ADHD and Marriage - Getting Past Denial

I was giving a talk last night outside Boston and, once again, was asked “How do I get my spouse to stop denying that ADHD is a factor in our marriage?”  Here are some specific suggestions for anyone who is struggling with this.

It is very common for a person with ADHD to deny that it is a factor in their marriage.  They aren’t being obstinate or mean when they do this.  Rather, they genuinely don’t see it, and often they are concerned that admitting ADHD is a problem will mean that they need to take the blame for your marital issues.  For some, there is also an internal (sometime unrecognized) fear involved.  If the ADHD really is the issue, then that makes them responsible for fixing it, but they aren’t sure they can (haven’t up until this point).

These are pretty strong reasons to continue to deny (run away from) the fact that ADHD is a problem.  Furthermore, an ADHD spouse is often faced with significant anger and frustration from his/her spouse, and that anger clearly contributes to the marital discord.  When I asked my husband to try medications to see if they could help us both, his angry response was “I like myself the way I am.  I don’t have a problem here – YOU have a problem here!”

And in my husband’s response lies the answer to the question of “how do I get my spouse to stop denying the impact of ADHD?”  My problem wasn’t with my husband, it was with his symptoms – and the two are very different.  He was a warm, intelligent, caring man hidden under symptoms that were a pain in the ***.  What I saw was ADHD trampling on my marriage.  What he saw was anger.  Admitting that ADHD was an issue was tantamount to giving in to my anger.

In order for someone to acknowledge that ADHD is the issue, you must uncouple your negative response to their ADHD from you yourself.  In other words, you must demonstrate to them that ANY person would respond to the symptoms your partner is  exhibiting in exactly the same way.  This is one of the strengths of this website (at its most positive) and certainly a big part of my book.  A non-ADHD partner’s response isn’t personal and it’s not arbitrary.  It’s predictable and directly related to the symptoms and how they are – or aren’t – managed.

The reason that I put the “empathy” chapter as my very first step to recovery is because I want people to genuinely understand what the other person is going through.  People with ADHD see themselves in the “what it’s like to be the ADHD spouse” section and, because it is believable and familiar, I hope they will also believe the things they read in the non-ADHD section.  To do so can be shocking.  "I had no idea!" is a common response.  Once they have a new perspective, it is my hope that they will rethink their resistance and denial – and very frequently they do.  You can get a similar experience (in a much less organized way) from this website.

For my husband, this awakening to the emotional pain and discomfort his ADHD symptoms created for me (and the fact that my pain was the inevitable result of dealing with unmanaged ADHD symptoms – not a personal assault on him) came when he worked for someone with ADHD.  Suddenly he was having my experience.  AND he had the same, predictable responses to the ADHD symptoms that I had had.  I cannot create that eye-opening experience for all the readers at this site, but I hope that I can mimic it enough in the book to make partners with ADHD stand back and open their minds enough to consider the potential upside of getting an evaluation.

And, at the same time, I hope that non-ADHD partners will assess the possibility that they, too, may be in denial – in this case denying that their anger plays a role, or denying that they need to (or can) take control of it.

You move forward in tandem – one person attacking symptoms and the other person attacking the anger and frustration (also symptoms).  It’s a win/win that mutually reinforces each partner's efforts and that can lead to a brighter future together.

For those who wish to see other posts related to this topic, go to these links:

For men with ADHD who aren't convinced it matters

Advice for ADHD man whose wife has left him - set a new course


sam_i_am's picture

I can relate to this topic so well

I recently found your website, and am so glad that I did. I have been married to a ADHD man for 9+ years and we have come to a breaking point. Through the course of life stress, I have found my spouse not to be supportive and unable to manage if I get anxious about our made me realize that wow....I put a lot into this marriage, but what is my return? We are currently trying to figure out if remaining together is good for the both of us. I spend a lot of my time tired, angry and frustrated...I told him the other day that I think a lot of our issues are due to him not taking his treatment of his ADHD seriously...I had a hard time saying this to him, and he had a hard time hearing it..he resists counseling saying he is too busy...he doesn't take his medications regularly and isn't happy with his treating psychatrist, but does nothing to make a change. I have come to the point where I don't want to be the caregiver...I want to be a spouse. At this point in my life, and with the stressors that I am facing, I need a partner..I need to know that he is in my corner. I really don't know what to do at this time. He agreed to go to counseling with me, but now it seems that this is my responsibility,, and I am tired of always being responsible and available..I am also hesistant to move forward with finding a counselor b/c if I choose the counselor, he  will complain...if I wait for him to act on this then I might as well pack my bags. Any feedback that you can give would be so greatly appreciated.


