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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

Marriage, Family and Adult ADHD

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Mar 16th 2007

If coping with a child who has ADHD is difficult being married to a person with this disorder can be exhausting. Perhaps this is the reason why so many marriages in which one spouse has ADHD end in divorce. What are the problems that complicate marriages in which a spouse has ADHD?

The problems that confront the non ADHD person and puts strain on the relationship have to do with the nature of the disorder. For example, some of the symptoms of ADHD as specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV of the American Psychiatric Association are that the individual frequently:

1. Fails to give close attention to details and making careless mistakes.

2. Does not seem to listen or hear what has been said.

3. Has difficulty organizing tasks.

4. Loses the things necessary to complete tasks such as pens, paper, car keys, wallet or pocket book, etc.

5. Is distracted by external stimuli of any and all types.

6. Frequently forgets to do things even if they are daily activities.

If the individual is also impulsive or hyperactive they frequently:

7. Cannot sit still without fidgeting and squirming.

8. Must be on the go all the time in a way that is pressured and rushed.

9. Interrupts people during conversations.

10. Cannot wait their turn in multiple situations.

Additional Problems:

Those with ADHD sometimes develop problems with drugs and alcohol. Feeling disappointed with themselves, it is common for these people to experience depression and self medicate with alcohol and drugs. This is also part of the impulsivity that drives many of those adults who are hyperactive.

It has been my experience that it is those marriages in which neither partner were aware of ADHD that become the most stressed and problematic. The marriage may begin with a lot of enthusiasm because those with ADHD have a lot of energy and are very creative. This energy and creativity attracts and excites their partner. However, the positive beginnings soon turn into disappointment and anger as the difficulties of the ADHD spouse emerge. For example, it is sometimes difficult for those with this disorder to remain employed because of their difficulties functioning at work. In addition, handling finances, household chores and carrying out daily responsibilities become sources of tension in the marriage. The non ADHD spouse quickly begins to believe that their partner is simply an irresponsible person who is selfish and deliberately refusing to carry out chores.

It often comes as a relief when couples discover that one of them has ADHD. Especially when medication is started there is a naive belief that all the problems will be solved. This is soon met with a new disappointment because medication is not a cure. The individual adult with ADHD must learn how to cope with the daily chores of life. This calls for a type of therapy where daily skills are learned and practiced in an effort to learn such things as how to remember to do things and focus attention on what others are saying without interrupting.

If the non ADHD person is able to be patient, organized and understanding then they provide a good balance to the spouse who is affected with the disorder. However, many of the spouses with whom I have worked do not have this patience nor are they truly able to understand ADHD. For these people there is a continued tendency to feel victimized by their partner's behavior and to insist that their behaviors are deliberate.

Families and couples who have ADHD are encouraged to go to group or marriage therapy and to attend support groups where they can learn how to cope with the disorder and learn more about it. An excellent resource for ADHD is a web site called CHADD that stands for Children and Adults with ADHD and can be found at:

http://www.chadd.com

Your comments and experiences are welcome and encouraged.

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at dransphd@aol.com for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Signs of Hope Being Crushed at Every Turn, I Need Help - Kimberly - Dec 16th 2014

Hello,

My name is Kimberly, and I am 24 years old.  My sister's name is ***** and she is 26 years old.  After discussing and evalutating all of her traits and actions throughout her life, I sincerely believe that she is suffering from adult ADHD.  Her whole entire life has been a deep, dark spiral downward, and she seldom can go a month without receiving a new arrest or civil penalty.  It is hard for her to hold down jobs due to her always being late, or being unable to focus, and she has lived with my mother and step-father until they recently kicked her out for her behavior.  She has recently developed severe anxiety, which she has never had before.  All of the signs point to this disorder, and all I want to do is help.  She has become very manipulative in order to keep her head above water, and I truly believe my mother wants nothing to do with her.  I have a good job, but I am by no means rich, and I cannot afford to keep up with this process.  I recently called my sister and gave her all of the facts and data and information I could find about this disorder, and she agreed with me and even told me she's thought this for a long time.  I told her if she wanted to seek help, I would be there for her every step of the way.  We have just started the process as of yesterday.  We signed her up for health insurance, which was exhausting considering she makes such little money, but my mom had agreed to pay the monthly bill, so we went forward with it.  I know that dealing with people with adult ADHD takes immense patience, and I am fully ready to commit to this and support my sister to help make a change in her life for the better.  But I fear that my mother will not be on board emotionally.  Like I have read on this site, she has had it with my sister, and truly believes that my sister chooses to be the way she is.  Signing up for health insurance was a HUGE step for my sister.  I was on the phone with her for six hours, walking her through each and every step.  I know that short goals, persaverence, calm attitude and lots of praise are key right now.  Well, of course it was not a walk in the park for my sister, so a fight developed between her and my mother, and when she FINALLY signed up for the plan, she thought my mother was calling to say she was proud, but instead the call was my mother screaming, lashing out, and insulting her.  This is the very beginning of this important process, and I refuse to give up, I refuse to let my sister keep living her life this way.  But I am caught between these two extremes.  I am four months pregnant and working full time as well as going to school.  I can't pay for her insurance.  I thought my mom was on board when she said she would gladly pay for the insurance so we could continue the process of getting my sister the help and treatment she needs, but I really think my mom is so fed up with dealing with my sister for so long that anything I do will be counteracted by her.  I need help.  I don't think I can do this alone. I know we can get through this, but I feel like I'm failing and it's barely day two.  Please, if you know of any resources, or even any stories you can share, I would greatly appreciate it.  Thank you so much for reading my story. 

Making a change - - Nov 1st 2014

I have exactly the same issues.  I have been married for 45 years.  I am 62 and a want a new life.  my husband doesnt see anything wrong with the way he is.  I know what it has made me become.  I don't like the person I have become.  I want to be free and enjoy my life,  I'm just afraid that I will not recover at this age.  I enjoy things and feel that I don't have any friends that I can talk to.  Please someonee tell me that this is not too late.  

married 40 years, too old to take his personality change - Sheila A - Dec 13th 2013

Dr. Swartz, When I met my husband 42 years ago I was impressed by his energy, intelligence and ability to get along with everyone.  Before our marriage he never disclosed his personality changes or ability to inexplicably explode into a rage.  I have been living this roller coaster ride with him a very long time.  He is is sweetest, most coniderate guy in the world but then he'll quickly change into a hateful rage.  In the beginning years I cried and despaired because I thought we were normal people and I didn't understand what I had done wrong to make him so angry at me.   But all these years later, after undergraduate and graduate studies having  taught me the art of research, I am certain that he is hyperactive and has attention deficit disorder.    His personality change is astonishing.    They occur when he is overwhelmed with either things that he needs to accomplish at the office, financial distress or emotional overload.   My problem is that I have no way of knowing that he is undergoing the process and on the way to an explosive change.     I am therefore ambushed by a man in a rage and no matter the cause of his inability to cope, ie., workload, financial or emotional, he directs his anger at me and viciously attacks my personality, character and behavior. This may be presented to me when I open my eyes in the morning whereas just the night before he was telling me that he loves me and feels lucky to have me as his wife.  The cause can be a bill he read before I woke up. It has been a very painful marriage.   he is mostly too busy running around doing  things is a disorganized manner or zipping from event to event being important and toucing base with his many acquaintances (he can't cultivate a close friend) to spend any time with his wife. His inability to handle finances has left us in an unhappy financial state as we have become older people.  He must be in control of everything!  He didn't tell me that he hadn't been paying our mortgages until he was four months behind and the bank had found a new owner.  I found out when I became suspicious and started asking questions which for the first time ended in serious physical abuse.....dislocated jaw, fractered ribs, etc.  He was furious that I'd attacked him. (asked questions)    Now we are living in someone elses house.  I'm physical fragile and when he exploded out of nowhere last night my heart's behavior became so radical and my breathing so very thin and hard to recover with the medicines and machines that I thought I finally had a chance at peace.   I certainly hope that those of you who research this medical condition are fighting for screening in all of our childrens schools.   If they could be diagnosed, and accept treatment in a matter of fact way......taught how to cope....then there will be so many less horror stories like ours.   I consider my life as having been thrown away.  By the time I knew who I was dealing with, what his problem was, I had already become disabled.   I have no way to escape.    If he\\

But what if.... - Wonderwoman - Dec 2nd 2011

And what if both partners have ADHD?

Now I get it - - Aug 15th 2011

I'm pretty sure my husband of 6 years is ADHD, he won't admit it and our councelor will not really look at it even though there is a family history of it present ( his son).

I'm worn out dealing with all the mundane details of life with no help ( including all the house and yard work), with constantly being interrupted and never given a chance to get my point across, that blank stare when he does give me a chance to speak, the constant double and sometimes triple steps for everything because he forgot this or that, the blurting out of things no one should ever say aloud (and the hurt or embarrasment) his impulsive decisions to do things that effect me but don't include me, the intense over reaction to the simplest of things, the constant misinterpretation of others intentions and feeling like I have more of a child than a husband in my life.

Is it really possible to get along this way?

Frustrated

adult adhd and marriage - Rita Span - Apr 8th 2011

After 40 years living with someone with ADHD i'm worn out. Yes small changes occur but never stick. Not being heard is soooo frustrating and is making me ill. Been in therapy many times. Everything becomes oppositional and I never know what to expect..is it going to be a good day or not. Financially he has depleted us. So many of the posts sound typical of what I'm feeling and seeing. Am I being cynical or is this as good as it gets? I want peace in my old age. Can anyone offer me hope or am I wasting my remaining time on this earth? Is this the "hope of hopelessness"?

Dont know where it's going? - - Mar 4th 2011

I met my boyfriend 4 yrs ago.. In that time we have had our share of fights! He is very difficult to get any information out of.. Most our fights are because of the lack of communication in the relationship!  In the beginning he would do anything for me, now he has slacked off completely. He forgets about important things and only does things that suit him.. I knew he had ADHD after 2yrs into relationship, if I knew sooner that would have explained alot more and saved our first break up. He does not take any medication and has refused in since he was a teenager.. He is always full of energy and sometimes he's hard to manage. He will tickle me or play fight with me until I lash back at him because he is annoying me so bad.. His communication is slowly getting better and when he is in a mood i steer clear and DO NOT go out of my way to talk to him.. This allows him to have time to settle down and get his head straight again.  He copes well with this method, he gets over himself in a couple hrs - a day now instead of days/weeks in the past!  He is not violent towards me physically, sometimes verbally but I speak back to him like that too. He is a beautiful wonderful person and I would love to marry him and have children one day. I just hope from here we go forward.. It is like taking baby steps, after 4yrs I expected to have gone alot further but I'll be patient because he is way worth it!  Sometimes (today) I feel I could just give up and walk away forever but then I look at him and feel for him living with everyday confusion and depression. I want him to have a future and a lovely family and I'm not going to give up on him ever!

frustration - SD - Nov 11th 2010

help I am in turmoil. I h ave been dated someone with adhd for 2.5 years but he has yet to be diagnosed. on top of that he has a substance abuse problem and our relationship is on its last legs. I have done all I can do for him but now it seems he doesnt want me anymore and wants to end our relationship. I love him so very much but my frustration levels have caused me not to be very nice sometimes ...he says he can get better on his own by I know he cannot.   

Moving on from an ADHD partner seems impossible..? - minnie_mouse - Oct 18th 2010

I have been drawn to this site as I recently found out that an ex partner of mine - the love of my life in fact - has ADHD and I am in shock at the news as it has kind of rewritten my past. My intense relationship with him has haunted me for the last 15 years and I have been unable to move on..up until now.

The penny never dropped that my ex had ADHD, despite the fact that for the last decade I have been researching psychology, spirituality, and alternative education methods for working with autistic and ADD kids. I now realise that what I was actually looking for all this time was ANSWERS as to what had happened to me and him.

I met my ex when I was 24 and living abroad - I was mesmerised by him from the minute I saw him. I was very naieve and full of love and innocence. We fell in love instantly and were inseperable - our union was the biggest 'high' of my life and I felt like I had found my reason for being alive. A few months in, cracks started to appear, namely he was using drugs ( I had no idea how many), and went out for days on end, and behaved very erratically, had a lunatic mother and was hyper. We went travelling together and he levelled out somewhat, but then I became pregnant by mistake and only found out upon our return. We were both jobless, homeless and penniless and he was 6 years younger than me and in no position to have a child. I was mature and ready and in love - still mesmerised and intoxicated by this wild creature - and desperate to keep hold of him. My spiritual beliefs were so strong that I was very opposed to abortion but in the end it was the only option. This devastated us - my ex turned more and more to drugs and partying and disappeared for days on end, always standing me up and forgetting about me and acting cold and distant. (It later transpired that he became an international drug trafficker to pay for the termination). I had lost all perspective by now and was racked with guilt and grief for both the baby and our relationship..we both became out of control and I was scared of my own shadow. One day I looked in the mirror and saw that I was practically anorexic, paranoid and on the edge of a breakdown, so I got on a plane and left him. I went home in pieces but no-one could remotely understand my experience and I missed him dreadfully.

After a couple of months we arranged to meet in Paris (neutral turf) and I packed up my worldly goods and got on the Eurostar. After 8 hours waiting for him on the platform my ex still hadn't shown up and I got the train home again, distraught. Two days later, I found out he'd lost his credit card, missed his flight and then been picked up at the airport for drug trafficking. He was 20 years old and sentenced to 8 years in jail. I was forbidden to fly and see him, but a year and a half later I still couldn't live without him, so got on a plane hoping to be granted a visiting order...to my utter shock and joy he was at the airport to greet me as he'd just been released by appeal the day before. We spent weeks together but the betrayal and seperation had effected us. I left him again and tried to stop contact..he visited me once after that and then I finished it 'for good'.

