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 Self-Loathing Affects Partners

relationship-problems

How Self-Loathing Affects Partners

Inadequacy can affect a relationship in a number of ways. Sometimes those who feel inadequate push their lovers away thinking that they aren’t good enough for them. But they don’t let the lover speak for themselves, a selfish act. Those who experience self-loathing often apologize over and over again for little insignificant mistakes, a behavior that can sometimes rake their partner’s nerves. Those who suffer from self-loathing often believe too that they are just one mistake away from ruining the relationship, or driving their significant other away. The other lover however may not feel that the bond is so tenuous. Still, this constant questioning weakens the relationship. When one person keeps on questioning it, the other lover may start questioning the relationship. Or they may decide that their self-loathing partner’s assessment is correct. They may feel that this person is too high maintenance or that their sucking all of their energy away. It’s hard to be with someone who suffers from self-loathing. Constant apologizing can also be a tactic to take the attention away from the one partner who feels inadequate and put it on the other when seeking apology. But inevitably the focus comes right back on the partner who loathes themselves, for their partner’s concern has been raised.

The other quality the self-loathing have is feeling that their partner is too good for them. They are haunted by guilt. Some people normally feel this way when they get together with someone they have strong chemistry with. But it usually fades with a little bit of time. However, the self-loathing never have this sensation subside. Here, even though the self-loathing believe that they are showing their lovers reverence and esteem, the irony is that the focus is actually brought back upon themselves.  Both of these behaviors display the inadequate person’s need for reassurance and attention. These people are usually high maintenance and needy or clingy. The truth is the self-loathing are constantly seeking validation from their partner. But they aren’t actually dealing with the root of the issue which is buried within themselves. Instead, their constant validation seeking will not only never satiate them, it is likely to drive their partner away as it will drain them of precious psychic energy. The relationship becomes boring and tiresome, and a lot of work, not really that much fun. The last problem is the self-loathing are oversensitive. If you are suffering from self-loathing, seek help. Watch what you say to your partner. Sensor yourself somewhat. And work through your issues. If you love someone who has self-loathing problems, get them to seek help. For advice on being nicer to yourself read, Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristin Neff, Ph.D.

If you get Bored of your Lover, Should you Dump Them?

UNHAPPY-COUPLE

If you get Bored of your Lover, Should you Dump Them?

Boredom in a long-term relationship comes on when novelty is over. Sometimes comfort can be well, comforting. But after a while your relationship can bore you utterly. And then what?! If you love someone and have exhausted all ways and manners of which to spice things up, if you crave novelty and they “just like the way things are” what can you do? If you get bored of your lover, should you dump them? Now it’s time to really sit down and evaluate the situation. There are really all kinds of changes that can bring about novelty. And have you truly exercised every avenue? Consider whether or not you truly love this person. Though you may need some change, making a radical move merely out of boredom might show you what you’ve lost. They say you only recognize what you’ve truly lost once it’s gone. You don’t want to be in that situation if you can help it.

Sometimes people say that they are bored with their relationship when they are really fed up. There are several unresolved conflicts brewing underneath the surface and they don’t know how to make headway on them. Their so-called boredom is frustration. The only way to deal with this situation is lock yourself and a lover in a room and don’t emerge until these problems are talked out. You don’t have to lock the door per se. If things get heated, you may need to de-escalate the situation, take a break, gather your thoughts and regroup. Still, only clear and honest communication and a plan of action can unstick this situation. In other cases, couples get stuck in a rut and they don’t know how to break out of it. Sometimes we are overwhelmed with our responsibilities. The couple may simply be stressed. A little down time, a date night, some time exploring hobbies on their own or more time with each other’s friends might be the answer. When a couple spends too much time together, they can often get bored of one another. But out of each other’s sight, and they each wonder what the other is doing, or can’t wait to share their own adventure later on with their boo.

The best way to reignite passion is to go to a place where both of you can play, use your imagination, accept one another without guilt or judgment and be free, loving and adventurous. For some that means having to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. For others, it means new antics in the bedroom. Sometimes circumstances change and we see our spouse or partner in a different way. The man she fell in love with used to be the center of attention at the office. But now he works from home, and she never sees him like that anymore. A solution may be to go out with friends, and allow him to work the room again. Really if you are both committed, you can communicate and work toward renewing your life together. Long-term relationships tend to have their ups and downs. If you run into an obstacle, how you work together to remove it says whether or not you will make it, or suffer the dust bin of history. But if your partner is in staunch refusal to change, if they won’t move one iota to please you, if they are dismissive and disrespectful, or if you have tried and tried and tried again with no result, and there’s no way you two can be happy together, don’t be afraid to sit down with them and be honest, and pursue brighter horizons. To learn more about aspects of the modern state of love and how to negotiate it read, In the Name of Love: Romantic Ideology and Its Victims by Aaron Ben-Ze’ev.

When an Ego Battle Replaces your Relationship

Dispute

When an Ego Battle Replaces your Relationship

Relationships can do funny things to people. The feeling of attachment can also bring confusion, fear of intimacy and the need to guard one’s self. This is due to past traumas during childhood or in previous relationships. So to protect one’s self this person will often lapse into creating fights, sarcasm, vengeful gestures, passive-aggressiveness, resentfulness, over-the-top competitiveness, self-doubt, frustration and aggression.

