After years of writing about how ADHD affects relationships I am finally offering counsel for couples who want to apply my expertise to their marriage or relationship. Your situation can feel overwhelming and you are seeking help, but many of you say it’s hard to find someone who truly understands the complex dynamics of the ADHD-affected relationship.
Quite frankly, I’m doing this because there are just too many times when I read a post on this site and say to myself “Boy, if I could just work with this couple for a while…!”
I’m not a doctor, and am not offering medical services, but I can help you and your spouse get out of your rut. Finding the right balance that lets each partner accept responsibility for their actions without pinning blame on either one is an important part of how I help. Identifying what’s likely due to ADHD symptoms – or to a response to ADHD symptoms – is also a key strength. Then…what to do? My experience suggests that in order to succeed you will need an actionable “plan of attack” – and ways to measure your success as you move forward. We will craft that plan together.
To find out if working with me might be a good fit for you and your spouse, go to the counseling tab at the top of the page.
- MelissaOrlov's blog
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In person, over phone, via email?
Submitted by sapphyre on
It wasn't clear to me whether you offer this in a fixed location, or whether you will have flexibility to counsel via internet / phone.
Your service will help a lot of people.
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
I offer it both in the Boston area in person and by phone for anyone else. I'll update the page so that's clarified.
ADD and Marriage
Submitted by sassyfrass44 on
I could really use your counseling and advice as I am a woman with a family history of ADD. My father has it, I have it and my 18 year old son has it. We have all had it since childhood. Some of the issues I read for the spouses of an ADD person such as always paying the bills, the spouse comes home and sits in front of TV and/or computer,etc. is what my husband does to me and I am the ADD person. My spouse is not ADD but I am the one paying all the bills, handling all of the 504 plans at school, etc. This can be very overwhelming to the ADD person..ME. I get very bored with life and my marriage. I am constantly unhappy. I don't have the severe traits of an ADD person but at times, I can have bad days. I have taken Adderall in the past and am thinking of going back on it. I hold down a full time job as an Office Manager in a medical practice. I have also worked as an Office Manager in mental health offices so I have a larger grasp on ADD/ADHD than most people. I really need help with keeping my marriage from becoming my third disaster.
Submitted by Victoria on
I was reluctant to read any blogs to do with ADD, much less ADD in relationships but am really amazed at what I am reading from all of you, and so happy I did follow the link.
I immediately began writing, and there is so much about miine and my ex's situation, 3 hours have passed, so I am going to just write a little each night and will post it here another time because there is no way I have time to finish it.
But I literally want to jump through the computer screen and hug all of you, whether you have ADD/ADHD (I do and my ex does) or not, whether you are "worse" or not, because EVERYTHING you ALL have shared is simply UNCANNY; I am still stunned. Some of those posts are as if written by me or my ex, it is SUCH a new experience to hear other couples talk about these things I have goosebumps.
Wish I found a support group sooner, and these blogs and boards, maybe I could have processed my thinking differently, and not acted out in the ways I did.
I was willing to get couples therapy, my ex's suggestion first actually, esp. when I said if he left it was just over; guess he just wanted his to have his cake and eat it too.
He convinced we shouldn't be under the same roof so get ourselves better, and go for couples therapy as well, which I was excited for, and it was true we were in a horrible place.
After he left though, I was pregnant. And when he came back a few times, I asked him if thought we should look into the Couples Therapy (I had told him I would take care of all the late bills, the FIRST batch of rental arrears, which I did. I didn't want to fight anymore and to be petty, plus I had more money at the time then him).
However, those few times I saw him for 10 seconds, his answer was "not until these issues are cleared up, no we have the same problems, you didn't pay the Con Ed bill, then we can talk about Couples Therapy".
Besides having a misscarriage, the emotional wreck I was, and everything else, he went into a rage I didn't pay the Con Ed bill yet.
He didnt know what his checking account balance was until he was overdraft.
He would be in and out like a hurricane, and I would find halves of Adderrall that fell out of his pocket. He was even angrier and in this victim mode, while self-righteous at the same time
So not only wasn't he getting real help, he must've moved on to something/someone else, as his mind does easily, and used Couples Therapy to bait me to pay the last of our bills again.
He packed up all of his stuff and moved home with his parents (yes, I became the "bad guy" as many of you did). And he was a banker, a VP that made $200,000.00.
