What you read next may be the biggest understatement of the year: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may take a huge toll on marriages, reports the New York Times. No, but in all seriousness, we're talking about the real deal here -- so don't let your husband blame not doing the dishes or not picking up his dirty socks on ADHD until he gets a professional opinion.The Times piece says that the idea that attention problems can take a toll on adult relationships is getting more notice from mental-health experts. It goes on to state that in a marriage, the common symptoms of ADHD -- distraction, disorganization, forgetfulness -- can easily be misinterpreted as laziness, selfishness and a lack of love and concern. At least 4 percent of adults have a form of the disorder, and as many as half of all children with ADHD will continue to struggle with symptoms well into adulthood.
Of course, the biggest concern for a spouse who has an attention disorder is that now the other spouse has an excuse for being forgetful or uncooperative. (You knew that was coming, right?)
"Typically, people don't realize that ADHD is impacting their marriage because there's been no talk about this at all," Melissa Orlov, author of "The ADHD Effect on Marriage," told the Times. Her husband was diagnosed with the disorder five years ago, and before then, she could never put her finger on why she felt she was taking full responsibility for her family with little or no help. "I felt like he was consistently inconsistent," Orlov said. "I could never count on him. It goes from feeling responsible for everything to just chronic anger. I didn't like the person I'd become, either." (They're still married -- and now, happily.)
If you think your partner fills the bill, you can find out more through the National Association of Attention-Deficit Disorders.