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Understanding the Importance of Different Books for ADHD and Non-ADHD Spouses

ADHD Marriage Monthly Q&A

Question 1: Why do I recommend different books for ADHD and non-ADHD spouses?

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The recommendation for different books stems from the fundamental understanding that ADHD and non-ADHD spouses are wired differently, both neurologically and emotionally. This dichotomy necessitates tailored approaches to support each partner effectively along their journey within the relationship.

Firstly, it's crucial to recognize that ADHD individuals often have less neural receptors for dopamine compared to their non-ADHD counterparts. Consequently, they require a higher dosage of dopamine to feel motivated. Books that are uplifting, positive, and encouraging are particularly beneficial for ADHD spouses as they gravitate towards content that sparks happiness and optimism. On the other hand, non-ADHD spouses possess a broader range of emotional tools to tap into their dopamine, including fear and logic. Therefore, the information offer is more straight forward, as they need to understand the impact ADHD will have on the ADHD marriage journey, giving them information that allow them to prepare for what lies ahead.

Secondly, within the dynamics of an ADHD relationship, each partner typically assumes distinct roles. The ADHD spouse often needs to navigate the quest for effective treatments and systems to optimize their potential, both individually and within the relationship. Meanwhile, the non-ADHD spouse focuses on understanding how to best support their ADHD partner and themselves. These distinct roles necessitate different sets of knowledge and resources.

Finally, the diversity of authors in the realm of ADHD literature further underscores the need for tailored reading recommendations. Authors with ADHD, such as Dr. Hallowell and Anita Robertson, bring a unique perspective steeped in positivity and optimism, which aligns well with the needs of ADHD spouses. Conversely, authors like Dr. Barkley and Melissa Orlov, who themselves are loved ones or non-ADHD spouses, offer more direct and pragmatic insights. From my perspective, these insights are better suited for non-ADHD spouses because they address specific challenges such as handling objections to getting treatment, managing derailed conversations due to ADHD symptoms and navigating parent-child dynamics. These tailored insights empower non-ADHD spouses to navigate interactions with their ADHD partners more effectively, leading to more fruitful outcomes.

While I recommend each reading separate books, it doesn't mean you couldn't share the insights. I highly recommend that ADHD couples have weekly conversations and each share 1-3 insights they have learned from the book that they didn't know before. This fosters and accelerates learning and allows the couples to discuss sensitive topics, like finally understanding some of your ADHD spouse's behaviors because an example in a book helps you connect the dots or finding a way for ADHD spouses to explain how they feel because a sentence in the book describes exactly how he/she feels more elegantly. These insights help create more empathy for each other and ultimately help both of you thrive.

Question 2: Are there books I recommend for couples to read together?

Answer: I understand that reading books together is nice. It is a good way to spend time together as a couple. And yes, there are a couple of books I recommend for couples to read together. One is Your Life Can Be Better by Douglas A. Puryear MD. This book is written by a retired psychiatrist who found out late in life that he has ADHD. In his book, he offers up tips and strategies that he developed throughout life to handle the curveballs that ADHD throws at him. I like this book because through Douglas' examples, it naturally offers a platform for couples to discuss their own challenges and potential solutions as they read the book. Another book I recommend is ADHD & Us by Anita Robertson. This book is written by a psychologist who has ADHD and is focused on helping ADHD couples. In her book, she offers up quite a few exercises for couples to try out to improve their communication. I can attest to the exercises because my ADHD spouse and I have tried them, and they have helped us improve our communication, allowing both of us to better understand each other.

Feel free to check out my in-depth reviews on both books below.



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