I saw him very briefly, maybe twice, in the 10 years after that - each meeting very painful. We both suffered immensely from being apart and I just could not understand why this great love of ours had failed and why he could not pull himself together so that we could be together.

After 5 years of zero contact he emailed me in 2009 -still unable to move on - and I was once again distraught at not being with him. We ended up having an 8 hour transatlantic phone call to talk things out 'once and for all' and that seemed to be that. However, this year I had one of the worst years of my life and got to a point as a low as when I had my termination...this was shortly after my 40th birthday..and I was distraught at the prospect of never moving on. I emailed my ex and poured my heart out to him and he replied saying he was actually in the same country and asked to see me the following day.

I spent 2 days with him and he told me about the ADHD. He self meds with huge amounts of Ritalin and has been addicted to nearly every drug, plus alcohol, poker, sex, work. He realises it has been passed on from his mother and seems to understand what it's all about but is doing nothing to curb his addictive nature. He works in the music industry so can blend in quite well with his partying tendencies and his drug taking co-workers. His relationships have all been car crashes and he still seems attached to me and sad at what we lost, and also guilty now he knows what I went through. He is in financial crisis - as am I - and when he found out I had been researching working with ADHD he offered to help me out. I had to decline as he is in no position to help me with money.

He left and we stayed in touch by email for about 2 days but then I decided I couldn't handle contact and emailed him to say goodbye (again) for a final time. He didn't reply and never has, historically, during all the times I've tried to cut ties.. and so I never feel like I get any closure. What I now realise is that I never will get closure from him - I have to give it to myself, and also that it's impossible to cut all ties with him, that I just have to accept the connection and live with it and 'manage' it like an addiction but this time around I have to lose all fantasies of being with him or saving him. Time to get off the rollercoaster.

So, this realisation has been quite devastating - I'm now dealing with an ADHD adult, not a young, drug-taking, irresponsible guy who I thought would grow up and come back to me. Big reality check..however, ADHD or not, he remains the most amazing person I've ever connected with and my heart goes out to him, to me and to everyone reading this site...I wish all of us well.

Wonder Man and Father of 2. - - Sep 13th 2010

I found this wonderful man who was honest about his Adult ADHD.  I have read up on some information and I would like to be very much so apart of this wonderful mans life.

How would I let him know or tell him about going to classes to help me understand or as a couple to attend classes like this to help our relationship?

Married, and BOTH have ADHD - sweetstuff - Jul 7th 2010

I didn't have time right now to read all the posts (but believe me I wanted to).

Take this for a thought, both spouses have it, plus likely all the children. There are 4 children and they are all displaying symptoms, although only 1 has officially been diagnosed.

My husband and I haven't even received official diagnosis ourselves (waiting for that, waiting list). But we both fit all the symptoms. I realized it first before he did.

Most of the issues we are slowly beginning to find and implement strategies/tips/ideas for, but the one I wonder about, is if ADHD can make it difficult to stay committed in a realtionship. I suspect it is, but not sure. Don't want to blame something on it when it's not.

My husband's issues have bothered me for the last number of years, we've been together for about 15 years, and just the last 3-4 have been to the point of me wanting to leave. We have only recently come to the realization that he likely has it along with myself, and he has only been taking his meds for the last few months for the depression that all of this has caused.

But for me, I can't help but feel like the damage is down and I don't know if we can get our relationship back. Sometimes he thinks he wants it back, other times he's not sure if we can ever get it back. Then I have the frustration that I feel like I'm always 'looking'. That I would like to find a new relationship. I guess that's the part of the ADHD that is looking for something new and stimulating. It's frustrating for me, as if my marriage will work out I don't want to keep doing that, but if it's not going to work out, then I am moving on. Either way, it's stressful when both married partners have it.

And like I said, it looks as though all 4 of my children have it, 4-11years old, and only the oldest is diagnosed so far and getting treatment. Working on the others.

So yeah, life can be 'fun' and challenging in our household. But it is also very loving. I have always been told by people that I have awesome children. I have taken the issues that plagued my childhood from the adhd symptoms and applied them to my children, and life is a little easier. My house is not always perfectly clean, but it's not a clutter bug either. I always feel down on my self for not doing enough, and have struggled with jobs my entire life. Which is why I'm looking at being an entrepreneur and doing my own thing, but that is hard and challenging too, as then the issue of 'never finishing anything' comes into play. It's HARD. I don't want to be that way for the rest of my life. Thankfully with the help and use of Twitter I am being able to connect with others w/ADHD as well as as connecting with ADHD coaches and business coaches.

SO there's my rant, lol.

 

 

 

Don't want to hurt him - Storm - May 25th 2010

Hi,

I met my husband on line about a year and a half ago, at which time I figured out he had adhd.  Things were going ok, he was on med and not to bad..

About 6 months into our relationship, his mother became ill, she was on her death bed within days of hospitalization. My husband asked me to marry him at this time, in the hospital room, so his mother could at least see him get married before she died. I was a stessfull time, alot happening all at once and I said yes. Two days later she was dead, left him with nothing but two kids (his 13 year old sister and 10 year old brother), a apartment full of crap from floor to ceiling that we had to clean out, plus deal with the sister that was bad to  begin with and worse now that her mom was dead and she was stuck living with her brother who, totally lost it when his mom died, meds stopped working and he just changed, and not for the better, lots of yelling and anger. Its now been over a year that we've been married. He doesnt listen to me, he doesnt help around the house, him and the kids have ruined my couches and dinnet set cause they have no respect for other people things, the house stinks and is dirty, I bust my butt cleaning just to have it dirty again. Plus he has three kids of his own from two other woman, one of which he still does stuff for her, even though Iv asked him no to.  I want to leave, I cant take it anymore, if I stay, I will not survive. Please I need advise because I dont want to hurt anyone, but I cant stay cause then Im the one hurt.

Thanks

Confused

made me to think that my husband has ADHD as well - - Apr 27th 2010

I am married for 20 years, have 2 kids, 11 and 17. two years ago my 17 year old was diagnosed  with ADHD and made me to think that my husband has ADHD as well, although my daughter is impulsive type, my husband is inattentive, he is very relaxed and very disorganized, all he wants to do is having fun, not worrying about financial situation, (put us in a big mess lots of debt) my kids feels I am the mother and the father to them, although he was a good father when they were younger but right now he doesn't deal with any issues that they have. he doesn't pay any attention to me either, although I am much younger and according to friends and family, he is the luckiest guy on the earth marring me, but he doesn't care at all or doesn't show it, we been having so many problems and even few times near divorce, but because of our kids and also because I am so emotional and don't like my marriage to fail. I take care of everything, from shopping, cleaning, mostly cooking, paying bills, dr. appointments, preparing tax for accountant, my huby is a self employed, so basically everything. although if I ask him he does things around the house but not very willingly, although he is very handy man, and he does lots of maintenance around the house, but it takes him too long to finish them and I have to keep reminding him. I have learned to deal with all these although I am working full time but still doing everything els too. something that bothers my a lot is he not paying any attention to me,  no complement, or he ditch me to go out with friends, or watch game with someone else instead of me. basically I don't feel he ever does anything with my kids or I voluntarily anymore, or he enjoy being with us.he use to drink a lot and has lots of friends that wants to go out with or play poker or what ever. before he was blaming me a lot that I am trying to control him and I am pessimistic and such thing, up to 2 years ago that I have realized that he has this problem.  before I was so surprised that why he is treating me like this, since I am a very fair person, and I was very upset. now that I know he had ADHD I am very sad. he is trying to get medical help, but he still doesn't believe completely that he has problems. he has other relatives that have ADHD, from the symptom I can tell.anyway it is very sad, that my life suppose to be like this, I can deal with my daughter because she knows that I am trying to help her, and she can see the result but I really don't want to be a mother to my husband as well. I am very confused, and I don't know what I should do, since the drugs mostly are for calming down the people that are hyper my huby is not hyper at all. although I appreciate he being relaxed over being hyper. sometimes I think 20 years is enough I should leave him, since he has suggested a few times as well, but I feel bad since I care for him too, I am not sure if he can take care of himself, and we both run into more financial trouble, and my younger kid is very emotional as well, she wont take separation well.

ADHD Relationship - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Nov 25th 2009

Dr. Edward Hallowell is probably the foremost expert on ADHD. You can find his web site at this URL:

http://www.drhallowell.com/

He has opened centers around the nation and those centers include the treatment of couples having difficulties. I suggest you read is very popular and excellent book, Driven to Distraction

In addition, there are many fine psychologists who treat ADHD and ADHD Couples. You need to do an Internet search.

Dr. Schwartz

a classical ADHD relationship - Dazed_in_RI - Nov 25th 2009

My marriage is a classical ADHD relationship.

We attempted marriage counseling during which my wife's ADHD was disclosed - but not discussed. Honestly, I found the sessions to be a waste of time, trying to fit our problems to their scripted mold (all conflicts stem from childhood pain), rather than addressing our real practical issues.

I understand that the issues with ADHD are complex, any solution involves commitment and understanding from both partners, and that there are no magic bullets.

My question is, what is the best way to find a counselor that would be knowledgeable, and effective - particularly when the ADHD partner may be reluctant to accept it as a influencing factor in the relationship. I’m afraid that based on past experience we will be again sitting in front of another quack, wasting 6 moths of grueling emotional turmoil before we come to realize that the answer is elsewhere.

I’m eagerly seeking direction in Rhode Island.

dishoveled - emma - Nov 20th 2009

thank you fo posting this article. i have been dealing with adhd for over 10 years now. but i have gotten progressively worse over the years. my current boyfriend is have problems with my disorder due to the sysmptoms of it. i lie to him all the time and i cant remember things that i shoudl remember. inturn i found this article and had him read it. he understands now why i am the way i am. he has also asked that i get the help i need bt after 3 years of noe meds theraoy or anything i thought id be ok. but then realizing that i wasnt was a lot harder to swallow. but i thank you for this because it has nade him see that its not being uncaring or for a lack of living him that the things i do arent all because of me. thank you

Adult with ADHD - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Nov 17th 2009

Hi Adult,

I really am sorry that you got the impression from our web site that having ADHD is depressing and that relationships are impossible. That was not our intent and  it is not true. I work with many Adults with ADHD for whom the problem is not their relationship or their marriage. Instead, their problem is getting organized at work.

I fully agree with you that ADHD has nothing to do with violence or criminal behavior.

Please understand that, like everything else, ADHD runs on a continuum. There are those whose symptoms are mild and manage quite well. There are others who, despite being adult, their symptoms continue unabated and these are the ones that spouses tend to complain about. Spouses also run on a continuum from those who are very understanding to those who have no patience.

Perhaps, if you read our articles and not only the comments, you would see that we take a more accurate view of this disorder.

Dr. Schwartz

adult living with ADHD - - Nov 17th 2009

As an adult living with ADHD, I find this site somewhat depressing for me.  First of all, I did struggle though college, but I made it though(Oh, and I was diagnosed when I was 5 years old too).  It first occured to me that maybe I should get help with my disorder when I was a senior in college.  I was the student who the A students came to when they had a question about something.  However, I was the one who made B's and C's, yet I studied and understood the core concepts just as much as an A student did.  My problem got alot worse when I hit the real world, and it almost got fired from my first real job that I had.  I was eventually forced to get help, and I decided to take medication.  My life is now 100 times better than it was before.  I take meds, and I recieve counseling.  While medication isnt a cure all nor an end all, it certainly helps.  Also, many people believe that medication turns an ADHD person into a normal person, and that the fun side of them goes away too.  It did no such thing to me, and people have told me that I am a funner person to be around.  What makes this site depressing to me is the fact that so many spouses just seem to vent about their ADHD husband.  If I would have read this site before I got help and meds, It would have sent me into an even deeper depression than the rut I was already in.  Nevertheless I am beyond that, and I am a much stronger person.  But I have to advocate for the ADHD single man or woman, or the ADHD man or woman in a relationship.  When they or their spouse come across this website looking for relationship help, what are they going to think/expect?  ADHD is NO EXCUSE for violent behavior or criminal behavior.  But from what many have written on here, it seems like the word ADHD is synonomous for the words violent and criminal.  I even saw one post that basically was telling any non-ADDer in a relationship just to cut and run. Domestic violence is a problem that affects ADD and non ADD people, and people of all walks of life, income, and race.  I think its dumb to judge a whole group of people with a condition based on what you experianced with one person. And I also have to question how much of that was caused by ADHD, and how much was caused by the things that cause domestic violence in non-ADHD people.  If ADHD has done one thing for me that I like, it has given me an excuse to allways try to find room for improvement in life.  Also, be sure and read the positive aspects of this disorder. 

Nani.. It is amazing how you just described my husband! - Genco - Oct 20th 2009

He has the same list of symptoms. I would really like to talk further because I truly need help with this. I am at wits end and my own emotional needs are getting thrown to the waste side. My kids are involved as well. We have been married just a few months and he seems to be getting worse.Blames me for everything and is really getting verbally abuisve. And he NEVER apologizes for the mean things he says snad does. It is always my fault. I do not know what I can do when he does not want to do anything himself. He will not medicate nor talk about it.

hyperfocusing phase - Nani - Sep 28th 2009

When I first met my current boyfriend he told me that he had ADD and OCD, but it didn't register as something that would interfere with our relationship.  I think I was very wrong...  I've recently learned that the first two months of our relationship, which was FANTASTIC..., was probably the hyperfocusing phase.  Boy has it pooped out.  I am really nervous about continuing a relationship with him.  If anyone has any advice please help.

