ADHD Relationships: Are You the Kite or the Kite Holder?

Adults with ADHD, Entrepreneurs    March 3, 2017

Seattle ADHD CoachAre you the partner in an ADHD relationship always dashing, darting, taking risks and soaring while your partner is more steady, balanced and unswerving? If so, your ADHD relationship maybe that of a kite and kite holder.

Let me explain, several years ago I was focused on expanding my ADHD coaching business. I was determined to be able to reach and provide information and resources to as many people struggling with ADHD as possible. During those years, I noticed a disturbing trend amongst my peers and fellow emerging entrepreneurs.

At a time when these ambitious entrepreneurs were beginning to experience professional success, there were also a noticeable number who were experiencing significant difficulties in their personal partnerships. During our monthly meetings there was no way to ignore the pattern as fellow colleagues, soaring towards professional success, were also experiencing plummeting relationships in their personal lives.

So…what do entrepreneurs have to do with ADHD and relationships? It’s been established that entrepreneurs are 300% more likely to have ADHD…which made this group of emerging entrepreneurs 300% more likely to be in an ADHD relationship. Research also suggests that rates of marital divorce are about twice as high for people with ADHD as they are for people without it. These entrepreneurs (many of whom were ADHD) were experiencing the same difficulties so many others do in their ADHD relationships.

However, not all were on this downward spiral.

This silver lining seemed important for my own 30-year marriage and the numerous other couples where ADHD was a factor. I became personally and professionally motivated to try and figure out the difference between those relationships that weathered the storm and those that crashed headfirst into separation or divorce.

And this is what I noticed…colleagues (very likely to have ADHD) in the midst of the risk taking and soaring in their emerging professional life who were balanced by a more steadfastness, reserved, dare I say “stuck in the mud” partner were staying together!

It was as if one partner in the relationship were the dashing, darting, soaring kite while the other person in the relationship were balanced, solid and unwavering …their kite holder!

Now I don’t mean to suggest that all ADHD relationships are this simple. Relationships where one or both persons have ADHD can be very complex. However, as I thought about my own relationship and others that I knew were surviving their own ADHD relationship storms, the pattern was the same. These long standing relationships seemed to include partners with two very different but complimentary natures. One was “a kite” and one was willing to be the “kite holder.”

I will confess to being a kite. Driven, ambitious, always challenging myself. “No” is my least favorite word and I enjoy nothing more than proving someone wrong. “How high?” is my middle name and I will admit to taking chances…scarily stretching myself at times. You can tell if you are a kite because you are always wanting to reach higher. You are typically restless…curious…driven…ambitious… and goal oriented. Does this sound like you?

Or maybe you are the kite holder in your relationship. Someone whose nature is determination as you stand firm on the ground…flexible, keeping a watchful eye so your partner can fly as high as I possible? You can tell kite holders because they are rock solid, grounded and totally committed to their kites. They provide the necessary tension during fair and foul weather to let us “kites” dance in the excitement of our accomplishments. It would never occur to a kite holder to let go and they get great satisfaction in providing the necessary anchor for their kite to soar as high as possible. The strength of the kite holder is in their commitment, flexibility and resourcefulness to hold on tight which allows kites to stay in the air.

To the outside, the kite holder could appear less ambitious or less significant.  However, each is essential to the other’s success and fulfillment. Whichever you might be in your ADHD relationship, the “kite” that soars, or the resilient “kite holder” with feet on the ground, one without the other would not work. Without a kite holder, a kite could be lost, fly away, or crash. Without the kite, the kite holder cannot express the strengths of commitment, competence and fortitude.

Considering the innate challenges of any partnership and especially when ADHD is involved, maybe there is something to considering a simple analogy of a kite and kite holder. Life is a journey, and maybe when each person in a relationship is able to be true to their nature, there is more chance of weathering the storms together.

So which are you? Kite or kite holder?

Let me know!

One Response to ADHD Relationships: Are You the Kite or the Kite Holder?

  1. Sarah     August 30, 2017    10:57 am    Reply

    I would love to see an honest, serious piece on how destructive ADHD partners can be to the non-ADHD partner…with wake ups and solutions to get ADHDers to recognize when they are taking too much from the relationship – living for their own pleasure and not supporting their non-ADHDer spouse’s dreams, desires and financial and emotional needs.

    I watched my ADHD extrovert sister make family-life be about her…and I had a front row seat watching her marriage, and then their children, fall and explode.

    There often is a selfish or narcissistic tendency connected to ADHD – an inability to see themselves and how they negatively affect others. My sister’s husband married her because he loved her…but no one could or should stay in a marriage that is for one person’s pleasure or vision. So deeply sad. She still is sure everything was his fault.

    He financed everything because she was going to be “the mother.” However, she had better things to do with her time than to be sure her children’s homework was done, cook meals for the family to eat together around the table (her version is they didn’t want to eat at home…husband or children), etc. She would not change her agenda to have a hot meal on the table at a reasonable hour…11pm or whenever she fit it in…is not reasonable.

    Her husband was an introvert and deeply needed peace. He wanted to go on a vacation where he could read a good book on a secluded beach and not have to do anything…just be quiet and recuperate – have some enjoyment. He never got that vacation. My sister would always rebound loudly that, “This is MY vacation, too!” So, every vacation was hers…but she could not…can not see another’s needs and dreams to incorporate them into a shared life.

    Her foster daughter died of alcoholism. Her biological children both are meth addicts.

    I have ADHD. My father and all four siblings have/had ADHD. My mother got a very hard deal. I truly believe in our GIFTS, but I also believe in getting real with these damaging issues. What can be done to better the outcomes of those who marry someone with ADHD?

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