Working Towards a Balanced Relationship
When you live with ADHD, it can feel like you’re all alone most of the time. That can drive some ADHD people to do things without thinking of others, and continue to put themselves above and beyond anyone else, regardless of the strength of their love or fondness for other people in their lives.
Unfortunately, this can lead straight to the end of a relationship. On the other hand, there are things you can do to repair, rebound, and revitalize your relationship with an ADHD partner or family member as they start (or continue with) treatment:
Focus on Conflict Resolution
No matter what happens, you’ll need to be able to resolve arguments fairly well (and regularly) if the relationship is going to last. Accept that there will be spats, fights, and disagreements, but commit to overcoming them as calmly and rationally as you can.
It can take a lot of patience and perseverance, but don’t give up – research shows that conflict resolution is at the heart of any enduring relationship.
Reinforce Good Behaviour
It may seem like a small gesture, but positive reinforcement is powerful. When your loved one begins to attend therapy sessions, speak to their therapist about how best to reinforce the progress they’ve made at home.
Keep a positive attitude when you see that they’re trying to incorporate new techniques, and focus on the small gains. Since ADHD affects everyone in the household, every member should be involved in treatment and motivating improvement.
Allowing ADHD symptoms to prevail and brushing the consequences under the rug can be the easiest way out, even when you love and respect your partner. However, many failed relationships fail not because of ADHD symptoms, but because those symptoms were allowed to run amok. And although every ADHD person must eventually take responsibility for their condition and their actions, you also have an obligation to challenge your partner and stand up for your own interests.
Many people with ADHD feel like there’s something wrong with them, and that can breed resentment and defensive behaviour. The sooner they can begin treatment, the sooner they can build a more accurate portrait of their lifestyle and limitations, but it’s important to remember that the first step is usually the hardest.
The more patience you have, the better you’ll deal with the struggle, but don’t neglect your own needs. Sometimes seeing a counselor yourself can shed new light on how you are approaching the situation, and what you could be doing differently for better progress, and a better relationship.