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young coupleQuestion: My daughter is dating a young guy who I suspect is also ADHD... they are both weird!!!! You know what I mean.

This is a question from the mother an ADHD client I coached years ago. She asks a good question, a question that is not asked enough, never mind answered.

Just like ADHD, the answer is complex with many ""ifs and buts."" I hope my answer makes sense to you. If not, please let me know and I will try again.

Believe it or not he is actually younger than her but they are so very similar it is actually scary. Is it okay in the long term to date and marry if you both have ADHD / ADD? I know you are going to laugh at this cause you and Pat are ADHD.

Answer: I had a good chuckle when I read this question? The as I began to think about the answer, I realised that there is no single answer. The many variables will make any answer I give, both wrong and right - you see it depends!

couple inLets look at some of the negative and inhibiting factors for a relationship where ADHD / ADD is present in either one partner or both:

  • Low self esteem. My definition for this terrible mindset is, ""I'll do anything, just love me."" Many ADDers confuse attention with love. Low self esteem means that very often the decision to get married is based on completely the wrong criteria.
  • Distraction. This is very difficult for the partner to come to terms with. When an ADDer is distracted, it usually comes across as being rude or disinterested. Remember, distraction is involuntary, it's almost impossible to control without medication.
  • Poor decision making. As I said above, often decisions are made using the wrong criteria. In the low self esteem section above, the ADHD person might choose some one to marry because that person likes them, or because they are blond, and most tragically, they are only ones left who are even talking to them! Some non-ADHD women take on the challenge of marrying an ADDer reasoning that once they are married, she will change them! I don't know why, but men don't appear to do that.
  • Co-dependency. This is where one partner, usually the non-ADHD woman, gets the roles confused. She becomes a mother rather than a wife. Her entire reason for living becomes wrapped up in ""looking after"" her husband, who in her eyes is not capable of doing that. The mothers of ADHD children often do the same. In the rare cases where the man is co-dependent, he assumes a father role, and becomes extremely controlling. Point is here, you can't sleep with your mother of your father!
  • No Goals. Most ADDers deal with what is in front of them at that time. They may have goals, but they are soon forgotten, or get lost in the clutter of daily living. Significantly, they have no goals for the relationship, what it should look like, how they should act, etc.
  • Loss of Respect. For women especially, it is difficult to respect someone who forgets important things, who doesn't seem to care about paying the rent, having enough money for school fees. Other issues are often some kind of addiction. This is a serious and significant deal breaker in a relationship.
  • Poor communication. Adders are notoriously bad communicators. We may be the life and soul of the party and talk the hind leg off the proverbial donkey, but we don't talk about things that matter, the deep things. ADDers often find it extremely difficult to make themselves vulnerable and admit to making mistakes or failure.
  • Volatility. ADDers have frequent mood swings, often for no reason they can identify. This is very difficult for the non-ADHD spouse.
  • Sensory Issues. Many ADDers have tactile and other sensory issues that make intimate acts very difficult. Hugging your partner can sometimes be an ordeal.