If it is a marriage counselor you seek then having you be responsible for finding a good person is as good a solution as any.  If it is a person for his individual therapy, then that is his responsibility.  He is not your child, and needs to stand on his own two feet.  Hopefully he'll figure out how to do that before you two break apart.

See if you can get him to read my book.  I've gotten really, really good reviews from both non-ADHD partners AND ADHD partners.  It's a real eye opener with lots of "ah ha" moments (I make very little money on each book, so that's not my motivation here - it's because it may help open his eyes a bit - as well as yours).

No one is too busy to get medical help that can save a marriage.  You need to be clear with him that you are at the point where you understand completely that the direction your current marriage is going is untenable for you and that the two of you either make a real, sustained effort to turn things around or it's over.  Try to be as supportive as you can as you deliver this difficult message - but don't let your current anger and frustration color your picture of whether or not you can change things.  Trust me when I say that your anger and frustration are the result of your current "present" and your "past" but don't need to be part of your future - provided he makes a commitment to really go after his ADHD symptoms and you make a commitment to manage your anger and frustration.

A Crack in the Wall of Denial

This whole website has been a godsend to me.  My husband and I have our 13th anniversary in two weeks and have almost 4 and 9 year old kids, and our story has been so classic to many.  I started out loving his unconventional ways, spontaneity, commitment to what was important to him, creativity, extremely high intelligence, devotion to what was really going on inside of me.  It was all fine when it was just the two of us at first.  We both had hurts and disappointments in our past, but that seemed to draw us together.  But the disappointments continued for him and I thought it was about depression and low self-esteem as I started to see the lack of motivation, lack of focus and he began to withdraw and shut down more into his own world.  

When he decided at midlife to go back to college and finally build a career and our first child was born, there were more disappointments leading to more debt, more frustrations and not the career and life he/we wanted.  I started compensating much more at home.  When our second child was born almost 4 years ago things really went downhill from there.  Looking back, life was so much more hectic  then, there were more demands on time, attention, coordination, and both of us were becoming more exhausted as we were sucked into the spiral of him feeling like he was never good enough, always feeling like he was spinning his wheels and nothing happening, while I became more resentful, angry, and feeling caught up in a life of chaos, forgetfulness, and disorganization.....losing myself in the process.  He kept saying it took everything just to get through the work day sometimes, and then once home wanted to retreat and relax with t.v., computer, etc.....staying up until wee hours and always losing track of time....always exhausted because of it, but then telling me to ask him if I wanted or needed something from him.  How could I ask for more when he kept saying he had no more to give?  The distancing, emotional and physical shutting down and withdrawing from anything that wasn't of interest to him or priority for him, as well as my anger and exhaustion formed a wedge that pushed us further apart.

The past few weeks after I finally came close to an emotional breakdown and researched the Internet and "discovering" what I know is really at the core, things really heated up. He'd "joked" about feeling ADD at times and even said, "Well, that would explain a few things," but then the wall went back up.   I felt the despair of how challenging relationships with ADHD are and not sure if he really has it in him to work through this.  His defensiveness and denial and feeling I was putting all the blame on him, etc.  I got books from the library which he knows I've been reading and have been lying around the house.  He finally consented to go to the local university hospital's Adult ADD clinic for an assessment grudgingly (making a snide comment that they scheduled him to come in on our 13th anniversary in two weeks! which I think is rather symbolic).  

