9 Tips for When Non-ADHD Spouses Just Can’t Cope Anymore

ADHD Marriage: 

Some days you just don’t have the energy to cope with your partner’s ADHD symptoms any more.  What can you do?  Here are nine tips to help you survive…

Keep your cool.  Blowing up will only hurt, compounding your image as a nag or unreasonable spouse.  This is not in your best interest, as it allows your partner to write you off rather than remain respectful.  So, instead of getting angry, let the issue (whatever it was)“slide past” you when you just don’t have the energy to deal with it calmly right then.

Jot it down.  Non-ADHD partners are sometimes slow to let things pass because thy fear their partner will “wander off” and that will be that.  Counteract this by jotting a note about what needs to be addressed so you can deal with it at a later time, perhaps with a counselor.  For example, you might write “late getting kids to school on Tuesday by 30 minutes” or “interrupted multiple times at dinner on Friday.”  After a while, you may see patterns that will help you convince your partner that his or her behavior is more difficult than they originally thought.

Do something nice for yourself / be selfish.  When faced with persistent ADHD symptoms, non-ADHD spouses tend to focus more and more on their ADHD spouse, rather then on themselves…to their detriment.  For example, in my case, the more unhappy I became, the more I started thinking about my husband -  what he wasn’t doing and should have been; how much his actions impacted our family; how inconsiderate he was, how unreliable he was, etc.  This meant I forgot about me – very unhealthy! So when things really get tough, do something for yourself – take a nap, do that project that’s been hanging over your head (unapologetically dump the kids on your spouse), get a massage, read a book in the local park, eat some really healthy food, go to bed early, or exercise.  All will improve your state of mind, the last (exercise) particularly so.  Or, as the ad says, “you deserve it!”

Insist on being heard…later.  When you are exhausted and frustrated is not the time to address difficult issues.  Wait until you are in a better frame of mind, then sit down with your partner and explain what you need - calmly.  You don’t want to give up on your needs, but neither do you wish to sabotage yourself by seeming unreasonable, angry or otherwise difficult to deal with.  (This sabotages you because it gives your partner an excuse to retreat – and nothing gets solved that way!)

Keep a journal.  Sometimes exhaustion is another form of not having any more ideas.  Writing in a journal can help you expose your feelings and explore alternate approaches to your problems.  It also can provide some much-needed quiet, self-focus time.  Writing in our forum is also a good way to get new ideas.

Find a friend.  Go out for dinner or drinks, take a walk together, visit a local museum.  Get a sitter if needed.  Knowing you have support helps you get through.  Too many non-ADHD partners isolate themselves as they struggle to work through their marital problems, maintain control of their lives and the house.

Listen.  When you’ve finally found the energy you need to interact again, make sure to listen.  All too often non-ADHD spouses get used to “ordering” their ADHD spouses around and don’t realize they aren’t really listening to their partner.  Converse, don’t order.  Listen and question.  This will encourage participation in your partner, and that can be enough to re-energize you.

If you can afford it, hire it out.  Get stuff off your plate by hiring it out.  Housework, yardwork, filing, decluttering and organizing, and babysitting can all be effectively hired out.  This type of delegation will help prevent future stress.

Create a plan.  The eight tips above should help you find more energy and new approaches.  Creating a plan about how to get out of your current slump will make you feel better.


When Reality is Ignored

I liked these suggestions so much,  I bookmarked this page and will probably refer to it often. We are starting the couples seminar next week, and I'm really hoping it will save our marriage.

But, what happens when he literally doesn't see what is actually happening? What do I do when his recall of what JUST happened is factually incorrect, and we go to Argue-ville and there's no return? I retreat into my tears, hopelessness, frustration, anger, hurt, etc only to wonder how something so small is piling up to something SO big - like the end of a marriage.

I have often said/thought if only he could see a video of himself, he would be SHOCKED. Maybe our divorce will be the final reveal for him.

I have often said/thought if

I have often said/thought if only he could see a video of himself, he would be SHOCKED.

I used to think the same way.  That if I could just record our life to show him.....  Lately though, I realize that would be useless.  He's gone from mostly denying to putting the blame on me.  He might admit he over reacted or was verbally abusive or whatever else, he might even apologize for it.  But then he justifies it by either putting the blame on me or pointing out what he perceives as a character flaw on my part.  A really good example of this is the day before Christmas Eve.  He went out bar hopping with his friends and I was pretty upset about it.  Especially when I seen how much money he spent (earlier in the week he had made a big deal out of me spending $75 at a bargain store on Christmas gifts for our children, while my friend was in the room).  In his mind, his actions were acceptable and I wouldn't be so upset if I weren't so materialistic and selfish.  I didn't think I was being materialistic or selfish, I was actually thinking along the lines of "it's better to give than receive" and putting others before yourself.  Spending money he could have used for his family (who have helped us out tremendously in the past year) or his children, on booze was acceptable to him.  He further solidified his thoughts by telling me that until he spends more on himself than what we spend in food for a year, that I have no right to say anything.  What he didn't realize is that last year, he did exactly that. 

I believe with my DH, there's a level of narcissism that accompanies his ADHD.  His word is law, because it's HIS word.

sounds like bpd

Sounds like he is borderline personailty disorder of which can be confused with adhd, rea about bpd, makes alot of sense, he can have both.

masmam1's picture

Sounds familiar!

I believe with my DH, there's a level of narcissism that accompanies his ADHD.  His word is law, because it's HIS word.

I know exactly how you feel!  I'm thinking mine has PTSD and anti-social personality disorder as well.


Wow!  I'm beginning to see that control is a common theme.  I get what you're saying.  His word is law and there's no room for other opinions, especially mine.  His way or the highway... How do you handle it? Because I'm not sure I can anymore... I love him, but I am me and need consideration, too...I don't even want him to touch me anymore, it feels wrong.  I don't think ADHD is all of it, either.  He's also cold hearted and selfish.  Wish I had a live support group... This is good, but I would love a hug from one of you who gets it.

Where to next

Hi dansgirl,

Isn't it uncanny how we all have such similar stories, even down to the patterns of speech that occur during our household meltdowns? I hear you loud and clear about where your feelings are at in your relationship. As you will have noticed, most of us non ADD/ADHD partners are at our wits end, confused and hurt and feeling very stuck as we do love our partners but are falling apart ourselves from doing all the supporting and allowing, without anyone being there for us. I'm sending you (and everyone else out there) a gigantic HUG that hopefully you can feel and think about and enjoy again and again when times are getting you down. We all love you and wish we could all just get together and have a massive group hug to make up for all the times when we really needed hugs and our partners were too distracted to notice.

I've been up and down the rollercoaster of emotions since 1995, have two kids that also have behavioural differences, and have decided that at the moment I will focus on keeping my wellbeing intact. I have tried leaving, I have tried kicking him out, I have tried counselling of three different types, and we are currently in the arduous process of getting a proper diagnosis and hopefully some management strategies for him. I have to remain positive for my own sake and the sake of the children who are REALLY over being told off for no good reason or belittled or just plain ignored. I have come to accept that most of the time I will be a single parent even though their father does live here with us. So now my new way of being is to focus on not getting emotionally entangled when he flips out and tries to blame me for every little thing, or has a mental moment or is just allowing everything to P*#$ him off. Sometimes it feels a bit as though I'm being fake and pretending to be ok, but mostly I concentrate on priorities like getting food on the table, the garden watered, the kids to school, etc.  By staying absorbed in family priorities I am more easily able to detach from the control dramas he dishes out every five minutes, and it also gives me an 'out' when he goes into poor-me-mode after his dramas are ignored. I simply state quite calmly that I'm sorry he's not feeling happy right now, but that I have to take care of other people's needs right now. It's really challenging and I get so tired all the time from having to be the only adult in the house, but I am now also making a conscious effort to take 'me' time - to do some of the things I love that help me feel good about myself. I'm a singer and a performer and I miss having the time and headspace to make music, play circus arts and laugh, so I create opportunities for myself to do these things when I can. Also, having upbeat and fun friends to call up or hang out with is great.  If I'm feeling really down, I'll call someone up and just have happy chats without talking about my down feelings, and eventually I find myself feeling better. I know the negative feelings seem to outweigh the happy ones, but it's really just up to us to tip that balance.  It's also a personal choice as to whether you stick with it or not, knowing that without proper management the situation is never going to be any different. Big hugs and love to all who suffer this poison dart we know as ADD/ADHD.


Thanks for the virtual hugs!  I wish I had read this a few days ago.  I was so tired of being disrespected and disregarded, and I confronted him.  His response was "you know how I am. Deal with it or don't".  I interpreted that as him saying it doesn't matter if I stick around or not and I was so hurt! I asked him if that's how he really felt and if he wanted me to leave. He couldn't even see why I was hurt, in his mnd I was just being dramatic, and things escalated out of control.  For me, I need forums like this to refer to so that I can remember that it's not just me and I can alleviate some of the fighting if I can slow down and recognize that his words are not always what he means to say.  It's just that his mouth says them before his mind has had the chance to realize just what he is saying. 

So thanks for the support, everyone.... I saw a poster that kind of sums it up for me:  We're all in the same game, just different levels.  Dealing with the same hell, just different devils.


this is who I am.. very familiar

How reassuring, although somewhat sad, that over and over I am reading the same words and phrases I hear from my ADHD spouse.  Deal with it, Leave me alone, and the very worse, not understanding or having a clue that anything he does, says or blurts out hurts !   I am so sorry anyone else is experiencing this, but glad to know I have company in this ugliness is helpful in a strange way. My DH has just been diagnosed and started medication.  His physician is not very forthcoming with any helpful information or offering referral for therapy, and the only thereapist that has taken the courses this book recommends is an hour away ( on a no traffic day) and her charges are not within any possibility for us.  Imust tell you that since the meds are somewhat working now, his attitude, and ability to think thru a situation ( not really a problem, but a situation which clear begining and end) is not short of amazing.  He even said he realized he had said hurtful things to me ( in reply to my not telling him i was hurt) knew what he said, and apologized for saying them.   I know it is not the end of the ADHD nightmare, but this blog and reading your comments is really a life saver for me too. Thanks for sharing, and letting me share too. 


Not sure what to do next

I have been with my ADHD spouse for for 14 yrs and am wondering where my life went.  He is medicated and I am trying to break the parent/child anger cycle but feels like no use. I am so tired of his blow-ups/rude behavior in public ( i.e the embarrassment ADHD spouse freaks out and gets all weird and blamey because car door doesn't unlock fast enough or some other minor frustration). My ADHD husband is not physically abusive but gives off that controlling/anger vibe when frustrated ( which occurs often).   I have been yelled at in restaurants because he can't find the table we are sitting at and instead of asking the hostess where we are seated( in the event I don't answer the 10 phone calls he's made in 5 minutes because my ringer is off and I am minding our 5 year old)  I am oblivious there is a "crisis" because he has been gone for 5 minutes but he comes back to the table livid with anger because I did not pick up the phone - join me in the Twilight zone anyone? The forgetfullness/lack of attention& follow-through & messiness get to me but its the inability to own up to his behaviours and constantly warping situations to place blame on me that is the straw that is breaking the camels back.   Example, I set a glass down on a table near the bed, he and my son have a pillow fight after I leave the room,pillow hits table- glass breaks - my fault for putting glass on table - he will not take responsibility for anything!  

He can be very charming and fun but after 14 years of varying levels of dealing with ADHD craziness ( combined with anger, alcohol dependance, possible PTSD due to abusive childhood) my feeling for him are pretty much gone and we have a marriage of convenience (his since I am in the financial support role).  I am trying to get marriage counseling again but wondering if it will do any good, he is medicated but convinced that we mostly have "normal" Venus and Mars marriage / difference of opinion issues. First round of counseling helped bring me back from brink of nervous breakdown and he actually got his own a counselor which seems to help start to deal with the other issues outside ADHD but then we had to relocate to California suddenly due to my job loss and are back to square one.  

To his defense he takes medicine and has tried  to deal with the ADHD  and has toned down ( mellowed with age?) as in doesn't throw/break things as much anymore) but comes from an abusive family and has self esteem issues  which lead to over defensiveness & he doesn't see /really understand the full impact of his behavior on the marriage or our son.  Again most things are my fault for being bothered by yelling,breaking things, drinking most nights  since I am too soft due to  growing up in "Mayberry" - I am just a spoiled "princess"  (yet in reality am more the tomboy type and parents were depressed and/or alcoholic  so not exactly your fairytale home).

I would like to salvage the marriage  for my son not sure I have enough feelings left for him to go through this again. Honestly  I just feel like I hate him sometimes and am tired of living with and supporting someone that not only acts irrationally & regularly drives me crazy but is constantly blaming me for the difficulties he deals with in life due to his own ADHD.

I understand it takes two to tango have stopped nagging/ try speak in short sentences and when angry about whatever crazy BS thing is happening suck it up and keep my mouth shut as much as possible but am only human and refuse to be a doormat.  I do not want my son to see me succumb to bullying by his fathers aggro behaviour and think this is appropriate man behaviour.  I dread weekends and going on vacation because it is more time dealing with him. There is a lot of water under the bridge. How do you regain trust and love for someone that is fundamentally unpredictable to deal with and goes on the attack on a hair trigger? 

 ADHD spouse is very vindictive and revenge focused so know that if I do try to separate no matter how easy a landing I try to make it for him ( ie find him apartment, pay support etc...) he will to do everything in his power to fight me/make my life hell.  

Not sure what to do next, wish I had left before things got more complicated by having a child. Wondering what it would be like to have a life partner that was actually a support rather than drain on my energy. Feel completely detached from him & life, tired, dejected and only thing that keeps me going is my son these days.










Hi, end-o-rope (what a great

Hi, end-o-rope (what a great name; unfortunately, so applicable for so many of us).  Welcome to the club that no one wants to be a member of.  You might want to create a new topic (e.g., under "Anger and Frustration") with your story.  Sometimes the new topics get more reads and responses.  

My husband does not get openly angry very often but he's often in a bad mood that is expressed by a tone of voice that conveys that he's pissed with the people around him (for example, me or our daughters).  When this is pointed out to him, he gets even pissier.  It's hard to deal with.  My solution, living apart, would not work for most people who are still married or have children at home.  (Our are young adults.)  It is a huge challenge to deal with ADHD in a relationship, and you have my sympathy.

Thanks for your message and

Thanks for your message and words of support.  It has been very helpful to read other people's experiences with this set of symptoms. No matter the level of anger/pissiness it certainly takes it toll. Living apart sounds appealing but is not realistic for my situation. Hoping next round of marriage therapy will help current situation or at least give some indication that it will be possible to find some happiness again.


I just wanted to say that I

I just wanted to say that I hear you!  I have logged on to this site for the first time, today, because of exactly the kind of scenario you are describing.  The difference for me is that my husband does have some self-awareness, and really hates how he acts and how he treats me, but he is unable to change.  I truly do see him trying, but he is so sensitive to basically all stimuli, it seems impossible for him to act appropriately.  It's heartbreaking to see how much he hates himself, but it's also heartbreaking to feel myself slipping away, and to see my daughter's behaviour change, be unable to have the patience for her (she's only 3), and to lose any hope for a better future.  I'm so tired and I don't know anymore if I'm doing anyone any favours by working so hard to keep us together.  Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story: it helps so much just to know that others understand the kind of hell we are in. 

i just wrote you an entire

i just wrote you an entire message and it was deleted. Maybe it meant I should not send it :) I just wanted to know if you made any progress . I am in an eerily similar situation to you. I am the sole financial provider now for the past almost year as he "works" from home but has no income resulting to contribute to the household. We have been together 17 years and married 12 adn now we have two young boys. I am at my wits end too. I love him but these behaviors make it impossible. I feel like we are on a viscous never ending cycle that spirals more out of control each time and then he honestly believes that  it is "me" and is completely oblivious to his behaviors . he is living the life , doing what he wants and has time for hobbys too , even though he has no earnings at all the past year and does not get a job to supplement us at all the past year, he uses his time on weekends for hobbys and "projects" that are needless, self created instead of using this time he apparently has leisurely to actually earn an income and help support his household.    HIs latest was this weekend when he has no money to consistently help with the necessities of life the past year (for mortgage , bills , food , etc) he  finds a way to spend some found retirement money of his, on his latest "projects" that are self created, needless, never ending, cost money he does not have and only take time away from me with the kids.  the kids LOVE to watch these "projects" that  take away from  the little time I Have with them when I am not working like frantic to make  a living and support us all.  when I became upset outwardly, an isolated incidence at best but i was exploding inside, he caught me crying, I told him why, and the pressures I am under and seeing him do these "projects" buying and planting bushes, trees, you name it, for the yard, for pretty , nothing at all that we 'need" , he then blamed me and that he thought i was upset and crying about something  bad like a phone call i received etc. Isn't this "life" bad enough? . It was truly crazy making and unreal for me. How long can one endure and keep going like this and in this cycle of behaviors .

Memory issue...

We ADDer's have issues with Short Term Memory moving to Long Term too quickly or disappearing altogether :-? The reason I know about being So Sure of a memory is because I recall it very well, the problem is it can be like the Cliff's Notes of the conversation. The bullet points with detail missing and that can make a huge in the future discussion.

I would Hate this, but if you have your phone on you, just record the conversation. Then if it comes up again, you have Real Memory of the conversation of Both of you. A little un-fair because the ADDer would not know he was being recorded. 

I can tell you that after being treated for my ADD with Adderall, my memory has improved quite a bit. There is hope :)


Sorry, it wont work (at least

Sorry, it wont work (at least in my case).. I did do that, and it only came out as my evil way to trap him. More blame and a definitive example (to him) about how devious I am. Not my intention.... :(

Sorry Lulu...

It's too bad he does not understand what is happening inside himself. Even now I have to try and hold back reacting to things at home. My wife cannot seem to let go of her anger. Not just at me, but when she is agitated it quickly get pointed at me. It is weird that many times we are just goofing around (Fun has been rare for a while), then at some point it turns into an agitation to her. Like she realizes I've tricked her into not being productive and now she feels like time has been wasted...

I have thought about

I have thought about recording him many times, and knowing him the way I do, if he found out, he would absolutely feel attacked, blind-sided, ambushed, and he would come out swinging. A small example of how I know this was when I had made a list to take to one of our therapy sessions about specific things that had happened in our interactions. I brought the list out during the session, and he looked/acted like I had physically attacked him. He was sweating, nervous, shaky, reactive, he completely shut down and didn't hear anything that was said. He said he felt "attacked", and then felt "defensive" and "how could I compile a list and blind-side him with it at a therapy session?"

I understand that short term/long term memory is an issue with how "crowded" and "noisy" his brain is. I've done the research, the reading, I try to learn more every day. What bothers me is that he absolutely refuses to admit that what he did, was actually What He Did. He thinks just because he didn't have the Intention to be an a**hole, that automatically means he Wasn't. He also thinks that if he apologizes for it, everything is ok. (See my post on "I've just heard the Millionth apology").

He was on Adderall, and stopped taking it b/c he claimed it caused sleep disturbance. (Never mind the Gallons of alcohol, his daily schedule that he changes widely every day, the other meds he's on, etc. - No, that wouldn't cause sleep disturbance - it was Automatically the Addrerall.) When he was on it, I saw pauses in him before he would react. I saw slower thinking. I saw concentration. I saw an awareness of those around him. But, he decided to just stop taking it, and not tell me until 6 weeks later In A Therapy Session!

I vascilate on the Hope Scale every day, every hour sometimes, from complete down in the depths despair to maybe, just maybe, a miracle will happen.

summerwine's picture

If someone came to me with a

If someone came to me with a list of all the things I did wrong that week or a video they made of me without my consent to show me how awful I am that would be a deal breaker. I'm pretty sure that I would freak out just thinking of it upsets me. Like seriously I had to get out of my chair and walk around just now! I know that I am worthless and stupid and horrible compared to other women because of my ADHD you don't have to rub my nose in it or collect evidence.

I can understand that

I can understand that feeling, but in my case it was a desperate move. He was just not seeing:hearing/acknowledging how his rages (drug or other induced) was scary and intimidating. Still is...

When I have thought about

When I have thought about recording/video taping, it has always been in a desperate, dark hour. It's never something I would want to do to hurt him, simply to reveal to him in hard black and white evidence the things he does that he is so vehemently denying. (See my post above.)

I understand how you would

I understand how you would feel if someone came to you with a list...........but here's where it gets complicated. In my post I said: "I had made a list to take to one of our therapy sessions about specific things that had happened in our interactions." I did not say a list of 'all of the things he did wrong' or that he is 'worthless and stupid and horrible'. However, that was his reaction too, unfortunately. He took "the list" as a bad thing, as a negative, as something I was using against him. I hadn't even said in my post what "the list" contained. On the advice in Melissa's book, and from the advice of our marriage counselor, I had written down specific things that had been said by both of us during certain interactions that ended badly. This "list" was meant to clarify exactly what had been said, what had been misinterpreted, what had not been heard, etc. This "list" was meant as a learning tool to see what exactly happened that made the interaction end so badly, and how to change a similar interaction in the future. This applies to both of us, because my reactions to him are equally just as much of a culprit for things going bad as anything he does. I have long ago given up the notion of trying to 'rub his nose in it' because it doesn't do anything but hurt him, and me. I want us to learn what is going wrong in the moment, and stop it dead in it's tracks, and change it in the future.


I agree with you about the list, also understanding that what you mean is not so much a "list", but rather, notes on occurrences that need to be acknowledged and discussed.  

My (suspected) ADD spouse has difficulty perceiving the frequency of events:  to him, something that has happened a few times - happens 'all the time'; and something that happens frequently - he perceives to have happened only 'once or twice'.  (I lump this occurrence in with his overall difficulty with "putting the pieces together" - which affects his ability to plan and complete tasks, and to manage his time.)  At some point in our relationship, I started to diarize events, because his distorted accounts made me feel as if I was going crazy, and losing my memory.  So I record events for my own sanity, as well as sometimes being my spouse's back-up memory.  

I record occurrences to try to see patterns in behaviour (mine, as well as his).  I also record occurrences that are too volatile for us to discuss in a meaningful way without the help of a mediator.

I don't see it as a negative thing, given its positive intention.  Hopefully, your therapist will reinforce your intention with your spouse.



I have tried this with my ADHD partner, we resolve or talk about a few of the things on the list/record, but the next time he loses it, ALL this goes out the window, he forgets everything we talked about! Everything from his past comes back like it was yesterday, and anything that pisses him off, is my fault...even things that happened before I knew him!  We have been together for nearly six years now, and I thought I could cope with his illness, he used to flip out once or twice a year, but now it is every two or three weeks. I am so not the happy, bubbly person I used to be.

He blames everybody else for anything that doesnt go right, and takes absolutely no responsibility for the harm and hurt that he dishes out...apparently, we deserve it. Things get so messed up in his brain, there is absolutely no logic at all, and trying to talk to him when he is ranting, is useless ( I am now sitting out in my garage, ( with two very scared dogs) with the door locked to keep him out)( I have even cleared all my photos of my family and my precious stuff out of the house as he has started to throw my stuff out and break things when he flips - I get accused of wanting to be back with my exhusband  if he sees a picture of my daughter)

He seems to want someone to argue back, because when I am not there ( I try to remove myself from the situation - the garage has now become my 'safe' place) he goes out onto the street and yells at the neighbours...taunting and wanting a response from someone...and if that doesnt work he starts to make malicious phonecalls to whoever had pissed him off 20 years ago!...I have to wait till the bill comes in to call them back and explain that he was 'having an episode' and not to take his hate to heart.  I have txt messages from business clients asking what the heck is going on...I seem to be trying to keep the peace ALL the time, and trying to clean up all the damage he has done with his misguided nastiness....the vicious words that come out of him are so hurtful. He demands perfection from everybody else, but cannot see (when he is manic) that he, also, is human and has his own faults. He is soooo good at manipulating conversations, he can twist anything I say around, to make it sounds like I am accusing him of something, and taking things out of context, so that he can throw them back at me.  It is really hard not to retaliate when  hurtful things are hurled at you incessantly.

