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Couples With One ADHD Partner

Struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

My husband has recently been diagnosed with ADD along with two of our three children.  We have been together for 24 years and married for 20.  It is now clear to me that most of our relationship issues stem from his ADD. The issue I have, he see what these behaviors and traits are doing to me.  I feel alone, isolated and in the drivers seat all the time.  I am now depressed and have my own counselor who wants me to focus on the only thing I can manage—- me. 
I don’t have a support system.  Is there anyone who can relate to having their whole family with ADHD/ADD?


Yes!  I can and I understand.  My husband was diagnosed with ADD after our two children were diagnosed. While we have a good marriage, I, too, feel like most things depend on me—especially finances. I work full time so I’m not at home all the time to keep things running smoothly.  Sometimes, I am just worn down.  However, I try to concentrate on the things that really matter because I can’t do everything. I know that my husband has a disability and I know the areas that he is not so good in.  So, he just has to step up to the plate in areas that he IS good in—like making lunches for the children in the morning, doing the lawn, etc.  I have to remind myself that no marriage is alike and that we have to make ours work in the best way that we can. We’ll have been married 18 years in September and some of the years have been difficult and trying. Sometimes ADHD can really wear me down—especially when I have to keep 4 of us on track.  ADHD does have its gifts, too.  We have a very lively family who laughs a lot and who really loves each other.  The best advice that I can give is love your husband for who he is and who he is not, put your energy toward those things and tasks that really matter, try to change the things that really make a difference, and don’t worry about the rest.  It’s difficult at first to try to master, but definitely worth it.  I’ll still fine-tuning it.  smile  Hang in there!

Posted by ABD on Aug 27, 2014 at 2:38pm

I can so relate as the non ADD spouse, married to my ADD husband for 20 years. During that time we also fostered children who had ADD/ADHD and yes I feel alone most of the time. This forum is the only place where I can go and see that I’m not crazy for feeling the way I do. I did have him read some of the recent posts last night. I also asked “haven’t I said the exact same thing many times?” I think that’s when it hit him that it is his ADD behaviors that are a problem in our marriage.
I really want to feel joy, happiness, intimacy, just lighter in my/our life . Instead I feel hopeless for any change, resentment for always having to be the grown up and picking up the pieces, and frustrations over the the fact he doesn’t think about anyone but himself.
We recently moved for him to take a new job, so the support system I did have, friends, the kids that brought me joy, a job I loved are all far away. Oh, and the Dr. here said he doesn’t have ADD because the Adderall he put him on didn’t work, so he’s not on meds anymore. He’s not the happy ADD type he’s the defensive, holds his position type.  I could go on and on, as many of you can relate. Wondering how much more “trying” to put into this marriage?
Thanks for letting me vent.

Posted by 82mercedes on Aug 27, 2014 at 4:11pm

I also relate.  I’m a new member to this forum.  My 9 year old daughter was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD a few months ago and in learning about it, its 100% clear to me that my husband of 13 years has the combined type of ADHD.  I had no idea, I just thought he was immature, selfish, lazy and a bad listener.  It has helped me to think less negatively about him, but I also feel that we as a couple need to acknowledge his symptoms and get on a new track.  I definitely have felt like the parent in a house with two kids rather than a wife with a partner and parent of one child.  I overfunction, do all the billing, insurance, doctor appointments, anything that requires details and consistency over time.  We are now in marital therapy so I feel that there is hope.  He has not been formally diagnosed (he’s 61) and don’t know if he will ever take medication.  But he will have to accept the role his ADHD has played so we can get on with restructuring our life.

Posted by Labradorim on Aug 27, 2014 at 5:45pm

I don´t have any kids, but I was diagnosed about a year ago with ADHD at age 32, and it really helped my relationship with my fiance.  It puts a name and a rationale to all the struggles we had as a result. 

Of course I still exhaust her at times, get distracted, forget to take out the trash, etc., but being diagnosed meant that I am now aware that I have many blind spots, and we are both more understanding and work at the issues. 

If your husband accepts the diagnosis, he can begin trying to minimize and overcome the problems it causes.

Posted by TylerR on Aug 27, 2014 at 8:47pm

@Labradorim-Just make sure your marriage counselor has experience treating couples dealing with ADD/ADHD. Our relationships are very different then other couples and regular therapy will probably just be a waste of time and money plus add further frustration. Good luck to all.

Posted by momto6plus on Aug 28, 2014 at 12:42am

Thank you all for responding!
Today we went and he was put on Varese.  The Dr. says there are three that work best on Adults and this category of amphetamines works well.  It’s a start at least.  I know I am naive to think this is a “Magic Pill” but I hope that it works on making things better between us. 
He feels I think his ADD is to blame for ALL our relationship issues over the past 20 years.  It’s not.  His ADD fuels my depressive issues from being raised in an environment without unconditional love.  My love tank is empty but I still try to keep moving forward.  It just that I have to push it instead of starting the engine.
I don’t have a support system for myself and started therapy.  Family doesn’t understand our “Mental issues” and I feel it’s more of a shame thing then not understanding. 
I am so alone and isolated and just want to feel like it’s going to get better and that I’m not just trying to be a victim of the situation with doesn’t validate these feelings I am having.
Thank you for letting me have a safe place to express myself.

Posted by Non-ADHD mom of 3 & wife on Aug 29, 2014 at 9:51pm

Your experience is so familiar to many.  There is still much more research needed on how well relationships with ADHD partners work.  Click on the link above for more info.  Thanks.

Posted by Intheknow09 on Sep 05, 2014 at 1:28pm

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