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 it misses a huge cohort of adults for whom the chore wars are still all too real – adults with ADHD and their spouses.
Recently, a poster in the forum asked the very good question - if you are all so miserable in your marriages, why do you stay? I'll give you my own answer - George and I stayed together because even though we were really miserable, we couldn't believe we couldn't do better. The intractability of the issues we were dealing with didn't make sense. We had chosen each other as partners for good reason...then things fell apart...but couldn't we make them better again?
While my husband reads most of the posts on this site as the administrator, he rarely weighs in. But yesterday he posted some heartfelt – and very wise - advice to a man with ADD whose wife is leaving him because she can’t take it anymore. George’s perspective as a previously badly behaving man with ADD who has successfully changed his life is worth sharing. Here’s what he says:
I know what it’s like to be a non-ADD spouse and discover that you no longer like yourself. Many here have the same problem – they have struggled so long, and are so exhausted, that they can no longer find the core of who they are. I would like to share with you my own story of how I moved from disliking myself back to “being me” as well as provide some ideas for change that may help you.
I’ve written here before about how you might approach thinking about whether or not you should marry a person you know has ADHD (see this post), but there is a conversation going on in the forums now that makes we want to write further on the topic.
Stay or leave? That is a question that many exhausted spouses ask as they struggle through the rollercoaster of feelings in their ADD-affected relationship. At the suggestion of one of the readers of this site I have just finished reading a very interesting book about how to resolve this ambivalence and I think it could be an excellent resource for many here.
You know you have ADD. Your marriage is disintegrating and you think the ADD might have something to do with it, but you can’t figure out what to do improve things. What do you do? This post is very long, but worth the 10 minutes you’ll need to take to get through it as it gets at the very heart of what goes wrong in many ADD relationships. I think every couple struggling with ADD can learn important coping skills from my response to this man’s question.
We had a long post (and follow-up email) from a woman who is at her wits end about how to resolve the “do I stay or leave?” question. She cares for her husband, but he is driving her crazy and he impacts her life so negatively that she was depressed and on medications for a while. A couple of people have already responded with supportive advice, so check out the comments, but here is the original message and our thoughts: