What changes have you (the nonADD spouse) made?

I often read on this forum, and sometimes feel myself, that the nonADD spouse has to make lots of changes to accommodate the ADD spouse.  In fact, I have read on numerous occasions, statements from the nonADD spouse that express frustration that they are making ALL the changes.

Well, this morning, my wife reverted to an old habit - she made a noise that I find really annoying, which she stopped doing months ago.  (I had told her it was a really "disgusting" noise, and she agreed, and she worked to change that habit.)

So this morning, when she made the noise, I said, kind of jokingly "I heard that."  And she responded, "Oh, sorry.  I'm not sure why I did that.  I don't do that anymore."

Then she posed a question to me: "Have you had to make any changes for ME?"

Now, I know I have, but I had trouble articulating what they are.  The best I could come up with at the moment was "I've had to change the way I talk and the way I ask for things."

I know there are other changes I have had to make as well, but I still am having trouble thinking what they are so that I can articulate them to my wife.

I think it's important to be able to tell her how I have changed, because I think she often feels like SHE is the only one who has had to change.  And I understand how she would feel that way, since I frequently point out things that she does or doesn't do that annoy me.

So, I am wondering if some of you nonADD spouses here might share about some of the changes you have made.

I also know that my wife has made lots of changes to accommodate me.  Some I see, and some I don't.  But when I am frustrated with my wife, I tend to forget that she has already made lots of changes and is still working to make others.

And she doesn't always have an easy time articulating them to me.

So, I was wondering if you ADD spouses would share some of the changes YOU have made.

I think if my wife and I realize that we BOTH are making changes, things wouldn't seem so unbalanced.

great idea


This is a fantastic idea for a thread!  Often I think we believe we are being very accommodating, but the adder doesn't realize unless we can articulate it. I am not married to ADD but one of my desires is to calmly express any disappointment or frustration I feel when my adder friend does something I consider insensitive. 

My personality has a tendency to speak while feeling the emotions.  I was very emotionally touched by one of Miss Behaven's posts I read yesterday.  She was writing about what happens when someone keeps asking the same question over and over in response to her replying "I don't know".  I had no idea that these kinds of conversations led to such overwhelm for many adders, and I do not want to hurt my friend by behaving this way.

I sometimes catch myself raising my voice or talking faster based on the emotional climate I have inside.  I then take a few deep breaths and slow down.  This will be a huge change for me to develop and I think good for both of us.


The biggest change I've had

The biggest change I've had to make is shouldering the responsibility for another human life that isn't my child.  It has quite honestly been like giving birth to a fully grown helpless baby.

Financial responsibility, emotional responsibility, making sure he wakes up when he is supposed to, cleaning up after his messes, replacing the items he ruins or destroys with his carelessness, sacrificing personal items of mine that he has ruined that I cannot replace, sacrificing the small luxuries I used to be able to afford before I had to support him, sacrificing my good credit, sacrificing vacations I can no longer afford, watching him waste my money on frivolous toys that are for his use only, sacrificing my peace of mind that I will ever be able to lead a normal life again...

I have had to change EVERYTHING about my life since I became involved with my ADHD spouse.  My burden of responsibility has probably tripled since I've met him, and I can count the number of times he has thanked me for any of it on one hand.  Mostly all he does is complain how I'm not as sweet as I used to be towards him.  I used to be a happy, easy-going, cheerful person.  Now I am crushed under a crippling burden of responsibility every single minute of every day. 

Miss Behaven's picture

Is this thread for spouses

Is this thread for spouses with ADD or nonADD spouses? I am unsure of your wording.

Any how changes I have made for my ADD spouse would include having to slow down. He is mainly Inattentive. So he operates much more slowly than I do, he walks slower, he talks slower, he needs more time to think about things. he is a sloooooow person.

Whereas he has had to try to speed up for my Hyperactive self. I often find myself sort of dragging him along, rush rush rush and he wants to stop and smell the roses.

As such we have had to compromise and find a kind of middle ground. He slows me down when I am rushing for me good reason and I speed him up when we are in a real hurry.

Hubby has had to learn to be more direct. He is the absent minded professor who can go off on long tangents than ramble off topic easily. I've learned to gently redirect him back on topic and he tries to get to the point faster when its something important.

I have also learned to just let him run on and on sometimes because it matters to him and it is one of the ways he come sup with his brilliant ideas. He is a philosophy professor he needs to let him mind wander at times, its part of the job.

"he is a sloooooow

"he is a sloooooow person."

"I often find myself sort of dragging him along, rush rush rush and he wants to stop and smell the roses."

"I am rushing for me good reason and I speed him up when we are in a real hurry."


I found myself laughing while reading your post, because it would seem you are just like me & mine :)

We are the same type of couple and he has told me in the past that he thinks at a much slower rate than I do (which could be good and bad on different occasions) we too have to do compromising along the way. 

I've learned something helpful from reading your post, that perhaps my fiance & I are a good 'balance' for one another in this regards...being that I'm the 'fast' that he naturally wouldn't be otherwise and he's the 'slow down' that I would probably not get much of if I hadn't met him...


Changes I have made

I am so glad I have found this forum. I have been with my husband 35 years and it has been a roller coaster.He is a kind, witty and loving man who is also very intelligent but has also changed jobs numerous times, had 3 DUIs, we filed for bankruptcy 5 years ago, I could go on and on. I have always worked and I know I can support myself-BUT I love him. At one point I was going to divorce him and we are still working it out. The biggest thing I have done for myself is realize I can walk away, it would be terrible but I am confident that I would survive and so will he.We have 2 teenage kids that are crazy about their Dad and I really do want to make this work, I have to laugh-so many of these blog entries could belong to me!Having a sense of humor really helps and taking separate trips with girlfriends help also.I just ordered the new book because a close friend saw this on the Today show and told me I must buy it.It helps to know that there are so many of us out there.

sapphyre's picture

Positive changes

Positive changes I have made/am making for the benefit of our relationship and family (I am the non-ADD spouse, or the undiagnosed, milder ADD-spouse, haven't decided yet)

  • Learning to listen, really listen.
  • Understanding that I cannot make another person do anything or change another person.
  • Communicating assertively rather than passively or aggressively, as these don't work at all. (I started assertive... didn't seem to work so tried the others, they didn't work either, but at least we all feel better about ourselves and others with assertive communication.)
  • Settling for disorder in lesser things for the sake of order in greater things. (From the GROW Blue book.)
  • Prioritising. I can't do everything, and he can't do much. It wears me down to try. So some things just don't get done.
  • Work less hours (from 40h/wk to 35h/wk) so I am less stressed.
  • Planning each week on Sunday night and putting it on a calendar page on the fridge. No one else seems to look at it, but it helps me know what's coming up.
  • Nurturing and caring for myself.
  • Setting a new household rule that yelling is to be saved for emergencies.

I still get low feelings. If I didn't have a Carer Support Group to go to twice a month, and day trips, etc. I don't think I could do this.