What do you do when you can't rely on your spouse?

I've been asking myself this for years (even before we knew he had ADHD), but I go through periods when I am obsessed with it, and now is one of them. I try to find advice to single moms, because I figure I am almost (but not entirely) like one. I search for every possible way I can set my life up so that when I get sick or super busy/stressed, I can have everything under control without having to turn to my husband for help, because he won't be there for me. For several years now, he has been responsible for providing dinner two nights a week, and lately, he keeps flaking out on one of those nights, but I don't know until the last minute, so I've started searching for recipes for freezer-to-oven meals (no time to thaw when you find out at dinnertime that your spouse isn't making dinner!) or super-easy but healthy meals (our family is tired of fast food and Lean Cuisines -- sad, isn't it?).

I fear falling into a serious situation like cancer, because I know he won't be there for me.

It's not that he is evil. He just can't be relied on, and when I have complained, he has gotten upset. So, I've stopped complaining. I have done my best to give friendly reminders, but even they don't seem to work. Case in point, this past Sunday (a night when he is supposed to provide dinner -- this has been his chore for YEARS): He left for an event around mid-afternoon. Before he left, I asked, "Are you still making dinner tonight?" He said, "Yes." As it got closer and closer to 6, I wondered at what point I should call him and remind him he said he was going to provide dinner. I was poaching chicken for one of those freezer meals I mentioned. He walked in, and I said something to him about the fact that I wasn't making dinner, I was cooking ahead for another night. He said something like "Okay," and went into the garage. A short while later, I heard him using the circular saw. I gave him a while, and then stuck my head in the garage and asked, "When are you making dinner?" "Oh!" he said, "I'm sorry. You must be hungry. What sort of Lean Cuisine would you like?" So, he was sorry, but honestly, what am I supposed to do? Chant "dinner dinner dinner" constantly at him? 

He is obsessed, completely obsessed with the project he is working on in the garage. He will be in there for hours. He asked me to order drapes for our windows, and they have been sitting there for months, waiting for him to put them up. He tells me not to wash the dishes, he will do them (they are another chore of his), but they will be all over the counter, in my way, or we will run out of spoons, and I will go ahead and wash them, because otherwise who knows WHEN they will be washed. If I am stressed or sick, he isn't going to step in and pick up the slack for me. He might tell me not to do things, but he won't actually do them for me -- and I don't mean things like dusting (I hardly ever get around to dusting; I don't have time and it isn't a high priority), but things like laundry or taking out trash (actually, when he SEES me taking out trash, he'll jump up and say, "I'll do it," but if the can is overflowing, he will just ignore it). Speaking of trash, we have talked about how I would like him to throw his trash away, but he will make himself a microwave popcorn every night and INVARIABLY leave the plastic outer wrapper on the counter. I was recently on vacation with my mother and child (without him -- he doesn't like to travel), and he had a cold while I was gone. When I came home, there was a used Kleenax on the bedroom floor next to the wastepaper basket -- he had missed and not bothered to pick it up. Ewww.

Earlier this year, he had a minor medical crisis. After it was over, he thanked me for being by his side, and I appreciate that, but I was hurt (especially because he knows my love language is words of affirmation) when, a few days later, we were with some of his friends, and he told about his crisis, and instead of saying something like, "And my lovely wife was there for me," he said, "And when she drove me to the ER, she drove up to the wrong door, and I was in SOOOO much pain, but I didn't get mad at her." Gee, thanks, honey. A few weeks later, I had a cold (and yes, it was just a cold), and I had to work despite the cold, and I'd come home from work, and he didn't offer to do a thing to make the evenings easier for me, like make dinner that night. I know I should have ASKED him to do it when he didn't volunteer, but I get so TIRED of always having to the initiator (and then having to follow up and follow up and follow up if my request is actually going to be taken care of). Can't he just once see a need and actually offer to meet it on his own? 

He takes Adderall, and that helps, but he refuses to get counseling, either couples counseling or for himself. He also won't acknowledge that his ADHD has a negative effect on me. My problems are all supposed to be because I am depressed (and I am, and I'm being treated for it, and the treatment is helping me, but it doesn't change my overall situation with my husband or desire to be cared for as well as being the one who does the caring).

I periodically throw myself pity parties, wishing I had someone who had my back. I can't afford regular household help, and anyway, what I really need is someone to pick up after my husband or keep on top of the dishes or deliver a last-minute healthy meal (where we live, you can't order restaurant meals for delivery, like you could in, say, NYC). My mother, who lives nearby, is entirely unsupportive. She thinks I need to be firmed with him. What she doesn't know (because I haven't told her -- I don't think telling her would help the situation) is how close we have come to divorce, because I am a "nag" who "always wants my way." I don't want a divorce (well, the sane part of me that realizes that (1) life wouldn't exactly be a party without my husband, no matter how unhelpful he can be, and (2) I'd feel like I'd cut off a leg if I divorced him -- we've been together so long, and I do believe I still love him, even when I think I want a divorce), so I just take care of things myself now. Single moms are told to have a support network they can rely on, but who would that be? Am I the only person whose friends are frankly busy enough with their own families that they don't make much of a support network? They are emotionally supportive, but really -- my closest friend, geographically speaking, is disabled, so I can't count on her for practical help, and my other friends live half an hour or more away. I just have to do for myself.

I confess that I fantasize sometimes that my husband and I won't be together any more someday, and I'll meet a man who cherishes me and whom I can lean on in tough times. Someone I can truly trust. I know that isn't good for my marriage, but I am having a very hard time not going there mentally. (This someone is not an actual man I know, but that doesn't make my thoughts good.)

Has anyone successfully managed the "I wish someone had my back" issue? How did you do it? 

Forums: 

I totally get where you're

I totally get where you're coming from.  I regularly say and think that I wish my husband had my back.  Approximately 5 years ago, I wrote a health-care-power-of-attorney document for myself (I'm a lawyer so I knew basically how to do it), and I asked my sister to be my "agent" (i.e., decision-maker) in case something happens to me.  I know my husband would feel hurt at being left out but I don't trust him to make decisions correctly or quickly!  It is very sad.  

I think of myself as a single mom. My closest friends and family know what's going on and understand why I feel that way and, I think, treat me accordingly (in a good way).  It's hard, though, at work, where I feel as though people see me as a typical married parent: yeah, I have some extra responsibilities, but I have a husband to share them.  But my husband doesn't share them. So I feel like I have to play a role (of person who is not breaking under the stress).  

I had a slight emotional

I had a slight emotional breakdown at a Dr appt when she asked me about a health directive. I knew I couldn't rely on my husband, and in that moment, it shattered me. 

Trying to Reply to 20yrVet

Hello,

I swear you are married to my husband... one difference through is that mine cannot even get out of bed in the morning. This site is making me really upset today. I definitely need to make a consult with a lawyer.

i feel for you ladies but..

you need to stop comparing yourselves to single mothers. yes, it may feel that way in your mind but the fact of the matter is that you're not single. you have husbands. when you actually have to do everything BY YOURSELF, ALONE, without someone to say "oh, hey i'll get that" to, without any help whatsoever ESPECIALLY financially then you may call yourself a single mother. your husbands may be doing terrible jobs and hardly anything at all but it is something and they are there at the very least. you do trust them enough to be around your children right? if so, then he at leasts covers the baby sitting tab, or day care, or nanny expenses. and if we don't think that's enough maybe we should look up the average cost of fulltime daycare (about a fulltime job's salary if it's somewhere decent). do NOT compare yourself to any single mother struggle because you do not know of them, your husbands are simply lazy and/or worthless. when you file for dissolution of marriage then and ONLY then may you call yourselves single mothers. hate to sound harsh and i can relate to you but it just struck a nerve. and no i do not have children yet and am not a single mum myself. however, i am married and we are expecting one in a few months but even when i feel the most alone, i wouldn't dare call myself a single mother.. or compare myself to one. also melissa and ned, if you want to use my post, you may ask my permission not just throw it into the terms & conditions.

This was

A completely unnecessary rant. I hope you feel better by trying to make others feel bad. No one said they were single mothers. There is nothing wrong with a little comparison. Even some single mothers get help from their family and friends.  I get financial help only from my husband who is a day's drive away, but NO help from family or friends. I do just fine, but I could COMPLETELY relate to the original poster. She just wants support. She is LOOKING for support. None of us needed your rant. I hope any of your future posts are more supportive. Otherwise, why be here?!

On ADHD marriage and single moms

Hi, rgarcia,

I'm sorry that I upset you by what I said. I did say that I searched out advice to single moms, because I felt almost, but not entirely, like one. I do know that I am better off than a single mom. In my more selfish moments, one of my reasons for staying in my marriage has been financial. So, yes, I do acknowledge that I am better off than a single mom.

That said, there really is a lot I can learn from single moms. How do you parent virtually alone? How do you keep up with work and chores virtually alone? How do you handle Mother's Day (my husband never did get the "even if you say you don't need to do anything for me because I'm not your mother, you should still take leadership in helping our child do something for Mother's Day" bit)? The thing with those of us who are married to husbands who are only partially invested in the marriage and family -- whether the reason is ADHD or something else -- the people around us usually aren't looking out for us. Everyone assumes your husband has your back. I'm NOT saying that puts me in a worse position than a single mom -- I'm still better off -- but I am saying that sometimes I wish people in "normal" marriages understood what it's like to not have that reliable partner, and that they'd have been doing me a favor when my child was younger if they'd taken her shopping to get a present for me for Mother's Day or if they had offered me practical help from time to time. So, while I again acknowledge that I'm NOT a single mom and in some ways have it better, I feel a lot of kinship to single moms. I get lonely. I feel like everything in our household depends on me (it doesn't, but so much does, and my husband is so unreliable, that that is close to the truth). I have to look out for myself, because my husband isn't going to think or remember to look out for me. I so yearn to feel cherished and supported, to feel like I have a partner. I don't feel like my husband is my partner; I feel like he is a roommate with (occasional) benefits.

I feel like I touched a nerve with you, though I know you are not a single mom. I apologize for coming off as not considering what it is really like for single moms. I do ask you to try to walk a mile in my shoes, and especially of the other women who have said they feel single (I have acknowledged in other places on this board -- many women have described situations that are far worse than mine). From what you said about being able to relate, I'm guessing you deal with ADHD in your marriage, too, but each of us faces slightly different situations. Maybe your husband is higher functioning than many of our spouses. Maybe you just haven't seen how awful it can get once you add a kid to the mix (I hate to alarm you, but that is when things really went downhill in my marriage -- it's easier to be married to someone who isn't all that invested when there are no children to care for, but once you add the demands of parenting, that can be the straw that breaks the camel's back). There are, indeed, women here who are concerned that their husbands are actually endangering their children -- they cannot leave the children with their dad. At that point, if one of those women tells me, "I feel like a single mom," I understand. She can't even leave her kids with their dad to get groceries. So, hats off to single moms, who do indeed deal with things I haven't had to deal with -- and who can teach me a few things that I can use on my own lonely journey.

I totally get what you mean

I totally get what you mean here.  I know how hard single moms work and I have all the respect in the world for them (and am terrified that I am most likely joining this group soon), but one of the problems with being married is not feeling I can ask others for help everyone would assume I would get from my husband.  My dad fixed our front door and garage this week (we were in serious danger of not being able to get into our house at some point as everything was not working or sticking) and he was just so annoyed about it because he felt my husband should do it.  He commented I needed to find a good handyman because of this, but then said I shouldn't waste money on a handyman because he could do it.  But I felt so guilty that my dad had to fix these things.  And there are other situations where something just doesn't get done because I don't want to ask someone else to do it and my husband doesn't want me to hire someone to do it.  Plus, there are all the situations where my husband creates more work for me (like making huge messes in the kitchen to cook things just for himself and not cleaning them up - and as they often involve raw meat, I have to clean them up to keep our kids safe).  So in some ways, being a single mom just sounds so tempting sometimes.

"Making huge messes in the kitchen"

I just had to let you know that I almost laughed out loud when I read your description of your husband's kitchen messes -- not that it is really funny, but it is so much like what I experience. We have a double-basin sink, and when my husband cooks, he often leaves all sorts of things, including trash, in one side of the sink. Remove a wrapper from a turkey? Throw it in the kitchen sink! Shuck some corn? Do it over the sink, and leave the husks there! (He seems to have a real problem with getting trash in trash cans. He actually does use them sometimes, but if they are anywhere out of his way, he won't take the steps to get to them. Maybe if he wore a trash can strapped to him...). I have talked with him about the importance of keeping the kitchen clean, but in general, I just assume I am going to have to do some serious cleaning after him. Last night he cooked Mother's Day dinner, and he actually threw the wrapping the salmon came in away (woohoo!), but he left the empty couscous box and seasoning packet on the counter, along with a ton of dirty dishes. I just started my "happy music" playlist and cleaned up, and I felt fine about it, because I like having a clean kitchen, so that was a gift from me to me.

Thankfully, he only cooks a couple of times a week (often less than that), and our daughter has become a pescetarian, so we are having less meat these days, which helps with the grossest, scariest messes.

My turn to laugh out loud..

My turn to laugh out loud...at the garbage in the sink thing!  I thought my husband was the only one who did that, it is so bizarre and gross. He used to do it when we were dating (and the garbage can in his house was literally beneath the sink!) and I eventually weaned him off of it with my incredulous reactions (this and putting his feet on the kitchen table...while people are eating...were things that I just couldn't believe were actually happening!).  He does it every now and then still, but my reactions usually keep it from continuing.  Seems like maybe I need to be totally disgusted by a bunch of things that are going on to get anything to change.  But yeah, garbage in the sink can't be an ADHD trait can it?  Just a really crazy coincidence, I hope.    

Ewwwww...

Not a naturally neat person, but that is nasty.  That's where you CLEAN dishes.  Yuck.

Linsy's picture

A handyman is much cheaper than a husband

Don't be scared. I am so much happier now without him. My handyman is great, and much in the same way that I got rid of my car and now use hires and a car club, it is  great stress saver.

rgarcia

Hmm....rgarcia, if you've never been a mother let alone a single mother, then sorry hun' you have no right to be judgemental about it.......until you walk a mile in these women's shoes, don't assume to know.....thank you .......

Linsy's picture

Live is vastly happier and better without him

Frankly, I  agree with all these ladies, we are all single mothers and we have one huge rather unpleasant adolescent who will never grow up. I decided my two sons, who both have ADHD but have the potential to do very well now they are getting the right help, deserve my time and attention far more than the man who refuses to acknowledge the effect of his behaviour on his family. And he insisted I had full time daycare for my youngest for 4 years, while he sat at home bringing in no income whatsoever.

I have now been a single mother for four years. It is bliss in comparison to dealing with the daily, deadening let downs, big and little. The vile mood swings, the incompetence, the loss of friends, the endless endless repeated 'mistakes' (getting things stolen was a favourite, including two cars - he left the keys in the ignition or close by), the endless cannabis abuse. And, worst of all, the terribly parenting of our youngest, who was in a very bad way by the time I pulled the plug. Within a few hours he had gone from off the scale oppositional, to easy and loving. I luckily knew I had done the right thing immediately.

Since then we have weathered all kinds of storms. My shattered nerves have gradually steadied, and all is as well as it can be. Of course there is no one to share the success with, but in many ways that is a good thing. As for a 'support network' - I don't have one either. Good friends with issues of their own for which I offer as much support as I can (disabled children, health issues etc). My family is not a help. I have no parents. I do NOT feel sorry for myself at all. I just feel glad and grateful that I have children and a brain and my health (including robust mental health) - although I never take anything for granted. Deo gratias.

 

totally get you (edited)

20 Yr, I feel for you and I am sorry for your situation.

Your post sounds like a summary of my marriage, lol. I completely understand how you feel, from the not getting help to the not traveling to the taking Adderall but refusing counseling to unfinished projects to my spouse being defensive and bewildered that I kept insisting how significantly his ADHD affected our family life. I unfortunately was not ok with him not getting treatment after years of asking and left him last year. 

My advice is for you to find a way to get some relief for yourself as soon as you can. I know that my misery caused me to isolate myself. I too said that I couldn't afford help. And my friends were busy, and I had no family closer than 250 miles. These are all very good reasons. The truth was that it was hard to let someone I didn't know very well into my strained situation. It was more for me to decide and more work. You know what? You can't afford not to get help. After deciding to just DO it, I found a gem of a college student who came Saturday mornings and watched my toddlers for a few hours. It allowed me to stop being so mad that my spouse wouldn't get out of bed on the weekends until very late and was great for my sons, who still love her. Can you figure out a way to pay a student to pop in and clean or make a few meals and freeze them for you? Is there a teenager in the neighborhood looking for a job who can take out the trash and do a few things around the house for you? I KNOW:-) he should be doing some of this, but for the time being? Can you cut back somewhere so that you can just know these few things will be taken care of? It is tough to get stuff like this started, but once they are rolling, they take on their own momentum. And it is great to have one or two numbers in your phone that you can call if you really need some help. 

At any rate, my best to you. There are lots of posts on this site and you may find that looking through the history you will find more input. Take good care of yourself.

You've given me an idea

Thank you. There may be at least one young person I know that I can pay for help.

By the way, I see that I've interacted with both you and Rosered before when I was concerned about my husband's drinking. The good news is that it did seem to be an obsession which has recently dialed down a bit. Of course, he's replaced it with the project in the garage, but at least he doesn't seem to be developing into an alcoholic.

barneyarff's picture

Wow   Are you living at my

Wow

 

Are you living at my house?  To be honest I don't know if it's ALWAYS ADD or if a majority of the time it's "IcangetawaywithitbecauseIalwayshavebefore"

Personally I think it's the last.  After being married for a long time and if the husband comes from a family where the Mom was "in charge" of the house and the dad sat on his behind and watched TV after work, then that's what our husbands hope to get.  I mean, who wouldn't want a wife who even threw away your empty popcorn container?

 

If they don't want to change I think your only recourse is to put up with it or leave.

 

What if I died?

Have you guys ever worried about who will take care of the kids if you pass away? My husband doesn't actually have ADD, but he was diagnosed with several processing and memory disorders, and it looks a lot like ADHD, so I hope it's ok that I'm here. The incident that drove me to get him tested was that he'd left our 3 year old alone in a swimming pool with no life jacket because he saw a basketball hoop and decided he'd rather shoot. He told me later that because she was in the shallow end, he thought she'd be ok. I found her in water up to her armpits, heading in deeper. I can't even tell you how scared I was, but I'm sure you can imagine.

He's never been good about the kids' safety, but that was the worst thing he's ever done. Since then, I've tried to avoid leaving him alone with the kids. But I'm terrified that if something happens to me, the kids won't be safe. And then beyond their basic safety, he doesn't participate in parenting them in any meaningful way. If we were to divorce and I had custody, would he automatically get them if I died? Or could I identify other guardians for them? I'm just terrified that he won't be a capable parent if something happens to me.

Good question

First off, I think you are completely welcome here. Your husband may not have ADHD, but he certainly behaves like he does! I would have been terrified in the circumstances under which you found your three-year-old, so I can certainly understand your worries. My husband has never done something on that level (when he was finally tested a few years ago, he was told he was high-functioning, possibly because his very high-IQ enabled him to somehow work around his ADHD). He just has never put much effort into raising our child, leaving (as he himself admits) the vast majority of the work to me. I confess that when we talked divorce (which I think I will end up posting about on this board in a while), I told him I wanted full custody of our daughter, and it was largely because he just sort of ignores her. Not in an endangering way; he just doesn't bother to invest in relationships if they aren't "shiny" and all fun all the time. I really had to insist very firmly that he show up for her last school concert, because he usually doesn't get around to coming to school concerts or, when she was in a sport, games, and it does matter to her. He sometimes means to show up, but he doesn't organize his time so that he can make the event. When he finally showed up to this most recent concert, I found myself praising him over and over again, almost like you would with a dog or a small child, to try to reinforce the behavior, because I know he was bored to tears, since the event involved sitting and waiting for the concert to start, and then sitting through several performances that didn't involve our child. I can manage it just fine, but he, of course, can hardly stand it. I felt bad, though, that I was laying on the positive reinforcement as thickly as I was. I think both of us realize that I go through a "good dog" routine with him sometimes. :(

Anyhow, at one point, I was sure that if I died (or left him and he had joint custody of our daughter), his mother would move to our area and take charge of things with him. She treats him like he his helpless, which in my opinion has just made things worse. Now, with my mother-in-law getting increasingly frail, my mom living near us (she didn't when my daughter was younger), and our child getting older, I think my daughter could somewhat take care of herself, and my mom would step in to help.

I'm no legal expert, but I think if you were divorce, you might not get full custody. Despite my telling my husband I wanted that, I really wouldn't have gotten it unless he agreed to it -- I think you REALLY have to prove the other parent is a serious danger to your child. You have a good argument given the swimming pool situation, I'm not 100% sure it would be good enough for a judge -- it would depend on the judge, I think. Anyhow, even if you had full custody of your children, I don't know that your husband wouldn't get custody once you died. Again, he'd have to really look pretty terrible in court to not have any rights to them, even if you were dead. The question is, could you make arrangements with trusted friends or family members -- your family or his -- that they would step in and help with your children should you die. This, unfortunately, probably wouldn't mean that your children would always be in the presence of another, more trustworthy adult, but it might help. And I guess this is a great reason to invest in your health, so that your chances of dying young will be slim!

Hang in there.

Legal assistance needed..

If you are in the US the laws may depend on your state so what you read about one state may be totally irrelevant to your position. You would not be paranoid if you found a way to spend an hour on a legal consultation, then set about putting in place whatever paperwork is required to have your wishes heard if the worst should happen. Please find a way do it, it need not be expensive just to find out your position (and considering what's at stake it's important to learn what the law has to say so if you can afford it *at all* then do it now, or look for a free 1/2 hr consultation).

Omg, my husband has put our

Omg, my husband has put our baby in several dangerous situations. It can keep me awake at night worrying that he isn't safe with his own father. I'll just have to stay alive lol. He gives no meaningful interaction either. 

Oh, I left mine, but he is relocating to be near us. I hope he has changed. 

Linsy's picture

Understand your fears

I left my four year old with husband at a holiday resort for five minutes so I could have a break (four year old hyperactive ADHD and I was exhausted). The next thing I knew, the child, who could not swim, was in the swimming pool fully clothed. Luckily he likes water and was not scared, so did not gasp as he entered the water (which is how small children drown). Thank God he was OK. Husband appeared not even to understand what he had done, or what the problem was. In retrospect of course I should have left him years ago.

Please don't worry about dying. It is vanishingly unlikely, and you can appoint guardians and take out life insurance on yourself to help things along. In your custody petition you can detail his problems, and make sure the judge understands what should happen in the event of your death. But you won't. Time passes very fast and soon they will be big enough to look after themselves. You will be so much happier without having to deal with the horrible nonsense of this behaviour. For one thing your own health will improve as you will be less stressed. My stress went off the scale, the doc put me on beta blockers, and that worked a treat. I have no mental health issues thank God, so am now calm and happy.

Best of luck. Please do feel free to ask me about any single mother strategies. Honestly it only occurred to me very recently that I was a 'single mother' and I left him four years ago. The improvement is just so enormous that I just felt normal - plus his issues meant I was always a 'single' mother.

That's what I like about these boards

That's what I like about these boards: the fact that we can relate to each other (and commiserate and maybe even help out).

There is always the question: Is it really ADHD or something else? Before we knew my husband had ADHD, I wondered if he was a narcissist. I wondered if he really loved me. (I still struggle with that.) I blamed his parents for not teaching him to do his share around the house (his mother did everything for her boys, even when they were adults, and while her husband sometimes worked two jobs, a full-time job and farming, when he wasn't farming, I thought he should have been doing more around the house, since his wife also worked) and for modeling selfishness in their own marriage (which eventually led to the breakup of that marriage). I still think the way he was raised comes into play. But once I knew he had ADHD, some things fall into place. I don't enjoy waiting in lines, but he HATES it. Now I know why. He used to do things like start folding laundry and then leave the task partially finished, and I wondered if it was some sort of passive-aggressive way of treating me. Now I know that he will be folding laundry, start wondering about something, stop to go look it up on the Internet, and then forget all about the laundry. The ADHD explains a lot. Certainly, other factors do come into play, but the ADHD is a huge factor.

There was a point just this past winter when I decided I couldn't put up with it anymore. I have to put this into context. (1) While I'm generally not going to judge people who have gotten a divorce, (in part because I've nearly been down that road myself, so who am I to judge someone who went the rest of the way?), I believe divorce is really an option that should be embraced only under extreme circumstances, such as abuse or affairs. Part of that is because of my religious faith (I believe that marriage is a school that can help us become more Christlike, though I confess there are plenty of times I feel like I'm DONE with trying to be Christlike, let me be selfish now!), and part of it is because I think we often overestimate how happy we'll be after a divorce. So, while I can be TEMPTED to get a divorce (and boy, can I be tempted), that's not a path I truly want to walk down. (2) When this happened, a lot more was going on in my life than just dealing with a husband with ADHD. It was winter, and a very snowy one, and I HATE winter and I HATE commuting in the snow. I had planned a girls' getaway to Florida with some friends, and then my work schedule and some other things were spinning out of control, so it was getting hard for me to find a time that would work for me to go, and one of the two friends I was going to go with was treated to a girls' getaway in Florida as a birthday gift by some other friends of hers, and she couldn't really take more time off to go back. So I was miserable and jealous of that friend and just in a bad place mentally. So, keeping those to things in mind, here's what happened. I am embarrassed to show what a b... I was, but this is a story I think I have to tell (maybe it will help other people?): I walked into the house, or tried to walk into the house, after work one day during this horrid winter, very soon after my friend got back from her LOVELY Florida trip, and I had trouble opening the door, because my husband kept kicking off his shoes in front of the door every time he came in the house, and he had at least three pairs piled in front of it. That was just the straw that broke the camel's back. I threw his shoes into another room, grabbed my gym bag and went off to exercise without saying a word to him, and as I left I thought/prayed, "Okay, God, I'm about to leave. I'll go exercise, and then I'm going to go to a bookstore and buy myself a book and a treat, and during that time, I need my husband to call and apologize for being inconsiderate All.The.Time, or a friend to call me and talk me out of this, or even a complete stranger to ask me if I'm okay -- I'll take that as a sign that I should stay. If none of those things happen, I am OUT of this marriage. I canNOT take this anymore." None of those things happened, so I piled a bunch of my clothes in our guest room when I got home, with the plan of getting up early, packing a suitcase, and just driving south (I was going to call in sick to work and worry about the whole what-to-do-about-my-daughter thing later, really immature and selfish, I know). That's how completely horrid and crazy I was being at that moment. I went to bed, and my husband and I still hadn't spoken to each other. I'd just left him and my daughter to fend for themselves for dinner during my total tantrum. I had no dinner myself, just my bookstore treat. Anyhow, I decided I needed to have it out with him, so I got up, and he told me he was tired of my acting "this way" (angry, hurt), and I told him that was fine, because I was leaving him. And he said, "Yes, I think we should get a divorce." At that second, everything drained out of me. Frankly, I was hurt. I wanted him to be disappointed. I wanted him to fight to keep me. I also realized how much this would hurt our daughter, and how I might not be so happy about it after all, and how it went against what I believed. And I found myself actually arguing him back into us staying together.

During the argument, he said some things I disagree with, including that I always want to have my way (I feel like he always wants HIS way and doesn't mind me having my way if it doesn't conflict with his way -- in other words, we can live like two housemates with separate lives, and that is fine with him -- but if I insist that I want to have something my way that would require him NOT to have his way, he gets upset). But I also saw myself through his eyes, and it wasn't pretty. I have become a real b____, and I wouldn't want to be married to me. I'm not saying I don't have reasons to be angry about the state of our marriage. But I can be a pretty miserable person to be around, and that doesn't exactly inspire change in one's spouse. Anyhow, the argument wasn't totally fair -- I agreed to get counseling for depression, he refused all marriage counseling or ADHD counseling, because, he said quite plainly, he didn't want to change. I made the agreement, because I decided I wanted to stay. Is that crazy? To some people, yes, but like I said, when I weighed in my beliefs and my daughter and my wondering how wonderful things truly would be without him -- I mean, he may not be all that helpful a lot of the time and can be selfish, but it's not like he is NO help -- he shovels and does heavy "man" tasks when they are needed, which tends to be irregularly vs. the tasks I tend to do, but they are something, and he usually works (like many ADHDers, he has had a spotty job history) and brings in approximately half the family income.

