Should people with adhd stay single for life?

I'm not sure if I should be posting here because a.  I'm diagnosed with dyspraxia and 'attention disorder', not adhd and

                                                                             b. I'm not married.

I've had such severe problems throughout my life I've avoided relationships for most of it because as far as I'm concerned if you love someone you want to make them happy.  My feelings don't matter, that person's feelings do.  I have very poor coordination and sequencing abilities and that alone has given me extreme difficulties holding down a job.  I mess up trying to use a photocopier, I can't carry cups and glasses without breaking them or spilling their contents, do everything literally ten times slower than everyone else and that's with attention/ organisational problems and physical symptoms combined.  I've lasted a matter of days before, or just a day and that's sometimes when I've worked hours without stopping and been in physical pain by the end of it.  I'm training to do a job that has to be done slowly now and can be done on a self-employed basis.  I will manage if I have to die trying.

I get up at 6 every day and try to clean the house as quickly as possible.  I want to be good enough for marriage.  I budget every week, listing off all expenses I can think of.  I'd love there to be someone who would pull me up and say when I'm going wrong.  I want to make someone happy and would rather be dead than ruin the life of someone I love.  Surely that wouldn't be love at all!  I'm almost thirty-three, female and not getting any younger and would love to have children.  Dyspraxia is exhausting and my energy is going to get less and less, learning to be reliable and organised enough because of add symptoms isn't going to get easier but I have a need to love like anyone else.  I want to be allowed to get married and know happiness is possible.  Friends say I'm the kindest person they know and if anything a bit of a pushover in my eagerness to please.  Reading the posts on this site make me cry so hard, I could never hurt someone like that.  I want to make my partner feel safe and appreciated.  Otherwise there's no point in living. What can I do to be a good wife?  There absolutely must be an answer.  Rather selfishly I've started dating.  Do you think I should?




From my view point, if you

From my view point, if you are able to take care of yourself, then do so. If you want a relationship so others can take care of you (like most people with ADD) then you are just going to hurt them.

There are no clear answers.

Enough, you're right.  The

Enough, you're right.  The problem is, sometimes I don't know whether I look after myself well enough or not without anyone there to tell me.  Obviously I'm not able to provide for myself financially and so as far as I'm concerned I'm not able to, even though I think things are manageable at home.  I met someone (now sadly passed away) who was married for years and was always the housewife and mother.  She had dyspraxia, dyslexia and ADHD all in one and couldn't keep a job.  That might have all been very well twenty years ago but these days you can't get by on one income and I couldn't burden anyone or make them poor.  Personally I've never even been able to work a cash register without making mistakes, the motor sequencing never becomes automatic.  So I've decided to stay single for life.  It's cruel and hateful for anyone with a condition like this to do otherwise, simple as that.  I had a conversation with friends today about this and  one of them said 'but it's not natural to be single and celibate for life, not how we're designed', also that you need to take risks in life to learn (I'm not hyperactive so not much of a risk taker) but I just don't see how you can risk causing loneliness and  despair and live with yourself.  I just can't see why anyone could, why do you think they do?

ebb and flow's picture

My answer: Yes you should date!

I would say everybody deserves to love and feel loved... whatever the disorder.

There's someone out there for everyone!

In relationships (what I've learned so far) you have to be willing to pull your own weight... then *actually* pull your own weight. Own up to your mistakes and try to be the best person you can be for the other person. Another important thing is to trust your partner and to be able to have enough introspection to know when something needs to change or be changed. Then there's communication and honesty...

Nobody is the perfect person when it comes to relationships... We're all just out there trying to do our best, really.

But, definitely EVERYBODY deserves to love and be loved. To ask if you deserve to be loved or in a relationship is kind of ridiculous. (No offense!!) ;P

Just go out there and try it. There's nothing "selfish" about it! :)

You see, it's nothing to do

You see, it's nothing to do with deserving.  I'm a good person inside who deserves love like anyone else- and secure about it most of the time too.  But sometimes you just have to do without what you deserve because life isn't fair and there are other people that  have needs too.  I'm willing to pull my weight, in fact the presence of a partner in my life makes me lots more motivated however it more than likely won't be enough and that person will end up feeling unsafe and unloved.  I forgot to buy my cat food today for what must be the hundreth time.  Until I can look after a cat don't tell me I can put another human being at my mercy.  No one with an ounce of compassion would do that.

ebb and flow's picture

"I'm willing to pull my

"I'm willing to pull my weight, in fact the presence of a partner in my life makes me lots more motivated however it more than likely won't be enough and that person will end up feeling unsafe and unloved."

