By Annette Tabor
Two years ago, Liz and Jennelle met at a group meeting. Jennelle Kariotis-Rice is a psychologist with a private practice as a Relationship Advisor. She is also a professor of psychology at Bridgewater State University. Elizabeth Kariotis-Rice is a psychotherapist at Fenway Health in Boston.
Jennelle very soon realized Liz had ADHD while Jennelle does not. We all know relationships between people with ADHD and people without ADHD can be challenging. Unfortunately, many of these relationships do not succeed. There are too many differences or too many problems.
Against the Odds
That was not the case with Liz and Jennelle. From the very beginning they tried to learn about and accept each other’s differences. They shared their stories and they laughed at each other’s jokes! They realized they got along very well if they worked to understand each other’s feelings and words.
Today, Jennelle and Liz are the proud parents of four children. They have two boys (7 and 5) co-parented with Liz’s ex-partner. And they are about to adopt two girls (3 and 2). They have two cats and two new additions recently joined their family. They now have a 7-month-old Bluetick Coonhound and a 5-month-old Shar-pei.
It’s a Family Affair
Reading a few books about ADHD wasn’t enough. Jennelle and Liz needed more help navigating ADHD issues in their relationship. They both had a lot of experience participating and facilitating support groups. They wondered if a group for couples with ADHD in the mix would offer the support they needed.
Their search led them to ADDA!
Where Can You Find the Support You Need?
That’s where they found the Loving and Living with ADHD: Couples Connecting group. Jonathan and Monica Hassall lead this group. Jon and Monica are both ADHD and EF coaches, and are ADDA members and volunteers from Australia. Jonathan recently joined ADDAs Board of Directors.
After attending the first Loving Couples Group session, Jennelle and Liz said, “These people are speaking our language!”
Living and Learning About ADHD
They couldn’t believe it. These couples were discussing many of the same problems they had at home. They also heard some success stories, which gave them hope! Liz joined several other ADDA Support groups. Jennelle re-organized her schedule to attend Mike Fedel’s Non-ADHD Partners Support Group.
Setting the Example
Jennelle and Liz work to include praise and encouragement in their relationship each day. They have a white board in the kitchen they both write on every day. They jot notes detailing what they appreciate about each other. This guarantees they each receive a few kind words every day. The children have started asking, “What does that say on the board?” They are all very happy to see the cheerful and encouraging words on the board.
Liz and Jennelle have embraced Liz’s ADHD as they both work to understand each other’s personality traits. They realize they both bring strengths to the relationship. They have learned to appreciate each other’s differences.
Success is Only the Beginning
Jennelle says Liz’s ability to dream big is one of her favorite qualities. One of their dreams recently came true! They were recently married. They held a small ceremony on the beach for the two of them. They will follow that with a reception in October 2022 for their children, family and friends.
We all offer Jennelle and Liz congratulations! We wish them a very happy life together with their children (and pets)!
Liz and Jennelle are a real success story from the ADDA support group for couples. In fact, Liz and Jennelle will now co-facilitate the Loving Couples Group with Jon and Monica. This will make it possible for the group to meet every week.
Won’t You Join Us?
We look forward to seeing them at ADDA group meetings, and especially the Loving and Living Couples group. We hope you’ll join us every Thursday at 9:00 pm Eastern time.