Is it wrong for me to want my wife to help me remeber things?

I am the ADHDer in the house and we fight about things a lot but mostly me forgetting. She is aware that I have adhd but I feel that she does not really get it. I just want to know if it is unreasonable for me to ask her to help me to remember important things?

I do it because I have a superb memory, but....

I refer to myself as my husband's "flash drive," that is, removable surplus memory. I have a photographic memory and near-perfect auditory recall. Mostly, it drives him nuts when I recite a conversation back to him, because he knows I'm right.

No, it's not wrong if she doesn't mind. I don't like remembering his stuff while working and going to school, when I have so many things of my own to remember. I often have to remember things imperfectly told to me. Like I remembered his doctor's appointment was on Tuesday because that's what he told me. But they called his cell to remind him that it was Monday. Of course, he went, but didn't bother to call me to tell me he'd be late.

But I think it's unfair to expect her to do this permanently. You should put systems in place to help you remember (notes, lists, cell phone alarms, etc.) Don't just rely on your wife because it makes her feel like your mother and that isn't very romantic.

Pink's picture

Yes it is wrong

I have a husband with ADHD and I do try to remind him all the time. But, he get angry when I remind him. Think of it this way. What would you do if you were single? Who is going to remind you? What are you going to do if you wife die? This is what I tell my husband. That you need to find a way to do this by yourself. You can't keep relying on other to help you. You must find a way. They are out there...  I know I do remind my husband all the time. by doing that... he doesn't seem to listen to me or hear me telling him. I became invisible. If he did it then yeah... he remember... and if he didn't do it then he blame me. (even though I did reminded him but he doesn't listen) I am at fault if he forget and he win if he remember.

Please do not make the wife a product to remind you. Find another way to do this.

I think in a marriage, it is natural to help each other

especially when we are talking about really important things, so no I don't think it is wrong to WANT your wife to help you or for your your wife to WANT to help you.   I do think it is wrong for your to RELY on your wife as your only manner of reminding (and I am not saying that you do this) because that makes it her *job* to remember all her important things and all your important things.  Basically that means you can relax that you have  safety net in helping you remember, but she may never feel that way.

I'd say what you need to do most is talk to her and find out what is overwhelming to her and how she feels about the tools you currently use to remember things.  Based on that conversation, I think you will have a good idea of where to focus your energies for the best of your marriage.

Reminding your ADDER

My wife and I figured out by writing things on a calendar really saved alot reminding and stress for her. It works for us big time. My wife is big time detailed person and she likes writing on the calendar. You can't write everything but at least the important things. I look at the calendar every morning and it helps me get a grip on my day. Not perfect yet but about 90% gets done and it takes alot of stress off my wife. We are finding keeping things the same all the time works. Some things have become very routeen and don't even have to look at calendar anymore. It took a while but it works for us! oh yea don't start out with a huge list at first or you are domed to fail. After about 4 months of this it sets in real well. Example: I know on Thursday after work I grocery shop for all our meat items and basics and she gets all the other non basic things.

The best way to explain things for our challenges is My brain thinks like a sparkler on fourth of July. Sparks going everywhere. My wife's Brain is like a Bottle rocket on fourth of July that is very directional and focused. So the calendar just works for us try it.      


I am the ADDer in our house. My ADD was diagnosed about a 1.5 years ago, after 14 years of marriage...

So... My wife has been reminding me about things since the beginning, but a verbal heads-up for something two weeks down the road is pretty useless to me, even after my diagnosis and fairly dramatic memory improvement after meds. My wife has great frustration over "Having to remember Everything", understandably...

ADDer solutions?

Analog or Digital?

Analog: Carry a calendar/appointment book with you at all times. Look at it every morning as part of your routine. Routines are critical for me. Log events, tasks, important dates, chores and anything else related to a schedule to help "Yourself"

Digital: Smartphone / PDA - The same as a written calendar, only better! (In my Tech Nerd opinion) Recurring tasks and events are Great. Entered once and forever. MS Outlook and your smartphone are your friend. These reminders, with alarms, have saved my "Assets" on more occasions than I can count.

You have to enter things as you are informed and check your calendar for this to work.


Don't make your spouse feel like they have to remind you about everything, because this will cause frustration like the posts all over this great website!