It is always going around in circles...

Incessant blame

Ok so this is probably a slightly drunken blame post -but here it is. Why are we even listing this stuff on a forum? Why do we need to constantly "make allowances" for spouses/partners that are simply being disrespectful and selfish? I am personally tired of making excuses for bad behaviour while his ego runs on unchecked. I'm tired of being expected to keep the household running smoothly. I'm sick of being 'blamed' for children who speak their mind. At what point do these people take ownership of who they are and what they do??? I'm sick if being blamed for his indecision or misguided decision. How is it it my fault that he makes a decision that wasn't completely thought out??? Why should I fix a problem I did not create?? I'm quite frankly very tired of being the 'grown up' in this relationship. We already have 2 children, why does my husband behave like a child??? Honestly I don't really believe in ADHD anymore- it's just an excuse to behave badly and never take responsibility for your words, thoughts or actions. Sorry but I just can't accept it anymore . If a relationship actually means that much to u, then u WILL make the effort to make it work. Like u make the effort for anything else u decide is important at the time!



You are so right...its like they think have had permission from someone to just not GROW-UP!! How dare they just breeze through without any of the repercussions...we always cover for them..why? Sometimes I wish I had the ADHD label so I could do and say whatever I like without any consequences!!

No repercussions or so it seems

I am feeling this way too at the moment.  Funny how things can be good for a few days with no real issues coming up due to ADHD/ADD then all of a sudden Mr. Right and Mr. I can do what I want come out to play.  The man is a complete jerk by the end of the day, is quite fine apparantly hanging out with the guys watching Superbowl but is confused about anything else regarding home.............yes buddy you do have a daughter to say goodnight too, he comes across like he does not care and when you question the behaviour he thinks he has done nothing wrong.  It is pathetic as a normal person would not behave this way.  Why do we have to do so much friggin changing just to make it easier for them when they are making our lives hell!!!

Blind-sided by a list would be bad...

I think it would only work if both had a list and the couple agreed on when to review, or present the list in a therapy session. Sometimes I think about making a list myself regarding angry moments bringing up old history, unless I start repeating it of course then I would deserve it, or references to Adderall as Speed, rarely calling it Adderall. I'm sure my list could compete if we decided to do something like that for a therapy session.

Summerwine... You are not worthless or stupid compared to other women, I think everyone is defective in one way or another. We just have ADD and are trying to deal with it. I think dealing with your issues is more of what defines you.

I haven't had to resot to a list

I haven't had to resort to a list of the type that is being talked about here,  but I see nothing AT ALL wrong with doing it in a plea for help.

I don't get the extreme reaction some people are having to a list and/or video.  When one person is saying "X is happening daily, Y is happening multiple times a week, and Z is out of control and these are things that are becoming deal breakers in the marriage", and the reaction of the other person is "None of those things are happening and all our problems are caused by YOUR lousy attitude" what else could provide such complete evidence of what exactly is happening? 

We read here all the time " I had no idea that my behavior/attitude/treatment of my family was so bad until after my diagnosis and taking meds", well a list/video can cut through some of that immediate denial and cause a reasonable person to say 'HOLY CRAP WHAT AM I DOING?'  Even if it doesn't cause that reaction in the person in ADD, it certainly can help a doctor who is getting a lot of he said/she said, with the information needed to make a diagnosis and get the help coming faster.

I just find it ridiculous to hear that having a list or vid made of them could be a deal breaker for some.  What the heck?!?!  A deal breaker.....really?  When your mate hasn't used the behavior as a deal breaker but is instead trying to get help for you both but cutting through the BS and proving once and for all THIS IS HAPPENING and we have to DEAL WITH IT?

I think a list/video is a good idea for a mate in denial, but fortunately my ADD mate never drove me to that point.  If in the future he ever goes into denial about his behavior at any point, I will do what is necessary to try to pull him out because I love him and our marriage.  I would certainly hope he'd do the same for me if I am the one in denial!

I am so baffled by this is that I called my ADD husband in share the scenario, and he said it would be embarrassing to him to have a list come out at the doctor's and that he'd probably get quiet because of that.  He also said it would be an upsetting thing, but that he certainly can't believe it would be more upsetting than what I would be going through in having him so in denial that I need a list to wake him up.  He also came back in to make it clear that his embarrassment would mostly be about having behaved this way without realizing it and then having to have it pointed out in front of another person to make him accept it.  He does NOT think that would be my fault if I was driven to do that.

BUT I put him on notice that if he ever goes into a denial that is hurting our marriage, I will definitely makes lists and/or videos to get us help, so he can't claim it was done entirely without his knowledge...he laughed and agreed to that :)

Seriously I wouldn't like this to happen to me either....no one would want to be in this situation but I see the greater problem to be in bad behavior that is being denied verses taking a video to reveal this bad behavior and get help.  It isn't to be used as a club to beat another person with.......it is a tool to get HELP.  When 2 people aren't seeing the same reality, something has to happen to get them on the same page if you don't want your marriage to be destroyed.  

Hubby just came back to say

that he has thought of recording our family meetings just for his own reference because when we disagree on what was decided, he could often swear that he is right.....unfortunately this is seldom true. He'd like to have it for his own reference and to help him understand where the breakdown occurred.  I take notes at our meetings (too many disagreements about what we decided so now there is a written record), so he usually goes with what is written down BUT in his head he still kinda believes something else was said or he is curious about how he got his thought if that wasn't what was actually said.  He thinks a recording could help him trace the problem.

This is the first I've heard of him doing that, but I will encourage him to do it at our next family meeting.  I have no problem with recordings as I think a completely unbiased 3rd party can frequently cut through the emotions attached to yet another misunderstanding.  Just go back to the record and see.........the end.  Sounds blissful to me!

arwen's picture

Recording with consent

Aspen, I really think you and hubby are on the right track here.

There have been several times along the journey of life with my ADHD spouse that I have had recourse to recording, with his consent.

I don't see this as a mechanism for "gotcha".  It's a mechanism to provide an objective reference.  My memory isn't perfect either, even if it is a whole lot better than his.  So I have always proposed it to him as simply that, an objective reference, so we don't have to spend so much time arguing, we can just go back to the tape.  And, the recording will show whether *either* of us is doing anything inappropriate.  For my spouse, this is better than the alternative of not taping and arguing, because he knows that I will not let a truly important conflict go, I will persist and drive him nuts with it (but in the nicest possible way -- not by being naggy, or self-righteous, or superior -- but because I am truly disturbed),  plus it drives him even crazier than the persistence if I begin dysfunctioning because I don't have resolution.

This proposal has had some interesting effects.  After the first time, my husband was dismayed at how poorly he had recalled what he'd said/done, and had to admit that my recollection had been closer to what the recording reflected.   The second time, he didn't want to repeat the same experience as the first time, so he worked harder to behave more thoughtfully.  That was fine with me -- I don't care much *how*  or *why* he improves his behavior, if running a recorder does the trick, OK by me.  The third time, he somewhat shame-facedly told me that recording wasn't necessary, he could see I was right if he really thought back on it, and he would work to improve.  The fourth time he angrily answered that it was fine with him, he didn't care, but it sounded mostly like bravado to me, and darned if his behavior didn't improve even though I didn't record.

I didn't need to propose recording all that much, because we had kids who have excellent memories and could recite back to him, "chapter and verse", conversations and actions that they had witnessed.  So they had already "primed" him to some extent for the results of the recordings.

I should mention that there were other benefits from the recording.  I discovered that *I* had some conversation/negotiating habits that I wouldn't have liked being on the receiving end of, too!  Fixing them helped our relationship along.  And my spouse was more willing to be recorded, knowing that I would be fair and criticize my own behavior as thoroughly as I criticized his.

I think if you can genuinely approach the idea of recording your interactions with your spouse in this kind of way, and not use it as a "told you so" whip, you may be able to make some useful progress with this kind of tool.

"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Albus Dumbledore

recording conversations

this is SO helpful! I bought a recorder years ago but didn't have the nerve to record conversations. I kept thinking if I remember it with enough detail, he'll realize I'm the one who's remembering correctly. I've finally realized that even if I relay vivid details to him, that doesn't mean he'll be reasonable. He's an intelligent man & how can he ignore reason?-sure doesn't work that way-it's such a great idea to record him with consent because I don't know about anyone else but my husband's behaviour is always appropriate with other people besides the people in his house. How much of this,

I wonder though can be attributed to-he'll behave as badly as he can get away with-can anyone relate to this?


Dear Summerwine

You are NOT worthless and stupid and horrible compared to other women because of your ADHD.  Nor am I.  This kind of thinking is a trap.  Out of all of these comments this struck a chord in my heart.  I understand. I always think to myself: "Do you think I LIKE being this way? Yes, it is FANTASTIC!!" 


 .. however.  Even my very frustrated non-adhd husband, would not tolerate me speaking about myself that way. 

When I DO feel this way, and hubby can tell I'm deeply hurting (and he is not over the edge frustrated with me!) he says: "All you can do is get up every morning and try again."  

Sounds familiar...

When you said "Do you think I LIKE being this way? Yes, it is FANTASTIC!!"... 

I had a similar response to my DW one day when I got blasted for forgetting to pick up something from the store on my way home from work. I remembered all day long that I only had one thing to get on my way home. During my commute an old friend called out of the blue and derailed my objective. I instinctively drove home on auto-pilot and ended the call with my friend in my driveway. I walked inside without my "Item" and both barrels of her gun fired at me. "How could you...!!!" In the past I would have wanted to crawl in a hole, because nothing I said would be right or not sound like another excuse. I am not so quiet anymore. I looked at her and said "I forgot On Purpose, because I didn't want to pickup "The Item" and because "THIS" is such a FUN conversation!!!"

I don't usually say some of the bad thoughts about myself out loud, but have certainly thought them many times...

As the non partner in the marriage

I have also heard these statements you seem to find to be so brilliant.  "I forgot because I wanted to", "I forgot because I find this conversation to be so much fun".  I know it is said out of frustration, but here is the problem from the other side.

Our mate is the one forgetting all the time and makes us feel at times that he/she absolutely can't be relied on to simple things and major things in our marriage.  This makes us feel all alone and like the weight of everything is on our shoulders.  We both get frustrated that you can't remember, but YOU are the only one who can do anything about it.  We feel like we are just along for the ride sometimes.

You always seem to want us just to be 'it's ok, I know it is hard for you to remember, no biggie' and we try.  Sometimes we do feel that way, but sometimes that seems like it makes you relax and forget MORE...at least with my husband as I certainly can't speak to your experience.

When I get angry things seem to snap into focus for a bit and he really gets on the ball with using his external tools to remember things. So often the attitude from the ADD/ADHD partner is that we are expecting them to all of a sudden have an awesome memory.  I don't know a single nonADD mate who feels that way.   What we want you to do, since it is a given that your memory is poor, is to consistently use the tools that we've come up with together to help you remember.  Remember that smart phone that we had to have so you could remember better?  Yeah it isn't only for angry birds. We want you to demonstrate that you are aware....every time my husband agrees to do something and doesn't write it down......or especially if I remind him to put it in his phone and he says "it's ok hon I've got it".  I know there is at least a 50% chance that he doesn't have it.......why doesn't he realize that?  And I am doing my best to be supportive when I hear, "I forgot all about that.  I am so sorry. I should have put it in my phone the way you suggested".  And I am trying to support and just say to try to do it that way next time, when sometimes what I really want to say is "YOU THINK?!?!?!"  "Only had this diagnosis for 4 years now....still living in the I-have-it-in-my-memory Fantasyland?"  

So when I get really frustrated after a week of support support support.......cause we all know a bad week can cause a lot of the balls to come crashing down all together.  And say, perhaps angrily I can admit it, "How could you forget again?"  "We talked about this twice.....we blah blah blah" and when the reaction is a angry/sarcastic/frustrated "I forgot because I really really like having this conversation with you!"--well I can't even tell you how infuriated that makes me.....like I want to unload both barrels at him of every forgetful irritating thing he's done.

We ALL have to stop acting like we aren't in this together.  Based on my marriage if you think you are doing something about 70% of the time, it is probably being done at best about 50%.  To be fair we are now on an 'as needed' medication plan...so he is not on medication much more than he is, so maybe some of you are doing better than that, but even at his very best my husband was forgetting a lot and thinking he was doing great.  We're trying to give you credit for all the things you do well.  Please try to give us credit for all the times we don't yell/get angry/get hurt by the things you forget.

We had been doing great on this issue before my husband's doctor decided to try him on meds on an 'as needed' basis.....meaning he only takes one or two a week on a our busiest days.  This is causing him to forget more and me to feel like our steps are going backward instead of forward.  But then I find out that since he is out of the habit of taking a pill every day, he sometimes forgets to take them on the busy days.............AHHH I see the problem now.  And fortunately he goes back to his doctor on Friday to review this stupid "as needed" plan, but in the meantime when I try to talk to him about all the balls he is dropping, he is willing to discuss it but he is baffled because in his mind he is completely the same as on full medication.

summerwine's picture

When I mess up or forget

When I mess up or forget something people aren't looking for me to say I'm sorry and I will try harder. They want to rant on and on about every little thing I did wrong all week. Then I am expected to agree that I am such a horrible person. The I have to promise that I will stop being such a horrible screw up. Do you really think we should just lay there like a dog and be kicked for having a disability? Do I really have to hand out constant apologies for my disability? This is why we are trying neutral reminders with my counselor. Instead of moralizing and making the person who screwed up feel worthless we just remind them. No need to apologize or explain or excuse or get into how crappy a person you are. Just "You forgot this, do you need help remembering tomorrow?"  end of story.

Summerwine, I can see the value of that

I can see why you don't want to apologize for having a disability (perhaps your ADD is far worse than my husband's because he insists that is it no where near the level of disability--there is nothing he can't do, but it is hard for him to get all the ducks in a row and doall the things that need to be done consistently).

No one should have to apologize for having a disability/challenge/difference......whatever you want to call it.  But what do you see as your responsibility in this?

I have no issue with "You forgot this.  Do you need help remembering next time?"  Not one tiny bit........but after say 5 times on the same thing or some other arbitrary number that will also be affected by my stress levels and whether or not I am doing 10 other things while you struggle to remember this one......I am really over the happy happy nice nice response.  We are all human.  No one has limitless patience.  And sometimes the person who is forgetting is the one that needs to be doing something else to remember.

Do I think that should become a tirade on everything that has been forgotten over the course of a 10 year marriage?  NO NO NO I think that is wrong.  But I think sometimes in defensiveness there is the above response "I forgot cause I LIKE to...cause this is just so #*( FUN!"  and yes the reaction you are triggering with THAT response if you give it to me is, "you think I don't have reason to get upset at your forgetfullness??  Well lets just take a walk down memory lane!" 

Do I think this is right?  NO and I try to restrain it, again but it is wrong on both sides.  Being disappointed personally for forgetting again doesn't justify taking it out on the other person who was relying on you.  Actions have consequences and there are various levels of hurt and disappointment based on what got forgotten and how important it is.   I think the way to handle that when you forget (and hey I forget too and I try to do it also) is to step up like an adult and take responsibility for failing in whatever responsibility was forgotten.  It doesn't matter if it happens 10 times a day, if you drop the ball you should apologize for it and hopefully brainstorm a better way to remember or perhaps accept you are never going to do it and decide if the other mate wants to take it on.

My position is when my husband is remembering the majority of things, and some fluke comes up like XYZ getting that phone call on the way home that screwed up his plan to pick something up.  Ok that is something that happens to everyone.  Based on how badly I need the item, I could go into town and get it (we are about 15 min out so it is best to get things on the way), or he often offers to go get it (which I usually don't have him do unless it is important) or we just laugh or eye roll together and try to remember it next time.

I have never kicked my husband like a dog or anything else for having ADD, and I am honestly rather offended on behalf of nonADD mates everywhere that you would even suggest such a thing.   But I am just going to assume that you are dealing with abusive situations or great frustration that I am not identifying with.  I can certainly agree that is a horrible way to feel if that is what you feel is happening to you.  I would be interested to hear what the explanation would be from the other side too.

Summerwine, I am honestly interested in what your solution to the memory issue or any other common ADD issue is.  I believe I have read the majority of your posts on this site and you come across as defensive and like you feel you have to defend ADD/ADHD mates everywhere because as a group you are under attack.

If I have contributed to that feeling for you or for any other person who has ADD, I sincerely apologize.   All the nonADD mates that I know and almost all of the ones I read about here are trying our best to support a mate who is giving us very little feedback in what they need...mostly because they just don't know what they need and don't tend to be the most introspective people and thus don't spend a lot of time figuring it out.  There are books like Melissa's or Dr Hallowell's that help, but sometimes we are just all flying by the seat of our pants and trying to figure it out and sometimes getting it wrong.

I really look to women with ADD to help me know what is really needed maybe because I just see the females to be so much better at communicating the needs and feelings of the ADD mate to me.  I need this.  I appreciate this.

But genuinely sometimes I feel like the advice amounts to 'be patient always, loving always, accept what they did and praise them for it, be quick to let of what what didn't get done and remind gently'.   I am working on those things but I am human too with regular stresses.  And sometimes those behaviors seem to heighten the problem as it makes the ADD mate feel like it isn't a big deal that they forget.

My husband seems to do fairly well with a mix of kindness, patience, gentle reminders, and an angry butt kicking once in a while!  I am not kidding.......that seems to get him back on track even if neither of us want it to happen, sometimes I have to say "You have put this project off for 2 months and have moved the deadline that you set for yourself 3 times (we are at this point with a work project)   So my position on it right now is "This is unacceptable and I am going to set a new deadline and heaven help him if he misses it again"   Now I haven't said that because it sounds too parental, but something along that line has to happen, but I am not sure how to address it without fury at this point.

He and his coach discussed it yesterday and she said he was being ridiculous and had to do it, but I didn't get any specifics as to when what I need might be in my hand.

I don't know, sometimes I just can't figure out what the ADD/ADHD mates really want, need, and expect of us.  Limitless patience I do not have, but limitless love I do. 

Disclaimer:  I have had an exhausting week and don't mean to sound testy if that is how I am coming across.  My husband has been forgetful and not good at accomplishing things this week that need to be done by him but that he also doesn't like to do. 

On the plus side:  This morning I ended up taking the day off volunteering cause I slept badly and woke with a terrible headache.  He was really gentle with me and offered to make tea so I could lay down on the couch.  He asked if I was feeling bad as I was slow to get going, and I just said I had a really bad headache and was going to have a low key day.  He kissed my forehead, looked at me very lovingly, and said "Yeah I think this headache is on me.  I hope you feel better hon" and it made SOOO much difference to me.  I know he isn't stressing me out on purpose, but it is good to know that he also realizes the result of this type of stress for me is migraines and that he does see part of his job as a loving mate is to not cause that too.  Hopefully when he gets home that might even translate into him getting some things done!

Just a for instance from yesterday

Not sure if it was handled well or badly quite honestly, but it was all I had in me at the time.  Our computers and printers are networked, but the hub computer (or whatever the heck you call it) is my husband's and his motherboard shorted so the hub is down which means every time I have to print something, I have to wade through the pig sty that is his office and plug the printer into my laptop directly.

We have many many discussions about his office, he cleans it, I clean it, we clean it together and within 1 day it is heading back into pig sty territory....he seems to think "my man cave can look however cause it is my space", but food dishes, old drinks, stacks of unfiled work papers--none of this is ok and he knows it and at least verbally agrees with it.

The original computer problem was his video card which was still under warranty and after no less than 6 months of nagging him, he got it replaced for free from the company......to be fair for at least 3 of those months he honestly apparently thought he had sent it in.  I will never understand that but I can accept it.   For those 6 months he was hyperfocusing on his new netbook, so he didn't care that the hub was down, but his desktop is his gaming computer and there is some new online game he wants to play, so now all of a sudden he is interested in fixing it.

Got new upgraded vid card and turns out when the old one went bad it also shorted out his motherboard.  Now since he didn't care about this computer for 6 months, I really don't care about it anymore, but now he is suddenly interested and is pressuring me to add a motherboard to the budget.

He mentioned it again yesterday as I sat in his office chair surrounded by crap, and I looked at him and said "I don't want to hear one more word about a motherboard until after this office is cleaned up.  You promised it would be cleaned up 2 weeks ago, and I don't want to hear about anything that you want that you can't use your own blow money for until some of these things you have been avoiding get done."

Does that sound like a parent?  Sorta it does to me, but you know what else it sounds like? Someone who isn't going to allow their patience to be taken for granted.  You make the agreement and you fulfill it or you certainly don't suggest that our family prioritizes your wants--esp whims.

Suggestions as to how to deal with it better?

summerwine's picture

The way I see it is this" If

The way I see it is this" If you husband got hit on the head at work and the doctor said "he is not going to remember stuff like he used to"  would you see any point in getting angry with him when he forgets things? Wouldn't you change your priorities? If it takes Sherri twice as long to walk somewhere because of her disability should I make her apologize for being slow and making us late? Or should I just say "Hmmm I think we should leave earlier next time". If she refused to leave earlier next time then I can see why you'd be annoyed but not if she is always trying to go as fast as she can. I am always trying to go as fast as I can but I still keep having people scream at me to HURRY UP! That doesn't make me want to hurry up, it makes me want to say FUCK YOU and walk away.


Here's a link to ADHD and working memory retraining working memory can work with kids but it's almost impossible for adults. Instead we have to try to use external things like calendars and stuff. It's crutches. I am walking around with a bad leg, the crutches make me go faster than if I don't have them but I will never walk as fast as you. I want the world to please stop screaming at me for not being as fast as you.



I, for one, do not have this expectation


The short answer: I don't

Because I am not capable at leaving anything at a short answer LOL....

What I do expect is that when he chooses to take on a project that is important, that he USES his crutches to keep this project from falling completely off the radar.  You take it on and you do it, or you revise it, or you go talk to the person you committed to and explain why you can't do it.  DO NOT leave it sitting for months on end doing nothing about it.

I am not trying to hurry a man up constantly who is trying to walk with crutches.  I am walking alongside him trying to carry the other stuff so that he can use his hands for the crutches.  If he chooses not to use his crutches cause he thinks he can walk just fine alone, he is going to be expected to do as well as he had been doing with his crutches or go back to the crutches.  Function at his best......that is all any of us are expected to do, right?

I think the memory problem we are having currently is that the 'as needed' medicinal route has not worked well......mostly because the majority of the time he was doing it, no one bothered to inform me. I went from a very well functioning husband to one who was doing substantially worse, esp during stressful times when he was needed to be stepping up.  I was regularly trying to find out why he seemed so overwhelmed and was dropping balls, but he honestly didn't notice that he was so he couldn't say "I did well yesterday cause I took my meds and since I didn't take them today, I am a bit fuzzy headed"  He honestly did not notice a change other than I seemed to be asking a lot about what was going on...he thought his memory and output were the same.  THIS is the true danger that is ADD in my mind.

And this makes me have a REAL issue with doctors messing with the meds of a person who has a disorder that causes perception issues without clueing in the mate.  Eric says he didn't tell me because he wanted an honest reaction from me as to how he was doing and not one colored by whether or not I knew he was taking a pill that day.  He has gotten an earful from both me and his coach about why that plan was detrimental to what we were actually trying to accomplish.........but that is obviously another story.

