Being in a romantic relationship with women with ADD can be challenging when partners lack understanding of what ADD in women looks like or how best to address it. As problems arise, it helps when partners know what they can do to keep the relationship healthy and thriving. These are our top five relationship tips for partners of women with ADD.
#1: Women with ADD Struggle with Organizing Activities
Don’t take it personally when your girlfriend or wife fails to organize activities. Women with ADD have a difficult time planning activities and can feel overwhelmed when asked to make a quick decision in the moment. Some partners automatically assume that their partner is uninterested in spending time with them or isn’t invested in the relationship. The best way to combat this problem is to initiate activities for your girlfriend or wife.
For example, ask her what kind of movie she wants to see and then choose a movie that fits that genre. Ask her questions about what she might want to do or eat and then make a plan based on that information. She will appreciate your initiative and taking a mundane decision away from her while still demonstrating you care about what she wants.
#2: Attention Deficit Disorder in Women Can Be Argumentative
Many women with ADD are argumentative and this can cause unnecessary stress in a relationship. The reason for this argumentative behavior is that many women living with ADD need to have brain stimulation. Arguments cause stimulation in the brain because when you are angry or feeling negative, the brain reacts with increased brain activity and the body reacts with additional adrenaline. This creates that surge of stimulation that people with ADD crave.
You can help your girlfriend or wife let go of this argumentative habit by being unwilling to engage in it. Don’t take the bait. Do not raise your voice or criticize your partner. Instead, let it go. Practice letting go in those moments so that the situation is thoroughly diffused. If you can let go, even if your partner cannot let go, this can improve your relationship by lessening the severity of those moments. If those moments do not provide the stimulation your ADD partner needs, you will find those moments lessen in your relationship.
#3: Be Smart with Criticism
No one likes to be criticized and many people are sensitive to overt criticism in their most significant relationships. You should not repress your feelings or your thoughts on your relationship when they are critical. However, how you approach your girlfriend or wife with ADD matters.
Try to use language that emphasizes the problem, but also provides a solution. Do not criticize your partner, but do talk about the behavior, actions, or words that upset you. Do not shame or embarass your partner. Be understanding and kind in your approach. Reassure your partner of how much you love her and that you understand that she has good intentions when telling her what bothers you.
#4: Living With a Woman with ADD Means Letting Her Say What She Needs to Say
Women with ADD have a lot to say because their mind is moving all over the place. They need to be allowed to speak freely without interruption. It might be tempting to jump in and stop their train of thought when it feels as though it is moving in 500 different directions, but let them say what they need to say.
To encourage your partner to get everything out, ask open ended questions or relay supportive comments. Asking “How did that make you feel?” or saying “That’s a unique way of looking at that” can encourage your partner to continue speaking until they have expressed all of their internal thoughts.
#5: Be Emotional and Expressive When Dating an ADD Woman
If you are dating or living with a woman with ADD, you need to be aware of her need for someone who expresses their emotional life. People who have Attention Deficit Disorder have a difficult time listening to the people around them. They are easily distracted. They have a much easier time communicating and listening with someone who is emotionally tuned in to themselves.
You can be emotionally expressive with your partner by simply smiling and laughing openly or showing concern with sad eyes or tears. Don’t force emotion but don’t be afraid to let your emotional be seen in your physical self. Even nodding while listening to your partner talk can help your partner feel supported and make it easier for her to listen to you when you talk.
For more information on Attention Deficit Disorder in women, reach out to us at the Sachs Center. We would be happy to help provide answers for those living with ADD/ADHD and those living alongside partners and loved ones with ADD/ADHD. We offer comprehensive ADD/ADHD testing and a myriad of options for treatment with our signature holistic approach.