GENDER matters!!!!

I am a 46-year-old ADD working wife and mother of 3.  My husband of 18 years does not have ADD.  I am new to this website and I'm very optimistic that it is going to be such a helpful resource for myself as well as for my marriage. I have read several posts in a variety of categories and I have also listened to the audio version of the first 2 chapters of Melissa's wonderful book, which was SO insightful!!!

This is my first post and I am posting to make one very specific point that I think is critical:   I truly feel that while there are many characteristics of ADD that apply to both men and women (poor time management, forgetfulness, etc.), the impact of ADD in a marriage is significantly different depending on whether it is the wife or the husband who has the ADD.  I think it would be a HUGE improvement to this site to have separate forums according to that distinction. Does anyone agree? The dynamics in a marriage are not unisex. Gender is a HUGE factor which is getting "muddled" in this site, in my opinion.  While it may be helpful for all 4 "types" to read posts from one another to gain a different perspective, I think it would be very helpful to organize the posts in categories such as:  ADD wife/non-ADD husband; ADD-husband/non-ADD wife, both spouses with ADD; and perhaps similar categories for same-sex couples as well.  Does anyone agree?  Melissa, would that be possible?

As I've been educating myself about my fairly new diagnosis, I am certainly identifying with the research of Sari Solden and Patrica Quinn, et al, with regard to Women with ADD in particular.  As such, I'm choosing to read Sari's book first ("Women with ADD") and plan on having my husband read that as well before we read Melissa's books.  I suspect that when I finish reading Melissa's book, I will be hoping that she will write two, or perhaps 3 new books:  "The ADD Effect on Marriage when a Wife has ADD,"  "The ADD Effect on Marriage when a Husband has ADD,"  and "The ADD Effect on Marriage when both Spouses have ADD."  So that it can be really targeted. 

Any thoughts???

Thank you, Melissa, for your work and this website which is a Godsend! 


Gender issues

Wow, that's a lot of writing you're hoping for...:-)

I agree that gender does matter for a whole variety of reasons.  One scary statistic is that non-ADHD men are more likely to leave their ADHD wives, rather than stay and try to work things out. SIGH.  If you are reading Sari's book then that is a wonderful source of information on the topic.  She also has a support group that you may wish to consider joining.  I know Sari, and can vouch that she really knows her stuff about ADHD and how it impacts women.

While we could add an area that would be for women with ADHD to have conversations, I think you might become frustrated with the of the issues with the site in general is that people DO NOT stay in their "categories".  At all.  So the area on anger has lots of other comments in it, etc.  This may be because ADHD impacts so many areas of one's life?  Not sure.  And in any event, your insights that you may gain with Sari or wish to contribute on your own will be valuable anywhere on the site.  If you think someone has a gender bias, please let them know.

You will notice as you read my book that I often use a male ADHD person and non-ADHD woman as the example.  I say up front that this isn't because I think this is always the case, but because so many of the comments on the site that I use in the book are from that combo.  Also, men are twice as likely to be diagnosed as women, so the numbers are there to make these the more common examples.

If you don't mind hanging in there a bit and sharing your comments on the main site as it exists, that would be great.  If after trying that out for a while you still wish to have us create another forum category "Women with ADHD" we can do that for you.  But as I say, I think you'll be disappointed with the results.  Just let us know.


Melissa, thank you so much

Melissa, thank you so much for your quick response! 

When you say "that's a lot of writing you're hoping for!" I assume you are referring to the books I've suggested you write (!), but please, take that as a compliment!!  Of course, the only subsequent book I would care about is the "Effect of ADD on Marriage when the Wife has ADD,"  but I just included the other titles so as to not be "selfish!" :) 

With regard to Sari Solden, so far I have only read Sari's book "Journeys through Adult ADD."  I've just ordered the "Women with ADD" book and I'm waiting with great anticipation for it to arrive!  Thank you for letting me know about the support group that Sari has, as I'm sure it will be helpful for me as a "Woman with ADD," since that is Sari's area of expertise.  

