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The ADHD Marriage Balancing Act

Ned Hallowell likes to say that while ADHD can be a reason you did something in the past, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to do it over and over again.  But before the non-ADD of you start to say “see, this is exactly what I mean!” let me clarify.  Both ADHD and non-ADHD spouses sometimes use ADHD as an excuse for their behavior…just in different ways.  So where do you draw the line?  What’s an excuse, and what’s real?  How much does either partner accommodate ADHD, and when do you draw a line and say “enough!”?  It’s a delicate balancing act.

First, let’s look at the difference between ADHD as a “reason” something is done and an “excuse” by looking at examples:

Reason:  Previously undiagnosed ADHD led a man to be distracted so regularly that his spouse felt unloved.
Excuse:  The same man, now diagnosed, refuses to work on diminishing the distraction he experiences even though in conversations about their marriage his wife has indicated that this is one of the main sources of pain for her in their marriage.

Reason:  Woman with ADHD cannot make it out the door to important monthly office parties with her husband as she has no sense of time and gets lost in the act of getting ready.  She says she tries hard but her efforts aren’t paying off.
Excuse:  Same woman continues to be late, and makes no effort to try other strategies for getting out the door.  She also gets angry when her husband decides that he’ll leave ahead of her and meet her there.

In both of these examples, the ADHD symptom (distraction, inability to track the passing of time) explains the initial behavior.  It is the unwillingness of the spouse to take responsibility for finding a suitable “middle ground” with his/her spouse that turns the symptom from “reason” to “excuse”.  Most people with ADHD are able, with perseverance, to find a way to manage at least some of their most problematic symptoms.  From a healthy relationship standpoint, it’s important for the ADHD spouse to make this effort.

The ADHD version of using ADHD as an excuse is “you know I can’t do that because I have ADHD.  I’m done trying (or don’t need to try).”  The non-ADHD spouse’s version of using ADHD as an excuse is “You’ll never be able to do that because you have ADHD.  There is no reason to keep hoping that things will get better because you prove time and time again you can’t succeed.”

Neither is accurate.  The best ADHD marriages are those that find a middle ground.  Put another way, it is NOT the responsibility of the ADHD spouse to become “non-ADHD”.  Nor is it the responsibility of an ADHD spouse to meet every whim and expectation of an ultra-demanding non-ADD partner.  On the other side of things, it is not the responsibility of the non-ADHD spouse to constantly have to pick up after the disasters of an ADHD spouse who is not treating his or her ADHD.  The idea here is to acknowledge the needs of BOTH partners, and find a working middle ground that works well enough for both to become happy with their relationship again.  In the worst case scenario, a couple will find that there are “deal breakers” – things that are incredibly important to one spouse that simply can’t be accommodated by the other.  This is where divorce comes in…but that is, of course, a last resort for most.  It’s much more desirable to find that middle ground.

You might think that finding this middle ground would be easy, but in ADHD-affected relationships, there is a complicating factor – the ADD spouse is often out of touch with how their ADHD affects other people.  In addition, after a lifetime of listening to people tell them they could do better “if they would only try harder”, people with ADHD are understandably sensitive to criticism that their spouse might make of their role in the decline of their relationship.

Couple this with an almost uncanny ADHD ability to create their own happy little zone that doesn’t relate to the world (and people) around them, and you have the makings of a great deal of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and hard feelings.

My husband will still tell you that the hardest part of dealing with his ADHD wasn’t learning about what ADHD, or experimenting with ways to deal with it.  The hardest part was seeing – and internalizing - what effect ADHD had on me and the people around him.  He was pretty happy doing his work and being on his computer (and having the house and family organized by his spouse).  Even though I told him repeatedly how miserable I was, he still didn’t comprehend what I was saying.  The eye-opener for him was that he started working for someone with ADHD and got to experience first hand what it was like to be with someone who was completely unaware of how his answering a cell phone interrupted a meeting, or how the impossible requests and always late timetables he imposed kept everyone running without purpose.  George tried to “talk some sense” into this man, only to be rebuffed.  Soon he began to see parallels between how his ADHD symptoms affected our relationship and what he was seeing in the office.

You can’t replicate this experience, though you can ask your spouse to trust others who have had it (i.e. us and others like us).  It simply takes a willingness to suspend the ADD spouse’s disbelief in what his unhappy spouse is telling him for a while, and replace it with an openness to deciding that ADHD can, and is, affecting everyone around him as much as it is affecting him.

Once an ADHD spouse is willing to admit that those whom they love are affected in a negative way by his behaviors, the logical next step is to ask for input on figuring out what needs to change.  Or, put another way, if your motivation is to change what hurts your spouse and your relationship most, don’t waste energy and effort changing just any thing.  Target what needs changing the most.  As people with ADHD are notoriously bad at creating hierarchies (i.e. most in need of change at one end of the list to least in need of change at the other) and because the issue isn’t how one person is acting, but how two people are interacting, it makes sense to do this together.

You can’t change everything that makes you unhappy.  My personal rule of thumb is to “let go” of at least 50% of the things that bother me (the non-ADHD spouse) and ask my husband to let go of half of what is bothering him.  As a couple, focus on only those symptoms that you identify as being most destructive.  If you can’t tease out which these are from a rather long list, get a therapist to help you.  (For us, the first two things we chose to focus on were diminishing my anger, and having him spend more time with me when he was focused just on me and us.)

This may sound as if you are giving up a lot.  "Let go of 50%?" you say!  But what we found is that the stuff at the bottom of the list wasn't as important as we had thought.  It only seemed important because we were at such odds with each other.  Once we focused on the important things, our increasing happiness with each other and with our relationship helped those smaller things disappear.

If the relationship is to be repaired, neither partner can use ADHD as an excuse.  Somewhere deep inside the ADHD spouse has to find the energy to attack important ADHD symptoms from every angle until he finds an approach that resolves the issues those symptoms were creating.  And somewhere deep inside the non-ADHD spouse has to find hope, forgiveness and generosity of spirit.

It takes immense effort (and usually improved communication), but the rewards – a relationship which is more balanced and respectful – can lead to the next step, falling back in love again.

Comments

Re: The ADHD Marriage Balancing Act

Melissa, This is a great post!! It's so true a lot of time in relationships people are too worried about who is right and wrong. It really doesn't matter which person is right or wrong. It's more about meeting somewhere in the middle and finding the right balance!

Thank You, Melissa!

Melissa, I just have to thank you so much for sharing your invaluable advice and you and your husband's ADHD journey. Your comments are so insightful, and your guidance is straightforward and usable. This website truly is a blessing. I've shared it with my therapist, and told her how much I have benefitted from it.

Two ADHDers out of sync

It's funny, I was just thinking about that 50% idea in terms of my relationship with a close friend--both of us are ADHD and we have been (and may again be) romantically involved. We have a tendency to cling to the sometime annoying results of our mutual ADHD behaviors--as I'm sure you can guess, many of which are just that, annoying, not destructive or harmful. It seems to me when two people have ADHD, just when one is ready to let go of things, the other is set on hanging on. Of course, if any couple could get fully in sync, ADHD or not, then letting go of things wouldn't be a problem!

new here--so happy to have found you !

I am a non-ADHD person married for 13 years to an ADHD husband. Our oldest son, age 9, is also ADHD. Both are on Adderall XR. One of the posts I read talked about how sometimes the ADHD spouse is totally tuned in, helpful, listening, and sometimes they are just not there and the other person has to do all the "non-fun" things in the marriage. That is exactly what has been going on for a while in my house. My husband pretty much comes and goes as he pleases. He goes to work all day, obviously, but on the weekends he plays softball and then goes out with the guys and often golfs the other day...and goes out with the guys. I am a teacher so I am home with our two boys for the summer and we do not send them to camp. Hubby leaves the house by 5:30 each morning and two nights a week does not return until way after the kids are in bed. I am definitely in charge of everything "unfun". If I didn't plan the vacation, there wouldn't be one. If I didn't make the doctor/counselor/psychiartrist/dentist/whatever appointment, it wouldn't happen. My BIG question is if this is how ADHD people are, how does the non-ADHD person get their needs met when the ADHD spouse is checked out? How does the non-ADHD person get their needs for intimacy, listening, etc. met when the ADHD person is so self-centered? The kicker is my husband would be SHOCKED if he knew I thought he was self centered. He thinks he does a great job of paying attention to us. He would be shocked if he knew how lonely and frustrated I get with him. After dinner he will crash on the couch in front of the TV and then go to bed. No sex, no good night, see you in the morning, nothing. Often I have ten tasks to accomplish before bed--pets, dishwasher, laundry, whatever, he just gets up and goes to bed. Enough complaining...I am very interested in the larger issues of feeling disconnected and lonely. I am so excited to find this site and will continue to check in. thanks! dana

Someone to Talk to

Dear Dana, Your sentences ~ "My BIG question is, if this is how ADHD people are, how does the non-ADHD person get their needs met when the ADHD spouse is checked out? How does the non-ADHD person get their needs for intimacy, listening, etc. met when the ADHD person is so self-centered?" ~ were the exact questions I have. My situation is very similar to yours. Although my husband did none of the disciplining, he was a 100% Dad when he was not at work. He did not take up golf or any adult activities until the kids were raised. It is now in the "empty nest phase" of our lives, that he feels justified to focus at work and with friends, but "turn it off" when he walks through our door. He accuses me of not being pleasant and always seeming angry. He admits that he repeats behaviours that he has promised not to do, but he expects me to gently remind him of his agreed to promise, no matter how many times it happens. Where is his responsibility in this. Promises made at work are always kept or he would lose clients. Isn't losing your wife worthy of your focus. I could deal with some of those things if there was any intimacy. Always being the initiator gets old. It gets mortifying when he agrees and then forgets. If I have to remind him again, the desire has waned for me. Desire out - Embarrasment in I have no one to talk to. I would not air "dirty laundry", but no one would believe me anyway. He is wonderful. Everyone would tell you so. It is just living with him. I can never count on anything, and after 35 years I am tired. If anyone would like to correspond with me I would be so greatful. I do not know how much more I can take. Katherine

Are you me?

