Married to a type A: I am barely... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Married to a type A


I am barely hanging on to my marriage through this pandemic. My wife is a ultra high functioning type A person. I’m a type B functional person with a decent career but more of a less organized layed back person with ADHD.

I’m wondering if there are people on here struggling with some of the same issues I struggle with.

13 Replies

Is your wife complaining ?

Johnnyrokit in reply to Dogmom11

Yes. Part of our problem is when I don’t pay attention to things she says then later she’ll ask me about something we have talked about or something she may have said to me and I won’t remember usually because I wasn’t paying close enough attention. Then she says that she must not be important because I don’t pay enough attention to remember things she says to me. Etc etc. I do love her and she is important to me but I feel a lot of times it is my ADD that gets in the way. The problem is even though it is my disease or disorder getting in the way it doesn’t hurt her any less. Also when I forget to do things that she asks me to do she feels that she can’t trust me. This also erodes our relationship because she feels she can’t rely on me. I am taking some steps to make things better like writing things down in a planner, meditating,reaching out in to this group and reading books. I would just like to hear from some people that may have experienced some of these things. Thank you.

tim_tam in reply to Johnnyrokit

I have definitely experienced this in past relationships and what I didnt do then that I should have was let people know that I care and that I want to do the things they ask but sometimes I forget or have trouble starting. The things you're doing are a great start and I encourage you to keep doing them, but you should also be honest with her about how ADHD impacts your life. Along with this she can learn better ways to help you remember like gentle reminders or breaking tasks up into more digestible parts. The best of luck, we're all rooting for you!

I have struggled with the same issues. Still working them out with my wife. Drugs for my ADHD, a good, aggressive marriage counselor are an absolute must for me.

I was in a long term relationship with a newly diagnosed 62 yr old , after living with him for 3 months I recognized behaviors that were textbook add hyperfocus type. He agreed to a formal evaluation with a provider and got the diagnosis . He then used it as an excuse for his behavior and did nothing to develop strategies or even talk to me about how it affected each of us . There is only so much one person can do to understand and modify their own perception of a partner with ADD. Couples therapy and Understanding attachment theory was extremely helpful for me to understand his behavior and if I could continue to live with it . Despite massive effort on my part and none from his , we ultimately split up . I continue to love that guy but grew to understand that we were in very different places in our process . I encourage you to be open to resources , therapy and open communication with your partner , we know you are not doing it on purpose , but need to see that you are trying because it is still hard to live with despite the reason. Good luck !!

Absolutely. Very similar problems here. I do feel like I'm getting better, but it's at such a slow pace, and I've done so much damage already over 15 years, that I continue to hurt my wife when I "slip up," even though I feel I am trying my hardest to make changes. So no, you're not alone.

Hi Johnnyrokit. Ok so let's face it opposites attract. That is very normal. If you are interested in learning accommodations and strategies, I highly suggest, The Adult ADHD Tool Kit: Using CBT to Facilitate Coping Inside and Out, by Anthony L. Rostain and J Russell Ramsay. If you can manage a career, you can use some of their tips right out of the book. For example, buy index cards in color you like. Put the daily 5 or less "honey dos" on the list and put it in your pocket. It will poke you and you will look at it without going down the rabbit hole of a phone list or an overwhelmingly long list. When you are done, cross it off. Use the 10 minute start then evaluate your engagement. If you are engaged finish, if not try again later. If you are a note taker at work, be a note taker at home. When you have a serious conversation, take notes, ask questions, and repeat what you understand her to have said. You can keep 40 seconds of conversation in your head. If she is neurotypical she can keep 60 seconds. Find a therapist for yourself and a marriage therapist for you and your wife, preferably both understand ADHD. Give her the book Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell to read and either read or listen to it yourself. Listen to ADHD Experts or similar podcasts. If any of the professionals speak to you, have her listen as well. If you needed glasses she would happily help you find them, so the same should go for ADHD accommodations. Good luck and I pray you can find tools to help you. Be well, start small, and be kind to yourself.

Thank you so much. I will look into your suggestions.

I wonder if you had your wife look into personality types, if she would classify herself as Type A. And did she view herself as Type A before her relationship with you?

Would she also classify you as a Type B? Perhaps she sees you as a complete different personality.

I feel like I’m in a unique situation where I had undiagnosed, unmedicated ADHD for 40 years. I’ve been married for 5 of them. When I got married I was in a pretty good place as far as ADHD coping mechanisms (but didn’t know I had it) and was a type C/B personality. My husband and I got married on a whim without knowing each other very well and the last few years have been EXTREMELY DIFFICULT!!!! My life absolutely fell apart to the point of break down and I was diagnosed with ADHD. Now that I’m medicated and things are getting back on track I can see that the most dramatic change and problem that I have in my marriage is that HE turned me into a Type A!!! Which for me, was absolutely torture. Like.... I mean torture! I hated myself all of the sudden and absolutely couldn’t stand to be around my husband. Really, I hated him and totally resented him for “turning me into a monster”.

So here’s the interesting thing that makes our situation unique. Upon my diagnosis and subsequent treatment, I have my wits back about me and can reflect on myself and my situation much more clearly. Within 2-3 weeks of treatment I realized MY HUSBAND ALSO HAS ADHD! Before our marriage I had stabilized my ADHD (without knowing) to quite a functioning level. My husband DID NOT! He was still a hot ADHD mess. His uncontrolled, zero coping mechanisms ADHD sank my whole life like the titanic! In my efforts to float the ship for both of us, a Type A personality was magically created in me. I REALLY believe that many ADHD relationships transform into the non ADHD spouse becoming a more Type A person or “the parent” of the relationship. Depending on the severity of the spouse with ADHD the non ADHD spouse can suddenly start viewing their partner as another child. Another dependent. Another problem. Another thing to manage and not be able to rely on.

