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.

How Can You Tell if Someone Likes You Or Just Wants to Get in your Pants?

Just-A-Booty-Call

How Can You Tell if Someone Likes You Or Just Wants to Get in your Pants?

It happens when you least expect it. You meet someone and you can’t get them out of your mind. But what are their intentions? Though it does occasionally happen to guys, most of the time it’s the woman wondering whether he just wants to get in her pants or if he really likes her. Usually, this guy knows all the right things to say. You flirt easily and have a great rapport. The chemistry is real and it’s powerful. But in either case this could be true. So how can you tell? It’s in his actions as to whether he really wants to spend time with you or if he just wants to spend some time pressed up against you. Analyze the situation carefully and you can see through any player’s cover. First, how do you mainly interact? Are you constantly texting, emailing each other little articles you read online that remind you of one another and talking on the phone late into the night? Or do you mostly text and he drops off or disappears here and there, always reappearing with some catastrophe he dealt with or well-tailored excuse? If it’s the latter, you should watch your heart.

When you talk what do you talk about? If all he talks about is himself and he’s never inquired about your history, your likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams and more personal stuff, chances are he isn’t that interested. Guys who like you want to get to know the real you. They will go out of their way to show you that they remember something about you. A link on your page, a phrase or joke you share, a little thoughtful gift or a mention of something you are interested in such as your favorite band coming to town, or your team winning a game will show that he really cares. If there’s no personal touch, he doesn’t want to get personal, just physical. Have you ever met his friends? Or does he steer you clear of his crew? Guys who like you want to see how you interact with their friends. He wants to know if you can fit in with his circle, and vice-versa. But those that just want to get between your thighs don’t want to risk their circle looking down on them, so there will always be an excuse as to why you can’t tag along.

Do you pick him up, go to his place? Do you always go out of your way for him? Does it run in the other direction too? If not, he’s just not that into you. A guy who really likes you will make an effort. But if it’s all about him, or he isn’t that interested, he may not think twice about taking advantage of your time, money and more. When you hang out is all his attention on you or is he constantly distracted? If he likes you his focus will be on you. If he doesn’t it will be on his phone, his great fashion sense or daydreaming about getting your clothes off and what he will find underneath. Does he make last minute plans with you, or break plans last minute? If he doesn’t respect your time he doesn’t respect you.  Does he drop hints or make jokes about not wanting or not liking relationships? This is a red flag. Sometimes he could drop hints that he is only interested in a physical thing. If he is eager to get physical with you, to kiss and touch you he may only have one thing on his mind. Of course these days wanting a mere physical interchange isn’t considered wrong. But it could be wrong for some. Decide what kind of relationship you want. Otherwise, you may find you misinterpreted the situation and end up heartbroken. For more on interpreting the male of the species read, To Date a Man, You Must Understand a Man: The Keys to Catch a Great Guy by Gregg Michaelsen.

ADHD Can Harm a Marriage

Young couple not communicating after an argument

ADHD Can Harm a Marriage

If your spouse is frightfully disorganized and extremely forgetful, they may have adult ADHD. About 4% of the U.S. population has this condition. Constantly being distracted, forgetfulness, seemingly ignoring one’s spouse, having an inability to carry through on promises are some of the more serious symptoms. ADHD can harm a marriage if left unmitigated. Before approaching your spouse with the prospect of seeing a mental health professional, and risking a fight, it may be wise to evaluate their behavior and see whether or not they exhibit the most common signs. First, there is chronic distraction. Marriage consultant Melissa Orlov, an expert on how ADHD affects couples, told the L.A. Times, “If you are trying to get your partner’s attention and they seem unable to give it to you, that’s a big indicator.” Does your spouse lack a certain self-regulation when it comes to their emotions? Gina Pera, author of, Is It You, Me, Or Adult A.D.D.? said, “They might get really excited about something and their partner will say, ‘Wait, let’s look into the details. Is this really a good idea?’”

Household and other tasks can end in broken promises and hurt feelings. Orlov said, “You’ll say, ‘Honey, will you do X?’ and he’ll say, ‘Sure, no problem,’ and then X does not get done.” People with adult ADHD are a whirlwind. Nothing seems organized. Sufferers get easily overwhelmed, have trouble prioritizing tasks and often miss deadlines. This happens in the work sphere and throughout home life as well. It becomes an entirely different relationship than you first imagined. Pera explains, “The partner says, ‘You are lazy and selfish.’ The adult with ADHD says, ‘You’re controlling.’ Both become resentful.” Luckily, there are moves you can make to help preserve the relationship and mitigate the effects of ADHD. Realize that it is a condition, no one’s fault. Pera says you should, “Acknowledge both of you were working in the dark and both of you were being undermined by this force.” The next step is to look for resources and support in your area. A therapist who specifically understands and has experience with adult ADHD is critical in managing the disorder’s influence on your marriage. There are medications available that work wonders for some. Many become far less forgetful, can arrive places on time, keep promises and more.

