How to rebuild TRUST when he won't stop LYING?

I am new to the forum. Like so many others on here, I am perilously close to divorce. I REALLY don't want that to happen, but I just don't know what to do. My (fairly story-independent) questions are at the end, so you can skip the background story or read it- whatever you prefer :)

I have been with my husband (recently diagnosed with ADD) for 17 years- three of those were long-distance while we were in college. After seventeen years, five cities, building a small business together, and plenty of trials and tribulations, my trust in him was truly monumental. I couldn't understand the scale or value of it until it was gone.

Eight months ago a friend emailed me to tell me that he'd found texts on his girlfriend's phone indicating that our partners were having an affair. I was stunned because our marriage was solid- affectionate and happy and good! I confronted my husband, he admitted that he did have "feelings" for this younger, prettier woman (also a friend of mine), which absolutely crushed me, but that he had never transgressed beyond some irresponsible texting the night before and a couple of secret lunches. I believed him- I didn't think he would ever lie to me directly. I actually thought my husband was so ethical that it would make him physically ill to cheat on me or lie to me. (Sigh. I know.) I thought that he'd only managed to deceive me because it had just started days before, and had only been "lies of omission."

After much tears and drama and reconciliation, we were two weeks recovered when I found out that he had in fact told me a bold-faced lie. That there HAD been physical transgressions, that one had happened over a year before, and that he had been keeping it from me and hanging out with the three of us for a year without ever batting an eye. I freaked out in a BIG way. Who was this pod-person? He swore that he'd so thoroughly put it out of his mind that he never thought about it during that year, that it had just started up again, and he'd only lied when confronted to protect my feelings. Again, I believed him!

Now the ADHD part. The stress of this whole situation made my husband's formerly mild ADHD explode- but neither of us knew what was happening. All I knew was that I needed my husband to be more sensitive and thoughtful, and instead he was way, way less. I couldn't understand why he was acting this way- I'd learned not to take his ADD (which I thought was just "spacing out when I was talking") personally years ago. I didn't understand why he'd say he was going for a five-minute walk and then come home from the grocery store and hour and a half later. He'd say maddeningly contradictory things in arguments that went in circles and veered off on tangents constantly. He told EVERYONE about his affair. He told our friends intimate details about our new sexual problems. He wrote a song about how hurt he was that the other woman moved on so fast and debuted it at a party in front of all of our friends. He broke promises, denied having made them, and almost never expressed remorse after doing these things. He started getting extremely angry and raging, often frightening me, when I would get upset because of something he'd done, no matter which way I tried to talk to him about it. He seemed to have zero empathy or compassion. He'd read the same affair recovery books that I had, but just wouldn't do any of the emotional things they said were essential for rebuilding intimacy and trust. On the contrary, he did such hurtful things with such regularity that I thought he must be doing them deliberately, and I couldn't understand why he would hate me so much to do that to me.

I finally found a marriage counselor who was highly educated, available, and on our insurance- but our visits to her actually seemed to make things worse. She clearly didn't believe me that any of these things were happening, and I got the distinct impression from her that she felt my H's affair and our subsequent problems were my fault. After a couple of months of this I just couldn't take it any more and told her it wasn't working out. She wrote us a letter where she urged me to seek individual therapy for my "anger problem". Of course, this was before we knew anything about ADHD.

One day we had a fight because my H told me he would do something, and after waiting an hour I found him on YouTube. He bought me a book on Adult ADHD, hoping that I'd get off his back about his tendency to be distracted. Instead, it explained SO MUCH MORE than either of us had ever known about ADHD. I was simultaneously ashamed and sad that I hadn't known more about it sooner (in my defense, he was really high-functioning before the affair- no money, employment, anger problems, etc), and so relieved that his behavior wasn't stemming from lovelessness or malice. I had such high hopes that we'd find a doctor, find a therapist, find a good drug regimen, and finally be able to begin rebuilding trust.

All of those things eventually happened- except for the trust. The sense of remorse, compassion, and safety that I'd been desperately craving for months never manifested. Instead my H started acting like it had been four freakin' months- I needed to "let it go" already! He started complaining that he was angry and unsympathetic because I was smothering him and was too sensitive and/or parental (because I wanted accountability and transparency, and still cried too much). He literally stormed out of every important conversation- often after becoming violent. Then, after months of truly believing that he would never lie to me again, I caught him lying, and this time there was absolutely no way it was for my benefit- just his. He chose to break an important promise- for hours- and then lied to my face about it over and over for days. I watched him do it and just stopped caring if he left me for another woman.

Eventually I told him that I knew he was lying. He was indignant, and then when he realized I had proof, made an unrepentant apology, said I was wrong to force him to make that promise anyway, and tried to sweep the whole thing under the rug. I felt emotionally paralyzed, but we were planning to move cross-country, and I suppose I still hoped that things would change in a new city. I told him to go there alone to house hunt, and not hurry back. He went, and was as un-smothered and un-parented as one could be, but the explosive anger and tantrums continued any time I said something he didn't like- including those times I was honest about my lack of trust. He would bellow at me on the phone that one teensy lie shouldn't undo all the other times he DIDN'T lie to me. If I argued he would hang up on me. I was so tired of the drama that I stopped speaking to him for a couple of weeks. When he came home he was much nicer- for a couple of months. As soon as I started to believe he really had changed, he started raging and abusing again. Two weeks ago he really scared me and I took my pet and a few things and left, driving 14 hours to my parents' house. He called me and told me to come home. When I refused, he said he wants a separation. I said I want a divorce because I don't trust him not to hurt me during a separation. He was furious- he didn't see why I shouldn't trust him- that last big lie was months ago- I'm just as deceitful as he is- there's been plenty of times he didn't lie to me- and- (this one got to me)- I'm the one who's bailing on our marriage, because all he wants is a healing separation so he can "work on himself".

I was dubious. I thought he would spend a lot of time playing video games and drinking with his buddies, but I didn't believe that my discomfort-avoiding H would actually confront his demons. But I decided to try this one last thing- provided we work out a written separation agreement so I would feel somewhat protected. Well- that's a lot easier said than done! Despite my following all of the non-violent communication rules, he still screams at me and hangs up any time I express a different opinion or refuse to give him his way. He's been dragging things out, indeed- playing video games, and who knows what else. A couple of days ago he lied to me AGAIN, and I realized that the agreement is pointless, because I probably won't know if he breaks it- and I fully expect that he will. I don't believe a word out of his mouth anymore- how can i be married to someone and feel like that?

So I'm at a loss now. To anyone who's made it through my long sob story- I have several questions.

1- I know many people on this forum are dealing with infidelity, incessant lying, or lack of empathy. Has anyone successfully dealt with all of these?

2- Has anyone found a separation to be helpful with ADHD-related marital problems?

3- Is it possible that his drug regimen is inadequate and that a different med or dose would allow more empathy?

4- Is it possible that co-morbid depression could be causing the anger and lying- even though he appears happy sometimes (such as when we go out with his friends, etc)?

5- Is there any hope with this, or do I need to accept that he will never provide the emotional reliability that I need as a result of his affair?

Thank you so much to anyone who has any advice!

Forums: 

Thoughts on #3

If you find a med that gives someone empathy, please post it here. My experience with he meds is that they provide long periods of great effect, but aren't a magic pill.

I would never have married if I knew about my ADHD. I'm a jerk, and that won't go away.

Perhaps I should have

Perhaps I should have prefaced my post with the essential information that my husband is a funny, smart, talented, creative, sensitive, generous, beautiful person whom I've loved fiercely since the first moment I saw him at age 18. Some unkind, defensive, defeatist, creature has taken over him, but I know the wonderful person I love is still there. One of the worst things he does is cling to this ugly persona and say things like "I just can't love anyone properly" or "I'm just a selfish jerk and you deserve better" etc etc. Really? Then why don't YOU make sure I have "better", by providing it yourself?

Words are powerful, and I believe that we become the stories we tell about ourselves. We can all change, we can all improve, we can all be better versions of ourselves, as long as we don't tell ourselves that we can't.

Marriage is a lot of work

I agree that everyone has the capacity for change. My new thing is to look for stuff to do to let her know I love her. It doesn't come naturally, so I try to actively think about it. The comment I wrote was during a bad patch in life. All is good now. 

arwen's picture

"taken over"

Don't know how much you've read of my other posts (there are a lot, lol! but you can find most of them by searching for my tag line).  In many of them I mention that my husband did not appear to have ADHD when I met him during my college years, and he wasn't aware he had it.  Then, around age 40, he started having some peculiar and annoying behaviors that had never previously appeared, like having trouble following conversations, or losing track of important things.  The behaviors became gradually more pervasive, and there were more of them.  He began having driving problems -- accidents, moving violations -- he came within a hair of losing his license.  He began doing really unsafe things because he wasn't thinking about safety aspects, and he'd always been conscientious about safety before.  And he became incredibly forgetful.  I actually thought he was developing early Alzheimer's, although he insisted he was perfectly fine and normal and that I was the one with the problem ("perfectionist control-freak").  Things came to a head after three or four years of this degeneration, at which point I insisted we see a doctor, and he was diagnosed with his ADHD.

In checking with his birth family, it became obvious that he'd also shown a lot of ADHD symptoms as a youngster -- but with the onset of puberty, his his hormones had affected his ADHD and he "outgrew" the behaviors.  It also became evident that *all* the men in his extended family had ADHD, and they *all* had gone through a pattern of having ADHD behaviors as children,  "outgrowing" them as they grew up, and "growing back in" to the problems in their early 40s.  My conclusion has been that as their hormone levels have dropped in middle age, whatever positive effects the hormones had on their ADHD since puberty is also lost, and the ADHD behaviors naturally re-assert themselves in relation to what coping mechanisms  were developed (or not) in childhood.

To most of us non-ADHD spouses in my DH's extended family, it has seemed just as you've described -- that some "unkind, defensive, defeatist creature" had taken over our husbands around age 43.  They'd *all* been "funny, smart, talented, creative, sensitive, generous, beautiful" people when we married them.  (And those of us who have succeeded in dealing with the ADHD issues feel that way about them once again now, on the other end of the transformation process of coping.)  Which made me wonder if your experience is fundamentally the same as ours, and if you have a spouse with hormone-related ADHD.  (Are you married to a more distant relative of my husband's, lol???)

If so, there's good news and bad news in my experience.  The good news is that *all* these ADHD men in my DH's extended family did get better, whether on medication or not.  (Note, they all married, all highly sexed in their young adulthood -- but the vast majority of them did not know they had ADHD at the time they were "growing back in".)  Some couples went through divorces (including one case where the couple got back together and remarried later)  --some went through separations -- some stayed together.  It's been about 50/50 as far as working things out versus splitting up has gone  (although most of the divorces were amicable at least).    The ADHDers in this clan that have had the most success in managing their situations have either gotten on meds, or didn't have kids, or had children fairly late in life.  The bad news is that it took a whole lot of both spouses working hard to adjust over many years, to find satisfactory solutions to the relationship problems that developed. 

