How to communicate to my ADHD husband

Hello everyone,

We recently discovered that my husband has ADHD (i believe it to be advance however he can only admit to it being mild). I feel like I have to be there for him and in the nearly 7 years of marriage emotionally he's never there for me.

The hardest issue that we have experience over time and has gotten worse now. Is that he talks and talks and I listen patiently but eventually if I try to interrupt to express an opinion or to add something to the conversation (so it is not a monolog) He gets mad says I never listen to him and that I always interrupt him. I really feel that I am not getting the minimum I need from our relationship, I having to be understanding but he's not even trying to understand me, I having to listen patiently but I get zero tolerance. This issue makes me feel so alone, like I know he loves me and he is a wonderful father and husband but whenever I need emotional support or appreciation for all the understanding and patience I give to him, he then has none of it for me and to top things up now that he knows he has ADHD he is very defensive with me and because I get emotional and feel that I hopelessly support him (extra cleaning, cooking and being extra nice to help him relax) with no support in return, he now said that I may suffer some kind of Personality Disorder. Which is so unfair given the fact that all I need from him is that he sympathetically  listens every now and again when all the chores and everything I have to do gets a bit too much for me.

So I guess I need some advice on how can I communicate to him that I am not getting the minimum emotional support that I need without offending him or getting him on the defensive side of things? If there is anyone out there that has any ideas I am all eyes and ears. Thanks



Hi, How much do you


How much do you currently know about ADD?  I would highly suggest reading some books on it, even if from the library.  I haven't read Melissa's book but I have watched a video she did in her resources/best posts section.   If you can get him to read a book or watch a video (the ones by the Canadian ADD centre are really good, sorry, I don't have a link) I think that would help.  It seems like people with ADD tend to get very defensive, I guess the key is to communicate in a way that you arnen't attacking them although, I know it is hard to do something that is not "perceived" as attacking.

One advice I read was to start the conversation with something like "I want to express what I am feeling" and say something about wanting to find a solution to the issue and that you aren't in any way trying to be attacking them and that if it ever comes across as attacking that they can stop you.  

I think education is the key thing, understanding what ADD is all about.  I don't have an ADD wife/husband/etc but I have had experience in a relationship with a girl with ADD not realizing the impact it was having on the relationship and I definitely had my own communication issues that didn't help things.  I would suggest you maybe read/learn about communication in general as well but the first/best step would be to learn enough about ADD so you understand the symptoms and how his brain is working a little.


Thanks a lot it feels great that someone out there is listening to me. I really know very little about ADD I will get info from my local library, I would love to find that video, would you mind telling more about Melissa, her surname or where I could find her work on ADD.  Thanks again.


just noticed which Melissa you're referring to, Tx

reply to Enisbel

Enisbel, I know exactly the dynamic you are talking about.  Recognizing a couple of things have made it easier for me to deal with.  The first came as a lightbulb moment for me when I realized when he is talking over me or spewing words forth like there can be no end in sight it is actually a sign for us that things are good.  He is connected to me and sharing what is on is mind in an effervescent way.  Inside it now makes me smile because oddly it is one of the ways he shows me he's in a happy place with "us".   If he's not happy he becomes quiet.

That being said and recognizing we still do need to be heard and supported it might help to identify a couple of other things that might be in play.  When we ask for something we need it can often be heard as criticism; not as something we need but something they "failed" at providing = defense mode.   In another post someone with ADD mentioned a level of anxiety that is  very often at play...if they hear us is there something they will have to fix? Will they be able to fix it or will it be another failure? 

I've said it before and I say it again because it works so well for us.  Complimenting the behaviours you like ensure they will happen again.  Things said in a pressure environment pretty much guarantee it won't happen. 

If you want to him to listen to you without interruption look for a time, no matter how small when that has happened and thank him for listening to you.  Tell him you appreciate it.  If you want him to help you around the house go out of your way to thank him more for the times he does.

At first I felt silly complimenting things that I thought should be a given but for someone who needs positive feedback so much little things mean a great deal.

One last thought... you said, I get emotional and feel that I hopelessly support him (extra cleaning, cooking and being extra nice to help him relax) with no support in return, he now said that I may suffer some kind of Personality Disorder.

Perception is everything.  You perceive the things you do as support for him because it is what you value.  If it's not what he values it's no more supportive (though well intended) than what he does for you.  If I was busy doing all the "little extras" for my guy he would feel pressure and uptight.  If I really want to support him I will, as he asks "just chill" with him; give hime time to decompress.



Thanks Jmo

I know what you mean, we've had some communication issues for a while now and both have admitted it and are trying to work on it. Tho I try to relax with him (do less and chill out more) but whenever I do, he finds it the best moment to talk about his worries, so I have now tried to go swimming/yoga/walking by myself but I find that he wants to control how I am doing on these things and that makes it stressfull, like he's controlling or trying to control over everything I do. So I have a little problem trying to chill out.

I think I have a lot learn about ADD and communication. Thanks a lot for the reply it feels so nice to know there's people out there listening, Thanks


Ha, again I know what you are talking about.  If we're in the hot tub for example and he starts I don't say a word; just get out.  If he asks me why I'll say without rancour, "I don't like how this conversation is making me feel right now so I'm going to distance myself for a little while".  I'll c u inside.  

When I consciously recognize it as a symptom I find I don't get as upset by it and when I lay it out for him without emotion he doesn't get upset.  Boundaries.  Chill time is chill time for me too.

Will give that a try

Thanks foro sharing, i will give it a try my thing Is that i dont put a stop to things that annoy me untill i'm annoyed ;-D so that will b my homework for the week, tx


My ADHD husband and I are the worst at communicating I feel that every time I try and express any of my feeling I get told I'm miserable and why are we married.  I work full time have three small children and get no help out of him what so ever.  He feels all he needs to do is work and come home and play on his computer or phone meanwhile I do everything.  He doesn't understand why I am always upset and in a bad mood after doing everything and with no help or no support.  I have read books on ADHD and done lots of research but I am still not sure how to get past all of this.  He is taking Adderall and it does help but he won't take it on the weekends so it doesn't remain consistent with him and I beg him to take it but he won't.  Anyways I guess I'm just looking for an answer not that there is one b/c I think most of everyone on here goes through the same mess as me.  I'm just soo tired of feeling like the least important thing in his life behind his "toys".  And he thinks I'm crazy for feeling like that but yet he won't even touch me or talk to me and the second something happens with a friend or he "has" to do something on computer or with his toys go go go....Why can't he put that much effort into him and I?  I don't know just so confused on that one...

Oh i hear u And have felt your pain

Honey I have totally been there and sometimes I still feel like I'm there. One thing that helped me a lot on my marriage was understanding that besides the ADHD men are in general so different and it's a fact that the conectors in their brain work completely different than they do for us. My point reading the books "men are from mars and women are from Venus" and "Mars and Venus in the bedroom" have made a great impact on the way I view things and the way I know manage to get to Connect with him so much more than before, I truly recomend the books. The general idea is that men need space they need to pull away and if we respect that time when they are in their caves they will eventually come back and reconnect with us, also that by thanking them for the very little they do in the house they will be more open and eventually do more, anyways I hope that helps, but you are not alone honey