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 With One ADHD Partner

Where to put the line between helping and controlling?


My fiance and I are getting married in July. I want the marriage to flow as fluidly as possible. I knew something was wrong when he moved in. He always called himself “irresponsible,  ” and I was the responsible one. He let me do all the planning, and I did because I thought that was what I needed to do. However, it became that I was controlling everything and it inevitably ended up crashing. Then, I let him take control, and within a week the whole system was up in flames. I finally told him that I thought he might have adult ADHD. He sought council and was diagnosed within this month.
My question is, what do I do? I don’t want to control everything, but I don’t want things to go by the wayside or have me do all the chores and things because I don’t want to cause conflict. How do you guys find a balance?


I’m a relative newlywed and grappling with the same thing.  Sometimes I find a good balance.  Sometimes, if other areas of my life are stressful, I turn into a giant nag.  I can tell you that it’s not easy but that it always goes better when I can be kind and ask very very clearly for what I need.

Also know that my ADHD husband tries SO hard, but he can really only manage now or never going to happen in terms of deadlines—unless it’s a schedule he’s used to.  So for new things, I sometimes wait and ask at the last minute (or, “honey would you mind doing this now?”) because I if I ask for something for tomorrow or a week from now… not going to happen.

I’m glad you’re working on this now.  We didn’t find out about my husband’s ADHD until we were 1 year and 1 baby into our marriage.  You have some time to figure out a rhythm smile

One other silly tip:  Don’t fall into the trap of ever thinking he’s stupid.  My husband got a near perfect 1590 score on his SATs.  He’s brilliant.  His mind just works differently and it’s up to us (he and I) to adjust to it.  Totally worth it if he’s a good guy like mine.

Posted by nexus7722 on Apr 21, 2017 at 7:33pm

Thank you so much! My guy is so smart and loving. Your encouragement gives me hope.

Posted by Kgarrett0588 on Apr 21, 2017 at 8:26pm

My husband and I have been married for 35 years, and it would have been so helpful if he had been diagnosed back when we were engaged instead of just a year ago.  I totally understand your frustration! The best advice I can give you is to inform yourself as much as you can, be as forgiving and patient as you can (that’s tough!,) and talk about it with him often. My husband reluctantly started reading articles I sent him on ADHD, and we discuss them. That’s really helped because I believe knowledge is power. He also understands it’s not a “get out of jail free” card, and that he needs to be more mindful of my feelings, something he’s working very hard on.  This forum has helped me tremendously because it validates what I’ve been dealing with all these years. So pick your battles, be patient, and always keep communicating- if you work together it’ll be worth it! Best of luck !

Posted by mare1016 on Apr 22, 2017 at 1:17pm

Hi, you feelings/thoughts sound very familiar! I’ve been with my husband for 11 years now (met him when I was 19) and have often felt that way. I often organise things and, to be honest, can get a little stressed when I don’t feel like I’m on top of things. I’ve struggled at times to find the balance between being responsible for things/nagging him to get things done and therefore feeling like his parent and just letting things go even if it means things get forgotten/delayed etc.
Luckily my husband is very open to talking about this and working together to find what works best for us. What has really helped us is this:

- I do those things that are very important and have to be done within a short time frame
- We have a ‘to do list’ which is in clear sight on the dining room table. When my husband has free time, he’ll have a look at that and tick a few things off the list. I don’t expect him to do them within week or even weeks. But I know that he’ll get to them in his own time. What helps as well is that we talk through what needs to go on the list together and both use it. That way I don’t feel like I’m his parent/boss telling him what to do.
- During the weekend or free evenings we spend a few hours where we just do the usual things like groceries, laundry etc. We just talk through what needs to be done and split the work or do it together.
- For other things that need to be done during the week, or appointments/date nights etc. I set calendar reminders in our phones (I use Google Calendar and invite him). You can set reminders for these. That way I set them up when I think about it, set the reminders (2) and can then forget about it, his phone will do the rest.

At first my husband was very much against using lists and reminders, I feel like he saw them as giving in to his shortcomings, it made him feel like he wasn’t good enough. But after lots of talks and just trying some things out he’s taken a liking to it and uses them often now.

The above has helped a lot, but what also really helps is just taking a step back every now and then and remembering all the things that are so great about your husband. I truly believe that ADHD/ADD has its downsides but just as many upsides. I love how impulsive he is, positive and creative. He handles stress very well and is super sociable. How he can just be in the moment without worrying about tomorrow. I truly look up to him and know that if we were to somehow remove his ADD it would mean that a lot of the things that I love so much about him would also disappear. So in the end, yes it would be less stressful if my husband was a great organiser and didn’t need reminders. It’s easy to let this initial annoyance grow to something much bigger and more negative. But it’s just that, a small annoyance that you allow to get bigger by adding up all the times things were forgotten etc. So my advice, talk through and try out options to find out what works best for you. Talk about your feelings but be aware that this is much worse for him and he will likely feel very insecure/dumb/not good enough about this so don’t put him down. And just remember, you don’t have to split your day to day tasks 50/50. If your husband doesn’t mind cooking or groceries, and you’re better at finances. Then that’s great! Let him do the cooking while you organise the finances. smile Hope this helps a little! X Anne

Posted by Annemarije on Apr 23, 2017 at 4:10am

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