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ADHD and marriage
July 22, 2010 6:23 AM   Subscribe

Attention Disorders Can Take a Toll on Marriage “It’s been a revelation,” the wife said. “I didn’t realize what a critical piece the A.D.H.D. has been in my marriage.” Treatment of ADD in marriages.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 (42 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's really lack of empathy that causes the problem. Luckily we both have ADD so we can understand each other.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:30 AM on July 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Thank you for this.
posted by ZakDaddy at 6:54 AM on July 22, 2010


This is really inter-.... HEYLET'SGOOUTSIDEANDRIDEOURBIKES NEVERMINDI'MBORED!
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:17 AM on July 22, 2010


My wife was reading parts of this out loud for about 5 minutes before she stopped, looked at me and asked "are you even listening?" To which I replied, "huh?" *wifesigh*
posted by schyler523 at 7:19 AM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh my. What a painful can of works for me.

My undiagnosed ADHD definitely had a huge role in the dissolution of a very long term relationship. There were other factors too, but I can't help but wonder 'what if.'
posted by bilabial at 7:20 AM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Take a look at the comments, too. As one of the commenters said, it's very clear who has dealt with attention issues and who hasn't. That, in itself, should be reason enough to look at this more closely.

SQUIRREL!
posted by Madamina at 7:21 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


tl;dr... Sorry, my wife's calling me. Oh, hey, there's that pencil...
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:37 AM on July 22, 2010


Thanks for a timely post, at least in my life. This describes my life.

From the NY Times article.
'He described a life of “crushing responsibility,” of working full time, caring for his children and his wife, and maintaining the household and finances. “After years of this, I felt I didn’t have two children, I had three children and no one to help,”"

There are too many other statements here that apply to me, but that one really sums it up.

Madamina, thanks for pointing out the comments. You are absolutely correct, those who have lived with it shine out like a beacon and there is some good info there.
posted by oshburghor at 7:49 AM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Everything in the NYT article is true. I knew my husband had ADD before we were married, but I was not prepared at all for how frantic our life together would be. It was very hard at first, but eventually things worked out and I played to his strengths rather than try to change weaknesses. Constant communication really helps because one can't assume the ADD/ADHD spouse is on the same wave as the neurotypical spouse all the time.

The forgetfulness is very real. Notepads, calendaring software, Remember The Milk and PDAs didn't work out for him unfortunately. It's really like living with two people - the smart, funny man who is my best friend, and the forgetful man who can't be budged when he's hyperfocused on something.
posted by Calzephyr at 7:55 AM on July 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


This makes a lot of sense. I'm actually the more structured one—at least since getting treatment for my depression—but I think that's because I need it. So I can come off as very Type A, gogogo, let's get this done; but I feel what the Dr. Heller article calls "the unobservable symptoms": "The lack of confidence from being a chronic underachiever, the shame of being constantly yelled at or punished for messing up, the sense of always letting others down."

So what I may actually need to do is communicate to my S.O. that it's important she help me maintain this structure because sometimes it feels like if one cog falls out of place, the whole edifice will come crashing down. Though she's already good at soothing me when something *does* go awry, and reminding me that it's NOT the end of the world.
posted by Eideteker at 8:32 AM on July 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


My partner showed me this article with a gentle "Does this sound familiar..."

I fiddle with random objects in her car or on her shelves all the time. It takes all my focus and attention to sit on the couch and watch a movie together - and I usually fail in the effort. It's harder still to just sit in companionable silence and enjoy each other's company.

It's as if my head was filled with bees or something - like I can only focus if I have something for the bees to work on, too. I find it difficult to listen to a podcast if I'm not also playing an iPhone game, to read a book if I'm not also listening to music. Books on CD are great - driving frees up a sufficient portion of my brain to absorb the text.

Wanting to play a game while doing something else makes you look like a real asshole, though, when you find yourself doing it while your partner is trying to talk to you.

On an outing early in our relationship, I flipped open my GBA to work on Final Fantasy Tactics waiting for her in the car - I don't remember the details, exactly, but I was by myself for a span of time on the order of, like, two minutes, tops. But I had to be super-stimulated. I felt so bad for upsetting her that I'm shaking with embarrassment just typing this out.

I've never been diagnosed with ADHD. I also have a really hard time asking for help.

