4 Strategies for Communicating With Your ADHD Partner
Avoid conflict and confusion by following these success strategies to keep the loving connection in your relationship
Having a distracted or forgetful partner or spouse is challenging at times…especially when they seem to REMEMBER everything about their work tasks!
Once they return home, drop the ball…forget something one more time, it’s hard not to take it personal. The end result is carrying the heavy load, handling the tasks alone and ending up resentful, feeling you are parenting an adult…and that’s not sexy!
One of the best ways to approach this challenge is by stepping back and taking a more mindful and educated perspective. Understand the signs and actions or lack of actions your ADD/ADHD shows up with.
Realize this is not just some excuse or tactic to avoid carrying their share of responsibilities; it is not a ‘free pass’ to staying the same and avoiding upping their game.
- Get them moving and both of you listening. Active listening with direct eye contact, nods or ‘uh huhs’ will let them know you are still there. Also, repeating some of what your partner said and restate it in your own words to confirm that you understand.
- BEFORE you both talk, set up an agenda or topic for your conversation. ADHD partners are often great talkers that struggle to stay on one topic or pause and listen to the other’s side. This frustrating trait pops up even more when they are passionate or excited about something that interests them. Having a topic plan is key to keeping both of you on the same page with an easy redirect back to the agenda — topic items.
- There’s usually more than one solution, so be open to offering and hearing each other’s ideas for solutions. Use open-ended questions, rather than closed ones (which can often shut the conversation down). For example, “What is preventing you from taking out the trash and paying the bills on time?” vs “Why can’t you just take the trash out and pay the bills on time without me reminding you?” This opens up and allows the conversation to flow into better understanding.
- Set realistic expectations. It’s so easy to expect too much from ADHD partners, especially when it comes to responsibilities like taking care of chores or managing finances. They often struggle with organization and prioritizing tasks, so setting realistic expectations + a plan is key to having a healthy relationship with each other.
Psst! I get it! You might be able to manage larger tasks with multiple steps, but they might need the task broken into smaller ones with reminders or prompts from their phone or calendar to complete it.
Ultimately, the end goal is probably the same for both of you…having a loving, supportive and caring relationship in which mutual respect for each other’s ‘specialness’ remains key.
So start today, start small…you’ve got this.