Happy Relationships and ADHD Connections
According to a recent Harvard Study shared in the Wall Street Journal, our connection with others is the most beneficial impact on the longevity of our lives.
“Through all the years of studying these lives, one crucial factor stands out for the consistency and power of its ties to physical health, mental health and longevity. Contrary to what many people might think, it’s not career achievement, or exercise, or a healthy diet. Don’t get us wrong; these things matter. But one thing continuously demonstrates its broad and enduring importance: good relationships.”
Relationships are complex. With ADHD in the mix, even more so. Symptoms can impact partners, friends, family, and colleagues. Emotional regulation can cause people to feel disconnected and hurt. Adding structure to our lives can connect us with those we love and care about.
Foundations to connection
Your values show up in your relationships. Authenticity, respect, and honesty are important when in a relationship. Respect is when we accept someone for who they are, even if they are different in how they think or look. This feels like trust, safety, and well-being and is communicated by the appropriate tone of language, physical touch, and attentive listening. At times symptoms of ADHD can be viewed as disrespectful. Executive function challenges like impulsivity and emotional regulation can interfere. Knowing about these challenges helps both partners navigate when this happens.
Respect is fostered by boundaries. Boundaries are the limits we put in place, whether mental, emotional, physical, or more. These are the expectations stated to start and stay in respectful relationships. To be in a relationship with anyone, with ADHD or not, means to have stated what is okay and what is not. Healthy boundaries are a part of every positive relationship.
Strategies that foster communication and connection
In the busy times we live in, having a structure for communicating and connecting makes relationships intentional.
Build structure in your daily life that reinforces communication. Time allocated as together time prioritizes your family and partner. Family dinner together is a powerful connection. Each evening you gather to discuss, process, and applaud each other. This time together empowers all of the family as individuals and creates unity as a team. You and your partner might also choose a daily check-in time with calendars after dinner to be sure home and work run smoothly. Make dinner time not so much about the specific foods you are eating as the time together.
A weekly structure can include a weekly family meeting and weekly date night for partners. A weekly family meeting opens up communication and coordinates schedules for everyone. Your family calendar is where to find dates and details of family life. End your family meeting with fun. Your weekly date night gives you and your partner time away from the daily conversations and offers you opportunities for new activities and adventure.
Strategies that support self-care
Practice self-care that empowers good communication. Knowing what you need for your own self-care, whether that is time away from family you love in order to reset, helps you do your best with relationships. Strong self-care starts with a good night’s rest, setting time to step away and pause, and knowing your productivity patterns.
At times the best self-care comes with delegating. We can’t do it all and we shouldn’t. Having a cleaning person, laundry person, lawn person, or virtual assistant are all supportive self-care for all the extra tasks that need to be done at home and work. Finding specific solutions for specific situations sets up a solution-minded framework. When you feel supported, you can do your best with what matters most.
There are many ways to gather support for you and your partner. Therapy, coaching, and support groups are available both in person and virtually to support you in your relationships. These professionals are available to help you learn more about ADHD and ADHD symptoms as well as anxiety and co-existing conditions. They will help you recognize skills and focus on working from your strengths.