2 things that work

1.  If I need some "man job" done, I lay all the equipment out and take my time to get to the job (an hour or even a day sometimes).  If he hasn't already asked if he can do it, I wait until he is around and then begin the job.  He CANNOT let me do a job without either telling me how or saying, "Shall I do that?"  If he begins to tell me how to do the job, I say, "Would you like to do it so it is done right?"

2.  Tonight I found a new one:  I was fuming mad when for the 10000th time he came home 2 hours late from work with no phone call.  I used to think it was a series of women that made him late so often without a phone call before I learned about ADHD.  Tonight I was so mad, I met him outside and asked why he couldn't call (for the 10000th time) he said he didn't know and shrugged his detestable impish shrug (As if I would think that was cute in this situation?????).  He had started a piece of work he said and then just shrugged as though that was all he had to do to make me angry and shut up. He works as fast as a snail.   I KNEW he wouldn't feel bad that he did it or that I was sad or mad.  BUT I said I was upset and I didn't feel like making a meal for someone who couldn't call when he comes home late.  So, which restaurant was he going to take us out to eat at?   It will get pretty expensive for him to keep coming home late.  And he will not in the future get a home cooked meal waiting for him to warm up.   Was I really so clueless all those years to do that?  Yes.  I didn't know better.  He may learn not to be late without calling because it will be HIS POCKETBOOK that will feel the pain rather than ME.

I would not have chosen to do these calculating things but I refuse to do everything and resent being taken advantage of.  If he cared more and cooperated more, I would be the wife I had always been in the past.  Supportive and working together - that is what I would have preferred.  But I don't get to have that.  I must resort on these "schemes".  I suggest you do too.

Picking your battles

Yesterday's success is today's forgotten promise.  So tonight, I had told ADD DH a number of times today that if he didn't come home when he said he would, I would not have dinner ready for him - like I have done for over 30 years (packing it up, cold in the fridge and not knowing what he is doing or where he is because he doesn't come home when he says he will = a little worried that maybe he was in a car accident.  Why else would  a person NOT call someone who was making them dinner and expecting them?).  I was STUPID!  He came home 30 minutes late. Realize that last night we had a BIG to do about this very thing.  When I asked why, he said there was a line at the UPS.  OK, but "This is what you do in that case - DIAL my number and say, I will be late - hold dinner or go ahead and eat while it is hot".  That is all I ask.  So that I am not sitting like a tool/fool with food I made for us for dinner wondering if I should eat or wait.  (I have been known to wait hours in the past).  I don't want to keep being the one to call HIM when he secretly changes his promises.  So this time, I put the food away and hid the dinner I made for him, and said.  "I am not making food for someone who cannot take a minute to call me that he will not be home when he said he would."  I ate my delicious dinner.  He has not eaten. He is outraged.  He is probably thinking that if he doesn't eat at all that I will feel bad that he has no dinner - LIKE I HAVE DONE ALL THESE YEARS BECAUSE I WAS STUPID!!!!   I am not worried about how he feels anymore.  If he cannot talk to me about it or put ANY effort into communication or cooperation, I will assume he is planning some sort of revenge which is his usual M.O.   I know this is only 30 minutes, let it go, right?  NO! 30 turns into 60 turns into hours turns into always.   That is how we let this habit go on all those years - the habit of taking it for granted that I will be understanding and nice and not worth a telephone call.  Oh, have I mentioned a few times on this board that he said the other day to me, "What have you EVER done for me?"  Let it go right?   Yes, I have let it go now.  But he will have to find his own dinner tonight.  2 steps forward, 1 step back. This sounds crazy and petty but I must do it to save my sanity. He doesn't respect me - it is not JUST his ADD.


arwen's picture

neither crazy nor petty -- just logical consequence -- but ...

Jenna, you're seeing how the "natural consequences" that Melissa Orlov talks about can get your message across far better than words and complaints.  Good for you! 