So, I agreed to counseling. He did not. But he did show a willingness to make things work. The next day we tip-toed around he each other, and he was the first to extend the olive branch by talking to me about an event that we had planned to attend in the future, then giving me a hand up off the couch (something he never does) and, at the end of the evening, asking me for a goodnight kiss. He started wearing his wedding ring regularly (it's a long story, but he hadn't been wearing it largely because he had once left it at his parent's house when they were still together, so, afraid he would lose it, he just stopped wearing it, and he knew I wanted him to wear it, so he has started wearing again, which is a very strong symbolic gesture of love). Goodness knows he is trying, and I am, too. But when I feel like I can spend all of my time picking up after him, when he could easily just throw things away or put things away himself, when he lets me down again and I think about how I can't count on him to come through for me, when I think about the many things I do without any help for him, so that it feels like I could really almost do without him, at these times, I can feel myself falling back into the anger and resentment that have been a part of my side of our marriage for many, many years. This is not the marriage I want (shall we talk about the very infrequent sex life? no, let's not right now), so it is tempting to throw it away, but when I was looking down that corridor, I didn't REALLY want to go there. What I'm trying to do is find ways that WILL inspire change in our marriage -- change from both of us, and, if worst comes to worst, to be happy in a very dissatisfying marriage. But I do often think wistful "what if" thoughts, imaging the marriage I wish I had. :(

20YrVet, there is so much in

20YrVet, there is so much in what you wrote that I relate to. If we had no kids, I would certainly be gone. But, we do, and I don't want to put them through that. That worst part for me is that my H just makes me feel crazy (and angry, I'll get to that!). I still don't know whether he lies on purpose or because he really is confused or really has forgotten our conversation, but either way it makes me feel crazy. We were just living in his home country for a year (an international marriage, another strike against us, because some of our problems are cultural barriers I think), and I was late. My boobs were sore, evertyhing smelled and tasted funny. I kept it to myself for a bit, but finally I told him I needed him to buy a pregnancy test. I coudln't myself, because I don't know what they're called in German. I thought he would freak out, but he says, "No, you can't be pregnant." Mind you we used withdrawl for birth control at this point! And I reminded him that indeed I can, in fact that's how we concieved our first. So he finally agrees to get one "if I really want one," and he goes to the drugstore while I take the kids to the grocery store. Then we get home and I ask him for the test and he said, "Oh I totally forgot it."

GRR!! How do you forget something like that?!! And I've wondered the same thing; is he just passive aggressive? And sometimes I just get so mad at him. I know anger doesn't get me anywhere, and I'm really working on it. I've read Codependent No More and a bunch of other relationship and self-help books. Codependent no more really taught me that I can't let his behavior affect me. That does mean disconnecting, but hopefully at some point we'll reconnect. I don't know, honestly more likely I see us going on disconnected and then divorcing when the kids are out of the house. 

We're back in the US so I will see an attorney. I do the same thing though, sometimes fantasizing about the marriage I wish I had. I know no one has a perfect marriage, I just want a husband instead of another child. 

Oh, and we can talk about the very infrequent sex any time! 

barneyarff's picture

Some really good stuff has

Some really good stuff has been written the past few days.

I've been thinking a lot about what was written and thought I would try to put a thought or two "on paper"

1)  If my 16 year old daughter told me about her boyfriend the way I complain about my husband and some of the stuff I read here I would encourage her to drop that boy like a hot potato and wonder how she learned to think it was OK to put up with that kind of crap.

2)  What am I teaching my children by staying in a marriage that is so full of stress?

3) I've worked hard lately at having no expectations but I've figured out that if there are no expectations, then I have no obligations either, which is rather freeing. (Why don't the books talk about the giving up obligation side?  I swear they are all sexist pieces of crap)

4) I've disengaged as much as I can.  But how are 2 disengaged, no expectations, no obligations people in  any kind of healthy relationship?

5)  I'm pretty sure that if I left the marriage, DH would do nothing to try to win me back.  That hurts me on a level I can hardly look at but I need to finally admit that if I dropped the marriage ball no one would be holding it up.

6) "I just forgot" is just as injurous as not doing something on purpose.  Forgetting means I wasn't worth the effort to remember.  "On purpose" means you weren't worth forgiving.

I didn't do it on purpose still means there is a problem that needs to be fixed.  So fix it instead of expecting me to clean up your mess.

7) I spent many years NOT being angry or upset at the messes, the "forgetting" etc and it did not get better.  When I finally saw how badly I was treated I got mad.  That is a normal reaction to being s#@! upon.  Don't leave the shoes in front of the door so I can get inside on a cold winter day.  Don't throw nasty kleenix on the floor.  Don't start another project while 33 projects lay unfinished about you and I might cheer up a bit. 

8) The stress and anger have and will continue to compromise my health.

9)  I'm less inclined to think that this is ADD.  I'm thinking it is men taking advantage of women because of the culture we live in and we let them get away with it, bad habits, bad manners and yes, the "L" word, laziness.

 

"I'm pretty sure that if I

"I'm pretty sure that if I left the marriage, DH would do nothing to try to win me back."

I filed for a separation three months ago.  My husband's only comments on the issue have been "what happens to the property" and "what happens next."  No, "But I want to stay married" or "Are you sure" or "You stupid jerk.  I'm glad we're splitting up."  Nothing.

 

I have to say that my

I have to say that my husband's reaction helped to decrease my feelings of guilt.  

It's so hard to know what the lack of response means.  But I decided that it's not unreasonable for me to expect that even a person with ADHD and passive aggressiveness and and anxiety and depression should be able to say that he wants to stay married if that is what he wants.

barneyarff's picture

I'm spending more time on

I'm spending more time on this than I should (does anyone feel just worn out with all the time and thought the ADD spouse wrings out of us?) but while writing how I don't see much empathy, or politeness in some of the spouses I read about, something I read came to mind so I looked it up.

It has to do with boy's behavior and goes something like this

age 4---grabs a girl's hair   It means he likes her the adults say.

age 11--- grabs a girls arm and she screams for him to leave her alone   That's just how boys are the adults say.

age 18--- grabs her arm (etc) and now it's not OK.   How would she know she has any say over her body when for 18 years "he" could whack on her.  How would he know to not "whack" when for 18 years adults thought it was cute.

I think this goes for ADDers too.  As children they are "just kids" and their rudeness, bad grades, messiness, lack of manners, no empathy, etc etc etc are excused.  Then when the ADDer grows up they have no understanding how to act because they were coddled or considered cute or they were hard headed and wore out their parents.  And I think as nonADD spouses we are asked to give them lots of leeway.  I'm starting to think that what they need is no leeway at all.  They behave like spoiled brats because they got away with their behavior for so long.

Yes, it's hard and exhausting to raises an ADD kid (I've got one).  But guess what?  The moment I took everything away from him except what I have to provide by law, he straightened up.  I even took away his college money. (why waste $250,000?  I could go on many vacations with that kind of money) Told him it was obvious he wanted to be a WalMart greeter so I was not going to spend anymore time or effort trying to help him be the profession he says he wants.   He now gets A's and B's and he is slowly earning back some of his stuff.  Of course I've given him lots of hugs and praise.  Don't think I'm some kind of monster. But I can't give in even a little because he will try to get away with something.  I can't give him one bit of leeway.  Not one.  It's exhausting but it's my job, I'm the Mom.  He is much harder to raise than my daughter who does NOT have ADD.  I get to let my guard down with my daughter sometimes and have a little fun.  It is a relief.

   I am determined that he is not going to treat a woman like my husband has treated me.  I would be horrified if I played a part in that. So everyday is a battle.

I think if I had drawn the line like that with my husband when we first got married, we would have either separated quickly (sigh, what a relief that would have been) or he would have realized he was not going to get away with all the crap his Dad did.  Ah, but I was young and dumb and I thought my husband was going to treat me like an equal.  And that was my fault.  I was young, dumb, in love, and I assumed many things.  And my denial was that he would grow up.

 

I also think sexism is part of the problem

I mean, marriage has been a way that men controlled women for thousands of years. A society can't just jump from that history to full equality in a few dozen years. I think many men have this expectation that their job is to work, and a wife's job is to work plus do everything else. In my situation, my H comes from Europe, and I see a lot more sexism there, especially in his home country.

I also think that the idea of an improved marriage consisting of two people who are totally disconnected from each other and have no expectations of care is just depressing. I just keep reminding myself that until my kids have a stronger sense of self and identity, the family unit is going to be very central to their lives, and that's what I'm working so hard to keep together. I'm hoping that 10 years from now, it'll feel like I've made the right decision.

Also, thanks for welcoming me here!  H's cognitive testing showed a really high score in concentration, which is why we know it's not ADHD, but I'll bet the general processing, dyslexia, auditory processing and memory disorders also go along with ADHD a lot. Does anyone know? I thought I read something somewhere about dyslexia and ADHD... And that part has been so helpful to identify. Like, I had to come back to the US early because I was deported (I know, ridiculous), because H thought he read that I had six months to apply for a visa, but I only had three. I just trusted him on that, which was stupid, but we (ha, I mean I) were doing SO MUCH to get ready for the move, and I was overwhelmed. But I have to say to my own great credit, I totally didn't get mad at him. I was mad about the fine, because I can think of much better ways to spend $750 (MUCH better ways!!!), but his dyslexia specifically manifests as a reading comprehension problem. Actually, sometimes I feel like I'm a borderline high functioning ADDer, because I can be flighty. Hopefully though I'm still in the "normal" end of the spectrum. That's my gut instinct, that I have some of the characteristics but not enough to qualify for a diagnosis. Still, I'm doing what I can to work on me.

Finally, yes, worn out. I just feel so tired all of the time. Well, I also just got over being horribly sick, so that doesn't help. 

barneyarff: could be on to something

barneyarff,

I think you could be on to something when you mentioned about parents possibly overlooking the ADHD behavior in the children, and coddling them or thinking they were cute. (especially us older folks) I TOTALLY SAW THIS in regards to the relationship between my ADHD husband and his mother. My husband was his mother's "favorite child", even though he had STRONG adhd behavior. Her other two children had terrible behavior issues and later became drug addicts/alcoholics. But, my dh was the "good kid" who got good grades, and "stayed out of serious trouble like the other two". But, her exaggerated praise on him was over behaviors that are considered just "good manners" and "good behavior" for the rest of us. (no offense to the adhd'ers out there, just explaining what she did)

     I KNOW this led, in part, to him having an "exaggerated" opinion of himself, which was running contrary to the ADHD thinking that he was somehow "different" and "above others". But, she did this ALL his life, and it took some doing on my part to explain the difference between doing something nice for someone is also good for YOU, and not always the means to getting HEAPS of PRAISE. 

    

We have been married 28

We have been married 28 years.  We have two adult daughters, both in their early 20s.  I've written a lot about my situation in other threads on this forum, but this topic (not being able to rely on the partner with ADHD) is probably the key to my unhappiness in my marriage.  We have had many problems over the past several years, and they're certainly not all my husband's fault, but the fact that he can't be relied on to help us get out of our problems has been a huge strain and stress.  My health is shot.  I need distance from my husband to survive.  And if I don't survive, my family will struggle mightily, because I'm the main breadwinner, my job carries health insurance, and I do 90% of the challenging duties of parenting and household care.

Linsy's picture

Mine quickly found a rich woman to keep him

And his family gathered around and enabled him too. So no hope for us at all. Like in addiction, some ADDers need to hit the bottom of what their natural behaviour has created before they seek help. So he will never hit the bottom.

The pain was ghastly, but necessary. I hid away and licked my weeping wounds in private. I kept my very British stiff upper lip mostly in place, and tried hard not to bore people with my misery. And then one day I felt better. Most of the time I feel fine now. The less I see of him the better, as I get a horrible stress reaction from him as I am now so unused to his bizarre and unpleasant way of addressing me. He is basically a bully and a coward, I was mistaken in thinking that he shared my values as he came from a similar family. But he does not. He is thoroughly dishonest about money - taking it from people without shame, and thinking that it comes from somewhere 'over there' and not from hard grind.

The great difficulty for those of us who believe in love and marriage is being forced to think poorly of the one person who is meant to be our partner for life and the one person who should love us more than anyone or anything. This means we can live in denial and take any amount of abuse for years and years. I look back now in astonishment at the broken promises and dreadful carelessness, the complete lack of shame, that he demonstrated every single day that he did not get up with the intention of doing the best he could for his own little family (he would do anything for his parents). So that was every day, when he would indulge in a sneaky joint, and become useless, angry, frightening, incompetent and unbelievably lazy once more.

Sorry, bitter still, and angry. But it only comes out on here.

Linsy's picture

Left mine 3 yrs ago

Realised I have been single parent all along, but to four children not three. Down to three now husband has gone, one adult, one getting there, one still young. Responsibility without agency is appalling. Sole responsibility far preferable. I too have NO family support, loving friends with their own issues, etc. But I had to be strong, so I was. He was also extremely nasty with terrifying mood swings, and I was a physical nervous wreck (although not clinically depressed - just unhappy with a marriage gone very very wrong) so I had to recover physically from an over stimulated stress reaction. You are strong, you have got this far. In the end we only have ourselves to rely on, and we have our own backs. Anything else can be seen as a lovely bonus. And I have had lots of those from the least expected people, total strangers who came into my life and reminded me that relationships (friendships - no lovers) could be fully reciprocal and satisfying. Good luck with it all.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Aha moment. . . . .

Hello 20YrVet.  I am reading your post and realizing that I too confess that I fantasize sometimes that my husband and I won't be together any more someday, and I'll meet a man who cherishes me and whom I can lean on in tough times. Someone I can truly trust. I know that isn't good for my marriage, but I am having a very hard time not going there mentally. (This someone is not an actual man I know, but that doesn't make my thoughts good.)

I am lonely in my marriage.  I am stuck trying to decide what to do.  Go?  Stay?  Go?  Stay?  I have done many sorts of counseling over the past 20 years.  Personal counseling for my own struggles with eating disorders.  Al-Anon to find peace with growing up in an alcoholic home.  Self-Help books.  Dr. Phill's Relationship Rescue.  The ADHD and Marriage couples course offered here on this site.  2 specific courses of marriage counseling with-in 3 years  with two different ADHD experts.  

When our daughter got engaged in January of this year, my ADHD spouse and I sorta-kinda made an agreement that we would put our marriage struggles on the back burner until after the wedding - thus being able to focus on our daughter and her joy in planning her wedding.  Our marriage struggles have been on-going for many years, so it was easy for me to allow the focus at this time to be my daughter.

 My daughter adores her Daddy - and that makes me happy.  My daughter and I have a great relationship - and that makes me happy.  My spouse is no more reliable to his daughter than to me - but a Father-Daughter relationship is a whole different thing that a Husband-Wife relationship when it comes to reliability and being there for someone.

And time, as always, has marched on - and in 7 days, the wedding will be here.  I have been literally fighting off the cloud of doom I feel lurking in the background - fearing the shoe-to-drop squarely on my head.  

How hard it is to not be able to rely on someone - I suppose it might be different if there was empathy from  my spouse on his inability to be reliable.  However, all I feel is his anger in response to my hurt/disappointment/over-burdened life.  

I have been working on putting an end to the child-parent dynamics in our relationship.  Not as easy as I thought as I am a care-taker nurturer by God's design.

I have taken on a temporary part-time job in the evenings.  Last night, amidst the working,  waiting in the afternoon for an appraiser for refinancing our house, and all the wedding planing, I had totally 100% forgotten about a 9:30 pm gathering of my friends - I  myself had called another friend this past Monday to remind her of us getting together.  

So I got a clear look into how a brain can totally forget something so important.  And it did stir empathy for my spouse - as he always in pounding his forehead with the palm of his hand saying, "You DO NOT KNOW what it is like to live inside my brain."  

I did feel embarrassment and shame  and silly ness that I had forgotten - and I apologized to my friends.  And right there - that apologizing, that understanding, that realizing that I caused disappointment to another, that frustration at how the other felt - - - that is what I am missing from my spouse.  

And there within lies the dilemma. . . . . .  

barneyarff's picture

Something rather amusing

About a month ago we bought a used Rainbow vacuum cleaner.

My ADD husband cannot get enough of it because of it's instant feedback.  (It has no bags.  It has water and all the dirt goes into the water)

I hear him upstairs now vacuuming again.

Rainbow should make an advertisement out of this.  It's great.  I  would have happily paid the full amount for a new one had I known the response it would get.

Now if they could only make the vacuum so it would put itself away because, yes, you guessed it, it sits in my living room quite a bit.

this is totally me

I have a similar (bagless) vacuum cleaner, and it totally provides instant gratification. THEN I got a hoover floor mate (spearates the clean water from the dirty!), and OMG it's the same thing. I certainly have a bit of ADD tendencies myself (fixation, forgetful, and I seldom put away the vacuum cleaner), but sometimes they're just so enjoyable. :-)

After his diagnosis, mine

After his diagnosis, mine stopped apologizing and started saying, "oh, I got distracted", like it was no big deal. 

Mine is moving in with me temporarily until he finds a good job. I feel like someone with ptsd right now. I'm still angry after 6 months completely apart. And honestly, he is a good man. The ADD and laziness are just too much to bear for my personality and needs. 

My heart breaks for all of us

Rosered, I'm glad in some ways that your husband's attitude helped you when you decided to make the break, but I'm so sorry for you, too. I know it must be hard after investing 28 years.

And barneyaff and polkadots, I totally get that sexism might play in, though I do believe in ADHD -- I've seen men on these boards talking about their ADHD wives, and I know that part of my husband's problem is forgetfulness, which was sort of cute "ha ha, isn't he so forgetful" thing before things really went south.

And that's the thing... part of what keeps me hanging on. I'm not saying we had a perfect marriage in the beginning, but it was a mighty good marriage, and I loved him madly and generally felt loved by him. Housework wasn't supposed to be a problem for us, because when we did our premarital counseling, he believed (on paper at least) as I did in sharing the housework equally. But when we first got married, he was working an average of 60 hours a week, and I was working 40, and we lived in an apartment, no kid, so it made sense for me to do pretty much everything. And for a while, when we lived in our house (but still had no child) and were working about the same amount, we actually did pay for help, since I was doing most of the housework. We were paying a seminary student who needed a little extra income. It worked out well, but then she graduated and got a position, and that came to an end, and we could never afford "real" help.

When things were bad with my husband, which wasn't awful, I found that when I put some extra effort into the relationship, which I wanted to do, because I loved him so and loved us together, he responded, and all was well. He has so much going for him, and when I compare him to some of the husbands I read about on these boards, I should feel lucky. He is smart and hard-working. He isn't an angry person; in fact, he avoids conflict (and that isn't always good, of course, but the point is, when we fight, it's because I start it). He generally doesn't spend unwisely; he was raised in a frugal family and has pretty much stayed that way. He hasn't cheated on me, and while I was worried he was headed toward becoming an alcoholic for a while, that, too, seems to be under control now.

The problem is, I feel unloved and unsupported, and I can almost exactly pinpoint when the slide downhill began: when our daughter was about five months old. The setup came before that: before I was pregnant, a friend of his at work (I'll tell you, sometimes I hate his work friends, because the things they introduce him to never seem to be good for our marriage... maybe if he didn't obsess over things, it would be different) was a police reserve officer. My husband ended up doing a ride-along with an officer, loved it, and went into police reserve work, too. Of course, having ADHD, he couldn't just sort of go into it, he REALLY went into it. Feeling neglected, I picked a fight with him over this at one point, and because I unfortunately seem to come up with very cruel things to say, I accused him of playing out a cops and robbers fantasy. He never forgets these things I say (so why does he forget things I want him to remember?). Anyhow, eventually he decided he wanted to go into work as a police officer, and while it took me a while to get on board, I became supportive of it, and I spent a lot of time helping him, because he has terrible grammar, spelling and handwriting skills (hello, ADHD), so I helped him with many an application, even when our baby was little and I wanted to go to bed after putting her to bed, but he needed help. When she was two months old, he landed a job as an officer. We were so happy, and I was so proud of him. As an added bonus, I wanted to be an at-home mom, and given the escalating pay scale of his position, we figured that when she was three-and-a-half, I could quit my job.

Up until then, he had bounced from job to job, but he had always carefully lined one job up before going to another, but with the police job, his job history changed. He was on probation for three months. At the end of that time, the police chief called him, said he was doing a good job but seemed to be having trouble memorizing the locations of things, so he wanted him to stay on probation a while longer. I guess, looking back, my husband really does have a fragile ego, and what he heard was, "You are a failure." At any rate, he came home, told me about the review, and said he didn't know if he'd be on the job much longer given that. He said NOTHING about quitting his job. A couple of days later, I came home from work, and my husband greeted me with, "I quit my job today." He felt that he was not a good officer and a danger to the public by not being one, so he quit, though the chief tried to talk him into staying. He told me that he had warned me this might happen, but I had not understood what he had told me to mean that he would actually quit. I was so angry and hurt. He got a position back in his old line of work (computer help desk) within two weeks, but for years, I carried around a lot of anger and bitterness about his throwing his job away after all we had invested in it. I shouldn't have done that, but I did. I also became quite bitter about the unequal distribution of household and parenting tasks in a way I had never felt before, because having a kid, of course, makes everything more difficult. My husband's career became quite shaky -- he was laid off of one job when the dot-com industry crashed and unemployed for six months. He tried to move up during that time but ended up feeling grateful to get a similar position at a large company as a contract employee. He spent some years there, never able to move up due to the nature of his position, always under threat of layoff, sometimes taking paycuts. In the meantime, I moved up in my own career. He finally moved to another place, but that place was dysfunctional, and he was fired after a very short period of time (not his fault). He was unemployed for a very short time, and got another position. This lasted a while, and it started out good, but that workplace also became dysfunctional, all the good people left, he got depressed and eventually I gave him my blessing to quit without having another job lined up. He wasn't eating or sleeping, for heaven's sake! It was scary, because it was during this past recession, but in two months, he had another job. That lasted six months -- his boss kept telling him he was forgetful and made him write an essay on how he would improve his memory. Finally, I started to worry and used the internet to research memory problems. I was sure it wasn't early onset Alzheimer's, because, remember, my husband has always been forgetful, it just rarely affected his work performance. I found out that that was a hallmark of ADHD, begged him to get tested, and he did, but it was too late to save that job. He was unemployed for another eight months before finding his current job, where he is doing well. They are encouraging him to try to move up, but he complains of being too tired at the end of the day to study for a higher-level position, though he has energy to work on his project in the garage.

I tried to "stand by my man" during this time. I even wanted to. But I also kept building up resentment -- over the police job, over the unequal work around the house, over the fact that he seemed to have permission to quit, while I never did, over the fact that even when I told him I'd like him to express some appreciation for my hard work, at home and at work, he never did. Not once did he say, "I know these times have been hard on you. Thank you for working so hard for us." And somewhere during that time, I stopped wanting to try anymore. And I'm sure my bitterness has seeped through and made me hard to love, so we've been on a downward spiral for some time.

But I want to have hope. I want to believe we can spiral upward again. I remember that, once upon a time, I was madly in love and if you asked me, I would honestly have told you our marriage was good. I want to try for that reason, among others.

And yet... I also feel SO hurt, SO hopeless, SO uncherished, that I want the fantasy man, even though he doesn't exist, and might never exist. I know realistically that, while there are people in situations where they'd feel happier out of their marriage, I won't necessarily feel that way. I could very well feel even worse.

So I'm torn. Torn between throwing in the towel and wanting to keep going. In the meantime, whether because I am at midlife or the medication and counseling are working, I'm feeling a new interest in investing in myself, and maybe that, too, will help. I've decided (though I've told no one about this) that this coming school year and summer are my year of "no" -- as much as possible, unless I feel very strongly that saying yes is absolutely necessary or good for me -- I am going to say no to requests made of me, with the hopes that will free up some time and energy. We shall see.

Anyhow, like I said, my heart breaks for every one of us, but I think this is important for us to be able to discuss with other people who are going through similar things!

barneyarff's picture

What you wrote was something.

What you wrote was something.  

So, my DH is trying to get his ADD under control.  He is now on meds and after my telling him to get counseling or leave, he has gone to counseling but it is such an uphill battle for both of us and frankly after 39 years I'm out of steam. 

So this morning I get up and going and find out that DH has bought a whole box of doughnuts.  And my ADHD son was up during the night eating them.  This is not the 1st time this has happened.  This is not the 5th time this has happened.  Each time I asked DH not to buy doughnuts and explained why it wasn't a good idea.  I used soft tones and did not blame anyone.  As usual, asking nicely and explaining why had no affect.

 So this morning I yelled.

His first response?  "I couldn't help it.  The boy had his own money."

 Are you kidding me?  He finally admitted that he is the parent and he should have said "no"  and because I yelled, he finally caught on and agreed that he did something stupid and he won't do it again.

But I am already annoyed.  I've lost my temper.  The adrenoline is flowing.  I've been on a walk.  I told him that if he was the only one stuffing himself with doughnuts, I'd just let him and hope he died an early death but he cannot do this to a kid.

Seriously, the experts don't talk at all about what the ADDer is supposed to do to act responsibly.  I'm fed up with being told what I'm supposed to do.  I'm tired of hearing how I'm doing EVERYTHING ALL WRONG.  When does the ADDer need to grow a pair?

When does he become responsible enough that I don't have to lose my temper just to get the kids raised right?  (I'm just waiting for some expert to tell me that I need to let the ADD spouse feed the ADHD kid doughnuts because that's his parenting style)

 

You know, last week,  I had a rather scary mammogram (don't know the results yet)  My company lost a big contract and I probably will lose tens of thousands of dollars in income because of it.  My son did something hugely stupid on Facebook that needs to be addressed immediately.  Yes, I've had my hands full.  My DH has a big project he is working on but he had a 3 day weekend.

He did not ask about the mammogram.  He shrugged off my loss of lots of income like it didn't count (and it was the fun part of my job too) and he has informed me that he can't think about our son's behavior right now because of what is going on at work.  I finally pressed him for a date that we could talk about it and he suggested after labor Day.

ARGH!!!!!!!!

Sanity

That is one of the most sane things I have seen written here.

The ADD spouse should not have to be responsible for themselves AND a child/parent AND the bad effects on the children after the childl/parent has had their way being irresponsible. People are built to have adrenaline and anger when things are WRONG,  It comes out as a viable emotion OR it gets stuck and stuffed and drives a person crazy.   After over 35 years of trying every way possible, giving, supporting,....I have adrenaline fatigue and dh still acts like a happy puppy whose main goal in life is to have a good time and rebel against authority.... ANY authority...The expected promises of marriage, a place in his own family, being a role model for children, earning a living, keeping a budget....All these sorts of things he sees as burdens of authority and he chooses to turn away from them and "do his own thing".

I am married.  My husband is not married.  But I have been married.....nothing to celebrate because I have been married by myself.

I appreciated your comments, barnarff.  You are right.

Linsy's picture

Being married by yourself

Arrgghhhh! I was married for about 22 years. In that time I think under four of those years (middle period, not early or late) resembled in any way a marriage. The rest of the time I was doing it ALL by myself, constantly undermined by his ghastly behaviour. Now I am on my own, and am still doing it all by myself, but without the fear, the eggshells, the violent moodswings, the broken and stolen things, the terrible, unerring wrongness of his decision making, the irresponsible behaviour towards his children, the crazy spending from the joint account, the mad accusations, the parking tickets.... Wonderful. 

How are you?

What you wrote was something.  

Yeah, I can get wordy, especially when emotional. 

You know, last week,  I had a rather scary mammogram (don't know the results yet) 

Any news on this? I've been there with the scary mammogram stuff. For me, it turned out to be nothing (just a cyst), but I know what it is to have your heart in your throat, so if you don't mind posting about it, please let me know if all is well.

barneyarff's picture

Ya, got the results last

Ya, got the results last night.

No cancer.  Just annoying cyst or infection or something.  Whew!  With my history it is really really scary stuff.

And..... thanks for asking.

 

Linsy's picture

Stupid stuff stresses us out

It is maddening isn't it? I was made redundant twice, and he didn't even seem to notice. And I was paying the interest on business debts he ran up through poor judgement (and very poor support from his financial adviser).

I had a lump too

I ignored it, then the lymph nodes in my groin on the same side of my body started to swell, and that was really scary. I told him and he said, "Huh, that's weird." Not, "Please go see a doctor TODAY," just "huh, that's weird." But I went, even though it was scary, and the lump was just a fatty cyst but the lymph nodes were a mystery, so the doctor ordered some bloodwork. When I got home and told H, he said, "Well what's the bloodwork going to cost? You're not going to do it, are you?"

I didn't even bother responding. It goes like this every time something wrong. I'm pregnant and bleeding? Well that's weird. Do we have to go to the doctor? He's really busy today. How much will it cost? Then if I call him out on it later, "no that's not what I said, that's not what happened." Every time. Finally if I could get him to admit that he did indeed say that, he'll switch to "well you should know that's not what I meant to say."

I'm glad everything is ok with your health and jobs now!

Wow, every single paragraph

Wow, every single paragraph here is familiar to me. From 20yv's experiences to the lack of empathy. I woke up early on my birthday, middle in my pregnancy, with contractions. I calmly told my husband that I thought we should go to the ER. It was a Sunday, about 6am. With no emotion except annoyance, he said, "are you sure?". I had to convince him to take me and push him out the door. I spent the next 2-3 months on bedrest and a few weeks in hospital here and there. 

I may never fully get over the resentment, but at least I don't have to be with him anymore. That gives me some peace. 

OMG--my DH NEVER remembers a

OMG--my DH NEVER remembers a single word that comes out of his mouth or anyone else's mouth.  every time we have a disagreement I get the exact same phrasing even--that's not what I said, that's not what I meant.  I am to the point that I don't argue about anything because nothing is his fault EVER and nothing gets remembered accurately anyway, so why bother.

regarding the childish responses to things--do you know how many times I get told "I'm an adult, I can do whatever I want and if it hurts feelings, that's too bad."  That's all true, just not too conducive to a nice friendly healthy marriage.  In the past month I have come to grips with the fact that I am totally on my own.  After 19 years of variations on this theme, I am on my own.  It actually feels kind of freeing in a strange way.  If he can do whatever he wants, so can I.  I took my end of the year bonus and spent the whole damn thing ($200) on myself. he doesn't even know I got a bonus.  passive aggressive on my part?  maybe, but I am SO SICK of being in charge.  it felt great to just go get stuff I wanted.  I spent the whole thing at Sephora-make up, perfume, lotion--and it makes me happy every time I use one of the things I bought.  Money well spent.

