Hi, this is my first post. I'm 51, undiagnosed but awaiting an assessment. I'm convinced that ADHD has been the cause of a lot of my anxiety and depression issues over the years and every house I've lived in has been a disorganised mess, my finances are a mess and chaotic is the best way to describe my whole life. My husband is the complete opposite, structured, focussed and extremely organised. He has reached the end of his tether living with me. I feel like I'm on the edge of making a life changing discovery which will help my mental health enormously but after 30 years together it's not convincing for him. Communication has broken down completely and he feels I don't care what is important to him. He truly is my world and I am wondered if anyone else had loved through this
can a marriage survive?: Hi, this is my... - CHADD's Adult ADH...
CHADD's Adult ADHD Support
I've been married for twenty years and this whole time my husband believed that I did not care, was selfish, and taking advantage of him. I was recently diagnosed and now trying to find out if medication will work for me and my husband still does not fully believe that I was doing my best as his wife and mother to our children. I cannot make him believe me so I am focusing on healing myself emotionally by learning as much as I can about women with ADHD and the best book I found so far is "A Radical Guide for Women With ADHD."
Same story here. 60 yo. Married 20 years and diagnosed a year ago. Wife frustrated beyond all human tolerance to the point where she has disengaged and communication is transactional and reactive. A few lessons learned from hundreds of hours of reading, counseling, YouTube videos, reflection:
- ADD is a reason and not an excuse. Bad behavior is bad behavior. No one wants to hear why you did or didn't do something anymore than you would want to repeatedly hear someone else blame PTSD, or the weather or whatever for their actions. In your head blame the ADD so that you don't take it personally but keep it to yourself, especially if your spouse isn't being supportive.
- Take responsibility for your actions. There's nothing you can do about the past except own it and apologize as needed. There's nothing you can do about your partner's attitude, mood, or behavior. If they call you on something apologize. Empathize about how hard it must be on them. Remind them that change is hard and that you're working on it.
- Focus on addressing the ADD. Do it for yourself and not your partner. Irrespective of who you are with, ADD is going to be an issue and must be addressed if you want to live a happy life.
- If your partner hasn't moved out or asked for a divorce that indicates they haven't given up on you or the relationship. That's a sign for hope.
- As hard as your partner might be on you, try to cut them some slack. It's hard to change behaviors resulting from ADD. It's even harder to live with someone who has it. Especially so one who is super organized. Think about the number of times you've disappointed them, or wronged them.
- Take it seriously. Even mild ADD can be highly destructive to relationships. The word "mild" is grossly misleading. Mild just means you don't have all the gazillion manifestations of ADD. Even having a few, (e.g. Emotional Reactivity and short attention span in my case) if the right/wrong ones in your situation, are enough to cause a lot of turmoil.
- Do the hard work. Read, study the basic tenets of Buddhism (it's not a religion - it's more an attitude. The book "If the Buddha Married" helped me), watch videos, use apps to get daily inspiration and track emotions and feelings (e,g. Reflectly), practice mindfulness/meditation, try online support groups, sign up for emails. ANYTHING to keep you focused on solving the problem. Promises that "it'll get better" will only carry you so far.
- Addendum. I forgot one important observation pertaining to self-care. This is particularly relevant given the social isolation brought on by Covid. The partner bond is often the most important between a couple. But if the relationship is strained by the impact of ADD you can't rely on it as your primary source of support or affirmation. Much like not putting all your weight on a leg that might be fractured. Do things that make you happy, even if it's solo. Long bike rides or walks. Go to museums. Have coffee, lunch, dinner with friends that are non-threatening to your partner. If they know about your ADD talk about it (but not about your partner). A little bit of space might do you both good.
A marriage can survive if the bones are good. But it's going to require some committed focused effort. Good luck.
damn, that was a solid response. thanks for taking the time to write it.
Couples therapy is always an option, especially if communication has broken down, but the more educated about ADHD you and spouse can become, the better.
Couple's therapy requires two to be effective. If the non ADD partner is not supportive couples therapy is probably not an option. Usually there has to be visible measurable progress by the ADD partner before the non ADD partner will feel hopeful enough to buy into therapy.
That's why metrics are going to be important. How to measure progress? What are the measurable goals? Do you get one rewind a week? Every two weeks? Without quantitative goals the perception will be, humans being humans and remembering only on the negstive, 'I don't see any improvement."
Thank you for everyone that took the time to respond. I am still struggling to get my husband to consider that my disorganization and other issues are more than just laziness however I hope that the assessment on the 25th will be conclusive. Stoneman60 your comments about improvements being measurable really struck a chord because that's what my husband wants/expects. So I'm trying to break my issues down into big areas and journal on each of them to record changes. I don't know if it will work but your right about not excusing bad behaviour.I keep reading and learning about ADHD and feel more and more convinced that i am.wired this way. This support really helps and I'll be sure to post again soon
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