When Both Partners Are Diagnosed: Understanding the Other's ADHD

Filed Under: Talking About ADD, ADHD and Relationships, ADHD and Marriage

Q:

My husband and I both have ADHD, but we manifest it differently. I’m disorganized in the typical ADHD way: I lose my keys, forget to buy milk, and so on. He manages his ADHD by staying hyper-organized. He refuses to learn more about ADHD and the reasons for my disorganization. What can I do to let him know that I’m not intentionally disorganized?

A:

It sounds like he is trying to shame you into doing better. Perhaps your husband believes you’re using ADHD as an excuse for your disorganization.

First, help him understand that his anger and criticism damage your self-esteem and your marriage. Ask him to be loving and supportive, not critical.

Since he thrives on staying organized, work with him on specific strategies for creating a less cluttered home, while gently reminding him of your many contributions to the household.

Develop a system that takes advantage of your combined strengths — he keeps the house organized, you work with the children on homework and their recreational activities. A balanced approach should solve the problem.

Melissa is co-author of a blog on ADHD and marriage at adhdmarriage.com, and coauthored Married to Distraction with Dr. Ned Hallowell and his wife, Sue. She is also the author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage.

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