Calling all the happy ADD couples out there!!!

There's gotta be more than just Melissa and Dr. Hallowell on here that have a happy ADD marriage and a story to go along with it. I'd love to get some inspiration from these happy couples! Tell me your story!!! How and when did your ADD relationship turn around. Some detail about what tools you and your partner used along the way. Does it *stay* happy or is it always an up and down roller coaster that you've now just become accustom to?

Help! Please give me some hope and some joy!!! 

Here and there I read that it's so disappointing to see when others comment "Never marry an ADDer"... Well, I'd like to hear the pros and I'd like someone to help me see the positives....


Happy ADD Couple

I consider myself to be a part of a happy ADD couple.  My husband was diagnosed with ADHD 17 years ago (we were dating at the time - we've now been married for 10 years).  He has had ups and downs with meds working and not working.  He finally found one that worked great and recently it was taken off the market.  So, he's been "experimenting" with what to use.  Three years ago we were at a horrible place - he was mean, withdrawn, hid in his computer games, didn't talk much, mad when asked to help around the house, crabby at our kids and me, etc.  I'm not sure how it all clicked but I thought it might be his meds because this certainly was not the guy I married.  But he wouldn't hear me when I brought up the subject.  One day, for whatever reason, he DID hear me as I was in tears asking if it might be the meds that were causing him to be this way.  

He started to look into finding a psychiatrist to talk to and find a new med.  After a few years of trying, he finally has found one (psychiatrist) he really likes.  He's still trying to find a med he likes.  But at least he's on one that doesn't make him so mean.  Him doing this was huge.  At the time, he didn't know just how close I was to packing up our kids and leaving.  We've since talked about that.  And I think it really scares him.  I know it scares me.  

He now is open to me asking him to help with dishes or take out the trash.  And he does help.  I still walk on eggshells, though, because I remember that horrible feeling that he was about to blow when he was in his bad place and I asked the same question.  That's something I need to work on.  

A couple weekends ago he said he was feeling so bombarded by stimulus that he was ready to leave to get some quiet.  He needed to get away from it all.  That was a scary weekend.  But he did try to at least talk to me about it.  And I, in turn, took the kids to play at my parents house in an effort to give him the quiet he needed.  

He is wonderful when it comes to playing with our kids (we have three young kids - ages 6,4,and 2).  He's willing to play board games with them, show them some (age appropriate) computer games, take them outside to play, etc.  He does get cranky around dinner time when it comes to things going on with them.  His patience runs out.  We think it's because his meds are wearing off.  

It's not easy.  It takes tons of communication on both our parts and gets extremely frustrating when he starts to withdraw.  It's hard for me not to get mad when he gets that way.   A lot of our communicating happens via email during the day.  For us it's easier - especially because when he comes home after work, the kids want his attention.  

So, there's my quick blurb about my ADHD marriage that I think is pretty darn okay.  It is hard work.  For both of us.  But work that is worth it to me.  I hope that answers what you're looking for.  Sorry it's kind of rambly. 




I can relate to the

I can relate to the medication husband started concerta about 6-7 weeks ago and it took me calling an 'emergency' counseling session to get him to see how horrible it was making him act (he denied it to the ends of the Earth, but agreed to stop taking it...begrudingly). He's 5 days off and MUCH MUCH kinder and back to his old sweet self. He will start Vyvanse in the morning...I'm saying a lot of prayers that it is the medication for him and that it doesn't turn him into the mean, denial monster again! :(

medication thing

Good luck with the med switch.  I always find it to be a scary time.  My husband (also on Concerta) is in a retreat mode again today.  I asked him what was going on - if he was feeling the need to get away or hide or why he was so distant.  He told me that it's not the meds, it's me.  The way I ask things puts him on the defensive.  And I might believe that if I'd been home all day -- but I haven't.  I've been gone running errands.  So frustrating when I get told that it's my fault that he's acting a particular way.  In fact, I'm pretty much sick of being told that I don't talk to him the right way.  

