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ADD/ADHD and Marriage

Making Marriage Work with Attention Deficit Disorder


Couple chatting a dinner table
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Two people, both with ADD or ADHD, can have a good marriage. You must keep the lines of communication open and you shouldn't try to coach one another.

ADD/ADHD Does Impact a Marriage

You may find, after both of you have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, that your regular coping mechanisms no longer work. This can be a shock. Depression can become a part of your lives.

Behaviors that were once tolerated by both of you may now create hostility. A messy house could become a major frustration. Procrastination can become another source of irritation. Bad habits may drive you up the wall.

Tips on Coping with ADD/ADHD in Your Marriage

  • Designate a "clean" room. Some couples find that agreeing together to having one room in the house that is designated as the "clean" room, helps eliminate frustration about leaving unfinished projects or piles of papers around. The "clean" room is off limits for these projects and piles.
  • Don't nag.
  • Accept that changes won't happen right away.
  • Affirmation and praise are important messages to hear from each other.
  • Appreciate your differences.
  • Set realistic expectationstogether.
  • Keep working on your communication skills with one another.
  • Agree that you both need patience.
  • Don't leave little "to do" reminders around the house for your spouse.
  • You both need to keep a sense of humor.

Focus on Your Own Behavior Changes

  • Don't think you can coach or help your spouse as he or she deals with the ADD/ADHD issues. You will only create hostility in your relationship if you try to take on the role of coach.
  • Pay attention to changes you want to make in your own behavior, not on what you wish your spouse would change.
  • Back off and allow one another to make his/her own decisions on how to cope with the ADD/ADHD.
  • Some people with make lists. Some people will take medications. Some will create other ways of dealing with ADD/ADHD in their lives. Remember that none of these approaches are necessarily wrong and that none of these approaches are necessarily right. This is an individual decision.
Learn About Attention Deficit Disorder

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