But I love her a whole lot, Metafilter. She makes me want to be a better person. I want to try.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 8:33 AM on July 22, 2010 [19 favorites]


"The lack of confidence from being a chronic underachiever, the shame of being constantly yelled at or punished for messing up, the sense of always letting others down." (Eideteker)

Oof. This gets me right in the gut this morning. I'm having a bad ADD day (or, more specifically, it's not that my ADD's so bad today, it's that today I'm getting hit by the consequences of previous bad days that I didn't notice).
posted by ocherdraco at 8:41 AM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yep, Eideteker and ocherdraco, that's exactly what I feel, and exactly how I get frustrated with my partner. I'm so mad at myself for messing up that when I have a chance to be better, I MUST! GET! IT! RIGHT! When I absolutely have to be somewhere, I'm used to timing myself as closely as possible. Operative word: "myself." So when I say, "COME ON! COME ON!" to him, he doesn't feel the urgency to which I'm so well attuned after years of beating myself up about it. He doesn't understand (well, by know he kind of does) that I'm not upset with him, I'm upset with myself.

There's so much overcompensating for the slip-ups, so much feeling like you're not good enough and then needing reassurance. For those who say that we're so eager to just "take a pill," there's no pill in the world that could fix all of the ingrained fear that we've developed over the years. My last two partners really didn't get it, and I built even more protective mechanisms into my already-complicated routines. But my current partner has helped me be myself way more than any kind of drug ever could.
posted by Madamina at 9:01 AM on July 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wow, the first comment asks a great question: how DO you know the difference when someone has ADD and they're just a lazy jerk who passive-aggressively is hoping you'll do all the work?
posted by Melismata at 9:23 AM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


HEYLET'SGOOUTSIDEANDRIDEOURBIKES NEVERMINDI'MBORED!

SQUIRREL!

Let it be known that the poorly-done ADD jokes portion of the discussion has been fulfilled.

Hopefully we can have an actual discussion without any more of these.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:37 AM on July 22, 2010 [19 favorites]


Great post. I am the ADD spouse. And I can identify with many of the difficulties it causes in my marriage. My wife occasionally boils over with her overwhelming feeling that she is carrying the entire household.

As the ADD one, I don't use ADD as an excuse for not taking responsibility. But my wife and I use that knowledge to realize how the traditional communication needs to change if we are going to work as a partnership.
posted by cross_impact at 9:47 AM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Huh. First I read this comment:

From the NY Times article.
'He described a life of “crushing responsibility,” of working full time, caring for his children and his wife, and maintaining the household and finances. “After years of this, I felt I didn’t have two children, I had three children and no one to help,”"

There are too many other statements here that apply to me, but that one really sums it up.


And I think, well yeah, me too; I've described my life in this way in the past, before reading the article. But then I read this comment:

Constant communication really helps because one can't assume the ADD/ADHD spouse is on the same wave as the neurotypical spouse all the time.

The forgetfulness is very real. Notepads, calendaring software, Remember The Milk and PDAs didn't work out for him unfortunately. It's really like living with two people - the smart, funny man who is my best friend, and the forgetful man who can't be budged when he's hyperfocused on something.


And I think, well yeah, that's all the stuff my wife complains about, in a nutshell. So now I'm wondering if we both have ADD and/or ADHD. I guess she and I have something we'd better discuss, assuming we can pay attention long enough i keed, i keed.
posted by davejay at 10:12 AM on July 22, 2010


This is really inter-.... HEYLET'SGOOUTSIDEANDRIDEOURBIKES NEVERMINDI'MBORED!

ADHD may be a joke to you, but it causes serious pain for myself and an awful lot of your fellow Mefites. I'd suggest reading through this AskMe next time you feel like laughing at us.
posted by TrialByMedia at 10:44 AM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


> It's really lack of empathy that causes the problem. Luckily we both have ADD so we can understand each other.
I think the linked NYT article does a good job at covering one aspect of the problem (ADHD/ADD and its effects), but it doesn't do a good enough job at covering the other side of the issue (inability to show compassion, empathy and tolerance or, at worst, outright contempt for the partner with ADD or ADHD).
posted by christopherious at 10:54 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, this describes my marriage too! Fortunately we're newly married, maybe awareness of this now can prevent things from blowing up down the road. My wife is on medication for ADD and I have the same feelings of frustration at carrying all of the load or feeling like she is irresponsible or childish. Because we're young I've been assuming that she'll grow out of some of that but I think I need to internalize that she probably won't.

