This week, Imagine Hope is discussing how ADHD impacts marriage and the marital relationship. Adults with ADHD tend to be scattered in their thinking and easily distracted. This can make it very difficult to have meaningful conversations and stay on one topic without jumping from subject to subject. Have you ever struggled with your spouse "chasing squirrels" in conversation? For example, you might be sharing something emotional that happened to you during the day, or something you are excited about in your life, and your spouse gets distracted by their own thoughts or they veer off topic with seemingly random subjects.
As Christy mentioned yesterday, there are many issues a marriage faces throughout it's lifetime. Most, however, may not have imagined their marriage would feel the effects of ADD/ADHD... I mean, that's just for kids, right? Think again.
Visionary & Creative, But...
Someone with ADD/ADHD will have wonderful creative ideas for projects or crafts. They'll have innovative ideas for businesses or be really great at marketing. BUT, sometimes follow-through can be an issue.
Today, we will finish up this week's blog topic: Signs of adult ADD/ADHD. Impulsivity Impulsivity in adult ADD/ADHD looks like the following: Difficulty in thinking about the consequences before making a decision or having a reaction, or reacting without thinking first. Frequently interrupting others or blurting out comments before thinking. Rushing through tasks without taking the time to read the directions and ensure that the task is completed properly. Addictive tendencies. Impulsivity with sitting still during important functions or meetings, which comes across as socially inappropriate or rude to others. Overall poor self-control.
Adults who struggle with ADD/ADHD often struggle with handling negative emotions. Particularly if they are mad or feeling a lot of frustration. It can cause a lot of anxiety for them, often coming out as an angry outburst. Many times under that frustration lies feelings that they aren't aware of that can lead to challenging behaviors. Here are some common emotional struggles you may see with ADD.
Trouble Staying on Task Individuals with ADD get bored very easily and will jump from one task to another without finishing the task before changing to the other one. If this person is involved in a task that seems boring to them, they can be easily distracted by any type of outer-stimuli such as noises, items within touchable reach and anything visual/moving objects.
Marriage can be difficult —especially with outside pressures from careers, children, in-laws, extracurricular activities, volunteering, church, sporting events, and even pets! With all the things that can interfere with your marriage, I bet you never imagined adding ADHD to that list. But if your spouse struggles with ADHD, it can add a whole other level of difficulty and stress to your marriage. This week we are going to dive into what it can look like and why. We hope that you find some solace in knowing you’re not alone! Forgetfulness
Individuals with ADHD tend to be very forgetful. It is not on purpose, but rather because their brains are often so overwhelmed with racing thoughts, following “rabbit trails”, or fighting external distractions that they often lose focus. This can look different in each person.
For some it may be losing things constantly—their purse, car keys, grocery list, etc. For others with ADHD, it may look like a lack of follow through. They may offer to start the laundry, but then walk out the door without pressing the Power button—or even putting the clothes in! Or maybe they started the laundry without putting any detergent in the washing machine.
All of this can come across as laziness, lack of caring, or selfishness. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Most individuals with ADHD care a lot, but struggle to focus on tasks and complete any tasks they are given without getting distracted. As frustrated as you may feel, your partner may feel just as frustrated, as well as experience shame and guilt because of their ADHD.
If you recognize that either you or your partner have ADHD, we encourage you to get help. Some studies suggest there is a higher risk of divorce in marriages where ADHD exists. Although medication may help, there are other coping skills and changes that can be made to lessen the impact of ADHD.
Please check in this week as we discuss more ways that ADHD can impact marriage.
Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW
Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.
Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.