What is the impact of ADD on marriage?
The impact of ADD on marriage is often profound. Over the years, in working with couples I have found extremely common events occur over and over and over again.
ADD and the Impulse Spouse
Frequently, marital difficulties begin before the wedding: the impulsive ADD individual meets someone; he quickly gets caught up in feeling—feeling loved, feeling sexual, feeling connected; with all the intensity of feeling, thinking does not occur; before the two really know each other, they get married. Maybe in a week, or a month, or six months, but very soon, one or the other and, often, both know they have made a terrible mistake. Years later, they are in my office trying figure out what to do now.
ADD and the Child-Spouse
For couples that chose to marry after getting to know each other, the key issues are different. Frequently, I see them when the spouse who does not have ADD has reached his limit. When they married, he loved her but now he has had enough. He is tired of getting her out of bed with a morning phone call or two or three, tired having to walk through an obstacle course of stuff to get to the shower, tired of ordering pizza for dinner, tired of the of the impulsive spending, tired of paying late fees because the bills were lost, tired of folding the laundry at midnight . . . he wanted a partner and feeling resentful that he has a child.
ADD and the Insensitive Spouse
There are still other couples that make their way to my office when the partner without ADD feels that her spouse is just not as connected to her as she had hoped. While he is a nice guy, he seems insensitive to her emotions, oblivious to her stresses, and in his own little world from after dinner to bedtime when she needs to talk. Her conclusion is that she either has married an insensitive jerk or he doesn’t love her anymore. My experience with these couples is that, most often, neither of these is true. Rather, she has married a good man with ADD who still loves her. His poor attention, however, interferes with his ability to read between the lines, tune into nonverbal cues, and monitor his own lack of responsiveness.
Have you had relationships struggle or fail and now suspect the roots trace back to ADD’s challenges? Looking for a change? Get started with Dr. Liden’s book, ADD Basics 101, currently available as a free download e-book.