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ADHD & Marriage News - March 12, 2019
Quote of the Week

“Compassion isn’t about solutions.   It’s about giving all the love you’ve got."

- Sheryl Strayed

Compassion

I will readily admit that there have been times in my marriage when I did not feel ANY compassion towards my husband.  He was being horrible towards me – why give him something back that felt ‘soft,’ such as compassion?  So, instead, I gave as good as I got.  Hounding him, berating him, withholding affection, trying any way I could to move him into a place of greater action and responsibility for our family.

As you all know, this approach failed miserably.  Not just for me, but for every single person I’ve ever seen try to use it.  And, sadly, that’s pretty much every person I’ve ever consulted with.

One of the reasons to get well-educated about how ADHD – and responses to ADHD – impact relationships is that understanding provides room for feeling more compassion and empathy towards your ADHD or non-ADHD partner.  It’s really hard to have ADHD.  And it’s really hard to live with someone who has ADHD.  Over and over again I’ve seen relationships soften as people have learned the ‘whys’ of how their relationship functions…as well as ‘how’ to address the issues.  Finding room for compassion is an important base or building block creating a new, and better, love together.  Being compassionate may feel like weakness if you are in a relationship war.  But it is actually a place of strength and building.  I found that I had to dig deep to find all the love I needed to go there…but that when I did, good things happened to both me (I was back on track to being the person I wanted to be) and to my husband (who felt more heard and respected and therefore started improving his own behavior.)

Do you have the love in you to seek compassion for your ADHD or non-ADHD partner’s situation?

 

Live Couples' Seminar - The ADHD Effect In-Depth - starts March 26th, exactly 2 weeks from TODAY. Don't delay...

"Your emotional intelligence, patience, and the way you handle the questions before, during, and after your presentation are really nothing short of amazing. Thank you for helping improve our lives...!"

"I'm finding the sessions are saving my marriage and want to thank you."

For those in marriages impacted by ADHD

Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life!  Find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD, including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals. 

Seminars and Groups

Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The Live session starts March 26, 2019.

Is your relationship in pretty good shape but you'd love to feel closer? Consider my self-study seminar Recovering Intimacy in Your Relationship.

Is Anger an unwanted contributor in your relationship? Check out How to Diminish Anger in Your Relationship.

Support Tele-groups - Be part of a community exploring similar issues; learn from each other's successes and struggles; and find new, more effective ways to be your best self in your relationship: Non ADHD Partner Support Tele-group and ADHD Partner Support Tele-Group both run 8 consecutive weeks.

Question? Contact Melissa.

- Please follow us for tips and resources.

© 2019 Melissa Orlov

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ADHD & Marriage News - March 6, 2019
Quote of the Week

“If you think of yourself as a victim then you have given control of your life to another person."

- Condoleeza Rice, talking about what her parents taught her 

Are You a Victim of ADHD?

Rice was speaking about the issues she experienced growing up in a racially-segregated south, but I think her words are also very relevant for couples impacted by ADHD.

I’ve talked with many non-ADHD partners who think they are victims of their partner’s ADHD behaviors.  That they must take over all of the responsibilities for the family because their ADHD-impacted partner won’t or can’t, for example (not true, btw, but an understandable assumption.)

I’ve also talked with plenty of ADHD partners who suggest they are victims of ADHD and ‘can’t do anything about it.’

While I understand the temptation to feel that way, do you want to give all that control to the ADHD???  This seems irrational to me, particularly when research shows that treatment of adult ADHD can result in a ‘normalization’ or ‘significant improvement’ of symptoms in up to 80% of adults who have it.  My own consulting practice demonstrates that couples working together can balance out responsibilities and live well with ADHD. 