After his last appt I was filled on the planned schedule of which days his pill would regularly be taken and what additional scheduling issues would trigger him to take it at other times.  I found out this week that 1/2 the time he is forgetting entirely to take it when he told me he would be.   This is a lot like a man who is refusing crutches to me......or refusing his crutches (the meds) and then also deciding to forgo the braces too (external reminders).

I haven't had to be involved in reminding him to take his meds for years.  It is something he absolutely wants to do himself, but he is going to have to change what he is doing in some way so that it will start to work or go back on daily meds.  I don't care which, but he needs to be working as well as he is able to......whatever that happens to be.

Honestly, it seems to me that frequently just saying "I have X expectation for my mate with ADD" is too often met with the response, "You can't expect him to act like a person without ADD".     I am NOT expecting that.  I am just expecting him to act like a person with ADD who is doing his best to get the things done that he has decided are important.  It is hard for us all to determine what that level is.........add in a mate who is frequently not self-aware and it just got harder.

It is true that a person without ADD will never understand what is like to have it, but it is also true that a person with it will never understand what it like to live without it.  If you have ADD and also happen to have a loving, supportive mate (certainly not the case for all), you have no idea of how many accomadations are being made for you and how much your nonADD mate is already doing.  If they ask for you do better in one area, it is not fair to quickly jump to the conclusion that they are now expecting you to act nonADD.   Believe me my husband, as generally high functioning as he is, does not act like he doesn't have ADD....nor he is expected to.

I don't know if you saw the

I don't know if you saw the videos Summerwine (I THINK??) posted a link to..but the doctor that spoke in that series of videos said that "part time" or "only during the week" kind of dosing for ADHDers was a thing of the past and 'old school'. Do you think the doctor pushed this on your DH or do you think your DH was OK with it? Why would anyone, who is benefitting from the meds, want to 'cut back' on their meds? 

I agree too, as much as we might not agree on the memory/forgetfulness issue, there is a lot of compensating being done that we don't talk about, aren't getting credit for, an is not seen by anyone here. That, to me, is part of being married...but the truth of the matter is, there is a lot more to compensate for and 'accept' when you're living with someone who has ADHD...and most definitely someone who is untreated. I'm not here to ask for kudos for any of that, nor do I want my husband to feel bad about it or feel like a burden or like he makes my life harder...but there are some of us here to are TRULY trying to give the kind of acceptance our spouses so desperately need...and only want to be met in the middle. 

MagicSandwich's picture

Stevie Wonder driving a car

Yes oh my!

Has there been a documented incident when Stevie Wonder got into a car and insisted to his family and to the press that he was totally able to drive? Nope. Try saying yes to that absurd scenario and you'll have an idea of what it's like dealing with ADHD reckless entitlement and bravado. The equally frustrating inverse of this situation - having to spoonfeed a capable person - can crop up at any time.  Either way, the non-ADHD person (or better controlled ADHD person) is told they are either expecting too much or too little. 


The memory aids

I have survived by these for years, especially after Outlook went mobile :) The issue on that particular day was walking in the door and getting my Arse jumped. I have been much better since Adderall came to know me and I know it will take years of remembering "Most of the time" to change the perception of forgetting "Most of the time". I totally get that. The thing to me is I would never jump my DW for forgetting something, let alone launch an attack as she walks in the door. This was what set me off, which is not that easy to do anyway. I would have acknowledged what I forgot and gone right back to get it. 

We seem to be doing better for the most part and my example was a pretty rare one. My DW has anger issues to work on and I have my obvious ADD Oblivion to work on. It has just been a learning process for me to adjust my reactions to many visual and verbal cues I never saw before. Anger is not something I deal with well anymore. 

I definitely know it is never 50/50, but I try to do as much as I can and always have. Being more aware has helped me help my DW in more timely ways and I keep working on it :)

I read about the "As Needed" plan for us ADDer's and I don't think it would work for me. When I wake up in the morning I know I am functioning sub-par and I hate feeling like I used too. Second, for me, anything but a strict regiment would me to be inconsistent taking my meds on the days I need to take them. Even now, If I get working on a project I can easily miss my regular scheduled time and end up taking it late.

I forget (I am the non-ADHD

I forget (I am the non-ADHD spouse) A LOT...a LOT of the time. It has NOTHING to do with my commitment to my husband or marriage. I can honestly tell you, if he ever 'fussed' at me ("how could you forget again?") it would really piss me off and make me resent him...because ANYONE who forgets ANYTHING pretty much wishes they hadn't and having to face the firing squad because of it is just wrong. Forget the kids at school? SURE, you deserve to be bitched at. Forget the dry cleaning? Shit happens. All marriages should be give and take...and if you have someone in the marriage who simply has a forgetful nature (ADHD or not) then why not compensate a little? 

I know I don't know all of the details...and if you need to feel you can rely on him to not 'forget' in order to feel appreciated and loved, then so be it. But speaking from my own personal experience (and granted, 'forgetfulness' is NOT a problem in my marriage...although it is a problem for my husband on his job sometimes) and being someone who has always been forgetful, I really don't want to be treated like a child because of it. If I could help it, I would. I make lists and forget them. It really isn't as easy as you would make it seem. 

...to clarify...I usually do not forget IMPORTANT things...just annoying, daily things that cause me twice the work.

Maybe it has to do with the type of ADD

My husband is primarily inattentive....no hyperactivity....so no bad impulsiveness, can hold a job, is self aware as to his ADD and taking steps to correct them.......etc

Our major issue is that he forgets things ALL the time.  Big things, little things, important things, unimportant things...pretty sure this is what you get when you are inattentive.  Forgot to pick up butter at the store....no biggie normally.  Called him on his way home because I need butter for the potatoes for the dinner party for 12 I am home cooking for.......and he forgets it.  It becomes a much bigger deal to me.

Annoying, daily things I really don't care unless he has already forgotten a myriad of really important and unimportant things so that I have no patience at all left.

if you have someone in the marriage who simply has a forgetful nature (ADHD or not) then why not compensate a little?

Oh I totally agree, but where I think my hang up comes is in "a little".  I think you must have no idea the compensations having a forgetful mate can cause or you wouldn't say that.  The problem is when you are compensating, and they are compensating, and they have a coach, and they have a smart phone, and you try to twist yourself into whatever pretzel they next think is going to help them remember.......patience wears thin.

and being someone who has always been forgetful, I really don't want to be treated like a child because of it.

I wouldn't either, but then the solution is to do your best to remember, right?  Now you say you don't forget important things so you are doing something to remember the most important things.  That is what all people with a forgetful mate want....confidence that when it is important it will be remembered.

We were probably around 80-90% before the 'as needed' meds and now we are probably 70-75% for things regardless of importance (assuming some effort is being made by him to remember or we are at 0-10%) less obviously if we are talking about remembering on first request.  That percentage is too far below my comfort zone, so something has to be done.

If I could help it, I would.

I agree and I don't.  In your situation, you are helping it so that you don't forget things that are important.  I think everyone can 'help it' to that extent though granted I can see how it would harder for a person with ADD who has no natural hierarchy structure in his/her brain. 

Beyond that level of memory that we all need to have......we are all going to be on a spectrum.  I have a fabulous memory usually, but I don't expect the whole world to have one too.  Maybe having a good one, I just have less natural empathy for ppl without as I can't really identify with their experience.

If anyone yelled at me for forgetting something unimportant I would be really upset.  If they were yelling cause I just screwed up their whole day, I hope that I would have more sense than to say "Well I did it because this type of conversation with you is so much fun"

I don't know why, I just do

I don't know why, I just do not forget important things. I rarely forget anything that has to do with the kids, but I have taken my son to school and realized when I got there that I had forgotten to give him his seizure meds. Back home with him I go! I recently thought I had paid the water bill, was certain I remembered doing that...online. I hadn't. Thankfully they just hung a reminder on our door. Does it happen every month? No, that was the first time in 10 years, but it still makes me angry with myself and worry what I will forget next that might cost us more than a friendly reminder. My husband found the reminder...handed it to me...and said nothing. No anger. No lecture. Just "I found this on the door" and then off to the next subject. Maybe he has faith in me...maybe it is his ADHD 'nothing is urgent' attitude...who knows? All I know is that I forget to mail cell phones back, I forget water bills, I forget to make bank deposits, I forget to get my books before school starts, I forget to send lunch money with my daughter (thankfully the lunch ladies know I am good for it, by now). I forget to buy that one vital ingredient for the dinner I planned on making and have to make something completely different (or make yet another trip to the store for the forgotten item). My DH is wonderful about picking up stuff for me on his way home, but I don't like to ask because he DOES have impulse control issues and sending him to the store for a gallon of milk would end up costing us $40. I KNOW this is a weakness for him, so I do not put him in that situation unless I am desperate and we have the extra money I know it'll cost us for him to run the errand for me. If you KNOW your DH is not the best at remembering the butter, then I don't see the harm in running to the store for it yourself. Just like I know there is a 90% chance that my DH will overspend if I ask him to pick up something for me, you know there is a ??% chance your DH will forget if you ask. I know it seems awfully unfair...but I would like to think my marriage is far more significant than him being pissed at me because I forgot his cigarettes. (the most common forgotten item...since I do NOT buy them with any regularity...and I forget them probably 50% of the time he asks. He graciously gets up, puts on his shoes, and runs to the store to get them himself...usually only saying "that's Ok honey, no big deal" when I say "I'm sorry, I forgot your cigarettes") He has been known to run all the way back to our house to get my camera...because I inevitably forget it almost every holiday...short of hanging it on my neck, I've tried everything to remember it. 

I see your point...there is no point in having a marriage if we cannot rely on our spouses for ANYTHING, but I just feel if there are ways to compensate, even if it means you give 70% and he gives 30% on an issue such as this, then to me it is worth it. I am so very thankful, for all of his faults, that he does not hold my forgetfulness against me. Ever.

I don't know....

he doesn't do a lot of other things that get me pissed at him, so maybe this is just my thing LOL  I mean if he were treating me badly or acting like a bully/@hole/etc I would have bigger fish to fry.

It had almost become a non issue with the meds which is probably why I am no longer mentally prepared for some of his forgetfulness.  I guess if I mull it over, he is better with important things than unimportant things, but then I consider a lot of the things that you list as fairly important.  I consider things like invoicing for work correctly, making the deposits if he is the one in the city with our branch, and dropping off a bill if he agreed to take it 'on his way out' to all be fairly important things.

I guess we do really all have different levels of importance and that sometimes there isn't a right and wrong with it.  Maybe I just need to relax some of my perfectionism in this area...again maybe I am just not fully empathetic to this issue never having had it. 

Before we had a diagnosis and he was just being in general unreliable with things he agreed to, I had tried to take everything really important on for myself but this does cause me a lot of resentment.  Once he got diagnosed (I originally typed that as 'once we got diagnosed' which really is how this type of thing goes...but I fixed it for clarity) and really finally had sufficient treatment, he was mostly reliable again, so I dropped my guard.  With the 'as needed' meds, neither of us has found any traction with how to get a handle on the situation just yet.

Regardless....I think if you make a mistake and your mate gets frustrated....which happens to us all.... the mature thing to do is own up and apologize and bite your tongue when you are tempted to get frustrated back when you caused the situation in the first place.

My  husband is like yours in that he never gets angry and frustrated with me when it is me forgetting something or making the mistake.  I appreciate it and I tell him so, and he just laughs and says of course he is sympathetic as I do it to him less than a 1/10 of when he does it to me.

All I look for is an acknowledgement

If my husband forgets to do something, I just want him to tell me and do something about it. I don't want to hear why he forgot, what else he did, what I did wrong (I should have reminded him) etc... I don't even need or look for an apology. 

Just: I forgot, I'll take care of it tonight/tomorrow/next week etc...

The times that he has done that, it has diffused any sort of argument. 


Our last chance

I am the non ADHD'r and we are on our last chance.  My boyfriend of 4 years starts medication today.  My hope is that the lies, verbal abuse and irrational behaviors subside.  We have both decided that if the medications don't start making changes, we are done.

Either way, this forum has been a godsend.  It has pulled me through some pretty tough times.  Thank you all!!


I cannot tell you how many

I cannot tell you how many times my husband has asked me to pick him up something (usually begins by me ASKING him if he wants something) and I will be 2 minutes from the house and realize I forgot...and off to the convenience store up the road, paying more and pissed at myself. Today I had only 3 things to get at the grocery store...was going to be quick, in and out...dog & cat food, stuff for salads, and lemons. I had thought about the lemons for 2 days. I read that putting lemons in water was good for your liver, metabolism, and helps with weight loss. So excited to get some lemons. Forgot the lemons.

Thank God that my husband RARELY gets mad at me for forgetting, because 3 times out of 10 I am already home before I remember that I forgot. LOL He, with ADHD, NEVER forgets. 

It's Normal to forget :)

Shopping without a list is Bad... Grocery stores make a living at distracting you into everything other than what you came for. Then they get you twice when you go back for what you missed ;)

That's too bad...

Sure... If you take your Adderall too late you will have trouble going to sleep. I was never a big drinker, but I found after I started my Adderall treatment that I did not want very much to drink because it Un-did my Adderall and I did not want to go back to feeling that way. I like feeling sharp and clear headed.  As far as a schedule goes, I do Much better on a schedule of routine. I can adapt on days where things are out of the ordinardary way better than in the past, Un-medicated I was no fun to deal with on days not governed by a strict repetitive routine. It sounds like the Adderall could work for him, if he would give it a chance, but he also needs to understand his condition too.

i hope things improve for you...

That's EXACTLY it...

I vascilate on the Hope Scale every day and every hour, too.  That one sentence sums everything up for me.  I just want off this rollercoaster but it's not that simple when your life is woven with theirs so intimately and you love them so. Sigh...

MagicSandwich's picture

when he literally doesn't see what is actually happening

But what’s even more frightening to me, as I have often thought the same thing about videotaping what actually happens, is that he won’t see what’s happening on the video in the same manner that he won’t see what’s happening in real life. You know?

Great suggestions

Thanks Melissa for reminding me that these things are all valid and that I am allowed to be 'selfish' sometimes, and I am allowed to speak my mind and my feelings too.  I often find that it is just so exhausting to have such a regime for basic communication that I end up not bothering though.  My H is soooo argumentative (although he insists it's me of course) that broaching any subject, even later when things have cooled down, usually result in another fight - he just picks up where he left off which I find interesting that he remembers that well enough, but not other important things day to day.  I know he would be shocked to hear himself when he goes off, but I don't think he would even listen to a recording if I did it, even if it was just to keep the facts straight.

Apart from visiting this site or receiving counselling, are there other things we can do for ourselves to alleviate the stress and exhaustion of living with an ADHD partner? It's such hard work that I quite often forget to include myself when I'm making sure the whole family has what they need.

Factually Incorrect II

Wow.  It may be in part that misery loves company - but I am so reassured to not be alone in my experience with my (suspected) ADD spouse.  

My husband always insists that the problem is with me:  it's not that he is forgetful - it's that I have a freakishly good memory; it's not that he is messy and disorganized - it's that I am extremely Type A in my need for order; it's not that he is overly-sensitive - it's that I'm callous; it's not that he's financially irresponsible - it's that I am overly anxious, etc, etc.  In disagreements, he too will create a version of the truth (which he believes to be true, I think) to reinforce his argument.  I think you and I are probably asking the same question:  "How can we reach any sort of resolution, when my spouse's recall/interpretation of events is not based on fact?" 

I have often contemplated carrying a mini tape-recorder, to replay his own words for him (or a therapist).  I think he could benefit greatly from seeing a therapist on his own, but the thought of him taking advice based on his distorted account of events scares me, so I have not encouraged it.

His behaviour with me is so different from the behaviour that everyone else sees (he won't help me with the simplest of tasks, but would help a stranger move a piano) that I've learned to keep my complaints to myself - because everyone thinks he's so wonderful and charming.  I am so tired of always being the bad guy.

He's agreed to being tested for ADD (if only to appease me) but has made only token gestures to inquire with his physician (and made a joke of it at that, saying "My wife will kill me if I don't ask, but she's wondering if I might have ADD").  That was a year and a half ago...

I so get that.

I feel like I'm going crazy sometimes. Often. Most of the time. We go around and around in circles. He will "teach me" how I should behave, talk to him, ask him, praise him etc... so that he doesn't feel "small", he feels valued etc... I will try to adjust that but then the next time he doesn't like it either and complains that he never said that.

I also get the "because you" answers: I didn't clean "because you" didn't remind me. "Because you" didn't give me a list. "Because you" gave me a list and that's mothering. "Because you" ask too much of me and I'm overwhelmed. "Because you" don't ask me to do as much as you do and that's making me feel inferior. 

Yesterday morning, I was making myself a list of things I needed to do that night. I know DH has a lot on his list and I am leaving it alone. So I make my list and I ask: Can you do just 1 thing for me? (We did some home repair and I need some help with 1 thing. I was not going to ask for a lot off MY list because I don't want to overwhelm him. He says he "freezes" when there is too much to do). What happened? He got angry. "Because you" are belittling me by asking to do only 1 thing. I can handle a lot more than 1 thing. 

So I explain to him why I said what I did: I know you already have a lot on you plate, I respect that and I trust that you will take care of it so I did not mention those items. . That would be nagging. You have told me before that when I make a list I need to be specific of what is being asked of you, so I'm being specific. His answer? A lesson on HOW i should be speaking to him: Don't list everything YOU need to do. Don't use the word "only" when asking to do something. 


Damned if I do, damned if I don't

Oh my do I know how that feels...  A "to do" list is too overwhelming for him, so I am only to give him one or two things to do at a time.  And still he will not do them.  I'm in trouble for not asking him for help, then I'm in trouble when I do ask him for help.  

I am trying to be as understanding as I can be because I believe that ADD is at the root of all of this, but he gets angry and resentful when I suggest the possibility of ADD, like it's some sort of personal attack.   Once again, all of the responsibility is on my shoulders.  I'm finding it extremely difficult to be both on the receiving end of his inconsistent (and frequently inconsiderate) behaviour, and have to be the saint who is all-forgiving, when he will neither acknowledge nor take any steps to improve his potential ADD.


Oyy, reading this made me empathize so much! my fiance just found out about his ADHD, so we are taking the necessary steps to improve. But I still struggle with times where he would tell me I said things, when I know I didnt. Or he would say things and completely deny saying them. All of those instances come to me being "out of my mind" or selfish, or unable to listen, or how I only care about myself, or sometimes more simply put... "Im a C***"

Its so frustrating. And sometimes I find the strength to let it go, but other times I can help but yell at him. And then I feel weak. 

I just found this forum and feel so much better that I am not crazy! and that our problems are not because we are falling out of love, or that we arent right for eachother. But that it is just symptoms of ADHD rearing their ugly heads.

I love him so much. He is my partner in life and in business, and I am dedicated to being the source of strength for him. and I think sharing experience is definitely helping, so thanks to you and everyone!

Keep a journal

Keep a journal of conversations, agreements, arguments that might come up later, so you have an account of what was said.  Maybe let him know about it, and its purpose, so it's not later misinterpreted, and so he doesn't feel like you are being "sneaky".  It will be time consuming, but might save later arguments.

I'm always fascinated by these comments

I don't have the problems with overspending, infidelity, etc. that so many on here describe. But I find the advice to not worry about what your spouse is doing impossible to follow. Some examples:

He has an appointment with his therapist today. He could not remember the time or find his card, so he used GAS I PAID FOR to drive down to the office to check the time. While he did that, he left the dog on the line outside and I had to go through a very scary part of the house, where I have fallen in the past,  in my pajamas to let him in.

I have had to throw out things because he left then on the floor to get stepped on and broken. I am mobility-impaired and always afraid of falling in this pit of a house.

He has no job. I am supporting us both with what is meant to be a part time job. Almost all of Melissa's suggestions cost at least some money, and we don't have it.

So how am I supposed to just skip through life when my house is not safe, or heated, and I have to do so many things that are physically difficult for me?  How do I NOT let his problems affect me?



MagicSandwich's picture

How do I not let it affect me?

This is where Melissa and other ADHD advisors just don't get it. Being around unsafe people makes you unsafe.  Period.

There is no way a rational person can ignore the antics of an unsafe spouse who is engaging in doomed financial practices, unsafe driving, pack-rat sloppy living and/or devious sexual liaisons that could very well bring a disease into the marriage bed. 

arwen's picture

Safety issues are paramount

As a non-professional ADHD advisor of a sort, I take exception to your claim.  I most definitely "get it", and so do many many other ADHD advisors.

Let's be honest, OK?  -- life is *never* safe.  Ever.  By yourself, or with others.  Each of us does unsafe things from time to time, without meaning to, without realizing.  Even if *you* behave perfectly safely, there is no guarantee that you will not be harmed by some natural event that you cannot predict or escape.  All you can do is try to mitigate the danger to whatever degree may be possible.

However, I have no argument with the statement that being around unsafe people makes you *even less* safe.  And this is a danger that can and should be mitigated.

Safety issues were certainly the biggest concern I've had with my ADHD spouse.  Driving, tools, leaving hazards on the floors, supervising children, were all areas where my spouse had real safety problems.

So we tackled them first.  Before the finances (since his problems were not bad enough to make us unsafe).  Before the messy habits (that didn't create safety hazards).  Before the mundane chores (that didn't directly affect safety).  I *never* let a safety issue go by without a talk with my spouse.  We dealt with them quickly, strongly, and persistently.  No excuses, no exceptions.  However, when I thought that something my husband was doing might result in a *minor* injury, I didn't talk about it until after he was done -- so that he could suffer any "natural consequences" that occurred, as they often did.  This way, I also underscored his experience, instead of only preaching.  It helped.  With the driving, I simply forbade our kids to ride with him until he could drive safely -- this was so disturbing to him that it focused his attention wonderfully on the problem.

My husband (once on meds and counseling) trained himself to drive totally differently.  He is now probably a safer driver than I am, which is saying a lot.  He trained himself to the habit of never walking away from tools until they were put away (at least, while we had young kids in the house -- once they got older, he relaxed a little, now occasionally leaves screwdrivers and pliers and hammers around -- but has kept the rigid training about power tools).   We rearranged his supervision responsibilities to make it easier for him to improve, and to reduce the chance for something really bad to happen.  And so on.

I don't think anybody is advocating that one should ignore unsafe practices.  On the other hand, not *every* behavior of an ADHDer is an "unsafe" one, some are merely annoying.  *These* behaviors are the candidates for being ignored.

"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Albus Dumbledore

MagicSandwich's picture

Nobody here ever claimed life

Nobody here ever claimed life was 100% safe. But there have been many suggestions in this blog that the non-adhd spouse must at least try to accommodate the unsafeness of the ADHD-er. There seems never to be any sliding scale about this. Having a spouse with mobility issues means never ever ever leaving scraps of stuff on the floor. You know? 

