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How do you effectively communicate to your partner that you are putting in a lot of effort without it reflecting on them?

  1. Have an open conversation: Choose a calm, private moment when you’re both relaxed and have time to talk without interruptions. Avoid bringing this up during an argument or when either of you is stressed or tired. You might say something like, “I’d like to talk about something important. Is now a good time?” This sets the stage for a thoughtful discussion.
  2. Use “I” statements: Frame your thoughts in terms of your own feelings and experiences rather than making accusations or assumptions about your partner. For example, instead of saying, “You don’t understand how hard I’m trying,” say, “I’m feeling overwhelmed with the effort I’m putting in, and I want to share that with you.” This approach is less likely to make your partner feel defensive.
  3. Be specific: Provide concrete examples of what you’re working on and why it’s challenging. This could be related to work, personal growth, health issues, or any other area of your life. For instance, “I’m putting in extra hours at work to complete this project, which is taking a lot of my energy. It’s challenging because I’m learning new skills while meeting tight deadlines.”
  4. Reassure them: Explain that your struggles or efforts are unrelated to your relationship or partner. You might say, “I want you to know that my stress and hard work aren’t because of you or our relationship. In fact, your support means a lot to me during this time.” This reassurance can help alleviate any concerns or insecurities your partner might have.
  5. Show appreciation: Express gratitude for your partner’s support, patience, or understanding. Even if they haven’t been explicitly supportive, acknowledge any positive aspects. For example, “I really appreciate your patience while I’ve been so focused on this. It means a lot to me that you’re there for me.”
  6. Ask for what you need: Be clear about how your partner can support you. This might be emotional support, help with practical tasks, or even just space and understanding. For instance, “It would really help me if you could take care of dinner on the nights I have to work late,” or “I might need some quiet time to myself on weekends to recharge. Can we discuss how to balance that with our time together?”
  7. Listen to their perspective: After expressing your thoughts, invite your partner to share their feelings and observations. They might have insights or concerns you haven’t considered. Ask questions like, “How has this been affecting you?” or “Is there anything you need from me during this time?” Be open to their feedback and be prepared to problem-solve together.
  8. Discuss the impact on your relationship: Talk about how your efforts might be affecting your relationship dynamics. Acknowledge any changes in your availability, mood, or energy levels. For example, “I realize I’ve been less available for our usual date nights. Let’s brainstorm ways to stay connected despite my current workload.”
  9. Set expectations and boundaries: Be honest about what you can and cannot do during this period of intense effort. Discuss this openly if you need to temporarily adjust your shared responsibilities or social commitments. For instance, “For the next month, I might not be able to attend all our usual social events. Can we prioritize which ones are most important to us?”
  10. Plan for the future: If your current situation is temporary, discuss your plans for after this intense period. This can give both you and your partner something to look forward to. You might say, “Once this project is complete, I’d love for us to take a weekend getaway to reconnect and relax together.”
  11. Regular check-ins: Suggest having regular conversations to update each other on how things are going. This shows your commitment to maintaining open communication and allows for adjustments as needed. You could say, “Can we touch base every Sunday evening to see how we’re both feeling and if we need to adjust anything?”
  12. Express your commitment: Reaffirm your commitment to the relationship, your future together, and your partner. This can help provide security during a potentially stressful time. For example, “Even though I’m very focused on this goal right now, you and our relationship remain my top priority. I’m working hard in part to create a better future for us.”

By approaching the conversation with honesty, empathy, and a willingness to collaborate, you can help your partner understand your efforts while maintaining a strong, supportive relationship. Remember, this is an ongoing dialogue, not a one-time conversation, so be prepared to revisit these topics as needed.

Hal Meyer and The ADD Resource Center offer specialized behavioral intervention and educational services for ADHD. They empower adolescents, adults, couples, and their loved ones to manage ADHD symptoms and reach their full potential. They have the expertise to provide personalized guidance and unwavering support on the journey to success.

Harold Robert Meyer /The ADD Resource Center – http://www.addrc.org/ – 646/205.8080 07/01/2024

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