Then two days ago before bed I printed out the article "For men with ADHD who aren't convinced it matters" and left it conveniently where I knew he'd see it (by the computer he'd stay up all night at).  Yesterday morning I asked him if he'd seen what I'd printed out.  He said he'd skimmed it.  I asked him if he would read it, and he agreed he would (when, I didn't know).  Then last night, after I'd been out for the day, he approached me with a hug more calmly than he has in who knows how long and with no judgement or defensiveness, said he'd read the article.  He simply said, "I'm here with an open mind.   I really can't see it, but I know you're a smart, insightful person."   He knows I wouldn't be going to all this trouble for not.  He and I both finally understand that the "fog" of ADHD can (and has) skew his vision of the turmoil around him, and I think he is finally willing to accept that he might be "blind" per se.  

I finally feel like just maybe this is the beginning....the wall of denial has been cracked and he's willing to take a step of faith into his assessment.  I see my own counselor tomorrow too, although I really didn't want to get us into marriage counseling until after his assessment/diagnosis and medication is started -- fearing it was like putting the cart before the horse.  But of course it's now making me look at my children (who are both very challenging in their own ways) differently, wondering now how much ADHD will end up a part of this family.

thank you

thank you for writing this and letting me know that the door may be opening up for you.  This is why I work so hard at getting word out about ADHD and try to help people see how it impacts them.  You have a long way to go, but starting the process...that's good!

Resigned2B's picture

SoulFull68 Please up date?

Dear Soulful,

Your last post was nearly four years ago. You may not even have the same email address or get this request at all. Can you update us on what has happen since???

Pink's picture

Anger & Frustration

How is the non ADD suppose to manage the Anger & Frustration as Melissa said... when the ADD spouse is driving us and creating the anger and frustration.

Is it true that lot of ADD talk too much? Can they control this behavior or it is part of ADD? I get a complain from everyone that meet my husband and tell me he is always talking. One guy told him to stop... the talk... he talks then start the story all over again... to get to his point. I have no idea where he comes up with all the topic and the non sense talk.... part of the talking too much it create a problem... he keeps talking to get you to agree with them and saying why he is right.

talking too much

Hi Pink,

My husband of 32 years is ADD, but he doesnt talk too much, actually the opposite, he thinks people can read his mind and he doesnt have to talk to communicate.

This also is very frustrating, as I and the children are always in trouble for not knowing what he wants, or expecting us to do something without even one single word, and he really cannot understand that we had no idea what he wanted or expected us to do, he seems genuinely puzzled, then annoyed at us.   My response is always the same, please speak to us and tell us,  we are not mind readers you cannot assume everyone knows what you are thinking.  However after 32 years he is no better.

However, many times when we are with friends or family and there is a group talking together, he will join in a conversation, or just butt  in and start telling a story about something totally 'left field' or very random, so much so everyone looks and says where did that come from - almost as though he hasn't kept with the conversation at all, but just wanted to get in his bit, he totally changes the course of the conversation, this also is very frustrating.  He also doesn't seem to be able to answer questions, it can take ages for him to actually get to the point of the information asked, but you have to decipher through all the rubbish in between.  He actually becomes quite defensive when asked any questions.

I suppose after 32 years have just come to accept this, but can be very frustrating. 

Pink's picture


Communication is very important... There should be something out there to help them out... Sometime my husband does start talking about something out of nowhere... same as you said... and yes sometime he doesn't say what he wants and he get very angry when I ask him to answer one question and still goes around it and talk about something else.

So the medication doesn't help them to learn how to communicate. What should we do about that? I also have a son with ADD and I tell him that he needs to talk very clear so people know what you are talking about or what you want.  Sometime he tells me.. you know... you know... I am trying to break his habit and teach him from the start.  But the question is can he do it or he can't because of his ADD?

As for my husband it is very big problem.... because he can't hold a job because the way he communicate. Part of it as he was growing up... his parents let him be... and never tell him stop talking or that is too much... and now I am living with  it and the work place doesn't like it so he end up with no job.