That vent aside, I sill believe that I'm in a happy ADHD marriage.  We have these tiffs and they pass and we move on.  I'll let him be in his mood and I'll go do something fun with our kids.  

I got the same exact attitude

I got the same exact attitude from my husband while he was on the Concerta. He admitted today it made him feel irritated..always. I said "Why did you deny it when I told you that 3 weeks ago?" he said "when I was on the medication I thought a completely different way".

Thank God that he at least stopped even though he fought me tooth and nail...and acted like everything was all in my head and all my fault.

I just wanted to update you

I just wanted to update you that as I said above, the tiff would pass.  And it did.  He had some time to himself and then rejoined us (me and the kids).  We have since gone out and looked at Christmas lights, played all sorts of board games, watched some football, baked, had meals together at the table and just generally had fun as a family.  It's take me some time to understand that I should just give him some space and things will blow over.  At that point we talk about whatever the issue was (and we talked yesterday - he just needed time to absorb all the stimulus that was coming his way).  Any sooner and it turns into a huge confusing argument.  Weekends seem to be the hardest because we seem to "talk" better via email (and we don't email each other when we're in the same room).

I'm the ADHD'r (wife) & we're VERY happy

I think a post later in this thread might have hit the nail on the head.  Most happy couples don't need this site -- except maybe me.  I'm 44 was only recently diagnosed.  Guess I always knew but it finally took getting written up at work for me to find out "what my problem was".  Anyhow, my husband and I have been together for 10 years (just celebrated our 8th anniversary) and we still act like honeymooners.  

However, we did have a brief lapse...I started to follow old habits of needing stimulation and pursuing unhealthy sexual desires.  Fortunately, I figured out what I was doing before it could damage our relationship (wouldn't have had the desire nor the ability to stop before him).  Sought counseling and started taking meds - LA Adderall and then Vyvance.  Currently I'm off meds.    

Lately, the only thing that really gets under my husband's skin is the cat litter.  He doesn't like cats; the cat is mine - ergo so is doing the litter.  I forget.  Every week.  For years.  It finally hit a boiling point last week.  So, we came up with a plan.  My watch has a TON of alarms on it.  Monday @ 5:30 it goes off -- I check the chart on the fridge.  Monday is cat litter day.  So I empty it.  Every once in a while he has to remind me to stay focused.  Five minutes after the alarm went off, "Honey, did you forget your alarm?"  "Yep, I'll just finish up these dishes and get it" -- had every intention to do it.  But, fifteen minutes later, "Honey, did you forget your alarm."  "Crap" and up I go.  

I know he's not nagging -- I really need the reminder.  We both like an orderly house -- chaos around me freaks me out; the chaotic brain is enough.  So I appreciate his gentle reminders.  He still doesn't understand ADD but he does see that I'm willing to meet his needs.  I'm not clueless -- I get frustrated by my own distractability.  And, sometimes he does JUST want me to focus.  But, we talk about the problem and find a solution.  He's not perfect and neither am I.  I think that is the key.  We just want to be perfectly happy.  :)

Glad I found this site though...It reminds me to appreciate how much I do stress him out and to tell him so.

fuzzylogic72's picture


Sounds like you have a great partnership there. I like the alarm thing; I wish I had a watch with multiple alarms...

Pretty happy

I see myself as being in a pretty happy relationship.  Sure there are issues, but he doesn't cheat or lie and usually isn't in denial about his symptoms.  There are ups and downs (as in any relationship) but I don't think it is so bad that you'd call it a roller coaster.  We try to be nice to each other and understanding and we both are willing to talk things out and work on anything that comes up.  

We're still working on it though, so I can't really say about tools and such.  It's only a little over 3 years in for us and in that time we had a terrible loss in the family and I developed fibromyalgia and probably put on 40 or 50 pounds (scared to weigh myself).  These things have taken a huge emotional toll but I think all things considered we're doing well.

