ADHD and Relationships

couple at therapy

ADHD and Relationships

When one person has ADHD in a relationship, and the other person doesn’t, unique problems can occur. The power dynamic can become that of a parent to child, which isn’t healthy. The non-ADHD person becomes the one with the power, guiding, reminding and helping their partner. When the ADHD partner has a chore to be done, their counterpart may remind them, indeed several times, until the ADHD partner does it. Or the non-ADHD partner may give up and do it themselves rather than keep reminding their other half. Eventually, too many chores or responsibilities are allocated to the non-ADHD partner.

The symptoms of ADHD unmanaged are permanent. Distraction, memory problems and other symptoms start to weigh on the relationship. The non-ADHD partner becomes the parent, the ADHD partner the child. The power dynamic in this relationship becomes off kilter, leaning only to one side. This leads to a lack of respect on the part of the non-ADHD partner as they begin to view their partner like a child, and a condescending attitude can ensue. The ADHD partner begins to resent their significant other.

Adaptation is generally considered a good thing. One partner sees an issue arising and both partners change to meet and overcome it. Some research has shown however that stronger couples see problems coming down the pike and counteract them before they become an issue in the relationship. For ADHD, this power dynamic increases over time. As more and more control is lent to the non-ADHD partner and the more they become the parent, the other the child, the more resentment builds. Both people in this relationship have their problems with the other. One doesn’t want to do all of the work of the other. The ADHD partner doesn’t want to be treated like a child. They get tired of constant reminders, general bossiness and nagging. And the non-ADHD partner gets tired of doing so. And this dynamic puts a strain on the relationship. The couple feels less inclined toward positive feelings of love, affection, physical intimacy and romance.

Child/parent dynamics will almost inevitably lead to relationship or marital dysfunction. ADHD should be treated with the help of a mental health professional. Both partners should be involved. But if you are married or seriously involved with someone who has ADHD or if you have ADHD make sure to talk about it in depth with your partner. Treatment should also be sought. For more advice read, The ADHD Effect On Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps by Melissa Orlov.

Don’t Let Perfectionism Ruin your Relationships

PERFECTIONIST

Don’t Let Perfectionism Ruin your Relationships

Some of us have high standards for things. We want our lives to be perfect. With the right moves, creating the perfect home, family, spouse and life are thought of as an armor against catastrophe. But the truth is that no one can protect against a disaster. Life is inherently messy. No matter how perfect you try to make things, it can get messed up. No one can have complete control of their situations. And if you think that you can, when hit with the latter your reaction to tragedy will be far worse.

Perfectionism can wear on a marriage and drive a wedge between you and your kids. You aren’t giving them any say or sovereignty on their own lives. Behind all the good intentions, the smart schedules, the plans and the objectives is a dictatorial attitude. When you take away other people’s ability to decide or help decide in the affairs of their household and their life, you’ve essentially taken their rights away. The problem with the perfectionist is that he or she becomes more and more demanding until it drives everyone away. Don’t let perfectionism ruin your relationships. Take control of it and your life.

First, realize that perfectionism is just a hard shell around a soft inner layer. That soft inner layer is fear. Fear of criticism, rejection, disapproval and ridicule. But the truth is these very fears make their end come to pass. Instead practice anxiety reduction techniques. Join groups that help you manage your perfectionism. Elicit help from those close to you. Sit down with your spouse, children, significant other, whoever is in your life and explain what the problem is. Apologize for whatever problems or pain you’ve caused them. Say it by name, don’t paper over the apology or it won’t mean as much. If you are going to apologize believe it and commit to it.

Allow a more democratic style into the household where everyone gets a say and everyone can say their piece. You might not like what everyone has to say. But the truth is hashing it out is far better than letting it boil beneath the surface, or else you’ll get a flash boil. This way you all can talk things out. Find positive outlets for your perfectionism. Learn boundaries of others in your household when it comes to your perfectionistic tendencies. Find out how to pick your fights. Manage the issue and you will be okay and your relationships will blossom. For more advice read, Present Perfect: A Mindfulness Approach to Letting Go of Perfectionism & the Need for Control by Pavel Somov, Ph.D.