As for my son... I am afraid he will not be able to make friends.

talks but always the same subject

I find I'm getting (or have gotten, years ago) frustrated that my husband fixates on the same basic subjects.  He loves movies and t.v. and whenever we get together with family and friends that's all he ever talks about.  His favorite shows, what so and so said on their show, info about various actors, etc.  Yes, it's his passion, but it gets so old!  When he and his mom get together it's like I just fade into the woodwork as the two of them go at it together.  I think part of it is what interests him, and part of it is his habit and what he feels confident and competent talking about, but you can't build a relationship always talking about t.v. and movies!  We have friends who don't watch t.v. hardly at all, and we've known it for years but every time we get together he's asking if they've seen certain shows and telling them about shows they should watch.  It's part of how I've really seen the symptom of not being able to read social cues, etc.    My husband is also really "good" at lecturing about things he knows a lot about.  At first it was fascinating to learn things from him, then feeling like he'd be a good college professor.  Then I realized it's his style of communication.  It indeed is very frustrating.

Think about it...

"How is the non ADD suppose to manage the Anger & Frustration as Melissa said... when the ADD spouse is driving us and creating the anger and frustration."

Because the anger is a CHOICE. Plain and simple it is a choice. Someone once put it to me this way..we have every right to be upset about the things that other people do to us (ADD spouse, friend, sister, mother, child, etc) but that does not mean that we HAVE to react in a negative, yelling-screaming-disrespectful way. I told my husband many times "you wouldn't treat your friends the way you treat me!" and the reality was I wouldn't have treated my friends the way I treated him either.

It is like blaming someone for your over eating just because they buy you candy. It is very easy to fall into the vicious cycle of "I'm angry all the time because he misbehaves all of the time"/"I misbehave all of the time because I cannot stand her nagging" trap...and much harder to get out, but Melissa is SO right in that you MUST stop reacting with anger.

For of my main complaints for years was my husband's time spent out with friends. I was happy for him to get out and socialize at first, then my understanding got taken for granted. Everytime he'd go out, I would be furious...lay in bed and fume until he came in the door. I would breathe a sigh of relief (that he actually came home, sadly) and then would spend 2-3 days not speaking to him. At first he would come and try to apologize and say all of the right things. Eventually he just stopped coming to me and 9 times out of 10 I would get sick of fighting/not speaking and would just start the conversation rolling....and then he might apologize, and he might not. He did eventually seemingly lose his ability to apologize for anything. (something I loved about him in the beginning) Since we hit bottom and started trying to rebuild, he has gone out only a handful of times without me. I didn't request a return time and he would come home at a very decent hour...until the last time (about 2 months ago). I asked him to please not stay out late....and wouldn't you know it, he said he wouldn't but HE DID. Ugh. Immediately the old feelings flooded over me...anger, frustration, fear, etc. Fortunately he had to work the next day so he wasn't here for me to 'ignore' because I would have...I was right back to square one with my anger, attitude, and HORRIBLE reaction to something he did. By that afternoon, with the help of this site, a good friend, and my new attitude that I hate his ADD and not him, I was able to put the situation in perspective and simply tell him that it was a very hurtful behavior and all I wanted was some type of compromise from him. We didn't discuss what that would be, but he apologized (said he lost track of time...his all time favorite 'excuse'...boy was I clueless that it really IS TRUE) and I let it go. I LET IT GO. No residual anger. No pretending not to be mad just to avoid conflict. I REALLY let it go.

Having said this, I know it must be 1000 times harder to let each and every hurtful and frustrating thing fall to the wayside as you try and get them to admit they have fault in the marriage...that their ADD really is destructive as hell. I feel very blessed in that my husband admits this, knows it, and is getting help...and has stopped 80% of the destructive behaviors.

What to do, where to go when

What to do, where to go when every conversation you start comes down to being verbally abused because all the problems in my marriage are my fault, his ADHD has nothing to do with it?

The opposite situation?

What if the denial is on the part of the non-ADD spouse?  I am 42 and got my first diagnosis about 18 months ago.  Since then I've been pretty fascinated by the subject, and I feel like a lot of my life makes sense.  I have all the sadness and anger that comes along with a mid-life diagnosis too: wishing I had those years back to live them right (kind of a double-whammy midlife crisis!!), anger that my parents (or someone) didn't notice, etc.

Now, all of a sudden, my foibles, habits and behaviors make sense.  I recognize the need to change them.  (How many of us with ADD attempted over the years to 'get it together' and ALWAYS carry a notepad to write down important things... only to misplace the notepad?  (Usually in some weird place like the microwave oven...?!?!)

