Marriage and ADHD

Adult ADHD and Effects on Marriage

By: Staci Lee Schnell, M.S.,C.S., LMFT

October 30, 2015


October is ADHD Awareness Month.  Typically, it’s not difficult to spot a child with ADHD, (especially if they are hyperactive), but adults with ADHD tend to have more subtle symptoms. This means that many adults struggling with ADHD and may not know they have it. Some of the subtle symptoms they face include disorganization, tardiness, or restlessness. More significant issues include reckless driving, anger outbursts, and marital trouble.

Many people without ADHD have marital issues.  Often, a spouse of an ADHD person will view their partner’s poor listening skills as a sign that their partner doesn’t care. The person with ADHD may feel nagged or at fault.

Here are some common Marital Problems:

  1. Division of Labor
    The non ADHD spouse may feel as though they do all the cleaning, planning, organizing, reminding, and putting away.
  2. Time Management
    The ADHD spouse will show up late for almost everything, unless reminded often about deadlines and meeting times.
  3. Broken Promises
    The ADHD spouse may be very forgetful.
  4. Finances
    The ADHD spouse may spend too much money, forget to record purchases, or keep poor records.
  5. Wild Dreams
    The ADHD spouse tends to come up with extravagant ideas, yet seldom follows through.
  6. Relationship Hierarchy
    The non ADHD spouse may feel put into a parent roll rather than a partner to the ADHD spouse.
  7. Lonely
    The non ADHD spouse may feel like they have to ask their spouse to pay attention to them.


Seeking Marriage Counseling can help couples let go of judgment and blame, and work on understanding ADHD and its effects on the marriage.

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