How deviated is ADHD marriage from normal marriage?

I have been venting on this forum about my unhappy married life to an ADHD husband. I have been talking and talking and talking about how miserable and suffocating my one year of marriage with him has been. Yesterday I read a book "Is it you, me or adult ADD" and found so many lines that were exactly depicting my husband's behaviors, which brought me into tears:

  • sudden change of affection/attitude before and after marriage
  • very hard to please 
  • no compromise to his belief or what he wants
  • frequent anger outburst and going back to normal as if nothing happened when I am depressed for the remainder of the day
  • low tolerance/patience
  • easily forgets the favors I do for him and always insist that I need to be more forgiving and understanding
  • always whines about his sickness whenever I am sick (he needs more attention to himself than to me)
  • he behaves one way in public and completely the other way with me or at home

At first I was stunned to see how precisely the book is describing his behaviors as if it picked on my brain, but now I am thinking more and more about it, I wonder if this is a typical guy behavior toward marriage. How deviated is our ADHD-affected marriage from those couples with no ADHD in their life? It is definitely true that I am miserable and suffering, but I wonder if I am that low tolerant person to marriage itself... Am I going into denial of the ADHD effect finally after all that non-sense brainwashing from my husband? 

Anyone can tell me there are distinctive differences between ADHD-affected marriage and Non-ADHD-affected marriage? 


All the difference!

Dear Desperate soul.

I have been in a long marriage to a non-ADD spouse, and have experienced a shorter relation with a man with ADD.
In short: The man with ADD had all the behaviours you describe. I loved him with all my heart and still miss him in a way, but I am so grateful that our relationship didn't last. It was ALL about him and his needs. He constantly hurt my feelings and I constantly tried to adopt to his mood.

My marriage to the non-ADD-man is totally different. He listens to me, cares for me, put my needs before his own (mostly) and has high self-esteem. He doesn't need my praise all the time. I always feel relaxed and safe in his presence. I never, ever have the feeling that I have to walk on eggshells or beeing neglected. Living together is fun and easy with him! Coming home from work is fun and relaxing, I am never have to worry about what mood he will be in.

When reading the posts on this forum I feel so sad for all the women (and some men) who stay in terrible, hurtful marriages out of a sense of duty to their children and/or their abusive husbands. You are not living in normal, healthy relationsships and there is a better life waiting for you! Being single isn't the end of the world, not even with children. Of course I am aware that not ALL relations with a person with ADD have to be destructive, not at all. But some of the described marriages on this forum seem like sheer terror, nightmares - you need to get out of them!

The irony of it all, in my case, is that I have never been as much is love with a man as I was with my ADD-man. He was a totally charming, intellgent and lovely person on a good day/moment. And then turned cold as ice in an instant. We are now just friends, which is so much better. He is still single, and refuses to believe that he has ADD.

Best of luck!



I am so happy that you found your peace of mind and happiness, I wish I could too,I am struggling with my ADHD husband far too long now and I know deep down in my heart I want to but "can't" spend the rest of my life with him.I love him too like no other man I have loved before,and you are right being single isn't the end of the world and I will ponder on that! thanks ...

All the difference

Wow.....    sigh.......   Where did you get a man like that? Must be wonderful. I'm happy that you managed to get free of the trap of looking for another ADHD guy. If you change your mind --


"He listens to me, cares for me, put my needs before his own (mostly) and has high self-esteem. He doesn't need my praise all the time. I always feel relaxed and safe in his presence. I never, ever have the feeling that I have to walk on eggshells or being neglected. Living together is fun and easy with him! Coming home from work is fun and relaxing, I am never have to worry about what mood he will be in."

Karinda, you described exactly the way I want my marriage to be.. You are really lucky to be in such a healthy married life. I am happy for you that you have found someone who can give you comfort.. Thank you so much sharing your experience. It gives me a clear picture that it is really unfair that I need to suffer like this, although fear of being alone still remains..

I have read some of your

I have read some of your posts, and it does break my heart.  My wife left me last year with no chance of reconciliation, and never told me how bad things were.  I never knew she was on the verge of leaving.  After a lot of soul searching and getting help, I was diagnosed with ADHD.  At first I thought that maybe you were my wife, based on some of the feelings and frustrations you had posted.

I don't know anything about a non-ADHD marriage, because I don't know about anything non-ADHD.  This is what I can tell you though being in his exact shoes with the blaming, mood swings, anger, aggressive driving, etc.

1.  I had no clue what I was doing.  My wife never explained to me in a clear, concise, and logical way what was happening.  It was typically in a passive-agressive way, and I always felt attacked.  The focus was always on how it made her feel and I had no idea where she was coming from because I had no idea the behavior was going on.  Now that I have a realization, it all makes sense.  Diagnosis DOES NOT equal realization.  Does your husband really understand what is going on?

2.  My major break-through came when I realized what the failure cycle does to me.  Living with ADHD is living a life of what most people would term as a life of "failure."  Losing things, forgetting things, exhausted, insomnia, missing deadlines, not finishing, starting too many new things, etc.  I felt like crap all the time, but I didn't know why.  I always found myself lying to save face.  Who likes to admit that they forgot to drop off the outgoing mail for the 517th time. 

Looking back, I did awful things to my wife, like blame her and tell her she was always angry, because it was the only way I knew how to make the hurt of failing go away.  I think it is especially bad in marriage because the last thing you want to do is look like a moron to your wife.  My urge to deny failure was SO strong with my wife.  That self-hate that I had made all the feedback/criticism from my wife seem 1000 times worse that it was meant to be. 

I would recommend that you find out how your husband really feels inside.  I am crying right now.  LOL - sorry.  Did you see the movie Hugo?  If you did, do you remember the scene when Hugo tries to get the automaton to work for the first time with Isabelle's key?  Do you remember how Hugo goes into a tailspin?  Do you also remember how Isabelle reacted?  There were so many times that I was murdering myself inside, and all I wanted was my wife to hold my hand. 

If your husband is anything like me, he is plagued by this failure cycle.  Especially if he didn't fit in well with kids during school, and if he was abused as a child like I was.  If something like this is going on, he needs to get help to get coaching on what triggers it and what behaviors it leads to.  I am seeing a great counselor for CBT and Behavior Modification therapy.  You can be such an amazing help to your husband through this.  But, he has to want it for himself.

3.  If you are at the end of your rope, I can't fault you.  I would only suggest that you be 100% clear to your husband that the angry outbursts and mood swings are deal-breakers.  Please don't give up without a fair shake at change.  There are actually a lot of "upsides" to ADHD that rarely get talked about.  Try googling that.  One thing that I think is really for your situation is that you didn't mention anything really destructive like alcohol/substance abuse, gambling, quitting jobs, etc.  I think with some medication and therapy, you could really be doing well!

Another thing I forgot to

Another thing I forgot to a lot of people with ADHD...I am very creative, very high IQ, can roll with changes easily, good at public speaking, outgoing, passionate, and empathetic.  I was always doing special projects at work because I am really good at seeing the large picture and sometimes hyper-focus can be good! 

It got to the point that I was so puzzled as too why at work I was a "hero" and a "genius" while at home I was "just another kid" to be watched over and getting nagged all the time.  I realize this is unfair thinking, because being the spouse is damn hard work.  Especially compared to being the co-worker or even the boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancee.  I would challenge you to see if there is something extra special about your husband because of his ADHD/ADD.  If there is...let him know you found it!