Intimacy in relationships

I am the non-ADHD spouse. I am wondering if our relationship after 10 years will ever get to a point of real intimacy.  I am not talking just about sexual intimacy....I am talking about being able to have real discussions about real issues.....including what we need from one another, to the business side of the marriage, to our dreams for the future.  I am tired of talking about tv, sports and hearing repeat stories of his childhood.  The only times we do talk about real life issues - I have to initiate the conversation or ask all the questions to get the information.  If we do talk about "business" it usually ends in a fight.  I don't want to always have such a shallow marriage.  Our sex life is troubled as a result.  

He is a nice guy, likable, kind and most all of the time, happy.  He just wants to have fun.  He is faithful and has a steady, good job. He is smart, we have similar views on faith and politics - both of those are important to me.  He works with children and everyone likes him.  He does not have friends besides his co-workers.  He is very content watching sports and playing guitar. 

Me, on the other hand.....I find myself turning to my friends for support and am filling my time with other activities, with other people - meditation, church book classes, or just time with friends talking. (I don't want to watch TV every night.)  When I state my needs he says they are unreasonable.  It would be nice to have a deeper relationship with my spouse.....as I have from my friends.  He is good for a movie or a dinner, but the talk is shallow and if I don't initiate the conversation, we sit in silence.    

He will NOT even consider any medication for this, he doesn't believe my assessment, and his adult daughter's, that he has ADD.  And, he won't go to a professional to see.  He had an accident several years ago so exercise is no longer possible (He ran 4 times a week before) and his symptoms have really increased.  I am feeling more and more invisible. 

I turned 50 last year and I am reassessing my life in general.  I am trying to surround myself with caring people, really working on living a life of compassion and taking actions to balance my life, work and family.  I love this man.  At the same time, I am feeling a need to have a spouse who wants this same journey with me.  When we do talk, I am getting better at stating what I need and his defenses are higher than ever.  I am trying not to fight.  The words "I love you" are said often from both of us.  I just wish love was a verb in our marriage.

 

 

 

Forums: 

"real intimacy" standards differ

I'm the non-ADHD spouse.  My wife and I asked our therapist the same question actually, about how deep our relationship can go.  Her answer was not an easy pill to swallow.  Essentially, in my case, because my spouse has limited capacity to empathize and cognize, her ability to communicate and understand in relationship only goes so far.  What I think that also means, is that our capacity to connect can only go so far and will always be a challenge on some level.  As far as I understand, my wife's not able to go to the depth (I'm not sure what other word to use) that other people (who have more functional brains) go to with emotions, abstract thinking or comprehension, future planning, intuitive understanding, communication and expression, consideration for others and so on.  I'm not trying to be bleak, I'm just being clear.  The therapist was being factual as well, not negative, just answering our questions clearly.  I'm not saying my spouse is shallow, she has a great capacity to feel and a very good heart.  But I am saying that we (and mostly I) have become aware of the glass ceiling.  My spouse has other disorders, so I'm not saying it's all ADHD, but it certainly plays a major factor.  ADHD runs the gamut, so you probably need to better assess your husband's limits and symptoms to know where his abilities are and are not.

What I am now grasping about my relationship, is that is likely won't be and can't be as intimate as I have the capacity for.  So I'm trying to decide if I'm okay without that depth (since my partner can't give it), by expecting less from her, or if I need to move on and be on my own or with someone who can be more intimate with me.  

It's difficult because it has been killing the sexual connection for me as well. I'm at a stage in my life where animalistic pleasure alone isn't satisfying.  I need the emotional connection or "real intimacy" as you called it, and so I don't know if my relationship will continue, or eventually become one more of companionship and flirting.

 

Intimacy issues

Hello.  I think it is tough for the ADHD person to sustain intimacy over the long run.  Keeping the relationship stimulating enough that it perpetuates the connection is difficult in any relationship.  It sounds like your guy is fairly functional so you can see why he doesn't really see a need to change.  It would be especially difficult for someone who doesn't really know what intimacy means.  Chances are that there is limited room for improvement. I'm not all that good at true intimacy either and I don't have ADHD so I don't have any good ideas on how to improve engagement.  It is discouraging that he so far hasn't been willing to seek help.  It is great that you have friends that help.  Good luck with deciding what path you want to take.

I'm not sure

I'm not sure you'll know how deep your relationship can be until after your partner is willing to understand if he has ADHD.  Treatment for ADHD improves focus.  It can, therefore, vastly improve the ability to attend.  It can also improve one's ability to remain in a conversation for longer (i.e. not get distracted) which can also improve one's ability to attend.  On the other hand, if the two of you don't share much in common, it's not necessarily going to change that...

I suggest that you consider signing up for my seminar.  He needs to hear that ADHD is important from someone other than you...reassure him that the seminar is simply for information purposes - he can choose what to do with the information once he has it.  Reassure him also that the seminar focuses on the contribution that both partners make to marital issues - this won't just be about him, but also about you.

Your comment "when we do talk, I am getting better at stating what I need and his defenses are higher than ever" suggests that he is raising his defenses because he is feeling blamed by you - this would be common when a non-ADHD partner becomes more definitive in his or her wishes for the relationship - and more definitive that it might end if something doesn't change...this time is hard for you both - you feel more unhappy - and he does not yet know what to do with that...