Does your husband or wife constantly forget chores and lose track of the calendar? Do you sometimes feel that instead of living with a spouse, you’re raising another child? Your marriage may be suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
An A.D.H.D. marriage? It may sound like a punch line, but the idea that attention problems can take a toll on adult relationships is getting more attention from mental health experts. In a marriage, the common symptoms of the disorder — distraction, disorganization, forgetfulness — can easily be misinterpreted as laziness, selfishness, and a lack of love and concern.
Experts suggest that at least 4 percent of adults have the disorder, that as many as half of all children with A.D.H.D. do not fully outgrow it and continue to struggle with symptoms as adults, and that many adults with the disorder never received the diagnosis as children.
Adults with attention disorders often learn coping skills to help them stay organized and focused at work, but experts say many of them struggle at home, where their tendency to become distracted is a constant source of conflict. Some research suggests that these adults are twice as likely to be divorced; another study found high levels of distress in 60 percent of marriages where one spouse had the disorder.