I feel like I wrote that...

wow, it's amazing to read my life in someone else's words. I have been living with this type of like for 4 years now. I won't have a baby because I'm so unhappy with how my husband is. When we first met, he was extra responsive, very helpful, came up with great ideas and stuck with them. He has great intentions, but always forgets to follow through with things, pretty much everything except for his Jeep. I moved for him, away from my family and friends and I'm very depressed. If I tried listing the things that he doesnt do, I would be here too long and and start sounding like a nag (which he love to point out to me). I've got to the point where I want to hire a man to help me out with the heavier things that need to be done around the house. I'm 32 years old and I think I'm getting althritis bc my hands hurt and it makes everything so much harder to do. Last year I had stress related migraines from him all the time, it was so horrible, but now I can recognize the symptoms and I just leave the house and try to get away before it blows up into a migriane. I dont believe in divorce, but after 4 years im convinced there is no changing him. He gets very offended if I mention that he has an attention disorder, which makes perfect sense since his mother suffers from that as well. He is manic sometimes (super excited and very happy) so I feel like I'm living on a rollercoaster. He gets angry and downright defensive if I tell him what bothers me, and I'm not a confrontational person, it's hard enough just to even bring it up. When I do mention what the problem is,, it's usually because it's weighing so heavy on my mind that I just want to break down crying and leave for good. I've have left before but came back. He just doesnt understand because he comes from a family that blows up, yells and screams over tiny little things then just shrugs it off. In my past if I wasnt happy with a man that I dated I would just dump him and move on, yeah I know that is messed up, but I always felt that people just dont ever change - he would be happier with someone that suited them well and I would be happier with someone that suited me better. Like I said I dont believe in divorce but I fantasize ALL the time about finding someone more suited for me that would be CALM, kind, patient and focus on our tasks, like paying off debt, household maintenance, chores, doing things together. I tried bringing him to counseling a couple times, he has good intentions, but he just CANT focus and remember. I'm

A grain of hope

Your message got cut off at the end. If you want to follow up with the rest of it, I'd be interested in hearing your story.

Although it always helps just to know you're not the only one going through things, I thought I'd try to offer you slightly more substantial hope through where things are now in my marriage. Now things still have quite a way to go -- on both his end and my end. I still frequently feel uncherished. He forgot our anniversary, though he attempted a pretty good save. He had reminders: we talked about going out to dinner to celebrate nearly a week before, and two days before, he saw me bringing a box into the house. He asked me what it was, and I said, "A secret." He asked "For Christmas?" and I said, "No, for our anniversary." The morning of our anniversary, I left a card and his gift for him on the kitchen counter (I leave for work before he gets up). He texted me a little later and said, "Instead of a card, I'm sending you a poem: Roses are red, violets are blue, I love you." He then said my gift was to choose between going to New Orleans or Disneyworld for a winter vacation. Now that is a pretty great gift, except he had already told me before our anniversary that he wanted to take me to New Orleans before our anniversary, so he just sort of reworked it and polished it up. Because it was awfully nice of him to want to take me on a vacation in the first place and because he was trying, I gave him credit for all of this and was thankful instead of angry, but I was well aware he forgot. And it did hurt a little when later we determined it would best for us not to take that vacation, and so now I have no present at all. I know gifts don't matter all that much, but it hurts to spend time thinking of a gift to delight him and then, in the end, not to get a gift at all. Still I'm trying to focus on the good things and not spend too much time dwelling on this.

Also, I'm still doing the lion's share around the house (after more than 20 years, is that really a surprise?), and I can get resentful when he spends time working on his latest project (a new one has replaced the one he was working on -- which he actually carried to completion!, but completion meant something he could try out, not something that could actually, say, contribute to our family's well-being in some way) or taking naps or going on the computer or watching TV and I would like more time to chase my own dreams or just relax (or, sometimes, even go to bed on time).

As a result, I am still spending a LOT of time daydreaming about my fantasy man.

BUT there have been baby steps. First of all, because I've been dreaming about another man, I decided what I needed was to up the romance with my husband, and I specifically picked one thing -- sending him a loving text everyday we are at work or mostly apart, regardless of how I feel or what he does -- to do. Sometimes my text is just "I love you," sometimes it is a compliment or a "thank you," sometimes it is just "Hope you are having a good day," but no matter what, unless we are at home for most of the day together, I send that text. At first, I wasn't getting a response at all. Then, I was getting "Thank you" as a response, which was almost worse, because it was like he felt entitled to these texts without returning the favor, but I reminded myself that I was going to do this no matter what his response and kept on. And then finally he began actually saying nice things to me occasionally or saying he hoped MY day was going well. He has even initiated the occasional text. He doesn't always respond, and sometimes his responses are still just focused on himself, but he has actually started being a bit warm that way toward me.

We had a weekend away together at a sci fi convention. These weekends have always had the positives of the occasional dinner out together and actual sex at least once (which is so rare that has to be celebrated), but the trade-off is that I spend a lot of time alone, because he wants to stay up until five drinking and talking with people, and I physically cannot do that, and then I spend hours alone the next day while he sleeps in and hangs out with other people or does other things, and he has occasionally forgotten that he was going to do something with me at a certain time during the weekend. So there isn't a lot of togetherness -- not like a romantic weekend should be in my mind -- but at least there is some. Anyhow, on this weekend, I asked him to take a dance lesson with me in preparation for a dance later that evening. He hates dancing, but he actually said yes, and he danced with me. Honestly, he came to bed so late (or rather early in the morning) that I didn't think he'd make the dance lesson, but he did, and that was a HUGE deal to me for him to do something HE didn't want to do for ME. Wow.

Finally, he has been making small efforts to care for me. Can't say I'd say I feel like I can rely on him, but when I had a cold recently, he actually offered to provide dinner, and a couple of times when I've recently come home from a brutal commute (I have a lot farther to go to work than he does), he has made hot chocolate for me after I came home.

I feel like our marriage has come a long way in a short time, even though, as I said, I still have frustrations I wrestle with that push me back into my fantasies.

Here's what has helped on my end (not in order of importance):

-- My commitment to the one small change (in my case, texting).

-- My commitment to try to be pleasable, not easily angered (so when he forgot our anniversary, I just told myself, "Great save on his part! And I'll enjoy going on vacation with him.").

-- I've also started investing more in myself. I still have trouble getting that time I want to pursue my dreams or relax, as I said, but I've been investing more in my appearance and self-confidence, so by giving more to myself, I'm less focused on what I'm not getting from our relationship.

-- I've spend a ton of time praying about our relationship, including laying my specific needs before God and asking God to work in my life and change me, not just my husband.

Here's where I need to grow:

-- Confrontation. Oh, boy, that is going to be a hard one, but I know I need to do it. Neither he nor I are good at this. I was taught in my family growing up that if I stood up for myself, I'd be punished, and it is VERY hard for me to do now, so I tend to stuff things, grow resentful and then blow up (I know that is often typical of the non-ADHD partner anyway -- we give and give and then get angry). But I NEED to find a way to talk to him -- not yell at him -- about doing more around the house. I have to admit, I'm afraid. I'm afraid I'll lose him or at least the progress we've made. I'm afraid he'll say "no" or will do what he did when I was a graduate student and offer to do one additional thing only, and I'll take it because, hey, it's one thing, without pushing for more fairness than that. I'm afraid if he does take on something more, he won't follow through, just as he often doesn't follow through on the dishes, which are supposed to be his job, or on picking up after himself. I'm afraid I will not be able to communicate calmly and will blow up again, which isn't good for our marriage. I'm afraid we'll get in to an argument and he will win (I ALWAYS lose any argument I am in -- I am terrible at arguments) and then I will end up apologizing to him and he won't apologize to me (a very typical pattern for us). So, I don't know how I'm ever going to get to the point where I can confidently and assertively say, "I need for you to do more around the house. Our current division of labor is unfair," but I know that I need to work toward that.

-- Improving my ability to focus on the positive and not on what I lack (so that hopefully I can kick those fantasies to the curb -- seriously, I hate how much time I spend imaging life with my fantasy man -- while driving, falling asleep or wrestling with insomnia, doing anything that doesn't require my full attention).

-- Continuing to find other healthy ways to meet my needs (Who, other than my husband, can I ask for support when I need it? How can I continue to develop my self-esteem so that if I don't feel cherished by him, it doesn't matter so much?).

I can't promise these things would work for every relationship, but I feel like my decisions to invest in both the relationship and myself have put us on an upward spiral, and I feel far more hopeful about our future now.

Good luck!

And then there are times like this

It's not so bad, but there are rocks in every road, and tonight I am discouraged.

Our daughter is at a sleepover, so it just me and my man. A great night for a date, and we actually are normally good at taking regular dates, but we haven't had one in weeks due to hunting season and out-of-town guests and feeling under the weather.

It was be a REALLY great night for sex. It's been more than a month.

He hasn't completely ignored me, but he is pretty much acting like I am a housemate with whom he is on friendly terms.

I could tell him these things -- that I'd like to go out, that I'd like to have sex. But here's the thing: I do virtually all of the parenting tasks -- tracking grades, listening to speeches being rehearsed, giving my feedback on papers, driving child home from school every day, long talks about things both deep and trivial, shopping for clothes, shopping for gifts for her friends, shopping for school supplies, and so on and so forth. For seven years, I put in our required parent volunteer hours at our child's school, and then I stepped aside and told him he could do it, and he has volunteered for maybe two hours (we are supposed to be putting in 20 hours a year) in a little more than a year. I'm not going to worry about it; I was a very dedicated volunteer for several years, and no one is going to track us down if he doesn't put in the hours now.

I do the lion's share of the housework, and I get so overwhelmed when I see messes he has made (we have a bathroom I leave to him, and the times I have to go in there, I feel like screaming -- likewise with the computer room, where we have our printer... I have to shove stuff, his stuff, out of the way to print). I make most of the dinners during the week. I do most of the Christmas present shopping (I told him to buy a gift from his mom, and what he bought her was absolutely laughable -- a print (not painting) on fabric, reminiscent of Thomas Kinkaide, with little LED lights inserted, and the lights change color... the sort of gift that is hard to take seriously). I do the wrapping and the decorating and Christmas meal planning and much of the meal prep. I am not doing cards this year, and I won't miss it. 

I initiated sex last time

I want not to be responsible for this. I want him to take initiative. So, yes, I am being childish, but I don't want to initiate sex or a date tonight.

I guess I'll get a pint of ice cream and watch a romantic comedy. Not healthy, not mature, but tonight, I am just tired.

I really applaud your progress

I think it's great that you have a game plan and are seeing some positive results from it.  Be careful not to attach too much to whether or not he responds - try to do things because they are important to YOU inherently (for example, sending him texts because you feel it's important to express that you are romantically interested in making your relationship work vs. sending texts because you think he'll respond...there is a big difference in terms of what's sustainable if his response is tepid.)  Which is not to say you need to carry the weight of the relationship - it doesn't work that way, but simply that the best/easiest way to sustain things is if they are motivated by your own needs, rather than by trying to create a specific behavior in someone else (manipulation of a sort.)

I especially like your vow to 'be pleasable.'  This is an EXCELLENT relationship builder.  It's so important that your partner be open and positive to you and your ideas...you can't control whether he is this way with you, but you certainly can control whether you yourself respond to him in this way.  I know one of my husband's frustrations is that he thinks I ding too many of his ideas.  It's hard to remember to stay open and pleaseable, but well worth the effort.

To confront your husband, I suggest a few things.  First, don't think of it as a confrontation.  Think of it as joint problem solving, which is actually more accurate.  You might consider trying learning conversations or something like that to talk about difficult topics (see ADHD Effect on Marriage for more on that).  Also remember to talk about your own needs, rather than his problems.  So, for example, "I'm not getting enough sleep at night and would like to talk with you about how we might create a night routine that works for us both" is a better approach than "You keep me up at night and I'm exhausted."  My next book, which is going to be released in April has a who section on communication skills and "good fights" that will be particularly relevant for you - please consider getting a copy when it's out.

Hope this helps a bit!

Thank you

Thank you so much for your personal response. I agree that I need to not concern myself a lot with my husband's responses to my texts. I tell myself not to, because this is something _I_ have chosen to do as a commitment to the growth of our relationship, but sometimes I do take things personally anyway.

And I really appreciate seeing things as problem-solving vs. confrontation. That makes it sound much easier. I have read ADHD Effect on Marriage -- I borrowed it from the library, and it was good enough that it is now on my Amazon wishlist. I will definitely keep an eye out for your new book in April.

Again, thanks!

I always just left too, and I

I always just left too, and I left this one when there was no change once the problems had a name. I would date someone for ten years before I re-married. 

I'm sorry things are up and

I'm sorry things are up and down like that, 20yrvet. It's now been a year since my H has been formally diagnosed with his issues, and things are totally unchanged around my place. I'm increasingly frustrated that he won't make the effort to improve. I mean, we all have things going in in our brains or histories that are challenges, but part of being an adult is learning how to address those issues. And my H, at least, won't even try to seek out techniques for compensating for his problems.

I'm frustrated too because I came home from work on Wednesday and my girls, 5 and 8, were home alone. H was supposed to be there, but one of the dogs had run off, and he was out looking for him. I know there are no hard and fast rules for leaving kids home alone for 15 minutes, but our 5 year old especially is not the kind of kid you want to leave alone. And it's too much responsibility for the 8 year old to have to watch her. On top of that, my dad was home right next door, and he would have gladly had the girls at his place or come over.

So, more of the same here. Thinking of getting childcare for the girls on days when I'll be home late instead of leaving them with H. That's what us single moms have to do, right?

So glad I found this post

I'm so glad I found this post and website.  My husband was diagnosed w/ ADD (inattentive type) in the Spring.  While it has helped to know why some of the behaviors happen, it doesn't stop the behaviors.  he does take Aderall and sees his Dr regularly.  He does not follow through with therapy.  When he does he does not work on his anger issues, which is the main reason for the therapy.  I have felt for a very long time that I can't rely on him for anything.  He does not see it.  he forgets everything, doesn't listen to me, I have to repeat everything I say 3 times and he still doesn't remember-this is everyday conversation type stuff not even take out the trash type stuff.  I've stopped talking to him unless I have to, I just don't see the point.  I can't rely on him to follow through with anything, unless it is something he is interested in.  We have two kids and they are starting to see that they can't rely on him either.  As bad as it is for me, what does that do to a child to know he/she cannot rely on their dad?  I'd leave him but like others I do feel I took those vows, plus we can't afford it.  And he is such a bad parent that it would be so devastating for the kids to be with him only for 2 or 3 days a week or whatever the custody would be.  Sometimes I wish I could find a way to divorce him where he would never see the kids again but that won't happen and that would hurt the kids too.  He is so charming and funny in public, no one sees his anger, no one understands that when I say I can't rely on him or that he forgets everything that I really mean that.    I feel very alone and this is not the marriage or father I wanted for my children.  Everything I have read involves the ADHD spouse recongizing the effect of their behavior on others.  That is the key to all my problems.  He does not recognize that he is hurting us.  I tell him how we feel when he yells at us, he thinks he isn't yelling so it's not a problem.  I tell him we feel like we are not important to him, he says that's not true so it's not true.  I really feel he will never change, the meds don't seem to be helping although he thinks they are.  But without therapy nothing will get worked on, the meds won't magically change this behavior.  I am going to look into counseling for myself just to deal with the stress of this.

This: I have felt for a very

This: I have felt for a very long time that I can't rely on him for anything.  He does not see it.  he forgets everything, doesn't listen to me, I have to repeat everything I say 3 times and he still doesn't remember-this is everyday conversation type stuff not even take out the trash type stuff.  I've stopped talking to him unless I have to, I just don't see the point.  I can't rely on him to follow through with anything, unless it is something he is interested in.

And this: He is so charming and funny in public, no one sees his anger, no one understands that when I say I can't rely on him or that he forgets everything that I really mean that.    I feel very alone and this is not the marriage or father I wanted for my children.  Everything I have read involves the ADHD spouse recognizing the effect of their behavior on others.  That is the key to all my problems.  He does not recognize that he is hurting us.  I tell him how we feel when he yells at us, he thinks he isn't yelling so it's not a problem.  I tell him we feel like we are not important to him, he says that's not true so it's not true.

I live this:/

Staying together for the sake of/because of the kids

One of the reasons I had on my list for staying with my unreliable husband is that when the kids were young, I was not comfortable with them being with him alone even for weekends.  Another reason was that I didn't want to have sole responsibility for the kids's and a home's finances.  How could I afford to work, provide a home, drive a car and pay a sitter?  I am in awe of women who have done/are doing this with kids.  

Foreword your life 30 years from now staying in your current situation.  You might think, that when the kids are older you will leave then or that things will be better later - just trying to get through each day for now is all you can handle. 

Now, after being married for 40 years, I am not proud of my compromises, strength, patience and sacrifices.   No.  I am ashamed of my weakness, compromises, sacrifices. Here is why:  My children did not see a model of strength in the face of difficulty...they saw dh getting his way and me being a tired workhorse.  They saw how hilarity and denial and letting others take responsibility is more fun, easier and works if you can find a partner to resentfully do the work and take responsibility.  They did not see ALL the work I did or know the workings of our finances where he worked an played and I worked and then worked some more.  I yearn to tell my children how to stand up for themselves and have pride and vision and strength. I don't think they respect me after all my compromising, work and frustration. After all, I am unappreciated and tired - a failure in my marriage trying to keep up energy and purpose.  I was someone who wanted to be "loving", not a diva.  There should be a school on how to manage not just a house but a lackadaisical spouse/partner.  How to kick an uncommitted spouse to the curb and be able to survive.   BUT...here is the thing.  When there are children, the one who loves most is the giver. The one who has fun and won't communicate while denying facts is the one who is the physically healthiest...no worries - someone else will take care of things.  Living by the seat of his pants seems to work better for him than "executive planning".  But if I do some executive planning for us, he resents me and rebels and sabotages.

After 40 years, my Adder does not remember or appreciate the facts as they were.  He has fabricated a past in his mind that he can deal with.  That he gave and gave and I was not appreciative.  Let your children see your strength not in how much you can compromise and sacrifice.  Let them hear your words of clarity and strength

I started to make a list of exactly how I would do this.  But, I realised that it sounded like nagging words no matter how I phrased it.  Trying to get someone to do their responsibilities.

You can't change another person to your liking.  Trying to do so is being a manipulator too.  My only advice is to find all the outside support you can and don't rely on someone who is unreliable.  Find and spend more time with family, friends, support groups etc, to take the place of where your spouse is not able to give you the care and support you NEED.  And people DO NEED this.  Without it, trying to get it from someone unable is to be sick.

Relying on reliable people is more sane than trying to change someone.  Maybe, if your support/family/friends groups is big/strong enough, you will find the strength to let the sleeping dog lie in his own chaos that he has found ways to cope with but you have not.

 

For jennalemon

I really appreciate your writing about looking back at the sacrifices you made and your regrets about making them.  I hope that as you reflect on this you will also forgive yourself for making these choices...you did what you thought was the best at the time.  As for what your children see or don't see, as they are adults you should be able to talk with them about some of what you have learned - without specifically demonizing their father (which would backfire, most likely, in a number of ways) you can still communicate to them (individually) that you have learned more about co-dependency and how you did not provide as healthy an environment for them or for you as you wish you had.  You still have time to provide a strong example for them (what that example is, exactly, is up to you...for me it would be communicating what you have learned...)  You can still reach out, still make your life what you want it to be, still encourage your partner to be more independent of you, etc.

Your behavior, as you can now see, enabled your husband to underfunction in your relationship.  That doesn't mean that he must continue to do so.  I would ask you to consider learning more about overfunctioning/underfunctioning and about co-dependence.  Two good resources for this are Codependent No More by Melodie Beatty and The Dance of Intimacy by Harriet Lerner.  And think about yourself - who do you want to be?  What do you love about yourself?  How can you be that person to the fullest?

In a way, you gave your husband a gift for many years - you took care of him and allowed him to not have to face up to his lack of responsibility in the home and with the family.  Unfortunately, as with any gift we give, we a never guaranteed that the receiver will appreciate its worth, nor its giving.  I'm sorry that your husband has not recognized your sacrifice more overtly...please learn from this and start to focus on yourself more now.

Over Function and Under Function

Over Function and Under Function.  I did some searching and learning about this.  The way to NOT over function in a relationship with someone like my dh is to "let the chips fall where they may" and let the negative consequences of his inattention and inaction happen.  That means the I have to also bear the negative consequences with him since we are married to each other.  I am "Mrs. Him".  So if the bills are not paid, or we are late and unprepared, or the kids aren't disciplined/parented, or he drinks too much ...  I get share in his negative consequences by association with him because these are the things that happened if I had not taken over.  He seems to have no guilt or shame.  I have standards that I have lowered since I have been with him, but how much of myself do I have to give up to be with him - to be a family?

I enabled him.   I thought that was what love was. (I still do believe that is the core of a relationship - CARING and ATTENTION to the well-being of someone or something)  When you care about someone, you give of yourself so they may be better - so that the marriage and the family may be better. He has not much to give....he just gets by, by the seat of his pants, just to survive (himself singularly) and tells lies to himself so he can feel good about himself. He tells lies to himself so much that reality has become blurred and he lives in a land of his own lies.

I was/am codependent.  I stayed, and tried everything I knew how.  I am letting the chips fall where they may now.  He is very independent and secretive...not communicative or sharing - in isolation other than alcohol and nicotine and PBS and crossword puzzles. We live separate lives since I have stopped trying to get him to share himself with me, since I have stopped trying to "nurture" our relationship.  His inattention is total.  I thought after a couple weeks of my "stopping trying", he would approach me, not being able to tolerate total isolation in the same house.  But I was wrong.  It has been 2 months.  He has not made a single attempt to connect with me other than asking for information I might know about the grandchildren.

He was a traveling salesman who didn't wear a wedding ring. I don't know what he does or where he goes during the day.  He is never home. There is no other office. He says he is making "calls" but he does not make a living wage.  He survives by his "personality" and lies.  Yeah, I have been stupid trying to be loving. I write so young couples might see and relate and have a picture of what might happen to them if they have patience and forgiveness and try too hard for too long.  40 years is a long time to be ignored by the person you are trying to love by the person who was supposed to be your "other half" - it changes you to the core.

 

Thank you for sharing

I want to thank you so much for sharing your experience so openly. I've oftened imagined my husband and myself in 20-30 years when the kids are gone from the house.  We would probably be the same, living separate lives and only communicating when necessary.  But of course, we are like that now.  I worry a lot about how this will affect my kids.  They don't really care for him now, so I try to tell him that they will want nothing to do with him when they are older but he doesn't believe me.  Even though his sister and their dad did not have a good relationship, and didn't talk for 6 months. 

I've been reading too about setting boundaries and having the spouse suffer natural consequences for their actions, but how do you do that? Like you said, it still affects you and somethings you just can't let the chips fall where they may.  You don't want to get financially ruined so your spouse can learn responsibility.  We do end up looking like the mean one and our spouses look like the fun one.  I feel others probably see me as being very hard on my husband, and truthfully in some areas I am, but in other areas they just don't know what it's like to live with someone that can't remember anything, doesn't follow through with anything, tells lies to make himself look good or look like he knows what he's talking about, and has a terrible anger problem.  All that is kept inside our house.  No one notices the lieing because they aren't around long enough to figure out that what he said isn't what happened.  It took me 2 years to figure out that he wasn't always telling the truth when he talked about something that happened.  I know he can pay the bills, clean about after himself, and empty the garbage because he did all this when he lived alone before when we were dating.  He always took care of his house, when something needed fixed he did it right away and did it the right way.  Now, I have to give him a time limit and tell him to fix it or I'm calling a professional (and the money for that is coming out of his cigarette money).

I can go on forever.  But thank you so much for your posts and your insight.

he can change...

Those with ADHD can change - but they have to internalize that they need to do it.  Since you are considered a biased party in these conversations, would you consider signing up for my couples' course?  It's 8 weeks, and by the end of the 8 weeks most couples have a much better understanding of how important ADHD is in their relationship - and what to do about it.  Many ADHD folks who are resistant to considering the impact of ADHD start doing so, and many non-ADHD partners who are resistant to considering the negative impact to 'taking charge' also start changing that, too (I talk about the issues that both spouses contribute, not just the issues of the ADHD partner.)

Let someone else (me) do the dirty work for you...information about the course is here - I strongly recommend the live version when one is available.

Thanks, and my shared sympathies

I can see why you'd consider getting childcare for your girls for times you'll be coming home late. So sorry you had to deal with that! And I completely get wishing one's spouse would look at ways to compensate for the problems caused by ADHD. I think pickles in her comment above has it right -- it would be very helpful if the ADHD spouse would acknowledge that the ADHD causes problems for us. I think my husband has tended to look at it as a problem for his worklife, but he doesn't address the problems it causes in our marriage.

That said, I have to share the end to my story, which is a mixture of a happy ending and a head shaking moment and a need for both me and my husband to grow.

After I posted, I fixed dinner. When my husband sat down with me at the table, he asked, "Should we wait for [our daughter] before we start?" I was a bit taken aback. We had discussed her sleepover two nights before when I had asked him to pick her up. Before I had posted, we had briefly talked about when to see The Hobbit as a family, and I said, "If we go to the 4 p.m. show, you could pick our daughter up before then and then she could do her homework after the movie." On top of that, to me it was obvious that she wasn't at home, though I guess I can see, since she is a teen who spends lots of time in her room, how he might not notice her absence. Anyhow, apparently he had forgotten about the sleepover (shouldn't have surprised me) and somehow failed to register that she was somewhere else and not at home. At that point he said, "I'm sorry. I would have taken you out to dinner," and I acknowledged that I had delayed starting dinner because I'd sort of expected something along those lines. He did say something to the effect of "this darned ADHD of mine," which is the closest he's come to acknowledging that it causes problems for our marriage, and we did have an at-home date after dinner.

So, yes, I should have said something and then I wouldn't have had my pity party. On the other hand, I still feel that part of the problem is that I feel like way too much rides on my shoulders. If I had said something, I would have spared myself some pain on one level, but on the other hand, I still want not to have to be the responsible party time and time again. When I sit back, like I did last night, it isn't a good thing for either of us. But I want to feel like I can let go of things and not have things go wrong for my letting go. I want to be taken care of as well as being a care-taker. I know I did not contribute to the health of our marriage with my refusal to act last night, and I'm glad that things ended up okay anyway. What I wish I knew was how to get to a place where I feel like our marriage is more equal, that I am not the main person who has to make sure it "works."

you are living my life

Wow, you just described my life with my ADD husband in a nutshell.  I also suffer from depression for which I'm being treated, and for which I believe the stress in our relationship is partly to blame.  It has gotten so bad, the negative cycle of him dropping the ball on something or being irresponsible or undependable and me reacting with critisism and anger/despair. W don't have any children, but he has a teenage son from a previous relationship that only adds tension to our already strained relationship. When his son is over it's like I have two kids in the house to feed and clean up after, and have to be a mother to them without the joy of being an actual mother.   Now, he has dropped the bomb on me that he wants to separate because nothing he can do makes me happy, and that he shouldn't have to try so hard in our relationship, "it should be easier than that" he says. He absolutely refuses to do marriage counselling and just wants to call it quits.  We will be married for 5 years in April, together for almost 9, and we just bought a house together exactly 1 year ago. Despite the problems in our marriage I still love him very much, and I'm devastated that he wants to walk away, and it hurts that he blames my depression for me never being happy, and really has no awareness of his contribution to our problems.  Good luck with your husband.  Let me know if you two work it out.

Carrie 

Just checking in...

Hello everyone. Things here are pretty much the same as always. I got a $700 tax bill a few weeks ago because when H opened my IRA for me, he didn't actually open an IRA. So I claimed $5,000 went into that, when it turned out it was just in a regular account. On top of that, he told me he'd stuck it into a mutual fund, but he didn't. And worst of all, he opened this account 3 years ago, and I've claimed the deduction for 3 years. I'm afraid there are more back taxes due, next time with a fine. Including the interest I didn't make, this could end up costing over $10,000. Anyone else's H cost them a lot of money?

Also last month, I got home from work and my 5 and 8 year old daughters were home alone. One of the dogs had taken off, and H had left them to go look for him. I disagree that they should be left home alone, and I tried to tell him that later, but he just made a bunch of excuses. H works from home and I get home between 3 and 4, so sometimes it's just him and the kids. Now I'm not sure if I should put them in an afterschool program, or if at 5 and 8 they're ok to be alone with him. Ugh.

Hi, polkadots.  I'm sorry to

Hi, polkadots.  I'm sorry to hear about the IRA fiasco.  That would make me really angry!  I don't think my husband would make that exact mistake, but for someone who prides himself on his great intelligence and his knowledge of economics and the stock market and such, he's not a good money manager.  He doesn't regularly deposit income (he is paid in cash by his father for providing caregiving services); he doesn't pay bills on time; and he would cheat on our taxes, if given the opportunity (I don't give him the opportunity; I fill out the forms now).

tough

Sorry that this (and most of my posts) are long...

