For better or worse – ADHD and divorce

Marriage isn’t always easy but when the relationship is nurtured, it has the potential to become an adventure filled with dependability, patience and unconditional love. However, research shows that the divorce rate is nearly twice as high for people with ADHD than it is for other couples.

When ADHD is undiagnosed and untreated, the symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, irritability and forgetfulness can quickly lead to a wider and unnecessary range of marriage problems. ADHD does not cause divorce but the denial or misinterpretation of the symptoms of this mental condition can have a negative impact on marriages.

With advice and support from a medical practitioner, ADHD is manageable. Taking responsibility for your own contribution to the current state of the relationship is also important. By understanding the symptoms and behaviours of ADHD, you can help ease its potential burden on your marriage.

Everyday challenges and actionable solutions

  • Poor communication

Your partner with ADHD may constantly interrupt and side-track conversations with unrelated remarks. It can make you feel unimportant, ignored and neglected.

Tip: Schedule a distraction-free time to discuss important matters, listen to each other’s concerns and brainstorm ways to improve the quality of communication.

  • Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness may make your partner inconsistent and unreliable. This is considered the most destructive pattern in marriages as it can force on you the role of a responsible parent that has to take care of an irresponsible child.

Tip: Taking notes may seem trivial but it communicates serious investment in each other and the relationship. Build up a reminder system on a smartphone or fridge calendar and make time every morning to review it together.

  • Lack of emotional control

Untreated ADHD and anxiety often go hand-in-hand and can fuel mood swings and anger outbursts. Simply keeping the peace will only add strain to the relationship. However, ADHD should never become a justification for any form of anger.

Tip: Become mindful of your words and actions as this can quickly add fuel to the flame. Stop the conversation at the first signs of a blame game. Focus on building up your partner’s self-image. Take time to cool off but make it a priority to identify potential anger triggers.

  • Imbalance in responsibilities

Forgetfulness and boredom can divert your partner’s attention from responsibilities. To get things done, you may tend to take on more responsibilities. The weight of additional chores and responsibilities can be overwhelming and can quickly lead to feelings of loneliness, resentment and bitterness.

Tip: Instead of encouraging your partner to try harder, be open to him or her doing things differently – no matter how unsystematic or strange. When assigning chores, keep each other’s interests and abilities in mind. Sharing chores can be a great way to talk and share quality time.

  • Impulsive spending and poor money management

Partners with ADHD may show habits of impulsive spending without much restrain or consideration of the consequences. As a result, they may be reluctant to discuss financial problems.

Tip: Discuss the importance of financial stability. Talk openly and frankly about money matters. Keep a close eye on spending and instead of doing shopping separately, schedule a day to do it together.

Love is patient. Love is kind.

A marriage or relationship will always be a work-in-progress. When each individual is committed to personal growth and each other’s wellbeing, any relationship can blossom again despite the hard times.

If you think that you or your partner might have undiagnosed ADHD, set the record straight with this self-assessment. With a holistic treatment plan, you can start changing your relationship and your life for the better.