6 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR ADHD MARRIAGE
You may not be surprised to learn that problems often emerge in ADHD marriages. Studies have shown that marriages affected by ADHD are twice as likely to end in divorce. However, there is hope for improving your ADHD marriage by implementing strategies that can alleviate the most common problems in ADHD relationships. This article outlines the common marital problems that ADHD couples struggle with, and the six best ways to manage these problems to improve your relationship and prevent divorce.
MARITAL PROBLEMS AND ADHD
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can indeed present unique challenges in marriages. However, it’s important to note that not all individuals with ADHD will experience all of these problems, and every relationship is unique. However, some common marital problems for adults with ADHD include:
- Communication Issues: Adults with ADHD often struggle with difficulty listening, impulsivity, and forgetfulness. This can lead to misunderstandings and frustration when communicating with your partner.
- Disorganization: ADHD adults may struggle with disorganization, which affects the management of household responsibilities. This can lead to imbalance and stress in the relationship.
- Time Management and Procrastination: It’s no surprise that ADHD adults struggle with managing their time well. Due to the various executive function struggles ADHDers have, time management is difficult. Problems with time perception and time management can cause conflicts in the marriage over punctuality and prioritization. Forgetfulness and procrastination are very common in adults with ADHD. This can result in the ADHD partner not following through on commitments and responsibilities since many ADHD adults need deadlines as a motivator to complete tasks.
- Emotional Regulation: Most ADHD adults struggle with regulating their emotions. Impulsivity and mood swings can lead to conflicts, as partners may not always understand or be prepared for sudden emotional outbursts and strong emotions. Extreme emotions, such as anger can also cause strain in the relationship.
- Financial Issues: ADHD can cause impulsivity, which can lead to impulsive spending. Impulsive spending and financial mismanagement can cause strain in the marriage.
- Inattention to Detail: It is common for ADHD adults to have issues focusing on details and getting easily distracted. Missing important details or dates- such as anniversaries, special occasions, and things that are important to your partner can cause hurt feelings and resentment.
SIX WAYS TO MAKE YOUR ADHD MARRIAGE THRIVE
To manage these common ADHD issues improve your marriage and prevent divorce, consider these strategies:
1. Increase ADHD Education and Develop Communication Skills
Both partners should educate themselves about ADHD to better understand its impact on the relationship. Increased knowledge about the condition can reduce blame, promote empathy, and lead to drastic improvements in living together harmoniously. Both partners can also work together to improve their communication skills. This includes working on active listening, creating safety to clearly express your feelings, and setting ground rules for discussions. You can start by setting up weekly date nights to have open discussions about ADHD’s effects on your relationship and consider strategies to help you safeguard discussions. An example may include creating ground rules and a time-out if things get tense. Being honest and open about challenges stemming from ADHD from both partners is crucial to creating open channels of communication and managing ADHD in the relationship.
2. Participate in Therapy and Support Groups
Individual therapy for the partner with ADHD can help them develop coping strategies and self-awareness. Couples therapy can also be beneficial in addressing relationship-specific issues. Support groups are a great resource for both individuals and couples dealing with ADHD-related challenges. Sharing experiences and strategies with others in similar situations in a group setting can provide support, important strategies, and make you feel less alone. You can find resources to find a support-group in your area here.
3. Consider ADHD Medication
Using medication is a completely personal decision and ADHD couples need to determine what works for them. However, if you’re considering medication, it’s critical to consult with a healthcare professional about medication options. In many cases, medication can help the diagnosed person more easily and consistently manage ADHD symptoms. When symptoms are managed well, it positively impacts many of the ADHD-related relationship stress. Additionally, you can consider lifestyle alternatives to medication. The problem with alternatives is consistency as many ADHDers struggle to build healthy habits that stick. If you are interested in finding doctors trained in ADHD to discuss medication options, this link can be helpful.
4. Establish Routines and Delegate Tasks
Establishing routines and structures can help the partner with ADHD manage daily tasks more effectively. Creating a consistent schedule is key. To help combat forgetfulness and disorganization, it can be helpful to set up time management tools such as calendars, alarms, to-do lists, and planners as a couple. In creating routines and consistency, and having automatic reminders for your tasks, you can avoid stress and arguments. Delegating tasks according to each partner’s strengths and skill sets can also help manage ADHD-related relationship stress. You and your partner can create an inventory of household tasks and responsibilities and then match them to the time and strengths that each of you has. This identification will help in allocating responsibilities based on each partner’s strengths, interests, and time. Establishing routines and delegating tasks in this way can help prevent frustration over uncompleted household responsibilities.
5. Consider Financial Planning
To alleviate financial stress caused by impulsive spending, you can create a budget and establish financial boundaries. Financial planning doesn’t need to be boring! You can make it into a fun date night to connect with your partner and discuss your top financial priorities and limits for the month. To curb impulsive spending while out shopping be sure you have cash on hand. Also, it can be helpful to create a shopping list and stick to it while shopping to overcome impulsive spending.
6. Use Emotional Regulation Techniques
Emotional dysregulation causes stress and upset in ADHD marriages. Working on healthy ways to emotionally regulate includes developing strategies for managing emotional outbursts or mood swings, such as mindfulness and relaxation techniques can greatly improve your relationship. Practicing self-care, such as getting enough sleep, exercising, and taking time for yourself can greatly help in regulating your emotions. Rest and relaxation are crucial tools to curb emotional dysregulation. Prioritizing these as a couple can help overcome relationship stress. When you are emotionally regulated, communication with your partner will become easier.
Managing ADHD in your marriage can seem like a daunting task. However, you are not alone! Remember that managing ADHD within a marriage requires patience, understanding, and commitment from both partners. It will probably take some time to find the right strategies and interventions that work for your unique relationship. However, with effort, support, and commitment, many couples can successfully navigate these challenges and strengthen their bond and marriage. If you find that marital problems persist or are not alleviated by lifestyle interventions, seeking professional help from therapists or counselors who specialize in ADHD can be highly beneficial for your marriage. You and your partner could take the Time and Space Style Inventory (TSSI) to understand your organizing and time management style preferences. Also, you can click here to learn about more strategies to manage ADHD symptoms within your relationship.