Here are a list of his symptoms:  Drastic change in his attentiveness to my emotional needs, feet moving while sleeping, sudden blurts of distress (not really anger, but I feel blindsided) and if I try to discuss it that he's hurt me he seems to want to antagonize me further, changes plans constantly, very forgettful and his eyes slightly bulge.

If anyone can offer any advice positive or negative please do so.  I can't shake that I am doing something wrong or that it's about me.  Are his feelings still there, but disguised under the ADD?

relieved to find this site - Nani - Sep 28th 2009

I just recently got involved with someone who told me that they are ADD and OCD.  Some odd behaviours have surfaced and I am relieved to find this site and am hoping for some guidance.

ADD - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Aug 5th 2009

Hi Sonya,

There is no way to do any kind of diagnosis via the Internet but I can give you my vague impression of the little you have told me and what I think may be the problem you have.

Yes, Based on the tiny amount of information, it is possible that you might have Attention Deficit Disorder.

My suggestion is that you see either a psychiatrist or a psychologist who specializes in Adult ADD and have your self evaluated and diagnosed. If the results are positive then the idea would be to go to the next step and go through the kind of training you need so that you can learn how to cope with your symptoms.

For example, if you have ADD then you need to think about the type of job that would best suit you, something that requires action more than details.

You also have to allow for the possibility that there could be a different type of problem but, no sense going there, better to see someone in person and be evaluated.

Good Luck,

Dr. Schwartz

Do I have ADHD? - Sonya - Aug 5th 2009

  Hello

   I am not sure if I have ADHD, but since I was a child, I feel like I am stupid, not paying attention to simple tasks. My mom used to laugh and say I was somewhere else, daydreaming.. felt like an idiot! I often forgot things at school or at home, such as my notebook, my pencil/pen/case, but I was a good student, had great marks and I was usually the best student, even at university (although I don't know how I managed to finish it).

  I always started a course but ended up getting bored soon and didn't finish anything, usually within 2-3 months. It happened and still does with jobs, I just can't stay at the same job for 2-3 months! I get bored quickly and want to move on, but it has a cost: it's hard to get another one. It takes months for me to get a new job (only shit jobs) and once I start, I quit shortly. Fortunately I have a boyfriend who is very understanding and supportive. I still don't know how I am still with him for 2 years as I am very unstable but he makes me feel good. My biggest problem is related to jobs, don't know what to do. I always thought I had a problem but wasn't sure which one, and searching on the net, I found ADHD, that seems to be what I got. I had (and think still do) depression, don't know what to do.

  Would appreciate any help. Thanx.

Dr. Hallowell Centers for ADHD - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Jul 31st 2009

Addendum,

The website for the Dr. Hallowell Centers for the treatment of ADHD for Adults is:

http://www.drhallowell.com//the-hallowell-centers/

Dr. Schwartz

Struggling - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Jul 31st 2009

Hi Struggling,

I hear your plea loud and clear and I strongly empathize after all of these years of working with ADHD in adults and with their partners. I do have some suggestions. If you are doing these things, good. If not, give them a try.

Frankly, I am not so sure that marriage therapy is the way to deal with this thing. Frankly, your husband needs to face the fact of his ADHD and get help for that. Now, there are a couple of options for him.

1. He can contact, or your contact for him, the Hallowell Institute. Hallowell is the ADHD expert who wrote "Driven to Distraction," an excellent book on the topic. You should find them listed on the Internet. They have opened centers in several places with staff trained to help adults learn to deal with their symptoms. Their approach is specific, targeted, behavioral and helpful in ways that are real and practical. Your husband needs to attend.

2. Along with this type of treatment, it might (or might not) be helpful for him to see a psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD in adults and try one of the stimulant medications. No miracle results there but some people find it helps (some do not).

For you: You need to see a therapist just for yourself to help you get through. You are not alone and there are many wives who are completely frazzled by this problem in their husband (or in their wife).

Hope this helps,

Dr. Schwartz

Struggling with ADHD marriage... - - Jul 30th 2009

I have just sat and read all of these stories with people who are in relationships with ADHD partners. I have been in one for almost a decade and I can tell you that it's been very difficult to live with. My spouse suffers every day with these symptoms and it's driven me crazy every day of my life with him. I am someone who is very organized and dialed in and never struggles with a task. I try to understand his disorder, but it makes me more insane each day I have to put up with it. We have had endless discussions about his behavior and how I feel like I married a 12 year old. Like the others I've read about, he is the sweetest, kindest person you could meet and everyone I talk to about his behavior says it's my fault and that I'm just being mean and overbearing towards him. I have tried to let him be responsible for things, but he doesn't have a time table for anything, so tasks, chores, etc... sit for days, weeks, months and even years undone. We have made lists upon lists to get stuff done and it all falls to the wayside. According to him, everything can wait til tomorrow and the next day after that, etc... Financially, we have been destroyed, and we are struggling every day to stay afloat. I take care of every bill and financial decision. When I try to discuss our bills, it falls on deaf ears, but he will always try to sound like he knows anything about our finances in mixed company and usually makes no sense or makes some statement that is not true, leaving me baffled every time. Miraculously, he has two jobs, but barely holds onto either of them and I live in fear every day that he will lose them. He doesn't have the ability to even find a job on his own. Every job he's had has been essentially handed to him and when he had to look for work, it took months and many threats for him to even have enough focus to fill out an application. What makes me sad the most, is that we started out great and we have just been on a downslide for the past several years. Now I feel like I love him because he's my husband, but I'm not in love with him anymore and I now just feel like we are holding on because we have a child and financially we would struggle more if we were apart. I have a very supportive family, but he doesn't and I don't know what would become of him if I left. I'm worried that our young child will start to learn some of my behaviors when dealing with her father. I don't want her to lose respect for him, because he is a great Dad, but as time goes on, I think she too will suffer right along with me. We are in counseling and I've tried countless times to work on different methods to communicate and work thru these issues.  He wants to change the way his life is, but because his symptoms are so severe, he can't get ahead of it and the cycle continues. I was hoping through therapy and medication we would see some change, but it's still a struggle every day. I feel like I am a single parent of 2 children, but unfortunately my actual child can follow along and do things more independently, than my husband. I feel like my husband is completely dependent on me for everything and if I don't think of it, it will never get done. Is it possible to get through these issues or am I just spinning my wheels in hopes that he'll change? I just don't want to be 50 and realized I wasted a lot of my life on a lost cause.  Any thoughts, or advice is always welcome!

My ADHD love story - - Jun 27th 2009

I have been dating my boyfriend for three years now (living together for year and a half) and we recently decided to get married. I love finding websites that remind me and his occasional comments and habits are a result of ADHD. This website reminds me that it is just one of his faults, just like I have many faults that he deals with. It was so easy to fall in love with him and to continue loving him throughout everything. I am extremely organized, I work two jobs and go to school and manage to keep our apartment clean, laundry done and make it to all of my appointments. He struggles with most of those things but it works well for us. I enjoy cleaning the apartment, doing the laundry, paying the bills and reminding him of appointments. Being with him does not make me feel like I have to give up on my independence, I can organize our apartment how I want it, schedule appointments when they fit both of our schedules, etc. without it bothering him. He knows he is not good at those things and knows that I take care of them for him. The best part is when he takes the time to clean up for me, or wash a load of clothes because he knows that I deserve a break sometimes.

He may have outbursts and plenty of problems, but we all do, I don't feel as guilty when I get angry with him about something and don't hold back. I hated relationships where I felt guilty all of the time because of something I said or did. He knows when he was wrong, and I know when he was wrong so we just move on past things and don't let it hold us down.

I have learned that with him, its best to pick your battles. Don't let the ADHD hold back the relationship, focus on the good times had. If you are meant to be together, then the ADHD will just be another thing to work on in the marriage. It won't become the burden weighing down on both of you. When he says something hurftul out of impulse, the best  thing to do is smile, say "I love you" and don't act like it bothers you. Because it shouldn't, acting like it hurts you just makes them feel like they have to keep going. He can't help it.

Some of the stories I have read on here sound terrible. I would leave to if some of the stuff I have read on here was happening to me. Reckless driving hasn't really been an issue for us, althought I believe that in the past he might have not been such a good driver. So each couple is different. He knows where his faults are, so he doesn't allow himself a debit card. He tells me when he is out of cash and I give him more. It was his plan, not mine and it works better. Trust me, we tried the whole debit card/check book thing with him and that didn't work well. He reminds me that his insurance or whatever bill needs to get paid for him and I go online and do it. It's not that hard. Me and my boyfriend, we work well together. Living together was difficult at first, but we have managed to work out a way to coexist and love each other. I have just learned how to take the good with bad. Don't forget that people with ADHD have some good qualities, like when you feel like talking about something for hours, they are the best people to go to. Or when you don't have a plan for your day, they are the best people to spend the day with. You never know what you may end up doing. Constantly reminding your ADHD partner about everything that you do for them is a terrible idea, trust me, they know. And they will find a way to somehow show you their appreciation. He may not remember my birthday or to send me flowers on valentines day but it doesn't matter. He leaves notes with "I Love You" written on them around the apartment, he will go to the gas station at midnight to get me something that I just happened to mention on a whim, he never forgets to ask for no tomatoes on my sandwiches or to get me something when we got to the movies, or to record a television show just because he knows that I like it. My best advice, is just to relax, instead of being mad that he forget to give you something on your birthday, remember that he gave you a new watch a month ago (or whatever).

Plus, medicine helps too :)

I am so happy I found this website - - Jun 18th 2009

I am a 20 something woman, dating a 20 something man with ADD. We have been together for 6 months and already it has been quite a ride. 

After reading the previous entires I realize that I am not alone with my feelings: my ADD man is completely oblivious to how his actions affect/hurt/embarass others. When he sleeps his feet are constantly moving, he has random outbursts when he attemps to study, rants and rants even when not one person in the room cares about the subject manner, when a sports game is on he tunes out everything, his emotions about "us" are sincere, but freezes up at times *all males have a tendency to do this last one.  He recently told me that he has taken concerta, adderall and riddilin earlier *he is not on any meds at the moment, but keeps talking about getting a new batch to help him take an important exam. I fear that our relationship is doomed. He is successful and charming and wonderful--but I do not want to fight for normality.  He told me about his daily trip to porn sites... which is another red flag. He is very honest but doesnt seem to believe he is doing anything wrong.  He admits he has ADD... but does not see how it affects me, or the people around him.   He is wonderful and a great person, but I feel that staying with him is emotional/spiritual suicide.  I constantly question should I stay. I try to postpone my emotional progression because I fear one day I will comepletly lose his interest.

I would like to hear one happy ADD love story.

Thank you all for insight into ADHD - - May 28th 2009

I read all the comments from those of who have been victimized emotionally from ADHD.  I wish I had known three years ago about the financial difficulties those with this disorder tend to have.  My ex always had "solid" reasons to borrow money from me and always promised to pay every penny back.  The total amount lent to him totalled over $6,000.00.  When we broke up, he was still "committed" to paying it all back.  Haven't seen a penny yet.  To make a long story short, I got very concerned and had my attorney draw up a sighed and notarized promissory note requiring him to start making payments within six months.  He has a history of lying about everything that I do not believe much of what he says and certainly do not expect him to pay the debt to me unless he is forced to.

extremely helpful - - May 1st 2009

Farewell everyone!   This site has been extremely helpful to me over the years, including, but not limited to the 12-year researched book, "IS IT YOU, ME, OR ADULT ADHD" (highly recommended).   My departing came after my former ADHD partner woke me up at roughly 4:AM while on vacation during my birthday month this year. He wanted to discuss another angry note that he wrote me.  He has written dozens of hostile notes generated from his frequent demands, and have solicited hundreds of arguments over the years for no good reason.   As a PhD student of psychology, I’ve had good interest in learning about his condition – not only to improve our relationship, but to better understand the root of our problems.  An important section of the aforementioned book reads: "Let's Have A Problem." Isn’t this chapter intriguing? Let’s have a problem means that even if there is no problem, one will be created. Some with ADHD or ADD require regular conflict or other forms of stimulation, which is ironically soothing for them (but wears out those around them).  My former ALWAYS denied his symptoms, and was never willing to discuss the frequent problems he created.  In fact, one day, he threw my book in the trash.  He usually blamed me for most of our problems, saying I am the one with the condition.  As a member of a sacred tribe, I, and my family are truly blessed with no history of such illness, no cancer, and no other disease.  On the other hand, my former has had ADHD since childhood, but was never treated or medicated until his post college years. He has self-medicated for decades.  As a matter of fact, over the holidays, his parents played a family recording of their children, and his voice was ear-piercing with constant talking throughout the tape (another symptom). Strangely, he continues to deny his condition.  I rarely had a voice in our relationship; he was always talking and controlled conversations, music listened, movies watched, and more. I used to allow this, and remained quiet because I understood his problem.  In point of fact, while exercising I would often jog extremely slow so that he could speed away, which resulted in some quiet time. There are dozens of examples of how I tried to adjust to him - many of which are posted on this website.  The book also gives some useful tips for how to deal with an adult ADHD person.  However, all information was very limited; remedies were tiresome, situation stressful, and in the end, I was still blamed or accused for virtually everything no matter how quite or allowing I was.   As another writer on this site mentioned, I had to finally save and love myself.  I actually realized this weeks ago after watching Louise Hay's film, "You Can Heal Your Life." The film was not directly related to me because I have no illness, but was attracted to it because I enjoy psychological themes, spirituality and works by Louise Hay, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, Ramtha, and many more.  The movie talks about those with ailments, such as cancer, whom healed their life by changing their thoughts.  It is a must-see! The other major part of the film reflected "self-talk" or how individuals talk to themselves in destructive ways.  There were women on the show (between ages 30-40, it seemed) whom finally realized they never truly loved themselves as much as they should of.  I also purchased Louise's Power Thought (affirmation) cards.  One of the cards profoundly said something to the affect of, "I love myself and provide a safe, peaceful, nurturing home." Wow; this card in combination with the film truly sank in.  Why would I let someone abuse and walk all over me? What have I been thinking about myself?  Did I not love myself enough to take better care? Why am I giving my life away with little or nothing in return, except for stress, grey hair, sadness, and potentially future misery?  The worst part was that my former was in denial, never wanted counseling, and never admitted (or was never conscious of) his symptoms. Why would I settle for this and potentially have children with this person or give birth passing along his ADHD gene, and create MORE PROBLEMS? If it has been bad for half a decade, and the partner is unwilling to see himself or change, why would I waste anymore time when I could be enjoying a beautiful relationship with another?  Did I not think enough about myself to have a better life?   Seriously, I tried for nearly half a decade to adjust to his frequent bursts of anger/impulsivity, addictions, dangerous/fast driving, frequent pornography use, uncaring treatment, and numerous other problems (all outlined in the aforementioned book and jointly sprinkled throughout this website).  When he angrily awakened me in the wee hours weeks ago, I finally told myself, “THIS IS MY FINAL WAKE UP CALL!”  As a result, I ended the stressful vacation early, flew back before his arrival, packed up the rest of my stuff (note that due to our continual problems, I already put most of my belongings in storage), and finally departed years of (occasional joy and) prolonged, frequent misery.   Therefore, I bid you all farewell and no longer need this useful site to support the sorrows of yesterday.   I cut off all ties from the former - did not wish to be drawn into the misery, which loves company.  I am grateful to be in a new home, different beautiful town, with new friends, and a wonderful, peaceful, joyful life.     Best wishes to all, Me

