ADD and marriage. Something to think about.

///ADD and marriage. Something to think about.
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ADD and marriage. Something to think about. 2011-05-08T19:00:32+00:00

The Forums Forums For The Non-ADD I Married An ADDer ADD and marriage. Something to think about.

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  • #103789
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    Anonymous
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    I think that every marriage should be entered into only after much consideration BUT everybody is going to work at their marriages differently. Some think that once you’re married, it’s time to sit back and smell the proverbial roses and never put any effort into the relationship from that point on. A recipe for disaster in ANY marriage. I have seen marriages where one person is severely physically disabled, but they have worked because the non-disabled one has never had to become a carer to the disabled spouse at the expense of their relationship. Any relationship where one partner has to end up propping up the other partner on a long term basis, is doomed for failure. It should be a two way street. I have seen partners fight hard to take their severely disabled spouses home from hospital despite the hard work of caring for them because they are lonely and miss them – they are obviously getting plenty of emotional support and social interaction that counteracts the stress of dealing with the disability. What becomes a trial of epic proportions in one marriage, becomes strengthening to another. It all depends on the two people involved and cannot be blamed on disability, any more than it can be blamed on losing a job, or being diagnosed with cancer. Some marriages will survive and some will not.

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    #103790
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    Wgreen
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    May God bless people who find themselves in marriages to people who repeatedly cheat; lie, squander money; can’t control their anger; repeatedly take unnecessary, dangerous risks; etc., etc., etc.—whatever the reason.

    (It’s funny. As I write this, I just heard a piece on TV about unfaithful spouses. A psychologist who specializes in marriage said one characteristic many unfaithful spouses share is a compulsion for thrill seeking. Now isn’t that interesting.)

    But I now understand this is not a forum for this kind of discussion, because we all have different notions of what ADD really means. For some it’s a “blessing.” For others it’s just a nuisance. For many it’s controllable with medications and therapy. For those people, the original post would make no sense. It would seem “completely off the reservation.”

    I draw no lines. They aren’t mine to draw. I am no expert on the the great mystery of grace. Still, for those of us who have debilitating symptoms of ADD/ADHD and cannot afford or tolerate the medications, I still maintain marriage is an option that should be approached with great caution. After all, we all want to be be a blessing to those we love, not some sort of curse. And while no one can see what unanticipated perils the future may hold, I would always argue that none of us should make any promises s/he knows s/he can’t keep. If that’s an antiquated notion, so be it.

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    #103791
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    klmillscats
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    Wgreen, I appreciate the wisdom of your above post. As medical science advances, it seems that the brain is the “final frontier” and understanding ADD/ADHD is in it’s infancy. It’s difficult to diagnose, and even more difficult to pigeon hole symptoms into ADD vs Non-ADD characteristics. And I agree that people with debilitating symptoms should enter into any relationship very carefully and perhaps under the assistance of a counselor. If both parties fully understand (as much as possible!) the degree of the situation, and if both agree on what they want and expect from the relationship, I think it can work. Communication is important in any relationship, but even more so in an ADHD situation. But if the ADHD partner knows the difference between right and wrong, and if he/she enters into marriage as God intended, it can work. I guess through all this, what I’m trying to say is the ADHD relationship requires God and honesty to make it succeed. And as you say, no one should make promises you know you can’t keep. The notion may be antiquated, but it applies as much today as ever; just look at the divorce statistics in the US. Wgreen, thanks for your post and the courage to pursue this issue.

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    #103792
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    Anonymous
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    Of course it is for thrill seeking! Would you enter into a new relationship because it boars you to death? NO! That’s what killed it. Life is about thrill seeking, the thrills being sought can and will vary based on the individual, there perception of reality and mood, but we all seek what we like and enjoy and is ultimately fun while avoiding what is not. Every thing with the ability to make a decision will base their action on how they perceive what is or isn’t fun. Cheers.

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    #103793
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    Bibliophile
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    @callmecrazy I disagree with you 100%. Marriage is not about thrill seeking but building a stable partnership. It might be advantageous for rearing kids, for stabilizing ones lifestyle, whatever. Las Vegas hookups aside, it is not about thrill seeking. What makes modern civilization work is that human beings do altruistic tasks for the greater good of the whole. This self sacrifice is counter intuitive to the urge to pursue fun. The problem that ADHD poses is that individuals who suffer this think primarily in the present or immediate future. This leads to actions that may have horrible repercussions for others down the road. Some might consider this pursuing fun, but other would label it as selfishness and not in the best interest of the whole.

    While parenting is fun in the sense that it continually presents new stimuli, it requires the individual to do what is best for others, even when it is not fun. This might mean thinking down the road which ADHD sufferers have problems doing.

