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Supporting a partner with ADHD: How to balance their needs with yours

Supporting a partner with ADHD requires a delicate balance between empathy for their challenges and attention to your own needs. In the journey documented by Made in Chelsea's Sam Thompson, who was diagnosed with adult ADHD, the importance of understanding and patience is emphasized.
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Supporting a partner with ADHD: How to balance their needs with yours

30/01/2024
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Supporting a partner with ADHD is a journey filled with highs and lows. It brings moments of joy, passion, and excitement. But, living with someone who struggles with listening, forgetfulness, or disorganisation can be challenging.

In the recent documentary, Sam Thompson: Is this ADHD?, Made in Chelsea’s Sam Thompson takes us through his journey of adult ADHD diagnosis.

The programme discusses relationships, shedding light on how Zara McDermott, Sam’s partner, navigates the challenges of his ADHD. She openly discusses how ADHD affects their home life and relationship. Her determination to support Sam will resonate with anyone who is supporting a loved one with ADHD.

Watch the documentary HERE

Recognising challenges that come with ADHD and practising patience is crucial, but it can be demanding and frustrating. Remember, your needs matter too. Finding the right balance means understanding how to be there for your loved one while looking out for yourself too.

Follow our tips to support your loved ones with ADHD while looking after your own needs.

EDUCATE YOURSELF

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Learn as much as you can about ADHD to understand the condition, its symptoms, and how it affects daily life. This knowledge can help you approach situations with empathy and patience.

To learn about ADHD, explore books such as “Driven to Distraction” and “Taking Charge of Adult ADHD.

Visit websites such as ADHD UK, ADHD Foundation, and ADHD Adult UK

Gain insights from programmes such as the Sam Thompson documentary or YouTube videos.

Stay updated and speak with healthcare professionals such as The ADHD Centre. And connect with local experts for workshops and seminars, it will all help to improve your understanding of ADHD.

COMMUNICATE: YOUR PARTNER WITH ADHD

Maintain open and honest communication. Encourage your partner or family member to share their feelings, experiences, and any challenges they may be facing. Make sure they feel comfortable expressing themselves without judgement.

You can improve your communication with your ADHD partner by being clear, patient, and concise. Use visual aids, establish routines, and provide positive reinforcement. Create a supportive environment where open dialogue is encouraged. Regularly check in, listen actively, and understand their unique perspective to strengthen your connection.

The Ultimate Guide to ADHD Relationships

STICK TO ROUTINE

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People with ADHD often benefit from routines and structure. Help create a consistent daily schedule that includes specific times for tasks, meals, and relaxation. Having a predictable routine can make it easier for them to manage their time.

Assist your partner with ADHD in creating a better routine by collaboratively designing a structured schedule.

Break tasks into manageable steps, use visual cues like calendars and establish consistent habits. Provide gentle reminders, celebrate achievements, and adapt the routine as needed to accommodate their unique needs and challenges.

Create to-do lists to help keep track of responsibilities and deadlines. Consider using tools like whiteboards or digital apps to help organise tasks and schedules.

ADHD and routines

TAKE A BREAK

Recognise the need for breaks and downtime. Anyone with ADHD may find it challenging to remain attentive for long periods, so encourage breaks to prevent burnout.

Encourage your ADHD partner to take breaks by emphasising their importance for focus and well-being. Suggest incorporating short breaks into tasks, set timers as reminders, and create a relaxing break space. Validate the need for downtime, helping them recognise that breaks can improve productivity and overall mental health.

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

Acknowledge and celebrate their achievements as positive reinforcement can help build confidence and motivation.

Provide positive reinforcement for your partner with ADHD by showing appreciation for their efforts, using affirming language, and offering specific praise. Reinforce their strengths and progress, creating a supportive environment that boosts confidence and motivation in managing daily tasks.

BE PATIENT WITH YOUR PARTNER WITH ADHD

Try to be patient and avoid unnecessary criticism. Focus on finding solutions together rather than placing blame.

By educating yourself on ADHD’s impact you can be more realistic about expectations. Practise active listening and try to understand things from their perspective. Having a sense of humour will help you to navigate difficulties with a positive attitude.

It’s important to set boundaries to maintain your well-being while you are providing consistent support for your partner with ADHD.

Ask for support from your friends, family, or a therapist. It’s important to recognise your needs and feelings too. Patience will grow through understanding, empathy, and maintaining a shared commitment to navigating ADHD together.

Another of our blogs, ADHD and The Effects on Marriage looks at this in more depth. Read it HERE.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

ADHD can sometimes lead to frustration, anxiety, or feelings of inadequacy. With your emotional support, your partner or family member knows that you are there for them. Sometimes, having someone to talk to can make a huge difference.

When your partner wants to share something, give them your full attention. Make eye contact, nod to show you’re engaged, and avoid interrupting. This simple act of active listening lets them know you value their thoughts and feelings.

Offer words of encouragement regularly. Understanding their challenges and expressing support can go a long way in building a positive and uplifting emotional environment.

Find out more about coping with ADHD in a relationship in our blog 12 Ways to deal with an ADHD marriage

PRACTISE SELF-CARE

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To maintain your mental health, you need to establish clear boundaries. Communicate openly your needs and feelings, ensuring a balance between support and self-care.

Prioritise self-care activities that you enjoy and help you to relax. Having your own social life and independent hobbies will help you to recharge.

Understand that you can’t control every aspect, and it’s okay to ask for help when needed. Remember that your well-being contributes to a healthier relationship, so prioritise your self-care.

ASK FOR HELP

Encourage your partner or family member to ask for professional help if needed. ADHD is a medical condition, and a healthcare professional can guide appropriate treatments, therapies, and coping strategies.

Everyone who has ADHD is unique, so it’s essential to tailor the support based on their specific needs. Regularly check in with your partner or family member to understand how you can best support them on their journey with ADHD

ADHD support

Our team of experienced clinicians is on hand to provide expert insight, advice, support, and guidance on ADHD. Helping you to manage and embrace some of the challenges.

For more information on how we can help you:

Call 0800 061 4276

Email enquiries@adhdcentre.co.uk

Follow us on social media. You can find us on Facebook or Instagram

Book an ADHD assessment for an adult or child HERE

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We have been diagnosing and treating people with ADHD since 2009.

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