OK, so all of this makes sense to me.  But to my wife...who has suffered long with my forgetfulness, apparent lack of initiative, lack of organization, inability to plan...and, of course, me getting quite angry about picking nit-picked about these things because DANGIT, I was trying!  Couldn't she SEE that?  Could I get a little credit here?

Well, so far, no.  No credit.  Now, I'm accused of using the ADD as an excuse for past behaviors.  For my part, I think the ADD is an explanation of past behavior.    The only excuses she should be worried about are the ones for current behavior.  But I think it's manifestly clear that I am more successful at my attempts at self-organization now than I ever have been.  

Perhaps this isn't quite apparent to her, since she asked me to leave the house (and our 4 year old son) 6 months ago.  

The other night, I offered her this analogy (and I apologized in advance, because I knew it would sound obnoxious to her):  If she were sitting with a person, and tried to engage that person in conversation, and the other person never replied to her, she would likely be very angry and/or insulted.  She might try to continue to engage the person.  If she were to later discover that the person she had been speaking to was deaf, and was not actively ignoring her but legitimately had not heard her, would she be justified in remaining angry, or holding on to her resentment?

She got angry at me.  I knew she would.  


Not sure what to do.  I don't want my marriage to end, but I don't see it going anywhere but down from here.

ADD Sandwich

My husband and my daughter both have ADD.  My daughter is the one who told me she thought she had it at age 16 - poor thing - she has been struggling all her life and because she wasn't hyper-active I never considered it. I took her to the Doctor because she couldn't sleep at night - the Doctor recommended counseling, the counselor tested her and suggested she had ADD and suggested meds.  The Doctor gave her Concerta which didn't help, and now Ritalin but she still can't sleep and is so intense about everything. My husband not only denies he has ADD - he denies she has it and he even denies that it Exists!!  He says there is no such thing and my daughter is just lazy and she needs to work harder - he is constantly angry at her over everything!!  I just don't get it - she acts just like him.  I have been trying to be the "good wife" all these years and "submit" to my husband's demands and strictness on her, but I can see now how much damage he has done to her relationship with both of us - so I decided to start taking him on -  I don't know if I have enough strength to keep this up. My daughter just turned 17 and she is smoking pot because she said it helps her (and, I don't tell her, but it seems like it really does - she is almost normal when she is smoking pot) but obviously I don't want her to do that - she keeps asking me to help her get a medical license. My husband is of course furious and won't even talk about it.  I have never used drugs in my life and I am terrified.  My husband won't talk, he won't listen - I do everything. I don't know if he is forgetful because I never bother trying to get him to do anything, I still just do it myself, or live without it.  I'm 51 years old and I'm really tired!!  Does anyone have any suggestions?


The pot is a form of self medication and it probably does calm her mind...but it won't necessarily help her get along in life, particularly if she takes it to the all-too-familiar stage of dropping out for a while.  (Okay, all you pot smokers out there, give me hell for saying that!)  Also, in many places it's still illegal.  Try talking with her about other medical options to accomplish the same thing (changing the chemistry of her brain to improve focus and calm her mind).  Help her learn about ADHD and about treatment (see my post on the three legs of treatment for one take on how to think about a good treatment plan that is easy to understand - in my favorite posts area) and start talking with her about all of the ways one can learn to manage ADHD, not just that one way.

The fact that it calms her mind suggests that other meds might help her - don't give up yet.  Go back to the doc and ask about non-stimulant options that might not contribute to losing sleep.  And pursue other options, as well, such as diet, exercise, fish oil, meditation, martial arts, behavioral therapy and the like.

The "my child is just lazy" opinion of your husband is not helping your daughter, as it simply isn't what's going on.  My own vote would be that you continue to support her as you can - at least one very small scale research study with teens who have ADD suggests that having a parent (or parents) at home who love them for who they are is quite important to them and that being able to come home to "get away" from the difficulties of school is very helpful.  Given your husband's approach, I'm not quite sure where your household would fit into this picture, but the "safer" the environment for your daughter, the better.


Losing It!!

