ADD Husband hates to be touched

My ADD husband hates to be touched (except for sex!). He will cry out if I happen to touch him while asleep, like from turning over in bed, and this wakes me up. We can't get a bigger bed. Is he so sensitive because he has ADD? Has any one else run into this, and if so, how did they solve it? I sleep as far over on "my" side as I can, but it's hard to sleep without touching him.

Hypersensitivity to Touch

this can go along with ADD, and he should consult with your doctor about this.  Make sure to mention that it happens sometimes and not others.


oh yeah, that was something I

oh yeah, that was something I noticed and thought odd. He acted as if I was bigger than him, he's 6"2" and 250lbs. I couldn't snuggle up to him, lean on him, sit on his lap... I was too heavy! Once he started on the Concerta, that stopped but now, I don't want to go near him! 

Any one else notice this odd symptom?

I have this on occasion, but

I have this on occasion, but mostly it has to do with the way someone touches me.  If you lay your hand on my arm it feels fine - if you start rubbing it back and forth it feels like the tactile equivalent of dragging your fingernails on a blackboard.  It's better in the morning when the meds are strong, and worse in the evening when meds have worn off. 

The crying out when being touched while asleep sounds more like trauma - like he expects to be hurt when he's touched.  Was there any of that in his life?


I Have Noticed This Too...

Especially when I have to tell him to roll ever to stop snoring so loud.  In my case it's not a long cry, it's more like when I try to get him to roll over by nudging him, he'll be so startled and make sounds like I just hit him or something.  Sometimes he'll also make comments like "You scared me".  I just associate this as to everything how he basically reacts and drama. 

Theres also many times that when we're argueing, that he'll come out w/the same ridiculous comment.  "I'm afraid you're going to hurt me", and I really see a serious side of him that I hardly ever get to see.  It's like he's panicked or something, and he has bolted out the door on many occassions when he has said this.  Anyone experience that one?  For someone who's used physical force on me before to indimidate me, I just trip!  What really angers me is that he'll push me sometimes so hard, that I get knocked off my feet.  Yet he won't admit that what he does is physical abuse because he never used a closed fist.  Although he's much bigger than me, and me being in a physical abusive relationship before, I've learned to stand my ground.  I never condone physical abuse, nor initiate such behavior, but when he does do this to me, I will push him back.  I'm a tough cookie, and he's seen that.  He knows of my prior abusive relationship, and I've made it specifically clear to him not to lay his hands on me...or I WILL snap!  I don't know if he does make this comment to me because he's afraid of me when I do push him back or what.  I think he expects me to cower, and submit to anything when he does do this.  Yea right!  Sometimes I thinks when he does do this, he's afraid that this time around, he's pushed me to the edge, and a side of me will come out that he's never seen before.  I don't know what he's thinking.  Hopefully this will NEVER happen again.  This last time he pushed me led to our seperation and ultimatums.   We've never gone to enough therapy sessions to talk about his childhood, but I'm just wondering if he has any other issues besides ADHD, and/or if this is associated w/it. 

No trauma

He's led the most peaceful life I can imagine. No physical abuse, and he lived with his mother until he married me. I think he's just easily startled.

At his church, they all "pass the peace" every week (they all hug each other, one at a time). He said it took him a while to get used to that when he started going there.

He's also ticklish to the point of ridiculousness. I learned to exploit that for fun. Now he sort of likes it when I tickle him.

I think Melissa was right about it being related to his ADD but I'm not sure if the meds help or not.


My ADD husband is extremely

My ADD husband is extremely you said, to the point of I'm thinking "man this is ridiculous" but I never related it to his ADD. ?? He is very thin, I just figured he was just 'sensitive' because he didn't have any fat on his bones.

Sensitivity to touch

I was JUST thinking about this as I reflected on our relationship and was going to post it on my own thread. My husband has a very, very low threshold when it comes to pain. He totally freaks out when he gets a bump or scratch or anything. He often asks to have his back scratched but if I touch him otherwise, he startles easily and other times it just irritates him. He absolutely cannot have other people touch him at all.

I've always wondered why he practically leaps out of bed or freaks, sometimes crying out or yelling AHHHH when I go to wake him or touch him when he's asleep. I also thought it might be trauma, but no. My hubby is 6' 1' 240 and I'm 105 soaking wet. I do not share the bed with him, his snoring is unbearable, and he is very restless. Earplugs are a joke. Sometimes I will snuggle with him for a while until he falls asleep, but after that it's just too uncomfortable for both of us.