Hi Katherine, (that's my name too) I am tired, too. I am so sick of my wonderful husband that the divorce word has crept into the secret places in mind everyday this year. Everyone will tell you how "wonderful" my husband is. Handsome, giving, intelligent. Last year he missed a dentist appointment 7 times until the dentist fired HIM. He has wonderfulled us into financial difficulties over and over and over because he does not have a clue about the big picture. And he is sorry. He live's in "Richard's world," until I have a tantrum and pull him out, but that only lasts an hour or so. We have two children out of the house (Now that they are not visually present he forgets to talk to them unless I beg him to). He is never romantic unless I make him a "to do" list and add what to do on it. He does not follow through on friendships or family relationships, he is the perpetual blacksheep of his family. Which makes me the black sheep's wife. I am incredibly lonely too. My sex life is dead. I am tired of his ongoing anger with every litle thing. I am resentful that he cannot take responsibility for anything. He messes up or forgets to do EVERYTHING. I have turned into an angry resentful Bitch. And now the focus becomes my crappy behavior instead of his dissociated self centeredness. I am perpetually waiting for the next bomb to drop, the next thing he has screwed up. I am tired of being mommy to a 50 year old man. I want the love back and the safety and the trust. I don't know how much more I can take either! Kate

Thanks for replying

Kate, Thanks for replying. Having people think that I am always crabby is disheartening for me as well. I wish they would notice that I am not crabby with anyone but my husband. Why doesn't the outside world realize that our reactions are a natural response to our husbands actions. Our frustrations are a result of the way we are treated. We do not initiate the action. If I had an ADD friend that treated me the way he does, I am afraid the constant frustration would make me end the friendship. It is common sense to avoid situation where you are constantly let down. An employer will not put up with it. Your dentist wouldn't put up with it. Bill collectors will not put up with it. Why, oh why, does the world feel sorry for them and expect us to put up with it? I know that part of my distress is his refusal to take meds. I have major depression and have taken meds for over 20 years. I hate being dependent on meds for my survival, but I take them (and endure the many side effects - sexual being the worst) mainly for my family. It is not fair of me to put them through anymore hurt, so I do what is necessary to alleviate more pain for them. Who alleviates pain for me? Katherine

What Were Those Two Things?

Katherine - WHY won't your husband try taking meds? (Has he tried before, or just refused flat out?)   And, secondarily, what is it that you expect will happen if he does take meds?  How do you expect it would change your relationsihp?

Melissa Orlov

What If??

In venting to my friend about my ADD partner, she made one valid point that I never took into consideration. ADD is a disorder, just like any other disorder. Although, all disabilities, and disorders/diseases can cause frustrations and pain in the family those disorders directly impact, the question is: If he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and his behaviors were directly related to the diminishing affects of the disease, would you be more accepting and patient with him regardless of the frustrations his actions were causing? Would you be sympathetic? Are you less willing to be patient because you feel that people who have ADD can make conscious choices on how they act regardless of the diagnosed disorder? Believe me, I completely understand your frustrations but I do think the above question brings alot of cards to the table. If he is refusing to take medication to help assist him (not cure or drastically improve) his condition, maybe the approach of suggesting it needs to be changed. Medication will NOT change his actions, or who he is; but it will help him and make it easier to be self aware and cope with the things I'm sure he doesn't want to do. Try to understand his view and ways of thinking so that you can come up with an alternative approach to discuss the benefits of the medication, and how it will help him. Maybe it would feel less pressuring and more motivational because I am sure he doesn't want to live his life as he is, and in my own experience the ADD partner feels alot of shame in the actions that they can't figure out how to get control over. Most of the time they really want to, they just don't know where to start.

"If he was diagnosed with

"If he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and his behaviors were directly related to the diminishing affects of the disease, would you be more accepting and patient with him regardless of the frustrations his actions were causing? Would you be sympathetic? I know this is an old comment, but this one part really hit me. It seems to me that in a lot of ways, being the non-ADD spouse of an ADDer is very like being the spouse of a person with Alzheimer's. However, while there are lots of Alzheimer's support groups and there are things like home nursing and respite care available for Alzheimer's, there doesn't seem to be much in that line available for ADHD, certainly not to the same extent anyway. Granted, this probably seems dramatic. Here's an example from my life though: With my husband, I've had to get into the habit of checking behind him when (or if! lol) he decides to cook because he forgets to turn the oven or burner off and walks away (he's caught our tea kettle on fire this way more than once). When driving with him, I had to get in the habit of checking to make sure he actually put the car in park before getting out as he repeatedly forgot (our garage door still has a huge dent from the last time this happened). The upshot of this is, I tend to get (more than) a little frazzled from waiting for "the other shoe," the next emergency! But while there's respite care for Alzheimer's patients or autism or etc., I haven't heard of any for ADHD. I do try hard to remember that my husband doesn't do these things "on purpose," but even so, the responsibility feels overwhelming and exhausting. Speaking for myself here, but maybe if there were ADHD respite care, I'd have more energy to be sympathetic. Currently, I'm just tired!! :)

Alzheimer's disease and ADHD

If my husband had Alzheimer's disease, at least he could get disability. ADHD isn't recognized as a disability, so people who can't or won't work because of it can't get disability, their spouses have to support them.

My husband does worse things than not leave the car in park One day last week, he forgot his meds, and he left the car running for over an hour in a parking lot while he had a meeting with a client. He was so lucky his car was still running and still there! At least it convinced him he does need his meds.

sunday march 8 2009 I understand all the above

Hi I too am new to this, I married a great guy 4 years ago.He has just been diagnosed with ADHD . My husband has just started taking meds, he started off with Addrall. One morning he forgot to take them at the shedualed time and decided to take it at midnight with two cups of coffee...and took the car out for a drive and got stuck in a field because he was distracted by a heard if deer. I almost lots it at this point. I understand the fustration and my anger is justifiably there. His medication is now Ritalin, as of 4 weeks ago.Im not sure were to turn, my family thinks this is all crazy and he needs to take responsabilty...so do I. If he had Alzheimers (witch is in my family line) I think I would respond diffrently, Im trying to be understanding, but is is very difficult. You ladies have a long time history with your spouses and children too...Ive only been married for 4 years, and miss my calm life that I used to have.Oh,the money situation is so out of hand, unpayed bill's, traffic violations,broken promises... Im so glad for this site, there is no one I can go to with this and recieve understanding, I love my husband, but I feel like Im going crazy, with all the crazy stuff we are going through.

Support Available

Though it is not available everywhere, there are support groups for spouses of adults with ADHD.  Certainly the Hallowell Centers provide this, and I suspect there are others out there - check with ADDA and CHADD.

Thank you for YOUR support!

Have been away from this site for quite awhile, but want to express how important it is to know it is always there....there is NO WHERE else on the Internet where I have found any kind of reliable and balanced support for those who are "married" to ADD/ADHD. Finding the time to attend anything locally, even if those support structures CAN be found, is so often just not an option. If we work, if we have children, etc, we are more likely than not carrying the greater share of the burden of maintaining a household and other responsibilities. When one member of a partnership is prone to "checking out," it's just a fact of life  that the other must become prone to picking up the pieces.
Nearly 33 years now of dealing with the in's and out's of a three-way that alternates with OCD and ADD - not always sure if our coping skills have been the most healthy - but we do have three children, now grown and well launched, and although we are dealing with the challenges of empty nesting, this next chapter in our lives together, for the most part we are in a peaceful stance right now. How much of that is him? How much of that is me? It is such a joint endeavor, so who's to say?
Anyway, I just want to thank you so much for providing a safe sounding board, a balanced presentation and addressing of the complex issues involved in walking relationships through the minefield that is ADD/ADHD.

Colleen

Time to Take Stock

You may have been having a bad day when you wrote this, but if not, it is time for you to take stock.  What do you want out of life?  What makes you happy?

You only have one life to live, and it sounds as if it may be time to take control of it again.

Melissa Orlov

husbands

I am laughing at your dentist firing your husband--we had a similar thing happen recently here. My husband loves to golf, so in March I paid for a three-session package of golf lessons to get him going before the season. I figured prepaying would a) motivate him to actually DO it and b)eliminate his need to remember to pay. HA--he went to the first session and never went back. He either missed sessions or canceled and never rescheduled. I called the golf pro and he will not refund the money for the other two sessions because of all the inconvenience (I can't say I blame him) so we are out $180. I know how you feel. It's an odd, frustrating thing to live with. I joke that the lamaze breathing I learned for my kids did nothing in labor but I sure use it a lot now. dana

30 plus years and tired too

Colleen Hi Katherine - new here, and now I read something from someone dealing with so many similarities, especially the initiative issues. Have you ever read the lyrics to "No Where Man" - how did such young Beatles know about this stuff? "I have no one to talk to. I would not air "dirty laundry", but no one would believe me anyway. He is wonderful. Everyone would tell you so. It is just living with him. I can never count on anything, and after 35 years I am tired. If anyone would like to correspond with me...." wish we could - but for now, I hope it helps to know you aren't the only one Take care, Colleen
Colleen

Reply to Colleen

Re: reply to Colleen 8-6-08 Colleen, I would love to correspond with you privately. I have found that with other issues, just verbalizing it helps put the problem into perspective and helps me deal more rationally. I have so appreciated, and learned, from Melissa listening and replying to my posts. From my readings I have never found anyone else with a 35 year marriage. I think we probably could help each other work out some issues particular to long term marriages. I have set up an account ~ {email address deleted by admin} ~ which you are welcome to use. I will look forward to corresponding if that works for you. Katherine

 

{note by admin - per the "Instructions - Read First" in the top menu, posting of real names and email addresses is discouraged.} 

Wonderful person

I have a question in regards to Colleen and Katherines comments. I am the person with ADHD in my marriage and judging by the responses from you 2 and maybe others that I can not remember reading, I noticed that you have said that "ask anyone, they will tell you my husband (or if a wife has ADHD my wife) is wonderful, evevryone will tell you. I have been told by my wife that this is what people tell her that I am the greatest and a good husband. I have come to understand that I have my downfalls and that living with a person with ADHD can be an issue, why is it that everyone thinks the ADHD spouse is wonderful and the people on the inside (one living with the adhd person) thinks that it is so bad. Is it just that they have to deal with the ADHD every day and that no one else has to? The outside looking in does not see that? I think that I am answering my own qeustion but it puzzles me, and like I said before I can see it now about being around me at home all the time and dealing with my short comings but I can't understand or comprehend how I can be such a nice and wonderful guy to someone outside but the spouse response is you should try living with him. I guess what confuses me is that I try so hard at home and to her to be a wonderful husband and that is what everyone sees but it is the other issues that overshadow the positive one. I hope that I didn't confuse anyone, just trying to ask a question from another prospective.

