7 Tips for Overcoming Non-ADHD Spouse Burnout


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Burnout can affect any relationship, but it’s an unusually common problem when you’re in a marriage with someone with ADHD. The symptoms of untreated adult ADHD may manifest in several ways. You may feel as if your spouse is ignoring you, or you may find yourself the brunt of an out-of-nowhere angry outburst. 

Instances such as these have a cumulative effect and can wear a person down. It can be difficult to try to navigate life with someone who suffers from undiagnosed ADHD–their challenges are your challenges too. So what can you do?

We’ve collected seven tips for overcoming non-ADHD spouse burnout. 

If you suspect that your spouse is struggling with symptoms of ADHD, Klarity has made it simpler than ever to access quick, affordable online ADHD treatment. Encourage them to schedule an appointment through Klarity today, and they could begin receiving comprehensive ADHD treatment from a psychiatric professional in as little as 48 hours. 

What Is ADHD?

ADHD is a common neurobehavioral disorder that can last from childhood into the adult years. Approximately 4 percent of adults in the United States suffer from ADHD. In ADHD adults, it presents itself in a range of symptoms, so not everyone’s ADHD looks the same. The most common symptoms include: 

  • Trouble staying focused on routine tasks
  • Hyperfocus on interesting tasks
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Tendency to procrastinate
  • Poor time management
  • Impulsivity
  • Risk-taking behavior
  • Hot temper

There are three kinds of ADHD; inattentive, hyperactive, and combined. Inattentive ADHD affects around 33% of adults and causes difficulty focusing and staying on task, even in mundane everyday activities. Hyperactive ADHD affects a much smaller portion of adults, making up only 7% of all cases. It causes some inattention, but the most prevalent symptoms are hyperactivity and acting without thinking. The most common kind of ADHD is a combination of both inattentive and hyperactive ADHD, affecting around 60% of adults. 

A provider on Klarity can analyze your ADHD traits to determine which kind you are suffering from. An accurate diagnosis of the specific type of ADHD you have will help you receive more accurate and effective treatment. 

What It’s Like Being a Non-ADHD Spouse

When one partner in a relationship has ADHD, it can create significant challenges for the non-ADHD partner. Common ADHD symptoms, such as distractibility, inattention, forgetfulness, restlessness, and impulsivity, can lead to increased frustration and annoyance. 

Over time, the non-ADHD partner may become increasingly discouraged and may even be the one to end the relationship. Despite still feeling love for their partner with ADHD, dashed expectations and continued disappointment can override the ability to stay in the relationship. It’s common to hear phrases like “I love them, but I can’t handle their behavior anymore. Nothing ever changes.”

For those who do choose to stay in the relationship, it’s important to realize that ADHD is a lifelong disorder that requires accommodations. As a non-ADHD partner, you may feel a sense of helplessness and defeat, but there are ways to cope and respond in healthier ways. With help, you can find coping skills to manage your frustration and maintain the relationship.

If your partner is struggling with ADHD, helping them find accessible and affordable online treatment through Klarity could be the first step towards relief for you both. We can connect your partner with a compassionate provider online within 48 hours, so that you can focus on your relationship instead of wasting time trying to find available treatment.  

Ready for the next step in your mental health journey? Book an appointment with a licensed provider on Klarity today.

Tips for Avoiding Non-ADHD Spouse Burnout

  1. Avoid Parenting 

When one spouse has trouble remembering to do things, procrastinates on household chores, is unable to get to appointments on time, forgets where his or her keys are, or exhibits behavior stemming from any number of ADHD symptoms, it can be easy for the other spouse to step in and assume the role of a parent. While this may be unavoidable from time to time, any sustained spousal parenting leads to an imbalance that can foster resentment in both partners. The non-ADHD spouse resents having to take on most or all of the responsibilities, and the ADHD spouse resents being treated like a child.

While it can feel natural to step into this role, if only to make sure tasks get done, taking on the brunt of the responsibility can easily lead to non-ADHD spouse burnout. Be aware of this tendency, and avoid stepping in and taking over completely. Work with your ADHD spouse so they can more fully take on responsibilities and relieve you of at least some of the burden. 

