Building Adult Relationships with ADD
I have a lot of experience with Attention Deficit Disorder in many different venues. Attention Deficit Disorder runs deep and wide in my family, so I feel it in a personal way. As an educator who worked with hundreds of students who have ADD, I know the whys and wherefores of ADD. As a woman with ADD who is in a marriage of long-standing, I do understand the way ADD has helped to shape our married life together. There are strategies that we have put into place to help us to do the hard work of marriage and work through issues that Attention Deficit Disorder might cause.
Recognize what you appreciate about your loved one. Attention Deficit Disorder has some troublesome symptoms. However, If you look at those symptoms in another way, they are gifts. Hyperactivity as a child can be energy to stay a long, hard course as an adult. Likewise, in building a lasting relationship, the very traits that irritate us, can be what attracted us in the first place. Forgetting to pay bills might be the flip-side of being irrepressible. Having multiple projects in various stages of completion might be part of your loved one's creativity.
Don't try to control or change your loved one. One reason my quiet husband and I, a woman who is sometimes both loud and flamboyant, get along so well is that we never try to control the other person. It is a central tenet of our marriage. If I want something done in a certain way, I do it. The same goes for him. He doesn't try to make me do things his way, and I don't try to force my routines on him. We also don't try to compel the other person to change. Change does happen over time. When we first married, I would argue at the drop of a hat. My husband loathed arguing. As time has moved us along our marital journey, I argue much less, and he sees the need to stand up and get a bit loud, from time to time. It is a natural progression that was never forced.
Accommodate the other person's traits. If something really bothers you, talk about it. If talking is hard for you, write about it. Just don't let a problem fester. One example is when one person does not like large crowds; don't ask that individual to attend events that can easily be missed. You go and have a good time. Conversely, when a person circulates a lot at an event, and the partner is not comfortable with doing that, they can find another way to interact during that occasion.
Respect each other as caring partners. Don't forget the little courtesies. If you are going to be late, let the other person know. This isn't asking permission to do an activity. It is offering your loved one a chance to know that you are fine, just a bit late. If your partner is struggling with an activity, find ways to help, if they want help. Offer support, even if they do not want you to help. Do something nice for your partner every day. My husband covers me up when we go to bed. It's a small thing, and many people would find it insignificant, but being covered up makes me feel loved and appreciated. I get up to make my husband's lunch before he goes to work. Sure, I could make it at night. But I would miss those sweet, quiet moments in the morning.
In any adult relationship, love only takes you so far. Building a lasting adult relationship takes hard work, commitment, and finding ways to smooth the course of the journey together. Sometimes, Attention Deficit Disorder can add a few bumps in the path that other couples don't have to face. Smoothing comes naturally when your watchwords for the relationship are appreciation, accommodation, and respect. These three words are strong ideas that can bring a light into your love life.
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