Almost done

I have been reading this site for a while and every time I read it, I cry because I don't feel as alone.  I see all these people struggling.  My husband has been diagnosed with ADHD for 10 years now and it wasn't until this summer that I realized how large an effect it has on me.  I have given up my dreams and plans to be with him.  He has been out of work for 5 years and we have two kids.  So I went back to work to support us financially.  I believe I have finally let go of the resentment I felt towards him for not being able to provide for our family when our kids were newborns but I am still waiting for him to get some sort goal.  I constantly am told how much he does and I feel like I do as much if not more.  I am so lost and I have no more energy to fight.  I just shut down now and try to get the strength to keep battling this God damn disease or genetic disposition or whatever it is but it is hard.  I know my husband is a good man and everyone loves him.  I just can't do it all anymore.  I wish so badly he would read the ADHD effect on marriage but no matter how many times I have asked, other things become priority.  I feel selfish all the time and like a bad person because I want to be with the man I married.  The one who loved to be with me and around me.  I am on this site because I asked him to do something with me alone (without friend, booze, etc) and he told me he thinks we should do less stuff together and not talk so much.  I feel so alone and yet maybe he is right.  Maybe we should talk less.  The problem is I never wanted to be with someone who didn't like/enjoy being with me and now I think he is at the point that I piss him off all the time.  I was very angry, I know that is my fault.  I must go now, everyone is home.


me too

Im ready to leave him, he also asks for his space, it just ridiculous because he has more time away from me than i do from him. My husband read the book and then was on denial of his ADHD. Medication and marriage therapy help but doesnt cure it. Their brain is wired differently. I think you should take care of yourself so you can take care of your kids. you are not alone *hugs* 

Almost Done

Shiela, i read your post and i felt myself practically in tears for you and feelings of anger towards your husband only because i feel the mistreatment you are feeling and how it's affecting you as did I feel same kind of things from my husband. Although it is the symptoms of ADHD talking, there's no excuse and you shouldn't accept it. Its his responsibility to get treatment if he wants to stay married to you or even deserves to be with someone who is supportive and loving as you are being to him. Sometimes you need to shake him a little and make him relaize that he could very well lose you if he doesn't do something about his problem.


Husband has adhd and anger problems. All these worked only when we were in weekly therapy. I isolated myself from my friends, and people that know me. Its really hard to keep my cool when i have this angry, disrespectful, evil, person shouting at me. I only have 18 month married and Im ready to dump him. yes dump him, im so tired, my anxiety is high, and dont want to be around him when he is at home. Im scared of his temper tantrum. We are seeing a new therapist for insurance reasons and this is it! I have a lot of resentments. 

Day dreaming/ trouble attending to conversations

I really like Melissa strategies for the non adhd spouse to use when they are frustrated.  I'm wondering if anyone can give any tip for the following scenario.

I take36 mg of concerta at 6am in the morning before I go to work. When I come home from work it is very  hard for me to conversations with my partner because the medicine is completely worn off.  The first hour it wears off, I'm very loopy and have trouble attending to oral conversation and will often daydream and miss pieces of conversations.  There are others times during the day when I find it very hard to attend such as if  I haven't eaten enough protein, am super stressed, or if I'm in the car.  It's also really hard to understand my partner when she talks fast. When I miss what she is saying I often will ask my partner to repeat what she just said or slow down.  She often gets annoyed because:1. it is hard for her to feel connected to me when she feels I can't attend to what she is saying, 2. she doesn't like repeating a story because its no fun to tell it the 2nd time, 3. sometimes she feels like  "I just want to have a normal conversation where I can tell a story and have you listen. It frustrating for me to tell you a story, have you miss it and have to repeat it"

I'm going to talk to my doctor and see if he can prescribe a small dose of concerta which may help.  

I'm not sure of what I should do if I'm in a state where I REALLY CAN'T attend ( such as a night when the medicine is wearing off )

Should I just try to be alone at this time? Should I just avoid my talking to my  when partner the medication is wearing off?   " Honey it is going to be hard for me to attend right now, so maybe you should tell me this story at another time?"

What should I do when I "zone out" when she is talking to me? She gets frustrated and annoyed when ask to repeat herself or tell the story over; so should I just jump in and try figure out what happened? Is it feasible to ask have the add partner repeat a story that the add spouse missed from daydreaming?  I feel like this reasonable, but if the non add partner feels like its annoying.... so maybe it's not reasonable?

I've also asked my partner to make sure I'm attending before she starts talking, and she said she doesn't want to do this because she doesn't want to treat me like a child. I've also explained that I need for her to talk slow. She's often said that it is not fair for her to have to change what she is naturally doing sand wants to have a conversation without analyzing everything.  In other words " I don't want to put on a big show, just so I can talk to you?" Are  these reasonable requests?   What exactly is a reasonable role for the non add partner to play

I've explained that I really want to hear your stories sometimes I just can't attend to them and need you to repeat them. My partner has tried to be patient but ultimately feels so annoyed when I tune out when she is speaking and am completely unaware of what just happened. Is it even possible for partner to learn to be patient when I miss things because of daydreaming?  If she finds this so annoying she can't even repeat herself can she learns skills to be more patient or is this one of those things where "you are patient or you are not"


Don't  get me wrong, my partner is not a villian, and I think it is completely natural to feel frustrated when you are not being heard. After a tough day at work it is hard to be patient.

I'd love to hear people comments for strategies on what do do when the add partner day dreams when the non add partner is talking? What are reasonable strategies both partners can implement?


sounds reasonable to me


You wrote:  I've also asked my partner to make sure I'm attending before she starts talking, and she said she doesn't want to do this because she doesn't want to treat me like a child.  Sounds like she'd also like to treat you like someone without ADHD.   If you need X so she can get Y, the refusal to do it is just not accepting reality.  If you're willing to put more effort in paying attention, once you know she needs it, then she ought to be able to come halfway.  And:  or is this one of those things where "you are patient or you are not".  She can learn to be more patient, but it sounds like she'd rather not.  I have to continually remind myself not to get frustrated when a 60 second conversation goes off the rails, and slow down and repeat.  But of course it's possible.  When I want maximum attention (notice I didn't say full :)  ) I touch him, say "honey?" wait until he changes gears, be concise, ask for confirmation of what he heard and that works so much better than just being starting "cold" and rattling away like I might while talking to my kids or friends.  I would really encourage you to find a way to spend time with your wife when you are medicated, instead of saving the down time for her.  My guy won't take anything, so I just have to catch him when he's well-rested and hungry.  He'll pay attention when he thinks there might be dinner in it for him. ;)  She might want to learn to better read the cues you give off when you've tuned out... One question for you, though.  When you become aware she wants/needs you to "attend" do you stop any other activities that may be going on? Turn off TV (NOT just mute), put down smart phone, turn away from computer, etc?  You might think, since you are "aware" for a moment that she's talking to you, that you can resist refocusing on those things, but you really can't.  Also, take her hand or touch her arm while she's talking, if she isn't doing that with you.  The physical can help you connect better in your brain, too.   Another idea for staying "connected" when the lack of medication is present... DO something together that you both enjoy.  A game?  A home improvement project? The dishes?  If you are both engaged in a cut-throat game of Yahtzee, YOU will be less likely to drift off, the conversation will tend to be about "fun" topics, you might even laugh and flirt while you trash-talk your opponent.  That can feel very good, even if you really can't pay attention to the story of the bad day at the office.  And lastly, does your wife know that men, in general, without ADHD, are bored to tears with most of our stories?  :)  Best wishes.

This was a great

This was a great response! Thanks so much I really appreciate it!




MagicSandwich's picture

Men are bored by women's

Men are bored by women's stories? WHAT? 

The "Everybody Loves Raymond" type of sexist sentiment is unnecessary here.

the best way to talk to my

the best way to talk to my adhd partner is when he is not distracted by anything, like tv, cell phone, tablet, computer, radio, other people, not doing an activity pretty much not alot of time but i ask for his attention and and time limit, like can i get your attention for 5 - 10 mins it's important and i am told by my adhd husband to make it short cuz he hates long conversations, get to the point and don't repeat.  So to avoid getting interrupted while im speaking cuz i may be taking longer than he is capable of listening.  I tell him what i need and then ask him if he understood and sometimes ask him to repeat what I said or what he understood from the conversation.  But all conversations are a struggle, cuz he will not give me any feedback, his opinion or comment when I want to engage in a stimulating topic cuz he loses track and his always off topic and then I end up confused and fustrated.  So it's better to keep it simple and short and to the point to avoid an arguement.

A couple of things; 1)  It

A couple of things;

1)  It would probably be a great idea if our spouses, along with us ADHD'ers, understood how the mind and brain work.  Not like a PhD, but at a 101 level.  I have spent a ton of time over the past few months completely mesmerized by what I've learned and now understand about myself.

2)  Our original brain (sometimes called the "lizard brain) is finely tuned to threats, and it doesn't take too much at all for the alarm to go off!  Oh, that triggers what's called the "fight or flight" response.

3)  If the threat alarm goes off, the front part of the brain becomes much less effective at important tasks like reasoning and short term ("working) memory.

There's so much more, but I'm not trained in this area, but just a neophyte, so I'll stop here.   I'd recommend for anyone who wants to learn more details on the brain and the ADD/ADHD mind, there are plenty of excellent videos, including those by the expert owners of this site, on the web.

  I'm battling to


I'm battling to differentiate between ADHD symptoms in a person & the persons manipulative traits. Is manipulation automatic if you have ADHD?

Differentiating is easier if you have knowledge on your side


Being ADHD, and knowledgeable on the disorder, brain-mind functioning, AND relationships, I'd definitely recommend learning.  I'm not trained in this area, but have done a huge amount of reading authored by Doctors, PhDs, and other accredited health care professionals.

I can say there are people in my life who are as honest as the day is long, but sometimes seem to make stuff up as they go along.  Another annoyance is the rationalizing and excuses to absolve anyone  or anything that appears to need one.  Nothing terrible, mind you, but disconcerting. 

OK, now, manipulation is NOT automatic in anyone, but if the person was "gifted" in this area they'd be a 6 or better on a 1-10 scale of ADHD. Really, I'll go back to knowledge as the best fog-clearing, and BS meter around.  I can spot a guilt trip, or any type of manipulation a mile away.  Things like using words including "should", "always", "never" might be good tip-offs.  Using the word "you" at the beginning of a statement can be a signal as well (verbal finger pointing). Yelling or bullying of ANY kind is an immediate buzzer for me.  Being a guy, it's the crying that get me all kerfugled. 

Seriously, the more you understand the emotional workings of people, the mind, and relationships the better you are in any interactive communication.  My local library is fantastic, because I can get electronic info as well as a huge selection of books online.  It's a good investment in your time, because you have the knowledge and skills for the rest of your life.

All the best.

The Three Stooges

My guy has developed three major "coping" strategies for times when his ADD causes him to, in his opinion or someone else's, "mess up".  I call them the Three Stooges:  Deny, Deflect and Distort.  As in "I didn't do that", "it's actually you", and "You took it wrong".    These are all things he does so he doesn't feel like crap.  He is still in denial about ADD... so he's spent 50+ years wondering why he just can't keep it all together as "easily" as other people.  In order to not feel like he's failing, he denies, deflects and distorts.  For years  I thought I was crazy.... except I wasn't crazy with anybody else.  Anyway.  I guess I could characterize the use of these strategies as "manipulating" because he was always trying to shift the blame or even shift reality.  I have never felt like he was intentionally manipulating me... but another personality type might well do so.  I would have to say manipulation isn't a feature of ADD... but it could be a crappy coping mechanism for someone with ADD.  


Just the other day I got an apology that went something like this:

"I am sorry for talking to you that way, I shouldn't have...but you shouldn't have gone on and on about it..it just makes me furious...but I shouldn't have talked to you that way". Yes, it is my fault that you told me you were a "grown man" and would do whatever you wanted, when you wanted...(inserting the f-word every other word...in front of our daughter!!) when I found out he was considering trading his truck (mechanically sound, almost paid off...we owe $500 on it) to my nephew for his truck (an older diesel, major mechanical issues, nephew owes $3000 on it). DH's truck is several years newer too. Yes, when I try to thwart his latest attempt to screw us financially...then I deserve to be talked to like a dog. Just once in my effin life I would like for him to say "I shouldn't have said that" and leave off the "but". I started to say something, but I just didn't, I used to...not worth it anymore. All I could muster was "OK" I am sure if I would have said "your reaction is 100% your responsibility, and has nothing to do with anything I do or say...so stop adding the 'but' to it" he would accuse me of 'wanting to fight' or he would scream "just forget it!" and be mad all over again. Not that he doesn't understand that it is true, that his reaction was not my fault...just makes him feel better to make it about ME objecting to his 'plans' (over and over again...in his words...I said it twice "we cannot afford for you to trade...we do not know what is wrong with his truck and we know yours is dependable and sound").


Can't say we've had THAT issue, but O M G .....clearly, the lame ass, argument inducing apology is a "classic ADHD" apology (if one can even call it that).

Been there....lived through it....own several T Shirts by the way.

Sherri, Most of our


Most of our arguments were very similiar.  Immediate rebellion including yelling and screaming and sometimes throwing things when I didn't go along with his plan or fantasy idea.  It wasn't until we researched ADHD that we discovered that the brain could sometimes react to situations like that of a teenager.  Boy, what an eye-opener that was.  Our relationship had truly turned into an adult/child relationship.  The reality of learning this gave me almost instant peace and stress reduction but unfortunately hit my husband like a ton of bricks.  We found out what a major hurdle was in our relationship and he knew he could no longer use the coping mechanisims he had used in the past.  The reality of having to "grow up" is still a struggle for him and probably always will be.  I just pray for him daily that he makes it without too much difficulty.  

I'll third that

Same here to all of it.

Also, I am sure you have read, as I have, that they, the ADHD person, subconsciously "liked"  the arguing effect, as it gave off the dopamine their brains lacked.  I wonder if THAT is one of the main reasons behind it.  Who would choose all that arguing?  

Isn't it just grand that the

Isn't it just grand that the ADHD argues and feels dopamine and stimulated and alive when in an arguement and the Non-adhd gets to feel depressed and sad and fustrated and hurt and angry by it!!  Opposite effects. They use us to get what they need by argueing and fights and we feel used and abused and conquered and defeated...again why do we put up with this craziness!! how can we cope with this or guard ourselves from it, cuz they won't stop until they get the reaction from you they need.  I keep asking myself why I stay? i guess I keep hoping and waiting to experience who I originally fell in love with the exciting, great loving passionate and wonderful man I was so impressed with, who could do anything and was fearless, warm and entertaining. I do see glimpses of that now and then but waiting like an obedient lapdog for the next time and if he notices me ..is pathetic and the bad sh**t seems to over power the good, but I keep waiting for the good days.

endless apologies

this is so familiar to me-even tho' he's an intelligent person I think I'm realizing that doesn't mean -able to reason or be reasonable. Do we give up on trying to reason in the moment and bring it up later when they're in a happy mode again or just give up on reason? Sometimes it's worked to even say "let's ask someone elses opinion". This has made me realize that sometimes he really is convinced that he's reasoning well-sometimes he backs off right away because he knows he's just being an 'you know what' and trying to start a fight.Apologies mean nothing to me anymore either-just does it because he doesn't want me to be angry anymore-if I don't instantly forgive him he's angry all over again.I'm new to this website & I'm finding so much comfort in everyone's story

Yes, I know how you feel,

Yes, I know how you feel, apologies from my husband don't feel like he actually means them, but I make him apology all the time regardless if he means them or not, it makes me feel better.

de`ja vue!

after 500 million"I'm sorries" and nothing changing i went in search of the true meaning of an apology-when you repent for something-not just saying it & expecting anything back but saying specifically what you are sorry for  & making amends-actually doing something that shows how sorry you are. Maybe if that happened, they wouldn't forget over & over & over. But no, that wouldn't work either because he rarely sees how he actually has behaved. I'm going to try recording conversations with consent! I'm so comforted by your story! Thank-you!

Agree to ALL THREE

My husband, before Adderall was the Almighty KING of all three DENY...DEFLECT and DISTORT!!!!.....Those definately were his way of life!!!!

Three Stooges

Gardener, how did you get past thinking you were the crazy one? I am finally realizing (through infinite reading) that HIS reality did not really happen physically -- only in his mind. However, he is a PhD, and can outmaneuver me to the point that I think I am just a crazy lunatic. In front of counselors, they have told me my complaints seem so trivial. He can say and do all the correct things in front of a person he wants to impress, but tells me he lives in a fog, can't remember things that are important to me, etc. We can have an agreement after talking for HOURS, and the follow week, he will bring it up again, with his blinders on, like it is a completely new subject, seemingly oblivious to the fact that we had already reached agreement! Once, we made a contract, he signed it, volunteered that he would clean a sink or bath fixture when he failed, but he told me his counselor said he should never do anything like that -- it was too demeaning. Funny thing, he typed up the terms, but added (small print) and EXPIRATION DATE at the bottom without mentioning it. He can't remember much of anything unless he senses that I don't remember all the details, then suddenly he remembers EVERYTHING about the conversation, all details, and they are all skewed toward him having done/said everything right. And he will fight to the death defending his stance, even if I start to remember the real details as the conversation continues. I'm so tired of counselors saying, "Well, everyone has their side of the story." As if anything made up on the spur of the moment is obviously just as relevant as the FACTS.  I'm so tired....

I am wondering the answer to

I am wondering the answer to that question too!  My husband and I have recently read Melissa's book.  I felt like I was reading a novel about our marriage.  He thought there were only a few similarities, yet has decided to see a doctor in a few weeks because he thinks either he might be depressed and/or suffering from anxiety because of how I make him feel or possibly he's suffering from ADD.  One thing he took from the book is setting boundaries and told me it's something he believes needs to do.  I completely understand the need for boundaries.  I learned their value through a year's worth of counseling for myself (my counselor suggested ADHD might be a problem in our marriage).  One boundary I've set for myself recently is that I'm going to consistently initiate mirroring conversations with my husband so I can understand exactly what he means to say.  Just about every conversation results in one of us misperceiving what the other intends to say.  So, today at the end of a tense 5 minute conversation that mostly consisted of me asking for clarification of something he said that bothered me (because he did something that I've consistently asked him to stop doing), he got angry that he was having to explain himself, said he couldn't talk to me anymore to save himself, and left slamming the door behind him.  When he came home later he didn't breathe a word of it.  When I asked him about when we could talk about what happened, he said he figured "that" conversation would take hours and we would probably end up talking about it tomorrow.  I've told him how frustrating is for me when he says he will "probably" do something and how is frustrating when we don't set a time to have a discussion about something that needs to be discussed.  I'm so tired of feeling stuck in the trap of our inability to communicate effectively...and all the other feelings that so many people have posted on this site.  I can't tell if he's being manipulative or if he truly doesn't realize what he's doing.  I've let go of anger from the past because I truly think there's some condition at play, but I find I'm trying to deal with anger that creeps up from daily interactions.  I feel like we need a diagnosis or the ruling out of one before I can move forward.   The thought of having another conversation with him about anything is extremely unsettling.


Start with Men are from Mars-Women are from Venus

What came to my mind while reading your post were 2 books about male-female communications and relating; the first is "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" by John Gray, and "He said - She Said", by Lillian Glass (may be hard to find).  One very important thing I took away from Gray's very popular book was that men relate completely different than women (my layman's view).  I think of women like waves of emotion, where as men are like a piston action of push-pull.

I can remember resisting any kind of emotional squabbles when my ADHD was flaming, because I'd approach it logically, and she would approach it very differently from her feelings.  I recall one long and drawn-out discussion that ended when she said "it's not just that, it's everything!!!"  Sorry to say, I just started laughing and did not stop for awhile. I can also state that Gray's idea of gaining or losing points was true, because I completely emptied my points bank account that day.

One thing I have learned is the importance of consequences.  I let people know, ADHD or not, well in advance, what will occur if a particular behavior continues, or a commitment not kept, so if the time comes when the feces hits the fan, my follow through with actions can not be a surprise.  Works well for me, and gives the other party an option to opt in or out.

Maybe doing some reading of related books or blogs could be very beneficial?

Take care & breath deep.

Been there done that and too tired to keep searching

These are nice suggestions, however I am so far down the road with this I have given up trying.  I have been battling my own issues--the thing is that because I have had depression issues in the past, everywhere you look and everyone you talk to seems to assume I am the one with the problems.  I have ALWAYS taken care of my self physically, emotionally, consciously and by instinct. When professional help is needed, I hire it use it follow the medication protocols to the letter and keep my caregivers informed about everything.  My husband has deep anger issues is stubborn and thinks that I am the one with the problems.  He may be ADD, may also have a borderline personality disorder--but will not get a diagnoses.  We have been through no less than 8 joint counselors and he has been through several individual ones for very short periods of time.  They are all "Jerks", everyone he encounters is a "jerk".  He lost several jobs because of this and even "retired" without telling me 18 months ago (he is 68) so that he could justify not working.  Well that's great but we have a 10 year old daughter who needs support and I was forced to go on disability because of my depression before she was born.  I have done everything I can think of to help myself get out of this hole and I keep getting pushed back in.  We have zero friends--no family to rely on and my friends were alienated years ago by his attitude.  I cant think straight when he is around.  He finally realized that we need an income (don't tell us about financial counseling, he WAS a financial something or other and gets indignant at the suggestion).  I even left once to go to a shelter because I was scared for our daughter (then three) because I could not get through to him.  He punished me by hiring a private detective who pounded on the door of our home the evening I moved back (he convinced relatives to coax me home) who scared us and then served me with divorce papers from the Supreme Court.  Next Five cops pounded on the door and demanded that I leave (he house was owned by MY mother) and they ripped my daughter out of my arms.  I have worried for years about the impact this would have on her subconscious. Being on disability I could only hope for help from "legal aid" and that was a nightmare of epic proportions to the tenth magnitude.  To start they only handled cased from Family court...long story short, I lost 30 lbs in a month and he used up our daughter's inheritance from his recently deceased mother to teach me a lesson.  To hear him re tell this tale--or any other for that matter You would think that it was all my fault ---he reweaves and back-peddles to a dizzying extent.  I only took him back for our daughter's sake and on the promise that he would get anger under control.  Well it worked for a while because he wanted to be together--but I have nothing but disgust for him.  The house is a mess because everything I do he tears down or changes, I am Sisyphus pushing the rock up a hill that he kicks back down and I am running out of steam.  I have not the motivation to do do anything anymore--I am in despair because of this and feeling like a failure to my daughter and myself.  I have searched the earth for help and support and I have found NONE.  I cannot do more without support-- aside from my therapist and psychiatrist I would have given up before now.  Believe me I have reasons.  Here is one that compounded the situation...

It is a  kicker--Last year in a effort to help pull myself up a bit during the holidays, I promised my mother that I would take her, our daughter, niece and husband's granddaughter to a drive through local "Christmas Lights in the park".  We even started singing. We got to the pavilion for hot chocolate and crafts.  I dropped everyone off and parked.  When I went in I started looking around as I looked for my family.  I saw a wallet left on a table and looked to see if there was an ID and proceeded to look for this person.  A few feet away, as I caught up with my family a cop came up and asked me if I found a wallet. I happily said yes  and gave it to him--and lost my first amendment rights in the process.  He proceeded to trick me into a search and arrested me, handcuffed me put me in a police car drove to the end of the park put me in a paddy wagon chained my leg to the floor drove to a station booked me with my leg still chained to the floor fingerprinted me etc--at court I was also slapped with a restraining order--by someone who I thought I was doing a good deed for-- the courts compounded the situation by losing my file and rescheduling the case for four months in a row.  I am 53, never had a ticket, smoked, drank, or got into trouble.  I respected my parents, went to church always tried to do the best for family and guess what--because of this--I stayed in the house for a year.  Positive thinking, fulfill your dreams? reach for the stars? pheah! I am in pain, misunderstood and isolated--Why continue to make efforts to be kind much less hope for a career and share my talents with the world?  I cannot seem to make a decent judgment about anything.  My motto has become NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED!

