A woman who has been married for 3 years to a man who was diagnosed with ADD after they got married, has taken the time to write to me quite a bit about her situation. It is one that I recognize, as it closely mirrors the situation I had in the beginning of my own marriage. One of the key issues is that she and her husband had a wonderful courtship, during which he “hyperfocused” on her (though neither knew that this was the case as it was happening). Now she is desperate to feel loved and in the kind of relationship her courtship had led her to expect, but she finds her spouse unrecognizable. Not only does he not connect with her, but he dismisses her concerns about their lack of connection, leaving her frequently in tears. She is “in shock because I feel as if the person I fell in love with doesn’t exist”.
Being a person who does not have ADHD married to a person who does have ADHD can be wonderful. It can also be intensely frustrating. I am a non-ADHD spouse married to a man who has ADHD. Dr. Hallowell has the opposite - he has ADHD while his wife does not (part of the reason we are teaming up to write a book on this topic - we balance each other out!) If you are a spouse without ADHD, you may well recognize much of what I am about to describe in your own marriage, for without a doubt I have experienced the "classic" ADHD-affected marriage.
So, what does it feel like to be married to a person with ADHD when you do not have it yourself? What are some of the basic patterns?