Joyce Kubik and Robin Nordmeyer
A marriage is a precious union. But when one spouse or partner struggles with ADHD, they both struggle with ADHD. Research shows us that when you don’t understand or manage your ADHD effectively, it can be draining on a marriage often leading to separation and divorce.
It is heart breaking to watch two people who love each other put their relationship at risk. If only the partners could acquire a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn’t when ADHD is present. Many of the struggles that affect their relationship would disappear.
How does a couple go about recreating their relationship? First, couples must be clear. You can’t make changes in the relationship without knowing what it means to live with ADHD and how it affects that individual. Next, collaborate as a team to explore and develop the skills and strategies relevant to having ADHD in a relationship. We are not talking about the strategies neurotypical couples may use to resolve their problems. That’s not going to cut it where ADHD is present.
The ADHD partner must take ownership of their ADHD. And the non-ADHD partner needs to learn some support skills.
What would a support skill look like? Most of us understand communications between couples can be difficult. The non-ADHD partner can be frustrated because a simple request isn’t handled in a timely manner. Here is an example.
Non-ADHD: “I need you to put away everything in the den. I need that space and the room is a mess. Can you do that for me?”
ADHD: “Sure, I can do that.”
A week goes by and the room is still a mess. Now the agitation starts and the non-ADHD partner asks, “Why haven’t you cleaned that out yet? I asked you and you said you would take care of it”.
ADHD: “I didn’t know you wanted that right away. I’ve been busy doing . . . . “. Blame and excuses begin in order to defend themselves.
If the non-ADHD partner understood ADHD, they might have added to the request, “I need that by Friday. Can you write that down somewhere (a planner is preferred), and make it happen?”
Ahh! Now we have a timeframe and a way to avoid forgetting. Because both partners now understand the value of writing things down, or setting an alarm, the ADHD partner has a better chance of completing the task.
Think of the incomplete projects. The promises not kept. The list goes on. As ADHD coaches, we unravel these mysteries and help improve relationships with practical and manageable skills.
We know coaching can help a relationship where ADHD is a “silent partner”. But no one has researched how ADHD coaching helps these couples. We’ve read many studies on how it affects couples. However, despite our personal experience, and the successful relationships of our clients, there’s not enough scientific proof. There are no studies demonstrating how ADHD coaching can effectively make a lasting change in the dynamics of a relationship.
Without the science, professionals without ADHD training or understanding will continue to apply “standard” marriage counselling practices. And while there are studies that show that the usual approach isn’t working, without a studied alternative, many couples are stuck, heading towards divorce, and aren’t getting the help they need.
We are conducting a research study on the effect of coaching on an ADHD relationship where one partner has it and one does not. Of course, the results of this study will be very helpful for all coaches and other professionals working with couples. But it will also be extraordinarily helpful for couples with ADHD in the mix. You could benefit as a participant. And you will benefit as a member of the ADHD community.
Melissa Orlov, well-known ADHD marriage consultant, states the divorce rate is nearly twice as high for people with ADHD. If you are a couple struggling with ADHD in your relationship, participating in the program we’re studying could be the best thing you’ve ever done for your marriage. Even if you’re not struggling right now, studies like this these help create better ADHD treatment for couples, and provide the scientific evidence to confirm the importance of recognizing the role of ADHD in the relationship, as well as the role of the non-ADHD partner.
Marriage Uncomplicated: Bringing Back the Joy in Relationships with ADHD is a research study that measures 23 areas of concern in relationships where one partner has ADHD. During the course of an eight-week workshop for couples, we will be measuring the effect of the program on 23 areas of concern.
Our experience has shown there are three essential focus points for successful relationships:
- Improved Clarity and Understanding
- Better Collaboration
- Skill & Strategy Development
We designed this workshop to provide the clarity, skills development and strategies that will create more harmony between couples.
We’ll be working with ADDA this year to recruit participants in the research study as we run this program a number of times. As part of our efforts, we’ll be offering a Webinar on March 11, 2020. We’ll be explaining how the differences between neurotypical and ADHD-wired brains affect your relationship. We’ll reveal how you can get better collaboration by working as a team to create healthier relationship dynamics. And we’ll share specific skills and strategies that will improve marital harmony.
In this program, you can move forward confidently and lovingly in your relationship. As a participant in this study, you will be helping others to understand ADHD. You become part of the solution to resolve the misconceptions of ADHD.
We’lI leave you with this. What changes if a couple continues the same approaches that have led to their discontent? Isn’t that Einstein’s recipe for insanity? We keep couples together. If things are not going the way you’d like in your relationship, it’s time for you to do something different. Join our program today. Register today for sessions starting January 29, 2020. And if the timing isn’t right, watch for the announcement for our coming ADDA webinar. It could change the way you live with your ADHD.
Joyce Kubik is a professionally trained ADHD Coach for over 20 years at Bridge to Success Skills Training. She is an author of four books and a research study published in the Journal of Attention Magazine in 2010 on ADHD coaching. Joyce is a known speaker and educator on ADHD. She is also past-president of the ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO). Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robin Nordmeyer is a professionally trained ADHD Coach, with over 10 years’ experience. She has served on the ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO) Board of Directors since 2013 and several other ADHD-related organizations. She developed the Center for Living Well With ADHD serving adults and students in many avenues, including workshops for Adults with ADHD. And she is a frequent conference presenter on ADHD. Contact her at email@example.com.