Strategies for harmony in marriage

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    • #68520

      My spouse is in treatment but so far seems to think taking a pill is his only responsibility. We work opposite shifts because of a young child so we have very little face time. The list of undone tasks keeps growing. Many are things I can’t do like purging in preparation for a move. Everything is fine as long as I only expect play. As soon as I expect work here comes the resentment and contempt. How can we get on the same page? He won’t structure his days off or seek any solutions to manage procrastination and distractibility. He just thinks I’m the problem because I dare to bring up the admin of life. Help. I feel like I’m bending over backwards to accommodate his ADHD and he isn’t meeting me in the middle at all.

      • This topic was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by hmoller.
    • #68572

      I’m in the exact situation after 15 yrs of marriage. My husband won’t take meds & everything is my fault . We have two children & im exhausted all the time. He takes on no adult responsibilities in our home. It’s likeIhave a third child. He has no insight to the effects of his ADD on our family & marriage. Everything is everyone else’s fault . Help.

    • #68609

      Yes, same here. He received a diagnosis from a psychologist. He bailed on the last appointment with the psychiatrist in the practice – for the final diagnosis. He got a prescription for Wellbutrin from his general practitioner. He can’t even keep up with that prescription. He is self medicating with beer and diet pills and all sorts of herbal supplements. I can tell the difference when he takes the medication. However,he thinks the diagnosis is the end of the story and “it is what it is.” He doesn’t understand how his ADHD affects me and the family. In fact, I think he doesn’t see me at all and is unable to consider me when making decisions or choosing a course of action. Right now, he’s working a LOT. That’s his focus. As always. In the meantime, I have a new job and graduate level classes. 12 hour days and classes. Nice. Most spouses would offer help. Nope. 15 years. He’s at about 13 years old maturity wise.

    • #68669
      Penny Williams

      Nobody likes being told what to do, and spouse with ADHD often feel like that’s the dynamic when one partner takes on the role of planner and organizer.

      Try having a family meeting to establish responsibilities and a schedule/routine. Start by listing all the tasks that need to be done in the home. Then, ask him which tasks he is willing to take on and which he is most qualified to handle. Then you do the same. After that, try to create a routine for these tasks. For instance, every Saturday at 10 am laundry is done. Every Tuesday after dinner the kitchen gets wiped down. Every other day he spends 30 minutes purging… etc.

      The way you communicate is important to your relationship:

      10 Ways to Save Your Relationship

      Help! My Spouse Is Always [Fill In the Blank]

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #68925

      That all sounds wonderful, however, what is the next step if ADHD partner is unwilling to commit to any of those strategies ?

      • #68969
        Penny Williams

        Unfortunately, you can’t make someone accept or treat their ADHD. If they’re in denial, there’s not much you can do, until they are ready.

        ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

      • #80502

        So, short of separating, or living separately at least, there are no solutions/suggestions? I am hoping for an empathic strategy for communicating how desperate I am without it just seeming like ‘nagging’. I have been married for 38 years. We have separated twice and if things don’t change then 3rd time will be permanent. Oh! …and to top things off, he is legally blind so doesn’t have all the visual cues to remind him to do things.

    • #80815

      I’ve been married for almost 20 years and only recently (2 years ago) was diagnosed. I feel for all of you so much. I put my wife through stupid arguments caused by my disregulation. I was scattered and unfocused. But one thing that kept us going was I was willing to change. I wanted to make her happier.

      That’s a good place to start. Ask your spouse if they want to make you happier. If they do, then let them know that the responsibilities you want to share will do that. I love the idea of looking at which ones will play to his strengths. What can you make into play? Make a game?

      This is the hard part. Avoid all criticism. Not because you aren’t justified, you are. But because it won’t work. I guarantee your husband has said every criticism you level at him to himself a million times. Since he was a kid. So have his teachers, his parents, his bosses, and others.

      The only way to make things better is to express gratitude. We have interest-based nervous systems. Find what interests us and we will do that thing.

