50 Ways to Stay

I don't often refer you elsewhere, but I have just posted a blog entry at Psychology Today entitled 50 Ways NOT to Leave Your ADHD Lover - inspired by seeing Paul Simon this summer, perhaps!  It's fun as well as informative - a nice cheat sheet of ideas for all of you.  I urge you to read it at this Psychology Today link.


husband has ADD

I am 57 yrs old and my husband of 23 yrs is 55. Through my suggestion about a year after we married, he was tested for learning disabilities. He has been on various meds for his ADD since, and is currently on Concerta.  He thinks if he justs pops his pills, everything is ok.  He doesn't realize how difficult it is to be around him, especially the few times over the years when his meds ran out before the month was over. He worked for the State of Ct with the DOT as a worker that plowed snow on state roads in the winter, and installed road signs and worked on marking roads for 24 years. This type of job did not require a lot of mental work, mostly physical labor.  Once he began taking meds for ADD, he did say that organizing his responsibilities at work was a bit easier. He had to stop working almost 3 years ago due to advanced glaucoma which has taken almost 80 % of his vision.  He can no longer drive and is able to still read a bit and watch TV.  He has never, ever been the type of person to jump up and tackle any work around the house or notice anything that needs to be done. I have been told that during his childhood, his parents made allowances for him and didn't push him to try if he was having trouble with school or work around the house.  He was the last of 3 boys and his mother would tell his older brothers to either help him or do things for him. He was never diagnosed with learning disabilities of any type, despite his difficulty in school which caused him to repeat 2 grades during his younger years. His attempt at any kind of college lasted less than 2 weeks, too.  His mother was a nurse and his father an engineer and both of his brothers graduated from college with degrees in finance or accounting.  He also had problems with drugs and alcohol is his early 20's and voluntarily put himself into inpatient rehab for a few months. I think the drugs and alcohol allowed him to cope with his undiagnosed ADD.  I suspected he might have some minor learning disabilities when I met him, but it didn't have too much of an affect on my feelings for him at the time.   I was almost 34 years old and having dated very intelligent men in the past that didn't amount to anything, I figured someone that I could care about and have fun with and was basically a good, kind person, was more than I could ask for.   After almost a year of marriage, in which I noticed many things that I thought pointed to ADD, he consented to a visit to a psychologist and was tested.  We attended counseling sessions for about a year then again when our daughter was about 4 or 5 years old.  We also found out, about 6 months into our marriage, that my husband was sterile, due to underdeveloped testicles.  His parents stated that they were never told he had a physical problem of any kind, despite the fact that his mother was a nurse and numerous physicals and sports physicals over the years never showed any physical problems either.  I think they knew but would not admit to knowing. By the time I met my husband, his mother was disabled due to severe arthritis and several health problems and his father was retired.  His father was know for his procrastination and for being very introverted and quiet, especially around others.  His brothers could only tell me that my husband had trouble in school and never received good grades and they had to constantly do things for him while growing up.  We used artificial insemination from a donor to conceive our daughter and she is now 18 and was an honor student throughout her school years.  She is currently working part time and has reapplied to a few colleges for next year.  She has been a competitive dancer since the age of 3 and was accepted into dance programs in 3 colleges, but we could not come up with enough money for her to attend school this year. Since my husband has been disabled and receives a pension and SS benefits, we earn too much to qualify for enough financial aid to pay the exhorbitant college tuitions, and we don't earn enough to be able to put enough aside to help pay for it on our own.  My problem in dealing with him and his ADD, especially now that he is home all day and unable to work, is that I feel that he is more a child than our daughter is.   He has never been especially eager to pursue anything resembling work around the house, and now, with his visual impairment, it is so much worse.  Even before his vision was affected, I began to feel more like his mother than his wife.  He constantly asks where something is before he even tries to look for it, gets out of doing any task just by saying he can'd do it or he doesn't want to do it. Simple things that would help me out a great deal, such as cleaning the litter boxes or making a phone call during the day, he says he just can't do. We had a huge fight tonight because we need to reach Social Security with a question and they are known to be very difficult to reach by phone.  I am at work all day and the last thing I want to do when I get home is spend time on the phone and my husband knows this, especially when the hold time on the phone is usually at least 30 min or longer.  He sits home all day, reading what he can in the newspaper or watching TV. He befriended a few retired men while visiting a local deli and know they have become friends and one of them picks him up at least 3 days a week, at lunch time, and they all sit outside the deli and shoot the breeze and eat or drink coffee for a couple of hours.  Other than doing laundry for me once a week-that is ALL he does each day usually.  He has plenty of time to sit on the phone and wait to speak to someone. I don't have the time.  We also argue about cooking dinner, we have had this argument now foIr years, and he just doesn't understand-but if I leave the house each day at 7: 30 am and get home between 6 to 7:30 pm each evening, then I want him to look in the freezer, pick out something, and cook it!  He can handle simple cooking inside, and can cook outside on the grill.   Most nights, he will either text me just before I leave work and ask what is for dinner, or wait till I get home and then ask me, expecting that I want to cook, or say he wan'ts  take out.  This pisses me off more than you can possibly think and I have told him so many, many times, but he keeps being lazy and doing nothing.  He has also developed such a fanatical obsession with food that even though I grocery shop and spend about 150 dollars a week buying meat, vegetables etc, whatever I have in the house is never good enough or enough of what he wants.  He can't carry on a conversation and put enough intelligent words together to make sense most of the time either and since I spend my days around medical professionals and am responsible for a great deal during the day, coming home to someone I can't speak to intelligently is really taking it's toll on our marriage and on me.  I recently had my gall bladder removed and am probably going to be tested for ulcers.  My husband's inability to think for himself, do things to help around the house, and believe me, I understand his visual disability and don't ask him to do more than he is able to do, his inability to take the initiative to do simple things like plan dinner, his inability to hold a conversation in public unless he is with his closest friends and many other things, has eaten away at any feelings I once had for him and makes me feel that I am selfish in wanting more for myself.  I see myself as being sentenced to a life of unhappiness and misery  and it makes me feel so guilty that I now feel this way.  If he would only TRY to do things for himself and for us than I wouldnt be so miserable.  All I hear from family and friends is that he has had people doing things for him all his life, he managed to find a job that wasn't mentally challenging and was able to stay in it for many years, and why should I expect anything more from him now that he is also disabled.  Am I wrong to want more and to be happy?  I don't have to be rich nor do I want fancy things, I just want to feel good and stop feeling like such a nag all the time, but with all the responsibilites put on me, it is so hard to be a wife and not a mother to him.  I have asked the psychologist we saw years ago, our family doctor, my husband's neurologist, everyone, if there is some place he can go to for classes or some kind of help, for him to learn to be more self sufficient and more "socially acceptable" when we are out in public and somewhere he can go and get help other than just therapy sessions with a psychologist which is almost impossible for him to get to.  I can't keep taking time off from work to drive him to appointments.  He does find a way to get to regular doctor appointments through friends and our daughter, but I wish there was someplace he could go on a regular basis.  Something like a school or classes where he might benefit from the help. If it wasn't for his visual problem, I think I would have filed for divorce by now, but I couldn't do that to him.  At least not yet.  But all this stress is now affecting me physically and he just doesn't see it or understand.  He thinks I am just being bitchy. We need help,  Please.


