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Couples With One ADHD Partner

Has anyone else encountered this with an ADHD partner?

My husband was diagnosed at age 45 with ADHD.  He is now 59 and we’ve been together for 5 years.  He is a brilliant man (very high IQ) who struggled for years until he recognized his symptoms from an article and was properly diagnosed.  He is incredibly gentle and kind to me, and if it weren’t for the typical ADHD characteristics, he’d be just about perfect.

We have all the usual ADHD issues often mentioned here, but we’re working through them with only the occasional flare up.  However, he has one trait that I’m curious about, and wondering if any of you have come across it with other ADHD folks.

When he thinks there is no one around, or is in the shower, he carries on complete conversations with “other people”, out loud.  These are real people that we know, not imaginary, and he only vocalizes his side of the conversation.  It’s easy to tell what the “other people” are “saying” based on his next response, but it’s totally wierd!  Many times, these will be angry exchanges, with harsh language and/or very threatening tones.  This is particularly unusual, because he NEVER speaks to anyone that way face to face.  These “conversations” can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes.  It’s like a dual personality thing or something.

Has anyone else ever encountered anything like this?  Is it an occasional symptom of ADHD or something that is found in conjunction with it?


Hahaha… Hi Fly Lady,

I have ADHD and am always having conversations with real people in my head. I am trying to think if i actually have them out loud… Am am actually totally not sure. It is very likely that the more intense and emotional conversations are out loud while i am driving or riding my bike.

I think i do this to vocalise my arguments in a more logical way and get all these crazy thoughts out of my head. For me, i get upset or emotional quite easily and then all these issues rush into my head, easily overwhelming me and making me want to run and hide. Working through the conversation actually lets me organise these thoughts and sometimes lets me resolve the issue without talking to the person, especially if i realise it is an overreaction or personal sensitivity. With really emotive issues, i have even been known to write out the conversations or draft entire emails i never plan on sending.

I guess it is a way of processing e feelings and issues in a safe and non-judgmental way. In fact thinking about the whole process has given me some insite… So thanks for posing e question.

Hope that helps

Posted by Plcumming on May 06, 2014 at 9:27pm

My ADD ex did that all the time. Was a problem because then he would later remember these conversations and think they were real. (ie that the other person said what HE had imagined)

Posted by cgt on May 06, 2014 at 9:43pm

My husband has ADHD and often delivers out loud to me what he wants to say to other people when he is angry. It doesn’t go on for ten minutes however.  It’s usually a few belligerent sentences.  It looks to me as though he’s doing a practice run.  I don’t know of anyone else who does this.

Posted by Maree on May 06, 2014 at 10:26pm

my non ADD partner does this. I do it as well. I don’t think it is an ADD thing as much as something a fair number of people do to vent. Not only to vent but to rehearse positive things such as the compliment you want to give that cute girl/guy you’ve been trying to find a way to meet.

Posted by Gadfly on May 06, 2014 at 10:32pm

Thanks for all the feedback.  Your comments all make a lot of sense.  I had told my husband that he does this and at first he did not believe me.  Then I recited his most recent “conversation” almost verbatiim and he was shocked.  He knew he had been thinking those things, but had no idea that he had said them aloud.

Hmmmm…maybe I should not have said anything…let him think I could read his mind.  LOL

Posted by FLYLADY on May 06, 2014 at 11:09pm

I wish my husband would have this venting tool as it would eliminate a lot of hurt feelings and frustration on my part and our kids

Posted by samm on May 09, 2014 at 3:08pm

Oh yeah. My husband has a whole relationship with the me inside his head apart fr the real me. It is the obsessive thought pattern I think that makes people with ADHD have to do this.

Posted by YellaRyan on May 10, 2014 at 10:23am

No I don´t do that. I have often thought to my self, that way of thinking is typical for (as an exsample) my mother, or that is typical to think for my father or such…I think that thoughts I have are typical for people I know, and sometimes it´s allmost like I “hear” them speak with me or argue, but I am one hundret persent sure that I don´t hear them in real life, this is something that is happing in my head.I think it´s called…aw, I can´t remember…something with memory. I can´t recall. But I thought that MAYBE your husbond should be checked for schizophrenia? If he want´s to him self, offcourse. I know someone who does this (only to them selfes instead of others) just for the fun of it and I don´t think they have any diagnose what so ever though smile Ps.: Are you sure your husbond isn´t talking in to a bluetooth speaker or something??? Offcourse I think you have checked it, just a tip just in case. Anyway, good luck!

Posted by Electra2 on May 13, 2014 at 1:44am

I do it when I have something important to tell someone because I have to practice what I need to say because of my mind wondering. But sometimes I will wind up in an argument with that person not there.

Posted by dkohli on May 15, 2014 at 1:39pm

My husband does this all of time. My daughter remembers him talking to himself when see was little. He says that he is working things out in his mind. I have grown use to it.

Posted by willow3133 on May 31, 2014 at 1:13am

I have conversations in my head all the time.  I don’t know if its a a trial run or there are just so many topics I need to discuss with that person? I’m okay with it sometimes, but it can get obsessive.  For me it’s a trust and self worth issue, like the chatting is a prevention for being hurt or embarrassed.

Posted by jetergirl on May 31, 2014 at 3:57pm

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