Are 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 may be that of a kite and kite holder.
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.
When these ambitious entrepreneurs were beginning to experience professional success, a noticeable number were also experiencing significant difficulties in their personal partnerships. During our monthly meetings, there was no way to ignore the pattern as colleagues, soaring towards professional stardom, 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 had ADHD) were experiencing the same difficulties as many others in their ADHD relationships.
However, not all were on this downward spiral.
This silver lining seemed important for my 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 (entrepreneurs very likely to have ADHD) amid the risk-taking and soaring in their emerging professional life who were balanced by a more steadfast, 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 was balanced, solid, and unwavering …their kite holder!
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 decades-long relationship and others I knew who were surviving their ADHD relationship storms, the pattern was similar. These long-standing relationships seemed to include partners with two different but complimentary natures. One was “a kite,” and one was willing to be the “kite holder.”
I will confess to being a kite. I am driven, ambitious, and constantly 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 always want 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 possible? You can tell kite holders because they are rock solid, grounded, and 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.
On 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 grit.
Considering the inherent challenges of any partnership and especially when ADHD is involved, maybe there is something to consider in this simple analogy of a kite and kite holder. Life is a journey, and relationships can be complex. However, when each person in a relationship can 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!