Learning to accept those differences is a giant step toward better communication.
2. Don’t Take It Personally
I mentioned it above, but it bears repeating. ADHD symptoms are not intentional. For example, your partner will probably forget things more often than others. They may forget something that really matters to you. If so, this can feel especially bad. Taking it personally will only escalate the emotions. Aim that energy into finding ways to work around the inevitable slip-ups.
Pay attention. This simple suggestion can play out for you in two big ways:
- Notice when you are growing agitated. Learn to recognize the triggers and signs. The more you understand your feelings and reactions, the better you can manage them. This, in turn, lowers the stakes when you and your partner are communicating.
- Also, give your full attention to your partner when they are interacting with you. They are already probably edgy and distracted. It goes a long way if you put everything aside and focus. If you are unable to do this, then set a boundary. Either explain that you cannot focus or be clear about how much time you can offer.
4. Ponder Your Role
Just because your partner has ADHD does not mean they are to blame for all communication snafus. Effective communication is not a destination. It is an evolving process, and each of us has blind spots. Take the time to self-analyze and discover where you could be contributing to a communication breakdown.
5. Find What Works Specifically For the Both of You
There is no one correct way for partners to communicate. What works for one couple could be a disaster for another. And no matter what, all couples hit rough patches and make mistakes—with or without the presence of ADHD. This may sound daunting, but it can also be liberating. You and your partner have the freedom to create your own methods and rituals based on your own unique characteristics. Experiment, explore, and evolve.
A Couples Therapist is the Ideal Guide
Obviously, all of this patience, focus, and exploration can be challenging. No couple should ever be expected to have all the resources and tools they will need. Developing such skills requires commitment and work. Couples therapy is an excellent option for doing this work. Working alongside an unbiased professional gives you room to open up, try new ideas, and learn.
Your weekly sessions can serve as a workshop. You can discover new pathways toward effective communication through diligence, practice, and shared emotions. If you or your partner has ADHD, I invite you to connect. Let’s set you up for a free and confidential consultation to get this process started