Based on the second paragraph of your reply, I wish to clarify something that I apparently didn't communicate clearly in my original post.  I wasn't hoping that you'd "add an area for women with ADHD to have conversations, " per se.  I totally understand your recommendation of Sari in that regard.  However, I would assume that Sari's support group address a variety of issues that women with ADD struggle with--marriage being one of them, but not the focus--as I'm sure not all women in her group are married.  Which is why I'm drawn to your work and your specific expertise, in addition to Sari's work.  I want to not only learn all I can about how to best manage my ADD in general (through Sari's work), but also to understand as best I can how my ADD impacts my marriage specifically and what I can do to improve the relationship in spite of my ADD. 

 I have witnessed your point that people do not "stay in their categories" on the forums, i.e., they don't stick to the topic of "anger" or whatever.  I don't think that can be avoided.  But as the forums are currently organized, the "first level" of organization are "topics" which apply to all parties on this site:   "Anger," "Communication," "Hope...", etc., and so, naturally, "underneath" those topics there are all kinds of people posting (ADD-ers, non-ADDers, Husbands, Wives).  Because of this, when reading a post sometimes it's not until the 3rd paragraph before you figure out if this is a male or female and whether  they are an ADD-er or a Non and that's an important distinction to the reader to understand the perspective.  All that to say, I was just simply suggesting that the "first level" of the forum categories should be defined by the relationship.  That is, 3 simple categories:  1) ADD wife/Non-ADD husband, 2) ADD-husband/non-Add wife, and 3) Both Husband & Wife with ADD.  --- that's all.  Then underneath that, all those categories that you currently have.....Anger, communication, etc.  This way, even if people's posts deviated from the "topic" (anger, etc.), as they do now and probably always will, at least as readers we would be staying within the right "relationship" dynamic.  Does that make sense?  When reading in the forum that applies to our own situation, we can assume (for the most part) when a female is writing, what her "status" is and when the male is writing what his "status" is.  It would just simplify a LOT of confusion and eliminate readers having to "wade" through a bunch of posts that they cannot relate to.  I hope I'm making sense.  I am not a web designer, so I don't know if what I'm suggesting is "simple" at all! But, perhaps your husband can weigh in on this.  

Of course, I'll "hang in there!"  I LOVE your site!!  It is a lifeline!!  I will wade through as much as I need to! But just thought I'd throw out this suggestion in the event that it's do-able.

With regard to your book, yes, you made it clear in the first chapter why you used mostly male ADD examples and I agree that it makes completely logical sense for all the reasons you mention:  more men than women are diagnosed with ADD, more postings are from marriages where the man has ADD.    I wasn't suggesting that you are in any way "dismissing" marriages where it's the other way around. When writing a book that pertains to "all" marriages, you are forced to "assume" one over the other for simplicity's sake as well.  But, I'm just making the point that I believe that the gender of the ADD person is such a HUGE factor that it could warrant separate books, that's all. 

God Bless you for all you are doing!


Will consider

I'll talk with my husband about this, though at this point in the development of the site, I think it would be difficult to put it as an overarching entry point into the forums (where would we put the past content??).  But it is worth considering - we have talked in the past about including an identifier with each person's name that says whether they are a woman with ADHD , one without, etc. and that might help allay some of the confusion without a huge makeover...

I know what you mean...

Yes, Melissa, not being a "techie" myself, I know what you mean....I think if you guys ever made that change, the "old" posts would have to be archived without being organized according to the "relationship."  It would be IMPOSSIBLE to sort them.  Therefore, making a change with the overarching entry point being the main distinguishing factor would have to be a "from- this- day- forward" type of change.  Still, I think it would be a WONDERFUL change! 

Funny that you mentioned about putting in an identifier!  I thought of that, too, but forgot to mention it! Perhaps it can be a field in our profile that automatically shows up with our screennames when we post.  I think that's what the dating sites do, don't they?  Like SWF for "Single White Female" --isn't that where the movie title came from? :-)   We could use ADDW or ADDH and NW and NH (for non-ADDers).  That would definitely help.  I'm trying to remember to always identify myself in my posts, but it's easy to forget! 

Thanks for all you and your husband do!  You are awesome!

I think an identifier with screen names is an awesome idea!