The problem with the victim mentality is that it leads you to paralysis and inaction.  “I’m a victim and I can’t do anything about that” means you will make no progress, just stay in a pool of resentment.  So if you are feeling that way, try to move yourself out of that state by trying these approaches (demonstrated to work):

  • Get fully educated about ADHD – there is lots of scientifically accurate information available at my site and other places.  Consider my couples seminar (starts March 26th), in which you get to ask me all of your questions, as well as get the latest information
  • Optimize treatment for ADHD.  The free treatment e-book on my home page can get you started.
  • Look for your strengths…and strengthen them further.  This is a great way to get away from feeling like a (weak) victim.
  • Get professional help from someone who understands ADHD and can, in turn help you understand yours better.  That might be a therapist or coach – good recommendations for both are in my ADHD-savvy professionals section.
  • Start a gratitude practice – this will help you look for the positive in your life.  Use a journal and once a day finish this sentence three times:  “I am grateful for…”  Reflect a bit on those things if you can. Read more on gratitude here.

NO ONE needs to be a victim of ADHD.  Please use the resources available to you to get out of that horrible and restrictive place if you are in it.

 

Upcoming ADHD Resources:

For those in marriages impacted by ADHD

You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals. Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life!  

Seminars and Groups

Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The Live session starts March 26, 2019.

Is your relationship in pretty good shape but you'd love to feel closer? Consider my self-study seminar Recovering Intimacy in Your Relationship.

Is Anger an unwanted contributor in your relationship? Check out How to Diminish Anger in Your Relationship.

Support Tele-groups - Be part of a community exploring similar issues; learn from each other's successes and struggles; and find new, more effective ways to be your best self in your relationship: Non ADHD Partner Support Tele-group and ADHD Partner Support Tele-Group both run 8 consecutive weeks.

Question? Contact Melissa.

- Please follow us for tips and resources.

© 2019 Melissa Orlov

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Submitted by cveal on 02/28/2019.

March 5, 2019 at noon EST with Melissa Orlov. FREE Webinar: Just Right!: Balancing ADHD and Non-ADHD Needs in Your Relationship. ADHD and non-ADHD partners can be quite different - in physiology; how they are in the world; problem solving; backgrounds; skill sets; and much more. Plus, there are the ADHD symptoms and non-ADHD reactions to those symptoms. With all these differences it can be hard to feel heard and valued. In this talk Melissa Orlov, founder of ADHDmarriage.com and author of two award-winning books on ADHD and relationships, gives you tips on how to create a 'fair' and responsive relationship that you feel is 'just right' for you both.  Access for FREE until 3/20. Register Here

Don't Delay - Next Non-ADHD support group series begins 3/20, 2019 and the Spring session of Couples Seminar starts March 26. 

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ADHD & Marriage News - February 28, 2019
Quote of the Week

“Happiness is a choice and a set of skills."

- Mary Pipher, psychologist and author of Reviving Ophelia

Happiness and All That

My mother passed away in 2008 and, soon after, my father chose a partner who is the most intentionally happy person I have ever met.  It has been a wonderful experience to observe how she absorbs bad news, thinks about how she wants to respond, and then takes action to create a happier path.  When I saw this quote it reminded me of her.  Without a doubt she chooses to be happy rather than sad or angry, and she applies a set of skills she has been honing for a lifetime.

What are those skills?  Here are a few:

  • Actively looking for the positive every day
  • Taking responsibility for creating your own happiness and putting boundaries around that so that others can’t ‘steal it away’
  • Reflecting on what you love to do and pursuing it – so that your life is filled with activities that make you happy
  • Exercising (which is a mood stabilizer) and getting outdoors whenever possible (also a mood stabilizer)
  • Connecting with others every day

I don’t wish to suggest that this is a Pollyanna-ish approach to life.  She doesn’t shy away from addressing the problems she faces.  Instead, her view is that she wants to live her life in happiness, and in spite of any issues, she is going to work hard to help that happen.

Could you do the same?

Learn Happiness skills!! - The next Non-ADHD support group series begins March 20th and the Spring session of my Live Couples Seminar starts March 26th.   Don't Delay!  