But here's the kicker -- *all* the ADHDers in this clan seem to reach a plateau around age 60, when their ADHD stops getting worse.  This seems to happen whether they are retired or not, still married or not.  (I've been  looking forward to this for a few years now in my own DH, lol!  Actually, I see indications that it has begun to happen this year, for which I give eternal thanks.)

So, if your DH fits this profile -- patience will help, meds will help, counseling will help, understanding will help -- there is light at the end of the tunnel, if you have the fortitude to carry on (a very big "if", I realize!  I can't count how many times I felt like I was end the end of my rope).

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

 

Interesting...

I was diagnosed at age 43. The meds, research, exercise, therapy and posts here have combined and changed my life. I am still a "Work in Progress" :)

I don't ever want to walk back into the ADD Fog. 

Diagnosed at 46, still learning

I was 46 (2 years ago) when I was diagnosed. Meds, lots of exercise, drastic changes in diet, and now on my third therapist. I use a neuro/biologist for meds, and prefer therapists over shrinks. I'm optimistic that we are healing our relationship. Thanks for sharing your story.

Thanks arwen, that does sound

Thanks arwen, that does sound so much like what has happened with men in my H's family too. It makes me feel so much better, to know that i might not have just been blind to huge problems somehow! And it's good to know that there's hope again later- though it's strange that having even lower hormones in late life would help. This thing is such a mystery!

I don't know if I can do it. I thought I could- but I've been realizing more and more how very much it's affecting my health and happiness and life goals. He's had almost a year to get on board with the trust rebuilding, and things are worse than ever. He treated me pretty bad on my birthday and over the holidays, coming to our mutual home town then ignoring me, mostly in favor of playing video games with his brother. Never mind the impending divorce or how much that devalues me and the marriage. And heaven help me if I try to talk to him about it.

I'm starting to realize that other people make my migraines better, rather than worse. That other people don't think I'm a controlling monster, etc. Staying in this environment is rapidly becoming too much for me to take. I am sick, tired, and lonely, and don't want to spend my last reproductive years waiting for a man who won't grow up until it's too late.

I always thought that I was so tough, and that love could conquer all. He doesn't agree.

arwen's picture

pandora's box

Boy, do we sound alike! 

When I was a young woman, I thought I could handle anything life threw at me -- and I have -- but  I'll admit I've paid a huge price in terms of my health and life goals for my hubris.  I also get migraines, and that's a problem my DH has definitely contributed to in the past.  I'm seriously overweight, mostly due to eating when stressed (and I've been stressed a lot for a very long time).  I had to choose between my marriage/family and my career as a fast-tracked manager (I chose the former), and while I've managed to have a pretty good career doing other work, it's not what I loved or wanted.  I have to say here again, as in other posts, that I made my choice for my children's benefit -- they are more important to me than my own life -- if we hadn't had young kids, I doubt I'd have stuck.

However, I never thought love conquered all -- I always believed that what conquered all was *hope* (which in the classic fable came out of Pandora's box).  And I guess I still think it does.  But I'm not the kind of person who can generate hope out of nothing -- I have to have some realistic basis for my hope.  Fortunately for my family and marriage, I did have that reasonable basis with my spouse.  But just barely.

No matter what you decide, you will be OK.  You seem to have a clear understanding of your situation and your own values, and no one has the right to ask you to live for their benefit, most especially if it's to your own detriment.  Keep your eyes open, your wits about you, and your desire for a better future, and you can get through this.

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

...It's so odd to me that....

...almost all ADHD men act in near the same exact way. My husband and I have had a play by play similiar situation and yet I feel as though we are starting to see the other side of the tunnel. (hehe...my hubby does the 5 minute walk/aka go to the store thing all the time)

I will say that although the physical affair was over 3 1/2 years ago, he has had a few emotional affairs as recent as 2 years ago. My husband still lies about the most retarded of things. Often times the lies are so ridiculous that I have to keep myself from laughing. On Thanksgiving he brought rolls to his parents home claiming that he made them when they were store bought and still in the packaging. Not realizing that everyone would notice that!! Beyond the point that no one would care if they were bought or store made, he still felt the need to lie and continue to lie over something as simple as bread.

I will try to address your questions...

1. I still check up on all of his stories of where he has been and I have access to all of his e-mails and his phone. So although I haven't caught him being emotionally or physically unfaithful, he also knows that I can access this information. He said that it keeps him in check and doesn't mind. 

He still lies. I would say it's a lot less frequent and he always tells me "Well, at least I am not lying to you about it." Like it automatically makes everything better.

Lack of empathy has really gotten a lot better. He understands where I am coming from a lot easier, apologizes when he has done wrong and asks for my forgiveness. This is recent behavior (less than a year) and I cannot honestly pinpoint how/where specifically this new maturity (as I call it) came from. 

2. Separation--After I found out that he was still having an emotional affair, this was helpful for us. It was about 2 years ago and I moved out for about 90 days. He realized how much he loved and needed myself and our son in his life. From that point forward he has made strides to be better. There were a lot of ground rules and issues we discussed before I moved back in. I let him know where I stood accepting him back into our lives. (my son and I) If he wanted to be a part of it he had rules to follow and changes to make. If he chose to not follow through with the rules and the commitment I required, then we would have no other choice than to go on our way. 

3. My husband has chosen to not take prescription medication. Do I think that it would help, partially yes and no? He has changed his job, diet, excercise and made life choices that has had positive affects on his behavior. What I will say is that I do not think that a drug is a magical cure all. There has to be some willingness to change and take the medication as it's intended. Since my hubby is against it I do not push the issue nor have I suggested he look into it. 

However, I also learned to let certain things go like a perfectly clean home. AND I have come to the realization that he needs video game time and time out with his friends. I have loosen the reigns and in this I feel that we are able to co-exist and thrive peacefully. On occasions those things still bother me but I have learned to accept that I am not his mother nor his care taker and I need to let him be the free spirit God intended him to be. The more restraints or demands that I place on him the worse he behaved. So, while I do think he has made great changes in his life, I've chosen to make some very important mental and emotional choices in mine as well.

4. I've noticed this with my hubby too. He is so happy to do things with his friends and does not act as enthusiastic when he goes anywhere with my son and I. When going somewhere with his friends will be prepared the night before, wake up super early and be generally chipper all day. It is almost the complete opposite when I have asked/forced him to go places with my son and I. I accept the fact that although he makes many outings miserable, that he also doesn't have to go at all. I am comfortable with explaining to our son why his father is not present and honestly I can enjoy the day without the drama..."Are we ready to go home...I don't feel well...I think I have to poop." <----Yes, he will say that he has to use the restroom and does not feel comfortable going in anyone else's bathroom...but he can crap in the woods on a guys weekend. Essentially, it's all about choices my hubby has clearly made the decision to not make this a priority in our life together.

5. My husband has a child 45 days older than our son (with an ex girlfriend due to affair).  He has had two emotional affairs. While he has come to the realization that the kid issue was wrong, he did not feel that the other two "emotional affairs" were that bad. "It's like porn and all men watch porn", he would tell me. He lately understands that his previous behavior was wrong but he still feels the need to remind me that he does not have control over his actions. 

The other day I came home and he and his friend were playing some nerdy game, that is chess but with super heros characters. I said, "Oh that seems like fun." <----trying to be positive even though I thought it was a ridiculous. He then says, "Well, I know it's nerdy but it keeps me in the house and it's either finding p*ssy or playing this game." I wasn't upset because I realized that he was responding that way because he might have sensed the fact that I thought it was childish. But in all honesty, who says that to their 7 month pregnant wife....Well if I didn't seclude myself to the house by playing this game, I'd be out chasing tail....UGH!

 

In all, I guess I have learned that I cannot trust a word he says or anything that he does. It's a sad realization and maybe someday I will come to the decision that I want something different in my life. If he continues to progress as he has been, I am willing to live this way. However, if he gets worse, I will not tolerate it and I will file for divorce.

I hope my ramblings helped! I wish you luck with your future.

Thank you sns for your

Thank you sns for your thoughtful reply. I have to say I'm envious that your husband has made the progress that he has and doesn't seem to resent your remaining trust issues. The biggest problem with my circumstances is that my H acts as if I have NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER not to trust him, despite incessantly hurtful behavior. Lately, he blames his untrustworthy behavior on me not trusting him. This feels like a no-win situation!

The sad thing is that I was really mellow before. I didn't sweat the small stuff, or restrict his lifestyle- ever. I hated having to police him after the affair! If he could have just tolerated it for a little while- without resentment- and been a little more loving, things could have gone back to normal fairly fast. Instead they just got worse. Right now we have almost no transparency whatsoever, and I feel extremely vulnerable.

Can I ask, how much contact did you have during your separation? I've been struggling with this- we own a business together, so I can't cut things off very well, which means he'll have no chance to miss me, which, honestly, seems like a long shot at the moment.

I was very mellow before too.

I was very mellow before too. That is until I found out about the other child, who of course was 30 days older than our own child and the countless e-mails and texts. It took everything in my soul to not beat him senseless. I was beyond devastated and everyone kept telling me to leave...he will never change...it will always be that way.


Oooohhh believe me after the physical affair, child and 2 other online emotional affairs we were both emotional wrecks. I was trying to control his life and he kept telling me to get off his case because all men cheat...REALLY? ALL MEN? This was an acceptable answer for his horrible and damaging behavior, which of course I was told to understand or leave! It finally got to a point that I told him I was miserable and leaving! He clearly did not get that his behavior was damaging our marriage, my mental sanity and the bond he could be developing with our infant.


I moved out for 90 days. During that time we talk to each other about every 3 days (to arrange care for our son). Towards the end it was more frequent because he was begging me to come back, saying he will change and that he understands how selfish he was. To me it was talk out the side of his face...but because he was recognizing that he in fact played THE key role in this disaster, I began to start with giving him little ounces of trust.


When I moved back in we set guidelines, boundaries and rules for not only him but me too. I wasn't perfect. I failed to provide in areas and he made those areas known. The #1 thing for my hubby was praise. He felt like I was constantly judging, criticizing and looking for him to fail. I did not appreciate enough of what he did do and made him think he was a failure for his inability to get things right...therefore he just gave up and sought attention from women who did not have those expectations or criticisms of him. I now know that he needs constant (AND I MEAN CONSTANT) reinforcement and praise of the small stuff. Yes, it has gotten frustrating sometimes to tell him thank you for flushing the toilet and removing your dirty clothes from the bathroom floor but honestly if it keeps his mind focused on remembering to do it then I will continue to provide that praise. Positive reinforcement and praise is like super fuel for men with ADHD and the opposite (nagging, arguing and unrealistic expectations) is their kryptonite.


I do not believe at this point I have trust issues with my hubby. I will say that if I ever had a doubt though I do have access to everything and he has access to mine. Trust is nothing without transparency. You cannot just blindly go about a marriage with being told something and not having the ability to see it. You have to see if their words match their actions.


My husband has changed so much in the last 2 years that I am letting my guard down and I trust my husband again. It will never be the way it was 5 years ago when I would have believed the sky was purple if he told me so, but I can say with confidence that the struggles we have conquered have made our relationship a rock.


