Dealing with ADHD relationships is one of the toughest tasks in the world.
But, it’s definitely possible to save your relationship, and create a better life for yourself in the process.
So, this article lays out the 7 golden rules for ADHD dating and marriage.
Whether you’re the one with ADHD, or the partner of someone who has ADHD, this article is designed to help you thrive in your relationship.
But first, let’s go over some of the unique challenges of ADHD relationships, dating and marriage…
What are the challenges of ADHD relationships?
Every relationship is unique. There are so many different factors that play into relationships. I could write an entire book about this topic.
But for now, I’ll give you a quick overview of the challenges that come with being in an ADHD relationship.
Acknowledging these challenges will give you a better understanding of what to expect in your relationship.
(Don’t worry, I list solutions to these challenges further down in the article.)
Here are the challenges of ADHD relationships to be aware of…
ADHD relationship challenge #1. History of rebelliousness
I don’t mean to be alarmist. But, many people with ADHD have a history of rebelliousness.
Anything from being a casual weekend bar-goer, to a full-blown biker outlaw is possible.
Most people with ADHD have a natural tendency to rebel against authority figures and the norms of society.
While rebelliousness sounds like a cool feature, it can actually be a positive or a negative trait, depending on how it’s used in your relationship!
For example, you might find that you or your ADHD spouse likes to do whatever they want regardless of anyone’s opinion. As you can probably imagine, this is both a good and bad quality to have in a relationship.
ADHD relationship challenge #2. Irregular behavior
People with ADHD behave irregularly. There’s no question about that.
Irregular behavior is one of the most difficult aspects of ADHD to deal with, because it can feel almost impossible to change someone’s behavior.
Behavioral change ultimately has to come from within.
You can’t force change on someone. But, you can show someone with ADHD how small changes will lead to a better outcome.
ADHD relationship challenge #3. Wacky emotions
ADHD brains are wacky. I’ve written an entire article about what ADHD is and why the condition makes people think differently.
The research shows that children with ADHD have a smaller amygdala, hippocampus, caudate nucleus, putamen and nucleus accumbens.
Interestingly, the amygdala is responsible for processing emotions like fear and pleasure.
So, because people with ADHD have some smaller-sized brain structures, many people with ADHD find it difficult to control their emotions.
This means that ADHD relationships can be highly emotional, or even emotionally draining at times.
ADHD relationship challenge #4. Inattentiveness
When you think of ADHD, you might think of someone who lacks the ability to pay attention.
In fact, there is a subtype of ADHD called predominantly inattentive. This is what the “oldschool” attention deficit disorder (ADD) term used to be based off of.
In reality, the truth is that people with ADHD can pay attention. But, people with ADHD are much more interested in focusing on the things that naturally grab their attention.
This can obviously lead to problems in relationships.
For example, someone with the predominantly inattentive subtype of ADHD might find it difficult to pay attention to their spouse, because they’re naturally drawn to pursue their own interests (think hobbies, passion projects, or spending time with friends instead).
When you add in addictive technology to the mix (like smartphones), and the stimulus-seeking behavior that people with ADHD are notorious for, many people with ADHD find it extremely challenging to give their partners the much-needed attention they deserve.
ADHD relationship challenge #5. Impulsive behavior
Impulsive behavior is one of the most exciting and heartbreaking aspects of ADHD.
On one hand, impulsive behavior can lead to spontaneous weekend getaways, midnight adventures, and general funniness that can spice up any couple’s relationship.
On the other hand, impulsive behavior can lead to extreme credit card debt, drug and alcohol problems, and even criminal activity at the worst end of the spectrum.
I have a love-hate relationship with impulsiveness, and I’m sure that you feel the same way. Impulsive behavior can be a blessing or a curse.
Luckily, people with ADHD do possess the ability to manage their impulses.
The 7 golden rules of ADHD dating and marriage
By now, there’s probably a good chance that you think people with ADHD are total basket cases.
While it’s probably true that most people with ADHD have considerable issues to overcome, the truth is that just about everyone on this planet has some heavy baggage to confront.
People with ADHD are flawed. But, so is everyone else in one way or another. So, ADHD relationship problems can be overcome.
Best of all, the following 7 golden rules for ADHD dating and marriage will help you thrive in your relationship…
Golden rule 1. Talk about your problems with ADHD
Talking about your problems with ADHD requires courage and vulnerability.
Fortunately, courage and vulnerability are two qualities that build trust in your relationship.
So, don’t be afraid to talk with your partner about the various problems that ADHD causes in your relationship.
But, make sure to frame this conversation in a positive light.
I know that it’s uncomfortable for couple’s to pinpoint the problems that ADHD might cause in a relationship. This usually happens because the human ego always wants to take over, and immediately dismiss any problems that you might be facing in your life.