I guess we should start reading that ADHD and Marriage blog and maybe that book when it comes out (Amazon says September). Hopefully we'll find some actual solutions in there; nagging doesn't help anything but we've got to find a way to share the burden of running a household.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 11:00 AM on July 22, 2010


I'm saving this post for my son. One day, he'll grow up and hopefully be in a significant relationship. His ADHD was diagnosed two years ago and we see how it impacts him every day. It won't go away and the issues I face as his parent (Dude, take out the trash) will come into play in his future relationships (Dude, take out the trash).

On the plus side, I hope his future love will be able to laugh when he looks up and asks why The Force isn't working to help clean the room and s/he has to remind him that he doesn't have midichlorians.
posted by onhazier at 11:01 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh holy hell. I have an ex, my first long term girlfriend, who I broke up with more than 20 years ago and she has been creepy/stalky ever since, occasionally leaving drunk dial voicemails and sending long incoherent emails. After trying to deal with her on and off for years, I finally decided to never answer her calls or emails, and there's a reason why. Our conversations would always end with me screaming "you never listen to a fucking word I say!" And yet she continues to harangue me with her hyperfocused, highly biased interpretation of events 20+ years ago.

In her last email, she said she'd just been diagnosed with ADHD. I interpreted this as her attempt to rationalize her behavior for so many years, she was not to blame, it was her illness. And I don't care anymore. There's a reason we broke up, it's irreparable. But after reading some of those comments in the NYTimes link (and I don't have the patience to go through 19 pages of them) I was shocked by one comment:

I always saw him as forgetful, and over the years, began to see myself as forgettable.

After years of exposure to someone who never listened, and if I was listened to, I was disregarded or forgotten instantly, I must have internalized it. I began to see myself as someone not worth listening to. I can still see the damage it wreaks in my life today, more than 20 years later. I don't know if I can ever forgive her for that. Now the trick is, can I forgive myself for what I allowed her to do to me? And what I did to myself?
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:21 AM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


The missus and I both have a touch of the ADHD (we think). We've been trying to research it some (when we remember to). Thanks for the post.
posted by DaddyNewt at 11:30 AM on July 22, 2010


Well, this is timely...

I've been struggling with some issues that are what appears to be the ADHD spouse. This post really communicates it well... I only became very conscious of my distractedness fairly recently. I never assumed that it was anything remotely like ADHD, because I can focus very well on most things - I'm very successful at my job, etc - but I also have found myself just completely unable to pay attention to things that I know I should pay attention to.

I actually decided to seek help. I'm outing myself for this now, as I did it confidentially, telling NOBODY about it. When I went in, I told the Psych that I wasn't sure if it was depression or what, just that things seemed WRONG and I had a hard time focusing -- even while talking to him about what was going on. This was a couple of months ago. I was scheduled for testing, as we wanted to go through that before I talked to anyone, and that has been in insurance claim hell, and rescheduled time and time again. I think the testing is like a month out now.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to hold my focus while remembering everything else going on, and simply willing myself to pay attention and focus on conversations.. but it's difficult. It's been more and more difficult to do as time goes on.



These articles speak to me in a way that seems to confirm what I have suspected for the past few months... but that's not making the help come any faster. I hate to dump this on a thread, but does anyone have any advice for this situation? Just "hang in there," like the oh-so-wonderful motivational poster with the cat?
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:39 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


TrialByMedia, I don't mean to diminish your experiences. But if you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

I mean, I'm saying this as someone who has walked past something I see every day, stopped midsentence and said, no joke, "Oooooh, shiny!" If that's not an ADHD cliche, I don't know what is. And it's a cheap laugh, but you're right; there are loads of people like you and me here. That's why I made it.

This might seem like it's unrelated, but you should really check out the new documentary about Joan Rivers. It's a great example of so many things we're talking about in this thread -- surviving, dealing with relationships, having your insecurities turned into not only a joke but the only things people know about you. But there's one sequence in particular that pretty much sums up her whole life, in which she deals with a heckler offended by a Helen Keller joke. Boy, did she manage to turn that one around, all while reminding us that this is how she's survived.
posted by Madamina at 11:54 AM on July 22, 2010


In fact, there are many issues which the organized spouse cannot understand or accept. "How could you ignore that pile of bills on your desk?" "What do you mean you forgot to pick up Jennifer at 4?" "I hate walking into this kitchen when I get home from work. How can you leave such a mess?"