Years ago when our kids were young, this not-calling-when-late problem was a big deal for me (non-ADHD) and my ADHD spouse, too -- it wasn't just me who was affected.  This was pre-cellphone, so I didn't expect a call if he was delayed en route, maybe traffic was bad that day -- but if he was leaving the office an hour late, I expected notice, and often didn't get it, either.  We'd wait what would be a reasonable amount of time for my husband to be delayed by traffic jams (maybe 20 minutes) and then go ahead and eat without him.  (To be honest, even that wasn't OK with me back then, because I felt very strongly (and still do) that the family that eats dinner and converses together most evenings has fewer troubles with kids when they get older.)  He was willing to reheat his own food and eat by himself, so at least he didn't give me that kind of grief.  But thank goodness he eventually realized that he was missing out on time with his kids  and made a real effort to be home on time.

Later, though, when the kids were older and at home for dinner less (due to dance classes, study groups, etc), the problem resurfaced (now in the cellphone era).  What did the trick the second time around was exactly what you've done.  I told him that I never knew when he was coming home anymore, and I was fed up trying to cope with it, so there was no point in cooking for him.  He eventually decided he'd rather make a call to let me know when he'd be home, and stick to it, than scrounge around for eats every night. 

But -- there is one thing I'd like to note that is different between your situation and mine.  You've been going along with your spouse's capriciousness for a long time -- now "all of a sudden" you have changed your tune.  (I'm not saying you shouldn't -- believe me!!!)  But have you explained to your spouse *why* you put up with it for 30 years and now you won't?  You are changing a 30-year precedent, and that's likely to be incomprehensible to him.  Maybe *that's* why he's furious???  I know *my* ADHD DH would have a big problem without some kind of explanation that made sense to him, if we were in a similar situation.

Oh, and BTW, I know that sheepish/cute shrug/grin thing you talked about -- it drives me straight up the wall!  The only thing more infuriating is when my ADHD DH gets self-righteous (sic) about a fairly obviously morally indefensible stance, because he's rationalized some specific limited way where it seems OK to him and generalized from there -- that one puts me right over the edge!

Good luck -- keep applying those "natural consequences".

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

Garbage Focus

DH gets self-righteous (sic) about a fairly obviously morally indefensible stance, because he's rationalized some specific limited way where it seems OK to him and generalized from there.  Yes, I know that one too.  DH spends HOURS on sorting garbage and used to insist that I wash out the empty used glass jars and remove the paper labels before I put them in the recycle bin (when I was young I used to do this for his peace of mind).  He will spend 3 hours just taking apart one piece of junk. Then have no time to mow the lawn.  Then fall behind with his recycling over the years so much that his side of the garage is unusable with all the junk he wants to "take apart" some day before recycling.  He believes it is valuable and he doesn't want to contribute to "destroying the planet" like I do (for throwing things away).  I have resorted to hiding the junk until I personally take it to a dump myself rather than getting upset and him going through my junk and telling me about it all.  All this while his office desk is piled high with over due bills, 3 waste baskets full of envelopes that he does not take out (he can't throw things away).  Letters and correspondence from years ago is mixed with things he needs to take care of but doesn't/can't.  If he hears me peeling carrots, I can count on him standing behind me to make sure the refuse dosn't go in the disposal.  He is like a hungry animal gathering my peelings to carry outside to the compost bin (bins - there are 3 8'x8'x5' decrepit bins outside with rusty pails, cans, etc falling over into what was once a beautiful wooded garden path). Yet he is super vigilant about my kitchen garbage bag like he must save the world from my ignorantly leaving a paper label on a glass container.  Huhhhh....it feels good to write this up and have a place where I can have it be shared.  In his mind, he is The Great Recycler so that cancels out his inability to support his family.  To me, it feels like he enjoys being outside and not doing paperwork so he does what he enjoys and is able to let me take care of what he doesn't like to do.  Here is the difference between a person with ADHD who is TRYING and NOT TRYING.  He gives in to his impulses and takes it easy rather than sharing the pain of doing things we don't want to do.

Maybe we are married to the

Maybe we are married to the same guy. I can fix gutters, hang sheet rock, ceiling fans, paint, hold a full time job and run a small business while he does not have a job.  Papers, messy desk, unpacked boxes from 25 years ago, etc. he is a hoarder! I am at the end of my rope.