ADHD and Marriage: If You're So Unhappy, Why Stay?

Recently, a poster in the forum asked the very good question - if you are all so miserable in your marriages, why do you stay?  I'll give you my own answer - George and I stayed together because even though we were really miserable, we couldn't believe we couldn't do better.  The intractability of the issues we were dealing with didn't make sense.  We had chosen each other as partners for good reason...then things fell apart...but couldn't we make them better again?

I can tell you that five years ago I was AT LEAST as miserable as many of the posters here who vent in our forum about their anger and frustration.  I was verbally abusing my husband, I didn't like him very much and I didn't even like myself much.  Friends wondered why we didn't just get a divorce and be done with it.  But figuring out that ADHD symptoms - and my responses to those symptoms - were what was tearing us apart changed our lives.  I'm not romanticizing the situation - you have the "aha" moment and then there is a lot of work to do.  But the outcome is SO WORTH IT!  We have an incredibly strong relationship now - in part because we overcame this together.  We know each other very well, trust each other, and find ways to show our love and caring each day.  Not to mention our family is still intact.

Not everyone who reads my book or posts at this site will save their marriage.  Some marriages were not right to begin with, and others may find that there is so much hurt in their relationship that they can't forgive and move forward to rebuild, even after treating the ADHD.  But for those who can, the happiness, wisdom, gratitude and joy you can find is worth all the hard work.

And all that venting in the forum?  For non-ADHD partners finding out that others share your experiences is an important part of the process. For ADHD partners, coming to the understanding that the experience your spouse is having isn't a product his or her anger and frustration but a product of living with untreated ADHD symptoms is also critical.  It helps him or her move past denial that ADHD is an issue and towards treatment.  Reading about it can be painful, but  it can also create empathy and begin some important discussions between the two of you.

Before giving up, I hope that couples will see what happens when they:

  • start multi-pronged treatment for ADHD symptoms so the ADHD partner can be more consistent and have an easier time of keeping his or her life pulled together

  • learn how to forgive their past hurts and move past anger

  • put better structures in place to get chores and other responsibilities completed

  • create time to really focus on each other, overcoming the natural distraction of the ADHD partner

  • learn ADHD-sensitive ways to talk about difficult issues without escalation into a huge fight

  • refocus on creating joyous moments together

These things, and more, are explained in detail in The ADHD Effect on Marriage.    


Today Show segment

Melissa, My wife and I saw you and Dr. Hallowell on the Today Show this morning. As we were watching it I started to cry through most of it because it was like watching our realtionship on TV. We've always had problems in our marriage and recently I've been reading about Adult ADD and am pretty sure this is something that I've have had most of my life, The reason I'm writing is that I would like to see someone about this but I don't know where to begin. Do I see a psychiatrist or a psychologist? How do I find out if the doctor deals in this? There are a number of doctors in my area any help would be appreciated and thank you again for the segment this morning. I feel we had our aha moment this morning.

Finding a Doc and getting started

I wish that those tears had been tears of joy for finally having a new approach to take, but I suspect that they were tears of sadness at all of your lost years.  I so understand this feeling, I'm sorry to say.  But the good news is that you can turn things around (and, yes, it takes lots of work, but it's worth the effort).

You have numerous options for doctors:  your local doctor may be able to help you.  Make sure you insist that he/she maintain a relationship around the treatment of ADHD so that your partner gets the optimal treatment (which should include meds and habit changes).  Often this means trying something, adjusting with the help of the doctor, adjusting some more.  The CHADD website does have a list of docs that say they specialize in ADHD, so that can be one place to start.  Also, you can ask your insurance company for recommendations (sometimes this works, often not, but it's worth a shot).  The local CHADD representatives are often hooked into who is good in a specific region...look at their website or call the coordinator.

Psychiatrists can more easily do a full evaluation, which is very helpful if you think other things might be going on, like depression, anxiety or excessive anger.  They can also prescribe as well as provide therapy.

There are a number of good books available, too.  I recommend Hallowell and Ratey's Delivered from Distraction because it introduces a complex topic in a non-threatening and approachable way.  It also provides an overview of possible treatments.  You can find other books that I recommend in the Resources section.  And, of course, there is my book specifically about ADHD and marriages.  I will also be giving a seminar this fall (see right column).

Hope this helps you get started!


Finally, a place to find some support!  We are 6 for 6 in our marriage of 20 years.  There have been many times I've been ready to just walk out the door!  Why didn't I?  Because when I took my marriage vows, they were "in sickness and health" before God.  ADHD is an illness of the brain.  My husband doesn't only have ADD; he also suffers from chronic depression.  We've had one good year w/o the depression this past year and I've been counting my blessings.  He's struggling in his job and doesn't understand why "things never seem to go right for him".  We just filed bankruptcy, because he doesn't understand how to live within his means.  I pay the bills or they'd never get paid on time.  I just got tired of fighting with him about money all the time.  We have one son with ADD also and I'm struggling trying to get him to even register for college!  He took meds until 10th grade and then said they weren't helping anyway so refused to take them anymore.  It took him an extra semester to finish high school.  He's a good kid and wants to be a Youth Pastor; but has to get through the college thing yet.  Our other son is 17 and a junior in high school this year. Hubby tried medication for his ADD but decided it wasn't making any difference so quit taking it and didn't try anything else.  I'm tired of feeling like a single parent with 3 kids.  Hubby has always been very loving toward me, but the boys feel like they've been ignored -- and they have.  The kids are resentful and disrespectful of their dad because he never took any interest in anything they were interested in.  I got him to go to one basketball game that son #1 played when he was 6.  Our son made a basket and looked up to see if we saw him -- his dad was sitting there reading a book!  The look on our son's face broke my heart.  What can I do to mend his relationship with his kids?  Life is just too hard.

Hi! I just found this website

Hi! I just found this website tonite and was so overjoyed that i could burst!  We have3 kids and things have been getting incredibly tough.  I have been told that i am overly controlling and bossy and that i just want to argue.  My adhd husband consistently backs out of childcare, is late for appointments, making me feel like i'm asking too much of him because he owns his own business.  I work and our kids are 5, 2 1/2, and 7 months.  i cant take it anymore.  i do everything including covering for him with the kids and watch him break their hearts when he tells them to be quiet or doesnt want to be around.  We r in serious financial straits, he wants to redo the living room for the second time because family is coming over for the holidays even when we r 3 mortgage payments behind.  its always someone elses fault.  safety doesnt matter. the kids get too much attention, gifts, etc... because its not about him. i feel so depressed and alone and his dad has it tooo and has also recently begun ganging up on me too.  i dont want a divorce becausse i still love him and am also nervous about him with the kids.  he will just dump them on his 70 year old irresponsible dad and will just go thru the motions.  i feel trapped...

I understand this


Yes, my spouse continues to refuse to get an evaluation and treatment.  It is all my fault.  I have a child with it as well and is getting therapy.  It is so difficult to raise a child with an uninterested spouse that would rather run around in circles than work on communication.  The neglect is profound.   For me and my child.  It will be lasting on my child and I can't change that.  I am not responsible for my spouse's behavior.  I am blamed constantly for it and in front of the child.  It breaks our hearts.  But, instead, my spouse just makes threats.  He also has brought in his coworkers into this and let them help hurt us.  Sad.  Scared.

Married to an ADHD partner

I have been married for 26 years.  From the beginning I wondered how to get off this merry-go-round that was life with him.  His spinning, while exciting at times, made me wonder what life would be like with a partner who was more even keeled.  Plans constantly changed,  nothing was predictable except his unpredictability.  He took his own vacations leaving my girls and I to make our own arrangements only there was never any money for us to go anywhere.  I feel like we just waited around for his next wild move.  He controlled everything and nothing.  All family decisions were based on his job and his whims.  After 19 years I left, taking my girls with me.  Our marriage had always lacked intimacy and at 49 I wanted to feel that someone wanted me, listened to me, understood that I had needs too.  He kept after us to come back and finally we returned.  Nothing had changed.  We have never celebrated our anniversary or my birthday.  He claimed that he gave us everything everyday.  When it came to his birthday he wanted big parties and pouted if there wasn't one, accusing us of not caring enough about him. 

Recently he has lost 2 jobs and we are in financial trouble.  His blood pressure is dangerously high and he has finally spoken to a Dr about ADHD.  We are working to lower the pressure so he can try some medication for the ADHD.  His head is swimming in this whirlpool of wondering about the future.  He repeats the same hopeless sentences about how he'll never get another job, what should we do, but people like me.  With every lead for a job he believes it to be an offer.  He pretends to be up with friends but repeats the same questions to answers they have given in the last minutes.  He listens but cannot hear.  He is mired in thoughts that don't stop.  

Why do I stay?  My girls love him.  They won't forgive me for hurting him when I left.  I work hard to stand by him, pump him up, explain to him how his behavior affects his work and those around him, all in an effort to redeem myself in their eyes.  Where would I go now?  I have spent my live baby sitting him and forgetting who I am.  I'm exhausted so I stay.

ADD husband


I just read your e-mail and found my situation to be similar to yours and many others! I have been married for 20 years and we have 2 children.  There have been many years of his drinking problem, in and out of work, being unfaithful, talking to me rudely in front of others, his tantrums, his time; which is so very important. There have been some good times in between the horrible times.

He was diagnosed with ADD in May last year. He takes medicine Ritalin, which has helped somewhat. He has stopped drinking and smoking, since September last year. He does not work but is applying. We can talk about the kids, shopping and bills. He does a bit of housework everyday, takes the kids to school and training and plays with them on and off. He will give me a massage now and again. He will give me a quick kiss when he goes out. He is a good Dad but I wish he was my partner and not my friend/child. 

When it comes to us, he does not want to go out with me. The evenings are the worse. He will want me to sit on the sofa and watch tv, where he always casually puts his arm on my thigh. When a film has finished I say goodnight and he will play his computer game. I have screamed and cried while he hasn't`t even taken his face away from the computer. 

We go to marriage counseling, he has no experience with treating couples with ADD/ADHD but is going to find out about it. I am going to buy Melissa Orlov`s book, The ADHD effect on marriage. To find out how things can be better and if I really want to stay with him. Also what is best for our kids. 

It is so important to look after yourself. I really hope things are better for you now and that you can find the energy to spend some time on yourself :.) 

I can't believe I'm still here

I've been married for 22 years.  We discovered my spouses ADHD when my second child was born.  He will be 15 this year.  He's been diagnosed as Chronic ADHD by a psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD and we've seen an ADHD psychologist for over 2 years.   My mother, sister and a close work friend all shared the "Today Show" story and told me about your new book.  I have kept a journal for the past 15 years of my husbands behaviors, actions, reactions, broken promises, and counseling sessions while he bounced from job to job and I managed the finances, working full-time, try to be a mother of 2 active children.  He uses ADHD as an excuse why he can't manage ADHD.

I made him leave a couple years ago because he was taking us down financially.  He wasn't making any money and was getting us into more debt than I could keep up with.  After 8 months of living apart, he got a job and I let him move home.  I have supported my family with a well paying job but worry with our current economy, things may get worse.

After two years, he lost his job again and has been unemployed since 8/2009.  This time things are in a financial tailspin but he keeps promising he will find employment and help us.  My kids have lost respect for him. I just view him as a roommate who shares a house with me.  I have studied the roller coaster of his actions and my reactions and have learned to manage my outbursts for the kids sake. 

Why am I still with him?  Good question!  I can only say that I'm a Christian.  I don't want my children to be a product of divorced parents because I gave up. I continually thank God for all my blessings and always look forward to better days. Thank God for my mother, sisters and close friends who will listen while I cry.

Ann Achiever

hockeymom11's picture

help: falling apart from ADHD!

I'm new to this site after seeing it on the Today show, but I read these posts and cry because this is my life.  My son was diagnosed 2 years ago with ADHD and I immediately noticed my husband was a grown-up version of my son.  NOW I see that for 13 years I've been dealing with ADHD.  The forgetfulness, the disorganization, the hyper-focusing on hobbies/computers, the thrill of the "courtship" to the forgetting of anniversaries/birthdays etc. 

I want OUT so badly, but he has ruined us financially and we cannot live on our own for about 2 years.  What am I going to do? He refuses to go to counseling (he went to about 5 sessions with an expert on adult ADHD and then stopped because he ran out of money), he has started smoking again, spends hundreds of dollars a month on electronics and video games etc.   He ignores/neglects his own children and spends hours sitting in front of a computer playing video games.  I've been taking care of the entire house, yard (3 acres), shopping, doctors, planning etc etc. 

My 11 year old told me last night "Daddy would rather spend time at ****'s house than with me" (his friend).  I've done what the posts said and left articles, books, pamplets about ADHD around the house and directly given him support group information.  Last night I calmly told him "you have ADHD and need treatment/medication".  He screamed at me "you have a terrible attitude and YOU need medication". 

Yes as a matter of fact I DO need medication.  I take medication for high blood pressure, medication to help me sleep, medication for ulcers etc.   I feel like I'm falling apart.

I don't know what else to do other than vent to those who are also in my shoes.  Maybe someone on this post lives near me and we could meet.  I've recently found some low cost counceling that I'm looking into, but they don't take children and I'm afraid my children are being horribly scarred by his behavior.

thanks for listening and providing a site with great information.  I just wish those with ADHD would take personal responsibility for themselves and realize that their behavior is affecting others. 

for hockeymom

First, you can't control your husband, but you can give your son all the love he deserves regardless of your husband's behavior.

My husband exploded just as yours did (almost exactly the same words) when I suggested he get medication.  He did re-consider later, as I reiterated that my attitude was quite dependent upon his behavior and that experimenting to see if he could take actions that would make life better for us both might payoff for him.  I reminded him that many ADD medications wear off in less than a day, so experimenting was a very short-term commitment.

The video games are a form of self-medication.  The speed of video games actually encourages "squirts" of dopamine in the brain which address his ADHD and provide focus (for the games).  That's part of the reason he likes them so well.

Time to start taking care of yourself and your son.  Find ways to create joy for the two of you, make sure he has all of the support he needs in school to succeed (such as extra time, etc.)  Eat as well as you can, get sleep, read stories together - whatever gives you both joy.  Also, see if you can find a support group in your area.  CHADD is often a good place to start...or your doc's office.  You shouldn't be going through this alone.

hockeymom11's picture

He's out

Well, my ADHD husband informed me today that he is moving out.  He said he would give me a "budget" and basically told me that I was a terrible mother, I do nothing but yell at my kids and I'm inconsistent with them.  He told me I was scarring them with my behavior and I better "watch out" what I'm doing to them!!  I'm crushed and relieved.  Relieved that he is leaving, but to think that I am a bad mother is killing me.  I KNOW I get frustrated with the boys, but I'm doing the best that I can under the circumstances. 

I hope this will bring my family some peace.  I'm miserable.

Linsy's picture


I have been a screaming harridan with my boys, so I know how you feel. I longed for ADD husband to move out - it was so much more peaceful when he wasn't there, because I could contain poor behaviour of smaller boy when I didn't have the negativity of the man on my back all the time. Now we suspect they both had ADD, it looks like we might find some solutions. I have felt like the worst mother in the world, crushed and crying in the night. But if the children know you love them, they will be fine. It is likely you do a GREAT deal more than yell at your kids - but ADD men do seem to like to extrapolate the worst in us poor beings. Be relieved and recover, look after yourself, and do your damndest not to shout at the kids.

hockeymom11's picture

thank you

thank you for the support.  I have cried every night since this whole thing started.  I do spend 99% of the time with the kids, supporting them, taking care of them etc and he is playing video games.  He has ignored me for 12 years of our marriage (once the "thrill" of courtship wore off).  He never remembered a birthday, anniversary, planned a date night etc.  Once Christmas I made a list of about 5 things that I would like and what store they were in.  Christmas morning: nothing.  I remember going into the bedroom and bawling.  I cried not because I didn't get the "stuff".  I cried because I had a husband who just didn't care.

He blames me for everything, states this is all my fault.  He told me he is inches away from being fired and is in trouble at work and is PISSED at me that I had a commitment this weekend and he had to watch the boys.  10 months ago I volunteered to run a hockey tournament for disabled players and I couldn't back out.  I gave him a calendar for August that listed every appointment etc, even telling him when he had to "babysit" his kids.

Now he is telling me that he "has to protect his kids from me" and I'm the one with the problem.  I just hope I can make it though this.  Oh and he told his parents all this negative stuff about me and now they won't even talk to me or make plans to see their grandkids.

god, life sucks sometimes. 

sounds to me

like the beginning of a very nasty divorce.  Since you and your husband will continue to have a relationship even after you separate and/or divorce (because of your kids) it is in your best interests to see what can be done to make that relationship stable.  I know that you are only half of the relationship, but think of each interaction not as a way to teach him something or get back at him (if you are doing this, which I don't know that you are) but rather part of what you are constructing for the future.

hockeymom11's picture

controling my anger

I know my marriage is messed up, I am messed up and now my boys are too.  My oldest has ADHD and is having a hard time with our marital troubles and my 6 year old has reverted to acting like a 3 year old.   I know that I am partially to blame for their behavioral problems.

Today I picked my kids up from daycamp and my 6 year old had a fit because his brother was sitting in the back seat of the van (the back-back).  He started screaming and kicking the back of my seat while I was driving.  I told (well, yelled at) him to stop it and he wouldn't.  I was SO angry I wanted to punch my fist through the windshield and I didn't know what to do.  So I just pulled over and parked the car in some parking lot.  He continued to have a fit, scream, tell me I'm mean, I'm going to throw up, pee on the floor, move out with daddy etc etc".   I repeated calmly "I will not start this car until you stop kicking my seat and you are silent".  Well after 45 minutes he decided to be quiet.  I was NOT giving in to this behavior and I didn't know what else to do.  I could have smacked him, spanked him, continued to yell at him or thrown him out to the side of the road, but I thought this would be a better idea.

The Dalai Lama's quote today was "Patience acts as a counterforce to anger.  In fact, for every negative state, we can identify one which opposes it"      I actually put this on my facebook page today.  Glad I did it!!!  I guess this can pertain to disobedient children and ADHD relationships!!

I hear you!

I have been following your posts and cannot offer any real solutions to your situation but I can tell you that TIME can only tell how things will turn out.  You didn't get to this place in a day and it will take more than a day to find some path out of this hole.  One step at a time.  You are the leader of YOUR parade!  Find ways to heal yourself and Then you can help those you love.  You may even find that you still have some love for your husband but right now the situation has overwhelmed you.   Marriage is supposed to be a partnership and I think we all enter into it thinking that our mate will pick up the slack when we can't.  With an 
ADHD partner, we often times have to do most of the work until (hopefully) they make the choice to work on the illness.  

Save yourself and either the others will benefit from your leadership or you will be in better shape to guide them along the path to finding peace.

sapphyre's picture

1-2-3 Magic helps with kids

This was recommended to us.

You actually did the right thing! A timeout, albeit a long one.

Good luck with your anger. And also maybe try "The Dance of Anger" by Harriet Lerner (recommended by Melissa Orlov). I just finished it and it was quite an eye-opener.

Well done!

You absolutely did  the right thing. A+ to you for endurance. They need bounderies now more than ever, boundaries hug they don't hurt.  If you have the strength to do that you have the strength to do anything :) (((o))) hugs for you.

Just need to talk

Hi there!

I'm so happy to have a site like this out there! My husband has ADHD. He is a great man but we have major problems. We've been married two years and have a baby. When I was pregnant and before when we dated for a few years, he would get angry if there was anything we disagreed on, no matter how it was brought up. We started couples counseling while I was pregnant and then he walked out of a session and just quit. I've tried reading books, talking to his family since his brother, and dad both have ADD. He has seen his doctor and been on anxiety pills which help and I'm happy he made the initiative here, however, he takes them when he feels like it and thinks most of the time its no big deal if he doesn't take his medication, so I kindly try to remind him after a few days of missing it. Things were going great and a lot better!

We both were trying to make more of an effort to understand each other and not elevate our arguments. However, here we are again in an argument so blown up over just an open discussion. He spit in my face and this isn't the first time and got irate blaming everything on me! Telling me this marriage sucks and its his biggest mistake, and the list of names and mean comments could go on! It used to really upset me and still does, but I know its out of anger. My question is, I have dealt with verbal and physical abuse. I am an extremely strong woman who would never put up with this and I never want to be okay or forgiving of such actions. The ADHD has a part in his set offs and speaking without thinking. I've tried to be understanding or word things differently, but I'm sick of feeling like I'm walking on eggshells and being treated so poorly! On any good day which its been great for months and months (which is a huge change from the constant bickering) he is amazing so loving, apologetic, and acknowledges everything that has gone on, has checked this site out after me stating how much the anger is affecting our marriage. I'm not one to make excuses for someone AT ALL! and I'm beginning to feel like I'm doing that for him in this fits of rage... I do not deserve to be called names or spit on NO MATTER WHAT! I don't share this really much anymore w/ close friends, because they wouldn't understand or would think I need to get out. I beginning to think the same if things don't change. He can get upset w/ me if he wants and we all respond differently, but I've had it! Those 1 or 2 days out of months of arguing don't come close to being great and so in love, and attentive to one another, and are are starting to fade or not be as important to me enough to deal with all this. The arguments are so ridiculous and blown up, and he says so many things he doesn't mean that those bad days are outweighing the good, and I don't think this is how many people work things out at all in a difference.

I'm confused and would like to check out a sponsor group in the area.. I know he honestly wants nothing but us all to be happy, and as bad as what I've said about him, he has the biggest heart and rises above the idea of a great man.. and is everything I want, when things aren't off key.

He has been visiting his doctor regurarly and has shared our arguments and things he's said or done, which I think is the step in the right direction. I'm just so frustrated in the process and feel I've endured a lot! I just at times wonder if I'm wasting my time staying to make this work out..

Thanks for letting me vent.. that just helps and to find people in like situations.

In the same boat...

Hi Kenya--

My husband has ADHD and was really the most wonderful, intelligent man.... We have three children together and though the downs have been really down when they happened, I didn't have your experiences until recently. Now I am in the same boat--I don't know what to do and I struggle every day with not knowing. I am a strong woman, always have been. Got a degree in Women's Studies and believe strongly in women's rights, etc. Then, the other day a seemingly simple interaction set him off and he started throwing stuff--lightbulbs, a bowl of oatmeal, a wooden box. He put a dent in the wall and I spent the next morning cleaning up glass shards around the house. I have three small children under the age of 6 and I felt it was unsafe for them to wake up barefoot in a house full of glass--he put me and my children at risk because he couldn't control himself in a fit of anger.

I have bought Melissa's book, read this site numerous times, tried to talk to him calmly about ADHD, worked through my own anger, etc., and thought things were getting better. The other day really scared me and left me asking, "Am I supposed to stay even when he is violent and puts me and my children at risk?"

I totally understand you when you say you don't tell your friends about the things your husband does--I don't either and for the same reason: they would all tell me to leave him and think I was stupid if I didn't. In addition to loving him, we have three children together and I don't want to deprive them of their father or put them through the nastiness of a divorce. I don't understand why he all of a sudden has turned to violence and I worry that it is an abuse cycle. I have suggested (kindly, rationally, after he calmed down and was concerned about his behavior) that he get help, but he HATES therapy/psychology/drugs and refuses to go anywhere near any of it. He won't go to marital counseling because he says they only pick sides and urge divorce. He doesn't believe in drugs, saying psychology is America's new religion and that drugs only make you worse not better. I don't know what to do, but I feel like leaving is not an option. I do what I can to bring myself and my children joy, to maintain my own sanity. I see a therapist but it feels like I only see her so I can deal with him--HE'S the one who should be in therapy! I don't want to be told I'm a "battered" woman: I want to be given some solutions that don't involve divorce. I came to this site for those solutions and continue to apply all the methods I've learned, but some days nothing works. 