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    #103794
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    Curlymoe115
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    I married very young. I found a partner that made me laugh, made me feel valued and loved me. We moved in together after having a long distance relationship where we could only talk or write to one another. I knew more about him from this then I would have with someone that I was involved with in the same area. The first 3 months were the most volatile because I moved away from my family and friends and into another province 1000 miles away. Not only was I home sick, but when he was working I was lonely and afraid. But we got through it. With a lot of tears, and arguments.

    When I moved to Alberta from Ontario I gave him a deadline. We needed to marry within 6 months or I was leaving. So we planned the wedding for his family church, his families traditions and with only a few close family members of mine able to attend. I knew these things going in, so it seemed like a fair trade. Since we married 21 years ago so much has changed. But at the core we share the same values, and even with everything else that has happened he still makes me laugh, feel valued and loved. We have moved around the country, had 2 children, lost parents and other close relatives. Was it fair for us to have children I really don’t know, but we were young and never considered not having children. Looking back we probably shouldn’t have had kids. I love my children but is that enough to justify what they went through with 2 parents with ADHD. But on the other hand they are flexible and have been trained to be independent. They have been trained from birth to do more then other children. They can cook, clean, do laundry, change light fixtures as well as bulbs, check the fluids in the car, change the oil in the lawnmower. They were never told that they were the centre of the world nor did DH and I neglect one another to focus exclusively on our kids. IMHO it takes a strong marriage to make a strong family. We continued to date while we raised our kids, and always carved out time to be together. When our kids were little they were simply an accessory while we continued to do what we enjoyed so they learned to enjoy them as well. As they grew older they were encouraged to find activities that they enjoyed and cultivate these. The youngest is more attached to things then the older and she has already decided that she does not like change. While DH and I could decide tomorrow to change houses, cities, provinces or countries we have to take her fear of change into account for a few more years. The oldest is more of a wanderer. She doesn’t care where she sleeps or fear new experiences. I can easily see her traveling and doing things that make her happy. Whether she finds a partner instead of these people who look to control her will be uncertain until she decides who she is. For now I want her to concentrate on learning about herself and having experiences that she will never be able to have when she has children.

    Both of our girls have been encouraged to delay or avoid having children. The youngest so far has already decided that she doesn’t want children. And if that is her decision it could very well be the right one for her. The oldest has decided that she wants to be much older. All of her friends have had kids in their early to late teens. Her question is “When did a baby become a fashion accessory?” They are tied down and they always need to find someone to look after their kids when they want to go out. They are always asking her to babysit so they can go to a job interview or other places. Then they don’t come back for hours or days and she can’t just leave them. The one left her with her 3 year old son, went out partying with a bunch of others in a stolen car, while they were all drinking and drugging. None were wearing a seatbelt, they were speeding at 140 miles an hour and misjudged a curve. The car flipped over and they were all thrown through the windshield. The driver got a broken back, one 17 year old got a broken neck, the mother of the 3 year old had a severe head injury and a crushed larynx that required a tracheotomy and the final young man was crushed under the car and killed instantly. He was going to be a father in 3 months. None of these kids will ever be the same. And my daughter could have been with them if she hadn’t agreed to look after the 3 year old. And she had to look after this baby for 3 days until the grandmother came to get him. So luckily her attitude is no thanks, I am not ready to be a mother. And she has seen all of the unstable relationships, and baby daddy trading that has gone into making these babies.

    Because even though she fights against it at the core she still has the values that she was brought up with. We never smoked, drank or did drugs. Things in our home may have been chaotic but there was always love and understanding. We were at every parent day, and school interview. They always knew that we would be in their corner, even if they were ashamed to be there. That didn’t mean that we didn’t tell them that they were wrong. If we didn’t agree with their decisions they knew that we would be helping them make better choices next time. But they still had our unwavering support. And that is also the way that we have conducted our marriage. Both DH and I are very verbal. So issues are often talked to death instead of buried.

    But I think anytime you enter into a new relationship it is a crapshoot. Everyone lies and puts on their best face in the first blush of a relationship. They don’t disclose all of their secrets in the first few dates, and whether these are things that you can look past or not will be up to the individual to decide. To disclose ADHD on the first few dates is an individual decision. When you are actually approaching the wedding should you sit down and have a full disclosure of everything is up to you. But for myself I would rather know what I am getting into before I make a commitment. But what you think you can handle certainly changes the further into the relationship you get. And ADD and ADHD are very dynamic conditions. Symptoms and behaviours change over years and months and with every new variable in our lives there is a potential for it to worsen. When co-morbids are involved that is another factor that is impossible to completely nail down. But your partner may suddenly have to caregive for an infirm parent or sibling. They may suddenly be diagnosed with some disease that was never on the horizon. No one has a crystal ball into the future. So you can’t predict what is going to happen or how either of you is going to react. And that is without infidelity, alcoholism or a myriad of other things that could happen. And as others have said, what works for some and strengthens a relationship may tear it apart in the next one. All we can do is use our best judgement and try to be as clear headed in the moment as we can. As I tell my kids all the time when they are whining that it isn’t fair, “Who told you life was fair, certainly not me.”