I know I forget to type sometimes that I am the non wife and my husband has inattentive ADD [and I think it matters whether or not a person is diagnosed with hyperactivity or not since the things I least relate to are the things involved in having a hyperactive mate--I am always trying to talk my mate out of a nap LOL  Ok not always--but you know what I mean:) ]

As far as the areas........I'd probably be ok since I am the most typical group around here.....nonwife/ADD-I hubby, but I think if we were to group that way that there would be a lot of possible learning from each other that would be lost.  I'd probably tend to stay in 'my' area, but I have gotten SO SO SO many good suggestions and explanations from the ADD wives on this forum that I might miss out on with that setup.

My experience is the women regardless of whether they have ADD or not are generally more likely to go searching for help.  If I got ALL my suggestions about what an ADDer might be thinking from ADD husbands who post here, my knowledge would be must less complete.  XYZ and a few others who have come and gone over the years are self-analytical and thorough in typing out their actions and the REASONS for those actions (it is the reasons I have a hard time getting from my hubby at times), but it is generally the wives who have filled in many knowledge gaps for me.

I have also had the experience many many times of complaining about something about my ADD husband and WHY it bugs me, only to have a wife with ADD or ADHD thank me because she had no idea that was the reason why a non might get so upset by that particular behavior. 

I really think we all need each other!


Aspen, I agree--I learn a lot from all sides or the conversation here. It helps to hear from people in my situation to know I'm not alone, it helps to hear from people who have gotten through and can offer guidance from the other side, and it helps a ton to hear from ADDers who can offer that perspective (I'm a non-ADD wife). I love the cross-fertilization that happens here.

But I do think some kind of identifier would be helpful. I was even thinking of starting a "role call" thread in one of the forums for people to identify themselves (hubby, wife, ADD, non, married, not married, kids, no kids, length of relationship...); I thought it might be a helpful resource to have that info in one central place, rather than wading through old posts to remind myself of this info about other users.

We're Listening

Okay - I'm hearing the request.  Bear with us while we figure out if we can do it, and how in between the rest of our busy lives.  George is an amazing web master, but he is out of town quite a lot these days and exceptionally busy...but we'll get on it.

Not looking to cause more work :)

The idea came to me to have some kind of roll call thread and then we just individually link to our story when we post.  We could probably do that easily without George needing to do more work.  Regardless, appreciate the site & your hard work very very much!!

Identifier with screen name


I think you are right, ADD or not, clearly the majority of the posts on here are from women.  And while I agree that there is the potential for any of us to gain value and insight from all "spouses," (I already have, in fact) I still think the critical "first identifier" is whether or not the comment is from a male or female and whether it is from an ADD-er or a Non.  Unfortunately for me, I was hoping to find some non-ADD husbands on this site to gain a more objective view of my non-ADD husband's perspective of me, but I don't see many.  Or if they're out there, there's no way of me "finding" them in the forums by searching by topic.  There actually is one topic under the forums called "Women with ADD."  Ironically, most of the comments there are also from non-ADD women with ADD-husbands.  I would say approximately 1% of the posts are from non-ADD husbands with ADD wives!  The  majority of the posts are from women with ADD husbands talking about their mothers-in-law or their husbands(!) in response to questions from women with ADD. Okay.. perhaps helpful but not the same.  Like I said, there were one or 2 posts from non-ADD husbands that I will try to go back and find, but they are "buried."  Oh well...I guess I'm out of luck.  I'm glad for all you non-ADD wives with ADD-husbands who are getting lots of support, though. (I'm envious!)  Maybe this isn't the ideal site for my situation and I'm just trying to make it something it's not.   It's really more of a site for "Wives of husbands with ADD" than a site for how "ADD" affects marriage."  I'm going to consult Sari Solden resources, who is the expert on Women with ADD, but I'm assuming most of the bloggers there will be the women themselves.  I truly want to gain an objective perspective from my husband's point of view, so I can improve my marriage, but I guess that resource will be hard to find.   

Once again, I'm "different."  But, I'm trying.


Awwwww...You;re sweet, Aspen:)!

