Contributed by Jane Sandwood
Freelance Writer/Teacher-ADHD Specialist
Children with ADHD grow into adults with the imbalance, while other people do not receive the diagnosis until they are adults. The short attention span and inability to concentrate on multiple activities is frustrating; the inability to stay organized is maddening. However, it is possible to make a marriage work when one partner has the ADHD diagnosis. It begins with understanding, and ends with a little extra work from both parties.
Begin With Understanding
It’s important to understand that people with this issue have trouble remembering to do things, concentrating, and avoiding impulse. This means that the marriage may suffer financial hits due to impulse buys or the kids might go without milk because the parent forgot to pick up milk. Either way, the spouse must understand the guilt that often follows after these activities. A person with ADHD needs loved ones to know that he or she is trying to do better. Belittling the person or arguing will only exacerbate existing symptoms.
Learn About Treatment
Adults with ADHD will use a combination of prescription medications, life coaches, and psychotherapy to help manage the condition. Supportive spouses will attend couples therapy to learn how to live with the condition as a unit. Marriage is a team effort. The best method of support is to learn how to operate as a team against the condition. Understand medication side effects, learn how to make positive life changes, and practice habits that will become a normal part of life through counseling sessions.
Listen to Each Other
It’s important to listen to each other, and actually hear each other. Keep the tone calm, perhaps even setting aside a specific time of day to talk over the relationship. People with ADHD need help focusing, so choose a calming room with no clutter to talk over important issues. Discuss how treatments are working, goals for the relationship, and what plans might work to help the marriage succeed. Remember that ADHD prevents the person from interpreting information in a busy environment, so try to limit conversations to a dedicated quiet time.
Remember Your Unique Situation
It is essential to remember that each situation is unique. The dynamics of the marriage must be shared with the professionals, who will help devise plans for collaboration. Both parties must do his or her part to create a harmonious household. There will be changes, but any change that is practiced for a month becomes a habit. After some practice, the extra effort necessary to help an ADHD partner will be just another part of life.