adhd bf - tiffany - Apr 6th 2009

My personal experiences of dating a man with ADHD There may be many more examples in the past I have forgotten and written off as a typical relationship fights, but only recently I have been noticing a pattern and keeping track of these incidences to see if it is a coincidence or behavioral symptoms of ADHD because he did have it as a kid. -my number one concern is his road rage. It is dangerous and he tailgates people all the time, I fear for my life while driving with him and he has already totaled one car because he ran a red light, why? He was alone but he could have been in the mist of road rage, trying to multitask, or simple not paying attention.  -Many daily arguments are about household chores and fights in the car over his road rage and carelessness about my safety (what if my future children are in the car with this man)-hyper focuses on video games and TV shows and ignores quality conversation time with me, causes resentment-although his is hyper focused while watching TV, I noticed while we watch my favorite shows he loses attention often and then ask me “what did he say” “what did she say” “what’s going on” at the end of the movie “I don’t get it” and he dose not have a hearing problem, this can become annoying because god forbid! if I ask those same questions while he’s watching something he’s really interested in, he will snap at me. -did not organize his paid time off to move into our new apartment, caused resentment and fights-procrastinated organizing future graduate school plans for the last two years, law school will not adjust to his procrastinations and he needs to think hard about that -his bad evaluations at work about his rude attitude to his associates worries me. This could hinder his abilities to progress successfully in a future career and support a future family.  -loses his temper while shopping in crowed stores, causes embarrassment and/or fights-While driving my father, I made a wrong turn, he got road rage, did not escalate to a fight but embarrassed me in front of my father-Road trip to see my mom in New Jersey, lost his temper caused a fight-date night to see “bolt” lost his temper, caused a fight-Valentines Day, hyperactivity and focused on other things and not paying attention to our special night, caused a fight. Then on the way to dinner we got lost, he lost his temper, I was not going to let it escalate into a fight and ruin my night, but it ruined the memory-AC vacation plans not organized effectively, caused a fight-Date night to see “knowing”, I got lost and he lost his temper, road raged, caused a fight and ruined the date-because we can not go shopping, go on a date, drive in a car together, or go on vacation without having ISSUES, causes overall resentment about being in the relationship The things I do love are his goofy energy outburst (almost Terette syndrome like) and his obsession with kissing and hugging me constantly. His anger is rarely directed at me and I know he loves me a lot and shows it more physically than verbally.

out of my mind but I still love my exboyfriend - Sabaka - Apr 4th 2009

I must be out of my mind but I still love my exboyfriend who has adult adhd.  He has stolen cash from me on at least on three occasions.  On the fourth occasion, he came into my home while I was at work and stole my entire safe.  He pawned all of my jewelry, including my grandmother's ring that he knew that I cherished.  He was recently charged with the crime of selling my jewelry at a local pawn shop.  After he was caught, he apologized and begged for my forgiveness.  I did forgive him, but will never trust him again.  The one thing I did make him do was start treatment with a psychiatrist for not only adhd but depression.  Although he currently has a new love interest, he still calls and wants to see me.  He knows that I still care deeply for him, but I made the choice to save myself from him.  He emotionally abused me for a number of years and I felt that unless I forced him out of my life and heart, I was heading towards an emotional breakdown.  I required the help of a psychiatrist, antidepressants and anxiety pills.   I shall always love him and be there for him, but I must also be there for me.

anger out of bounds - Patrick - Mar 27th 2009

My partner was diagnosed with adhd.It was a relief to find a reason for his inablity to plan ahead ,eat only when so hungry he must buy fast food (alot!),be so cruel with his anger,it is abusive,forget everything, never budget time or money,and seem to be  just selfish.

I'm at wits end here.My finances are terrible.While he is in school i am trying to pay for everything.He says he cannot work .. to concentrate on school .I pay for his meds.im not making it .Today after i gave him money and told him we are 3 months behind in  rent,on a special utilities payment(over 200$ a month)and 300$ behind in internet /phone ..he walks out of the store and gives money to some people in the parking lot!They are some church people (who knows?)and he would rather they have "HIS" money to help people rather than pay it in taxes!!! When I told him we are poor and that money small as it was is needed he went ballistic..i have seen this before ..no need to go into detail but  anything he can say about my appearance ,friends, family or intellect is fair game as well as threats of violence. He has barely worked in two years!i just don't know what to do anymore.

help!!! sinking ship. - - Mar 15th 2009

my brother was diagnosed with hyperactivity as a child, back in the early 1970's.  At that time, I don't think the attention part was really well know.  He was just called hyper.  He took ritalin, until he was old enough to refuse.  I was the good older sister, the quiet one in the shadow, of  all of his behavioral problems, the blur of his activity, the family fights that resulted because of the crazy things he did and the stress he caused everyone.  This whole time, I was quiet and fairly still, but zoning off into space.  I was not a very good student myself, but not a blur of activity.  I was not destructive, getting arrested, suspended, etc.  I often left the house to sit in the back yard just to be away from the chaos created by my brother.  Though my parents knew he had a diagnosed problem in his brain, it was hard for them not to blame him for his behaviors, especially for my dad, who was a good dad, but lost his temper on many occasions and did and said some cruel things.  There is no denying that being ADHD can be emotionally damaging to a child, the result of everyone else's treatment.  Teachers, other kids, parents.  It really hurt me too.  I would range from hating him to being scared of him, to hurting for him, to being his biggest advocate.  Well all along, the fact that I was in some zone, went unnoticed or blamed on my hearing problem.  Jump ahead decades.  My relationship with my brother is strange.  I am glad he lives over a thousand miles away.  He has a hard time, seeing anything from anyone else's point of view.  His emotions are still often out of control.  He acts like he is on a caffiene and speed overdose.  He is like a tornado and hurricane all at once and trashes my house and my mind when he visits.  I recently visited him and brought my 4 yr. old son.  It was so tense and of course ended in tears.  At one point he did lash out at my child and a lot of pent of stuff had to come out.  My parents are dead, so my brother is my only family.  I have to put up with him.  He refuses to seek professional help or take meds. though he has used lots of drugs of his own choosing over time. 

Now the reason, I am here, me, my mind is in chaos, even without my brother, I have been meaning to seek help for about 10 years and haven't.  I totally zone out.  I am a mess.  My life is a mess.  My bills are late, I don't know where anything is, ever.  I am always late.  I have difficulties connecting well with others.  My professional life has suffered.  I am separated from my husband and as a single parent, being ultra disorganized, and in a state of chaos, just does not work at all.  I am the only one, we have to rely on.  I feel no sense of control.  What kind of example am I setting for my son?

I look at tasks and realize I have no idea where to begin, how to knock them out.   About 18 months ago, I fell, injured my neck, and it all got much worse.  I fell behind on everything, that did not help.  It became harder to clean my home.  Chronic pain is also a distraction.  I also may have shaken up my brain a little in the fall.  From what I read now, undiagnosed, minor head injuries are not that uncommon.  What I know is that this situation is beyond sane.  I have to learn how to find professional mgt. for this.

Spouse with ADHD - Allan N Schwartz - Mar 2nd 2009

Hi Nicola and others with this problem,

First, let me say that I understand your frustrations with the  people who fail to understand what it is like. Well, they never will understand. However, there are support groups for those, like yourself, who live with a partner with ADHD. I suggest you attend one of them in your area. Do a search on the Internet.

Second, medication is only a very small part of the help your husband needs. He really needs to see a psychologist who specializes in giving "coaching" to those with ADHD. What I mean by "coaching"  is NOT career counseling but highly specific training and Behavioral Therapy in how to keep things in order, remember to do things, etc.

As to his hormone levels, that is a problem separate and apart from ADHD although quite serious.

Please be aware that there is no easy solution to the ADHD problem and that, of course the hormone problem only worsens things for yourself.

For these reasons and the effects these problems are having on yourself and the children, it would be understandable if you thought about and even planned separation and divorce. In fact, the statistics for people with ADHD is that their marriages frequently end in divorce. Do not be hasty. I would recommend psychotherapy for youself so that you can begin getting some support and help in making decisions for yourself.

Dr. Schwartz

Just need to vent to people who get it - Nicola - Mar 2nd 2009

Most people in my life think I am awful for being upset at my husband - ever - because he's "such a good guy". Yeah, he'll do the laundry (mostly his own - he's ruined a few too many of my things and the kids' things, because he will NOT read the tags or call and ask about specific items), and he's willing to cook and clean, and take care of the kids (although with the kids, he needs to be reminded of the same things over and over again, such as how to discipline the older child without flying off the handle). 

But these people don't have to live with the consequences of his actions. Those consequences include: over $140,000 in debt throughout our marriage - including, finally, bankruptcy (and we were lucky when we earned $80,000 a year combined); his constantly forgetting things that are supposed to be consistent, daily events; taking the most minute things personally; telling his mom every last thing in our lives (she's a nice lady but sometimes I don't need or want her opinion)... and that may not be related to ADHD, but it's annoying nonetheless. My biggest concern, though, is the fact that I have kids with him. Bad enough my finances will probably always be a wreck as long as I stay married to this man, even if I am the one controlling them; but one way or another, I am stuck with him FOREVER now that we have children.

In addition to his ADHD - which was diagnosed as hyperacticity when he was a kid, but forgotten - totally - until about one year ago - he's had sexual issues - impotence and low testosterone. Not only does low testosterone cause low or NO desire in a guy (imagine how you feel when your husband simply doesn't acknowledge it when you know you look good, or ALWAYS puts you off when you want sex - stereotypically, isn't it usually the man begging for sex???), low testosterone causes a mental fog that causes *any* man to behave like he's about 9 years old - no worries, no responsibilities, etc.

So I didn't even know about the ADHD, and didn't know about the low testosterone until I did my own resarch (of course the impotence became obvious after a while, that just added to the whole thing), and with my family and friends treating me like I must be crazy to be so mad at this guy - well, I thought I must be crazy, of course! I have literally lost a few friends over the fact that I got ZERO sympathy from them for these issues no matter how painstakingly I explained why I was at my wits' end (I lost these friends because I decided to drop them. You don't support me, you're GONE - period).

Knowing about the ADHD is helpful, although now that his impotence has improved (better diet - he's diabetic, keeping glucose controlled helps a little) and he's on testosterone replacement therapy, I'm not too keen on him taking the typical adult ADHD meds. Why, because DUH, they'll probably affect his desire for sex, after I spent years dragging him to doctors to figure out the sexual issues! He's on Wellbutrin, and I don't know if that helps the ADHD... and his psychiatrist said that at his age (he's almost 50) it's kind of a waste of time to get a coach. A waste of time for WHO? I *am* the coach now, and he treats me like crap when I try to coach him - I'm mentally exhausted!

Sometimes I don't even know why I care about the sexual end of things, other than to keep myself from cheating... I really think the love went out of our marriage years ago because of all these issues. He says "I love you" after sex; I may say it back but I just don't feel it. In theory, I understand that he's had problems that were beyond his control, but in practice, there is just too much resentment in me - I mean, I couldn't even get him to do what I asked to work out his health issues (like his diabetes) without threatening to leave him if he didn't get himself straightened out...

Then there is the issue of our children. My older daughter is already exhibiting signs of being "strong-willed" (that's the nicer term for it - LOL) and she talks to him EXACTLY like I have spoken to him when his behavior frustrates me... although in her case she's just outright rude to him from the get-go. Clearly she's gleaned from my interactions with him that the fastest way to get results with him is to just snap at him. She'll do it to me too, and she also has a tendency to ignore us the first couple of times we say something to her, like he does to me! (No, she does not have ADHD - she's been seen by 4 professionals for other issues, all agree she does not have ADHD, so I think it's a learned behavior...) 

