Adult ADD might be affecting couple

 In Relationship Topics, Uncategorized

Dear Nikki,

My husband and I had a wildly exciting courtship where we couldn’t pay enough attention to one another. Now we argue often about what I feel is his laziness, lack of motivation and his forgetfulness. He seems to ignore me most of the time. He says that I treat him like one of the kids and that I nag him all the time. What’s happened here?

Dear reader,

Without meeting him and finding out more, I cannot diagnose your husband without question, but it appears that what you may be describing could possibly be adult attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD). I have come across many couples who are struggling with undiagnosed ADD in their relationships. They report similar symptoms as you have in your marriage. Below is some information and resources that could prove to be beneficial for your situation.

Melissa Orlov and Dr. Ned Hallowell of state that ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is not really about “attention deficit.” It’s really about “attention dysregulation.” People with ADHD can sometimes focus very intently, while many other times they have difficulty staying focused and are very easily distracted.

They also explain that adults are less likely to have the “hyperactivity” part of ADHD that we often see in children. Instead, many adults have the “distracted” version of ADHD, which is the No. 1 symptom of adult ADHD.

About 5 precent of adults have ADHD, but almost 90 percent of adults with ADHD don’t know they have it. This means that even though the symptoms of ADHD may be present in a relationship, partners are usually unaware of it. All they know is that they are struggling, yet they feel that should be able to do much better.

Since common ADHD symptoms such as distraction, difficulty planning or following through, emotionality and poor short-term memory have a real impact on day-to-day lives, finding out about the presence of ADHD is reassuring because finally couples can understand what is going on and can learn to do something about it!

It’s important to understand that simply responding to ADHD issues by “trying harder” typically doesn’t work. If it did, many would have already been able to address the issues they are facing. So, instead of “trying harder,” learn to try “differently.” That means having the ADHD partner learn to manage ADHD symptoms in ways that are known to work and encouraging partners to learn to respond to ADHD symptoms in ways that improve their feelings for each other rather than create more frustrations.

There are many places that people can obtain support for ADHD in their marriage. One way is with a couple’s counselor who is experienced in working with ADHD.

Other resources include medication, educational websites and books, classes, organizational skills learning, self-help books, therapies, online training and even support groups.

I hope that helps!

(Nikki Delaney is a licensed counselor and owner of A New You Counseling in Rio Rancho, which received the Marriage Counselor, Best of Rio Rancho Award in 2015. She created the “Roommates to Romance” program, which transforms relationships by tailoring counseling to a couple’s specific needs. You can submit “Love Letter” questions to or

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