This situation is just so tough, and when there is no foreseeable end in sight, it can be hard to keep going. I definitely got to the point where I couldn't take it any more. Left my spouse after 12 years last year. We had some serious issues, one of which was his untreated and unaddressed ADHD. He admitted he had it and took lots of meds for it for years to focus at work, but would never consider therapy or work to change any of his behavior at home. Also, his serious, emotionally abusive anger management issues grew and it got really, really stressful. I started to fall apart and have all sorts of health issues. And it just wasn't working--my kids needed me. 

Unfortunately, I think many spouses with ADHD get along pretty well in the world on their own when they are young adults and it's tough to anticipate what family life will do to the chemistry. Mine seemed pretty great when I met him, functioning well on pure charisma and a limited work and commitment schedule. I also found out later that his family had been helping him out financially well into his late 20's. He and I did ok our first two years or so together (hyper focus is a heady thing), and we were long distance for part of it. Also, I admit now, that I didn't really listen to my gut when we got married. There were already some compatibility issues there, but we loved each other and his charm and commitment to me made up for it. I always believed that love could conquer everything. I was young and had a lot of energy and starry eyes. 

Fast forward about 7 year later. Two children, me pretty much doing everything while working full time and suddenly the bottom drops out when I realize that I cannot depend on him at all and I am utterly alone. We live far away from family or much support. There were long months where he would play with the kids in the evening, and go to work, but that was about it. His job allowed him a flexible schedule and he worked three days a week. He started sleeping until well after noon on the weekends (bad insomnia) and didn't shovel a walk, make a meal, shop for groceries, walk the (his!) dog, wash a dish, talk to a teacher, pay a bill, wipe a counter top, buy a gift or plan anything,...or say anything nice to me for a few years...he would forget things, and be late for absolutely everything, driving 90 miles an hour to get to work in 8 minutes, and then brag about it...you get the drill. He also had a crazy anxiety control freak thing going on--for example, he would never, ever plan a budget or buy food but would criticize me if I spent extra money on pre-chopped broccoli instead of buying the cheaper bulk kind (which hurt terribly). I think he was worried about money but he had that ADHD no filter thing going on and would say it in the worst, bluntest way. If I had known more about ADHD at the time, I wouldn't have felt quite so resentful and just flat out furious at his dropping out like this. I would have understood that part of it was that the added responsibilities of house, little kids, job, etc. had overwhelmed him and the stress made his coping ability disappear. I would have realized that he literally could not sleep and that attending to all this stuff was almost insurmountable for him. That he actually was having a pretty hard time functioning at life and some of it wasn't laziness or a choice. 

Of course, that didn't make it any easier, me being left to fend for myself and keep everything going and take care of his messes as well. His denial was pretty incredible--it wasn't his ADHD, it was that I was just an unhappy person (that can do a number on you if you let yourself believe it). Mine dug in his heels and gas-lighted me, and became more bitter and angry with every attempt I made to get him to "see." I would advise anyone going through this to accept the fact that your spouse is going to be like this, and you cannot make him or her change--he or she has to do it and internalize it. Some describe the spouse hitting "rock bottom" in whatever form that takes, be it losing a marriage, jobs, friends, family, or worse. In the meantime, do what you have to do to help yourself. Take over the money. Hire a teenager to help with your kids--after getting super mad at him not getting up on the weekends, I realized that nothing I did was going to pry him from bed at 6 a.m. I hired a college student to come over and help on Saturday mornings, which kept me from going nuts. Only you can decide how long you can give the person to make some changes. I gave mine five years and he only got worse, insisting to this day that our problems weren't from ADHD. He still won't see a doctor about it. I knew the exact moment that I had had enough. 

Now he lives alone in total squalor in our old house that he destroyed in a botched "rehab" attempt and lives on disability (physical issues I think stemming from stress from the fallout of his ADHD). He does pretty well when he has the kids, but I have to call him and set everything up every single time, packing them clothes like it is a sleepover (forget the separation agreement, he contributes what he can when he can and that's how it goes. Fortunately the kids are pretty resilient.) I am not an advocate for easy divorce, ever, but for those out there who worry about leaving because they can't trust their ex's with the kids--after a lot of bluster about joint custody and 50/50 visitation, mine has ours maybe 1 -2 days per week, and that's all he does or can handle. Time with him is "fun," movies and outings and games, and time with me is more homework, school, practice, and structure, but funny that the kids still prefer to be with me most of the time. I know that they are happier and better off. Whatever you do, don't live in misery, furious that things won't change. Accept what you can't change, and deal with the rest. My best to everyone. I wouldn't trade my kids for anything, but if I knew then what I know now...

Thank you all

Finally people I can relate to - thank you all for sincere comments and sharing your frustrations.  When I read Melissa's book I was amazed at how exactly she described what I am going through.  My situation: late 30s, married over 10 years, 2 young children.  My DH is really a loyal, wonderful guy who has been with me through so much and loved me despite all my own imperfections.  I know he loves me and tries to make things better.  He is medicated but has not tried therapy/coaching.  I didn't notice his ADHD (inattentive) early on, but after awhile I noticed he never remembered anything and just seemed to process information differently.  I told him he needed to get checked out and that's when he was diagnosed.  Pretty much since we had kids, the enormous responsibility has been too much for him.  He has the best intentions, but he just never remembers, cannot prioritize, doesn't understand what's going on, doesn't pay attention to me (except when he wants to wake me up for sex knowing that I am a light sleeper and cannot go back to sleep once awake), we either argue or speak another language to each other.  We both work full time, but I do pretty much everything around the house, including taking care of the kids, except cook - he is hyperfocused on cooking.  Most people would say - how lucky!  Until they understood that's ALL he does...it takes hours...every night.  He is an attractive guy that takes care of himself, but I am absolutely not attracted to him at this point.  I really don't even want to talk to him most of the time.  I tend to attach to male friends - I just love male company!  Probably because I don't get it at home.  Of course now I am completely smitten with one (who is unavailable anyway) and it makes it harder to want to stick with it.  We are essentially housemates at this point.  I am so lonely...and I know he doesn't want me to be, but I fear it's too late.  I am now also taking medication for depression (like so many others here).  Sorry for the unorganized rambling...just felt liked I needed to vent.  Some of you have stuck it out for decades...I don't want to stick it out!  I want to be in love and supported!  It doesn't seem natural to be anchored to so much work.  How do you know when you're trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and enough is enough?

Don't worry about long posts

Goodness knows I post huge essays all the time. Honestly, if you are like me, there are few people to talk to about this. I have never been able to find a support group for people who have an ADHD spouse (except for one group that meets during the day on a weekday -- what's up with that? Don't most of us have to work to hep support or totally support our families?). For reasons I don't want to get into, I don't feel comfortable talking about the issues I have to deal with with my own family (though they do know that my husband has ADHD and that affects our family). I have a few close friends I can talk with, but most of them tend to be very busy people at this stage of their lives, and I don't want to spend too much of our relationship whining about my marriage difficulties. I can't just post about this on FB -- it's not something that needs to be blasted publicly with my name on it for lots of people to see. That leaves this place as someplace to go when I am ready to tear my hair out. So, I get long posts. :)

On top of that, your story is actually helpful to the rest of us, so that's another reason not to feel bad about long posts.

I'm certainly not one to blame you for leaving your husband. While things are looking up for my marriage right now, I know my husband is actually easier to deal with than many spouses I've read about on these boards, and even given that I've come mighty close to calling it off. It's hard, and when the spouse will take no responsibility, it is often impossible to make things work.

One question I asked myself when I had my big fight nearly a year ago with my husband was "Would I really be better off without him?" In my case, the answer was no. It sounds like things are better for you. Am I reading that right?

Hanging on to Hope

Your post is something I think about all the time, I feel single. My husband is a nice man, loyal, affectionate, funny, attractive. BUT, he is unable to maintain work, forgets to do almost everything he agrees to and gets mad at me when I remind him to do things that will impact myself or out two kids. I have stopped berating him, encouraged things that work, helped him to build routines, supported "free" time so he could exercise and get enough sleep (he reports needing ten hours a night to sleep), used strategies with him that theoretically help manage ADD. Over and over again I am left doing everything, for similar reasons - he just forgets or can not manage to follow through if he remembers and refuses to ask for help. 

I feel super alone and sad. No idea what to do. I already do all the housework, finances, childcare, social management etc. My husband is employed now but has received his final warning  - if this is anything like his other jobs it is just a matter of time till he gets fired again. I have stopped relying on him in every way but like someone asked before what kind of marriage is that? 

He takes meds, goes to therapy, takes copious notes (ha!), and then never activates anything that sticks. I am exhausted and ready for a change. What would the change look like? Do I get divorced? Will this help me feel better? 

:-(

This sounds sooo familiar, but he is just starting out treatment and he has held his job for several years now (which he had not done previously). How long has he been taking meds and going to therapy? I ask because despite my hopes, I can see this pattern happening with us too, and I wouldn't be willing to live with little or no progress. 

Hanging on to hope

He actually just started taking meds and going to therapy. Ironically, my husband has been telling me for about a year he thinks he has ADD. We went to couples counseling and after a few weeks the therapist asked if my husband had ADD. I finally agreed to read some literature about ADD, up to that point I just thought it was another excuse on the part of my husband. So, after a lifetime of struggling he just got diagnosed in his mid 40's and started meds and therapy shortly thereafter - he initiated both of those things. In the end though, this is his third or fourth therapist since we have been married, he is always told no-one can make the changes for him and he has to do it himself - which he really struggles with doing. 

In my heart I am not clear on what to do. Right now I stay in my marriage because we made this commitment to one another and our family. I feel like leaving because we have hit hard times makes no sense. On the other hand I sincerely want to believe there will be improvement. Things were better before my husband took the promotion at work (this is always his path to getting fired, he takes jobs that are good for him and he can maintain and because he is smart and likeable he gets offered a promotion and then he can not keep up, forgets very important things and looks like he is spaced out so much of the time because of stress - this all leads to job loss for him). Before the promotion he was not working as many and as erratic hours, we maintained a schedule where he did all the food prep and cooking, the trash and recycling, the vacuuming, and he woke with our older son and got him up and ready every morning (I nurse our younger son so I still woke with him and got him ready). Since this new position we hardly ever see him and he hardly has time to do any of the things he was doing. He is working to get the other position back and step down and I think this week he finally got permission to do so and we just have to work out the details. I do think if he goes back to a position he can do without that added stress and he is around more to help out things will feel better - but is it just a matter of time until that balance slips again? Because of this question I feel obliged to keep trying to work together and figure this out...but I do not know if this is just my inability to see the larger patterns and accept the truth or if there is really truth in having hope. Time will tell - right?

MaineMama, what you describe

MaineMama, what you describe is so similar (though my husband doesn't seem to have problems at work)!  I laughed when I read all the things you do to support him especially his free time to exercise!  I basically take both kids everywhere so that he will have free time to exercise or get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour (since it takes him 2-3 hours to make a meal that the recipe says should take 45 mins).  My husband has been really trying lately because we finally has some good honest talks about our relationship.  Although he recognizes the problems he has, he basically says I'm the one that can't tolerate it and so he'll try to meet my standards.  I'm not sure that attitude is going to help us get through this, but at least it's got him trying.  I've been telling him for yeeears things needed to change and he basically ignored me (one time told me I was being dramatic).  Now I wonder if it's too late.  I fantasize about being a single parent but I'm not sure how great that would actually be not mention I don't think I can afford to live on my own.  I feel like money and afraid to be alone are not good reasons to stay in a relationship.  Staying for the kids is certainly a better reason.  I'm just so tired of living a lie.  How did I get here??

I do everything in the

I do everything in the mornings. I get dinner going in the crock pot, breakfast for me and the girls, lunches for us, everyone dressed and out the door. H lets the dogs out. He works from home, so no schedule, no need to be anywhere at any time. Now that it's cold, I ask him to please scrape off my windshield while he's out with the dogs. I remind him every day, of course, or it doesn't get done.

Ok so this morning, I glance out the window 30 seconds before we're out the door, and my windshield is frosted over. Just a huge wave of disappointment, I'm sure you all know exactly the feeling. Not just disappointment, but way out of line to what's happened crushing disappointment. And I said, "I thought you were going to scrape the ice off of the windshield for me?" And he said, "Well that's on the inside."

Do you know those moments, where you just feel like, yes, this is my life. This is really how I live. And it's just so overwhelmingly depressing. And now I"m going to be late to work because I have to de-ice the car from the inside, but if he'd just started it 10 minutes before, it'd be warm, clear, and ready for me.

Ugh, just feeling so hopeless today. Need hugs. :-(

Hugs to you!

I wish I could send you some sort of rescuer -- a dinner fairy or something like that! :) Yes, I do know the crushing disappointment of "why can't I count on you?" I'm sorry I can't do more than sympathize and wish for a magic wand that could make things better.

Hi Polkadots, so sorry to

Hi Polkadots, so sorry to read about your crushing disappointment...I constantly experience the same and it SUCKS!  It's funny, I think if someone were to read your post out of context they might think, what is the big deal?  When I occasionally vent to people that don't know what life is like with ADD I think they think I'm being a jerk.  They just have no idea how it consumes your life!  I also have no advice to give because I'm trying to figure out what to do next!

I know, it's hard to explain

I know, it's hard to explain to people how these little things add up if they haven't lived it. I live next door to my mom, and when we first moved here, her response to my complaints was to look on the bright side, not make too big a deal out of it, etc. Now that she's seen how my life is day in and day out, she tells me to try to hang on until the kids are big.

Totally get it, unfortunately.

Argh, I wish I did not understand your disappointment but I do. This is something I have tried to articulate before - little things add up and become one big pervasive problem. My husband and I often have that exchange, he wants me to give him credit for little things he does randomly that may or may not be associated with what the family or I need but he feels "beat up" if I express concern over the millionth time he has forgotten something/most everything that relates to us.  I try, he tries.....not easy. 

Reading through all of these

Reading through all of these posts I can relate with so much but I also realize that I need to appreciate my husband in some ways that I probably don't. 

On the negative side (this is what I constantly nag about and get so depressed about) he can be irresponsible, forgetful and in our 7 year marriage he hasn't had a reliable income.  I have lived under constant stress having to provide for us (and for a year and a half his son from his previous marriage) as well as do 90% of the work around the house.  It gets so tiring and I find myself longing for a "normal" marriage where I can depend on my spouse and not have to feel like I have to supervise everything all the time.

But then there is the positive side (which I admit I don't recognize very often due to the anger and frustration being caused by the negative side) and I felt I just needed to put it in writing so I could see that my husband does have some very good qualities.  He is not the inattentive type so I feel fortunate when I'm reading what so many others have to deal with.  My husband is always trying to do things for me (actually too much) and he is very thoughtful when it comes to certain things.  The problem is the things that matter to me the most are not the things he does for me so I don't appreciate his attempts as much as I should.  He does things I'd prefer to do for myself and then doesn't do the things I really need help with.  Another positive is he is very affectionate and sexually driven.  Unfortunately my anger and resentment has caused me to not want to have an intimate relationship with him anymore.  Of course this has also caused problems in our marriage because he feels I'm not doing my "wifely duty" yet I don't feel he is meeting my needs so why should I have to meet his.  I guess it's a vicious circle and I should just be grateful that my husband still shows interest in me and wants to be with me instead of ignoring me and never wanting any physical touch.

So what I'm getting at is there are some areas where i need to do better and try to appreciate him in the areas where he is trying and to see myself as fortunate because I'm sure there are many of you who would love to have a husband who paid attention to you and wanted physical relations on a regular basis.  I guess we all want what we don't have.  I see posts where the husband is a good provider and I think I would trade that in a heartbeat for the affection and sex.  I'm so worn down from trying to make ends meet that I don't have the energy for the physical relations anyway!  But then if they were taken away from me would I feel the same way? 

There are days I don't see any good in my husband but there are days I think I need to be more appreciative.  I'm trying to make today an appreciative one. 

My heart goes out to all of you who are having difficulties!

Not even sure if it is ADHD


I googled what I'm going through and got onto this forum. My husband has not been diagnosed with ADHD, but I've had an idea that it might be a fact. My son has been diagnosed with sever ADHD and takes Concerta.

My husband (not the father of my son) is a fantastic person, but he can never be wrong. It is as though it makes him feel less in charge. It makes me feel so out of place and not knowing what to do. He would also start several projects and it's left half done all over the house and yard. He would also make promises, but never remembers to keep them. And loves dishing out punishment towards my son like 'you'll never watch TV again' or 'I'll never play cricket with you again' ... things both my son and I know by know that would not last forever.

The latest project is he bought a yacht. He expects all of us to be equally excited about doing the sailing thing every weekend and for every spare (and not so spare) dime to go towards this.

He is extremely clever and can do any work with machines, but seriously lack in knowing how to deal with people.

I love him too much to consider leaving him, but I sometimes feel he'll be better off without me and that I'm just a handbrake in his world.

He is a very good stepfather and loves teaching my son things, but would give up if my son doesn't grasp by at least the second try ... and then this no second chance.

Please help me understand what I'm going through and how to make a success of my marriage.

Yacht Widow

Is there any way you can get your husband to agree to go in for testing for ADHD? I convinced my husband to get tested when his job was on the line due to memory issues he had. I showed him a couple of web pages on ADHD which outlined symptoms similar to his behavior, so he agreed to see if he had it. That would really help. It has helped me understand my husband, though it doesn't always make things easy to deal with. The one problem is that now I see people with similar behaviors and start wondering if that person has ADHD, and I'm sure they don't always have it. Husband's uncle buys lots of expensive toys and then tires of them? Must be ADHD! But maybe not. Maybe he just has a spending problem. Good friend forgets my birthday and doesn't get around to returning my phone calls until several days later? Must be ADHD! But maybe not. That may just be the way she is. So, I read your description of your husband's behavior and I think, "That could be ADHD!" But it might not be. So do try to encourage him to get tested.

The other benefit to him being tested is that he will (hopefully) get on medication. Not everyone is willing to do this; my husband is. This should really be coupled with counseling, which my husband will NOT do, much to my disappointment. I think it would be helpful (1) for him to get someone to coach him through behaviors that will help him manage how his ADHD affects his life and affects others, because the medication helps him concentrate, but it doesn't magically make everything better, and (2) for us to get counseling together, because I have been seriously hurt by his behavior over the years (and it continues to hurt me), and I have reacted in very angry, unhelpful ways. 

If he won't get testing and help, you are going to have to do your best by yourself, which is hard. There's a reason the divorce rate in ADHD marriages is so high. I highly recommend you read Melissa Orlov's book "The ADHD Effect on Marriage." That is very helpful in understanding the dynamics of such a marriage and in helping you see what you can do from your end to try to improve things. I also recommend you start looking out for yourself. When you have to clean up after another adult and act as their brain (because they lack executive functioning skills), often while holding down a full-time job and taking on the lion's share of household responsibilities, it can be hard to see how you can take care of yourself, but it really is critical that you learn how to do this. Let a lot go. I tell myself that I will only do one household chore a day outside of preparing dinner and cleaning up after myself. So if I make dinner, clean the kitchen after dinner and do one load of laundry, that's it for housework for that day, even if the floor needs to be vacuumed. Take care of yourself physically (adequate sleep, eating well, getting exercise). Pursue a dream (mine is a writing project). Make sure you are spending time with supportive friends. Invest in your appearance for your own sake. When you do things like housework, do them for YOU, so that you don't feel resentful. I hate living in a pigsty, so when I clean, I'm doing it as a gift to myself. Also, somewhere on one of these boards, someone recommended starting a secret stash of things that disappear -- a genius idea! I routinely find that things like scissors, packing tape, rulers and sharpies go missing, so I've been buying those things for myself and hiding them. (As it turns out, I can't blame all this on my husband -- my daughter, who does NOT have ADHD, has 'fessed up to sometimes using things and not putting them away. So I have TWO very disorganized people working against me.) My husband has been throwing his muddy boots on the floor of our closet lately (a nice hardwood floor). So, if he isn't piling them in front of the door, he's ruining the floor. I've given up trying to tell him to remember things like wiping his shoes off, and I get sick of picking up his boots and wiping them and the floor off, so I plan to buy a mat and put that where he throws his boots. Again, this is for me.

Finally, I recommend investing not just in yourself but also in your marriage. Have fun together. Do things for your husband because you love him, even if he isn't doing things for you. I've found that as I soften and act loving toward my husband, he has gradually returned the affection. He still drives me batty in several areas, but I can see improvements in our marriage. Also, I don't know anything about your beliefs, so you may or may not want to take this advice, but I pray a LOT over my marriage, and I truly believe that has helped.

I'm hardly perfect at all this (especially the physical self-care, though I keep trying), and I certainly won't say I don't get fed up and just want to leave, but slowly, very slowly, things have been improving.

I wish you the best, and please post anytime you need vent or update us on where things are.

I'm thanking you from deep

I'm thanking you from deep down in my heart for your reply and valuable suggestions.

I've given up on looking after myself and partially on keeping the house clean, but your suggestion in "doing it for myself" has given me hope to try again.  I'm a Christian and this is something I pray about a lot.

I'll keep you updated.

r u talking about my husband

My husband is the same way. Its so fustrating. He gripes when he is off from work because he has nothing to do. When I think of things to keep him busy he might start off doing 1 but he gets distracted. Example I ask him to pick up his mess in the living room because he tracked in dusty dirt n his clothes were all over the place. He starts cleaning and realizes that he dont like how living room is rearranged. So he starts doing that instead. Then half way through when the room is all in a disarray he gets a fire call or a call from a friend or boss n takes off. I get a kiss n he says I will finish when I get back. The living room cant be used till its back in order so 3 hours later I finish it. He tells me he is doing dishes or laundry b4 he goes to bed. So I go to bed early and bam he forgets n I have no clothes. Or he talks me into going n doing some activity he wants and tells me just put off my cleaning till we get back and he will do it with me. Then it takes so long doing this that its late in the nught b4 we get home and then he gets a call from his fire chief telling him to go fix something at the station. He seems to have all the time in the world to help others just not me. He also has started taking on more and more things for himself outside the home like a christian biker club,fire officer classes, n his work hours will be picking up in like 3 weeks n I will only see him 1 day a week cuz of work and then that day will be spent mostly at fire department working On trucks since he decided to take a maintenance position. All in all he knows 9ur son has started having issues. Our son is severe ADHD and aspergers and avasive pervasive disorder. His teen hormones have started to fluctuate at age 10 but hes still regressing. Now he got homebound I have him 24/7. He is gone so much and home so little. He has a sex drive but he lasts at the most 2 min. He dont ever worry about my needs. Now he has started talking to me like I am a child cuz I constantly ask for help cuz I am stressed to the max n his spending problem dont help at all. He keeps his word to everyone but me. I told him it seems like he keeps his word to things he loves.

Me too

I thought I was alone...

Thank you for the forum and for the people who share their story!!!!

 

You perfectly described the

You perfectly described the problems I'm having in my marriage as well. My Husband and I don't have children and we have only been married for 2 1/2 years (together for 4 years) though. We are so close to divorce and I don't feel like I have any support at all either. I wish I knew what to tell you, but I still don't feel like I'm able to rely on or trust my Husband. I especially get scared when he is driving because he tends to speed. I thought medication was supposed to help though. Maybe your Husband needs to try a different medication if it isn't working properly? My Husband isn't on medication yet, but he is going to the doctor next week to get a prescription. If he won't get any therapy, then you should at least have therapy for yourself. Does your Husband believe that you're ready to leave him if he doesn't try to improve the way he treats you? Perhaps you need to tell him if not. I think it also could be beneficial for you to temporarily go away on your own to stay with a friend or family member if you can just to give you both the time apart. I intend to stay at my Mom's house this weekend cuz I recognize that I need time away from my Husband. Also, it may help if your Husband learns more about ADHD and how it affects your relationship. There are several books available on the subject.

This Sounds Like My Life

I registered with this site specifically because your post sounds so much like my life.  I worry constantly that my husband won't "have my back."  I'm so emotional about his behavior and lack of presence in our relationship (in any interpersonal relationship he has) right now that I won't leave a long comment.  Just know that you are not alone and that I feel like a single mother much of the time.  Thank you for sharing your situation.  I will need to do some research on ADHD to see if this is something my husband struggles with (though I've recently decided with my limited pop-psychology background that he might have narcissistic personality disorder).  Either way, it is frightening to go it alone within a marriage.

Thank you

It's always good to hear "You're not alone." I hope you find some answers to why things are the way they are with your husband and that things improve for you.

Hope this helps! Sorry it's long. But worth the read!

