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Married to ADD

Updated on July 19, 2012
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is an experienced writer with nearly a decade of writing experience and degrees in accounting, history and creative writing.

A Sign of Things Unseen

He’s so happy go lucky. Goes with the flow. Always lands on his feet. Doesn’t fret and worry about what could happen or what is not in his control. What enviable qualities! Until I was married to him for 15 years and realized that these were symptoms of problems much, much deeper. My husband has attention deficit disorder. Not so enviable!!!!!

So what that he forgets that I had plans tonight when he told someone that we would go out. So what that the bill he was supposed to pay is now at a collection agency. He takes it all in stride and somehow gets it worked out. As we grew older and responsibilities grew with us, the “problem” became more evident.

That's when I began to think that he was maybe falling out of love with me. After all it was evident that I wasn't that important in his life. He rarely remembered what was going on in my life. Everything seemed to revolve around him and his schedule. Didn't I exist anymore? Maybe this was what married life was supposed to turn into after awhile. Afterall, my father was a lot like this. But there was more to it that than....

Many job positions, bankruptcy, and three children later I noticed that there was something here that needed investigating. Real investigation. Not that fluffy read one article or hear one ad on TV and run with it. Real true get in there and push things around and chew on it kind of exploration. I had to do this. Our family life was getting more and more chaotic. He seemed to have this need to create chaos if it wasn't already there. And my children were beginning to be his little mini me's!!!! This had to stop now!

Finally my son's behavior became way too much. We went to his school for help and were directed to a counselor for him. Surprise! He is ADHD. A friend of ours have three children that are also ADHD as well as herself. We got to talking and she looked right at my husband and said that he was obviously ADHD. Because of my son, she loaned me several books on the subject. I am so grateful for this. I felt like for the first time I was getting a rope thrown out to me in this storm I called life.

The more I read the more I swear that the authors lived with us. I even looked for the hidden cameras and microphones everywhere in the house. They knew us so well: always loosing things, never on time, never remembering what they were just doing or what you were saying, super-focused on what was in front of them (if they loved it), on the move, never keeping promises, constantly changing jobs, never completing a task they set out to do, and on and on. We might just have to take back the labels we gave them: lazy, unambitious, uncaring, scatterbrained (I'd continue but I think you get the idea).

I finally got him to read one of the easier books and he kept saying out loud, "O, my. That's me. I do that." I'm just nodding my head. It got his attention.

He spoke to his family doctor because of a problem not sleeping. He was referred to a phsychologist who had barely met with him five minutes and said that there was no doubt that he was ADHD. What a sigh of relief. Now what does all that mean?

More investigation and re-learning.

To Describe My Life

If I had to describe my life......

Well, I would say that I met this wonderful man and decided to continue the rest of life's journey with him. By doing so, I placed that golden rope of marriage around my waist and began walking side by side with him.

I just now realized that he is a few steps ahead of me. That's okay. We're still commenting on the same flowers, the same trees, the same stars. We're still together.

Now, the rope has a slight pull to it. He's beginning to direct the paths we go down. He has already seen that bird on the tree and has moved on to looking at the stream that is not in my sight yet.

After awhile, our slow stroll has become a near sprint. I cannot keep up. Then I begin to notice that parts of necessary life are beginning to fall along the way. I reach out to collect them. At first it is alright until the pace picks up. Now, I'm missing more things than I'm getting.

Hello!!! I'm back here! I need to breathe. I need to see what you see. Tell me next time that there is a rock in the road that you missed and I didn't. Tell me that you turning right or left. COMMUNICATE!

Back in "School"

Obviously, I was on my own on trying to learn about this. At least for now.

I was reading those books my friend gave me like there was no tomorrow. I re-read. I searched the Internet. I camped out at the library.

I now have all this knowledge. What do I do with it? OK, I know that he needs to do certain things to help but doesn't he have to be a willing participant?

Even though he was beginning to seek help, it seemed that any time I suggested something to help or a method of organizing our lives that could help he blew it off or got upset with me. I was still looked as a nagging wife who was trying to control his life. Not only were we going back to "school" for him. We were doing it for me, too. I had become someone that I wasn't. I had become controlling,but only because I had to to keep the family organized and together, to keep us from being homeless, to keep us from losing all our friends. I was turning into someone I did not recognize.

One of the first things was for him to realize that most of my actions were a reaction to him and trying to save us. I wanted to give up things, but could I really without dire consequences. Right now the answer is no. But would I do it next year? By all means, YES!!!!!

We were to know get into all the tools that were available and how to use them effectively. The psychologist warned both of us that it took years to get to this point, and it was not going to correct itself in a matter of weeks or maybe even months. We were looking a long and very promising journey.


Well today so much has changed.