Logically we all know that "you get more flies with honey than with vinegar," but when it comes to ADHD (and men with low testosterone - boy was that ever a double-whammy!) asking sweetly for what you want - and waiting patiently until three days go by and the chore isn't done or the bill isn't paid or the laundry is still sitting there - is not the answer.

a rare comment from a person with adhd - rebecca - Feb 28th 2009

it saddens me to hear all the terrible things that people living with a person with adhd go through.  i struggle daily with extreme guilt for the problems i cause my wonderful partner.  maybe my adhd is less severe or perhaps it's because i'm a woman with adhd.  i can tell you this, i don't verbally abuse my partner, nor do i put the blame on him for any problems we may have.  i have been on medication for several years now, and with the meds, i find relief from most of my symptoms.  time management is the one area i struggle with.  i think it may be impossible for someone to understand something that deals with the mind.  for me, time just seems to not exist.  this is a major problem with my and my partner.  what feels like 15 minutes to me, turns out to actually be an hour!!!!  I don't know why this happens but i wish it would stop!!!

from reading all your posts, i'm not sure the overall take but i can tell you this - understanding is the only thing i ask for.  some things just can't "go away" and when the person with adhd  has to deal with their own shortcomings, making the person feel like crap....does not help.  we know what we've done and don't like it any more than you.  some posts stand out bc it sounds like the person with adhd wants to blame everyone and everything before looking in the mirror.  sometimes, with the right supposrt, the person with adhd can research ways to help deal with his/her symptoms.

I can only hope that i don't end up like he peopleio've been reading about. 

dont understand? - chrissy - Feb 25th 2009
I have been involved with a man for a year who has adhd and I have been very supported and patient. But recenlty he told me he was really busy but his feelings for me hasnt changed. Does his condition make him fall in and out of love easy? 

Leave with your sanity if you can - - Feb 19th 2009

I was involved with a man for three years. I loved him, cared for him, had a child with him. He is ADHD.  He is creative, charming and entertaining.  He is forgetful, hurtful and irresponsible.  What can I tell you?  You will put up with hurtful comments, a huge amount of work, chores, money responsiblily and you will still be the bad guy because you expect him to complete the few responsiblities he has as an adult such as food choices, time management, and responsiblity for what he says and does. 

You can't win.  If you don't point out  he forgot something/was hurtful, it's your fault. If you do remind him/point it out/discuss it - it's your fault.  He won't remember the conversations anyway.  It's a nonviable situation to put it positively. 

 My advise:  it is not in your best interest to stay unless you want to be stuck in a vicious cycle.  Be kind to yourself leave and make your life what it's supposed to be.  Love the ADHD person, accecpt them but go on with your life with someone else who IS and CAN be an equal partner and support you as much as you support them.

Hyperfocusing boy friend - Allan N Schwartz - Feb 17th 2009

To the woman with the 'hyperfocusing' boyfriend:

I recommend that you go to couples counseling with someone who specializes in the treatment of adults with ADHD. There are also support groups out there that the two of you could attend. These two suggestions are useful because they are ways for him to learn about the impact his ADHD behavior is having on you and others and ways for him to change those.

Dr. Schwartz

The Frustration of Hyperfocusing Issues during Conversation - - Feb 17th 2009

I've had such an insightful experience reading through the comments posted by other ADHD-sufferers' 'better halves'.  However, my beautiful, wonderful younger boyfriend , was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago and, while I can cope with the majority of his tendencies, his hyperfocusing  - especially on conversational topics  - is what is driving me to despair. I can be literally 'nailed to the chair' for three to four hours at a time while he indulges in his lecture-style rants on his pet subjects (politics especially)  which he imparts with a knowledge and intensity way above my head.  My efforts to change the subject or extricate myself from these endless 'conversations'  (they are monolgues, really, with a lot of head-nodding on my part, as my interjections are rarely acknowledged or even noticed and my opinions are immediately put down) are fruitless.

In the four years that we've been together, I've had to abandon hobbies and  household tasks (gardening: no time now; - can't listen and work at the same time, as I have a hearing problem and need to lipread; window-cleaning: at night while he's sleeping? try it!; reading: only when he's absent). 

I have been able to adjust to his other tendencies, as I've got grown children of my own and am quite patient and  understanding.  In fact, I think that one of my own children may have undiagnosed ADHD himself.

I would be so grateful for some tips from other sufferers on how to control or limit those exhausting 'conversations' which effectively relegate me to object status.  My voice is either silenced when I attempt to contribute to the discussion or else my opinion sidetracks him and the conversation takes an entirely new direction, prolonging it even more.

There's only so many times that I can get away with going to the bathroom etc.  Because of these so-called conversations, we've missed out on so many Sunday activities and outings by turning up five minutes before closing!

I might add that I am separated from my husband and found his controlling behaviour and psychological cruelty towards me far more difficult to live with than the present ADHD problem.  My boyfriend is a warm, spontaneous, loving human being (albeit a mite eccentric and very forgetful) who treats me with boundless and genuine affection.  I detect no calculating behaviour on his part that is designed to berate me (as my husband did).  I feel appreciated and loved and the intimacy and sex is wonderful this time around.

All I need is a way to trim down those awful 'conversations' which really lead nowhere and are such a waste of time, since they are all so one-sided.  Incidentally, my boyfriend admits that they wear him down too; he doesn't intentionally gag me or berate me - he apparently can't help it when he's in full flow.  However, he does see that they are a waste of time and that they have destroyed our plans on many occasions. Occasionally I have managed to curtail the talk time, only to be later delayed by him suddenly 'remembering' to finish up on other tasks before leaving the house.

Help!

HELP ? - - Dec 28th 2008

  I am 51 - married 31 years to an ADHDer. (who's on medication)  We live and work together 24/7.    I ' m   t i r e d.   Every day is a struggle just to make it through.  Example - Today, we drove 2 hours to an amusement park - even returning home to get tickets he'd forgotten.  Guess what..  When we got to the park, he realized that he had put the tickets elsewhere.  We had no tickets. and 6 wild teenage girls.  

I'm here tonight because I want to leave.  I love him but I hate him.  He doesn't drink, smoke, do drugs, etc. - he's a good man - but I have NOTHING left to offer him.  I feel as if I have died inside.

 Where do I start if I leave?  Kids are grown and live on the other side of the country, I have no friends due to work hours (work with teenagers in theraputic residental enviroment 24/7.)  Also, I will lose my job as we are a "team".

Depressed - yeah, but I"ve earned it (married to an ADHDer, remember? )and I am on medication. 

Anyone made it through a similar situation?

Help - Sania - Dec 23rd 2008

Hello. My adult sister who is in her early 40's suffers from ADD. So does my father who is in his late 60's. My father was never a father (he was absent and could never participate in our lives though he is very successful in his professional life) and my sister is getting worse by the day.

While I am the only one who has questionsed, struggled and been affected by their behavior, my mother who is obviously not ADD has been an enabler of their illne.s. All these years she has justified it by saying I am too picky or difficult to get along with and then will go on to blame my sisters husband and daugheter and the neighboring trees if she can as the problem. I have seen her to the same for my father - justifying his symptoms. As a result I have no respect for my father - this stems from him being everything a person with ADD is and it has got worse with age as it was never diaganosed or treated.

I have seen my entire family crumble. Can I be right in saying that ADD was passed on from my father to my sister? Is it too late to get help for my sister? Could my niece who is 16 be affected too? How should I deal with my mother who is an old fashioned, adamant and proud person? How can I keep my sanity. This is the most difficult phase of my life, I am scared and lonely.

 Please help me. Thankyou in advance.

Thank you for your suggestion - Anna - Dec 18th 2008

I intend on doing just what you ahve mentioned.

As a spouse, a friend and a well wisher there is only so much one can do. All along, I was under teh impression that I was over reacting till it got so bad and thanks to forums like yours, I know I am not imagining things. Sadly, my husband made it seem like it was my problem - that my behaviour made him not want to follow through or finish tasks.

Now, he has to take accountability if he truly wants to help and be helped.

Thank you once again for your support.

Lists - Allan N Schwartz - Dec 17th 2008

Hi Anna and others,

While it is nice of you to make lists for your husband, it is up to him to make his own lists. You can help by putting up a post it board of some type in the kitchen but, what ever you attempt, it is up to  him to become responsible. It is not all medication. Sometimes medicine helps and sometimes it does not. The reason has to do with the motivation of the person with the ADHD. Tell him to make the lists and to keep a calendar. Tell him to go to a psychologist-coach who treats ADHD. Put the burden on him: it's his problem as it is for anyone with this disorder.

Dr. Schwartz

It is a sad place to be - Anna - Dec 17th 2008

I have just recently got married (2 months) and my husband does not remeber the date we got married.

He failed to propose to me with a ring and finally rushed to do it in a hotchpotch manner becasue we had an appointment with the civil celebrant.

He fails to make plans for our future. 

Inspite of reminders he will turn around and tell me that I never told him about that specific issue. So now, I communicate to him only via email. This makes me so sad.

He has no clue how to keep accounts, help with chores or follow through with important tasks.

In the meantime I have tried to help with lists and details and reminders but I have already grown apart as I feel I am with a child. It is so very draining and lonely for me. I have to make every decision on my own and follow through.

My husband did tell me that he has ADD and was taking medication for it. He also told me that it helps him in focussing. Not making a huge deal out of it, I did not read up on it till now.

I feel I am drained of strength to move forward and cannot help but think what a big mistake I made in gettting married to him. I should have know that his promise to get it right the next time was just an empty promise.

Lost and alone - - Dec 1st 2008

I have read all of these comments and statements and have read a lot of books on this subject.  My husband has ADHD and so does my son who is now an adult, I do not have this issue.  We see an ADHD counselor at least twice a month.  None of this helps.  All of the things that we have tried work temporarily to say the least.  I am so numb, I love both of these people dearly but am seriously contemplating leaving my husband within the next 6 months, my son on the other hand lives on his own but drives me crazy with his mood swings.  It is such a vicious cycle, roller coaster ride is putting it midly in my opinion.  I don't have anyone I can seriously talk to about this because you truly have to understand ADHD to be able to converse on this subject.   I feel like there is no way out, except to leave, if only I didn't love my husband anymore it would be so much simpler.  The hurt is sometimes unbearable.  He is a wonderful person, no addictions, but totally unorganized, I have never lived in such a messy house, I have just learned to live with this because it consumes my daily life, all the clutter.  He is a good provider, not lazy, a workaholic.  I could go on and on but most of you ADHD people understand completely. What can I do that I haven't already tried?

On Being A Therapist - Allan N Schwartz - Dec 1st 2008

Hi Allison,

I understand your dilemma, but, as a matter of fact, those of us who are therapists are not immune from lifes problems, tragedies and conflicts. In fact, perhaps they make us better therapists. In any case, I want to urge you to go to therapy for yourself, if he won't go for  himself. He needs a very specialized type of psychotherapy called "coaching." This is not the popularized version of going to a career counselor but a specialized type of treatment, almost always done by clinical psycologist, that focuses on specific strategies for overcoming the problems of adhd at work and at home. For yourself, you need therapy to help you decide whether or not you want to stay in the marriage. ADHD marriages most often end in divorce and just for the very reasons you mention.

Dr. Schwartz

add heartbreak - allison - Dec 1st 2008

I have found a lot of support in reading other's entries, but at the same time, I feel very sad. I love my husband so much but my life is a complete roller coaster. I have said awful things to him, out of anger and fear,  to try to get him to change. It hasn't worked and I am frustrated and ashamed of myself. I just feel so trapped.

The most ironic part? I'm a therapist! I just never bothered to learn all the idosyncracies of add. I feel a little guilty about that. I know many of my clients struggled with it, and maybe I misdiagnosed it more than once. I feel bad about that......            This world I am living in is tough and I regret that I didn't understand others better.

S. has spent over 100K on credit cards, all of them tied to my name. He lives for tomorrow, and can't understand how today is affected. He makes so many promises that he doesn't fulfill. He doesn't understand that it steals my hope and my spirit.

 This is a wonderful person with a beautiful heart. But he has wrecked my financial wellbeing and my sense of security. Please be careful if you are reading these articles in the hope you can figure out a boyfriend or girlfriend. This is a very difficult ride.

 

ADHD Spouse - Spitfire - Nov 28th 2008

My husband and I have been married for 22 years and it has been an absolute roller coaster!!!  We have tried various medications, marriage counseling, individual counseling, and even trying to ignore it.  But, the interesting thing is is that nobody ever suggested 'coaching' for him.  Even Vocational Rehabilitation did not suggest it.  I hope it will help because we are at the end of the rope in our relationship.

M.D. - Allan N Schwartz - Nov 18th 2008

I would think a visit to the MD would be a good place to begin. It is possible that the heroin addiction was either masking a physical problem or may have created such a problem, maybe neurogical in nature. If all checks out through the MD then he should be seen by a Clinical Psychologist for evaluation, diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Schwartz

some advice please? - caz 40 - Nov 18th 2008

i think my partner of 3 years has adhd. he has a long history of heroin addiction. has been clean now 5 months, with 2 blips? his behaviour asstounds me at times, he'l but in whenever my attention is focused on others, he thrives on stress bringing most of it upon me. shuns responsibility ( ostrich syndrome ).creates havoc to the point where im furious and need peace from his antics to the point where i make him leave. i'm certain he creates these dramas. is irresponsible with money. but works like a trojan. has had two volatile relationships, two kids to each partner. its clear his children love him. appart from all the erratic behaviour and outbursts. he is also the most loving kind caring man that anyone could ever meet. its obvious he loves me as i do him. but hes stating with his son at mo due to latest antic. i want his outragous behaviour to stop. so does he. he says he cant explain it. but never feels at ease with himself. please help!! how can he be tested and does the medication work? i want to support him. adhd or just down right bad behavior? any advice much appreciated.........

