20 years and wondering if this is as good as it gets

Married 20 yrs to an ADD husband.  We put the symptoms of ADD together shortly after our son was treated for ADD.  I feel like a large part of my personality has been shut down ( the adventurous, fun side) so I can be the responsible one when he spontaneously decides on  a new idea.  He never follows a plan and is always changing family plans by coming up with a new idea of his own.  I feel like I'm always the one to pick up the loose ends. (packing, details, etc.)  After 20 yrs. I want to live with my husband as a partner and not always holding my breath to see what his next adventure will be.  I want to have a little stability in life and not always wondering what I need to handle next.  Does anyone else feel the same way after many yrs. of marriage?

Pretty much everyone in here

Pretty much everyone in here feels something like that!  Feeling dumped on is pretty common as the non ADHD spouse. 

I'm like you--20 years, about 15 of which I could [and did] totally hold everything together.  I'm a strong woman, capable and independent.  I was in my last semester to complete my degree when the wheels fell off of our marriage.  I was tired from going to school full time and working full time and holding up the household stuff too.  My DH was going through a rough time employment-wise, and so my divided attention was more than he could bear.  And suddenly I realized there was no plan B.  If I didn't maintain responsibility, no one would.  All that time, all those years, I thought I married someone I could count on.  Turns out he wasn't that guy.  As household stresses increased, so did his duress and that is what exposed what I suspected was ADHD.  I made mention of it the best way I knew how (which as it turns out wasn't such a good way) and he is convinced he is not the one with ADHD, but I probably am.  (!)  He is still in the category of most people, I'd say, thinking ADHD is a bunch of hooey.  Is your husband treated (counseling, meds, coaching)?  Is he open to it and trying to make adjustments and improvements?  How long have you known?

Like you, I think I did lose my fun self, my carefree self, because when I finally did get tired, the burden of responsibility was heavier; I KNEW I was the end of the line.  If I failed, WE failed.  Plus there was the disappointment of discovering this terrible thing.  Even before I figured it was ADHD, I was really sort of reeling from this discovery of this glaring deficit.  I stared at the ceiling for days thinking, "he really isn't that guy, is he?!  He's not who I thought I married." 

Looking back, (oh the sting of hindsight!) that onion was slowly being unpeeled over the years and I never added it up. Discovery might have started with "Oh--he doesn't handle money well, well ok, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. No problem.  I'll do that; I'm excellent with spreadsheets; it comes easy to me."  Next "oh--he's really not a very good driver.  No problem, I'll drive when we are together.  I like driving anyway." Next, "oh--he can't do anything around the house without being angry about it.  No problem, I'll just go in the other room to avoid him.  I sure do appreciate his willingness to take his share of the chores."  Next, "oh--he can't handle deadlines very well. No problem; I'll just put a reminder on his mirror when that's due.  He's more than happy to run it to the fedex office anyway."  Next, "oh--he can't handle being alone so much as my education goals demand.  Well, he IS an extrovert.  I will spend more time with him whenever I possibly can. I'll race home from work immediately to maximize our time together."  Next, "oh--he gets stressed when he has more than one thing to do or prioritize in a day.  Well, that's weird.  At least he is still doing some things for us.  There's nothing he's deferred that has to be done in a day anyway."  Next, "oh--he doesn't interview for jobs well.  Ummmm...well something will come up; he's such a hard worker!" Next, "[fill in the blank, I know you've got one]."  The more his weaknesses (which turned out to be symptoms) were revealed, the more I adjusted my expectations of what a good partner and teammate was.  And after ALL that reassessment, he still thought my expectations were way too high.   [sorry--that turned into a bit of a rant]

I hear you are tired and discouraged.  A matter of importance for you is to not ALWAYS be that person who doesn't have fun.  Schedule and prepare ahead to get out and do things YOU used to like to do.  Sadly you may have to do these things without your family, at least some of the time.  ADHD marriage or not, you've got to do stuff that fills you up so you have something to pour out again, else that well runs dry.  Sounds like you're about there now.  It can be as simple as reading a book with a cup of coffee for a bit on a sunny morning ALL BY YOURSELF or snuggling with one of your little ones.  The point is that you have to set healthy boundaries and say "this is MY time where I get to be me with NO responsibilities!"  I think every mom needs that regularly; a mom in an ADHD relationship much more.  You are probably reading lots about ADHD children, but I suggest you add Melissa's book and those referenced in it to your reading list.  ADHD wears a different suit in an adult relationship; you can probably help your kids by teaching life skills to help offset future struggles now.  And most of all, it will help you understand what you are experiencing too.  