I will also say that my hubby was the one that pushed us to work things out and he made the changes which started our relationship on it's course for health and maturity. I find that the marriages where one partner is pushing for the change of another tends to end in heartache. When I started pulling back and focusing on my own personal change, my hubby starting realizing that I was physically and emotionally slipping away. Thankfully, he wanted to keep me and make me happy by changing his outlook on commitment. I started doing the things he needed and vice versa. It was like a teeter totter of communicate, give, share and accept. (not take)


Our marriage is far from perfect and I do catch myself sometimes not trusting him because of fear or the past or of the unknown. But I make sure that fear does not rule my life. If I see something odd I talk to him about it. We communicate in a healthy manner which causes him to respond favorably.


I wish you the best. It can and will get better if both partners are willing to see that it does. I cannot stress how much positive praise, exercise, proper diet and vitamins will help the ADHD partner. Baby steps...recognize and celebrate any positive change and there will be more to follow. Start including the other things listed above...not all at one because that will cause them to reject the perceived threat of...dun dun dun..."You are trying to fix/change me!"...."What's wrong with me..." "No, you're the problem." I kinda think of ADHD like an addiction...sadly they do not see how their behavior affects their life or others until they are on the other side of it and mastering their life not just going with the flow and having ADHD control (destroy) everything.

Thanks sns- I thought at

Thanks sns- I thought at first that I did praise my H all the time- and i did (often enough to kind of give him a big ego about some things!)- but I just realized that I missed an opportunity to praise him for going to see a therapist. It's pretty hard to help with most of these things when I'm being punatively shunned. Not a lot of opportunities for much of- anything. I think he does know that I'm finally pulling away, and am done begging him to help me salvage the relationship. So far he's just acting stressed out, mysteriously ill, and, just in the last couple of days, a little sad.

He saw a therapist today. I haven't heard a peep about it. Not terribly hopeful, but I am really praying that if he's going to come around that it happens now, because his time is up.

arwen's picture

coworking during separation

My husband and I also worked together before, during and after our separation, so perhaps I have some useful experience here.

Basically, while we were working together during the separation, we treated each other strictly as co-workers, as we would have any other co-worker that we had no personal relationship with -- friendly, fairly respectful, unemotional, professional and impersonal -- we kept our personal relationship and our business relationship absolutely separate.  This was challenging at times, we did spill over once or twice in the time we were separated (just under a year), but by and large we were able to make it work.   This doesn't automatically mean that your DH will treat you a thousand times better -- there were times when I felt my husband wasn't treating me like his co-worker, but rather as "his little wifey", and suggested such to him, saying that I didn't think he would treat anybody else that way -- and then my spouse would actually come back with examples of how he *had* treated other co-workers in just such (to my mind, bad) ways in the past!  I had to accept that he was treating me like he'd treat anybody else, and deal with it, even though I didn't like it and didn't think it was professional on his part.  We were able to manage this successfully enough that although a few people thought we were having some marital problems, none of our business acquaintances had any idea that we were separated.

Away from work, we got together three times a week, for about an hour or two each time.  During those times, we *never* talked about work, and never let issues at work or conversations we'd had at work intrude on our personal interactions.  This was generally less difficult to accomplish than the "strictly co-worker" relationship when we worked.

I hear you when you say that your DH will have "no chance to miss me", but you may be surprised in the event.  If you are able to interact impersonally like just another co-worker would, a lot of what makes you "you" is not really there.  My husband and I both missed each other while we were separated.

I'm not saying this is easy -- it requires a lot of self-discipline (on your part if nothing else), and I had to remind my spouse more than once that we had agreed to keep our business relationship and personal relationships separate.    But it's not impossible.  Good luck!

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

 

Arwen, may i ask what you

Arwen, may i ask what you guys did talk about during those non-work meetings? Were you discussing relationship problems, or trying to "date" and not get bogged down with negative discourse?

We've done pretty well with keeping our business interactions clean, but i had to pitch a fit about it several times before he started honoring the business email address as business only. The thing that's sticky, is that we have disagreements about how to manage the business during the separation, disagreements about how to manage our health insurance, money, etc. (Were your finances separate- I'm thinking I need to do that somehow. My H has been driving me crazy by secretly telling clients to send him the checks, etc. What with all the lying and entitlement this behavior really stresses me out!) The really awful thing is that I have expensive pre-existing medical conditions that disqualify me from getting my own health insurance, so he knows that I need him to help me with that- and that my walking away is much, much less likely. Until now, he's been right. But I'm coming to the point where I would rather work at McDonalds and lose my health insurance than continue to live like this.

My H wants to live in a different city, wants to start an additional business (which will re-create his affair environment- YAY!), and has recently changed all his account passwords after I caught him in a lie- so, I'm not thinking the chances of this succeeding are great. I asked him to move back here, or at least wait on starting the other business until after the separation, and he accused me of trying to sabotage his life dreams (which was AWESOME considering how many thousands of hours I've directly helping him pursue his dreams in the 17 years we've been together). Meanwhile, my life dreams about being out of debt, maybe having a child, and having a respectful and loving marriage are unimportant and can wait.

I'm guessing that you and your H didn't date other people during your year apart. Did you feel like saving your marriage was your H's priority?

arwen's picture

working together while separated

We did *not* date during our separation, either each other, OR other people.  We didn't make any agreement to do that -- there was no third party involved in our problems in the first place, and we both wanted to save our marriage if we could (so, yes, saving our marriage was indeed my spouse's priority) --  so neither of us really *wanted* to date anyone else, yet we were too upset with each other to date each other!

Our non-work meetings dealt with both relationship problems, and the logistics of our non-work partnership, i.e. taxes, finances, other legal matters, home maintenance.  We were, however, trying to meet without negativism -- almost as if we were strangers who had been thrust into a partnership somehow without choice, and who had to find ways to work together.  Yes, that's a bit cold, but nonetheless it was actually improvement to the relationship, because previously all our interactions had become acrimonious.

Our finances were not totally separate -- we each had a personal account but also a joint account.  We live in a community property state, so our other investments and obligations were joint.  During this period of marital separation, we separated our finances even further, although we retained the joint account as a medium for transferring money between various accounts.  But my husband cannot transfer money from my individual account, and I cannot transfer money from his individual account.  We've retained that additional separation to this day, and it works extremely well for us.

Our health insurance was not separate, either, but I was in a better situation than you are.  For tax purposes, it was better for us to have all the health insurance in my name, so I wasn't dependent on him for that.  We did not change that during our separation.  Later, when I became unemployed, we switched the health insurance to his name, but by that time our troubles were over and it has not been any kind of issue.  And if I had to, I could get health insurance now with my current employer (it's just not an economical choice for us now).

I'm sorry to say, I agree your chances don't seem terribly good that your spouse is going to work with you to deal with these kinds of concerns.  From what you describe, it sounds to me  like he's not just lying to you, he's very actively lying to himself.  (I've seen this set of behaviors before, first-hand.)  If he's like the ADHDers that I've observed, deep down inside somewhere, I suspect he knows that there is something that doesn't quite add up in his view of the situation, but he is too terrified of or overwhelmed by the implications in the reality to admit it  -- it's much safer and easier to say that *you* are the problem.

The more and earlier you can prepare yourself and protect yourself from the downsides of divorce, the better off you will be.  Even if you don't divorce, your marriage will probably have fewer sources of problems with whatever changes you can implement.

My prayers are with you -- good luck!

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

wait...

you don't have children together? Why in the world are you putting yourself through all of this?

For several reasons

I really wanted to save the marriage for several reasons: 1) I know it may be hard to understand, but I still love him, 2) I know that my H is a good man deep down- he's just hurting too much to stop mistreating me. I hoped that with therapy & medication he would feel better and stop taking things out on me, 3) Abuse victims often have a really hard time leaving for various reasons, and 4) he was probably my last chance to have a child since I am almost past my reproductive years. Recovering from the divorce and finding another person to have a baby with in just a couple of years seems pretty unlikely.

summerwine's picture

Oh big hugs honey! I am a

Oh big hugs honey! I am a divorced lady and my ex husband was a cheat and liar too. Only he blamed MY ADHD for HIS lying and cheating! Since I was such a lousy wife he needed to find other women to fill his needs. Yeah right. Now I am a single Mom with a young boy with ADHD and SPD and I take care of my niece (ADHD-PI) and my nephew (AS). I was diagnosed about 5 years ago. I work with special needs kids at a daycare. I work mostly with kids with Autism and ADHD and nuerobiological disabilities. I will try to answer your questions but I'm not an expert!

 

1- I know many people on this forum are dealing with infidelity, incessant lying, or lack of empathy. Has anyone successfully dealt with all of these?

I was dealing with lying and cheating and I'm the one with ADHD and he was not. Goes to show. They say at least half of all men cheat. ADHD doesn't make people cheat. Maybe it makes some men who would cheat anyway more likely to cheat? My brother is also ADHD and he has never cheated he is very devoted to his wife. I never cheated. Lying to cover up stuff or to make yourself look better is common for people with disabilities. It's called Covering. You try to cover up your symptoms and screw ups with lies. You also try to build yourself up in people's eyes with lies or exaggerating the truth to make you look better. It's all about hiding that you are like barley hanging in there. For kids with ADHD and AS it starts when they are very little. Mommy and Daddy punish me for being bad but if they don't catch me then I don't get into trouble. And kids are nicer to me and want to be my friend if they think that I am better than I really am. For people with neurobiological disabilites it can be a matter of perception too. We see the world very differently than you. We think different. So we like interpret things that happen differently. and the ADHD can play tricks on you and make you think that you did something but you didn't. Its easy to get confused or overwhelmed and you just say anything to make people stop pushing at you too. That's usually why I lie if I lie. To make people go away and stop pressing me for something. But lots of people with ADHD are NOT liars. Not any more than most people. Besides normal people lie all the time, you lie and say "No that dress does not make you butt look big" to someone with a different brain that seems like the same kind of lie as saying you did a chore but didn't yet. You see the difference I really don't .

 

2- Has anyone found a separation to be helpful with ADHD-related marital problems?

I found kicking my lying, cheating, not supportive husband out did wonders for my stress and health and ADHD. I didn't let him come back. Is he really wanting a trial separation or does he wants out and is not saying it? Or does he feel forced to ask for one? My brother and his wife had a separation for a while and things are better now. They started over.

 

3- Is it possible that his drug regimen is inadequate and that a different med or dose would allow more empathy?

ADHD does not take away your empathy. We have it. It does not effect that part of the brain the way it does someone with a personality disorder. Medication will not give him more empathy. If you mean empathy in the proper clinical term. I learned when training at the daycare that people have funny definitions of what empathy really is. What do you mean by empathy? Feeling sorry for you or agreeing with you or seeing your point of view? It is harder for us to put ourselves in the shoes of other people because our brain works different but we can do it if we try and communicate with each other. We still feel bad if someone is hurt and things like that. If he really just can't see things from anyone else's point of view EVER it might be something like AS or a personality disorder. I really do try to understand where people are coming from. Most people with ADHD probably try too.

