26 Jan The ADHD Effect on Marriage by Melissa Orlov ~Irregular Reads & Reviews~
Did you know those of us with ADHD are twice as likely to divorce?
Multiple racing thoughts with no sense of hierarchy. Lack of focus. Impulsiveness. “Now and Not Now” perspective of time. Excessive shame. Fear of failure. Sensitive to rejection. Difficulty “fitting in”. Limited executive functioning skills. Emotional flooding. Internal processing issues. Inconsistency.
Not so great on relationships.
“ADHD is real. The symptoms you experience are the result of how the ADHD brain produces, and then regulates, specific chemicals in your brain.” (all quotes Melissa Orlov, The ADHD Effect on Marriage)
I’ve lived with this ADHD brain all my life but didn’t know what to call it until a couple of years ago, in my forties. It’s difficult to deal with and a relief at the same time- I now know my brain really does work differently than most and how that affects me and those around me, but there’s no “quick fix”. It’s learning to manage and reduce negative symptoms without losing the positives.
And it’s tough.
My husband and I celebrated twenty-seven years of marriage this past December. Twenty-five of those years consisted of undiagnosed ADHD. It’s left its mark.
Soon after my diagnosis, I ventured into Melissa Orlov’s ADHD and Marriage forums.
And then I threw myself in front of a bus.
Okay, not literally. But it was definitely one of my Ally McBeal scenarios. The venom from non-ADHD spouses toward ADHD spouses made me ugly cry. I knew it was pain underlying those reactions but I felt like a monster, that those with ADHD should do the world a favor and be single. That we’re unacceptable and impossible to love.
Not so great on that whole rejection sensitivity thing.
So I avoided the forum and her books. Instead I read Is it You, Me, or ADD? By Gina Pera. And was back in front of that bus, relieving the world of my ADHDness. (It’s mainly about undiagnosed ADHD and how difficult it is.) Some people love that one, for me it compounded the problem without providing solutions.I felt like a monster, that those with ADHD should do the world a favor and be single. Click To Tweet
So here I am two years in, finally giving The ADHD Effect on Marriage a go. And now I’m ugly crying with relief while my inner self throws a party. It’s not all shame and blame the ADHD partner- it’s about understanding each other, working on ourselves, and there are PRACTICAL TIPS throughout. Yes!
The first 1/3 of the book is about Understanding ADHD in Your Marriage and the consistent patterns affecting ADHD marriages. The second section takes you through Rebuilding Your Relationship in Six Steps. The layout is easy to follow, the writing is practical and easy to read, and the author provides information and direction for both the ADHD and the non-ADHD spouse.
So what is The ADHD Effect?
Melissa Orlov defines it as the destructive nature ADHD symptoms, and the responses of both partners to those symptoms, can have upon a marriage. Recognizing these issues, understanding the differences in how you each think and process, respecting your different perspectives, and managing what needs to be managed could be the key to repairing a broken marriage or strengthening a weakened one.
“In order to understand your differences and craft strategies to find common ground a couple must start with the basic assumption that each spouse’s point of view is legitimately founded in that spouse’s experiences. As such, it deserves respectful consideration. Understanding your spouse’s quite different reality can be challenging, but it increases the likelihood you’ll find satisfying resolution to many of your conflicts. This is why so many negotiation experts suggest you take time to ‘walk a mile in your partner’s shoes’.”
There’s so much more I’d love to share, this may just be a review “prequel”. But it is an ADHD book review after all, better to keep this short. Or, uh, less long.
Practical Encouragement: ADHD and married or in a committed relationship? Get this book. It’s not perfect (it’s skewed toward the ADHD male and non-ADHD female, which is the opposite of my situation) but it’s the best book I’ve read for managing ADHD and marriage. She doesn’t promise a quick fix but it’s written to understand and apply. Highly recommended.“I am asking you to come on a journey of change, not offering a quick fix.” Orlov Click To Tweet