I loved your "rant"

This is my first post on this wonderful site.  The beginning question and this reply really helped me.  I am going on 34 years in this marriage of 5 kids in a blended family, my ADHD husband, and myself.  EVERYTHING you wrote about sounds like my path.  But, you wrote out the frustrations, i.e., "rant" S-O-O-much better.  When Dr. Hallowell's book first came out, I immediately bought it and gave it to my husband.  Such a relief to find someone who had started looking at this.  But, guess what was missing.  THE IMPACT ON THE SPOUSES!  Maybe there was a two page part that I vaguely remember xeroxing so that I could carry it around with me.  Yes, the taking on of responsibilities from his side of the ledger happened over the years; things that he had promoted himself as being good at.  And why not?  The man is a psychiatrist with a great work ethic!!?!   A therapist friend of mine had taken her husband to one of the only persons in the city to help, a child psychiatrist.  This was in the mid-80's when we also were trying to get help for a child. 

It was at that point that I began to realize, very much in a fog, that both the child and my husband were exhibiting the same behaviors....but they were not biologically related.  How could that be??  (He was the adoptive dad to this child).  How could this educated, professional man who took care of others be this way?  I could this man who worked in a strenuous environment with disturbed others (alcoholics and drug addicts) not be able to function consistently once he hit the front door.  I should have had a higher degree myself, but, guess what, I settled for an honorable, but quicker one, to bring in some cash to help in supporting our family.  I am a social worker.  Oh, yes, co-dependent to the core.  The concept of co-dependency had not caught up with what one does to last through marriage with an ADHD spouse.  That's where this blog by Melissa Orlov and Dr. Hallowell is a godsend for others.I

I keep about five copies of Dr. Hallowell's book available to hand out all the time.  If I run into someone that I am planning to work with for our family, it is required reading.  Lawyers, financial planners, priests, accountants, physicians.  I don't minimize this stuff any more.  Oh, yeah, my husband has a hard time with this, because in spite of his education, he is still "on the other side" of comprehension.  I remember settling in front of the TV in the mid80's where there was an expose about adult ADHD.  I felt like some amazing vista would my open my mind, some sound bite would have a secret key and the problem would all go away.  About half way through the spouse of the ADHD husband was asked the question, "And how has his condition affected you?" She paused, and opened her mouth to speak, and then lowered her head and was engulfed in sobs.  I have always been grateful to her and her revelation about herself.  I have always treasured her response. She bowed her head with me. This was in the dark ages when the whole problem had hardly gained attention.  No dual diagnoses had even reached the outer galaxies in the psychiatric nomenclature for the ADHD and...something else.

I am looking forward to reading more posts, and more of Melissa's information, because at this late date I have a vague feeling that I've been had by someone who is a better game player than I'll ever be.  Does anyone else feel that they have been manipulated by someone who may have this condition, but who along with it, has learned how to get out of alot of things that they didn't want to do?  Someone who may have a teensy-weensy bit of narcissism or a passive aggressive personality.  Someone who may just enjoy thinking their own thoughts so that they don't have to participate in a social setting or be responsible to the group? Someone who is a one man "Lord of the Flies"?  Please tell me the answer to this in this crystal ball of a blog.



game players

Dear Soldier On,

Wow, your post really resonated with me. I've been married 25 years and, yes, I often feel like I'm in a game and it's a race to the finish line! (The youngest child out of the house.) Narcissim, check. Passive aggressive, check. Inconsistency, check. I so wanted to grow old, wise, and loving in my marriage, but not at this expense. 

Two years ago, we had some serious issues in our home. It was time for my husband to step up to the plate and be a husband and father and take responsibility. He made some attempts, here and there with resentment, but his lack of consistency and reliability had serious effects on my son and I. (I sought the advice of many counselors, and all agreed with me except for one, and she told me that Match.com is a crowded place.) That changed me and my marriage, forever. After more than 20 years of taking on more than my fair share of the responsibilities and him taking credit  and enjoying the benefits, I needed him and he wasn't there. 

Honestly, I would probably grow to love him again if we just separated and lived apart. He can be fun to be with, but like grandchildren, you can only take so much until you say time to go home! 



