Dyslexia and Relationships

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It’s a fact: many folks struggle with their relationships, especially in marriage. All too often, couples split up or divorce. As a child from a broken home, I was determined never to let that happen when I got married. And then real life hit, and marriage was much more difficult than I thought it would be. Things were rocky for both of us because there was so much we didn’t know. We didn’t know how to communicate effectively. We didn’t know how different we were: we each assumed that the other person took in information and made decisions the same way. We didn’t know how differently we managed stress. We didn’t know how much our experiences from childhood shaped our beliefs and expectations. We didn’t know the importance of managing our perspectives, so that we didn’t immediately take everything the other person did personally. And we didn’t know anything about dyslexia, and how that would set the tone for everything that was to come later. Having dyslexia as an adult had a larger effect on my relationships than I ever realized until fairly recently.

But with a lot of love, patience, respect, and appreciation, we have crafted a successful, happy marriage. Nearly 41 years’ worth! A few years ago, my wife and I cowrote a blog we titled Living with an Adult with Dyslexia about what worked for us and what didn’t.

A couple of months ago, Darren Clark, the Director of Succeed With Dyslexia, read our story and wanted to interview us. What a great experience! Darren is a great host, personable and curious, and he also happens to be dyslexic. He wanted to share our success story as part of the UK’s May 2022 Mental Health Awareness Month, for their “Dyslexia and Me” campaign.

Relationships are challenging for all of us, but especially for couples in which one person is neurotypical and the other is not. My wife and I know far too many couples that have split up because the non-dyslexic mate makes assumptions about their dyslexic mate’s character, intelligence, motivation, or even their worth as a human being. The worst-case scenario is that those assumptions lead to disappointment, withdrawal of tender affection, disrespect, then contempt, and ultimately to splitting up.

Photo in shades of green showing a man and woman standing with their backs to each other, each holding a paper cutout of half of a broken heart. Dyslexia can take its toll on relationships when it is not fully understood.

As we discuss in our interview, learning all you can about the brain differences you or your partner have—whether it’s dyslexia, ASD, ADD/ADHD, or something else—is the beginning of turning things in a positive direction. Enjoy, and thanks for watching!

Watch our interview with Darren Clark of Succeed with Dyslexia here: Couple Goals: Living with Dyslexia

Thanks for reading about dyslexia and relationships. For a list of my previous dyslexia articles, click here: Dyslexia Articles

Thank you for reading about dyslexia and its effect on relationships. For a thorough discussion of dyslexia, you may enjoy the second edition of my award-winning book Raising a Child with Dyslexia: What Every Parent Needs to Know, available in softcover, hardcover, eBook, and audio. In addition to facts on testing and accommodation, my book gives you the tools to provide the social and emotional support children with dyslexia require. The second edition has the same great content as the first edition but now contains a very helpful bibliography and index and an exciting new cover.

Cover of book Raising a Child with Dyslexia: What Every Parent Needs to Know by Don M. Winn

And to learn more about how every student best learns to read, you may also enjoy Failing Students or Failing Schools? A Parent’s Guide to Reading Instruction and Intervention, by reading specialist and shortlisted World Literacy Award nominee Faith Borkowsky.

Cover of book Failing Students or Failing Schools? A Parent's Guide to Reading Instruction and Intervention by Faith Borkowsky

Cardboard Box Adventures picture books are great for shared reading and can help parents establish a strong preliteracy foundation for their children. Check out the CBA Catalog for a full list of award-winning picture books, chapter books, and resources for parents and educators. Visit my Amazon author page for more information.