Are you seeing a therapist? On meds? Dealing with a coach?

These are just a few ways you can learn the skills required to "pull your own weight" in a relationship. I think its totally possible to learn ways to 'remember to buy the cat's food' and other important skills needed day to day (if you want to). Then once you have those skills and feel more confident about relationships I would think the only way to know if you'll succeed is by trying it out. :/

"Until I can look after a cat don't tell me I can put another human being at my mercy."

You know yourself better than anyone else! If you feel that not being able to remember to buy cat food = not being ready to take care of/be in love with another person, then so be it. It's ok to not feel ready! Maybe it's something you can work towards because it seems like you have a strong enough desire to be in a relationship, etc. Maybe you can use this 'strong desire/fear of hurting others by not being responsible enough' to motivate you to get some stuff in order. Ie- Therapy, or a coach.

We all should work on our own issues before committing to another person, really. All of us bring some sort of baggage into relationships because none of us are perfect or have never been hurt! It's what we do with this baggage and how much responsibility we're willing to take in making it better that makes all the difference.

That's just my opinion... :)

Thanks Ebb and Flow that was

Thanks Ebb and Flow that was helpful advice, I apologize for sounding a little abrupt earlier.  People say when I beat myself up it sounds like I'm having a go at them!  I used to have counselling when there was enough money, but have mostly used the UK National Health Service.  I've now found a 12 step group near home and am going to that next week. 

I had about six weeks of OT and physio as a child, then about 6 years ago went to see the doctor who passed me on to a psychiatrist who basically swept everything to one side and said there was nothing wrong with me.  Then there was a neuro- psychologist and another 6 weeks of very useful OT and physio but after that they discharged me.  They diagnosed me back then but I didn't know it was ADD as well as dyspraxia till I asked for the records last year!  They just didn't bother to say anything.

I've asked about medication four times and was told it wasn't suitable.  I think that's just the opinion of some specialists who are very against meds, it's difficult to fight for help on your own when no one's pushing you to only to be told by doctors that you shouldn't have treatment!  These drugs are frightening but I may need them.  But there are two NHS clinics for adhd in Britain, one of them here in London so I'm going ask the doctor for a referral.  They'd know more about medication.

Excuse my ramblings, I realise this is a site about marriage so wasn't sure if anyone would answer at all.  Thanks

ebb and flow's picture

I know it's hard to find good

I know it's hard to find good help... My partner (ADD) and I are at a loss most times in our search.

The point is that it is important to keep searching! Don't give up because of a couple of doctors who tell you "it's nothing" especially if you feel the way you described above. You need to find someone, a therapist or a doctor, who'd be willing to work with you and work with your feelings. (fears, etc)

We actually have to travel an hour and 45 mins each time we want to see our therapist (and that's one way). It's a half day endeavour for the two of us... It's really tricky because there's NOTHING in our small city! His doctor doesn't have the best bed side manner so that really puts my ADD partner off and makes him clam up when having to ask the guy anything... Not very good at all! I have to keep encouraging him that his questions are valid and not stupid and to just *try* and ask his doc... It's sad, really.

Anyway, my point is, DON'T GIVE UP ON GETTING HELP! It's important for all of us, ADD or not....


It sounds like you have a lot of self awareness and are tuned into helping yourself... That's great! I think a lot of us non's here wish our ADD partners would be half as responsible for their own health and well being as you've shown above. Just don't let it eat up your life!


There are so many tools at

There are so many tools at your disposal to help you with things like this...planners, post-it notes, cell phone reminders, etc.

I don't think ADHD means that anyone should spend their lives alone no more than diabetes or high blood pressure. What worries me is that you are convinced that you just aren't meant for relationships...and until you put in some hard work and manage your life better...and change your are probably right. It isn't your ADHD specifically that is making you feel is your attitude that it makes you incompatible with the entire human race that is holding you back. You, it seems, are your own worst enemy. I hope you can get some help soon and start to develop a much more positive attitude about yourself.