You know, I feel for you guys. I'm not married, but the majority of you are describing my parent's marriage. Have any of you looked into Asperger's Syndrome? I should add that one should extensively look into it, as to have a full understanding. My mother seems like you guys- tired of an unsupportive, unappreciating spouse. I can completely understand. I have three brothers. All of them have ADD/ADHD and so do I. My older brother, though, also has Asperger's. It is similar, but different in so many ways. It's hard on my mom to try and "deal" with my dad. She is a wonderful woman- knowledgeable, intelligent, kind, loving, and beautiful. It is even harder though, to see all that he puts her through. Especially as she does not deserve it. The space-mindedness, lack of remembering things "we" say, insistence on being right, several dozens projects unfinished (some from when I was a toddler), doing anything for someone else outside of our home, but not seeming to be able to do anything but serve himself once back in our domain. The incessant expenditures on things in which he never uses for those so very important projects and the complete lack of interest in the things his children do. ....unless he needs some attention (he seems to be quite the attention addict) in which he manipulates one of my brothers to spend time with him (usually through undue bribery of food or money (great lessons for children, eh?)). A great majority of his behavior I have noticed can be attributed to his parents. (So thanks you guys!! Great job!) They obviously had their own problems from their youthful marriage and my grandfather obviously has whatever on earth my father has. I only presumed it was Asperger's Syndrome as opposed to ADD because of the three other "subjects" in which I can compare him to. As well as my aunt (on my mother's side) and her two children (one girl and one boy) whom of which have somewhat recently decided to diagnose themselves (denial). And may I add- she is glad they did. They all are. My younger brother does not like going to school without out taking his medication. I was the last of my siblings to receive a diagnosis and take medication, especially on a regular basis. (I only took it on school days. Now its an every day thing.) I think its possible its less strong in females than males. That is what it seems to be in my long quest to comprehend this irritation to fully control my own mind. I noticed it in myself (the not being able to focus my thoughts (They would wander about like none other. Which is great for a curious and eager to learn mind. But I found it an abnormality and an irritation. It is my own mind. Should I not be able to control it??)) at a very young age. The not being able to sit still (as someone mentioned about sitting in at a concert or a game) part is difficult. I am restless. I want to constantly do something that intrigues me. Though I am not sure this part applies to all with ADD, for my family is one that stressed learning early in life (and by that I, of course, mean my mother). The intriguement must somewhat be an intellectual one. Anything that occupies the mind fully, I suppose. These things are not all the same for one with Asperger's Syndrome. My brother shows great skill with technology and is proficient at whatever currently seem interesting, then moves on to his next project- putting off school, family functions (other than ones that inquire a guilt that not showing up would bring upon him due to a disappointed aunt or uncle (mother's side) that he respected highly when we were children), anything that doesn't seem to attribute to his comfort of bed and pleasure of the internet and all the wonderful things it can entertain oneself with. (Truly entertaining the internet is.) (Sorry. Grew up with nerds and geeks for siblings. If you didn't understand the last sentence was a movie reference, then pay no attention. ;] ) He constantly needs "baby-ing" to do what he suppose to be doing in his classes and what not. His work he goes to, excels at, and got promoted quite easily for his skill is great indeed. (As opposed to my father whom of which has not seen the like of a promotion or a raise in years (not like his co-workers).) He is better in many ways than my father, only de to the great attention and constant work my mother has put into his life. As well as the affect my siblings and I have had on him. Not saying he is perfect....my younger brother and he have been at each others' throats many a time before... He may be four years older than my little brother, but..... he doesn't act like it. Only when it interests him or the 'praise?' (recognition for his work and proficiency in what he has done) he gets does he get around to doing his "duties". Though if I need anything tech related, he most certainly tries to attain whatever it is that I am looking for, especially when I happen to mention that my best friend's brother did something for his sister- he then must top that. Immediately. Otherwise, it might get done with occasional daily reminder. Or never. I appreciate his trying, but I have learned that when it comes to something big, his word is not one I can count on. Now I should add that he listens to me at times. My opinion means something to him. We kind of went through schooling together. We have met each other, learning wise, in many ways (like two siblings growing (One grows, then the other. One Always catching up or equal to some degree until they just pass you by. Like my little brother. :} )) throughout our childhood. Just as one tends to listen to their siblings when older as they begin to respect their opinion. My older brother and I have kind of always had that. It has been my entire life that I have looked out for him and the ways he acts around people. The ways he treats people. The ways he explains things to people (tech people are not always good at that). The ways he makes messes around the house- just for my mother to clean up. (I don't think so!) It has been my entire life. When he was diagnosed, we were not to tell anyone as to not have other people treat him as lesser. Which made it hard to explain his behavior at times (to friends and such that were just kind of put off by his actions or humor). But I understand why my mother did not want us to tell people. It amazes me to see people treat others as diseases when they do see people labeled (as whatever). And for that I feel a bit bad for my brother. But my brother is not -in any way- my father. Do they share characteristics? Sure. What father and son don't? But my brother has the ability to learn. My father is is insistent that he is right and so narrow minded, that he can' t possibly understand anyone else. And compromise? Ha! He actually, seriously, does not believe that a couple should do so. It might teach children a wrong message. He has gone to counseling throughout the past few years with my mother and alone. He was very opposed to the idea. That my mother was "accusing him of such" to have something wrong with him. Though he does love to complain about his many other health issues. They have gone to many christian counselors (they both share the same faith by the way) that he has chosen, which end up being wack jobs that basically agree with my father. Some happen to have very sexist views. Others he had seen several times and basically bad mouthed my mother to no end. He ended up going alone for a bit. (Again. Loneliness thing. I call it  the "attention wh**e" factor.) But to each their own. Eventually they did find a marriage counselor they both agreed on and went for a total of seven (nine?) months before coming to the conclusion that my father does not want to change and my mother does not see this marriage going anywhere. They did not get divorced, but that don't talk to each other..... I should say that my mother attempts to ignore him and my father talks at her. (Usually in monologues of a loud voice bickering about...well.... just attacking her really. Verbally.) They sleep in separate rooms. This was due to his constantly waking her up in the middle of the night bumping the bed or other wise going to the bathroom (he is tall and rotund, so he could easily knock the bed waking someone up) and his insistence on not doing anything (of course, the first step was admitting he had something) about his snoring. So he ended up purchasing a new bed and moving into a different room. Nothing says 'I love you' like moving into the room next door. Not that I thought it was a bad thing. My mother could use the relaxation of his constant annoyances. (You can still hear the snoring through the walls, of course.) As for the mentioning of absence in children's lives- he mostly never showed up to my older brother's basketball games, my little brother's soccer games (until my mother basically forced my father to take him), or my recitals (dance, ballet, etc.). We were all in 4-H as well. (A youth organization in which was a great way to show children leadership, citizenship, and life skills. No, I do not own a cow. Yes, there are amazing opportunities involved that taught me many a thing that did not involve ever milking a goat.) There were a million opportunities for him to participate. He might show up the latter years of our lives to the end of a meeting or occasionally go to one of the bigger events of the year. Though it was not like he was really doing something else that he couldn't make it or participate more in our lives. Don't get me wrong. I really don't care. I personally don't care much for my father. I can't say the same for my brothers. I learn most of my lessons myself. When I was probably twelve, I began noticing that he wasn't just not around much, he didn't seem to be caring like I remembered him to be. As a kid, yeah, I loved him. He was my father. But him seeming absence made it hard to know him. My fighting to be able to join him at his work when he went to "work out" (watch cable (we didn't ever have cable) on a bicycle machine) with my older brother was one of a million things that made me question things. I really just thought that he was sexist. (His father, my grandfather is when it comes to tasks and work. Such as when we would go to visit them, my brothers would go off to work at their business cleaning up and such and I was subjected to going grocery shopping with my grandmother, whom of which is severely depressed. Anyone who couldn't see that must be brain dead. (She has seven children.... none of them.... ><  And guess how many have these symptoms!!! That's right! Six! The last was severely depressed but now finally has gotten a hold on her life and is taking it for all that is has to offer her. Yay her. All I have to say is- who wouldn't be depressed with seven children that have something a bit off about them, a husband that starts up new jobs/business deals thus being absent, living in the middle of nowhere (not kidding) and doing it all on your own. Okay. No nanny. Nuh-uh. Good luck.) Where was I? Can you tell yet that this is written by someone who has ADD? Yeahhhh..... Just can't help myself. If in seems important to the perspective I am giving you, then it seems necessary to tell you all. I thought my father was sexist, because I saw it in his father. But I don't know. I fought to be with him. To prove somehow that I was worth being around. But it was something that needed to be proved. It seemed easily proved to anyone else I was around, but my father was oblivious to us when we were not interesting enough. I eventually saw that he was never going to change, he was who he was, and that I couldn't do anything about it. I saw the way he treated my brothers- he abused their affections for him to get what he wanted. The way he treated my mother- like she was constantly doing something wrong and at fault for their problems. And the way he treated himself- to have so little self-respect that he couldn't possibly take responsibility for any of his actions. Most of my childhood I don't recall having that many memories of him. I realized that it had to do with his disinterest and my mother's every attempt to busy us with learning at every corner. I'm talking science fairs, every museum around, lessons in life, and every kind of class from libraries, schools, universities, or otherwise that you can think of. It was fun ( the good type of learning) and I see now that maybe it had to do with more than just learning. Maybe it had to do with (which, of course, I saw) my mother giving us every lesson and opportunity, every happiness in life. Which is what mother's tend to do. But at what price?? Her own? Her happiness was ours, as she has said before, and it was plainly obvious. But it hurts to see the people you care about hurt. It hurts to see how he affects her, and everyone else he is himself around. It is sickening. And I have always said that I would never wish this (type of person) on anyone. Noone deserves this. The only one thing that came out of her marriage to him, aside from the first couple years of blind bliss, was us- three of her children. (Her oldest son came from a previous marriage. No need to factor that into this situation. My father adopted him. All a big happy, happy family....from the outside.) As for the dyslexia and trouble reading numbers, my older brother has had trouble reading when he was little (which is why we ended up learning together- My mother would teach him, I'd listen and began teaching myself and then my mother just decided to start teaching the both of us together.) and just the other day, strangely enough, was telling me he still has problems with that. He never has had dyslexia diagnosed, but he said that he has long suspected it. I'm not sure how helpful this will be for you all, but some people you simply cannot change. No matter the want you have to "compromise" as a marriage is filled with it. But it takes two, not one and wishful thinking from the other., or that the other will come around. If you want to try though, as you should if you are in it for the long haul (You are already in a relationship, if not married- so why wouldn't you?) then I wish you all the luck in the world. A lot of it has to do with the way one is raised, and the other the state of one's minds. That applies for you too, though. If you want o work it out, you have to have an open mind. No. A gaping whole. All the patience in the world. And most importantly, an outlet- verbal and physical. Yoga, boxing, running, raising children, etc. (Though Yoga is great and boxing is too, especially if you just want to punch things out.) And someone to talk to. Whether it is online, your mother, a therapist, a support group (great idea), or an understanding friend (only helps if they can comprehend the situation in its entirety. Not just that there are problems, but that the friend really knows what the meaning of ADD or Asperger's or otherwise mean.) Really the person you are talking to should understand "the entirety" no matter what. Really. It makes all the difference. Not that you can't talk to more than one person. If you actually read this thing the whole way through, I applaud you. I know I have been writing for at least two hours. I kind of felt like I should contribute though. I randomly fell onto this page and it was funny how it seemed everyone was describing my parents' marriage and my father. Disclaimer: I am not married, nor do I claim be. Though I have a good sense of the matter. I believe in happiness, but I also believe in persevering- to not give up until all options are exhausted twice over. I have experience with ADD/ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome among other things- enough to last for a life time. My mother and father were married in their early thirties. They both come from big families- six siblings and seven siblings, respectively. They both have had their fair share of family problems which I think can allow a person to learn and grow in their peace seeking skills.  (At least it did for me, and my mother's side of the family. They seem to learn from their mistakes. Not to say they are perfect. Noone is.) My oldest brother has a family of his own now with children. (Adorable.) My older brother, myself, and my younger brother are all two years apart and live at home. I am nearly twenty. Could you tell it was written by someone so? I have seen a lot and learned even more from it all. I do not claim to be an expert, but I do know quite a bit about all ADD/ADHD and Asperger related subjects.  Again, I wish you luck. But in the end, make sure that it is all worth it. I love my mother dearly, I want nothing more than for her to be happy. I have no respect for my father other than human decency. If I had a say, they would have gotten divorced years ago. It wouldn't have taken such a toll on my mother, but she stayed for the long haul. For us. The effect it would have on us and our ability to see it for what it was. Things would have been harder on her as a single parent, and I don't think I would have gotten it until I was seven, but past that- she deserved happiness. And to me, as well as the rest of my family, he is just her (and our) stressor. I think my brother's are more affected by my father as they came to full realization of who he simply is much later than I. I was thirteen. (I am more mature than most for my age. Don't age discriminate. Open mind now.) My older brother though was around twenty. Though I think it was because he was away for college for awhile. (He wasn't around him to remember all that he is....) My father does have anger issues though. So this contributed to our disliking of him. Don't worry. I factored that into the situation. It doesn't help to have children, whom of which see things differently, tell a man with one view point a different way of seeing things. Or to disagree with him let alone tell him he's wrong....oooo no. Things tapered down a bit when we were older though. He become less enraged and more plain annoying (all the things you all were describing). This I found out was due to his being impotent. In other words, he had less testosterone- lack of sex life. (Fun discussions with mother! Next up on life talks with the people that raised you.) So, maybe thats a thing. Not something I ever thought to think of seeing as the two people that have this around me are my older brother and my father.... Things can work out though. A family friend of ours (husband, wife (amazingly, wonderful woman), son, and daughter), happen to make things smoother. The males in their family have Asperger's and it is painfully obvious. More so than my brother. My brother is on the high end of the spectrum. He has his issues but he, aside from being smart, is able to socialize well- as well as anyone in college does really.... The family friends though- the son is more affected on the spectrum than my brother. He is smarter (though I think they have the same capabilities- just push and drive) but his quirks and "side effects", aside from being more obvious, are more obvious. Needless to say, they have had their problems, and still do- like any family. They have been in family (and individual, at times) counseling for years. They make it work, a lot in part by the aforementioned wife. She puts a lot of effort into everything. I hope my rambling come to some avail. I feel like without a clear perspective of where I'm coming from, my words mean nothing. So I hope my perspective is clear and it provides assistance. Oh, my older and younger brother and I take Vyvanse. A lot better than Adderall in my perspective, but each person is different. Vyvanse is less a lot less able to be abused (fyi). It can make a person irritable though, so it takes a while to get used to. (Three months? for you to feel like it's really doing some good.) Since it is a stimulant, it can be like drinking a lot of coffee- to the average person that it. (Coffee puts me to sleep, sugar doesn't.) (Just awesome when you are a college student! ^^) So my brother takes something to counteract it. I don't though. A lot of ADD has to do with what you put in your body, how you exercise (answer should be often- daily even), and your mind set. That is where your drive comes from, and your ability to overcome the obstacles. My oldest brother has ADD and he has a great marriage, three kids and one on the way, is constantly doing projects around the house (and finishes them), and exercises constantly as well as spends quality time with his kids. He knows it takes effort, (he's always wanted a family though) and that its a team effort. To each their own though. (I chalk it up to great parenting though.)

One more thing...

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is often misdiagnosed as Asperger's Syndrome. It really sounds like most of you all (not all) are describing this. Its worth looking into it. Find a local support group (if you can) that talks about this. If nothing else, you will just have a better understanding of this. My mother found it amazing when people starting talking about all the things other people were saying. It was precisely what she needed and she got all the guidance and support one needs in that sort of a situation. Or just keep looking around online. Its surprising what you can find when you start looking. Good luck finding your answers. :}

Aspergers and divorce

Thank you for your point of view as someone from a family with lots of ADHD and some Asperger's... especially as the child of a father with ADHD (and possibly more). 

Speaking only for myself: Could my husband have Asperger's? Maybe. I also played with the idea that he had Narcissistic Personality Disorder long before his ADHD diagnosis. These things are hard to tell: As you know, I'm sure, ADHD isn't exactly the same in every person. My husband certainly didn't seem to have poor social skills when we were dating, and he does well with friends. He has trouble with being a husband and father. Is this because we, the members of his family, aren't "shiny" anymore (ADHD), or because of some other problem? And is the problem just the way he was raised (you mentioned possible sexism in your father, which I would say would be the way a person is raised, not part of a disorder, so to speak), or is it something else? It's hard to answer these questions. I could ask my husband to go in for testing. He responded positively (to my surprise) when I asked him to get tested for ADHD; however, his job was on the line at the time. If it was "just" his marriage on the line, or nothing at all? I'm not convinced he'd care. He certainly let me know he was willing to let our marriage go during our big fight last year. And in the end, when I read the description of Asperger's, some things do make me think "so true" (he talks at me, not with me, going on and on in long monologues... but more about that later), but many others aren't. The ADHD description, when I read it before he was tested, was so true to him when I read it that it inspired me to urge him to get tested (and I sent him the description, and that may have helped prod him toward testing, too).

There are just so many dynamics that go into interpersonal relationships! My husband brings his ADHD and the way he was raised by his parents and who knows what else to the marriage. I bring my depression and the way I was raised by my parents and who knows what else. Everybody brings something. That is something I keep in mind when I'm feeling discouraged. Having only been married to my husband, I have no idea if marriage to someone without ADHD would necessarily be all that much better. I certainly dated other guys before I got married, and of them, maybe only one is someone I might have been better off with, but even then, I'm not sure. As I know I've mentioned, sometimes I find out about something a friend is going through in her marriage, and I actually have it better. Sometimes I feel very envious of other women who seem to be in great marriages. All marriages, I'm sure, go through rough spots where one or both people want to give up. It seems like our rough spots have been an awful lot of the time we've been married; that's what has sometimes been discouraging.

Since my husband is not abusive, nor does he cheat or put me in horrible situations through substance abuse or problem gambling or anything like that, I feel strongly that I need to try my hardest to make this work. I don't believe that anyone needs to put up with things like abuse, but I believe that sticking through difficult situations can help a person grow. Yes, I play around with the idea that I'd be happier out of the marriage; that's why I talked divorce with him in our big argument. But I don't know that I would be any happier. I confess that he was away visiting a relative recently, and I had a great time NOT having to pick up after him, but I also missed him a little. Life would be easier, in some ways, without him, but it would be harder in other ways. Financially, for instance, it would be extremely difficult -- if he were one of the folks with ADHD who doesn't ever seem to be able to hold onto a job, that would be another thing, but even though he's been in and out of several jobs, most of the time he is working and contributes about half of our family income. Would I find "real love" if I were free to pursue it? Maybe, but maybe not. There is no guarantee. Is it cold and calculating and maybe even stupid to, on my bad days, talk myself out of leaving for reasons like money and the feeling that I might not find anyone else? Maybe, but it keeps me trying, and I value trying. And I do try to analyze situations rationally, not merely with my heart, which can sometimes deceive me. What kind of example am I setting for my child? Good question. I hated watching my mom let my dad walk all over her, but he was out and out abusive at times. My daughter recently asked me why I married my husband. This was not a sweet, "Oh, tell me all about what attracted you to Daddy." It was a "why on earth did you marry him?" question. That makes me sad on so many levels. It says a lot about her relationship with her dad and also a bit about what she must think of me for being married to him. But even with my own parents, it was a bit traumatic for me when they split (I guess losing the stability, even in a family in which there is lots of anger and drama, is upsetting). I keep that in mind when I think about things like divorce. All that said, I would never judge a woman (or man) here who felt that they couldn't deal with their ADHD spouse any longer. I've been there.

Going back to my child, I think the best example I could set would be by the ways I can grow in the marriage. For instance, lately I've been face-to-face with my need to be more assertive. Because my father was abusive, and because I was a geeky kid who got made fun of by many of my peers, I learned to be unassertive. The more "invisible" you can make yourself, the less trouble you find. My marriage has helped cement those habits in place. I have been the fixer who would just blow up when I'd had it "up to here" with taking care of everything. Because my husband can be gone, physically or mentally, for hours at a time chasing after his own projects, we frequently live in separate worlds with no communication at all. But then I find myself with my husband, and thinking, "I hate how he talks AT me and not WITH me. He goes on and on and on about things and never asks me anything about what's going on with me." Well, that is a lousy way for him to relate to me, but I need to take ownership of how passive I am and start asserting myself more. Maybe that will drive us apart, but maybe it will bring us together.

Sorry. I don't mean to sound like I'm smacking down your points about Asperger's and divorce. I think you raise valid points, and it is good to hear your perspective. I'm just noting where I am with thinking all of these things through.

The more that you say, it

The more that you say, it seems that your instincts were correct. You have obviously done your research. It seems like ADD/ADHD. The talking thing- I completely understand. It can be frustrating at times. Though as someone with ADD, I have to say that I have had conversations with my brother in which we were both talking at the same time about different things though somehow still relating back to each other having a meaningful conversation. It might not make sense, but it is something I have only been able to do with another person in which has ADD. Some of the other posts did seem like it would be worth mentioning the Asperger's thing. I personally think whatever someone may have, it really has to do with the way they were raised and who they are comfortable being, along with admitting and working out (or on) their "kinks".

I know I have asked my mother the same question- "Why did you marry him?" Subconsciously, I know that there must have been some reason, otherwise... why would she? She answered honestly- that he seemed sweet and like a (good person?) I can't quite remember what she said. I was just more curious. I didn't think poorly of her- noones perfect. I am only slightly glad they did marry for one reason. Me. Otherwise who knows what family I would have been born into with who knows what other type of problems... I am where I am and I can only learn from my experiences. (I have to admit though, it was good to get that out yesterday.) The thing that makes me respect my mother and not my father is that her word means something (among a million other things). Someone mentioned in an earlier post that their husband makes grandiose promises/punishments and doesn't follow through with them. It is my mother's word, her character, wisdom, and resilience that I respect about her. I'm sure your daughter can see that. Or I hope that she does. You don't sound like you were smacking down my points either, by the way. You sound like someone who is trying to find happiness where you once sought it. It just takes lots of time. Most importantly- communication. I'm sure you've heard that though. Whether by a therapist, or as I call it- "a referee" (of sorts), or by just sitting down a few times a week for an hour and actually, really talking. Or not. Just spending time together. I hope that you find some answers. Your head is in the right place and you are fighting to stay. Yes, noone can truly know their own future; but it is up to you to make the best of it. I just hope that you get the needed peace of mind you are searching for. :] Have a good day! 

You two have problems

You two have problems compromising. I am a stay at home mother of 4. I have ADHD as well as 2 children with it so far. What this looks like is your husband gets away with his ADHD symptoms and you've stopped saying anything for fear of getting your head bitten off. You cannot take on every responsibility for your family just because he has the disorder. Just like you shouldn't expect him to function like a normal person. You have to meet in the middle... or at least as close to the middle as you can. I can't tell you exactly why he calls you a nag but I will assume that it's because he feels like you're blaming him personally. You both have to approach ADHD symptoms in a way that separates it from his personality. He needs to understand his symptoms are unpleasant to you but that you know it is not necessarily him you are "blaming." You also need to give him a little push towards being more responsible around the house etc. He will not make any progress if you are doing everything for him or just letting him run wild with his disorder. Approach the issue and take it head on together. If he is on medication, he also needs treatment to learn the tools to get around his symptoms and be more productive. That will relieve a lot of stress on both ends and will help you both get on track. I've been in his position before and I'm sure he loves you regardless of how distracted he is. I'm a stay at home mother of 4 children and I manage to keep my house decent. There might be an occasional kleenex or two and it's gross but not the end of the world. He's got bigger problems. His standoffish refusal to believe his ADHD doesn't effect you would be one of those. It may affect him significantly on the inside but he needs to know that his distraction makes you feel less than important. I know he can't help it because I'm the same way, but just because it's not his fault doesn't mean it shouldn't be acknowledged. Actually, it might do him some good to inform himself as much as he can about ADHD so he can target where/when/how his symptoms are affecting him and you. Self awareness has changed my life entirely.

...and to whoever is saying

...and to whoever is saying narcissism... people who have adhd come across as self centered unintentionally because they are stubborn, defiant, and don't like to feel bossed around (I say feel because usually they explode when a symptom is pointed out and it isn't necessarily criticism). Learn about the disorder before you come out with some sort of other issue. It's very common for a spouse of someone with adhd to feel abandoned and ignored not unlike the partner of an narcissist spouse. I was married to a psychopath narcissist. There is a huge difference between the two. Personally, her husband has no clue how ingrained his adhd is. If he got some kind of therapy or treatment aside from medication he'd figure that out.

... and whoever is saying

Well squirresarefriends, with all due respect, you are jumping to conclusions a little too fast: Why would any of these husbands have EITHER ADHD OR another mental issue? See, clinical research is my job  and data are quite clear on that point: a vast majority of ADHD patients have also one or more of what is called a coexisting condition.

According to CHADD as many as 47% of Adult ADHD patients have depression for example, and medical literature reports large incidences of Bipolar disorders, Borderline Personality Disorders and Antisocial Personality Disorders (that basically have a LOT of overlapping symptoms with ADHD...) Hence, most of the time it is NOT ADHD OR something else BUT ADHD AND something else ( if not several other mental issues).  Therefore, considering the high incidence of co-occurring disorders in ADHD patients, chances are that, at least 60% of spouses on here are not only dealing with their spouse's ADHD but ALSO with theirs spouses' symptoms of ASPD, BPD, NPD, Depression, etc. Since we are on a thread where obviously spouses are not dealing with the easiest cases, I would go for a higher percentage of "complications". (It could also be a personality disorder, not ADHD because wrong diagnosis happen).

Now I don't want to scare anybody but, so far, I have not heard about ANY cure for ANY of the major personality disorders... Bottom line these disorders are making patients VERY unlikely to attend therapy, VERY reluctant to seek evaluation, VERY reluctant to comply with treatment, VERY insensitive to whatever consequences there are on anybody else than themselves. The problem is that IF the apparent lack of empathy comes from ADHD (distraction), it probably can be managed, now IF it is a true lack of empathy due to ASPD, BPD or NPD then no treatment for that! Oh, just so we ALL know here, according to the DSM-5 (which is the "bible" of the American Psychiatric Association) this empathy impairment symptom is present in all 3 Personality disorders I have evoked (and yes I DO have the DSM-5) 

Now let's go back to what has been said: odds are that "whoever is saying narcissism".... Might very well be completely accurate! Now since I know that some are going to respond aggressively to something they do not want to read, here are some Medical literature (i.e results based on clinical studies where biases are more likely avoided by a thorough review of the protocols by the FDA) that you might consider reading before jumping onto any high horse:  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/731723_5

Lots of seasoned professionals struggle to figure out whether such symptom comes from ADHD or from another condition; so trying to figure out what comes from what by yourself.. . Forget it! Typically, and according to the DSM-5, what you all describe could be ADHD but could as well be NPD or ASPD.

I have paid dearly to understand that ADHD and its co-occurring disorders, require to be assessed by someone who does that as their CORE activity and on a daily basis, not just by whatever psychiatrist or psyD (let alone Social workers or counselors with a MS degree!) who treats whatever mental disease comes through their door.  

So to the ladies here who are struggling with their spouse's temper/behavior/abuses, I say: trust your guts, if your gut tells you that there is "something else" there might very well be something else! So, do your homework (as you spouse will NOT do it), search psys' profiles on internet, if this person has published several studies on adult AHDH and coexisting conditions, that is a good start. Do not listen to any of these "specialists in everything under the sun" (who most likely will master in... Making your wallet lighter) that you will find on your road. Some professionals will tell you that they "know ADHD"; OF COURSE they know ADHD! It is part of their basic training! But the right question is "How many ADHD cases do you see each week?" If they start to stutter "Huh you know it is not something that anybody sees very often", cut your loss, take leave and move on to someone else. What is CENTRAL is making sure to get an evaluation from someone who treats ADHD e-v-e-r-y . s-i-n-g-l-e . d-a-y. Just whatever psychiatrist will NOT do the job and what is dangerous is that they could come up with the wrong diagnosis (it is exactly what happened to my husband who has been treated for something he did not have for... 14 years). Also a good evaluation does not take a couple of 15-min appointments. It requires to take several surveys, the family has also to fill questionnaires, etc So anyone who comes up with "yeah it is ADHD" in 15 minutes tops is not the right one either. Be stubborn,network, get informed, it might take months if not a year to get your evaluation but you will find someone. THEN make an educated decision.

Now if they come up with a personality disorder diagnosis with a list of symptoms such as "lack of empathy or concerns for someone else's feelings", think twice before saying "I can beat that". Inform yourself again (look up on DSM-5 for the list of symptoms). Then, take a pause and think again.             -First question: are YOU willing to put up with abuses, lies, debts, rage outbursts, threats, wheeling and dealings and well...PERMANENT LONELINESS ? -Second question: Do you want to live with someone whose main symptom is "Incapacity for mutually intimate relationships, as exploitation is a primary means of relating to others, including by deceit and coercion; use of dominance or intimidation to control others"? Well just so you know this is a copy paste of the DSM-5​ for one of the personality disorders,                                                                                                                                               -Third question do you think your kids deserve to put up with all of the above ALSO.

If the answer to ANY of that is NO, then no need to lose yourself in the irrational and extremely detrimental rhetoric of "I deal with whatever my spouse throws at me because I love them and the poor thing has ADHD" anymore. Realize that he/she does not have ONLY ADHD and odds are, you are extremely unlikely to win this battle against PDs. Secondly, not only martyrdom will not do you any good and will never change your spouse ( because they have a lack of empathy so they could not care less about how much pain they caused to you, so they have NO incentive to change and there is no cure for Personality disorders) but most importantly, seeing you miserable or abused WILL, sure as hell, damage your kids.

This is neither your fault nor maybe your husband fault, and it may be sad but, no matter the reason you will evoke (philosophical, religious, you name it) your responsibility as a parent is to protect yourself in order to be able to be a good parent -not an exhausted one who runs out of time and patience every day - AND to shield your kids from this deleterious ambiance.

So don't feel guilty, if you pack your bags and GO. You saved yourself and above all, you saved your kids, chances are they would copy this kind of miserable life if that's the only example they got growing up. Sure ADHD,BPD, ASPD etc are unfortunate, it is unfair, etc, I agree, but one gotta do what they have to do. We all think that raising 2 kids being a single mom, is harder than staying with our ADHD spouse; this is only true when your spouse carries their weight. If they don't, you are already living as a single Mom of 2 with in addition, some kind of an uncontrollable adult kid who creates a tsunami of catastrophes, whom you will not be able to discipline if they scream their head off or do not do what they are supposed to do and just drain you with their problems ...

Good luck to all. I have been down this road ladies !

husband is unreliable

My solution was to stay home when our first child was born and not go back to work. We did not have much money to begin with, but it is the only way our marriage works, because he is always preoccupied with his hobby and won't help. I don't think he would help anyway, even if he had nothing to do. Our three children are grown now and things are pretty much the same, except he makes more money and has grown up some.  I could not have physically or emotionally worked outside the home and also done all the traditional women's work and all the yard work.  I work part-time now, but am considering quitting because, again, he still expects me to carry the whole load at home while he does his thing.  What is his thing?  It is a cattle "business" that takes so much time and some of the money from his paycheck but never makes any money.  So, it is just a hobby.  He is not demanding, though, and does not care if stuff doesn't get done.  He doesn't notice if the house is a mess or supper doesn't get cooked.  He just makes himself a sandwich.  If he was demanding, I would tell him to do it himself if he wanted it to get done.  I try to be busy if he is home during the day so he won't think I have nothing to do.  (of course, like all women, I always have tons to do)

Excellent Post, Thanks for Bringing This Topic Up

Chiming in again from the dark side ( if you can't laugh at yourself then you're in trouble. lol)

I was so glad to see someone bring up all the things you said in your post.  When I first came to this site, my intention was to read the posts by non ADD spouses to get a better perspective of what the kinds of things other people see in us who have ADHD.  But after only a short time reading the posts here I realized that I was being compelled to write in myself to say ," hey, wait a minute....the things that are being discussed or speculated don't sound like ADHD...or at least as they relate to myself."

I grew up with an aggressive Narcissistic father so I'm very familiar with this set of undesirable personality traits and yes......there is little hope for change with these people in fact.......I would not waste any time myself existing a relationship that where I believed the person had one of these cluster B character  disorders.......as fast as possible!

I also wanted to comment on Melissa's post earlier in this thread where she said that changing or modifying behaviors for someone with ADHD is possible and I would concur whole heartedly with her on this.  There are some things that are necessary first in order for someone to do this, but with the right motivation and information at hand it is totally possible.

The major caveat to this would be a person with ADHD who also has Narcissism as a co-existing feature.  Good luck.....you're gonna need it!!!

Using myself as an example......I started to develop some classic OCD behaviors showing up in my late twenties.  This was at a time when I knew nothing about ADHD, OCD, NPD or any other acronym you could come up with or disorder associated with it.  I was able to simply stop these behaviors on my own because I recognized them as being "creepy" as I called it, and not wanting to tell anyone out of embarrassment...I forced myself to stop out of shear will power.  My  therapists speculates that my OCD was not too severe which is why I could do this on  own without any outside help but none the less......it would be considered a co-existing condition for me in reference to this discussion.

For me anxiety stemming from insecurity I believe are the root causes of this for me.

Insecurity is also the culprit to a host of other issues including Narcissism as mentioned earlier. It's now easy for me to see the difference in my own insecurities as compared to someone who is Narcissistic but this was not always the case.  People with ADHD tend to act in some very predictable ways but mostly because they do not always realize or see themselves doing these things.  The mechanism, motivation and source of these behaviors are quite different than those with NPD even though sometimes I believe we come across this way at times with some overlapping features.  My therapist uses the term ,"has the flavor of it at times."

