Ambivalent Non-ADHD Spouse

I'm 46 and have been diagnosed with ADHD for about five years.  I have been taking 36mg of concerta daily but am feeling as though I may need to titrate up a bit or change the meds as my distraction level is high. I have not engaged in any talk therapy or ADD coaching since being diagnosed.  

I have recently become interested in exploring how ADHD has effected my marriage.  I am reading Melissa's book and finding so much of it ringing true.  My marriage is not in crisis and we generally function pretty well after 17 years of marriage, three kids, and lots of negotiating about how to handle the varied situations that come along with my distractions.  However, I'd like to improve our relationship and also my ability to manage my condition.  My wife is concerned, since I'm retired quite early, that I simply have too much time on my hands and am looking for problems that may not exist.  I asked her to read Melissa's book, which she agreed to do, and to sign up for the live course, which she has not entirely agreed to do.  I believe she thinks that I will use my explorations into how ADD is effecting us as an excuse for not pulling my weight in the house or in the relationship.  I assured her that this was not my intention and that I only want to improve on what we have.  My wife is very smart, and extremely even keeled (except when she is forced to deal with my ADD).  I'm sure her calm sensibility is one of the things that attracted me to her years ago.  Has anyone else encountered ambivalence with a spouse not wanting to explore how ADD is effecting the relationship/family?  As I said, she is reading the book but it seems perfunctory and a chore rather than an opportunity for us to improve.  Any advice is appreciated.

no suggestions- but I commiserate...

Hi there-

I was diagnosed 2 years ago at age 32... I am married with 2 kids. We've been married for 10 years...

I gave my husband a few books to read when I got my diagnosis 2 years ago and he still hasn't read them. 

It's frustrating for me because he continues to yell at me for things I cannot fully  control (like repeating myself when I forget that I already told him something). Over the two years, I have argued with him, cried over it, tried to joke about it... approached it from many angles... but he still won't read anything about my "ADHD mumbo-jumbo", which he doesn't even really believe exists. It's hard and it hurts. My therapist has told me to stop trying and just work on my own behaviours...which I continue to do...

Anyway- maybe going for a long walk and talk will help. 

Good luck.


Spousal acceptance

It is great that you are being proactive regarding your relationship! And your ADHD treatment.  I am the non in our relationship and have done all of the applicable relationship reading trying to find a way to help effect change. Not that he is unwilling, just that its unreasonable to expect him to read right now and our relationship not the highest priority.  

Your wife may be resistant because you've handed her yet another chore, one regarding an issue that isn't a priority for her at this juncture.  She may also not love the idea that she would need to do some introspection and change on her own part, given that it ain't broken in her view.

it rather breaks my heart to see the previous response, that the non spouse invalidates the condition and refuses to learn and believe and recognize the issues. That would make it so much harder to treat. Positive feedback is very important to effective change.  All of us need it. 

You might try identifying specific issues you would like to improve on, rather than the vague relationship. Focus on the things that are in your control, using I statements. Acknowledge how the issue has negatively impacted the relationship.  "I can see how my chronic tardiness has given you a great deal of anxiety not knowing if I would pick the kids up on time. I would like to improve that behavior so that I can help reduce your stress load..."  Good luck.