Being in a relationship is hard. Period. However being a in partnership with someone who has ADHD adds another layer of complications. In this blog post we'll give you and your partner some actionable tips to prevent ADHD burnout symptoms, improve your relationship, and deepen your connection.
By understanding how ADHD impacts your partnership, you will be better able to address ADHD relationship issues and reduce frustration and burnout.
How your spouse's ADHD symptoms may impact your relationship
ADHD can affect relationships due to some of the symptoms that people experience. Inattentiveness, impulsivity, and emotional dysregulation are some of the ADHD symptoms. As a result, lack of focus and emotional dysregulation may interfere with your communication with one another. It may seem like your partner isn't fully present when you're having a conversation which can fuel frustration and make burnout worse.
Your partner's impulsivity and and being distracted sometimes make it difficult for them to follow through on tasks that you've asked them to do. This can also impact managing finances or household chores, one partner might feel like they have to assume responsibility for keeping everything going. Taking on too much responsibility also can impact one partner from develop burnout due to excessive caretaking demands.
Five tips to prevent burnout
1. Communication is key!
The first step is to make communication a regular part of your routine as a couple. One important way to effectively manage ADHD is by creating systems that supports the person with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Systems applies to ALL areas of life including communication.
Set aside a time once a week for you and your partner to discuss your family's schedule, tasks that need to be done, challenges that might prevent the tasks from getting completed, and how you can each support each other. Couples that make time to communicate often note huge difference in overall quality of life. During your weekly meeting also include what you appreciated about partner so you can also highlight what's going well between the two of you.
By creating a proactive strategy, you will also be improving communication, self awareness for both partners, and normalizing challenges that couples experience. Many couples tend to sweep uncomfortable topics under the rug, but this strategy creates an environment where open dialogue about emotions and behavior is encouraged., thus preventing burnout.
2. Setting healthy boundaries and don't take on too much responsibility
It is very common for the non-ADHD spouse to feel like they are taking care of the majority of the household responsibilities. They may feel that for the family's well-being they need to manage everything, which is recipe for exhaustion, burnout, as well as possibly relationship problems.
By communicating on a weekly basis and setting boundaries regarding each partners' responsibilities, the couple can create a collaborative dynamic that is supportive for both of them. Healthy boundaries prevents burnout and allows each partner to care for their emotional needs while having realistic expectations regarding each person's capacity.
3. Practice compassion - both towards your partner and yourself.
People with ADHD often experience significant challenges regarding staying focused, impulsive behavior, being more emotionally reactive, and following through on tasks. It is important for the non-ADHD spouse to recognize that that their ADHD partner do not want to forget to do things. It's often not just about "trying harder" for them.
As a result it is important for the non-ADHD partner to practice self compassion towards themselves. Feelings of frustration, exhaustion, disappointment, as well as whole host of other emotions may show up. By practicing self compassion for yourself, you can make space for those feelings so you can cope with your experience and prevent burnout.
It is also important to practice compassion towards your partner who has ADHD. Recognize how they might be feeling and also meet their struggles with compassion so you can both support each other. Compassion allows couples to keep their relationship strong and vibrant regardless of any underlying mental health issues.
4. Practice self care - individually and as a couple
It can be easy to get overwhelmed when you are in a relationship with someone dealing with ADHD. Self-care is essential for both partners so both people have space to process the beauty and the challenges of being in a relationship. Self care isn't just about getting a manicure or a massage, but is most effective when it's connected with your core values and honors what's most important to you.
Despite being in a committed relationship, each partner has unique interests. Making time for activities that align with your own core values can help each of you show up as your best self and thus prevent burnout
Values also establish the foundation for relationships thus intentionally. Making time for activities which are aligned with these values can deepen the connection between the partners. With patience, love, understanding, and core values it's possible to navigate through the obstacles that ADHD may create which strengthening the bond between the couple .
5. Ask for help when you need it
Relationships and life in general are not easy and can leave us feeling overwhelmed. Being in a relationship with someone who has ADHD presents it own unique challenges. Taking care of your own mental health by working with a therapist often is an act of self care. Making time to talk with a mental health professional in therapy, often benefits both adults in the relationship. Therapy can allow the non-ADHD partner to focus on their own well-being, which can reduce stress and anxiety while also working through symptoms of burnout and other problems.
The takeaway for partners who experience ADHD burnout
Living with a partner diagnosed with ADHD can be a challenging experience, but it's also an opportunity to learn how to encourage each other and develop proactive strategies for communication, productivity and personal growth. It’s important to recognize stressors early on in your relationship, so that you can adjust behaviors and support each other effectively.
With an understanding around symptoms of ADHD, communication strategies and burnout prevention -- you and your partner can create a strong relationship that is fulfilling for both of you. Ultimately, honoring your core values and how you want to show up for your partner can bridge the gap between desperation and empowerment.
Learning more about treatment for ADHD, developing coping skills, and regaining balance in your life can lead to improved relationship satisfaction. Connecting with a therapist who can support you often benefits your own mental health as well as your relationship. Reach out to Living Openhearted Therapy and Wellness to learn more about online therapy to get the support you need.
***The ideas, concepts, and opinions expressed in all Living Openhearted posts are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The author and publisher are not rendering medical or mental health advice of any kind, nor are intended to replace medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, condition, illness, or injury. Authors and publisher claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material.