But trying to diagnose someone by symptoms alone can go off course in a hurry if you aren't educated with some experience behind it including therapists themselves.  I've had this discussion with mine and this is why he hesitates handing out diagnosis in general for this reason alone.

I just wanted to say that so much of what I read in these post do sound like so many other issues than ADHD when I read the descriptions of the ADHD spouses.  And yes.......I pick up rather quickly the ones where I smell Narcissism.  I am so familiar with this one as well as making it a life long hobby to figure out my father and how he influenced my own thoughts and behaviors, that it's really hard for me not to want to write people and say ," run...do not walk to the nearest exits!!!!."  I have to resist this despite the fact that my NPD radar is set on high.

All I will add to this post is that Narcissism or any of the other lovelies that share the same category of disorders can pretty easily be spotted because of their consistent nature but consistency and seemingly self absorbed or even selfish behaviors are not exclusive to being a Narcissist.  Actually.....successful Narcissist can stick a knife in your back without you even realizing it at first.  They may appear to be quite generous, attentive and benevolent on the exterior.  People with ADHD it would appear to have just the opposite problem.  We're not good at showing the empathy we really do carry with us and appear on the outside as not caring or being indifferent to to others needs. I know for myself....these features come from an entirely different source than Narcissism and I for one am very motivated to find ways not to be like these folks in any way if at all possible.

 

Excellent post!

Dear J Jamieson,

Thank you for this post, you really are raising an interesting point. I agree with you, a lot of what I read at times, specifically on here, does not sound like ADHD. And to me a lot of people who struggle with their ADHD but genuinely want to move toward a positive life, are suffering from the misdiagnosis of certain coexisting conditions on other patients that are responsible for the distorted opinion some people have of ADHD patients.

Besides, some disorders are more difficult to manage than others and when the disorder makes a patient completely insensitive to the pain they cause to others, what kind of incentive do they have? In your case you have been able to identify the problem and take corrective measures but someone with ASPD would never put themselves through such a trouble because, to them, they are NOT the problem, the others are, above all when they refuse to be used abused and victimized.

I speak from experience as I have 3 ADHD cases in my recomposed family (one false positive). The first is my stepson (now a grown up young man) that we will call B, and the second one being his dad and my soon to be ex-husband that we will call D.

B is "plain ADHD" nothing else, he has struggled with school but no other major behavioral issue. Sure he is forgetful, distracted, sensitive, etc BUT he also is a normal, kind and honest young man, fully aware of his ADHD and how it could affect the others, trying to make things better, trying to communicate a lot, working on himself, etc. I will not say "he has a mild XYW, that is why he can control it". Nope because I KNOW the efforts it requires from him to keep an open mind and stay positive while situations can be challenging. B crossed rough patches in school but always tried to get better, and above all he is the same all he time, meaning that he is NOT more distracted in his private life than elsewhere.

AND there is D...

D has been diagnosed with ADHD after a couple of 15 min consults with a military psychiatrist, he keeps on getting refills and was never reassessed for TWELVE YEARS, but is never or rarely forgetful of ANYTHING that could affect HIM directly (red flag). On the other hand anything that could affect only others (me or my son) and even VERY seriously, is just the LAST of his concerns. He even did not hesitate to deliberately "throw me under the bus" for mistakes he has made with no hesitation, remorse, concern or apology of any kind. He never ONCE tried to repair the damages. He hid this diagnosis from me for 4 years, and held his temper as long as he knew that, being the main breadwinner, I could leave him in a blink of an eye at the first abuse. Until he got me to quit my job to move to a place in the middle of nowhere, where I could not work ( medical research does not recruit much in the desert). Sounds stupid but the agreement was that it was just for 4 months until his retirement from the military ( In order to get a full retirement pension, healthcare insurance and benefits for his kids). He retired early 2011 and instead of keeping his word and seek employment close to a research hub, just took a low level federal job on the same base, we stayed at the same place and with the assurance he got from being the bread winner he stated becoming verbally abusive, emotionally abusive, financially abusive, then physically abusive. Then I called 911 and (since he was afraid to have problems with law enforcement) he stopped the physical abuses until it was too late for me to press charges against him, that is how I forced him to get evaluated. Then the hell resumed (alongside with the destruction, the irresponsible behavior, the reckless driving etc...) 

Now get the rest of the story: I was catching symptoms that were not consistent with ADHD, his reputation at work was stellar (never forgot anything, always behaved accordingly, always on time, never angry, worked in the military for 25 years), he was apparently driven by his own interest exclusively but what was shocking also was that he would be able to control his behavior whenever he wanted...Double face and liar to an unbelievable point. That's why I pushed for an evaluation.

First Psychiatrist "Oh yeah I see ADHD cases, mostly kids, I see adults also but no one gets to see so many cases of adult ADHD." 15 min later D was out with MORE amphetamines, she did not ask me ONE question, I just waited for my husband and then  "Yeah that's ADHD" "But Ma'am he is extremely violent with me and vomits from his rage outbursts, there is a bigger problem, shouldn't it be investigated further?" " Yeah well it is ADHD. it is going to go away with the treatment" ( Suuure anger management issues get better with more amphetamines and ADHD makes you vomit from rage) .

So I pushed for a second opinion and got an appointment with the clinic director at the ADHD department of the psychiatric and behavioral sciences at the Univ of Calif. What a change! She immediately scheduled several appointments, handed us a bunch of questionnaires, long and very precise. Then she told my husband "May I see your wife at the same time too? Anyways, she will have to answer a whole bunch of questions and I will have to see her so she can do that now or later but she WILL be part of the diagnosis no matter what, so will your parents, because I need to know what happened when you were a kid and quite often patients do not see themselves the way other perceive them. I need this input." D got kind of cornered and did not dare to refuse: No more hiding and lying! 

Long story short, we ended up with 3 one-hour appointments, and a bunch of questionnaires that we all turned in... Then the verdict came "Sir this is NOT ADHD, several mandatory criteria are missing to confirm this diagnosis - for example your parents questionnaire showed us that there is no trace of ADHD symptoms when you were young - It is more likely a personality disorder and a mood disorder, so I would like you to go for a consult with Dr XXX for an evaluation. In the meantime, there is no more indication for your treatment and it may very well be contraindicated, so we will slowly decrease the doses until you are no longer under Amphetamines," .

Then she explained what was overlapping with ADHD and could have been misleading ( I imagine that if the other psys had done the job they were paid for, they would have found also that these criteria were missing as they are listed on the DSM) but she explained also that some mandatory symptoms were NOT EVEN REMOTELY THERE.

The very ONLY thing D was concerned about, was am-phe-ta-mi-nes! He argued that they are helping him getting a lot done at work and he did not want to stop. But when I heard the hypothesis of diagnosis she was evoking, it got me thinking real hard and checked the data for such a PD... Pessimistic. I gave him a full year to get things in order, get help or I will leave him. He made a couple appointments, never showed up and never started the CBT, continued his abuses, etc. I gave another warning shot and then moved on with my life being extremely careful because some ASPD will pull ropes, pull the carpet under your feet and end up being violent to seek revenge. Earlier I was attending a court hearing because he was fighting his ex for visitation ( she has a MS in psychology), I did not understand why she picked up in 3 weeks and moved hundreds of miles away when we arrived in her area. But when she took the stand, I realized that he has been abusing her the very same way he abused me and she ran with her 3 kids to save her life. This man was a serial abuser! He harassed her so much that she did not want him near her.

Conclusion: No matter the cost, this man paid a terrible price but did not seek help, on the contrary he searched for someone who would he thought would take the abuses. When he had the same problem with me, he decided to "break me" but never ever put this energy into his treatment. About 35% of the inmates, in prison for serious offenses are ASPD and come back over and over because they are NOT wired to UNDERSTAND consequences.

Some people have been misdiagnosed or have conditions that will NOT go away or improve whatsoever. So to the spouses confronted to that, I say call it quit! No need to hide behind religious, philosophical "reasons" you WILL NOT win such a battle because it is NOT possible with the current pharmacopeia, maybe one day but not now.  As I said martyrdom will change nothing and will hurt your kids. If you get to this conclusion no need to feel guilty for something you CANNOT modify. JUST RUN for the sake of you.

 

Just Run For the Sake of You

Good advice. 

After 4-1/2 years of marriage to my second husband who has ADHD (first one was a psychologist - from the frying pain into the fire for me!), getting out of this marriage is making it to the top of my priority list.

He is a master manipulator and will use any technique he can in an attempt to "win".  His mother funds his demands for new cell phones, cameras, etc. because I won't.  I feel like telling her to butt out, but she knows him better than I do and it is my own fault that I didn't pay attention while we were dating.  He is going to need her when this marriage ends.

When he gets into one of his temper tantrum snits, it is best just to check out and leave him alone.  I have even wondered at times if he was spiritually possessed...the crap that comes out of his mind through his mouth is unbelievable.  The verbal abuse will get you mentally and emotionally whether there is any truth in it or not. 

Where I live, there is a Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC) for women.  I have been there.  They gave me a handout out on the cycle of abuse called the Power and Control Wheel which includes Intimidation, Emotional Abuse, Isolation, Minimizing/Denying/Blaming, Using Children, Economic Abuse, Male Privilege, Coercion and threats.  He has done them all with the exception of any direct physical abuse.  He has carved gouges in the drywall and destroyed things but never has hit me.  I closed the circle one day when he went off verbally on me.  After warning him for a good 10 minutes that he had better back off, I hit him in the face with my fist without even knowing it.  Sad thing is, he turned pale, his eyes were huge, his voice was quiet and shaky, and he was in a protective position.  What I saw was an abused child whose only defense was a smart mouth.

Now this is a grown 42 year old man.  I dropped him off at his parents house and had him stay there for several weeks while I pulled myself together.  Sadly, again, his parents are the source of his childhood abuse.  He begged me not to take him there that day, but what else could I do?  I was way beyond my personal limit on his problems, there are no close friends for him, and he has no control over his mental/emotional impulses.

 The flip side of the coin is the "I'm sorry.  I love you" saga.  It worked the first year of our marriage and hasn't for the past four years.  There is accountability for actions and a change in behavior when an apology is offered.  Otherwise it is meaningless and the dysfunction continues...which is the definition of this marriage.  He thrives on the highs and lows - extreme mental/emotional stuff that accomplishes nothing at the end of the day.  And that is the way it is always going to be with him.

To him, "I'm sorry" means that all is forgotten with a fresh start...on demand with no conversation about the incident.  Sorry, buddy.  Some of us need to process in order to heal and put things in their rightful place.  It takes discussion, accountability and action.

So, God bless him...far away from me.  I hope he finds healing on some level for the wrongs he was made to endure early in life.  In the mean time, I need some "me" time to grieve, heal and reset from this nightmare. 

Karen P's picture

When you can't rely on your spouse

Wow! It feels good to know that I'm not alone!  My husband doesn't have the ability or simple won't( I don't know which one) to think ahead on anything! The third time he called me to come rescue him because once again he ran out of gas was the last time because I just lost it and screamed at him so bad about making my life hard because of his irresponsibility to stop at the gas station. That was years ago. It happened to him one more time but he called a friend instead. He was really embarrassed in front of his friend and he hasn't done it since. Humm- consequences. So I changed everything I did with him. No clean laundry? His problem. No clean dishes? His problem. No food in the ref? His problem. Can't find his wallet? His problem. Can't find his car keys? His problem. Etc etc etc. To as many questions of his as possible my answer is "I don't know".  When I finally stopped being his Mommy things became less stressful for me. I severely lowered my expectations of him and decided to live and be happy. Not the ideal situation I know but now I'm not mad all the time. I do my thing and he does his. I don't know what else to do. He can't hold a good job, he lives in disorganization. What to do??

I told mine "the only way to

I told mine "the only way to live with you is to expect nothing from you". He decided soon after that he should move back in with his momma. 

Good to know I am not alone.

I can relate to the many complaints about being married to an overgrown, irresponsible, checked out, self-centered, defensive, avoidant child! My husband regularly lies and exaggerates in order to bolster his self esteem or being in the know. Last night we were visiting with a neighbor and talking about recent storm. My husband chimed in and droned on and on about our storm experiences and then blurted out how we had to have our roof replaced and had our cars repainted many times....TOTAL LIES! I was sitting right there when he spewed out this crap...immediately afterward his face got really white as if he had realized, oops, that was a whopper and she just wtinessed it! He recently lied about putting wiper fluid in the car...I knew he was lying and went outside to check. The tank was bone dry. His explanation was that it must have a leak. I refilled the tank and a month later the fluid is still in there...he refuses to acknowledge his lie even in the face of the truth. This is a common occurrance. My children are now adults and have figured out that their father has issues. It is kind of sad to know that my children have no respect for their father and know he cannot be trusted or relied on. A while ago I realized and accepted that he is responsible for his own conduct and choices. He also deals with the consequences. I freely bring things to his attention, call him into account and let it go. I also have an excellent relationship with my children. We speak openly and honestly about isses and him. I have never hidden or protected my children from the truth about their dad. I knew they would see eventually and I did not want them to think that denial was okay. I have tried to use my relationship with their father as a teaching tool for setting boundaries, being responsible, consequences, every action as a reaction, etc. My husband has always been a generous and excellent provider. He is however checked out at home and in parenting. He has MS and carries a lot of repressed anger and resentment about it. We have not had sex in 8 years due to impotence. His life is punishment for his weaknesses,  failures, apathy...he would probably say, I cannot really disagree. I cope by knowing that God is in control of my life and sees every aspect. He consistently provides me with strength, hope, and favor. I am in this for the long haul and live life to the fullest doing things that give me satisfaction and fulfillment-- Do I wishsure. But I refuse to sit around and stay camped out in misery because he is emotionally constipated and psychologically lazy, repressed or in denial. He never has an unkind word to say to me, is never critical. I am praised for my homemaking, I work, my mothering, etc. He has been to therapy,listened to the tapes, been to the seminars, etc. People have to want to help themselves. I am reaping what I have sown through the years and...so is he. I can say that I have no respect for him and have learned to have few to no expectations for him. I have also learned that I serve a faithful God and everything I need in this moment comes from Him. His favor is ever present and that gives me encouragement for this road I am on with my husband. Will he change? I am not holding my breath, and so I go on living.

karin

My husband use to be that way when I sat down with him and I told him that I can not do this anymore. I said I know financially we can not divorce but we needed to start separating our assets and buying another home so when we divorce he has a home and I have a home we both own. Also have two vehicles one we both own. He got very angry but then went out of town for work and got scared. He came back to me and said what do I need to do to keep u. I said to him that I know you have anger issues due to adhd and the abuse you went through but I can not be your verbal punching bag. I know change wont be easy but I need more than I am sorry. I need you to show that you are and I want to see you try and work on controlling it. Well so far we have been through some hard stress and its been two months and only one fit. The fits were once a week minimum. So things can get better if he loves you and wants to get better. The fits is a habit from laziness. Laziness because its easier to fit than to work at controlling it.

I have to chime in here too.

I have to chime in here too. I've been separated from my husband and it was much, much easier than being married to him. So you're right, what we're doing is not the same as single parenthood, because for some of us, it's actually much harder. At least single moms don't have another big kid to clean up after, keep track of, and undermine what we're doing every step of the way.

Honestly, I dont understand the motivation of a person who readily admits that she has NO IDEA what any of us are going through, but that it can't be as bad as what we think it is. Ridiculous.

me too

I hear you. It's not for everyone, but not living with my ex anymore is so much less stressful than living with him was. I was always kind of a single parent, but at least now I don't have a third "child" with man-sized messes and issues to take care of 24/7. My ex kind of demanded my attention at times, not in a healthy way, and I always felt torn between him and my children. Working with my young ones to pick up toys or wipe up spilled juice was just part of life. When he would knock over a soda in the fridge, then just shut the door and leave it because he couldn't deal with it, it felt like an analogy for our life. 

My best to everyone. 

Another "oh, mine does that, too" moment?

When I got to what you said about the soda, thought, "Here's another case where I feel like someone is talking about my husband!" Regarding that knocked-over soda, was it partially consumed cans? For years, my husband would have part of a can of root beer, and then he stick the can back on a shelf in the fridge (rarely in the door, where it was less likely to get knocked over), and then someone would knock it over and spill it in the fridge... often when he wasn't around for me, so I couldn't even ask him to clean it up. I suggested that he get the big liter bottles instead of cans, but he kept saying those didn't stay as fresh. I told him the cans in the fridge really bottle me due to how easy they were to knock over, but he kept feeling like not putting them back for later was wasteful (even though he often forgot to finish them off). I actually realized when I read your post that I haven't seen a partially drunk can of root beer in the fridge for weeks now. Maybe I finally got through to him!

Sayo_mgl's picture

same here

I truly understand you all. My situation as a bit different i have a daughter and i am married for 8 years now. The main difference is that my husband is more concerned for the house cleanliness then me (sorry my english is not native :) Means he also cleans the house and washes the dishes when he has time. He works from early morning till late evening, even tho his salary is really small. I also work full time but only 8 hours per day, so my daughter is mostly on my shoulder. Means we basically see each other only in the midnight, when we are exhausted. I am the one who takes her to and from school, make dinner, play with her, take her out, participate in the school events, even i am alone in her birthday. I am the main earner for my family. And it is really hard when your husband also works but i have never seen his salary. And add on this he is somehow managed me to buy a car for him for credit, which i am still paying. Before taking credit i just didnt had time now i dont have time and money for anything. So basically my leftover salary is just enought to barely provide monthly grocery for my family. Also when he bought car he told me that his company is going to provide his gazoline and he will have higher position with car(main reason i bought a car for him), it has been 1 year past since he bought a car and only thing i know is i also have to provide him gazoline. When i ask him about his salary he is explaining that he uses it in daily lunch and coffee...etc. and it finishes over sooooo fast!!! So there is no romance between us(just dont have time for that), sometimes i feel like he doesnt even know if he has a daughter. It was 8 months since we last watched movie together. On top of that he has a really bad temper, drinks a lot, plays video games, and just love going out withh his friends. Whenever i start complaining about loneliness and his connection with his daughter he pisses off and start yelling. I tried yelling at him, crying, explaining in a really friendly way, then he says he understands and he will give us more attention, but next day it repeats all over again. Maybe he has a short memory or just sooo selfish? I dunno what to think now. And one day when i started complaining after his drinking night, he made a huge hole on the door. So i just stopped talking to him whenever he reveals his bad temper. Oh he even cheated on me, but i do believe that it was a one time mistake that will be never repeated. Now i just dunno what to do? Maybe i should divorce, but i didnt got married to get divorced so fast. Maybe there is a way to make him a home man somehow, and he will understand how hard is it for me now to only relay on myself? I am sorry if there is something that is hard to understand but it is a bit hard to express all my feelings in English as i am not a native speaker. And i totally agree with all the points you have mentioned in your post 20YrVet.

I'm so sorry for you

What you are going through is really rough.

As you know from what I've written, I don't want a divorce in my marriage and am doing what I can to make things better for us. I know you, too, don't want a divorce, but I think you do need to consider that as a possibility, given the way your husband is treating you. For me, the big alarm bells are: (1) You say that he is gone at work from early in the morning until late at night, even though he doesn't make much money. What is this job that is requiring such long hours from him for so little? Could he either be lying to you about what he is doing during that time or  lying to you about how much money he is making? I do not mean to sow suspicion in your marriage, but if he isn't making much, I can't imagine why he should be gone for so long, unless he has a dreadful commute (which would generally not be worth it for a job that doesn't pay well). I feel pretty confident about what my husband is doing when he is away from home -- not that he is never away from home (he often is these days) and not that I carefully track his every movement, but I see actual evidence of him doing what he says he is doing. He goes to work and contributes toward the household finances with his earnings. Sometimes he has to work a little overtime, but not often, and when he does, because he is hourly, he gets paid more. He goes to an off-site location to work on his inventions. He has actually taken me to that location, because it is important to him and he wanted to show it to me, and I saw some of the stuff he was working on (he has also sometimes brought that stuff home) and met people who know him there. He has helped a friend with a public event (I mentioned he is good at helping his friends but not me). I was at that event, and I saw some of the stuff he had done to help out, and his friend thanked him. If my husband were gone for hours saying he was working and never had any money, then I'd think either he was lying to me about the amount of money he was making or he wasn't really at work for that entire time. There should be some sort of correlation between the words you are hearing from someone and the results you are seeing. (2) The financial situation at home. I can't imagine anyone making so little money that they are spending it all on things like lunch and coffee. I am deeply concerned that he has you paying for pretty much everything, including his car and gasoline.

 

I think you need to be assertive with him -- and I know this is hard. I struggle with assertiveness myself. But you cannot allow him to continue to treat you and your daughter like this. ADHD can make a person appear to be self-centered. It is easy for them to ignore us, and easy for them not to help out. I know that many people with ADHD can be short-tempered, even violently so, and they can be impulsive, having affairs or spending irresponsibly. And it is easy for them to get sucked into video games and spend time with friends, leaving us to feel lonely and unsupported. All that I understand. But some of his behavior seems to be not a symptom of ADHD as much as being out-right manipulative. You should not have to put up with that. When you speak to him about your needs and desires, do it calmly -- don't yell or cry. That will just upset him. And don't do it when he has been drinking. Wait until he is sober, and then let him know what you need. I would do it one thing at a time. Don't tell him all in one sitting that you need for him to spend more time with your daughter, and you need to see exactly where his money is going, and you want him to stop drinking so much. That will just make him feel attacked and defensive. Instead, bring up one item, like "I need for you to be home for our daughter's birthday. It is important for you to be more involved in our daughter's life. Daughters with fathers who are involved in their lives are less likely to use drugs or be sexually promiscuous during their teen years." (You can find information online about the importance of dads to their daughters.) Leave the other issues for another time, but do work on them with him. Really, and I know I'm saying this as someone who has not successfully gotten her own husband to go to counseling, given the seriousness of these issues, I think you need to be very firm with him. Tell him that you two need to go to counseling, or you will be separating from him. Tell him he needs to show you where his money is going -- you need to see bank statements or other evidence of how much he is making and how the money is being spent -- and if he doesn't (or if you discover he is wasting all of his money rather than contributing to the household expenses), then you have every right to tell him you are no longer paying for gas for the car and will be selling the car. Of course, if being assertive in this way puts you or your daughter in danger, then please get out and go to a safe place right away. Do not allow him to abuse you, but also do not let him scare you into paying for everything while he gets a free ride.

Also, I know you are very busy with work and parenting, but if he is spending a lot of his free time at home cleaning, are there things you can do to take some of that off his hands so that he can spend some more time with you and your child? If you had extra money (I know you don't), I'd advocate paying for someone to help out a little. If you have time (and you very well may not), maybe you could wash the dishes or do some other thing that he normally does. You say your daughter is in school, and I'm not sure how old she is, but if she is in school, she can probably do a little around the house to help, too, so you might consider assigning an age-appropriate chore to her.

I'm sorry you are having to go through this. Please keep us posted about how things are going. Hang in there!

Sayo_mgl's picture

Hey there!

Thank you for your kind advice i really appreciate that you found a free time to reply and give advice to me when you have a lot to do :P

I think i should give you brief introduction of our situation here in Mongolia so you can have a clear understanding of what i meant.

So it is quite hard to find a job in here, especially if you didn't finished a special course or have at least a bachelor degree. There is no job where you will get paid hourly, or part-time, so it is complicated to earn money. People who have already graduated from the university will get paid depending on their knowledge(knowledge of English affects it a lot) from 350 USD- 800USD per month. There are a lot of people getting paid less than this but i am talking about medium level.  And add to that i have compared the prices of consumption goods between Mongolia and western countries, and i have found out that actually, the things are expensive here. So i just cannot imagine how we are even alive with this amount of salary LOL.

My husband works as an installation service man in the IPTV, internet company, and to join this work he also had to give exams and go thru many stages etc... In Mongolia this kind of work is a good and clean thing to do and you will be proud that you are doing this kind of work. So in the people's eyes my husband has a good work. Before this he was sitting home and i was the one who was feeding my family. He could try to work in some road companies, or camera installation companies etc, but most of those companies who are getting not professional people are the private companies who are unable to pay to its employees before they will finish the work and get payment. I remember last time he joined such company he worked there for 3 months without salary and he still cannot get it because the company couldn't get their payment from the customer side. It is quite hard to find a job and once you got it you will have to do a lot to keep it, specially if you company is a big and stable. This is the main reason my husband works a lot and the employers are humiliating their employees because they have quite good reputation in the market. And they are financially stable, so there is no fright that you might lose your job one day. Usually their employees are single young people who can afford this kind of work load. So i am sure that he is on the work when he is late most of the time, of course there are doubts some days. Also i have an access to his salary sheet, bank statement etc., and i can see how low their salary is. But for sure if he will cut off his personal expenses a little bit he can help me with the grocery at least. But in his explanation his salary is not enough for him so how can he afford me and my daughter with it?! But you know it seems like he is a thoughtless person, and all i can see is he is spending his earnings for a prospectless things such as an new android phone, car mp4 or such things. Yes i have talked with him many times about this, but he thinks it is very useful and he definitely needs it. 

So i think i kind of used to that he is always asking me if he needs something. Sometimes i feel like a fairy godmother who grants wishes :)). 

As for me i work for the international company in a high position, which pays me double he earns. My knowledge of English helps it too. And sometimes i understand that it is hard for him to pay for his gasoline, car and it is hard to help family with his salary, and it makes me feel very selfish, if i won't help him out in needed time(the main reason i buy him everything). i hate being mean, even with a rude people i try to solve the problem in a calm way. And even thou i feel very hurt, i cannot help my self but to give him what he wants most of the time. And he has a very good skills to make me believe in everything he says.

I am not quite sure what the ADHD is even thou i searched thru internet about it :P There are symptoms of the ADHD in him like playing games, aggressiveness etc. So i am not sure whether my husband has it? Yea, as you said i used to yell and cry before, but for the last few months i just stopped it and just keeping myself shut when i feel like complaining. After i would tell him how i feel and what i need from him in a calm way. But i really can't see any changes, maybe less stressful?

I will try to follow your advise :Don't tell him all in one sitting that you
need for him to spend more time with your daughter, and you need to see
exactly where his money is going, and you want him to stop drinking so much.

Maybe he is feeling defensive when i am talking about everything at once. So i will start speaking one by one. Oh and i will make some research on dads and daughters and read it to him :P Thank you for the great ideas. I am not scared of abuse, you know i am quite strong women (used to play volleyball in national team), and even if he wanted to abuse me he just can't :). So it is ok from this side. 

Oh, of course i do the main cleaning and washing of our house, i just said that my husband helps me with it much often than other people's spouses would do. But it takes a lot of skills from me to make him wash the dishes. As he looooves cleanliness, so i just leave dishes unwashed for a day or two and he would do it by nagging all day about it :)).   And also he cooks once in a month or two, even if his cooking is sooo bad, i would eat it and say i loved it, just to make him cook more often and learn how to make it better lol. And i really appreciate that he helps me with this simple tasks time by time. 

My daughter is 6 y.o now and she joined the school last September. I am trying to give her home chores but it is often so disappointing and i think i would rather do it myself, but trying to control myself and let her finish it :P. For my husband, i think he just don't know how to play with kids and he don't see necessity of having a close relationship with his children because his parents were not playing or talking to him (even now i can see it from his relationship with his parents), he is just communicating with his daughter as he learned from his childhood and don't want to adopt new ways. We have talked about it many many times, i bought a parenting book for him, but he didn't read it. So i was reading it to him once in a while, about the main points where he is not being right and how to make it in a right way, how to understand your baby, what does your baby needs from you etc... Can't see any improvements yet, but i will try different ways and won't give up any time soon. 

And most of the time when i feel exhausted of my life, i would think that there are even worse husbands and mine is not so bad comparing to those who are abusing their wives every single day or doing even worse things. At least time to time he would say "i love you, and i will love you forever" words.

I know that he also feels bad about not giving enough attention or not buying gifts for me in a special days etc... And i understand that he is having a problem with finances. But i believe that if he had a desire to make me feel happy he could at least teach his daughter how to make greeting card for my birthday instead of telling me " you know how much money i earn and can't buy a gift for you" thing.

 

Sorry it took me a while to respond

I'm sorry I took so long to respond. I've been pretty swamped lately.

I obviously really misunderstood your situation, so I'm sorry I made some assumptions that were clearly wrong. I'm glad you were able to take some advice from my long post that might be useful (like calmly taking one issue at a time with him).

I can see now that, while you are frustrated, there are some good things about your husband, and some of the struggles you both face are not necessarily his fault. Given that, I guess I'd just say don't give up, but keep working on making things better.

It's never clear if these things are ADHD or not without a diagnosis, and even then, there is the question as to whether or not certain behaviors come from ADHD or other things. I'm guessing it may not be easy for you to get him to a professional where you are who could test him for ADHD, and then, of course, you'd also have to convince your husband it was worth it for him to get tested. Regardless, some of the advice you find on ADHD and marriage might be helpful for your situation.

Hang in there!

Newlywed with ADHD husband

this is not giving me very high hopes for my future :(

I just got married last year, we actually just celebrated our first anniversary on a trip to Florida with my husband and his daughter, my stepdaughter.