Thanks for your reply, Onedayatatime

Dear Onedayatatime,

Thanks for your reply.  As you must know, it gives me more courage to post.  Thank you for saying that anything I wrote resonated.  Your remarks answered alot for me, also.  It reminded me that in a bad situation in the family I actually have learned to say, "This is what is happening and this is what I expect you to do and say. Do not fail me."  I pull out these big guns when the stakes (usually an adult child) are important to me.  I hand him a script.  Guess what?  He can do it.  In fact, he can do it quite well.  He can even come up with words of his own that are quite masterful.  I believe its part of the superfocus that can kick into gear if he knows what is expected. 

Now most people in the outside world would find this nonauthentic and would not feel that that person REALLY was spontaneously participating in the problem.  Therapists would shudder at such "manipulation".  But, I don't consider it manipulation,because everything is on the table. He knows why I am requesting in this way.  It's sort of like the chips that I have earned and I am cashing them in. 

Another piece of information which has helped me considerably is the course I took by Izzy Kalman, MS called Anger Control Made Easy: An Insightful, Powerful Method for Teaching Anger Control to Clients of All Ages. This was sponsored by the Cross Country Education, Inc.  He gave six simple rules to follow which can help change the balance of power in difficult relationships.  I started putting these things into practice and I felt much better about myself.  it didn't mean though that others changed.  In fact they got worse.  This is an old pattern of resistance, right?  But, I've held on because I liked one of the main ones that says that if you get angry you give away your power.  In other words, "they" know they've got you.  I didn't have alot of this perspective, being a well qualified Al-Anon from FOO and a first marriage. 

Health problems do creep up in these older marriages.  I've found that out for sure.  So I'm having to set alot of boundaries, because at this stage I don't want to be the NURSE.  I can do some appropriate caretaking.  It's when the ADHD-er has trouble remembering to take meds that I am drawing the line.

Thanks again for your response. Hope you'll post again.

Soldier On







that was today!

I just went through these feelings and argued, well i suppose i screamed a bit, with my husband.  About how nothing magically seems to be his fault, how everyone else is always to blame (usually me and the kids), and therefor is never a reason to at least say im sorry u feel that way or im sorry I did that maybe next time do differently.  No. Its always how it affects him and masterfully manipulates the situation to make me seem out of line in my reaction and feelings.  I'm just getting to that point where I'm catching it quicker now and calling it.  I won't allow him to talk over me and change topics or skirt the issue so as to avoid accepting responsibility.  Again, I'm so happy to have found this site because no one else seems to understand how I feel or how crazy all of this sounds.  Like "oh, he can't be that bad.  Your just overreacting. " or " just give him a break." or even worse , they dont believe me! I have already lost a mutual friend over this because the things i have shared about him cant possibly be true.


Hm-m-m-Sounds Familiar

Dear Tray,

Just to let you know, your post well describes a very familiar pattern to me.  Wish I had had the sense to see it way back.  "I am catching it quicker and calling it".  I have started to do that too.  I also don't waste as much breath on these skirmishes as I use to.  Just enough to set the boundaries so my mind won't spin.  I have stopped expecting there to be a resolution on the point of order.  I finish the conversation on my note not his.  I draw it to a quicker close and I don't let him bait me into more.  I ignore and go back to what I was doing.  There's this marvelous article that made me roar called, "What Shamu taught me about my Husband".  Something like that.  So funny.  I xeroxed many copies to hand out to friends.  It was all about how a woman started taking an interest in the training of whales for a water circus and how she employed the techniques in training her husband.  This may be the answer for us. (humor)

Soldier On

yes yes yes

I totally know exactly what you mean when you say The more his weaknesses (which turned out to be symptoms) were revealed, the more I adjusted my expectations of what a good partner and teammate was.  And after ALL that reassessment, he still thought my expectations were way too high.  That statement hits me so close to home it makes me want to cry.

At some point I really want to leave my husband hanging out there.  I want to quit my job and leave him with the weight on his shoulders.  He'd figure something out I'm sure of it.  I know he will never step up and get his life under control as long as I bail us out at every turn.  The only reason I don't just give him the wheel is because I'm afraid of how low it would go and how it would impact our children.

