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Couples With One ADHD Partner

How do you do it?

I’m new to this forum, and new to being married to an ADHD spouse who was diagnosed as a child. I’m super rational, a strong ISTJ personality, we are trying to figure out how to live together. But my husband lets his ADHD run his life!  He is on Adderall but it doesn’t really do everything we need.  He is manic, disorganized, and unfocused. We talk and argue about his attention span, his lack of organization, but our frustrations are just escalating. I am a fixer, but I just don’t know how to help.  Can someone tell me how to be supportive rather than critical? I can’t seem to find my way in this!


Start by reading “The ADHD Effect on Marriage” by Melissa Orlov.

Posted by BC on Aug 11, 2014 at 4:45am

By learning that I’m not responsible for his decisions and lack of organization and I can let him handle the mess that he creates.  By learning that I don’t have to treat him like a child and that I don’t have to fix him. By learning to accept him as he is. By realizing that he has a disability and that there are certain things that are better if I handle. By learning to set limits and stick to them. By taking time to talk and relate and enjoy each others company and remember why we got married in the first place.

Posted by Abner on Aug 11, 2014 at 12:02pm

Here’s a list of relationship problems when ADHD is in the mix, and solutions from Melissa Orlov: Keep in mind, there is no way to “fix” ADHD—it cannot be cured. You have to work together to implement strategies to cope and thrive.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Aug 11, 2014 at 3:40pm

Thanks to those he responded I really appreciate the help and advice!!

Posted by Ajsha on Aug 12, 2014 at 12:56pm

You sound very much like myself and I would say first of all just make sure you both acknowledge that ADHD is in the equation…  This means he has to understand he has it and it changes his life (when I first met my now husband while he would admit he had it he didn’t want to admit it changed his life in any way because he took it as a negative thing) and your life too.  Now that y’all understand that see that it is not a negative thing, it just means you run your life different then the couple next door does, and they run there life different then the couple next to them… It’s what works for y’all in your world and you have to work ADHD into that world like it or not.  Find the positives!  I’m OCD and have narcolepsy so you would say pretty opposite worlds from my husband, but there is a magical word compromise that works.  I guess one thing I have found to be really important is that even though you may not have the same problems staying focused or whatever as he does, it works much better if you identify with him and be a team rather than continue to let him be unfocused while you are very focused getting your stuff done.  For example, we keep a small white board in the kitchen of “things to do” - it was actually his idea because he needed to see what he needed to do to keep on track (especially think of weekend later when the list can be so long!).  But even though it was originally his I put my chores and things I need to do up there also so it doesn’t look like he is singled out doing everything you know? Or like I’m so smart I don’t need a list… Those aren’t things you want them to think.  Also in regards to keeping focused we will both say “okay - you go do this, I’m going to do this, we will meet back in 30 minutes” which indirectly helps keep both of you on task and in a time limit.  Is love to help you out more if you have specific issues as I really understand how it is - the ups and downs - but even if not I hope this helps! Good luck smile

Posted by FightForLove on Aug 12, 2014 at 3:17pm

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