Is Your Partner A Lazy, Disorganized SOB — Or Is ADHD To Blame?

Day 382 / 365 - Back in Colour - What a mess
Image by xJasonRogersx via Flickr

Fascinating story in The New York Times, with lots of comments pro and con:

Does your husband or wife constantly forget chores and lose track of the calendar? Do you sometimes feel that instead of living with a spouse, you’re raising another child?

Your marriage may be suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

An A.D.H.D. marriage? It may sound like a punch line, but the idea that attention problems can take a toll on adult relationships is getting more attention from mental health experts. In a marriage, the common symptoms of the disorder — distraction, disorganization, forgetfulness — can easily be misinterpreted as laziness, selfishness and a lack of love and concern.

Experts suggest that at least 4 percent of adults suffer from the disorder; that as many as half of all children with A.D.H.D. do not fully outgrow it and continue to struggle with symptoms as adults; and that many adults with the disorder never got the diagnosis as children.

Adults with attention disorders often learn coping skills to help them stay organized and focused at work, but experts say many of them struggle at home, where their tendency to become distracted is a constant source of conflict. Some research suggests that these adults are twice as likely to be divorced; another study found high levels of distress in 60 percent of marriages where one spouse has the disorder.

I know I wouldn’t last a week with someone like this. I’m lucky to have a partner who pays, in general, very close attention.

Has this ever shown up in your relationships? To what effect?

2 thoughts on “Is Your Partner A Lazy, Disorganized SOB — Or Is ADHD To Blame?

  1. I don’t buy it. It’s called being an adult and growing up. I had a spouse like this. Had. It amounted to being addicted to an online role-playing game and refusing to take responsibility for anything. Nearly 4 years later, he still sits on his computer day and night, smokes like a chimney, and blames everyone else for everything.

    That’s not to say there aren’t a handful of children and adults out there who don’t genuinely have a problem. Having said that, I think the vast majority of “hyperactive” kids need a tap on the rear and a parent who pays attention, is consistant with discipline (or who disciplines at all in some cases), and who doesn’t put up with the ADHD excuse. Same for adults. Grow up.

    1. Colette Langlois

      I’m with Suzanna. I HAVE one like that now, and I’m trying to figure out how to disentangle myself financially and legally from the mess he’s created because he just won’t grow up. What does ADHD have to do with failing to go to work, playing video games, having phone sex, being unable to maintain a working relationship with his daughters beyond soccer and mile times and not taking care of a single thing including his body, his family or his work vehicle. Even if it were to blame, develop some coping skills or get some help.

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