Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can present many challenges for parents. Raising children with ADHD can be both exhilarating and exhausting. But when an ADHD child grows up and enters a relationship with another person, it can be even more taxing. Adult ADHD can be a mystery to those with ADHD and those who love them. Sometimes adults are unaware that they have ADHD and only realize after months or years of difficult and unexplained tensions in a marriage or committed relationship. Regardless of whether or not the ADHD was diagnosed in childhood or adulthood, there is hope for marriages partners dealing with it.
In a recent article, Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D., an author and psychotherapist, says that sharing responsibilities such as finances, chores, and parenting can bring ADHD symptoms to the forefront of the relationship. How couples address the symptoms and work through the tasks has a significant impact on the severity of the ADHD and the emotional status of each partner and the relationship as a whole. The first step is to get an accurate diagnosis. Once this has happened, couples can work together to manage the symptoms, the treatment, and their shared household responsibilities.
Gina Pera, an author and expert on adult ADHD, says that having structure and simplicity is essential in an ADHD relationship. When one spouse understands the limitations of the other, they can pick and choose the chores that are best suited to each person’s capabilities. This is true in every relationship, whether there is an underlying psychological condition or not. The most important things to remember when living in an ADHD marriage are these three elements: education, action, and empathy. Pera says that couples should learn about ADHD and copy strategies other successful couples use in their marriages. Take action to overcome the hurdles and work through the problems respectfully and as a team. And finally, be understanding of each other. Pera adds, “Having empathy and compassion for each other is vitally important in these relationships.”
Sarkis, S. (2012, July 9). ADHD and marriage: An interview with Gina Pera. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephanie-sarkis-phd/adhd-relationships_b_1659300.html