The Importance of a Relationship Check In
If you live with another adult who has ADHD, this recent article below from Psychology Today may answer questions such as, why can’t my partner follow through? Or why doesn’t my partner listen to me?
Play Attention can help you develop the cognitive skills you need in order to develop positive relationships. We can customize a plan that will improve your ability to:
- Focus on what the other person is saying
- Control your impulsive responses
- Remember what you said you would do and follow through
- Regulate your emotions
- Start and complete tasks in a timely manner
- Manage your time
Click here to schedule a 1:1 consultation to discuss a customized plan that will improve executive function and self regulation. We can customize a plan for every family member in need.
“Although problems at work or college are usually top amongst the life areas affected by ADHD in adults that compel them to seek assessment and treatment, they are usually urged on by loved ones behind the scenes who witness the struggles. The loved ones often arrange for professional services on behalf of the adult with ADHD.
“The fact that disorganization and poor follow-through are central issues for adults with ADHD is one factor, but the loved ones experience the pain and negative effects of ADHD by proxies, such as a job loss and corresponding financial stress, or lost tuition from college course withdrawals.
“On the one hand, these are common life stressors that are highly frustrating and emotional for the adults with ADHD facing them; on the other hand, the ripple effects of ADHD can erode relationships with those in the inner circle of the lives of adults with ADHD.
“This blog contribution focuses on committed romantic relationships – marriages, life partners, or whatever designation captures the type of partnership in which there is that unique expectation of reciprocity and support – emotional, financial, sexual, and any other gauge for this unique bond.
“There are several very good resources for couples in which at least one partner has ADHD. These resources often cover a range of issues, including standard relationship skills and other couples’ matters adapted to ADHD.1,2,3
The Relationship Check-In:
“I want to focus on one foundational principle that serves many useful functions: the relationship check-in. The ADHD-focused check-in is a planned, face-to-face, ideally in-person meeting between partners. Gadgets are set aside, and the get-together is held in a reduced-distraction setting to enhance focus. The meeting is set up in advance so that each partner can get into discussion “mode” and be ready to listen and hear and process questions, comments, requests from their partner and offer questions, comments, and asks of their partner.
“This mode also allows for effective listening, summarizing, empathy, and other communication skills commonly reviewed in relationship guides for adult ADHD. These communication skills are designed to counter our human factory setting: defensiveness.
Getting on the Same Calendar Page:
“A face-to-face check-in for a couple where one has ADHD is helpful - and intimate!
“There are several benefits of these check-ins. The first and main agenda for them is to coordinate schedules, chores, pick-up, and drop-off of children, or any other duties and calendar items. While this is a good strategy for any couple, in the case of ADHD, it is a means for clear communication rather than an over-the-shoulder reminder voiced as someone is leaving for work or falling asleep.
“The check-in setting provides sufficient time to enter any necessary information into calendars (ideally shared), in a smartphone notepad, the setting of reminder alarms, or other coping tools.
Neuro-Intimacy and Household Duties:
“Second, coordination of chores, administrative duties, helping children with homework, and other matters is often never really discussed strategically in most households. In this domain, it is worthwhile for the strengths and weaknesses related to ADHD and how they correspond to such duties to be discussed.
“Partners without ADHD will have their strengths and weaknesses, and the couple can work together to coordinate the best match. This is not the stuff of Hallmark cards, but it is very intimate communication – neuro-intimacy. It is a degree of vulnerability, trust, and regard for each other that helps get things done in life but, more importantly, is a bonding experience for the relationship.
“The very fact a couple spends devoted time sitting across from each other and hanging out together helps them realize and express what they like about each other and what is good about their relationship.
Finishing With Togetherness:
“Lastly, the check-in can be a springboard for a relationship-enhancing activity afterward. The check-in itself can end with appreciation about the qualities in each other and gratitude for specific positive actions observed since the last check-in.
After the check-in, it is useful to plan to go out for breakfast, take a walk together, or any way to finish on a high note. It is still amazing how little it seems to take to shift feelings and attitudes when partners feel heard and feel that they – and their brains – are working together.”
Click here to schedule a 1:1 consultation or call 828-676-2240 to discuss a customized plan that will improve executive function and self regulation. We can customize a plan for every family member in need.
1 Orlov, M. (2010). The ADHD effect on marriage. Specialty Press.
2 Pera, G., & Robin, A. L. (Eds.) (2016). Adult ADHD-focused couple therapy: Clinical interventions. Routledge
3 Tuckman, A. (2020). ADHD after dark: Better sex life, better relationship. Routledge.