Are you parenting a challenging child? Gain insights, tools, and strategies to manage your child's ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and Executive Function challenges. Learn more.

For those in marriages impacted by ADHD

You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals. Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life!  

Seminars and Groups

Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The Live session starts March 26, 2019.

Is your relationship in pretty good shape but you'd love to feel closer? Consider my self-study seminar Recovering Intimacy in Your Relationship.

Is Anger an unwanted contributor in your relationship? Check out How to Diminish Anger in Your Relationship.

Support Tele-groups - Be part of a community exploring similar issues; learn from each other's successes and struggles; and find new, more effective ways to be your best self in your relationship: Non ADHD Partner Support Tele-group begins March 20th and ADHD Partner Support Tele-Group will start soon.

Question? Contact Melissa.

- Please follow us for tips and resources.

© 2019 Melissa Orlov

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ADHD & Marriage News - February 14, 2019
Quote of the Week

“In solving complex problems and resolving contentious issues, the most effective leaders use their influence much more than their authority.  The goal is to solve problems so that they stay solved.  Solutions imposed rarely last."

- 4-star General Marty Dempsey (ret.)

Using Your Influence

Non-ADHD partners often ask me how to move away from the parenting role they are in while still getting their concerns heard.  This quote helps explain why I suggest that they step away from “being in charge” and dictating how things should/will go and, instead, think of themselves as influencers.  Not only does making requests (vs. telling or directing) show respect and communicate to your spouse that you wish to be partners, over time it also strengthens your position in the relationship.  Requests are easier to ‘hear’ and think about – and less likely to be responded to with defensiveness by your partner.  Over time, as your relationship rebalances and your partner becomes more open to your requests, they are also more likely to be adopted…or at least discussed and considered.

This change takes time and patience, but is quite important for the overall health of your relationship and for both partners remaining open and willing to listen to each other.

As Dempsey notes, ‘solutions imposed rarely last’…but I’m guessing you’ve already experienced that..... 

 

Need a little help? Join my Non-ADHD Support Group starting MONDAY, February 18! Only 4 spots left. We'll meet BY PHONE, 7pm EST.

My premier 8-session phone seminar seminar ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar has helped many, many couples by providing hope, information and the tools to move to thrive in a healthier, happier relationship. The Live session starts March 26, 2019.

Questions? Please contact me.

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY....Except that’s not how it happens for many couples, particularly if you are struggling in your relationship. Follow my 4 tips for surviving what may be the worst Hallmark Card holiday of them all!

For those in marriages impacted by ADHD

You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals. Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life!  

Seminars and Groups

Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The Live session starts March 26, 2019.

Is your relationship in pretty good shape but you'd love to feel closer? Consider my self-study seminar Recovering Intimacy in Your Relationship.

Is Anger an unwanted contributor in your relationship? Check out How to Diminish Anger in Your Relationship.

Support Tele-groups - Be part of a community exploring similar issues; learn from each other's successes and struggles; and find new, more effective ways to be your best self in your relationship: Non ADHD Partner Support Tele-group and ADHD Partner Support Tele-Group both run 8 consecutive weeks.

Question? Contact Melissa.

- Please follow us for tips and resources.

© 2019 Melissa Orlov

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ADHD & Marriage News - February 7, 2019
Quote of the Week

“When is the last time you did something for the first time?"

- Darius Rucker 

The First Time

One of the hardest parts of struggling in your relationship may be that as the two of you work hard to try to fix things, you spend a large amount of your time focused on your problems.  It may be, in fact, that you’ve forgotten to have fun together.

Yet marital research would suggest that one of the better ways to connect with each other is to do something ‘new and challenging’ together.  (Hint – going out to dinner may be fun, but it doesn’t qualify as ‘new and challenging!’)  Other research suggests that you need five positive interactions for every negative interaction you have in order to have a healthy relationship.  Having some fun can help you create that ratio.

