Dating and Adult ADHD

Improving your love life with ADD/ADHD

Serious couple
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Many Adults with ADHD Struggle with Romantic Relationships

Positive connections with others are so important in our lives. Repeated failures in friendships, dating, and intimate relationships can cause a person to withdraw and become isolated as a way to protect themselves from further hurt.

If you see this is a pattern in your life, make a decision to take a chance again. Rather than avoiding relationships, make a positive effort to re-engage.

Step out of your comfort zone, examine your old patterns, develop new habits and actively work to improve the areas that have caused you trouble.

Dating May Start Off Great and Then Grind to a Halt

Sometimes the easiest part of a relationship is the beginning, when your ADHD qualities are often an asset. You may be high-energy, creative, open, honest, engaging, and talkative, and others may be drawn to your charisma, enthusiasm, sensitivity ,and likability. The excitement of the "honeymoon phase" of the relationship keeps you interested, too. As the relationship continues, however, difficulties related to your ADHD may soon become more evident and problematic.

The intensity and high pace of the relationship may begin to feel a bit suffocating to your partner. Your tendency to react impulsively or in an inattentive, distracted manner may begin to take its toll.

Discovering Patterns of Behavior That Sabotage Relationships

Over time, you may have discovered a pattern of increasing frustration on both sides of the relationship.

You may even have found that the same issues arise again and again. For example, you may discover that your partner is less likely than you are to leap into activities, try new things, or behave spontaneously. You may feel that a "settled" relationship is boring -- even with the most exciting partner.

While the obvious answer is to walk away and start something new, if you actively want a long term relationship you may have to make some changes in your behaviors.

The First Step Toward Change is Awareness

The first step in making any kind of change is to notice and acknowledge your own problem behaviors. As you become more aware of how your ADHD symptoms affect your relationships, you can begin to make changes and learn alternative ways to interact that are more productive. Understand that these ways of interacting may not come naturally. You will need to make a conscious effort to make these changes, but doing so can help relationships grow and become more rewarding and fulfilling.

Below are three problems areas often experienced by individuals with ADHD. Click on each link to learn strategies for addressing each one.

Additional Reading:
Friendships and ADD
ADD and Dating: Finding the Right Partner
Healthy Living with ADD/ADHD
Practice Positive Thinking
Tips for a Good Night's Sleep
ADD and Self-Care


Michael T. Bell. You, Your Relationship and Your ADD. New Harbinger Publications. 2002

Michael T. Bell. Dealing with the Impact of AD/HD on Marriage. Attention Magazine. April 2003

Nancy A. Ratey. The Disorganized Mind. St. Martin’s Press. New York. 2008

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