 

4- Is it possible that co-morbid depression could be causing the anger and lying- even though he appears happy when he goes out with friends?

Yes its possible. ADHD is almost never alone it almost always comes with something else too. If he is more happy going out with his friends is it because its more fun to go out with his friends? Do you pick the activity? Are you fun? Is it more like a chore? My brother hates going out with his wife because all she wants to do is go out for dinner and a movie but he hates doing those things. Especially the movie because its hard to sit still and focus in a theater for 2 hours. When he is out with the boys they do stuff he likes to do. Of course he still has to be nice to his wife and take her out for dinner and a movie! I keep telling my sister in law to just go play pool with him. You know do what he wants once in a while. URGH.

 

5- Is there any hope with this, or do I need to accept that he will never provide the emotional reliability that I need as a result of his affair?

I don't know. If he just got diagnosed then its way to soon to know. Healing form something like an affair and dealing with ADHD is going to take a lot of work. Both of you will ahve to do a lot of work. Is it worth it for you? Do you have kids?

Thank you summerwine- it's so

Thank you summerwine- it's so helpful to hear about the other side of this. My sense is that this is not an issue of ADHD but rather entitlement and resentment. My H is used to me being little more than a sidekick and emotional crutch to him. Now that I am asserting my needs on par with his, he's not liking it so much. He grew up in a culture where men are expected to be the heads of households and that is that. His uncle preached about wifely subservience at his own daughter's wedding. I thought my H rejected that in favor of a less sexist worldview, but now I'm worried.

To respond to your responses :)

1- I think I could learn to tolerate impulsive lying about things that don't matter, but my H has lied about more significant things. He badmouthed and lied about me behind my back to a friend whom he'd PROMISED me he wouldn't talk to about me or our marriage. He did this for hours and then lied to me about it for days afterward. I'm trying to be charitable, and say that he felt emasculated etc, and couldn't help but bash me to his marriage-hating buddy. But this willingness to break a promise to me and sustain doing something that should feel wrong all the while he's doing it makes me very concerned. Does he do this all the time? What's to stop him from having another affair- he's even less content in the marriage now then when he had the other one!

2- I don't know what he wants. I think he wants to not deal with it. To screw off with his friends and watch porn and play video games and have less restrictions rather than more. But who knows.

3- The main problem is that he doesn't think about how the things he's done affect me, before or AFTER they do. I've learned that there's no benefit to trying to tell him why something hurt me, or to say something like "How would you like it if I did that to you?". Well, it'd be completely different if it happened to him. And he has been extremely cruel to me when I was crying or asking him for help. This is what scares me. The fact that even when I ask him to empathize, he seems incapable. Or maybe it's just unwilling. I don't know. But it doesn't feel like love.

4- What I mean is that he's happy sometimes. He used to be happy going out with me (well, we almost always did what he wanted to do). Since his affair he is morose and angry when he's alone with me, but if we go out with friends, he seems happy during that time. I'm unclear on whether depression can (at least appear to) lift like that. He's always been more negligent when we go out with other people- he'll walk ahead of me on the sidewalk and stop having much awareness of me at all. I thought it was just about him being excited and stimulated to be out with other less-familiar people. But he wouldn't act depressed with me at home; now he does pretty consistently.

5- I would (and perhaps already have) do more than I should to save the marriage. I've been working hard for 10 months. Him, not so much. I don't know if it's because he thinks he'll fail or be rejected, so he's just making it into a deliberate choice, or whether he just really doesn't value the relationship enough to work for it. Since I can't necessarily trust what he says, it's hard to know. His behavior has been ambiguous.

Wow.......just wow!

My Husband (soon to be ex) believes all of the lies he tells as truths.  I have not successfully been able to deal with that.  Separation, from my experience, does not give them time to think and work on themselves. Separation to them is continue to live the destructive life which caused the separation. My Psychologist diagnosed my Husband during my session and I shared it with him and he says nothing is wrong with him she's wrong.  But she has never met him and within 15 minutes of talking to me she diagnosed him and it fits.  I hate that you're going through this and its sad we have to deal with it.  We went to marital counseling as well and she asked us to list what we felt we negatively brought to the relationship.  I listed mine open and honestly.......my Husband began with SHE does this and SHE does that.  The counselor had to reiterate her question and he couldn't do it.  I am appalled your marriage counselor pretty much blamed you for being angry, wow! I know this is not advice but just know you're not alone, ADHD is something we just cannot get rid of without our Husbands getting on board to achieve mental stability.

Please Learn From All Others Who Have Been There...

I have to agree with the last comment that separation, from my experience, does not work.  It only validates their feelings that we are the source of their problems and stress.  My husband left last year and 6 months after he left, he tells me he is now "stress free".  Sure he is stress free, he left his wife and children behind.  All he has to focus on now is his work.  He then tells me he is not going back to the way it was (I guess he didn't like the fact that I was doing all the housework, raising the kids with no support and every other thing that needed to be done!!).  It has now been 1 1/2 years that he has been gone and he still has a minimal relationship with our son so that tells me that in his solitude he is still unable to even reflect on what a poor parent he has been.  Remember, most with ADD are mentally unable to reflect and see the part they played in their failed marriage, so why would it be any different when you are separated.  What I have read over and over from many of the comments on this site and also from what I have experienced in my own 25 years of marriage, is that we keep hanging in there in hopes of our marriage working.  I think typically, women particularly, excuse a lot of behavior that we know is not part of a loving relationship.  That is ok possibly for awhile while you see if both spouses can agree to counseling or some other help and then see if improvements are being made and last.  However, when this abusive behavior goes beyond 5 years, I think many need to make the very difficult decision to get out or at least start making some plans to get out whether that means getting a job, saving some money, etc...  5 years easily turns into 10 and then 20 and then 25.  My husband has been gone 1 1/2 years and yes, it is still very painful everyday, but looking back, I can't believe what I put up with and I know I am better without him.  In the end, my husband had an affair and left anyway.  If he hadn't left, I would still be here with all the frustration and unacceptable behavior.   Out of all that I have been through in these past 25 years (only realizing my spouse had ADD last year), I think the biggest lesson I have learned is to NEVER accept behavior towards me that I know in my heart is unacceptable, not for the sake of money, keeping the family together, or any other common reason.  I just hope more can find the strength, after you have sincerely given your marriage a chance to work, to get out of these dysfunctional marriages and not look back before you loose too many more years of your life.  Remember, ADD typically gets worse as people get older.     

 

summerwine's picture

"Remember, most with ADD are

"Remember, most with ADD are mentally unable to reflect and see the part they played in their failed marriage, so why would it be any different when you are separated. "

I am NOT unable to reflect. I have a different perspective and I might have a harder time at it but I am not incapable of looking back and seeing mistakes that I made.

 

"Remember, ADD typically gets worse as people get older. "
 

Only if it's not treated!

arwen's picture

one swallow

Summerwine, I'm glad your personal experience has been so positive.  I'm sure you are able to reflect, and see mistakes you made.  But I have known many people with ADHD, and based on that fairly large population, my own experience has not been so positive.  I would say that about 20% are completely incapable of  (and not interested in) reflection and unwilling to even consider the possibility that they made mistakes;  about 35% are capable of reflecting, but only on a very superficial (and often also selective) level;  about 35% are capable of deeper reflection when they are given some specific, keen motivation, although they don't necessarily remember all that well;  and about 10% actually do so without prompting and with reasonable regularity and accuracy.  While there are also analagous groupings in the non-ADHD population, my experience has been that the percentages are skewed towards the more-reflective end (say about 5%, 25%, 40% and 30%).  Based on what I've read, I'd be surprised if this wasn't fairly representative of most people's experience.  But I can appreciate that you would not want to be lumped in with the representative statistics if your own situation diverges from them.  

I don't think the capability or inclination to reflection is necessarily intrinsic to the differences between ADHD and non-ADHD brains -- I think the way that one is brought up has quite a lot of influence on this ability, but is probably even more instrumental in the case of someone with ADHD than someone without.  

As far as whether ADHD gets worse as it gets older, or not -- I've seen cases where people were on meds and got better as they aged -- some where they got worse as they aged -- some that were unaffected by age.  And I've seen the same with people not on meds.    In my husband's family, there seems to be a hormonal component that contributes to ADHD changes, and so there does seem to be an age-related effect.  Outside my husband's family -- not so much.  I hypothesize whether there is an age-related effect is based on the specific factors in an individual's ADHD.  Of course, *all* people, whether ADHD or not, tend to experience reduced neurotransmitter activity in middle and/or old age -- it's part of the typical aging process -- so this could affect folks with ADHD, independent of other factors, and worsen their symptoms.  Unfortunately, it's not always possible to treat this degeneration, though medical science is working on it and making some progress.

In general, my experience has repeatedly shown me that it's dangerous to extrapolate from my husband's individual case to generalizations -- it's just not valid, and the incorrect assumptions often create really big problems.    The only time I feel it's reasonable to make generalizations is when I'm able to look over the entire populations of folks I know with ADHD (a considerable group, at this point), and see common patterns or threads.

Good luck to you!   I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that your efforts are worthwhile, and appreciated -- perhaps more than you know.

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

summerwine's picture

Maybe it is because we have

Maybe it is because we have different experiences and perspective but I'd say your figures should be switched around. In MY experience the "normals" are more likely to think that they are automatically right and will be abusive and controlling if you don't bow to their will and they will refuse to see how badly they treat you and are LESS likely to apologize. Guess we will have to agree to disagree.

Funny that is what my dh says

Funny that is what my dh says abou me: controllng manipulative. Im not perfect, I might not speak as quickly to get my point across as quickly as he would like...but I am trying to do everything including bills, working two part time jobs, taking care of house and chores by myself, kids homeworks, needs, without his help UNless he wants to. My self esteem is crushed and he does not understand that simply speaking to me this way (usually when we are alone in a separate room where no one else can "hear") can crush me further... Toxic and unsupportive HURTS. And its still apparently all my fault. He knows he has adhd but wont say this had any affect on our marriage. And the physical intimidation, rages, mean words and arrogance he has demonstrated towards me have been "because I made him do it". Im like a pathetic stereotype ...Im so crushed. And I still need to keep it together, not let my feelings of despair show if i can help it, and continue to interact w him because of the kids. He is a "great guy" you see...its not a good time right now...but his view is: its because of me!
summerwine's picture

My ex husband used to call me

My ex husband used to call me a stupid cow and a fat slob and a crazy b-word. He felt justified to yell at me and insult me and throw things because I made him angry. Once he kicked me in the butt as I walked away from him ranting. I was 6 moths pregnant and I landed on my knees and bruised them. he said it was my fault that I deserved it because I made him so angry by letting the dirty dishes pile up and not standing there and listening to him rant about how terrible I am for not doing the dishes. I was supposed to just stand there and take each verbal blow or I might get a physical kick in the ass. And it was all my fault for being a stupid and lazy cow who lost things and ran late and didn't keep the house clean. I didn't deserve love or affection or respect because I was frustrating. He used to make me stand there and list all of my screw ups in life: Pregnant by accident because I forgot to take the pill, bad at school, bad housekeeper, forgetful, lazy, stupid, disorganized, never on time etc etc etc while he stood there and gloated about how superior he was. I went and I got help I thought it was depression or maybe I really was just a stupid cow but it turned out the be ADHD. I took the meds that made me sick and tried different ones and I got a counselor and i read books and I learned abut ADHD and I went back to school. What did he do? NOTHING! More yelling and name calling. His demands got more and more as I got better. Oh you can do the laundry now well then you can iron all my shirts and take this to the dry cleaner and if you forget the dry cleaning I will scream at you for an hour. One day he got mad at me for some stupid thing I said and he punched me in the face with the baby in my arms. I called the cops and he left. I guess I deserved it huh? My ADHD drove him to abuse me right? Good riddance to rubbish. Goes to show that being ADHD doesn't automatically make you a bad person and not having ADHD doesn't automatically make you a good person.

arwen's picture

summerwine wrote:  "Goes to

summerwine wrote:  "Goes to show that being ADHD doesn't automatically make you a bad person and not having ADHD doesn't automatically make you a good person."