I would say that the most important things for us are that we both try to say we're sorry when we've been mean (intentionally or not) and we put our love ahead of almost anything else.  We don't want to be with anyone else, so we're committed to working on making things good.  I just hope things keep moving in the right direction, since I'm sure we could do even better.

We're happy!

Just had our 9 year wedding anniversary...and a fabulous trip to the beach to commemorate it.   My ADD husband RULES in the present department and in making occasions special in general.  My family says we have an *Anniversary Month* rather than day because we actually had 2 vacations and 3 celebrations :D  Very very much in love.

I keep thinking I need to check on the timeline. I think I found this site not too long after our diagnosis, so you can probably find the accurate info (as well as my frustration/venting posts) from that time, but I think it was around 3 years ago.  Hubby says our marriage pre-diagnosis could be divided into 3 stages.  We had a couple years of *Honeymoon*, Followed by a couple years of *This is Great, but there are a few things we need to tweak to make this run more smoothly*, Followed by 6 months-1 year of *WHY THE HECK DON'T THE CHANGES YOU AGREE TO GET DONE!?!?!?*

That was a rough time for both of us.  Neither of us could understand how we could love each other so much and yet argue so much about things why he couldn't give me the work receipts for our taxes on time.......ever.  I felt like he didn't care about my feelings, he felt like I was hypercritical, and he occasionally in the middle of an argument would just say "I don't know what is wrong with me, but I think something might really be wrong with me."

I hate to admit I didn't take it that seriously because when I am angry with him, he tends to get a bit overly dramatic.  Like he'd call himself a terrible person and terrible husband because he forgot to do something I'd asked for the 10th time.  I just got tired of him getting so overly upset, and I'd have to end up comforting HIM for upsetting me.  So I finally said "If you honestly think something is wrong with you, FIND OUT if it is and do something about it."  Later found out he was terrified to find out it was something bad like bi-polar because his mother is (and she is quite honestly a complete nut).  I have some experience with bi-polar, and he didn't seem to fit but I told him anything he could have is better with treatment.

He started searching online and took some tests and came out saying he thinks he has ADD. My reaction was literally "?!?!?!?" cause my ADD experience is only with hyperactives and he is the opposite of that.  Read Delivered from Distraction and the lightbulb went off, had numerous deep discussions about his background and how he felt about his struggles.  Then I read all the other Hallowell books, and whatever else I could get my hands on.  In my mind WE HAD A PLAN, but I guess in his mind he was still dealing with I HAVE A PROBLEM.

Got a diagnosis and regardless of how often we talked about him needing to develop new skills once he knew for sure the issue and had help, he, in his mind, decided meds would be his magic bullet.  This is my least favorite part of ADD, the ability to believe whatever you want regardless of all evidence to the contrary!

We spent about another year with him taking meds and not making a lot of other visible progress, though I now realize this was the grieving phase and he was mentally adjusting to having this hurdle to overcome as well as grieving that he didn't find out till he was in his 30s.  Finally understanding challenges he had that made no sense before.  NO ONE would believe he has ADD if you've never lived with him, so as an almost invisible challenge, he just beat himself up for struggles he had.

He had a coach provided by insurance who was TERRIBLE.  They were switching him to a new one and he had no coaching at all for several months--he needs coaching to keep him on track, so this was frustrating.  Then we enrolled in the virtual ADHD conference I guess it must have been 09s.  I told him I really needed something that would get a jumpstart going again and it could be his anniversary present to me to agree to listen to it all. 

It made a huge difference in how things were put and just to get to hear all the experts at one time.  He got rejuvenated, we did online coaching until insurance came through for us, and he has a great coach again.  He likes the face to face but they only meet about every 3 weeks, so we are discussing if we need to do more there since he loses his momentum in those 3 weeks at times.