  1. Stay Calm

This may well be easier said than done, sometimes ADHD can cloud your partner’s self awareness and staying calm is the best way to handle your stress. Dealing with the frustration of living with someone with untreated ADHD could cause anyone to snap from time to time.  But anger only leads to bad feelings in both parties, and it’s hard not to become exhausted when faced with constant stress. 

When you feel frustration and anger rising, realize that your spouse is likely unaware of what they’re doing. Take deep breaths before reacting to, for example, your spouse hyper-focusing on something new while neglecting something less compelling, like household chores. Getting angry affects you as much as your spouse and can easily lead to burnout.

  1. Talk About It

Conversation is a great release valve and can help alleviate the stress of being married to someone with poorly managed ADHD. Rely on friends who understand what you’re going through, and talk to them regularly. An additional option is to speak to a therapist who understands ADHD and its symptoms. Simply discussing your frustrations with a compassionate listener can provide a great deal of relief. In addition, talk to your spouse. The more they understand what you’re going through, the more they can take steps to help you and themselves. And the more you understand your spouse’s ADHD, the better you’ll be able to get through your day without experiencing non-ADHD spouse burnout.

  1. Get Sleep

When you’re doing more than your fair share of household duties with seemingly no reward, your sleep can suffer. There may seem to be not enough hours in a normal day to get everything done, or you may go to bed angry. Not getting enough sleep can lead to burnout in those who aren’t living with a person with untreated ADHD; it can be disastrous if they are.

Sleep is restorative and plays an important role in maintaining physical and emotional health. Without sleep, it’s difficult to concentrate and easy to become frazzled. Maintaining a proper sleep schedule can be key to getting through the day.

  1. Find Support

It’s tough to go it alone, especially when your spouse has unmanaged ADHD. Finding support can help prevent burnout and lead to a happier marriage. Support can come in many forms. It can be as simple as calling a friend who understands what you’re going through. Getting emotional support can make a huge difference in being able to better cope with your ADHD spouse.

There are support groups for non-ADHD spouses. Locate one in your area and attend gatherings. If there’s not a local group, find one online. Being able to discuss your experiences with people who know firsthand what you’re going through can be a huge source of strength. In addition, get help with household chores and give yourself a break. Having someone come in to help clean and organize, even for a couple of hours, can provide a great deal of relief. 

  1. Help Your ADHD Spouse Find Help

Dealing with untreated ADHD can make life seem insurmountable, both for the ADHD sufferer and their spouse. If you suspect your spouse suffers from ADHD, helping them find treatment can help both of you. Simply receiving an ADHD diagnosis could be a relief, as it answers many questions you may both have. You’ll be able to finally understand what you’re both going through.

There are many forms of ADHD treatment, and an accurate diagnosis is the first step in finding the right approach for your spouse. If your spouse is dealing with symptoms that are associated with ADHD, encouraging them to take an evaluation can be a good place to start. Klarity provides a quick and easy 2-minute evaluation that your spouse can take online to get a better understanding of whether or not ADHD treatment is right for them. 

  1. Treat Yourself

You may be so wrapped up in taking care of your ADHD spouse you’ve forgotten to take care of yourself. It pays dividends to take stock of what you’re managing on an everyday basis and treat yourself.

Take a relaxing walk. Read a book. Binge your favorite show. Go out to dinner. Eat dessert. Whatever you do to self-indulge, be sure to do it once in a while. You’re dealing with a burden – accept that fact and do what you can to avoid non-ADHD spouse burnout.

Take Good Care of Yourselves

Living with a partner affected by ADHD can present unique challenges for couples. While your marriage can be a source of strength, untreated ADHD can make the give and take of a relationship incredibly difficult. It’s important to recognize that seeking help is the first step toward taking care of yourselves and your relationship.

Connect Your ADHD Spouse With Treatment Today

Helping your spouse find treatment and relief from their ADHD symptoms will give your marriage the opportunity that it deserves to thrive. Klarity makes it easy for your ADHD spouse to get the online treatment they need to feel better and improve your relationship.  Book an appointment on Klarity today, and we will work quickly to match your spouse with a qualified, affordable provider within 48 hours. 


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