Here is the paradox. We discovered this accidently a few years ago. He prefers intense touch of all sorts during intimacy, to the point of pain and a certain amount of pain. He says it helps him stay focused, involved and the intense stimulation is exciting and arousing.

Totally baffling to me.

Topaz- re: sensitivity to touch

As a therapist (habilitation/rehabilition), this makes sense to me in view of the ADD/ADHD.  Firm, deep touch can be very organizing for the central nervous system.  Light touch can be irritating, and even experienced as painful by some individuals whose nervous systems are unable to effectively self-modulate.  

revelation-re sensitivity to touch

Thank you for explaining that. Now some other things make more sense. One of my daughters, (his stepdaughter) is a massage therapist. She is very successful and very good at it. She practically had to beat my husband over his head to get him in for a massage when he was having some back problems.

He didn't have an issue that it was his stepdaughter, his issue was being touched by another person, period. He didn't keep his chiropractic appointments all the time, because he hated being touched. Doctors are the only ones he allow to touch him and even then it's torture for him.

He told me the massage was wonderful and he was very surprised that he felt so much better after and didn't have a problem with being touched during the session. It makes sense now.

So in the same vein, I'm wondering if other "senses" are affected by ADHD. I ask because he has told me so many times that my voice ,when I talk soothingly, or read to him, stops the chaos in his mind and he is focused only on my voice.

He often begs me to read to him, or make up stories or just talk gently to him, just random stuff. It usually lulls him to sleep. At first I said, oh I see how boring I am to you, but he protests and says, it's not like that at all. He can't explain it, but he says it never fails to quiet his mind. so?

Topaz- re: other senses

Yes, it is possible to have more than one "sense" are affected.  The central nervous system is a complex, dynamic and interacting system. It HAS to be due to constant input/output. Auditory processing issues are not unheard of; it may be that the "frequency" of your voice when you speak gently (perhaps you lower it-more bass tone) is soothing. Some individuals may find certain frequencies more upsetting/irritating than others.  Or it could be vestibular- this system interacts with the auditory system; perhaps it is the rhythm of your voice when you are calm?  Think about when your kids were little, and they would rock and maybe hum the same tuneless 2 or 3 notes.  Very neurologically calming activity...  Most "neurotypical" individuals have brains that are able to automatically integrate input, and output the correct response.  For example, have you ever seen a "clumsy" person?  That may be a person who's brain is not inputting or integrating accurate information regarding where that person is in space.  So the output looks wonky.

gigs26's picture

ADHD & senses

I tend to flinch at a light and unexpected touch (expected touches are fine; in fact I often crave cuddling/physical contact). I also really dislike bright overhead or fluorescent lighting, which I know, anecdotally, isn’t uncommon for people with ADHD. But my optometrist sourced that to a physical issue with my eyes, which let in more light than most people’s do.

My guess is that ADHD doesn’t make our senses any more “sensitive” than anyone else’s, but that we have a harder time dealing with the sensory stimulation appropriately. For example, I find the hum of fluorescent lighting really distracting; it’s difficult for me to carry on a complex conversation when I’m surrounded by the buzz of a crowded shopping mall; I love hearing live music but don’t like being surrounded by people at a concert; I have to walk up each aisle in the grocery store to know what’s there, because if I just try to read the aisle markers, I skip words without realizing it (drives my boyfriend crazy because he thinks it’s a waste of time, but in the long run, I know where everything is; I do all the grocery shopping now…of course, I always seem to leave some basic thing off the grocery list; now we’re trying having him write the lists).

@Topaz, I wonder if your reading to your husband is about the sound or the content. When I’m in the midst of a stressful/long week at work, I usually read at night to help myself fall asleep. I read something interesting, because it engages my brain and lets all the anxious thoughts banging around in there bleed out without stressing me out. Watching TV doesn’t work because my mind will wander back to the stressful thoughts too easily.

