From the article: Partners in Life, Partners in Adult ADHD Education and Treatment
ADHD symptoms can create stress in any relationship. Both partners must work together to make things better. What’s the biggest challenge you face living with a spouse or partner with ADHD and how do you successfully deal with it together? Please Share
It Takes Awhile to Sink In
- I have been married for over 3o years to a man with ADD/Depression and possible passive aggression as well. After our son was diagnosed with ADD in second grade I read everything I could lay my hands on about ADD and in light of that, my husband’s behaviors started to make sense for someone with ADD. He was willing to be tested and was diagnosed with it as well as depression. It’s about 20 years later and it has been a long road with many counselor appointments, drug trials, and tears. Medicine can't help 100% and neither can counseling. What helps me is knowing what I am dealing with, being able to give it a name and knowing that a lot of the behavior is not deliberate. I still catch myself getting upset that he forgets, procrastinates, and prefers to do his own thing most of the time. I am learning to not "micro manage" him. I read and reread Melody Beattie's book about codependency (It is excellent!) and saw my behaviors in it right away. The serenity prayer is one of my favorites.
- —Guest Wendy
Husband Is In Denial
- Thank you for covering this subject. My husband has been diagnosed 3 times and denies he has ADHD. It's horrible, but all I could do is get very "healthy" myself. He is so stubborn and it makes me very sad, because it is so treatable. But he absolutely will not address it, so our marriage suffers. For a long time I suffered because it is so frustrating. But then I took a different approach and I am happy and joyful most of the time but that is me as an individual-not in our marriage. I won't divorce him, but so many aspects of our marriage will never be good because his ADHD (in my opinion!) is mixed with pride. I know there have to be other spouses suffering in this way.
- —Guest email@example.com
At My Wits End
- My fiancé and I have been together over 3 yrs and have 2 children. I try to help him but nothing works. He blames EVERYTHING on ADHD. He leaves a lot, stays out all night, won't do things, forgets stuff, won't help, won't work, lies about everything, doesn't want to take responsibility for his actions, and more I haven't even named. Some is spoiledness but everything he says is unhelp-able. He doesn't want to go to the doctor for meds or help. We've almost broken up more times than I can count. I don't want to, though, and the kids need their father. They're 2 1/2 and 10 months. They want him around as much as I do but how to get him to stay and try? Since he won't work I ask him to help at home. He doesn't want to. I go to school, work, take/bring the kids, doc appts, bills, take care of him. Well who is there to take care of me? Can anyone help me figure out what to do other than tell me I can't do anything? This has been going on for over 3 yrs and I'm about done with this nonsense.
- —Guest Confused with no answers
Work in Progress
- I cannot explain how being diagnosed with ADHD 2 years ago has helped my marriage. I have struggled since being a little girl with many things. My husband couldn't understand why I struggled with simple daily tasks with my 2 daughters - especially scheduling! Since my diagnosis I have learned what works for me and I have learned to utilize the "tools" and "practices" that actually WORK. I have learned I need STRUCTURE. With structure I go far! Without it I am completely lost. Scheduling has been a huge issue for us in our marriage. With 2 full time jobs and 2 toddlers I tended to "own" the calendar and it wasn't working in the past. I have finally adapted a tedious system that has HELPED me and my family tremendously (no more missed Dr's appt! No more late attendance!). But it requires my husband's commitment to work with me in a weekly meeting where we discuss the upcoming events for the week. It's an ongoing process and he knows it's critical that we have these "scheduled" meetings.
- —Guest K.Smith
Family of ADHD
- I am grateful I googled "married to ADHD" and found this site. 11 years ago and another child later my husband was instrumental with discovering the diagnosis for my oldest child as he also was diagnosed as a child. When we met I was recently divorced with two young girls and didn't understand my daughter's behavior. He was charming and seemed mature until I said "I Do." Now I have 4 children; 2 from my prior marriage, 1 with my husband and 1 is my husband. My oldest daughter, our son and my husband are all diagnosed ADHD and my husband refuses to take medication. My home is constantly cluttered, I work full time, handle all the docs and schools for three children and trying to discuss responsibility with an adult man with ADHD is like going into a sword fight with an expert swordsman. I feel like I am losing my mind, he is a good hearted man but I cannot take the chaos, his temper and his immaturity any longer.
- I understand that. Some of us have a keen ability to "debate." We twist things, perhaps unintentionally but convincingly, to ourselves and impose that twist upon others. Since my kids have grown to 18 and 22 years I have learned a bit about myself. Their arguments can be tough to deal with, umm... logically ;-)
Thoughts From the ADHD Partner
- The ADHD Perspective: I have said, on more than one occasion, I wish my husband (who does not have ADHD) could spend a day in my body and mind so he could see not only what goes on there, but how much energy I spend trying to be "normal" and function in an environment that is not ADHD friendly. That being said, he has his own issues, and when he gets confused, he gets angry. But a lot of it is not understanding that if he can do something (anything) with regularity, why can't I? He has a hard time being empathetic since he has never gone through ADHD.