At the end he kept saying was there anything else he HAD to do (must've really victimed it up to Mommy who was so upset the night he happened to do laundry and she "had flashbacks of his ex-wife" who REALLY did nothing and broke him...he just wanted to go off into his head and only do something when he wanted to.
When I met him, his apt was a place in a state I had never seen. I don't care about messy, this was filth. Like a warehouse filled to the brim (a hoarder too) that hadn't been entered into in 50 years. No working light switchs.
If that were a restaurant or store, the Board of Health would have shut it down with a quickness and probably demolish the place; each time I went to clean stuff up, sometimes he liked to, then it started wearing thin because nothing ever got finished, another mess of unfinished projects would be all over, and I still couldn't unpack my suitcases.
He claimed we didn't do aything, but anytime we went anywhere he couldn't stand in a store for more than 5 mintutes and wanted to go home.
When I lost the desire to do anything because it seemed pointless, I also was screamed at that I never do anything.
I couldn't get a word in edge wise, he would go on rants for hours and repeat himself, ask me questions and not let me answer.
I became the blame for all of his misery, losses, anger - but it had been his ex-wife prior to me.
He just got sick of hearing me "nag" him (even after cheating on me, which I forgave him for lying about the first time - but I was lying to myself when I thought I could just forgive him again and again after each new lie came to light - and these weren't even the multiple times he lied about the cheating either!).
I started giving up and giving in and got very depressed, very angry, and started having bad panic attacks and a lot of anxiety.
I had suffered with anxiety and panic attacks before, which I told him. He always said he would make sure he got me help if that happened, b/c he knew my ex-husband (boyfriend and husband of 11 years) ignored me when I went through it the first time, got fed up, did nothing and that was a big reason we wound up getting divorced.
So, here "ADD ex" was though, doing what he preached he would never do, how could my ex-husband, he didn't care if I hated him at first, you guys know how it goes.
Low and behold, I found out he was planning on leaving for about a month already, behind my back and made me out to be the devil reincarnated to his Mother.
I saw his ex-wife's sister who was very nice, and she said his Mother is very emotionally unstable, and since they had no relationship and of course she wanted one, how easy for me to just be another girl that broke her sons heart, when I told my Parents the truth about BOTH of us abusing Adderrall eventually and what went on; he never told her the real truth.
A "couple of little birdies" told me he was telling her I was crazy and delusional, telling a couple of other people - the same thing you guys KNOW as well - to know I am not alone is wonderful.
My anger did go too far and if I said I forgave, I should have forgave. I was very confused. Nobody ever lied to me like that before, nor cheated on me, then tried to turn everything on me.
A woman older than his Mother who he did some work for , she got into real estate, was looking for a place for him even (she had nobody, so he was her cause, she was lonely and bitter though would never admit it; I never even met her except for a quick hello twice). I picked up his phone out of instinct something worse was going on and sure enough a gazillion text messages between the two of them, her telling him "Save YOURSELF and your sanity - she's crazy - take your good things and just go to your Mom's (I was planning on moving out and should have) - you can't plan around her. But I had been so jerked around by him, I changed life plans, gave up an apartment I was going to move into to move in with him, and was exhausted, so since I paid more thousands of money paying emotionally was enough and the worst, I said I wanted to stay. and then I screwed myself more....
BUT if you really want help you can get it; if you really want to change for the better, and stop lying to yourself and see that you can have REAL happiness, you can do it. It's not easy. It sucks. It's hard. I will never be perfect nor anyone, but the over-the-top behviour and things that can be so hurtful to others and to one's self don't have to continue or at least can abate.
And again, I was no better, in different ways though, I never cheated or lied (at the end I did to protect myself and try to figure out what his lies were - how sad).
I did get REAL therapy with a GREAT doctor, every day, then 2x a week, and am STILL in therapy once a week.
My ex lied about so many other things I never even asked about , he made up a lot of stories or exaggerated some.
He LOVED to hear himself talk, yes, and I understand now that it made him feel good about himself, gave him validation when he really had none left apparently, I know now.
And as a man, I can understand it his need to project a certain image and want to feel a certain way again are different than how I am as a woman; even at my worst, I didn't do the things he did, nor continue cirecting so much anger toward him which is what he complained about, so I eased off, bythe end I was really trying to get back to myself. He just perpetuated what he said was making him hate me.
