Blown Out of Proportion! by Angelis Iglesias

man sitting on floor

You meet someone and there is attraction. It seemed like you talked for a few minutes, but hours passed. He asked for your number, and you did not hesitate because you think he might be boyfriend material.

He calls. You go out and hit it off. He makes the most extravagant efforts to impress you, expensive gifts, hiring the Mariachi band to serenade you, and the intensity, the passion!

You start dating and have a few little arguments, misinterpretations, squabbles—that is all.

It is all part of being in a relationship, right? Everyone raises their voice, says things that hurt the other, they get over it, make up, and all is good.

Well, imagine this happening on a regular basis, and he loses his cool every time, but he doesn’t realize how it’s affecting the relationship.

When dating, even in the mist of all the chemistry, you are bound to have differences of opinion, tastes, and lots of opportunities for frustration with your boyfriend or girlfriend. The number and intensity of these events is magnified when you or they have ADHD issues.

It does not matter if they are friends, family, coworkers, or strangers. The lack of ability to control one’s emotions and reactions to stressful situations will erode any relationship. The other traits of ADHD— forgetfulness, distractibility, difficulty completing tasks, and impulsivity—can be devastating to relationships as well.

ADHD Mind Trait

Behavior Effect
Difficulty listening & attention Interrupts, zones out Partner does not feel valued
Unable to complete tasks No organizational skills, forgetful Hurt feelings, seen as not committed
Trouble with responsibilities Do not pay bills, leaves jobs Partner feels dumped on
Impulsivity Stimulation junkie, reckless or obsessive Partner feels neglected
Overreaction Loses temper, won’t let it go Partner feels intimidated, unloved

 

One of the biggest tendencies to be aware of and manage is emotional dysregulation. This is a term that is used to explain the lack of pause before we react emotionally. When we pause and examine the long term consequences of future actions we are able to moderate our responses. Most people are able to take a second or count to ten to think before they act. During that time they are able to calm their body and mind and access the situation before taking rash action.

When we are regulating our emotions well, they are in check and we are able to have appropriate behavior related to strong negative or positive emotion. We are able to calm down or self-soothe when excited. We can take our minds away and focus on something else besides the event that provoked the emotions. We can organize our ideas and take action with everyone’s long term welfare in consideration.

There are major threats to relationships when ADHD emotional dysregulation is present. It is a suspected factor in road rage speeding, crashes, and DUI citations. It also contributes to being fired, periods of unemployment, and workplace behavior problems.

One of the worst effects on dating/cohabiting is relationship conflict and dissatisfaction. When ADHD is not treated, singles with ADHD tend to marry in lower amounts, and when they marry have twice the number of divorces compared to other marriages.

Now for the good news! There are plenty of things you can do – on your own, with a coach, and with your doctor. Social skills training for adults who have ADHD help them be less aggressive and impulsive, manage anger, and behave in a more socially acceptable way.

These are some of the techniques used:

  • Individual or Small Group Coaching
  • Role-playing
  • Watching video examples of good behavior
  • Practicing ways to settle conflicts

People with ADHD are more intense and are pulled towards circumstantial emotions. They can be hypersensitive or emotionally impulsive. A movie can push them into deep sadness or terror. A happy event brings great excitement. In any case, honoring emotions and taking time to process them is a good practice for anyone in a relationship. Experiencing and expressing emotions is part of managing them.

 

Angelis Iglesias is an ADHD singles relationship coach who helps adults achieve emotional regulation, attuned communication, and improved executive functions. Clients realize the fulfilling relationships, meaningful work, and wellbeing they desire. Angelis coaches in English or Spanish, virtually or in Austin, TX.

Mind Heart Integration Coaching, mindheartcoach.org