One resource is Children and Adults with ADHD, or CHADD, a national advocacy group that should have a chapter in your area. Why not visit their website and see what psychiatrists they recommend in your area, what advice they have and so on? Read up on adult ADHD and get to know a lot about it. Write down specific instances where your spouse has exhibited these behaviors and cross reference them to what symptoms these sources say they are exhibiting. If you have facts on your side, and use loving kindness to break the news to them in a supportive way, they will be more open to seek treatment and the marriage will markedly improve. There are also easy things you can do that will work wonders. Simply keeping a schedule and writing things down in some sort of graphic organizer, say a calendar or on a corkboard, can work wonders. Orlov says focusing on yourself and not your partner is also important. “Contribute your own best self to your relationship,” she said. “You can start on that immediately.” Don’t dwell on the past. It will poison the marriage. Though you might have resentments, you still have to move forward. Orlov says, “It’s a lot more relevant than stomping around in the undiagnosed ADHD portion of your relationship.” But even though you want to get somewhere Orlov says, “You don’t have to meet a certain goal, but you have to try your hardest.” For more on this topic pick up a copy of, The ADHD Effect on Marriage by Melissa Orlov.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

phone

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

We are connected to so many different people, venues and organizations through our computers and mobile devices that today people are overwhelmed with options. This is true of modern day “hookup” culture where young adults, spurning marriage and family planning for the extended education it takes to get a job in today’s market, cycle through one hook up after another, for fear of missing out on an amazing experience with someone new. But the problem is that they are never in a relationship long enough to form any kind of intimacy. Studies have shown that millennials are more frustrated and emotionally unfulfilled than previous generations. People of all ages now serially date. They cycle through one person they met online after another, fearing that they are missing out on “the one.” But with so many options, their standards skyrocket. The result? They are too picky and judgmental. They gloss over each date, never really piercing the surface and getting to know the real person deep down inside. Instead, they usually find a superficial reason to rule the person out and move on. So they may have found “the one” without even giving “the one” a chance.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is now something of a massive psychological condition brought on by mobile devices carrying the internet. People veer to their Twitter while at work, diminishing their concentration on an important task. They check their LinkedIn while with friends, their Facebook while on a date, they even put their own lives at risk and the lives of others by texting or checking email while driving. Lots and lots of people around the world do this. And when confronted with how wrong that is, they just shrug.

Our fear of missing out has us glossing over what is really important in life, and that’s being there, being in the moment, savoring it and enjoying it. Alone Together by Sherry Turkle has a chapter on this phenomenon and The New York Times covered FOMO in an article by Jenna Wortham. There are singles who go on Facebook and feel bad when they see how happy their married or attached friends are. There are teens who lose sleep and are distracted from their studies constantly checking their social media to see who broke up with who, who is dating who and so on. The truth is, this is an impulse control problem. FOMO makes us hyper vigilant, always seeking for something better for ourselves. Most of the time, however, there isn’t anything on there that’s so important it should interrupt the real, offline life in front of you.

Being constantly distracted is no way to live life. Being constantly unsatisfied isn’t a great way to manage a love life either. Instead, limit your use of social media. Only check it at certain times of the day and stick to your schedule. When you feel the itch to check, notice something in your immediate environment that makes you feel satisfied: a warm smile, a delicious cup of coffee, a beautiful scarlet picture frame with a photo of someone you love. Savor the real world with all of your senses and you’ll soon see that social media just can’t compare.

Why Gchat is Ruining Your Relationship

gchat

Why Gchat is Ruining Your Relationship

If you don’t know and it hasn’t taken over your life yet, Gchat or Google Chat is an I.M. system through Gmail that office workers, 20-somethings and others use. Sure it makes it easy and convenient for you to chat with your friends. But as good as that is, inherent in its ease lays the problem. You can have many chat windows open at the same time. So you can chat with a whole lot of people at once. It’s good if you want a quick answer to a question let’s say and don’t want to get up and go in another room or cubicle to get it. But this ease is lulling. Gchat can easily take over your life, making you shirk off your responsibilities. Then you have to take away free time to get your work done and then your relationship, which is usually what you invest in during that free time, misses out. It suffers and is neglected. And neglect is why Gchat is ruining your relationship or has the potential to.

It’s not like the stuff being discussed on Gchat is so worthwhile. Author Chandler Bolt whose book is called The Productive Person says of the IM program, “A lot of the stuff that happens on Gchat is not necessarily productive and wouldn’t be talked about in real life — it’s surface-level nonsense that’s getting in the way of why you’re in the office to begin with.” The biggest problem is that it encourages users to multitask which experts have shown lowers the quality and completion time of all tasks.

Another problem is that Gchat causes undue anxiety in our relationships. When we message our significant other and they don’t get back instantly, though we know they might be busy in a meeting or something, our mind starts to wonder and worry. What could they be doing? Who are they with? Did something happen to them, like an accident? The Distraction Addiction author Alex Soojung-Kim Pang says of this phenomenon, “[Technologies like Gchat] make us think that because the technology is ‘instant’ and free, people should respond instantly — and there’s something wrong when they don’t.” Chatting all day with your partner on Gchat can feel like you are keeping in touch and even have spent all day with one another, but the emotional side is lacking. We aren’t fulfilled emotionally as we are when we are in that person’s presence. Being face-to-face is what really brings back those emotions in us and helps us to connect, bond, deepen the relationship and create intimacy.

It’s better to leave the Gchat off and get your work done, respect your lover’s boundaries and reconnect at lunch over a phone call or at the end of the day. You run out of things to talk about when you communicate solely through I.M. Miscommunication can put a toll on the relationship, and an argument doesn’t get resolved as easily when there is no time away to cool off. So use Gchat sparingly and spend one-on-one time with the person you love.