As Orlov said, when you know that your partner’s lack of attention is the result of ADHD, and has little to do with how they feel about you, you’ll deal with the situation differently.Together you might brainstorm strategies to minimize distractibility instead of yelling at your partner.Below, Melissa Orlov, marriage consultant and author of the award-winning book The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps, discusses the top challenges in these relationships and the solutions that truly make a difference.One of the biggest challenges in relationships is when a partner misinterprets ADHD symptoms.In other words, “Once you start looking at ADHD symptoms, you can get to the root of the problem and start to manage and treat the symptoms as well as manage the responses,” Orlov said.2. Orlov likens optimal treatment for ADHD to a three-legged stool.(The first two steps are relevant for everyone with ADHD; the last is for people in relationships.)“Leg 1” involves making “physical changes to balance out the chemical differences in the brain,” which includes medication, aerobic exercise and sufficient sleep.How the non-ADHD partner reacts to the distractibility can spark a negative cycle: The ADHD partner doesn’t pay attention to their spouse; the non-ADHD partner feels ignored and responds with anger and frustration; in turn, the ADHD partner responds in kind.
Research has shown that a person with ADHD may be almost twice as likely to get divorced, and relationships with one or two people with the disorder often become dysfunctional.
It’s the symptom plus how the non-ADHD partner responds to the symptoms.