I am not angry anymore. Still confused sometimes if I think about it which is less and less.
He felt important when he was discussing how he would go about something or he felt good I was generally interested in the things he taught me, some really cool and interesting stuff - very intelligent guy though, both of us are, and both very kind and generous to a fault - strange I know, but I will get into that; a lot of you touched on this and "get it".
Wish I got therapy for MYSELF (proper therapy), found a support group, and blogs/boards like these months sooner.
I really loved him, because I know he wants to be a good person deep down and he has shown it so many times.
BUT he is a pathological liar too often, and we never got to see what I believe therapy would have helped him with, and me, much sooner, and would not have had to suffer in the ways I did especially at the end, and he wouldn't still have a collection agency calling him for the rental arrears I rightly owe.
It is only a month now I feel half-alive even....
Iwill always be curious what couples therapy would have done.
But his pride is too great;he wants me to think he's awesome now, and since I owe money for the 2 months I stayed in that apartment by myself but couldnt pay, I'm the screw-up now...
And I'm sure that makes him feel good too. And validates the bs he said about me.
Which hurts me more to know he can also be so callous.
I guess, he just has two sides, and that bad one is really bad, and isn't ever going to go away;
It's odd too - with all the trash-talking he's done about me, this is the first time in months I've even talked about him negatively.
My whole family doesn't even talk about him, they just blew him off as an loser.
OK... structure! I have work to do...BUT your lives and sharing are amazing. Uncanny everyone's stories...
Curious, is anyone in Manhattan and going to the support group events there? I am going to tomorrow night, I think live and direct will be something incredible.
I will tell my story in entirety tho when I dont have so much work to do!
Take care - till then!
ADHD spouse and child
Submitted by nrparents on
I am looking for people to share ideas and support. My husband of 21 years was diagnosed with ADHD and Nonverbal Learning Disorder at age 40. He had a bad childhood in foster homes with neglect and abuse, the wicked stepmother, etc. so he has some trauma history too. My son is 13 and has ADHD but otherwise okay (cross fingers) as his childhood has been happy and as stable as I could make it.
I am ready to divorce my husband. He has not been a partner to me for years, physically or emotionally. 6 years ago he said he was tired of being criticized and withdrew but refuses to leave. He does however flirt with Chinese women online and get together with them for "language exchange." He wrote on his Facebook page he is interested in Women. He is acting single although he is married, and I have been like a single mother while working and commuting 2 hours a day.
My son is older and I don't want to take care of the adult child anymore but I don't know how to get him out. I feel trapped and imprisoned by a parasite who is sucking the life out of me. I do 90% of the chores at home, and when he does something he makes a big deal of it and remembers it, but it is usually inconsistent and always at his convenience. He takes meds, again, when he feels like it although I have begged him to take them regularly.
Now he is laid off and using that as one of his interminable excuses not to leave. He has made it clear he does not care for me, not celebrating my special days--ignored our 20 and 21st year anniversaries, said he is not going to make a big deal of my upcoming 50th, no Valentine's Day, etc. Says every year he would rather be with his "Chinese friends". Acts angry and cold on family outings, in front of my son, and does not participate in anything we enjoy.
He recently said he is waiting for my son to leave school--5 years away! I do not want him here 5 more months even.
Help, any advice?
Sunny1...Do what makes you
Submitted by Jeannie on
Sunny1...Do what makes you happy. Go celebrate your anniversaries on your own..treat yourself. Do what you want to do. Take a friend or member of the family with you. It is obvious that he doesn't care whether you are happy or not. This is a very destructive relationship to you. Do not worry about him. He will land on his feet. Do what you need to do to get on with your life, with or without him.
Counselor in Seattle Area?
Submitted by waterlily on
I am very thankful for this website. It's helped me tremendously. I think, however, I need to take it to the next level and find a marriage counselor who understands ADHD and I've been having a hard time finding one in the Seattle area. My ADHD husband of 18 years and I need to be able to sit in someone's office and work through all our issues - both his and mine. I'm weary and am at the end of the line and need help. I love him but some days I just want to walk away. I want to save my family for the sake of our wonderful children. If you have any suggestions for marriage counselors with an understanding of ADHD, I would be very grateful. Thank you in advance.