My husband of 30 years was laid off five years ago from a job that he never loved, but felt trapped in for 20 years. He received a diagnosis of ADHD after our son was diagnosed about 9 years ago. He seemed to experience some relief after the diagnosis, and started taking Adderall which he claimed did help him to focus. When he lost his job, he was optimistic that this opportunity (complete with a year of severance pay) would be the chance he needed to reinvent himself, but instead it has turned into a devastating mess. I know there is a great person inside of him, but it's hard to explain how difficult it is to face every day with him, when he has such a distant view of reality. My income is not enough to support us, and only a second mortgage is keeping us afloat. My husband spends his days(after getting up between 10 and noon)surrounded by the 40 or so library books he has checked out at any one time (on a huge variety of topics). Of course, he also spends hours on the internet, and he keeps our DVR full of recorded programs from the cable subscription that we can't afford, but he refuses to cancel. He has always been interested in investing, and is actively studying that as a way to make money. To me, the non risk taker in the family, there is not much difference between this and gambling. I have tried to tell them that I can support his passion, but that I need more information about what the short term plan is. That always ends the conversation.
His home "office" which has always been a disaster, has expanded to fill three rooms with piles of papers (plus the attic) in spite of the fact that he insists that he wants to clean it up. I bought a scanner for him which he never took out of the box.
I did initiate getting us some couples counseling at two points when we were at an impasse about what should happen next, but both times he bailed when it got tough. He believes that counseling is a waste of time and money, and that he has the power to change without it. Both therapists that we saw talked to him about the role of depression with his ADHD, but even though he took Wellbutrin sporadically, he didn't buy into it enough to help. I continued to go to counseling on my own, and it helped me, but I think I am at the place where I need to separate for a while. Finances and the fear of putting my college age daughter in the middle(more than she already is) are the roadblocks. On the bright side, after 5 years of pretty severe insomnia, I am making progress with that thanks to online CBT training.
I got Melissa's great book about 6 months ago, and bought him a copy as well. I realized that we are in the middle of such a complicated mess, and there are some big struggles that I truly believe need professional attention. The book gave me hope because I realized how much my reactions to the ADHD behaviors were in my control, and I can't stand the idea of giving up on the marriage even though right now, the love I have for him is flawed.
My husband can be one of the most logical people in a room, but I can't believe how that logic collapses when he looks at all of this. There are times when he is down on himself for the damage that has been done to the relationships with friends and family, but he can also be more positive and seem to pretend that everything is fine.
A few months ago, I started working at home, so now I can see what he is doing all day, and it is driving me absolutely crazy. He tells me that if I leave, even if I mean it to be temporary, that it would be the end .
I fantasize about what it would be like to live without chaos, in peace and safety. I have started taking more cheap vacations on my own (like hiking with friends), but as soon as I come home back to the mess I want to leave again.
I would love to hear if anyone has found a way out when their spouse was completely stuck and resistant to getting help.
Not 5, but 3 years...
Submitted by julie jay on
Hi Perfect Storm...you just wrote about me. except my ADHD hubs has been out of work for 3 years now, not 5, and we've only been married 8 years, but it's his 3rd marriage and my 2nd...I've just resigned to accept "being the man" and working to support us until I die...then, I don't know what he'll do.
I don't have very much great experience, strength and hope to offer you, but I just HAD to respond to you on this one point...DO. NOT. LET. HIM. DO. "INVESTING"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It IS exactly like gambling to their brains, and they DO get an endorphin rush when the ticker starts going up and in my husband's case, when it would, he would never sell, thinking (against "logic" - another topic for another time) it would just keep going up...then, when it would crash/come back down below where he bought at, then he's all down in the dumps and it's everybody else's fault, from Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) to Carl Icahn (activist investor) to Stocktwits (website he's addicted to), but his. OH, and don't dare let your husband catch a whiff of being able to trade Options...then the rush, everything just gets worse. We are now out $35,000 because of this new "work-at-home-career" that lasted exactly a month. $35,000 IN A MONTH. I finally had to put my foot down before we became homeless. About wanting to leave, etc, I recently told him: "I want to do what you always talk about doing, and just run away, and never come back"...he evidently never realized how that sounds, bc I've noticed some attitudinal adjustin' goin' on around my house in the last couple of weeks...I just learned to enjoy those, while they last. He'll get "tired" of using that much energy and go right back to being him. And then the cycle will start all over.
