My Fiance, Mr. Stay up Late/Get up Late

Q:

My lazy fiance has difficulty getting up early and going to bed at a reasonable hour. It bothers me.

Melissa Orlov, a frequent ADDitude contributor with Dr. Ned Hallowell, writes about ADHD and marriage and offers relationship advice to adults with ADD.
A:

Many people with ADD keep to a “stay up late/get up late” schedule—he may not be able to shut down his turbo brain at night when his head hits the pillow.

If his slow-to-rise habit is making him late for work, perhaps he can adjust his work hours. Have him talk with his boss about altering his schedule, so that his day can begin at 9:30 or 10 a.m.

To get him to rise on time, suggest that he set a loud alarm clock far away from the bed, so he has to get up to turn it off. (You shouldn’t do this for him, though. It should be his decision.)

Developing a morning routine may also help. If he is a coffee lover, start a ritual of fresh-brewed java, a tasty breakfast, and a daily newspaper to get him up and at ’em.

As for the “lazy” characterization, be careful not to criticize him because he has a different energy level than you do. This may be a symptom of ADD—procrastination may cause him to dawdle—though it’s also possible that he may be suffering from depression. Encourage him to talk with a professional about his lack of energy.

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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