How do you deal with lack of follow through?

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    • #113013

      I’m the non-ADHD spouse, although I struggle with anxiety (I think anxiety and ADHD are a horrible combo!) I’m frustrated and exhausted by the lack of follow up when my husband says he’ll do something. Most of the time he just flat out doesn’t do it, and doesn’t even mention it. Sometimes it’s fairly small and “only” affects me, but I’m in a situation now where I absolutely NEED him to follow through, and it’s giving me crazy anxiety, knowing that he probably won’t. Have any of you had success following any kind of process to increase follow up, especially when it’s something the ADHD person doesn’t really want to do?

      Basically, I’ve been home for years taking care of our kids, and my husband has been fired or let go 4 times during that time. Now he’s working part time and doing freelance, and it’s been awful for time management, work invading home life, and me being constantly on childcare duty even when he’s supposed to be “off”. I finally have the ability to go back to work part time without it being too onerous for childcare fees, but it 100% depends on my husband letting go of trying to do freelance work (which really hasn’t worked out, financially or time management wise with his ADHD.) It means him having a tough discussion with the one person he has an ongoing contract with, to phase himself out so that he can focus on his part time job and do childcare one day a week.

      We’ve talked about this plan, but I feel like he’s always trying to think of ways to get out of an agreement, before we’ve even agreed!! He has a really hard time with cooperation, or making a 100% commitment to something. He agrees, but then he either doesn’t do what we agreed, or claims he doesn’t remember, blames something else, etc, etc., etc. But I absolutely need his cooperation this time, and I feel so anxious and angry that we can’t just make a plan for our future together and know that we’ll both do our parts.

      I’m also struggling because if he doesn’t follow through this time, it will affect our finances (I’ll have to pay for childcare, when he could easily cover the hours I”ll be at work and the kids will be in school, if he just lets go on one contract), my family (because they’re the only ones I can ask to do childcare if he flakes), or I’ll have to turn down the job, and I really don’t want to do that, nor do I think it’s fair.

      Does anyone have suggestions? I tried to prep him for months that I was going to start looking for work, that I wanted him to gradually transition out of freelance so that I could start going back on his days off, and he theoretically agreed. But of course, it didn’t translate into action until I actually got an offer, and now I’m scared I’m going to not be able to go back to work. He says he’ll phase out his contract in two weeks, but I just fear it’ll be like everything else, and he won’t do it, and then he’ll blame me, say he didn’t agree to do it, blame the guy he’s working for, etc. It’s exhausting and destructive.

      I just wish I had a partner who would work together with me, and BE supportive instead of just saying he’ll be supportive. Any tips??

    • #113217

      Put it in writing. Sit down together, talk about your plan and your agreements, who’s going to bo what, and especially the expected time lines. Ask him if he has any concerns about the plan or if there are aspects of it that he would like to change, if he could. In a roundabout way, what you’re getting at is to have him identify the reason he’s avoiding cooperating with you.
      After your discussion, write out what basically amounts to acontract between you. Have him thoroughly read and understand what his obligations are under the new agreement and both of you sign it. Then get a large wall calendar and note the deadlines you agreed to on the calendar in different colors – make all of his deadlines bright red or some other noticeable color and the same for your deadlines, although not so bright because you don’t want the deadlines visually competing with each other for his attention.

      As his deadlines approach, remind him of them by asking if he needs any help completing them or if there’s anything you can do to help him meet his goal (deadline). Make an effort not to nag him about his approaching deadline. It’s important to frame the reminder as an offer to help him succeed at that one goal.

      I’m not suggesting that anyone coddle their husbands or be supplicant. It’s a matter of understanding and working within the scope of partnerships, and the give and take that comes along with being married. Everybody has areas of strengths and weaknesses. In any good marriage, those strengths and weaknesses balance out between spouses, wherein one spouse is strong where the other is weak.

      Follow-thru is a well-known area of ADD/ADHD weakness. As such, marriages require a little more give and take, and an understanding of how best to help each other succeed.

      I’d be interested in hearing how things work out.

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