My husband also craves

My husband also craves cuddling/physical contact..he says it calms him very much. He also watches TV until he falls asleep, but has compromised with me and sets a timer because when I wake up in the middle of the night and it is still on, then I cannot get back to sleep. He says he sleeps better with the TV on. Not sure about the lights or the loud noises...he's never talked about it.

gigs26 re: senses more "sensitive"

No gigs26.  There is no such thing as "senses more sensitive".  What I am referring to is the MODULATION of the input.  For example, you say that you find the hum of fluorescent lighting really distracting;  what happens in the "neurotypical" brain is that the hum may initially be in conscious awareness, but is then "set aside" to address more immediate stimulation/input.  It is a matter of the central nervous system being able to "switch attention"; this is what allows the hum to recede into the background of awareness while the conversation you are having can be placed in the foreground.  The "neurotypical" central nervous system that is integrating/modulating "normally" does not give equal attention to both the hum of a light and the person in front of you who is speaking.   

Re: Hypersensitivity to Touch

Wow!  How timely for me to find this thread!  Thank you!

I've been dating my BF for a couple months now, and I am very affectionate, touchy-feely, grabby type of person.  I like to poke, grab, squeeze, and tickle.  He does not react well to it.  At first I thought it was me (of course, it's always me!!), but now I'm learning that it might be related to his ADD qualities.

I love putting my hand under his shirt and stroking his chest hair, but he always complains that it's too much.  If I give him a squeeze, he'll react as if I just punched him.  If I accidentally nudge him, he'll startle. 

This makes a lot of sense!  Someone who is so easily distracted by stimuli probably has a low tolerance for too much of anything.  Now that I think about it, his house is very low lit, and he has a very low tolerance for the sounds his dogs make. only stands to reason that certain touches might make him bristle.

The kind of touch that he seems alright with is firm pressure and spread out touch - for example, he likes to lie in bed and hold me close along his side.  (It makes me think now of that autistic lady and her squeeze machine that she built so she could enjoy the pressure of touch but not the pressure of human contact...)

In addition to potential ADD being a problem, I know for a fact that my BF was in a physically abusive relationship in the past.  He had every right to expect blows and become wary of touches. 

Thank you so much for sharing your issue.  It's nice to know that we're not the only ones with that particular problem, and it helps me understand that it isn't my problem, and that with some communication my BF and I can figure what affections work best for us.

Hate to be touched...

I am the opposite... I have ADD and I am extremely awkward when it comes to physical contact with most people, but at home I crave being touched. It's like a real connection to my wife. My communication skills are less than stellar, so the touch is a connection and form of communication that does not involve all the verbal stuff that is so hard for me.

If Im not expecting to be

Deleted by Melissa Orlov.  Crazy Dave and Miss Behaven turn out to be "Normal Mom" returning (for those of you who've been on the site for a while)

I just had a 'ah ha'

I just had a 'ah ha' moment..I bet this is why my husband used to freak out when I would mess with his chest hair. It literally would drive him nuts. It would hurt my feelings sometimes for him to be so abrupt about it..I guess now maybe that is what was going on. Hrmm...

Good Touch - Bad Touch

My partner's not particularly ticklish but if I accidentally brush his side he'll say "Don't!"  in a really stern way as if I was intentionally messing with him, whereas you'd expect more of a playful "Teehee - that tickles!  Don't do that!"

I have to think about the yelling in his sleep.  He's had a few freak-outs but I'm such a heavy sleeper I'm only half aware before I fall right back asleep, so can't quite remember the circumstances.

He's also really jumpy and easily startled and he gets mad at me as if I'm messing with him and hiding in wait around corners for him!  I'll laugh because it's funny that he got startled, just as I laugh when he startles me (accidentally) and roll my eyes at myself and clutch my chest, but he seems to think I've done it to him on purpose to be mean!

Yeah, he said to me just last

Yeah, he said to me just last night he was in a particularly "ticklish" mood. We were laying side-by-side and I 'forgot' and accidently started rubbing his arm. He grabbed my hand instantly, very sternly, and just gave me a really harsh look. Immediately I want to say "geez, do you have to be so mean!!" but I didn't. I apologized and just went on watching TV. It is somewhat difficult to understand why they have to be so "GRRRRRRRRRR" about things that we don't really understand. It literally is NOTHING to him..just 'normal' I guess I either get that or I spend the rest of my life being offended. He's perfectly normal 2 second if it never happened. It is nuts.

Don't even DREAM of tickling him...hell, I can't hardly touch him without the fear of tickling him. Most of the time he doesn't get mad, but he is just FAR too sensitive to the touch..especially on his trunk area. I always assumed it was because he is thin.