This Thing Needs Your Attention

ADHD & Marriage News - July 5, 2023

Quote of the Week

“There are lots of things you promise to do that you don’t follow through on that I don’t mind, it’s fine. You come to bed later, ok. 

But there are some things that I really, genuinely do care about that I find disturbing and that really impact my ability to trust you. I want some way to bring those things to your attention. I want you to have some system in place so that when I do bring one of those things to your attention, you can follow through on it.”

-Melissa, in a support group, modeling how to talk to a partner about creating a communication system that helps separate out the ‘must pay attention’ issues from others.

This Thing Needs Your Attention

There are things you might wish your partner would do – such as come to bed with you – that they may not choose to do.  That’s their right as a separate individual from you.  But there are some things that they may be choosing to do that are genuinely hurtful to you or the relationship (vs. annoying).  You know what those things are for you, but some things in that might fit that category:

  • Be volatile and rage at intervals
  • Regularly get drunk and become mean
  • Stay out overnight without warning
  • Have a habit of lying

You can’t control whether your partner continues to do these things, because you aren’t in charge of their actions.  But you do want to make sure that they fully understand the depth of your feelings about their choice, and the potential consequences if they don’t take your feelings into account.  If this is a dealbreaker for you, they need to know it.

So…having a way to say ‘this is special…I need your full attention to this particular matter’ is important.

One woman did this by placing her hand upon her husband’s heart to signal “this is coming from my heart.”  Another prefaced her words with “What I’m about to say is important at a deep, emotional level for me.  I need your full attention to describe my feelings and issues.  Please try to stay open as I do.”

What is your way of highlighting a truly important request?


➤ Read more on this topic: My ADHD Partner Barely Notices Me at Bedtime - 8 Ways to Get the Attention You Want 

Resources For those in relationships impacted by ADHD


ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - Is your relationship in trouble? My highly acclaimed 9-session Zoom seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The next live seminar will be in Fall 2023. Dates will be posted in late August, '23.

Need support now? ➤ REGISTER for the Self-Study Seminar - Available to start now / 1 year access / Move at your own pace / Includes materials & recordings from the Spring '23 live seminar.

Non ADHD Partner Support Group and ADHD New Habit Coaching Group - Be part of a community exploring similar issues, successes and struggles and find new, effective ways to be your best self in your relationship.

If you wish to be notified about future live seminars or Non-ADHD support groups, please add your name to the notification list.


How to Optimize Treatment for Adult ADHD

Downloadable chapters of my books;

A community forum with other couples facing similar issues;

A large number of blog posts on various topics;




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© 2023 Melissa Orlov