Could not agree more!!!  I've known some really awful people who definitely did not have ADHD, and some sweethearts who did.  So sorry your ex was such a rotter who abused you, glad you are out of that situation.

I can't help thinking that  it's more likely that a woman is going to be abused in a marriage or relationship where one partner has ADHD, *regardless* of whether she is the one with the ADHD or not!  Not saying that women never abuse their spouses, I know it does happen, but it seems far less frequent.  So it seems to me that whether a wife is abused or not in an ADHD relationship relates more to *gender issues* than to ADHD.

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

Wow! Were you married to my ex?

When I married my first husband, we belonged to one of those fundamentalist "wives be submissive to your husbands" churches. To him, that gave him the right to "discipline" (beat) me if I couldn't make things come out the way he wanted. The bank wouldn't cash his check because they couldn't read the signature? I was unsubmissive. I couldn't get ink out his pants after he broke a pen in there? I was unsubmissive. You get the picture....No one can guarantee perfect results any time.

I had major surgery because a birth defect left my knees too bad to go up and down steps. Not, Ok, you can't take steps so I'll do the laundry. It's a crappy male entitlement thing. I guess your husband felt entitled to a slave and you weren't a good enough one. Good riddance, I'm glad you had enough self-esteem to get rid of him. It took me 16 years. You're a faster learner than me.

Neither of us have ADD as far as I know, but our daughter does, so maybe he does after all. He lives alone now so I guess he's not going to hurt anyone else. Living with an ADDer can be frustrating. My current ADD husband does not work or even try to, so I'm frustrated to, but I can't imagine yelling at him about it. 

 

summerwine's picture

Twins?

Yeah he came from that kind of background but I didn't. My family is United Church so more modern. I think if I hadn't started treating my ADHD and seeing a counselor that I would have stayed even longer. I was doing well enough that I thought I could go back to school and that gave me my escape route.

leopardprints67's picture

Wow, what an a@@! Sounds like

Wow, what an a@@! Sounds like my ex-husband.  And my family. And a lot of the men I've dated. You're so right. Goodbye to rubbish!

leopardprints67's picture

Oh sweetie. That's a crock of

Oh sweetie. That's a crock of sh@!. You do NOT deserve what he's doing and he's trying to toss the blame on your shoulders by saying you drive him to act like a dick. HE is ultimately responsible for HIS behavior. No one can control another person's reactions, we can only control our own. You deserve so much better than this!

So many people here... so

So many people here... so much support for each other. It helps but wow... Never knew life could be like this. The worst, of I am allowed to say? The apathy. He doesnt care about me, the me as a person or partner- after knowing and being together (at least from my side?) dor 28 yrs. And to hear him say- "it"(our marriage?) always sucked... No! It did not! So I guess that is where MY trigger lies (hope some of the posters who have said similar things to their partner gets this..): being INVISiBLE, discounted, diminished (get to the point, i cantfollow you. Stop raising your voice. Stop repeating yourself and say something I dont already know.. And a host of other mean things)...so maybe I was codependent, maybe I just cared too much. Guilt I have for not getting his difficulties in life and unknowlingly hurting him over these years. But he did not know either about the add. And still refuses to deal with it. Preferring to give up leave or stay and be violent. He tried therapy yet he could not reconcile fhings- just kept being angry angry... Even without me there..angry. Excruciating pain I feel now because I cant do anything to brong my prtner back. He says its easier now- less confrontation, peace? I am not. Crazy dreams, crying, scared, and wondering if I am crazy or will ever feel safe again. Sorry again for this downer of a post...

Helps only while you are reading it

lululove

I agree that for the moment you read that you are NOT alone, that others are on this horrible journey right along with you, for those brief moments in time you feel SANE....feel a sense of relief that it's not YOU, and YOU ARE NOT ALONE...and then time to scurry off the computer and deal with these people who have systematically destroyed us....whether by intention, or due to illness (jury here is still out on that one)

I GET THAT ALL THE TIME......all I do is repeat myself he says, and why do you always have to yell?  My simple answer would be if you listened/understood/remembered the first time, you wouldn't make me have to repeat and yell all the time.  There are stories we have gone over 20 times, and he still has no clue why I repeat myself.  Cuz ya Don't GET IT!  Every now and then, when the fighting is at a standstill, and my hands are in the air (I surrender there's nothing more I can do/say), it all sinks in.  He speaks with clarity.  Is apologetic.  Asks how to "fix" things....and I see the man I married.  Then the moment passes, and the apathy kicks in and it's all the same story different day.

I know, I will be in your shoes very soon.  That we will inevitably live apart again.  It will be the final time, this time, and the children will be off to college, so there won't be the need for the daily/weekly interactions with him.  He will have a brand new life to pursue whatever "bright and shiny thing" is next and on and on and on.  I gave him my best.  My love, my heart, my soul for the better part of the 34 years since we met.  i did date others when he moved away (early 20's ), and i know life goes on, and he will stumble through life somehow just fine without me, but like you, my friend....where will I be?  Tossing and turning and tears and pain and longing and BITTERNESS...yes, lots and lots and lot of bitterness....for giving until I lost me, and for what could have been and never will.  Please don't apologize for your posts.  YOU MAKE ME FEEL SANE.  YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE I AM NOT ALONE, LIKE I AM NOT STUPID FOR RUNNING AWAY BUT FOR VALUING MY MARRIAGE VOWS AND TRYING UNTIL THE VERY END TO LOVE SOMEONE WHO CLEARLY CANNOT GIVE BACK WHAT IT TAKES FOR A NORMAL, COMMITTED, CONNECTED LOVING RELATIONSHIP!!!!!  Thank you lululove......I appreciate your words, your rant, your venting MORE THAN YOU KNOW.

@leopardprint

Please know i understand your frustrations a little bit. Ive seen and experienced them from the other side for almost thirty years. You are a brave strong person and despite the things you have trouble dealing with, the disorganization, the feelings that no matter what you do you will fail... Know that those voices can not be allowed to pull you down. Dealing with our "internal"...inside messages is rhe first challenge to be fought before we can move on to dealing with the external.

Lulu, this is something else

Lulu, this is something else that concerns me. If the meanness was really only a matter of impulsive speaking, then why doesn't my H do it in front of other people? Why doesn't he fly into rages and punch the wall in front of other people? This ability to control "out-of-control" behavior is one of the defining characteristics of abusive people.

I completely understand your sentiment about feeling like a stereotype- I NEVER thought I would let a man treat me the way my H treats me. It's humiliating and soul-sucking. My therapist said something to me yesterday that has provoked a lot of thought. I was saying that my H used to be so wonderful, and he responded, "You mean what you know about was wonderful". It was so shocking for someone to take that stance. And this is a therapist who thinks that marriage should be saved if at all possible.

His advice (as well as Melissa's) has been extremely helpful- get my own life together. Stop worrying about him and why he's being such a nightmare. Move on, and hopefully he will follow. If he does, then the dynamic will be very different.

So that's why I'm trying to do. Hard- very hard for me. But I'm going to succeed.

This is soooo true!

His advice (as well as Melissa's) has been extremely helpful- get my own life together. Stop worrying about him and why he's being such a nightmare. Move on, and hopefully he will follow. If he does, then the dynamic will be very different.

When I made up my mind that I would no longer allow his behavior to influence my future is when I regained the strength in myself and in my marriage. I was lucky that my partner decided to follow me and make the appropriate healthy changes. 

summerwine, do you think this

summerwine, do you think this could also be a gender difference? I thought i recalled reading that women tend to internalize blame and men tend to externalize it- and usually in the direction of their wives! I don't have ADHD and I apologize too much- H almost never (and never without a big ol' "BUT" and then an attack or two after the apology).

Auto-Right...

I understand what you are saying about the Non-ADDer believing they are automatically right. This belief has added to the length of our recovery period because my meds have helped me communicate better, but facing what I'm sure my DW has faced in the past, she will not budge on her perceived "Truth". Like Adderall being The Reason I've lost weight and recently I was texting a guy who was just fired at my job and trying to help him through the shock. For many months, knowing how I could disappear into my phone or laptop ignoring the people around me (Rude of me) and if my wife comes into the room I don't even get out my phone, I close the laptop and try to create a better place than I used too. On this day that I was texting my friend, I was trying to wrap up the texts as fast as possible, but my DW got mad and stormed out of the room. When I went to discuss it later, it was all "You are AWAYS texting, or on the computer". I explained that I knew this was a problem and was making a real effort to put up the devices and pay attention to her. I never brought up what I was doing as I just wanted to replace the old perception with a new one. She does not even realize how often she is the one staring into her phone while we are sitting in the room together. I have done more than my fair share of this and am not going to call her out on it. My DW just went on and on about how I ALWAYS do this to her and now I told her how for at least the last 6+ months I've been NOT doing this. It did not matter, she did not know Who I was texting and it was Rude to do so. I agreed it was and explained about my co-worker.

I guess since as an ADDer I know that I this perception was created by me, and "Perception" is a cruel B*tch to deal with... I don't expect a "Pat on Back" for making each better choice, but Maybe Not blowing up into a tirade without knowing the circumstances would help in the days of improving communications. The reasons ADDers have so much trouble communicating is because of the anger assaults we get when trying to communicate. Lose, Lose situation... I realize where the Non's anger comes from these days, of course, but Anger stalls the healing every bit as much as the ADD lies by omission (Clearly wrong as well). Learning to better communicate is not easy after 43+ years of conflict avoidance, as I'm sure trying to protect yourself from another lie by attacking for the truth out of the proven liar is difficult.

If we want improvement, both sides need to try. I know it seems like the Non's have to give more in this process, but giving up on a lifetime of coping mechanisms is not easy either.

I wish more of my ADD brothers would try to address the ADD and help change the perceptions of the ADDer being incapable of Real Change. It IS possible for the ADDer to change.