Hang in there, Kenya. My heart goes out to you. You should not be treated that way. I salute the strong woman that you are. Together hopefully we can all find solutions to this heart-rending problem.

Melissa's reply to Hockey Mom

I started reading the content of this post, not paying attention to names.  I thought the poster was replying r-e-a-l-l-y well.  Then I discovered it was Melissa! Good post, Melissa!  When my husband's ADHD was diagnosed by a child psychiatrist in the mid 80's I was told about CHADD.  My daughter was 19 when she was diagnosed, even though we had searched for 8 years for what was going off track.I still regret that we didn't have the information sooner.  But, my daughter is a fabulous, talented person and she has overcome alot.  The concept of this disorder was still being masked by the presenting symptoms. The mental health community had not caught on about adults and barely for children.  It is important to go to a person who understands this disorder and RESPONDS TO YOU EMPATHETICALLY.  All this to say that please, please go out to the support groups.  They will help fortify you to catch on to this disorder and the tips on how to cope will give you strength.  Plus, you will learn about who understands this disorder

I am a ACOA (adult child of alcoholics) and have been in some wonderful recovery groups.  This is where I learned how my personality was ripe for trying to cope with an ADHD-er to my disadvantage.  My parents were entering a more "open" phase when  I began to understand the ADHD in my husband and a child.  Looking back I realized that the group had given me support for both problems.  The reason I found this blog was that a  daughter told me about it, as she is beginning to cope with her ADHD husband who is in denial.  The point of this is don't stay isolated.  It will only make things worse.  You will begin to feel defenseless and that's not a good place to be. 

I found the information about the videos interesting.  I didn't know about the dopamine "spurts".  This makes sense, as we have a brain injured child in the family.  Those children and some with autisim like to watch videos on fast forward.  It's called "stemming" in that community.  We were shocked that this was common and had a name because we thought our little one had spontaneously invented it. 

Melissa was making a very outstanding point which is one of the hardest ones.  Your attention to mothering belongs to the child, not to mothering the ADHD-er.  This is one of the most frustrating points of the an adult relationship where the person seems to be child-like and irresponsible, and functioning as though they were incapable of being an adult.  The ADHD-er will pull attention that belongs to the child by the mother.  That's another reason to go to the support group or for help.  Your mind will stay straighter as to which is which.

NOVA1986's picture

What are you giving up?

I have almost  a year of separation, in it has been a blessing. I am the non-ADDer spouse. I think the healthy decision for me is divorce. i am also Christian, I believe in God, Jesus Christ and I think God gave us the opportunity of having the wonderful family we have. But it doesn't mean we have to be together. Our kids are going to be gone as soon they graduate from college. For me and for my girls and even for my husband to finish with the marriage is not a giving up. We are giving each other the peace we need at home. And the girls for not having him all the time at home have less opportunities to lose respect for him. I know they will love him no matter he does or he doesn't. But having him in the house is a burden and a worry for us at all times. He is the one who distract the girls for home work, or for being on time for dinner, because he continuously has a funny video from youtube to share with them, or a facebook friend dog picture to show them. So, I am not only have to supervise my daughter but also my husband a remind him several times o close the computer or TV when they are doing homework.

Several years ago I asked my daughters this questions: Would you like to have a mother who is mistreated and feel unhappy but not making decisions because fear, doubts, lack of courage, or for religion reason. Or a Mother who can see a problem, try hard to solve it, but understand that it is not in her hands to solve the husband problems, and then get divorce to keep herself mentally healthy and a peaceful home. They choose the second mother. I think we can also be a good example for our kids when we have to make drastic decisions in live.

My daughters know how much I have being doing (good and bad) for keeping our family together. But we also have to be wise and brave to finish with a situation that make our live and the live of our kids miserable. Because, the kids also suffer for their father behavior. I don't want my daughters feel pity for their father day after day. At this moment he is around 3 times a week, and help with our daughter transportation. 

Marriage is commitment, is a very serious business and if one of them is doing his/her best, it is not a marriage anymore. I am not saying we don't have to try, but if one of the spouse resist the help, and avoid the necessary changes, there is not much positive enouragment to continue trying. 

My husband also write in this block, and if you read his posts, you will think I wish my husband is like him. My husband has a wonderful writing skills, but he doesn't follow his own philosophy, his own understanding of his problems.

I am Christian, I am grateful for my daughters (12 and 14) and even my ADD husband, because it's making me growing in so many ways, but I am convinced after 20 years of marriage that our marriage is not really a marriage, and the best thing in our case is to finish with this dysfunctional, non-sense broken relationship (I can not call it marriage).

Good luck for everyone.

Linsy's picture

Nearly four years after parting...

Life is simply easier, and the great business of bringing up the children can happen without constant damaging interruption from someone who is simply a child himself (and not a nice child - spiteful, critical, rageful). I too am a Christian, and take my vows very seriously. I have done nothing but work and look after the children, taking pleasure in creativity. He has found another woman who appears not to ask any questions about why he has abandoned his family responsibilities, which leads me to conclude she is rather stupid and blind and would like to have a 'boyfriend' of any kind, just for the sake of having a man. I would be wholly put off by a man who hardly saw his children. The best thing is that my nerves have calmed down and I am mostly at peace. The less I see of my husband the better, but I do find that the stress reactions of pounding heart and feeling of utter misery and failure calm down quickly now and I can get on with fulfilling my responsibilities towards boys I can help, and not towards a man I can't. Because in the end it is up to him, and he has chosen not to confront reality.

Yes, I can't believe I'm

Yes, I can't believe I'm still here neither, Ann. I was being true to my vows,but after 30 years plus, realized I didn't do my kids or myself any favors. It's been a struggle and I am left feeling empty, defeated and discouraged. think carefully:)


Yes, I realize I did not do my kids any favors by keeping it all together. The best thing I could do is show my kids how to be strong not how to put up with unacceptable behavior.

why stay married

Hi Ann Achiever!

Your life is so like mine. I am curious where things are at now. I have 4 kids and my husband has created chaos for years - especially the past 8.

We are born again Christians and unfortunately I finally realized one of his control methods for me is 'spiritual abuse'. When I need to make a boundary he doesn't like, he pulls a statement like " If you seperate from me financially, you would be defying God and our pastors." Since I finally have had my eyes opened to what is really happening in our lives (thanks to God opening my eyes!) I laughed and wrote down his statement and dated it - told him that is spiritual abuse! Fortunately my pastors (this time) backed me up in seperately financially. My husband has lost jobs, made illogical money decision with inaccurate information (b/c he doesn't understand it, doesn't listen to all the details, etc) and has repeatedly 'forced' me to get jobs when he does these things. He wants to do missions work - once he decided to fund raise for us to do missions in another state and believed he would not need to work at all while raising the money! When I told him repeatedly that we would run out of money and on exactly what date he would accuse me of not having 'enough faith'. The spiritualizing of things is the ugliest part. It is control and is sin. We ending up cashing in a $11,000 retirement fund - I quickly mailed lots in to pay the electric/gas bill months in advance for the cold winter and paid 3 months of rent in advance. We still ran out of money again a couple of months later! I did work a part-time job at a nursing home doing the laundry while he was 'fundraising'. He agreed he would take care of the 4 kids and clean the house at least 20 hours - I told him he couldn't fundraise full-time b/c I was working. I came home to find the kids neglected and him created lavish logos for the new English as a Second Language school he wanted to start.

I now believe I can honestly say our marriage is abusive verbally (names called, most spiritual related), emotionally (consistantly blamed for his problems/mistakes), financially (I manage all the finanaces, he neglects reality and does what he wants when I warn him about dire consequences) and spiritually, of course. Whether or not these forms of abuse relate to medicated ADHD doesn't really matter. He behavior is wrong, abusive and sinful. 

He has refused to deal with his issues for years. Recently I found out from our 13 year old that he goes on Facebook when driving the kids (and I imagine himself too). He doesn't have an iphone - not that it really matters - but his screen is about 2 inches square.  When I confronted him about this in front of the two oldest children (who brought it to my attention) very calmly and respectfully, he when nuts and got angry at me for disrespecting him for bringing it up in front of them. The entire argument became how wrong I was for handling it this way. The topic of car safety was not allowed to entire the conversation. I had been planning prior to this to tell him that he has one more year to change or the big D or seperation. When I told him he asked 'who said you could do this/say this? What pastor?' He seems to think I need permission for all things from a spiritual authority figure.

He suddenly is treating me better and doing chores and saying yes to everything I say and ask for fear of seperation or divorce. Of course our kids both love him and the older two (13 and 15) are SO frustrated with him and his inability to prioritize their feelings or listen to them (so they tell me).

Many years and chaos have taken their toll.

I also have come to believe that he is a 'cerebral narcissist' - look that up! He is very learned - read the whole Bible many times over and the Koran too. He is a high school English teacher (mostly a disaster). He asked me to read the book 'The Road Less Travelled' by M. Scott Peck prior to us dating. He fooled me into believing he was emotionally aware and willing/capable to deal with deep and real issues. He is not. He enjoys pointing out others issues - mostly those in my family - and my issues, but in unwilling to look at his own. Yet, he behaves properly towards others - only abusive towards me and the kids. I get the brunt of it!

So, how soon shall I seperate? I have only believed in divorce for adultery and physical abuse. Problem is, isn't Jesus bothered by or 'hate' abuse, not just divorce? Isn't a Christian husband supposed to treat his wife like Christ treats the church? That is not pointed out, just my 'sinful' desire to end a abusive, enabling, advantage taking marriage that is profoundly screwing up my two oldest kids now! My 15 year old son started treating a girlfriend in abusive ways - like his dad!

Anyway......that is a lot. ADHD is only the beginning. My husband is 53 and seems incapable of changing this late in the game - I am 10 years younger and tired. Perhaps his ADHD issue helped create profound insecurity in his youth - he has created by his own choosing a holy disaster - terrible behavior and denial.

We will see!

Momma of Four.

Momma of Four, I think you

Momma of Four, I think you might find the following web site very helpful:  Here's the beginning of the "About Us" page:  

Jeff Crippen, author and pastor for over 30 years, and Barbara Roberts, author and survivor of domestic abuse, created this website to:

educate people to the abuser’s mentality and tactics
teach what scripture really says about abuse, marriage, and divorce
recommend resources for further help
provide a safe environment for victims of domestic abuse to be encouraged, validated, and believed.

I hope this helps!


God never condones abuse

Dear Ann Achiever,

I know your pain...I too, thought it was my "cross" until I discovered that it was never God's will for me to tolerate abuse in marriage....regardless of the reason.  I have a sister who stayed in a bad marriage for her children, and all it did was tear everyone apart.  Her son doesn't even speak to her anymore.  After I found this link, I discovered a freedom in knowing I was not expected to carry a burden that was never mine to carry.  Maybe it will help dry some of your tears.  It took me ten years to come out of a highly manipulative situation where I was duped into marriage, only to be abandoned on many levels; I could write a book, and actually have been asked to do so.  I stayed with mine due to the Stockholm syndrome.  Now, I'm caged no more.


Read "When Love Dies"

Why stay?  Because I don't want to be "divorced" and I don't believe that the grass is necessarily greener after he's gone.  I bought the book, "When Love Dies" by Judy Bodmer and came to realize, I've got some work to do on myself too.  Living with an ADHD husband makes it easy to point the finger at all his problems so I don't have to look at my own faults.  I've been looking inward quite a bit lately and I pay very close attention to why I feel the way I do and react to the things he does and does not do.  Nobody's perfect least of all me.




hockeymom11's picture

no one's perfect

I'm not looking for perfection, but I've put up with a husband who for a decade has not helped, supported or cared.  Now with children it's even worse.  I know my behavior is messed up, but I feel like I've been a single parent since our second child was born.  Why not just make it official and have some peace?  I know I'm not perfect, never have been, never will be, but I think at some point in your life you must take ownership of your behavior and move on.  My husband will not, so I'm moving on.  I know it will be tough and sometimes miserable, but my boys and I need peace.

I agree you need peace

Please understand I'm not judging you nor would I ever!  Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough, but not baked in the same oven.  I wish I had enough guts to share my story with the world and let all the anger, resentment and bitterness out and leave but that would bring on a whole new set of problems for me and my children.  I am just trying to focus on me these days and stop this co-dependent cycle of craziness. 

Trust me when I say, my life if crazy insane so I seek peace inwardly.


I can relate

hi there.. I don't know your story, but I feel similar anger, resentment and bitterness!  My husband when we met he was all I was looking for! Its not just him and things are better, but when there is an argument sometimes we communicate how I feel most people do and then sometimes it gets so blown up. There are a few people who know some of my issues, but no one that knows everything! I would love to talk with you more. Maybe letting things off our chest to someone we don't know personally may help. We all deserve to be happy and life's to short not too

hockeymom11's picture

sorry for the rant

sorry, It's been a bad week.  I'm not trying to create a nasty divorce and don't want to be miserable for the rest of my life.  I am reading the book "should I stay or go" about controlled separation.  I am really trying, but my frustration level is high b/c it seems like I'm the only one trying and he's doing nothing.

That's wonderful

To AnnAchiever: Honestly, I can only pray my wife does the same. I have ADHD and have and to continue to do all I can to change my behaviors and be the best man I can be...yet, she feels I'm a monster and her behavior only stems from mind. I only wish she could also see positive ways for herself to grow as well. But, I think she's ready to leave and needs total validity for the divorce. I don't know. I'm beyond crushed right now and about to go to a counseling apt. with her and not knowing what to expect on her end.

Just about everything that I

Just about everything that I have read on this site has really hit home.  I think that my husband has adhd and a learning disability, he has never been diagnosed and the one time he went to a doctor he said he couldn't find anything wrong but said we could come back....for what I don't know. Anyway, we have been married for almost 7 years but it seems like 20 years.  We have a 4 year old daughter.  The least little thing she does sets him off, if she is running and playing in her own little world, he yells at her, if she sings to a song in the car, he has told her to be quiet and just listen.  I don't leave her alone with him at all and we rarely ride is the same car together.  Between he and I, things have gotten worse.  He will come home from work and spend hours on the computer, and on his day off he spends it entirely in our bedroom with the door shut only coming out to see if there is any food cooked.  I do everything, and when i try to hold a conversation with him about money matters or whatever...he just says do it!  I have  found myself lately nagging and resenting him.  What happened to partnership? What happened to saying to "i love you"?  His answer is we are married, why do i have to.  I could just scream.  Two days ago I finally told him about my unhappiness about things and he just looked at me; my last words to him were, I want a divorce.  I have truly had enough of everything.  My 4 year old doesn't give me as much frustration as my husband does.  Until we are able to separate, we don't speak and i have moved into my daughter's room.  I have distanced myself from him as much as possible and I'm preparing for my and my daughter's future!

I used to believe that one, too.

And found out I was really in denial, as well as being co-dependent; what joy!  I don't believe anyone marries with the intention of getting divorced; I certainly did not after waiting over a decade to re-marry and in fact stating I never would again.  My ADHD husband is co-morbid with narcissism/psychopathy, and it took years to sort through the mire.  Thankfully, we did not have children.  I did everything I could in trying to save my marriage, including the denial part.  I couldn't do it anymore when I realized I was just living a lie, like the many I believed  he told me.  I decided that one of us needs to live in truth, so I stepped up.  Once that happens, you can't go back if you truly value who you are; that's how it was for me.

I have to say all of the

I have to say all of the posts I have read have both made me feel like I'm not alone but have also scared me into wondering if this is how the rest of my life is going to be.  I've been married for less than a month but my husband began medication for ADD a few months ago.  Originally I thought his issues were due to being a single father of 2 girls (who's mother is unreliable), not getting home from work until late evening, and well just being a guy.  I moved into his home that was a disaster area, which still needs work but with his 2 girls, my son and now my nephew is living with us indefinitely, I still haven't gotten around to organizing every room because the day to day laundry, dishes, and kids don't leave me much time for other projects.  I really thought we were getting a handle on his ADD until this week.  Due to my husbands inability to get up in the mornings he is constantly running late to work causing him to speed and subsequently getting arrested.  He was ordered last November to completely an online driving school and 8 hours of community service.  Of course not long after he walked out of the court room those things are forgotten, until last week.  He had to spend extra money (that we do not have) to complete the online driving school and decided to go do his community service Saturday.  I told him several times to call the place ahead of time so they would know he was coming and to make sure they had something for him to do so he would have time to find another place to do his 8 hours.  That didn't happen, he showed up and they had nothing for him.  The guy in charge tells him to call him Monday.  Monday he gets up late and doesn't remember to take the phone number with him.  He spent today frantically trying to find somewhere to do his community service before Thursday, he managed to get 6 hours lined up for tomorrow but they need his court papers, which of course were lost shortly after his November court hearing.  He spent 2 hours searching for them, finally found them and discovered his court hearing is tomorrow, not Thursday.  I was feeling so many things before that moment, but that was just it for me.  I have been crying off and on ever since.  Thankfully I already had a doctors appointment lined up today so I spoke to my doctor (who is also his doctor) and just explained (bawling the whole time) how overwhelmed and stressed I feel.  I am already taking care of 4 kids, I thought we would be doing it together, but instead I have found myself mothering him as well.  I feel fortunate that he does not have the anger or denial, he knows full well that he has ADD.  He is a very patient, loving man, who agrees with the things I tell him, but who cannot remember to start creating a routine to help him with his forgetfulness.  I manage the things I am able to manage, but there are things he has to handle himself, i.e this court thing, and his current issue with taxes (the state claims they have no taxes on file for the past 4 years, he used H & R Block but cannot remember if they were to file his taxes or he was) I cannot talk to H & R Block, I cannot talk to the state.  I guess the hardest thing for me is the fact that his ADD ultimately punishes me in the end, in money, in time, in worry.  I worry about the negative affect the stress and anxiety will have on my health if our situation remains as it is now.  My doctor did prescribe me some medicine for anxiety and gave me a referral for counseling.  I told my husband tonight that he also needs to get a referral to work with someone who can help him get started in the right direction.  I don't think this has to destroy our marriage but there have to be at least steps towards improvement.  I know these current crisis will get worked out but I think we need to act swiftly before another one occurs.  I would love to look back on this post in a few years and be able to say "We've come along way"  I know it will never be perfect and he will never be completely cured but I hope he can handle some responsibilities and I hope I will have learned to deal with things in a healthy way. 

Linsy's picture


I can relate to how you feel, particularly the losing things and never having time to get the house straightened out. Some doors I just shut. Take care.

Well now what?

Okay, so we've all had our "Aha" for moment that we live in misery, try to help our spouses, nothing works or does but not for long.  So now what?  We change, our spouse changes or we change together to make it right? 

 But how?  What have not tried that would now work miraculously, read another book, try marriage counseling again, what is possibly left before we give into the hopelessness and relent?  If they are medicated, been to marriage counseling, you've been to counseling what else should we deem recoverable or viable?  

Most of these women are like me, we've tried it all for 15+ yrs and then when you add children to the equation ....there is no time to solve their problems or make excuses for them anymore.  Love eventually turns to hurt then anger and then we shut down and we're ready for them to leave because you're tired of the stress.   Years and years of mental warfare with real consequences come to life.  This burdens us to a point that even though we should be thinking of making ourselves happy, we come to realize that we created the person we now despise with our love and commitment for years on end until its bent who we are to the very core, who am I because I totally forgot?

Am I wrong here or is this how most or just how I feel in a nutshell?  Please tell me

hockeymom11's picture

read this

you should read "should I stay or should I go".  It's about controlled separation CS.  CS is NOT just someone moving out: it's an entire outline and contract to cover all things you may not be able to discuss.  I just bought the book a few days ago and am almost done.  The contract discusses: time frame, who is moving, dividing household good, child care and support, helping the spouse that stays in the home with minor repairs, when to call spouse and children, when to visit, setting up "date" nights at certain intervals with spouse to discuss things, dating others (didnt' really like that part) and anything else you can think to put in the contract.  They have a clause that during a CS, NO party will file for divorse so you don't have that hanging over you.  You can seek legal advice, but no papers filed until the end of the time frame.

It's actually an eye opener.  I gave the book to my ADHD husband and when he left the house last night he said "I'll take a look at it".  It's still sitting on the chair, but I plan on making up a contract.  I also gave him this website.  we'll see.  all we can do is try.

there is a very good chapter on how to help children deal with marital stresses, because they have picked up on it much earlier than we think. 

Be careful.

Hi hockeymom et al, it is me again. That is a great  book - I have read it, and I agreed with it in principal, but....

I would like you to try to imagine that your men folk are actually trying very very hard to stay IN the relationship. Not to our way of thinking I know, they do not want to give up, they really want to make it work they just do not know how without loosing themselves all together, (stay with me here), giving them a trial separation will most often be easier for them than staying, easier in terms of less pain, suffering and heart wrenching guilt in trying to do something they already know they can't do. You have to know that in choosing this (esp as you are making the choice - easy to blame you for it later) you are choosing to give them   an honorable exit. If you really want your marriage to work, if you love you friend and partner, you will expect more of yourself and more of him/her by offering a solution or more each three works best, grade them in order of difficulty to achieve, talk about them in real terms listening well. Give this an hour. Ask them: if you could do anything, no limits, no restrictions, no difficulties what would you do for this  marriage - for me? No limits, no restrictions, no difficulties.

Then listen, really listen. You may be surprised at what you hear. No magic cure.

That book



I have that book but have not finished it! Didn't realize it had all that good info in it! Need to read it. I just want him gone and it over, but with 4 kids it likely will not be totally over! I am working on codependency stuff - went to an Al-Anon mtg - such great stuff!

What has happened in your life since this post?



Have you tried in a way that takes ADHD into account?

My experience was the same - 12 years of misery trying to fix up my marriage.  But understanding that ADHD symptoms are impacting you really does change things.  It provides new ways to think about your relationship, ways to measure whether or not symptoms are being adequately treated, ways to assess the non-ADHD partner's contributions to the marriage's decline.

The people in these forums are here looking for answers.  Just like my husband and I, your past does not dictate your future.  (This is true for other couples, too - I've seen the turn around from divorce happen repeatedly.)

In my situation, we both "got

In my situation, we both "got it" at the same time...I am assuming you did with your husband as well, maybe?

That is what is so very hard to see when you're not 'there' that BOTH parties are typically contributing to the problems in communication and the issues in the marriage in general. I  blamed him, he blamed me, and we got nowhere. Because we both finally realized this AT THE SAME TIME it made it easier to move forward and let go of the past anger and resentment..we are BOTH making changes. The problem, I feel, is understanding that even if your spouse doesn't seem to "get it", you still have to change your whole way of thinking and your whole approach to the situation..which is SOO much easier said than done when you still see the same patterns, the same behavior that made you feel so resentful and hurt and angry to begin with. It truly is BOTH people in the marriage that are making it the train wreck that it is. One spouses response to the ADD and the other's ADD. I felt long ago that if I could just let go of my anger I would have probably made our situation/homelife a whole lot more pleasant..even if only for myself...but I was unable to do that until I lost my father. It wasn't my husband changing, it was ME changing and him following..but it took something as horrible as losing my father to make me decide to let go of the anger once and for all. Life is too short.

