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The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps Paperback – September 1, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Specialty Press/A.D.D. Warehouse (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1886941971
  • ISBN-13: 978-1886941977
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The ADHD Effect is a brilliant compilation of what you can do if you are in a marriage where one or both of you have ADHD.  It is a life-saver of a book..." --Dr. Edward Hallowell, co-author of Driven to Distraction

"We adore this book!  It's a comprehensive guide to dealing with the impact of ADHD on your marriage without making either partner wrong..." --Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo, authors of You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!

"On-target, practical, and helpful. [The] straightforward, empathetic prose strikes just the right balance between explaining why things happen and what couples should do in response.”  —Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, founder, Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health

“This book is long overdue and much needed!”  —Nancy Ratey, EdM, MCC, SCAC, author, The Disorganized Mind

“Refreshingly to-the-point, do-able, and compassionate.”  —Rebecca Shafir, MACCC, author, The Zen of Listening

"A beacon of light and hope, offering strategies that help couples feel happier and more satisfied."  —Ari Tuckman, PsyD, MBA, author, More Attention, Less Deficit

“An incredibly valuable service to those struggling in a marriage with ADHD."  —Kevin Murphy, PhD, coauthor, ADHD in  Adults: What the Science Says

“Ms. Orlov’s book provides what many leave out—empathy for both partners."   —Sari Solden, MS, LMFT, author, Journeys Through ADDulthood

“Readers will find a wealth of information and support as well as practical tips, exercises, and stories.”  —Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo, coauthors, You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!

“If you are in a marriage affected by ADHD, this book is a must read for both spouses."  —Jonathan Scott Halverstadt, LMFT, author, ADD & Romance

From the Inside Flap

"This book provides an incredibly valuable service to those struggling in a marriage with ADHD.  Written by someone who has been there and knows firsthand how ADHD can disrupt a marriage, it will help couples truly understand ADHD, realize they are not alone, and teach them what specifically can be done to align together as a team to turn things around.  Ms. Orlov has done a wonderful job of providing knowledge, awareness, and hope to those who sorely need it."
     -Kevin Murphy, PhD, co-author of ADHD in Adults: What the Science Says
"The ADHD Effect is an exceptional book that addresses the complexity of the relationship between partners whose lives are affected by ADHD while presenting sound family system principles in an easy-to-understand and accessible way...I would highly recommend this book to my clients, their partners, and to couple therapists who want to learn to effectively guide couples in marriages challenged by The ADHD Effect."
     -Sari Solden, MS, LMFT, author of Journeys Through ADDulthood
"Orlov's work is a beacon of light and hope, offering strategies that help couples feel happier and more satisfied."
     -Ari Tuckman, PsyD, MBA, author of More Attention, Less Deficit

More About the Author

"Melissa Orlov is one of the foremost authorities on ADHD and relationships in the world today" says Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of Driven to Distraction, Delivered from Distraction and other seminal books about ADHD. "Her book can change lives for the better, and dramatically so."

In one of life's more fortuitous twists, Ms. Orlov was working with ADHD experts Dr. Edward Hallowell and Dr. John Ratey as her marriage to a man with ADHD disintegrated. Throwing herself into the topic in an effort to save their union, Orlov realized that there was little good information available to help couples struggling with ADHD in their marriage - in fact few people even knew ADHD could even be a factor. But she and her husband persevered and, after successfully turning their marriage around, vowed that others should not have to suffer the same difficulties "finding a way out" of the dysfunction of a typical, ADHD-affected marriage.

Orlov and Dr. Hallowell started a popular blog on the topic in 2007 to share their insights. It has helped many thousands of couples understand that they are not alone and that they can change their marriages for the better ( In addition to the blog, Orlov has written the "Your Relationships" column for ADDitude Magazine since 2008, blogs for Psychology Today and is a contributing author to Married to Distraction, with Hallowell and his wife, Sue George Hallowell, LICSW. Orlov is also a contributing author to a book on ADHD and adult relationships for therapists, The Distracted Couple.

As a marriage consultant, Orlov helps couples from around the world rebalance their relationships so they can learn to thrive. It is rewarding work to be able to provide the insight and direction couples need to move past their anger and hurt and rediscover the joy they thought they had lost forever.

In addition to her books, Ms. Orlov gives a popular and effective couple's seminar program via teleconference (information at Her next book, The Couple's Guide to Thriving with ADHD, with co-author Nancie Kohlenberger, will be released in April of 2014.