Wow. When my boyfriend told me he had ADD I didn't really consider the impact it might have on our relationship. I have definitely had similar thoughts to the ones above about the state of his apartment and his ability to organize his life. Thanks for sharing these articles--it's a good lesson in empathy and understanding. I'm going to start figuring out ways to work toward his strengths rather than (mentally) scolding him for his weaknesses.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 11:54 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The NYTimes article was my life (as the non-ADHD partner) until he was diagnosed and got medication. Seriously, medication saved our relationship. He doesn't take it 100% of the time now, but it's given him a chance to develop coping skills. I spent a lot of time thinking that he didn't really want to be with me because he'd forget to call me back, he wouldn't pay attention when I talked to him, he would game late into the night instead of coming to bed. 95% of those behaviors are gone.

By educating myself, I'm no longer the resentful spouse. I'm no longer incredulous that he can't remember that the rent is due on the same day every month. I help him find his wallet instead of getting annoyed that he's lost it for the third time this week. I remind him about appointments. I take care of the finances. I veto impulsive, ADD-driven purchases. I organize his mail. I don't see it as enabling when the consequences of his actions or inactions affect both of us. But I'm not his mom, and there's some stuff that he's just got to figure out on his own. I have nothing to do with his daytime job, and he's very successful at that.

He's incredibly smart, funny, creative and generous. He's extremely patient with my own mental health issues. It took years for me to get to the point where I'm not resentful and am rarely annoyed. But it's so, so worth it not to be banging my head against a brick wall. ADHD won't magically go away; it takes a concerted commitment to medication and coping strategies, and if you can help your partner to get help, your relationship will be oh-so-much stronger.

how DO you know the difference when someone has ADD and they're just a lazy jerk who passive-aggressively is hoping you'll do all the work?

Because the person who has ADHD genuinely feels bad, whereas the lazy jerk does not care about the impact on you.
posted by desjardins at 12:16 PM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yes. Yes. Yes.

A counselor recently suggested that my husband may have ADHD. I was a little surprised at first but as I've considered it, it makes a lot of things make a lot more sense. I'm not absolving him of all personal responsibility but I'm learning to give him a little more grace. It's a struggle, though, after ten years of considering his actions from a different viewpoint and I'm glad to hear that this is a common experience and look forward to more resources being developed for spouses.
posted by wallaby at 12:33 PM on July 22, 2010


I'm not absolving him of all personal responsibility (wallaby)

And you shouldn't have to. One thing I learned with my diagnosis is that, if anything, it makes me more responsible for the problems caused by my ADD because I now have more tools to fix them and prevent them from happening in the first place.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:41 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


how DO you know the difference when someone has ADD and they're just a lazy jerk who passive-aggressively is hoping you'll do all the work?

Because the person who has ADHD genuinely feels bad, whereas the lazy jerk does not care about the impact on you.
posted by desjardins at 2:16 PM on July 22


Also because the person who has ADD is affected in all areas of their life, not just the ones where it benefits them.
posted by joannemerriam at 1:02 PM on July 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


One day, he'll grow up and hopefully be in a significant relationship. His ADHD was diagnosed two years ago and we see how it impacts him every day. It won't go away and the issues I face as his parent (Dude, take out the trash) will come into play in his future relationships (Dude, take out the trash).

I'm becoming increasingly certain that my son, who just turned four, has ADHD. Its not just him "being three" or "just being a kid" but doing things like wetting his pants because he forgot he was on his way to the bathroom that have been consistent for some time now.

Anyone want to give me advice for what I should do as his parent?
posted by anastasiav at 2:02 PM on July 22, 2010


I was just at my first ADD support group meeting last night, and I was thinking some of these guys were unremitting dicks to their spouses. At least in terms of failing to recognize that there might be an implicit human norm that they were failing to live up to.

I just got diagnosed a few months ago, and I'm realizing I've got a lot of work to do. The main motivation to do so is to not make my wife's life hell.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:19 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


MysticMCJ-

Speaking as someone who not only ended up - FINALLY - with an ADHD diagnosis as an adult, but had a devil of a time getting treatment for it (hey, at least you *have* insurance!)- you're probably already doing the right stuff. Being aware of it, trying to consciously change your behavior, etc. Those are all good and necessary.