Once you are on the other side of the vicious cycle you can see just exactly how you were a contributing factor the the problems in the marriage...but how do you get there? I feel it takes a 'reality check' of some sort...which usually means you hit rock bottom and work your way up? What if you're the only one hitting bottom? It is just so hard. That's where the problem lies, and the cycle continues...because changing your behavior when your partner isn't is very hard..but not impossible, I don't suppose.

rock bottom

We did have a rock bottom type of experience and, yes, we both "got it" at the same time, too.  When I look back on it, it is clear that my putting aside all of my anger was THE turning point for the two of us.  It allowed my husband the freedom and space he needed to acknowledge his role and take responsibility for himself, rather than defend himself against my anger.  My suddenly non-angry behavior and new ability to let him be himself shocked him...but he was also able to see the woman he had first fallen in love with (the one before the misshapen angry one).  I did it in much the same way you describe.  You say "life is too short" and I said "only I can make myself happy."  Same idea because they both lead to taking control once again.

It's not always popular when I suggest to both spouses that they need to take control of themselves and put anger aside so they can be the people they like once again - because the anger is there for a reason...but the reason is that the person who is angry is giving up too much.  If you start to take control of your life in a way that satisfies you then suddenly the other person isn't in control of your life and that makes all the difference.

Linsy's picture

How can you just stop being angry?

I spend a lot of time walking out of rooms, taking deep breaths and trying hard to keep things stable. But his simmering anger and clear belief that he is in the right, as well as complete inability to get on with work, while I pay for full time childcare, is not helping. It is very difficult indeed. I just want him to go away at the moment, and leave me alone. I am so stressed that my back hurts all the time. I work far too hard to keep us all going, and I am suffering from anxiety about how on earth we are going to survive beyond the end of the next contract. Right now he is in bed reading Ned Hallowell's book - good, but it has given him the idea that he married a bossy 5th grade teacher, and not that his actions are to blame for the gradual car crash that has been our marriage.

It took me literally years to realise that things weren't right. Another reason why I think my father had it - I didn't have very high expectations of marriage. Stupid. Perhaps I internalised all the horrible things my father used to say to me and didn't think I was worthy of a good hardworking loving man? When I did realise that it wasn't right, I tried to help him but the psychiatrists diagnosed depression - even though he kept saying he wasn't depressed. His behaviour is frankly appalling - how can you see your wife going out to work leaving her longed for babies and paying for full time childcare, while you idle around at home doing nothing at all? Not even making sure there is food in fridge? Knowing she hates her job but has to have that kind of job because it pays enough to pay off the interest on YOUR business debts? How does that work? Where does it say that that is OK? I am in such a lot of pain, particularly about my babies. All I wanted was an equal relationship where we both worked and earned, but gave each other enough space to do the things we wanted to do, such as be with children, write and create.

I have tried so hard to get new starts going over and over again. This new information looked like a help to begin with, but is not necessarily helping now. I am in despair.

arwen's picture

For Tig -- anger, perspective

I really feel for you, I know the kind of place you are in.  While things didn't get to the particular spot you are in now, with me and my husband, we got to other places just as bad and with just as serious a nature.  You're absolutely right, it's not OK.  But  very probably your spouse very literally *does not know it's not OK*.  Oh, he may understand it in *theory*, but on an everyday life basis, it's almost certainly a different story.

There's a diagram at the following website which may help illustrate the situation:

If you think of the circle marked "Professional" as the true objective facts of the world, i.e. actual reality, then the perception of the ADHD spouse often has the same relationship to actual reality as the circle marked "Personal", and the perception of the non-ADHD sopuse often has the same relationship to actual reality as the circle marked "Information Architecture".  There's a lot more overlap between the non-ADHD spouse's perception of reality and actual reality than there is between the ADHD spouse's perception of reality and actual reality.  (This particular picture has some limitations -- for example, in most relationships, there's probably some overlap between the two partners' realities -- and this picture may exaggerate the situation somewhat,  but I think it makes my point.  It was the best approximation I could find on the internet, since we can't put pictures in our posts.)

Furthermore, in the experience of the ADHDer, the time spent in the overlap with actual reality is often fraught with unwelcome surprises and criticisms, and therefore may be looked on as something to be avoided whenever possible.

In addition to understanding the degree of your spouse's grasp of reality, there's then the burning question of *why* is the ADHDer less connected to actual reality.   The unreal world is more appealing, more rewarding, for them most of the time.  Of course, that's probably true for a lot of people who don't have ADHD as well.  The difference is in the brain physiology.  To a large extent, the way ADHD brain physiologies work make it much more easy to avoid knowledge of harsh realities.

This difference in brain physiology can be addressed through medications, counseling, and retraining, but it takes a long time to undo the habits of a lifetime.

How do you stop being angry?  For me, the question revolves around the issue of how much of the problem behaviors are really his fault?  It's not my husband's fault he has a poor memory, that's the result of the ADHD brain physiology, I think it's unreasonable to get made at him for that.  On the other hand, if he does not take steps to improve his memory, or compensate for his memory problems, if he does not make efforts to mitigate the consequences of his poor memory, that *is* his fault and he deserves people's anger about it.  It's not his fault that he is impulsive, but if he doesn't work to curb it, that *is* his fault.  My view is that it only makes sense to be mad about what he can and doesn't change.  Being mad at the rest is as pointless as being mad at the weather.

Your spouse sounds like he's in a lot of denial.  Unfortunately that's not at all uncommon in the early days of ADHD treatment.  I know it's hard for you, but it's also hard for him.  The more patient you can manage to be with what he can't improve right away, the more productive his efforts are likely to be with what he does make progress on, and the more progress he makes, the further the progress he is likely to make going forward.

I've been through this process.  It's very very hard.  I cried a lot.  But in the end, we were able to turn things around and make it work.  It's a long way from perfect -- but it's also a long way from where we were.

I hope something in here helps -- if not, let me know and I will try to find better ways to help you.  Good luck, I will keep you in my prayers.


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


Linsy's picture

Thank you

To have kind words said to me about this feels good. I would love to be left in peace.

Joining With vs. Struggling Against

I am beginning to learn (slowly) that the reason nothing we were doing worked, was because what I was doing was trying to get my wife to do things the way I wanted so that I wouldn't get angry/frustrated.  I was trying to get my wife to change to meet my specifications.  I was identifying her actions as the problem.

The truth is, as Melissa says quite clearly, it's not really my wife's actions that are the problem, but rather, my response (anger, frustration, nagging, etc.) to her actions, and then HER response (anger, resentment, feeling belittled, etc.) to MY response.  We both share in a dynamic that is causing us both pain.

But I kept repeating over and over to my wife, in as many different ways I could think of - YOU NEED TO CHANGE!!!  I was trying to take control of the situation.  (Yes, I have a definitely tendency step in and take control when things aren't working.)

After many, many conversations, shouting matches, etc., my wife and I have gotten to the point where we agree we have a problem.  Our relationship is not what we would like it to be.  I think we both had to acknowledge that before we could begin doing anything to make it change. 

And towards that end, we have both spent some time trying to learn the effect our behaviors have on each other.  This is KEY.  It's not just about the effect my ADHD wife's behaviors have on me.  It's also equally important for me to realize the effect my responses have on her.

To do that, I have done a lot of reading on this blog.  I have also sought out books to help me understand the impact of my behaviors.  Unfortunately, there were none that I found particularly helpful.  Most books, even those written for the nonADD spouse, seem to be geared to understanding ADHD, which is definitely critical, don't get me wrong.  But they seemed to be more about what the ADHD person should do differently, and not much guidance about what the nonADHD person should do differently.  The books I was reading all seemed to be biased "against" the person with ADHD.  Even though the books might have indicated the ADHD behaviors are not really the person's "fault" - they still seemed to identify the person with ADHD as "the problem."  At least that is how my wife felt when reading them.  And as I saw her responding that way, I found myself responding that way also. 

For example, my wife and I attempted to read Married to Distraction together, and had to stop early on because she felt so bad when she read the descriptions of how the behaviors of the person who is distracted (always her) tend to have a negative impact on the relationship.  And because there were no counterexamples in the book of how the kinds of behaviors I exhibit have a negative impact on HER, she was feeling that any problems were all because of her.  (Please know I'm not saying that Married to Distraction is not a great book, just that at this point it is too painful for my wife.  I'm hoping that at some point we can return to it.)

But, luckily we got into some telephone counseling with Melissa, and she does a GREAT job making sure we both see the impact of our actions on the other.  And her book The ADHD Effect on Marriage, which we have just started reading together, also does a great job in demonstrating how each of us contributes to the situation, in a way that makes us both feel validated, but especially my wife.

As my wife is coming to see that my actions also contribute to our problems, and that I have to change perhaps as much as she does, she has begun to feel less to blame.  And the result is that she is better able to really see the impact her behaviors are having on me.  And because she really does not want to have that effect on me, she is much more able to join me in thinking up solutions.  Whereas before it was always me telling her what I think the solution should be, most often in terms of what she needed to do differently.

We still have a long, long way to go.  But we are actually at the point where we can begin to actually talk about things - for the first time, without her getting all defensive.  We can discuss our problems a little more calmly and address them together.

It used to feel to me like our most common interaction mode was fighting - mostly me screaming at her, sometimes her screaming at me.  This used to happen almost daily, sometimes several times a day.  Now, it hardly ever happens, and when one of us does start to yell, we are able to catch it pretty quickly so that it doesn't escalate into a tirade or a screaming match.

AND, we are starting to enjoy our together time more. 

Again, a long way to go.  But it definitely feels like we are in a much better place.  It feels much more like we are joining forces to work on our relationship together, rather than continuing to struggle against one another as we had in the past.

Thank you Melissa!  And thanks to everyone here who have given me food for thought in the last couple of months.

The lost me but still living with hope

I am new to the blog, but after reading for the past two nights (alone of course) I have come to realise that there are many women out there who I could honestly say seemed to have lived my life.

I have been married for 32 years and have 3 grown up children who have all left home now, they were my life, because without them, I had nothing.  I raised those girls, as many others have said as a single mum.  I also tried to run a business with my husband, who I now know has had ADD/ADHD but not diagnosed.  My second child was diagnosed at 9 years with ADD - however at that time they offered no support assistance or medication, didnt even explain anything about. (20 years ago)

I was constantly making excuses for him, why he would not attend any of the childrens sporting activities or help with the children when they were little.' One of the children was sick one day at  school, and he had to go and pick her up, however he was unable to give them her full name and date of birth to pick her up - my daughter was so embarrassed.  To this day he still cannot remember his children's full names or even when their birthdays are.  He can only remember his own birthday.

Over the years, our financial situation was not good, due to his impulsivity and his inability to con

trol his urge to buy totally useless things, just because he thought he was getting a bargain.  Even today he is addicted to Ebay, which has proven to be dangerous, financially. His recreational hobby is one that is very expensive, and yes he has a credit card.  Most people who are involved in this recreation have maybe one or two pieces of equipment, but my husband , has 42 with many just lying around useless now, and he still wants more.  I have had the many arguments around this, over the years, and ask him to sell some before buying any more - but he cannot see this reasoning as he wants it now - of course promising to sell later - but I know better than that.


The same has happened with vehicles,- we have many that he has tired of, but always wants another - but never has time to get rid of the old ones, they just sit in the yard and rust away - to a point where they are worth nothing - but the yard and his shed look like a garbage dump - he is also a hoarder - he cannot even throw out garbage in his shed.

We would always be constantly late for every event, party or family gatherings (although family gatherings were not high on his priority list so often we would go alone), he would get so engrossed with his latest hobby, interest, friends etc that time meant nothing, even if I called him to remind him to be home by a certain time - he would always be very late often 3 hrs late - with no excuse other than he forgot the time, just got talking etc.etc.

He has always priortised his life, or current interest over me and his children, which for the children has been very sad and disappointing, I tried to get him to a family photo day , it was the only time my immediate family had been all together (due to distance) for many years , but my husband chose his hobby and club day over this event ( it was only for 2 hrs)  - we still got the photos - but he will not be in any and the girls will remember that day very well, as now they are grown up and do not understand why their father has been so disinterested in them and  their lives, and their mother.

I feel my life has been lost in all this, we only go to his friends events, I too feel as if I have lost my life, I have put all my hopes and dreams on hold for 32 years, in an effort to keep my marriage together for the children.

He will just go away whenever he chooses, with a group of friends from his club, and I will only know about when he driving out the gate, he will be gone days, if I'm lucky I may get a phone call.

I have been so busy looking after the children, the business and also a full time e job, that it seems I only exist to clean up the mess - while I have been lucky that we do have a small business in which, my husband seems to be able to cope with, it is driving a truck. That is all he does, when he comes home, he is either down his shed with his hobby or going out most nights not getting home until after midnight, then leaving at 5am next morning.  He does not help with anything around the house, or even mowing or cleaning gutters I have to do everything.  We have unfinished projects that have been sitting unfinished for 15 years now,  new guttering that he said he could do, has been sitting in back yard for 1 year,  driveway pipes to be installed  - now there for 18 years, unfinished shed 25 years - I could go on and on ,but Im sure everyone knows where Im coming from -  I would love to pay someone, however not much money left- I work full time to pay the bills.  I have been waiting 6 months now for a tap washer to be installed in my washing machine tap, I have to put a bucket under it as it leaks constantly -  I get into trouble if I say Im going to get someone to fix for me - just more arguments. - then I get accused of being a nag.

He often puts his hand up at his club to volunteer his time, on committees as well - so as you can imagine he is rarely home, he also has a learning disability - so when these duties involve anything to do with writing or reading, I have to do all this for him as well -  even though I have told him not to do these roles as I do not have enough time - he cannot ever see my point of view - he just expects it.

You might say, why I have put up with this for so long,  being blamed for everything that goes wrong in his life, every money problem or anything he cannot explain I have always been to blame,  also the short temper, very impatient (not good with the kids, they learned to steer clear of him mostly), and most of all what I found most difficult was his inability to listen and take in anything that was being said to him -  he always blamed me again for not telling him things.  To this day, he still struggles with how to operate anything in the house, TV, DVD, washing machine - I have tried to show him, but after 32 years, and with the same excuses over and over that ï dont know how to do it or put it on, you'll have to do it"  I suppose you can say that I give in and have done everything for him - you can only show people so many times before it is just easier to do it yourself.

But in doing that, I am now a very tired, sad, lonely and sometimes very angry person.  It was only just recently that I read a book on ADHD and the Syndrome Mix by Dr Attwood -  I  read the book as I needed to for my full time work in child protection.  I cried and cried, as it explained everything that my husband was like, I was feeling very overwhelmed that day - Feelings of anger because I had not sought some help before now, just thought it was how life was supposed to be for me , then anger at losing my life and that it wasnt all my fault at all - although possibly have contributed to my husbands behaviours by my reactions to his over the years.

This made me start to feel guilty, that it wasnt his fault the way he was, it was ADD/ADHD and he couldnt help it.  But I needed to  broach the subject with him, now that I was nearly certain (without a proper assessment) that he had ADD from birth - Even now I think that his mother has it.

I did bring the subject up, after one of his weekends away, It was probably not a good time, as I was very emotional, with many emotions running through me.

I lost control a bit, was sobbing, then I started to say how unhappy I had been for many years, felt unloved, ignored and that I had supported him to do everything he had ever wanted, sacrificing my own life and interests and sometimes the childrens as there was no money left -  He told me I was crazy, and that I should go to the room and settle down - to which I lost control and got angry then,  as he was in total denial.

I couldnt even get him to read the book, or articles, as he has difficulty with reading and comprehending -  I felt hopelessly lost and said to him that I wasnt sure If I wanted to be with him any longer.  If he didnt go and seek a proper assessment, that I could not go on any longer, I needed to regain my life back - make some friends, spend some time pampering myself .  My husband had no problem with me doing my own thing, he said just go and do, but he fails to realise that we both cannot do it, he spends all the money on himself and his leisure, there is not enough for both of us to lead separate lives and still be together.

This thought scared me more -  going out there alone in the world -  I only have about 15 years before I want to retire, and I had always planned to do that with someone and perhaps travel a bit - but the thought of doing that alone is a very scary concept.  I am feeling like I have wasted my whole life now, if not for the children, I would be very very alone and sad.

I have been just going to the motions in the last 2 weeks, working full time, doing all the work around the home etc, pondering on my big decision.  My husband surprised me two days ago, when he said he went to the GP and got a referral to see a Psychiatrist -  I am very happy that he actually made some progress towards thinking that maybe something was wrong, - although I know there was some motivation when I said that we would have to sell the business and home to split everything up - he knew I was serious, he also knows he cannot run the business without me doing all the bookwork, and he could not afford to pay me out.

He has not made the appointment yet, but Im a little apprehensive, that the Psychiatrist may not specialise in Adult ADD/ADHD - as the GP he saw knew nothing about it.  I am living in fear that when he goes, he will not be truthful, as he cannot see how he is most of the time, it is normal to him to be the way he is, he also minimizes most of his behaviours.  He will only admit to have a bad memory and being unable to read or comprehend very well, he may admit to be being easily distracted at times (which is an gross understatement).  Mostly, he has a quite inflated view of himself and it is the people around him who are at fault.  That is my fear, that he comes back and says that he is fine, nothing wrong with him - it must be just me -  What do I do then?

I cannot continue the way it has been, so I can only think positive that this Psychiatrist, does know something about adult ADD and can support us both, I think to get an accurate assessment of adults with ADD, that doctors should get some feedback from spouses or even their children, those that have lived with them for past 35 years.  I want to make our marriage work, but I feel like I have been trying for 32 years, a bit one sided though. And now the thought of keeping on trying, where my husband is only just beginning is a very frustrating and daunting task for me and I am very tired and feel like I have suffered 32 years of emotional abuse.  and Yes I do feel a little angry, but I have to get over that if I want to save my marriage.

I know I am not alone, there are many women out there who have suffered and gone through much more than I.




Wow!  I thought I was reading

Wow!  I thought I was reading about my life!  Your note made me cry.  The loneliness, anger, resentment and that boxed in feeling are what I have been feeling for 28 years.  There is something so intangible about ADHD.  How do you explain what all of his friends accept as just quirkiness?  

I related to everything you said.  Your explanation validated my thoughts.  My husband has lost his job and can't seem to get hired again as he has made such name for himself in his industry.  My girls watch with disbelief as this over confident crazy guy that they love has become a crying baby who is still not ready to take responsibility for his downfall.  They knew he wasn't like other Dads, but they loved him.  He was so spontaneous.  Well now that he has crashed, I see them looking at their own behavior and realizing that some of the things he did in his career and life should not be copied.  

I'm stuck too.  Stuck with little money, no career, and a life that lacks personal fulfillment.  I accepted the role as caregiver to my girls and to him and that is what I do.  Oh, I used to juggle a career in there too, but he needed more of my time.  I tell myself that everyone's life turns out to have some disappointments and I hold on to the good things like my girls.  But I am sad too.  I just try to push it away everyday and  find joy in any small activity.  But I feel very alone.  I don't have many friends because I am embarrassed by my life.  I don't tell them what is going on and keep my correspondence short.  I don't want to complain.  Who would listen.  People have their own problems.  Mine is just an ADHD husband who I allowed to swallow up my life.

Strength to move on

Thanks Pamela for your thoughts, I thought it was only me who could admit to being embarrassed about the life I have allowed myself to lead. That possibly explains,  why I dont allow people to get too close to me, talking about mine isnt too interesting.

But I do have a full time job now, and the children have all left home, so I have decided to be a little more independent, and start having a life, it will be difficult after so many years of being in a 'black hole'  -  but I know for my own sanity I need to make some decisions around MY life now.  I'm only blaming myself for my own predicament and only I can make it better now -  whatever that decision may be.

I wish you all the best, and I wish you every strength to move forward with your life too.

Don't expect the doctors to listen to you

I found that after my husband was diagnosed with ADD and depression that they weren't interested in me or my perspective. The presenting problem for us was that my husband either refused to work or got fired for doing stupid ADD stuff, so I was the sole support of our household. His counselor met with me once but when she found our I was angry at working two jobs when he refused to work or even do housework she wouldn't talk to me any more. She said I had to suck it up for a year [and a very hard year it was too] before we could work on our marriage and the damage this had done to me.

i got permission to talk to his current psychiatrist and told him that I do not like being married to him on his current meds as he is 'tired' all the time and does nothing. He told me frankly he didn't care, he was treating 'X' and not me and that my concerns were of no interest to him, even if they were bad enough to be thinking of leaving him.

I think the spouse's point of view is valid and should be listened to, but find that, in treatment as in his life, I do not matter. I have no idea whet to do about this. I'm like you, middle aged and looking at 'oh, my God, is this going to be the rest of my life/' but no one cares about that but me. They give my husband meds but no one has suggested any counseling or coaching or behavioral therapy. For the things that matter to me, the meds don't help. He's working, but still not acting like a husband to me or caring about my needs.

i don't know what to tell you. See if he is willing to try meds and therapy. If not, it may be time to cut your losses. Is it possible for you to get some therapy to learn to stand up for yourself and not let him run roughshod over you?

dont expect doctors to listen

Thanks sueann for sharing your experiences.

It doesnt give me much hope, that I will be considered in all this process.  Will wait and see I suppose, but will take your advice and get some of my own counselling.

Now that the children have left home,  I do feel that I can be stronger, and I do intend to become more independent and start making a life for myself again before its too late, whether that with or without my partner time will tell.

Thanks again appreciate your comments

For Debbie

What you have suffered is searingly painful and I'm sorry that you went through it, for what it is worth.

You have raised your kids, now it's time to attend to you.  If you love your husband still, after all of that, then you can hope he'll come along as you move your life in a direction that pleases you more.  I went through the realization that it was only me who was going to take care of me at a critical time in our marriage and found the idea actually very freeing.  It let me look at myself and ask the questions "who do I really want to be, and how do I really want to live?"  I describe this journey in one of the chapters of my book - I would tell you to skip ahead, but you 'll get more out of it if you read the parts that come before it, first (sorry!)

I realized that I had become miserable, angry, hurtful, thoughtless.  What I wanted to become was optimistic, thoughtful, warm.  So I set a path for myself to get there.

Note that this mentions nothing about a spouse.  This is YOUR journey.  I figured my husband wasn't going to stay married to me (he was in the middle of an affair) so I had the freedom to do what I needed and not take his needs into account.  And that turned out to be just right - because I'm not actually responsible for my husband, just as you aren't responsible for yours.  Which doesn't mean I didn't love him - I did.  And not being responsible for him is not the same thing as caring about/for him.  All it means is that I give the responsibility for fixing him back to him, where it belongs.  I make my journey BECAUSE I NEED IT FOR ME and he can come along or not as he chooses.  (In our case, he liked how I managed myself so well that we ended up turning around our marriage...but I'm not saying this would happen to you.  He was already pretty ADHD-aware at that point and being more introspective.)

You can go through this journey (or at least start it) while living in the same home as your husband.  And you should be very clear about what you are doing.  "I have decided to put my life in order because I'm not getting any younger.  I've decided to live my life like XYZ because it's important to me.  I'm hoping that you'll be able to join my journey to being happier, but if you can't, I'm not waiting around for you."  He may well like what he sees, which will add to his desire to improve his side of the equation.  Be clear with him about what you will no longer live with.  Make sure what you are telling him is meaningful.  For me hoarding things wasn't where I wanted to draw my "bright line" of unacceptable...but remaining unconnected was.  You have rights as a woman and a partner - tell your spouse what you need.  He won't be able to give it to you right away, most likely, but at least he'll know where you're headed and start to do some thinking on his own.