One gentleman gave advice to express to you wife that you care. I totally agree with him as my husband is the more closed up feeling ADHD type. He forgets to kiss me, hold my hand, that I’m in the same room, to talk to me, doesn’t pay attention when I do speak etc. and it’s an extremely lonely existence. But then the gentleman also said that with this open communication she can better learn how to deal with you with gentle reminders or breaking up tasking into more digestible parts. On this I must disagree! Instead, I prefer the advice of the non ADHD spouse in another comment. THIS IS YOUR JOB! If your wife is in full Type A swing and your marriage has been suffering... chances are she’s just done with you! She had it up to her eyeballs with “taking care” of you and she’s done and frustrated and tried so many things to no avail that she goes through cycles of saying fuck it! I don’t care anymore. To caring too much about a small mistake and freaking out. You are looking at all the effort that you put in and she is looking at all the effort that she puts in. Chances are, she firmly believes she puts in substantially more effort than you and well.... she may be right. The absolute best thing you can do for your marriage right now is not rely on her to help you fix yourself. Get out there and get the right meds or a higher prescription! Get to the therapist and start some CBT! Commit to something and FOLLOW THROUGH! Take on a new household task and stick to it! Always do that one thing one day before you said you would so she doesn’t spend the whole day thinking about whether you’ll remember and if she’ll have to pick up the slack. Be a partner that she can trust with a task, not an extra child in the relationship (possibly her view. We obviously aren’t children). The best thing you can do for your marriage is help yourself. If you help yourself SHE WILL NOTICE! If she can stop worrying about you, it will have a dramatic effect on her life. But you can’t regress. As you build trust, even one misstep can stripe the trust she may have built.

My husband didn’t get officially diagnosed or medicated yet and I’m sure once that happens, life will be much easier for both of us! But until then, even though I am so much better than I was, carrying the load for my second baby (my husband) is difficult, frustrating, emasculating, lonely, infuriating, stressful and NOT WHO I AM! I LOATH who I’ve become in this relationship. My first marriage was abusive and to be completely honest (so sad) I was happier in that relationship than my current one. It had passion and function and was spontaneous with a lot of fire (a little too much really) and I could be my ADHD self that needed someone else to manage certain aspects of life like finances, paperwork, planning etc. Obviously abuse is unacceptable and inevitably I left him but overall I was happier with who I was and the relationship. Now I’m with someone who would NEVER hit me in a million years, has a deep sense of duty to my son and I and works like a workaholic to provide for us. And I’m miserable. We have a lot of work to do over here too and if I’m completely honest, I believe our relation will end in divorce if my husband doesn’t get it together soon. Without my help! I need help! It’s hard enough to help myself. I don’t need another child.

I hope something here helps you. Give your wife a break and start showing her you can be relied on. She can trust you. You’re not her responsibility.

And if those aren’t the problems, find out what is.

The good part about this question is that at least you’re seeing that there’s a problem. Chances are it’s even worse than you think and maybe you’re only just wising up to it now. So get moving! You’re already late to help fix it! She may already have one foot out the door! Fix you! Help you! That helps her.

I hope something here helps.

I also hope no one takes offense to the children references. Again, I feel like I’m in a unique situation where I both have ADHD and have been the “dependent” in a relationship but have also been the more functional spouse to an ADHD spouse and for me, he is absolutely my second child. And it’s awful to feel that way. For both of us.

Wow! You could be my wife .... but she doesn’t have ADD, just me. But the Adult - Child discussion really hits home, as we’ve had that discussion many times. I’m still trying to make the Adult control the Child, his “wants,” his “needs,” his “excuses,” his “justifications.” I have lost her trust, once again, over broken agreements, and EVERY TIME this happens, the road back gets ever more difficult and tenuous. My wife is definitely the stronger (type A?) personality and I have let her “lead” and take responsibility way too much. She is now to the point of being very angry and resentful that way too much seems to be dumped on her shoulders. I’m on meds, which seem to help, m in counseling, also helpful, and participate in an ADDA retired group, which I find Very Helpful. It’s an on-going struggle, and I “assume” it will be a life-loNg struggle for me, for us. The above posts all have good information and shared experiences. I hope they help, it is work, HARD work, but there can be a way through this! I wish you the best of luck and perseverance.

I don't have an answer but chiming in to say it must be hard! My boss (F, 50s) is a type A, and I'm (F, 40) an ADD type B. I do my job well, but she hates HOW I do it because it's not how she would do it. It's a daily source of anxiety.

I think the comments about making little notes and asking for reminders are good. Maybe you could use a white board together, like a family does to keep track of the kids and stuff? Mark everything on it in the kitchen and share the space for reminders and notes to each other. Your wife should care enough to give you reminders. If she's type A it won't be hard to fit into her routine!

I wouldn't call what I do "struggling." I call it existing. He's super hyper; like ADHD on speed, and I suffer from ADD with other mental issues. So basically, I barely function enough to keep myself alive. Forget cleaning house, cooking, working, or anything else that normal people do; like I USED to do. And he can't understand why I can't get over it. But I've done everything, and a whole lot more to improve myself and my life. So do we have problems? A great big YES!

Hello! I can totally relate. I am curious to know if your wife has ADHD as well? It’s not uncommon for two ADHDers to end up together. My husband is you, Type B... very chill, no sense of urgency and tends to hyper focus on things that interest him. I am Type A and have combined type ADHD so I am constantly on the go... zero chill time. Hah it’s not perfect, but we make it work AND I have to understand him, just as much as he has to understand me. We are both flawed, but as long as your significant other is willing to try and understand and work towards a common goal then things can get better.

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