I initially came to this forum today because sometimes it helps me to read what other ladies like myself are going through (like your post, thank you for pouring your heart out!!!), I still can't believe how much of my own life I read in the forums...but, I always do wind up seeing the silver lining in my own cloud ("at least my hubs will do this, or at least he will do that", etc, etc) which helps me cope better with him, and helps me stay one more day...that's another thing I had to resign myself to...I've always been a sort-of "planner", I like to know what is going to happen in the future....all that is gone. I now just have to live in today, for today. I don't mean to sound religious or proselytize, but there's a verse where Jesus says "do not be anxious about tomorrow, for today has enough trouble of its own"...I just try to remember that and keep my head up and keep truckin, because I know that in real life, I don't have anyone to rely on but myself (and God).
I hope this helps, PerfectStorm. ;o) Have a great day.
Submitted by perfectstorm5 on
Thanks, julie jay, for the advice and encouragement. You're right about the "silver lining" effect. I just watched someone who was close to me with a much worse ADHD situation than mine go through a nasty divorce, and it did help me to adjust my attitude for a while.
I do think you're right about the investing, and options in particular, but I'm scared that I can't stop him. In our situation he stands to inherit enough money to live on if he doesn't blow it all, and it makes me sad that I feel like he is relying on that. You didn't say if your husband helps out with house chores, child care, shopping, etc., while he's not working. The bright side of that for me is that my kids are older now, so I don't have to rely on him for all of that.
Thanks again for taking the time to respond...especially for the verse reminder at the end. Sometimes I feel like there is an obvious solution to all of this that I'm too dense to see, but in reality I know that your closing statement is the absolute truth.
oh. my. gosh.
Submitted by julie jay on
I can't believe I just read: "In our situation he stands to inherit enough money to live on if he doesn't blow it all, and it makes me sad that I feel like he is relying on that." Would you believe me if I told you we just had this very. same. conversation. over the weekend last weekend. His exact words were "I don't know about you, but I'll inherit a quarter of a million dollars one day (he is 1 of 4 kids), probably soon.." My mouth just hung open...I could not believe my ears. yeah, I'll inherit a couple of nickels when my parents pass away, but I sure ain't hangin my hope for any future on it!!! It was at the moment I told him I was raised to not rely on other people for what you need out of life, bc you'll always be disappointed. I might as well have been speaking in gibberish. I do know when that day comes, it will be a LONG day for me, as I will have to fight and talk down every stupid impulse purchase you can think of....
Actually, much to my husband's credit, before he got his recent seasonal part-time job which will end in July, he DID do a lot around the house, keeping it straight and tidy for me (I used to work 70 miles from our home, but now have a job 3 miles away, so I've taken more of that back over)...and he loves to work outside...he definitely has the H in adhd, he does like to stay busy, so that helps in my case...but, if he gets on a tangent as I call it, like your husband, he's totally consumed with it...i think they call it hyperfocusing...one night recently he stayed at Barnes and Noble till they closed, bc he sat there and speed-read a whole book for 2 hours....books, the internet..good Lord, the internet...hours and hours and hours on the internet, "researching"....I can totally relate to the maddening effect of all that "research" and no "development"!!!
As for a solution you can't see...like I said to someone else on a previous post months ago, I have just resigned myself to this is how God made him, this is how he is and won't change (he won't go to the dr to get put on "chemicals" - his words), and I can either deal with it, or not. And that's pretty much the way it is. We do not have children together, so that makes that part easier, for me, but he has 3 children by 2 diff wives, they had no qualms about walking out...that's another thing...I just think of myself (in a sense) as "better", for lack of a better word, than they were...I think I can "handle" it...granted, I'm getting older, my nerves are frayed, my hormones are starting to go nuts (I'm 41) and I don't have the "releases" I used to, but I think I handle my circumstances pretty well. For one, I talk about it all the time and to anybody who will listen...that helps me.
I wish you much luck and love, and clarity in the coming days and months, I know it is going to be as hard as it has been. I also try to remember to "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your OWN UNDERSTANDING, but in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." - when I think of the eternal work (if you will) that I'm doing, it helps me cope, bc I know God sees me and what I'm going through, and He will make it right....one day.