I’ve long talked with seminar participants about trying to lighten up their lives a bit to remember why they love each other.  Some of the things they’ve added to their lives that were ‘new and challenging’ include:  Learning to rollerblade at Venice Beach, CA; taking dancing lessons together; trying out camping and more.  The fact that these are energetic, and often outside, helps, too.

What could you do – for the first time – that would help connect you and your partner?  Think about it, then go have some fun!

Need more loving suggestions? My phone Seminar for Couples Impacted by ADHD starts March 26th. This is my premier seminar that has changed the lives of many, many couples. The 8 Sessions help Rebuild Trust, Deal with Anger, and Tap into Joy and Hope. Registration is Open.

Non ADHD Partner Support Tele-group starts Feb 18, 2019

For those in marriages impacted by ADHD

You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals. Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life!  

Seminars and Groups

Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The Live session starts March 26, 2019.

Is your relationship in pretty good shape but you'd love to feel closer? Consider my self-study seminar Recovering Intimacy in Your Relationship.

Is Anger an unwanted contributor in your relationship? Check out How to Diminish Anger in Your Relationship.

Support Tele-groups - Be part of a community exploring similar issues; learn from each other's successes and struggles; and find new, more effective ways to be your best self in your relationship: Non ADHD Partner Support Tele-group and ADHD Partner Support Tele-Group both run 8 consecutive weeks.

Question? Contact Melissa.

- Please follow us for tips and resources.

© 2019 Melissa Orlov

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Submitted by MelissaOrlov on 02/01/2019.
How it Begins

In the beginning, there was the hyper-focus courtship.  For many couples where one or both of them has ADHD, the high levels of dopamine that accompany ALL infatuation masked ADHD.  This is because ADHD is caused, in part, by low levels of dopamine.  ‘Infatuation dopamine’, as I think of it, does a great job of connecting the two of you.  If you’re like we were, be both knew quite quickly we wanted to be with the other person.  My husband (the one with ADHD) was hyper attentive; thought up amazing, fun and creative things to do together, and had a little bit of a mysterious ‘edge’ to him that made the relationship even more exciting.  To him, I was smart, interesting, even-keeled, and fun to be with.  We were madly in love and started living together after 3 months.  Sound familiar?

Sadly, that extra dopamine wears off between 2 and 2.5 years into your relationship, according to Helen Fisher, author of Why We Love:  The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love.  Suddenly, you are faced with a different person as a partner – someone who shows the signs of ADHD – often distracted; not particularly attentive; having trouble following through and often not on time.  Still a great person…just not quite the person you thought you were with.  In courtship you envision a life-long partnership with an attentive partner. When that dopamine wears off you are dropped into a distracted, lonely, sometimes angry relationship.

In our case, no one knew about the ADHD.  This is common…about 80% of adult ADHD is currently undiagnosed.  So there was no explanation, and I suffered - thinking that my husband didn’t love me anymore; that he was mad at me; that I had done something wrong.  We fell into ALL of the typical behaviors that couples fall into when they are impacted by ADHD.  A symptom would show up (say distraction).  I would misinterpret it (thinking he didn’t love me because he wasn’t paying attention to me) and become hurt or angry.  He would respond to my comments and/or attacks by being angry back.  Soon we were fighting about fighting.  There was so much that we didn’t understand back then about what was going on!

In any event, at some point, BOTH partners look back and think “this relationship isn’t at ALL what I thought I had signed up for!”  I was sad that the attentive, helpful man I had met now almost never paid attention to me and when I was out of sight I was definitely out of mind.  My husband, for his part, was sad that he thought he had married a calm, fun person and had ended up with an angry, harping, unrecognizable witch.