I too am at my wits end.  It

I too am at my wits end.  It doesn't get better.  My husband just never gets it.  To top it all off he has always blames me for everything, doesn't take any responsibility, I can't talk to him about anything because all he hears is criticism, stonewalls to no end, and tells me I don't know how to communicate.  The funny thing is I am almost ready to graduate with my MA in counseling, so I think I have worked hard on my communication skills.  Compare that to his just always being on the computer.  I will admit we did divorce and he did change.  So, instead of being with a person who is the equivalent of a 12 year old, he is now the equivalent of a 16 year old.  I am supposed to be happy?  I can't imagine we will stay together because in order to get along with him, you have to come to his level or else there is arguing.  Unfortunately, I think my daughter has ADHD because she exhibits the same mindset i.e. forgetfulness, deer in headlights, obstinance, etc.  It sure is funny that they seem to be able to do good at school or work, but once they come home the real person comes out.  They steal all the fun because their insecurity seems to get in the way.  Yet, the blame the other person. 

My friend was dating an ADHD guy and I told her to run.  She didn't believe me and know she is losing her mind every day because of his lackluster behavior. 

He has ruined my dreams I had for my family.  He has turned me into a person I don't want to be.  He has drug me down.  Frankly, I am not even sure what he is good for because he doesn't do anything.  I can't count on him, he doesn't do anything for me but he sure likes to monitor what I am doing, though.  I don't even have respect for him because my definition of a man is a man who can take care of business, not one who likes to be told what to do.  Even if I tell him what to do, he won't do it anyway, he would rather spend the energy fighting with me on why it shouldn't be done.  Then if he does do something he thinks he deserves a ticker tape parade or something. 

Believe me, as an almost counselor, I have tried multiple, multiple things and I am still ready to leave him again and he can stay in this house under his pile of rubble because he doesn't pick up anything, clean anything, or even see what needs to be done. 

I hear you loud and clear

Dear F1rewoman:

I swear I could have written your post word for word until it  got to the earning a masters degree part.  I do not know how you did it in that atmosphere.  I would love to continue my education, get a job etc but I am so depressed I have all I can do to function each day.   I too have tried multiple things--I would love to get a divorce or just get him out of the house for a year but I cannot afford it and he will not move out.  We went that route in the past and he spent all his money getting revenge on me with shark lawyers--and I almost lost complete custody of my daughter.  I feel like I am buried alive and there are no new sources of help for me, I have exhausted everything I could find in my area and on the internet.  I wish to God I could send him to an anger camp if it existed.

The No-Win Situation

I have been struggling beyond belief with my wife's impulsivity. When she gets upset, she just starts yelling at me and will not back down. It's even worse when I am upset at  her about something and she insists that I am wrong for being upset because she did not do anything and I am just jumping to conclusions (she gets upset at me for being upset at her?!?) In the past, we agreed that when one of us was starting to feel overwhelmed during and argument (emotionally flooded), we would agree to table the discussion until one of us could calm down and we could communicate in a more peaceful way. This attempt at finding a less hostile way of arguing has failed miserably. I have flat out said, "I am getting really upset and need to stop", but she just refuses to back down. She becomes so hyper-focused on either making her point, winning the argument, or just flat out upsetting me that she doesn't even hear my plea to stop. The other night, our fight reached the point where I had to leave the room because her yelling was really starting to upset me. After getting in the shower, she followed me in and started yelling again. I finally jumped out, threw some clothes on and left the house. On my way out, she threatened that if I left, she would not follow through with some plans we had previously made for the next day (which I responded, "I don't care"). The next morning, she came into to talk about the situation and after a few minutes, the conversation took a wrong turn and I just started screaming...just totally lost it. I absolutely hate that I have turned into someone who could actually scream at another person since I have never done this with anyone...EVER. In fact, one of the reasons she said she was attracted to me was because I was so calm. I absolutely HATE feeling so out of control, but if she will not relent when I tell her that I am feeling overwhelmed, what am I supposed to do? The worst part about all of this is she now sees me as the one who yells, but when I leave the room to get away from the situation, she says that I am being rude and disrespectful by just walking away which makes her yell at me even more which in turn forces me to either yell back or leave the house. If I stay calm and leave the room, she gets upset and when I yell back, she gets upset...it's just a no-win situation and I don't know what to do because I just don't have the patients to deal with it anymore.

summerwine's picture

ADHD affects emotional regulation

You guys need to research how ADHD affects emotional regulation. Maybe if she learns that while her feelings are right for the situation her brain makes the feelings too damned strong like stronger than they should be. I can't always control it but knowing that my ADHD brain will make feel things much stronger than is warranted can help me to take a few deep breaths and try to calm down.  In my family our counselor is having us work on acknowledging the emotions and working together to calm down right away. Walking away doesn't work it WIILL escalate things and make it worse. Instead its got to be Okay we are upset I see that you are upset I totally get that, lets juts sit and hugs for a minute and when we are calmed down we can talk and not yell at each other. But both of you have to be willing to do try that together.






I have a lot of links on ADHD bookmarked!



Thank You

Dear summerwine:  Thank you the the excellent links in your post.  I am always searching for answers and potential help that could control the suffering in our house.  After years of failed attempts to work things out we are still miserable--it feels like a puzzle where none of the pieces fit.  We had another hit this week.  My husband finally got on board with a doctor went through several appointments still no diagnosis therefore no treatment, I am getting more and more depressed with each passing week. Finally we were able to orchestrate a meeting between his doctor, my doctor and the two of us, only to find out upon arriving at the office the insurance will not cover this situation.   I keep looking for a similar scenario to present to HIS doctor when I meet him because I need a professional description to validate this situation to convince the both of them that there is a BIG problem here and it needs treatment.  He does not see a link between my depression and his anger and negativity.  If you have any other links that you are willing to share I am more than willing to search them.  Thanks again.

That's a very good suggestion

That's a very good suggestion and I will read through your links. I just hope I can actually implement it because it gets harder and harder to stay calm when she is yelling at me. This has been going on for eight years and until about a year an a half ago, we didn't even know it was ADHD. Now that I am starting to yell back on a regular basis, she sees me as the one with the problem. If I am completely honest with myself, I HAVE changed for the worse over the past eight years. This fact alone is extremely disturbing to me.

Kisa's picture

Feeling crazy at times!

I completely agree with you, I am a very laid back easy going person who doesn't like drama and definitely hates to fight.  My boyfriend is always yelling at me and the rest of the world. Like you have have changed and my friends and more importantly ME hate that fact.  I was so happy to see this site, because it has reconfirmed that it's not me, and frankly it's not even him...it's just this ADHD thing that's tearing us both up.  I have recently asked him to move out because I'm not sure I can keep snapping in and out of being 'okay' from this.  I have become an emotional wreck and have forgotten what it means to smile and have a good time with anyone...how do you find happy again?

Why is is worth fighting for?

I have to ask myself...why is this worth fighting for? Tonight, among many nights, we had another fight. This night was especially important because we had special plans with family, but like usual, those plans were again, broken, and I had to attend on my own because my wife simply refused and I did not have the ability to try to make things right (maybe it was pride, or intolerance, of simply complete and utter frustration). I have grown so bitter, so resentful, and so intolerant of her constant temperamental, rude behavior. She doesn't even understand how it makes me feel and when I try to explain, it is just greeted with more rude behavior until the point where I completely break down and yell. I HATE yelling...I DESPISE yelling, but it has finally become my norm.  Life is passing me by and every day, every week, every year, every broken plan, every broken experience is just another reason why I ask myself why this is all worth it. I always envisions having a loving, passionate, and understanding relationship with my wife. I always thought we would be there for each other and no matter what, we would do our best to make things right when things were wrong; but not today. Today, I ask, why is it worth it...or should I say, what is worth fighting for...not because I don't want things to be right, but because it seems like things will never be right, at best, they will just be...well, alright.

Kisa's picture

My fight is over

rismb, I completely understand your struggles.  After 2 1/2 long struggle filled years I can't do it anymore. Like you I tired of the fighting and the resentment in me grew to be so bad that physically it's been affecting me in ways that have just scared me. As soon as I could see the anger in his face building or the tone of his voice changing my heart would race and my chest and face turned bright red.  I have tried to be the loving and supporting spouse but to what cost.  Part of me feels bad for giving up, but the other part of me knows it's for my own well being.

I wish you all the best and hope that you find peace with your wife.

suggestions for when the NT is the Husband?

Hi -

Any suggestions for a non-ADHD husband who is frustrated?  My husband is unbelievably stressed out.  99% of it is because of our lack of money, which is my fault.  At this point I am staying at home with our 2 year old, and freelancing as much as I can ('dumping' the kids on him ONLY when I have to work and he is able to be home, otherwise we pay for a babysitter).  I am currently only bringing in 1/3 of what I should be earning to cover the expenses of living in a ridiculous city and paying for private school (for just ONE kid currently).

He does go out for drinks sometimes with colleagues/friends.  He doesn't do any cooking, cleaning, laundry, ironing or any other kind of housework, decluttering or anything that might be 'hired out' (we can't afford it anyway).  He has no time for counseling, and my attempts at Learning Conversations for the last 8 months have failed.  ("Why do we have to talk about what's WRONG?  Why can't we just have a normal f*cking conversation about something in the news?")

So, although I believe i'm making personal progress (making connections and getting more work than last year) I continue feeling like a failure, and he continues to be frustrated, stressed out & seemingly disgusted with my lack of confidence and lack of income.  I never know what the right thing to say is, so I just stopped saying anything.


Stressed out Non-ADDer

Sounds like you have some sort of Reverse Chore issue at your house. Going off to work is the EASY part! So you get do handle the entire household and childcare, but you are getting guilted into accepting the 24/7 job because you are only a P/T earner on top of the 24/7 F/T job??? When the spouse is Angry All the Time (Add or Non) there is not going to be a constructive conversation anyway. Who wants to talk about the Effing News?!?  ;)

You seem to be doing your part X10, how about a little E for Effort on his part, instead of drinks with colleagues??? My DW asks to do with with work friends about once a month or so and I'm always supportive, because maybe she will relax for a moment. I don't do this, because I'll just worry about who might show up, or how much I should drink, or how late is too late and end up more anxiety ridden than it's worth.

YOU are a Super-Woman! Don't believe anything else :)

Bottom line...

Aw, shucks YYZ, thanks!  You're the cheerleader for us all! Huh.... y'know since I have no idea what you actually look like I now have an image of Geddy Lee in a cheerleader outfit in my head.  YIKES!!!!

well, to be fair, most of the time he goes out for drinks with colleagues, it's for work.  Maybe only 1 time out of 5 is actually 'just for fun.'

The bottom line is we just don't have enough money.  He can't take on another job, he is already swamped.  He's in Academia, so his work is not done when he comes home:  it's just starting.  Grading, writing, reading....  What's frustrating is I have very little time to do any kind of preparation or work for what *I* do.  My daughter has a nap in the afternoon, but it's getting shorter and shorter and some days she doesn't nap at all and i get no time to myself to get anything done requiring any sort of concentration.  DH has been having heart palptations, most likely due to the stress of our financial situation.  He is not putting any guilt-trip on me, it's just the numbers, plain and simple.

I DO get irritated though when dinner is over and i'm wrestling the kids into the bathub, cleaning up the kitchen etc. and he's watching some dumb video online.  I realize everyone needs downtime to recharge so I don't say anything, but couldn't he at least take his dinner plate to the sink? hang up his coat? not put his pants on the floor? He will spend a couple of hours 'defragmenting' and then start working.  He'll be up til 1am or so.  I go to bed earlier than him, so the illusion is that i get more sleep, but actually lately it's only 15-30 minutes before he comes to bed and usually i'm still awake.  I've usually been cleaning, folding laundry, putting toys, crayons, paints, whatever away and preparing for the next day plus trying to do computer program training online so i can try to get a 'real' job.  i've gone to take the 'evaluations' twice and failed twice because I just don't have the time to learn it.  By the time the day is over, my brain is shot.

anyway - i've only got probably 40 minutes til DH2 wakes up so i gotta do something useful.


Time for the "we're partners" conversation

Here are my ideas:

EVERY couple goes through this, whether or not ADHD is an issue.  Here are some ideas:  You are being overwhelmed with job and childcare, it sounds.  Sit down with hubby, figure out what the most important tasks are, create a FAIR distribution of these tasks based upon skills and time available, then dump the rest (just ignore them).  As for clearing the table and picking up his pants, these types of things are a matter of respect, so he should develop a system for making sure they get done.

Next, find some women friends with kids the same age, and start a childcare exchange.  This means you take the other child for an afternoon and they take yours.  This can free up an afternoon every other week (or whatever your frequency) that is really valuable time.  It's probably easiest to plan this out in advance with one or two friends, rather than a large group, so that you all get reliable relief without needing to take too many kids into your house at once.

Next, you say you're earning a third of what you should be earning but also mention your computer program training.  I applaud your desire to improve the family balance sheets, but it sounds as if your method isn't working.  Change the time of your training from when your brain is shot (end of day) to when it's fresh (beginning of day).  Consider studying for a half and hour each day before the rest of the family gets up (some authors I know write from 4-6am).

Is there anything you can cut out that will help your finances?  Rent a smaller home?  Refinance a mortgage while rates are low?  Stay in vs. going out for dinner?  I'm sure you've thought of those things, but just wanted to bring them up again...

And if you have credit card debt, leave the credit card at home and pay that off first...



The household tasks being a 'matter of respect' is an interesting concept to me.  My husband has actually TOLD me that when I forgot to close cabinet drawers or dresser drawers or left a box of baby wipes from costco in the hallway for 3 days that he interpreted it as a deliberate action of disrespect for him.  I was astonished.  In my mind, I just.... forgot.  I agree that it would be irritating if someone did something to deliberately disrespect me, but.... forgetting to close a drawer after washing the clothes, ironing them, folding them and then putting them into the drawer... How can that be interpreted as disrespect?  like, I was ABOUT  to close the drawer and then decided, 'Screw him!!!  I'm NOT CLOSING THIS DRAWER!"  So... It's hard to think that he's trying to disrespect me by not bringing his dish to the kitchen or leaving his pants on the floor... I thought he just forgot... and didn't want to ask him to do it because I know how defensive I used to get when I forgot stuff... but... is it really true?  Is he really doing this out of disrespect? huh.  that sucks.

I'm nervous about having the chore conversation because I'm thinking that adding chores to his work load will just make him get less sleep and make us more tired & alienated from each other.

I've been trying to find people to do a childcare share thing.  When my 5 year old is at school I've just got my 2 year old - my friends with kids who are in school though are desperate for time to themselves too, so I haven't found anyone willing to take her.  I have a neighbor who's 2 older boys go to school so she just has one 2 year old, but she's so overwhelmed with the 3 boys in general that i hate to ask her to take on another kid on days when she can have just the one.  Also, I'm nervous about offering to take care of other people's kids who have 2 or more because my two plus 2 or three other kids could turn out to be really overwhelming, and I really don't want something to happen to someone else's kids on my watch.

I'll try the early morning thing - which will have to mean getting to bed before midnight, or somehow functioning on 4-5 hours of sleep!

As for cutting back on expenses... there really isn't any place to cut back.  With the exception of when we are traveling, we never go out to dinner as a couple or a family. Ever. For my birthday last year, we went out for a beer, then came straight home.  With babysitting it came to $50, and that really screwed up the budget for the month.  That was last May.  My daughter has a little friend who's parents are quite wealthy.  We met for a play date a couple weeks ago and they paid for everything (they wanted to go to a restaurant and a frozen dessert place) which was very generous, and actually necessary because we just don't have the money for any of these things, but also very embarrassing.  Realistically, I couldn't afford to pay our share, even though I offered to.  If they had not insisted on paying, it would have been another $50 or so on the credit card that would stay there.  Speaking of credit cards-we dont' use them unless we have to and until this year have paid them off each month.  We're paying less on everything (Credit cards, student loans) just to stay afloat.  We cut our own hair. Anything we can cook/bake/make ourselves cheaper than buying it, we'll do it.  We don't buy clothes.  (one of my husband's student evaluations last year actually read, "Great class... but Dr. Ellamenno really should invest in a second pair of pants."  INVEST... in a SECOND pair of pants... how sad is that??)  It is crazy that people with so little money are spending such a large percentage of income on private school tuition... but there it is.  Our daughter would otherwise be at a school with 30 other students, next to a methodone clinic.  She's nearly a year younger than everyone (December bday) she's very small and has food allergies and bifocals.  It makes me crazy that she COULD be going to public school and pay NOTHING to go there, but then I realize that the private school is a great opportunity for her and it's nothing short of a miracle that she actually got accepted.  Then I feel like shit because i know we'll probably have to pull her out because we'll completely run out of money.  We live in faculty housing, which is subsidized, so there's nowhere we could live (even outside the city) that we could afford once we factor in the cost of moving itself and the daily commute.

All of my husband's colleagues have successful spouses, and all the parents at my daughters school seem to have gobs of money.  At my daughter's bday party i was struggling to make conversation with the other moms - y'know, a doctor, a lawyer and an astrophysicist who was showing me a ring she was wearing that was made by a famous fashion designer I know absolutely nothing about.  In the beginning of the school year I tried to befriend them, but feel so stupid/unsophisticated/socially awkward that i've sort of withdrawn.

well - I should go since the kids are screaming at me!

I can totally relate to your

I can totally relate to your money woes.  Our situation isn't quite as dire, but only because we probably had more money to start with and thus have been able to get by longer on our current poverty-level incomes.  I never go out to eat; I try to have at least three days a week on which I don't use the car; I won't go to the doctor unless something really bad happens (fortunately, it hasn't yet; we have insurance but it's very expensive and has a huge deductible and I can't justify spending even more than the current one-third of pretax income on medical/insurance matters).  I do allow my kids and husband to treat themselves better than this. 

And I know what you mean about childcare sharing.  I liked being home with my kids but I didn't particularly like taking care of other people's children.  The tradeoff of some free time wouldn't have been worth it for me.

Do you have ADHD?


Your comments are well taken and make sense logically.  My issue is the following:  In order to change or establish new routines or to have a conversation with your spouse that is well thought out, you need some time.   When does a person who is a full-time mom, works part-time and takes care of the housework have time to change.  What people like this need is a little break to regroup.  You want her to find some friends...WHEN?   I fully realize that time management is an ADHD issue.  I am reminded of that and several others on a regular basis.  But when your day is full of essential things to begin with, along with physical and emotional tiredness, reality, at least for me, is that you can't change alone.  Both partners have to change.  The ADHD partner needs some time just to figure out who he or she is.  The non-ADHD partner needs to listen more.  So many of these comments I have been reading are about the ADHD partner not listening to the non-ADHD partner.  In my case, it is the opposite.  I am the one with ADHD and my partner can articulate thoughts and plans in an instant.  He can point out all the things that I need to be doing to "change".  Yet, he has not.  He does not yet understand the time it takes for me to express a coherent idea or plan.  He also does not understand that his one sentence might trigger about 30 different thoughts in my head about what his "hidden meaning" is (although, logically I know he doesn't have one).  Spouses of ADHDers need to listen more and give their spouses more time to think about responses.   And ADHDers need to take the responsibility to get help (at least with medication at first--counseling takes time and money)!

summerwine's picture

Yeah I get the same thing all

Yeah I get the same thing all the time. You should do this and this and this. Ummm I'm a single mom who works full time and does babysitting for my niece and nephew. And my medication only lasts for so many hours in a day. When am I supposed to do all this? In my sleep?

I'm not sure if I could look More different than Geddy ;)

I totally understand the 100 mph once you step out of bed routine, money stress (Family tradition) and I really need downtime, which comes at my own peril (Time I could be sleeping). I seriously average about 5-6 hours on a good day during the week and 4 or 5 hours at times. I Know it's not enough, but I can do it. Before Adderall I was Exhausted All the Time, even with 2 hours more sleep than I get now. I guess my quality of rest is greatly improved.

Rah, Rah, Ree, kick 'em in the knee! ;)

Non-ADHD Spouse

This will be my 3rd and last post on this site, I have gone through quit a mental journey since my other two post and now see clearly what ADHD is and how to fix it. It will take time for others to realize it, so I will withhold what I have discovered because most are not ready to accept the truth.

I'm a 31 year old man who would be considered to have an ADHD brain. It never shuts off or shuts down. I have been married to my second wife for 7 years now (my first ran off with some guy - i now realize why), and even though she has been relatively happy with our marriage, I was not, and started having a wondering eye, even though I had been blessed with everything I ever asked for, and my wife was unbelievably supportive. I decided to try the medication to fix myself after reading many Adult ADHD websites. I first took Ritalin, then Vyvance and then Adderall.

I can tell you this about those. Adderall was the worse. I think it is cocaine. I really do. The other two weren't so bad during the day, but my mind acted the same way my body did. I didn't eat all day, and then binged ate at night when it wore off. My mind seemed calm all day, but then at night it went into hyper speed. This severely effected my thoughts and wore me down. The next morning I needed the medicine to have the energy to make it through the day. It seemed to be a harmful cycle.

My body was calm during the day and I found it easier to endure boring conversations, but the nights were to brutal for me to handle. The adderall, I felt like I was on cocaine. I have never taken cocaine, but I'm pretty sure I now know what it feels like. As a highly educated adult male, I truly think I would have self-destructed had people in my life not intervened and told me the "glare" in my eyes while on Adderall was not me. They were right. I am fortunate to have people in my life that could see past the calm body and peaceful smile. 

In my marriage, I was selfish (had every bad trait listed on here about ADHD husbands) It wasn't until I started noticing ADHD traits in my two sons (both adopted) that I started to self-reflect. How were my adopted sons showing the same traits as I? Did I just happen to adopt two sons from two different mothers that had the exact same traits as myself? My other two post were done during this period of confusion, self-reflection and denial. 

That's when I went on a journey to figure out my ADHD brain. Was it real or did I just lack the discipline to act like an adult and my children were accepting my model?

There was a little bit of truth to both. First, my children were accepting the model I was presenting, they were acting like Daddy. However, I do think different then most I know, my leg will never stop shaking, I can't shut my brain off to sleep at night, and I hyperfocus with the best of them. Those traits are real. 

I wrote over 300 pages in one week, trying to figure it out. I ended up randomly submitting half of the pages to a book publishing company and the other half I turned into a website. The truth that I found has cured my Adult ADHD as a disorder and my family has been fixed as a result. Is it a real type of brain? Yes-with exceptions. Does it take more discipline, more routine and more awareness to control? Yes. But when the ADHD brain receives the necessary discipline, the individual can do great things. 

As the man of my house, when I fixed myself, I very quickly realized that every problem I had with my wife went away. I broke my trance and now clearly see how truly wonderful she has been the whole time. I now desire to help other men brake their trance, so that their children and wives are better off. Our children are accepting the models that are being presented in their lives. What models are your children being presented? What types of adults will they be because of it? Children are emotional by nature - how much logic are they being introduced to? Children learn by observing.

Since then, I have welcomed four more foster-to-adopt children in my home. We now have six children who act better as a group than when we were merely raising two because of the simple answer I discovered. I have recently done another "impulsive" thing and put in my resignation at work - effective in June, because I no longer desire to take the fast track I was on, moving up quickly in my chosen profession. I now desire to work to make a living - so that I can live for my family, instead of living for work. 

The reason I am even writing this is because I want non-adhd spouses to know there is a true answer out there that can fix your spouse. It will take your spouse doing some serious self-reflection in order to discover it for themselves. These types of sites and other sources that focus on awareness are a great place to start. When the spouse reads through the negative characteristics of ADHD adults and then imagines their ADHD children living that life - reflection "should" occur. 

Discovering it for themselves is the only way for them to truly accept it. They will not accept being told - we "ADHD'ers" aren't very good at being told things - we are creators and discovers. Your spouse just needs to be focused on searching for the right answer to discover it on their own. This will take some slick guidance from the non-ADHD spouse. Keep up the effort & just keep making the best decisions for your children during your journey. You deserve more than a life of coping. You can achieve this life deserved with your current spouse when you both deeply self-reflect and figure out the Truth on how to fix it. Enjoy the challenge. 