Maybe the most helpful thing I found, though, was stuff like the book Driven to Distraction- just for the stories. This thread, linked above, might be even better, it's certainly one of the better ask/mefi threads EVAR.

Somehow knowing that *so* many other people had gone through the same stuff was really helpful. (and, too, knowing how many things about myself I just thought were irreducibly *weird*- are also really common ADHD effects. It hasn't made it any more possible to ignore/not be freaked out by, say, the sound of people eating... but knowing that's not just me helped, a lot)

That's sort of the flipside though- some of what you're probably going to end up doing is going to be learning to modify your behavior/perceptions/etc. Getting medicated, probably, and learning new habits. But some of it's going to be acceptance- just learning to deal with what's probably going to be a life-long perceptual/conceptual style.

I'm not sure what I think about Thom Hartmann, and I recommend buying one of his books at most 'cos there's a lot of repetition, but stuff like this is pretty good in terms of looking-on-the-bright-side. (in short, there's a lot of survival value in percieving things this way, and just because society's moved in a direction where being able to pay attention to boring-ass things all the live-long day is 'normal' and rewarded, doesn't mean we should feel bad because we're relatively incapable of doing so.)
posted by hap_hazard at 3:20 PM on July 22, 2010


Wow, I'm so glad that people got something out of this post. (I have ADHD and I am married).

For a long time I was the "identified patient". The person who had THE PROBLEM! Impulsive, messy, bad listener, etc. So I obsessively educated myself about ADHD, got medicated, accepted the "quirky" but not horrible things that I do. And we still weren't great at having conversations.

The entire time I hadn't been listening to Kevin, he hadn't been listening to me! WE JUST DIDN'T NOTICE EACH OTHER NOT LISTENING!

Over time I've realized that everyone I've ever dated or really wanted to get with has had ADHD. So do ALL MY FRIENDS except maybe 2. Maybe. I know this because I talk about it constantly and with a positive attitude and eventually people reveal that they have the diagnosis too. And I thought ALL of these people were totally normal!

Why? We don't notice each other not listening? We don't get hard feelings when we are late, early, forget to call, lose our phones, drink too much, ask for directions three times? We impulsively decide "hey it's a friend" even if you're kinda messed up? We forget that you broke up with us two years ago? Everyone else gets sick of the flakiness or we simply forget about them? Who knows!

I am not surprised that there are a LOT of ADHD marriages. I imagine that usually one person probably is "worse" and gets diagnosed first, or does okay at work but has problems elsewhere that aren't associated with ADHD.

The social skills and relationship problems with ADHD go untreated or unnoticed because we (and our shrinks) are so focused on school, work, and just getting basic shit done. And how do you say "I find it boring to talk to my husband" without feeling like an asshole? It's easy to say "I keep getting fired" or "I forget to turn in my homework".

But it's true! Relationships can be hard and boring. And then the guilt when you fuck it up can be enormous. I mean, I know my husband pretty well. There isn't much EXCITING for us to talk about. Sometimes (a lot of the time) I'd rather be on metafilter, or having sex, or possibly arguing. Anything but sitting down and having dinner at the dinner table with just him. And I keep having to listen to him say words! And I have to sit still! WORST THING EVER!

Man, I sound like an asshole, but it's true. I would put my hand in a grape crusher for my husband but dinner--not so much. You know what? That's okay. It has to be okay. It can't be the metric by which I judge my relationship--what everyone else is happy and able to do.

Medications helped a lot, but changing my expectations for myself so I could focus on things I like doing with my husband--instead of groaning through the stuff I hate because that's what good wives do--has been awesome.

(I always say that our dishwasher saved our marriage before it even began. So my advice is, buy a dishwasher.

Also when your dishwasher breaks, buy paper plates until you remember to buy a new one. Consider it a fair trade for the reams of court papers that would stem from your divorce.)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:26 PM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Man. This article can extend beyond marriage. My roommate has severe ADHD. Mine is more moderate - plus I'm medicated and I've learned a lot of coping skills. She hasn't. And I am seriously about to lose my mind because of her laziness, forgetfulness, and messiness.

