Last updated:

December 26, 2023


 min read

How to be supportive with a partner who has ADHD

Empower your relationship with our guide on supporting your ADHD partner. Find practical tips and compassionate insights to navigate life together with empathy and understanding.


Relationships with individuals who have ADHD can leave you feeling lonely, neglected, and unloved. You're sick of being the only responsible person in the relationship and handling things on your own. You don't think your partner is someone you can trust. They never seem to keep their word, so you have to keep reminding them and making demands, or you have to do everything yourself. Sometimes, it feels like your partner doesn't give any thought.

It's clear to see how the emotions in a relationship can spiral out of control on both sides. Feeling misunderstood and judged, the ADHD partner becomes defensive and withdraws, while the non-ADHD partner criticises, and grows bitter. In the end, both are unhappy. However, things shouldn't have to be this way. By understanding how ADHD affects your relationship and how you may both select more helpful and beneficial ways to handle difficulties and communicate with one another, you can build a stronger, happier relationship. By using these techniques, you can deepen your understanding of each other and strengthen your relationship.

Understanding ADHD in Relationships 

Acknowledging the role that ADHD plays in your relationship is the first step towards changing it. You can discover more effective methods to respond if you can see how your relationships as a couple are being affected by the symptoms of ADHD. For the partner who has ADHD, this involves learning symptom ability to manage the symptoms.

This involves demonstrating to the non-ADHD partner how to respond to disappointments in a way that inspires and uplifts their partner. 

Understanding how your Partner with ADHD feels 

Feelings misunderstood, people with ADHD frequently have a racing mind and perceive the world in a way that is difficult for others to relate to or undervalued. 

Frustrated by the ongoing stress brought on by symptoms of ADHD, whether in private or public. Many people are unaware of how much work goes into maintaining a daily routine. Even though it's not always obvious, having ADHD can make a person feel as though they're having trouble staying on track.

Always getting judged by to theirby their partners. They spend a lot of time being corrected or having their partners run the show. They frequently aggravate the parent-child interaction by feeling incapable as a result of the corrections. Men may feel less of a man as a result of these interactions.

Humiliated. They frequently hide a great deal of guilt, occasionally making up for it with arrogance or withdrawal.

Unlovable, reminders to "change" from bosses, husbands, and other people all the time make it clear that they are not loved the way they are.

Fear of failure, there is a greater chance of punishment for failure as their connections worsen. However, because of their inconsistent behaviour brought on by ADHD, this relationship will eventually crumble. A fear of failing makes one hesitant to attempt.

Taking responsibility for your actions

It's time to take responsibility for your place in the relationship when you've put yourself in your partner's shoes. Progress begins when you recognise your individual responsibilities to the challenges you face as a couple. This also applies to the non-ADHD partner.

While the symptoms of the ADHD partner may be a problem, they are not the cause of the relationship problem. The non-ADHD partner's reaction to the challenging symptom can either lead to partnership and compromises or lead to misunderstandings and harmed feelings. If you have ADHD, you are equally accountable for how you respond to your partner's concerns. Your reaction can either validate and acknowledge your partner's thoughts or dismiss and ignore them.

Tips to help your partner with ADHD

  • Build a routine: Following the routine is going to be helpful for your partner. Organise out what you need to do and consider setting aside time for meals, exercise, and sleep.

  • Set up reminders. This can take the form of a dry erase board, notepads, or a phone to-do list.

  • Declutter:  People with ADHD struggle to get and stay organised, and clutter adds to the sense that their lives are out of control. Support your partner in developing a system for managing clutter and remaining organised.

Tips for the Non- ADHD partner

  • You have no control over the way your spouse acts, but you do have control over your own behaviours. Put an end to verbal taunting. It only builds tension in the relationship.Encourage your partner's progress and recognise their wins and efforts.

  • When possible, focus on your partner's intentions rather than what they do. They could lose concentration while listening to you, but it doesn't imply they don't value what you have to say.

  • Avoid attempting to "parent" your partner. It is damaging to your relationship and demotivating to your partner.

You can have a harmonious, mutually fulfilling relationship even if one spouse has ADHD. The key is to discover how to collaborate as a team. A healthy relationship requires both individuals to participate actively in the partnership and look for ways to help one other.