Submitted by perfectstorm5 on
It is amazing how many similar threads there are in these stories! I feel exactly the way you described about being raised to stand on your own, and that's another area where his logic goes out the window. I am worried that if things stay the same, I won't be able to respect his choices at all. We are in such a twilight zone where hardly any one besides me ever even brings up the fact that he doesn't work.
I suppose it's always a trade off. Sometimes I wish my husband had the "H" in AdHd, but other than the hyperfocusing he does on certain tasks that are important to him, he pretty much procrastinates everything else. I recently started hiring more things out, and that makes him mad, but at least we have a working sprinkler system after he said he would fix it for the last five years.
I'm glad you are handling your situation as well as you are. Keep trying to find time for yourself! I know it's a lot harder with younger kids around.I was so sad when my daughter left to go out of state to college this year, but I actually found that the new freedom that I had helped. I'm about 10 years older, and I'm surprised that some days I can feel as happy as I do.
Thanks again for the encouragement, and I hope that you can find joy wherever you are and in whatever you're doing this weekend. God Bless!
It is really amazing how many
Submitted by jerseygirl17 on
It is really amazing how many similarities there are here in all our lives---my ADD husband of 30 years was first laid off 7 years ago, worked sporadically for a couple of years then got another full-time job, only to be laid off again about 18 months ago. Now he works part time, though he has certainly expanded that to fill all his time or at least the time that he doesn't spend staring at his Kindle or sitting on the couch watching baseball. Our biggest issues are over money (thank God he has not even suggested investing!) and his complete lack of responsibility where that's concerned. It is 100% my problem whether we have enough money to pay the bills or not (we don't). Although I work full-time at a good job, we have so many debts from his years of unemployment as well as college expenses for 3 kids that I am constantly anxious about how I am going to pay the next bill. Interestingly, he will also inherit some money when his elderly mother dies and I never realized that he was counting on this until recently he mentioned to me that he'd be able to pay off all our debts when his mother dies. That didn't really occur to me (probably because my parents didn't have anything to leave us) but besides that, her oldest brother recently died at age 97! I'm not sure I can last that long.
I can really appreciate your feelings about wanting to leave/separate but feeling like you either can't or like you've stuck it out this long that you can make it without putting your kids in the middle. That has been my concern and I know that my kids have been concerned that I'll leave--though of course I could never leave them with him. I also have several friends who are retiring or thinking about it and it makes me so sad to know that I'll definitely have to work for the rest of my life, and even if I didn't have to, I really don't want to spend any more time with him than I already do. By the time the weekend is over, I can't wait to go back to work. I really envy my friends who have had happy marriages and are looking forward to enjoying spending time with their husbands.
Sorry to sound so desperate but the money situation is particularly bad right now and it just never sinks in with him. My son is supposed to go to college next month and I just don't know if he's going to be able to go. I can't bear the thought of that because he has worked so hard while his father has not.
Hoping to find guidance and counsel!
Submitted by ar294 on
I'm hoping to find some guidance and counsel from some of you who seem to be going through very similar things!!! I think one of the hardest things is that I feel like no one understands. On the surface my husband is charming, gregarious, and seems fine - so my family is sometimes perplexed at my anguish.
Stats: Married for almost 13 years. 2 kids. Separated for almost 6 months. Unhappy for approximately 5 years.
He's always been quirky, and that's fine. He started out so bright - I put him through undergrad and two masters degrees, and he is talented in his field. But (I suspect largely due to his poor time management and communication skills) he job hopped a lot. Finally, he was let go in March of 2013 and decided to start his own business instead.
I was terrified. But I want him to be happy. I took the opportunity to tell him how unhappy I'd been for years. That it wasn't right for me to do all the yardwork, cooking, cleaning, finances, etc, and take care of the kids only to have him refuse to ever return my calls or texts (he would forget). But, that perhaps we could work on this business together and use it as an opportunity to rekindle trust - that it could be a great new start for us both.
We agreed on a parachute - if the business wasn't generating a certain amount by a certain date, he swore he would find a part time job to supplement.
Now, going on 1 1/2 years later, he has broken every promise. He has given up on himself, on me, on everything. He's insisted on crazy ideas and career changes so fast that I have whiplash from trying to keep up. And during that year and a half, he's made about $8,000.00, none of it from his business.