      And be sure to try all kinds of variations to medications. 80% of ADHD people benefit. It has to be the right one and the right dosage. Now, I still deal with the effects of ADHD, but I am much calmer, which makes every interaction easier. I don’t fight anymore. I don’t immediately contradict. It works.

      On behalf of a husband who knows sees this from another perspective, thank you for caring enough to want to try to save your relationship.

    • #86332

      ADDLobstah – GREAT advice!

      ADHDers know we suck at administrative tasks. Motivation is physically hard, and honestly, it’s sometimes embarrassing. Pride is just our defense mechanism for not feeling like a screw up again. If I choose to be lazy, then I’m not really lazy? It doesn’t make sense, but it’s how we cope with our reality.

      1. Start out the conversation from a place of gratitude. We’re used to being nagged and called lazy. We don’t like it. It hurts. And we will defend our psyche against it.

      2. Be honest about your workload. You cannot physically do it all. You NEED his help. We generally like to be useful and relish opportunities to help. It makes us proud, since we’re usually the ones needing all the help.
      – Plus, a lot of guys in our generation don’t realize how much wives have to do in ADDITION to working full time. It’s like 3 jobs. He may “hear” you say you need help but not understand what that really means.

      3. Show him a list of ALL the tasks you have to do during your time off. Let him know what a better and happier wife/mother you COULD be if you weren’t spending all of your time doing chores/management. Ask what he would be comfortable taking off your plate. Express gratitude for anything he is willing to tackle (it’s a tough first step), but also be firm and realistic about the amount of help you need. You may not get 50-50, but hey, 60-40 or even 70-30 is WAY better than 0-100!

      4. Agree on a system of accountability. We keep a list, with both of our names on it, near the front door. That way, whenever we walk in or out of the house, the list is right there. We also each have a running to do list for things like purging.

      5. Say thank you. Real, heartfelt, and often. When you do get to spend time together, try not to focus on the administrative stuff. Hang out a little, just for fun. It’ll show him that his help really is freeing you up to be happier and less stressed. It’s not a trap!

      A lot of us ADHDers have spent a lifetime in situations that we cannot succeed in. Pressure to perform certain tasks usually makes us shut down. No amount of nagging or frustration will get the job done. That’s what our parents and teachers did. “Why can’t you just get it done?” I don’t know, because I can’t. Say that enough times, and it becomes your mantra. Having someone whisper “I believe you can, and I need you to” can invite us to turn that attitude around. A gentle offer of personal responsibility that offers flexibility and is presented in a way that shows a possibility of success can help us care and try.

      It may not work for everyone, but it worked for me. I hope it helps!

    • #109889

      Y’all made me tear up. I’m afraid to show it to the wife because it’s tense right now.

    • #109923

      I’m the ADD husband – diagnosed 17 yrs ago and married 25 yrs now. To ADDlobstah and Strwbry – you both nailed it! We beat ourselves up so much from a lifetime of self-disappointment – hearing it from our life partners is overwhelming. Your ideas are very thoughtful and considerate.

      That being said, I think the spouses above need some support, too. One thing I noticed – are your spouses in treatment? I, too thought originally that meds were going to ‘fix this ADD thing’. What I didn’t realize was that a sound treatment plan needed to be in place with that in order address the ‘angry siblings’ of ADD – negative emotion and shame. I had internalized so much that there was little way that meds alone would do the trick. But I needed to want it for myself first – even when my amazing wife wanted out.

      I’ve got a really good therapist now – going on 2 years. Along with the meds, we’re in a much better place. We share a lot of the home stuff now (except the finances – I know my limits!), and I’m happy to take those things off her plate. If younthink these may work, just be firm but supportive. If they’re not receptive to this kind of plan, then I think there’s more work for them to do individually – I know there wa for me!

      I hope your spouses realize that they have amazing partners – you wouldn’t be exploring these fora here if you weren’t. I’d also like to think we are worth it, too. If you all can find that level ground (we did, though it wasn’t easy at first), I believe you can get to that place you both want to be. I wish you well on your journeys, and will check back… CHRIS

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