As you go through this, it may help to have a counselor help you.  Try to find someone who understands ADHD, not because you have it or because you want to change your husband, but because it's so integral to your story.

Best of luck with it.

For Melissa

Thank you for your words of wisdom Melissa, they have given me the strength to actually verbalise to my husband what has been going on in my head for the past month.

I agree, that I  now need to take responsibility for myself.  I think it will be easier now, that the children have left the home and become independent.  They are already encouraging me to get out and do the things I've put off over the years. 

I will be stating clearly to my husband, what my plans are and the things that I want to be doing in the next few years.  I will also be drawing the line at his discontentedness towards me and family , that is where we must begin.

I may even go as far as structuring the household finances, so that he is limited to what money he has access to - I know this may sound a little controlling, but I need to do this for my future.  So instead of me working to pay off his debts, he will only have what money he earns to "play" with and pay off his hobbies and interests and ebay purchasing.

I will take your advice and get some support from a counsellor, I have already found it quite therapeutic just reading about other's experiences on this forum and being able to tell my story to those who have similar experiences, as I have been unable to talk about this to my family.

I intend to keep working at our marriage, but at least now I know what I'm up against and have a better understanding why my husband is like he is - As I read in a book, "we must think about helping people with ADHD with a disability framework in our minds"  If I keep this close to me, I will hopefully get over all my feelings of anger that I have at times when my partner is so unthinking towards me.

Thank you again for taking time to respond to my story.

hockeymom11's picture

thank you Melissa

"This is YOUR journey. I figured my husband wasn't going to stay married to me (he was in the middle of an affair) so I had the freedom to do what I needed and not take his needs into account. And that turned out to be just right - because I'm not actually responsible for my husband, just as you aren't responsible for yours.  All it means is that I give the responsibility for fixing him back to him, where it belongs. I make my journey BECAUSE I NEED IT FOR ME"

Thank you from me too Melissa, I read your post and did the exact same thing.  I sent him (and his parents who have been involved) a note similar to yours about "I'm not getting younger, I need to do XX b/c it's important to me....".

He hasn't responded at all, which I didn't think he would, but I FEEL better.  I feel like I'm finally moving in the right direction for me and my kids.  I've posted anger, anxiety, frustration, despair and now finally relief that I'm doing the right thing and I CAN'T fix him.  Only HE can FIX HIM!!!


 I'm moving FORWARD and I ain't waitin'!!!!!!   ;)

Thank you freshstart

Thank you for your support and wishes.

Its not long now until his first appointment 1 week to be exact...I'm not hoping for any miracles...just some validation from him that perhaps for the past 32years,he can take some responsibility for why our marriage has been so difficult.

I'm feeling quite positive, since my emotional melt down last month...I really think he has been trying his hardest to get some of those long list of started projects actually finished.

I have finally got my tap washer fixed, without even asking...the gutters have been fixed..again he organised that himself to get his brother over to assist.  I have been a little I have heard from others that loud emotional outbursts do not seem to have any effect on  ADDer's, many times the opposite effect.  Perhaps my threat to leave him and sell everything up was the trigger....he didnt really say...still doesnt communicate with me.. but I can tell he is trying, for which I am eternally grateful and I have been reciprocating with the same.

He  still has his hyperfocus issues and likes to buy things,,,but cannot ask him to change everything... little steps to begin with so he realises that he can achieve some small goals, if he puts his mind to it.

I am still wary of him slipping back into old habits, so really hoping the Doctor can explain things to him and for him to take ownership of his ADD and its effects on our life and family...rather than denial and blame directed at anyone and anything....thats all I hope for now.

NOVA1986's picture

Well now what?

Hi kjprimrose,

You are not wrong. That it is exactly how is it feel. My husband just read your comment and he read it to me. I sent him some links from this website a month or more ago, but he just read yesterday when I left alone for New Year celebration. I got home and it was obvious he was crying reading all of this comments and he mentioned that he sent also a comment to a person who also was alone for the first time for New Years Eve.

Your feelings are 100% valid and real. It is sad but the spouse get lost in this huge ocean of non-sense after so many years trying to discovered what's going on with our ADD's spouses. 

In my case I had to deal with emotional infidelity, limerence, pornography addiction, anger, financial problems, work problem related (holding jobs for no more than 6 to one year), debts, lack of common sense and all the list that ADDer and their spouses have wrote in this blog. He affirmed that he doesn't do the following with the purpose to hurt me:

1. fall in love with other women,

2. He wrote love letters to a beautiful young women from a foreign country, bring home a video with her and refused to throw it away when I discovered, (I begged him with tears in my eyes to disappear it)

3. He refused to go for a walk with me with and our girls during Christmas vacation, but he spend hours in the computer in facebook and sending  e-mail to a student of him who knows about our marital problems,

4. He kisses an ex-girl friend after calling her several times (before and after the kiss) and visit the airport where he used to meet her every time she visit the city (she was a flight attendant). I remember asking him, please don't call her.

5. He gives shoulder massages to a friend of mine that he knows she is complaining about her husband who doesn't touch her,

6. He easily find out about the live of woman who are divorced or are physical attractive (or some kind of attraction for him),

7. He use to visit a neighbor to talk about pornography literature, 

I have to see him acting like in trance every time a woman catches his attention, and it is just painful. All the attention I feel I need and he doesn't give me he gives to other women with joy and enthusiasm. And I have to witness that from the very beginning of our marriage (18 year from now).

So, we all can imagine the reaction after the accumulation of this events and facts.

Have you heard the Mel Gibson's anger recording? That's the color of our arguments and our two daughters are witness of that. They are smart and are deeply affected for all of these to the point to express their desire of our divorce, knowing of course that is not what they really want. Last week I received a call from school, an ex-coworker and friend of mine called me to let me know Sofia wasn't feeling good that they and she started crying because we are going to divorce, she said (My daughter): "My parents are going to divorce and it is something iI would like to happen, but now that I know it is going to happen I don't want to happen". That same morning I was driving to visit a friend of mine and I started crying for not a specific reason ( I usually cry a lot when I am driving to work or at night) and then when I arrived to my friend's home I received the call.

The only think I can say is, it is really sad the whole thing is incredibly sad.


I think I know who your

I think I know who your husband is...the one who posted that he needed to do 127% and you 128%?

The children are SOOO deeply scarred by these situations..and although it wasn't the sole reason I decided to make changes (sadly) it remains to this day my MAIN motivation for creating a more peaceful homelife...even if this means divorce. I cannot live with myself and put her through one more day of the hell she used to live in.

My husband has been unfaithful...and I feel for a long time had a very unhealthy need for 'attention' from females. He didn't seek it, to my knowledge, but when a situation presented itself he had to come out looking like 'the best husband/man ever' that women would 'want' him or think highly of him. ("I want a husband like him") He has (in the past) been overly complimentary of women...right to my the point that I said "enough" right in the middle of it once. Were the shoe on the other foot, he would go off on a jealous tangent. I have no answers about this..whether it is an impulse control issue or a need to feed a battered and bruised ego..I really don't know. Lines have been crossed though and because of that new lines have been drawn...if they are ever crossed again, our marriage is over. You need to, at the very least, set boundaries for yourself and your husband needs to get himself into counseling ASAP....especially if he cannot grasp why these behaviors you listed would be DEVASTATING to any woman...and they need to

So, if I am right, and he is the 127% vs. 128% poster....then I am worried for you even more....because he needs to focus on fixing himself 100% regardless of what you do. It isn't about "you need to fix this or I'm not fixing that" is about seeing how hurtful our own personal behaviors are and starting there. Period.

I am sad for you too...(((HUGS)))

NOVA1986's picture

Answer to SherryW13

HI SherryW13,

Yes my husband is the one you think it is. He started last September with Psychiatrist for medication for ADD and a new Psychologist to treat behavior and pornography addiction. He has been doing some progress but he still looks for distraction in the internet, in facebook, flirting in a "Shakespeare in Love style" with his ex-girlfriends, female students, ex-female distractions, etc. I don't know who or when he will be in bed and thinking about me and not thinking about other woman or one of his favorites in pornography sites. For me all of this is revolting and incredible stupid. Why if I am not good enough for him, why if he is looking for something he can not find at home, he doesn't take the decision of living with a little bit of dignity.

I don't complain about our intimacy life because I see some changes in his behavior also in this area. The strange part of all of this is that, he doesn't understand why I am so angry, with no sympathy for him, no compassion, etc. He doesn't understand that I am human and I also get sick with this. My doctor prescribe me antidepressant but I didn't take them. I explain to my doctor (5 months ago) that I didn't take them but later I wanted to take them because the situation got worse for a while but I couldn't find the prescription, then I handle it, so I was happy for not taking medications; sometimes the side effects are even worst than the symptoms, and it doesn't make any sense to take  "medicine" to alleviate symptoms when I live and sleep with the trigger. My doctor also wrote a referral for me to see the same psychologist my husband is seeing. She said it will be an advantage that the psychologist already know what I am going through. We have been trying different "specialist" and programs like "Retrouvaille". But my husband it is so distracted that he doesn't do his homework routine to really see results. 

I am really sorry that you also have to deal with the infidelity part, because it is hard enough to deal with the ADD symptoms by themselves.

Since he came back from Netherlands "in love" with a 25 year old woman, he continue looking for a replacement here in town. So I can count probably 4 other students of him with whom he felt "romantic" feelings. My H is usually very quite and passive, but when he start feelings thing for other girls, he care more about his appearance, he is more into looking his e-mail and facebook page, it is like finally his body is producing adrenaline.

I feel all mess up and I need a permanent break from these situations.

In spite of all the little or big progress my husband have achieved until now, I think he still not ready to sacrifice and run the second mile to keep the marriage in healthy/normal parameters. I really don't know what he really wants and maybe he is not clear either.

I am lucky to have good friends, I don't have family close to me. They all live in South-america, so it is impossible to escape for while or to have any support from them. And of course the support that my friends can give is limited.

Well, thank you very much for answering my comments and to show concern about us.


Thanks, again. Nova1986

Three years later


just read this and I really like how you sum it up for us non-ADHD spouses. I couldn't agree with you more!...I'm wondering if you have found the answer to the question 'well now what?' and if so please share. 

Hope for a response (I'm ADHD)


First off, I got referred to CHADD by a psychiatrist while I was put into a psychiatrist hospital for a week due to me self-diagnosing myself thinking I was bi-polar...she told me she felt I had ADHD, I didn't belong there, and released me. Not a big surprise since I have been told that since childhood, but have never been diagnosed. I have been absolutely desperate to save my marriage and it hurts so deeply because for 2-1/2 years I have done all I know to correct my behavior (from therapy, to reading a zillion books...) and yet I see the one I love so much now have so much anger, resentment...and I feel she thinks I'm an evil monster. She already started to pack up the house to move out and I feel so weak it's like I got hit by a train. Seeing that crushes me. She has threatened divorce pretty much every other week for the course of our marriage, but she's never packed her stuff all up. I was also laid off 2 months ago (not fired) and have applied to a hundred+ jobs, but nothing back yet and that adds to the strain. I'm a husband who KNOWS my behavior is unacceptable and willing to do all to change, yet my wife (I feel) thinks it's truly too late. I felt if we could truly work through this together and she and I could both learn ways to properly react and respond, in time, it will be worth it. I'm scared. I'm at a friend's house tonight to give her space and I can't even sleep, but finding comfort in your blog posts, and I can't wait to purchase your new book. I hope to get medicated soon and I'm going to start attending a group in my area. My wife is also on this site now and might see this, but I had to write to you and first off, thank you, and I also wanted to tell the non-ADHD spouses out there...I'm sorry. This is a horrible thing that goes untreated every day. I didn't really think ADHD happened to adults and when people said I was ADHD I would laugh because "everyone" has that? Right? So, after being with my wife and then seeing how negative things got....from her feeling alone, me not paying her attention (hadn't truly "listened" to her since courtship), my hyper-focusing on everything else, interrupting, my inability to understand her or her to understand me....the constant fights that left our hearts broken, my impulsiveness, irritability.... Shutting each other out...She has put up with a lot. She also is like some others and doesn't know how to recognize and respond to ADHD symptoms. I'm hoping with all of this, a miracle will take place. I want a happy life with my wife. This has also kept us from starting a family, which I want more than anything. I just want hope and to finally be the man I know I am...and to be the husband I know I can be...the one my amazing wife deserves. If it's not too late...

ebb and flow's picture

I'm am so touched after

I'm am so touched after reading this... I am the non-ADD partner in the relationship and I just wish that my partner was as open and honest about his disorder as you are here.

It sounds like you're on the right track getting help and medicine... I guess, just remember that you can only do your best... whatever YOUR best may be. And like Melissa says, don't try harder, try differently. Find what works for you.

I really hope that with all the help and medicine things start to look a little more positive for you and that your wife decides to try along side you. If not though, stay strong! You have to be with a partner that understands your disorder and is willing to work with it not against it. 

Stay strong on your new journey of healing and wellness!

Your post truly was heart warming...

Best wishes. :)


Your sincerity and your courage to express your acknowledge of the situation you and your wife also are, are hope for most of the ones that are in the situation of your wife. I also lived the things you described, but the difference is that my husband gave up without trying real help. For the non-adhd partner it is very difficult to accept that the other partner is not willing to accept that things need to change; and it is harder when there is love.

Hope you can meet again! Be strong on this healing process, for you and for those that once trusted you!

Best wishes,



Being a person with ADHD  myself I can tell you it is not a cake walk but it can be just as hard for somebody with ADHD to be with someone who dos not have it. There have been plenty of nights when I have gone to bed hurt and angry and wondering whether I should stay or not. I crave structure and am sensitive to some noise but my family including my husband think it is great fun to run around the house encouraging the dogs to bark and play inside the house knowing full well how much this bothers me, this is just one example another  one would be that I am also sensitive to being touched all the time but people feel the need to grab at me poke me, ect and think that it is ok , it is mainly my husband that will do this and I know he dos not do it to be mean but he just thinks it is funny and therefor ok to do.I know that living with somebody who has it is not easy but it is just as hard for the person with ADHD to. I can be indecisive but at times hate being pushed to make a decision on somebody else's time. My husband also has a computer addiction which is incredibly hard for me to deal with and we have a daughter that is showing signs of the disorder but we are not sure if she is showing signs because of me or if she has the disorder. I would also like to ad that having ADHD is not a bad thing we just think differently than allot of other people. ADHD is also in the the same spectrum as autism spectrum disorder and asbergers syndrome and an amazing movie to watch is call Temple Grandin the woman in the movie has autism and I know that ADHD has its differences but at the same time it kind of gives you an idea on how people in the spectrum think compared to people who are not.

hockeymom11's picture

thank you

for your insight, I'm sure it's NOT always easy living with us non-ADDrs.  It sounds like your spouse is purposefully aggravating you which I think is HORRIBLE!!!  If my ADD husband would ADMIT he had a problem and told me "this bothers me or this helps me" I certainly wouldn't do something against his wishes.  I feel bad for you.  you need to be FIRM with your husband if he is doing things that are making your ADD harder to deal with.  It's a struggle enough as it is!!

I don't think anyone on this site would say having ADD is a bad thing, or it makes you a bad person, you are just handling it better than most of our spouses.  Some of us can't get our spouses to get help or medication. 

I gave this list to my 11 year old son with severe ADHD and told him lots of famous folks had it:  Galileo, Leonard Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, JFK and Walt Disney to name a few.

Where the heck would the world be without those folks???

keep you head up, tell your husband to STOP if it's upsetting you.

Sensory input

Now there's an area that needs discussion from the crowd: the ADHD heightened sensitivity to physical stimuli and other dyspraxic sensory integration overlaps!

ebb and flow's picture

re: sensory input

My partner is sensitive to touch as well.

I'm the type of person who, every once and a while, loves to joke around poking, tickling and playing or being goofy with my partner... He (ADDer) hates it! 

He can't stand it when I do that! It's too much for him and he says tickling especially feels like needles in his brain! It's too much stimulation all at once for his brain to process. 

I've had to learn to omit this behavior and live with his reactions to it. I'll admit, I still act goofy with him but I try to keep the touching and sensory stimulus to a minimum!!!

Boooring... :/ Feels crappy to have to hold this back because I feel it's part of my playful nature and it kinda deadens my spirit to omit it completely. I try not to make such a big deal out of it, though. He is who he is. Period.

And... If he's concentrating on something single pointedly and I come over and, say, touch his arm... it totally freaks him out! He doesn't transition well from what he's focused on, to someone coming up from behind and touching him. Major negative reflex to that...

He's also feels terrible on waking... Also a sensory overload thing, I think. He says he feels "hung over" every morning. He needs at least an hour to "wake up" and if I do anything loud, or bring up anything important he freaks because it's too much for him within the first hour upon waking.

And people wonder why I feel I'm walking on egg shells in this relationship!!! LOL

I love him though... He can't help it... :/

Same here. He does need about

Same here. He does need about a good hour to get awake, get coffee, and start to function. I remember one period in our lives, when we first got married, we fought EVERY morning before work. Long story short, I eventually realized that he wasn't a "morning person" and backed off. I AM a morning person typically so this was hard for me, but he is who he is. I have stopped taking his 'barking' at me in the mornings personally, although it is quite rare these days. Discussing anything 'heavy' is a HUGE no-no as well. So many times I would be dying for him to wake up so I could discuss something with him, and it ended up going south at the speed of light. There is definitely a time and place and timing is everything sometimes. It isn't ideal, but that's OK too. Wouldn't be so hard for me if I weren't so OCD about wanting/needing to solve :)

He's also extremely sensitive to the point, like you said, that tickling really makes him mad. He's OK to cuddle, hold hands, etc...but anything 'light' or not deliberate and for a reason he hates.

cake walk

My husband is like this with everybody, he is a person who loves to joke around and be a goof ball but he dos find this funny and then as soon as I get mad and yell at him or walk away and ignore him he then takes it personal that I do not want to be touched all the time by him when it is not him at all I just dont want to be touched by anyone at that time but he gets offended.

Why stay?

The original post asked why stay with an ADD spouse when it makes life so difficult.  I asked myself this very question a thousand times as I realized just how much of my husband's behavior was affected by ADD.  Granted my life is not as hard as some that I've read here, but it sure isn't easy either.  I waffle between being empathetic to a the difference in brain processes, and just plain mad that things can't be different.  I'm not expecting too much, I say to myself. 

So to answer the question directly in no particular order of importance,

I stay because I take marriage vows seriously.  A person is not to be throw away when they no longer make you happy.  We both come from unbroken homes and rest on the foundation that forever is possible. 

I stay because if he suddenly got a bonk on the head and started acting weirdly or differently, I would not just kick him to the curb and say, oops, you're broken now. Guess I'll get a new one.  Consider if your spouse became a parapellegic as a result of an auto accident.  Would you leave?  ADDer's blend in with the rest of us pretty well, so it makes it hard to find that compassion for what their brains are subjecting them to (and us).

I stay because we were able to make it work for most of our two decades together, pretty happily I have to say.  Due to a number of circumstances this last year, I think I just got tired of being the solid one and the one who had to figure out the work arounds to his behavior.  Happiness has to possible; it was there before.  I don't think we are too far gone.

I stay because I really am capable of being his support person, even though I sometimes hate that he will never be able to reciprocate.  Every ADDer needs a capable person to help them get through life, much like any other person who doesn't function well in our society.

I stay because there is still a man there who loves me but is not currently capable of loving me the way I need.  I can try to help him do that, so long as I am willing to accept the death of the dream I thought my marriage would be.  And that is hard.  It's hard to get past being caretaker, banker, decision maker, provider of food and a menu, until death do us part.  Love doesn't conquer all, but it's worth fighting for.  I do not wish to toss it aside too flippantly.

And finally, I stay because we all come to relationships with our own disfunctions.  We are all children of parents who didn't always get it right and affected our lives forever.  ADD happens to have a name.  Even better it has some possible solutions that someone figured out for me.  All I have to do is have the courage to apply them for my specific situation. A new person in my life means I have to start all over again, figuring out their disfunctions, how to cope and help them cope. 

Having said that, I also believe there is a time to part.  When the marriage is a health risk for you, whether you are having detrimental health (emotionally or physically) or being directly abused--it's time to go!  Even if it's temporary until your situation stabilizes.  Your safety is paramount, especially if you have children in the picture. 

Here's to Hope.

When is enough enough?

I am so tired of all of this! My husband of 6 years is taking medication and has seen someone at a counseling office to get the prescription, but when confronted, denies any of it (even though the meds are in the house and I get the EOB's from his visits). My husband started this after a very rough period where I was physically afraid of him and had safe bags for my daughter and I in my car. The culmination was when he told me he was moving out when he came back from a trip and "that was going to be that". Needless to say, and true to ADHD form, he calls me the next morning like nothing happened. I decide I can't live with this physical threat, and the fear that I could loose custody of my daughter, and tell him to go through some anger management and move out for a bit. He just lost it and I caved...bad on me...but things improved and at that point he went and got meds and saw a counselor (but will not admit either to me). Over time, though, he continues to throw the asking him to move out back in my face, but will not listen when I explain to him why I did that. So, things go up and down, and were going fairly well, but recently he just blew up and told me he was only married to me for the health insurance and I was just a nightmare, and he was just doing what he had to do to keep the insurance. So, of course, all the other bad/mean/vicious/physical intimidation/isolating me from friends stuff comes back in full force and the hatred just grows... So, I know I am venting, but my question is...what is the truth here? Do I believe it when he says he loves me? Or do I believe it when he says he only stays for the health insurance and that he is just lying to me about loving me? There is basically minimal communication between us, as I do not feel safe disclosing anything personal as it will be thrown back in my face. There is this huge elephant in the room (his behavior) that is never delt with because if I bring it up it is either thrown back in my face, or met with denial or walking away and ignoring or illogical response. I should also say that he demanded that I stop seeing my counselor, which I did as I thought it would help the situation, but I don't know about that. I have repeatedly asked him to go to counseling and he refuses and says we should just talk (I try). I guess I'm asking if it is time...It feels like I am in crazy land!


It seems from what you're saying that it's already enough.  Is there any reason to stay?  This looks like abuse to me (although I'm not an expert). 

Let me ask you a

Let me ask you a question...what difference does it make if he really loves you? If you could hook him up to a lie detector and ask him, and the answer you got was "yes" what would it change? Would it help you to know this so you could better endure the emotional and verbal abuse?

I only ask because I used to be this way too. Although my husband was kind and passive 90% of the time, the other 10% where he was exactly like you describe (controlling, blaming everything on me, he only stayed because I don't work, throwing everything in my face that I had ever trusted him with) made the other 90% irrelevant. Oh yeah, he 'loved me' and showed it by going out drinking, lying, spending money we didn't have, and generally making me feel like I was a horrible could anyone stand me!?? NOTHING made him more furious than for me to tell him I wanted him to leave.

A counselor I went to right after we reconciled (my husband hated him so we switched) told me "love isn't a isn't something that only exsists when it feels good, when things are going good, it is a conscious, 24/7 way of thinking about someone. You avoid hurting them at all costs. You make each and every decision based on what is best for them." Honest to God it was the hardest thing I had ever had to hear...but I knew it was true.