We tried counseling. In one session he reluctantly agreed to apply to 7 jobs per week. He didn't have to follow up, or interview - just apply - for six weeks. He couldn't do it, and we separated as a result. That was almost six months ago. Since then he has tried harder to be nice to me and the kids - they don't ask me to send daddy away anymore - but otherwise nothing has changed. He sleeps in, does what he wants, when he wants, while I work full time and take care of the kids and wear myself down to the breaking point. He takes them to do the fun stuff now and then, but otherwise I feel like he's completely abandoned me.
I get that he is depressed/sad/struggling. And I'm sorry for him and I truly want to help him be better. But at this point, I am a doormat being used over and over again. Before, there were often 'misunderstandings', but this time he knows exactly what I want and need (I've told him he needs to either watch the kids four days a week or get a job, any job, I don't care if it pays much) and he refuses. He'll only apply to the select few jobs that appeal to him - nothing more.
Normally we are civil and polite. We don't argue much - he hates confrontation. But I did break down and tell him how lonely and hurt I felt on Sunday. He said nothing. When I asked him about it the next day, he informed me that he doesn't see the point in talking to me, because I'll just tell him how he feels (for the record, I've been careful NOT to do that and instead to tell him how things come across to me) and because I won't trust him again even if he does do what I want him to do.
I want him to be happy. But I deserve to be happy too, right? He knows about his ADD. He takes his medication. So, if after all this time he still can't figure out how to work with me, how to want to have a relationship with me, what hope is there of anything changing? He insists that he loves me. I think that he loves what I do for him.
ADD can cause a lot of problems, obviously. But at what point do you say enough is enough??? How much is ADD and how much is just him?? Does he have some other mental problem? I can't bear the thought of the rest of my life being this way (we are in our early - mid thirties).
Submitted by esb on
I can't believe how many of us have similar stories. I have been with my husband for 14 years, married for 11. He has been treated for his ADHD, and I thought that, other than minor inconveniences like me doing everything with the kids and around the house, that everything would be fine... and they were. We had three beautiful children in 4 years and he had steady promotions, a beautiful house and a pretty good marriage. Then it all fell apart. He lost his job and took 10 months to find a new one. I did not last 5 years or even 3 years. He was so angry and started to take it out on me and the kids. He came home from a job interview out of town to find us gone. We went to counseling and he finally started to take the job hunting seriously. However, by the time we moved for the new job we were completely out of savings. He lost that job after 1 year and we moved again. This last job only lasted 3 months. Now we are in a completely new state, in debt, and he doesn't have a job... again...
It is completely demoralizing. I am a teacher and I make no where near enough to support my young family. Childcare alone eats most of my wages. I am exhausted and feel hopeless sometimes. I know that God has a plan for my family, and if I keep doing the next right thing He will provide for us... but it would be lovely just to be normal for a while.
How much are they responsible for?
Submitted by ar294 on
esb, it's so true!!
My big question is, how much are they responsible for?
I get that adhd may cause difficulties that can lead to unemployment. If someone is genuinely trying to hold a job and willing to accept what they can get, or help the family in other ways, then that is hard but do-able.
In my case, my husband refuses to apply or sometimes take jobs he doesn't want! I've told him if he can't handle working right now, then I will keep working (I started working FT after he lost his job) and he can take care of the kids four days a week. But he won't do that. Cuts too much into the time he needs to do whatever it is he wants to do, so I am left with everything else.
Worst part is he has some money available from a partnership distribution that he won't allow us to use as a family. One month I was struggling to pay the mortgage; he wouldn't contribute because he needs to do the 'accounting' before he writes the check (from his business. It only had one or two clients over the course of a year - and he didn't see a dime of actual profit - so there can't be a whole lot of accounting to do! The money is from some partners who gave him some money to compensate him for trying to get it off the ground. It's not much, but at least it would be something).
Spouses with adhd have a responsibility to do their best. They have weaknesses - and strengths! - that may not ever change. But if they are willfully choosing not to be part of a family other than for their convenience and comfort, I feel like they have to own responsibility for that.
Saddest part is I'm sure we all love our spouses. We want them to be happy. We want them to succeed.
But how do we balance that against a desire to be happy ourselves?