My Husband’s a Moonshot

Q:

"I'm married to a brilliant man with ADHD, who works at NASA. But he leaves his brilliant mind at the door when he comes home. My kids avoid him, and I feel like he's my sixth child. I want to be married to the adult he is at work."

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

The skills your husband uses at work are different from the skills he needs at home. On the home front, planning, organizing, completing chores, and listening to you and your children are more valuable than out-of-the-box thinking on projects that engage him.

To be a success at home, your husband needs to make sure he is treating his ADD/ADHD symptoms and is working to adopt habits that facilitate organization and sharing with you and your children. Encourage him to form a closer bond with his kids in ways that play to his strengths -- building model trains or rockets, stargazing, playing Wii games, or reading ghost stories.

To be "married to the adult he is at work," you will need to downplay organization and neatness, and emphasize fun and intellectual activities, like those you shared when you were dating.

Note: ADDitude does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only. See additional information. While comments are appreciated, due to the high volume of inquiries we receive, there is no guarantee that either ADDitude or the expert will respond to follow-up questions.

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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