Okay, I'll answer you as to

Okay, I'll answer you as to why ADHD husbands look so wonderful to the outside world and are so frustrating to actually LIVE with. My husband is the most charming guy you would ever meet. He has a great memory for useless information, which makes him a great conversationalist at a party or at the dinner table. He has a very sarcastic sense of humor, but not hurtful. He can easily dip into one conversation and then float away to the next--again, great at a party or social event. He tells a great story, embellishes just right, delivers the punch line well. He will volunteer to do anything for anyone any time, including giving money we cannot afford. He is always up for something fun and wacky. All of these make him great fun to the outside world. At home those same qualities derail him often. The great memory seems to be FULL up with useless information because it's anyone's guess if he will remember information I give him that he actually needs for our day to day life. His sarcasm makes it hard for him to discipline our ADHD son and hard for us to have a useful arguement--he segways into sarcasm almost instantly and that is impossible to penetrate. His ability to move in and out of conversations, while nice in a big group, is not so nice at the dinner table with our kids or with just the two of us. I can look at his face and see that he is not with us. My sons will speak directly to him and he may or may not answer. I often have to prompt him to respond to our kids when they speak to him, even if he is not doing anything else--where is he??? Don't know. His story telling, while funny at a party or with friends, makes me trying to get information out of him darn near impossible. One of the biggest fights we have ever had was over a softball game, the time of which he didn't know when I asked him, but it took me about 20 questions to get him to admit that he didn't know the time. His volunteering to do things for people makes him the go-to fix it guy for many of our friends, again, nice for them, not so nice for me who will be home without him AGAIN for the hours that he is working at their house. Last weekend he spent the entire day on Sunday--7am until 6pm helping a friend of ours fix their porch. The fact that he saved them all kinds of money makes them love him. Me, I was alone with the kids all day. Another time he gave our credit card to a friend who was "having trouble". No matter that we had literally just bought our condo and could barely make the mortgage and we have two kids. His single, employed friend charged about $400 and made no efforts to pay it back until I stepped in. His friend thinks my husband is a wonderful, generous guy and I am the b**ch who made him pay back the money. Once he bought a car without telling me. I only found out when the attorney contacted us that he hadn't make any payments. Now I manage the money. My husband is not on any of our accounts. I hope that helps. I will say, the more I look at his ADHD qualities as flip sides of the same coin the better I do being married to him. He gets frustrated that I give him an "allowance" and if he runs out I will not give him more, but I remind him of the car and the credit card and then he backs off. I am not trying to be this shrew wife, but I have to protect my family. But I digress...the point is the same qualities that make ADHD folks so fun and creative and energetic make them hard to live a normal life with. Normal life is filled with boring, mundane, tiny tasks that must get done, but that don't generally even register with ADHD folks. Last night there were seven pairs of shoes outside our door (we live in a condo) that my husband walked by twice. It does not occur to him that we cannot have that mess in our public hallway. I asked him if he noticed the shoes that were out there--nope, never saw them, no idea. We didn't argue, I brought the shoes in, but days and days of that add up to a fair amount of resentment on the part of the non-ADHD spouse that has to do all that crummy little boring stuff. Hope that helps. dana

Same husband?

Mylank's picture

Hi Dana,

As I read your response to the person that asked why others think our spouses are terrific while we have such difficulties with them I wondered if perhaps you, too, were married to my husband.  The outside stuff is almost identical.  The inside stuff is a little different but not much.

My guy will jump and run if anyone asks him for help -- anyone but me.  I believe he does this partly because he knows I'm not helpless -- he has one friend who is frail, weak, ill, etc., and he will run to this guy's house to change his cat litter box even though ours is overflowing; he'll take this guy grocery shopping when we need groceries (and I of course have to get ours).  Other people he does chores for or favors for just because they are friends and somehow he can see that something needs done right now -- he can't see that at home.

Our friends love my husband so much -- he's intelligent, charming, funny as hell, sings beautifully, is helpful, dependable to them, etc.  But they also know that it's different for me.  So they are very supportive.  But still, when we go somewhere to meet up with friends, when they see me first they say "Where's Mylan?"  I'm like, what the hell?  Say hello to me! 

I wouldn't want my husband or the original inquirer to change -- it's part of who they are.  But this is why others think our ADD spouses are spectacular on all counts and we struggle with them.  Like Dana said, things are different at home where mundane tasks have to be done and typically WE are the ones doing them and sometimes it looks to us like they get to have all the fun and attention.

Hello JFD - and I'm so glad

Hello JFD - and I'm so glad you wrote in. I can't speak for everyone in a relationship with someone who has ADD or ADHD, but I will share that one of the main points of frustration I experience is the alone-ness coupled with the added responsibility of sharing life with someone with such a disorder. In my case the issues do get doubled up because we also deal with OCD...often can't keep it straight, so we jokingly refer to it all as "LMNOP" in our family! It just gets extremely frustrating not being able to rely on someone to follow through on what they say, or even sincerely promise. And it just doesn't matter if it's the little things or the big things. Most of us ADD spouses are all too aware that it really is no fault of their own. We KNOW they have a disorder. We KNOW they don't mean to be a flake. So then we wind up with little if anything to even fight against, because hubby honestly didn't mean to forget he promised to pick up the kids and now they are stranded on a soccer field after dark. And he didn't mean to overdraw the checking account. He literally forgot that the debit card was not a credit card. So you smile and agree that perhaps a cash budget would be best after all. And then he leaves his wallet at home because he forgot to implement the "rules" his therapist helped him develop on little tricks to help him get through a normal day, like a routine place to keep his things. And yes, separate checking accounts are always an option, but you are married and your credit is tied to his and someone needs to mind the bank. So, you cover. You check, quietly or overtly, You lay awake at night and worry if the bills got sent until it's simply easier to handle all the finances yourself. And there you are, in charge of it all. Yes. every woman's dream. How dare we complain? And the little day-to-day things - like after so many years of wiping little fingerprints off of doors cabinet fronts you find that now you're wiping off BIG fingerprints and gluck, because he simply isn't mindful that his hands and arms are covered with grease from working on the car that you have begged him to take to the shop because you know from experience that it will now be out of commission for at least a day or two, or? and when he came in to pour a cup of coffee it slipped and dribbled everywhere, but then he left it to go out to play with the dogs for just a few minutes..... They need attention too, you know? How do I respond? Not always so well. When you find that you are married to someone who for whatever reason gets to live in their own little world, completely oblivious to the impact they have or don't have...I don't know...maybe we're just jealous. I mean, I want someone to wipe up after me. I want someone to worry about the bills, the kids, the whatever. If I could do that... then I would be the most blithe enjoyable spirit too, and everyone would love me. Instead I often feel like a tired old shrew. I know. maybe I need a wife! Women who live with an ADD husband and have children share the burden of single mothers, but they don't look like it. They didn't sign up to be the one "wearing the pants in the family" but there they are, holding things together, finding themselves nagging, or hurt, or angry, and doing everything they can do to bouy up the respect they once held for their wonderful guy. Always reminding their children of their father's wonderful qualities and praying that his totally unintended neglect doesn't plant seeds of bitterness in their hearts. For our ADD guys ARE wonderful! We did NOT fall in love with jerks! We KNOW they try harder than the average bear! And if we are truly honest we become humbled because we have also figured out by this point in our lives that part of the initial attraction, whether we knew it or not.... was that he was looking for someone who could/would take care of things, and just maybe we were looking for someone who would let us. So my own innate control issues have been honed to perfection by circumstance, and it honestly isn't how I wanted to be any more than he's how he wants to be. We forgive each other a ton. And then we pick ourselves up and keep on keeping on. MY ADD guy is faithful to a fault, but when it takes him 12-14 hours to do an 8 hour job then quality time isn't possible and the relationship becomes unattended to. MY ADD guy would never ever intentionally hurt or disappoint me, but he's so distracted and distractable that expressed needs hold sway for 2-3 days at most. MY ADD guy puts so much effort into just getting through a day, that all planning and initiative for everything, and yes, I mean everything, has been abdicated to me. Of course it helps when we understand, but it still gets old, and we don't mean to complain, but we do need to hear and be heard by a sympathetic ear. There are so many resources out there for people battling their internal distractions. It just seems to be a little trickier to find healthy support for the supporter. Colleen

