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I’m one of the lucky ones when it comes to ADHD marriage problems. Being diagnosed with ADHD before I got married enabled me to figure myself out before bringing along another one for the ride. I was diagnosed while we were seriously dating, but not yet talking about marriage. There were definitely some ADHD-related issues that could have prevented us from walking down the aisle.
Well, we’ve made it down the aisle and baby makes three. But that doesn’t mean my ADHD doesn’t cause issues in the marriage. It just means we’ve gotten better at navigating them.
Here are the top tactics in my toolbox. In addition to this, awareness is key. As getting diagnosed and treated by a professional. Also: every ADHD’er and every marriage is different – this is just what’s working for me. As always, your mileage may vary.
1 – Be Honest – This ranges from owning your mistakes to letting yourself be vulnerable to your partner so that they can better understand a specific behavior. For example, making plans is always a source of anxiety for me, and I’m very transparent about the fact that I need special considerations before we commit to something. Without context it can seem obnoxious to always need to plan ahead in detail when meeting friends or in-laws for a meal. However, for me I rely on advanced planning to keep myself in check. Anything else is rolling the dice – sometimes I’m okay, sometimes my whole world falls out of rotation and it takes a while to recover.
2 – Make A Good-Faith Effort- Perfection isn’t the goal here, but it’s important that you are taking the necessary steps to treat your ADHD. While special considerations should always be taken for your ADHD mind, conversely it’s wise to consider your partner’s perspective. Even when it may not seem like it, a lot of what you do carries a consequence for your spouse – good and bad. To ensure you’re being fair to the partnership, make sure you’re adopting ADHD interventions that work best for you and taking good care of yourself.
3 – Be Confident – Just as you can’t let ADHD be an excuse to not meet your full potential, you also can’t live your life apologizing about it. If your partner isn’t already on the same page with you on this, get them there or consider couples counseling. Just as you would make special adjustments for a spouse with a heart condition or diabetes, your partner should take your ADHD seriously. Just as you shouldn’t be reckless with your partner as you navigate your condition (see No. 2), don’t tolerate behavior that punishes you for having ADHD.