This person is afraid of letting their guard down or letting someone in for fear of being hurt. If you yourself think you have become stuck in an ego battle that has replaced your relationship, take a look at these signs. Ask your significant other or consider whether you are experiencing these symptoms. This person has a need to control things and situations. They may have a constant critic going in their head. They may be full of put-downs, sarcasm, criticism or ridicule. The ego tries too hard to control the situation. It is doing so in order to protect itself from love and so ironically becomes the very obstacle to what the person desires most, bonding with their love.

Some people go completely the other way. They give up everything to be with their spouse, their friends, family, hobbies, education and everything they value, just to be with the object of their desire. They lose themselves and this becomes their obstacle to their own pleasure, equal love. The last sign that you are in an ego battle is when one person is “Flat-lining.” This is behavior where one person in the relationship tries to disappear in order to not raise the ire of the other, and avoid conflict. They withdraw from their partner and stay in the relationship in name only. There is no engagement or intimacy. If the right relationship skills aren’t learned, even if this relationship doesn’t last, the person with commitment issues will bring the same problems into their next relationships.

Instead of using negative means to interact in your relationship, see the pattern and learn to dis-engage it. If this is your spouse or lover, teach them that they don’t have to act like this, that this isn’t what love is about. Whenever a problem arises, each side should take a deep breath, relax and manage the negative emotions that come to the surface. Both parties should consciously reach deep down inside and bring out the skills they need to make this relationship work; patience, understanding, openness and the desire to come to an understanding. Counseling or couples therapy may also be necessary. The first step is realizing the problem. The next is working through it. For more advice read, Why You Do the Things You Do: The Secret to Healthy Relationships by Dr. Tim Clinton and Dr. Gary Sibcy.

Signs a Divorce is Looming

signs-to-get-divorced

Signs a Divorce is Looming

How can you tell when a marriage is over? Anyone going through a divorce asks themselves this question. A very short definition is see if the bad outweighs the good. Think long and hard about that. A piece of paper with a good-bad column may help. If you think your partner may be ready to leave you there is probably something to that feeling. Investigate further. But if you are curious as to whether you may see the inside of a divorce courtroom sooner rather than later, see if these indicators fit your marriage. Here are some significant signs that a divorce is looming. Think about how you feel about your partner. Are they the number one stressor in your life? If they sometimes take your stress away, and the reason you want to leave or you think your spouse is considering leaving is that the relationship has become dull, look into ways to liven it up. Find places where you can reconnect. If you don’t know where to begin, start with nostalgia. Reminisce about old times. You’ll be surprised how they can renew a relationship. Then see where you want to go to liven things up. If your spouse is your stress, the source of anxiety, torment and frustration, perhaps an exit out is best.

When you dream about the future is your spouse in it? Everyone dreams of a time without their spouse once in a while, usually when we are in a fight with them, or they are just driving us crazy. But if you find yourself taking part in blissful fantasies where your spouse isn’t included, or they are blissful because they aren’t included, maybe it’s time to look for a lawyer. Has communication broken down? This is the only avenue to truly fix a relationship. From time to time we all get involved in a situation where one or both parties aren’t speaking to one another. But has this become the new normal in your relationship? If you are happier when a communication breakdown has taken place then this is a sign that things are rocky and you may be heading toward a split. When you spend time away from your spouse, how do you feel? Do you feel relieved? Overjoyed? Does it feel as though a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders? If so, this is a bad sign. If however you do tend to miss them after some time has gone by you may want to try and work things out. What is the level of negativity in the relationship? If things are ho-hum that’s one thing. If love is still there, things can be fixed. But if you two are trading barbs constantly, using passive-aggressive behavior, are sarcastic toward one another and take part in negative behavior often then divorce may be in your future. The eminent psychologist Dr. John Gottman who has studied happy couples has said that, to stay happy, for every negative comment you make in a relationship, you should say three positive things.

If you have powerful fantasies about divorcing and you find yourself doing so more often than not, you are really going to do it, sooner or later. This is your psyche testing out the idea on your conscious mind. Is your partner manipulative or controlling? Do they try to keep you away from others and all to themselves? It may feel good to be wanted in the beginning but this type of marriage can become a prison fast. If you feel like an accessory rather than the focus of your spouse’s life and nothing is going to change that, it’s time to fly. You want to be in a relationship of equal partners who care for and dote on one another, not the last thing on a person’s list. If your partner thinks they know better than you about everything, and want you to know it, it may feel fine for a while to have such structure in your life, but after a while you will chafe against such a restricting environment. Try to establish rules and boundaries. But if this doesn’t work and the person forever oversteps their bounds, it may just be time to move on with your life. For more on when it’s time to go versus when it’s time to work it out, read How to Know If It’s Time to Go: A 10-Step Reality Test for Your Marriage by Dr. Lawrence Birnbach and Dr. Beverly Hyman.