Reply To: Spousal Issues… Moving too Fast?

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Hi, possiblyadd,

I totally disagree with the response above that your wife is projecting her own anxieties onto you. That’s simply not the case. However, it *is* difficult for neurotypical people to understand some ADHD behaviors like the forgetfulness, or inability to establish and follow routines. These executive function disorders usually involve things that neurotypical people don’t have to dedicate conscious thought to, because they are habit or routine. For people with ADHD, that conversion to routine doesn’t happen as easily, if at all.

My husband and I have these same kinds of issues, because things that are very routine to me simply are not routine to him. So we find strategies to remind him of those things. We’re also aware that our daughter deals with the same issues that he does, so we need to find strategies that will help both of them commit somethings to routine. Maybe it’s a note on the inside of the door that you see when you close the front door of your house that says “LOCK THE CAR. PUT YOUR KEYS ON THE HOOK”. (Keys on the hook next to the door is super important for us, otherwise, keys can literally be put down anywhere, and we spend a looooong time hunting for them when it’s time to leave). Your wife might not understand now why you need a note to tell you do these things, but, if the note does the trick and you start locking the car, and locking the house, she’ll see the utility of it.

Like I said, it’s hard for the NT person to understand why these things are necessary when they’re just second nature to us. It can help to do a few sessions with an counselor experienced in ADHD, who can maybe help your wife to step back from the “should” mindframe, as in “I shouldn’t have to remind you”, “you should be able to remember to do this”. This will help her be less frustrated because it helps manage expectations, and it will help you, because it will unlock the ability to find strategies that work for you.

Good luck!!