Oh Colleen that is the best

Oh Colleen that is the best post I have EVER read! You are so right--our guys are super...except for when they're not! Your last several lines about us probably needing to control stuff...I have thought about that and I definitely think that was true for me when we first got married, but boy, it's not now! Now I am tired! I wish there were parts of our life I could just hand off but it's not possible. Is your DH on meds? Because that helps a ton, not a miracle cure, but helps a ton. My DH does better with us when he gets time to himself too. For example, this weekend I had a single friend come visit and he took two days off work to help me with the kids. One of the days he went golfing with her and another friend and I had the kids and the rest of the time he pretty much managed the kids and I had time to have fun with her. I knew if I gave him that golf day that he would be more inclined to help the other days. The worst part is the tiny day to day stuff that isn't even on their radar--it is so exhausting to keep track of it all. I have learned, though, that lots of stuff can be let go and no one dies! Laundry sitting in the basket used to drive me nuts, now, not so much. anyway. keep the faith and keep posting-- dana

Hi Dana Thanks! And I

Hi Dana Thanks! And I appreciate your entries so much - but there's only so much time in a day to respond. Yes, my husband is on meds - without them I don't know where we'd be. We are blessed also to have found a real "tweaker" of a psychiatrist. He used to be an anesthesiologist and is incredibly attentive at fine-tuning dosages. He also is thorough about explaining things to me. My husband is also medicated for OCD - and balancing the two seemingly opposing disorders can be quite a trick. Too much of a medication that helps you not get stuck on a repetitive thought can adversely affect your ability to focus. Medication intended to give you a kick start and get your wandering neurons firing in a straight line can aggravate the anxiety. His initial experience with a stimulant took some educaton about timing and consistency. Our case must be pretty severe. When he was still on disability and just getting adjusted to the Adderall, to his credit he was looking for ways to help me with some projects. I had been prepping a table for paint and offered the sander. I showed him specifically how the top didn't need to be done as a butcher block piece was going there. I turned around to another task to come back 5 minutes later to find him dutifully sanding the top. I assumed he hadn't understood, so I explained again, saying that he didn't need to spend his energy or time on the top, just work on the legs. Again, 10 minutes passed and I found him sanding the top. After the third correction I finally asked, "Do you remember our conversation? How you don't need to do that?" He didn't. I about lost it. I called the doctor all teary and crying because now my poor husband's brain had been turned into Swiss Cheese! Anyway, Dr. calmly asked what time of the day this happened. And sure enough, it was right when the Adderall would have been "running out". The half life of that stuff is pretty drastic in my husband's case. I had relaxed and finally been enjoying how "on" my dear ADDer had become, and the shock of suddenly being confronted by ADD Man again was tough. Since then things have consistently improved - he's much more balanced overall, and we are enjoying that his OCD anxieties are mostly on the wane for right now - the stimulants "lifted the veil" of the inattentive ADD and have allowed him the focus he needs to combat the OCD thought patterns. And we have learned to really respect the medications that he is on. Mornings can be rough - they get a little rougher if I say things like "Have you taken your meds yet?" Right up there with when he would dare to ask me what time of the month it was... Yeah - relationships are grand, aren't they? But so worth it! Colleen
Colleen

My Adderal XR leaves me by 3:00

The same thing happen to me by 3:00 it has left me . I realized I was cleaning up the mess from the night before. Now I also take the short lived Adderal in the afternoon. Great improvement to getting my kids to bed on time. Clacius

Meds

My partner has been prescribed Ritalin (20mg, I believe it is) by her family doctor.  She was told to go to another doctor to be properly diagnosed with ADHD and would in turn be given the correct doseage.  A few problems with what seems to be an easy task...

 

1.   Family doctor told her to see this 'specialist' about 6 months ago.  Specialist was never seen...referral paper was lost, found again and then put through the washing machine.  Family doctor never called to get another referral paper.

 

2.  Meds forgotten.  Supposed to be taken every 4 hours.  Meds may actually get taken 1 time each day if she's lucky.  She forgets to take them. 

 

3.  Can't take meds after 1pm as she says they keep her awake at night. 

 

So here we have someone who was diagnosed with ADHD by a family doctor and was told to go see a specialist who could properly diagnose and medicate her.  So in the interim, I have a partner who is inadequately medicated (the 20mg or whatever it is does nothing to help her) and can't seem to get it together to go to the specialist. 

 

She does exhibit about every single 'symptom' of the folks I have seen on here.  And I exhibit every result of the 'symptoms' addresses my the non-adhd partners on here...I wish she would go to the specialist and get properly treated but no matter how often I ask her to do it...it just keeps getting put off.

RE: Meds

Having to take meds more than once a day?  That must truly be a nightmare for an ADDer.  My husband could never handle that.  He was taking a dosage of time-release adderall that lasted for 12 hours.  Now he is taking Vivanse, that lasts for 16.  Here's how it works for someone who can't make that initial psych appointment.  

You call and clear an appointment time with the psychiatrist, then you put the ADD person on the phone to officially agree to the appointment.  You pick them up and take them to the appointment.  YOU take the prescription, drive straight to the pharmacy, pick up the meds, and watch as the person takes the medication.

After that things get better, not perfect, maybe not totally acceptable, but definitely better.

 

ADHD affecting relationship

THis is in response to a posting or 2 on this forum/blog on the subject of relationships and adhd. It is in repsonse to the post from colleen and what I had said....ANYWAYS... I have never know that my ahd has effected my relationship due in part to the fact I was never "officially' diagnosed wiht it. It was a running joke that everyone kidded me about. Well it is not really a joke now. It make me "unique' in that it is "me". It does in my mind have some benifits and also some drawback. As I can see from everyone's post that i everybody ( adhd or not) is familiar with the negatives. I was the one to walk by shoes or laundry and not "see" them there. i always thought in the back of my mind that I should move them but never followed thru. It was the same with house projects. I would start something, not finish it and then try to get time to do it and it would not come or I would just not do it. I KNEW it had to be done but there was always so much else going on that it got moved down on my radar. I figured if it was THAT much in a rush to get done, my wife would let me know. Well it always got to the point that when it reached that stage, it was too late and now she was not happy that it wasn't finished and then I would do it and complete it. But it always took her getting to that point. That is just how my mind was thinking it. I didn't do it on purpose but was just my thought process. Money is/was the same way. Before we were married, I would just spend my money. My bills got paid, sort of but they got paid. What I should say here was i HAD the money, i just had it in my savings> So if I wrote a check I would say oh yea I have to tranfer the money to my checking. Well as you could guess, I NEVER did. and the check cleared using my reseverve credit so it would not bounce. Well when my wife found out about this she took it all over. Since then she does all the bills. Not because I can't, well maybe yes, but she is just better at it and then yea oh the ADHD could problaby be an issue to pay them. So she does that. I just make it and she spends it!!! Hey that is not and ADHD marraige thing I think, RIght??? : ) Once I began being treated for my ADHD and being put on meds, I relaized, am realizing all the things I didn't do before, "littlte" things, laundry house chores etc. Not that I did nothing, but not to the extent of "running" a house but I can see that it is a LOT of work. Oh yea put 3 kids and 2 jobs in there also. It can be a bit overwhelmeing. Now that my wife is working full time I am the one that is home doing most of the house stuff, so I can see before how my not helping out was fustrating, hence me where I am at now, which kind of caused me to get dianosedm so it was a good thing. Everyone has told me she wears the pants, as it was put in another post, she is the boss. Yea she is in some or most thigns because I am not the best at things and she is so yea she is in charge. I think that also is true due to other things that willl make this post much longer then it alreay is... I know i am not cured but I have found that I am learning a lot about me and my issues and that it does not just affect 1 person it can effect your whole family. I guess I am fortunate to realizie this but I also now there is a lot more work to be done for me and that i have a lot more to learn. It has also been dificult and hard for me to break my old "habits' but i have been working at it. I just hope that it all pays off in the end. I know that i have to do it for ME first and no one else. I kind of just lost my train of thought...... that is all for now, hope it will help. I will pick it up again later.

ADHD affecting relationship by jfd

You mention that everyone says she wears the pants-just wondering how that made you feel or act towards your wife since I think a few people might be suggestion that to my husband and I don't want him to feel bad about it. I just know that with money and certain things I handle them better. You also mentioned (sometimes everyone thinks that I am crabby, ususally with my oldest (12) just wondering what lead up to it and what helped to not make it as bad? My husband and son have ADHD and get into arguments that make no sense and won't stop until they both say to many hurtful things to each other.

jfd, I have been through this

jfd, I have been through this with my husband for the last 11 years. When we met, he was very attentive to me. He was fun to hang out with, always had ideas of fun stuff to do, told good jokes, and helped me, for the first time in my life, to learn to relax some. It was wonderful! And that's what everyone else still sees in a person with ADD/ADHD. Now, though, I have to handle ALL the finances b/c when my husband took care of our finances, he didn't balance the checkbook for 6 months! He thought that whatever the bank said was in our account was the amount we had--regardless of how many outstanding checks there were. I have our son with me every minute that I am not teaching (partially because of my husband's schedule). That includes doctor appointments, dentist appointments, cub scouts, sports, homework, bedtime routines, getting ready for school, parent-teacher conferences, etc. I have to take care of all household chores because my husband forgets to do them or gets distracted in the middle of them. I plan all of our meals because my husband can't/doesn't/won't plan for a week at a time. I do all the grocery shopping because my husband buys random things that "sound good" instead of sticking to a list, and I end up cooking almost all of the meals. It is EXTREMELY STRESSFUL to feel like there is no companionship because I can't rely on my husband to do what he said he would do. It is sooo lonely to feel like my husband is constantly in his own "happy place" while I am saddled with all of the responsibility. Most of all, communication can be absolutely excruciating--my husband is distracted a lot, jumps from topic-to-topic randomly, fails to see how things he says might be hurtful or mean, and often expects me to condense all my feelings/frustrations/needs into just a couple of sentences. (That's if we get through the difficulty of working opposite schedules!) Other people don't see that because they don't "share" any responsibilities with my ADD spouse or the hurt and loneliness of bearing all the responsibilities. They just see how much fun it is to be around the ADD person. So when I, the non-ADD spouse, am hurt/ upset/ frustrated/ angry/ overwhelmed by all the responsibilities that I feel like I carry alone, others don't understand. Most of the time, I feel like I have all the responsibilities while he has all the fun!!

to Overwhelmed

Thank you for your response. I can see where this is a problem. Some of the things you write about, especially the check thing, applies to me most. Since I have begun treatment for ADHD, I have done a turn around. In this time also my wife has had a new job so now the tides are turned. I am the one who is home most of the time, she works full time during the day, as my full time job rotates and my part time is also different. I have found I am doing most of the work at home now and am trying to be the person I was not. I am very happy with it and it is prerty cool how much I can actually accomplish. Now somtimes I feel like I am trying to start over, cause it all came to a "breaking point" so to speak which started all this for me to actually get diagnosed. My biggest problem is now letting time take its course and be able to have a functioning balanced marraige and not be lopsided, which it was appretnly, which i did not really see or understand at the time. I beleive thsi cause some negativity/resent (maybe not the right exact words), fustration i guess, that you are exereiencing. Now Ihave to try as she too I guess to move past it and continue with the way it was when we were first togeter, as you had stated before. In my mind I am still there after all the problems as mentioned it has moved our marraige away from that a bit.  I want both of us to have the repsonsibilites and also have fun!

