8 thoughts on “4 Ways People With ADHD Destroy Their Relationships

  • July 5, 2017 at 5:58 pm


    Another aspect of the “listening inattentively” so to speak is, after we learn that others expect us to hyperfocus on what they are telling us when the topic is emotion/relationsship-related, to overanalyze every little movement, noise, pause (or poise!), inflexion et cetera ad nauseam… thus aggravating the other person by trying to perform to (perceived) expectations.

    Personally, I have found that bluntly telling the other person to “say what they mean and mean ehat they say” so to speak, works best. I also offer to explain why: I don’t want to create or experience undue stress or anxiety but want us to create an atmosphere of mutual connection and understanding. Swaddled like that, the bluntness is disregarded as an aspect of my personality and not a diagnosis.

    I think ADHD needs to be thought of as a challenge, not in the sense of something disabling but simply a challenge, like trying to run the mile faster or manage to read “Atlas Shrugged” (or some other book of mass distraction): that way, one continously improves one’s ability to focus when it is needed (and letting go of that focus feels oh so good – like getting your boots of and letting your toes out on the beach!).

    Anyways, that’s enough rambling for now,
    Rikard, former schoolteacher, Sweden
    PS If it matters, yes I have ADHD and Asperger syndrome “all over the place” as the wife sometimes remarks. DS

    • July 6, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, Rikard. I agree, just being straightforward about things can save everyone a lot of energy!

      I think of ADHD as a challenge too, but in a bit of a different way. For me, the challenge isn’t to try to focus better, because that doesn’t get me anywhere. Rather, the challenge is, knowing that my brain works a certain way, how can I calibrate my life to fit the best with how my brain works?

    • July 12, 2017 at 8:16 am

      Rickard- Speaking as a person with ADHD, and also a person with a friend or 2 with it, I find it extremely offensive when I’m trying to explain something to him and he (abruptly) says to me “Just say what you mean!” What that does to me is 1) distracts me from what I’m saying, 2) gets me flustered, 3)makes me resentful that he is treating so disrespectfully.

  • July 6, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    I personally don’t believe this is a good title for this particular article. People with ADHD who have had painful relationships wouldn’t necessarily want to think about how they’ve “destroyed” them.

    This being a psychology website it seems like the title of this article could be offensive or cause feelings of shame, guilt etc. for those who suffer from ADHD and have unfortunately had many mishaps in their personal relationships.

    Im not typically the ‘politically correct’ type however this struck me. It seemed worth mentioning.

    This website is about healing knowledge not causing those who are already suffering to feel any worse. Just my two cents. Thank you for listening.

    • July 7, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Joe, I appreciate your feedback. The spirit of this article (and the title) was me, as someone with ADHD, taking an honest look at how ADHD symptoms contribute to us engaging in behaviors that damage our relationships. To me, it’s not a question of “whose fault” it is — it’s more an objective exercise in becoming more aware of how our symptoms make us more likely to do things that are against our own interests, and make it harder for us to keep in check some of the tendencies to act rashly in relationships that we all have to some extent. However, I understand how some could see the title as harshly worded, especially without the context of my previous blog posts. That said, hopefully reading the article will remove any ambiguity people have from the title about whether this post is about shaming ADHDers.

  • July 12, 2017 at 8:29 am

    One of the biggest problems I encounter with relationships is that I get bored quickly. I don’t mean that I expect a partner to do something new every day. I like some routine, and I certainly don’t want or expect my partner to be with me or do things with me every minute of every day, but I want them to want to try new things with me, and be flexible with things like mealtimes, not care so much if I’m a couple minutes late, etc. And having a partner that excepts me (mostly) the way I am makes me more willing to try harder, and to except them the way they are.

    • July 12, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      Yeah, and I think some people are better suited to being with someone who has ADHD than others — in terms of being flexible, being open and not getting too caught up on these “small” things (or these things which seem small to us anyway). However, I still can’t decide whether two people who have ADHD being together is the optimal setup or the absolute worst. 😛

      • July 12, 2017 at 6:24 pm

        Neil, I’ve often thought the same thing! It’s pretty good having friends who are like us. I had a group of friends years ago, 3 of us with it, 1 “normal.” The 3 of us would be bouncing subjects around in a conversation, which we could easily follow, and the normal person would be sitting there with a confused look on his face, saying “What in the world are you guys talking about? That doesn’t make any sense! But it did to us. Anyway, I think having a partner with ADHD could be difficult at times, but also fun at times. And it remains to be seen if the traits we expect others to tolerate in us, we could tolerate in others.


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