Ms. Orlov is a cum laude graduate of Harvard College. In her free time she enjoys road biking, summers at Chautauqua Institution, and singing. She and her husband of 20+ years have two children.

Customer Reviews

BTW I've read other books on the topic and this one is the best by far.
I have read the book "The ADHD Effect on Marriage" by Melissa Orlov and found it helpful, in many ways.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is married and has ADHD (or their spouse does).
E. Kerby

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

232 of 240 people found the following review helpful By kdox on September 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
My wife (who has ADHD) and I (who does not) have just started reading this book together, and we are already benefiting from it!

This is the first book that I have been able to find that isn't only about understanding ADHD and the behaviors that tend to be associated with ADHD. It also addresses behaviors that are associated with the nonADHD person in the couple. And that is essential in order for both partners to feel validated, and also in order for each partner to feel empathy for the other.

In the past, when my wife and I have attempted to read other books together - books that were written for couples in which one of the partners has ADHD - my wife always felt so bad that her ADHD behaviors were causing such pain for me that she was unable to continue. She came away feeling that since she was the one with ADHD, she was to blame for all our problems. And in some ways, I actually agreed with her. But because she was feeling so guilty, she wasn't able to take a step back and really see the effect her behaviors were having on me. And so we were stuck.

The ADHD Effect on Marriage, on the other hand, puts the "blame" not just on the ADHD, but also on the nonADHD spouse's very predictable responses to ADHD behaviors, and also on the ADHD spouse's predictable responses to the nonADHD spouse's responses! So both of us are able to more clearly understand how we are each contributing to the dynamic. She can see the effect her behaviors have on me, and perhaps more importantly, I can see the effect my behaviors (in response to her behaviors) are having on her. And ironically, rather that both of us just feeling bad that we are to blame, we actually now feel that we can work together to improve things.
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94 of 101 people found the following review helpful By E. Kerby TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When we go on vacations, my husband and I usually bring a book for me to read aloud while he is driving. I saw all of the positive reviews and decided to order The ADHD Effect on Marriage for our trip a couple weeks ago. We read almost all of it on our trip and we've been finishing up since we got back.

My goodness, I thought we might get one or two good things out of this, but it completely changed the way we view our marriage! In our relationship, I am the one with ADHD and my husband has kind of always been one of those people who thinks "everyone is a little bit ADHD because we all spend so much time on computers, etc." We've been married for a little over a year. The first 5 months were a disaster, and then when I stopped taking Adderall things got a lot better (it makes me very irritable). Marriage has still been really rough, though.

As we read the first section "Understanding ADHD in Your Marriage," suddenly everything made so much sense to both of us. Over and over again, the book described our problems perfectly. The author did a GREAT job of describing things from the perspective of the ADHD spouse AND from the perspective of the non-ADHD spouse. There were a couple ideas here that I felt were most helpful: first, there is an example of everything coming to the ADHD spouse at the same level of importance (so, I don't remember perfectly what it said, but it mentioned something important vs. the bright numbers on a radio clock and to those of us with ADHD there isn't a natural prioritization). Second, Orlov describes a concept of time that is "now" and "not now." Both of these concepts were things I could relate to totally, but I had never been able to explain them to my husband in a way that was meaningful.
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120 of 131 people found the following review helpful By Paul in Atlanta on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book explains all of the confusing and confounding problems my wife and I have had, period! Through 28 years of marriage and 9 counselors, no one pegged the real problem of our dysfunction - ADHD/ADD. It is as though Melissa Orlov has been in our living room studying and writing about us. We knew ADHD/ADD was in our relationship, but felt taking meds was the whole solution...not! Fortunately, the author does not leave us with just a clear understanding of the problems and the very predictable patterns of behaviors (of both the ADHD/ADD affected spouse and the non-ADHD/ADD spouse,) but offers practical ways to acknowledge the truths of the effects of ADHD/ADD on our relationship and proven methods to alter the course of our marriage (which was miserable and headed for divorce.) From her personal experiences and her research, she explains how to alter both of our behaviors, resolving conflicts and confusion, rekindling love and trust, and communicating in a whole new way. If this book had come out one month later, we'd be getting divorced. As it is, while still separated, we are working towards reconciliation with an entirely different understanding of each other's behaviors and challenges, and with a clear path towards a future with healing and hope. There is no area of marriage left unaddressed, from the challenges of getting mail from the mail box to where it belongs, to finishing the laundry, to dealing with perceptions and solutions to differences in how we process time, money, feelings, sex, thoughts, etc. This book is a God send, and is bringing us back to the love and compassion and consideration and respect we once had for each other.
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