For jfd

You don't mention how your wife feels about your progress since your diagnosis.  Sounds as if you are doing great, which is wonderful...but make sure that she has the right outlets to progress with you.  This may mean getting past some pent up frustration and anger, as well as the stress of her job...also, it's important to start doing fun things together so that you reconnect in positive ways.

So, if this isn't already happening, you might ask her if she needs further help, possibly the help of a therapist or something (you have to ask this at the right time, which would NOT be while you are fighting because then she will take this as a comment on her bad mood, rather than as a "I've been thinking about how much I love you and how I want to make sure we are BOTH doing as well as we can" comment.)

I would be interested in your feedback on these ideas...

Feedback to Melissa

Hi Melissa... I read your response above and somehow realized i didn't write back. I haven't actually been on here for a while, been very busy...anyway I was reading your response and as I am in a bit of a slumpr or down level, I figured it was pertainint to this entry. I stated that I have been doing well, she hasn't said I haven't improved but I really have stopped asking cause I don't want to get into the reassurance thing.  The last thing that I was told, at a counsoling session was to just go about my thing and not nag her about trying to make it work, which is what ihave been doing. I think that i have been doing a good job but then it is like I havn't done as much as I thought. She still does not like her job very much so that is still an issue. I also realize that I do need to wait untill the right time to talk to her, which is why i get so fustrated becuase there seems to never be the right time or not enough of it to ask her all that i want to, or get it all out. Like i stated before, I think that i have done a good job or leaving her alone or not always being need or in her face all the time, whichi was a HUGE problem before and the brut cause of some issues i am dealing with now. But once i feel like I have left her alone or not been in her face, I will try to go to her, or be near her and it is like I have been in her face all day. This is the part I am having trouble with, for all the progress I have made and my thinking that I am not in her face this happens and I don;t know what I have done that was a bother. SHe stated she just wants me to leave her alone and not be always "crowding her" (my words, not hers. Can't remember exactly what they were but i think you get the picture). I would love to go away with her for a night or the weekend, but that I think would just make it worse becuase it seems as though she has had too much of a good thing, as she has said before.  THis is where the problem is, i was hyperfocusing on her. I beleive that I have stated this before. So I think that us going away together to try to talk about things that have been going on would be good, but I think that I am beating a dead horse, trying to hard to make it work and she just wants to let it work itself out and not beat it to death just to let it work it out. Which is why there is an issue I think. The harder i push to make it work or to get close to her the more she pushes away. Does that make sense? The harder i try to get close to her the more she pushed back. IT seems as though things get better then they turn around and get worse. Overall think they are better then a year ago, but still not where they were or what I think to be a healthy relationship. One other point that I want to bring up is that soemtimes everyone thinks that I am crabby, ususally with my oldest (12) and then my wife also. Yea I am crabby soemtimes just because I am stressed or tired as we all are but most of the time it is because I am not able to have a husband/wife relationsship with my wife. I don't see her all day becuase she works then when she get home I am raelly can't go runnign to her so it takes a lot of me to stay away, (which is a BIG change from before), hence the fustration. ANtother point re;ated to this is her boss, which she can't stand, is ALWAYs right over her shoulder all day watching her and her work. Do you think that this has somethign to do with it? SHe has someone over her shoulder all day, litteraly, for the most part anway, she just wants to be left alone when she gets home. I am trying my hardest, but it seems like it is working and then it goes backwards. I went off track but hope you can make it out. One other thing, would it be beneficial do you think to just write everything done and give it to her rather then wait to try to explain it to her so I can tell it all at once?? Just wondering, i am interested to see what you think./

For JFD

A couple of things that may be continuing here.  First, are your counselling sessions solo or together?  If they are solo, I would suggest that you explore whether or not you are more needy than many people and, if so, why.  If they are joint, then you might request some solo sessions to explore this issue.  If it turns out that you are more needy, then being happy probably comes from working in two directions -addressing your issues so that you can be a bit less needy, and also getting to a place (with your wife or some other outlet) that meets a bit more of your neediness.  Your post is striking in that you are trying to address her needs, but you are clearly stifling your own...which is taking its own toll.

Your insight into the role that your wife's boss plays in your own relationsihp seems a good one.  Certainly, if you are under a certain type of pressure all day, you don't want that same type of pressure at home.  Is there another approach that you can take that would not resemble glomming on to her, but which would provide you with positive emotional connection?  Perhaps talking with her about trying to shift into doing things together that are just FUN, and perhaps include you as a couple with other couples might help.  That way you are together, but you are not only interacting with just her - she gets the space she needs, too.

It's hard to tell from your note whether or not your perception of how much you are hanging onto her is wrong (i.e. that you are still more hyperfocused on her than is desirable, but think you aren't) or whether she is stuck in the past somehow.  For example, she feels that you might be doing fine now, but if she "lets you in" then you'll revert to your old stuff and be all over her again.  I know from experience that fear that what used to happen i nthe past can certainly color what you do in the present, even if it's unfounded fear.  One approach might be to discuss this specific issue.  If she says you haven't changed, as her for concrete examples - not as proof, but so that you can learn from her opinions about what you can do better.  (Make sure that when you ask for that proof you tell her that you aren't asking her to defend her position on this, but that you are interested in learning from the examples she gives you so you can do better.) If she admits that you have actually changed, but she fears reversion, then you should ask for some window when she gives you the benefit of the doubt and test out if she is correct.  This is relatively low-risk for her.  Ask her to give you two weeks where she works hard to overcome her fear and treat you with less distance, and you take those same two weeks to try hard NOT to justify her fears and hyperfocus, and see what happens.  Agree to discuss it again in two weeks so you can both get feedback on progress.  If you have joint counselling, a counsellor might be able to assist in this experiment.

You seem to have done a good job of trying hard...please work on the crabbiness (sleep and exercise can both help in this department) and also acknowledge that your wife might be tired, too, and that some of her behavior might not be personal (just as your crabiness isn't personal towards your kids but a result of your exhaustion).  It's not fun to be in a job you hate - really depressing, in fact.

Finally, be aware that many overworked parents (and particularly overworked moms in my experience) have a sense that they "just can't add another thing to their plate".  She may simply be feeling overwhelmed and putting you off because EVERYONE around her is needy - her kids need her asisstance (all kids do) her boss seems to be needy (else he would be off doing his own thing)...she may simply view you as the person who ought to be able to stand on your own the most easily...the straw that broke the camel's back.  This attitude may help her, but doesn't help you meet your own needs, so you should consider that two-pronged approach that I suggested earlier.  But also, be compassionate.  We are all humans, with very real physical and mental limitations.  Sometimes too much is simply too much.

Thanks for checking back in - keep in touch.

Melissa

The reason everyone else on

The reason everyone else on the outside thinks the ADHD person is so great is because they do not have to RELY on the ADHD person for anything!!!!! Those of us that have to rely on someone with ADHD are constantly dissappointed.

Wonderful person

I think its because the other people usually do not see all that the non ADHD person has to deal with they just see what the ADHD person is doing that they are good at. My husband has ADHD and he is wonderful. He likes helping others (yet he complains of feeling used), he is amazing at woodworking (yet forgets how to do certain projects at times), he has a great sense of humor (yet repeats certain jokes all the time), he can be a great dad (yet when he gets stressed it can be horrible and make him look awful to the kids), he does the dishes some times and helps out with chores (yet creates huge messes that never get put in order), usually the stuff in brackets no one else sees or notices but me. Sometimes I am looked on as not being a great wife to my husband or moody by some people but they have not seen all of my day and the fact that I get tired by him and my son who is ADHD as well. Another part of it is that if those people see something in the bracket then all you hear is your husband is smart he can do it or he's an adult he should be able to do it they do not understand that it is not that easy or that the problem is what it appears to be.

