New Issue!

Spring 2017 Issue ADDitude magazine Read the 'ADHD Therapies That Work' issue now!

The New ADDitude Forums Are Live!

Reach our full community by posting to ADDitude's discussion forums here

Couples Where Both Partners Have ADHD

Marriage deteriorating

I don’t even know where to start, but I’m just so miserable.  Both of us have ADHD and were diagnosed late in life.  I was diagnosed first and have been trying to work on issues and deal with them.  Sometimes I am great, sometimes I am a complete failure.  Work is a lot better.  He’s not changed much.  I hoped medication would help, and it did for a while—he was much less grumpy and yelled less, but it definitely didn’t cure all.

Our biggest problem is that we don’t pay any attention to each other.  When we met, it was very all encompassing.  Looking back now, we were definitely hyperfocusing on each other.  I thrived in the attention.  Very soon after we married things fell apart—we had a baby pretty quickly and from then on we stopped really paying attention to each other.  All we do is fight.  It’s just such a struggle to get through everyday life with us both working and taking care of the kids.  He feels like he does everything, but I feel like things aren’t done right unless I do them.  He may “do” a lot—but he doesn’t “finish” anything and I can’t deal because he leaves a wake of chaos that makes me want to run away since I don’t know how to jump into the middle of it. 

I’m starved for attention.  I don’t feel like he notices I’m alive.  He spends all of his free time on the computer or his stupid smart phone.  I get angry because I’m sad, but he doesn’t notice or care.  He is always running off on some errand or another and doesn’t come back for long periods because he gets distracted.  We don’t have a physical relationship at all.  I feel so alone and like I’m just going to die lonely.  I feel so unimportant.  It feels hopeless, but the thought of a divorce is too overwhelming I can’t see how that can happen.

There’s no question here, I guess.  I just wonder if anyone else feels this way?  How do I bring focus back to me?


Hello Keri. I also have ADHD and am lonely in my marriage to ADHD spouse. For me, getting a coach and setting some personal goals, and being accountable to the coach for “homework”, helped me to focus on myself, and to get stronger within myself. I have come to realize I’ve been in denial about many of the effects of our relationship on me. Currently struggling with whether to stay or go, though am leaning toward going. Not sure how many of our issues are due to ADHD, and how many due to other factors. Would like to have a better understanding of that before I give up on 20+ years of marriage, but also realize I may not ever really “know”. Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking. Take good care of yourself, and trust your intuition. Wishing health and happiness for you.

Posted by ral77851 on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:12pm

Yes, I’ve probably felt all the ways you describe at one point or another.  The Good Old Days when he’d “DO” lots of stuff but never finish anything…sure beats the heck out of doing very little and finishing even less.  The fact that I did not appreciate the chaos mostly finished projects or jobs created AND didn’t think anything he did was “right” is exactly what led to the shift from actually DOing stuff to doing very little.  It was a very slow process, took about a decade to accomplish. 

If I had it to do over again I would be able to KNOW that DOing lots but never doing it “my way” or rarely seeing it through to “perfect completion” was not something to complain about too much or even dwell on…just appreciate the help and Move On. 

I can also guarantee that whether you’re sad (& acting sad) or sad (& acting mad) or irritated/overwhelmed by half done projects & projects that had to get done by the only person who can “do them right” you are constantly emitting the vibes that will make it even more likely he will preferentially spend even more of his time on the computer, on his phone, off running errands that take forever, etc.

I can also psychicly predict that while you describe your own “progress” as—“Sometimes I am great, sometimes I am a complete failure.  Work is a lot better.  He’s not changed much”—if he was asked for a similar response it would be almost 100% identical to your own summation…just guessing based on OUR life experiences.

Becoming parents sucks all the “fun” out of the mutually hyper focused love birds, I assure you!  Hire a babysitter, leave the partially finished projects at home, evict that inner critic who gets bored harping on the same person goes searching for a bit of novelty & turns to him, and go spend some time doing something else together before you both settle into a permanent routine of the sad/angry & resentful/arguing couple—each one thinking they’re progressing so much better than the other one is. 

At least that would be the advice I’d give to me ~13 years ago.  Become just a little bit more like the person he hyper focused on (and less like the nagging, critical wife you’ve become due to Having Kids) and even in the midst of an ADHD-induced stupor of hyper focusing on anything & everything else, he’ll notice THAT.

Posted by BC on Jun 19, 2014 at 1:09pm

So sad to hear. There was a time years ago that I felt “lonely”. I remember telling him that I felt like we were business partners running a house but not connected as husband and wife. It was a very sad and difficult time for me.

After working through all the hurt (among other stuff) I guess I’ve hardened my heart in many ways. I no longer feel lonely, more like I want to be left alone. I’m trying to meet my own needs, take care of myself, do things I enjoy that make me feel good and happy.

Posted by atina on Sep 09, 2015 at 6:21am

Keri B-

I understand how you feel. I just had a baby, and the dynamics of our relationship has changed. We are fine with it, so as long as our child comes first.

I get frustrated when my hubby spends too much time on the computer playing games, or facebooking. I do not understand how he has time for this. Whenever I spend time on the computer, it is a purpose. I am doing his resumes for jobs, looking up jobs, doing work assignments, weather, bills, shopping for my son.

When I explain my frustrations, an argument ensues.

He too, attempts to be a fixer upper. But never finishes the job, and/or leaves a mess. It would be just easier to hire someone.

I too have inattentive adhd, but I know the importance of organization such as putting things back where you find them, or doing it right the first time. By not doing so, my life only gets more disorganized and I feel overwhelmed. He thinks that I am nagging him, but I believe that he is just avoiding accountability.

Posted by Berta22 on May 17, 2016 at 1:47am

Reply to this thread

You must be logged in to reply. To log in, click here.
Not a member? Join ADDConnect today. It's free and easy!

Not a member yet? Join here »

Search the ADDConnect Group Discussions