Responses to the realization that this is not at all what you both expected vary – I, for example, said to myself “well, if this is all there is to romance, I might as well start my family!”  (Yes, I know, not the first strategy I would now recommend!)  My husband’s response was to retreat further from me because it didn’t feel good being with me.  Others become bitter and angry, blaming their partner for their difficult lives.  Or live in pain, without understanding how to address it – or even that they need to.  But this pain does need to be addressed…and if you’re feeling it, please read on.

Why It’s Important to Grieve

Not all couples struggle with ADHD and responses to ADHD.  But if you do, then you probably have some grieving to do.  Your relationship isn’t what you had dreamed it could be.  That doesn’t mean it is a bad relationship for you, even if things are not going well at the moment.  And the fact that you feel disappointment or bitterness doesn’t mean that either you or your partner is a bad person.  It simply means that you have been impacted by “The ADHD Effect” and have some obstacles to overcome before you will find the happiness you seek. It also means that the form of your happiness will likely be quite a bit different from what you originally envisioned.  That’s okay…but to get there, it’s extremely helpful to grieve the fact that your relationship is different from what you expected…and that right now it doesn’t feel all that good.

Why am I such a big fan of grieving?  Because until you acknowledge and accept that your reality is quite different from your dreams, you can’t fully enjoy your real life.  You’re held hostage by your sadness, which colors many of your interactions.  And you may also be ruining the relationship you do have by either clinging to that old dream and trying to change your partner into the person you dreamed he or she would be (as I did) or you may be in ‘fight or flight’ mode either lashing out or retreating (as my husband was).  Neither works to connect you.

What IS Grieving?

Grieving is looking at your sadness, regret and pain and, over time, coming to the understanding that there are some things you can’t change.  Death, for example, or a horrific accident, or the fact that your child has cancer – these are the kinds of things we normally associate with grieving.  ADHD is like that, too.  Yes, the two of you can dramatically improve your relationship once you get to a place where you both accept ‘what is’ and also learn ‘what can change.’  But as long as you hang onto your original dreams of the relationship you don’t have, you impede your progress towards finding the happiness you seek in the relationship you do have.

I was speaking yesterday with a woman who told me “I’m a doer – my father had cancer, and up until the day he died I was still looking for the thing that would cure him.”  While she has now accepted her father’s death as reality, she’s having trouble grieving her relationship loss because she still wants to believe she can ‘fix’ the ADHD ‘problem.’  She’s not all wrong – we have a lot of influence over how we live our lives.  But there are some things that we can’t change – death…and the presence of adult ADHD…are two of them.  We can use medical science to stay healthy much longer.  We can use behavioral and mental health science to vastly improve life with adult ADHD.  But we can’t fully eliminate either of them.*

Grieving is about understanding that we are not as powerful as we would like to be and that while we have influence, our influence has limits.

How Do You Grieve?

Grieving is a deeply personal process, so I will share what I went through and what I have observed others do.

After many years, it could no longer wait.  My sadness about the obvious gap between dreams and reality needed exploring.  So I journaled.  I read.  I talked – with friends, sometimes with my husband about my sadness – which he shared.  I took better care of myself and taught myself to love myself again so that I was in a position of strength to better take on this pain.  I explored what my life was, and I tried to sort out the positive from the negative.  That search for the positive was a really important part of my grieving.  While I felt hopeless, it was really hard to accept ‘what was.’  It was just too painful!  When I could find some positive parts, it was easier to say ‘this is what is…and there are ways to make the good parts better while understanding how to negotiate the bad.’  It made me feel sad to think about the lost years, but also hopeful to think about a better future.  While ADHD isn’t changeable, how we deal with ADHD is.

Educating myself about ADHD was critical.  When I didn’t understand ADHD, I misinterpreted the symptomatic behaviors – almost always in a negative way.  His ‘distraction’ was interpreted as lack of affection rather than a non-emotional symptom.  It’s hard, if you don’t understand ADHD, not to feel bitter when you (incorrectly) think the person who is supposed to love you the most no longer does.

