New to living with partner who has dyslexia

Hi everyone, I'm new to this and just looking for support and advice. I've been living with partner just over a year. I knew he had dyslexia but wasn't aware of how it would effect our relationship. Now we are together more I realise it was me doing lots of talking now I feel the silences when not talking. It's difficult going out or having friends or family round as he zones out. How can I help this situation? 

7 Replies

  • I have dyslexia and it frustrates my partner as he thinks I am not listening or giving him my attention. Sometimes the simplest things become so difficult. A hard day at work and heightened stress, put me in a kitchen with a washing machine, kettle or any device making noises and I find it near impossible to listen and actually hear what he is explaining to me. It is so frustrating and him getting annoyed that I am not listening is possibly the worst thing that can happen. My advice would be to have a discussion. Be open and honest (far too many relationships are not) raise the points and ask the questions in a chilled situation. 

    My brain seems to be just that bit slower at computing information than others, meaning I need to think about answers, possibly your partner is doing the same !hence the long pauses. People who think quickly don't often understand how slowly others take to think. 

    Hope this helps!

  • Thanks for replying I think the background noise issue is something I can help with and if others around bear this in mind and not have other things going on, it's difficult as he tries to be with me with others but then doesn't speak and zoned out. I know he can't help it but at times it's embarrassing and I know that's awful, 

  • This is a message from my non dyslexic partner.  Firstly, understand you are not alone, given that 10 % of the population is Dyslexic.  They are entitled to have partners as much as anyone else.  Living with a Dyslexic partner is serious hard work.  You have to constantly reminded yourself that those aspects of their behaviour that you find so difficult to deal with are not directed at you personally, or in many cases even on the conscious level. Secondly, look for the positive. The brains of Dyslexic work in a different way to the majority of people and this means they have many talents and abilities which complement our own. So between you and your partner you can have  combined powers which can be truly formidable.  Thirdly, read as much as you can about Dyslexia, as this will really help you to recognize that Dyslexia is a difference and not a disability. Good luck 🍀! 

  • Thank you for replying. Yes I think I do need to read up  on this more I didn't think it would impact so much. Your right he does have wider thoughts and talents which is amazing. It's the day to day frustrations from me and him I need to learn to handle. 

  • Your partner may not talk as much because he thinks more in picture than words and has a hard time trying to find the words to say what he wants. Some dyslexics are very articulate and others like me struggle to talk without sounding like an idiot. Luckily my husband likes a woman who doesn't jabber.

    Also dyslexics do not think sequentially. Maybe someone says something that triggers his mind off in another direction. I know it takes intense concentration for me to listen to a conversation. Even so I suddenly realize that my mind took a detour somewhere and I am lost and confused as to what they are talking about. I learned long ago not to ask questions because I get stern looks. I just nod and people think I am a good listener. I also learned when given an order, to repeat it back to make sure I got it right. I'm sure this annoys some. And I'm only mildly dyslexic.

    Many dyslexics also have ADD. If it's any consolation, Steven Hawking's wife was always bawling her husband off for not paying attention to his guests. His mind was literally half-way across the Universe while everyone else was discussing some cricket game. (And yes, Steve's dyslexic, too.) 

  • Thanks for replying I think the feedback I'm getting in helping me understand where he is inside, I think we need to talk so he also knows my side too, I'm not a dragon and it doesn't cause rows I just don't want things getting to that stage so all replies are noted and thanks again for taking the time to reply 

  • This is a really interesting thread, so thank you for starting it!

    I can have terrible problems in meetings, and in speaking with groups of friends. An issue was that when I DID say something it could appear to be a bit off the wall, unusual, when in fact I was often making a creative connection to and insight on the conversation. I was contributing something maybe 6 steps ahead or around or above. But people's reactions made me think I was a real odd ball so I got into the habit of saying nothing and, as you say, zoning out. I can also stutter a bit as I try to get words out which can make some people think you are stupid.

    Once I found out I was dyslexic I began to understand what was happening and, as important, my friends began to understand as well and realised that my 'creative' interventions were worth listening to, rather than being just odd or annoying.

    So, when your boyfriend does say something, go with it, find where he is coming from. This acceptance and active listening will increase his confidence to open up and say more. It has me. I don't care if I stutter now. And best of all, as I felt more confident I began to take a greater part in conversations - this meant I didn't zone out so much. Being a valued part of the conversation makes it a lot easier to be present.

    Don't feel embarrassed in company - support your boyfriend when he is trying to say something, but don't speak for him. But go slowly. My friends now see me as a valuable asset. Those are the kind of friends to have and cultivate. You can be that friend too - it will be very rewarding.


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