We both love each other dearly.  We've both made some accomodations.  And we both still get frustrated at times---case in point a fight yesterday because after I closed out the month on our business forms (and he'd said I had everything of his) he gave me 8 receipts from the first week of November.  At those moments I wouldn't mind choking him for the extra work, but I don't know any married couple who never feels the choking instinct. :)  At least in our case we can blame the problems on ADD and not on a personality failing!

Wonderful to hear!

I love hearing success stories like gives me a good shot of 'Hope' in the arm! :)

I think I have seen signs lately that my husband is going through a grieving process. The stories you read about men feeling 'defective' after the diagnosis...yeah, getting a lot of that lately. "I always knew something was wrong, and I was right..I'm defective". Not 100% sure how to help other than to just say "nothing is WRONG with you, just's treatable..and it can even have some advantages" (he's very talented in his field..and musically..can learn to play any song he hears by ear)

The sentence you bolded...about your least favorite part...right there with you sister. This would put our experience with his recent trial on Concerta in a nutshell. Nuff said.

Congratulations on the anniversay! I hope you have many more! :)


ebb and flow's picture


Awesome story!

This is exactly what I want to hear! No real sugar coating just the truth about how you guys came into happiness with each other. I love that throughout your post it seems you guys worked on it all as a team... not separately. And it's nice to hear that your partner seems very self aware about the fact that something felt "wrong". So he was motivated to find out *himself* what the issue might be.

Keep these posts coming guys!

It's so needed because a lot of times I come on here to vent anger and it's so not the momentum I want to keep going.

I want to start feeling some hope that this can work in the end. That all our hard work might pay off...

I think it would be nice to show my partner too, seeing as he wont come on here to "read all the awful things I say about him"... :(

I need hope. Please share more of your positive stories!!!  


To be fair, the happy couples

To be fair, the happy couples aren't on this forum, they didn't have to go looking for it.  I came here out of frustration and to learn and find it really helpful.  I asked him the other day, on a scale of -5 to +5 (with 0 being neither unhappy nor happy) how would you rate our happiness.  He replied with 2-3 (my thought is 3-4, but I'm generally more optimistic than he is).  I'd like our average to be a steady 4, with lots of 5 days sprinkled in. I use this site, books and other resources (and he reads up too, and we talk) to try to learn about our dynamic and myself and get us higher on the "happiness scale".

We're happy but I will say my

We're happy but I will say my husband has never been officially diagnosed with ADD.  He has many behaviors that sound like it to me but no official diagnosis.  We've talked about it since I started reading and learning more about it and honestly, some of the things that bothered me are much better now.  I don't know if it's a change in me as a result of learning that there may be a logical explanation for some of what he does or if he is trying to be more considerate of me or has adapted in some way because of the increased awareness.  In any case I thought there was room for improvement in the marriage before, and there still is, but I'm really quite happy.  So happy in fact that I'm going to leave well enough alone.  If my husband does have ADD maybe it's a "mild" case because we're still living happily together after 33 years.  We're very different from each other but we view our differences as complementary so maybe we are just a good match for each other - the right spouse if you will.  I notice many people here seem to find nothing good in their ADD spouse.  In my case the good far outweighs the ADD behavior.  I love him the way he is and don't want to mess with a good thing. He doesn't have low self esteem and I don't want him to get it as a result of an ADHD diagnosis and no way I would push him toward any medication.  In my opinion there isn't a need and the risks could very well outweigh the benefits. 

As others pointed out, happy people are generally not visiting this forum.  I find myself feeling like a bit of a misfit here.  Plus it's very sad to read how bitter and angry many people are.  It does seem to be kind of a "misery loves company" kind of place but kind of depressing.  Sometimes I wonder how much of the marital problems are all about the ADHD and how much would be there even if the ADHD wasn't. 

another happy couple

This forum post is no longer receiving the "main-stream" viewing, as it is a few days old.  However, I just came across this comment written by someone who describes their marriage as "something that is even better than what we imagined for ourselves back in 1987".