My ADHD wife and I have been working hard on navigating our differences. We attended a marriage weekend with Dr. Hallowell. We've picked up some books like "Driven to Distraction" and "Is it You, Me, or Adult ADD?" She has gotten a diagnosis and is on meds. We are working together to put systems in place so that work. For example, we have followed Dr. Hallowell's suggestion of scheduling together time of at least a half hour at least once a week, where we usually talk about our relationship - and often discuss the weekly Marriage Tip Melissa sends out. We schedule one date night or date day a week - usually dinner and a movie, lunch and a museum, etc. I call her when I leave work, which increases the liklihood that she can detatch and leave work herself. I am working on nagging less. She is working on not incessantly using her iPhone. Etc. Etc. We have seen LOTS of progress. And we still have SO MUCH to work on.
One thing I am working on in particular is using "loving detachment" (to use Melissa's phrase) in order to avoid some of the on-going struggles we seem to be having. Recently, after yet another terrible argument because my wife is never ready to leave when we plan to leave, I found myself thinking "this just can NOT go on." The pattern we were in was: we would have plans to meet friends at, say, 6:30pm. In the afternoon, I would say something like "I'd like to leave at 6:15 - will that work for you?" to which she would answer "yes." At 6 o'clock, I'd say "Honey - it's 6 o'clock. Time to get moving." To which she might answer, or she might not. (Typically, she doesn't BEGIN to move until the time we agree to leave, and then it takes her 15 minutes to do whatever she has to do - close down her computer program, feed the animals, find her phone, go to the bathroom, get her coat on, etc. Hence, I give her a 15 minute "heads up.") I then also say, at 6:25 - "5 minutes, hon" to which she might say - "I know." Yet, she is STILL on the computer, and I know we'll be leaving late. So I start to get frustrated. It gets to be 6:30 and I say - "time to leave." Then she finally gets up while I sit for 5 to 10 minutes in the car waiting for her. Grrrrrr!!! It seems I'm ALWAYS waiting for her - to put down her phone, to get off the computer, to get ready to leave. And it's become a real hot button for me.
Some might say - tell her you want to leave at 6:15 and she'll be ready by 6:30, but that doesn't work because she doesn't move until I do, and when I get up I'm in the car in 2 minutes, where it takes her 15. And I'd still be waiting for her for 15 minutes.
So, I decided to try a new tact. I said to her - honey, I can't keep getting angry waiting for you every time we go somewhere. From now on, I'm going to tell you what time I'd like to leave and then leave it up to you to be ready. If you're not, I'll take my car and you can take yours. And she agreed.
In retrospect - maybe I shouldn't have said it to her like that - as it was me TELLING her what I was going to do instead of working out a mutual solution with her. Because when the next time we had to leave to go somewhere it happened again, and I started to leave, she totally lost it and YELLED at me not to leave, saying she was almost ready and how could I just leave? So, I ended up waiting for her , thinking "is this really worth leaving 10 minutes later than planned?" But I was very angry in return, and it took me awhile to "cool down."
The next thing I tried was this past Sunday while we were still in bed, I said "Honey, I'd like to take seperate cars to church." (I usually end up waiting for her at both ends - going to church, where we always end up running late, and then after church, when she ends up in long conversations with people and I end up waiting for her to leave.) She said - "how about you tell me what time you want to leave and if I'm not ready, you just leave?" And I said - "I'd actually rather just agree to take seperate cars. Then neither of us will end up getting angry." She angreed, and we took seperate cars. And neither of us got angry.
But is that the only answer - taking seperate cars whenever we go somewhere? That seems like a poor solution to me, as time in the car CAN be together time. And taking two cars is inconvenient, costs more money, etc. I feel between a rock and a hard place.
I wonder if anyone has other ideas of how to manage, and perhaps resolve, this seeming endless battle.