He's had ADHD since I've known him. We've been together nearly 4 years and I have struggled with him pretty much since day 1, but I kept thinking, I love him enough to accept all of these things, all of him. He'll do things like start the laundry and leave it in the washer for days until it smells bad, and then he'll blame me so I have made a habit of asking him to let me know when he does laundry so I can make sure it gets into the dryer and gets folded afterwards, but he tells me he doesn't need reminders. Clearly, he does. He'll unload the dishwasher and leave the glasses on the counter and leave the cupboards open. He'll pour himself a glass of water and then walk away and leave it there, he does the same thing with milk, juice, anything you can drink. He leaves plastic wrappers from the candy he eats all over the couch so that when I clean the cushions I find piles of wrappers. He is 26 years old. He is not a child, not a teenager, he is a grown man. He'll mow the back yard one day and the front yard two days later. He's not necessarily lazy, he's not out of shape he's very lean. He can't cook and when he does he forgets it in the over or microwave or anywhere else he uses to cook things. He drives me crazy!!

Last year his daughter came to live with us because she was abused in her mother's home and I have since taken out 3 loans to pay for an attorney to help him keep custody. He has neglected to complete the child support paperwork that has been sent to him 3 times, that I have printed out for him multiple times, and this has been going on for a year and because of his lack of initiative, all of the financial obligations that come with having a child like health care and child care costs, have come out of my paychecks along with me re-paying these loans. I am responsible for paying all of our bills because if I don't do it he doesn't do it and then they are late or don't get paid. I have set up all of his daughter's activities, dance, soccer, and set up her schooling and meetings with her teachers. I have basically done everything that he was supposed to do or that her mother is supposed to do but her mother is abusive and frankly doesn't deserve to see her daughter unsupervised (the abuse has continued) and I have documented every single comment made by his daughter or event that has happened while she's been at her mother's, all while my husband is supposed to be doing these things.

 

It gets really frustrating. I feel like I am a mom to a 7 year old and a 26 year old and this is not the life I had envisioned for myself. I know plans change, I know things aren't always going to work out the way you want, but I didn't think by marrying my husband I'd be stuck having to take care of him like a mother. Or that I would have to step in and be the only adult in our household. I planned our entire vacation for our anniversary and didn't get to relax even once while there because he was always crabby and didn't want to make any decisions, nothing. Not what to eat, what to do, nothing. It was up to me to come up with all of our meals and activities and it's just not what I wanted with my life.

I could've ended up with a sexy tattooed man who owns his own (thriving) business and takes in shelter dogs, and treats women with respect. I could've ended up living with my best friend and having fun. Instead I am forced into this role that I didn't want. Don't get me wrong, I love my stepdaughter and I love being a mom, but I don't love being disrespected and neglected by my husband, and him allowing his daughter's mother to take advantage of me and the fact that I am willing to do anything for their daughter.

He is either really stupid or his ADHD is just way out of control. He takes Adderall for it, his daughter also has it and takes it for hers too. He let her pull her suitcase down the escalator at the airport when we came home and she couldn't pull it onto the escalator and she ended up falling down, and while I dropped all of the bags I had in my arms I was screaming for him to help us and he just turned around and stared at us, completely in shock. Luckily the man behind us helped me get her back up on her feet and prevent her from going down the escalator face first. I was so thankful that man was there or it could've been a really bad BAD situation. My husband just doesn't know how to be a parent it feels like. Or a husband. Part of me wishes we'd never gotten married but I couldn't leave him because I love his daughter way too much.

I feel like I need to leave. I don't want to because his daughter has already been through enough but my husband makes me miserable and lets her mom make me miserable and I just don't know that I can do this for the long haul. It's only been 1 year of marriage but already I have just exhausted myself in every way. I don't want to get a divorce but I feel like that is the road I am on at this point. How many years am I going to throw away into a marriage with someone who refuses to grow up?

Living with Undermanaged ADHD

Hi lizkirbs10,

I certainly can appreciate how difficult it can be to live with your husband's undermanaged ADHD.  Treating ADHD takes more than just medication, as it certainly seems you are aware.  There is a whole behavioral level of treatment that he seems to be missing.  This would mean setting up alarm and reminder systems for himself, for example, when the laundry needs to be moved to the dryer, and creating filing systems that would support him in filling out the paperwork on time for his child custody case.  He is clearly relying on you to pick up the pieces of his life, which is an indicator of a true parent-child dynamic in your relationship.  If you have not read Melissa's book, The ADHD Effect on Marriage, I support you to do so, as well as Medodie Beatty's Co-dependent No More.

I can appreciate how much you care about his daughter, and how much you want to be a good step-mom, yet it will be a long challenging road ahead if your husband continues to be as dependent on you as he obviously is at present.  Melissa's book has a very good chapter about Boundaries.  It's a good place to start.

I wish you the best.

lizkrbs...been there too

Hi liz. I've been there too, in fact, I'm still there.  Your story reads much like my own because my ADHD husband does many of the same things yours does. I wish I could say it gets better with age......it doesn't. My severely ADHD husband (undertreated) and I, have been married 31 years now, and I wish I knew YEARS ago, what I know now..........because I probably would have gotten out a long time ago. Do they change....NO.......Do they watch you and appreciate all the love and sacrifice and attention you give them....NO....and go they learn from your example....NO.   They only change when and if they WANT TO....and if they work on their ADHD behavior. Believe what the experts say, when they tell you that these spouses do not understand marriage or relationship issues like WE do. (us non-ADHD'ers) I'm not saying that we have it all together (I don't), but our brains and minds are very different, and it causes unbelievable stress in a marriage relationship.  It takes medication AND behavioral training along WITH the medication, to effectively bring about the real positive changes that you read about. (from those who have success, like Melissa)

     My husband and I are both 57, and he was diagnosed only about 8 years ago. But, the stress from all the UN diagnosed years and under-treated years has been emotionally hazardous to myself and our girls. He has said that he now wants to go into counseling with an ADHD counselor, and I've found one close by, but I'm so worn out, I don't know what to think. I tried getting help for us years ago, but with no diagnosis, and  A LOT of resistance from my husband, nothing was accomplished. He doesn't see that there's any problem with him, it's everyone ELSE. (typical ADHD thinking) I DO hope he learns about himself and his ADHD, because he knows very little about it, even though he saw a psychiatrist for almost 2 years.

I don't want you to think that I'm just sending you a total downer of a message here, but I WISH someone had really talked to me about ADHD, BEFORE I got married to my husband.( And I wish we BOTH knew about it then) There are several of us here that have had long term marriages with undiagnosed and under-treated ADHD'ers, and our lives have been very, very, very hard. I hope your husband WANTS to get treated.....for ALL of you. I held out that hope for so many years now, and the only thing I've ended up with is disappointment, since my husband took SO LONG to finally agree to get some REAL HELP.  They just don't SEE things like we do. Life is also very hard for them as well, and I sympathize greatly for them, but we can't sacrifice our lives FOR them. We all need help.

No energy left to risk help?

From another long term spouse of ADD (and OCD) hubby.... this is my first time back on this site in too many years...and find myself positively challenged by the shared encouragement for couples to get help as well as the many stories of those who are still trying. After 38 years of marriage, pretty much the only thing that keeps me sane is that I have set my expectations so immeasurably low that even someone with his issues can come close to meeting them from time to time. 

Ewww, how bitter am I? 

Luckily for me, he has never been one to turn his frustrations out. Unfortunately for him, he turns it in on himself and suffers from OCD related anxiety because of it. Had he been outwardly abusive, as so many other ADHD spouses have shared, we would never have stayed together. And yet, his passivity is manipulative too, and I confess that I am a participant in the co-dependent dance that we share.

In my experience, the comparisons made to single parenting in this chain are legitimate - the difficulty for those of us who have done it? We didn't LOOK like single parents. We had to juggle it all, or reveal that we were joined to a well-meaning person who also required parenting. 

So now our kids are raised and are healthy, productive people that make us feel like we succeeded in spite of ourselves. His dysfunction is high enough that he qualified for SSDI years ago, so that has taken some of the financial sting out of his inability to get and maintain employment. But short of a few failed attempts at intimacy, we have lived like amiable roommates for over a decade now -  it is lonely as hell. Unlike the advice I once gave to our children, it isn't OK for me to get what I need from other men. 

When dedelight wrote "but I'm so worn out, I don't know what to think", I found myself exeriencing more emotion than I have allowed myself in quite some time. Maybe that means there still is some energy to pursue some help? Hmmm. Bet I can talk myself out of that - it's so emotionally dangerous to risk raising my expectations.

Yet right now I feel too worn out to even hold tight to the current status quo. 

Yuk.

should I leave the ADHD boyfriend?

I've spent a lot of time reading the posts on this forum and am getting a lot of insight from all the women who have been involved in long term relationships/marriages with ADHD or ADD spouses.  I am 48 years old and have been dating a 54 year old man for the past 20 months who I believe is ADHD.  He has not been formally diagnosed with it but he has all the classic symptoms.  He has an 16 year old son who is mildly autistic and has ADD.  His son lives with him full time but has a lot of social and academic challenges.  His ex wife lives in another state and does very little to help.

Just a little background:  My 20 year marriage ended 5 years ago.  I have 3 wonderful sons who are very self motivated and successful in school.  I was a full time mom for most of my marriage and had to rebuild my life after the divorce.  I now have a successful career, great friends and family and am financially independent. In essence, I'm happy and stable with very few problems in my life.

I met my bf last year and am madly in love with him.  He loves me also. He is intelligent, fun, charming, and good looking. We have a lot in common and get along great. Marriage is not a priority for either one of us but we both acknowledge that we are in a long term relationship with each other.  I love him so much that I can be happy just being with him for the rest of my life.

I started noticing personality traits in him about 6 months after dating that I was not accustomed to and at first just disregarded them. These signs appeared after his son moved in. Then I started googling these behaviors and found him to be an exact match for someone who has ADHD.  He's not violent or aggressive but has a lot of self centered/ self absorbing traits.  His ADHD traits are amplified when he is under stress.  He loves me but as time goes by, I feel like he takes me for granted more and more and is becoming less and less thoughtful and considered. He is very disorganized and can be very random with his thoughts.  His house is a mess most of the time (which is why I hesitate to consider living together).   When we are not together, I get the feeling that I'm out of sight, out of mind.  However, whenever we are together, I can see and feel the love that he has for me.  Since I am very independent and "low maintenance", his lack of attentiveness didn't bother me too much. (Although it's starting to).  He does not handle stress very well.  Whenever he is stressed out, he shuts me out and become self absorbed and retreats into a "cave".   He makes excellent income but changes jobs every couple of years because of issues with his employer. In his mind, It's always someone else's fault.   I also noticed that he is more of a taker than a giver.

All that aside, I still love him immensely.  I believe he feels the same. 

Lately, he is experiencing problems in his job of one year. That compiled with his child's failing classes, I noticed that he has completely retreated.  He realizes he is full of negativity when he communicates with me so he stopped talking to me.  I've always been very supportive and understanding but he has shut me out even though I told him that his silence makes me feel forgotten and unimportant.  Being ignored is a terrible feeling and makes me sad.  I've brought this up with him before. He makes changes but then regresses back to the same pattern.  I don't believe he will ever change.

I'm almost 50 years old.  Life is getting shorter.  As much as I love this man and feel like he is the love of my life, I don't know if I should stay in a relationship with a man that has ADHD.   We are not married, not living together.  I can still get out.  From what I have read on this forum, being in relationship with an ADHD man is 10Xs harder than a conventional relationship.  I'm asking myself is it worth it?  

My question to all of you is this: Without factoring in the children that you have, if you could turn back the clock and knew back then what you know now of what an ADHD husband or boyfriend is like, would you go through it again?  Would you ever date another man who has ADHD? 

 

 

If I could turn back the

If I could turn back the clock, know then what I know now about what my husband is like, and believed it, I would not have gotten married to him.  I'm not going to point a finger at the ADHD.  I'm really not sure how big a contributor that is to the problems we've had.  It has had some effect but other mental and emotional health issues have had a big effect, too.  We've been married almost 30 years.  My husband has been unemployed or underemployed for nearly half those years, including now.  He doesn't communicate with me (he lives with his parents), doesn't communicate much with our children, doesn't contribute at all to taking care of the house, claims to want intimacy but has erected great barriers to providing me with emotional support, lies, and has broken the law in ways that he knows are greatly distressing to me.

jackrungh's picture

I'm an ADHD husband closer to

I'm an ADHD husband closer to your boyfriend in temperament than it seems many of the ADHD spouses detailed on these forums. We are those broken men who look like great catches and productive members of society to just about everyone except for the person who has to be around us all the time.

I'm the primary bread-winner and am quite successful (though I get along with people at work and change jobs infrequently)  It should be noted that credit largely goes to my wife for pushing me to update a resume or two as I have virtually no ability to set goals and very little ambition. I have no anger issues or abusive/manipulative traits. My surroundings aren't cluttered but my thoughts certainly are. I don't retreat overtly, but I really identify with the notion of being less thoughtful and considerate.

When you have issues with mindfulness, you tend to send a message that you do not care, and you can become quite a taker without even realizing it is happening. My wife has a really hard time buying the line that it isn't part of some calculated and nefarious plot to lay everything in her lap.
In fact, you ARE a taker, you ARE inconsiderate, but you either default to this state or hide in this state during stress without really intending to be that way. It makes no sense to my wife when I proclaim that I care about her when I've been wallowing in a period of not showing it. It is easy to adopt the opinion that if the ADHD person JUST cared enough, it would overcome symptoms. As an ADHD person it is hard to be sure about the authenticity of these feelings and sense of commitment that I THINK I hold when at times the only objective measure is found wanting. In the end the only definition of feeling/commitment can be evidence through action. Hard to reconcile the pathological inaction.

Time and time again, I have made changes or proposed new organizational methods or gone on new meds, and time and time again as it hasn't worked or as I lost focus, I have reverted back to just living in the moment with blinders on. Posting on this forum was something I got into over a year ago, and that too fell away. I am currently in a major bit of hyper-focus back on posting here and it has only been since about two days ago. In a week I might disappear and drop all of this until months hence, the emotional pain of a disconnected marriage can't be ignored any longer. The shitty thing about ADHD is that not only are your behaviors subject to your rationalizations and lack of awareness, but so too are your attempts to not rationalize and be aware.

The biggest differences are that I'm younger (30), I have been diagnosed, and my wife and I are about as tied up in one another's business as it is possible to be. We just built a new house and we have 4 children (two who are on the extremely high functioning end of the autism spectrum). I work from home 95% of the time and she home-schools. We never, ever get away from one another.

 

 

So for me it is work things out or prepare for a complete upheaval of our life plans and a hell of a lot of misery. For you things are a bit different. What I would say is this (and feel free to start here, ignoring my long-winded back-story):

You love this man. He can more or less function in the world. The truth of his feelings for you, when he is keyed in, is not in doubt. What you need to determine is:

1. To what degree are you willing to live with his imperfections, which will exist in some form for the rest of your lives. Perhaps they can be made to be milder, but those dynamics are part of what you buy into.
2. To what extent do you estimate that he is dedicated to addressing the challenges he faces.

#1 is just reality for anyone; #2 is your critical factor.

If he sees that there is a neurological disorder at work..
If he can admit that there is serious problem with the health his brain's executive function..
If he is willing (Note: not necessarily able; not necessarily succeeding) to work the problem..

THEN

Are y'all able to work as a team to be as happy together as it is possible to become? Can his working on his ADHD be understood by him as an expression of his love and respect for you? Can the love he feels be the fuel that drives a dedication to being the best version of himself? Is the loss of that love scary enough? Can you live with sometimes(often?) reminding him that he wants to be on that course?

I hope he can, and I hope you are willing to chip in what hopefully isn't quite 10X the work. I'm a hopeless romantic who is mostly a complete failure at being romantic. In my heart of sometimes-tuned-in hearts, I'm rooting for all of this forums' fragile, oft-broken relationships. Melissa seems to have pretty much one of the only "in recovery" ADHD spouses on this board (Part of that has to do with the fact that people stop posting under one of two conditions: 1. They get divorced  2. Their ADHD spouse gets better). Perhaps she can weigh in on what exactly is the relationship difficulty multiplier in the rosiest of cases.

my adhd boyfriend

Hi Jackrungh,

Thanks for providing me with a glimpse and explanation of the spouse who has ADHD.  I can see the sincerity in your words.  Based on your acknowledgement of having ADHD and willingness to deal with it, you will have a successful life with your wife and family.

My Bf is much older than you and comes from a generation where people just live and deal with their mental issues, whether it is bi-polar, depression or ADHD.  More men from that era tend to be in denial over what they deem as a "weakness".  His son has been diagnosed as having Asperger and ADD but my BF seems to be in partially denial of that and wants to treat him like he's a normal high school kid.  He puts his son in regular classes, hires tutors while he is still failing most of his classes.  My bf is very stressed and frustrated that his only child will not be able to pass high school and function in society.  Stress is a trigger that heightens his ADHD traits.  I am a believer of boundaries and will not get involved in the decisions that he makes pertaining to his teenage son.  That is between him and his ex-wife. 

Bf has not been diagnosed with ADHD.  I seriously doubt that he will ever admit that he has it although I know that he is 100% ADHD.  He has admitted that his mind gets cluttered sometimes.  When we first met, he was much more affectionate and attentive but as time past, I realized that he has had to make conscious efforts to be that way.   I'm not sure what I will do.  I do love him very much but I love myself also.  He is not an abusive or mean person.  He is not needy or dependent. He has a soft and vulnerable heart that has been broken before.  He's been divorced for over a decade and had many failed relationships since then.  He's messy but not clutery.  His home reminds me of a frat house - dirty dishes in the sink, unfolded clothes, and messy bedroom.  He makes a great impression when you first meet him because he is successful, attractive, articulate, smart and funny.  A seemingly "great catch" until you become intimate.

At this point of my life, I'm not opposed to marriage but not seeking to re-marry either.  I don't want to work my butt off to make a relationship work either.  I'm up late at night posting on a forum trying to figure this out.   I love him immensely, but am in a dilemma as to how much more time and energy I should invest.  I'm not looking for a man who worships me or puts me on a pedestal.  I want a man who is thoughtful, considerate, and cherishes me.  I want to feel important in his life.  Although from time to time, he tells me he loves me and how much I mean to him, he doesn't display it consistently. Sometimes I think he loves me, sometimes I don't.   I don't think he will improve and I don't want to constantly remind him of his neglect and lack of communication when he retreats into his silent mode when there is stress in his life.  I guess I don't understand how a man can ignore his girlfriend for days just because he is stressed about his job and his son.  A text or phone call takes just a few seconds.  If I'm not worth a few seconds in his day, maybe he really isn't that into me.  I guess I just don't understand how anyone can have such extreme behaviors. 

 

 

When I was breaking it off

When I was breaking it off with the new guy, in between trying to lay blame on me too, he asked "why do you think this happened?" There were so many specific instances, but I simply said, "it's because you are not interested in me."

yes you should leave the ADHD

yes you should leave the ADHD boyfriend.  it is not worth it.  I have been married to an ADHD man for 19 years.  on my end, it is all work and very little pay off.  don't do it.  as other posters say often, my expectations are practically non-existent.  what kind of partnership is that?  we started seeing yet another counselor and at the end of the first session he asked us to think about what we want from the other person.  I thought about it all week and I could not think of a single thing except to be left alone.  sad.  I feel like someone is LEANING on me all the time and I just want to shake them off and say STAND UP STRAIGHT for gods sake.  be an adult.  stop needing me so much.  and what's worse is the needs don't stay consistent--what is helpful one day is controlling and nagging the next.  what is loving care one day is smothering the next.  reminders on Monday are harping on Thursday.  it's crazy making--I have no idea how to act or what to say or how to say it or when to say it or how much to say such that something might actually get retained much less acted upon.  

so in answer to your original question--RUN don't walk away.  it's not worth it.  if I found myself single tomorrow, I would NEVER be under the same roof as a man ever again.  I might date just for companionship, someone to go to theater or dinner with, but live under the same roof as a man again, ADHD or not-not a chance in hell.  I've done my time.  

 

 

nothing i could add

I share dvance's view. No way and never again. This isn't a union, it's a takeover.

left the ADHD boyfriend

This forum has been extremely informative and insightful. I want to thank everyone for their stories.

I came onto this forum to seek advice about whether or not to stay with my ADHD boyfriend.   We decided to break up after 20 months together. It was a mutual decision in the end.  He recognizes that he has issues and is dragging me down with him like a whirlpool.  It was sad. When we broke up, he said that he can never fulfill what I'm looking for because he has these "disconnect" issues.  He still will not admit that he has ADHD even though he has 95% of all the signs and symptoms.  I feel really bad for him because he says he cannot control the way his mind "disconnects".  As much as I love him, I cannot sacrifice my happiness and sanity anymore trying to figure him out.  Then I realized there is no way I can ever empathize how his brain functions.  It hit me finally that the man may love me, value me, and appreciate me.  But he does not Cherish me and never will because he is unable to.  Sometimes, I think he lives in his own alternate reality.

It's been a couple of weeks and although I was very broken hearted at first, I am starting to feel a sense of relief.  I don't have to listen to all of his ramblings, negativity and constant complaints and go into his messy house anymore.  I don't have to drive myself crazy and figure what he's thinking and doing anymore or whether or not he is going to do what he promises.  Often, I felt like I was free falling and could not get my feet planted firmly in the relationship because of his instability. His life was so unstable and he couldn't focus on anything that didn't interest him.  It was like caring for a child sometimes.  As much as I love him, I cannot work on these issues on a daily basis for the rest of my life.   I love him but I love myself more.

Good luck to all of you on this forum.  You all are very loving and courageous people.

 

I feel you!! I never want to

I feel you!! I never want to live with a man again either lol. I finally got rid of my add ex and it feels amazing!!!

I dated a man recently who ended up having a lot of add symptoms. He was worse than my ex. I gave him an ultimatum and he did the deny/deflect thing and danced around the issue. So, we are done after only a month or so. 

My new love interest was kind of relevant to your question. I was perfectly happy to date this weirdo on even terms. Nothing too serious. He started out with hyperfocus, which was amazing and drew me in, but barely two months later, he was contacting me late in the evening, every few days. I was not okay with that and stated it. He denied a problem, then acknowledged it and refused to change. So, we parted ways. 

My point. Enjoy him while he's making you happy. When he stops making you happy, demand change or part ways. I'm still very attracted to the guy, but the relationship stopped making me feel good (wanted) and started making me feel bad. 

Good luck to you. I freaking hate ADD. 

jackrungh's picture

I have absolutely nothing bad

I have absolutely nothing bad to say about your new standards and level of discernment. I do wonder though where the dividing line is between ADHD men losing hyper-focus and neurotypical men just being idiots. I get the feeling if you aren't expert at that determination, you will be soon.

Perhaps the best kind of man for a recovering non-ADHD spouse is a divorcee with ADHD who is in stable "remission." Been in those trenches, know those scars. Go forth and find them; there are probably about four to choose from in the continental US.

This guy described himself as

This guy described himself as having "on the spectrum" tendencies. I saw no such evidence. I did see ADD tendencies. I am familiar with those and can tell the difference between an NT a-hole and someone with mental issues;) This guy's coping mechanisms are to not love and not care and to put himself first. Everything out of his mouth was a contradiction. I have honestly never seen anything like it. During hyperfocus, he was phenomenal, but it quickly snowballed into his own self preservation. He wanted me, but couldn't admit it. Plus, he didn't want to be tied down. 36 yrs old, never married, and doesn't want kids. Our chemistry was palpable though. The funny thing is that I agreed about not tying each other down. I agreed to an open relationship based purely on enjoying each other. He couldn't even keep that up, but yet he fought me when I told him I was done. He argued facts, truly believing that I was exaggerating. Once he got it through his head that he really was disrespecting me by making me his last minute plans, he apologized and left. I have never seen the likes before. Push-pull, mixed signals. The guy has issues;p

No thank you on anyone with ADD. I hardly think that would be a match for me at all. BUT....I could enjoy the ride as long as it makes me happy. This guy came in exactly when I needed him most. I told him that. My ex made my life hell one night, and this guy talked me through it and stayed when most guys would have ran screaming. I would see him again if he asked me on a proper date, because we have a connection. I know we'd never last....it's the ride. 

Sorry to see you back. I guess we all come back. At least you are still very self aware. I hope that most of the time your relationship is well. 

jackrungh's picture

That chemistry is powerful.

That chemistry is powerful. My wife and I knew each other online platonically for a few years and met up with no intention of being romantic (no, not even an unspoken wonder about what might happen). It was platonic for a week or so of having fun together; we even had a legitimately awkwardness-free dinner one night with a guy she was seeing at the time. But if you have that thing when you look in one anothers' eyes and there is a knowingness to the look, it is just a matter of time. I remember it as a 4 or 5 month whirlwind of raw attraction and bliss. Mutual hyper-focus seems closest to reality, but what the hell do I know about reality?

Regarding the notion of not being tied down, open relationships, no kids: You remind me of something I was thinking about yesterday. Suppose you have a person with ADHD. Suppose that they are functional enough to sustain themselves successfully. They can hold a job, and they can take care of all their affairs. A functional solo life. Suppose then that they have the ability to be real about who they are and what they can and cannot accomplish. My wife has this talent, which may be impossible with ADHD, but go with it. To me it seems both magical and self-defeatist, but I'm a fairytale dreamer who is full of it. She can consider a behavior change or a situation and very accurately say to herself: "yeah I'll never be able to sustain that" "Sure, I can take that on" "I'm no where near diligent enough"
So for the things she cannot control, she accepts the reality and goes in another direction that has a better chance of success. I digress about my wife's incomprehensible super power. Suppose our ADHD person can do this. Finally, suppose that the ADHD person is not a dick, and is genuine about being as excellent to other people as is possible.

What would be perhaps the best adaptive strategy for this person when going out and satisfying their human need for connection and intimacy?

The only path for them to take that would seem to be ethical is made up of casual encounters. Have fun, be successful, smart, funny, honest, and charming. Go out and use your hyper-focus for good rather than evil, and be up-front about what you are doing so there is no month four let-down. Our totally improbable ADHD adult would be giving the absolute best of themselves during the best of times to the most people, and not indenturing anyone to the latter fallout of their failings. Show up, plug in, dance all night, and bug out amicably before the clock strikes twelve and you turn into a pumpkin. Essentially, our unicorn here should be a young, fun professional with no attachments and no plans to ever attach.

I should note that in no way do I see this as a could-a-been personal road not traveled.
First, my very successful career that would sustain it was born out of the fertile soil of my wife's structure. All but two of my promotions, essentially the ones that didn't just fall in my lap, were the product of usually weeks of her reminders and prods to update and post a resume. I'm smart and my skillset is hella marketable, but any change in the status quo is on that lovely lady.
Second, I do not have the super power I discussed. If someone at work asks me if I can do something unrealistic (remember: this is logical, orderly, very much stimulating and enjoyable master-of-my-domain engineering/tech stuff, so my ability to estimate and plan should be better here than anywhere) my response is almost always, "Sure!" Sometimes I do manage to stop myself and give it a moment's thought before accepting the challenge, but even then I really hate to deliver the bad news of more accurate-ish expectations.
Finally, I'm pathologically monogamist. When that chemistry hits I just want more, and unless things are seriously disconnected I give no thought to greener pastures. It seems like some people crave a higher degree of variability and I respect that when honestly endeavor'd, but it ain't me.

The next bit of dating advice that occurs to me: Non-ADHD people might even WANT to seek out the ADHD partners if their life mode happens to be in this casual, having fun, non-committal place. You don't even have to construct this mythical ADHD ubermensch. You just have to be a normal person who scoops up the joy of their hyper-focus having planned on a dismissal as a feature, not a bug.
It sounds, Lauren, as if you are looking for something healthy and perhaps more, but embracing the happy while it lasts in these relationships that are not sustainable. Casting them off with grace and a spirit of thankfulness is sickeningly healthy. I wonder if you ever expressed that thought to this guy or any others. If I'm the one sitting there at that final, all-cards-on-the-table moment that kind of notion would stop me in my tracks and haunt me. Notions that make that kind of visceral impact are worth collecting.

"Once he got it through his head that he really was disrespecting me by making me his last minute plans, he apologized and left. I have never seen the likes before."
You know what that is? That is when you have the fight with the ADHD person, you have the yelling, the words that do nothing but hurt and divide, and then every so often for whatever reason you just keep on talking. Neither one of you walks out or changes the subject. At that point you have enough fight minutes elapsed; it is hard to keep the flames burning so hot on either side. You start saying real things and saying them sadly. It is then that the ADHD partner has a moment of clarity, and you both maybe gain understanding. The useless distraction that is anger no longer stimulates, and without the strife an ADHD person has a better ability to see where their behavior has been detrimental. You both gain some understanding on things, and the ADHD person better hold on to that understanding for dear life before their clarity fades and their mental defense rationalizes it away or deletes it entirely. Obviously this scene is too specific to not be anything but a direct transcript of my experience, so apologies if it didn't throw down like that and I'm totally off-base.

