7 Common Flashpoints

The most universal and pervasive complaints from spouses of ADDers – and how you can stop these problems in their tracks.

ADHD can drive a wedge in a marriage
ADHD can drive a wedge in a marriage

1. Uneven division of labor — You feel as though you do all the “scut work”-cleaning, planning, organizing, reminding, and putting away.

2. Poor time management — You’ve gotten used to having your spouse show up late for almost everything-unless you remind him often about deadlines and meeting times.

3. Broken promises — Your spouse may forget about chores or obligations, or work only on what he feels like doing.

4. Precarious finances — As one spouse puts it, she’s tired of “feeling guilty every time I buy something for myself because he has already spent too much.”

5. Wild dreams — Your spouse constantly comes up with great ideas or makes extravagant declarations (“I’m going to stop drinking soda!”), but seldom follows through.

6. A parent-child-esque relationship — In the words of one exasperated non-ADD spouse: “Most of the time I don’t feel like my husband’s wife, I feel like the single mother (or nanny) of a spoiled 6-year-old child.”

7. Feeling alone — You feel like you’re doing it all, and that you have to ask your spouse to pay attention to you.

Couples need to let go of judgment and blame, but, at the same time, the anger does need to come out. As the non-ADD spouse, you don’t have to land punches, but you do need to be able to tell your mate how hard he can be to live with. Once anger moves out, understanding can come in to take its place. Don’t let ADD split you up. Marriage is difficult for all of us. ADD is too treatable for you to let it end what could have been a great marriage.

Adapted from Delivered from Distraction (Ballantine).

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