Engaged to someone with ADHD

I have been dating my now fiance for almost 3 years now. It has been some road, let me tell you! During that time we have argued, more about him being impulsive, and unable to save money. His diagnosis came 3 months ago, when I pretty much said,"if you dont go and talk to a professional, I am out the f***ing door." He went. The diagnosis hit me like a ton of bricks. I was upset that I didnt force him to seek help sooner. I was upset that his parents never questioned it for him to have been diagnosed sooner. But most importantly i think i was upset because I said some really horrible things over the time we were together... and he was really and truly not the one to be blamed for all this. I soo wanted his therapist to say, "nope, u need to get your act together." but what did he say after  the weeks of gathering information from my fiance? ADHD! So I cant really blame him anymore can I?

My issue with FH is his inability to save money. For me its easy breezy. You make $100/wk, save $10 and you have just started saving. For him, he cant. I say "cant" and not "wont" because he does try, (he cant be that good of an actor... or is he) but it always end miserably. if he says he will save 1000 this year, he may only save 200. So you can imagine where that leaves me now.

Trusting him to save money is not going to work. It will backfire, and I have learnt the hard way. I need some help on ideas on how to get him to save now leading up to the wedding, and also long after we are married. I am fully aware that financial hardships are one of the biggest reasons for divorce, so bring those suggestions. :)





mine won't save either

I have been married to my DH who has ADHD for 13 years.  I finally put my foot down last year and said we have to open up retirement accounts.  I went online and did it for the both of us, I hooked up his checking account and then once a month I tell him, put a few hundred bucks in your checking account because I am moving it to your IRA.

But trust me it has taken that full 13 years to scare him enough that when he gets old, he will have no money and no one to take care of him because we have no kids.

It is not like he goes out and buys and buys stuff.  He just didn't see the value in saving.  And we just got through the recession while we were running our own business.

I would sit down with your fiance and open up an Ally online savings account.  Connect it to his regular checking account.  Once a week, have him open up the computer go online and move the money over.  The cool thing about Ally is that is takes a few steps to get the money back out so it is not like a one key stroke thing.  And you get a better interest rate too.

Then every time he does it?  Praise the heck of him.  ADHD loves praise.  Get him excited about imagining your awesome wedding and give him something to control in the wedding, like picking music.  Have a back up plan in place in case he fails to do it time.


Good luck!



13 years?!

OMG! Thirteen years? Well right now for the wedding we have (or i have) a technique. I have typed up a spreadsheet for him to see how much he earns weekly. From his earnings he is suppose to take out a small portion and put it towards saving for the wedding. It has worked for one week now. But ooo the whining. SMH.


Hopefully after we get married things should get easier. Atleast financially.  Im thinking one savings account, and two seperate debit accounts. I will definitely check out Ally. I agree with not seeing the value in saving. FH wants to at first, but then its like he gets lost with the how and how much. For me its as simple as setting a goal for how much I would want to save in a certain time period and dividing by that number, and dividing yet again by 4 for my weekly savings... apparently it doesnt work that way for him.


Sigh* Thanks for the wishes and advice.

It does not get easier

Hello. So impulse control and no executive functioning means he will never plan for the future. Now is stimulating, not now is not.  I would suggest direct deposit into a joint account with money automatically transferred to a spending account for your fiancée, and savings, and have an account of your own. Read the ADHD Effect on Marriage. Before you tie the knot. Go in aware of the potholes so you can try to steer around them. Good luck.

Things won't be easier once

Things won't be easier once you get married. They may get worse. Just a heads up on that one. Hopefully not, but be prepared. I wish someone had prepared me. Lol.

Like you I had been with hubby for over a year of dating and then a year of marriage before he was diagnosed. I went through all of the emotions you are. Feeling bad for him, being mad at his parents for missing the symptoms all those years (I still am actually), feeling like I got the short end of the stick, etc. While we were dating, I didn't think he had a money problem. We didn't live together but he always seemed to have money...even occasionally mentioned putting money into savings etc. But the truth came out once we were married. He was horrible with money. He lost his job two days before our wedding and went without work for a year. When he was working again, it was like pulling teeth to get him to give me the money I needed to pay the bills. He got pigheaded and decided that he should do the bills because his dad had done that when he was growing up. We clashed all the time because I knew he couldn't handle it and he wouldn't admit it. Even after the diagnosis he was determined to still try. Finally, after five years of marriage, he's just letting me handle the money. It's taken him being at rock bottom to allow me this. His credit is in the crapper and he can barely pay his own bills with the money he makes as a DJ. I think that put things in perspective for him. As long as he had the money, then that must have meant he was able to manage it, which of course was not the case. Even now with as little money as he has, he'd still rather spend it on an energy drink and a pack of peanuts than put it back to pay his phone bill that is due in two days. His brain just doesn't work that way. He figures that he will talk the phone company around because he always does and then he'll somehow get the money together. For those of us who are budgeters, this makes our brains implode. Haha!   

