The Couple's Guide to Thriving with ADHD

2024, featured in NYTimes 6 Books for Adults Living with A.D.H.D. 

2015 Benjamin Frankling Silver Award-Winner for best psychology book, 2015 from IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association).

Best Psychology Book of 2014, Foreword Reviews, IndieFab winner

Calm the emotional Hot Spots in your relationship...

Even as they work to improve their relationship, couples impacted by ADHD experience difficult emotions they would prefer to avoid.  This book, winner of three awards, is based in the stories shared with Melissa and co-author, Nancie Kohlenberger, over the last seven years.  It is about calming those difficult emotional areas.

In ‘Thrive’ we show you how to take a relationship that is more challenging than you would like it to be, and make it a lot better.  We share scientifically-researched techniques that can help you replace emotions such as ambivalence, frustration, and anger with feelings of love, compassion and joy.  We provide ADHD relationship-specific advice, designed to help you thrive together as a couple.

The Couple's Guide to Thriving with ADHD

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Ari Tuckman

Chapter 1:  Couples, Emotions, and ADHD

Chapter 2:  Diagnosis, Treatment and the Two of You

What you need to know to optimize treatment for ADHD, including a review of specific treatment strategies.  How to navigate the emotional issues that lack of treatment brings up.

  • Hot Spot 1:  Confusion about diagnosis and treatment
  • Hot Spot 2:  Resisting diagnosis or treatment

Chapter 3:  Tomato/Tomahto – Overcoming Communication Issues

Why getting on the same page seems so hard, and key strategies to get you out of the communication problems you face.

  • Hot Spot 3:  Feeling unloved – actions vs. words
  • Hot Spot 4:  Too many hurtful fights
  • Hot Spot 5:  Listening, comprehension, and short-term memory issues
  • Hot Spot 6:  Chronic lying
  • Hot Spot 7:  My partner acts as if I’m broken
  • Communication Ideas to Think About Again and Again

Chapter 4:  Can’t You Just Lighten Up?!  Anger in Your Relationship

The many types of anger in ADHD-impacted relationships, and how o move away from chronic anger towards a calmer partnership.

  • Hot Spot 8:  Anger and grief – feeling duped
  • Hot Spot 9:  Nothing ever seems to change
  • Hot Spot 10:  My partner ignores my unhappiness
  • Hot Spot 11:  Overwhelmed with anger – flooding
  • Hot Spot 12:  The anger filter
  • Nine Anger Busters

Chapter 5:  Is It Finished Yet?  Navigating Chores, Tasks and Life Balance

Improving reliability in ADHD partnerships and knowing when not to be in control.

  • Hot Spot 13:  Overwhelmed by chores and parenting
  • Hot Spot 14:  Tasks don’t get done as promised
  • Hot Spot 15:  Differences in tolerance for chaos
  • Hot Spot 16:  My partner thinks he/she knows best
  • Hot Spot 17:  Work/life balance
  • Getting Out of Your Chores and Life Balance Battles

Chapter 6:  Who’s In Charge of What?  Rebalancing Your Relationship

Tips for moving out of one of the most common, destructive, patterns in ADHD-impacted relationships.

  • Hot Spot 18:  Parent/Child Dynamics

Chapter 7:  Warmth, Intimacy and Feelings of Love

Learning to fully love each other again.

  • Hot Spot 19:  Can’t trust my partner
  • Hot Spot 20:  Don’t feel connected
  • Hot Spot 21:  Sexual relationship problems
  • Adding That Spark:  Re-finding Love and Romance


Watch this PsychCentral Webinar with Zoe Kessler - The Couple's Guide to Thriving with ADHD: A Conversation with Author Melissa Orlov


Experts Love This Book, Too!

"A book destined to save marriages in trouble and awaken those in repose.  Orlov has 'been there and done that,' which, along with her naturalist's eye and ear for the telling detail, makes this manual a rich and friendly foray into the wilds of ADHD.  No need any longer for white knuckles; Orlov and Kohlenberger show you how to create a smooth ride in turbulent air."
       - Edward Hallowell, M.D., of The Hallowell Centers in Sudbury, MA, New York and San Francisco

“Compassionate, concise, and insightful, The Couple’s Guide to Thriving with ADHD is filled with ‘a-ha’ moments, and is a must-read for consumers and mental health professionals alike…”
       - Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, Founder of

