Book review – it takes two to Tango, both must shoulder responsibility

In “ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand & Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps”, Melissa Orlov, looks at how ADHD can impact a relationship, in part from her own personal experience of being married to an ADHD husband. Orlov discuss her own difficulties as well as those of her clients.

I am never of the view that an ADHD adult needs to be “fixed” or “normalised”. A relationship involves two people – there is no right or wrong way of being, living or loving – compromise and understanding is always needed on both sides. Because of the more profound differences found in ADHD personalities – in outlook, effort, interests and values – it may be that even more compromise is required! Fortunately, Melissa Orlov has written a book that is not only about understanding ADHD traits and behaviours but also about the negative consequential behaviours from the non-ADHD partner too.

The book helps both partners feel accepted and able to empathise. Orlov shares her experience as the non-ADHD partner in a “mixed” marriage, of the way the non-ADHD spouse may misinterpret the symptoms of ADHD, seeing inattention as a lack of care or love. These misunderstandings can lead to a cycle of action, reaction, then reaction to reaction that ultimately can end a marriage, ADHD divorce rates are 2-3 times average.

Orlov offers experience and constructive advice without laying blame – “changes must come from both partners. Changes only in the ADHD spouse don’t resolve the marriage’s issues.”. She offers valuable insights and constructive techniques to improve communications and behaviours, an essential read!I too have some personal experience of the impact of ADHD in a marriage, my first marriage ended with my undiagnosed ADHD definitely playing a part in our relationship problems.

I recommend her book and online training to clients, not perfect, still a little too directed at normalising the ADHD partner but the best resource available to help couples.