The Trials of Living with someone who has ADHD: Part 1

My name is Eva, and I’m Ryan’s wife. My husband is an amazing man. He’s generous and good-hearted, not to mention kind and brilliant. Knowing these characteristics about him, I thought being married to him was going to be a walk in the park. After we started living together, I began noticing things about him that I haven’t seen in other people I’ve lived with.

For instance, sometimes he would be so incredibly focused on things it would consume his every moment, a few days later he would drop whatever it is like he was never obsessed with it in the first place. He would want to sink tons of money into projects and hobbies, even consider leaving his job to pursue them, and then shortly after, he would give up on them entirely and move on to the next hobby. To many people, who haven’t dealt with this symptom of ADHD before (a symptom known as hyper focusing), this may not seem like such a big deal. So what, the guy likes his hobbies. But it was more than that. He’d devote every spare moment to a particular hobby, ignoring things happening in real life and neglecting everything else. It was difficult to talk to him about it, because he would always feel so attacked. If I would mention something like, “It’s not a good time to spend thousands of dollars to buy homes and resell them just because you saw a infomercial about it,” he would act like I was telling him he’s incapable of making his own decisions or that I’d never support his dreams. It caused us a TON of arguments and plagued us with a tension that seemed to seep into many other areas of our lives.

However, none of the symptoms have affected us more than his lack of concentration/focus. We can have a serious conversation that he genuinely wants to be a part of, but he is unable to focus well enough to get through it. This made it nearly impossible to resolve our fights. He couldn’t remember past conversations or experiences due to the fact that he wasn’t able to pay them full attention. I could recite them word for word, and he would think I was absolutely lying. We would fight back and forth. We even considered tape recording our arguments and important conversations to help us with the issue.

Eventually, we decided that, before things got bad for our new marriage, we should go in and visit a relationship counselor to learn some tactics to deal with our problems. Ryan summed up what happened on the professional medical side from there on, possible strokes, depression, thyroid issues, and eventually they diagnosed him with adult ADHD. Through this whole process I felt torn; part of me wanted to find out reasons for why we were having these troubles. I didn’t want to think he just wasn’t listening because he didn’t care or wasn’t interested, and I didn’t want to think that I was just an impatient wife setting my standards ridiculously high. On the other hand, I didn’t want him to have to undergo tests, awkward talks with doctors, medication, and the stigma of being labeled with the disease. Not to mention I have studied how overly diagnosed ADHD has been in recent years (mostly with children, but still, over diagnosed none the less). I felt really torn, but ultimately decided that we had to face the facts. Ryan fit the description of a person with ADHD to the letter, and if he wanted to move forward with any kind of treatment I would be there for him 100%.

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