I agree with your assessment, Aspen. I, too, have benefited immensely from learning from the "other" side.  It's also easier to consider their viewpoint as valid (even if your spouse has the same exact opinion) because the emotional baggage is absent.  I LOVE reading what you, Gardener, Sherri and others have to say.  You all give me such great advice, press me to look at myself without being mean to me, and are humble enough to say, "I hadn't considered that" when I try to help you see my vantage point (provided it makes sense :)). 

 When I first joined this website, I was bummed there weren't more people like me.  I looked around the website hoping there was a separate section for ADHD wives.  I agree that gender does matter for certain things.  There is a LOT more societal pressure (at least in America; I can't speak for other countries) for women to take care of the children's needs, cook, clean, organize dates with spouse, have company over, be a Stepford wife, and make it all look easy.  In most marriages of people I know (the vast, vast majority of which do not involve an ADHD partner), women do the majority of such things.  We ADHD wives can feel pretty inadequate, like we're constantly underachieving.  

But now more ADHD women have joined, (Ellamenno, Summerwine, and others) who are there to empathize and give ideas.  And of course, there's YYZ.  He an ADHDer who has helped ALL of us understand ourselves and our partners better.  I think if we were all separated, we would just live in our own little world, where like-minded people would tell us what we already think, would flatter us and bolster our assumptions...and we wouldn't be pushed to grow.   I think the back and forth conversation and ensuing questions are where we get our answers.  

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for helping me.  You guys help me more than you'll ever know.  You have my eternal gratitude, Melissa, for having such a wonderful website that brings us all together to help us solve our own problems.

Pushed to grow...

I agree with you guys that about all the help out here. I did not know squat about how ADD had affected my marriage before I started reading and writing my rambling post on this site. It has been great to commiserate with fellow ADDer's which makes me feel that my behaviors / quirks are not just my weirdness ;) These Feel Good posts are great, but most of my knowledge has been jumping into a post where I "Try" to explain how my ADD brain could get to the behaviors/actions/in-actions/complete shut-downs/explosions that the Non-ADDer post is addressing. Aspen has really pushed me to explain myself with her questions/responses. SherriW, Gardener and so many others too. Sometimes it is REALLY hard work to respond because I know you guys want a full explanation. 

I'm not going anywhere for a while... Thanks guys/gals/ADDers/Non-ADDers for all of the questions and answers.

ADHDMomof2, For what it's


For what it's worth, I don't know what else I can say to make this clear.....I'm not looking for a forum where I'll find,  "like-minded people [who] would tell us what we already think, would flatter us and bolster our assumptions."  If that's what I wanted, I would just blog on a "Women with ADD" website--I'm sure I can find plenty of women with whom I can commiserate. In fact, you and I could probably commiserate a lot!! :)  On the contrary, I came to this site, to specifically address the impact of MY ADD on my MARRIAGE,  not to find other ADD women to "bolster my assumptions," but in the hope that I would find some non-ADD husbands who would tell me the difficult things that I need to hear, but that I'm apparently not "hearing" from my own husband because emotions and history get in the way of objectivity, like in everyone's marriage.  Isn't the resource that I'm looking for the very thing that what wives of ADD-husbands WISH their spouse was looking for?  Non-ADD wives, here's a question for you:  If your husbands wrote into this site and said, "I have ADD and I know that it is affecting my marriage. I really want to improve the relationship with my wife and find out how I can do that.  I think the best people to advise me are other wives in the same situation as my wife. I think I'll be able to listen to them more objectively than I listen to my wife. Since this site is so large, it would be really helpful if I could just "zero in" on those posts. " 

Wouldn't you be thrilled if your ADD husband was looking for that?  Now insert "husband" everywhere where I said "wife" and you'll understand what I'm seeking. 

And similarly,  isn't that type of advice what the non-ADD wives get from guys like YYZ from his posts?  He represents the counterpart of their relationship with their husbands.  That must be HUGELY helpful to those wives! And I understood YYZ  correctly, he said those exchanges help him see more objectively how his behavior might be impacting his wife. That's what I want!  Why are people assuming I want to hear from "kindred spirits" of other women with ADD so that I can just commiserate?  I don't get it!  Maybe my ADD is preventing me from communicating clearly or understanding what I'm saying.  Am I crazy? :) 

"Wouldn't you be thrilled if

"Wouldn't you be thrilled if your ADD husband was looking for that?  Now insert "husband" everywhere where I said "wife" and you'll understand what I'm seeking. "

Firstly, Yep I would love it (though to be fair my husband is seeking help and he contributes here a little through me, but he isn't a big forum guy). 

