Is ADHD Making My Wife Cheat on Me?

Filed Under: ADHD and Relationships, ADHD and Marriage, ADHD Therapy

Q:

I have been married for 15 years to a woman who has cheated on me multiple times. Each time I’ve caught her in an affair, she says she’ll do better, but she cheats again. I’m convinced her infidelity is related to her attention deficit disorder, but it still hurts. Your thoughts?

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

You have been sorely tested by your ADHD wife’s infidelities. Since you have tolerated her affairs, I would suggest a two-pronged approach. Work with a therapist who specializes in ADD, to determine what is causing your wife to seek the attention of others. Understanding her motivation may provide insight into what could help her, assuming she wants to change. If she craves stimulation, a high-stimulation hobby, combined with therapy, may help her resist the temptation of adultery. Or, she may be able to calm her mind and cravings by starting ADHD medication or having her doctor tweak the dosage she’s currently taking. A therapist may recommend that she start a 12-step program for addiction, or that both of you undergo therapy together.

And you need to determine whether you can tolerate more infidelities. Some partners can accept affairs as an ongoing part of their relationship, while others can’t. Make sure that you are honest with yourself. If you think that one more affair will cause you to divorce your wife, she needs to understand your feelings before she decides to cheat again.

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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