Good luck,










You mentioned that you had a web site. What is it?

Also you mentioned that you had submitted a book for publishing. Has it been published? And if so, what is the book info so that I may get it.



I am interested too. I sent

I am interested too. I sent him an email by clicking on his name and clicking the "contact" tab... I wonder if it will work??? 

Feeling Old, Tired and Beat Up

I'm 63 and completely exhausted from a long difficult history of marriage to a 61 yr old man with severe ADHD. For the first 20 years he was undiagnosed, un-medicated and totally unaware of his effects on anyone else. He could be impulsive, rude, self-absorbed and non-empathetic but also charming, humorous and creative. His hyperactivity was extreme. Neither of us really understood what was going on all those years...only that things were always rocky. I had moved from the U.S. to Canada to marry him so turning around and going back was a decision I could not think of lightly. He's highly educated (Masters) and a successful retired teacher of 32 years. I was also an educator for 17 years. 5 years ago I delivered an ultimatum that, unless he sought help, the marriage was over. I just could not take his erratic frustrating unpleasant behavior anymore. Our intimacy had always suffered but I found myself completely shut down. He was eventually diagnosed with a high level of ADHD and now takes medication daily. It has improved things however he still struggles to control his impulsivity and overcome years of habits. He comes from a very dysfunctional family; cold distant narcissistic mother, alcoholic father, older sister with Asperger's, younger brother with moderate autism. We suspect his now 90 yr old mother is also somewhere on the autism spectrum. Like many with ADHD he initially appeared to be a great catch but after a few years it became obvious there was something very wrong. We've always been out of synch and he is still way behind in knowing how to give equitably in a marriage partnership. He is only just discovering personal boundaries and how to separate himself from me. I spent years trying to encourage/support him and help him reach better emotional health. We went through numerous counsellors but they were not qualified in the area of ADHD. He now sees someone across the border and this is helping him but, for me, it is late in the game. The weight of all the years is heavy and I just don't have the energy or inclination to put forth much effort anymore. I've lost my enthusiasm and resiliency. He, on the other hand, seems to have boundless optimism and doesn't feel the toll like I do. The ADHD seems to act like a Teflon coating for him and he behaves as if everything is going to be AOK. I don't feel he fully appreciates how damaging his actions (and those of his family, by association) have been. For a while there I went through a very angry stage but now I just feel tired out and numbed. I've done everything on the above list at least once if not repeatedly. Through a referral from his therapist we are scheduled to start some couples counselling but I feel so discouraged. The difference between our realities seems insurmountable.  I for one will dispute the notion that ADHD is a "misunderstood gift." It has not been a gift in my life.

Feeling hopeless

I have read the blog here. Read comments. Read Melissa's book. Signed up for group sessions - starting tomorrow.

Right now, feel completely hopeless and alone. I have been there - and here - before. I keep trying because I want our marriage, our family, together.

My husband was diagnosed a little over 3 years ago now. It explained a lot and we were both glad at the time to find that out. Now we had something we could deal with. He is on meds - tried different meds and combinations over time - and it is a work in progress. He is doing coaching / therapy. 

But it seems like everything is just worse than before. We fight soooo much more. And it's not about the chores. We find ways to work around that: tasks have been split between us, we created a schedule that we update every Sunday before starting the work week etc...It's not perfect and we still have some arguments about it but it's getting better. We try.

No. We fight more because he is way more argumentative. More confrontational. He "snaps" quickly and often for no reason. It's never his fault - we're not looking for fault but doesn't own up to what he does or doesn't do.  He thinks my questions have "an agenda". That I mean something else negative by what I say or ask. No. When I ask you if you talked to the contractor about the work that needs done, it's not a trap to catch you not doing what your supposed to. No. It's only a question to find out if you talked to him and what he said because I am interested in knowing.

Also, what he does or doesn't do is usually caused by me. "I didn't do this because you didn't remind me" or " I did this because you made me angry" etc... It is absolutely exhausting.

He keeps telling that he needs me to give him positive reinforcement when he does something right. He needs it to get better. That's great. I get that. Except that I am completely EMPTY. I have been giving everything, doing everything he and/or his therapist recommend. I need emotional support too and I am not getting it. I am only getting arguments and request to give more.

My most hated words to hear in our relationship right now? "...because you..."

Do any of you get that too? What do you do? What can you do?

Found out last month that he was been having inapropriate chats (she was inapropriate, he didn't object) with an old female friend of his and said some very disparaging things about me to her (they have know each other since they were kids, they dated briefly in their teens and she is recently divorced). I knew they were chatting and talking - I supported it since I knew they were friends for a long time. I like(d) her. And she needs all the support she can get right now.

I found out about the content of the chats because it was done on Skype on our family computer. He said he had nothing to hide and that I was welcome to read their conversations. When I read them i was really hurt. I read them back to him and he admitted that the comments he made about me were inapropriate but he denies that the rest of the conversation was. He tells to "get over it".   I asked him if there was anything else going on with her and he said not at all. They're just friends. This past weekend, I found some poems he had written on the family computer. Talking about "taking a chance" with a lost love. About some "hard decisions to make" and having to hurt loved ones to pursue what could be. So I asked him about it. He says it's nothing. He just venting. Yes, he thought about her but it's not real. He says that it only crossed his mind because I put it in his head after asking him if there was anything going on. 

I told him that if he is thinking about going to her then he should just leave right now. It is not fair to us that he hangs around while he plans his escape. He says no. He doesn't want to go. He knows he'll "end up on the street if he leaves" - Nice. Not staying because he want to be because he is afraid of the alternative? No, that's not what he meant he says. He loves us and he wants to be here.

I am hurting. Big time. I feel everything is hopeless. I feel that maybe the issues are too big to overcome and we're doomed. I spend my days in a fog. I just want to cry. The house is a mess because I am not doing what I usually do. I don't cook anymore - which I used to love. I don't exercise because I don't feel like it. 

Yes, I do snap at him more than I used to. I admit that. My fuse is very short and when I ask a question and it takes 3 times asking a question to get any semblance of an answer after a defensive response and accusations of asking "loaded questions" , I get snappy. 

I feel stuck in this downward spiral, it is going faster and faster and I don't know how to stop it. Maybe it's time to get a divorce, regardless of the fact that I love him, that he's my best friend and that  I want to keep our family together. Maybe staying is worse. Don't know. Hate this.

Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

Don't be hopeless, transition is so hard...

As SO many here know, I'm almost three years post diagnosis and much that you describe sounds somewhat familiar. My surprise diagnosis explained most of my entire life of both successes and failures. I responded immediately and well to Adderall and have had therapy, a couple of couples therapy sessions with my DW's psychologist (They went well). I continue to read books, articles and read/respond to posts regarding ADD. I have posted several times about arguments, and if I may add my take on these it might make some sense. Adderall brought me out of a lifetime of ADD Fog (43 years) I was always the easy going, laid-back guy who always meant well, but frequently over-promised and fell short of my goals. A huge difference for me is I know SEE Body Language and Facial Expressions which I have missed all of my life. This is great! The problem is that I'm 43 years behind my class in this brand new language. Sometimes I react to things before there is an issue and it does not get ignored until my DW is So PO'd by my actions/inactions what she blows up at me to get attention. SO Tired of the Pearl Harbor surprise attack of the old days. The learning curve is slow, sometimes I over-react and under-react to others. My DW and I have discussed this learning curve. In the old days, she attacked and surprized me, I was caught off guard, felt guilty for missing something obvious to everyone but me, and shut down, hardly able to force out a single word. My DW would beg me to agree, disagree, tell to piss off, but anything other than silence or Y / N answers. Well, Adderall gave her that wish, and now I don't shut down and I stay far more calm and logical and she is having a hard time not always deciding who has the last word. THIS is a big change in our dynamic as a couple and still is evolving to this day.

The big issue for us is that my DW really does not believe in ADD or that it affected our marriage. ADD is just a reminder to her that my ADD diagnosis gave me the easy out for my past mistakes, the meds were a responding fast cure for me and the only side affect was that I got thin. I always get what I want, in other words. THIS is a real stall point, in my opinion, and I hope that my continued work to correct coping skills and communicate better will eventually convince her that ADD was/IS the elephant in the marriage.

Blaming you is a total coping mechanism from any ADDer's beginning. Feeling like there is FAR too much damage done to our relationship was/is still my worst fear. It is crapping timing that your DH's "Friend" is recently divorced and he is seeking attention as a stimulous for his brain, again another example of getting the dopamine our brains crave. Dangerous/Self Destructive behavior is a hallmark of ADD. HE has to realize the bad position he has put himself in. ADDer's have terrible filters for what we perceive as hurtful/not-hurtful, so letting you read transcripts of chats and venting poems may be a way he is trying to show honesty to you, but not having learned What sounds Hurtful. I'm not making excuses for him and I know how this must hurt you. I learned a long time ago that I needed to keep myself away from certain situations / people because I knew deep down that I could be one mistake away from a second failed marriage. Your DH may know "The Great Escape" as I've written about will not work for him and wants to be with you. He seems to have Very Poorly made his point that he wants the marriage to work. He may actually think you are the best thing that ever happened to him, but be scared to death that he has already Blown the marriage Up.

I hope things improve for you soon...    


nagging could cause him to vent emotionally elsewhere,don't even bother,"SAVE"your energy in to something you would gain from,start back to cook,and exercise,just be yourself,don't let him take away your mental stability,his own is already dysfunctional, and now your's would be too!!!,his "female" friend is going through a divorce and she is vulnerable right now,"he should "not" be in any type of contact with any ex's"no matter"who" they are(friend or no friend) that is not good at all"stop it immediately"an affair can come out of that!!! this is serious,it has happened before with non-ADHD people,including me with my daughter's Father and he was non-ADHD, and this situation is no different,but worse,where ADHD people tend to have addictive behavior's,only we are dealing with the ADHD non-focused/dysfunctional brain,the meds he is taking could have some side effects,maybe he should get one that suits him,he should try a different one.Don't waste your energy in nagging him about doing the(right) things they won't listen,I have been there,instead try talking to him and set up some boundaries starting with the EX.I know how having a short fuse could be,but we non-ADHD could control that,I have a short fuse also,but I have learnt how to control mines,we don't lack that simple thing between (impulse and action) where we would blurt out things, we are very fortunate to find the (pause) between that,I am very hopeful you could do that.

I hope that things work out for you

god bless


An affair in the making

This is clearly an affair in the making.  If he really truly wants to stay around, he needs to stop talking with this woman.  It's old hat that newly divorced folks go out and recontact their exes to see if there is anyone out there who can keep them company (I've been contacted a couple of times...)  The right response, from someone who is in a committed relationship is "I know we used to be close, but I'm married now and I'm concerned, given your recent divorce, that you're emotionally vulnerable and things might get out of hand.  So I prefer not to reconnect with you right now."

I hope in my course he starts to hear that you are NOT responsible for him.  Being his alarm clock or reminder person means that he is abdicating responsiblity and acting the "child" role in a parent/child relationship.  NOT healthy for the marriage.  The only thing that comes of that is that the relationship gets worse.  So, YOU need to tell him politely that you aren't willing to be his mother any more and that he needs to figure out how to take care of his own responsibilities...I will actually be talking about this tomorrow night in session 3 - but one key thing to think about is how do you TRANSITION responsibility in a way that is supportive, while also firmly stepping away...His comments about blaming you may stem, in part, from the fact that you are taking on much of the responsibility in a parenting role.  As you step away from that, it harder for him to blame you as you can reasonably say "I'm not responsible for that, you are!"

You are snappy, as you say.  As you are asking him to ignore another woman who is showing interest, this might be a good time to try to move past that (that's an understatement).  Go inside yourself and ask what sort of person you want to be acting like...probably not snappy.  I know that I forgot all about the importance of being a good person when I was really mad at my spouse.  The net result was that it hurt me in that there wasn't much there to interest my husband...and a whole lot that he wanted to run away from (into the arms of another woman).  Food for thought.

Thank you.

@SherriW13    I am wondering about the meds. I don't get involved in his treatment. I support him but I don't question. I am not even sure what exact meds and dosage he is on. I know they have tried difference combinations and right now he is using Vyvanse along with something else. I hesitate to comment to him on behavior changes but I did bring up once or twice that I thought he was being more aggressive that usual. Maybe talk to his doctor. 

@Melissa   We are both rereading the book and are really enjoying the sessions. We actually enjoy sitting together on the couch - at least when he can sit still LOL - and listening in. Quiet. No tv. No other distractions. It has allowed us to engage in productive discussions.

I have started to let go of some responsibilities. I had too much on my plate. And he says he is actually enjoying taking on more. We created a schedule in the form of a calendar that is posted on the fridge. We try to sit down regularly, usually Sunday evenings, to plan the schedule for the week/2 weeks. He works irregular days and hours so by doing that, we plan ahead who is doing daycare drop off and pick up, who is doing meals, appointments etc... It's not perfect but by planning ahead and agreeing ahead of time, it appears to be easier so far. I also try to let go of things that only impacts him. His pile of dirty laundry? On the floor on his side of the bed, at the end side of the room where I can't see them. When he runs out of underwear, he DOES do laundry. He doesn't get up and is late for work? His problem. But I will not accept our daughter being late for school.

I have tried to be less angry and snappy and I have to say that it feels really good to have less on my plate and I have thanked him for stepping up. It's only been a few weeks but we have been fighting less. Baby steps.

The "other woman" issue worries me greatly though. He says he has stopped talking to her. He says he realized that what he was doing was wrong. They have been friends since elementary school and he would like to remain friends with her. We used to get together once in a while. I like(d) her. Before this happened, I had actually talked about inviting her and her kids over, we hadn't seen them in a while. I don't want to anymore. But at the same time, I feel guilty because they were good friends for so long. Does that make any sense? I  used to be a very trusting person. Now I feel like something is hanging over my head and will drop at any moment if I am no good enough to him. I don't know how to deal with this. It's an awful feeling.


My husband's doctor was VERY

My husband's doctor was VERY interested in hearing my perspective when it came to how meds were affecting my husband...and being hostile and aggressive was NOT something he was willing to overlook. He sees a psychiatrist now who requests that I come with him occasionally just to see how things are from my perspective...I like that.

As for the 'other woman' thing...never, ever feel guilty or bad for something like that. He was inappropriate and blew his chances for a 'normal' relationship/friendship with her. Those were his choices and how the consequences are that he has to accept that he caused your hurt feelings and move on. You also said she was being inappropriate so she really crossed a line as well and proved she has no respect for your marriage so she needs to go. You have nothing to feel bad about...it isn't about trust so much as the two of them crossing boundaries they should not have crossed and now doing the right thing and accepting that their focus needs to be on other things. His on YOU and your marriage...and hers on someone who ISN'T a married man. 


I'm with Sherri on this

Get rid of the guilt about his not keeping up the friendship with this other woman and DON'T invite her or her kids back into your life.  That way lies madness.  I think it's great that he's saying that his contact with her was inappropriate - I would be much more worried if he were continuing to deny that (and covering up either in real life or in his own mind).  So since things seem to be going better, my advice is this - keep going in the direction you are going - better coordination, his being able to take more responsibility and liking it (it's no fun to be the child in the parent/child dynamic!), showing your appreciation for all that is happening...and (without guilt) doing what you can do to keep this other woman at bay.  All of those things combined are your best bet for protecting your family and improving your relationshp and your life.

Thank you

@ Melissa For mentioning my post at the session on Wednesday. My husband knows I read and write on this site - and is free to come and read. When you started to read the part of my post talking about the positives and baby steps we are taking, he realized - and I confirmed - that it was mine and he had a big smile on his face. He was really happy to hear that I do highlight positives - not just rant about what is going wrong. 

I told him about the rest of the post regarding the other woman. I don't think he's yet convinced that the relationship with her has to stop at least for the foreseable future. I can't see him - or us - be friends with her at least until she is in another stable, long term relationship. He still seems to think that he can be friends with her when "I get over it".  We still have work to do on that.

@ Sherri He had a session with his therapist and his doctor on Wednesday. They talked about making some changes to his meds and are starting to do so. Again, I do not get involved in treatment so I am not exactly sure what they're doing but he volunteered that information to me and I am just glad that he listened to my concerns about his behavior and is taking action.

Medications (Concerta and

Medications (Concerta and Vyvanse) made my husband VERY hostile and argumentative. If he wasn't like this before, maybe it would explain his being more argumentative. Honestly, my husband is typically laid back and the meds made him a lot more 'aggressive' with words and BLAMING. (everything went from "I don't want to hurt her, I have put her through enough" to "she's not doing a damn thing to help the marriage so why should I?" in just 2 weeks)

He is taking Straterra now, for about 2 months, and I see NONE of this...it is much better. 

Wow.... My life is yours.

Wow.... My life is yours. When I ask questions lately, I'm told to just let him be the man, and I should just be a woman and do the woman things like clean the house.... He is not sexist, but he is somehow threatened by any kind of question.  I asked "did you turn the cooler on. Or just the fan?"  Simple question, right? He began a tirade about how he knows wtf he's doing and I don't need to interfere with him and I should just let him be the man of the house!  I still have no idea where that came from... I am so tired of being afraid to say anything be ause it might set him off.  Yet if I stay quiet, he is suspicious that I'm thinking something secretive... Or I'm mad, or I'm thinking about someone else.  I can't win...

i work the same hours he does, I cook, I pay the bills, I help manage his appointments and refills for an unrelated medical treatment, I do laundry, I shop for food and household goods, I have a 13 year old so I take care of, and he's angry that our furniture got dusty.... My response? The grab a rag and dust it! 

I understand frustration at unbelievable levels... I have one real friend that I refuse to give up and she does her best to support me but she's tired of seeing me emotionally beaten down.  

I treasure these blogs because it gives me strength and hope to realize he's not just an asshole, and it's not just me... 

Deciding when enough is enough is my biggest challenge...  I still don't know, but I have more confidence in myself because of what I read here.... So just remember that you are a valuable person, too...

i actually have a phone app that records my selected calls

My husband is aware of it. Initially upset but since learning about the countless other's with to close to home adhd stories he was eager to listen to his conversation to nowhere and mentioned having a professional help him with it. I 1st used it on him during a call wanting back in our home blaming my post reactions to his out of nowhere never seen before acts of punishment hidding vehicle keys purchased by my family saying he couldn't trust me because he has a new habit of fleeing & avoiding serious topics accusing me of things he was guilty of hiding money purposely finding his porn to set him up for failure? this was the 1st time in 10 years I had kicked him out not knowing about the full effects of untreated adhd in relationships. Which previously was manageable until about a year ago when I went onto disability @ 28 with bulging lumber disks & Hashimoto thyroiditis causing my thyroid not to work adding to my lack of emotional control mood swings & depression which he swores was the reason for all our problems until accidentally finding this page. He was diagnosed as a child but parents wouldn't treat his adhd. For the entire relationship I have been the so called head/brains of the household which didn't bother me as it does now when i for the 1st time needed support like a crutch to get through this but my crutch cracked when i relied on him causing me to trip not knowing if I can recover from the emotional scars & pain feeling like I have done it all for so long why can't I have reliable support instead of being the one relied on being responsible for our toddler son plus guardians to my twin cousin's seniors in high school and house that is going into forclosure from my 50% decrease in income which is still larger then his part-time job I applied for him like previous job's & gaps in employment whereas I have not had any gaps since 16 the dollars earned has never been the problem for me it's always been the amount of time invested into the responsibilities out of work when working 25 hours a week while I work 40+ in a position where I was the 1st female and literally back breaking work it seemed it would be common sense to step-in on the household responsibilities but no Ganged up with the teens against me calling me dictator and control freak when asking for assistance around the house. Dr restricting me from bending or lifting can't even pick up my baby and can't get help with anything in the house. Started putting of other financial obligations to put my son in child-care so he can learn & play without seeing me struggle physically.

I'm about to give up

Reading these posts have helped so much. My husband was recently diagnosed with ADHD ( about a year ago) we have been together for 16 years. It was such a relief when we finally learned why he acts and does some of the things he does. Problem is he keeps changing his meds and is now back to being cruel one minute and wanting to make up the next. His angry out bursts are now happening in public, at our local grocery store..... He will say or do something and then argue with me that he never said it or did it. He refuses to admit that part of the problem with him remembering things is his ADHD. He accuses me of saying things ( like telling him to shut the f@&$? Up) that I never said. He doesn't remember what he says while we are arguing or what he does, like getting out of the car, taking the keys and leaving me to walk 5 blocks home. I call this abuse. He doesn't think any of these are wrong or he just flat our denies that he did them. I'm at my wits end and ready to divorce. Any suggestions on how to deal with this would be very helpful. I'm not sure anything will help seeing as he won't even admit he's ever done anything wrong. 

Feel at the end of my rope

I feel so very frustrated!  He interrupts me, making me feel as though he believes what I have to say is not worth hearing.  He blames me for him not listening!  If he asks me about something, I don't get a chance to answer!  Then, he will say "why didn't you just tell me?"!!!! And when I counter with"I was in the process of telling you, but I was not allowed to finish before you cut me off"!  Then he claims he had to cut me off because I "take too long"!  I can't take it anymore!  I am human and my thoughts are just as valid as his, yet I continue to put up with his disrespect and derogatory comments!  I love him, but I am losing myself just to accommodate his need to be in control.  I want to be the supportive girlfriend/wife to be.... But where's MY support? When do I get to be accommodated?  When are my needs important, too?  Help me learn to express my needs, please!  I can't continue being the only "give" in our give and take relationship.  Any advice, helpful hints would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

Let go of the rope

Hi janet, I fully hear and feel where you are at with the 'frustratus interruptus'! It sounds exactly like soooo many 'discussions' in my household. I decided just to not play anymore. I make notes in my diary about decisions made and comments etc so when he comes at me with "Why didn't you tell me....." I refer to my diary and show him that I did. Apart from that, I no longer attempt to get any support from him. There's no point expecting support from someone who often doesn't even remember that he should interract with his kids on a regular basis or even to eat! I get support from friends and forums like this one, and focus on my own wellbeing rather than his. His feelings and wellbeing are his own responsibility, not mine. Years and years ago I used to remind people that if you give someone enough rope, they may well hang themselves with it eventually (figuratively speaking of course). Then I grew up a bit more and realised that with some folk you just get left holding the end of the rope while they wander off and live their lives. So now I let go of the rope - no more problem! Stop accomodating his 'needs' and be quite clear that his 'needs' are his responsibility to address. You can be supportive of course, but why support someone who is not looking at ways to better support themselves? In my situation true support for my hubby is more like 'tough love'. Sometimes to support the behaviour is to enable the drama. Focus on you for a while because you are valid. I realised I had to do this when I recognised that over the years my hubby and I had developed the parent/child dynamic - this was destroying any shred of relationship that was left. Since then it has been challenging to stay focused, (particularly during arguments that are ridiculous and go in circles of blame) but I think it has been worth it. I'm not sure we'll ever be all lovey dovey ever again, too much 'water under the bridge' so-to-speak, but we're not at each others' throats anymore and I have my self esteem back. Good luck and hugs to you.

and then he left me

After two years of hyper focus bliss and five years of wtf is this, he walked out a week ago and I haven't seen him since. And the thing is, it's his house, it's paid for and he pays all the bills. I know he is still alive and well because he comes to the house when I am at work and does stuff around the house. Runs the dishwasher, which I don't use, does laundry, took a photo of us from when we were in Hawaii, took some bottled water, etc.