Hi Katherine... sorry for

Hi Katherine... sorry for the delay in replying. I have read over your reply to me many times and wish I could send you a cyber-hug! While we are in different phases of our lives, I feel for you. I have come to realize that one person, ADHD or not, cannot be everything for me. I have cultivated many many friendships that fill the void when hubby is checked out. No, that sounds bad...I have many adult women friends whose friendship I value and tend to and who fill in parts of me that I cannot get from my husband. He is my life partner and I would not have an affair, that is not the issue, but we have very different social needs. I belong to a co-ed book club that I just love, I am very active at our church, both in official ways on our parish council and in social ways via moms groups, and I have one super good friend that I go out to dinner and theater with at least once a month. None of these things interest my husband. He and I go out once a month--we do a babysitting trade with another family--and we have two or three other couples that we socialize with. We go to movies, bowling, dinner, things like that. Rereading my earlier post, I sound very put upon. That is partly summer blues. I am a teacher so I am home with my two boys all summer and my husbands' activities are all summer ones, so the same time I need a big break is the time he gets extra busy. I hate weekends for this reason--we still have not worked out a good balance, but Melissa was right--I have to open my mouth more and so do you. Do you email your husband reminders or plans when he is at work? This helps us a lot because my husband will put that information right in his blackberry and then remembers it, or at least can't deny he was told it!!! Still, there are days when I would happily throw him to the wolves for his "checked-out-ness". He did it to me last night--I was out at a book club and rode my bike. I was to come home in the dark, so a little unsafe on a bike, but it wasn't far. I called him both on his cell and on our house phone when I got close to home because I was late and got no answer on either line. I get upstairs and he is in bed reading, had not bothered to check either phone. I was livid--what if it had been an emergency? Both phones were off, how would someone get through??? It was about 9:45pm. I said how long before it would have occurred to you that I was late? "oh, I would have checked around midnight", is his answer. UGH--that is a long time to be dead by the side of the road!! You get my drift--no thought at all to me. I felt very un-cared for, you know? Even that it's not purposeful, still hurtful. Hang in there--there is great advice on this board! dana

Self Centeredness of ADHD

Here are the sentences in your post that most sticks with me "My husband would be shocked if he knew I thought he was self centered.  He thinks he does a great job of paying attention to us.  He would be shocked if he knew how lonely and frustrated I get with him."

I'm going to say this in a straight-forward way, and I hope that the effect is that I give you something to think about, rather than offend you.  Feeling disconnected and lonely is pretty common for a non-ADHD spouse because people with ADHD are pretty easily distracted (away from being with their spouse), but in this case I think that you, too, are partially to blame.  It sounds as if you haven't communicated with your spouse about your frustration with his schedule and the "optional" activities such as golf, T.V., etc. that he is choosing over you.  Furthermore, it also sounds as if you have taken on the role of primary "yucky task" person in the household without much discussion about whether or not this makes sense for the two of you.  You have needs, too, and part of his responsibility as a spouse is to acknowledge this and help you out a bit.

Worse yet, I'm guessing that you are in a worse position than you think, because since your role is that of mother and maid, part of the reason that there is no intimacy may be that he isn't really viewing you as "spouse and lover" anymore.

Time to change all that, and you're the person to do it!

I don't know the exact dynamics of how the two of you interact, but figure out a way to tell him (nicely) that you want to spice your joint lives back up a bit.  In my opinion, this usually means making a better offer than the alternatives (golf, soft ball, tv), such as a romantic vacation, regularly scheduled dates, love notes, new sex toys...whatever.  You shouldn't have to initiate forever (that gets tired, fast!) but it would be unrealistic to expect that you could say - "hey, I'm unhappy, let's get more connected" and he would just start being creative and attentive!  So, give him something to attend to!

If it were me (and I'm very straightforward) I would also have a conversation that started something like this:  "I know you don't realize this, and haven't been doing this intentionally, but I'm starting to feel like just another piece of furniture around this household! (Make sure to say this with a smile on your face, not in a mean tone!)  When we got married, I have visions of us doing things together, yet we've both gotten into the habit of dividing and conquering.  While that's one strategy that can work, I'm finding that it is making me feel very disconnected from you, and this is hard for me.  Can we take a look at our responsibilities and activities and see how we might make our lives more interconnected again?  Also, raising kids is making me pretty exhausted, and I'm hoping we can make some plans to have some fun together again...in fact, how about a date soon?  I need to get rejeuvenated, and I know just the guy who can do this with me!"

I will tell you that when my husband and I had these very same issues, he had no idea that he was ignoring me.  Furthermore, when I told him I felt that way, he felt that I was mistaken.  Part of the reason he felt that way was that I approached it from the negative (so he thought I was just complaining), but also he just genuinely didn't understand the concept that doing all the stuff around the house without any help from him was a real burden.  (What he saw was that I was very competent at it...but he didn't understand that competancy and pleasure are very different things.)  He also felt I wasn't any fun anymore...and I wasn't, because I was too busy taking care of things (and too busy resenting that I was taking care of things and was lonely since he was off doing things that interested him more than spending time with his boring wife!) 

He now sees that I was right - that he was ignoring me, and that a healthy relationship includes setting aside special time to be with your spouse (some of ours comes in the form of bike rides together...I've heard of other couples who like to take walks and talk with each other, still others who like to go on evening dates...so what your special time looks like very much depends upon who you are.  A good bet, though, is sharing hobbies or activities that you can enjoy together - which may mean getting a sitter, even just for going to the softball game and hanging out with the other couples.)

I've also learned that he was right, too.  A household contains an unlimitted number of things that "need" to get done.  But sometimes you just have to leave them undone and focus on your relationship and having fun together.  Developing the habit of distinguishing between "must get done" and "nice to get done" is an important part of leaving time and energy to focus on your partner.

Anyway, please start opening the channels of communication on this one.  You may not be immediately successful, but it's time you communicated how you feel (in a constructive way) and started to push for some more fair boundaries in your relationship - boundaries that include making sure that he is meeting your needs, not just that the housework is done, the bills paid, and the kids fed.

Let us know how things go!

Melissa Orlov

Taking Your Words to Heart

Dear Mellisa, Finding this blog has done wonders in alleviating some of my loneliness and anger. Ater reading and rereading your real life dealings with ADD, I began looking inward and planning my approaches with your suggestions in mind. Since we both work full-time and I had never asked him to pitch in with some of the routine household projects, I asked him if he minded doing his own laundry. He said no problem. I also asked if I cooked would he mind doing the clean up. I was mindful that I would need to lower my standards. Since this was a new activity for him, when he was done and had left the kitchen and there was still food on the counter, I just quietly put it away and decided to ignore it until we had a quasi-routine going. To deal with the intimacy issue, I suggested an afternoon and night on his pontoon boat. He played golf in the morning and then we set out for the lake. (Golf + Boat = Perfect Day for him) We had a leisurely afternoon puttering on the boat. At nightfall we pulled up to an island, had a big fire, watched the sunset and slept on the sand. Next day, similar activities. The last half hour I asked if I could talk to him about some of the things I had read in your blogs. I asked him to take notes because he says he focuses better when listening and writing. I just hit the highlights and we had a wonderful, open discussion. He asked me for two things for him to work on. We packed up and I truly felt heard. Got home and I suggested he go play golf. That evening he said he was going to do laundry. I asked him to look at me and I said "Please do not do any of my things", I reiterated that two more times. He said he understood. As we went to bed I asked if he had finished his laundry. He said he better go put the wet things in the dryer, I volunterred since he was already in bed. I found my good shirt thrown in with his golf clothes. I felt defeated. I want to believe in what you say, but my experience is that no matter how I approach him I get the same results. After 35 years I have found that past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. Where did I go wrong? Katherine

Katherine - You did not go wrong

Katherine - you did not go wrong.  You did everything right with only one exception...you haven't yet gotten a good system in place for the laundry.  But all the other stuff was GREAT! 

Think about what you wrote - you had a wonderful time together (I'll guarantee that there are many who read this blog who are envious of your nights out); you communicated well;  your husband agreed to try some things around the house that he hasn't done in the past (and you correctly assumed that it will take time for him to learn how to do the dishes AND put the food away)...He heard you, etc.

As for the laundry - it's an easy fix - have two different laundry baskets.  That way none of your things can sneak into his laundry and get missed (have you ever put money through the wash or had a white sock end up in the darks?  So easy to miss a shirt...but just to make sure you're not disappointed in the future, just keep your laundry in your own closet...)

Your husband's mind works differently from yours.  He may not "see" food on the counter without training himself to do so.  My experience is that a couple can usually work out a system that works for them (in our household my husband cleans the dishes and puts them in the dishwasher (in a very specific, neat, and "effecient" manner - so engineering-like!) and I put the food away and (sometimes) do the counters.  Sometimes I don't do the counters (I used to always do them, but now...I've learned to let go of some things, too.  No one really seems to care if the counters are perfectly clean every night as it turns out!)

You are definitely on the right track...just don't fall into the trap of expecting that something that is asked for once will happen exactly as you expect!  (And don't "punish" him for his laundry mistake by taking it away from him again - let him keep at it.  As long as he's only doing his, whatever mistakes he makes will be mistakes he alone is dealing with.)  All of this takes time and mutual adjustment - you are adjusting to how he settles down and does things (he may well have his own way) just as much as he is adjusting to doing them.

And my congrats on the way you chose to open up your discussions with him by doing some joint, intimate activities and talking with him when you were both in a positive and constructive mood.  Keep it up (and keep up your spirits - you're doing great!)

Melissa Orlov

P.S.  My husband read your post with interest, as well.  He is somewhat briefer than I am, but his comment was this - "Please take a deep breath!  Shirts are cheap."  In other words - you may be letting your impressions of his past behavior get in the way of your priorities.  Your relationship should be more important than any possession you own.  You had a wonderful couple of days together, some great communication around a topic, and a husband who seems willing not only to volunteer to help, but who also immediately followed through with his volunteering.  Encourage and support his efforts, understanding that he will not get it right every time.  No one does.

Award Winning

Best Post in the Forum! Thank you!

Award Winning ~ Which One?

Re: July 31st, 2008 Kplee Dear Kplee, Could you specify which post you were referring to? Because posts are in a random order I would like to read or possibly re-read the post. Thanks, Katherine P.S. I do think it would be so helpful if any response (Melissa's especially) would lead with the original title of the blog that it is in response to. Just a thought.

