by Jennifer Knutson, 2/1/2023

There’s no doubt that those who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) live a challenging life. They may lack motivation to do the basic of tasks, have difficulties with memory, make impulsive decisions, or spend hours researching a new hobby only to lose interest a few days later. What does this look like to an outsider? Patiently (or impatiently) waiting for them to finish the laundry that’s been sitting in the dryer for a few days. Feeling hurt if they forgot a birthday. Feeling brushed off while they Google a DIY project, spend a decent amount of money to purchase the materials and then let the project sit half-done after they lose interest. Even the most patient and understanding of people can get frustrated when someone they love does these things on a regular basis. Even if the person with ADHD takes medication, it doesn’t prevent these kinds of situations from happening.

What can you do about it? 

Creating relationship accommodations can help reduce stress within a relationship. If you know your partner always runs late to events, instead of fighting it, build in some buffers of time between tasks to allow for the inevitable delays. If your partner’s in charge of paying bills, set up autopay when you can or set reminders a few days before a bill is due. Make your home ADHD friendly by leaving as many things out or putting things in clear containers as you can reasonably do. The “out of sight, out of mind” mentality is a common occurrence for those with ADHD so being able to see what you have can be helpful. Scheduling date nights for quality time without screens or other distractors can help keep your connection strong.

What about sex?

Sex can also present problems. At the beginning of a relationship, sex can be extra exciting because of the newness. Naturally, over time, that newness fades and couples that once had a satisfying sex life can experience a shift. The person who has ADHD may struggle with boredom and distraction when they do have sex. If they tell you, it can bring up some negative feelings: sadness, anger, insecurity to name a few. If they don’t tell you, you may begin to notice the connection is off.

There are ways to help get you both improve your sex life. As with anything in a relationship, communication is important! Once you both know what the problem is, you can work towards improving the situation. Making a “Sexy Time” play list together can be a fun way to bond and then playing it in the background can help with distraction. It gives the brain another source of stimulation. Being open to trying new positions or activities can also spark that excitement. Lastly, some couples may find that exploring an open relationship helpful and rejuvenating. Caution: if you both choose to try an open relationship, be prepared for A LOT of conversation (and perhaps the addition of a therapist to assist in communication) as this approach is not for everyone and has the potential to cause more problems.

When more help is needed

While these are only suggestions, they may be a good starting point for what you both can do to make life easier. Being patient, open to new ideas, and communication are essential. To explore these options and others, seeking the assistance of a therapist may be a crucial part of
this process. Here are a few signs it may be a good time to reach out for therapy support: 

  • When you have a difficult time wrapping your head around ADHD and why they can’t just do the task
  • When a solution works for a short time but doesn’t stick
  • You’re wondering if the relationship can survive if nothing changes
  • You’ve been forgotten about one too many times and resentment is building 

If this describes part of your experience, we can help. Check out our Client Portal and schedule a free 15-minute consultation. 

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