Why Wouldn't My Deployed ADHD Husband Spend More Time with Our Family?


"My ADHD husband was recently deployed to Iraq. To my great frustration, he spent his last four weeks at home selling stuff online. I begged him to spend time with our daughters and me, but he was focused on his 'job' of selling. I could cry!"

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

Many husbands -- not just those with adult ADHD -- believe their main job is to provide financial security for their family. While you were eager for time together, your husband was trying to make sure you would have enough money to live on while he was gone. This is understandable, particularly in light of the troubled economic times. His attention deficit disorder added to your misery because it was difficult for him to disconnect his hyperfocus from the excitement of selling things.

Once he’s back home, and after he has had a chance to de-stress and re-adjust to civilian life, talk with him in a loving, constructive way about how time and attention are the greatest gifts he can give to you and your daughters. Second, create a financial plan to address his concerns about your welfare. Third, schedule family activities, so, if he is redeployed, you’ll have happy memories (and pictures!) to carry you through.

Melissa Orlov is a marriage consultant, specializing in helping ADHD-affected couples rebalance their relationships. She is a cum laude graduate of Harvard College and the author of the award-winning books: The ADHD Effect on Marriage and The Couple's Guide to Thriving with ADHD. She blogs for adhdmarriage.com and Psychology Today and has been interviewed by The New York Times, CNN, Today, US News and World Report, and CBS, among many others.

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