You ultimately have to kill your ego, stop worrying about the temporary discomfort that you feel, and lay out the real problems that you face in your relationship.
Addressing your relationship problems with your partner will put you in a position to create life-changing solutions, and help you take control of the problems at hand.
Golden rule 2. Get realistic about ADHD solutions (take control)
If ADHD is a problem in your relationship, you have options.
In today’s day and age, there aren’t very many good excuses for ignoring problematic ADHD symptoms.
Exercise is free. Healthy herbs and spices are cheap. Deep breathing exercises and meditation only requires about 10 minutes of your time.
If you can’t afford ADHD medication, Vyvanse offers coupons and discounts that can help you acquire ADHD medication 100% free of charge.
If you live in America or any other Western nation, you’re basically spoiled with amazing options for dealing with ADHD in your relationship. Not everyone is as lucky as we are.
Golden rule 3. Improve the quality of problems in your relationship
The harsh reality about ADHD is that it’s a lifelong condition. You can’t get rid of the disorder, because your brain structures are inherently different compared to the general population.
So yes, you’ll most likely always have difficulties in your relationships partially because of ADHD.
But at the same time, everyone has problems with their relationships – whether they have ADHD or not.
Relationships always require hard work.
Your goal isn’t to eliminate the problems in your relationship, because you’re always going to have relationship problems.
Your goal is to improve the quality of problems in your relationship.
For example, passive aggressiveness is a nasty, low-quality problem to deal with. You want to get rid of that relationship problem immediately.
Once you’ve eliminated something like passive aggressiveness from your relationship (a low-quality problem), you can move on to higher-quality problems that you face. For example…
- Fighting about which neighborhood you want to move into is a high-quality problem to have
- Deciding on which seafood restaurant to eat at is a high-quality problem to deal with
- Arguing about the best destination for your summer vacation is an amazing problem to have in your relationship
See what I mean?
You’re always going to experience problems in your life and relationships, because that’s just how human nature works. So, you should always focus on improving the quality of problems that you face in your relationships. This will help you achieve a more exciting, healthy and growth-oriented relationship.
Golden rule 4. Try your best to improve your financial situation
Did you know that money is the leading cause of stress in relationships?
It’s true. Money doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. But, money is often the root source of relationship problems…even more so than the relationship problems created by ADHD.
So, if you and your partner struggle financially, I’d be willing to bet that financial issues exacerbate problems related to ADHD (and vise versa).
If financial issues are a problem in your relationship – then try your best to ruthlessly cut down on expenses, increase your cash inflows, and take on a side job if you have to.
By improving your relationship’s financial situation, you will decrease stress, keep mentally busy, and possibly even improve your ADHD relationship.
Just be careful of the hedonic treadmill – and make sure to stabilize your spending as your income increases.
Golden rule 5. Invest in your relationship
Take a second to think about the best memories that you’ve experienced in your lifetime.
Maybe it was a trip to a new country. A crazy night out with friends. Or, even just a simple conversation that you shared with someone special.
Odds are strong that the best memories of your lifetime were shared with other people who you care deeply about.
So, doesn’t it make sense that investing in your relationship is an amazing way to build long-term health and happiness?
The truth is that finding the time to dedicate solely to your relationship is an awesome way to build a better bond with your partner.
I urge you and your partner to visit comedy clubs, travel, start a hilarious YouTube channel together, or just do anything that gives your relationship greater meaning and purpose.
By investing in your relationship today, you will eventually look back on your relationship knowing that you made a great choice.
Golden rule 6. Consciously decide to make your relationship work
You might find that the person with ADHD in your relationship is forgetful, inattentive, lazy or unmotivated. And, there are a number of other negative attributes that people with ADHD face as well.
So yes, it’s healthy to acknowledge that ADHD is a very serious issue, and the sole cause of many problems in relationships.
But at the same time, you can’t blame ADHD for all of your relationship’s problems.
You have to consciously decide to make your relationship work regardless of ADHD.
People with ADHD are capable of leading a successful life, which can transmit into a successful relationship as well.
Just take a look at this list of famous celebrities with ADHD. I often reference this list of celebrities because these are people just like you and me (for the most part) who have chosen to lead extraordinary lives.
If you or your partner has ADHD, it’s important to find ways to manage your relationship, and make it work. I have faith that you can do it.
Golden rule 7. Take action
At the end of the day, successful relationships happen when the masculine leader of the relationship chooses to lead (note: masculinity is a character trait – not a gender role).
There is always a masculine and feminine dynamic at play in relationships, and it’s up to the masculine to take action, get the household in order, and create the foundation for an amazing partnership – regardless of ADHD.
The feminine dynamic is in charge of providing support, love and compassion.
Like yin and yang, both of these seemingly opposite dynamics are fundamental to a successful relationship…even with ADHD.