I agree with Sherri

Also, you make it sound like you'd be completely responsible for the other person in a relationship. In a good relationship, the partners take care of each other. You each find your strengths and weaknesses and see if you can round each other out. If you are forgetful, your partner might be super-organized. I'm sure there are things you can do very well to add to a relationship; it certainly sounds like you are kind and loving, and that's a lot.

Update, I've been to the

Update, I've been to the doctor who referred me to a psychologist for depression.  The thing is I've got adhd which he seems to ignore!  All the doctors I've seen so far have been against medication but I'm not convinced it's such a bad thing.  I printed out the national guidelines on ADHD that say I should be referred to an adhd specialist so he can see.  I was ringing the surgery all morning but couldn't get through, then when I finally did they were fully booked.  On Monday I should get an appointment though.  I'll have to follow it up with a phone call in a week's time to make sure something is being done.  I know I'm not doing any of this quickly enough so I've got to pick up speed, after all when you finally are referred you can be on the waiting list for months.

I realise there are strategies that can help you live with this condition, but I don't just have adhd.  A few months ago I tried a job cleaning toilets and lasted two days because I just couldn't do it quickly enough, even without taking any breaks.  Wherever I've worked I've  been told my performance is a joke, everything can literally take up to ten times as long.  It's dyspraxia (motor co-ordination problems) that cause a lot of the difficulty.  I have trouble with the most simple sequential tasks such as using a photocopier or cash register and was once able to have a few sessions of occupational therapy normally offered to people with brain injuries, which is apparently what my condition is like.  I'd do anything to improve, anything at all. 

I will manage a job if I have to die trying, but should I remain single in the mean time, even if someone wonderful comes along?  I could be trying and failing to work for years, and it's so much more worth trying for someone else.  I don't want to be forced to live a loveless life, I want to be a good wife, that's all.  Surely living alone till you're forty isn't the best way to achieve that, surely it's a set of skills that need to be honed and practiced.  But have I got what it takes?  One thing on this site that really hurts me is when someone says they aren't attracted to their spouse anymore because they can't earn a stable living.  I've spent years alone feeling ugly and unattractive because of my condition and was just beginning to gain some self esteem.  Now I'm not sure if I am good enough. 

I live according to a timetable with housework, college work and chores written on it.  I have a budget book and write down every penny I spend, even if it's for a chocolate bar.  I never want anyone to have to do these things for me.  But if I still can't hold down a job, is there any hope?  I just want to make someone happy.

fuzzylogic72's picture


Ebb and Flow, we MUST have been twins in a past life. When I read your posts, it's almost as if I wrote them myself. I admire your optimism.

Oh dear, another drama.  I

Oh dear, another drama.  I was so happy up until last night, then I lost my phone.  It's the third phone in 3 months, the first two got dropped and damaged but this is unbearable.  I have two questions:

Yes, reminders and  timetables work day to day but does anyone have any effective methods of remembering to take your things with you?  I'm just out to get some string to tie the spare phone to my handbag in the style of mittens on string.  I've always chained my keys to my bag that way and haven't lost them for about three years so hopefully it'll work but what about objects you can't tie to yourself?  I'm trying to remind myself every time I need to pick something up but to be honest it's not reliable enough.  Maybe developing an ritualised obsession- checking my handbag for everything exactly three times will help.  I had some OCD-like symptoms as a teenager, maybe I could deliberately cultivate them in this case.

The second question is when you've forgotten something and you're sad and angry at the very spitefulness of your own memory, what is an acceptable way of expressing it without hurting the people it affects even further? Is going off to cry a good idea? Here I'm particularly asking non-adhd spouses because it helps to have some idea how things are from your point of view.  I feel like I've got to cope with these things better because my reaction to failure is an issue in itself, tending to get angry, shout, talk and obsess over it.  I don't want to wear everyone down with my problems any longer.

Just had a call, my phone has been found.  Now everyone relying on me to give treatments/ clean etc can call me.  Phew, now 've just got to try and make sure it doesn't happen again.

First can I start with what

First can I start with what is NoT a cool way to express upset? Screaming, cursing, and physical expression (slamming things, punching the wall) are not cool, especially when those around you have NO IDEA what you are reacting to. Giving some "warning" or one line explanation ("wow Im really uspet because I lost my phone again!") would help us know what is going on and reduce the eggshell quality of the relationship. Then yes, if you need to go and have a good cry (as we all do sometimes), then do it! Expession of ypur feelings in a healthy way is absolurely imperative for your/everyone's mental health!