- —Guest Guest
Thoughts from the ADHD Partner
- I'd like to echo "Guest Guest's" sentiments. I am 44 and was diagnosed with ADD almost 3 years ago. My wife has no clue the enormous amount of energy it takes to act "normal." I've worked VERY hard to respond to her EVERY request; been through 7 professionals before I finally found one SHE likes, tweaked my meds numerous times until I found a regimen she thinks works ok for me, tried hundreds of strategies to conquer scheduling (one of my biggest weaknesses), and tried many, many times to convey to her how overwhelming it is for me when she gets angry and frustrated with me over an occasional mistake. I'm not trying to make ADD my catch-all excuse, but it seems to me that this explanation to years of frustration for her over my behavior could come with a little compassion, understanding and grace; at least that's my daily prayer.
He makes me crazy sometimes.....
- My husband has all the classic ADHD symptoms as well as OCD. Could also have some Mania thrown in. Doesn't matter. He won't get diagnosed. He gets so focused to the exclusion of everything else around him. Just last week, he was fixing my car and had the engine running with the garage door closed. (?!?) He has left the door from the garage to the house open so the house was flooded with exhaust fumes. He doesn't get why I'm upset. In public and in private, he interrupts me all the time. It's especially hard in a social situation when I am talking with someone and he walks over and hijacks the conversation. He knows he's doing it but can't stop and won't be proactive about coming up with a strategy. He's a great guy and otherwise very thoughtful. He is incapable of empathy and stares at me blankly when I'm upset or having anxiety. I feel like I'm living with an 8 year old.
- —Guest karennegrete
- You are a big man to admit you built up anger & resentment towards your wife. I applaud u for that & for trying to learn more & patching things. I recently self-diagnosed, then formally diagnosed, w/ADHD, & it explains so much of my life choices & behavior. I read a lot about ADHD b/c I want to educate myself & others + it feels good to know others are out there like me. I've been married for about 2 1/2 yrs, & I guess b/c my behavior has worsened (since losing my job), my husband is disappointed & put out w/me & has lost respect for me. I told him recently of my diagnosis & that I'm not trying to use it as an excuse, but want him to read up on it & see I'm not doing things deliberately. I hope to get put on some meds this week for it, even though I initially didn't want to be rx'd anything but I shouldn't let my pride get in the way. I'm 37 & never had to be on any permanent meds, & was proud of that, but if I can get my life & marriage back, I'll gladly take some to feel "normal."
- —Guest becky
- I have lived 5 years with an ADHD spouse and I am at my wits end!! He could not hold a job and he cannot handle finances. He would not get help because he thought he was an adult and he felt that adhd no longer affected adults. He finally agreed to therapy and after one session and a prescription for ADD meds things are much better. He now understands that his ADD does affect our family and how we function. We have a huge hole to dig out of, but at least we are now on the right track. I really appreciate these blogs. It really helps to relate to other peoples story, and is always great to hear a positive outcome.
- —Guest Dana
Fiance has ADHD
- She has made me late for weddings, funerals, work, ball games, and important family functions. And if I say anything I get my head bit off. I'm not sure I can take the defensive attitude any longer and am concerned our child will end up in a broken home. I've told her if she'd just apologize instead of excusing blame elsewhere, all would be ok as I understand ADHD. Shes even spent 4-6 hrs in the bathroom when we have places to go. She knows she needs to do certain things, but won't get out of bed to do them. I'm heartbroken from her insensitivity and lack of interest in building a responsible future. I do love her and see glimpses of the amazing person she can be.
- —Guest Grimmie
My fiance has ADHD
- My fiance and I have been together for a year and a half. We are expecting our 1st child and are engaged. I love her more than she realizes. She has ADHD and takes adderrall during the day and klonopin at night to sleep. The relationship has been one constant back and forth argument day after day. Mainly bc she is all talk about being responsible. She always says about wanting and needing to find a job, but has yet to even look for one. She knows the mess in the bedroom needs cleaned, but yells at me if I try doing it, yet she won't do it. She's known she is pregnant for 2 weeks now, and hasn't made a doctors appointment. It scares me bc of the meds she's on. She refuses to go to bed at a decent hour, staying up until 4, 5, 6 in the morning, then sleeping all day. At times locking herself in the bedroom. Anytime I try to talk to her about any of these issues, she immediately gets an attitude and starts yelling at me, and tells me that somehow all these problems are my fault.
- —Guest Grimmie
I'm not depressed but I get on my nerves
- I really like a clean house, I really want to be a good mom and wife. It's just quite difficult. I'm always forgetting appointments and daily chores... at times I just give up and do something else. My husband is great and very supportive. I have 4 kids and 1 diagnosed case of ADHD. We seem to have a LOT in common... Concerta helped him for a while. I took him off the meds bc he wasn't eating. I never was a pusher of meds, but I'm to the point that I am ready to medicate myself. I'm a very healthy eater, and I get plenty of exercise, but honestly... when you forget to pay the power bill (even when you have the money) ONLY when they turn the power off EVERY MONTH there is a problem... I have an appointment to see a dr in a few days and I really hope they can help me.
- —Guest Julie
Try to be more patient
- I have recently been diagnosed with ADHD. It looks like its the problem for a lot of things that happen in my life. I want to say that I am disgusted with a lot of you. If your wife/ husband lost and arm in an accident and couldn't carry furniture or open jars anymore would you divorce them? If they were diagnosed with cancer and couldn't run your bath for you would you leave them or be patient and chill out? You are an impatient lot. Try it from our end. Its not nice at all. If you want to be around then do. If not, get out, you understanding is the only thing that's going to change because the ADHD isn't going anywhere. No matter how much we want it to. You cant beat the illness out of us by nagging it out. Same as you cant beat cancer by waving a bible at it.
- —Guest Guest
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