A lot to deal with

There is a lot here...wow!  As a small technical detail, may I suggest that next time you post you consider using more paragraphs?  That would make it easier to get through and would encourage people to respond to you.  It's almost impossible to get through something this long in a single paragraph!

Your situation is dire, and your husband's newest health issues make things worse, for sure.  It sounds as if changes at dinner would be welcome and meaningful to you.  And you say that he can still grill and do some cooking - also that he's very picky about what gets cooked.  I would suggest you consider handing the cooking over to him for specific nights of the week - perhaps concurrent night (i.e. Tues, Wed, Thurs) might work best.  I would also purchase some eggs and cereal as a back up, because for a while I'm guessing you would be eating that as he gets used to the idea of having the responsibility (and possibly refusing to take it on at first.)  He is dependent upon you in many ways, but that does not mean he must be helpless.  Don't enable him by picking up what he won't.  Choose a few things, sit down with him, offer them to him and see which he wants to do most.  The conversation would go something like this:

"I'm simply not able to handle all that is on my plate these days and feel you must pick up some specific jobs around the house, for which you have total responsibility.  I don't want to be your mother and trying to figure out if you did this stuff, you just need to do it.  Here are some things that I've thought of that would be very helpful to me, but if there are other things then we can also add those to the list.  At the end of this conversation I'm asking you to have picked 3 things for which you will be responsible.  Here are my ideas:  A, B, C, D, E, F, G.  Do you have things you notice needing to be done that aren't on that list that you would prefer to take on? (his response, which will probably go something like "who made you the queen of the universe?") If you don't have specific tasks, then I would ask you to be completely responsible for dinner on Tues, Wed, Thursday nights and to clean the cat box daily, as well as make sure there is enough cat litter in the house...that will help me immeasurably and give me more energy to be able to be happier when I am with you..." and it goes on from there.  Sometimes you just have to be tough.

When my husband finally agreed to take on the night dishes I simply stopped doing them at all.  This meant that for a couple of weeks our kitchen looked awful - dishes everywhere.  It was a pain.  But I was certain that I did not wish to do them, and he had agreed...finally he figured out how to incorporate this job into his schedule.

You might also consider reading Codependent No More by Melodie Beatty because I think it would help you.

great great advice

The 50 ways article is a great cliff notes document for a neophyte non-add partner like myself. It prompted me to buy the book as well as made me see that I am not crazy for wanting to keep my marriage intact. Thank you so very much. Now maybe I can learn how to get my partner to enroll in the course.