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    #103795
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    Wgreen
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    I’ve said all I can say on this subject. Others can continue to add their own perspectives. But I would add one final thought:

    Many, MANY people who post to this sight have written about the “ah-ha” moment when they realized they had a neurological “issue”— a point in time when the puzzle pieces started to fall into place. As we began to understand that many of our problems had neurological roots, we wanted others in our lives to understand that, too—”We don’t WANT to be compulsive or impulsive or short-tempered or inattentive or scattered, we just are. We’re hard-wired that way.”

    Still, be that as it may, we all have to take ownership of whatever we are and strive daily to make the best of it. It’s not enough to expect others to understand our plight and always adjust their expectations to accommodate us. We have to work to to make adjustments, too. Adjustments at home. Adjustments at work. Adjustments everywhere. As members of communities large, small, and intimate, we also must try to understand and respond to the needs and feelings of others, as well as strive to meet our legitimate obligations.

    I will always be an advocate for people who suffer from ADD/ADHD. But I think I also have a moral obligation to show compassion (and concern) for those others who have to deal constantly with our numerous, sometimes serious shortcomings. That compassion can manifest itself in many different ways. People we love and who love and care about us deserve nothing less—along, of course, with our deepest, eternal gratitude.

    Further, this forum member saith not…

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    #103796
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    Anonymous
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    @ I_C: disagree all you want. :) If you think a long term relationship is all about stability and routine you are doomed to never have one that lasts. You said “human beings do altruistic tasks for the greater good of the whole”, the question is why? My opinion is we do it because it is what we want to do. If not then it is not fun, enjoyable, thrilling! Intrinsic Motivation is doing something because it is FUN, important, suits our values and beliefs. If you are not intrinsically motivated to start every task with your best foot forward and be a great ‘life partner’, parent, employee, nice person, what ever you want to be then it won’t happen. If your motivation is external, your likely hood of doing your best and enjoying it along the way is small.

    Good luck I_C, the reality we pull over our own eyes does not always reflect what other see.

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    #103797
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    Bibliophile
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    I am arguing that the decisions to be in a MARRIAGE are about societal and legal acceptance and seeking stability and not necessarily being in love or dating. One need not be married/common-in-law as one could date, cohabitate, or engage in sexual relations, etc., without a formal structure in place or a need to rely on others. There is a difference between getting into marriage for the thrills it brings and enjoying being with someone in a marriage/relationship. The latter offers a positive benefit without the need to seek out new stimuli to generate a state of arousal. Doing taxes is not fun, but we do it as it is our civic obligation. Being in love or in a relationship can be fun, but there are tasks involved in maintaining that relationship that may not be desirable to the individual or fun. One cannot simply get up and leave when things are no longer fun, but must do the things to fix the problem.

    All motivations, be they selfish or altruistic, are externally dependent in the sense that they require some form of external interaction, whether with people or with objects or oneself, that are then translated into a sense of reward or satisfaction internally.

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    #103798
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    Curlymoe115
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    The attraction that causes us to want to be with someone fades very quickly. The initial thrill of holding hands and that quick sneaky kisses all fades away and all you are left with is routine. I can see both of your points of view. We are initially attracted and thrilled with a partner and that is what causes us to want to spend time with them, but once it has faded all you are left with is routine and endless time together. If there is nothing beyond the initial attraction the relationship fades away and they drift apart. If you are a thrill seeker and always looking for that next great attraction then you will quickly fall in love with someone else that makes your blood race. Maybe you feel guilty about leaving the person you are married to then you indulge in a series of short term affairs outside of marriage. These provide the pick me up that makes it tolerable being married to the person that you initially chose.