Two months ago - Marcia - Nov 16th 2008

Two months ago, my boyfriend with ADHD suddenly ended our 7 year relationship.  Up until that time, our plans were to be married.  I noticed that approximately a year before the breakup, he started losing interest in things and increased his free time by visiting friends at the local bar.  He insisted that he did not drink anything other than Pepsi, but the more time he spent at the bar, the more our relationship started to suffer.  I felt that the time he spent there was more important to him than our relationship.  My intuition was correct.  He ended the relationship abruptly.  Since that time, he has assaulted two people and his attention level has decreased.  I will always be there for him, but being able to cope with these changes is a bit difficult.

Adult ADHD - Allan N Schwartz - Nov 5th 2008

There is help for adults with ADHD. However, the individual has to want that help. The help that is available is a very specific type of psychotherapy called Coaching. What is meant by that term is that the psychologist and client work together for the client to learn new behaviors that keep them focused on what is going on with other people, keep organized at work, keep good relationships with spouses or romantic partners, and learn how to succeed in the world without getting into trouble. If he will not go for help then you may have some decisions to make.

Dr. Schwartz

ADHD boyfriend hell - LEE - Nov 5th 2008

i have been with my ADHD boyfriend for a little over  a year and a half now and i can honestly say that i feel constantly drained, it seems impossible to have something that resembles a normal life , just last week we went food shopping and my boyfriend nearly got into a fight with another shopper because he looked at him the wrong way. i have tried and tried and tried to help him and be supportive and understanding, but i argree that if people with ADHD dont help themselves then why should i ?

i love him very much, but if i keep going with this lifestyle i am headed for a breakdown.

ADHD is one condition to deal with that can affect or trigger others such as alcoholism, drug addiction, anger management, if you are unlucky enought to try and deal with all of the above you are in for a real challenge.

I Realize that my ADD can be a blessing or really complicate life with another - DONALD J - Oct 21st 2008

I am 45 years old and was not diagnosed with ADD until the age of 42.  Having that diagnosis made so many past complications in my life clearer to understand.  More importantly, it granted me the ability to thwart problems as they come into my life but it was imperative that I slow down the pace in which I was living.

Though it's evident I've had ADHD/ADD all of my life, it really didn't start to have complications until my mid 30's.  My brother had died and, unbeknownst to me, the subsequent depression was overcome by a higher ADD state.  I started making very bad errors in judgement.

At 33, I had met a beautiful, understanding, smart, and compassionate woman.  But her personality was, from what others said, boring.  But that boring personality was, in hindsight, what I needed.  She just allowed me to be me and when I eventually "came down from any ADHD high"... I was able to stay down because of her patience and introversion.  But, stupid me, I left that woman after a good and productive four year relationship for another (with now obvious ADHD) that I would QUICKLY marry.

My marriage was exciting, flirtatious, sexual, and abounding with energy.  And about two years into the relationship everything crumbled.  We began fighting, bickering, hyperfocusing on the stupidest of things and divorce ensued.

I was diagnosed with ADD about 2 years after my divorce.  It was not so much the ADD that has been complicating things in my past as it was the comorbid depression that was off & on.  When I entered into stressful situations were depressive episodes could flourish I would exhibit impulsive anger, tardiness, forgetfulness, etc.

I am an overachiever when placed in the right environment.  Flunked out of college at 18 and 23.  Returned to college for a BA degree in Economics... and graduated Cum Laude in 23 months.  My first two attempts at college were in degree programs that simply didn't interest me.  During my 23 months in college I didn't have any stress nor ADD complications, other than a some very exciting short lived relationships.  I was later a federal agent with INS and later went to Law School.  Yup, flunked out of law school because I was not consistently studying throughout the year and when end of the year exams came (in law school, they only give one test for the entire year) it was too late to catch up.  Okay, I had Mono too... but I was dq'd by .04 points.

It appears this forum is mainly about relationships... but the occupation the ADD person works in can be a detriment to any relationship.  see http://www.spark.org.sg/faq/faq_28.html

I truly think if the environment outside of the home is conducive to ADD then ADD complications can be lower than otherwise possible.

Rather than focusing on the ADD relationship aspects, perhaps look at the other situations in the life of the person you care enough about to seek the information found on this site.

No matter how much energy you put into a relationship, if the other parts of your loved one's life are not conducive to ADD/ADHD... then ADD dysfunctions will creep into your relationship.

I actually retired from the government due to my ADD.  I was routinely making clerical errors on some very critical national security paperwork.  I am EXTREMELY fortunate, as I've had more jobs and careers than a group of people combined.

Since retiring, for obvious reason, I have found the time to slow down.  I no longer turn to anger at the drop of a hat.  Yeah, I still forget things (my short term memory is horrendous!) but I no longer go into a "fit" when I can't find something. 

Most important... "I have learned to keep my mouth guarded or shut when in certain social situations."  Knowing that I have ADD also requires that I realize I can say the stupidest things from time to time that may insult others without my intending to do so.

If you've read this far then it is obvious to you that I have ADD.  Trust me, I can continue writing for much longer.  But I really want to drive something home:

1.  ADD is not something the non-ADD'r should deal with.

2.  The ADD person needs to take responsibility for any actions or hurts placed upon another.  If they hurt someone... "fess up and apologize!"  (For me, I set out to apologize for so many past infractions... verbal or otherwise... I put upon others.  My apologies were met, in most circumstances, with smiles of understanding and hope.)

3.  The ADD person MUST take their medication.

4.  Is the ADD person in a job conducive to ADD?  If not, perhaps a career change?

5.  Do EVERYTHING possible to rid your life of stress.  Those with ADD can make "tic-tac-toe" seem as complicated as Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and such instances only complicate anyone's life and adds stress.

6.  For those with ADD, don't blame the condition for your errors.  Understand the condition but accept responsibility (ie, blame) for not managing your life according to your condition.

 I'm going to end this now, but will throw out one more thing.  Check out www.davincimethod.com  It might give you some additional ideas.

 By the way, I typed this in 10 minutes... ADD fast!

ADHD and Marriage - Allan N Schwartz - Oct 21st 2008

While it is true that marriage to someone with Adult ADHD can be challenging there is no reason to feel hopeless if the ADHD spouse is willing to go for help. There are psychologists who specialize in "coaching" or training those with Adult ADHD. The training is very specific and targeted to specific behaviors. Many people with this disorder are not aware that they are missing or overlooking social cues or evidences about how their behavior is affecting others.

The combination of this Coaching along with marriage couseling can be and is extremely successful.

Dr. Schwartz

To the July 30th - - Oct 21st 2008

I completely agree!!!  Having an ADHD spouse means that your life is over.  You will spend all of it consumed by their disorder, and blamed by them for all their problems.  You are not allowed to have a life of your own.  But remember...stay positive for THEM.

where do i start ?? - katie - Oct 8th 2008

I met my boyfriend 6 months ago and realized very quickly there was something wrong with him. I didn't know he had adhd for about 2 months, he was using lots of drink, light drugs and he didn't want to be touched. He quickly lost interest in sex 'making a relationship very difficult, he was using porn and relieving himself a few times daily ignoring my needs, he was always saying inappropriate things in public and cruel things in private. He was constantly losing his temper and had trouble switching off in his head, saying that was why he needs the drink, drugs, caffine and sugar to help him relax, the icing on the cake for me was the lying, he was flirting with lots of women to keep him stimulated, making secret phone calls and texts also using chat lines and over spending, he was unable to manage his money or time,, the upside off being with him was he was extremely tactile towards me as long as i didn't touch him back, also he was  complimentary and loving ,, he has a kind heart and loves his family and has lots off compassion towards the elderly, disabled and animals, however i was unable to stay with him, he consumed my life leaving me shattered, i feel so badly for adults with adhd, having no rest in their minds or body and being a partner then having to leave him for me was soul destroying ....

Resolving the ADHD Roller Coaster in Your Relationship - Gina Pera - Sep 14th 2008

Dr. Schwartz wrote: "It has been my experience that it is those marriages in which neither partner were aware of ADHD that become the most stressed and problematic."

Yes, indeedy!  In eight years of leading support groups for first the partners of adults with ADHD and then the adults themselves (and often parents of adults with ADHD), I've found that the deepest pain and suffering results from ignorance that ADHD is affecting the relationship.  Until it is recognized, couples are just more likely to swirl around in confusion, wondering who's to blame. (And, while couples therapists are getting more astute at picking up on the signs, too many miss it.)

That's why the title of my new book is Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? Stopping the Roller Coaster When Someone You Love Has Attention Deficit Disorder.  Because it's not who is to blame; it's what is to blame: unrecognized ADHD.

I worked very hard to produce a guide that I wish I'd had ten years ago, when I started riding the coaster myself. A guide that I could also hand to the people joining the online support group I moderate-- to help get them up to speed quickly (because too often they're on their last nerve!).

You can learn more about it and read excerpts at the book's website: Http://www.ADHDRollerCoaster.com

I also recently started two blogs to help educate the public on Adult ADHD, especially as it affects relationships.

http://www.ADHDPartner.org (shares the results from a comprehensive survey of 162 partners of adults with ADHD on key issues and experiences)

http://www.ADHDRollerCoaster.com (the basics of adult ADHD and excerpts from the book) 

Embarassed out in public - - Sep 12th 2008
I love my boyfriend. Been with him for 4 years. It was a whirlwind romance that was very exciting at the beginning and I always thought he was a little wierd but funny. Lately every time we go out I get super embarassed by his antics. In front of my family who are quite reserved he never lets anyone speak and must monopolise the conversations. He talks about rude and crude things, sex noises, and I've never met anyone who cusses as often as he does in a public setting, in front of kids or in a quiet upscale restaurant. He tells personal things about us that I don't want the world knowing and most times I just have a shitty time. I feel myself getting into this character that i hate, somewhat like a warden telling him to calm down. It gets worse when he drinks cause then there is just no sensor holding him back. I don't know how to cope with it - its not as easy as just relaxing about it and letting him be cause I suffer from anxiety already and it just makes social interactions all the more nervy for me. People say to me, it just seems like you don't want to be with him, but I do I just wish he could try and control himself sometimes for me. I used to think he would do it all on purpose. Now I think, he just doesn't have any control over it and I shouldn't be such a bitch. I especially pick up on when others are having trouble with his personality. I don't know if we are just doomed due to personality differences or there is some medication that could help. Guess I'm just venting and wondering if anyone else has these experiences.

Courage - Dee - Aug 12th 2008

I was reading all these comments in here and my relationship is so similar to yours. I been leaving with my partner for the last 4 years now and he has ADHD. We have a 5 month old son so will see if he has ADHD aswell for now he don't and the doctor told us thats it's too soon to see it.

It's true it's so hard to leave with ADHD. I feel so bad sometimes i don't have time for myself. I try to help my partner alot as he works as a self employeed so you can imagine how much stress he is in. He can't handle problems so when he comes home i try to handle them for him myself but it's hard. He starts shouting at me and tell me things that i am not good to deal with problems and he don't let me speak to him to try to explain so he don't feel so much frustrated.

He don't admit that i am good to him but his mum tells me that he tells her that i am the best thing that happened to him in his life which makes me feel better. Sometimes i don't know what to do as i want to help him more ad more but i don't know what to do more. I take care of his accounts at work and his bills so he pays them on time. He gives me money when i ask him to and he tells me that his money is my money .

I asked him once to start taking some tablets so maybe they can help him but he don't want as he says that they are like drugs and he don't want to touch them. He like his beer and go to the same pub all the time. Sometimes when he comes home i see him abit hyper and i think that he drank alot and he tells me listen Dee i been without nothing all day and i took 3 beers im not drunk is just that i took them on an empty stomach and i say to myself should i believe him or not. What you tnk about this?

I think i better stop is just that when i talk about this i can't stop. I really want to know from you what can i do more for him.

It's only been four months... - Melinda - Aug 11th 2008

These comments have been such a relief to read!

 I am four months into a relationship that began amazingly... And has gradually began to make its way down the drain.

We are both very creative, ambitious, spontaneous people, but unfortunately I'm starting to believe that his great qualities are just the bonuses of ADHD... And the downsides are starting to surface every time we are together.

 For example, I used to be a bit embarassed when he would obliviously talk loud in public or be overly affectionate. PDA in front of strangers and children? But now he is coming over two or three hours late without calling, forgetting our plans for the night, practically having panic attacks when he's hungry... Yesterday he literally went to three different restaurants in the plaza, and asked the server five or six questions about the meal. It was subway.

He forgets that he says he will do things. He forgets entire conversations. Last week, I borrowed $50 from him and he sweetly said I didn't have to worry about paying him back. Last night, he reminded me to pay him back. If I missed part of a group conversation, I'll simply ask, "What did he say?", and he'll respond, "Basically, well, he was just saying that basically, because we were talking about..." and I will get frustrated and ask someone else, who answers me in the time that my boyfriend is still coming up with how to word his answer.

He'll ask me extremely obvious questions, like, "Are you ready for bed?" when I'm already half asleep on my bed. He'll forget that we've already done certain activities... Last week, he took me on a tour of a restaurant that he loves. He already took me on a tour of that restaurant. Every time we go out to eat, he has to ask the waiter questions about the sizes of every meal he has in mind. Then he'll ask which one the waiter recommends. I understand this happens a lot at restuarants, but he does it when he's ordering a milkshake from a fast food place.