As I was doing all of this learning I came to the conclusion that we were both good people who had gotten lost.  That we had given it our best (in our own ways) and we had both reacted in ways that were human and understandable.  I learned that not only was my husband’s ADHD a huge issue, but so were my responses to his ADHD.  I realized that what I needed was to forgive myself for all of the poor choices I had made…and forgive my husband for all of the poor behaviors and choices he had made, too.

I came to a conclusion that helped me greatly as I moved through my grief.  We had both done the best we could, with the information that we had had…which turned out to be incomplete because it had lacked the ADHD component.

It’s sad that we didn’t know what we were doing.  But I couldn’t hang onto my ignorance forever.  If I could accept my own actions and forgive them, and accept my partner’s actions and forgive them, then I could put my sadness into context and move ahead.  Yes, we had made many mistakes.  Yes, we had had dreams of the perfect relationship, which I now understood were based in that short, hyper-focused courtship phase.  I understood why I was sad and felt it was OKAY to be sad…but that continuing to hold onto that sadness wouldn’t change anything.

After finding acceptance, I was ready to take the next step - asking “what do I want this pain I’ve experienced to turn into?”  I knew for sure that I needed to create a life in which I was happy and whole and that I was the best person to take responsibility for that.  I am responsible for my own happiness – not my husband, or kids, or anyone else.

So I figured out who I wanted to be (certainly NOT that aggressive witch!!) and started acting that way.  Armed with knowledge I accepted my husband, and started treating him with empathy and respect.  He responded quite quickly – taking on his ADHD issues with more rigor etc.  Yes, we had bumps but we did make it through…and it all started with my deciding that I didn’t have as much control as I thought I did…unless I wanted to leave, which I didn’t want to do until I felt confident that all other avenues had been exhausted.

This sort of shift doesn’t change the fact that the struggles of our early relationship aren’t sad.  It will always be sad that we spent years in which we could have been happy in a miserable struggle…just as it will always be sad that my mother, who died at too early an age in 2008, has not been around to see the amazing people her grandchildren have become.  But in both cases, asking, “what do I want this pain to turn into” is a useful tool.  I can use the information and wisdom I’ve gained to (along with my husband) to grab life and create joy – not relying on far off dreams, but right now, today, based on who we really are as people.

 

*About 20-30% of kids diagnosed with ADHD no longer qualify for a diagnosis of ADHD as an adult.  It is unclear why this happens, though it’s thought that some of it might be misdiagnosis and some of it might be putting strong coping strategies in place that manage ADHD to a point of no longer qualifying.  Adult ADHD, however, does not go away and, in fact, can intensify with age.

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ADHD & Marriage News - January 31, 2019
Quote of the Week

“Getting past the disappointment about what I THOUGHT my marriage would be - that was hard."

- woman posting in the forum at ADHDmarriage.com about learning to be herself again 

Stop Watering the Weeds

I have been in this same place – I envisioned a marriage that would resemble the hyper-focus courtship that I had with my husband.  A life-long experience where my husband was always attentive and empathetic, where we explored the world every day, and he even continued to love cooking.  It was a shock when the hyperfocus wore off, and I was dropped into the distracted, lonely days of my early marriage. 

It is important to know yourself when you get to this place, rather than get lost in your relationship and disappointment.  This ‘getting lost’ is much easier to do that you might think.  You single-mindedly dedicate yourself to making your relationship better, or ‘improving’ your partner (as I did) and suddenly all of your interests, friendships and even happy feelings have been over-run by your problems and plans for improvements.  That’s ‘lost’ in your relationship.

You need to know yourself in order to have the strength of voice and intention that allows you to re-find happiness from within.  Strength to understand that your partner is free to choose his or her own path (whether you like it or not).  Ready to try your hardest and see what happens.

