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Dear Kelly: Relationship Advice For The ADHD Love Lorn

empty heart
Help for the empty heart?

I do not write a relationship column. But I think I could.

Not just any old relationship though, I’d tell you what’s what with your ADHD relationships.

How hard could it be?

I mean, I have ADHD, and I’ve been in love. In fact, though it’s no one’s business, I’m in love right now.


Yes, Me! I’ve been in love and I’ve been married and I’ve had relationships for the past forty plus years.

And I can tell you some of them were mistakes and some of them were not.

And I can add to that the fact that I was married for 27 years, and that my marriage ended when my wife passed away.

I got this!

So first things first, I’m a member of several groups on the Facebook that are social outlets for people with ADHD. And in those groups I often see posts that are basically asking the same question.

Let me paraphrase, “It’s me, isn’t it? I mean, I have these ADHD symptoms and that’s my fault. And when my partner tells me I’m wrong and slow and stupid and broken, they’re right, right?”

My answer to that? No!

That’s it?

Well, what else could I have to say? I mean, if their partner isn’t accepting them for who they are then they aren’t in the wrong, the partner is. If the partner is actually verbally judging them, that’s verbal abuse, which is an attempt at emotional control every time.

I mean, the whole thing smacks of the partner being a sociopath. So yeah, my answer is , “No. They are not right.”

I guess that was more words than just, “no.”


Well, not really. The bulk of issues I see regarding ADHD and relationships have to do with guilt. And the bulk of that guilt is misplaced.

Yes, we sometimes forget things and do things that are impulsive. Guilt for the thing forgotten or the thing done impulsively is okay, but just for those things.

Guilt for being forgetful or impulsive is not on.

You are you!

We are impulsive because the part of our brain that is supposed to control that hasn’t fully developed and it isn’t likely going to. We are forgetful because we get distracted, and that’s not going to change.

The person that loves you is not the person who believes that they can fix you by telling you what is obvious to them.

They have a superficial impression of our issues, and they have less understanding than they think.

They are the person who is figuratively trying to get you to always put the cap back on the toothpaste.

The person that truly loves you …

The person who loves you is the one who sees how hard you struggle with these things and is proud of you for that.

They are the person who revels in the madness of your wit and sense of humor.

They are the person who loves your spontaneity and who savors the flavor of your contribution to the dynamic of your relationship.

They are the person who realizes that the figurative solution is to have separate toothpaste tubes.

I’m not saying …

I’m not telling you things will always be perfect, There will be disagreements.

But if the person you’re with is trying to change who you are, they’re in the wrong relationship.

And, I’m afraid, so are you.

Dear Kelly: Relationship Advice For The ADHD Love Lorn

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2019). Dear Kelly: Relationship Advice For The ADHD Love Lorn. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Apr 2019
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