When I had company over one time, he left randomly to go get an ice cream bar from the convenience store down the street. He was gone for over forty five minutes and the company left by the time he came back. He didn't even realize why I was annoyed.

He constantly says and does very aggrivating or hurtful things, but 100 % of the time, his excuse is, "I didn't realize..." or, "I didn't know...". At this point, it's driving me crazy. We are so early in this relationship, and I truly do care about him... But so many things are going wrong too early!

The thing is, usually these are attributed to someone who is unthoughtful or inconsiderate... But he is just completely oblivious. Reading this helped me realize that I'm not alone, and that he's truly not just a jerk... But I'm wondering if I am patient enough to deal with having an ADHD boyfriend. This makes me sad, but at least I've realized this early on. I am going to try my best to make it work, because I know you've all been trying.

Thank you so much for your posts.

Why is all the blame on the non-ADHD spouse? - - Jul 30th 2008

All this talk about the non-ADHD spouse being unwilling to relinquish the role of the victim, etc. makes me mad. Why SHOULD anyone put up with a life of chaos, disorganization and frustration despite working very hard to offset the problems of the ADHD spouse? Why doesn't anyone mention that the ADHD spouse is often UNWILLING to realize that he/she is causing hurt to his/her spouse?

My spouse thinks I am making up his ADHD, that the main problem is that I am "impatient and demanding." All of friends have privately told me that they don't know how I put up with him. I don't pretend to be a saint, but I'm sick of reading articles that say the non-ADHD spouse should not show frustration or impatience when chaos reigns at home. WHY NOT? Are we not human? Don't we have rights? Why does this all revolve around the ADHD spouse? It already does anyway. Maybe it's time someone realized that the spouses are the ones who need help and services (like a maid service and a tutor, and a coach). The ADHD spouses are getting by already by sucking the life out of their spouses.

Yes, this is an angry response, but I'm sick of being the mop-up person in the relationship.

thoughts - Me - Jul 13th 2008

I am glad to see more of us sharing our lives on this and other websites. However, it is unfortunate that actual ADHD adults do not frequent the sites as their loved ones do.

I also want to point out that some ADHD adults, like my partner and others whom have shared their stories, do not exhibit ALL ADHD symptoms, which may lead some of us think their problem is excluded or exclusive.  For example, it is referenced that most ADHD individuals had learning problems or poor grades in school. However, it should be duly noted that some ADHD-ers come from privileged backgrounds and may have done exceptionally well in private schools with tutoring and extended nurturing.  The same thing can be said about the ADHD adult’s finances; if they are wealthy or perhaps 'trained' with proper money handling etiquette or education, they may not be foolish as referenced; although perhaps some evidence of impulsive or unnecessary spending may exist.  

However, most symptoms cited do exist. From my years of research and understanding my ADHD adult male partner, it seems that part of his brain causes his perpetual NOISE, irritability, restlessness, or void.  There is a quote I heard long ago, which says, “All of man’s problems stem from an inability to sit in a room [alone] quietly by himself.”  And this sentence simply describes my situation because most individuals with ADHD cannot sit still, yet alone remain quiet internally or externally.

I have experimented with this in simple situations to better understand ADHD. For example, knowing that my partner becomes irritable and restless, I packed his vehicle with emergency items, such as food, water, favorite magazines, and so on. One day, when we were stuck in stand-still traffic and he became irritable (as he does at nearly every red light), I pulled out the magazine, and said, "Have you seen this issue?" And yes, my plan worked! But then I thought, what will happen after this speed-reader gets through the entire issue [because I didn’t have a Plan B in place]?  So, I began asking questions and talking to him while he was reading the issue to distract him from finishing too quickly.  Usually, he can read, watch tv or listen to the radio at the same time while talking to me.  And yes, it worked (no agitation or irritability was present in that moment) because I worked with his condition to both our advantage.

Sadly, yet somewhat successfully, this is what my life has been like: meeting the over-extending needs of my partner in every way possible; it feels as if I am caring for a child. My needs, conversations, ideas, favorite radio stations or music, television shows or movies, and everything else about ME rarely exists with this person. I do, however, get to share my life with friends. However, only what he needs or wants exists between us. It seems like a spoiled child syndrome. Yes, sometimes, I do get my way, but it takes much planning on my part or an occasional willingness on his end to do something or go somewhere I wish for.

His parents are exceptionally, loving, wonderful beings. That is part of the reason I stay; I love them dearly and watch how they have interacted with him successfully.  Maybe they have spoiled him in a way? However, couldn’t we say that ADHD adults or children require extra attention? This may seem foolish on my part; however, I am careful not to over-extend myself or be a martyr. Yet, sadly, nearly much of my life caters to this individual…I remain with a balancing challenge each day: to be or not to be, that is my question.    

This person does not see himself or the problems or challenges he creates.  Like others have posted, he regularly blames me; however, I know better and try extremely hard to be self-aware of my contributions to situations.  Unfortunately, he never had therapy, nor wishes to read or learn ANYTHING about adult ADHD or his multiple addictions.  It is a strange denial or avoidance of “self”; he does not want couples counseling either. He strongly believes in working out his/our own problems; however, it is nearly impossible to engage with someone who blames a victim.  This person is brilliant and highly educated with a doctorate degree and uses his cleverness to excuse his behavior, as he probably has done for decades.  Over the years, he has been privileged with many enablers.  If these enablers hadn't been there since childhood, he would be even more troubled; hence my description above of those whom have “altered symptoms.”  

Again, my relationship could end today or tomorrow but I still have a grain of hope. I wonder why(?).  I feel a spiritual intelligence about my situation…it is somewhat difficult to describe; a sense of relief without burden or guilt/shame because of all the work and research I did. Sometimes a relationship ends and a person like me would easily blame themselves and wonder what they could have done differently. I know none of this is my fault; am aware of many negatives/positives, warnings/dangers, and possibilities; I feel no fear or sadness, per se because I don't take my situation 'personally'.  I also realized that this person uses many enablers or enabling activities (e.g. pornography 1-4 times per day, alcohol all day, tons of book, magazines, television/movies, music, and much more) to get by a 24 hour period.  It's sad and interesting at the same time to see a person living this way without consciousness of himself – an inability to sit quietly – an endless pursuit of filling a perpetual void with temporary satisfaction.  

Roughly a year ago, I also became aware that he also takes sexual stimulating pills, such as horny goat weed, which in turn causes him to watch even more porn and blame ME for not having enough sex. Again, there is a constant need for STIMULATION with caffeine and other substances...doesn’t this represent what Ritalin is - another stimulant?  

The pornography used to bother me somewhat until my lack of sexual attraction for him became present.  Sex with him began feeling like I am one his stimulating substances - it has no other feeling or connection – just a feeling of a temporary, enabling solution to an endless void.  I recently found and am reading a new book entitled, "Hope After Betrayal - Healing When Sexual Addiction Invades Your Marriage." Although it is written via a Christian perspective, it is good and healing to read about the lives of others whom have gone through a similar experience. This is why I share part of my life here - for others like me.

Best wishes

I am going to have to end the marriage - - Jul 4th 2008

My husband and I have been married for 8 years and he has ADHD diagnosed 2 or 3 years ago and takes medication for it now.  For our entire marriage, I've felt uncomfortable and that our home life is not conducive to having children.  He acts unilaterally and covertly regarding our finances. 

He will write checks for thousands of dollars out of bank accounts he knows doesn't have any money.  I don't want to be around when somebody gets angry enough to have him arrested for this.

He will "lend" friends money without telling me and we can't afford to lend anybody any amount. When I ask him about checks he's written/bounced he would get defensive and become very condescending.

I feel like I'm always running behind him with a proverbial broom and dustpan cleaning up financial messes he makes to the best of my ability considering we never seem to have any money.

His health isn't good and he really doesn't seem to care.  He is dangerously overweight (overeats and drinks way to much Coke) and chain smokes.  I gave up trying to help him with these things, because it's apparent to me this is the way he wants to be.

He has a hair-trigger patience when it comes to me.  I am stuck with a very narrow range of topics that we can speak about without him getting pissed at me.  Needless to say I am very loney.

We have hardly had any sex considering how long we've been married and he really doesn't like being touched.  To tell you the truth, I don't want to have sex with him anymore and I don't see it happening ever again.

Meanwhile, he has a "secret" e-mail account he operates under with an alias and an identity he's created for himself complete with photo of a young good-looking guy he believes would be attractive to single young women.  He has a list of "girl-friends" in his instant messaging account, one of whom IMed him when I was passing by his computer one day.  I responded to her on his computer and she was absolutely shocked that he was married.  He also goes to porn sites and with my "broom and dustpan", I cleaned up the recurring charges on his credit cards from these visits.

The kicker is that the numerous times I brought these activities up, he calmly denies that he does any of it and makes up some excuse as to why I see this stuff all over his computer and credit card statements.  Even his ADHD psychiatrist told him to stop going to the porn sites and he agreed to stop.  Then 2 weeks after his appointment, I found that he visited the  very same sites he promised not to visit.

I am still relatively young; however, the clock is ticking being that I'm in my early 40's and I don't know how many good years I have left to have kids, etc.  All I know is that my nerves can't take this relationship anymore and hats off to a woman who could continue with an ADHD husband as dysfunctional as mine.

He is super brillant and can be quite affable and charming.  But he doesn't want anyone to find him out and get his number.  Unfortunately for a marriage to work you have to be completely transparent to your spouse.  He can't do that.  I am emotionally and intimately alone in this marriage and I have to get out.  Sorry, I really tried.

Another reply to your reply - Me - Jun 4th 2008

Hello There,

Thanks for responding to my reply, and you are MOST welcome. This site (and this page in particular) has been extremely helpful towards understanding the situation I have been in. Imagine if this page didn't exist? I found it somehow via Google.

I ordered one of the books mentioned in my previous post, but am unsure if it will offer good enough solutions for my situation, or if I will consider leaving soon this year.

I too was considering having children with this person; however, studies have shown that ADD/ADHD can be passed on throughout families. How could a non-ADHD partner live with a spouse AND children whom have the condition? I can only imagine how challenging that would be; however, *some* individuals are able to manage somehow; I guess this depends on so many factors.

I re-read Dr.Schwartz's article, which referenced:

"If the non ADHD person is able to be patient, organized and understanding then they provide a good balance to the spouse who is affected with the disorder. However, many of the spouses with whom I have worked do not have this patience nor are they truly able to understand ADHD. For these people there is a continued tendency to feel victimized by their partner's behavior and to insist that their behaviors are deliberate."

I wish you the very best in your life and future...and remember, there are no successes or failures - ONLY RESULTS - that we interpret to be positive or negative. As the saying goes, "Nothing is good nor bad, but thinking makes it so."

Namaste.

Thanks to the person who responded to my post - - Jun 2nd 2008

Thanks to the person who responded to my post. much appreciated. the other thing I keep telling myself and which I'm sure you've already investigated is how much of his personality is ADD related and how much of it is just who he is. I'm remembering things that were difficult to take and they were not necessarily caused by ADD. It's just that the ADD stuff become the focus because that's the stuff that sticks out and is more dramatic. I also want to have a child and can't see doing it with this person. So that was another thing that propelled me to leave. Too bad. He was very adoring. Thanks again.

Reply to May 30th post - Me - May 31st 2008

Hello,

This comment is a reply to the May 30th posting; my original posting is just below yours. I understand what you have gone through: anger, impulsivity, and so on. I am currently with my ADHD partner and consistently experience the same thing and regularly ask myself, "How much of this are you willing to take; are you causing this; what could you have done differently; and so on."

Again, victims often blame themselves. Sometimes, I am concerned about my own safety because of my partner's cyclical anger or rage that comes out of nowhere. He often focuses on minor issues and is impulsive about them. Since he is the ADHD-type that does not socialize much, I haven't experienced much embarrassment besides few occasions of scolding that occurred around others in the past.

I am sorry about your guilt feelings for leaving. I too experienced that because I left him twice before. He is a nice, clever, wonderful man with many good qualities. Perhaps this is why I am still involved; these reasons, perhaps, coupled with my own issues, which I regularly work on keeps me there, and of course, LOVE. I am not one to give advice to others because deep down inside, we are the only one’s that can make decisions, unless, of course, we are mentally unable to do so. However, if I were you, I would ask myself: Is your relationship repairable? Would it be worth returning? Would the same problems exist or can they be compromised or fixed? Is the other party aware of the problem?

It can be EXTREMELY challenging with those that are not conscious of their behavior or symptoms of their disease. When I try to talk with my partner about his impulsivity, anger, controlling behavior, etc, he often thinks I am insulting him; or he denies situations; says he doesn't remember; or blames me as the cause of the problem. Also, as referenced in my original posting, he is not an advocate of therapy. He takes a great deal of medications, including Ritalin, and dozens of OTCs and herbal supplements that may be dangerously interacting with each other. I am facing an individual that is unconscious of himself, or his affect on others.


There is a book entitled, "What Does Everybody Else Know That I Don't?: Social Skills Help for Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder" and also, another interesting one that I am considering purchasing named, "Understanding and Living With People Who Are Mentally Ill: Techniques to Deal With Mental Illness in the Family." I have done some research on ADHD, and am learning more everyday. I have never been so close to someone with this condition; and am interested in learning more. I am still walking that thin line of staying or leaving, but do not want to experience regret with either choice; therefore, I am learning about this experience that "LIFE" handed me.

Consider that leaving these ADHD people will mean that they may choose a sedentary lifestyle and not be in another relationship; or they may become someone else's problem; thus, the cycle may continue. I guess that I would like to take an active role in my position; learn about using certain strategies, ways of thinking, talking, or behaving that may alter situations, rather than letting them occur, or being sad, upset, or victimized.