Him hiding his counseling and meds from you screams of 'pride' to me. I think there is hope for him, but until you set some real boundaries (such as REFUSING to give up counseling for yourself!!!) and hold his feet to the fire for full disclosure and conseling for both of you, nothing is going to change. You have the power within you to start the changes....I pray you can find the courage. He is doing what works for him..manipulating your emotions, controlling your outside influences, and he has you right where HE is comfortable...what motivation does he have to change?


Get yourself back to counseling NOW! Dont tell him, it is not his business to know because he is not watching your back right now. His trash talking is part of the lack of impulse control of this disorder. He may think he means it at the time, but will regret it later if he ever remembers what he said. This does not have to do with you. Do as Melissa and Al-anon promotes- feel loving detachment...and take care of yourself! Find support elsewhere for now (therapist, friends, family) while he figures a lot of this out for hImself... You are not in a position to "teach" him right now because it is too volatile. And you can't do this alone. Trust me, i know!! I could pretty much have written what you wrote... It is very hard to love someone who is acting this way, and especially hard, because it is a time of trying to come to terms (for both of u) as to what this diagnosis means... Try to stay strong, love yourself...find support!


I know both of you are right. And thank you very much for your replies.  So much of the time I feel like I'm the only one.

Tonight he comes in and asks "when are you going to kick me out". This is his typical cr** he starts when he is in a mood. So tonight I called him on it...he says he just wants to talk...and I tell him he just generally walks away and there is no talk. So tonight, he stays and "talks". The whole "kicking him out" thing are his own choice of words. I wrote him a very thought out email that stated all the qualities I enjoyed about him, but it also stated that his physical agression, yelling and cussing at me, and in front of my daughter was unacceptable, and that he needed to stay somewhere else for a while until he took some anger management or went to counseling with me. He equates this to me kicking him out because I couldn't handle his greiving (his mom passed away and I talked lots with him about it, etc.). Tonight I put the ball in his court...What are you going to do about this? Why did I ask you to stay somewhere else for a while? Will you go to counceling with me (no because they will just tell me you were right). I don't know if anything will change, but I feel better. I am working on being strong. And right now I'm exhausted!


Now he's paranoid and accusing my of calling the cops on him. We met at a restaurant, ate, had one beer, came out and there were cops circling. I left. He called me to come pick him up. When I did, he accused me of calling the cops, and continued to accuse me, even following me to the bathroom to make sure I didn't "call the police" on him. What is up with that? It is insane, I would never do that!

His asking you about "kicking

His asking you about "kicking him out" is probably just a ploy to make you feel guilty for setting boundaries for youself that are 'uncomfortable' to him. It usually gets a lot worse before it gets better because you creating boundaries for youself and your daughter are something that he'll fight very hard to keep you from 'changing' up his life and what he's used to. Dig your heels in and stand your ground.

As for the paranoia...I've seen some of that before too...but in other 'areas'...not sure what is going on with him or why you're seeing it, but just don't let it throw you off track. Could just be a ploy to make you the 'bad guy'.

It takes two

I am in need of some serious help! My husband and I are in counseling, yet he appears to simply "go through the motions". I agree with all of your above suggestions. Still, what does one do when the ADD partner claims to love you , yet as a couple, he/we can only manage to achieve 1 of the 6 aforementioned goals? We have been married for 4 years, and I have officially lost myself in all of this. I have followed your advice Melissa and we have been in counseling (even with Dr. Hallowell for a brief time.) I love my husband, yet I miss romance, sex, fun, etc. For the last few years, he has been hyperfocusing on chores. I am the organized one, and he has surpassed me in his need to be "doing something" all of the time. That's all I can say for now-----except that it's New Year's Eve, and he's asleep on the couch after a dinner we had at home. We have sex about 10 times a year, and it's been this way for 4 years. I miss my old self. I love him. This is very hard. Especially that 2011 is here, and, did I mention he is asleep on the couch? What if the ADD spouse with his/her partner simply cannot bring the above suggestions into fruition? Is this a life sentence?


Hey I P O mine and he left saying he was staying @ his 34 ft. camper tonight.....LOL I hope he enjoys his night, because I will. There will be no complaining about me falling asleep with the TV on and not sleeping with him. Heck I think I will go next door and join there party. :)

See I had a very stressful day...My nephew (which is like my only child 26 yrs) and I have been having issues  since he has a  new "who$e" . I say new because , the baby's mama is , but a credit to this one. He meet he one night and has stayed all night with her ever since, lied about different things, not been reasonable with his baby ( 22month old)...did not even keep him Christmas, etc. Well I loaned him a car to drive 8 months ago, have kept his baby more than him and it's mama combined, was trying to help him buy a home and a friend was helping him get a better job. The baby's mama wrecked the car a few years ago and would not pay to fix it...example of a person values in my I found out that he was letting this new one drive the car. I'd had enough!!!! I go and get the car, naturally my hubby has his un ask for advice, which I really don't need...I'm upset enough. I try say to him I've bee though enough today can we change the subject...nope, he then wants to criticizes me...that all I have said was just my opinion...I leave for the market, he stops me and wants to know I will be fixing him his lunch for work...WOW!

I return home wanting to talk about anything except my I say to him , did you work out after work ?(h) no,(m) what did you do ? I have been here since you I mean after work? I stopped at he camper and cleaned the litter box...ok, what else have you been doing since work...angrily he told me not to ask questions and I said I've had enough of the camper. I said why am I even here  you spend more time there than home with me.( He arrives at the camper 1 and half hour before work every day he works and stops by there after work for at least 30 min's and up to an hour..the camper is 5 min's from his job max.) He said in an hateful tone "I'm going to do what I want no matter what you think ' as he reaches for a piece of chicken I just brought home. LOL I said then don't eat my chicken LOL. He puts it back and starts his exit...I say nothing I've had enough for today.

waynebloss's picture

Alone tonight

My wife the non-add spouse decided that she wanted to hang out with her fiends and go out than stay home or go to a friends party together.  She said she was going last week but then told me she felt guilty about going but still wanted to go.  I said ok, did not like having a throw down so I gave in.  She went and got the kids from grandma's today, met me with the kids for a movie then left for the party after the movie without saying anything to me.  She told the kids that she loved them but said nothing to me as I said nothing to her.  I do hope that 2011 starts better then 2010!  Tonight is the year anniversary since we last had sex!  I was going to text her this but thought that I will remain quite and behave myself for once!  I am very angry right now and very sad, wish and pray for patience and that she is serious about our starting the new year as we discussed but right now it has not shown anything good! I am breathing, I am counting to 1000, I am up to 980 right now!  Oh well, I have laundry to do, shopping list to make and clean up from her unpacking this morning!!  

Just needed to vent a little, I do not know if I am going to be civil to her tomorrow when she comes back home or treat her as she is treating me, getting tired of this crap! 


I do hope everyone in here as a very good, more productive, peaceful and a happy New Year! 



Hypr1's picture

2011 will have to trump 2010 for us both

Hi - sounds like venting helped. Since my ADD and other issues have affected my marriage heavily in the last year, and even beyond that; my non-add spouse made other plans for tonight because as she said, "I was so upset at you". I just found that out Wednesday, so I was a shocked, because we have always spent the last 29 new years eve together. I'm not alone, my grand-daughter is with me but I am very, very despondent even though. We had a good talk wednesday so I was hopeful, but the last thing in the talk was that she wouldn't be here tonight. I just don't have any energy for venting. Holding on to resentments is very, very tiring. I am also hoping 2011 is a new, new era in my relationship. I just hope I'm able to concentrate on the important stuff.

Hang in there and happy new year to you to!

The hard choice: don't react with cruelty

The hardest thing is to not react with the same attitude they show us. It's frustrating, it's maddening. You'd think if our wives really love us, they'd at least sow some sympathy for us as people labeled with "a problem." 

Well, my wife just got home at 3am, said she went alone because I was unfaithful to her (I kissed an ex girlfriend in 2000, confessed it in 2006 as we sought to make a fresh start of our marriage), then that she feels uncomfortable with me. And now we're arguing. She no longer listens. Her every comment is to express how much I have hurt her. She doesn't accept that my inattention isn't intentional. She thinks all these years (18) I have ignored her on purpose, to bother her, to show she's less than others. 

But I don't now what it's like to be in her shoes. I don't know what it's like to not be able to trust her. That's right, I can trust her. She's so dependable, including the amount of criticism I get, and what t's about, and how deep it hurts me to know that virtually every single day of our married life I get to hear that I have failed her somehow, whether it's a look at a friend of hers that gets misinterpreted, or the actual ex-girlfriend kiss, or forgetting to take out the trash, or forgetting to pay a bill that goes to collections, or the job that I couldn't hold onto. 

That's my problem, the pain of knowing that this girl that I fell in love with when I met her in a toy store is now the woman who looks at me as a hyper child that she's at her wits end about, and a thorn in her side, and someone she needs to get rid of because her life is such a mess with me around. She has no idea what's coming next: another job, another illness, another debt, another female "friend" that she is suspicious of. 

I guess I couldn't live with that, either. I guess I'd need a break from the unpredicitability, just like I ended up working late just to get a break from the nagging, the constant correcting, the constant being spoken to like a child. 

Here's the rub: it's both awful, what we do to each other, how we treat each other, but it's NOT mirror images, it's NOT two sides of the same coin. There is no one solution that will apply to both of us. I have to work 127% on my unique issues, and she needs to work 128% on hers. Making it worse is the fact that the non-ADD spouse has this feeling that they're getting treated unfairly, that this isn't their problem, that they didn't cause this, or ask for it, and wasn't prepared for this. And the later the diagnosis comes, the more time there has been for troubled water to pass under the bridge, making them more and more suspicious all the time, more and more untrusting, and more and more fatigued. Maybe to the point that they need more than just a New Year's Eve apart from us. 

So yes, it's a new year, but no, I don't have much reason to be optimistic in my case. For the first time in, what, 19 or 20 years, I spent New Year's alone, too. Not knowing where she was. I know I hurt, a lot. But I also know she hurts a lot. I don't want to respond with another cruelty. I will pray for calm instead, to forgive, even if I'm never forgiven.

Here's to Twenty-Eleven!

waynebloss's picture

Re: Responding

I have found out that if I respond to how I feel on the inside then somehow it is my fault, it is my ADD that will not let it go and that I need to get over it.  I think she knows how i feel but to ensure she knows how I feel is not the way I want to be anymore.  I was like that before I found out about ADD and started all the changes and I do not want to go back to that EVER.  So I am just going to smile and be nice and treat her like I would like to be treated and see if 2011 can actually be a better year. 

The real kicker will be tomorrow.  We both decided to try the healing separation method and even wrote down our thoughts, our wants and talked about it.  We agreed on 99% of everything and she was supposed to write everything up so we can review and sign so that we are held accountable for the final decisions.  As of today, she has continued to turn to her friends, turn away from me and has not yet started any of the changes she stated she needed to do.  It has only been a month and we both agreed not to start until today, but she is still not home from the party last night so, we will see what happens today/tonight and tomorrow. I have decided and told my therapist who agreed that if she does not show signs of anything that she said she needs to do, then I will address it with her and start the process of a real separation/divorce.  I understand the pain, hurt and all the suffering that I caused but this is a marriage which is a 2 way dance so she also has issues that she needs to start to address, start working on this marriage or we need to cut ties and go about our separate ways.  I am tried of being ignored, I am tried of being the one who is being punished and I will not be treated this way too much longer.  It has been almost exactly 1 year of this treatment and it will not be another one! 

With that being said, I am going be just like have been since Nov, ensuring that Wayne and his kids are taking care and continue moving forward in a positive direction.  I need to continue with my changes and I will see where it goes.  I will not treat her the same way she has treated me, I know how that feels and it is stepping backward and we cannot go backwards too much more!  So I will continue to breath, count to 10-20-30-40 or whatever I need to count to to ensure I do not react first, and continue to build my patience tank.  I feel that this is what I need to do to be the best Wayne for Wayne and his kids.  Maybe that will ripple down to her and she will see this as well.  

Again, I hope that everyone has a WONDERFUL weekend, and that 2011 will bring peace and light to your life and your relationships!


Yes, it is crucial to your

Yes, it is crucial to your real changes and your real healing to not fall into the trap of becoming angry and bitter when you aren't being treated the way you need/want. It is much healthier to be honest about what you need, ask if it is possible for her to give that to you, and go your separate ways if she can't/won't. It is unhealthy for anyone to react to hurtful behavior with anger or 'revenge' type actions. A year is an extremely long time...but the real epiphany didn't come for you until just a couple of months although it seems like forever, try to keep that in perspective. I have always felt that as long as you were trying, going to counseling, taking meds, and arming yourself with the tools you need to correct the hurtful effects of ADHD on your marriage that she should at least reciprocate SOMETHING. We've all been hurt, I fully understand her need to be able to trust you again before letting her guard down....but there comes a time when you either plug in or pull out, ya know? Yours is definitely a tricky situation..with no easy answers. I have to admit, I think you're doing the right thing by setting some boundaries for yourself. I hope we get good news soon.


waynebloss's picture

Re:Good News

You will get good news no matter what happens.  Either we are going to be married or we are going to let each other go to be that "one" for someone else.  It is in God's hands, all I can do is obey and do what I am told! DAMN,  I knew that saying from my mother would come back to haunt me!

Going to get a few hours of sleep before i go to work tonight! 

Have a good one!



Yes and Yes

Since graduating from college, I have seen a psychologist, a social worker (alone and together), a psychiatrist who told me sexual addictions are a myth and what I should really do is convince my wife to participate in fantasies, a marriage counselor, another psychiatrist, and another psychologist. I have, at sundry times, been prescribed Xanax, Wellbutrin, Lexapro, and Cymbalta. 

NOVA1986's picture

Doctors and medicine.

That it has being a serious search. It is not easy to find the right psychologist or psychiatrist. So just let's pray to some day find the right one who really can help and in a moment when we are able to humble ourselves and accept the things in the way they are. It is already difficult to understand our own behavior so it is more difficult to understand others. Today at church we were talking about feeling offended is a choice, and we can work in no reacting when we think somebody says or does something that make as feel uncomfortable. I think there are different levels of actions and word that hit us in a way that our bodies react with out giving us time to chose how to react. For me is the stomach, I feel it tide, sometimes is like this thing in a amusement park like Six Flags "Superman" where you go very high and fall down in less than 3 seconds. Or in Roller Coaster when you finish feeling nauseous. So even you are not expecting be offended or even thinking somebody is going to say something, the body as a natural reaction moves inside, telling us protect yourself. We all do or say something that hurt others. Even as parents we can inflict with face expression, with lack of attention, under anger or fear feelings to say thing to our kids that can harm them tremendously. With spouses is the same and unfortunately for all of us who married a ADDer not having any idea what is happening we fall really deep in this kind of mistreat. And the ADDers just react negatively to our negative reaction. Our Psycho is affected like any other stressful situation in life. I do believe that after having enough knowledge of the situation and mental condition we have to do something about it; working on it or and maybe separation or divorce in some cases could be part of the therapy. For both parties. We all are good people wanted the best for our families but sick mentally and even physically with all of this, and this specific case ADD it requires a lot of effort, maybe an effort that probably we are not able to make because we are not capable to do it.

I believe in God, and lately I am learning AGAIN that he loves me. He has been showing me his love in different ways, so no matter what happen with my marriage if I individually seek for his help and light (and my husband also), even after divorce we will be able to be happy and blessed. We will be able to feel his pure love for us and maybe another opportunity will show up to form another family. We don't know what is going to happen in the future in the same way we didn't know we were going to through this nightmare. We all are going to our best but for me personally I can not make it without his divine help. 

127, 128, whatever it takes

Hi Sherri,

I picked those numbers because one includes my favorite numbers, and the other is just the next integer in the sequence. It is not meant to imply that she needs to do more than me, or that there's any need for different sized contributions, or that those contributions can be quantified at all.

BTW, I did see your reply to my wife's post, and I would like to challenge you on one comment, something you said along the lines of my needing to focus on fixing my issues 100% regardless of what my spouse does. do you think I'm doing nothing? What makes you so sure my wife's version of events is not exaggerated, or just plain untrue?

I'll be honest with you, from what I've seen on this blog so far, it is just a dumping ground for unattached emotional spew that is falling from the skies like burning lava from exploding volcanoes. Misunderstandings, cruelties, no empathy, and love turned into real hate. It's both the ADDers and the non-ADDers. I supposes it's good to know we're not alone, but so much of what I've read is the opposite of "moral" support. It's the entrenchment of opposing views. It's justifying our own intolerance and prejudice. Ideas like giving, forgiving, empathy, service, are so completely lacking here that it is no wonder we all feel like my wife said, "lost in an ocean confusion."

ADDers and non-ADDers look at a color, and one group sees red, the other blue. but instead of trying to deal with that as the reality, we expend all of our energy and goodwill on trying to convince the other side that it's really the color WE see, and most definitely NOT the color THEY see, and aren't they crazy for seeing it their way, and aren't they making us crazy by seeing it their way. It's like trying to convince a colorblind person that their colorblindness is their own damn fault, and that they're purposefully colorblind because they want to hurt others. Either that, or they use it as an excuse to wear crazy clothes.

Bottom line: If you can't handle your ADDer or your non-ADDer, go your own way. Try to find your own solutions, work hard for every inch of progress you can make, and free that other person to do the same, no questions asked, no incriminations, no hurtful speech. If, on the other hand, you can accept that the old saw "nobody's perfect" as being literally true, if can entertain the thought that if you stop thinking about your own hurt feelings, you might be happier, and if you are willing to partner with someone who will do the same so they can be with you, then give up the hurt. Free YOURSELF from the pain, and free your partner from the awful burden of being judged as less than ordinary, substandard, a hurter or a cheater, or cruel. Save them from feeling like the world is caving in on them with every next inevitable mistake. ADDers and non-ADDers alike are prone to suffer this, but it's wrong. We are, each of us, possessive of a unique value given every living creature as a birthright, and there is no reason that I can think of for another human being to feel licensed to pass judgment on someone else's self worth.

Either you love each other, or you don't. Either you'll lift each other, or you won't. It takes two to tango, but it takes two complete, real, clear-eyed, wholly dedicated individuals to journey together through life. 

waynebloss's picture

Re: Bottom Line

Based on your post, "If you can't handle your ADDer or your non-ADDer, go your own way." you are telling your wife should divorce you and take the kids with her because she cannot live with you, your ADHD and your actions?  Really, you want that? 

So to be honest, to make sure that assumptions are not being made, are these true? Have or are you still doing what she posted? 

1. fall in love with other women,

2. He wrote love letters to a beautiful young women from a foreign country, bring home a video with her and refused to throw it away when I discovered, (I begged him with tears in my eyes to disappear it)

3. He refused to go for a walk with me with and our girls during Christmas vacation, but he spend hours in the computer in facebook and sending e-mail to a student of him who knows about our marital problems,

4. He kisses an ex-girl friend after calling her several times (before and after the kiss) and visit the airport where he used to meet her every time she visit the city (she was a flight attendant). I remember asking him, please don't call her.

5. He gives shoulder massages to a friend of mine that he knows she is complaining about her husband who doesn't touch her,

6. He easily find out about the live of woman who are divorced or are physical attractive (or some kind of attraction for him),

Now 1-6 is what your wife wrote so right now it is a one sided story, so be honest are these true?  Do you actually do or have done any of these?  If so, then I would like to know how these actions tell your wife or your kids that you love them, that you will lift them up, that you are dedicated to the journey of life with your family? 

I hopw that this does not come across as me attacking you, if it does then I am sorry, but just wanted to know from your point of view how if you have done or still doing the above actions, and based on your last statement are you showing her that you love her, love your family or love your kids? 

I was addicted to porn, I cheated on my wife, I did 1-6, except refusing to walk with my family.  I was the ass$%^$ who put my family through this.  It took my wife telling that either (A) I get help, I attempt medication and I change my ways or that (B) she and the kids were gone and that was it.  I, deep down wanted A, I did not want to lose my wife and kids so I sought help, stopped my addictions and start to make changes, so yes this is the "pot calling the kettle black" because I am the pot. I have stopped, not quit, but stopped the actions that showed my I did not care and start actions that shows my wife and family that I do care. 


I do sympathize with your

I do sympathize with your opinions. We are all at different points on the journey. Here are some particulars on our situation, so that maybe they'll help others know figure out where they are as well. 

1. fall in love with other women,

I teach at a university at which the student population is 65% women. If you look through my email and my social networks, you'll find about 65% are women. The faculties of higher education are still dominated by men. I respect all my students, care for them, and work with them the best I can to ensure their success. I have NEVER had a relationship in word or deed with a female student that includes sex, touching, or anything other than the most cursory shows of affection (like a hug at the graduation ceremony). I am very aware of this being a potential hazard to everyone, and I am content with the professional relationships we have.

2. He wrote love letters to a beautiful young women from a foreign country, bring home a video with her and refused to throw it away when I discovered, (I begged him with tears in my eyes to disappear it)

Happened once, in June of 2009, after I returned from a trip tempted by a desire to change my life suddenly and completely. I wrote some notes in my journal because I was considering sending to a young lady I met at a conference while abroad. I did not have an affair with this woman. We had dinner one night, and while I was smitten, true, I did not at the time let on how she played her role in my  sudden life-changing plan. My wife found this because she read through my journal after I got home. I had left the notes there while I was still debating the wisdom of writing such a letter, and I had forgotten about them for a couple of days. 

The video was a 5 second clip amidst 2 hours of video I took on the trip. She found that, too. I did trash it, after a few weeks during which I didn't look at it. The night I did trash it, she saw me  look at it multiple times over a good ten minute period while I lamented that I was about to trash the last vestige my once great life-altering plan. All other things - the woman's phone number, address, email, etc., were trashed weeks before.

3. He refused to go for a walk with me with and our girls during Christmas vacation, but he spend hours in the computer in facebook and sending e-mail to a student of him who knows about our marital problems,

The reason I refused this walk was because it was 15 degrees at 9am on a snow-covered trail, and I just don't find that stuff adventurous anymore after working at an airport when I was younger, having to fuel and tow airplanes in driving snow and ice. I went on plenty of other activities, walks at the ski slopes, plays, dinners, even dates with the two of us, during that trip. The emails were to a college student I've taught, whose knowledge of our marital problems started and ended with a single comment on my part that we were considering divorce, and I was worried about the effect on our daughters (this girl had told me earlier about her parents' divorce and how that affected her academically). The emails were links to music examples, a shared interest, and NEVER was my relationship in them). 

4. He kisses an ex-girl friend after calling her several times (before and after the kiss) and visit the airport where he used to meet her every time she visit the city (she was a flight attendant). I remember asking him, please don't call her.

True. I had dated this woman in 1989. I had called here in 1996. The kiss happened in the year 2000. No other touching or petting. The last time I talked to her on the phone was 2005. 

5. He gives shoulder massages to a friend of mine that he knows she is complaining about her husband who doesn't touch her,

Open to interpretation. This friend is a photographer, and was editing some of her work on a desktop computer when we were visiting on a holiday in 2004. I came up behind her, announced my presence, put my hands on her shoulders, and said, "What are you working on?" I squeezed her shoulders once or twice, then let go, and left the room. It was my wife's friend who characterized this as a "massage." 

6. He easily find out about the live of woman who are divorced or are physical attractive (or some kind of attraction for him),

Could be. But I am rather talkative and tend to find out a lot of things about a lot of people of both sexes. I would imagine I am probably clumsy in how I share this information with my wife. 