Also, your statement "he really isn't that guy, is he?!  He's not who I thought I married."- I have said and thought that exact same thing.  Instead of staring at the ceiling, I was in a coffee shop writing it down in a journal after he had let me down for the hundredth time.  And I know everyone who is married thinks this at one point or another, but to realize that my husband is never going to change and that I am the one who has to do all the managing in the relationship just left me numb.

NeedHope1980, I feel exactly


I feel exactly the same way and have for many years.   I, too, couldn't let go of the wheel for the same reasons.  In my case, some of my responsibilities are lightening up (daughter on her own now, husband and I no longer work at same place so I don't have the worry anymore of what he "isn't" doing in a timely manner, which then results in "both" of us jumping out our butts to get something done, we are finally down to one dog (don't get me wrong) I love animals but when you have been the main caregiver for them as well as everyone else you've had it after awhile).  The numbness in me had helped in detaching and letting him "own" his ADHD, not me!!!

Adjusting expectations

I totally get all of this too. I have dwindled it down to perhaps we could co-exist peacefully. I have broken down the marriage vows and it never said be a slave, be silent, take care of him, etc. When i agreed to marry, I never said I wanted to take care of him. I said I wanted to spend my life with him... I never said I wanted him to do everything for me because I am self sufficient. I never agreed to listen to only his thoughts and not think for myself. I never agreed to let him think, talk,or decide for me. The vows say "be supportive and be a partner".... I have been breaking everything down to the tiniest bit of fact, or reality, possible. I did agree to be with him forever, however, I don't want the responsibility of taking care of another human being that is fully capable of taking care of himself. Did he think just because I said "I do" that it meant he had to stop being an adult? I am a mom to my children - not a grown adult. I need to find me again. I have no idea who he is anymore and it's kind of scary. All the fun and lightheartedness is gone.

In the CoDependent No More

In the CoDependent No More book she talks about this very thing..how we swear we'd never accept certain things and then we find ourselves not only accepting them, but rationalizing them. What WE have to understand though is that it is not anyone else's fault but our own. We accept these things then turn around and get mad at the person who did them when WE were the ones who made the mistake of accepting them. Vicious cycle. Builds resentment and anger and keeps the "blame game" alive and well.

We cannot go back, but we can go forward. Your answer is simple...and in your own words. Don't take the responsibility of taking care of him...and find yourself again. You don't know who he is because chances are, HE doesn't know who he is. I think this is a simple matter of them being like chameleons and changing depending on who they are with to fit into the mold they feel they must in order to be accepted. My goal is to make his mold of what I want in him something he is happy with too. It isn't about accepting horrible behaviors, it is about giving him the wheel and saying "either drive your marriage where you know it needs to be or drive it off of a cliff." I can accept a lot and still be very happy with him...but I will demand respect, loyalty, and kindness. He won't get it perfect 100% of the time, nor will I, but I know he's capable of these things...I hope he's willing to give them, that's the real test.

talking tips

I've noticed both myself and my BF can become almost hyper and talk way too much in new social situations.  We both know we do it but can't seemed to stop.

Does anyone have any tips for slowing it down?

Try This

Dear Got It,

An old technique is to pretend you are an investigative reporter.  Learn to ask a question of the new person, then spend alot of time listening for the answer and concentrating on him or her.  When the question is answered, ask another.  It is said that people who listen are always highly thought of by others.  In this way you can learn to cut down on your talking and the other person will think you are wonderful.

Soldier On

thank you

Thanks for the response.  I will definitely test it out.

You are not alone! I too am

You are not alone! I too am in a 25 year relationship (20 yrs marriage) and am dealing with ADD husband. Your words were like someone reading my life. I understand where you are and where you have been.

I don't have a lot of advice at this point - as we are still struggling to deal with ADD. But counseling has helped us sooo much! Well maybe it helps me to better deal and understand the ADD.

I highly recommend that you go to counseling and find your happiness again. It can be done and you are the only one that is able to make it happen; no matter what new adventure the husband comes up with! :)