He still forgets that I have plans. He still misplaces anything that he touches. He still doesn't complete large projects. So what has changed?

I'm not the nagging wife anymore. I'm not just out to criticize or find his faults. He realizes that there are not unrealistic demands on him. He has begun to acknowledge the issue and can now begin to breathe. Things don't seem so overwhelming anymore. We're back to being a team. He wants to improve and strengthen our marriage. And above all he has begun to set an example to his children who are beginning to improve also.

If any reader sees themselves in this, please do some research. I don't want to imply that if have any one of these characteristics that you have ADHD (because as humans we can over-react to diagnoses). But why go through life causing strains on our relationships and hurting ourselves as well as those around us when just a few behavioural training tips could make a world a difference? Check it out.

When it comes to adults, please be aware that there is not that much out there about adult ADD. There is more being discovered every day, but the focus is still on children. Some of those children have already grown up and if the need was not met as a child then adulthood is very difficult. Start with your family practitioner. Talk to your child's counselor (that's where we started). You never know where help will be discovered. Just don't wait till your marriage is over or relationships are beyond repair.

Symptoms of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder

The symptoms of ADD in adults are numerous. Just be careful not to assume that if someone has a couple of these that they are ADD. It could be many other issues that are at hand. These symptoms are a guideline. If you or someone you know have the majority of these symptoms please talk to your doctor about the next steps in getting a handle on it.

  • Cannot seem to have any organization
  • Seems to lack self-control
  • Easily distracted
  • Periods of hyperfocus
  • Cannot prioritize
  • Never seems to be able to finish any task started
  • Procrastinates about everything
  • Addictive personality
  • Acts impulsively in every area of their life
  • Easily bored

ADD Resources

Here are a few sites to explain ADD in more detail and give direction on what to do if you might have it.

Adult ADD info

Adult Attention Deficit Disorder: Diganosis, Coping and Mastery

One ADD Place

Psych Central - ADD Test


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    • profile image

      smyl 5 years ago

      My husband has ADHD and self-medicates. I've had similar problems as everyone else has said: the lack of responsiblilty, the lack of help, the unreliablity, the addictions (marijuana, alcohol, cigarettes) etc. I know he loves me, but he just doesn't get how difficult it is to be with him and doesn't accept responsiblity for his problems. I don't know how much longer I can take it. However, my daughter has ADD, too. What does it say to her if I can't deal with her father's symptoms? What will she internalize about that?

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks everyone for stopping by. I've met more adults with ADD lately. My husband's therapy is doing him wonders.

    • profile image

      Jo-anne 8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing. It's been one of those days. My husband was in shock and disbelief because of the outcome of a traffic incident in which he represented himself in court did not rule in his favor. I was not surprised by this because as he often does he left his preparation for court till the last minute.

      It really would have been much better for him to have just made the insurance company aware this he did not realize he had grazed a car parked beside and left it at that.

      Today in discussion regarding our taxes and finances which he wasn't willing to discuss a month ago, he said we should do some planning... Apparently some of the tax shelters I allowed him to handle, may not be acceptable to the CRA... who'd have thunk!

      I am tired and as we carried on in our discussion about lack of support I have been feeling and we talked about what was happening and has happened I said outloud, do you think you might have ADD.

      I am a nurse and have worked in a number of areas and presently work with addicted youth many who have ADD, ADHD, and suddenly I see my husband of 3yrs partner for 5yrs and I am flabbergasted.

      In sickness and health. He also has cancer. It is manageable and he has had 2yrs at a time of remission. He also has heart disease and has had bypass surgery. I am tired.

      This is a challenge for me. I work at acceptance and try to live one day at a time. It's hard. The house is always a mess and it is hard to rest. But he has one thing going for him, I love that guy, because he loves me.

      I usually teach families and staff that in order to change the behavior of others , it is we who need to change our behaviors in order to affect the change we want to see. It's tough but it is forcing me to re-assert myself after years fo working at relinquishing control and learning to let some things unfold. I guess my struggle is balancing this. I have to take care of myself because he will really need me when the chemo doesn't hold him anymore. I will pop back here from time to time to read your words of inspiration.

    • The Real Tomato profile image

      The Real Tomato 8 years ago

      My husband has ADD. This is the first article online that I have ever seen where a wife has spoken about the experience. I enjoyed your writing and it is good to know I am not the only one biting my tongue.

    • megamass profile image

      megamass 8 years ago from Portugal

      Hello RGraf.

      I did not know this disorder, ie, did not know the form of ADD, but I know the symptoms but your HubPages gave me the information needed to better understand the Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.

      About Symptoms of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, I have to say is that many of the symptoms we have had from time to time the problem is in their frequency and depth. Thanks for the information, good and strong content.