It’s healthy to grieve for the relationship you thought you had, but don’t.  Then, take some time to accept where you are and (very importantly) seek out what is good.  Okay, so you don’t have what you thought you would have.  But, what DO you have?  What’s still great?  What can be built?  Where’s the untapped potential?  All of those questions come after you’ve reached acceptance.  

Yes, it might be hard, but it’s a great way to move forward.

 

Ready for acceptance? A support group for Non-ADHD partners starts February 18th. 

For those in marriages impacted by ADHD

You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals. Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life!  

Seminars and Groups

Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. 

Is your relationship in pretty good shape but you'd love to feel closer? Consider my self-study seminar Recovering Intimacy in Your Relationship.

Is Anger an unwanted contributor in your relationship? Consider my How to Diminish Anger in Your Relationship.

Support Tele-groups - Be part of a community exploring similar issues; learn from each other's successes and struggles; and find new, more effective ways to be your best self in your relationship: Non ADHD Partner Support Tele-group and ADHD Partner Support Tele-Group.

Question? Contact Melissa.

- Please follow us for tips and resources.

© 2019 Melissa Orlov

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ADHD & Marriage News - January 23, 2019
Quote of the Week

“I argue that the most powerful thing you can do to add healthy years is to curate your immediate social network,” said Mr. Buettner, who advises people to focus on three to five real-world friends rather than distant Facebook friends. “In general you want friends with whom you can have a meaningful conversation,” he said. “You can call them on a bad day and they will care. Your group of friends are better than any drug or anti-aging supplement, and will do more for you than just about anything."

- Tara Parker Pope in The Power of Positive People 

Your Social Network is Important!

Dr. Ned Hallowell likes to talk about pruning the naysayers – that it’s okay to move away from who bring you down.  We all have enough trouble keeping our lives together as it is!

Parker Pope’s article talks about the science of having positive people in your life based upon the work that Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Explorer who has been studying longevity in Japan, has been doing.  In a nutshell, having strong, supportive connections adds years to your life unlike just about anything else.

This is a problem for ADHD-impacted couples.  Those with ADHD split their attention between many things and may have trouble making the repeated connections with others that sustain long-term, deep relationships.  Further, distracting social networks can lead to a lot of distracted, shallow ‘touches’ with others but little depth.

Non-ADHD partners often tell me they feel isolated by the struggles they are experiencing and by the fact that few outside their relationships understand.  Or, as one woman recently wrote me – ‘friends and pastors do not believe we have as serious a problem as we have.  He is so likeable and charming.’  And, trying to deal with household responsibilities, depression and anger often subsumes even one’s most important social relationships.

If this is happening to you, it’s time to reverse course.  Think of this as ‘treatment’ for yourself.  Reconnect with your best friend.  Call him or her and get together.  Connect with others who ‘get’ ADHD.  (You can do this in my support groups and seminars.)  Pair away the people who ask of you, but give little.

Think of it as the life-extending, critical activity that it is, and put it ahead of other tasks that ‘seem’ more important due to deadlines.  Most often, they aren’t.

For those in marriages impacted by ADHD

You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals. Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life!  

Seminars and Groups

Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The next Live session starts March 26, 2019.

Is your relationship in pretty good shape but you'd love to feel closer? Consider my self-study seminar Recovering Intimacy in Your Relationship.

Is Anger an unwanted contributor in your relationship? Consider my How to Diminish Anger in Your Relationship.

Support Tele-groups - Be part of a community exploring similar issues; learn from each other's successes and struggles; and find new, more effective ways to be your best self in your relationship: Non ADHD Partner Support Tele-group and ADHD Partner Support Tele-Group both run 8 consecutive weeks.

Question? Contact Melissa.

- Please follow us for tips and resources.

© 2019 Melissa Orlov

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Submitted by MelissaOrlov on 01/22/2019.

This is a wonderful story of how learning about ADHD has led one couple to much healthier, less exhausting interactions around interruptions.  This woman’s insight, and her husband’s recognition of its validity means they are able to work together to lessen what used to be a really negative interaction between them.