15 years of marriage and I feel confident this is really as good

As it will ever get! I have been to this message board twice over the last six months. Both times I have left after hours of reading feeling great emotional stress. Look at all of us. Killing ourselves for a spouse or partner that won't work to get well. Why? Because we are waiting, hoping, praying, begging, nagging, pleading, screaming for things to get back to what they used to be. Back to some place where the earth beneath our feet was stable, sound and safe. I have been married to a man I love deeply for 15 years. He illness has torn me down over and over and over again. It is my husband's world 24/7 and I am just a cast member in his grand performance of living life at maximum dysfunction. He does not seek help, he is incapable of seeing it through. He cannot hold a job and he has drained me financially and does not want to ask for money to seek help. Digging his heels in on the grounds that he is already burden enough and we can't afford further help for him. There is much discussion here around trust. Ideally, we can say... Oh it's the mental illness that causes it. I disagree! It is the vicous cycle of repeated mistakes, lack of self esteem, and general inability to get up and get to fixing the issues that gets us here. The only mental illness that fully precludes one from helping themselves is Schizophrenia. ADHD can be treated like any other disease, but one has to want the medicine and/or treatment. I have read all of the books on ADHD, I have been to therapy alone, as well as with my husband when I can get him motivated to go. Nothing is consistent, nothing sticks, there is no safe, solid ground with this man. I have divorce papers. Have had them for six months. One day I am confident divorce is the best decision I could make, the next I can't imagine my life without the man I thought I married in it. Back and forth, back and forth. Only way to stop it, is to leave it! Time to start over and take my life back. Time to get back to knowing and loving myself. Time to live what remains of my life happy, healthy and felling loved and valued. I own this, he can't change, because he will not choose to. The bottom line here is it is not going to change. I have jury duty in the morning and I am fairly confident that this is the time. I will be at the courthouse so I just need to file. We live in a state where legal separation is not an option, therefore divorce is the only option.


Oops, my reply above was supposed to be here... Good luck tomorrow.

just under 10 years

I have always thought of marriage as two people who would share an adventure. the adventure of life. two people who would (as life allows) put their kids to bed together, buy/rent a house together. moving experiences, decisions, projects. doing everything as a pair, a couple. it is possibly the most difficult thing to accept, that my partner is more like a roomate. but I'm the one with adhd, I will admit. it was not my decision to try to live that way. it just happened.but  I couldnt take the idea that he didnt want to be on this adventure with me. I put the kids to bed alone... I do all the research to buy the house... I start projects and I make plans, and it makes me cry everytime I stand in the doorway having made all the effort and knowing I did it so we could do something together. but it's never what he wants. I always did it wrong. I can be more like a certain way or have habits from adhd but I wanted something out of life that didnt really have much to do with adhd. I wanted a partner thats why I got married. he wanted to go on adventures too... just not mine. after years and years he finaly came out with it and said "I just find myself thinking it would be more fun or easier if I were with someone else" after prodding him to try to put it into words how he felt.

what we figured out a little later after some yelling and then some arguing is were just not very good at being a couple. when we start anything like a vacation or project or something it starts out as an adventure. only both of us trying to participate end up fighting for control. we just always have two slightly differing pictures of how things are going to go or what we will do and despite both being flexible people we just end up frustrated. it wasnt that bad in the begining but as the years went on he would get more and more frustrated with allowing me any freedom because my plans changed too often. I would get mad because he wouldnt allow anything fun in our adventures. just stick to the plan and just walk to the park. someone could hand him a million dollars and he'd say... sorry thats not in the plan. it took us a while to realise what we were doing was we both wanted the experience but we didnt know how to share and take turns.

you know those kids who play their turn on the video game and then it's your turn. only instead of letting you take your turn when it starts to get a little hard he takes the controler from you and says here I'll show you.... after a few minutes you realise your not going to get your turn after all. well one or both of us would end up doing it. he would do the take the controler thing, I would switch games after playing only one level of each.

long winded I'm sure, sorry. now we try to show each other more respect. for him it's remembering I'm not stupid and just cause he knows where were going it's respectful to let someone know (unless it's surprise party :) because we plan things out quite a bit in our heads . if we dont... it can make us freeze. it only takes us minutes to put a step by step plan in our heads and we start full force. but if it's your plan and we dont know what were supposed to do we dont know how to move. so I'm usually changing things around to my way, because I need to know where I'm going otherwise I just stand around and look stupid. .  and for me, I try to remember his slow movement and sticking to a plan is more because he's planned for that thing and whatever I'm trying to change it to he's not prepared for. not because he isnt fun. but he shows the proper respect for things by dressing for the occasion or whatever. so even if he's dressed appropriately my switching while we were out and it took us two hours longer than planned put him off because he wasnt mentally or physically up to it. he hadnt eaten and was now starving. or he wasnt comfortable in what he was wearing.  all things that are silly to me because I dont show the proper respect to things and dont care how I'm dressed, just spent money I didnt have cause I was hungry and will gladly drain all my energy in that activity because I didnt have any respect for the things that needed to be done when we got home. like dishes or bonding on his level (movie on the couch) or sex or laundry for the kids to go to school.

