Today it is more important than ever to learn good strategies for having meaningful and happy relationships. For couples where one or both of the partners have ADHD, this can prove to be particularly challenging.

With ever increasing demands on our time and energy, it is easy to neglect keeping the love and communication for our partner front and center, where it belongs. Just look around at the quality of relationships that surround you. It’s difficult not to notice that with many couples, especially after kids come along and careers go into high gear, communication takes a back seat to everything else. Romance and sex go into hiding and before long couples are left wondering what happened to the relationship.

Here is what I have learned from the couples with ADHD whom I have coached about what it takes to keep the love alive. I have listed them in order, starting with the most important:

1) Set up consistent romantic practices that you both will keep no matter what. These can be things like date nights, weekends away, romantic vacations for just the two of you, time in the evening or weekends to relax with each other. Even with the arrival of children, even with career pressures, even with the fear, the stress and pressures of life, it is critical that you both always make the routines you establish a top priority.

2) Routinely talk out and resolve issues Do this at least once a week. This time commitment will make it easier to keep communication from becoming negative and angry. When you know you will be sitting down to discuss things in a few days, you can keep track of what you’re unhappy about and avoid building up anger and frustration. This practice is important in avoiding increased resentment which is the single main reason people fall out of love. Get a babysitter, have your “business meeting”, and then go out to dinner, a movie, or the theatre and celebrate your hard work and successful outcomes.

3) Get support from friends, relatives and professionals Research tells us that couples with or without ADHD who have a network of support from extended family and friends receive more support to help them stay together and work things out, as well as create more opportunities for exclusive time for each other. Additionally, ADHD couples often require professional help from an established ADHD Couples Coach or ADHD Couples Therapist because of potential additional strain on the relationship from untreated or unaddressed ADHD. Many couples have reported that getting into coaching or therapy at the first sign of a problem makes all the difference.

At the beginning I often hear a lot of reasons why couples can’t do these things. They tell me they don’t have the time, they don’t have the money, they’re too tired, they can’t get a babysitter, it won’t help, it’s too late, s/he won’t do it. I tell them they can have reasons or they can have results - so if they’re not working to stay together then they are most assuredly working to come apart. Whether or not they have consciously chosen to stay or leave the relationship, the energy of being willing to give up the ego or the need to be right is choosing to bring their partner back into a loving relationship. The opposite also applies: not being willing to defer ego gratification is the energy of choosing to give up.
Of course, the sooner the most important questions are asked the better for everyone. Here are the most critical questions one can ask to move from confusion and resentment to making healthy decisions in the relationship:

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is it to keep your relationship/family together?
2. What are you willing to change to keep the family together?
3. What action are you initially willing to take to get the ball rolling?

So how do you determine what your answers mean?

If your answer to (1) is 5 or less, and (2) you’re unwilling to be first to initiate significant changes on your own without promises of the same from your partner, and (3) you cannot see yourself taking bold actions without guarantees, what are the real chances are of saving the relationship?

There’s some good news! It has been my experience that those couples who engage in even one of the practices above can expect a better than average chance of making it over the long term.

If your relationship is not working, or is seriously in trouble, you might want to consider the value of the three key practices above that many couples feel has saved or is saving their relationship. Hopefully you have become aware and conscious to see that you have the choice to stay or to go, that there really are things you can do to save your relationship and that if you use the key practices outlined earlier you will be able to make good decisions for yourself and therefore for everyone involved.

What if the reason you’re reading this article is so you can stop suffering and struggling and get on with your life? How will your decision to fish or cut bait in your relationship give you the opportunity to reclaim a life of love, purpose and happiness?

Author's Bio: 

Carol Gignoux, M.Ed. is a well established expert within the ADHD coaching, consulting and training profession with over 35 years experience working with ADHD and over 16 years as a professional coach. Carol and her team of experts specialize in coaching adults, couples, small business owners, and entrepreneurs who want to move their businesses from being successful to extraordinary, and develop the skills and confidence to achieve better results in their academic, professional, and personal lives. Carol is currently writing her book, The Asset: Your Success Gene and the Myth of ADD.