Thanks to KELLY BABCOCK at
So, you’re married to an ADHDer. You’ve hitched your cart to a shooting star that’s ricocheting all over the universe, a runaway locomotive with no regard for staying on the rails. You’ve thrown in with a one person gang of time-thieves who live for fun and instant gratification, a Robin Hood, of sorts, who steals from the organized and adds to the scattered clutter.
So what’s the down side?
Okay, it does sound a little doom and gloom, but it sounds like adventure too, doesn’t it? And yes, it can be. ADHDers bring that to relationships, along with spontaneity and excitement. And, oh that hyperfocus. When you’re the target of that, it can sweep you off your feet.
Forewarned is forearmed!
So, if you’ve dedicated yourself to being the partner of an ADHDer, here’s the first rule to making it a success: learn as much as you can about your partner.
Okay, that’s the same rule as for a relationship with anyone. I meant to say that this is an important point, not one you can put off and attend to at your leisure. “Act now to avoid disappointment!” is the part I left out.
My second rule is less obvious.
There is a model of relationship that tends to lend itself to the situation of ADHDer/non-ADHDer partnership. it’s easy to fall into, hard to get out of … and so very wrong. It’s called the Parent/Child model.
Soon, the non-ADHD partner becomes the keeper of the schedule and most likely becomes resentful of that new burden. Scolding will often follow and since the scolding will be valid, the ADHDer soon falls into the role of child. Self esteem, often already low for the ADHDer, is further undermined, and a cycle of missed deadlines and reprimands followed by lowered self expectations and ambition soon leaves both parties victim of their roles.
Realize, if you are the non-ADHDer, that the ADHDer will punish themselves adequately, your help is not needed in that respect. You may not see the punishment, but I assure you it is there. It can drag on for years over a single situation. And to avoid feeling the need to punish, try to leave the ADHDer in charge of their own responsibilities. Good at it or not, it’s their problem. Reminders, as I said before, can help, but keep them to a minimum. ADHDers can be resentful too. Reminders remind them that they have inadequacies.
So my second rule is: Don’t be a parent or a child in a relationship that’s supposed to be a partnership.
I don’t know why the reluctance to learn seems so common.
I suppose in an ongoing relationship with a new diagnosis the hurt feelings get in the way of seeing straight. Sometime the ADHD spouse just has a different way of dealing with things.
Your relationship needs to be based on a certain amount of trust which is easy to loose after so many times screwing things up.
For the ADDer:
Reestablishing trust is key to getting the non-adhd spouse to be willing to make the effort to learn what they need too to help you manage your condition.
If the relationship is a keeper than you need to find a balance between pulling your own weight and letting your partner help. The far extreme of getting help is becoming the child and letting your partner be the parent. Not only does it build resentments in both directions, reduce your self-esteem but it also makes it harder to manage your condition.
Even worse is that, as a result of being a child in this relationship you wind up taking your spouse for granted. If you are the parent in the relationship you are enabling this destructive situation. In the end you both loose.
I have learned (the hard way) that being able to accept influence from you spouse is difficult but necessary. ADDers tend to be pretty cocksure about things and when they dont get what they want or if things are not done our way we get angry. My way or the highway is what you will get if you don’t learn to accept influence (especialy when you disagree). Go along to get along has saved many a marriage. Cost to you? A little ego.
I highly recommend this book:
Here is the description of the book from the publisher:
“For men, and the women who love them, this is a highly controversial book on how to get – and be – a good husband. This book will appeal to the countless women who resent that their husbands never listen and that they have to nag in order to get them to do anything around the house; who feel like their husbands are always pawing at them to have sex; and who want more from their marriage. It will appeal to men who want to have more sex, less nagging, and wives who adore them. In short, GOOD HUSBAND, GREAT MARRIAGE is the book for everyone.
GOOD HUSBAND, GREAT MARRIAGE is a hard-hitting, no-nonsense guidebook for men and women to help them fix their marriages. Robert Alter’s central, controversial argument: the man is primarily responsible for the marital problems. Alter says to women: “You are right to want what you want from him.” He says to men: “Stop thinking it’s your wife’s fault, and transform yourself into the good husband you know you have in you. ” In 50 chapters, Alter describes the problem areas men face and what actions they can take to fix them. The chapters include: “How to Know When You’re Being a Man as Opposed to When You’re Being an Asshole,”"How to Talk to Her,” and “Your Anger: Cut the Shit.” Alter’s approach is straightforward and logical; he speaks to men in a language they understand. In addition, sections of the book will be geared for women where Alter will give advice to women on what they can do.”
It explains the importance and advantages of accepting influence and how to do it.
For me my ADHD made this much harder. But a funny thing happened. It worked. Instantly. Friggen magic!
Keeping it up is tough but having a loving relationship without the fights is worth the effort. Not that I don’t fall into old (bad) habits, I do, and so does she, but when I realize whats going on I know how or can reread sections of the book.
As Einstein said: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
This is how you can do something different. What do you have to loose? $6.00?