ADHD-affected marriages, like all marriages, can be extremely successful or absolutely devastating. It's safe to conclude, however, that people whose lives have been affected by ADHD symptoms are living in "the worst of times." There's a lot of hurt and rage.ADHD-affected marriages, like all marriages, can be extremely successful or absolutely devastating. It's safe to conclude, however, that people whose lives have been affected by ADHD symptoms are living in "the worst of times." There's a lot of hurt and rage. You can barely communicate with each other during the roughest times. When you do, it's unusual that you'll agree or see things in the same light. You're annoyed that you've arrived at this stage and perplexed why you haven't been able to improve matters. You've both starting to suspect that your partner isn't truly interested in making things better. Wouldn't things have improved by now if he or she did?
If you are married to someone who has (or may have) ADHD, you may feel isolated and ignored in your relationship. Your partner never appears to follow through on what he says he'll do, to the point where you might think you're living with a child rather than an adult. You feel compelled to constantly remind him to do things. You've started to loathe the person you've become because you nag. You either fight frequently or have absolutely nothing to say to each other that is relevant to you. You're annoyed that your partner can seem to focus intensely on things that he enjoys, but never on you. Worst of all, you're under a lot of stress since you don't know whether you can trust him and you're responsible for practically all of the household's tasks while your spouse gets to "enjoy all the fun."
If you have ADHD (or suspect you do), you may get the impression that the person you married is hidden deep within a nagging monster that lives in your house. The person you once admired has become a control freak, attempting to govern every aspect of your life together. You can never do enough for your spouse, no matter how hard you try, even if you are successful elsewhere, such as at work. Leaving her alone is the simplest way to cope with her.
If you recognize yourself in either of these scenarios, you are suffering from what I refer to as the ADHD impact. Your courtship was fun and thrilling (and often quick), but your marriage has been quite the opposite. Even though you've attempted to talk about it, your partner may be completely unaware that you're unhappy and lonely. You fight and nag a lot more than you imagined, and your life is often depressingly up and down and out of your control. The underlying reason could be that ADHD symptoms–and the responses both of you have to those symptoms—have been destroying your partnership.
The good news is that recognizing ADHD's influence in your marriage can help you save it. You may learn how to recognize ADHD and the problems it causes in marriages, as well as specific strategies to follow to start rebuilding your lives.
The regularity and predictability of the patterns in ADHD-affected marriages will astound you. These patterns begin with an ADHD symptom, which sets off a chain of predictable responses in both spouses, sending your marriage into a downward spiral. Knowledge is power in this scenario. You're both a part of these patterns. You can adjust them or avoid them entirely if you know what they are.
The stakes are really high. According to studies, people with ADHD have twice the likelihood of marital problems and divorce as people without the disorder. These figures do not, however, imply that people with ADHD cannot be good spouses. Both spouses in these marriages are affected by a mix of ADHD symptoms and their mutual responses (or lack thereof) to those symptoms. You can save your marriage if you understand the patterns that ADHD symptoms generate.
My husband and I wish we had had The ADHD Effect on Marriage from the start. It will guide you through the steps necessary to reclaim your relationship's footing, mend the emotional damage, and pave the way to a brighter and more fulfilling future. You'll discover that your issues are caused by the ADHD effect, not by character flaws or failings, and that the two of you can work together to overcome it. You'll discover how to put ADHD back in its proper place: as one of many facets of your life, rather than as the sole decider of your days.
Even the most dysfunctional marriages may improve and prosper with the correct education, understanding, compassion, emotional strength, and a determination to move past marital history, as demonstrated by a brief account of my own story.
My husband and I, like many other couples, had no notion that one of us had ADHD. My husband's intelligence, sharp wit, and propensity for adventure had won me over. He is a music, cuisine, and wine connoisseur, and with his love, attention, gifts, and surprise travels, he brought unexpected enthusiasm into my life. He was ferocious in his focus on me, which both astonished and flattered me. He was accomplished and successful professionally, but he was also warm; when I was unwell on our first date, he snuggled me under a blanket on the sofa and brought me hot tea, which I appreciated.
Despite the fact that we loved each other, our marriage began to fall apart in its early years. I couldn't understand how someone who had been so attentive at first could now utterly disregard me and my needs, or be so "consistently inconsistent" in carrying his weight around the house and with the kids. He occasionally helped out, but mostly didn't, and he seemed to be completely unconscious of my existence. He was both perplexed and irritated, as it turned out. How could the lady he'd married, who had appeared so warm and hopeful, turn into a weary nag who wouldn't let him rest or leave him alone?
We were absolutely dysfunctional as a relationship and contemplating divorce by our ten-year anniversary. Only our desire to raise our children well and a deep-seated belief that we should be able to do better kept us together. We were enraged, furious, entirely alienated, and dissatisfied. I was depressed to the point of being clinically depressed. At the time, our nine-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a math learning deficit as well as ADHD. We eventually discovered that my spouse, too, suffers from ADHD.
The discovery that one or both of you have ADHD is only the first step. Although medication is the most effective way to jump-start treatment, it does not treat ADHD in marriages well without behavioral adjustments. These adjustments must be made voluntarily. A non-ADHD spouse can't "make" her ADHD husband do things like be more organized or attentive, no matter how hard she tries. Furthermore, both partners must contribute to these adjustments. Only changing the ADHD spouse will not address the marriage's problems. We had to learn these lessons the hard way, primarily at my husband's expense, as I insisted on forcing him to do things his way. The more I pushed, the more he fought back, and our relationship deteriorated. Does this ring a bell?
Finding joy in your marriage after years of pain is a process, not a one-time fix. The journey's benefits are well worth it. My spouse and I have gone from being extremely dysfunctional to being almost absurdly happy. We are prospering as individuals and feel that our connection is stronger now than it has ever been. We feel safer and more optimistic now that we're back "in love" than we did when we married almost two decades ago. My husband's ADHD symptoms are under control, and I'm much more aware of and appreciative of the effort required. We know and tolerate one other's flaws and rejoice in each other's strengths, unlike during our difficult times. Our pleasure in our ability to pull ourselves back from the edge encourages us to express our emotions in caring and supportive ways. We will never return to our painful past, and we have built a new partnership with a bright future ahead of us.