Getting Along with the Non-ADHD Spouse


"Like many ADDers, I lose things, procrastinate like crazy, forget to pay bills, and so on. My non-ADD husband is meticulous, super-organized, and highly critical of me. We fight a lot. Any ideas?"


My first thought: It sounds like your attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) is not being effectively treated. Medication management plus coaching support should be able to control ADD symptoms, at least enough so that they don’t significantly impair your productivity, and don’t lead to frequent conflict. If you haven’t yet seen an ADD specialist, I recommend you do. If you have, it may be time to try again.

It’s important for adults with ADHD to work to their strengths as much as possible, and find balance in a marriage. Why fight over your forgetfulness about a task he’s better suited to do? Your husband might be better at paying bills, while you may be better at finding options for vacations or entertaining your children. Brainstorm and negotiate ways to contribute equally, but differently.

You can also outsource tasks by hiring a professional organizer or personal assistant. A less-expensive option would be to find an organized high school or college student to help out with filing or cleaning. Services can also be bartered with an organized friend. If you can build an effective support team, your husband won’t feel so put-upon, and you’ll be able to keep your marriage on track.

Dr. Michele Novotni is an internationally recognized expert in the field of ADHD. She is the former president and CEO of the national Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), an inspiring speaker, best selling author, psychologist, coach and parent of a young adult with AD/HD. She is the author of Adult AD/HD and What Does Everybody Else Know That I Don't?.

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