As for advice on your situation, if he has direct deposit, he just needs to have savings put taken out automatically. Out of sight, out of mind. I think that is how my hubby managed when he was on his own. But I do want to encourage to have a frank discussion with him before the wedding. Decide who's going to do the bills (if you haven't already), what will go to play time or weekly allowances, what will go to savings, etc. Be reasonable. If you decide on some small amount for his weekly expenses, it will be another fight down the road when he comes up short and doesn't have any money. Not only is it degrading for him to ask for more, you'll grow to resent him for either a.) making you say "no" or b.) making you stressed because he can't manage his money. You'll save yourself A LOT of heartache if you do a bit of financial preparation before you walk down the aisle.

Congrats on your wedding and best of luck to you.

thanks for all the advice

Yes we have definitely had the money talk. There comes a time when you have to call a spade a spade. After FH failed to save how much he promised he would for our 2 getaways together, you would think I would learn... I did not. I believed him when he calculated how much he would need to save monthly for our wedding. Luckily, this time instead of waiting a month before our wedding, I asked>6 months how the savings was going. Guess how much he had saved? LOL. To say i flipped out would be an understatement. Being with him I have honestly questioned if I had issues, like maybe I was the one who over reacted... but then he got diagnosed, and I learnt i was not just over reacting... I was reacting to this BS.


About how we'll handle money. For me the best way to go about it is a joint savings, and have seperate checking accounts for "fun money." When I suggested that option, FH said he really should not have access to money. I honestly think he's messing with me. I just said, "well if thats what you want, I guess youll have no access to money." I already know his plan will fail, but I dont have time to be trying to explain how flawed that method is, in time "we" will figure it out together. What we have agreed on is I will handle the bills and savings. Personally, I feel better that way. No arguing about why he did not remember to pay some bill. He is good at fixing things, so he can fix things around the house (i suck at that...uh whats a hammer?)

I am very glad that I found out about his ADHD now rather than later, cause honestly Ive found ways of dealing with him. Like avoiding setting myself up for disappointment.

What baffles me is, how is it possible for someone to explain how to build a house, right down to what size nails to use, etc. But yet when it comes time to build the house, it never gets done. Thats the frustrating part.

Thanks for the book recommendations, Im currently reading it it you, me or adhd... very informative.


It sounds like you have a

It sounds like you have a good handle on things. If he doesn't want access, then by all means, don't give him access. That's been a point of contention with my husband and I. I don't think he should have access to a bank account because the last time we had a joint, he was constantly running it into overdraft. While we were living apart, I took the opportunity to get mad at our bank and cancel the accounts. I went to a credit union and set up a new account for myself. I have considered getting him put on the account, so he can sign checks when I give them to him, but he's getting a card. He's just too dangerous with it. It's even big purchases, just the little ones.

Hey, at least your future DH can fix things. Mine can but he has to apply himself. He's recently taken over fixing our cars; he does a good job, but getting him to make the time is like pulling fingernails. Sigh. I'm like you in that I'm like--what's a manifold intake? Lol. Fortunately I lived alone long enough to be able to make small repairs around the house, do the yard work, etc. If I didn't we'd be in real hot water. Haha.

It is crazy how they know so much but can't cope with the follow through. My hubby is supposedly MENSA level (I don't doubt it) but he can't get places on time or keep track of his spending. What a waste. It's sad really.

Continued positive vibes for you. :-)

Yes, I agree with the

Yes, I agree with the intelligence.  I know his brain definitely works faster than mine when it comes to certain topics. Dude can go on and on about some things. Then there are areas in which he is just... oblivious. I still feel like his idea of not having any access to any money is a horrible idea, but idk.


This may sound bad, but does anyone know if in the future, after we are married, he decides to accumulate significant debt if it will affect me? I know if I cosign for a loan or if both of our names are on a credit account that collection agencies can come after both of us. But what happens if i refuse to cosign, or open a joint credit account. Is there anyway for it to affect me? I know it sounds bad for me to think this way before getting married, but in the event he decides to over ride the voice that says "do not screw your wife over" I need to know if this will backfire on me, and what steps to take prior to marriage to prevent it.

On a positive note, now that i am "assisting" in his saving, he is closer to his savings goal. It was kinda funny seeing how excited he was to actually be able to deposit money the way we agreed to. The funniest part was seeing him show me the money he has deposited so far, and how excited he was. Like his ability to save was because of some type of a miracle.... like he discovered this money  under a rock and was therefore able to save it.

What I have learnt knowing him is that stress does not make him work better. Calm helps him focus more. When he is stressed his brain shuts down. I have also learnt how not to talk to him (though sometimes those techniques go right out the door.) My new technique has been to just not talk to him until I am in a calmer place. Not sure how I would do that when we live together, but we will see.


Ok rant over.  Positive vibes, I like! :)


Joint liability

In most states you would le liable for half of marriage liabilities/debt just as you would be entitled to half the assets. This is regardless of whether you are on the account.  You could try to limit liability with a prenuptial agreement if you have premarital assets you'd like to protect.  This is an issue many people face on this board, the liabilities accrued by their spouses. Alas it is difficult to avoid. 

