“Instead of listening to their partner‘s (complaints around tasks left undone), digesting the information and caring about why they feel bad, I’ve found that guys invest their energy in one of three ways. They dispute the facts of the story their partner just told; agree with the facts, but believe their partner is overreacting; or defend their actions by explaining why they did it. In all three cases, his partner’s feelings are invalid.”
- from NYTimes “The Man Who Coaches Husbands on How to Avoid Divorce” written by Jancee Dunn
How Men Can Avoid Divorce
I laughed with recognition when I read this. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this very thing play out for couples.
Laughter aside, though, it’s a serious issue. Because the invalidation that these responses represent lead to a huge amount of frustration. And to the (usually female) partner feeling unseen and unheard, building to resentment about not being taken seriously.
Matthew Fray, the author of the book being reviewed above, goes on to ask these questions…’What do you think this issue looks like from your wife’s perspective? What are some ways to be proactive with family logistics, such as meals?...how can you pitch in without being asked? The sexiest thing a man can say to his partner is “I got this.”’
“I got this.” Wouldn’t you men like to be able to say that? To see the appreciation in your wife’s eyes? Hear a ‘thanks for helping’? One of the best ways to overcome resentment is to be there, saying “I got this.”
That can be challenging with ADHD – but one of the best reasons to optimize ADHD treatment is so that you can reliably notice and attend to your joint needs. To nurture your connection rather than invalidate.
Next time, listen with an open heart to your partner’s complaints about being saddled with too much of the burden of responsibility in your household. If Fray is right, you might just save yourself a divorce.
For more on optimizing treatment for adult ADHD, download my free treatment e-book from my home page.
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