"Hands down the best book for couples dealing with ADHD. No other book comes even close to providing a balance of the positives, negatives and all that is between:  "Thrive" provides both inspiration and concrete strategies for couples learning to find joy again after years of struggling with ADHD. I love this book!"
       - Bryan Hutchinson, Author of 7 Crucial Tips for Parents and Teachers of Children with ADHD

“A wonderful guide to the unique ways that ADHD can impact relationships. Partners will learn that they are not alone in their struggles, and what it takes to adapt and enjoy life with each other to the fullest.  The authors have created a frank, practical and bravely personal guide that will help many.”
       - Craig Surman M.D., Scientific Coordinator, Adult ADHD Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Co-author of FAST MINDS: How to Thrive if You Have ADHD

“As a late-diagnosed woman with ADHD, I can attest to the hopelessness engendered by a lifetime of inexplicable failure and heartbreak. The Couple’s Guide to Thriving with ADHD offers hope when all seems lost. It achieves what Hollywood-inspired visions of romance cannot: a practical roadmap to relationship recovery that is truly sustainable and offers a real-life happy ending.

Authors Orlov and Kohlenberger, armed with their collective professional and personal experience with ADHD in marriage, are not offering a fairytale in The Couple’s Guide to Thriving with ADHD. Without shying away from the negative impact of ADHD symptoms, they offer something much more valuable: a script away from blame and back to a partnership with the chance of a real-life happily-ever-after.”
       -Zoe Kessler, B.A., B.Ed., Author of ADHD According to Zoe – The Real Deal on Relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys

“As in Ms. Orlov’s ground-breaking first book, The ADHD Effect on Marriage, Orlov and Nancie Kohlenberger here provide extremely helpful insights, practical advice, and sage wisdom for couples in which one or both partners have ADHD.  This new book, The Couple’s Guide to Thriving with ADHD, focuses on the “hot spots” which typically engender distress, such as those related to communication, dealing with anger, and navigating chores and tasks at home. Written in a compassionate, understanding tone, as though they were speaking directly to the couple, the aim of this book is not to help couples merely cope with ADHD but to thrive, re-igniting the spark of love and romance that brought them together in the first place.”
       -Mary Solanto, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Director, ADHD Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  Author of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Adult ADHD: Targeting Executive Dysfunction

"Practical, accessible, compassionate, and a pleasure to read … a must-have book for any couple living with the challenges and rewards of ADHD.  It offers strategies to regain a positive and long-lasting loving relationship.  The perfect life companion for couples and coaches who deal with ADHD on a daily basis."
       -Nancy Ratey, ED.M., MCC, BCC. Author, The Disorganized Mind

“This book is a must-read for couples who want a healthy, loving relationship.  Written for both the reader with ADD/ADHD and without, The Couple's Guide to Thriving with ADHD does an excellent job of explaining the intricate ways ADHD can affect couples.  Easy to read, the authors offer an insightful look at the most common ‘hot-spots’ (both obvious and subtle) that couples need to recognize and work through, in order to maintain and strengthen their relationship.
The book does more than provide a better understanding of ADHD and its effect on couples.  It digs deeper, to offer invaluable, practical tips and techniques for dealing with those issues.  This is a guidebook to a happier, healthier relationship.  It will help reduce stress and bring back the affection and romance that often gets lost in the struggles of ADHD.”
       -Harold Meyer, Coach & Executive Director, The A.D.D. Resource Center.  Chair, CHADD of New York City

“In The Couple’s Guide to Thriving with ADHD, Orlov and Kohlenberger not only tackle the obvious challenges that ADHD-impacted couples face, like communication and control issues, but they also delve into difficulties that are just as common but often unaddressed, such as the chronic anger that either partner may feel, as well as the parent/child dynamic that many couples find themselves trapped in. Through personal experience, expert knowledge, and kind-hearted compassion, Melissa and Nancie provide ADHD-impacted couples with a thorough understanding of why they are experiencing certain challenges in their relationship, and what they can do to overcome these challenges. Their methods are multi-layered and offer help for all couples—from those who are just beginning their work to those who just need to make a few improvements, and even to those whose partners are not yet ready to make changes. 
Melissa Orlov is a popular speaker at the Virtual AD/HD Conference®, and a shining star in the ADHD universe. I highly recommend The Couple’s Guide to Thriving with ADHD!
       -Jennifer Koretsky, SCAC, author of Odd One Out:  The Maverick’s Guide to Adult ADD and Director of the Annual Virtual AD/HD Conference