Now, I am in no way trying to say I'm the innocent victim here, because even though I am relieved that I have been able to keep from going further, I do recognize that I was at least tempted, and in the case of the girl from abroad I did get to a point I had never before, that I might finally give in, give up the struggle, and create a game-changer.

I've tried to express how most of this bad behavior is caused by my unhappiness with myself, with what I don't understand, with what I see as my own deep personal failures, with stacks and stacks of deep disappointment over how my life has turned out, and especially the pain that I have caused this precious pearl that I once fell in love with. But she's not buying it. It seems that her feeling is that deep down, I've done all this on purpose to hurt her because I never really loved her. 

It should also be added that divorce is something my wife has been asking for for at least five years now. She stopped saying she loved me in 2007, and she told me she was going to stop saying she loved me. 

I can only imagine how awful it has been for her to go through seeing me so unhappy, so unable to focus even on the things I say I love, perceive me as more interested in other women (I can't count how many time we've gone to a public place, only to have her get angry about my looking at a woman I can't even remember afterward, including a high school football game where she said I was looking at the cheerleaders too much). There have been job issues (three dismissals), late fees for bills even when there was plenty of money in the bank.  

The "last straw," I think, has been the last few months, with a stressful move so I could accept a position that suddenly and unexpectedly has issues that she readily admits are not my fault, but that do put my position in jeopardy.  Her anger and frustration has boiled over to the point that, in her words, have turned her into something she is not: angry, vindictive, violent. 

I'm not going to do that. I am not going to live the rest of my life thinking of myself as the one who took a mature, structured, loving, sensible woman and turned her into a screaming, angry, nagging pessimist. As we split, we are pledged to do everything humanly possible to put our children first and do the best we can for them. But there's a big difference between sacrificing our own needs and wants for them and staying in a situation that robs all of us of our daily peace of mind.

Hope that helps. 

Oncehadalife:RE explaining things...

Wow....It's most likely not what you want to read, but I can understand why your wife feels like she does. It's not your wives' view of what as happened but, more of your explanation of what happened. My husband has not done the things you confess to doing but, the things that he has done that hurt me and is explaining it is like that of yours. I ask you before "are you on med's and in counseling" your answer was not straight forward it was more like you have taken/done counsling.The things that my husband has done has effected me and how I feel, not just about us. I have a lot to heal from and today I get the impression that he may be with me for the wrong reason. He is not on med's now, but the last I knew he does have an appointment to see both doctor/counselor 1/25. There is so much work in any marriage without ADHD, then when untreated ADHD is present it makes it more work on the spouse. Yes, I said more on the non ADHD spouse, because UNTREATED ADHD DOES DESTROY MARRIAGES and that is NOT MY OPTION IT IS A FACT. I hope you are/will get the help you need and re-read your explanation of the events you and your wife wrote. I'm not saying your wife's reaction has not had an effect on your marriage , but there is a lot of healing that needs time to happen. I have not been on here but a few months, but I will say what I have read of Waynebloss blogs he has a healthy view of the effects of ADHD has on a spouse. I pray that you take this as it was meant, from another spouse of an untreated ADHD that loves her husband.

Yeah, you're right that I

Yeah, you're right that I didn't answer the question directly. Yes, I am currently taking Cymbalta for depression, and amphetamines for the ADD. These were prescribed by a psychiatrist I have seen as needed since last March, and I've been seeing the psychologist that he recommended weekly since the summer. These meetings have taking the form of dealing with sexual addiction and some childhood abuse events that I had not - until now - considered very important. 

I have some long, rambling post, I think to Wayne and SherriW13, that fill out some of the details of my life and the good and bad, successful and unsuccessful ways I've tried to deal with the whole thing. I first considered ADD the issues starting in 2006 or 2007 after seeing an interview with a  person I very much admire who admitted to having it. The official diagnosis was in Jan. of 2008, and shortly after that I tried Adderall, but it made my blood pressure go up too much. 

I think you're right about it being harder for the non-ADD spouse. It really is like taking care of someone else in addition to yourself, what with the forgotten appointments/chores/favors, lost keys/glasses/documents, late registrations/rental payments/bills. And with us you can add hospital visits due to forgotten diabetes meds, a crashed car.

For the longest time, I thought my wife was just being strict, suspicious, even downright cruel. But since the summer of 2009, I have been working so had on my ability to see things from a different perspective, to be able to break out of my own mindsets and viewpoints and try to walk in her shoes a while. While I know I still harbor frustration with her, the majority of my resentment is directed  at the unfairness inherent at having a problem that I didn't understand, didn't recognize, and therefore was powerless to do anything about. Years and years wasted fighting the wrong problems, blaming the wrong things, blaming and fighting my wife. 

She has tried everything she knew and a few things he didn't to hammer back into the box, and all that time thought I was just being an awful, horrible jerk to her, a traitor to her, when in the end she is probably is the least thing to blame.

Her goodwill is just exhausted. At this point, it seems like the noblest, kindest thing I can still do for her is release her from this awful state of mind. 

I am working hard on this, I really am, and I am making progress, I really am. I can see it, feel it. but like I might have said to someone else, maybe too much troubled water has passed under the bridge. The worst thing is the broken trust. And when dishonesty is involved, trust is almost impossible to repair. If she can never trust me again, then who am I to insist she live the rest of her life unsettled by doubt?

I truly hope things go better for you and your husband. I would only add that one of the things that really shocked me about getting into recovery mode was how I felt just crushed by this feeling that I was - whether my fault of the ADD's - useless, a burden, a source of pain for others, a broken thing. As a teacher, I liked to pride myself on my attitude that no one is beyond reach, that everyone has a unique, personal value. But  I couldn't believe that way about myself anymore, not as I began to face all the awful, horrible feelings I had put everyone around me through. I felt like I had failed my wife, my family, my students, my colleagues at work, a few business partners, and heck even a few old girlfriends. somewhere in the back of my mind, though, I seemed to remember that God would love me, still, though. And though it was REALLY hard to approach him from where I was, that was the one tiny spot of solid, dry ground where I've begun to rebuild. 

no matter hoe defiant I've been, how deep in denial, or how secretive I've been in the past, the one thing I really, really wish I could take back is how much I've hurt my wife. It may be too late for her to ever accept that from me, but I hope you get to see your husband feel the same someday.

My Husband...yr advice

I have been up all night , can't sleep I have not seem him since 12/31. We had a few words and he went to his camper, then I left the next day. Background on us. He is 52 been married 3 times with us being the longest @ 2 yrs, the others were 7months, and 3 months, he divorced one because he said she would not stop smoking, the other because he never loved her,had to drive to far and she confronted him about never going to have anything when he would not buy a house with her. Me I've been married 3 times also: 8yrs,12yrs and 2yrs most of my adult life (45).I divorced because cheating/alcoholic. Thank GOD NEITHER OF US HAVE ANY CHILDREN OF OUR OWN.

Now I today I was told of a conversation he had Saturday night with a friend of mine that kinda surprised me. It went kinda like this: hubby told friend he didn't love me, but he liked the benefits, wished I leave and fall in love with my best friend, he wished he had not divorce the last wife. Hubby also said he knew he had ADHD and sometimes it effected me, but sometimes he did things and just let me think it was ADHD.Hubby also said maybe he would not go to the doctor because he knew that I would leave. Can you shed any light on this mess.

I would only add that one of

I would only add that one of the things that really shocked me about getting into recovery mode was how I felt just crushed by this feeling that I was - whether my fault of the ADD's - useless, a burden, a source of pain for others, a broken thing. As a teacher, I liked to pride myself on my attitude that no one is beyond reach, that everyone has a unique, personal value. But I couldn't believe that way about myself anymore, not as I began to face all the awful, horrible feelings I had put everyone around me through. I felt like I had failed my wife, my family, my students, my colleagues at work, a few business partners, and heck even a few old girlfriends. somewhere in the back of my mind, though, I seemed to remember that God would love me, still, though. And though it was REALLY hard to approach him from where I was, that was the one tiny spot of solid, dry ground where I've begun to rebuild.

This is extremely painful for me to read...I worry that my husband is feeling some of this, now that he's on medication and able to 'think clearly' for the first time in his life. I worry because I feel like it is driving us apart. I feel like it is tearing him apart...inside. How do you deal with it? How do you forgive yourself? I have forgiven him for everything. I don't care how stupid that might make me seem, I forgive the past...completely. The future MUST be bright though...and must involve hard word and dedication to our marriage...that's all I ask. Is it too much, sometimes? Are you too overwhelmed with the feeling of being a failure to find the strength to move forward and do the hard work to avoid feeling this way in the future? Do you just give up? I thought my acceptance and love would be enough...but one slight set back, me struggling to understand his moods and overwhelming emotions (negative), and he acts as though I have given him no credit for anything and says me being upset about it just makes it worse. Any thoughts?

Although it makes me sad, I admire you for caring enough about your wife to let her go and find peace...I wish the men here who aren't willing to be accountable for the effects of their ADHD on their relationships would do the same. It is so unfair to underestimate the destruction it can do...and such a pity to walk away from such a treatable disorder.

Loved that paragraph...


waynebloss's picture

How do you deal with it? How

How do you deal with it? How do you forgive yourself? 

These are 2 good questions that I think all of us with ADD have come to a stand still right now trying to figure it out.  The way I deal with it is 2 ways

1.  Pray and talk with God, he/she is the only one that understands and is willing to forgive no matter what

2.  Wake up each day with a smile and try to be has happy and free as I can be. There are days when I want to go back to bed, but I must say FIDO (F'It, Drive On).  I remember the changes that I have made, the 2 children who count on me for that smile and for a wife who has not checkd out of the marrriage who still sometimes talks to me and smile which gives me some hope that we will make it.  But most of all I know that the changes I have made and continue with are going to make me a better person today, tomorrow and the next.  I do not look backwards, I do not hold on to the past.  I can't it I could not begin to heal if I did.  I think this is where my wife is having issues, not letting go of the hurt, pain and mistrust from the past which will not allow her to move forward. 

How do I forgive myself? That is a hard one for me at times, I see how my wife is to me today and it reminds me of what we did to each other in the past.  It rubs those raw nerves with salt!!  I pray again, asking for forgiveness from God and from my wife.  I take it day by day, understanding how I need to be and how I DO NOT want to be.  In time I can forgive myself, but I struggle with it now. 



How much difference would it

How much difference would it make for you Wayne, if you got her complete forgiveness? Would you be more easily able to forgive yourself or are these two totally separate issues?

Do you think that me mentioning something from the past could be interpreted by him as me not forgiving the past? I want to be certain that he feels forgiven by me, and that just because I made reference to it or that maybe because the pain still stings from time to time, that doesn't mean that I haven't forgiven him. I am not saying I say "well, you cheated" or anything that deliberate or direct...just a reference to something that bothers me...because I make the connection between it and his affair...even though he doesn't.

waynebloss's picture

Re: Do not know

They are separate issues to me.  I have forgiven myself, I have completely forgiven myself and have not looked back.  I do not think that I will ever get her full forgiveness, I think that she wants to hold on to it for some reason. 

Mentioning something from the past?  How did you mentioned it? During a discussion, after something happen and both of you are mad?  It depends on the situation to me, depends on how, why it was mentioned and the "feelings" at that time. 



We were discussing the death

We were discussing the death of a musician he knew. This man was an aquaintence of his...but not really a friend, per say. The band the guy was in was one that plays at local bars and restaurants and when he was having his affair they went to see this band frequently. It was all during a time in his life when he had nothing to do with me...but he sent me one of their songs during our separation (I am a broken man..if I said I'm sorry would you forgive me) and it was very painful for me. He proceeds to discuss the band, their music, and was playing some of it for me to hear. Honestly I am not sure he thought I could make the connection, and I am certain HE didn't make the connection to the band and the girl...but I told him that it was hurtful to hear the music and know he shared that with her. I felt really selfish afterwards...but I literally felt like my head would explode from the depressing music and the memories that went with it. It isn't that I haven't forgiven him, just that I didn't want something carrying that much memory..I just couldn't handle it. How would this make you feel?
waynebloss's picture


I do not know how that would make me feel.  I know that there are songs that I know and associate with past lovers in my life.  A few Jen knows and has made it clear that she does not want me to explain why that song is important to me.  I do understand this request and followed it.  As long as he knows that it makes you feel uncomfortable then she should honor your request and not tell you about it.  If he continues, then to me he is not listening to you, he is only listening to himself. 

Hypr1's picture

Forgiveness and communication

Sorry about replying belatedly, so many days have passed. SherriW13 and Wayne - I read your posts more than once (meds working, but still difficult to read more than about 30secs at a time)!! I really got a lot out of them all.

Wayne's item #1 is great! God's forgiveness is given by our action, asking and wanting it. The heartache of wanting, action of asking for it helps to dissipate the ache.

#2 is great, too. I love FIDO - I'm gonna get one. How do you forgive yourself? Refer to #1. The past is under the bridge, and the future is uncertain - so remember the moment, it's all we have. Our ADD minds skip around into the future, eh? I digress... I've found out in my past - that forgiveness from a loved one usually only follows intense hard work and consistency from us. It is way easier to keep the trust then it is to regain it. I hate that. My mind can spin up a dozen different futures, unfortunately most of them are not good. So - I lose myself to that process while the moment slips away.

Communication - wha? Uh... oh - I don't want to talk about the hurt I've caused her - she probably doesn't either. But we are in counseling and if we don't talk about what happened how can we avoid it in the future. Hearing her talk about those things IS like salt on a wound. I HOPE it is therapeutic for her. I am trying to smile and do and be a more useful person. I fear I am doing it only to gain her favor. Maybe I am. If that is true - then there is not much hope. But if I practice those things (#1, #2, FIDO, forgiveness, communication, therapy), maybe I can actually get to the happy, fun, useful individual I know I can be.

Gosh I hate long posts -- trying to keep it terse, and pertinent. ;-)

Great paragraph, indeed...

After the elation of knowing how ADD explains so many things about yourself and the meds are normalized, I went through a pretty long period of sadness over all the behaviors throughout my life that caused pain to my wife, children, family, friends, co-workers that could never be undone. During this period my wife was Most Angry with me off and on as she tried to process everything. This made it worse, because I felt incredibly bad and was understanding how ADD broken self had caused much of her sadness/anger and she did not want to hear about anything ADD related. To this day, it has been difficult to hear her say she did not really have issues with the old me and really did not notice too much difference. My wife has not been interested in reading anything about the condition, which I think reading the posts from people who shared similar experiences would help.

You are right, SherriW, when the wet blanket is removed from the ADD head you see everything, good and bad, it takes a long time to adjust to processing all the extra stuff that just passed us by in the past.

Things are slowly improving and that is all I can ask. 


NOVA1986's picture

This is very interesting... I

This is very interesting... I really don't know what to think. The level on dishonest of my husband is beyond my understanding. I will paste a few phrases he just wrote few hours ago to the same student he was writing during our Christmas vacation in 2009. This time the student came back to be in touch because she applied to job here in town, so she wanted to know if my husband can help her with contacts in the company she wants to work. The first communication were find, very professional, to the point; but as soon my husband added some charming/funny sentences to it the communication started in my point of view not appropriate. In the past I share some of these communications with his Psychiatrist, psychologist and our bishop at church (who also is a professor for  PhD program in another very prestigious University in town) All of them agree that these kind of communication must not exist between professor-student.

What surprise me is that at the same time he can be able to write such a wonderful things in this blog. I notice some of his post are confusing and not clear, but some of them are just what we will love to read. Here they are the sentences.

1st communication:

" I hope you are doing well. It's been good to be
a little in touch with you again!

Would you like to catch up sometime? There's so
much new stuff going on. These are OK, maybe.


" Not sure where Josh disappeared to. Do
you know? I really want to play a lot more in '11. I think you should
work for us! ;)


"So what's up for New Year's for you? (Ha! Don't worry that I'll
suddenly show up. I have really solid plans to watch them drop Snookie
in the Times Square Ball from a safe distance through my TV.  ;) ).


"Haha. (her name), having you bother me would pretty much be a dream come
true! Unfortunately I should tell you the same thing! If I ever bother
you ... ;) But seriously, I am always eager to see you" ......"and every other
student of mine be the most successful they can possibly be, so if I
can do something to help, I actually really enjoy it"

"LOL. Between booze and 5-Hr., I might have to go with the booze!"

In his "notes"for the foreign 25 years old woman,( he started with her name like a letter) Also he did that in his final e-mail when he was there he wanted to go out with her to find out about her, what music she likes, about her family, any personal information to get to know her. He wrote a message telling her that the dinner out was going to be just with him, because in previous message from her, she mentioned that she was going to be happy to show the city to him (my husband) and his father who flew to hang out with him after the seminar he was attending.He wrote something like : "I don't want you to think a old-american professor in falling in love with you... I also love ... and he named other seminar attendants.

So he flirts a lot in a very smooth way to get the other person feel good and then hide his real intentions turning aside with a more accurate sentence. 

As you see after flirting/funny, charming sentence it follows another sentence to alleviate the "high". He does this often. It's like a farmer preparing the land for the seed, but at the end when is time to harvest he laydown and forget about it...and then another subject sooner or later come to the scene. Or maybe the subject started feeling uncomfortable and confront him so the "love/fantasy story" ends. It happened already with a very good friend of him. She is a singer and theater actress married with University professor. I think according to my husband she was starting feeling something that maker feel confuse. The same neighbor who share with him some pornography literature also send him an e-mail telling him to stop sending her non-sense e-mails, that she didn't have time for that. This woman wasn't married but she was in serious relationship and living with him.

I have several examples of this kind of smooth seduction techniques that until now they have been ended in no more than a short term limerence for one reason or another.

My husband is a very creative and with wonderful and sarcastic sense of humor. I use to laugh a lot with him, he really is a very enjoyable person to hang out with. He also is very well educated with a lot of knowledge about everything you can imagine, technology, politics, economy, music (he is a composer and I love his music), history, etc... so you never get bored with him. He is a soft talker, just a really pleasant person.

I don't think his feeling to serve his students is fake. I think he really love them and appreciate them very much, and I hope his students always see in him somebody that they can trust and receive professional help.

The danger of this, for his progress is while he is working very hard in just one issue (as his psychologist suggested) for a month, 2 months, a year, 2 years or a life time, he continues adding more issues to solve in his bag. SO in this routine left him with no time for him to really achieved what he wants in his career, relationship, marriage, passions, etc.

So I don't really get very impress with his accurate post because I see besides that the same not very accurate behavior.

I know he can do a lot better. He is an extraordinary human being and he deserves better life that he has.

If any of you would like to pray for the entire people in this blog I am sure it will help.

Thank you for sharing your fears, your angry, your frustration, your goal, your achievements, your hopes, etc. I still believe after the tunnel is a light, and we all want to reach it, Adders and non-Adders.



I can tell you that there is

I can tell you that there is some of that communication that would NOT be OK with me, and he really needs to figure out why he needs to 'pump himself up' this way. Something is VERY lacking that this kind of attention isn't concentrated solely on his wife and marriage.  Some people would be OK with it, but if you aren't, then he needs to set boundaries for himself and keep his 'chatting' to strictly professional. This is NOT professional and not a way any of my professors would talk to/ relate to me. I would be very uncomfortable with it, as a matter of fact.

I think you are dead on...he needs to feed his ego by flirting...but probably rationalizes that it is not flirting or that there is nothing wrong with it by adding his 'withdraw' sentence. It really does feel wrong to me...I don't think you're wrong to feel that there is a line he is crossing. I hope he can figure out why he has to feed his ego off of every woman who is within e-mail, text, or ear shot.

Sorry..just my opinion...take it for what it is worth.


NOVA1986's picture

RE: I can tell you that there is

EXACTAMENTE! 100 agree with everything you say. We all human beings flirt is natural is part of our development, but also to set boundaries as well. 

A direct response

Here's the long and short of it. My self-esteem - by that, I mean a real and balanced feeling that I have personal worth as an individual - has just been trashed for the longest time. Part of that trashing occurred when I started my profession in my chosen field and found it harder than I expected. Part of that trashing occurred when I gave up my chosen field to pursue something I thought would be more practical, reasonable to others, and lucrative. Though I at times blamed my wife for pushing me away from it, which is the wrong conclusion, by the way, she admittedly played a role in encouraging me to do something else because she said I looked so miserable at what I was doing. 

I slowly drifted away from many of the things I loved and the career I prepared for, and got slowly more miserable as I felt less and less secure in these new areas. I doubted myself as I found myself surrounded by coworkers with much more experience than I had. And then on top of that came the mystery of why certain "little things" began to damage my work relationships. Things like being late, missing instructions, not being able to sit through meetings, etc.. personal frustrations. I'm sure you recognize these symptoms. 

This is when bad feelings began to accumulate. Some pornography (which, by the way, was never that big a problem when I was younger), the chatting up my wife's friends, flirting with the women I worked with. You're darned right that made my wife mad. I can't blame her. She had all the right in the world. But she didn't understand, either, and assumed I was just being a philanderer, like her dad and in her words, "Every other man!"

Within a couple of years, I was waking up in the morning thinking, "What is going on here? Why am I going back to this job? Why is my wife so mad at me all the time? Why is she correcting me all the time? When did she start swearing? Why is she treating me like a child? What am I doing here? This is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife!"

During two very busy years in grad school, virtually all of this disappeared. I was very happy and very focused on my studies, and convinced that it was the best thing for my future. Even my wife and I were getting along smashingly. 

When I got out and tried to get into jobs that were similar to the one I had before, only managerial, then all that bad stuff came back. And with a vengeance. Now I was at times outwardly mean to my wife, guessing that maybe the problem is that culturally I wasn't standing up to her like I should. Now we have two cursing "Mel Gibsons" in the house. And being unemployed with a grad degree does NOTHING good for your self esteem. Employment issues put a man's very soul at risk.

So, Bottom Line again: the porn, the distractions, noticing other women,they werer all about masking over that pain with temporary band-aid. I'm sure if I drank, I would have developed alcoholism. And those little "personal touches" in messages, they are all about praying beyond hope that someone would just LIKE me. Not fall in love with me or sweep me off my feet into a 21 year old's fantasy, but just confirm that I'm not really a bad person, that I'm not the total failure that I feel like I am almost 24/7. I have said this before and will say it again, I have NEVER done anything to seduce or suggest anything sexual with any of my students, and no inappropriate physical contact. I truly wish only the best for them. But often, I end up being overly accommodating, overly nice, and trying too hard to reassure them of my sincere concern for their success, in hopes that they will occasionally say, "Hey, you're alright!"

Since your barriers are probably healthy and not washed into ruins around your feet by years of pounding waves, like I feel mine are, you may not know what that's like. There are days when that simple thank you or a brief conversation in a hallway will make my eyes tear up, will save my entire day, or week. I know I can't live like this long-term, and I'm doing quite a bit to overcome this. But it will take some time, and some guts. 

First, let me thank you..I

First, let me thank you..I know that was probably not easy for you...and I'm very impressed with the way you are able to put into words your thoughts and feelings. I know this does not come easy for most with ADHD. You cannot imagine how helpful it is for those of us who might recognize some of your issues in our own husbands/marriages. It is what one would suspect, the need to be just simply "liked". Well, I personally think it runs MUCH MUCH MUCH deeper than just something that simple, and that is what scares me about it. My husband, to some degree, has always liked being liked...and had what I consider an unhealthy tendency to be overly flattering to/kind to/supportive of other women. In all fairness, he's that way with everyone, men too, but of course the men don't bother me. He IS a good friend, but it crossed a line for many years that I was not comfortable with.