Your spouse will need spending money, like an allowance, but cash only would be ideal. Of course he may start to resent you if he feels like he has to ask permission to buy that amplifier he really needs to go with the screaming deal he just got on a new bass. Money issues are particularly hard since we aren't supposed to treat our spouses like children. 

Good job not arguing with symptoms. Be sure to address any real underlying issues though so they don't become cancerous. Scheduling meetings for when he is most likely to be rational helps. Good luck.

Well not most states. Only if

Well not most states. Only if you live in community property states or the debt was incurred while living in one. Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. And even then, only the aggressive creditors will go to the trouble to sue a spouse not on the loan (or debt) due to the legal ramifications. In states that are not community property then you are generally not liable unless you co-sign. This is for debts, of course. Assets are another thing. Here in South Carolina, even though our house is in my name, he has a right to it because I bought it after we married.

I agree with Shelley about a cash allowance. When my hubby does get a better paying, full time job, I think we intend to put the money together and both take out cash allowances for ourselves. Separate, larger purchases can be made either by saving said allowance or by taking on extra work (he still intends to DJ and I have a sideline consulting business). In my mind, extra money like that should be untouchable and/or not subject to the spouse's influence provided that there are no other pressing needs for the household.

And it's not bad that you are wondering. You're protecting yourself. Just because we love them doesn't mean we have to be victims.

I am working on a prenup just

I am working on a prenup just in case. I dont want to be looking back at this a couple years down the road, kicking myself for not having one drawn up. Having that safety blanket will really help me sleep better at night. Even though I plan to be the one taking care of all the bills and making sure we save monthly, you can never be too safe.

I have been having these hypothetical-scenario- filled conversations with my FH, that go like this, "what happens when one day you decide, on impulse, to buy something for $1000. What happens then?" Ive learnt that what he says he will/will not do never lines up with what he "[never] meant to do." I swear thats his favorite sentence," I never meant to do that." So this prenuptial agreement is happening!

Having some protection from

Having some protection from financial problems does help.  Now that my income has gone up a bit, and since separating my bank account from my husband's, I feel much "safer" in my marriage and when thinking about whatever might come next.

Smart lady

The peace mind that will give you will make a large difference! Smart lady!

I'm so sorry...but separate accounts sounds safe

I think that the best thing for you to do is set up separate accounts.  Let him pay for food, his own vehicle, things that won't make or break you or kill your credit rating.  You pay rent, or mortgage, your own car note, utilities.  He has his employers automatically deposit a certain part of his check in a TSA for both of you.  He pays you for his portion of the bills as soon as his pay hits the bank, like the SAME day.  That way he operates on only what's left and when he is broke, then he just has to be broke until next payday.  I know it is harsh, but if your marriage doesn't work, you do NOT want him to take you down with him.  Protect yourself NOW! Prenupts are a must if either of you are coming in to this marriage with any monetary assets. 

If he understands that you will not marry him unless he chooses to manage his finances in an adult manner, then you will not marry a child.  The arguments will make him feel like a child and you will both be resenting each other pretty quickly.  A sure recipe for failure.

I am lucky, I have an ADHD spouse that is frugal - thank god, but is just a good time charlie.  very flighty, and extremely SELFISH. He puts himself first always - in front of me in front of the kids, everyone but himself. I have been looking at my finances and have already consulted a financial advisor and atty on how to get out of my marriage without killing my credit and being able to survive without depending on him for anything - not even child support - He is emotionally abusive because he is resentful and so am I - All he wants to do is have fun - never do any of the grunt work - I am beginning to hate him and that is such a sad thing to say after 20 years.  I just want to be indifferent.  to not care anymore.  it would hurt so much less.  I gave the prime of my life to this man and have nothing to show for it but being used.

Please Please consider waiting to marry him.  if anything, the posts on this site should give you a very clear picture into what you are heading into and it is so hard to live with someone like this.  They have a brain disorder and part of the disorder is the inability to see its affect on relationships.  I am so sorry.

Yes ADHD is a scary thing. I

Yes ADHD is a scary thing. I have been reading some of the posts on this site, and wow... i am speechless. I know that ADHD has various severities, and in addition to that if you throw other issues in like additional learning disabilities and conditions like bipolar, etc it can get very crazy quickly. I know for my FH, his is on the mild side. Since his diagnosis he has been the initiator of treatment.

Prior to his diagnosis, him and I discussed a prenup. Mainly because in the event of a seperation its best to keep it as drama free as possible, and having an outline prior to marriage is important not only for me but for both of us. An outline is already typed to date.


A lot of the posts I have read describe the ADHDer as being abusive in some way or another. I have known him for a while and I can honestly say that he is not. He is one of the kindest, compassionate people I know. The biggest issue for me is his ability to save money and his ability to plan. If its happening right now or tomorrow, he is gr8, but months from now... NOPE! We will continue to work on that as a team, and continue to gather information that will help with all this. Best of luck to all of you and your significant others.