Loving with ADHD

We all love and accept love differently, and this is especially true when you have ADHD. It affects how you communicate, experience closeness, read cues and respond to the needs of important people in your life. Unfortunately, the impact of ADHD on relationships is often misunderstood or overlooked entirely. ADHD is usually associated with the concrete challenges of day-to-day life -- like showing up on time, paying the bills or remembering to bring home the milk. What is often misread is the subtle but powerful way that ADHD shapes a couple’s emotional interactions as well.

When couples don’t fully understand how ADHD affects their intimate patterns, confusion and misunderstanding grows. Couples become frustrated and confused as they keep fighting over the same issue and never seem to get anywhere. They may find themselves battling on several fronts that appear unconnected, but all add up to painful experiences. Often partners believe that if they simply try harder things will improve, and are confused and disappointed when they don’t. Without understanding how ADHD is the driving force behind certain behavior, people start to assume that their partner is acting out of indifference or worse, ill will. It’s easy to assume that they don’t care enough to do better, or don’t truly love us.

ADHD doesn’t just cause misunderstanding between a couple; it can cause people to doubt themselves within relationships. The person with ADHD may start to feel they are simply deficient, or a disappointment, and can’t understand why change seems out of reach. And the non-ADHD partner may fear that at their core they have become an angry, over-controlling person. In the worst case, both parties come to believe they are unlovable.

Fortunately, with the right therapy, you can acquire the insight and the tools needed to re-establish closeness and connection. I help individuals and couples to build relationships that accentuate natural strengths and also accomodate weaknesses without disappointment, blame and resentment.

In our work together I will help you to:

  • Recognize where ADHD is affecting your relationship
  • Increase mutual understanding where it is blocked by cognitive differences
  • Clarify how ADHD connects with other relationship patterns
  • Find creative solutions to some of the areas of constant conflict
  • Identify and expand loving acceptance of differences
  • Reconnect with unique strengths each offers
  • Learn new communication skills that take into account strengths and vulnerabilities

Loving with ADHD

Explore how ADHD is affecting your relationship with this questionnaire designed to help you and your partner assess the extent to which ADHD may be causing conflict and disconnection. If you believe that ADHD is impeding your relationship, call me for a brief consultation to discuss steps we could take together to help get you back on the road to closeness and connection.

Stephanie Manes, LCSW

Stephanie Manes, LCSW




30 East 21st Street
New York, NY  10010

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