My estimation is that he apologized, left, and filed the data in a mental archive never to be accessed again. It is the easy dismissal of a troublesome and uncomfortable truth. You don't even say to yourself, "Welp, self, eradicate that heresy!" It is an Orwellian, slippery mind that not only hits the delete key, but somehow obscures that a delete key exists and was pressed. Thoughtlessness: Doubleplusungood. I even tend to brood and mull things over before they fade away. Hell, I chew on these concepts far longer than my wife, but if I'm not careful I gain no lasting benefit.

 

Being back is better than mindlessness. Even then, I'm totally hyper-focusing on this right now. Like a silly drug addict, I have to admit that this amount of forum activity is totally the hyper-focus, man. We will see if I can keep it up when it isn't the new thing.
Last time I left because I started talking to my wife about posting here, she came on here reading it all, and flipped. Good excuse to bail; perhaps prudent marital justification for bailing (Also prudent: the best kind of excuse to drop something). I was kind of chagrined that she did that, but in retrospect talking about it was essentially saying, "Hey Hon I really like this new journaling thing and I think it is helping me work through some issues. It's nice to have a sounding-board to bounce our deepest, darkest, most troubling issues that are in most social arenas totally embarrassing to both of us. That's why I went to the YMCA and posted the pages I wrote on the bulletin board. Hopefully some other people who go there to work out will have some insight into our dirty laundry."

She isn't one to check up on stuff like this or follow me around, and I do not intend to bare as much so explicitly this time anyway.

As I said elsewhere, next week I might become a ghost, and then we can say Hi to each other in the spring of 2015. I worry that a lot of my rambling here is self-awareness chatter used to distract from real exploration as a person. Endless typing of prolix posts and comments as an obsession unto itself. While the content of what I post here might all be a bunch of bullshit spliced with grandstanding spliced with truth, I do know that actively posting as an activity forces me to keep these issues at the forefront of my mind. It does help my behavior outside this space, which is where it counts.

The major difference between my first appearance and now is the thing that got me posting. My first post here in 2013 was the morning after the biggest and scariest fight we ever had. It went beyond fighting and had more than a few of those quiet, sad moments. Moments where you forlornly say really scary things that lead to filing papers and packing suitcases. The reality hit me like a ton of bricks and I was literally shaking.

Contrast that to this week's return and there isn't much comparison. We haven't had an interchange of pure misery in many months, and we are getting along rather well on the day-to-day. This morning was positively sappy between us, and if it were like that more often my disappearance from this forum might be for good reasons. We've moved into this house we built custom that makes our lives so much less stressful, and my wife is enjoying the hell out of decorating it as tribute to the Pinterest gods. We are house-poor but stable and rebuilding reserves, and the practical outlook on the having-a-marriage, raising-a-family front is rosy. If you spied on us on Facebook it is just ideal all the way down.

I got the trigger to come back because I feel like there is virtually no love between us. Even as we are sometimes even daily quite affectionate toward one another, there is no self-sustaining relationship contained within the committed marriage. All those stories of even neurotypical couples who set to the task of raising a family. They drop the romance for a decade or more and then realize there is nothing left to pick back up when kids start to venture out. I'm 30 and I see that happening and I don't want that future.

I was thinking about dedication to more date nights, and telling her I love her more (and figuring out specifically what in the world I mean when I say those words). My mind was churning miserably over having to confront the really ugly possibility that there may not be all that much there between us apart from the family we've created, and any connection was only the passion and brain chemicals of the early relationship. The idea that the holy "mature love" grail --driver for decades of joyous, gratifying monogamy-- may just have no foundation to grow on is terrifying. So is the thought that at best what we have now is a fondness for the memory of a romance. My wife can be so practical and matter-of-fact that I worry she has just committed herself to the very valuable and meaningful pursuit of raising our children, and has essentially written off our lost bond as just, "What happens when you have young children." I've started to really try and stress in our broken manner of communication how much I'm longing to connect. How the disconnect alone secures in me a daily unhappiness (A goddamn annoying kind of mindfulness). We do not have any kind of framework to talk about these things directly, and she is so preoccupied with life that this project has no room. I see that slowly changing as we settle in and establish some routines.

So really I wasn't being fully aware in my trigger for coming back. I came with heartache and found some of my old ADHD behaviors. Didn't see those dynamics there. Oops.

So spot on!

So spot on!

I will write back fully after work;)

I will say that I am in a place in my life where I can date someone with serious flaws and quirks because I will not ever be living with them or having children with them. As long as there is happiness, I can handle flaws. There were far too many problems with my marriage. 

jackrungh's picture

Work...

Work...

Oh right, I've procrastinated on this forum on a Friday and now there is a pile of work to get done before COB.

How interesting that I've built a mountain of obligations that I now get to tear through in a fury. Almost like the only way I can amass the will to get it anything done is by generating a challenge or manufacturing a crisis.

And adhdmarriage.com is now fuel for the symptoms. The unhealthening is complete.

 Mutual hyper-focus sounds

 Mutual hyper-focus sounds right to me;)
"Suppose you have a person with ADHD. Suppose then that they have the ability to be real about who they are and what they can and cannot accomplish."
Alright, so my new guy knew there was something off about his personality. He tried to be straightforward at times. He said he didn't want to get serious, so I agreed with it. He kept reiterating that as if I didn't get it, but I obviously did. I was in it for the human interaction, emotional and physical. I didn't even want something super serious, but honestly am not the open relationship type. He even mentioned polyamory at one point, but the heart of polyamory is communication, and I lost more communication by the day.

He remembered things differently and when told to just go back and review our conversations, he said "there are too many". No, not lately there weren't lol. 
After I confronted him and finally got it through to him that his mixed signals and faulty memory were the problem, he agreed and stated,"I wish I could learn from this, but I won't. I never do". 

This guy I dated absolutely thrived on human interaction. He has literally hundreds of friends who probably think he's pretty great. I'm thinking his exes are still shaking their heads;p


"What would be perhaps the best adaptive strategy for this person? The only path for them to take that would seem to be ethical is made up of casual encounters."
I think my guy was aiming for this, but I got in the way. He actually liked me. I could sense him fighting himself about it by the things that he said. He did hyperfocus for over a month, but the frequent daily texts turned into one text, late at night, every few days. That in itself wouldn't bother me, considering the casual nature, but he couldn't even make plans with me anymore. I became someone he contacted last minute when he could find nothing else to do. At least, that's what it felt like. 
 I'm a monogamist too. After our second date, I told him I was happy to see him exclusively. That unnerved him and he suggested that I don't put all my eggs in one basket. I have never experienced that before, but I agreed. The chemistry that strong and my loneliness that long. 
You have a good point about seeking out the excitement of adhd hyperfocus. I figured his need for an open relationship would work for me because the last thing I wanted was another serious relationship. But truly, I prefer to focus on one person at a time;) I need to feel wanted and he stopped providing that. Even if we only see each other once a week, I need to feel wanted in between. I think most people would agree. 
I wish I had direct advice for you. You really need to talk to your wife about your thoughts. She's a smart lady. 

Grrr, my phone won't let me

Grrr, my phone won't let me copy/paste. I realized I missed several paragraphs when responding. 

"embracing the happy while it lasts in these relationships that are not sustainable. Casting them off with grace and a spirit of thankfulness is sickeningly healthy."

My extreme resilience is my greatest trait. I am a happy, happy person. My ex was the exact opposite. Another reason why we didn't work. 
I posted a comedy photo on fb the other day that said "Not sure if I'm emotionally strong and I can handle anything, or if I'm a heartless sociopath." I do wonder at times haha. I am ridiculously strong, if I compare myself to most people that I know. 

"I wonder if you ever expressed that thought to this guy or any others."

I did. I let people down easily, so in my first attempt to end things with this guy, I included a heart felt thank you for his being there through my tough time. When he arrived at my house to talk it through some more, I told him that he was one of the few times that I believed that "people come into your life for a reason". I really, really needed him and his hyperfocus at the exact moment I got it. By the time he lost interest, I was more than stable again. My chemistry misses his though, and as people, we hate to lose. He is the first person I've lost in many years. I have a personality and way about me that draws people in. This guy fought it. I assume he has been very hurt in the past. I would've hurt him too because I couldn't live with his bs long term. There is no way. He said himself that "I don't compromise and that's why my relationships don't work". I guess he wants a submissive type? A total pushover? Doesn't compromise, smh...that is what life is all about. 

"If I'm the one sitting there at that final, all-cards-on-the-table moment that kind of notion would stop me in my tracks and haunt me. Notions that make that kind of visceral impact are worth collecting."

I hope it does haunt him. When you tell a girl that you don't do relationships and she says "OK" and you still can't keep her, something has to change. 

"It is then that the ADHD partner has a moment of clarity. You both gain some understanding on things, and the ADHD person better hold on to that understanding for dear life before their clarity fades and their mental defense rationalizes it away or deletes it entirely. Obviously this scene is too specific to not be anything but a direct transcript of my experience, so apologies if it didn't throw down like that and I'm totally off-base. My estimation is that he apologized, left, and filed the data in a mental archive never to be accessed again."

No, you are right. Once he gave up and realized I couldn't be emotionally manipulated, he specifically stated that the fight was a waste because he doesn't learn from his mistakes. He forgets the why's of the problem and then is doomed to repeat it. And his coping mechanisms suck. He fought so hard to turn the blame around and then when I successfully turned it back to him, he states, "well, I actually don't believe in blaming". Say what?! Lol! He was the master of confusing, manipulating conversations, back tracking, and mixed signals. He has 10 years on my ex husband. Lots of experience;)
I told him he is the most confusing guy that I have EVER met! He said he confused himself. At one point he tried to say that it was ME that suggested an open relationship. 
What can you possibly do with a person who can't remember anything they say? This guy was actually rude sometimes about not wanting a relationship, yet acted like we were in one for several weeks before he slowed it way down. 
The mental acrobatics. The denial. 
Again, I have never.....
I am still shaking my head;)

jackrungh's picture

I'm not driving my wife out

I'm not driving my wife out of her mind at the moment. My ADHD hasn't been specifically the target of her frustrations in several months at least. We are too busy with young kids, new house, and life in general. When it has been her main source of torment, dvance's comment would most assuredly be her take on the question.

Reading this comment makes me feel like my own suggestion is so hopelessly naive and makes me wonder if I'm just in another huge trip away from reality in all my thinking here. The reason? I have absolutely no particular point of disagreement with the logic presented by dvance. I want to believe that both my comment and hers can be true. That the particular circumstances of her situation and of mine dictate what the right answer is for each of us individually, and that neither of us can really know the best truth for Et. Then again I just realized that this is one question in one comment within a much more comprehensive thread, and the overwhelming sentiment from a large number of non-ADHD spouses paints a grim picture for my silly little hopes.

There's an echo chamber here,

There's an echo chamber here, you can probably think of another phrase. Most of the time this is a bad place for a person with ADHD to be, even the resilient few who have posted here over the years seem to give up. Many of the issues seem to be relationship and personality issues and not specific to ADHD, notwithstanding that there are very difficult ADHD cases with attendant other disorders.

Your hopes are not silly.

jackrungh's picture

A forum online for support

A forum online for support with ADHD in the context of marriage. ADHD people have trouble with mindfulness to even sometimes see there is a problem. It makes sense that it is mostly populated with the half of the ADHD-impacted marriage that is more likely to see a problem and follow through on reaching out for support. A community that self-selects for a certain side of an experience ensures a dominant narrative. There isn't anything wrong with that.

I've interpreted this site as a safe space for non-ADHD spouses under stress, where the smattering of ADHD spouses who somehow wandered in need to engage with respect and empathy. I feel like there is a real opportunity for the few of us here. It is a target-rich environment where most people commenting share some understanding of the side we do not live. The side whose experience is most foreign to our understanding, and the ideas from whom we most need to repeatedly bash into often-thick skulls. It's also a place where you can be reliably challenged. My wife is good at calling me out when I'm being ridiculous, but can't see our forest for my trees. Most of you good people can do it without anger, without resentment, and I can float concepts without risking doing even more damage to my relationship.

Non-ADHD spouses can come here and get support. They can share stories and tips for how to improve things, live with things, or move on. I can come here, present my perception, get it beaten to a bloody pulp, and be told exactly how to make it better. Nothing about the dynamic here gives me the sense that I should disengage. I have seen a few people here try to hoist up the banner of "team ADHD" against "team non" and be adversarial. That is an example of an unhelpful perception being beaten to a bloody pulp.

If I go it'll be because I got a divorce, got happier, or saw something shiny.

 

 

"Your hopes are not silly."

I may have been just a tad melodramatic in that comment.

 Exactly!

 
"I feel like someone is LEANING on me all the time and I just want to shake them off and say STAND UP STRAIGHT for gods sake.  be an adult.  stop needing me so much.  and what's worse is the needs don't stay consistent--what is helpful one day is controlling and nagging the next."

This statement is exactly how I feel!  And my husband blames me for being too emotional (hormones) and too stressed.  Well maybe if I had a little help I wouldn't be so stressed!  I did the same job before we met, and was actually busier back then, and I wasn't nearly as stressed as I am now.  It's because I have someone LEANING on me all the time!  I have to always be on top of things like with a child.  I have to remember everything, handle everything, pay for everything, clean everything...It's all on me.  What is it like having someone to help you out?  Someone you can rely on?  Someone who can take a project and run with it without me having to always nag about getting it done?  I'm exhausted!

if it weren't for the kid(s)...

In response to Et (should i leave my ADHD boyfriend?)

 

if my husband didn't have a daughter, if we would've met and he was childless, i honestly think we would've made it a good 5-6 months before i would've called it quits. There was a lot of other stuff going on at that time, beyond the ADHD, he was doing a lot of flirting online and by text message...i saw some really upsetting text messages on his phone and was thisclose to ending it then and there, but then his daughter's face entered my mind, what it would've looked like when he told her that I wasn't going to be around anymore, and that hurt me more than anything I have ever felt. I knew then that I could never be out of her life.

the ADHD isn't the only problem in my marriage...but it is the problem which causes me the most struggle and the most pain. Not only is he constantly distracted and not paying attention to what is going on, he doesn't seem to care that he doesn't notice anything around him. He is just oblivious. He floats through life believing that I am going to take care of everything, do everything, for him, and for his daughter. And I do. Because somebody has to and if I don't, nobody does. I do believe that makes me an enabler, and I truly think that I am. I am not sticking up for myself enough to demand that he start being accountable. I need to start putting my foot down even more if I am ever going to get any happiness out of this marriage. I am 27 years old and I am ready to start a family, I would love to have a baby because I want to experience that since I have not yet and I already have a stepdaughter who I am raising, I would also like to see my features in my child and know that I helped create him/her. But I am terrified of having a baby with my husband, because I just don't know that he is capable of taking care of one, since he hasn't shown much of that to me with his daughter. It's a scary feeling to have.

 

So...should you leave your ADHD boyfriend? That's entirely up to you. It's a lot of work and takes a lot of patience, but there are groups/forums like this for you to be able to vent/get advice should you ever need it and believe me, this helps me a lot. It feels good to get all of this out since I don't want to go to my family or friends with this stuff, I don't want them to look at my husband differently because he really is a good man with a good heart...even if his ADHD makes him damn near impossible to deal with lol

should I leave the ADHD boyfriend?

Thanks for all the replies and advice.  I have a lot of thinking to do.  I have spent days looking at the posts on this website trying to get a real life understanding from people who have had to live with ADHD.  Part of me tells myself that I should be doing all the things that put a smile on my face instead of feeling sadder and more helpless knowing that I can't change who my bf is.

I have been in relationships in the past where I was treated with love and consideration.  Although those relationships didn't work out for other reasons, I know what it feels like to be in a "normal"  relationship where my significant other was considerate, loving, and attentive.   I am struggling with this relationship because I really really love this man more than any other man in my life.  I would love to make it work because he does make me happy when we are together.  My heart lights up whenever we are together.   He is a good man with a sensitive heart and has good intentions.  But now I'm starting to struggle with his inattentiveness, self-absorption, self- centered, hyper-focus, lack of communication, inconsiderate, and narcissist traits.  Those traits are subtle and manageable when things are normal, but when he is under stress, those classic ADHD traits come blaring out like a bull horn.  He has disappeared for days in the past without contacting me when he's under stress because he needs time alone to think out his problems.  He seems to be faithful.  I don't see any signs of him cheating.  However, that would be the deal breaker for me if he was to be unfaithful in any way. 

I have never put this to the test but I wonder if he will come through for me if I was to get sick or get in trouble?  He can barely take care of himself.  I've bailed him out in countless of situations.  I took his son to the Dr when he was out of town; saved his house and cat when he left town forgetting to leave enough food and shut the door to the room where the litter box was; Helped him clean his disgusting kitchen just to see him mess it up within minutes.  I caught mistakes in his resumes and emails; listened patiently to his ADHD son ramble and vent for hours because he didn't have the patience to....  I sat for 3 hours one day helping him with his homework.  I've never sat down for that long helping any of my own kids with their school work.  I know he appreciated all of that because he told me so but he's still a narcissistic self absorbing man at the end of it all.  I have raised 3 kids and do not want to take care of any more "children".

I haven't seen or spoke to him in almost a week now because he is engrossed with stress relating to his job and his son. I have never seen anyone in such denial of his son's mental problems.  I'm not even on his back burner and have been put in the backyard BBQ pit.  Out of sight and out of mind apparently. So I'm searching for answers.  This is the longest we have ever been out of touch and if the vacancy continues, this might be my Q to get out of the relationship.  I do feel sad because I love him. 

I can't tell you how good it feels to vent this out to people who understand what I'm going through. 

 

 

Still here, still fighting

I appreciate all the encouragement I have gotten from my post.

It's 4 months later, and we are still dealing with a lot of the same issues. I don't know if I've just numbed myself to it or just learned to lower my expectations or what the deal is...but I seem to be in an ok place in accepting this as my life, at least for right now.

I am nowhere near perfect, I have battled depression and anxiety for the past 10 years of my life, at one point I was given a PTSD diagnosis from a past abusive relationship. I have gone through years of therapy and I am in a pretty great place now as far as my issues go. I am no longer on medication and I feel wonderful, but know that if it ever starts to feel like I'm slipping back into things again, that it's okay to go back to medication and therapy. I am not ashamed of that if it comes down to that. My husband has been by my side these past 4 years and helped me get through my issues and I feel like he is a big part of the reason I was able to overcome it all.

 

He is still having the issues with the laundry and the dishes. I have pretty much just taken it upon myself to do those things to avoid the headache of another confrontation. He skips his adderall frequently and you can just tell when he's not taken it that day...he's flighty and forgetful, he doesn't listen to a word I say even if I repeat myself for him at his request. It's just bad news. My marriage is definitely not ideal. I know no marriage is, but I at least hoped I'd be happier than this in my marriage.

His daughter is THRIVING. She is doing amazing with her ADHD and her emotional issues stemming from her being abused last year have gotten SO much better. We're having some problems with her being a little behind her grade level for math/reading, but I enrolled her in a special before-school class twice/week to get extra help. I am in constant contact with her teacher and we meet often to discuss her progress in school and what I can help out with at home. Since I am the only "real" adult parent she has in her life, I have just taken the initiative to make sure I cover all the bases, medical care, dental care, therapy, school, diet, activities, etc. I feel like a machine when I step into my "mom" role and it's a role I absolutely love. It helps distract me from the troubles I have in my marriage I think.

I keep hoping that it'll get better. I bring up ADHD behavioral therapy to my husband about once every 2 weeks and I just get the brush off. I just keep thinking that if I bring it up enough, eventually he will decide to do it, but I know it has to be his decision. It's tough, all of it. I don't get enough respect or recognition for what I do, but I chalk that up to being part of the roll. Moms are typically under appreciated, especially until their children are grown.

I haven't given up hope yet! I haven't used the "D" word yet! I am just pushing ahead and still fighting for my marriage. I just hope that my fight isn't all for nothing.

I am sooo there

I feel like everyone on this post. I feel all your pain, sadness, frustration anger, bitterness and hopelessness. It's amazing how many people post on this forum each day about almost identical experiences. Like we could be writing each other's stories to some extent. I put off having kids because I was waiting for my spouse to grow up and be more responsible and reliable. I waited too long and now I'll never have children because I already have one - her. We are going to the ADD counselor tomorrow at my demand, and honestly I don't know if it will do any good, but I feel like I need to give this relationship one last try. I think its because I'm in the mental health profession that we've made it this long. I've tried to be so compassionate about her illness, but it seems like I'm always the one paying the price.

I want to beg and plead this counselor to do something, anything to make my wife really listen and make real changes in her life. I so scared of giving up the last 15 1/2 years, but I'm more scared to live the next 15 like the last. My mom recently died and she was a character to say the least, but the sad thing is I don't really miss her. She isolated herself and was never really a pleasant person to be around, she was always so pessimistic with no sense of humor. What I've realized is my dad is now free. He's free to live his life, have fun, go places she would never go. He seems to be having the time of his life and almost thankful for his release, even though he loved my mother for some unknown reason and still visits her grave every Sunday after church. He's like a caged bird that was finally set free. I don't want that to be my life. Waiting for my spouse to die, so I can live. It's like watching my future life playing out before me. I feels so torn, I just don't know what to do. Hopefully, tomorrow will be turning point for us otherwise I think I'm going to have to leave her.

Should I stay or should I go??

Hello, I was just reading previous posts and they have been a wake up call too me. I have been with my partner just over a year, he has ADHD, so I thought I would do some research, and came across this website. The similarities are astounding! Unreliability, inattentiveness, INCREDIBLY messy, lacking personal hygiene, very bad with finances.... But now I am wondering whether to continue this relationship, or break i off??

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

To get more responses, try starting a new topic (under Anger, Frustration will likely get the most views) and tell us more about yourself and your situation.  Some people will say stay, some will say go. I won't tell you whether to stay or go, but I will share my experiences with you so you can get a sense of what life in a long-term ADHD-affected marriage is like. 

RELYING ON SPOUSES

I have read all your posts and to be honest they brought me to tears, just because I have been in the same boat for over 30 years. First let me tell you all neither of my husbands had ADHD. My first husband I was married to at 18 and had 2 beautiful children. He was a military man who loved to take orders at work, loved his job, but loved more to come home and give orders. I was a nurse who spent more time caring for everyone but myself.  Sadly I was too young and nieve and face it in love with the idea of being in love that I didn't know any better than to do everything he asked when he asked and that it was ok not to put up with half the stuff I did. Everything from him coming home ordering me to iron his uniforms and spit shine his boots. Never speak back to him or be faced with him grabbing me by the side of my head and pushing me up the wall or punching me in the ribs. I thought as long as the children weren't hurt or didn't see his abuse I should deal with it because hey they needed a father too not just a mother. I would cover up my bruises and go into work with long sleeves and scrubs on in the summer and always stand in the way of my kids when his anger from his daily work became too much so he would hit me instead of them. As if I was hiding anything from anyone other than myself. But we sure can deceive ourselves if we try hard enough. But after 10 years of his drinking and ordering and hitting, the children finally saw him abusing me one night and I finally saw the horror in their faces and decided enough was enough. After all what was I really losing it's not like he ever did anything for me or the children other than to make our lives a shell of what they should have been. So I divorced him and no easy task as you can imagine he started stalking me, breaking into my house and even raped me. So when the divorce was final I moved out of the province as far away from him as I could. My children still petrified by what they saw refused to sleep alone they would always sleep together huddle up like their lives depended on it. And being a single mom of 2 was not easy to say the least. Instead of working only 1 job I now had to get 3 jobs just to start from scratch with my children in a safe place. That means up at 5 am getting the kids stuff ready for school and breakfast and them out the door so I could go to my 2 daytime jobs. Be home at dinner to feed the kids all the while helping them with schoolwork and then off to the sitters so I could go to my night time job. Home at 2 am to clean house do laundry and an hours sleep before my day started all over again. And if they were sick yes that meant loss of income added expense but that's what a parents does. I worked 7 days a week doing this because face it I was mom & dad for my children and they had no one to rely on but me. My then ex-husband only wanted to be their father when he wanted bragging rights. He never bothered paying support even though it was court ordered. He never bothered seeing them or talking to them. But face it mom's when we have children we are a mom from their birth to our death and beyond in the good times and the bad cause they are our children regardless.

So I met this wonder man a year later. Intelligent, caring. It took me a year to introduce him to my children because I didn't want men coming in and out of my children's lives to mess them up any more. A year after that we were married. My children loved him and he them and everything seemed to be fantastic. We uprooted our lives to go where he lived/worked. I gave up my work, moved away from my childhood friends and family and emerged my life into his world. He said he loved my independence and how I could have so much compassion for others. Life seemed good. And the little things like honey can you take out the garbage not getting done or honey can you shovel the snow not getting done I let just drop. After all I was an independent woman I had done all this on my own. So I took his duties and mine even though his friends would tease him after seeing me out in my housecoat and boots shovelling the driveway at 4 am so he could get the vehicle out to go to work. I was never one of these ppl what needed very much. No fancy hair salons or nails done or new clothes every season. In fact I still have alot of my clothes that I have worn since before my children were born. But being in an isolated town of 500 with no proper medical care, nothing but a small grocery and a post office with the closest town 2 hrs away if the highway wasn't closed due to snow really started to put a toll on me mentally and physically. My health deteriorated, I was always alone my husband was only home 2 days a week. Still raising 2 kids who were now bored out of their faces and a new home and husband to take care of. And it all began again. My daughter left home at 15 to live with her biological father because she was just too bored to put up with it any longer to come home a year later pregnant after her father kicked her out. Her beautiful long brown hair now dyed orange, her beautiful face now marked with tattoos and piercings and yes a bun in the oven when she left my innocent little girl. My son isolated himself in his room because his biological father wouldn't have anything to do with him and his new father well to put it nicely pretty much ignored everyone when he was home. So now my daughter has tasted this life of her fathers world of being able to do what she wants when she wants and decides after having the child that she can go back to a childhood and I can raise the baby and away she goes not to be seen or heard from for years and I am back to being a full time Momma or Nana as my grandson knows me with custody of a little rambunctious boy who is now 5 . My son goes off to college far away and I'm here alone with a baby and a husband who I seldom see and when I do see doesn't know I even exist. Things he would say he would do such as take out the garbage just didn't ever get done. Hanging up the curtain rods in our new home still not done after a year. And everytime I talked to him he would just either say I will get to it or ignore me or walk away in a huff. It's been 15 years now and nothing has changed. Except for the fact that I now pay the consequences of his actions. For instance I say to him honey can you dig up the septic to have it drained. And I get the typical yes dear. And yet after 5 months to the point where water no longer leaves the bathroom facilities I am out in the snow and rain in the mud digging up the septic gates myself and bailing out the toilet after my grandson visits it. My washer needed fixed but I had to do that myself as well pulling out the engine etc and fixing it after just getting out of surgery. Meanwhile my loving husband has had me cancel medical specialist appointments so he could go to work instead of taking the day off to be with me and getting me fixed. So I spent 2 years in agony with kidney stones. When I finally get the surgery I get sepsis and almost died and everything I asked him not to have done to me medically he allows them to do. Now I am facing a lifetime of kidney problems and now have to have my gallbladder removed. And yet I still need to have all the physical strength to do my job and his. Never once has he ever stopped to take care of me. Instead I am to care for everyone else even when I am sick, for instance he goes to work on a train for 3 days at a time well he wants me to wake him before his call for work so he can eat dinner I prepare as well as pack 5 meals for him to go to work with and they can't be the same. Clean up the kitchen, take care of the grandson, pay the bills, take care of his 2 dogs, pick up all the shopping for gifts for every occasion because as he says he has no idea what anyone wants including me. And for all this I get the pleasure of him being a husband in our bedroom once a year. When did my life become this. Listening to men make excuses for everything and never admitting to anything or taking responsibility for anything or anyone other than themselves. Now don't get me wrong I love my husband with all my heart even though most of the time I just want to hit him over the head with a skillet. He is the first man I can say I ever really loved and knew what that meant. But why does t have to hurt so bad to love someone else. When I ask him why he doesn't do the things he says he will he says cause HE didn't think they needed done despite my asking. As if my opinion or wishes don't matter to him. He is someone I CAN"T RELY ON. I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring but I do know that I won't be anyone elses doormat. And that my opinion does count. And there is no excuse for the excuses one gives to take someone for granted. As I told my husband he has used up all his excuses for everything including not being a husband. The next excuse he uses will be the last excuse he will need because he will be alone making them to himself. After all these years of being beaten on, verbally, physically and mentally abused, treated like a stupid female I have found my inner woman. I am strong, well educated, intelligent and my opinion matters and if the men in my life can't see that then I am strong enough to make it on my own...single nana and all. After all I have done it before and I can do it again. A husband is suppose to be an equal to yourself. He is suppose to pick you up if you fall, be comforting when you are broken, and stand strong and loyal when you are weak just as you do for him. Don't think you can't do anything you have to do alone to preserve yourself because you can. Ask yourself one thing would you rather have money or love and respect. If your answer is love and respect then if you don't get that from you significant other than you definitely don't need all the crap that comes with his money. Life is short. I know this for a fact, I am the oldest living female in my family at 47. If genetics have anything to do with it I will have less than 7 years before I reach the end of my life and I have to ask myself will I go with a smile or a frown. I t is up to every one of us to reach out, get help from who you can, stand strong, love yourself and love those around you and when you have to be kind to yourself when others can't be. You matter. I matter. And those innocent wrapped at our legs matter. The rest can live with frowns.