2. Wait before you make a long-term commitment
As impulsivity is a known component of ADHD, it’s only wise and responsible to avoid joining your partner in making rash moves that can have long-term effects during the height of passion.
“They can go from being a person who wants to go on dates four or five nights a week to someone who just attends to whatever is in front of them,” Orlov explains. She adds that infatuated hyperfocus on the other partner can wane, just like a typical honeymoon phase.
3. Be aware of relationship dynamics that are harmful in the long run
“The most important negative pattern is the parent-child dynamic, where the more organized partner becomes the manager of the relationship and the manager of the ADHD partner,” Orlov explains.
“They’ll over-compensate for the ADHD partner’s symptomatic behaviors, and over time they’ll become resentful and angry because they’re over-functioning in the relationship,” Orlov adds.
4. Learn your deal breakers
You can’t change a person unless they’re willing to change, and being in a relationship with anyone can help you learn what you’re willing to live with and what your personal “red flags” are. Though how ADHD presents can be unique from person to person, some common symptoms mentioned above can lead to deeper issues if the condition is not properly managed. These symptoms can include:
- lack of motivation
- trouble managing finances
- impulsive spending
- chronic unemployment (one study estimates that U.S. productivity and income loss due to ADHD is between $87 billion and $138 billion annually)
- substance use disorder
- anger issues
“This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t marry the person, but it does mean that you need to understand that what you see while you’re dating isn’t necessarily a one-off,” Orlov cautions.
“For example, you [might] need to be OK with your partner not being employed full time. There are millions of relationships where one partner isn’t employed but they contribute to the relationship in other ways,” Orlov maintains.
“Just don’t stay in the relationship expecting that there will be a shift in your partner’s historical patterns,” she emphasizes.
5. Decide on your must-haves and find ways to make it work
“Nobody’s wedding vows include the promise to be the most efficient partner they can be,” notes Orlov. “That’s not why you get into a relationship or get married.”
But because executive dysfunction is one of the main symptoms of ADHD, your partner will likely have a hard time managing the administrative parts of their life. Often, this becomes a big problem in the relationship.
If it’s cleanliness, can you afford a housekeeper or afford to pay the kids a heftier allowance to pitch in more? If you both love to travel but your partner isn’t great at planning ahead and budgeting, can you retain a dedicated travel agent or use a trip planning app?
“Choose the two or three things that you absolutely, positively must get out of your relationship… For example, if one of them is signs of love and affection, then make sure that you figure out ways to get around their chronic distractibility,” Orlov encourages.
6. Enjoy yourself
“Dating somebody with ADHD can be spectacular,” says Orlov. “You [can receive] tons of attention and do exciting things together. Your relationship [could] have a lot of spontaneity and energy. It [can be] wonderful,” Orlov shares.
Hypersexuality and hypersensitivity during sex, just two symptoms of ADHD, can deepen and add excitement to your intimate times as well.