How to Keep Romance Alive
While sexual desire is certainly an important ingredient in romantic life, without trust, respect, understanding, and empathy between partners, romance and sexual desire can wither and die.
When Trust Dies, the Marriage Often Follows
Many ADHD relationships fall apart when an ADHD partner betrays her partner's trust by lying and cheating to fulfill a craving for novelty and excitement. If you and your partner are caught in a cycle of distrust, consider working with a therapist to reestablish healthy boundaries for your relationship, discussing what triggered the betrayal, figuring out strategies to keep it from happening again, and learning to forgive and forget.
I Don't Get No Respect
Many ADHD adults are extremely sensitive to criticism and blame. Belittling, degrading, or continually criticizing an ADHD partner is guaranteed to demolish a romance, especially if the ADHD partner is struggling to overcome the very ADHD symptoms you are criticizing.
When ADHD is a third party in a relationship, both partners can prevent criticism and blame from overriding romance by supporting the ADHD partner and building up self-esteem and self-confidence.
Listen and Focus on the Positive
When you're married to a person with a disorder as complicated and potentially destructive as ADHD, it can be easy to see the many things that are wrong with the relationship and become negative, bitter, or discouraged. In addition, many ADHD adults also struggle with depression, low self-esteem, and a lack of confidence. Their pessimism can wear down the spirits of even the sunniest spouse.
Negativity has a nasty habit of feeding on itself. The more you look for negatives, the more negatives you see and the more negative things tend to become. Also, focusing on negatives doesn't leave any time or energy for focusing on the positive. To break the destructive cycle, make a concerted effort to look at the bright side.
To prevent negativity from sinking your relationship, focus on your partner's many positive ADHD attributes. For instance, perhaps she's creative, spontaneous, or always eager to try something new, while you tend to be overly conservative and cautious. Look at the many ways she enriches and enlivens your life. Once you shift your attitude, don't be surprised to see an increase in her positive feelings and behaviors.
Acknowledge and Resolve Conflicts
Raging thoughts and impulsivity make it difficult for many ADHD adults not to jump to conclusions or restrain themselves from interrupting a conversation before their partner has a chance to speak her mind, explain, or clarify.
You may become frustrated when you don't understand or can't follow your partner's thoughts. Instead of focusing on what you thought she said, ask her to repeat or clarify her statement so there's no second-guessing and confusion on your part.
If you disagree with something your spouse has said, speak your mind rather than giving in for the sake of avoiding an argument. If you always give in, you'll eventually erode your sense of self and feel as if you've given up your voice and power, which can leave you resenting your spouse.
Walk a Mile in Your Partner's Shoes
Empathy is the ability to understand how it feels to be in someone else's situation. If your spouse has ADHD, empathize with the many challenges and struggles she copes with on a daily basis and try to understand things from her perspective.
If you're unable to put yourself in your spouse's shoes, you may build a wall between you that blocks out honesty and openness. A marriage counselor can help you and your spouse examine and break down the barriers that are interfering with communication and intimacy.