But, me the point is that there is not a 'healthy' reason for it, and you really do need to work on what makes you fill this void in your life in a way that will always be detrimental to you having a healthy relationship/marriage. I always compare myself, although I shouldn't, to my husband and his behavior. When things were so bad in our marriage, and in return I felt bad about myself, the 'option' or thought to go outside of the marriage for the 'ego boost' I needed never occured to me...even though the opportunity presented itself more than once.  Going back to work did help, making new friends helped, but it just never would feel right to me to 'flatter' another man just to get some positive feedback to make myself feel better. I'm not in a much healthier spot though, I depend more on him for my happiness than I should, but I would never turn outside of the marriage to fill a void he'd created...I'd leave him first.

Thanks for your honesty. I hope you can find some answers and more positive ways to feel better about yourself. Wish me luck in doing the same!

Some good thoughts here.


I think some of the above comments from Wayne and YYZ are good, insightful. and you are very right in that this is not a "healthy" situation to need these little things. There's an older movie in which Billy Crystal plays an aging comedian whose wife comments, "he's always needed the pat on the back that only a stranger can give." I remember finding that very sad, but I think I understand: the pats on the back from those closest to us don't "count" because we know that they know us way too well, they know our real selves, and they often are critical of us, even if for good reason. It's better to get that "unconditional" affirmation from someone who sees us as completely good because they don't know the whole story. That helps us maintain the fantasy that we're really okay, just misunderstood, or worse, picked on intentionally. 

It is so encouraging to hear that you are able to forgive your husband. And I know this has not been easy, so forgive me for suggesting this, but the next needed ingredient is probably patience. I had a conversation with a friend just today who is a recovering alcoholic. It is not uncommon to find ADDers suffering an addiction as well. So there is a lot we can learn from addiction recovery. My friend and I were discussing this very topic of forgiving ourselves, and it's not easy. I mean, in order to do that, we first have to admit we've been the cause of pain for others, and on one's ego wants to face that. Then we have to face the idea of setbacks. If we slip up, if an alcoholic falls off the wagon, or if an ADDer makes a mess of a work project or home life for a while, how do we square that with "recovery?" 

Another thing is the notion of having to face our own A-ha Moment. Christians might call it facing our own Gethsemane, others call it the crucible moment, rock bottom, or the moment of truth. Whatever. It just means that someone can lecture us all day about how to face our own demons, but until we actually suffer through the experience for ourselves, that lesson won't be properly seared into us. Like a kid who wants to be a great baseball player or a concert pianist, you have to work for it, put in the hours, fight for it! Some people do it because they're suddenly afraid of losing something important to them, or they feel they owe God for life itself, or they find themselves wanting to dedicate to something larger than themselves. And, yes, some will say, I love my wife, and I'll do anything for her. 

Patience comes in because you, the spouse, can't really know what it is that's going to kickstart that fight mechanism in your husband. Rest assured, when it happens, it'll be something that will surprise you, in a good way. You also have no idea how long this will take. And progress may be in fits and starts. You've known pain because of this, but you can't really know his pain. And you may be exhausted, but you don't know how exhausting this is for him. I know it may not seem that laying around the house getting nothing done is particularly tiring. But lying to yourself, trying to hide things to keep up appearances, to not disappoint your loved ones, to keep from slipping up, to just keep trying to keep your own darned thoughts straight from hour to hour, THAT is exhausting.

Now, "psychotypical" people like yourself may think, Just stop it! But as my friend pointed out today, once you're in an addictive behavior, and denial is always somehow part of that behavior, then you've already given up a fair amount of your own self-determination. It's no longer completely your choice. This can be good for the sufferer, who can say, "Oh good, I'm not completely awful," and it gives them a little hope. On the other hand, the spouse says, "Oh, no. This may go on forever and I have no idea of knowing how or when it's going to be bad."

So you may want to hang in there, but not to your suffering. That's why for my wife and I. some distance might be useful, for her to rest and heal, and for me to find out if I'm really ready for the challenge of getting on the wagon and doing the things that I have to to get my feet back underneath me and deal with this issue, under my own power, with my own motivation.

NOVA1986's picture

RE: Bottom Line

Hi Wayne,

I am very happy for your family that you are trying. I hope you keep up in your trying. (Please don't give up). Don't allow yourself to deserve less than a "normal life": No pornography, no cheating, no going to jail for parking or speed tickets, not wasting thousands of dollars in overdraft and late fees, keep a job for more than few years or months, just living with your feet on the ground. I hope every man and woman in this planet have the courage to accept our mistakes, that we have some limitations and if we need to overcome our limitations we must put our faith in God or in anything else we believe. One of probably 100 of my limitations is TRUST. I lost trust in my husband and in myself in so many aspects in life that it became unbearable to live with him in a peaceful "normal" way. One of my primary mistake was to get married without giving the time to get to know him better. I ignored the pink flags and now I am facing the consequences. Unfortunately I am not alone paying the price, My 2 daughters are and my husband himself. If I have the desire someday to meet another man I will be very careful, I just pray for somebody with integrity, somebody able to practice his personal values, with enough self-stem to be able to give us (me and my daughters) something real and authentic. 

I have faith and good examples in our family. My husband grandmother got widow with 2 small children, she went back to school and re-married a men of another faith, had another child and race and keep her family together. She is 90 years old and she is just amazing. I hope I can learn to be strong spiritually to guide my daughters and pray for them so they don't have the kind of marriage I have. I pray that they never lose themselves in front of any challenge in life like I did. I need the urge to give the example, so they can see I value myself, that I can make a better decision on choosing a man who respect me and respect them. I don't want to continue alone in life, I love the family life, the company, the cuddle, the laughing, the games outside, the cooking, the homework time, the supervision, the search for help and knowledge to help them to grow spiritual, physical and emotionally healthy, the responsibilities, absolutely everything. I love to be a mother and a wife. I really do. I just got lost.

God bless us all in our journeys.

Trust is tough

Amen! We are just starting our journey even though we've been fighting for 6 years. Now we will do it with a little knowledge and support. Am I still in here? He has been callanging everthing I thought I knew was right. Most fights I come out of feeling crazy. Like you, I don't want my children to think that their mother is a fool. ( they are from another marriage) They are in their early teens and forming ideas about relationships. Hopefully what I taught them earlier about respect and self esteem got through. Do as I say not as I do ( or as of now have done.)

Re: What ever it takes

That is a good starting place, but it has to have an honest foundation or your wasting both yr time. I have read a few of your post and reply and to be honest I don't know who is right/wrong in your views, but will say both have some of both. No One is EVER 100% right or wrong.

This is what I meant to say


This is what I meant to say in the first place. Thank you for being succinct.

In our case, I think there are times when we are both alternatingly right, and wrong. But there's the problem. If both sides spend 100% of their energy in proving themselves right and the person wrong, they're guaranteeing that they will be wrong themselves often, and possibly up to 50% of the time.

EXCELLENT point. I think this

EXCELLENT point. I think this could sum up about 95% of ADHD marriages...far too many years lost trying to prove the other wrong..and blaming the other..all the while ignoring our roles (me, non-ADHD wife) as enablers and not recognizing that our reactions to the ADHD and the anger and resentment we feel so entitled to are just as damaging as the ADHD itself. And the ADHDer often in denial about how their behaviors are so hurful. When neither side is willing to give, there is very little hope for peace and happiness. When both sides are willing to stop pointing the finger and start looking in the mirror, then there reason for all of the hope in the world. Just the way it is.

NOVA1986's picture


Just few minutes ago my husband and I had a conversation. He called from our bedroom and in tears, after talking with his mother (According to him she also has ADD. Every time he talks to her he is so frustrated and says the same thing:  "I can not talk with my mother", she doesn't understand what I say") he said sorry for every I have to go through because his ADD (diagnosed in 2008), pornography issues, limerence, financial problems, etc, etc, etc.

My husband at this point is in a lot of pressure, his job is in jeopardy, we don't know if he has one or two month of employment. I filling for divorce, he is trying to rent an apartment for him (this is another issue that I think he is not using common sense in his decision).

Well he told me, beside of being sorry, that one the reason he falls in the temptations to look for ego food (flirting sentences, visiting female friends, etc) is the way I say things. At that moment I told him:" What - do - you - want- me - to - do? with certain intonation or emphasis, and he said: "Do you see, How can I think you love me if you talk to me like that?"... I answer: Please, Eddie Are you trying to say that my Latin-american intonation is the cause of you abusing the friendship of your female students? I really think you are making excuses. And I remind him about an event with a friend of him from Vietnam who took a group of classmates to Vietnamese restaurant. In the restaurant two Vietnamese were talking loud and moving his hands, and using face expressions etc. So they ask her why they were so angry. The Vietnamese classmate told them that they weren't angry they are just talking normal stuff.

Now my husband is familiar with my culture, his mother and grandmother are  from Peru. He spent 1 year in Venezuela in a church mission. We have been in Colombia with my family, he knows Spanish has strong sound, all the vowels have a short sound and in very sharp way. 

I also remind him his recent conversation with his mother, he very softly told her by phone: "Mom I don't want to talk about this right now, there is a lot in my plate and I really not in the mood to talk". But his mother insisted so he went to our bedroom to continue the conversation and in few minutes he was screaming to his mother. So I told him it is natural after trying communicating softly and in a decent way, people get frustrated, but not for that reason any spouse is going to run and find a man o woman to flirt to fulfill his/her ego.

So I really don't believe him. I understand rough conversation are painful, but it is not and excuse to get involve romantically or lust for another person. 

He also told me that he doesn't give up his way to escape from the pain I inflict to him, because if he has to give up that that give him some sort of pleasure for staying with me, he prefer to don't quite this behavior. At this moment he wasn't crying and he continue telling me a story about a friend who divorce a year or two ago and now re-marriage. 

So I am confuse again. I am getting dizzy. This is why our marriage it has been this long (18 years) because he cries, he confesses, he says sorry over and over again, but he doesn't give up the wrong behavior.

 It's the same thing with his mother conversation, sometimes are really loud and then sorry, sorry, I forgive you, I forgive you and then sooner or later another shame event takes place.


I explain to him that I want share custody when the kids  spend 7 days with the mother and 7 days with the father. His answers that that idea is not the way he was thinking, he prefers to pick up the girls from school everyday in the afternoon and spend 2 to 3 hours with them in our apartment. But I don't want to have him in my place every day. 

He said he doesn't want to stay with them because he can not wake up early to take them to school on time. My concern about this is, that he is moving far away from their school. At this moment our apartment is 5 minutes from our daughters school so I think is more beneficial for our daughters to have daddy close to them. And also if he has so much problem in the morning to wake up living far away will not helping to achieve this task. In the matter of fact there is cheaper apartment in this area. But he also fall in love with that apartment a year ago, so he doesn't want to sacrifice he's dream to live there.

I really don't have much hope. 


Thank-you! Today I feel hopeful. I haven't gotten far enough into our recovery yet but you help. I do feel so ashamed to not have know how hard it has been for my partner. I always felt he didn't care enough, that I was a fool to keep forgiving and trying. Everyone around me can't believe what this man gets away with. My finger has been permanently pointed. And for very good reason. But I am normally a positive person and am happy if not relieved to be this person again. Early optimism but I'm tough if nothing else.

NOVA1986's picture

R: Alone for New Year.

Hi Wayne, 

I am another spouse who decided to receive the New Year alone for the first time in my whole entire life. One of the reason is my H. and I are planning divorce, he decided to separate renting another apartment when our budget still don't cover our basic expenses. Fortunately his parents are always willing to help, but this time they don't think is very smart to create another cost.

Looking back to the New Years Eve from the past, I always felt rejected even the first years of our marriage when we where still in "Honey Moon". What it used to happen was that at 12:00 AM I got excited (and not under alcohol influence. Either Me or him drink) and look for him to kiss him with passion, with love, with enthusiasm, with my heart jumping like horse in the middle of an stampede, and what I receive from him was a uncomfortable face. (I am 5'1" and he is 5' 11" so I had to make an effort to reach him). That use to make me feel... I can not describe. At the beginning I use to have a lot of sense of humor, and just laugh about it, otherwise I was about to cry. Over the years that same thing it repeat and repeat and repeat. Then after our first daughter was born he confessed to me he kissed and ex-girlfriend (20 or so years older. The flight attendant) and then in front of me he seemed to receive very enthusiastically from a friend of mine, also 20 years or so, older than us. This friend was a co-director of Latin-american Folklore Dances group and I really enjoy to be part of it (I love dancing), well I stopped the friendship and the dancing activity because I started feeling discomfort. 

So, this year I decide to go out and find something to do. So I went to downtown to see Fireworks at 9:00PM (I watched them from the car) and then I went to a Latin Night Club. It was great I met 2 couples (I didn't drink any alcohol) and danced, jump, clap and scream the whole night. I didn't feel awful that night. I really enjoy it.

My H. said that the reason he didn't accept my New Year kisses was because he is shy, and he thinks everyone was looking at us. But He obviously is not shy to kiss other women that are not his wife.

I probably had bad breath, but he never complain about it, (He really has bad sense of smell) maybe he was ashamed of me, maybe he was in his own past world remembering a very special New Years Eve with another woman so he didn't want to destroy his dream of the moment. 

This year/past year I decide that he will not affect me negatively anymore, that I have to do something to protect myself and take care of myself, to find things to do that make me happy, and to value myself as a human being. I am a good person and I love to help people no matter they are  pretty or not. I have friends of all ages and from different "social status" and I love them all. So, I can not continue allowing my husband to make me feel so empty to the point at certain time of our marriage to have disturbing suicide thoughts and to continue being the bitter monster a became.

I hope you don't take your wife actions to stop the progress you are achieving. Keep it up no matter what.


You should be very proud of

You should be very proud of yourself for the progress you've made and your determination to make a better life for yourself.


why stay....should I stay??

God knows I love this gir so much. She found out I was on this site, and got mad as h*ll. She thinks I am going behind her back. She said she won't do meds. She will not do counciling. If I loved her I will just except her. She is leaving for 7 days with her mother to the Virgin Islands next friday and wants me to watch her 14 yr.old and her 8yr old kids. I said I would watch them. But she thinks that me learning more about this ADHD thing is going to far. What am I to do?? Like I said , I am 57 years old , she is 34yrs old. That might be a problem in itself. I do love this ,girl. She has so many good qualities. But do I stay? Or do I run.? I told her we should talk when she returns. That mad her mad again. I want to seek help. So far she refuses. Please, some one help me. The kids love me. I really love them. Am I a lost cause? Is there hope? I treat this like the 12 step program. I came to realize that I am powerless. God , help me except the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and please, the wisdom to know the differance.

like the 12 steps

Hey there, I agree with you about the same as the 12 steps....I find it hard to apply though (read my past posts) I have not post in the last couple of weeks because I am "trying to just work on me" and look only at what I can "fix"...we are all powerless over another person. With that said I will say we can  be enabler...sometimes it's hard for me to see clear of the part I play . I have decided to start attending AL-Anon, since there is no support group for ADHD here. I know this does not answer your question, I have a lot myself :the anger...most of the time comes from nowhere....I sometime look at him with pity asking myself how can anyone have so much rage , and label themselves a Christian. Today's quoit from The Dilemma of the _____ marriage is "We can pave the way for calm, reasonable communication only if we first find healthy outlets for our own negative feelings." God Bless us all.


I have been trying to focus more on me and less on his ADHD. There has been a few changes ...he did go to counselor and Doctor. The doctor put him on the only non stimulant drug "Strattera", but he refused to fill , he said $55.00 a month was more than he was willing to spend. ??? I found a Homeopathic drug "Synaptol" he agreed to try...??? He was to take it twice a day, but would take it once and sometimes miss a day or so...we had a fall out and he said it was not working and it taste like water. He did have the "Strattera" filled last night, but said he could not see spending that amount of money long term.

 I did see a good change starting with the Homeopathic drug, but he had only taken it 2 days (twice a day)...I felt like it was going to work. Maybe it slowed him down to much, no patients, who knows....anyway he started Strattera today. As far as the counselor , well she said "she wanted his to start the new med. and read 2 chapters in a ADHD book I got him, then call her if he wanted to see her again"....She say's "there is no need to waist is time or her's until he knows why he is coming to see her." How is things with you? Thanks for reading , prayers needed.


Are these meds. available in Canada? We also have a problem with the cost. I'd be willing to budget them in if he would give up the control on " his " money. It' s a huge trigger for him and we are often left with nothing. I understand what the counselor is saying if they are reluctant it just causes fights trying to push it. My spouse has tried two so far and has given up for now. He was on Ridelin for most of his childhood. But has lived the last 20 years without. (or self medicating). I often ask him.. how's that been working for ya so far? The last one Seroquil was like a tranquilizer for him. Our next step is to talk about going back to the Dr. and trying something new. It's funny how I read other people talking about having to "mother" their grownup spouses.. I guess if he agrees then we know who will be making the appointment and making sure he gets there. My 13 year old daughter is better at taking care of her needs. I plan on talking to him about it tonight. I'm hoping he will want to try something new. With what I have seen here so far is that ADHD'ers seem to agree that meds make a difference. We have agreed to tackle Melissa's book ADHD Effect on Marriage together so maybe these two should go hand in hand. Sounds logical to me. What I am learning tho is that if I want to keep this relationship I have to accept the fact that this is the way it is. Fact. It truly is up to me if I feel it is important enough to make the sacrifices again well knowing we know nothing and we and I may be disappointed frustrated and angry and maybe back at square one. If you asked me a week ago I would have said NO! So I get back on to the rollercoaster willingly but scared. Wish us luck!

what if spouse refuses to get help

I have been married for 9 years and there have been times where my husband recognized he had ADHD and even went as far as getting prescription medication.  We have 5 bottles only used once because my husband gets scared of taking medication. I can even understand that. He is choosing not to get help get the tools needed to work the marriage issues out. What if he is choosing not to get help knowing that we are miserable and our marriage is weak.  It's one thing to work it out together and live with someone with ADHD but how do you live with someone refusing to get help?  

For me, him refusing help

For me, him refusing help would be a deal breaker. It is one thing to know you have it and work at making things better. It is another to have it and do nothing. Things will never change if he doesn't get help...and you either have to be willing to accept things as they are or you have to 'motivate' him to change. When it meant either he get help or our marriage was over, my husband got help. This is one of the biggest issues (getting ADDer to admit there is a problem and get PROPER treatment)...and you also have to be willing to do a lot of hard work as putting the past in the past and moving forward.

Then there is the issue of

Then there is the issue of good enough or patience for this process of months/years?! In my case meds have not been the panacea for DH nor CBT which he is only just returning to after having done it for quite some time. Drugs have made him angrier it seems and he has other issues I think (?Where does the AdHD begin and end?). I am so sad all the time and feel pretty much on my own w occas showing up by DH. Have been separated (out house) but not bc he is very much here...trying so hard but it is difficult. Have to maintain my own support and it helps but cant help but feel this is taking years off my life. And its true, how can you keep yltalking to your friends/family who think you should just call it a day? I miss a kind word, a hug that was not asked for, a smile...from my significant other who treats me more like a person he does not like or am invisible more often than not lately. Is it the meds? Stress? Blame? Or what can happen after you've been w someone a lifetime w undiag ADHd and a big bag of resentment history (which a lot of mine has gone). Hoping to continue couPle counseling, lol, if he can remember to show up at the right time. :(

refusing help

Thanks for responding.  The truth is that it had come to a point about 1 1/2 years ago that I gave the ultimatum and said that I would leave. We both went together for counseling again to try to work with the ADHD without medication.  I forgot about the past as you said and moved forward in a positive way. Well as soon as things were smooth again in his mind and my "nagging" went away he stopped trying. I knew at that point I was in for it again.  We have 2 great boys who love their Daddy and their Daddy loves them no doubt. That's what keeps me from making the ultimate decision to leave. I have worked on myself a lot to try and ignore a lot of issues to make this work but after a few months I can't lie to myself anymore and I lose it.  Then I start the whole cycle over again because I feel like I made these choices and I have to get a grip and live with it.  I guess I'm still not strong enough. He has not been employed since November so now is definitely not the time to rock the boat---but then again when is it ever for me?

What do you mean when you say

What do you mean when you say "he stopped trying"? Did old behaviors return? Did he stop counseling?

My husband was diagnosed in June of '10 and started meds in Oct '10. The medication (like lululove's situation) has made him into a man I don't even recognize. He is mean and distant...and THAT is not my husband. He wanted to try medication (although initially we were both VERY against it...because of very poor reactions to it in the past) to see if it would help improve his situation at work..being able to get projects finished and such. The medication has a wonderful effect for some, but not for all. Before he started the medication, our marriage was amazing...what we said we had both always wanted.

You aren't alone. It really is a lot of ups and downs...even in the best of situations. Would he consider counseling again? Did the counselor you had have experience with ADD?

I would try

I mean all of his old tendencies came back and he forgot he had ADHD.  I have brought it up again in a very calm loving way and he basically says it"s none sense and now he refuses to admit there was ever an issue. I don't necessarily think medication is for him if he is so against it and your right it doesn't work for everyone, but he needs tools.  Also, our marriage was not "amazing" since about the 2nd month of marriage when I realized things were wrong and it wasn't just newlywed living together adjustments.

That is a very frustrating

That is a very frustrating cycle...where they admit things are problems and then go back into complete denial. Sadly, it takes a lot of 'motivation' for them to want to change...and a lot of 'holding their feet to the fire' to keep things moving in the right direction. I feel it is better than the other two in hell or I keep trying to move forward.

Melissa has some good advice in her "favorites" section here..I'm sure you've read a lot of that...maybe sending him some links would help? I'm getting ready to go right now and order her book...even if only for myself, I need the help.

((HUGS)) Sherri

"was amazing?"

Wait a minute. You say your marriage was amazing before the meds? Doesn't that mean it was amazing WITH the ADD? Which I believe is totally possible, BTW! 

So did all this come about to do better and work, and now you're discovering it's been bad for your marriage? That makes it sound like a case of WORK being the main culprit, not necessarily the ADD. If that were the case, I would argue for taking a course of action that got your husband into more suitable work.

There are a lot of non ADD spouses here whose comments make it sound a little bit like they're still hoping to find a med or other solution that will just make the ADD disappear. As much as I understand that desire, I think it's really wishful thinking. Coming to terms with your spouse's ADD does not mean that you have to blindly accept the worst of it, but I think it does require facing life with extra doses of empathy and acceptance.  

I know it's tough in this economy, but I'd throw away the job before I'd throw away the marriage.


If I heard that I could have my partner back without meds. I'd say you bet!We are just starting this journey and I hope he's as serious as me because a week ago I was ready to call it quits after 6 years. I'd like to know if anyone else out there is dealing with drug addiction or alcohol in addition to definitely being ADHD. It's going to be difficult enough for him to stop the drugs. Somehow I think that by me making such a effort in the ADHD area of concern he will gain some strength and hopefully tools to help him and me out of this hole together. It's very scary. He has access to an addiction councilor which he needs to get in contact with. He has access to a physiatrist and meds. I have access to  a councilor and a physiatrist and meds. ( I have a history of depression and know I need meds.) I have an appointment in 2 weeks. So somehow I think things are rolling. We are both motivated and he was excited to get into our discussions at night about our relationship and how ADHD effects it. I'm scared but when I hear people say" I'm in , I'm committed " I guess I just said it too. ( today)


Yes, and no.