Would she not understand if

Would she not understand if you said (upon her entering the room) "hey honey, come sit with me..I am texting _____...he lost his job today and is really upset, but I am going to wrap it now...give me just a couple of minutes" ?? This would be better than saying nothing, to me. To me that leaves open more room for imagination to run wild (is it a female? is it really that important?) Just knowing you were trying to help a friend, and that it wasn't a female, might help her be more OK with it. I know you feel that you would be making excuses, but I (as a non) would not see it that way at all. I would rather have a quick explanation and reassurance that you were aware of my presence and wrapping up the conversation than to have zero information and have it feel like the same old, same old.

Although I admit I don't fully understand why the phone has to be put away immediately when either of you enters the room (even though you seem to point out a double standard where she doesn't feel obligated to do so, as you do), I guess it is a rule you guys have set for your marriage. I would suggest you somehow try to approach the subject with her of her using hers freely when you aren't "allowed" to do so without facing her wrath. That is not fair...and you 'accepting' this kind of thing will only cause you to be resentful in the long run and avoiding bringing up the issue makes it impossible to resolve it. I am not sure how you go about it, but I do think you should point out the double standard. 

She probably would have...

Taken the situation better if I had said those things. I had been home for a while and was in the middle of the weekday school routine when she got home. We said "Hi" before she went to change clothes. When she came back into the room she already had "The look" and anything after this seems "Too little, too late"... This was also during the crazy Christmas Chaos and stress levels were already high. It all worked out and she mentioned it would have been nice knowing who I was texting. I really don't text much at all which left me puzzled at the "Always texting" comments...

There is no Rule about putting up my phone, but knowing how ridiculous it is for a family to be sitting together and all looking into their personal device drives my choice to Not be the one doing it. I know how I used to constantly be checking emails and surfing the web with my latest tech toy. I want to enjoy my family time and stop the disconnect. Believe me, when we discussed the texting incident, I told her that her perception was skewed regarding my always being on my phone and her really doing this more than I do when we are together.

Other than that day, things on the whole are improving at my house. The Adderall weight loss plan has not been brought up in quite some time and my DW has lost over 20 lbs and this has really helped her self-esteem. 

Thanks Sherri :) 

Could be way off

Hey I could be way off YYZ but it could be that by shutting them down when she comes in the room makes her feel like your hiding something?  I've done very similar things I know I did this a lot when I was untreated and so I make it a point to put the phone and computer aside when I am with the kids or wife.  I also lost weight when I started treating and have continued to do so but not because of the meds.  The exercise and dietary changes have helped me maintain it.

Maybe with her seeing you lose weight, focusing on your weight loss and then you shutting down devices when she is around is sending (unintentionally) the wrong message.

Just popped in my head when I read through these last couple of post.

Catch 22...

This is a good point ADD Husband... I was doing this because I knew I had neglected my DW for so long, but did not want to make it seem like I wanted praise for putting down the "Toys" when she was around. I can see that putting things up when she comes into the room looks as bad as always being on the devices. I guess, like Sherri suggested, I should just let her know if I'm helping someone out or whatever the case may be so there is no mystery about what I'm doing.

Food was my addiction (Self-Medication) before my diagnosis and ever since then I just don't eat as much and I Really feel better when I exercise regularly. I'm glad to see that others know they have to work at keeping the weight from coming back too. I believe most of my weight loss is because I Feel Better...

Makes sense!

Definitely the weight loss goes away after the first several months.  Appetites return and then its about choices.  

Thanks...

I sometimes wondered if I was only kidding myself that "I" actually was doing something to keep the weight off. I think I am stopping my food intake when I could easily eat more. Pushing the plate away, exercising and not trolling for food late at night. This argument about Adderall or "Speed" as my DW calls it has been a Big Recurring fight for a long time.  

Read this online

"Dr. Kipper offers a more scientific explanation for how Adderall helps you lose weight. “The drug produces more dopamine in the brain, which is the neurotransmitter that suppresses appetite,” he says. “It keeps the dopamine from being recycled and metabolized away.” Whenever we do something that is pleasurable, our mesolimbic reward system in the brain secretes dopamine as well. This means that we connect taking Adderall with a feeling of pleasure, and can lead to the addiction."

“When you take a stimulant medication, or any abusive medication, after three or four months of taking it, the brain restructures itself,” says Dr. Kipper. “The brain becomes tolerant, so you have to take more of the drug to get the same effects.”

 

What I gather from it is for anyone yes there is a metabolic boost and appetite suppressant effect; that said like anything over time your body normalizes to it.  All of that said really does it matter?  If you did and still are losing weight from taking a needed prescription for ADHD does that matter?  Even if it was a "positive" side effect so what?  There is a difference between losing some fat and getting healthy.  Eating less of unclean foods regardless of the reason is not substantial any more than normal weigh fluctuation over the course of time.

My wife harped on this for the first year so in 2011 I took it to another level.  I lost 25 pounds of fat while gaining 7 pounds of muscle and started redefining my body.  Didn't finish as strong as I wanted to but will keep working at it.  Haven't heard another thing about the weight loss aspect of the meds since.  If my wife had to take a medication that had a weight loss side effect I wouldn't hold that against her or as a point of contempt.  Rather I'd be happy for her and hoped she realized she had a slight leg up in the race.

All of that said it doesn't have that profound of a long term weight loss effect.

Makes sense to me

This is exactly what I have read elsewhere... My DW and I both struggled with our weight though out our lives, mostly on the wrong side of the scales. So there were many emotions causing my DW's anger towards my "Magic Pills". I get the one disorder where the medications side affect can be weight loss and not gain. It was not fair. Exercise is key for me. When I get off track on my walking regiment I don't feel nearly as good as the days when I walk. What I eat has not changed too much, but how much I eat has changed drastically.

I don't ever want to go back to my previous weight or the ADD Fog...

Thanks for your input arwen-

Thanks for your input arwen- we share a lot of beliefs, including your Dumbledore quote :) I have a couple of quick questions-

How can we tell if our ADHD partner is truly not reflecting, rather than just not ADMITTING to realizing that s/he was wrong because they have esteem problems?

Are you saying that you've seen people sometimes get worse as they get older even if they're medicated? Considering that my H is about as aggressively ADD as one can get, that would be a terrifying prospect indeed!

This might seem out of left field, but do you think that going from being vegetarian for 12 years to hard-core carnivore could affect ADHD sypmtoms?

arwen's picture

reflecting, or not admitting?

I'll tackle your questions in reverse order, as the first is the hardest (and longest) to answer.

I do think that going from being a longterm vegetarian to hardcore carnivore can affect ADHD symptoms -- and vice versa.   This despite the fact that there isn't any clearcut evidence I know of that shows a strong correlation between diet and ADHD across the board, and I know that studies have been done, for example, that indicate that foods with high levels of tryptophan (a serotonin precursor) don't have any measurable affect on serum serotonin.  But my husband adores almost every high-tryptophan food, and I doubt that's an accident.  Our son, who has ADHD and SAD like his dad,  struggles more with seasonal depression that his dad does -- and our son turns into a simple-carb addict every winter (in effect, self-medicating with food, IMHO), but my husband doesn't.   We are what we eat, as they say!  I suspect that for *some* people with ADHD, diet may not make much of a difference, but I think it does for others.   

Yes, I'm saying that I've seen *some* people with ADHD get worse as they get older even if they are medicated -- and some that do not.  My husband was diagnosed 15 years ago and started meds and counseling -- and initially he got better at dealing with his ADHD.  But after about 5 years, his SAD started getting to be a bigger problem.  We developed strategies to deal with that, and again things got better for a while, but about 7 years ago, he stopped treating his SAD, and things got very very bad for a while.  (He resumed SAD treatment the following year, but he has not been regular about following his regime, so the results have likewise been irregular.)   Over these past 6 years, I've observed that while his *skill* at dealing with his ADHD problems has improved significantly, the frequency and severity of his symptoms has also slowly increased.     Fortunately, his skills have more than compensated for his symptoms, so that even though he forgets more, even though he thinks things through less thoroughly, even though he is more oblivious to things around him than ever, he has developed enough useful mechanisms to deal with them that the net effect is an improvement in our interactions.  Another ADHD acquaintance, about the same age as my husband, without SAD, has complained of the same general experience.  But I'm just as sure that there are others with ADHD who don't experience this slow degeneration even while on ADHD meds (even though I haven't seen this within my family and close acquaintance, only from afar).

For your last question, "how can we tell if our ADHD partner is truly not reflecting, rather than just not ADMITTING to realizing that s/he was wrong because they have esteem problems?" -- there's no easy answer.  Obviously, there's no cast-iron, guaranteed way to be sure.  In my husband's case, when he is not admitting something, he's *usually* aware of it, which makes him aware that he's not being entirely honest, and he gives off very subtle cues in his voice and body language that indicate this to me.  (I've learned to "decode" his subliminal signals correctly most of the time, I'm sure, because when I've challenged him with my conclusions, his shock at being "seen through" couldn't possibly have been faked.  In effect, I've become a human lie-detector.  I'm not saying I can't be fooled, but it's very rare if I'm face-to-face.)  There have been the very rare occasions where my husband wasn't admitting *to himself* as well as me that he was aware he was wrong (i.e. saying some things that weren't a direct admission but still clearly would not have been said if he thought he was right! while still insisting he wasn't wrong and defending his actions/words/choices) -- but the inherent conflicts in his messages are so obvious to spot that I can also tell when I'm dealing with that situation.  Usually, if I'm not getting *any* of those signals, I've learned it's very likely that he is truly not reflecting.   (This conclusion  is just based on many years now of careful observation and extreme diligence in trying to make sure that I really do understand what he's thinking/feeling/meaning through questions, conversational exploration, and reality checks conducted in non-judgmental discourse.  I don't say this would be the case for every couple.  For another person with ADHD, there might be other possible explanations for this kind of behavior.)  So, as far as *I* know, we can only hope to have a reasonable educated guess about the reason for the behavior through this kind of observation and diligence.  I do think, though, there is a second factor that I've employed that may also be involved.

That second factor is that I do a sort of "litmus test" on everything my husband tells me (that might affect me, anyway), and I *never* let an apparent contradiction remain unresolved.  I want to emphasize that I do *not* do this out of distrust!  I'm not ever trying to do a "gotcha".  I do this to *make sure* that I have a clear, complete understanding so that confusion, mistakes and problems can be avoided or minimized.  Most of the time, when I do this, we simply discover that there was something my husband forgot about, or hadn't considered, and there's no unpleasantness, we just pick up and go forward from there.  So, every statement gets subjected (in my head, not out loud) to "is this possible? reasonable? likely?  even for my husband?".  Unless I've found my spouse lying to me about a particular topic very recently, I always give him the benefit of any doubt, but I still insist on resolving anything that seems even a little out of place.  Any kind of contradictory statements is a red flag that something is out of whack.  It may be there's some key piece of info I don't know -- or it may be that my spouse doesn't realize the meaning of what he's saying -- or he may be confused, or forgetful.  I am like a bulldog about this (but nice, I don't growl, lol!) in that I *will not* let go until the body of his statements make sense, or at the very least we both agree that there's a problem with what he's saying.  And sometimes, when I'm pursuing this clarity, therefore, we do find he was not admitting his mistake, or he was not reflecting, or he was lying outright.