I think I understand what you are seeking, and in my experience this site is singular in its addressing the issue you mentioned below.

"On the contrary, I came to this site, to specifically address the impact of MY ADD on my MARRIAGE" 

ADD impacts marriage in a very different way than it impacts friendships and work and other aspects of life.  I think this site is very very needed and is singular in its filling of this need.

What I meant with my post is that having us divided into groups, in my opinion only, wouldn't serve what I use this forum for.  I post my questions, and I want ppl in every situation to answer me.

Do I want some support?  Some "I sure understand where you are coming from" type answers.....I DO.  It makes me feel less alone.  Therefore I want other nonADD wives with me, but honestly that response comes as often from ADD wives saying "yikes I hear that from my husband" or "I can really see why that would frustrate you, but let me explain to you how I come to do it".  I don't want to lose that voice.

Do I want some "Since you are asking what he could be thinking, I can tell you what I am thinking since I have ADD also"  YES I want to know what he is thinking.....that answer can often be given by any other an ADD an ADD female.

Do I feel like only other nonADD wives or ADD husbands can give me what I need?  Absolutely not!  A lot of times an ADD wife will say "I understand where you are coming from since MY husband does the same"   Maybe it is as much of a "man thing" as an "ADD thing". 

Could a nonADD husband help me with my questions/situations/quests for knowledge?  Sure he can and many have.

I see no need for segregation since I have never tried to zero in on topics by ppl in my exact situation.  Maybe that is cause ppl in my situation are plentiful?  Could be a part of it, but honestly I just think we all have things to offer each other and there is no need for us to stay in zones.

I think I understand what you would like.  I certainly never intended to sound like I didn't.  I meant to answer your question as to whether other ppl would like what you are proposing. 

I think the part where identifiers are most easily recognizable is a GREAT IDEA.  I am in wholehearted agreement.  I even think we could have a roll call thread.......give our quick backstory and post that at the beginning of comments as a brief introduction to ppl who may not know us.........we used to have a poster here who did that and it irritated me a tad at the beginning because I KNEW his story & wanted him to get to the subject at hand, but newbies and ppl with ADD loved loved loved it and once I understood it's purpose, I thought it was great. 

We really should do something like that cause it would be easy to do.  Maybe that would solve the issue of finding more targeted posts for some as well as keeping us all together.  I am sure there is a good solution.

Now we're talkin'!

Agreed, Aspen!   I don't doubt that helpful advice can come from anyone on this site regardless of their situation, my initial request was simply that it would be nice to be able to find posts by a particular "role," if possible, and since I'm not a web developer, by any means, my suggestion that perhaps a distinction at the"first level" of the categories seemed like a logical one to me. But I never anticipated that people would interpret my suggestion to mean that I didn't think anybody outside of my EXACT situation had anything of value to say to me (!), but apparently some people may have interpreted it that way.  I apologize if people misunderstood me and took offense to that.  All in all, it appears that everyone who posted on this topic seems to agree that "identifiers" would be a welcomed addition and perhaps if those identifying categories are "searchable" it will "kill two birds with one stone!" 


Oh, my God.  I'm so sorry.  I did NOT mean that AT all (I so wish I had a dollar for every time I have said that to my husband...).  I was typing with children around, and I should have waited until they went to bed to respond so I could read and re-read my post like I usually do.  It had everything to do with my life experiences and observations in general.  I don't think you are asking for a separate area because you want to stay "stuck."  I apologize for that!

