Dating Someone with ADHD

It is difficult for people living with ADHD to form close personal relationships. The inability to focus and the tendency to emotional overreaction could have important consequences in a budding relationship. Even then, if you have met someone with ADHD who you would like to know better or if you have ADHD and are looking for a similar partner, here are few tips to help you along.

Find out about ADHD

ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition marked by inattentiveness, impulsiveness, over-activity or a combination of these. This disorder usually manifests itself in the school-going age and affects boys more than girls. If you are seeing someone who you know has this condition, find out all you can about the disorder. This will help you to understand some of the reactions and behaviors of your partner that may have puzzled you earlier. ADHD is usually treated with a combination of medication and behavior therapy in childhood. If your partner is still on medication, being well-informed will also help you become aware of side-effects as they influence your relationship. You will be better able to understand what food or lifestyle conditions are helpful and harmful for your partner. When you and your partner understand how ADD affects your relationship, the plan for addressing issues becomes much clearer.

Develop strategies for effective communication

One of the biggest difficulties faced by people with ADHD in relationships is engaging in effective communication. They may talk too much, too fast, jump from one subject to another or simply zone out when you are talking to them. All this is can be infuriating when you are trying to get an important point across or doing your best to resolve a conflict. You will have to pick up communication strategies that reach out to people with ADHD – for instance speaking without music or a TV or in the background so as to minimize distraction. Try to put priorities in writing as you do while making a list, starting from the most important to the least important thing which needs to be dealt with. You will find out more about these techniques if you look through websites and support organizations which cater to people with ADHD and teach them how to cope with the challenges of daily living.

Be patient

What makes a relationship with an ADHD-affected person so traumatic at times is their impulsiveness. You may find that your partner lacks an emotional filter when he/she is angry, so there are things that they say that are incredibly hurtful.  He/she may also over-react when there is an argument and want to quit.  A person with ADHD has little or no concept of how his/her words and actions make you feel.  Your partner may be able to understand that he/she has said something hurtful, but he/she still will not be able to see things from your perspective. For this reason you need to be calm and patient when your partner is flying off the handle. There may be fights and tantrums and one of the ways you can react to these is by giving your partner space and time so that he/she is able to cool off.

Keep your perspective

One of the reasons why people with ADHD seem great partners at first is because of their intense focus on anything that takes their fancy, in this case their relationships. When your partner hyper focuses on you – calling you up several times a day, writing letters or love poems, planning to take you out and thinking of gifts to buy for you – all the attention can be hugely flattering. But this intense focus does not, indeed cannot, continue for long and is sure to end at some point. So you should be prepared for this change of focus from your relationships and perhaps to some other interest or hobby that has seized your partner’s attention. In order to be able to survive that shift, make sure you have clear communication techniques in place. Also your relationship should be based on a strong foundation comprising of shared values and interests, compatibility in lifestyle as well as distinct goals for your relationship.

Examine your own priorities

If you are thinking of your ADHD partner in terms of a serious relationship, consider whether you have what it takes. Living with a person with ADHD means that there will always be some degree of confusion and untidiness in the house. You will have to be flexible and adventurous enough to take missed appointments and last-minute chores in your stride. At the same time you need to be a good organizer yourself to balance out your partner’s impulsiveness and inattentiveness so that you have a functional home life.

What about your finances

Financial solidity is an especially weak point for people with ADHD. Many of them are unable to keep jobs or fulfill workplace commitments on account of their lack of focus and staying power. Then again some are financially impulsive too with tendencies towards gambling and speculation. In fact addictive behavior and risk-taking are often part of an ADD personality and can be very hard on a shared home life. So before you commit yourself to your partner, consider your individual and joint financial condition very carefully. Ask yourself if you are willing to be the sole earner, albeit for a temporary period, in your relationship.

Look at the bright side

A person with ADHD can be a fun and enthusiastic lover. Their intensity and unhesitating focus on the relationship can be highly gratifying while their boundless energy will help you experience all the wonders of life in ways you have never done before. Thus dating a person with ADHD need not be a series of difficulties. If you feel overwhelmed at times, you can reach out to support groups and online forums which offer useful resources to partners of ADHD-affected persons. Above all it is important that your partner accepts his/her own condition. A person who denies his/her ADD can make for a difficult relationship and worst of all, block any chances of seeking help. Instead most people who accept their ADD and take responsibility for it learn strategies to manage their disorder so that it does not interfere significantly with their lives.