This approach only works because we have exactly ONE cardinal, unviolable rule in our relationship -- neither of us can simply walk away unilaterally from a conversation/argument, without setting a date/time to continue the discussion, if one of us still wishes to do so.  (We *can* *both* walk away, agree to disagree.)  So my husband knows that even if he ends the current conversation, he will still have to come back and deal with it later.   If either of us categorically refuses -- we're finished, for good.    (At one time, my husband was so beside himself that he was actually incapable of setting the date and time for a continuance -- I settled for getting a date for when he thought he *would* be able to set a date and time for a continuance.)  I refuse to be in a relationship where the other party has indiscriminate veto power and no compunction whatsoever about using it.

So, that's how *I* am nearly always sure whether my husband is reflecting, or not admitting, or lying, or forgetting, or confused, or whatever -- "litmus test" on what he says/does, persistence in resolving anomalies, and careful observation coupled with diligence in understanding.  It's a lot of work.  But it has really paid off in a big way for us.  Even so, there are times when I don't *know* what's going on, and have to try to acquire more information to try to figure it out, or just guess and keep in mind that it's only a guess. -- and about two or three times a year, I'm *totally* wrong in my analysis because I'm unaware of some intentional change on my husband's part.   I should also say that it's possible, and I have no way of knowing if it's so, that I have certain abilities that make my approach possible, that maybe another person doesn't (e.g. I'm very skilled at finding patterns, others may not be) -- and my husband may either have or lack certain abilities (e.g. he can't lie without one of his "tells" showing) that others with ADHD don't -- so our system may not work for others.  But I hope at least it can furnish some ideas.

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

Arwen- you rock :) Thank you

Arwen- you rock :) Thank you so much for spending your time helping a sad stranger!  I may be at the end of my rope, but found so much comfort here that there are other ropes to reach for....

I am usually able to tell when my husband is lying to me. I know when something is "off". He tends to respond with explosive rage if I question any part of his (sometimes hard-to-swallow) explanations and statements. And unfortunately, while my H may have ignored most of the advice in our relationship books, he did learn some new things to accuse me of doing, such as mind-reading (when his body language doesn't match his words), invalidating his feelings when he makes a factually incorrect statement, being controlling, parental, and emotionally abusive when I don't trust, tolerate, and forgive anything, and being controlling and abusive for not liking it when he storms out of any conversation where he hears something that he disagrees with or doesn't like (and, yes, he'll do it immediately if the topic is picked back up later)- because he has decided that he has a panic disorder, which means he has a medical reason to leave these conversations.

I've tried to explain to him that he is the one being controlling when he determines the content and length of our conversations with no negotiation or concern for what I may need.

Nope- he knows that I'm the controlling one, and he can't have this conversation right now! BANG!

Sigh. I really hope to have a relationship someday where my partner actually honors a cardinal rule of any kind! That is definitely a great rule!

Thanks KM- I'm trying really

Thanks KM- I'm trying really hard to work on my own life and spend less time worrying about how my husband might be destroying any chance of reconciliation. I'll be extremely sad and disappointed if my husband chooses to walk the easy path and not grow with me, but I am determined to grow nonetheless. I need to be stronger regardless. I have definitely tolerated a lot of unacceptable behavior from my H and allowed a lot of boundaries to be flagrantly crossed. It has to stop. I've found a great therapist who has experience with domestic abuse, and he (and this board!) is really helping me to do that :)

summerwine's picture

Oh! have you looked into

Oh! have you looked into Oppositional Defiance Disorder?

This is what I'm afraid of.

This is what I'm afraid of. My H tends not to think about me when I'm not present. During the month that we've been separated that has seemed to be the case. He said he was going to see a therapist and work on himself, and he hasn't even looked up therapists in the area, much less made an appointment or started. When I ask him why this is he gets angry and says he hasn't had time or some other such nonsense. Really? You had time to go out with your friends- again- but didn't have time to look up therapists? Well, he has a right to go out with his friends! Yes, that's not the issue- I'm too parental!!! CLICK.

Even this wouldn't be so bad if he cooled off and then looked up the bleepin therapist. Instead, he'll write me angry emails about how he has a right to have "down time" and he can't be expected to work on the relationship 24/7 etc etc etc. It's exhausting, and more alarmingly, is apparently a common tactic used by abusive people to turn the criticism around, compound or fabricate it, get you defending yourself, and thereby successful distract from their own abuse.

I read recently that narcissists had a lot of trouble listing reasons why their partner might not be committed to the relationship. This made sense to me, but the more worrisome detail was that the narcissists also felt less committment to the relationship the MORE their partner was committed. In other words, they felt safe in the relationship, and so they were more inclined to step out. Ugh.

leopardprints67's picture

From the perspective of someone with ADHD who's cheated

I'm the ADHD spouse and yes, I've had a history of lying and cheating  (flirting with no intention of anything  physical, but it's cheating nontheless and JUST as painful to the other spouse). 

I've got a back history of pretty intensive sexual abuse/rape and suffer from some pretty bad anxiety/depression I'm on medication and rape counseling for. And  I've done some pretty embarrassing things that I am so not proud of out of a lack of love and respect for myself. I also took a lot of drugs during a period of my life that have caused some blackouts and I'm not too sure about what happened then, although I have my suspicions. As a result of all of these factors,  I never thought anyone "decent" would want me, that I was tainted, dirty, no good. Then, I met my now husband. He was so...different. He was the polar opposite of any man I'd ever dealt with. He was a rock and so "together".  So I tried to hide my past so that someone so acceptable would find me acceptable as well. Well, the past likes to rear it's ugly head up when you least expect it or want it to.

In the beginning of our relationship, things were great.  I never felt better and was walking on a cloud of love. About 6 months in however, I found myself, without even fully realizing it, start doing those sexually charged behaviors again. I  wore low cut tops that invited stares and flirted online with people. I posted sexy pics of myself and made it seem like I was available for more, even though I had no desire to meet any of these people. He says I even flirted with other men in front of him.  I'm not even sure why I started doing it to begin with. I was loved and in love. I had a great man who worshipped the ground I walked on. And yet, the compulsion for validation from others was still there. The more stressed out and overwhelmed I was with life, the more I ran to the internet for soothing and stimulation.  I had a man who thought I was the sexiest thing in the world and here I was, flirting with anonymous guys or even guys I knew and didn't even like one bit! One of them, I even LOATHED. I lied to my husband about past lovers who were still friends of mine. I was worried I wouldn't be able to have that friend in my life again if I told him the truth.  Basically, I put my husband thru HELL and back. He thought that I didn't love him and was just using him. We went like this back and forth for way too long. We broke up a few times and were separated for 2 extremely miserable, long weeks. We've since gotten together and while we still have our battles, I know we love each other.

It wasn't fair and I have NO excuse for my behavior. My husband didn't deserve it and I didn't respect him OR myself. I can try and lie to myself about it, but the truth of the matter is that I put him through hell with my dishonesty and my infidelity. 

There is NO excuse for anyone, ADHD or otherwise, to do this to the person they're committed to. It's taken a long time, but I can fully accept and own what I did. It was wrong.  Terribly and horribly wrong. And while every day is a struggle for us, I still love this man passionately. Because I love him and he's worth fighting for, I make it a point to stay away from chat programs, Facebook, adult sites. I don't look at other men. I make it a point to let EVERYONE know that I'm VERY married and intend to stay that way. I've shut down any man who's attempted to flirt with me immediately.  My email, etc is open to him as is my cell phone. He knows every password.  I only delete stuff on my cell with prior notice to him. I wear clothing that showcases ME, not my boobs.  I give him honesty, even if it hurts. I owned up to the past fling that I was friends with. I don't talk to that man anymore either.  And I've discovered that my past doesn't matter. He still loves ME. I never had a reason to lie at all. 

As for if there's hope, well, that depends on how humble he can make himself. It depends on whether he can admit he lied and just own it and not make excuses for his behavior. It depends on his true desire to change, to be a better person. Even with ADHD, we CAN change. We CAN make good choices, right choices. I can tell you love this man. But does he love himself? Does he love YOU enough to do it? He's got to put it all on the line and give up a lot of freedom to rebuild the trust. And he needs to grow up. I've noticed a lot of my friends with ADHD are emotionally and mentally immature. We're like little kids sometimes. But we need to grow up if we're going to be productive. There's still time for play. Of the appropriate kind, that is. He also needs to understand that the trust is not going to happen overnight. To us, 4 months seems like a year. It's been agonizing at times, let me tell you. Wondering WHEN could I get back on the net and WHEN I could be trusted to go out alone. 
But it was worth the wait, let me tell you. We're not perfect and we still have other ongoing issues that are a pain in the ass to deal with. But I will never in a million years cheat or use the tools I did before to cheat or be dishonest. I cared and wanted to get better. And if he wants to, he will. If not, well, I'm so sorry but you deserve someone who will put it all on the line for love. If he doesn't want to change, don't waste valuable time trying to make him.  He's made his choices. 

 

 

Thank you for giving me hope!

Thank you leopard- it does me a WORLD of good to hear from an ADDer who's achieved that perspective and generous love. I am so happy for you and your husband, and pray that I will reach a similar place someday with the man I love.

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who commented- especially people with the ADHD perspective! I am so grateful to you all for commiserating, advising, and just . . . helping me feel that I'm not alone. This holiday has a lot of really painful associations, so I am really struggling. Thank you so much everyone.

arwen's picture

need to clarify

I've replied to other posts in this thread, addressing specific questions/situations relating to this topic, but not dealing with your initial question directly.  And I realize that by doing so I may be giving you false impressions of my perspective.  So, I'll have a go at your five questions also.

1.  I did not have to deal with infidelity, so I can't claim to have successfully dealt with it -- I did deal with incessant lying and lack of empathy, but not all three.

2.  Separation was definitely helpful to me and my spouse.  We'd both become like cats on a hot tin roof, and it was a huge relief to get off the roof.  If I didn't have to deal with his ADHD all day every day, it made dealing with it when we *were* together much more do-able.

3.  As far as I can determine, meds don't have a direct effect on empathy.  But they *can* affect the degree of mental complexity that someone with ADHD can handle, and generally empathy requires a certain amount of complex thought -- so if your spouse has any natural inclination to empathy, it could be that his meds are inadequate to helping with the complex thought that empathy requires, yes.

4.  Again, I don't think that co-morbid depression is the direct cause of anger and lying for the most part, though it may contribute somewhat -- in my experience these behaviors stem primarily from fear.  With my husband, it was a question of needing to very thoroughly break bad old habits he'd acquired for dealing with sticky situations (which was accomplished over time by consistently making the immediate consequences of anger/lying much much worse than the consequences for telling the truth -- but then, as I said, we didn't have infidelity issues, so this was probably easier for us to do than it would be for you -- my husband's lies were primarily financial, though, which was bad enough).  Then we had to create a new paradigm for telling and dealing with the truth that would continue to encourage him to tell the truth and yet not disguise the fact  that he'd done something wrong that he needed to learn not to do.   *This process was very depressing for him, for a long time*, and while it didn't make him angry or more prone to lie (that I could tell), *the depression certainly got in the way of progress*.  Co-morbid depression is not uncommon with ADHD, and if you suspect he has co-morbid depression and he is not being treated for it (or you think he is not being treated adequately for it), I would urge you to pursue treatment, even if it doesn't reduce the anger and lying.

