Relationship issues due to ADHD - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Relationship issues due to ADHD


I am really struggling in my relationship. I have adult ADHD, am “lazy” “unmotivated” and very impulsive with the things I say. Does/Did anyone else have relationship issues because of ADHD, and what Helps/Helped save your relationship? I don’t want to lose him, but he can’t take it anymore.

14 Replies

If he can't deal with you at your worst, then he doesn't deserve you at your best.

Sofiesue in reply to Hidden

So true!

peterracoon in reply to Hidden

Please don´t take offense Ezlynn - I dont fully "disagree" per se - but I find this line of thought very, very unproductive. I mean, its such a vague rule to be actually useful, yet it carries a risk of unfair judgment towards our partners... ADHD is not really "at its worst" at some arbitrary moment in time. It is always on. And it tends to get worse down the line because it tends to cause anxiety, depression, deepening lack of motivation to start anything... If unchecked, the sufferer can turn into someone unrecognizable, compared to the person they were a few years ago.

And our partners are only human, they cant just "deal" with anything... So where should they draw the line? What is "our worst"? If our partner is unhappy, because we are "lazy" downers all the time, its the same situation as any other - one that requires communication and mutual empathy...

Our responsibility is to try and improve our issues (that is true, even when no partner is involved) and our partners responsibility is to be supportive and tolerant...

It is not their responsibility however, to simply "deal with our worst", full stop, no matter what our "worst" actually is...

Sofiesue - the above contains also my experience / "advice" for you :) But to elaborate - I was dealing with undiagnosed ADHD in my first relationship, and it was definitely a part of why it ended. And in my second long-term one, my ADHD symptoms and comorbidities were already much worse... and brought us to the brink of a breakup (after 5 years no less) Since I found out and got the diagnosis, I knew I could get better, that it doesnt have to always be this way - And my partner is very understanding and supports me through this... But I could never blame her for not being able "to deal" with it, if there was only a prospect of my problems getting worse over time.

Communication and mutual empathy is the way to go. You can only do your best and hopefully your partner can see that. The important thing is the rest of the advice, which lies in "what is the best thing to do about our ADHD", but that is what this whole forum is about, so I wont go further into it. :-)

Best of luck and never give up! ADHD can be a pain, but it is also part of who we are... and with proper care taken, and some empathy from our loved ones, it can all work out amazingly! :-)

EDIT: Oh, I forgot to add, the "brink of breakup" was two years ago. Our relationship AND our overall personal lives have improved a lot since then. There is always hope, as long as people start trying to understand each other :-)

inbetween in reply to Hidden

I'm with the raccoon on this one. Relationships require communication and compromise. People are complex and shouldn't be viewed in black and white terms.

Hidden in reply to inbetween


I think we all have relationship issues because of ADHD. There's ways you can work on these issues yourself and educate your partner. If they can't deal, they're probably not the right one for you. I'm sure they have quirks of their own. I had a 9-year relationship and my partner adapted fantastically. I had a 5-year relationship that I ended recently. We tried counseling and everything but we had grown apart and irritated with each other. Because of this, my ADD traits came out more "annoyingly" to him.I didn't have a diagnosis or any clue that I had this until 2 years ago. I see a counselor for executive functioning skills, take medication and have very good intentions to start working on my cognitive behavioral therapy and ADHD workbooks.

Thank you, and good luck to you. It sounds like you are well on your way!

I wish it felt like it. I have a lot of learning and growing to do. Sometimes you just have to accept that just because you want the relationship to the work, doesn't mean that it's going to.Remember, it takes two to tango. He's got to want to put in the work too.

I absolutely agree with how you described it. The best we can do... is necessarily "doing our best" :-) thats all... if that is not enough to save the relationship, then so be it...

But its important to not skip the first step - Doing our best.

We know what ADHD causes, we know how negatively it can impact us and the people in our life. So we have a significant responsibility too. Our partners can only be supportive and tolerant -the rest is up to us.

