If you’re in a relationship and you have ADHD, Saint Valentine’s Day may not always be a fun day. In fact, romance can be hard to come by any day of the year. Your ADHD might be getting in the way of both of you thriving in the relationship.
My husband, Duane and I have always been very open about how his ADHD almost destroyed our marriage. Today, we have an amazing relationship, but Duane and I used to have many fights. I often felt I had three children instead of two; and that first child was very temperamental.
What was the most difficult wasn’t what he did, but the fact that I couldn’t rely on him to help me with anything life threw at us: financial problems, car accidents, illness, demotions, professional problems, and worst, relationship issues. I felt exhausted most of the time because of everything I had to do: managing the budget, taking care of paperwork, dealing with the children’s schoolwork and day care, meal planning, school planning, car and home repairs and the list goes on.
Eventually I stopped fighting about it and became resigned that life with Duane was always going to be a burden. I’m glad things have changed and that our relationship has become one of love (which it always was) and support where both of us thrive.
When One is Hurting, Both Are Hurting
Whether it’s ADHD causing the struggle in your relationship or not, one thing is certain, when one of you is suffering, the other is suffering too. My father is deaf, so when he watches TV, it’s loud, so loud that when we visit, we can hear the TV blaring from the corner of their street (their house is about 10 houses in!) My father’s loud TV was making my mother, who’s a calm person who enjoys peace and quiet, absolutely miserable.
Finding a Solution for One Spouse, is a Gift for the Other
One Christmas, Duane and I gave my Dad a headset that connects to the television. As a result, my father could control the volume of the TV through his earphones and suddenly, the household became quiet again; both Mom and Dad were happy. My father’s deafness made my mother miserable until we found a solution for him. She often tells me that it was one of the best gifts she ever received; and it wasn’t even her gift!
The same is true of ADHD, whether you’re an adult with ADHD or the spouse of an ADHDer, if you are struggling, both of you are hurting. And when the spouse with ADHD learns how to manage life better, both of you (and your children, family, friends and co-workers) live a better life.
When Duane spoke to me about hiring a coach, I admit I was sceptical. After all, we had spent a lot of money on numerous well-known Time Management Programs and even special programs for Goal Setting and even Financial Planning, but nothing worked. What finally made me take a leap of faith was the belief that if we didn’t do anything, nothing would ever change and we would both be doomed, along with our children, to a mediocre (at best) life. That may seem harsh, but we were in “survival mode,” and when you’re focused on simply surviving, it’s impossible to reach any level of self-realization.
It was only when Duane sought help with an ADHD coach that I stopped hurting. As he learned new skills such planning, time management, focusing etc., he became a better partner for me and our relationship flourished.
If you have ADHD and you are struggling because of it, forget the flowers and the candy and consider getting help to manage your ADHD. It’s not selfish… it will be a gift for your spouse as well. And if your spouse has ADHD, make getting help your gift to them and your spouse will return the gift to you many times over.