Sure... If you or your spouse has an important event closing in soon, it's a good idea to remind them, and I love being able to say "I'm on it! it's right here in my calendar." We have also started setting up events in our separate Outlook calendars and inviting the other to the event, then it's in Both Calendars with alarm reminders to give a heads-up that an event is coming soon. This practice, which has helped us A LOT, is also my way of letting her know that she does not "Have To" remember everything.

My wife has Way Better memory recall than me as the NonADDer, and I like to think that my electronic crutch has helped take a little load off her :-)


I wish you well...



Hi, I don't think it's


I don't think it's wrong necessarily, I think it's more so a matter of opinion & tolerance on the other partner's behalf who is doing the reminding.

For some routine becomes natural and change is not all that difficult so adjusting to having to remind someone of things all the time is not an obstacle for the partner, pending the severity of the reminder being had and the repercussions the 'forgetting' had on that particular incident.

I feel there are plenty of times w/my ADD fiancé that I am perfectly ok reminding him over an over again compared to the things I get more annoyed with when the repercussions of his 'forgetting' has impacted me or someone else. Like for example if he were in charge of the cell phn bill and forgot to pay it and my phn got shut off 'again' I might get annoyed at this for the 4th time. However, if it's something like reminding him everyday to turn a light off in the house not so much of an annoyance for me because I could have done it too and I also look at the situation and try to choose my battles of what's worth my speaking up and what's really not for both our sakes because we already deal with so much as it is.

I think it really comes down to a matter of opinion on your partner's behalf. Me & mine decided to discuss things daily so we have better communication in how the other works so we can attempt to forsee things as well, it's helped a lot but it's takes great communication skills and the willingness to discuss your wants, needs & frustrations in a safe & accepting way and then coming to an agreement of how to possible make changes to help the problem at hand.


Yes it is unreasonable. I

Yes it is unreasonable.

I suspect your wife wants an independent, functional adult partner as a husband.  I know I did. 

To expect her to carry your load is the road to resentment. She may be okay with it for awhile, because she loves you and wants to help, but it gets really, really, really old to feel that burden of being the responsible one.  Of having to do more than 50% for the relationship.

There are devices, calendars, ways of structuring things so you can do this for yourself. If you won't invest the energy in doing that, or make the commitment to be as highly functional as possible in your own life, you are offering her less than you can and far less than she deserves.

May sound harsh, but I was the responsible one and it sucked. I wanted a partner, not a child. 

Pink's picture

Melissa what should we do as

Melissa what should we do as a wife who feel like having a child in the house rather than a husband? A lot of wives on this site feel the same. How can we change that feeling?

The short answer: yes.

As the non-ADD wife of an ADD husband, I say that yes, it is absolutely unreasonable to expect your wife to be your reminder.  I remind my husband of all kinds of things every day, but they are either things he might not have realized or known about, or they're "my" things (my mom's birthday, my dinner plans Saturday night with girlfiends, etc.), or they're one-off things.  They are not reminders for his day-to-day life.  If I needed to remind him to take the dry-cleaning in every time?  That would NOT be okay.  As others have said, he's an adult.  He has ADD, but he is a functioning adult, not a child.  He knows he has ADD and sets his routines to deal with it accordingly.  He asks for my help or advice sometimes, and I am happy to give it, but I am not his personal assistant; I am his wife.  This means I can be his safety net sometimes when he forgets things (periodically he forgets to write things on the grocery list we keep on the fridge)--no one is perfect.  But for him to PLAN to forget things and for me to remember them?  Not okay.  Soooooo not okay.  On the occasions when I *do* have to remind him of something (e.g., "it's your mom's birthday, please call her"), he makes a point of thanking me because it's not the expectation, it's a kindness.

This gets to be a hot button for me....

I'm afraid this is a huge hot button for me. I don't mind occasionally reminding my husband about something but I start to get upset when he treats me like his portable brain and the EXPECTATION is that he doesn't have to worry about trying to remember something because I'll do all that. He has a phone, email, a calendar. etc. We have set routines to try to help him know what to expect (like whose day it is to pick up our son).

But I draw the line at being the portable external storage unit. Among a few friends we refer to this as the tendency of "why use my own brain when there's another one available." Cruel a bit, I know.

While I realize he has trouble remembering things, I find the apparently lack of effort to develop a coping mechanicsm the biggest frustration. I've told him and continue to tell him that I am not his mother or his secretary and he needs to find a way to remind himself.

In order to stave off the worst of "forgetting" though, I do all the monetary chores :)