Things Women do that make them seem Callous

callous

Sure there are lots of loving, caring and affectionate things you do for your guy. But there may be other things that you regard as no big deal that make him think that you don’t care about him, or only want him around to take care of certain things. Women aren’t the only ones who silently watch their partner’s behavior for deeper signs. But lots of times he’s got it wrong. It’s just that certain things are interpreted by the genders in different ways. Here are things women do that make them seem callous even though they really don’t mean it that way. Sometimes for instance a man will get a list of detailed instructions on how to pick up the kids, go grocery shopping or do some sort of household chore. But this diminishes men. It makes them feel that their woman thinks they are incapable. Instead, let go a little bit. Be flexible. Let him do things his way. If he doesn’t come home with a carload of hotdogs from the supermarket but made some wise shopping decisions, don’t try to find faults, tell him he did a good job. Another is making a big decision on your own without consulting your guy. Whether it was a big purchase, a serious parenting issue or how to decorate the house, a quick text or phone call can clear this up and keep your man in the loop.

Do you refuse to take part in an activity that is a huge part of your man’s life? Whether you roll your eyes at his boy’s night out, his football game or when he got you a ticket for ComicCon, it makes him think that you value him less due to his choices in entertainment. Don’t put down what he likes to do. Once in a while encourage a boy’s night out, or even for the guys to come over for a very special poker night while you stock the fridge with beer and slip out to hang with the ladies, go to that ComicCon event and find out what it’s all about, or sit and watch the game with him and ask questions so you know what’s going on, just try and save them for the commercials. Who says “I love you” first in a relationship? If your guy is the one, he may wonder how you feel about him. It seems like a silly thing but it can make a big difference. Make a conscious effort to meet him at the door with an “I love you” and a big loving kiss. He’ll know how you feel about him right away. You may share everything with your friends, but make sure they don’t bring up touchy, personal items in front of your man. He will feel awkward and even angry perhaps for you sharing it. Your friend should be in trouble with you too, and your man should know it. Lastly don’t flake out on your guy at the last minute. If you do, make it up to him. Consider how you would feel. Of course everyone’s busy, but doing this shows that you don’t really care. For more advice on this topic, read 31 Days to a Happy Husband by Arlene Pellicane.

Indicators that your First Date is Flopping

first-date

First dates are so exciting for some, anxiety ridden torture for others. You have to be on your best behavior. It’s as nerve wracking as a job interview, with the possibility of a kiss at the end. Some people shine on first dates. Others do well or poorly depending upon whom they are sitting across the table from. There are those who take time to warm up and come out of their shell. And some people burst forth like a runaway train. They think they are accelerating in their date’s estimation of them, when really they are out of control. Of course, you shouldn’t go in there blind. Prepare yourself with a few anecdotes, some open-ended questions for your date and some topics you are both interested in. Some dating and relationship experts state that the first ten minutes are the most crucial and can spell romantic bliss or dating doom. Don’t be nervous or anguish over them. But make sure you make those first ten minutes count. Still, lots of people flub but aren’t even aware of it. Then they wonder why they don’t score the second date. It’s important to be cognizant, as much as you can about what’s happening across the table from you. Here are some indicators that your first date is flopping.

The first and most important thing is to be yourself. Project who you are. Don’t agree with things your date believes that you don’t. If you find out your date is a Republican for instance, while you are a Democrat, or your date is fervently religious while you are an atheist, if you are still interested and they are too, agree to disagree. Perhaps find a new topic to talk about. But don’t go along. It will come out eventually, you will look terrible, and who wants to live a lie? Project who you really are. Just show them your best you. Some people believe that they have to show who they are all at once. But the truth is an air of mystery and a slow reveal is tantalizing and will keep your date running back for more. You don’t have to reveal your secrets all at once. You can even hint that there is more to you than meets the eye and keep them guessing. A really important piece of advice, don’t make it all about you. Remember to ask your date about themselves and be interested in their response. Sure, they want to get to know you. But nothing is more attractive to either gender than a person who is truly interested and wants to know more about them. Do not bombard your date with questions. You are still in the getting-to-know-you-phase. It’s more important to let things unfold naturally. Let sexual tension build naturally, don’t force it. Allow your date to make decisions, too. Don’t be too bossy. Lastly, don’t talk about a second date before the first is finished. Instead of being presumptuous, relax and take it all in. Enjoy the time you spend together, and see if this person has potential. For more first date advice, read the insight of Logan Lo in his book, A Great First Date: The Guide to this Postmodern Love.