NPR did a story some time ago (I am trying to find it) of a child born with a rare condition in which he did not have feelings or emotions, like love. The child had problems in school relating to others and was unconsciously abusive. However, although they struggled, and were severely challenged by this person, the parents (possibly adoptive caregivers) continued to love, nurture, and care for that individual (coupled with therapy too), and the person changed into a new adult, whom speaks out to others about what they went through. If I find that story, I will post it.

I guess, similar to any other "problem" person, maybe there is a solution (like love) that would help. This may not be the cure-all for everyone certainly because of the polarity of our world and the "opposites" that exist with everything. Perhaps this is similar to prisoners that are locked up and not rehabilitated for their problem. What they need is to work out the issue, rather than sitting in a cell with the same condition, surrounded by others in similar, or worse issues, that make their problems even greater. Later, they are released into a society of 'normal' people without resolving any of the underlying problems.

There is also an interesting story about "Kevin Richardson - The Lion Whisperer" who pursues a labor of love. He works with potentially aggressive creatures and trains them or “changes” them (over a period of time) to be loving allies. I am unsure if I can put links on this site, but check out his story if interested; he is in South Africa. His story showed me that with the right strategy, anything is possible.

Anyway, I strayed off topic somewhat but wanted anyone out there reading this to consider if their relationship can be saved or rehabilitated in some way. Sometimes in life, there are answers to problems, questions, or challenges, that we may not have considered before. Thus, we can change ourself and somewhat alter the path of destiny.

All the best!

Breaking up with someone with ADD - - May 30th 2008

I feel horrible because I ended a long-term relationship with very energetic, creative guy with ADD. He was very loving and kind to me and I do wonder if I'll ever meet another person who cared about me as much as he did, but his personality was very difficult for me to accept. He started on medication about a year ago but doesn't take it consistently. He was very hyper and it was often embarrassing to be in public with him because he had a temper and would say tactless things. His anger and impulsivity got him in trouble alot. It also made me not love him as much as I should have - I often felt like my patience was tried to the max and I often felt shut down after spending time with him. I feel very guilty ending our relationship. We tried couples counseling, but that made things worse. I just feel awful and like a horrible person. I know every relationship is hard, so I wonder if I just gave up. Thanks for reading. Any insight is appreciated.

Adult ADHD - Me - May 18th 2008

I am very appreciative of this article. Thanks for writing about Adult ADHD and I thank everyone for sharing their stories. I am the female partner of an Adult ADHD man.

I am experiencing ALL and more of the situations that others have expressed. No one wrote about ADHD drug use(?) problems, but that is also thrown into the mix of things on my end. In addition, I face a great deal of ANGER, LYING, and the worse of all is bullying in combination with his inablility to "sit in a room quietly."

He is constantly on the go, without achieving much; however, it is not his movement, but his constant actions towards me. I do not want to be like him, but he tries to draw me into his chaotic world. Plus, he has several addictions to alcohol, light drugs, and especially PORNOGRAPHY where he masterbates via the Internet roughly 4 times EVERY DAY whether we are intimate or not.

One person wrote about how they are blamed regularly; one mentioned how the ADHD person acts innocent, as if the non-ADHD person was the cause of everything. I too am experiencing all of this. It DRAINS my energy and lively spirit, and makes me want to have a hard drink just so "I" can cope. I am starting to see myself having symptoms like the mother who wrote in on this board. Just like the mom, whom left her ADHD husband and kids, later to return; my "problem" is not going away as long as the person remains the same.

He is on psychiatric ADHD meds, but probably should see a therapist; however, as one writer referenced, my ADHD-person also has 3 college degrees. Moreover, with his ego so full of himself, he denies problems and situations altogether, and completely rejects the art/science of behaviorial therapy. In my opinion, it seems that he is afraid of "being found out." Perhaps he does not want to face his demons, denies their existence, or truly believes they are not there.

Despite all of this, I do feel blessed that my consciousness allowed me to see all of this and not to personalize his actions. Far too often, victims blame themselves; well most of us have been told that we are the offender and we believe it.

I often retrack my steps and try to consiously watch my interactions with him to see if "it's me." I have been to therapy by myself (because he did not want to go); however, it did not help because I am not the problem. The problems at home don't go away no matter how hard I try; things just seem to be better when I am away from him. Perhaps most Adult ADHD persons should regularly have counseling via a ADULT ADHD physician/psychotherapist. I am not sure if that type of doctor exists, but my point is that it can be difficult to find a therapist that specializes in ADULT ADHD. Most regular counselors or therapists will not fully understand the root cause of problems, thus being unable to steer clients toward optimal solutions.

To cope, for the time being, I see myself as Jack Nicholas in

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Like me, he knew the people around him were not well. However, unlike me, he decided to NOT to save himself and leave, but rather, he joined in and became 'one of them'. I do not want to go crazy, but I feel that if I stay, my life will play out like that film.

I have had a fun, loving, rewarding time in this relationship; however, the burden of a potential life of fear, suffering, bullying, constant-noise, lies, and so on may not be worth it.

All the best to you all and thanks again for sharing your stories.

-Me

That Sounds Familiar - Lisa - May 13th 2008

I have often joked that my fiance may be ADHD.  Not that i think that it would be funny, but because his actions are inexplainable. 

For instance.. I feel like maybe he gets some kind of payoff inside himself for constantly doing things that annoy the crap out of me... Like get right up in my face every time he gets around me.  I also have to ask him like 300 times to do one thing for me... Ok, that's an exaggeration, but more like 10.  He sticks his head out the window and yells when we are driving down the road.  He constantly antagonizes the kids, and it literally feels like he is worse than them.  He embarasses me in public, by saying things loudly or making strange noises.  I am 28. This stuff is not funny to me.  He's 24.  I'm not sure if our problem is ADHD, age difference, personality difference, or all of the above.  Any comments will be apreciated.

 

My viewpoint - Marti RN - Mar 23rd 2008
The 3 letters I just read remind me of so many things in my marriage of 40 plus years. Marriage counseling never helped much. I just recently realized my husband has moderate adhd. 12 out of 20 symptoms, and score of 70 on test. Despite my 3 college degrees, I was too close to the problem to see what it was. All the wasted energy and stress of fighting something that would never change! It's disappointing and depressing to lose that hope, something I was always striving for. At least now I can use my energy for other things.  I will probably always be more like a parent than a wife. I have to have my own life with job, friends, family, church. I think I would have done things differently if I had known about adult adhd long ago - I put up with a lot of abuse by just trying to have a normal marriage.  My advice to anyone in an abusive relationship is to get out before you lose your health and the ability to be independent! 

Your insite is invaluable - - Jan 12th 2008
 Everything you stated is so on target. I have been going through this for forty tough years.  Divorce is not an uncommon subject.  I know my husband can be a good, kind man, but because of the ADHD he can be very cruel, with vicious lying, manipulation, control issues.  I don't know if we are dealing with just ADHD, or other attributing mental issues, but mental abuse is right there at the top. I don't want to go into the specifics at this time, because I would not be able to articulate what it does to a person without writing endlessly.  There are many times I don't know if I can do one more day.   The worst part of all of this, is that the ADHD person seems  to get all the empathy because they are so childlike, and manipulative, and can use that to make themselves appear much differently than what you see and live with. It destroys a lot of who you are, changes you as a person because of the demands, and the lack of respect you feel you get in return.   I've been criticized harshly because of the way I interact with my husband, and then I get angry again because I feel he's causing this and I take the rap while he walks clean.  It's getting blindsided with serious problems over and over again with coverup after coverup that push a person to the brink. Yes, I understand the brain workings of ADHD is not of their choosing, but they do the deed, and we get the blame so understanding just doesn't get it most days. I am at the point of making this work especially at this late point in my life, or I will walk knowing that no more could be done. If your spouse does try and put forth the effort we must then forgive ourselves and them, and others who judge us so harshly, or we will remain bitter, and nothing will change.  I find having time away from my spouse, and not allowing family members too much input into my situation helps me cope better and allows me time to recharge my batteries.  I am on a quest to heal myself, and hopfully my marriage. 

Thank You! - - Jan 6th 2008

After reading your comment I couldn't agree with you more. I broke up with my B-F of 18 months a short while ago, and shortly after that he was diagnosed with adult ADD at 43 years old.

My B-F was what I would call 'a bully' when he felt threatened, although nothing was done to threaten him. He simply became very, very defensive, to the point of bullying, and had a thousand excuses for why he behaved the way he did- none of which had any logic to them. I noticed very early on that he did have some issues, and was very careful how I put something to him when he did or said something that hurt my feelings. In every instance, he immediately became extremely defensive, then started the excuses for his behavior, which we discussed at length with the inclusion of role playing and 'what could you have said.' When he was out of excuses, he would acknowledge what happened, and seem remorseful, saying 'I see your point now' or 'how can you live with me?' We would talk about it, trying to come up with some 'tool,' like a notebook, or trigger word if I saw him doing it that would make him step back, and he would love the tool idea. I ended each conversation with 'what can I do from my end to help you?' Then he would actually regress back to the defend and excuse process, if you could believe that! Problem was- he never used the tool, and made the same mistakes over and over again, like we never talked.

He said that he always knew that something was different about him, and was relieved when he got his diagnosis. In the beginning, when he started Concerta, he called and was a new person. He was calmer and acknowledged the crappy things that he had done to people his whole life, including me, saying how sorry he was and how he was going to make it up to me. This went on for 2 weeks and he actually worked hard at making his actions match his words- this was a new concept, and it was a pleasant change. He was consistant and appeared sincere, and I eventually agreed to meet with him to talk in person the next week. He didn't call for a few days, and when he did, it was clear that the Concerta was losing its' effect. I llistened to him for a few more calls and mentioned this, to which he told me that I didn't know what I was talking about, I was accusing him of not taking his meds, I'm not a Dr., it went on and on. I didn't hear from him for 4 days after that, when he came to my office with a cappacino for me. I didn't know how to respond, seeing him glassy eyed and grinning for no reason, thanked him, and that was all. I felt badm he did make an after all, and called him 10 mins later to explain my reaction- that I hadn't heard from him in 4 days, and before that he was heading backwards. He said he understood and was sorry for that. He called me at 10:30 pm that night to tell me that He Didn't Think the Meds Were Working Anymore, like it was His Own revelation. He made no mention that I saw this days before (after listening to him for several calls before I said anything, so it had been going on for almost 2 weeks) He was depressed out of his mind and I talked him out of it after a 2 1/2 hour phone call.

The depression and negativity is the worst. It seems that he won't allow himself gratification, from anything small, to something big. He focuses on the negative in each case- it's unbelievable! Even if you're trying to compliment him on something, or say thank you, he will in every instance keep going back to what he should have done to make it better, or why it wasn't good enough. His montra is "no matter what I do, it isn't good enough." The problem is, he uses this whenever he made little, half hearted, or NO effort, but wants credit. He never uses it when you're complimenting or thanking him, then he just focuses on the negative in those instances. You can't win- here's what it sounds like:

He does something nice- you say thank you, I appreciated that very much because.... He says, yeah, but it sucked because I should have....but thanks for patronizing me (with sarcasm)

He didn't do what he said he would, or said something hurtful- you say didn't you say that would....or it hurt my feelings when you said....He says NO MATTER WHAT I DO IT ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH- in his bullying manner.

The last time we spoke, 1 1/2 weeks ago, he was getting his dosage upped the following day, and said 'this is what I have and it's me. It's not going to go away overnight and is the way I am." My question was and remains, where is the responsibilty and accountabilty from these people? How can they behave and treat those close to them the way they do and not learn from their mistakes? How can they get a clean slate everyday and expect those around them to as well, when the hurt continues day after day? How can they ignore the observations of those around them, disclaiming and accusing the other person of accusing them of something, until it becomes their idea and is suddenly the way it is? How can they not have to make up for their behavior?

20 something years of this? No thanks.

Balance in marriage partners - Barb Nace - Aug 19th 2007

In one of the last paragraphs of this article, you stated that in some marriages, the couple does not know about ADHD, in others, the non-ADHD spouse is unwilling to let go of the feeling that the ADHD person is acting irresponsibly on purpose, and therefore the spouse of the ADHD person feels he/she is a victim.

I'd like to suggest another scenario: The ADHD person is so strong and overwhelming in their anger & ADHD ways, that the non-ADHD spouse is unable to maintain balance in the home. This home is made up of 1 ADHD male husband, 3 ADHD - mid-teen-aged sons, and 1 un-ADHD wife. This wife has tried for 23 years to better the relationships, situations, finances, etc. etc. but, after battling with 4 people who argue over everything she says, suggests, or does, she is weary beyond words. Mom had to leave home, and it wasn't until she had been gone for 4 months with NO outside ADHD STRESS in her live, that she was finally able to get out of bed in the mornings, and that's all she could do at first.

The husband's and the sons' anger and blaming the wife/mother for all that was wrong in life and home life, were more than she could bear. It wore her down emotionally and she was sick in bed for at least a year before leaving for "The Break." After 9 months of being gone, coming home has changed nothing. Mom is healthier, but as the drs and pastors told her, "It won't last. Your health will disappear again. Until the problems of ADHD are correctly addressed, as opposed to the ADHD'ers just taking medication, Mom should leave the home, for her own safety and well-being."

That's not her desire. She loves these people. She wants them to overcome ADHD as much as possible, and become successful, rather than failing, as they are, but she cannot help them. They won't let her. She's still in the home, but doesn't know if it's the right thing to do, or not. It is a long difficult battle - everyday.

 

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