First of all I can't say how thankful and glad that I found this website!! I have only been married for a year and divorce has been a huge topic of conversation. I have already left the house and returned twice. I knew from the beginning something was wrong. I used to say he changed immediately after us marrying, but now it all makes sense. It was truly overwhelming for him. He hasn't been officially diagnosed yet, we are waiting an appointment. We have gone to three counseling sessions, but his main concern is about how long we have to do this for.

On top of his ADD behaviors, he is a flight attendant, which really doesn't help with the factors about a good diet and consistent exercise. He is always tired and no energy what so ever. I recently returned to our home three weeks ago and we are back to we were right before I moved out. We hardly talk, sleep together, sex?-what's that?, love/affection-huh?

I am already contemplating leaving again. This is the most difficult relationship I have ever experienced in my life. And I would have to do this "for the rest of life?"
I am in college trying to get a degree in elementary education and that in itself is stressful. Adding all these marital issues has been horrible with my increasing levels of stress. I physically feel the stress. I have lost weight, I can't eat, can't sleep, a constant knot in my the pit of my stomach.

Yes I love him dearly. I am the one that starting pushing him for us to get help because I knew something was wrong. I showed him this website and read some things from it to him and I broke down emotionally because he is in huge denial. He thinks I am crazy and that we are wasting money and time. We have a dog and that is my husband's adoration. It kills me to watch my husband love on the dog while I don't get any affection at all. So I ask myself how he can make such an effort to love, pay attention and spend quality time with the dog but not me?

I don't understand at all? I understand the whole different thinking and brain function of the ADDer but how he can have focus and intelligence to be concerned about what the dog needs? That's when I take it personal. My other huge concern is when he gets diagnosed and treatment he will not be consistent with it and I will be the mother hen. I am exhausted of being the mother here.

He has made it very clear that our marriage counseling sessions will only be temporary, he will not be doing this permanently. That's what my biggest concern is right now; that we will always have a roller coaster marriage. I don't want that forever. Sorry.

sullygrl's picture

What happens when someone has an eye-opening moment

And then squeezes their eyes shut real tight?

My husband and I have been married over seven years.  I have tried, gently, to speak with him about the issues his ADD/ADHD brings to our marriage.  I work with people with disabilities and have a pretty good hunch this is where a lot of his issues lay. I have even gone so far as to get a good reference for a neuropsychiatrist for evaluation but he will not go. He also had a motor vehicle accident a couple of years back that I believe added a brain injury to the mix.

His brother is severely ADD/ADHD. My husband complains about him often. One day I had too much of this while he continued to deny his own issues. I told him, "what your brother does to you, you do to me" And while it quieted him down he apologized and said he had no idea and he tried to "behave" for a couple of days after ,he has gone right back to living in the land of denial like it never happened. I am not sure what to do about this, short of serving him with divorce papers. I am very tired of having to deal with this.

I admit I am no piece of perfection. I have been on medication and seeing a therapist for depression for a few years. I've tried explaining to him that many of his behaviors have a big effect on my self-esteem and self-worth which has led me to up my own medication. I find it so unfair that I have to medicate myself just to deal with him, when a high-stress job and teenage daughter don't have the same effect on my emotion health.

Any suggestions on how to broach the subject in a useful/nonjudgemental way?

Husband at end wits with wife failure to deal with her ADHD.

The ADHD Effect on Marriage book is a perfect reflection of our marriage. As I read the book, it seems as though Melissa Orlov was looking at our marriage when she wrote the book. My wife is the ADHD spouse and she was diagnosed with ADHD 12 years ago. The diagnosis came after having 4 psychiatrist and 2 cases of post partum cases. Also, we used 4 marriage counselors to help correct our marriage troubles by understanding how live with ADHD. However, different counselors were used because she did not want to agree with the fact that her ADHD could not be used as an excuse to be unproductive. Sadly, for the most part, her treatments have not helped much.
More specifically her behaviors are illustrated as such:
1. Difficulty getting organized.
2. Chronic procrastination or trouble getting started.
3. A tendency to say what comes to mind without necessary considering the timing or appropriateness of the remark.
4. A frequent search for high stimulation.
5. Trouble in going through established channels, following “proper” procedure.
6. Impulsive spending of money, changing plans, enacting new schedules or career plans and the like.
7. A sense of insecurity.
8. Mood swings, mood liability especially when disengaged from a person or a project.
9. Chronic problems with self-esteem.
10. A sense of underachievement, of not meeting one’ goals.
11. Many project going simultaneously; trouble with completing.