It is natural for someone who is not going through what you are going to find it tough to deal with. If we are not perfect with everything, let us not expect them to be perfect in dealing with our imperfections. It is not easy but it is possible to make things smoother over time. The most important thing you can do is communicate and educate your partner about what it is that you are going through. You can make strategies around things that you have recognized in your behavior and ask him to do something to stimulate you when you get into one of the moods you described. We are not always lazy and unmotivated, we just need the right triggers to get going. Try to make your partner that. If he is willing to work together with you, it can be worked out. You both would beed to be patient though. Something that could really really help is couples therapy, give it a try. Wish you the best!

Thank you very much!

Personally ive unfortunately never had a relationship, but all I can say, is if he can't accept you for who you are, then choose yourself over him. And let him go

Hi! I have ADD and was only diagnosed about 8 years ago...I am now 59. I don't know if this will help or not.....but I will say that for myself, I have said stuff I shouldn't have said and gotten myself into "hot water" more times than I would like to admit. I now kind of have a rule......the 10 second rule. For me, I say to myself (in my head, not out loud) , is what I want to say going to be helpful, or hurtful. It has helped me immensely!! Also, there is a lady named Mel Robinson who has a 54321 can google her....she had a tv show (but it was cancelled during Covid) she does Ted talks I think.....she is very smart and was a lawyer at one point. Now she is a self help person.....and guess what?! She has ADD herself. I have learnt a lot from watching her show previously. I struggle with friendships. I have very few friends....and recently during Covid, I have been trying to figure out why i can't maintain or choose better friends. All the best!

It is so true as some people here have said, that we all have issues with relationships. But a key ingredient to overcoming it is to know you have "an issue." I never did until I was about 62. I suspected I had it when in my late 50s and stumbled on a description of the ailment by accident, at my job, of all places. …..then it took at least 5 years of wasted counseling and psychiatry to even get anyone to pay attention to my claims. They just keep taking those insurance payments and tell you "I'm afraid our time is up. " The best they suggested was to calm down. And our president says health care is socialism. For the most part it's been another racket as I see it.

I moved to another state in my retirement 2 years ago and contrary to warnings otherwise, I am getting better mental health care. I attribute it to persistence, luck, and partially to the fact that my new psychiatrist is a woman for the first time. She provided Tests, and new meds that deal with the problem of focus (ritilin in addition to anti depressants I've been on for years), and now I may even get targeted help with my Rejection Sensitivity Disorder (RSD) which as I've mentioned has basically destroyed a lifetime of relationships. It's a common in ADHDers.

I am 70 now . I have done ok in my career (although not easily by any means), and as mentioned, my history of relationships is a post nuclear wasteland. I am alone and will stay that I am youthful, active, healthy, but entirely alone and don't foresee things will change. to the point that I am alone and prefer now to stay that way after decades of trying and . There are no children or progeny (out of over caution most of my life). My family line, people who tried so hard to do right and strive and succeed both hear and abroad, is finished. That hurts.

Just an FYI, my family and I immigrated from post WWII Central Europe when I was a baby. Both of them had serious family and war issues from battles , wounds, and old family problems, all of which would amount to a mega mega case of PTSD, probably borderline personality, ADHD and God knows what else. But there was nothing for them, ANYWHERE. No support services. You couldn't breathe the idea of mental disability or issues till like the last 10 years or so without stigma.

My advice to you is to educate yourself on the matter, know exactly what you have, try to do as much homeopathic or "natural" strategies as you can, but if necessaary do not avoid all medication. Be careful picking and choosing your mental health practitioner with scrutiny and persistence, be they counselors OR psychiatrists. As for relationships, try to get your significant people to engage in outdoors and nature with you. Educate them on this. Make sure you're not using ADHD as a crutch and excuse not to make adjustments where you can. Check out ADD Magazine onn line that has great articles and things you can learn to help you with many of these issues which are well known in the "industry." Good luck.

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