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The Experience of Being Married  to a Dyslexic Adult

Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy

J Psychol Psychother 5:230.



Introduction: This study is interested in an alternative perspective of learning disability (developmental dyslexia), those who are in long-term relationships with them, investigating how disability can be camouflaged, and how partners cope with a sometimes unusual choice of partners.

Method: A semi-structured interview script was used with to N=4 long-term non-dyslexic partners of dyslexic (areas of investigation included: dating, marriage/long-term relationships, knowledge of dyslexia, parenthood/ children, career success and emotional health). The data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), where studies of N=1+ are considered worthy of study.

Results: The study indicates that dyslexics may hide their dyslexia, will only disclose their problems/ difficulties when forced to - a choice between covering up their dyslexia and maybe losing a thriving relationship. Their dyslexic partners may have specific problems with communication: from an inability/difficulty in reading social clues, difficulty pronouncing long multi-syllabic words, coming up with bizarre things in conversation, to panicking when routines are interrupted and doing things in the wrong order in shops. Thus the dyslexic partner may be perceived as abnormal and socially inapt/handicapped. Non-dyslexic partners were surprised by how much their dyslexic partner’s relied on daily routines to survive. Partners were also frustrated by their dyslexic partner’s inability to do simple tasks e.g. writing a shopping list, taking a telephone message, or paying bills on time, so most take over all such chores. ‘Social-exchange theory’ was investigated to make sense of this phenomenon. Unrealistic career choices were found that denied their partner’s dyslexia, and their parenting style suggesting a deep rooted dislike for matter relating to school, especially teacher interactions, relating to their own negative experiences.

Conclusion: The study indicates that dyslexia is more than just a disability that affects literacy, but one that in adulthood affects long-term partners and communication in the community.