Neurodiverse couples often have different but equally valid perspectives. Partners may often need to accept that a conversation can be understood differently. Neurodiverse couples frequently get their communication and organisation right because they must accommodate each other’s conditions.
Neurodivergence describes people with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and Sensory Processing Difficulties. When people with these conditions date neurotypical people, navigating the relationship, in the beginning, may be challenging. Neurotypical couples can also learn a lot from neurodivergent couples who approach relationships with more structure and relationships.
Neurotypical refers to individuals who think and perceive the world in a way that is considered normal by the general population. They don’t have problems interacting with others, no speech delays, no sensory issues, and high adaptability to change.
What neurotypical couples can learn from neurodivergent people
This is because they’re more like to have misunderstandings and jump to conclusions. After all, both partners process information differently. A neurodiverse person can misconstrue a request to change a pattern of behaviour as a personal attack. However, with neurodivergent couples, communication is straight to the point, clear, and direct. It can also be scheduled. Weekly check-ins to take stock of the relationship can help smooth things, prevent conflict, and reduce misunderstandings.
During the check-ins, you can stipulate the language to avoid arguments or defensive language.
For mixed couples, a neurodiverse partner can feel shame and guilt because they need to explain themselves or forget to do chores. They can also get compulsions to follow rigid routines for their mental health. Neurodivergent couples match their routines to cohabit comfortably. They also find a way to make room for each other’s habits.
3. Accepting differences
Being in a relationship with a neurodivergent person means accepting fundamental differences. Typical couples may struggle to accommodate differences because they’re used to specific routines. They may also need to learn to accept another person’s habits that they find annoying. It can also be difficult to communicate about how your partner’s behaviour is unsettling. Neurodivergent couples can accept a spouse’s conduct or directly communicate what bothers them.
4. Use official planning tools
For people with ADHD, remembering to do chores is a problem. In other instances, they get distracted by other chores and move on to the next duty without completing a task. An ND couple creates a chart or a to-do list to help them track their roles. Neurotypical partners can struggle with getting their spouses to complete a task and feel frustrated or do it themselves. Incorporating a tool to help people remember to do chores can reduce friction.
5. Understanding sensory issues
Many neurotypical people have sensitivities that can be dismissed because there’s no diagnosis behind them. For their well-being, ND people must avoid anything that affects them, like strong smells, loud music, bright lights, information overload, or textures. A typical spouse can be affected by how a partner winces their teeth after eating or playing specific music. Small actions done repeatedly can lead to resentment or avoiding each other. Finding a simple way to explain that you’re sensitive to sounds without triggering defensiveness can go over better during a check-in.
Ultimately, if compatibility is still difficult but you want to remain a couple, seeking couples therapy may be your best option. However, such habits from neurodivergent couples can help you make a foot forward in improving your relationship.
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