Award - Self Centered

Directly above mine.

reply to Melissa

Hello Melissa! thank you for the reply. I appreciate your straightforwardness--I'm a big girl, I can take it!!! It is hard to get out of the same rut of "woe is me, I do everything, he does nothing". I notice that a lot of my friends talk this way too and their husbands are not ADHD! I am trying to ask more for him to do things, for example, after dinner I will say, the pets need fed and the garbage needs to go out--pick one. He huffs and puffs, but he does it, so I ignore the huffing and puffing. It also helps if I email him during the day with the plans for later so he has time to think about it. For example, the kids and I swim a ton and if we are going to family swim after dinner I will let him know that we ALL are going to the pool later, just FYI. That helps. I often think it takes a lot for him to stay focused at work and he is just spent when he gets home--activities in the evening are really hard for him. Is that lazy or an ADHD thing? He is on 30mg of Adderrall (sp??) that seems to work, but by the end of the day he is just done. We actually did get a sitter and go out to see a movie last weekend, so that was nice. I hate sounding like this put-upon, shrew wife, so you are right--it's up to me to open my mouth!!! The hardest thing for me with him, and I see it in my ADHD son too, is the inconsistency. For a few weeks hubby will be totally "on"--with us, in a nice mood, no drama, fine. Then for no reason that I can see he gets moody and distant. It passes, but man it's hard to ride out. I see it with the 9 year old too. For no reason that I can figure out he will get surly and mouthy for a few days and then come back around to being my nice guy. If only I cold figure out the variable! It's not as dramatic as it used to be and we talk a lot about reducing drama, both ourselves and with the counselor, so this is well covered territory. thanks for the input and for this forum--it is much appreciated! dana

Self Centeredness of ADHD

Last night my husband with ADHD said we don't do anything together anymore yet he seems to forget he is gone when he has days off fishing or helping others or when I plan something to do as a family he at the last minute doesn't want to go. He also forgets that since having our two year old it left me ill which I'm just starting to get under control with meds and feeling better enabling me to do things again. I have been wondering how he could think what he does and thanks to this site it is helping to understand where he's coming from. My only major think that needs changed is he's relationship with his step son. My son has ADHD and both of them seem to argue and get under each others skin all the time to the point of stressing the rest of us and taking the joy out of doing fun things together. Yet there are some times when they have a great time together like when they paintball. Then on the other hand it seems when my husband is stressed he takes it out on my son. I get so tired after dealing with both of them as well as my own issues and would like some suggestions on what to do please.

I'm with you

Dana Oh my gosh! How tough you are. I have been married a few more years than you with two teens, one of who (daughter) has ADHD. I am at my wit's end. I am the one in the relationship who is doing the reading about the subject. I actually hired an ADHD coach by phone about a year ago for myself! My thought was that if I could understand it better, my life would someone improve. The thing is.....we, the non-add spouse, somehow believe that our spouse will "wake up" or suddenly start "seeing themselves" the way we seem them and the way others see them. I think that is where we get off track. Cause from what I have read, they lack the ability to hold a mirror up to themselves. How frustrating that is! Hang in there, Dana! You have a beautiful attitude. Allyson

reply

Dana/allyson.... I am the ADHD spouse and I think that I have said it before elswhere that it was a totally new beginning/awakening for me realizing what this (ADHD) all entailed. I have been placed on meds and see a thearpaist weekly to work on my AHDH, and I am now seeing an improvement. I am pretty amazed with meself (not to toot my own horn, but hey). It was always something eveyone said jokeingly but it turns out it was hurting my marraige, every so slowly. I didn't think there was any problems, there weren't really, but there were issues, I guess....Long story short, that is what it took for me to get rx, actually it started with a marraige counselor who inturn said you have ADHD and you have not been diagnosed, how did that happen? I told her what i just told you and it is all rolling from there. SO i guess it took realizing or being brought to my atention or both that my marraige was not at full capacity and that there was an issue with me, as well as other things with the both of us and I am now being treated and am happy so far with the resuslts. My wife and family and marraige are very improtant to me and if I am being a part of its disharmony then I would like to fix it, as well as fix myself, and like I said I am very happy with the results and that is the number 1 step doing it for yourself, then hopefully it should all fall in line. Hope this helps, maybe it will be a way to explain to your spouses....

I just wanted to share that

I just wanted to share that after reading these posts for the past couple hours, I called my husband with ADHD and informed him that he has to come home soon so we can discuss some things. His response was immediately panic as he thought he was in trouble for something he messed up on, like earlier today, but I told him to calm down and that I had been doing some reading. His response turned from fear to hopefulness and asked me "is this something that might help me"? I am so thankful to have a husband who is aware he has ADHD and wants desperately to get help for it. I realize that it's going to be a long, difficult road but at least at 24 he is accepting and it helps me realize more and more that I have to be accepting of him. When he does get home tonight I believe it will be a conversation now about what we can both do together to make this marriage work. Please keep the comments and postings frequent as I think I will be using this source regularly. Sarah

ADD, Grief, and a Teenage Daughter

Melissa,

I've just joined the group and having been reading the posts.  I'm at my wit's end with my husband and need some ideas.  We've been married for nearly 30 years, and have 3 grown sons and a daughter just turning 13.  He's only had the ADD diagnosis for 2 years.  We've had some counseling to help with the ADD, but my husband is reluctant to do anything to change.   He feels a lot of judgment and shame from growing up "wrong" and wanting to just be accepted as he is.  He tried some nutritional supplements for the ADD, but they gave him headaches.  He doesn't want to try medication, both on the advice of our therapist and because he doesn't want anything to change who he is.

My husband has run his own business for years and done very well running it.  Our youngest son worked for his dad part time for several years, then started full time once he graduated from high school.  During the past 2 years, he had taken on more and more of the memory work required for the business; details about changes or when work was due, etc.  My husband relied on him quite heavily, without being totally aware he was doing so.  At the beginning of the summer, my husband's father had surgery for cancer.  Two months ago, his father passed away.  His passing happened just days after we moved our youngest son to another state to attend school.  My husband is dealing with the loss of his father and the absence of his son/employee.  For the first time in 27 years, my husband is outnumbered with just girls in the house.  I know this is a time to be very patient with him.  Yes, the ADD symptoms are more pronounced, as I've noticed they become when he's really stressed.  I'm trying to give him a lot of support and space to do what he needs to do during this time of early grieving, whether it's to just sit around or go work out more or talk about it - or not to talk about it.

The biggest challenge for me now is that he can't seem to get along with our daughter.  She's just hitting the teen years and there are some adolescent attitudes and hormones at work.  She is also grieving the loss of a grandparent and her last brother leaving home.  But they're like oil and water right now, and it's driving me bats.  Over the years, I've had to explain to the kids that they have to let certain things go about their dad.  Sometimes he says things that come out sounding angry or stronger than he means.  I'm doing the same thing with our daughter, but she's only 13 and she IS the kid in the house.  I'm getting really tired of his reactiions to her being almost as adolescent as her are.  He gets angry and frustrated with her so quickly.  They can't be together for 15 minutes without some kind of verbal explosion.  I don't like leaving them alone together for even a couple of hours - not because of any danger to her, but the emotional cost on both sides is high.  And, of course, I put myself between them trying to calm both sides and get them to see the other perspective. 

I'm reading the other postings about how patient the non-ADD spouse has to be, but my patience is just about gone.  This is a really hard time for both of them, and for me, and I haven't found an answer to this.  I know my husband is really sensitized to any comments I make about his relationships with the kids, because I've often stood up for them and found him at fault.  Some of this is an over-reaction from my own childhood where my mother never stood up to my dad for the things he did that were out of line.  But looking back with the knowledge that his behavior was affected and formed by ADD, I believe I've had to be the adult and get between him and the kids to keep them from being overrun by his behaviors.

If you have any thoughts about a person with ADD dealing with grief, stress, and too many life changes, I'd be happy to hear them.

 

Help I am about to lose the love of my life!!!!

Dear Melissa,
    I am a 27 year-old woman with ADHD.  As a child and a teenager I was socially awkward with a few acquaintance, very few friends, and even less love interests.  Most of my relationships have been with men who didn’t love me, so they didn’t really care about my negative ADHD behaviors like not listening or poor communication. 
     A year and a half ago I met a guy that was different than all the others.  He is the ONE, but my negative ADHD behaviors are threatening our relationship.  He somewhat understands how the ADHD affects me, but not really.  Tonight he said, “be proactive about it [fixing the problems] and just start doing it, don't work on it or intend to do it. It's like doing the laundry, you learned how to do that easy enough, learn how to do these things, there is much less to remember.”  I know he wasn’t trying to be hurtful, but it frustrating because these things aren’t easy for me at all.  He doesn’t understand why I am always making the same mistakes, why I forget things that just happened and why I say I am trying, but nothing seems to change.  Looking back on the situations that keep coming up it seems that I try for a week or so and then lose focus without even realizing it.  Then the problem resurfaces and he is more upset. 
     The problems that constantly plague our relationship are my communication skills and that I don’t pay enough attention to him or his feelings.  I am really not sure how to communicate the way he wants me to.  Additionally, when he explains it I either still don’t understand or forget by the next time and I am back to square one or maybe even negative1.  Sometimes forget to ask about him and how he is doing; he feels like I am just not there for him; that this is a placeholder relationship.  I post reminders on how to be a better girlfriend all over my walls, but they don’t really help.  I take responsibility for my actions, but I need some guidance.  We are both getting discouraged and I don’t want to lose him because of my ADHD.  I know if I just had some help sorting things out this relationship would work out.  How do I go about focusing my energies and mend our relationship before it’s too late?
    Alyssa

ABout to Lose Love

You don't mention whether or not you are being treated by a doctor for you ADD.  Are you?  Are you seeing a therapist who can help you devise strategies for working through some of the key issues?  Help you learn to communicate better?

