Reply To: I hate my husband's hyperfocus!!!

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If your husband was recently diagnosed, it may take some time for him to deal with his symptoms and really be able to hear you. I find that a lot of ADHD people (myself included) kind of live in our own little worlds and have trouble understanding things outside our own perception. My husband can tell me I’m doing something annoying 50 times, but until I notice myself doing it, it doesn’t register. I don’t mean to ignore him. It LITERALLY doesn’t register. Have you tried going to counseling with him? Sometimes hearing someone else say it (or at least validate what you’re saying) is enough to jolt that attention.

My husband and I both have ADHD, and we went through a patch where we were both just disinterested. Life was hard, we had our own careers going on, we were bored with each other. Rather than split up over disinterest (which we actually considered), we decided to find new ways to keep things interesting. It took a few months, but it worked for us. We try to take day trips whenever we can to new places. We go to festivals, and try to go to a new restaurant for date night. Just being in a new environment is mentally stimulating enough to get us more focused on our conversation. Something new or weird. Random bits of novel excitement to jolt that adrenaline.

That’s what the work is. Just searching for that next jolt of adrenaline to up those dopamine transmitters. ADHD workaholics are adrenaline addicts. Adrenaline does something to their brains similar to medication. The work gives them a sense of urgency and purpose, an edge, and makes them feel excited and proud, something ADHDers don’t get very often. Exercise does this, too. If he can work on pulling himself away (REALLY away, physically AND mentally), and you can provide some of this in little ways, maybe it’ll help.

I wouldn’t recommend putting yourself out there by planning a big exciting date for him. He’s probably so used to being distracted he wouldn’t notice and you’d be disappointed. (Been there, done that.) But maybe, while working with a therapist on one big thing you’d like him to change, you could slowly introduce new exciting things into your relationship. Like a motorcycle! (Don’t do that. impulsive ADD brain talking.)

Giving him an ultimatum may not work any better than it would with any other addict. He’s so used to going to work to get his purpose/adrenaline hits that he won’t know how to function without it. But he definitely needs to unplug from work if he’s ever going to have any kind of life outside of it. Maybe an extended vacation? No cell phone or computer (for him)? We went on a cruise. 🙂

It was natural for us because we both have ADHD and understood what it felt like to be so bored in our relationship. It felt REALLY personal at first. What do you mean you’re bored??? For ADHD, bored means familiar. Bored means comfortable. Bored means safe. Which are all REALLY GOOD things to have in a long-term relationship, they just don’t keep the ADHD brain from being distracted. He’s got to figure out how to manage his brain. That’s his responsibility. But, if you want him to be more attentive, you kind of have to hit him over the head to snap him out of it.

I’ve often felt like I miss the man I married. My husband has changed a lot over the years. So have I. We’re still familiar, comfortable, and safe. But with the new experiences we’ve added to our memory bank, I kind of like this new guy. On the other side of the mess, I’d marry him again.

I hope this is helpful, and I hope it give you hope. Best of luck to you both. <3