Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship/Emotionally Unavailable


Hi Samantha,

    I'm not 100% sure that this question will fall into your realm of knowledge, but from your description you sounded like you could offer some sage advice to a newly wed.
    My husband and I have been married for just over a year now, and I have run into an unforeseen complication. My husband has ADHD and I believe that one of the side effects is that it makes him emotionally unavailable. For example: he is very logical. Whenever we have an argument he is the one that remembers all of the things that you say and gets mad if you can't articulate your argument. I am an emotionally based person. I get emotionally invested in everything that I do, and an argument or conversation is the same. He seems to lack empathy. So if he says something that hurts my feelings and I tell him that he has done so, he will just respond with a justification for his reaction. And if I tell him that I understand his justification, but that doesn't change how it made me feel, he gets defensive and cold and tells me that he doesn't know what he wants from me if it's not justification. I've tried to coach him gently and say things like "you know what would really make me feel better, for you to give me a hug and apologize for hurting me." I have tried this multiple times, but it never seems to stick. I don't know what to do and it's making me afraid to share my feelings with him unless they are good feelings. I don't want to be afraid to tell him what is on my mind. However, it just keeps coming around that when I try to tell him how I feel and start to communicate with him it starts another argument. We're talking in circles and I'm not sure what to do.... Any suggestions that you have would be more than welcome.
    Thank you for your time.

Hi Kim~

I have a child that has ADHD, so I can relate to you in a way.  I found something online that had symptoms of ADHD in adults.  And this was part of #3 "Often, the partners of people with undiagnosed ADHD take poor listening skills and an inability to honor commitments as a sign that their partner doesnít care. If youíre the person suffering from ADHD, you may not understand why youíre partner is upset, and you may feel youíre being nagged or blamed for something thatís not your fault." No matter how hard you try to explain to him how you feel, he may just not get it due to his ADHD.  So you may be fighting a losing battle.  My child that has ADHD does have sympathy for someone in certain instances, like if they get hurt, fall down, etc.  It can often be very hard to deal with her and sometimes I honestly can't stand to be around her for more than 10 mins at a time.  It's unfortunate but it's the truth.  I love her to death, but sometimes it's almost impossible to cope and deal with someone that has this disability.  And it can make it very difficult to rationalize things with someone that has ADHD.  I do feel your pain though.

Here is a site that might be helpful to you that I found doing a search on Google.

Here is another link that might be good to read too.

A marriage where one person has ADHD and it's not understood how to deal with the person, has a higher rate of divorce than those in your average marriage.  Hopefully with me sending you those two links, you can find something in there that will be useful to you.  You could also go to your local library and see if they can suggest something to you on ADHD, so that you can educate yourself and learn more about ADHD (please don't think I'm insulting your intelligence when I say this b/c that's not my intention) and how to deal with a loved one that has it.  There needs to be more support groups for those that have a loved one, family or friend that has ADHD.  I do know how difficult it can be to cope and deal with this.  It can be very upsetting and frustrating to cope and deal with for a person. So I do understand where you are coming from. I hope this has helped you some.  

Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship

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