He never yelled, never cursed at me, never hit, he just never paid attention to me either, never complimented me, never validated me even though I have ran half marathons, am financially independent, learned to free style swim, landed a job with an international company in a down economy. Destroyed my self esteem with comments about my lack of six pack abs, a few stray gray hairs and my huge size 4 body. Did all the impulse stuff, talked to total strangers, women and men, fixated on himself to a degree I thought impossible, chased the dream of being a professional triathlete at the age of 48, thought he was still in his twenties until I let it slip that he was almost 50.

I guess I stayed with him because he was never jealous like my ex-husband, wanted me to work, unlike my ex-husband, was willing to take me to movies and travel anywhere I wanted to go, like Hawaii, Vegas, etc. But even when there, instead of being romantic with me on the beach he was of course, so distracted he forgot I was with him at times. And it isn't like I am a troll or anything, may be hitting the late 40's, but have a better body than most 20 year olds. I work at it of course, have always been rather proud of it, but it was just never good enough for him.

I have just never been with anyone like him, took me a while to figure out something was terribly wrong, guess I was pretty busy with my terminally ill mother, my work and other things to really notice. Then he wanted me to move in with him. And it was like bam, have you now and can forget you are here. The way he left has left me in extreme mental anguish, of course. I won't call his parents, whom he lived with until he was 45, or any of his other family. I am just not that way, I keep personal things private, and he knows it. He won't answer my texts or calls. He has done this before and came back after two weeks. He had been to a real estate seminar with an older guy, and I believe him, that's his thing these days.

Anyway, I guess I am just venting and trying not to go crazy. Read the book Co-Dependent No More yesterday, probably need to read it again. Because I just don't think I can handle this. Suggested a ADHD hotline for those of us that are close to losing our minds or contemplating ending our life, because quite frankly when in the throes of tears and grief, I have felt like I just wanted to die. I love life, though, in spite of everything that has happened, and I am old enough to know that this too shall pass. I think all of us must have a screw loose to keep trying so hard to keep these relationships together knowing that even the best case scenario is still going to be significantly less than what any of us should accept. I hope I have offended no one, I truly do. God bless you all.

cure kevstros?

As to the alleged cure or fix for ADHD per kevstros, whatever dude. I am not co-dependent or desperate enough to believe that only one person in the whole wide world of very intellectually gifted people who are working on this disorder has discovered a 'cure' or 'fix' for it. Just call me a skeptic, but I won't be emailing him or looking for the website. My boyfriend, now former I guess, makes up stuff all the time. He is so smart, so intellectually gifted, he thinks, yet he argued with me for hours that the sun rose in the west and set in the east. He continued to argue as we flew into the sunset. And then he swore that Hawaii was on the east coast, and it was in the Atlantic Ocean not the Pacific, until I showed him on the map. And then he said he was only joking, he knew the sun rose in the east. Whatever dude. Suddenly I don't miss him so much and I sure don't miss that smart mouth, the smirking face or the snarky comments. Giving it to God, letting him handle it, it is all too much for me.

somedays are just too hard

my entire life focuses on his moods.  We just finished listening to the Q & A in session 2.  I am very ill and up to a few months ago my spouse was my caregiver ( unwilling so at times). He makes the meals as i cant stand for that long or i get nauseated.  I do the budgeting, bring in the money and do most housework.  He hates writing things down. Whether it be a budget, menu planning or a note to say good morning.  So i said " to assist with menu planning, each Sat we can sit down as a family and all pick a meal or put ideas in a hat and pull them out, anything that makes it easier for everyone to know what we are eating, who can help to cook and prepare it and save money by buying food we will use".  He immediately got defensive, said crappy things like " you should just be happy you have food". It got worse from there.  He says evil, cuts me at the knees and when i ask him to just stop. If i am sad then that should mean he doesnt want me to feel that way. Empathy is something he lacks, in fact i wish there was a magic pill.  He got madder and madder ( but kept saying he wasnt the one arguing or being mad , it was all me.  I tried to state that it no longer mattered what the issue was or how i got that way, but it was important for me for him to care when i am sad.  He said " so its always my fault".  I said " no its not about whose fault it is, just the fact i'm sad and because you care for me, you don't want me to feel sad". He says " i am not responsible for how you feel and the way you exaggerate everything. I then said " i am not blaming anyone for how i feel, but when i am sad, i just want you to stop, acknowledge me in some kind fashion."  Things just blew up from there, he screamed horrid things, brought up my past ( he swore on my grave that he would never use my secrets or childhood against me and he does it every single time.  I hurt, i am sick and this is so damn hard.  He complains the lectures are too long, he never sticks to meeting with me and when he agrees to do the program he groans and rolls out his eyes.  I swear some day he hates me and i am so tired of feeling helpless.  When does this get better?  


It gets better when....

Hi sad sickie, in my experience it gets better when we choose to consciously improve our own wellbeing independently of our spouse and their situation/issues. I know it might seem like an easy thing to say, but for me things only got better when he realised I wasn't playing the record anymore. I have been married to my ADHD husband for nearly 17 years, and in all that time my wellbeing only improved when I realised that a lot of my reaction to his behaviours were simply enabling him to maintain control of what is essentially just a drama - poor me. My hubby grew up with enabling women in his family who were more concerned with what their peers and neighbours thought than the mental health of their son/grandson/brother. Any advice I sought from them made my situation worse until I realised (after joining this forum) that I was just propagating a bad habit. Since then I have focused on my own wellbeing - taking a daily vitamin D supp has helped more than anything as it has stopped me falling into depression every time he has a rant about something that is (according to him) my fault. I don't take any of it on board anymore, instead telling him that he should look at why he feels to blame someone or something rather than accepting responsibility for his own words and actions (or lack thereof). I no longer concern myself with picking up his stuff and putting it away so he can find it again. I no longer allow him to try to blame me for stuff he has mislaid. As far as any assistance I require in daily life, I outsource now. I don't rely on him for anything anymore and that is what has snapped him out of his reverie. He is not comfortable with not being needed, which forces him to ponder his role in the family and his reason for being. He was too comfortable with a co-dependent relationship which made for an unhealthy relationship. Also it was paramount to me to show our children that there is a better way to be. They also have varying levels of ADD and were forming the same habits of blaming me and expecting me to take care of everything, so I had to change the dynamic in order to create happy, healthy, whole people! My responsibility in life is to myself and my children, and in helping them to grow into independent and loving adults, which is something my hubby's mother was supposed to do for him and didn't. It's not my job to be his mother or adopt the role of mother in his life. Many ADD/ADHD people are not able to live independently and so form the habit of relying on someone they can blame when things go pear-shaped. My advice to you is to just focus on your health and wellbeing and get as much help from unconditional sources as possible.


i love reading these posts whilst at times they bring a tear to my eye. My boyfriend often says either put up with me or get rid because this is the way i am. he was only diagnosed lastweek at the age of 31 but has struggled immensely his whole life. he says so many hurtful things to me each day but i am learning to brush them off instead of taking them personally. i dont know if this is how i should deal with things but i cant seem to keep my mouth shut most of the time... and he definately cant! he can be fine one minute and then explode and will not speak for days. or he can explode with anger and then be appologetic within minutes. he has never been physically violent towards me or the children but he oftens hits objects. i find all of this behaviour hard to handle and it upsets me that the children are so used to it even they ignore it now. (aged 7 and 2)

 My friends and family cant understand why i allow this to go on and allow him to get away with having the children why i have a break or doing the house work or basically anything else helpful. i feel like i have three children and am currently at college, hoping to go to university to study social work but im not sure i will be able to get my degree with all the commotion that goes on... can you relate or offer any advice?

Hang in there Robyn

I am almost afraid to post this for fear of bursting the bubble. My dh has done everything and sad everything except hit me or my child. Subtle changes are occurring and I don't know if I'm responding better, he is trying differently or it's a combination of both but things are getting better. He has been on meds for about 6 months. We are working on the at home version of Melissa's 7 week program. I thought the first 2 chapters were hell, he was horrid. It was at that time I found this relaxation technique called EFT. One day I was doing it - it's tapping on acupuncture meridians while meditating & he came in and started doing it with me. That was a first. I stopped bringing up issues everyday , so i  think he isn't afraid to just sit with me anymore. He falls asleep during listening to Melissa tapes, so instead of getting hurt we do only half at a time. Our issues are compounded by me being ill. I can't work but I can sweep, dust and tidy. He doesn't do that. He cooks because I can't stand for long and I barf better than Linda Blair from the Exorcist, lol. We started compromising. I pay the bills, he buys the groceries. He walks the dog when he can,  I hired a dog walker and teach our crazy dogs tricks. He doesn't like to be caught off guard. So if I want to go to A, B & C , that's what we do. I don't add D unless he knows ahead of time. My OCD about a clean house and his need to know what he is doing are both being appeased. We used to fight every day. Now we don't. Our sex life still sucks but it's not because of lack of wanting , its my health issues that get in the way. It hurts. I have a urostomy bag and he is perfectly ok with it but my lupus causes sores in places I never knew I had. I really hope we find a way to fix this as he misses it so much. Something clicked in him, he doesn't want to be alone, he loves me & my ( our) daughter and takes pride in our home. He will always say or do things that I could me shake my head over but instead of focusing on those. I am focusing on saying thank you, letting him have his down time and save my tears for my mother. Tears are a trigger and it just not beneficial for us. I think what I am trying to say is when I stopped being in his face, he saw that marriage is a team. He is making the conscious choice to change. I honesty never thought it would happen but I'm happy to report I didn't give up. If I was totally honest, I was a Whiner witch. Now I state my expectations , what I can do to help meet them and leave my huz and child to do what they are responsible for ... Today we got caught in a torrential downpour  buying flowers for the garden. He threw the floor pot in with me and said " just hold it" and slammed door. I didn't say anything and about 5 mins later he made a joke about it. He would have never acknowledged his less than desirable demeanor in any way before. If he tries to make a joke and say sorry that way, I'm good. Yelling at him just made me sicker, sadder and more alone. It's not perfect but I don't want perfect. I want my husband on the same chapter. He doesn't have to be on the same page because I know he will either catch up or slow down when he is ready. We are only on Chap 4 of the at home course and instead of saying " well Melissa or the book or the doctor said to do this". We say " oh that's how it works". Moral of story , neither of us changed until we were were ready and accepted the help and tools available.  We are on the right path ( thank you Melissa). I wish you the very best and I KNOW how sad and lost you are. Hugs Tammy

jackrungh's picture

"Something clicked in him, he

"Something clicked in him, he doesn't want to be alone, he loves me ..."

I think much of the battle is keeping this in mind. The more I keep our relationship in mind the more I love my wife. The more I love my wife the more I want to make her happy. The more I want to make her happy the more I contribute. I'm finding myself doing really dorky things. Yesterday I got her a plate of BBQ for lunch while she was working at her computer, and wrote out the words I Love You in BBQ sauce on an empty section of the plate.

Thanks for writing this

Thanks for writing about your journey - you have many challenges to deal with (and I sure hope your sex life can return soon!!) Sorry the course sessions are so long, but breaking them in half is the perfect way to deal with it.  Your "moral of the story" is SO RIGHT - people change when they are ready to do so, and not before.  Good for the two of you, and best of luck with your continued work!

Feeling Alone in this so sad and lost.

I have been married to my husband for 10 years. It's been a very rough ten years of lying (do you all have trouble with your spouse lying too?), blaming, anger, fighting, nonstop arguing. All this time I thought what is making him act this way? What did I do to deserve to be treated in this way? Then thinking maybe it's me, but no matter how  I acted differently things never changed. It has made me tired and beat down. I am at my end. We have two children one of which I know has adhd just to young to be tested she is 3. Also have a 3 month old. My husband has gotten worse. He blows up constantly in front of the kids. Makes me cry everyday. I have no one here to talk to about it. We live 2700 miles away from home because he is military. No one understands here and I feel like I just isolate myself because I am so exhausted from being beat down by him, taking care of two young kids and trying to keep up with the house. It really takes alot out of you. I try so hard but I am so tired of being sad. I want to know what it feels like to be treated right. Good news is he has finally come to realize he has a problem and is going to the doctor in a few days. I sure hope it helps but the odds are the way the military is will find a way to make it worse. like loose his job i'm sure.....I am happy I found this site. I felt so alone but seeing how many of you have spouses that act in the same identical way is uncanning. I pray for some relief to his disorder. Not sure if it's getting worse or my patience is gone :(

Understanding the anger

Hi jenjen,

I know exactly where you're coming from in expressing your feelings on this. Just recently (elsewhere on this forum) a wonderful person shared some information about ADD/ADHD anger that was like a shining beacon for me. I think it was in the post about anger. They said that on a brain chemical level the angry outbursts and provocations are to do with getting an endorphin/adrenalin hit that helps them. I'm not sure that they realise that they are perceived as lying or manipulating or bullying, I think most of them have been doing it since they were children and perhaps their parents didn't know all this new information about how the ADD/ADHD brain and personality operates. In my husband's case he cannot acknowledge that what he is doing is not ok and is really hurtful. Even our two children are telling him when he is out of line now. Whether that's right or not I don't even care anymore because I'm tired of being the only person in the world who points it out. Certainly it does wear you down, and I'm at the same point with my husband of nearly 17 years - out of patience. It doesn't help to snap back, it doesn't help (in my situation) to even try to speak calmly what is on my mind because he has his perception filter on that only lets his stuff in and out. Nothing I say will make a difference as he believes he is always right, and how dare I question him. So in order to keep coping, I have to ignore a lot of really horrible stuff and keep encouraging him to make the appointment with the clinic that will hopefully help him to admit his issues and start to manage them before I end up walking away from my beautiful home and marriage. I personally feel that a lot of the anger they feel and direct outwards is actually anger and frustration at themselves, and in many cases only someone 'outside' can be of assistance. As much as you can, focus on maintaining your wellbeing and talk to people who are there to help with this crazy disorder.

I can't do this anymore.

I am so overwhelmed and mentally exhausted. I cry everyday.

Nothing new that what I have said here before. Everything is an argument. I can't ask a simple question without him believing I am attacking him somehow. He won't answer simple questions, will start getting defensive because he assumes I mean something else by my question. 

He doesn't contribute but he says he's trying. He says he will do things but doesn't write them down then forgets and gets defensive. It's my fault. If I write lists he either forgets to look at them or feels I am mothering him by making lists - even if the list is for ALL of us. Then he gets angry at me because I had to write a list in the first place - why don't I trust I can do things by himself? Why do I ask him to do things? That's nagging and mothering. If I ask, he gets overwhelmed and can't get moving.

If I don't write a list then he doesn't remember to do things. Why didn't I write a list or remind him? If I don't ask, then he feels useless because I can't ask him to do things.

If I do things myself that he said he would do - sometimes things just need to get done, there is only so long we can wait - then he feels that I don't trust him to do it or he feels guilty he didn't or he feels he is inadequate because I can't rely on him.

If I choose to do certain things, I am not asking for praise or thank you, but why does he have to find something negative in there? Should he be glad he didn't have to do it? It's done. Lets move on. 

He continously blames me but as soon as I just go silent and retreat - because I want to argument to stop and I choose to stop it - or if break down crying, which I have been doing often in the last few months, then he starts becoming the victim. He reacts this way and that way "because you". Then he starts denying blaming me at all. 

We go around and around in circles with the same arguments. Over and over and over again. 

I can't go on writing. I don't know what to do anymore.

Dear sdelo7, You are not

Dear sdelo7,

You are not alone. I know that isn't much comfort in the moment when the blaming and criticism is aimed at you.  But lately, I've been trying to remind myself as often as possible that it's not about me.  Like when he snaps at me for the smallest thing, or when he tells our counselor that his anger is minimal and fleeting, but mine is intense and I never let go... Or when he thinks making jokes about my tears is appropriate.... I try to tell myself "I've done nothing wrong. His brain is chemically unbalanced and this is not a personal attack on me". It helps a little, and it helps me take a mental step away from the conflict.  

I don't know if this helps you, but I have taken many suggestions from here and customized them to my personality and his specific behaviors.  Just know it's not you, it's not me, it's a disease.  All we can do is make our lives as good as possible. Sometimes that means a lot of work.  You're not alone and you have support.

I know I'm not alone

That's why I come here for support. I don't talk about this to anyone around me. Some of my friends know that I get frustrated and exhausted  but they don't know the extent of it. Everybody has issues in their lives but I don't want to burden my friends with my problems that never end.

Thank you for the support. It helps.

I have one friend I talk

I have one friend I talk to... She has a son with add so she gets it.  She reminds me to laugh... It's very important to find time to laugh once in a while. It counteracts some of the tears...:) good luck :)

9 Tips for When Non-ADHD Spouses Just Can’t Cope Anymore

I've read the tips.  There is some valuable information there.

Maybe it's just me, because this is all so new for me, and I'm currently is an enormous amount of pain and turmoil, but some of it seems to perpetuate the mothering and pussyfooting around the ADD spouse, so as not to upset them.  I'm tired of mother, pampering and walking on eggshells.  What do I do?

Practical tip

I am not one for mothering, pampering and pussyfootying around an ADHD adult and I understand the situation you are in.  No pampering allowed, tell yourself that (at least not for him, pamper yourself as needed in these difficult days). You are letting him set the agenda. The reality is that he may not perceive that that is what is happening, the nature of ADHD is that perception is skewed.

So you mention he is diagnosed? Is he on medication or seeing a therapist/psychologist?  If not then that is where you must start. Firmly and reasonably and persistently - crying and begging will cause him to turn off and go blank. My view is that meds must come first - stabilize the behavior before addressing the thought processes. He probably has anxiety at the very least, co-existing with the ADHD, from a lifetime of failing to understand what is going on with him.  The right meds will make a tremendous difference and you have good odds that meds will help him.  Buy a copy of Change Your Brain, Change your Life and Healing ADD both by Daniel Amen, familiarise yourself with the manifestations and vocabulary surrounding ADHD. The reason I mention these book is that they both include descriptions of medications and which med may suit a person better than others. You don't have to agree with Amen's views on ADHD to derive benefit just from that info. Used copies are cheap.  When he agrees that meds are in his future then it may take some time to get the right ones, you must find a psychiatrist or doctor who understands and treats adult ADHD (specifically not one who only treats children).  Do not lose heart. Yes it is overwhelming at first, but as you learn more about it the more in control you will feel.

Thanks for your reply

Thanks for your reply sunlight.  I never used to be the mothering or pamper type.  I would face him head on with the behaviour I didn't agree with.  He lied constantly apologized, until the next time.  He'd quit smoking (which was very difficult for him) and when I got to thinking how well he was doing, I discovered that he wasn't.  He had gone bad to smoking and hid it from me.  Same as lying.  I had told him that if he did it again I was done and we were through.  He did it again.  He spent money that we didn't have.  Lots of other inappropriate behaviours were discussed, argued and talked about.  I was angry a lot.  He figured it was work and work figured it was home, and I figured I was doomed because I got no relief from stress, but we loved each other.

Then one day about 2½ years ago, he walked out and to this day I don't know why.  I was so heartbroken that I literally could feel the pain in my heart.  I never thought he'd leave me.  One day when I was out, he came back to the house and left me a separation agreement and that's when I changed.  From this agreement, I discovered things I never thought I'd have to come to terms with.  Without going into details, the result was that even though he did come back home and we even moved to a new house to start over again, I no longer have a husband I could trust, I no longer feel the emotional or financial security that I once did.

Yes, he has been diagnosed.  He has been on anti-anxiety medication for a long time, but medication specifically for the ADD, no.  He is seeing a psychologist.  So now I need to learn who he is all over again, I need to use different tones and ways of dealing with him.  But that only leaves me feeling like I'm walking on eggshell.  I never know what to expect if I approach him the wrong way or in the wrong tone.  I'm now afraid of upsetting him because (never violent) his reaction only causes me more pain.  I've become very frighten that he will leave again.  I don't trust myself to be able to deal with that emotionally because I do love him so very much, and now that I'm retired, I'm terrified of what will happen to me.  I don't know where I'd go or how I would afford it.

I have so much more that I need to get off my chest, but I've rambled enough and am now at the point that I can hardly see for crying, yet again.  Overwhelming is such an understatement for where I am right now.

Thank you for the book suggestions.  I just did a quick search on a free e-book sight I use and there are books there that I can download for free.

To Broken

It is an outrage that women from our generation who worked part time or not at all when we were home with larger families,taking care of children and washing our spouses clothes, making his dinners, supporting his work...that now we find that he gets twice the social security that we get (divorced or not) ...becuase his name was on the paychecks.  Those of us without enough assets are prisoners to the marriage.  He can afford to leave us but we financially can't afford to leave him.  That said.  I feel your grief.  The loss of the expectation that love would concur all.  I just watched a powerful TED talk about grief and resilience called "The Adventure of Grief".  In our attempts to be "happy" he said, we all try to not experience the anger, resentment, shame, sadness when there are losses in our lives and that is unnatural.  Life is not fair.  There is grief when we lose our illusions.  But loss and grief is part of life to be accepted.  We are ALL in this life in which bad things happen (or could happen at any moment).  It is "all part of the game", he says.  Let the challenges come and experience them along with all the emotional pain they bring, then go out and ALSO experience your passion and joys.  This is why I write my sadness on this site.  I get it out here so that I don't have to spread it around to people who are not going through this...here people understand and are trying themselves to work through their pain and confusions. Giving a voice to your frustrations is a GOOD thing.  It is natural. Don't stuff it inside. 

To Jennalemon

We are in Canada, so retirement money is a little different.  I did work for the federal government and do have a pension, but it's not enough to survive on if I'm on my own, but I do get and agree with you.  How does one "Let the challenges come and experience them along with all the emotional pain they bring" when one is so emotionally broken and just doesn't have the strength, energy or now even the desire to get out of bed on any given morning?  I truly believe I had some sort of breakdown on the weekend and have been crying ever since.  My first thought this morning before my eyes were even completely open was, "Oh God!  Another day!  I don't want another day, I can go through another day.  I'm afraid now to go out or to be around people because any at moment someone will say something very innocent (especially not knowing what I'm dealing with) and I turn into this completely embarrassed bawling and blithering idiot.  I have no desire or energy to do what I need to do in my house or to do my sewing and crafting which is what I love to do.  I can't watch TV shows, can't listen to music without crying.  I hate who I've become.  I hate feeling that everything revolves around hubby while I suffer and feel like I'm slowly dying inside.


You are going through very similar time I am.  I call it...."I am ashamed that it took me so long to grow up and face reality" anxiety.   I just told my story to a small independent psych counselor who said that she will have me sleeping again and peaceful in 2 sessions - no Rx. We shall see. She is able to offer reduced rates.  I have also gone to a natural endocrine MD who said my adrenals are shot from stress. Cortisol imbalance makes you wake up at 3:00 am contributing ton the stress.   I can't afford all the repetitive tests and repetitive dr appointments and supplements and steroid hormones it takes to feel better medically with her (a few years ago I followed the plan and felt MUCH better but can't afford it now).  My point is, get some help.  You sound a desperate as me.  Get on the phone right now and make some calls..... churches, counselors, MDs, friends suggestions and referrals AND al-anon if that is remotely possible.  They say that if you are going through a challenging time, the thing that can pull you out is your connection with someone who can REALLY care and go through it with you. That is what I am doing.

If you are my age, and hot flashes are waking you up, be aware that along with each hot flash some of us have PMS-like racing thoughts. Have a physical and maybe the tiredness can be checked for low thyroid, gluten intolerance and stress hormones -- all cause tiredness, sleeplessnes and anxiety and depression.  This is what a good Natural Endo MD is able to test and help.   Keep writing.