Second, your partner needs to learn a bit more about how ADD works and what is going on in your brain.  Have him read up a little bit - not in a defensive way (as in "Here, read this book because then you'll understand why this is so hard for me") but because he really deserves to know what you are dealing with, and what he will be dealing with, if the two of you get married.

There are many wonderful things that you add to the relationship - he can help you identify and celebrate those things, too, so that you don't feel as if you are constantly under attack.  Remember that YOU don't need a relationship where someone is trying constantly to change you...it is just as important that he is flexible as it is that you are flexible...

But, the bottom line is that a good match up for an ADD person is a person who loves you, ADD and all, and who loves you enough that he is willing to put in the effort it takes to help you fulfill who you are as a mate.  AND, YOU need to make sure you are doing all that you can to make the relationship work, too.  In your case, that means treatment if you arent' getting it now, and prioritizing what you will absolutely, positively, figure out how to work around.  The two of you should figure out what is most getting in the way - is it the communication?  Is it the forgetting?  Is it the not recognizing him when he comes through the door?  Then do whatever it takes to work through that particular issue.  You CAN learn to communicate better as a team (this takes your learning some new techniques as well as his learning some new techniques) and you CAN remember to pay attention to him at specific times (for example, setting a specific bedtime and creating a habit of getting into bed together and cuddling every night or by setting appointments for sex or whatever).

Be careful about feeling as if it is only your responsibility to mend the relationship...you have a large responsibility, no doubt, but please make sure that he has some flexibility and curiousity about who you are, too.

Keep us posted, and please feel free to ask for assistance from the folks on this site who have been through exactly what you have...they can provide excellent ideas for you.

Melissa

ADD or Narcissism

O.K. I have been reading, reading and more reading. I have tried "implementing" new ways of communication, cleaning house, decision making (even where to go for dinner), etc. Here's what I don't get. Everything I have read here today has described my husband and my married life to a tee. My husband and I have been married for two years. And I'm just not sure where to start "fixing" things. Honestly I didn't know my husband had ADD. (and I didn't know what the symptoms, behavior, etc is either) It seemed like all of a sudden he "checked-out" on us. (well that's what it feels like) Do people with ADD only have trouble "being" at home or with their spouses? It doesn't matter where we go, who we're with, or what we're doing my husband can remember all the people he met their (especially female), their hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc. Even "promises" to send them info or help of some sort (whatever they happen to mention - which he never does.) Things are strange and I'm really not sure if I'm dealing with true "ADD" or "Narcissism". Here are the rules I have to live by (per him) that are supposed to help make things easier for him (and us?) only I'm not seeing any change, just more "rules" . Now I'm not able to "keep-up" and feel like maybe I have ADD, ADHD, or some other sort of Bi-polar issue... 1. Don't talk to him while there are distractions, because he won't get it. Only there are always distractions, when is my turn. 2. Remind him when he forgets something. Only he gets mad or says "Well honey, you started talking about this or that, or you just picked up that piece of paper and it "distracted" me - it's really because of "what you did" that I forgot. you were supposed to remind, etc. 3. If we're not in bed by _____ pm then we can't make love because I need sleep so make sure (ready for this one) "we" get everything done for work tomorrow so we can have time together. So, I do everything, he gets one chore. (I'm done in an hour) He's never done until after "his cut-off" time, so Where does that leave me? I do the work, but get no reward. 4. If you want hugs and kisses and conversation whats wrong with you "initiating" it? Just make sure there aren't other distractions, you know "The only time I think of intimacy with you is when we get in bed." (actual quote) - I guess cause "his mind is too busy" (that's what he says.) This has begun to effect me in ways I never thought possible. Now I can't remember things, He and others aren't understanding what I say, I'm unable to concentrate (especially if he's around), I can't do anything right for him. I'm just trying to enjoy my marriage... I find myself "gushing" information out to everyone because I'm afraid I won't be heard, because I'm not now.

ADD Vs. Narcissism

You can get more info on ADD vs. Narcissism at this newsletter (go to link).  I would suggest that the two of you go to counselling, as it sounds as if you are cross-communicating (or not communicating) in a way that can be improved with the help of an outside party.  However, understand that it isn't your job to make up for your husband's ADD.  It's HIS job.  So comments about how you are to blame for his not doing something because you forgot to remind him don't cut it with me.  He needs to write himself a note, or set his watch or cell phone to remind him or whatever it takes so that HE is responsible.  Somehow, with effort, he can figure out a system that works for him...and that doesn't include making YOU responsible instead!

Your comments remind me of a job I had early in my career.  There was one woman who scared me...and after a while every time I had to turn something in to her I did it wrong and she then chewed me out.  I was completely competent in all areas of my life except when it came to her...it was uncanny!  Anyway, your description made me think of that...and think that you are hypersensitizing yourself to your husband in a way that may not help you (while he seems to be de-sensitizing himself, so it's a bad combination)....so please seek a counsellor who can get you both out of this mode before it gets worse.

My life has changed ..but for the better?

I am so glad I found this site! I am a mom with ADD and was diagnosed when I found out my husband was having an emotional affair and I happened to be in seeing a Psychiatrist for my depression. He not only put me on an antidepressant but also an Add med. We sought counseling and within months ...my life changed. I eventually went off the Antidepressant but my marriage never really recovered. Its been 5 years and i have had this awakening to life. I have much of my ADD controlled but through this process, I realized that my self esteem was so low that I essentially settled for any man who would put up with me. He is eduacationally unequal, and we are complete opposites in our likes and dislikes. I am highly educated (with two children of ours) who $ has made triple what my husband makes. I am so confident now and have built up resentment for the way I was treated in our marriage before his affair/during his affair. Although we had poor counseling,....I am not sure if even a good therapist could salvage much. You see,...my husband grew up and matured in the last 5 yrs which has made him tolerable. I do not hate him but I feel like since medicated,..I have been able to learn and absorb information....and I am more organized and focused. I am confident and driven....but find that the old me was better suited for my husband. He loves me (and our two children). I have become more successful and he no longer has to tend to my needy behaviors. I am not a total success story,....my organization and procrastination still need fine tuning! :) My children love their father and mother together,...but at what point do I blame the ADD or Blame my poor decision making and move on? Or do I deal with my mistakes and settle my desire to conquer this illness by waiting for 10yrs (when youngest is 18) and then move on. We dont argue....we just have nothing in common but our children.

Is my story characteristic of a properly diagnosed/responder to medication ADD patient?

Of course, I am keeping it together for my children but I am not sure for how long. I feel like I need to grow mentally and find myself. I feel so complete on medicine but I struggle with being the new me. He cannot understand nor does he really like "who I am". He just cannot share my passion for feeling alive! I feel like medication has helped me focus on the things I love,...reading, learning, fixing things, finishing things! But the old me was needy, insecure, lost, disorganized,...constantly frazzled, and out of it.

Anyone have similar situation?

 

Meds have changed a lot

Congratulations on taking control of your life with the help of ADD medications.  You are not the first person to say that meds have really changed how they see themselves.

It is unfortunate that you feel so out of synch with your husband now.  I would think that your psychiatrist can help you work through some of your questions about whether or not you should stay with your husband.  You say that you have no common interests...could you create some?  Find some ways to make those bonds stronger?  Some marriage research suggests that the fastest way to strengthen bonds is to attempt "exciting, challenging" things together.  The act of doing these new things gets people interested in each other again.  Some find travel does this, others trying new sports or challenges.  Perhaps, ifyou and your husband have "gotten into a rut" you might find this helps.

You may find that therapy with your husband might help, too.  I suspect that he has some strong feelings about the "new" you (if you were attracted to him because you were insecure and lost, it's likely he was attracted to you for the same reasons...)  Learning about these may give you some insight into whether or not your relationsihp can be shaped to fit the two of you better.

ADD has mentally check out from our marriage

Hi!

My husband of 14 years had an affair this summer. He only let it go when I gave him two options: to choose this woman and leave the house or to stay with me. Well, he told this woman that it is over, mainly because he did not know where to go (this woman was recently divorced with 2 daughters), as she could not accomodate him.

Afterwards he was upset and sad that I forced him to make the desicion and at the moment he is very difficult to handle. He says that he has no interest what so ever to make our relationship better. He agrees that he has ADHD, but does think that the reason for our problems is me and my nagging. He is partly right, I was really mad at him, but I have made lots of progress and have also understood where I did wrong. and Now I also know that what he did, was not done on purpose. He doesn't think he need medication nor more information about his condition.

It is very fustrating to be the only one who would like to try to change our lives together. He only stays because he has no place to live (and cannot organize it :0)) and because he loves our 2 daughters very much.

Do I just stand the situation and be patient, or should I tell him to leave? I still love him and he still sometimes (even every second day) shows affection to me as well, so it is very difficult to understand what goes on in his mind. He will not tell me, except that he is done with nagging and all the problems we had. In my opinion he would like to lead a life of a single guy again at age of 45.

Please help to do the right thing, should I just give in or do you have some good advice?

 

 

To tarjavj

Yes, you made him choose but he could have chosen the other woman.  AND you didn't make him have the affair in the first place.  Did he want to stay with you but keep her on the side.  Talk about having your cake and eating it too.  Eight years ago I gave the same ultimatum to my husband and he chose me and I don't think he has regretted it.  When her life somehow crosses ours again, he realizes how lucky he was to get away from her.

My recommendation to you is to stay.  Stop the nagging....it really doesn't help....and it gives him an excuse to blame the problems in your marriage on you.  When I feel frustrated at having to do "everything", I remind myself that if I left him I would be doing the "everything" and the few things that he does do.  Work at healing yourself.  Find some support....not so you can complain about him but so that you can vent to someone outside your marriage.  I found support at my church.

My husband and I joke that even though he's 59 years old, he's socially almost 20. 

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