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Arundhati, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed psychotherapist, Published Wellness Author
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My husband and I constantly fight about his bad memory. I

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My husband and I constantly fight about his bad memory. I will tell him something, and unless I specifically say "pay attention to what I'm telling you because it's important" he never remembers it. Even when I do tell him to focus he will get details wrong. We're talking about remembering things like from when to pay bills to what time to pick up our daughter at day care - not to mention any of the more "unimportant" topics that come up in our daily lives that he completely flubs. <br /><br />I work full time, am a full time mom, and am hoping to start college full time. On top of all this I have to remember everything he doesn't and the stress of that is weighing heavily on our marriage. I look at it as a lack of respect to forget things all the time. Forgetting unimportant details I can overlook, but this goes way beyond that, and his memory has only gotten worse in the last eight years together. <br /><br />I have asked him to go to a doctor to see if he might have some kind of attention deficit disorder. He said they thought he had one when he was a kid but he was never diagnosed or treated. He's struggling in college right now because of his memory, so he made the decision on his own to go to a therapist to see if he has a disorder. He was so late to the first appointment (he thought he knew where he was going when he didn't, got lost and couldn't find the place for over an hour) that he had to cancel and has never rescheduled. When I asked him why he didn't reschedule, he said it's because there's a $50 fee for an appointment canceled less than 24 hours before the appointment time and he may forget to cancel one for days that we have plans that conflict with his appointments. <br /><br />I try so hard to be patient with him but sometimes I just get so frustrated with him that I lose my temper. I've told him a few times blaming his memory all the time is getting old. What should I do? Is there anything I CAN do?

Thank you for writing in to Just Answer.

You clearly have a LOT on your plate. You're juggling so many things and its very understandable how your husband's constant forgetfulness weighs down on you.

From what you describe it does sound like your husband is suffering from memory problems that might be stemming from a disorder such as ADD or even a high level of anxiety. A mental health evaluation will definitely help to pinpoint what the issue might be and accordingly appropriate treatment can be prescribed.

On your part it seems that you are constantly frustrated because of his forgetful less and even though you've raised the topic several times it doesn't sound like he's taking any concrete steps to address or rectify the issue. So what I'd recommend for you to do is to set clear time lines for him within which he needs to address this issue making it clear to him that you will otherwise take it as his lack of commitment towards the marriage. In other words, he needs to know that there are consequences to his forgetting things.

Other than that I would also recommend helping him find tools to remember things. For example google tasks can be connected to google calender and an alarm can be set for reminding him of things. So if he has a Droid phone this can easily be set up to help him remember bill payment dates and other details. Even if it doesn't use a Droid phone, there are many apps that can be downloaded for free that helps users of Nokia, iPhone and other smart phones to remember their tasks, deadline dates and appointments with ease.

If you're currently not on therapy, that is something you could consider as well. Just so you can process the frustration you are faced with on a day to day basis, learn more coping skills to best address this issue with your husband and also ensure that your behavior in no way enables your husband's forgetfulness.

I hope that was helpful. Please do feel free to write back with any clarifying questions/thoughts or reactions to what I wrote above.

Warm regards,

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