The six signs that ADHD may be a part of your marriage are directly on point:
1. There is a seriously unbalanced distribution of responsibility in your household. I have picked up the slack while maintain my duties. I have work many days and come home from work to do most of the housework and cook supper for the children and myself while she was home all day. She has no responsibility while having all the rights and complains when I do not complete my choirs and her choirs correctly.
2. You hate to nag or be nagged, but it happens all the time. On many occasion, I have asked her to complete her choirs. Just asking causes her to be very angry and on the edge of be physically violate. This reckless behavior falls into other important areas of our lives as well. We are in a stalement.
3. You were the sun, moon and stars during courtship. Now you feel like chopped liver. When we were courting, she was mostly kind and living with occasions of mild confrontations. I just wrote off the confrontations as honest mis understandings. In good times she was very compassionate, supporting and a loving woman that I wanted to marry. And so I did.
4. No matter how hard you try, things never seem to change - except for the worse. Yes, there seems to be no way out. I have supported all her freely chosen goals. We have used our children college fund with her promising to pay it back and she funds her goals. She has not completed any of her goals and did not pay back the money resulting in our oldest child having to obtain loans to go to college.
5. You have a child diagnosed with, or suspected of having, ADHD. We have four beautiful children. Of the four, 3 have ADHD and one have autism as well. Two are doing well and the one with ADHD and Autism is struggling to function socially in school and general social environments. Our non-ADHD child is very brilliant and compassionate to his ADHD siblings.
6. One spouse feels as if the other is more like an extra child than a partner. Sadly, our relationship has become a parent/child relationship. She constantly states that I am not her father when I request that she complete her duties she willfully accepted and freely chosen goals.

These dominant patterns as per The ADHD Effect on Marriage book are very present in our marriage 2, 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 and 12.

In summary, over 21 years-3 years dating and 18 years marriage- with my wife, she always had ADHD which was not diagnosed until six years into our relationship. Before and after diagnosis, she did not complete the four schools she attended, got fired, layed off or had to quit 5 jobs, very confrontational relationship with me, our children, friends and business associates. In helping her to accomplish her goals, she has taken $80K from children college fund which she promised to pay back which have not happened.

Having been through these 21 years of struggles, I am exhausted mentally because there seems to have no answer to the problem and emotionally because I am stressed out, angry and resentful. In addition, socially, I am affected because we, as a family, cannot have family gatherings and friends do not want to come around because she antagonizes them. Physically, I suffered with ulcers, depression, benign diagnosis of cancer and intense occasion of rage. Finally, spiritually I have almost come to not believing in God anymore!

To cope with this stressful life, I went back to college and studied Religious Studies, Registered Nursing and Behavioral Science. I have earned an associate’s degree in each field and soon to earn a bachelor degree in Health, Safety and Environmental Science. Also, I volunteer as a coach at the local youth sports and high schools teams. Most effective of all is recovering my faith and working out. Professional counseling and talking to close friends helps tremendously.

With the above stated, I am at end wits with my wife failure to deal with her ADHD. Because of her behavior, I do not love her as a wife anymore however being educated about ADHD and committed to my marriage vows, I am cautiously open to try to have a positive relationship again. If she does not change, our marriage will come to an end. In the meantime, I just have enough strength to maintain my job, and to provide for our children. And the book, The ADHD Effect on Marriage, and direction to proper help is the last hope.

but my husband is a therapist and says he knows more than me!

I see myself in every page of your book...I am the wife and my husband has ADHD. I shared the book with him, and his response was that he already knew all that. I wanted to work on changing, but he still doesn't admit it is a problem. I am the problem. Get rid of me, get rid of the problem. If we can't move forward together, is there any hope? To me, this is doable and fixable. I am at a loss.