5.  I wish I could tell you that there is or isn't hope, definitely one way or the other, because being "in limbo" can be the hardest situation to deal with (it is for me, anyway) -- but the truth is that I can't know your situation well enough to say.   In a very general way, I think there is hope because there are certain things present in your situation that are important and necessary for a positive outcome.  But there are negative signs as well.

You asked another question, unnumbered:  " I don't believe a word out of his mouth anymore - how can i be married to someone and feel like that?"  I went through that for a few years myself, as a result of my husband's financially-related lies (not that this was the only thing he lied about, but it was the main one).  I told my husband that I didn't want to be married to someone I felt I couldn't trust, but that it would be possible to regain my trust if he could change his ways.  But -- it wouldn't be a simple matter of just making promises and good intentions that I would be expected to accept at face value.  Instead, we negotiated a restructuring of our financial and other things to minimize the opportunity and motivation for lying in the first place, and I insisted on  the means to check all records, and made it clear I would be doing  so at times just in the natural course of handling our finances.  In other words, we set the situation up so that if he lied, he *knew* he would get caught -- and he knew the consequences would be pretty dire.  This gave him a lot of incentive not to lie, but it also avoided situations where he felt he needed to lie in the first place, so his chances of success were a lot higher.  How any of this might apply to *your* situation, though,  is a big question mark.  Maybe there's some general concept here that you can use -- I hope so!

Hang in there, you will make it through this tough time!

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

leopardprints67's picture

It's not easy, hon. Let me

It's not easy, hon. Let me tell you, I've almost given up so many times. Part of it is from my past of always feeling like a failure no matter what. I just kept feeling that I'd screw this up too, so why try? But it wasn't just ME I was going to give up on. It was his kids, that had come to love me and accept me as part of their permanent lives. My own kids, who are ADHD and desperately needed a good, kind, patient loving man in their lives.  And a baffled, confused man who had put his heart on the line repeatedly after I stomped on it, without even noticing.

We still have our ongoing issues. We aren't perfect. I'll never be the neat freak he is and he'll never be able to just walk past stuff on the floor that I just frankly don't see because ADHD gives you blinders. I'll wander off when we're supposed to be spending time together, or I'll start reading a book when we're supposed to be watching a movie. He does still get frustrated with me and I understand. I get frustrated with myself and I LIVE in here, lol. Sometimes we snip at each other and nag. And sometimes we  make each other so mad that we don't speak for a half a day. But regardless, we fight to make it work. Will we make it? I sure damned hope so. I won't give up, that's for sure. And I don't believe for a second that he will, either. Because we love each other and loving someone means accepting their good, their bad and inbetween. However...that being said, it doesn't mean you have to be a damned door mat either. You STILL deserve a loving, caring partner who is will to do whatever it takes to make your loving work. 

Consider all options...

Hi 17ADDYears!  :-)

I notice your post was made almost a year ago, but I wanted to respond, as reading your story was like reading my own, there were so many similarities - and I have some more thoughts to push your way.

Like you, I was happily married to my husband for some 12 years before there were any real problems, and had known him all his life for a sweet, kind person.   About 6 years ago (if I look for the VERY first signs), he began to turn into a "pod person" (exactly describes my experience!) - affairs, horrendous lies, no empathy, apathy.  He was diagnosed with ADHD last year, after a bout of exhibitionism got him arrested by the police, who recommended that he seek a psych evaluation.  I had begged him to seek help before - but while agreeing with me, he never did.

After the ADHD diagnosis, I thought the knowledge of what his problem was, plus the therapy, would help - but he continued to deteriorate, and this year committed a sexual assault (he grabbed a passing woman - a complete stranger - for no reason other than that he 'felt like it'. :-( ). That disaster led to him being in prison for 3 days - but it also led to a much closer examination of his behavior. I had not noticed, as the changes were so slow, but his language ability and memory have deteriorated over the past year, too - as have his driving skills, and his ability to plan and organize - and all this has painted a different picture of his problems.  In short, he is now being assessed for early onset dementia.  :-(  He is 38. 

I wondered how much medical testing your husband had before his ADHD diagnosis?  ADHD has the exact same symptoms as early dementia - and other conditions like Lyme disease also have the same early symptoms.  My husband was diagnosed as ADHD without any medical tests whatsoever, and I understand this is a fairly common event.  I do think it is important to insist on other tests - such as MRI, SPECT, EEG and psychometric - before accepting an ADHD diagnosis in an older person.  My husband does have an ADHD familial history - but he ALSO has an early onset dementia history, and that was not even discussed. Basically, I wish we had considered the possibility of neurological problems earlier, as it may have spared us some of the painful consequences we have experienced.  

Your experience and mine are so similar, that I really felt I had mention this as another avenue to explore - if you hadn't already.  I hope that you and your husband find a way through this together. 

Best wishes, and I do hope things have improved since you last posted!

Alis  xxx xxx

PS. Your question 2 ("Has anyone found a separation to be helpful with ADHD-related marital problems?") I have to answer with a resounding NO!!!  We tried that - and he simply wandered off and had an affair with an ex girlfriend.  With hindsight, it was a terrible idea, as his problems actually needed more support and intervention from his family, not less.  However, as I say, it seems like my husband may not have ADHD after all - so, perhaps my answer is not so helpful! :-)

 

Pod person

I am so glad I read your post. You are the first person who describes it: the 'Pod person'. My partner also suddenly turned into this and I didn't know what it was. Have never experienced anything like it. Also the flirting, no empathy, mechanical way of behaving..

thanks

aluminum and dementia

Hi-

So sorry to hear about your husband's possible diagnosis.  I have ADHD, and just had heavy metal toxicity testing today.  You should have your husband tested for this.  Heavy metals can contribute to both ADHD and dementia.  He may have difficulty processing metals, aluminum in particular being a culprit for this.  A Naturopathic doctor and some chiropractors do this testing.  

I don't want to simplify your pain.  I'm sure there is a lot more to this, but I have been studying metal toxicity (in general) and as it pertains to ADHD, and people with ADHD and dementia tend to have these issues.  

Best of luck with whatever you decide.

ADHDMomof2

Can I Gain My Husbands Trust Back?

My husband and I are separated and almost recently went through with the divorce but I talked him into stopping it for NOW because of the things I have done over the past 14 years of our marriage. I have recently been diagnosed with ADHD and I also have bi-polar disorder. It all started when we first got married and I kissed a co-worker while at work that had been flirting with me and then I left him after we had only been married for about 4 months because I wasn't sure I was ready to be married to him and I tried hooking up with an ex-boyfriend but it didn't go anywhere at all. Just talking and a simple hug when I seen him. We were separated about a month and I realized I couldn't be without him and I wanted him back.All the while my husband came to see me from time to time at my work and I told him I wanted him back and we got back together. I told him about the ex-boyfriend I  tried to hook up with but not the other. Seven years passed and we had a daughter together and in the mean time after our daughter was born our love life and intimate time together in the bedroom was diminishing because I put our daughter first and put him on the back burner. One day we had a fight and I suspected HIM of cheating this time because he wasn't at the place he was suppose to be when I went by there and I blurted out about about me kissing my co-worker 7 years ago to get back at him and hurt him like I felt he was doing me. That made matters worse of course because I kept that from him all these years. I thought he was going to be the one to leave me for sure but he didn't, he stayed. We argued for months about it till he kind of got over it but he put up a guard after that and treated me different after that. He was colder toward me. Definitely didn't show his feelings like he used to. He was punishing basically for what I did. And we started growing apart. We weren't close anymore. Everything just snowballed after we had our daughter and I let her come between us I guess you could say. But then when I told him about the kiss that made things worse between us on top of us not being close anymore. Then a few months later I get a phone call from a womans husband telling me about his wife talking all hours of the day and night to my husband on the phone. He said they worked together.That she worked in the office where my husband works. And if I didn't believe him that he would gladly give me his user name and password to his cell phone account so I could check his bill because I kept calling him a liar and telling him my husband would never do that to me. So I decided to check the account and sure enough there was calls like crazy sometimes 4 hours at a time where they would talk on his wifes account. And they texted back and forth all the time too. And I wondered what they could be talking so much about. So when my husband got home I asked him about it and he said he went to school with her and that they just started talking and that sometimes she put him on hold! I don't believe she put him on hold that many times and for 4 hours several times a day! What did they have to talk about so much?! He eventually told me that it was revenge for what I did to him.But then I would have never found out if her husband had never called and told me about it. And I consider that cheating too. But back to me, several months later ,stupid me, talks to another ex-boyfriend on facebook and he finds out about it by going under another persons account and checking up on me. I didn't have it set to private so he could read the messages we wrote to each other which were totally innocent. I never said anything out of the way to my ex.But I still shouldn't have done what I did.I wouldn't have liked it if he did that to me. But thats my problem I don't think about the consequences before I do something.I just do it.Now we are separated.I told him I wanted the divorce because we argued all the time but now that we have been apart for several months I have thought about everything I have done and the doctor diagnosed me with ADHD and I know that may be the reason why I do the things I do because I'm not on any medication yet. Could it be? And he says that he doesn't know that he can ever trust me again because I will probably keep doing it. Even though I have realized what I am doing and thought about it these past few months and want to make a commitment to ONLY him. I love him. I always have,even when I did those things. And he also says how does he know that if it is because of my ADHD that my medicine will stop working and I will do it again.But I want him to help me.Is their hope for me, for us? I don't want to lose him.

helplessinwaiting's picture

Not married but hopelessly in love

I have been dating this guy for 3 years now. He has ADHD. He was previously married to a woman who cheated on him twice and stole thousands of dollars from his business. He is a very attractive man. We love each other but he has issues with committment. He said it is due to his first marriage. He also has a 10 year old daughter that is very jealous of me. He is a wonderful father. His daughter still hopes for them to get back together and he feels guilt from her sadness...so he gives her anything she wants and cant show any affection towards me when she's around cause she goes and cries in her room if he does. She can be a sweet girl and it breaks my heart. He said he doesnt want to ever get married again cause of what happened in his previous marriage and the fact that his daughter doesnt want him to marry anybody. I love him...enough to tolerate he emotions his daughter is struggling with. He also said the main reason is he doesnt want the state to get involved with his relationships so he wont marry. Am i wasting my time?

Time wasting

Whether you are wasting your time depends on what you want for yourself over the long run.  If you want a functional peaceful relationship that includes a wedding ring you are likely wasting your time. If you want to stay with your guy you will have to adjust your expectations to reflect reality. Can you be happy without the official commitment? Can you be happy being scorned by the daughter, without recourse as the non-parent.    Can you be happy with an unequal partnership where you bear the brunt of the responsibilities? Loving an ADHD person over the long haul requires you to be ok that life isn't fair. Make sure the value you derive is worth the cost.