Portland Marriage Counseling: How to Support a Partner with Adult ADHD

January 22, 2014 by

Adult ADHD can make things that a lot of people take for granted – being able to concentrate at work all day, listen to their partner, or even sit through a Portland marriage counseling session – a huge challenge. Understandably, that can lead to relationship issues. There’s a prevailing myth that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is something that only affects children, and that it may even just be a “phase” that they’ll grow out of.

Not only can adults be affected too, many people aren’t diagnosed until they’re adults. ADHD may make you feel constantly restless, have trouble concentrating on and completing tasks, or like your mind is always going a mile a minute. This can even lead them to question their worth and carry feelings of inadequacy into adult relationships.

Tips for Supporting a Partner with ADHD from Portland Marriage Counseling

Understand that your partner might have alternative ways to get tasks done. Many people with ADHD come up with creative solutions to compensate for being unable to concentrate as long a person without ADHD. If your partner takes a different approach to something that you’ve always done a certain way, let them try it rather than forcing them to do it your way.

Be patient—but also help brainstorm solutions. Maybe you scheduled a date night with your partner and they forgot, or maybe errands that should have taken 30 minutes ended up lasting 3 hours. Be understanding that they may have trouble remembering appointments and getting things done in the same time span as you and work to help them come up with solutions. Maybe your partner could start keeping a planner and writing down everything they have scheduled for the week.

Take a walk. If you’re trying to talk to your partner and they seem to be fidgeting or getting irritable, suggest that you continue your discussion while going for a walk or doing another physical activity.

Be aware of emotional baggage. An adult with ADHD may have gone through their childhood being told by their parents or teachers that they weren’t smart, weren’t good workers, or weren’t able to play with their siblings nicely. They may have experienced a lot of confusion and anger growing up without knowing why. This can lead to self-doubt as an adult, or a sense of shame surrounding their ADHD. Understand how ADHD may have affected your partner throughout their life, and be willing to listen if they want to talk about it.

Visit a Portland marriage counseling center. If you feel like your partner’s ADHD has led to relationship issues, the two of you can always visit Portland marriage counseling. Be sure to talk to your therapist ahead of time to potentially schedule shorter sessions, or make sure there is a break in the middle to best accommodate your partner.