    If you look beyond the physical when you are choosing a partner then you have a foundation to build your relationship on. Someone that likes the things you like, makes you laugh and makes you feel good about yourself. But my assertion is all relationships are a crapshoot. Until you trust the person that you are with you will be unwilling to put all your cards on the table. And if you have been hurt in the past it is even harder to get beyond the superficial to a deep connection. For most relationships that are serious and long lasting marriage is the expected outcome. I have an aunt who has been married 8 times. Each one was going to be the “one” that was going to last. She has become a chameleon and changes to suit the person she is with. When she no longer feels that the benefit is there she goes searching for the next “one” that will make her happy. Even at 67 years old she has not learned that no one else can make her happy. She has to make herself happy. She has 3 children and a dozen step children. These children have been unable to sustain a relationship themselves because they have never learned that marriage takes hard work and it isn’t all fun and games.

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    #103799
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    Anonymous
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    To clarify my argument re ADHD, marriage and having children and answer the questions I’d like to add that ADD/ADHD is manageable. and is always manageable if the individual is willing to do the work and put in the effort. Severe cases IMHO are likely on the Asperger Scale not ADHD. If being high energy, hyperfocused and highly creative traits are not given something to do then the person is unhappy and needs to do something to fulfill these needs. There are as many ‘negative’ traits, but focusing on those doesn’t help you develop the good ones. Behaviour modification is a process, the first part is accepting that the behaviour needs changing, second is someone to help you make these changes.

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    #103800
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    Bibliophile
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    @Callmecrazy we will never agree. Your comparison to Aspergers is quite ludicrous given the differences in social interaction and other communication traits that people with ADHD and Aspergers exhibit. “Symptoms of Asperger’s include: impaired ability to utilize social cues such as body language, irony, or other “subtext” of communication; restricted eye contact and socialization; limited range of encyclopedic interests; perseverative, odd behaviors; didactic, verbose, monotone, droning voice; “concrete” thinking; over-sensitivity to certain stimuli; and unusual movements” (http://www.pediatricneurology.com/autism.htm#Asperger’s Syndrome).

    You are obviously in the “ADHD is a gift if put to the right use” camp and I am not.

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    #103801
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    Anonymous
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    @I_C: Exactly. My choice to make the switch too. :)

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    #103802
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    Curlymoe115
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    ADHD is a spectrum disease. It ranges from the mild to the severely debilitating. And it also depends on hormones, stage and is effected most by what we are currently dealing with. That is why so many people are only being diagnosed as adults. When they were young everything looked normal. They lived at home, only had to concentrate on a few things, did not have to have a fulltime job and support themselves. They were able to juggle most of the balls successfully. But then they go out into the real world. Add stress, family, friends, jobs, social activities, housework, grocery shopping, marriage, children, and thousands of other normal everyday activities. Subtract sleep, time, money, resources and what are you left with. Suddenly more and more balls are falling even though you are moving your hands faster then ever. Finally the one ball is heavier then all the other balls. All the balls finally hit the ground. You stare at them for a few minutes bewildered because you have never dropped them all before, then embarrassed you start trying to pick them up and get them all started again before anyone else notices that you dropped them. That is ADHD for me. Marriage and family are stressors whether you love them or not. All families deal with the stress, but when you yourself are already struggling to keep all the balls in the air this can just be the straw that breaks the camels back.

    Some people are more adept at handling all the stressors in their life. Or they have more people that are picking up the slack. If this is the case I wish you every happiness. But past success is no guarantee of future success. Because one day that extra ball may over balance you and you can find yourself overwhelmed and scrambling to pick up all the balls. To all the people who have dropped all your balls remember if you can just leave one or two of the balls on the ground you may be able to successfully juggle the rest. Or hire an assistant juggler. 8)

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    #103803
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    Anonymous
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    Lots of the posts about marriage to an ADHD spouse are very insightful and helpful. The comments about deciding not to marry because of the ADHD traits have some value if only that were so easy. The problem is that most of us won’t find out or learn of the ADHD until we are educated adults, often well into marriage. In truth, until we have a spouse or child with ADHD chances are we won’t have even heard of the issue. I’m almost 20 years into my marriage and it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I realized something was wrong that I just couldn’t put my finger on. Now, after lots of reading, forums and studying it has become clear that ADHD has been playing a large role in many of the persistent and ongoing problems we face as a couple. Let’s be real…..whether it’s ADHD, depression, bi-polar disorder, addiction, anxiety, etc. that plagues a relationship, what it boils down to is behaviors that will de-stabilize even the best intentions in marriage. One of the most critical steps to be taken besides proper diagnosis is for the partner with ADHD to realize fully the effects that their behavior has had on those around them over time. Without that step, the sufferer will face several things; their partner will ‘clam up’ and avoid all interaction they feel will trigger the roller coaster with the result being a distanced relationship; or the relationship is abandoned for the peace of solitude. It takes a courageous spirit to admit and apologize these things to a loved one, but without it the future isn’t always promising.

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