so I try to stop changing things and allowing us the chance to show respect in life. he tried to give me an overview of our plan as well as letting me know he'd only like to use a certain time frame (2 or 3 hours)

by the way can  I just say, I had no idea what respect was. everyone always talks about it but I thought I was doing it, or at least I didnt understand how I wasnt showing respect. I read somewhere this famous piano guy said "you dont deserve to play an instrument unless your going to devote the apropriate time and energy into learning about it" . that just sort of clicked the other day I was like... OH! I'm showing a continous lack of respect for generally everything in life just by not using the appropriate time and using all my energy during that time for that and only that thing.  at first my thought was.... what if I dont want to play that instrument? but then it dawned on me that he just meant, if your going to do something do it all the way. then of course I was like ... um... what if I just dont want to do something (like take a shower) but then my husband smiled and answered that one for me. "because you are showing your body respect by not taking advantage of it. it needs to be kept clean, healthy and relaxed every so often. just because you dont want to do it doesnt mean your body doesnt need it"  he went on to explain my fast pace was hurting myself more than anyone because I'd get headaches, burn out too fast, things would pile up and I'd get anger spikes or anxiety attacks. all from lack of taking care of myself. I thought he was crazy until I started devoting the right time and energy to the things I was supposed to do and all that bad stuff like anxiety and stress just melted away. nothing piled up.

So lost and confused

I am almost 20 years into a marriage with a diagnosed ADD and depressed husband. We have a beautiful 16 year old daughter. My husband takes Concerta and Paxil. He sees a psychiatrist for some talk therapy, but mostly it is for meds. We have been to marriage counseling many times, but he always quits because he says all we do is concentrate on his anger. We just can't get out of this cycle that we've been on for 10 years. Things are good for awhile (never great) and then he explodes. He is verbally abusive to both me and my daughter. It's gotten to the point where both she and I share very little with him because it's less draining. He has an opinion on everything- no matter how trivial. Usually he has a problem with most things we do and say. However, this obviously makes him feel excluded which in turn spurs on more anger. Our sex life is non-existent. He wants it, but I just can't, given the ups and downs of our relationship. I have so many walls up for protection that it is impossible for me to entertain any kind of intimacy with him. Adding to all the typical ADD/depression that we experience, I had an affair in 2002 with a co-worker. At the time, my husband was unemployed for about a year and very depressed - although neither of us realized he was depressed. He insisted that everything was great. However, he was extremely defensive and nasty whenever I asked him about getting things done around the house. He always showed symptoms of ADHD, but I didn't know this affliction existed. He's always been disorganized, unable to complete tasks, hyper focused on his hobbies to the exclusion of me and his daughter. When I complained, which I did a lot, he accused me of selfishness. However, I thought I was carrying most of the burden here at home. He helped, but it was never consistent. It got to the point where it was just easier to do it myself. This made me resentful and angry. So back to the affair.... It was a huge mistake on my part. Things were tough at home and my mother had just died after a long illness. I was the sole earner in the house and my husband could barely get dressed in the morning. The affair was an escape for me. It lasted 4 months and ended badly, with my husband and his wife finding out. I have had no contact with this man since. Ever since, my husband and i have been in and out of marriage counseling. My husband says he has forgiven the affair, but it is the first thing he throws back in my face when we fight. Then he throws in every mistake (real and imagined) that I have made since day 1 of our marriage. How can we move forward when he keeps dragging us back? I know it's easy for me to say "put the past behind us", but how else do we look ahead? I can't keep revisiting all the past injustices. He calls me a narcissist and a pathological liar. I assure you that I am neither. I just want to move forward with some peace and stability. I've come to the conclusion that he can never forgive me. He 's Hispanic, so maybe his culture and "machismo" make it difficult. We are talking divorce again - for the umpteenth time. It is usually me who backs off from the idea, but this time I am trying to stick to my guns. I told him marriage counseling or divorce. He refuses counseling, so he made the choice. My husband has some very lovely qualities, but the anger has overshadowed them. I am not a bad person, but I did a bad thing. I deserted him when he needed me most. I realize that now, but I can't keep being punished for it! It's time to move on but I am scared! I see a counselor weekly. I have suffered from self-esteem issues all my life, so I have put up with his controlling and abusive ways. I am just learning that I do not deserve to be treated this way. I am 51 and a breast cancer survivor. I need to start living life to the fullest. Luckily I have a good career, a supportive family and a close relationship with my daughter. He has none of these things. Life will be more difficult for him rather than me, yet his choice is no more counseling. Go figure!