Here is their story.

"One struggle we have always had is that my husband with ADHD is interruptive, makes assumptions and starts moving his body towards action before he has even heard what I say, convinced that he has "got me right'. Much of my time has been spent saying "no, that isn't what I meant/said/asked etc." I have told him it is rude and time wasting, but he persists, even though it drives me nuts. I can often barely get a sentence out before he is off and running and usually in the wrong direction for the wrong reason. He also has a habit of assuming that he hasn't heard what was just said and says "What did you just say?" a lot. In all of this I recognize his wanting to please and be helpful, but the assumptions/interruptions nevertheless are an annoyance and time-waster.

Recently I had a flash of insight when he interrupted and assumed what I was in the midst of saying, (wrong assumption of course), as to WHY he interrupts and assumes so much: It is because he uses these methods to "get himself back on track" or to re-focus and catch up to what he missed when I started talking and he was not yet paying attention: By assuming and finishing my sentences for me, he gets me to respond and in my responses I correct his incorrect assumptions, i.e. - "No, what I meant was this."  Or I repeat myself, or ask him to sit down and not rush off to do what he "thinks" he heard; he gets INFORMATION from me that puts him back in the conversation without him experiencing the feeling of being lost or "out of it". It helps him save face as well. Interrupting also serves a need for him in a similar way: I start over and re-explain (so he gets a 2nd chance at hearing me, a chance to focus) without admitting he had tuned out. We've had many fights because I have been so fed up with being interrupted, having to correct his wrong understandings of what I have said, but NOW I understand WHY he does this, and as you have said in some emails you send, education (understanding) is everything.

I told him on the spot about my insight and he saw it in himself right away and was dumb-founded to realize that he had been using these strategies (unaware) all his life in order to compensate for "tuning out", and had also developed the habit of NOT listening because he expects to have most people close to him to repeat things at least 2x. Often he will say "what did you say?" without checking himself to see if he really heard or not, he just asks me to repeat and of course, this annoys me. My husband says he "relaxes" with me and doesn't do these behaviors so much with others, such as with his clients and I believe him.

Some strategies I use now to prevent my annoyance and help him break his habit of interrupting, assuming, and not listening:
  • When I perceive that he is asking me to repeat when he has not yet checked himself to see if he has heard, I pause before I repeat, sometimes I just won't repeat and he thinks and then he realizes he DID hear me; or I say "What did I say, I think you heard me?" and about 50% of the time, he thinks for a second, and realizes he did hear me.  Slowly, very slowly he is learning to pause for a moment and think before he asks me to repeat; I use this judiciously, not to punish or make him feel bad. When I perceive his mind is elsewhere for an important reason, I just repeat. I don't do this in front of other people.
  • When something is very important to me, I ask him before delving in, "Are you able to listen now?" so he knows that he needs to focus for a moment or two;
  • When he interrupts or assumes, I cut him off (softly and politely) and say, "What did you miss?” or "Where did you get lost?” or "Please share with me your understanding of what I said so far.” In other words, I acknowledge that the ADHD is at work and cut to the chase of HIM dealing with his inability to attend, because I find myself exhausted from re-explaining, repeating myself, or when it goes really far, helping him to manage the chaos his incorrect assumptions have caused, etc. . Lovingly "cornering" him about it forces him to see what he is doing, and he is (very slowly) starting to say "Sorry, I wasn't paying attention" BEFORE he starts to interrupt or assume what I am saying. It saves us time for sure.

The ADHD belongs to him and while I may understand and even admire the strategies he has developed to manage the inattention, at some point they put a massive strain on ME, and I have handed that piece back to my husband.  This makes me feel less powerless, less frustrated, less irritated with him, and gives me back some personal time, while encouraging him to manage his ADHD without draining me so much. Surely other ADHD partners use conversational interruption/assumptions in the same way..."

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