Many studies have shown that people with ADHD and those without ADHD see time in two totally different ways.
Whether you are in a relationship with someone with ADHD, or you are simply close to someone with ADHD, you will know that there are many issues which can cause frustration and even lead to disagreements and arguments. If you are someone with ADHD, you will also be very aware that getting your non-ADHD partner to see things from your side, can be a challenge, and another frustration.
Relationships between those with and without adult ADHD come with a whole set of other pitfalls to maneuver around, in addition to the regular ones.
Let’s look at it logically - A relationship is about common ground, time spent together, making decisions, and enjoying life. These decisions and time spent together means making plans, and plans require a time frame, e.g. a time to meet at a certain place. Time management is one of the single most difficult issues to deal with when it comes to ADHD. It’s not only difficult for the partner who can’t understand why their significant other is late or doesn’t turn up where they’re supposed to, but it’s difficult for the person with the condition too.
Seeing things from both sides is vital when it comes to working through difficulties in a relationship, whether related to ADHD or not, but even more so when it is affected by the condition.
Here at Trifecta Health, we understand and acknowledge these problems, and we have a range of treatment options and management methods to help couples deal with these very common, but very frustrating, problems.
Time Seen in Different Ways
Many studies have shown that people with ADHD and those without ADHD see time in two totally different ways. If you ask a couple (one with ADHD and one without) to think back over a series of meals they enjoyed together, the person without the ADHD will probably be able to tell you where they went, when they want, the order they went in, and usually how long they spent in each place. If you ask the person with ADHD, they will be able to tell you the various events, but the time span may be confused or jumbled up.
Put simply, one of the main symptoms of ADHD is a problem with perception of time. If their partner doesn’t understand this, it can lead to major arguments. For that reason, understanding the condition is key.
The main time-related issues which are linked to ADHD are:
Procrastinating, and putting things off
Not hitting deadlines or targets
Focusing too much on one task, and neglecting another, also known as ‘hyper-focusing’
Jumping from one task to another and not making progress on any
Not understanding the correct amount of time required for a particular task, affecting planning
Carrying out tasks in the incorrect order, e.g. not understanding about prioritising tasks
It is also thought to be the case that someone with ADHD has difficult understanding time proportions correctly, e.g. a week from now may seem like a month from now, and isn’t understood in the same way.
So, how can couples overcome these challenges and side-step potential arguments related to time seeing and time management?
Understanding the condition is the first vital step. Without this understanding there is going to be no relationship on either side. It can also be useful for each partner to step into the other ones’ shoes, and try and see things from the other side. For instance, the partner without ADHD could try and be less time controlled. Whilst it is certainly difficult for the person with ADHD to change their perception, attempting to be more focused on time may lead to a greater understanding over time.
If you have any concerns about ADHD, whether you’re personally affected or you think you might have an undiagnosed case, give us a call today.