Relationships, Including Marriage, and ADD ADHD — ADD Tip O the Day 636

For ease, I’ll talk about marriage  but this applies to all intimate relationships.

Things they don’t tell you

Marriage is hard work.

Especially if one of you has ADD ADHD.

Quote O the Day

The only thing worse than being married is not being married.

Things I’ve Learned (Often the Hard Way)

Intimate relationships stir up our old stuff.  This give us the chance to work it out.  It also can lead to divorce.

The key to relationship is communication.  Easy to say.

A communication strategy- listen, ask questions, make sure you really understand the other’s point before responding.   Another:  be clear that feelings and perceptions are as important as fact.  Maybe more.

We each have different tolerances and desires about closeness/distance.  This underlies many relationship conflicts that may seem to be about something else.

We enter relationships with different expectations.  These are usually just assumed and unspoken and often unconscious.   The sooner they can be spelled out and negotiated the better.  There should be a law requiring premarital discussions of : how will we resolve disagreements, who does which chores, how will money be handled, how will children be raised, how will we deal with in-laws, what kind of sex life do we want.  Have you had these conversations yet?

You cannot make the other person happy, no matter how hard you try.  And that’s not your job.  But you  can make them unhappy.

Some things are not worth taking a stand or arguing about.  Some things are.  Strategy: let the little ones go.

Men and women are different. Learning about this can greatly improve your relationship.

The One Year Course On Marriage/Relationships

the ADHD effect on marriage – orlov
the dance of anger – lerner
men are from mars, women from venus – gray
love is never enough-beck
I dont want to talk about it – real
getting the love you want – hendricks
one of John Gottmans many books
disarming the past – lewis

ideally, read these together and discuss them as you go.

ADD,ADHD,attention deficit,adult ADD,adult ADHD, relationships,marriage,listen,books,listen,listening,negotiate,problems,conflicts,divorce

Does ADD ADHD make it harder to listen?


Bonus Links – these are worth checking out

5 things that can poison a relationship

adhd-doesnt-cause-divorce-denial-does from Melissa

20 things to remember if you love a person with ADHD.  from June

10 things not to do  from June


The site has just reached over 75,000 hits.  Thank you!   Yea!

@addstrategies,@dougmkpdp,#add,#adhd #marriage #relationships



About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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10 Responses to Relationships, Including Marriage, and ADD ADHD — ADD Tip O the Day 636

  1. Pingback: Marriage/relationships and ADHD follow up — ADHD Tip O the Day 994 | ADDadultstrategies

  2. Pingback: Keep It Short — ADHD Tip O the Day | ADDadultstrategies

  3. Jeff says:

    Hi Doug, Amen brother! I wanted to tell you about this morning when my wife and I were getting ready to drive to an appointment. I am usually a bit late, due to my ADD memory, but I was doing better than usual. Ready to go out the door, I remembered that I had forgotten my eye drops, which I really need. This angered my wife, as I was making us late. I said aloud “Well, you could have reminded me.” She replied “That’s not my job!”

    By the time I got us to HER appointment, we were late – but only one minute late. However, my wife was angry. I guess it was MY job to drive her to her appointment, but not HER job to help me a little so we wouldn’t be late!

    To pass time during my wife’s appointment I read your book. On page 73 I read “Sometimes I can enlist my wife to help me” (to remind you to get back to work during a break). This gave me the impression that your wife is more understanding of YOUR ADD than my wife is of MY ADD! Am I correct? Any tips you can give me?

    Thanks for an excellent post, Doug! It was very helpful. Good links also! Jeff

    Liked by 1 person

    • How long have you been married, Jeff?

