Being in a relationship with someone who has ADD presents some unique challenges. Conversations tend to jump rapidly from one topic to another. Shiny objects might distract them during important moments. And that pile of clothes on the floor? Yeah, that’s never, ever going to get put away. Of course, there are also many benefits to being with someone with ADD: a sense of spontaneity, endless intellectual curiosity, excitement, and creativity. One thing’s for sure: an ADD relationship is never boring. Here are some tips for loving someone with ADD, from someone who has it:
1. Let them amble without interruption. This can include anything from obsessively hunting videos on YouTube to reorganizing their sock drawer. It’s soothing to them. It doesn’t matter whether or not you understand why.
2. Know that even though all the kitchen cabinets are always left open, your house is not haunted.
3. When a conversation switches between 20 seemingly unrelated topics within 5 minutes, just go with it.
4. Make peace with the fact that piles of clothes will move around the house, but never get put away.
5. When they say they’ll be ready in an hour, give them two. Then add 15 minutes.
6. Don’t get too attached to a rigid plan. It’s probably going to change.
7. Get used to hearing the phrase, “Wait, what was I talking about?” Because you’re going to hear it a lot.
8. Don’t be offended if you’re talking about something serious and suddenly they get distracted by whatever is happening right over your shoulder.
9. Learn to appreciate the beauty of half-finished projects. Or get really good at finishing them yourself.
10. Give them time to process things in their own way on their own terms (this is true for everyone, but ADD people often need to think/feel things in very specific ways).
11. Bring an extra toothbrush on trips. They are going to forget theirs.
12. If they’re doing something else while talking to you, try not to get all huffy. Sometimes multi-tasking actually helps with focusing your boo’s ADD brain — chances are, they’re totally listening.
13. Accept that when they’re accompanying you anywhere, it will take you twice as long to get there.
14. Don’t expect them to sit next to you on the couch for an entire movie.
15. Don’t expect them to go with you to the movie theater, period, unless it’s, like, the movie of the year.
16. Understand that when they’re talking about doing something for a long time, it’s their way of procrastinating. Help keep them on track by not asking too many questions.
17. Don’t rush them at the grocery store.
18. Refrain from saying “I told you so” when they can’t get remotely as much done in a one-hour time period as they think.
19. Help them keep track of their train of thought, especially when it starts going off the rails.
20. Don’t ever try to change them or make them fit a “normal” mode. Embrace their quirks, never-put-away piles and all.