Relationships are so complicated, even without ADHD, that this will take two or more posts. And with ADHD – Whew!!
We marry with expectations of what our marriage will be like. Generally, we expect our marriage to either be like our parents’ marriage or very unlike it. These expectations need to be examined before the marriage, because they are likely very different for each partner..
I recommend the essential discussion before marriage, covering money, spare time, relatives, children, religion, and sex.
Also, discuss how decisions will be made and disagreements handled. Avoid the zero sum game, where there’s a winner and a loser. Instead, use a problem solving model – ‘How can we make this work for both of us?’
When it’s hot, stop. Agree we will talk about this later, but just not right now. Give it time to cool off, and then discuss it rather than just letting it go.
Many conflicts and arguments are simply a problem of communication. Often a word doesn’t mean the same thing to us. Ex: “Yes, I’m ready to go now” means something very different to my wife than to me.
Another common source of conflict is both parties being sure their memories are accurate, although our memories are notoriously inaccurate.
It is common for a woman to marry a man, expecting to change him. Not a good idea. It is common for a man to marry a woman, expecting to be pampered. Not a good idea.
Quote O the Day:
“You can’t be married and be right.”
Frank Pitman MD
Note: In this series, I’m using “marriage” to mean both marriage and other relationships. I’m aware that traditional marriage is becoming obsolete.
Follow up on How to Be Happy:
Never expect someone else to do what they’re supposed to do, should do, or said they would do. This will save you a lot of disappointment and yield you an occasional happy surprise
Bonus Quote O the Day:
“Love is a state of temporary psychosis, easily cured by marriage.”
The Challenge of ADHD Relationships
Dr. Wm. Dodson on ADHD and Relationships
Personal Notes O the Day:
- Thank you to all the subscribers, and especially to those of you who contribute your comments. So helpful.
- Thank you to Martha for sticking with me all these years in spite of my ADHD.
I’ve been single for veeeery long. But I did come up with an idea that I think is worth sharing: safe word. In the s&m world, which supposedly bases on trust (choice of words is not for doubting it, rather because I can’t know from experience), before an S&M session, the two parties agree upon a safe word to be used when they want to stop; because inflicting pain is part of the process, so a lot of “no” and “stop!” is part of the dynamic of the game.
Very often, couples will have misunderstandings because teasing is sometimes also part of the “game”, or correcting a behavior, or even just trying to give helpful hints when they’re not wanted and you can’t tell. So I think all couples should have a safe word for those situations, so one party immediately knows when to back off, whatever is happening. Especially with ADHD, someone trying to be helpful is indeed helpful some days and like a whiplash to the brain on others.
Great post, Doug! Even if I don’t quite know anymore what it’s like to be in a relationship.
that’s a great tip. I will include it in part two.
as always, thank you for contributing
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Doug, this was a super insightful post. I’m going to have to show it to the woman I’ll be marrying early next year in the spring
congratulations! glad this was helpful. hope the next one will be also. marriage is hard work but can be very rewarding.
and thank you for commenting.
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