      I’m the one with ADHD at my house but I’ve always managed to stay on top of things so it almost looked like my husband was the one with ADD. But the tables have turned. At this phase in my life, my ADHD is definitely showing. My husband is being very patient but he’s not necessarily helpful. He has his own issues and stresses to deal with. Fortunately we’ve been married long enough (34 years) so we understand each other pretty well and don’t say much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jeff says:

        Hello Homey! I’ve been married only once, and for 20 years. My wife is a super-organized person, and has a doctorate. Although I’m also a professional, I used to get the impression that she saw my ADD problems as a reflection on my intelligence. And she has even gone so far as to call me stupid – though this is rare. This improved after I told her that I’m in contact with a psychiatrist and author who also has ADD. She realizes he probably has similar difficulties, and she KNOWS he couldn’t be stupid! (Thanks again, Doug!)

        By the way, I’ve read some of YOUR posts Homey, and have enjoyed them. Thanks to you, too! Jeff


    • jeff – i’m not about to compare wives! they are obviously both patient and tolerant or they wouldn’t have put up with us this long.
      suggestions: 1.if you havent, i’d suggest reading orlovs book, especially the second half, and get your wife to read it with you. she might also benefit from the first part.
      2,see if you can enlist her to help you with SPECIFIC problems – ex whenever we leave together, would you remind me to check my pockets to see if i have everything (this is not a great example, cause you probably could come up with a strategy to take care of that one yourself, but you get the idea.)
      3. Identify which of your problems, bothers her the most and then the two of you come up with strategies for them
      good luck
      thank you for commenting


      • Jeff says:

        Doug – Funny you mention reading Orlov’s book. I just happened to borrow it from the library earlier this year, and asked my wife if she’d be interested in looking at it. No interest whatsoever! So I returned it to the library without either of us reading it. I guess I’m lucky if my wife puts up with my ADD, doesn’t get too angry with my bad memory and other symptoms – AND maybe helps me out sometimes. Am I wrong in thinking that Orlov’s book wouldn’t be of much help without my wife’s participation?

        In the meantime, I’m planning on trying to get through YOUR book – where I’m highlighting the important stuff (there’s a LOT to highlight). Thanks for the good tips! Jeff

        Liked by 1 person

        • jeff – yes, i think the book would help even without your wifes involvement. maybe you could try asking her or sharing with her a few points.
          and yes, i think we’re both lucky – could be a lot worse.
          sounds like you’re doing my book the best way, a bit at a time.
          you’re very welcome
          and always, thank you for commenting


          • Jeff says:

            Doug – Yes, things could be a lot worse. We need to count our blessings instead of thinking that things could be better. Keeping a good attitude can only help.

            My terrible short-term memory (despite my strategies for dealing with it) often irritates my wife. Are my memory problems most likely caused by my ADD? The reason I’m asking is because an article on claimed that people with ADD have photographic memories. And I have the opposite: My brain seems to store memories only after compressing them into a summary, and discarding the details! And many short-term memories disappear quickly, as my brain moves on to something else!

            But the article states in “12 Reasons Why You Should Love Having ADD” that “11. You have a photographic memory. Be it numbers, words, letters, or places, those digits stick. Your brain is a warehouse, a storage center, archiving memories and visuals since you were two years old.”

            But I disagree. NO, you should NOT love having ADD! I don’t, and my wife is sure unhappy that I have ADD!!! What is your opinion on this, Doug? Jeff

            Liked by 1 person

            • jeff – I’m with you!
              I’ve never read or heard anywhere that we have photographic memories. I sure don’t. One of my wife’s complaints is “you don’t listen.” But I do listen, I just don’t remember.
              So I think we can cross off number 11. What about the others? I don’t know what they are, but some good things come with ADD. It’s just that the bad things are so trouble some, it’s hard for me to imagine anyone actually loving having ADD. I don’t.
              a good attitude is a good strategy. But part of my good attitude is thinking that things can be improved. Again, is there a specific, very specific thing that is bugging your wife. Not, “you don’t remember things.” but – you don’t remember my birthday, or you don’t remember what I ask you to get at the store, or you don’t remember where you put the keys, etc.

              If you and she could identify one very specific thing, then see if you could come up with a strategy for it, and then if she could help you follow the strategy while you’re forming the habit.
              my more general strategy for the poor memory is my index cards – I try to write everything down because I know I will not remember anything.
              good luck
              thank you for commenting.


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