Here’s the deal.
Even the nicest person will find their marriage in need of some tweaking if they aren’t giving it the attention it requires. When ADHD is involved, a marriage is just like a plant: You have to water an ADHD marriage to make it grow. True with any marriage, but so important when lack of focus can be an easy roadblock.
If you don’t, the leaves begin to wilt.
Maybe you’re in this situation right now, wondering how you went from a spouse in love to feeling like a roommate with resentment. ADHD symptoms leave a person feeling overwhelmed and bogged down, and procrastination eventually takes over, leading to avoidance.
The dreaded avoidance tactic: They know they need to pay bills, they know they need to finish that project for work, they know they need to start making you feel more important, but it becomes a ginormous to-do list and they don’t know where to start. It’s a list that seems impossible to tackle.
So they do nothing.
Meanwhile, resentment grows for the non-ADHD spouse. A natural reaction, because you’re feeling ignored. Isolated. Misunderstood. In my situation, I recall feeling similar emotions all while refusing to make the first move because he was the one who had ‘checked out.’ I tried not so subtle hints, knowing he didn’t pick up on those, even writing him letters on different occasions to avoid any confrontation. He always agreed that we needed to have more date nights, more communication, more talks at night. We were on the same page, just didn’t know how to get there. At this time, neither of us knew he was living with ADHD, so my resentment grew out of the assumption that he just didn’t want to be closer.
And for years, nothing changed.
First glimpse of hope? A diagnosis. Learning of his ADHD struggles (literally on a daily basis), we had an answer to the WHY. But, like many others, you then begin to ask yourself about HOW. How do you find relief? How do you learn different behaviors that will make an impact on your relationships? HOW?
For some, medication is a start. Yet, medication only provides one (very useful!) tool to help with focus and the ability to get things done and impulsivity. It is not a complete solution in your journey with ADHD. (Sure would be nice, right?) You have to create a toolbox of several methods. Once my husband and I began implementing mindful tactics, we noticed change.
It’s like I had this whole other life out there, but was living in a cocoon of ADHD and anxiety. ~My husband
Couples have to rewire their brains (both the ADHD and non-ADHD spouse) in order to create self-awareness. Instead of walking in the door exhausted from a long day’s work, and sifting through the mail making no eye contact as you mumble hello to your spouse, try being mindful in your actions. Put the mail aside. Make it a point to ask your spouse about their day, share a story about yours, etc. My husband not only began doing this, he began doing the same with our kids, asking about their grades or striking up conversations about sports or their school friends.
They craved it.
Being mindful in an ADHD marriage is a gradual way to break down the barriers. One spouse feels ignored, the other is likely tired of the constant nagging and finger-pointing.
End it, it’s not impossible! You have to emotionally reconnect and bring back the love. Remember, You’re on the SAME team.
Try some of the mindful steps below and give your plant some attention. Water your ADHD marriage and make it grow!
Pick your battles
Yes, they leave their shoes on the floor and you trip on them daily. In the grand scheme of things, not a huge deal. I’ve learned to put the shoes away and carry on. Hey, I have my own flaws and he graciously does the same.
Look for the good
When you’re resentful, it’s easy to notice what a spouse isn’t doing right. What about the things they are doing well? Hearing it from you builds their self-esteem and draws you closer. Start looking for the good.
Step outside your comfort zone
Not everyone is dripping in romance, but it also isn’t difficult to be romantic. And it doesn’t cost anything! Leave a note on the bathroom counter, the dash of their car, or send a text (what’s that take, 5 or 10 seconds?) at a random time in the day to say you’re thinking of them.
How do I know these are just a few of the mindful efforts that work? It worked for us, and we had bottomed out.
Read more about exactly where our story began and how we got there HERE.