Q: “How Can I Stop Taking My Wife’s ADHD Personally?”
“The important thing to recognize is that your wife’s challenges are not by choice. When she loses track of time or gets distracted, it’s not because she’s being self-indulgent. It’s because she has a disorder that makes it difficult for her to resist distractions and effectively silences the ticking of time inside her mind.”
Q: “My wife has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and she struggles regularly with time blindness, attention management, and other difficulties. As someone without ADHD, I admit that I sometimes have a hard time understanding and sympathizing with the way she thinks. How can I be a supportive husband to her?”
No matter who you live with (or love), the deal is that what you do affects them, and what they do affects you. We hope that there’s more good than bad, but sometimes the negative can cast a long shadow over the relationship.
The important thing to recognize is that your wife’s challenges are not by choice. When she loses track of time or gets distracted, it’s not because she’s being self-indulgent. It’s because she has a disorder that makes it difficult for her to resist distractions and effectively silences the ticking of time inside her mind.
Sure, there might be times when you can step in with a time management or attention strategy to help her and to help you get more of what you want out of your relationship. (Before you offer help, though, be sure to have conversations with your wife about what kind of help she wants and doesn’t want. Otherwise, your “help” might feel more controlling than collaborative.) But the emotional piece is far more important.
It may help to recognize that your wife’s challenges are not centered on you. ADHD affects all aspects of her life, including her relationships with friends and colleagues. ADHD affected her life long before it affected yours. Keeping this in mind may help you avoid taking her symptoms personally and focus instead on problem-solving so both of you can get what you want from your marriage.
How to Be a Supportive Partner: Next Steps
- Free Download: Manage ADHD’s Impact on Your Relationship
- Read: Accept Them. Support Them. Have Their Backs.
- Read: How to Fix a Relationship: 9 Solutions from ADHD Couples
The content for this article was derived, in part, from the ADDitude ADHD Experts webinar titled, “Why Is Time So Slippery? Understanding Time Blindness in People with ADHD” [Video Replay & Podcast #424],” with Ari Tuckman, Psy.D., MBA, CST which was broadcast on October 4, 2022.
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