— Lew Mills, PhD, MFT
Maybe you hear this at your house: “What kind of support do you have for the person who has to live with an ADHD person, or perhaps a whole house full of them?”
Well, we feel your pain. Sometimes the one without ADHD seems to be spending all of their days chasing around with doctors appointments for the kids, trying to convince the ADHD partner that they are not just a “charming Tom Sawyer” type and once again fetching the inexorably lost keys. At the same time, it seems like nobody else is concerned about the state of near chaos the entire household teeters upon.
Then on the partnering level—as if being in a relationship were not complicated enough—a relationship with an ADHD partner can create myriad new misunderstandings and disappointed expectations. Did my partner really forget how important that was to me? Do they purposely drop the ball, knowing I will catch it?
An ADHD partner can also offer unique gifts. You may not remember them right this minute, but they are there, really! Think of the spontaneity, humor, passion and enthusiasm! You may recognize that the pwADHD is not doing those things just to aggravate you. It only seems that way!
A good resource for recalling how you got interested in this relationship in the first place is a book by Jonathon Halverstadt: ADD & Romance, available through our own online bookstore. Then consider joining a support group. CHADD of Northern California offers an online support group for ADHD partners, drawing from all over the world, not just Northern California. This support group gives the non-ADHD person in your house a chance to understand that both of you are under a lot of stress! The group is moderated by Lew Mills, PhD, MFT, a therapist who has worked for years with ADHD in couples. To join, click here: ADHD Partners Group.