“…Finally, some men blamed their wives’ personalities. A San Diego dad said his wife did more because she was so uptight. “She wakes up on a Saturday morning and has a list. I don’t keep lists. I think there’s a belief that if she’s not going to do it, then it won’t get done.” His wife agreed that this was true, but emphasized that her belief was based on experience: “We fell into this easy pattern where he learned to be oblivious and I learned to resent him.”
I thought this article in the NYTimes was interesting – about how our society places an expectation on couples that suggests that women should do more around the house and men take advantage of this and don’t step up – feeling they shouldn’t really have to.
What I love about this quote is the woman’s “We fell into this easy pattern…” There’s nothing at all “easy” about this pattern – for either partner. Who wants resentment and negative feelings bubbling around the relationship all the time?
If you are in a heterosexual relationship, you may have this same pattern in your life – woman does more chores than she wants to and feels resentful. Husband dislikes the resentment, and blames wife for being angry. Or, another version in ADHD-impacted relationships. The non-ADHD partner does more than wanted, and feels resentful, etc etc.
If you do, it’s time to name the elephant in the room and bring these feelings out into the open in a constructive way.
Marriage research suggests that relationships are more likely to be healthy and happy if the woman in the relationship feels that chores are ‘well enough’ distributed. That does NOT mean equal. That means ‘well enough.’ Figure out what that looks like to both of you (and particularly to the woman!) and then make it happen.
In my couples seminar I suggest that couples take a baseline of who does what, discuss what each person wants to do (both based upon skill and how easy it is for them) and then set a plan for how to stay in touch around tasks and responsibilities without any parent-child dynamics in the mix. You can do this, too. I can teach you how as part of my seminar, or you can do it on your own. (There are more subtleties to it, but this is the simplified version and a good start.)
If you are struggling with task distribution and completion, please start this process. There’s nothing easy at all about this dynamic, and even with ADHD in your relationship there are lots of ways to improve how you both feel about when and how things get done…and who does them.
Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life! Find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals.
Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The live session starts Fall, 2020.