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If you're the partner of someone with ADHD, it's crucial that you also support their treatment program and educate yourself about the disorder."If you refuse to believe ADHD is real or view it as lifestyle choice or laziness, you are being very condescending — and if the person with ADHD starts to buy it too, they can become demoralized," Barkley says.
"It's often not that the person with ADHD doesn’t care, but it's just very difficult for them to sustain attention — it's like pulling a muscle to keep listening," Ramsay says.
Because of this, people with ADHD might find themselves consistently losing partners at this phase or only dating people for several months or a year at a time.
Relationships are an endurance sport, and sometimes people with ADHD sprint too hard in the beginning and burn out.
"Hyperfocus" basically happens when people with ADHD can become so deeply focused or enamored with something that they can't let go or stop when they're supposed to switch to something else.
(Often known as "being in your own little world.")In the context of relationships, it can mean the person with ADHD initially puts all of their focus and energy into their new partner — dropping everything to see them, showering them with attention, listening to every little story.
There's no magic cure for ADHD, but the right treatment can help reduce core symptoms and the issues they cause in a relationship so they're easier to work through.
"If you have ADHD, you need to find the right treatment (whether that's medication or another therapy), be willing to stick with it, and find accommodations so your environment is more conducive to your productivity," Barkley says. It's about managing the disorder effectively both inside and outside of the relationship for life.The person with ADHD often feels demoralized, ashamed, anxious, inadequate, and misunderstood.Their partner can feel burdened, ignored, disrespected, unheard, and misunderstood.Then suddenly, they might forget about a date or show up late to for an important event.Even if it's not intentional, this shift can seem dramatic and hurtful, and partners might assume it’s because that person doesn’t care about them anymore, says Ramsay.It's easy to misinterpret symptoms for carelessness, lack of interest, unreliability, or just being a bad partner.