The challenges faced when married to someone with untreated Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can prove difficult to navigate.
The rest of the world may seem completely oblivious, as these challenges are camouflage to outsiders. No one seems to understand what you struggle with. Your spouse is such a “great guy” and may appear “together” to everyone else, on the outside but you’re aware that that’s just not true.
Being married to someone with untreated ADD is often fraught with a predictable progressive pattern that goes from happy to confused to angry, and finally, to hopeless. How does this happen and why is this so predictable in couples whose spouses have untreated ADD?
In the beginning of the courtship between you and your ADD spouse, you may have been completely swept off your feet or ravished with, both, attention and affection, while being the primary focus of your partner’s life. His “hyperfocus” on the relationship probably felt intoxicating and romantic. But, this feeling fades over time.
When someone with ADD enters into a new romantic relationship, the initial excitement feels so stimulating to the ADD brain (as it’s currently being flooded with adrenaline and endorphins) that it causes the person to completely turn their attention to you.
However, this kind of excitement diminishes over time, along with the adrenaline rush as the ADD spouse looks elsewhere for stimulation.
Of course, this is not conscious on his part, and he may not even be aware that this has happened. However, as time goes on, the non-ADD partner may experience the following:
1. You sense rejection.
Individuals with ADD may often be distracted and find it difficult to pay attention to their partner. In turn, you to feel neglected or interpret this distance as disinterest on behalf of your spouse.
2. And feel lonely …
If your partner constantly seems disinterested in what you’re saying or appears to ignore you, it would be easy to understand that one might feel lonely.
3. … and ignored.
Partners of individuals with ADD often get the feeling that all their good advice and suggestions are not taken to heart. This may cause the non-ADD partner to feel ignored, disrespected, or even offended.
4. You get frustrated …
The same kinds of problems keep presenting themselves over and over again. It’s difficult to understand how you can have discussions surrounding an issue, think your thoughts and feelings are being understood, and still the same problem persists.
5. … and angry.
Resentment and anger become pervasive when one feels disregarded, disrespected, ignored, and often alone in the relationship. Some spouses will become irate and scream at their partner, while others will shut down and block all emotions. This behavior will without a doubt leave a partner in the cold. Either way, one can see how this pattern becomes increasingly destructive.
6. You’re so tired of it all.
As the non-ADD spouse tries to compensate for the lack of equal sharing or follow through in responsibilities, you can often feel depleted. As if no amount of effort seems to resolve these same issues that continue to plague your marriage.
Due to the inconsistency in your spouse’s ability to follow through and remember to do things, the feelings of being burdened with more of your fair share of responsibilities can create more feelings of stress.
7. And feel it’s all hopeless.
When one’s best effort to resolve these problems go nowhere, the sense of sadness and lack of hope may pervade the relationship and lead to a separation or divorce.
There is hope. With understanding and knowledge, one can transcend these feelings and find a new way of being in the relationship. Learning all you can about ADD and how it affects your partner is vital. It is important to remember that even though your partner may no longer be hyperfocused on you and your relationship, that does not mean he does not still love you.
Since he probably isn’t even aware that your relationship has changed, he might not understand why you are always so angry and demanding. Your increasing frustration, anger and demands only further damage any chances of communication or intimacy, as your partner feels that he can never please you and that he is not enough.
There’s a possibility that he feels unloved. When both partners understand the way ADD symptoms are impacting your marriage, you ca avoid patterns of frustration and anger. You must learn different behaviors to heal these kinds of wounds through education, communication and counseling.