P.S.  We are paying (after shopping around for the best rates yearly) $10,000/yr premiums for $10,000 deductible.   It is just like not having insurance unless there is a catastrophe.  We pay all medical bills out of pocket AND health insurance which we have not made a claim for 15 years.  That is more than 1/3 of our income we are paying for health insurance and we can't afford doctor or medication.  Both of these medical people are "out of provider" so they are not included in my deductible.  The "Preferred Provider (BIG HEALTHCARE ASSOCIATIONS)" doctors are insanely expensive and have outrageous added administration costs of the BIG BUSINESS of healthcare in America. 

Canada sounds good to me right now.

Reply to jennalemon

I am, for the next 4 months 58 years old, and without hormones have been (I think) keeping the symptoms of the lovely journey to menopause under control.  What's happening inside me no, I have no idea.  All of what you've stated makes sense and in all honesty, just before I opened your message, I had just gotten off the phone with my Dr.'s office.  Some of what I try at night to sleep is what doctors consider a very dangerous mix.  You know what I'm saying.  I too know it is and know that it's not right or safe, but don't even care anymore because I need at least one full night sleep.  I'm hesitant to talk to others in a face to face because I can't control my emotions and (don't ask why) am very embarrassed about crying in front of others.  Maybe because it's not what the old me every did, I don't know.

I'm really glad to have been lead to this forum to have others who know how I feel that I can 'chat' with.  I can't/won't let my mom or 2 girls know how messed up I am, because I'm the one who need to be strong for them. 

Yes, when it comes to healthcare, we have our issues up here, but from what we hear in the news and from a friend in the States.  Canada is a better place to be.

Adrenaline and stress

I don't know what you mean about dangerous sleep mix.  But I am guessing if you know it is dangerous you should stop that right now.  I am guessing your menopause journey is NOT under control but you may need to check out some forums and know how very many things are happening to our health at this age.  I have not been sleeping either.  3 to 5 hours/per night for the last few months.  I will let you know how it goes with the counselor.  I hope you can find a counselor and "let it out".  In the states, you can call for an interview meeting with a counselor you are interested in.  That is free.  Then, if it is a private practice, sometimes you can negotiate a fee if you should decide to SEE them.

This is an age when our identities are changing through deaths, retirements, children moving away, relationships changing, hormones, health changes, childhood families and friends are changing.  If you are going through a transition of any kind, sometimes a person needs a little help.  You are important enough to get it just like everyone else.  I have seen others go through a shift in consciousness/perspectives and come out with more integrity, more wisdom, more confidence than when they began.  

I seem to have this strange thing - shame and embarrassment - about me too for the first time in my life.  It has to do with my drifting away, secretive husband (I think). I feel like the bottom is falling out of my life.  I can't predict what irresponsible things he is up to. In my head I know that I can't be responsible for things I didn't/don't know, but the embarrassment of failing/being weak/fretting is there none the less and has my head spinning.


To Jennalemon

My husband's psychologist is willing and ready to meet with me, with and/or without him.  Yes many changes, closest to me is my mom having been diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer.  She's done her radiation and we are now waiting for her appointment for the new diagnostic CAT scan, plus neither my mother-in-law or grandma-in law are in very good health. Your second and third paragraph is bang on for me including the secretive husband.  We are certainly not respnsible for the things we do or do not know, but are sometimes a victim of the results.

Stress and hot flashes

Guys, just chiming in. I am going through peri menopause 10 years early in my forties. Long story. What I will tell you is that stress made it 8,000 times worse. I was not sleeping at all, horrible hot flashes, and at one point just wanted someone to put me out of my misery because I have a job where I have to be nice to children all day, lol, and have my own young children as well. I know how awful it can be to be that sleep deprived and tired and my flashes gave me anxiety as well. I am still struggling with some symptoms like migraines. My doctor had me try gabapentin at night, very low doses, and it helped immensely with the insomnia. So did leaving my husband, lol. But in all seriousness, dealing with stress helped so much. Please take good care of yourselves. Your entire body chemistry shifts like crazy when your hormones fluctuate. Have you tried acupuncture? There is a school for it here and they will treat you for $10. My very best to you. 

Stress and hot flashes

Guys, just chiming in. I am going through peri menopause 10 years early in my forties. Long story. What I will tell you is that stress made it 8,000 times worse. I was not sleeping at all, horrible hot flashes, and at one point just wanted someone to put me out of my misery because I have a job where I have to be nice to children all day, lol, and have my own young children as well. I know how awful it can be to be that sleep deprived and tired and my flashes gave me anxiety as well. I am still struggling with some symptoms like migraines. My doctor had me try gabapentin at night, very low doses, and it helped immensely with the insomnia. So did leaving my husband, lol. But in all seriousness, dealing with stress helped so much. Please take good care of yourselves. Your entire body chemistry shifts like crazy when your hormones fluctuate. Have you tried acupuncture? There is a school for it here and they will treat you for $10. My very best to you. 

To Lynninny

I'm still also in peri menopause, and l can relate to what you are dealing with.  Actually my husband suggested that that could be part of what I'm dealing with.  It appears that after my total melt down this week and a session with this psychologist, he is starting to get what I'm going though.  Talking to all you folk on here and hearing from people who really understand where I'm at is such a help.  I actually had a good almost full night sleep last night is way too long.  A huge thanks to all who have shared with me.

Giving In


You mention "no pampering" of the ADHD partner.  I am trying to hold to this line and not give in by stepping in and taking responsibility for our friendship.  My fear is that I will lose him altogether, but I think that this is what I have to face.  I have already had a taste of how my "taking over" (mainly out of frustration) seems to lead him to expect more from me and less from himself.  I think that he deserves some responsibility for creating the dynamic.  I remember one time I was getting ready to ask him to pick up part of HIS mess and he gave me this challenging look.  That look said "you're going to take care of it, aren't you?"  We were at work and pragmatic issues led me to take care of it just to get on with my own responsibilities.  The situation in the work place (me solely responsible for what happened on my shift and accountable to the boss-face-to-face on Monday while having messes from his weekend shift left for me to clean-up) fed into this dynamic.  My own professional reputation was tied to his, like it or not, and professional survival led me to enable him.  Not an uncommon workplace dynamic, I realize. Thank God we don't work together anymore.

He seems to like to see how far he can push it.  After I let him know of my feelings for him, he kept the petulant act but also added the challenging act. [I say "acts" as if this is not a genuine reflection of him and of his ADHD, but I do have healthy skepticism related to how much control people with any disorder have over symptoms, mental/emotional/physical.]  I recently confronted (in what I believe was a supportive manner) the fact that he has trouble with his reputation in the work place.  He is in the habit of giving excuses, and I had to tell him, "Do you see that there may be reasons why co-workers and management are annoyed with you often?"  I then offered to help him out with practical arrangements for getting back to school, etc.

Am I just setting myself up for grief?

This week I told him that I will not be initiating phone contact between us, but that my feelings for him are unchanged and that I will respond to him if he chooses to contact me.  Maybe he just wants out of the relationship, but he was so supportive this week when I directly asked him for support and feed back.  I'm confused and afraid that I will lose him, but I must hold fast to my resolve not to contact him this week and let the chips fall where they may.  His silence is gonna be hard to take but I am preparing myself for it.  If he does decide to take some responsibility for the friendship and things develop, I must be careful to cultivate his respect and to remain independent rather than co-dependent.  That in itself may be grounds for his rejection if the dynamic he has with someone else [namely, his ex] are easier for him and play to his desire to be taken care of. 

He is infuriating but so adorable.  I just never want to get to the point where I stop seeing how adorable he is, but if I feel used in the long term that might be exactly what happens.



just can't cope anymore....

First, are we just focusing here on ADHD, or is ADD also coming into play?  I am convinced that my spouse has ADD, not ADHD.  Interestingly enough, both of our children have "of those disorders"....  I have displayed more anger recently, but it has been out of mere frustration and "at the end of my rope" after 15 years.  My spouse is actually very laid back, really TOO LAID BACK, LACK OF MOTIVATION really, utter distraction, disorganization, and constant forgetfulness.  Now, I have a higher "gift" than most in the organization department, but this is way below the average and it causes the majority of problems in our marriage. It most recently has caused havoc as besides working, I have been in grad school for over a year now & I need help more with the kids, house, et.  I thought he would "step it up a bit", but it seems worse... Counseling is not helping.  I have tried to explain that he may have ADD, but he denies it and says it's just me.  How do you get your spouse to seek help for this diagnosis when he is in denial?  I am in the medical professional-I am 95% sure he has it.  ? to do before we lose our marriage.


Could you try broaching the subject with him in the context of your marital/chore issues?  If he is willing to help fix the problems, could he consider for the sake of your marriage, that ADD might be a possibility?  With my husband, I made it very clear that I did not see his possible ADD as a deficiency, but rather something akin to his being born with blue eyes - it just is.  It's neither positive, nor negative, but needs to be acknowledged.  And if his brain/attention works in a different way than mine, then it would be helpful to know about it, make accommodations where necessary, and that it would allow me to have a different interpretation of some of his behaviours.

I have a suggestion that has

I have a suggestion that has worked some for us.  He says I take too long to tell him things because he can't pay attention. A counselor said we need to speak to each other in the language of the listener, not the speaker. So I think about what I want to say, and put it into 12 words or less.  He can attend that long. Then he confirms he heard me and understood. Kinda like parroting back so I know he got it.  Then on to the next leg of my story in 12 or less words. He's able to stay tuned in because there's those breaks that he speak, too.  Doesn't always work, but I can tell right away if he's able to hang in there. And I do get frustrated when he's unable, but I say out loud" I really want to finish this conversation and you are unable to right now.  Mind if I try later?"  

That way I remind myself that it's his inability, not his lack of effort and not because I'm boring to him.  Just stating the truth can relieve some of the stress.  

Good luck!

Mu husband wants to divorce.. how do I stop it?

My husband and I met 7 years ago, we are from different countries, we worked hard on our relationship and was extremely hard cause he left me several times telling he couldn't handle a long distance relationship... 2 years ago we got married and I moved out to his country, it has been really hard cause we had to arrange lots of legal stuffs.. and the hardest thing was that I got pregnant and I lost my baby... we moved out twice and finally we were together... till he changed... we started having money issues and he became cold and was angry at life and everything... I left a month ago for a while because he showed me he needed space and being away from me... between jokes like... I need vacation but of you... or something like... it was worse for me to bring you to live here cause now I have more problems... and treated me like if I was just a friend or any person around... not anymore like a wife.. and now I am in my country... I left for a while and we agreed that we were only taking some time to get rid of the stress... but now he just told me he doesn't want me to comeback... seriously... I left everything to do my life with him in a far away country... all my stuffs are there... my home.. all the effort... and now he just said... sorry but I can't with all the pressure and I cannot be married anymore... I rather to be alone and you better stay where you are... I am going crazy cause my whole life is there already and now because he chooses the easiest way for him.. he decides to get rid of me... and I don't know how to tell him that I understand his ADD has part on it... I don't know if he will get mad really worse if I tell him this.... I told him I will work with him to make it work and I will help  (not that I didn't before cause I have done a lot) but he claims to be stressed and that he isn't even be sure why does he feel so angry and has a bad feeling about our relationship  and that if I go back he will have more problems and we will end worse... he wants to live alone.. and not taking care of me or marriage problems... he just doesn't want to fight or give us another chance... He knows he has ADD since he was a kid... and he sometimes says that it must be because he has it that he cannot deal with a relationship and that he better stop now... no matter what I say or do seems to change his mind.. he says there is not a solution for his problem... should I let him go? is my marriage lost? Help me please... I love him a lot.... If I would have read all this before I am sure it would be different... but I didn't know how to react and now he doesn't want to give me another chance... how can I convince him to try again to fix it? I really need an advice. Thank you in advance!

barneyarff's picture

Frankly, I'd send him some

Frankly, I'd send him some flowers and a thank you note because he's doing you a favor.

Get the divorce.  Love is too precious to spend on someone like that.

Or, at least that's my opinion.

Of course my opinion is free so take it for what it's worth.

He wants a divorce

At least he's honest....

My bf was going on craigslist and sending pictures of himself to anonymous women while telling me he wants to marry me!  I would have much more respect if he would have told me, "I'm not ready, willing, able or whatever to be in a committed relationship."  It hurts much worse to be betrayed than told you are not what he wants.   He has promised not to do the craigslist thing anymore, but he's made that promise three times now.  I have changed my attitude and am still with him but he is no longer my priority.  I am distancing myself emotionally because I am tired of the pain that goes along with being with him.  I moved out, he says he wants us to live together again and I'm scared.  I'm lost most of the time as far as knowing what is going on with us.  I would LOVE honesty from him.  I would LOVE if he could hear what I say and give some sort of response other than "Wow.... that was a lot of stuff you said." 

So I kind of agree with the last reply that you should send him flowers and say thank you for stopping this before the pain is more than we can take. 

I admit I sound a little cynical but that is because I'm tired of being the only one to give of myself.  I'm tired of making our relationship a priority and putting effort into making it work with no kind of affirmation from him.  I'm just tired......

Good luck ;)

Find a friend

I love these tips, Melissa. I find the advice to find a friend super difficult for me. My husband has ADHD, but he also has a beloved personality. Anytime I try talking to a friend, I find it so hard to vent, since they think I am just complaining. My friends don't understand the ADHD effect. It is hard for me to get comfort and strength when they think I am just having "a bad marriage." I have ended up just isolating and struggling to work through it all alone :(

Please advise!!

I'm not coping and need help!

I read this and want to cry. I have tried some of this but my husband won't talk later, every discussion turns into a fight. He works in and out of town and has his own business so when he's here he is busy doing business stuff or bitching about the stress of it all. Then he walks out the door I am left dealing with everything around the house and the kids. There is no understanding that I'm tired. BUT more importantly he picked this job and he's not happy and yet there are things that could help that he just won't do. Instead he sits and bitches to me about them ... constantly. Now he says I'm not a supportive wife. WTF! I do everything. I've asked for help and get some when if it's convient and fits into his schedule. Sadly, I feel like unpaid help who doesn't get much respect. I can't listen anymore. There is no conversation as everything. We have talked about going to councelling but it's up to me to find one that he might like and then he might not have time to come as the business comes first as he's short staffed but refusing to even put an ad in the paper even though he's talked about doing it for over a year! I am very seriously isolated and guess that is why I'm reaching out to someone who might understand. 

ADHD or Non-ADH we have

ADHD or Non-ADH we have choices - you may need to leave the mairrage to save your own sanity or to stay and to work on making things better but it requires the efforts of both, sure things will get better with meds and new strategies etc., but if you are not both putting 100% into it you will spend the rest of your life putting up with this same crap for years and years or get divorced.  I know everyone is trying to be nice and justify there reasons for not leaving and making excuses for their partners behaviours but if it were cancer or diabetes or anyting else your dealing with, wouldn't you do everything you can to make your life better and get treated properly and do everything you can for yourself and your mairrage and family.  I've been dealing with this for 34 years, I'm a non-adhd spouse and exhausted! trying to figure out why, how, when and why, why why!! is this happening to us and reading up and learning about it and if my adhd husband who is now on meds and is starting and needing to educate himself better on it's effects and learns how to manage it better, cuz meds can only do 1/2 the job.  If he were to stop taking his meds or not put any effort into learning to manage his symptoms better and more productively so that we can both live a happier, healthier life ....I would not hesitate to file for divorce. I am sorry that is harsh but there is no room for selfishness and excuses.  Do what needs to be done and that is end of story! 

I can't cope anymore with ADHD: ADD spouse

How do you know when you have done enough?  How do you know that you have the ADHD spouse that is so out of reality nothing is ever going to change.  I am tired of being the one who follows the suggestions on this blog.  He does nothing and is so hard done by.  We spent $300 on the couples seminar and have not looked at it, well I started with the first chapter but he has no interest, etc in doing it.  He thinks he can continue to live in his own little world while treating us like crap most of the time but thinking his family is still going to be here for him when he need us.  He is selfish, self centered and takes myself and my daughter for granted as often as he can.  He is clueless to everything that is mentioned to him.  He goes to the pyschiatrist once a month and I am still waiting for the doc to find out there is something else wrong with him.  I want to move on but he threatens me with everything from a place to live to having no money.  I need help in deciding how soon I should move on!

Not sure what to do next........

We tried marriage counselling as well and for the first few months it seemed to be going well and we did not even know at that time my husband had ADHD:  ADD........it all came to a head when I finally asked him about a few particular things that were to be done on his part and guess what.............he couldn't remember what the counsellors said and didn't seem to care that he couldn't!!

The effects of Add/adhd...living w/o expecations.

For me I have to live my life in many ways like she doesn't exist. Not because I don't love her or want a happy marriage, but because I do. Our arguments have minimized since I try daily to focus on life's responsibilities as if she didn't exist...I am learning to not correct her anymore...For example, she fell Tuesday and fractured a bone in her leg...While I was in the doctor's office with her, he gave her a list of time tables etc....So when we started home and she began to talk about it, she stated some things incorrectly...At that point we would usually escalate into an argument. (ole fix it husband would share the correct info :) )... Now I just say I heard it differently, would you like me to share? If yes, then once I share at that point I'm done with it....And what actually happened?  You can guess, she said you are wrong!...But I don't get sucked in, and she eventually called the doctor's office back :-)...She's not my child, to long I've allowed my emotions to get wrecked by add/adhd behavior making be a bigger problem than Add. "There is an old saying about "Doing the same things, and expecting different results" So life has gotten better since I started realizing I cannot correct her add by verbal or emotional frustration, but I can make it worse for her and me. So it boiled down to this for me. See my self, try to love her like God requires me to, and I want too...But, actions like poor short term memory, emotional outbursts, living a life of denial,  an 8 year old responsibility level toward thing that's not fun for her. I had to decide am I going to destroy me self trying to change it, or just trust the lord and rest in his peace, and get up everyday and expect it? To be honest, I think the best thing for some of these marriages referenced in these posts might be time a part...I recently spent 11 months a part from my wife...I was so bitter, I don't think I could have gotten back to the place of even seeing myself without blaming the add effects. The worst part was, I had so associated add behaviors with her, I couldn't separate it...It would have been so easy to walk away, because after the first 6 months of God repairing the wreck I had become, I was finally living the most peaceful life I had lived in years...But my convictions are God created marriage (oneness) to last a life time. I know its not his will for our home to not experience love and peace. 

Living without expectations

Thank you, C ur Self.  Your comment,  "I had to decide am I going to destroy myself trying to change it, or just trust the lord and rest in his peace, and get up everyday and expect it? " may be just what I need to help me recover my sense of who I am without all this anger.  We've been married 48 years, and I have certainly learned to practice patience and forgiveness with my husband's untreated ADHD.  However, I'm so very tired.  Somedays I don't think I can cope much longer.  How do I come to the place that you are?

Jesus brought me....

Hi...MAJ...I'm not in a fixed state of wellness :)...For me it's dying to my desire to change things everyday, and just trust the Lord and try to be thankful for each new day...I to was so tired, and still have day's where all I can say is "I'm so tired... But, when I start counting my blessings...I feel better...I doubt if your husband wants his add and neither does my wife...I just decided what was making me so angry was the excuse I was using to mother her...and my own failed attempts to change her behavior by verbally pointing it out...If someone is living a life of denial (by choose or not) or just isn't comprehending and refuses to address or even see the effects of their behavior on others, then you have a problem. At that point I feel like we each have to decide with-in our hearts if we are going to subject ourselves to that person's presents. I decided I would. Now, I just pray for her, and love her, I just try to do my best to walk away from irrational behavior (do not engage) and let her own it...The more she see's my emotions staying stable, and my refusal to take her actions on as my responsibilities, the more she humbles herself and trusts me...which as caused her to see herself a little more, and open up about add/ and its effects. But to answer your question again...Jesus brought me...Here's you a big hug that says...I understand HUG ()...

May He bless you another time

Thank you for your quick response, c ur self.  It was a wonderful way to start my day.  After trying so many ways for so many years to make the craziness stop or at least lessen, your suggestion will be my new prescription.  This morning I woke early and listed all the things I can be thankful for.  There are many.  Then I asked for forgiveness and a blessing as I left the anger in His hands.  I just hope He closes his fists tightly for today and doesn't let me reclaim it  :)   Like you, I have made the decision to stay in my marriage in spite of the craziness.  That decision was freeing.  It dissolved the feeling of being "trapped".  I know that I continue to have a choice, and that staying is what I choose....but I also know it won't be easy.  Thank you for the hug, the understanding, and your encouragement.  May your day be a "thanking" day as well.


What if my wife is blind to see that her actions really have an impact on a lot around her? What if it's put out to her with a very calm way and she still doesn't see/think anythings wrong? What if it's always "my" fault? 

Hi Bsanchez

Denial, Blame, Excuse Making, And, just plain ole refusal to confront who we are is what makes life so difficult for spouses....

The only thing that has worked for me is to not engage poor behavior (unless it's my own of course)...The minute I cast my peace aside and step in to save the day, It's my fault:(....So disengage, when you see a train wreck coming step aside quietly and allow it to happen...Living my life w/ no suggestions, or enablement of her has helped us both...Sanchez they are big girls...

Blessing Friend....

Thank you

<p>Yes, big girls they are. This site and comments have helped so thank you very much. I&#39;m going to try some of the tricks out. Instead of confronting her right away about her issues&nbsp;Ill&nbsp;be writing down little incidents of her behavior, I&#39;m thinking I should confront her about them when I&#39;ve collected about five or more. And also if I catch myself not being able to wait to tell her I&#39;ll be jotting that down as well.&nbsp;</p>

<p>I tend to tell her asap and in front of the people she causes the problem with and I know now that doesn&#39;t help because she blows it off because she understands and is embarrassed and later on when I confront her again she says her infamous line &quot;I didn&#39;t even do anything&quot;. So wish me luck friend. -thanks</p>

Good Luck

Just a suggestion:

Just keep loving her...If she is unwilling or incapable to be self-aware, your efforts to force it can create conflict...So, just try to not enable poor behavior, and keep a good handle on your own self-awareness:)...Cause we are big boy's also....

Blessings Friend....

I am so burned out, the

I am so burned out, the hyperactivity creates problems faster than correction can repair.  I grew up in alcoholic dysfunction, he seemed so logical and intelligent that I assumed problems would be reasonably dealt with.  The low self esteem consumes everything in it's path.  He is compelled to sooth his depression with instant gratification of fast food, candy (he's hyperactive so there is no apparent physical evidence this is unhelpful), has an extra dollar and buys something to make himself feel good.  While I was trying to build our company, he was "president" of a successful enterprise and did/could/ not comprehend the long term sacrifices and goals needed to a real entrepreneur.  We had a lot of credit and he soothed himself investing collectibles, dvds just a huge amount of money, over 100K.  When he is publicly humiliated he really screws things up and then he corners me twists my neck and back, permanently hurt me so much but it's not visible damage.    I'm a trapped animal, 250K debt, part time work, no friends, no family for help (when he is humiliated it's not helpful), (my family is self centered and enjoys others humiliation).  I'm very, very good at what I do, but it has a small market and the economy isn't supporting it.  I'm writing this because he just screwed up some of my production and I just don't know where or how I'm going to make a living. His father worked an assembly line for 46 years and that secure production is what kept the family going and that option is not a current possibility.   

hi snuppy1

I am so sorry that you are dealing with such burn out...I to have been to the place where all I was wishing for is for "life to just slow down please"...I wish I had the answer's you need...I really can't put myself in your shoes financially, because I like your Father-in-law...managed from set income all my life due to sustained employment and self-control in spending and debt....

I wish you well, and hope the right path for you becomes illuminated to you!

Blessing and Prayers...C