I am so sorry for all the

I am so sorry for all the sadness i just read. He doesn't want the counseling because he knows he has a huge part in the marriage falling apart and a huge role in the reason you turned to someone else. He doesn't want to take a hard look at himself. You will be doing him a favor if you go through with the divorce. He will then have to take care of himself and he will have no one to blame for all his problems. Unfortunately, it may take him a while to see all the harm has has done to you and your daughter. It took my dad over 20 years to see the way he was in his marriage(s)! Time to take care of you, to stop beating yourself up, and to find some peace. Sounds like you have a great support system. Don't be afraid to use it. You've dealt with enough. Be good to yourself!

Thank you for your response

I have been to this website many times, but I have never posted before. I thank you for your words of encouragement. I need to hear this, because after years of being told these problems are all because of me, I am full of self-doubt! My counselor tells me I'm not crazy, but I need to hear it from others! Thank you for taking the time to respond.

His anger needs to be

His anger needs to be addressed with is psychiatrist. If the point comes that you feel there is something left to fight for, that is where I would begin. Whether he liked it or not, he may not even be aware of his anger so it is upon your shoulders to point it out to the professionals giving him the care because they may be the only ones who can help him see it and stop it.

Believing that the walls and the anger are protecting you somehow is a lie we tell ourselves to justify it and to keep up our end of the train wreck. I built some very ugly walls with my anger and justified it all by saying I felt safer in my anger. Was it keeping me from being hurt? No. Was it keeping me from being lonely? No. Was it making me happy? No. It did not help at all. It isn't a defensive mechanism, I don't feel...it is simply a reaction to his behaviors and my reaction was to shut him out and tell myself he deserved it. In the end, I hated who I had allowed myself to become and got to where I was angrier at myself than I was him. It isn't about building up walls to keep you safe from the storm it is about standing in the face of the storm with a warm heart and a smile on your face being true to who it is YOU want to be and not who he needs, who he wants, who is best for him.

Although I have been on the 'other side' of the cheating, I understand where you were when you decided to go outside of the marriage. This was another reason I knew I was at rock bottom recently because I started considering having an affair as a realistic option. I have never cheated on my husband in our 14 years of marriage and have prided myself for it. I knew it was more about ME and how I felt about myself than anything else. I was waiting on him to make me feel good about myself. When he refused/wasn't able (which went like a cherry on top of the huge banana split a.k.a the last 7 years of my marriage) I started having feelings of revenge and 'showing him' that someone else could and would love me if he didn't. I know in my heart of hearts I could never cheat on him...I would not be able to live with myself...but for those thoughts to race through my mind, I know that getting to that point isn't something that comes easily or that is done without a lot of emotional crap behind it. Put the issue to rest once and for all. Tell him that you have apologized and are truly sorry for hurting him with your affair. Tell him you have also forgiven yourself and will no longer take it being thrown in your face. If he does, walk away. Conversation over. You cannot go back...so you must move forward. If you're truly done then so be it. If you feel you need to be emotionally healthier before you make that decision, then give it some time. The other thing you have to consider is your daughter. His 'abuse' of her would stop today...and his psychiatrist would know about that whether I stayed with him or not.

(((HUGS))) You'll be in my prayers...along with everyone else here.


Thank you Sherri. What you

Thank you Sherri. What you wrote about the "walls" is right on target. You are absolutely right. It is doing me more harm than good. I have contacted his psychiatrist about his anger issue years ago. Obviously he is not getting the advice he needs. I have no idea how my husband presents our issues to his doctor. When he verbally abuses my daughter I usually step in and then his anger is directed toward me. Luckily I have a very self-confident, intelligent daughter. She knows he has lots of issues. She has been encouraging a divorce for years. It just wasn't possible. He wasn't working and I was fighting breast cancer. Now my health is good and he has a job, so the time is good. Somedays I feel very empowered and other days I feel like I can't go thru with it. I guess this is normal. Thank you for your wisdom! You are in my prayers as well!