Reply To: When ADHD marries ADHD

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#91268
Big L
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Let me come at this from the guy’s point of view. My wife and I were both diagnosed with ADHD. Prior to our diagnosis we just plugged along coping in our own ways without understanding why we do what we do.

We also have the opposite types, she is an extrovert, and I am an introvert, she is social, and I am a loner. She is like you, does stuff in the house because she knows it needs to be done, and I am a procrastinator, put things off until I feel it’s urgent.

In counseling, I learned about my way of thinking. If it is not one of these 4 things, I’m not motivated.

1. New
2. Exciting
3. Interesting
4. Urgent

How can you get any of the housekeeping chores to fit in any of these four categories to motivate me to do them?

Let’s use, taking out the trash for instance. Is it new? Well the trash itself is new but the chore, taking it out is not. Is it exciting? Nope, nothing exciting about taking out the trash. Is it interesting? No, can’t think of anything in the trash, or on the way to the trash can outside that would make it interesting. What about urgent? Here is where we can make a case for this chore. When does taking out the trash become urgent to the procrastinator? When it is completely full and ready to overflow, yes. But that’s not when it’s urgent to my wife, it’s urgent to my wife when she sees it almost to the top.

She used to be like you, and have to nag, and then finally get upset and raise her voice. That doesn’t happen anymore. Now that she understands my mind, and I better understand hers, we talk about the things that we differ on in a safe way. (That is a topic for another discussion) The result was, I now understand that if she has to mention the trash to me, then it has become urgent to her. That now makes it urgent for me, where before talking about it, I didn’t understand that. So I now understand that if she has to mention it to me it has become urgent to her. Now in my mind, if it’s urgent to her, it is now urgent to me. But it took that discussion to help me understand.

My wife is a clutter bug, if there is a flat spot in our house, there will soon be something stacked on it. I cannot stand it. It’s not that our house is dirty, it’s cluttery, bad. I’ve spent hours organizing STUFF that she has piled in many different places. Once done, there were more flat spots and they became cluttered once again. This too, has been discussed in a safe way, the clutter still exists, but get’s straightened up or, cleaned up if I mention it, because she now understands that I feel like it has gotten out of hand. The only reason I’m not a big clutter bug is that I spent 17 years in the service. Had to pass too many inspections to be leaving things laying around. However, I will admit that the area around me becomes cluttered while I’m there, but get’s straightened up before I leave that area.

Here’s a thought for you, decide together what chores you will each be responsible for, then use a timer to make a chore urgent for him. Using the trash again, you could use an egg timer and bring it to him set at 10 minutes letting him know the trash needs to be taken out. He now knows that he has 10 minutes to get that chore done before the nagging/yelling begins. But make sure you talk about this beforehand and he is ok with it. Otherwise, it just won’t work. I know some of you will say why should she have to even mention it if it is his responsibility? It’s because we just don’t see what you see. That’s the only way I can explain it, I’m not being irresponsible, it’s just a fact, I don’t see what my wife see’s that needs to be done. It’s not in my thought process. Anyway, that is my two cents. Good luck. It’s working for us very well.