I just was thinking a few jumbled thoughts:

A) my husband has said that I "hear what I want to hear" and even though I disagree with him on that point (I certainly mishear things, run it through my ADHD-word salad translator at times, but I don't WANT to), I KNOW that here, no one has any reason whatsoever to flatter me.  I have a husband who is critical of me, sometimes, rightfully so, other times, because he's a control freak about stupid s#*& ("No, why didn't you park closer?" "No, you should put the third row seat of your minivan in 'stowaway' so there's a nice flat area for the groceries to slide EVERYWHERE while you're driving home!  It makes no sense to have the third row seats upright so there's a more compact and secure place for the groceries.  I am CAPTAIN LOGIC, and you have a smooth reptilian brain with about 3 dopamine receptors total!")  O.K. I am exaggerating a bit, but sometimes it's so cathartic, you know ;)?

B) I need to understand his perspective.   

C.  I was where you were when I started here.  I was just trying to say, "Stick around.  You will find help, even (and sometimes ESPECIALLY) from people you might think least likely to understand...the NON-ADHD spouses.

D.  There are some people who just come here to complain and not to grow.  Those people might be particularly attracted to an area where they can complain more without having to take stock of themselves.  They don't tend to stick around as long.  The regulars tend to be comprised of people who are willing to put in the effort.

The "regulars" here respect each other and we depend on each other to get through this.  I can't talk to other people about it because no one else gets how bad it can get or how much ADHD can affect a marriage.  I talk to my therapist, and she's the only person I know besides the people out here who understand.  

No harm, no foul!

No problem, ADHDmomof2.  I hear what you're saying. And just as I suspected, it sounds like our situations are very similar!  My husband has an opinion and comment how everything should be done---even on the most minor things (!)  and so I could commiserate with you all day long!

I plan on "sticking around on this site."  I hope to find some effective ways of dealing with our differences. 

Thanks for your response!

kharris4's picture

Gender differences noticed

I like the initial idea in the post too, but I wanted to comment on the role issue.  In some of the research I came across, I learned that a "quick and dirty" way of determining whether or not a person is ADD/HD had to do with being more than 2 (? or some measurement) standard deviations away from the norm-- by gender.  For example, men are typically better in spatial processing, and less so in the communication centers.  However, if you are male and have higher ability in cognition and communication, you are prone to being ADHD/DD.  And in women, if you have higher spatial processing ability, then more than likely you could be prone to ADD/HD.

This is really interesting to me because I am really good with spatial processing.  I do some work in my career with 3D CAD type renderings of fixtures that we use, and I LOVE that type of work.  I've always really prided myself in being able to visually understand dimension.  BUT---this is a disability for men who have ADDHD (according to this research).

I wonder if any of you see some of the same things, I'd like to know what you think of these comparisons by gender, do you agree?  (please don't read too much into the descriptions, this is just a generality and my own un-professional speculation)

Typical Men
Not often verbally inclined to share thoughts, feelings, apologies, or analyze verbally for hours.

Men with ADD/HD
Will share feelings, analyze emotions, tend to over apologize and speak at length about resolution.

Typical women
Thoughtful, verbally adept, speaks at length on the phone. Discusses feelings emotions. Tends to seek out friends to share and encourage each other during conflict.

Women with ADHD
Not as verbally adept without just cause. May not like small talk or talking on the phone to chat. Tends to run away and seclude themselves during conflict.

Another issue that makes it difficult to fit into the definition this website describes, is the one indicator that talks about the non-ADD spouse having to do more chores than the ADHDer.  If the women has ADHD, and her role (again, generally speaking) is typically the housework role, the husband may have a couple of different responses that might not include picking up more responsibility in this area.  Since some men (those non-type A personalities) don't typically have the same level of cleaning that the wife does, he may have two different response...depending on his disposition towards caring about that specific role.  In my own marriage, my husband does pick up some of the chores, but he doesnt mind and he often tells me that he doesnt feel like he's doing more.  Otherwise we both let everything go, so he doesnt really experience the same feeling of "I Do way more than you do" because we both kind of slough it off.  I'm having trouble explaining this, hope you get what I'm saying.  :)

Not my ADHD husband

He would rather slit his wrists than have to talk to me, communicate an issue and work on a resolution.  Has NEVER been one to communicate....EVER.


same here.

MagicSandwich's picture

Not from Venus

I am female but I am definitely not from Venus in that way that conforms to Gender expectations. I wouldn't know what category best qualifies for me except "fed up."