Luckily, because she's my roommate and not my wife, I can give her an eviction notice!
posted by elsietheeel at 4:51 PM on July 22, 2010


On an outing early in our relationship, I flipped open my GBA to work on Final Fantasy Tactics waiting for her in the car - I don't remember the details, exactly, but I was by myself for a span of time on the order of, like, two minutes, tops. But I had to be super-stimulated. I felt so bad for upsetting her that I'm shaking with embarrassment just typing this out.

I've never been diagnosed with ADHD. I also have a really hard time asking for help.


I'm like that too, and I try to work things out to compromise as to not make my SO nuts with stuff that would seem rude. Like, during dinner i can read a book, but I won't also be having a discussion with a friend via text. And he doesn't get annoyed anymore when i pull out a notebook and start making lists or brainstorming after I have a couple of drinks, because once i get the thoughts down I can move on and talk about something else. He doesn't always notice some of the smaller things, like how I trace spirals on my leg so that I can focus enough to listen to him talk.

All that coping stuff that is recommended, the structures, the double-checks, the routines, the relationships, the built-in unstructured time...I already do all that stuff. And then I got to a point where my systems started falling apart and I became agitated and panicky and the full brunt of the symptoms hit me hard.

So, I've known for a loooong time, but I managed pretty well, until I didn't. And so I just got diagnosed like last week. (It's way less weird than I thought, the hardest part was making the phone call, after that it was all very validating.)

The demon that lives in the air, you don't have to torture yourself.
posted by desuetude at 9:12 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, but this article? I get it, but household responsibilities aren't the problem for me. My structures are really important to me, and my SO is really laid back. I'm the more organized one in a lot of ways, but it's because I HAVE to be to keep my sanity. He doesn't always realize that when he deprioritizes something that's part of my system, he's throwing me utterly off-kilter.
posted by desuetude at 9:17 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Had I not found the ADHD_Partner group, the disorder would have destroyed my marriage years ago. Coping with ADHD in a marriage is a challenge for both partners, but unfortunately there are very few resources available. I'm glad this is getting talked about in the mainstream media, but it's too bad that Tara Parker-Pope didn't bother to interview Gina Pera, the author of AFAIK the only book specifically geared for the "neurotypical" spouse of someone who has ADHD.

Full disclosure: Yes, Gina is a friend of mine.
posted by Tholian at 4:47 AM on July 23, 2010


desuetude: thanks. And for the record, I don't get down on myself for being a fuckup or whatever all the time - it's just that recounting that particular incident sort of sideswiped me emotionally.

And I feel I should stress how awesome my partner is at helping me cope with the twitchiness. Helpful hint: remember to say thank you to each other for the extra efforts you're making to make a happy relationship work.

And seconding that bit about getting a dishwasher. Seriously.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 7:54 AM on July 23, 2010


Tholian, thank you so much for the links to the ADHD Partner group and the book: just ordered the book, joined the group and feel like a tiny step has been taken toward sanity.
posted by jamaro at 4:34 PM on July 23, 2010


It's odd reading this- my relationships have been affected much less by my ADD than the rest of my life. I recognize some of the things in the article- things I dealt with in the longest term relationship I had (3.5 years), but the other ones, including the two relationships that went about a year each weren't disrupted nearly as much.

Then again, I think I tend to hyperfocus on my partner, to the exclusion of everything else around me. I've had to apologize to friends in the past for this sort of behavior.

My one piece of advice is be upfront. Everyone I've dated has known I have ADD sometime during the first date. ADD tends to lend itself to funny stories. And when you screw up, say so, explain why it happened, how it could happen again and work on strategies that will help prevent it from happening again. A bad signs list tacked to my wall seriously helped. (If the following things are happening in the relationship, you should stop and look to see if anything is wrong.)

It also helps that I was diagnosed when I was 6 and have had some excellent treatment and coping skills help in the meanwhile.
posted by Hactar at 1:42 AM on July 24, 2010


Also because the person who has ADD is affected in all areas of their life, not just the ones where it benefits them.

Late as usual

But. But. I think qualifying it as "all areas of life" is problematic because it ignores hyper focusing which sets the person up for, "well they can do x, why can't they do y?" The other half, who should know better because he has ADD too, does this to me quite often. He's absolutely convinced I'm being a lazy jerk when the reality is I.Just.Can't.Focus on the task no more than he can remember to put things away and, wipe the counter after making something to eat because his head is so far off in the clouds. And, it ignores the coping skills we create for ourselves to manage things.

Article touched a huge nerve ... *ugh*
posted by squeak at 1:45 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


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