Conflicts Around Household Tasks

When is it nagging and when is it reminding?  For non-ADHD partners, it can be hard to figure out whether - or how - to remind a partner of something that needs to get done.  Here are some ideas about where to draw the line.

Coming home to an ADHD partner's mess can raise the stress levels at home, encourage long-term resentment, and ruin your sex life.  Here's how to clear up the clutter fast.

The August 8th cover story of Time Magazine was entitled "Chore Wars" with the subhead "Let it go.  Make peace.  Men and women, it turns out, work the same amount."  But like divorce statistics that are much more illuminating when parsed by cohort (ex: couples who married young are more likely to divorce than those with college degrees who married later) so, too, are chore war statistics.

What happens when an ADHD partner takes responsibility for ADHD issues, but still struggles to make things go smoothly?  Here's a good example of the process that couples go through to find a balance that can work for them.

It is with some humor that I say that a very sensitive area of conflict for many couples is driving.  Most commonly, the conflict centers around the poor driving habits of an ADHD spouse (and why they can't/won't change them) and who is going to drive when.  There is more here than meets the eye, though, so I thought I would explore it a bit.  If you have conflicts over driving, read on!

It’s awful to feel as if you are the only one who is doing chores around your household – not to mention exhausting.  It can also literally destroy a marriage.  The resentment that builds up around household chore distribution easily seeps into all areas of the relationship.  Many report here that they try to get their spouse to help out, but to no avail.  I think that this area is too important to give up on, so would propose a couple of ideas for attacking this issue.

Are you angry that your ADD spouse is able to focus on something of great interest to him, and not to anything you want him to do (like the dishes, or childcare)?  If so, you would not be alone.  I’ve been reading a whole series of forum posts lately on this topic by women who are really frustrated by lack of attention to chores and to them.  I would like to address it, because I think the conversations are missing some important points.

Here’s what the forum writers are complaining about:

We received this question from a reader:

"How can an ADHD affected spouse get a job and hold it to earn a living if he cannot find his keys/wallet/cellphone etc? How can a spouse NOT be tired out by repeated same scenarios of disorder and chaos repeatedly discussed and never changing?"

These are questions that cut to the heart of the long-term ADHD relationship.  I would like to address the non-ADHD spouse first, then circle back to the ADHD spouse.

When ADHD is in the marital mix, it can be a real challenge to get household chores done without one or the other feeling exasperated, angry or shamed. Often, the non-ADHD partner feels resentment over doing more than his/her share or having to constantly remind the other to do what needs to be done.

The AD/HD partner might feel angry at always being told what to do and may feel unappreciated for the efforts being made, which sometimes feels like they aren’t “good enough” no matter how hard he/she tries.

Two people have commented that they are in couples where both spouses have ADHD and that they find this very difficult.  I would like to address this a bit here but will start by recounting two comments specific to this topic to make it easier for those of you on a blog feed who aren’t always referring back to the site itself:

From mhmarel:
What about if both spouses have ADHD? I find it much more difficult to set up routines and coping systems, because I know my partner will not help me maintain them, and may even undermine them (example -- I spend an entire day organizing our financial files,

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