Just need to vent.

So, my boyfriend's sister is getting married in May.  The last few days I've been trying to find a dress to wear and had complained multiple time to my boyfriend about all the restrictions there are in general as wedding guests: no white, no black, no red, not similar to the bridesmaid's dresses in both cut or color, not too short, not long etc. etc.  I especially made a point of not wanting to accidentally wear the same color as the bridesmaids.  Yesterday, I asked him to text his mom and ask her what color the bridesmaids dresses were before I made my final purchase and this is literally what her wrote her:

"Hi mom.  Caroline wants to know what color the bridesmaids dresses are so she can find one to match.  Do you have a swatch or a color sample?" (I never asked him to ask for a sample, like the woman doesn't have enough to do already without worrying about me).

To which, she rightly wrote back: "why does she want to match?!'

Are you freaking kidding me?!??!  The problem is that his mom is REALLY gossipy and also has ADHD so when he wrote her back to correct his mistake and say that I didn't want to match she misread it again and called up everyone she knows and complained about how weird I am for wanting to match the bridesmaids dresses.  Unbelievable.  The communication problems that arise from them both having ADHD are generally compounding as you can see.  I'm so embarrassed.  So, my efforts to allay a fear that I had of making a faux pas were turned completely on their head and ended up causing the problem I intended to avoid.  I would have contacted her directly but we're not on the best of terms which, also makes this even worse. 


I've never had this specific

I've never had this specific problem but I feel your pain.  Communicating with my ADHD husband and with his family, who hate communicating about anything important, is so difficult!

holes in the world


Not to minimize your pain, but this story would qualify as one of the funny ones in our household, as examples of the "holes" in listening problem many ADHDers have.  We have had some with serious consequences, i.e., related to big money or children's safety, as opposed to embarrassing (which is also painful, I get that.)  I'm guessing that when you asked him to check on the dress color, you used the word match, as in you not wanting to match.  Let's say you said, I want to make sure my dress doesn't exactly match the bridesmaids dresses so could you check with your mom?"  and he could have heard ".....dress....match.....bridesmaids....mom".   This happens ALL THE TIME in my marriage.  Usually I remember, if the conversation is "important", to have him confirm back to me what he plans to do.  He does this without resentment because he's just as anxious as I am to avoid unnecessary problems.  Other times, it gets past me, and we have a good laugh if possible.  He's taken the wrong freeway while I was sleeping, moved money from one bank account to another, instead of the reverse which was required, bought me a red sweater when the request was "anything so long as it isn't red" .  :)  He heard "anything red".  The words not, never, except, and, do, don't, are especially susceptible to being dropped out.  In general, the longer the "story" preceding the request, the worse it is.  For example, if you hadn't talked at all about what your desires were, but just asked him to find out the color, and gave no reason.... he probably would have succeeded.  Does this suck for us?  Is it just not fair that we can't have "normal" conversations where we get to say everything that's on our minds, and wander around a bit getting to the point?  Damn straight. 

This doesn't go away... you both just learn to cope with it.  My best advice to everyone on every topic is always  -- stop resisting what is, and stop forcing what isn't.  That is the only way to peace.

BTW, maybe you're not yet planning a long-term relationship with your BF, but yeah, not being on good terms or at least "good enough" terms with his mother will make things extra hard.  Best wishes.

Reading this is such an eye

Reading this is such an eye opener I have conversations with my husband which he totally misunderstands and the next thing is he will swear blind I said the opposite, I really do appreciate learning about this facet of behaviour.

Keep it simple

Hi there,

Just remembering a friend who is a teacher talking about communicating with a young student with ADHD. She found that if she spent a long time explaining something, i.e., "You can't run down the stairs because this..and then...and what if..." it was just too much. She learned that if she kindly but firmly said, "Walk. Only walk," it worked so much better because he heard her. Kiss--keep it simple? 

I know it is a lot, but I agree with the others here--retraining, and saying, "Find out what color your sister's dress is?" will probably work better than more details. Think of it like a radio broadcast that keeps tuning in and out. I remember my STBX getting me a Christmas gift once. I had said, "Anything will be great as long as it is not orange." Lo and behold, the ugliest orange bag I have ever seen was given to me for Christmas that year. Poor guy. I am sure all he heard was, "orange." 

And one more thing--I had a tough time with my in-laws. Didn't understand them--very different than me culturally, to the point, blunt, even. I tend to talk around things and rely on gestures and emotional understanding. They are cut and dried and practical.

From the time we planned our wedding to having children to now negotiating our split--I relied upon my spouse to communicate with them for me because it was so tough. Throw his ADHD into the mix..we had a lot of misunderstandings. If there is any way you can do it, talk to your boyfriend's mom directly (I know it is hard--but even texts and emails can easily lead to miscommunications). Treat her politely and if she has ADHD, consider talking to her the way we are discussing. "Hey there, just checking. What color is ....'s dress?" Best to you. 

llc's picture

I think the gigantic

I think the gigantic "Bridezilla" micromanagement Of the GUEST'S apparel is more unbelievable than the MIL. Gah!