We have been married for 13 1/2 years. From Spring 04 until Dec 09 our marriage spiraled out of control because of some personal issues that caused the ADHD to go completely off the charts. (not diagnosed until June 2010 so we didn't know what we were dealing with). We were very much the typical 'he has ADHD which causes issues and I responded poorly which caused even more issues' couple.

Things came to a climatic, UGLY 'rock bottom' for us in Dec 09 and we decided things had to change. We had been separated, but reconciled and decided our marriage was worth saving. Things were up and down, back and forth for a while, but we were making progress even when we were regressing...each 'mistake' was a lesson learned. Around June 2010 things were really calming down and we were finally seeing more and more time lapse between fighting, treating each other with much more kindness and compassion, etc. I learned all I could (still am!) after the ADHD diagnosis, and we started counseling. Things were really coming together. He called me on the phone one day in Oct and asked me if I would consider renewing our vows with him. I never imagined I could ever love him 'that way' again, but my respect and love were growing by leaps and bounds daily. We were finally hearing each other's needs and going out of our way to fulfill them.

Then he started meds. He works as the IT manager for our city. Computers, programming, is all he's ever done and he's BRILLIANT at it. Big job, lots of responsibility...lots of stress..lots of politics...lots of BS. LOTS to do. It FEELS to me like he doesn't cope well, at all, with all of it...but I'm beginning to understand that what I perceive as his 'unraveling' is maybe just his way of 'coping'...and moving past it. His style of 'venting'. ?? Any input?

I had a friend who had a positive reaction to the meds and it stirred something in him that made him want to try them. He was afraid, as was I, because he has had a negative (almost reverse) reaction to most anything he'd ever taken in the past...and they made him mean and irritable. He didn't want to cause problems since we had come so far and were doing so well. Once on the meds, they started making him irritable and mean, but he didn't seem to 'get it' or care. Great. My worst nightmare. When I tried to tell him, I was just "being controlling".

He did switch meds, try another, but it was the same thing...only 2nd time around he pretty much refused to stop taking them and denied to the ends of the Earth that they were a problem. You want to talk about feeling crazy? I started to question my own damned sanity...even though I KNOW what I see and it was like night and day..the way he is off the meds and on them. I also struggled with not wanting to be 'blamed' if he did stop the meds because he claims they helped him focus and get things done at work. What if he lost his job? What if he didn't get things done and felt overwhelmed, blamed me, and it caused resentment? What if!!! ????

We got to the point where I couldn't get through to him...he refused to see what was happening before our very eyes (or at least refused to believe it wasn't ALL ME), and I decided I had to just let him go. I could never convince him that I AM trying and that I AM compassionate about his struggles...nothing I was doing was enough and me saying the meds made him angry and explosive was just me being controlling. I gave up. He walked out of counseling saying he wasn't going back.

After thinking things through, he has decided to stop the meds and see if things improve for us. No meds for 5 days now...except for one day when he tried taking a lower MG dosage to see if it might make a difference. He admitted that it made him feel bad. They tend to make him feel bad physically, but he seems to be in denial about that when on the meds, for some reason. I have a LOT of mixed emotions about this, I am too afraid the "it's all your fault I stopped taking them, now look at what a mess I am" shoe will drop...but all I can do is pray. Pray a lot. I can honestly say that I already see a HUGE difference in him. His sense of humor has returned, his sex drive has returned, his kind and loving spirit has returned....but I don't dare point any of that out to him...I am sure he would see it as me saying "I told you so"....when all I want is to just grow old with him and be happy.

My love and respect for hiim remains the same...I don't love him "in spite" of his ADHD, I just love him...100%...for who he is. I don't see him as 'broken' or 'damaged'. I just see him as a man who has a different way of looking at things. Together we are working on the 'deal breaking' issues and hopefully resolving them one at a time. Many things I can live with, God knows I'm not perfect and living with me means he puts up with a lot of crap too...but that is what love is all about.

Subject for discussion tonight

To med or not to med...I guess we'll discuss this tonight. He may be willing to try again. I guess if he doesn't try we'll not know. If it ment that he turns into the sleepy husband or the husband that starts rearranging the cupboards that I didn't know he knew were there then I want the man I have now. I don't see broken either, I just want him to be aware that we don't have to be unhappy with effort on both our parts. We were seeing an addiction councilor for a bit but I think someone more aware of ADHD might be more valuable. Personally I think we could do both. Only time and effort will tell.

so you have been doing this

so you have been doing this for almost a year. Although we knew my partner was ADHD as a child and medicated we didn't prioritize it until now. Yes he is everything that I have read in so many blog postings. We didn't see it because of his addiction, which has been impossible to manage.Everying was blamed on the drugs. So when you talk of "deal breakers" thats mine. I had to get out. I didn't ...I had to do something. He's made so many promises and tries but . So if I'm staying I have to be proactive because I know he can't do it on his own. So I looked into ADHD because I know he had it but I've only delt in a classroom with a few children. Anyhow came to this site and  have started to learn so much. He hasn't caught up yet but has shown interest. The meds. thing is still in the air. He was too tired last night to talk. Still on the table. No drugs this week.  I'm into Melissa's book  discussing the difficulties ADHD'ers have with time and planning.  I'm learning to think now in terms of how he's always done it where as before I would just get frustrated with his lack of planning. I laugh at the no filter thing because I always thought it was just him. He tells me everything. His thoughts, his bright ideas, his excellent plans but never looks at different outcomes. He'll just blurt out how he would rob a bank or some other crazy idea. Now I see it is a thought not an idea. Most people I know don't have to say them out loud.  The thinking things through and planning  is also a symptom that has always been a problem considering the amount of time he has spent in jail. Thankfully non-violent crimes just stupid ones. He'll even have to tell me his plan and then gets mad at me when I pick it apart. Why I respond to him in the first place is probably just to clarify he 's never going to do was just a thought. He's yet to plan the perfect crime. Final say is his tho, always, and it's usually... You worry too much. HA!! So tonight we move into the chapter "The Surprising Ways ADHD Symptoms Effect your  Marriage "  I wonder if I'll be surprised, heck I wonder if he will!  As a teacher I have to stop myself from having a comprehension quiz after these discussions. He hates it when I treat him like a child! Another HA!

Want to Stay but would also like to stay sane

Hi all,

I am new to this site and boy am I glad I found it.  The way I did find it was while searching for support groups or books for partners of ADHD diagnosed individuals.  I must say I came here out of complete frustration with the main focus on trying to save my marriage of 15 years.  My DH was diagnosed with ADHD after a school intervention for our daughter approximately 3 years ago.  After the school meeting we came home and my husband was completely confused.  He looked at me square in the eye and said "aren't all those things the school just spoke to us about normal?".  That was the moment we knew the genetic connection.  This has not necessarily made it easier.  It took a long time to get to the point where he would seek help, and start meds.  Since that point both of my kids have been diagnosed as well.  I have not been fairing well lately.  I feel like it is three against one.  I was really excited when I saw the variety of books for ADHD and assisting marriage.  I researched several and went online right away and ordered several.  My whole order came to under $30 and I felt renewed hope that I can understand and work through our differences.  After placing my order a short time later I received a notice from the store that there was a problem with my order and that I needed to contact them.  I was like "what the heck?".  While I was calling the company my husband beeped in to tell me that he was stuck at the office and his cell phone had gone dead and he was in the process of charging it.  I just happened to ask him if there would be any reason that our credit card would not be working and I got the response "oh yeah, I was working on that this morning and it should be resolved hopefully by tomorrow".  I asked what was wrong with it and was told that we went over our limit and he just sent in a payment today.  I felt like banging my head against the wall.  I can't even order self help books without having a problem :) 

I must say I read every post under this section today and it gave me great insight from both sides.  I need to take control over my life because I have turned into a person that I do not even recognize any more.  I am constantly nagging reminding and trying to save the day.  I hate to say it but if it were not for the kids I would have packed my bags and disappeared long ago.  Not that I do not love my husband, but I am having a hard time dealing with the life I have been dealt.  The main thing that made me feel duped was the courtship between us was wonderful.  The attention he gave me, the trips he planned for us, the gifts that he gave me.  Now I get less attention then the cobwebs in the corner.  I have learned that this was what is called hyperfocusing, but I sure feel like I was robbed.  Mind you I am a very independent capable person who does not expect roses on a silver platter.  But for my 15 year anniversary he could not even bring himself to say happy anniversary to me, showed up early from work, climbed into bed and blew my surprise dinner, took a nap until the kids were in bed and then went downstairs and played video games until I do not know what time.  Ouch!  Needless to say I am getting resentful, angry and bitter, which is not helping either of us.  I know I need help, and am not sure how it will work out but I really hope that it does.  Sorry this is so long, thank goodness for the internet.

I hear ya

I feel your pain!  Your story is not unfamiliar to any women married to a man with ADHD. I also have two children.  My oldest daughter feels sorry for him and my son is angry with him.  I have had financial issues because my ADHD husband has issues with finding steady employment and the conversations are so destructive, we can't talk anymore.  I am forced to "deal with the issues" with almost no support from him.  I am so upset tonight that I logged in to find someone I could relate to.  I'm so sorry for you.  You are in for a long trip...I've read the ADHD Marriage book and can relate to every word.  Only problem, he won't stay focused enough to read it so we can work on our relationship.  This is a painful life I must admit.



I am glad that I am not alone.  I am upstairs feeling sorry for myself and DH is downstairs playing video.  It makes me want to scream.  I worry about the negative impact on my kids.  Both of them have ADHD.  My daughter was asking me questions today because she wanted to know if she had a mental illness.  She was mad because in health class today they handed out a paper stating that children with mental illnesses are dangerous.  I told her that I did not agree with that, but in some cases it can be true.   I explained to her that she does not have a mental illness that it is considered a disorder, and that there are many positive qualities that people with ADHD generally have and some famous people that have it.  This is going to be a long haul all right.  Take care.

Can I be successul with ADD?

Let me start this post by saying that I never do this.  All of my life I have felt like I have been living in a prison.  The prison is my mind, which has me convinced that I can never do anything right.  My self confidence is in the gutter.  For all my life I have been running away from exactly what is happening to me right now. 

About 2 weeks ago my mom suggested that I go see a Doctor that specializes in Adult ADD.  My family is extremely loving and supportive of me and they keep saying that it doesn't make sense that I am struggling so much when I have all of this potential.  Let me also say that I have been married for 7 years now and we have been together for over ten.  We have 2 small children.  We have a 4 year old boy and a 2 year old girl.  Anyway our marriage has been going downhill for about 3 years now.  We have a lot on our plate right now and we both just feel so overwhelmed.  We are constantly fighting.  I feel as though she treats me as an idiot.  She feels as though I  can not do anything right.  I will argue with her about all the great things that I do all the time, such as great with the kids,  I am easygoing, I always want to please her, and yet she recognizes none of it.  I feel I do a ton of things and she feels as if I do nothing or the things that I do do are so horribly done it would have been better to nave done nothing instead. 

Anyway, the doctor told me right when I came in to his office two weeks ago that I definitely had ADD. It was shocking yet at the same time as I began to devour the literature that he gave me to read about ADD  the reading was like a window into my soul.  I also have RSD or Rejection Sensitivity Disorder as well and so that makes my fights with my wife a lot more toxic.  It doesn't even have to be something that she says it can be a look or a tone or just the perception that she thinks I am an idiot and I will snap.  My snapping has never included being physical with her but I will say the most terrible things to her.  I always regret it but I feel that I need to belittle her so as to not feel so weak.  Anyway after the words come out they are words that apologies do not fix.

Early on in our relationship we did not have financial troubles but now that we do things are almost unbearable.  I have always recognized that I must be very difficult to live with because I am so disorganized and I want her to do a lot for me.  To me responsibilities completely overwhelm me.  I have so much on my mind that important things to the rest of the world I can not be bothered with.  Taxes I don't do.  Bills get stuffed in drawers because just the sight of them makes me so tense I can't stand it. 

I also don't think that I would describe myself as a bad person.  I know that my wife would describe me to other people as a very nice person it is just that she can no longer deal with my ADD.  I have always had lots of friends and people in my life that say great things about me.  The problem is that I never believe them.  Right now all of my worst fears are becoming reality. However,  I also still cling to the feeling like I have a ton of potential.  It is just that  I am too overwhelmed to act.  Sort of a paralysis by analysis state.

The doctor that I went to gave me a stimulant called Vyvanse and I just a few days ago found the correct dosage.  I only need a miniscule amount to get me to a calm state.  I need 1.25 mg out a 20 mg capsule pill.  So one pill lasts me 8 days taking two doses per day.  The funny part is that it is like a godsend in the evening and yet I hardly notice it during the day.  During the day it calms me down a little but not a ton. 

The huge thing for me is at night.  This is when the kids are in bed and you can relax.  Two evening ago I just turned the lights off and sat on my couch for an hour.  I had never felt a sense of calm like that in my life and for the last 3 nights I have had absolutely no desire to drink.  That in itself is huge for me. 

So now here I sit diagnosed with ADD and I have all these unanswered questions.  My main questions is it going to be possible to get organized and can I ever feel good about myself.  The other thing that the doctor has told me will help me is a medicine called INOTUV which will treat my RSD.  


My dream is to get back to Costa Rica where I met my Costa Rican wife and lived for four years.  It is my dream to go back there and have a small business of some kind raise my kids on the ocean.   The problem is that if I have no self confidence and can't plan or be organized pretty much everything that I do is destined for failure.


Sorry for the novel but I desperately want out of this prison and to start feeling better about myself.  Is there any hope for me to be close to normal?

Hello Nate! I am a woman

Hello Nate! I am a woman diagnosed with ADD. I don't live exactly your life but all the feelings you are describing, you are not alone. I feel the exact same way. The no self-esteem, the snapping toward your loved one, etc.

My answer to your question is: YES! YES YOU CAN. AND YOU WILL!

Remember that our ADD "devil" in our brain is a mean little guy. He's very neglectful. This means that the plans, dreams and wishes that you have that are a bit further away are hard for you to feel driven by. But that feeling does not equal that it is impossible. It's just one of those things that makes us ADD and "normal" people non-ADD.

You have gotten your diagnoses and just started medicating. Keep an open mind to the dosage, as you've always been without stimulants a low dose will be noticeable but you might still need to higher the dosage. So keep your mind open and check for signs. I feel an improvement with my medication at 25mgx2/day but a total of 50mgx2/day is what I really need.
Your other diagnose also has to be properly medicated simultaneously for you to get the ultimate effect. This is your goal right now.

I always see it as taking the time to find the hidden keys to open the back doors with my true potential. Knowing behind which door you're storing your potential and actually having access to go in and use the potential are two different things, no doubt.

With your ADD comes a lot of great things as well, having your own business is very much possible for you. Even with medication the impulsiveness and other tiny little things don't go away completely instead they come in smaller, controllable doses. They are great tools in life.

As long as you don't keep your wife in the shadows with anything your marriage can get through this and life will be great. It's hard to have children, especially when they're so small. You guys have just gotten out of the baby stage with no sleep and other yummy goodies. My point with this will come after I give an example from my life:
I function great in life and half of that is because I accept my limitations. Finances like you express is one of those limitations for me and maybe for you too. What I did was tell my husband straight up from when we put our economies together that I can't do this. I told him that I will happily contribute the way I can (work), I will acknowledge that we have an economy (listen to what the bills say, respect the bills by thinking about water/gas/electric/phone etc use) and I will take time and put an effort into solving and discussion problems, also decisions about bigger buys. In my case I also asked the favor of my husband to always go through my credit card bill that will come printed once a month, if I'd get out of hand TELL ME. But he has to take the main responsibility, make sure bills are paid on time, taxes, savings, calculations etc.

By openly telling my husband about this limitation all I got in return was "Alright I'll do that". No fighting. No anxiety. No panic. No fighting over missed bills, over spending money etc.. It was so painless to just admit "defeat". In exchange for this of course I take more responsibility in areas where my husband struggles but will not put us on the street if my ADD gets in the way. I doubt that your wife would mind you asking her for help, it would probably just make her happy and give her hope to hear that you are aware of the limitation and that she knows it is okay for her to fully take over on that part. Then even that out by covering a part you are better at, that perhaps your wife doesn't enjoy doing, doesn't know how to or just would appreciate (more time alone in the house, laundry, dinner, fixing the car.. whatever it could be!).

And remember that all marriages have ups and downs. LIFE for EVERYONE has ups and downs. If you didn't have ADD then it's not like your marriage would have been all gold and roses with laughter and wealth. At times it wouldn't have been far from what it is right now.. you guys just wouldn't have had anything to blame it on.

thanks kippei and sully girl

Thanks for the words of wisdom.  It was nice to get the perspective from the ADD camp and the non ADD camp.   My wife and I had come to the conclusion that we would just live together as roommates due to the fact that all we would do is fight.  We decided we would stay together to raise the kids vs. go through some messy divorce.  The best part about finding out I am ADD is I can really for the first time in my life I can really empathize with my wife on how hard it must be to live with someone like me.  The funny part is up until I found out it was so hard to see her side.  I just thought she lived to nag.  I thought I try my best, I am faithful, I cook, I bring her breakfast in bed every once in a while, and I am a really nice person.  However, after reading the book and hearing that ADDer are notoriously horrible with self awareness I really for the first time started to give her the benefit of the doubt. 

I am not able to relax.  I feel stressed all the time.  I forget everything.  I make the same errors all the time as if it were the first time, and I want her to do everything because I can't deal with responsibility.  It has to be hard to live with someone that hates themself.  Learning about ADD just is such a huge help.  I read that on average an ADDer has heard 20000 more negative comments than the avg non ADDer in just the first ten years of life.  Is it any wonder we have low self esteem.  Anyway, I bought the ADHD Marriage book, which is how I learned of this sight and me and my wife are taking turns reading it.  I think that she must be seeing for the first time that I am actually interested in staying married.  She is also seeing for the first time that I have been physically unable to focus.  We have been treating each other much better the last week. 

I just came to this sight yesterday desperate for communication with the other folks out their that feel like they are from another planet.  Actually for me it has been somewhat of a relief for me to find out that there is a physical reason for me feeling like this, my nervous system is set on "full speed ahead".   At least I now know why for all my life I have felt so stupid and been so sensitive .  I see the doctor again tomorrow for our second visit.  He has been diagnosing adults with ADD for the last 25 years.  He has been communicating with me via email as I have so many questions for him.  I feel like Bill Murray in the movie "What About Bob".  Anyway, the doctor told me he plans to put me on a medication called INOTUV.  He said that it is effective with 70 percent of us ADDers and it make us feel "comfortable in our own skin for the first times in our lives." God that would be wonderful. 

Anyway thanks again for the thoughtful responses.  I am keeping my fingers crossed on the medicine tommorow.  After that I realize there is still much work to be done, bad habits to be broken, and new skills to be learned.  My wife is planning on going through therapy with me.  I still have Costa Rica on the horizon!

Thanks again,


NOVA1986's picture

Keep it up Nate, Keep it up!

Glad to read things are going forward in your new life. God bless you and your wife who is supporting you with health and a clarity mind. And remember to keep an eye in your kids, they maybe present some symptoms. I have two daughters 11 and 13, and is a huge work, because even if they don't get ADD I want to teach them discipline, exercise routine, less distractions, etc. We don't have channels and since they are little I just let them see only one hour of TV every day and some days none. So they really don't like TV, but they love to read, and they read A LOT, but that also ca be became a distraction from the priorities in their life, so homework first than anything, chores second, family scriptures reading before bed, etc. The supervision with the use of technology it consume a lot of time and energy from parents, and unfortunately we can not count with our ADD husband to be a 100% support in this matter. We just have computers (with blockers) and the girls have itouches, (not any other electronic games), which they can use only during weekends. What's still very difficult for me is to teach them to keep their room and bathroom organized. I hope you can develop the supportive fatherhood skilsl your wife and your kids need, because is very exhausting when the ADD parent set the bad example about priorities and over use of electronics.

I wish you the best for you and your young family. 

Thanks Nova

I appreciate your advice.  Both my wife and I are trying to get through this together and raise our kids to be good people.

Good Luck to you as well.



Hi Nate, I congratulate your

Hi Nate, I congratulate your wife and you on finally getting the answers (at least some of them!!) that you have been long seekng. Take it slow and give yourselves the year to fully digest it and work on the meds and emotional ramifications. Did you mean, BTW, INTUNIV as the med you'll be trying? Is this in addition to the Vyvanse- i hope you dont mnd my askng? Please let me know what you think about that, if it is the Intuniv. I'll admit feeling jealous at the fact you are so willing to work with your wife! This is really important as you try to tweak your meds because they can have side effects that you may not see (increased irritation, memory issues). Let your wife give feedback to you AND the doctor.C It is best as a team effort. Good job so far! :)

Lululove from Nate


Thanks for the input.  I think I am a lot more motivated to fix this thing than my wife.  But of course she is not in my head and only goes on what I tell her.  She is glad that I am looking for help but she is still  a little skeptical.  We had decided to just be friends and raise the kids.  We are still going that route and are taking a wait and see approach about how I respond to meds and therapy before we jump back into the trying to married thing.  I am extremely motivated to get my state of mind to a healthy place.  It is no fun to hate yourself!  I am also sure it is no fun for my wife!  The good thing about this breakthrough realization is that I can now stop blaming myself for being innefectual and weak.  I have now been able to look into the mirror and say it is not my fault that my  nervous system is working you on double shifts 24/7. 


You are correct it is INTUNIV and I start on it tomorrow.  The doctor name is Dr. Dodson and he is here in Denver, where I live.  Anyway, he said that this medicine can work wonders about 70 percent of the time.  He said that when it works it an ADDer can feel comfortable inside their own skin for the first time in their lives.  That sounded like heaven on earth for me.  As far as the mood swings since I have found the correct dosage no one has told me any negative feedback and I feel way more relaxed, way less bored, and no urge to drink.  The no drinking part for me is what has me most encouraged because it has always just been the way that I have always ended my days.


Anyway, after I mix the Vyvanse and the INTUNIV the doctor says that it will take a least a week for me to feel really good as the nerve receptors need time to build up immunity to the constant rush of adrenaline that they get. ( or something like that).   The doctor did say that I should know right away however if the drug is not for me as it will make me distant and mean.  Mean is an adjective that not many have used to describe me.  So I at least I will know soon if the drug is not for me.


Thanks again,


Thanks for your reply Nate. I

Thanks for your reply Nate. I guess it is still a good thing that you and your wife have at least a working agreement between the two of you. I hope it improves further, if that is what you both want. I just know from personal experience: the relationship thing took many years to get where it is today and noquick fixes will happen. As your meds get tweaked though, you may find a new baseline of interaction start with not only her but others around you. Embrace it and watch out for the possible negative side effects. Please dont let your loved ones get "beat up" possibly, without letting them in on the process by keePing them informed when you are starting something new in meds and asking them for feedback.
sullygrl's picture

You've made a great first step

Actually - more than one. You knew something was wrong, you looked into it, you are working on it. So let me say OF COURSE it is possible to have ADD and be successful.

Medications are wonderful, you might want to look into therapy as well for the behavior part of it. It might take some convincing, but maybe you could have your wife go too, at least to a couple of sessions, so she can see what you are dealing with and how you are dealing with it. She may be able to help with some of the things to make life easier for you, like helping you keep a calendar, to-do-lists, setting up bill payments.

ADD does not make you a bad person, but the behavior caused by ADD is what gets tiring for people who live with you. Friends and coworkers don't get the 24/7 that your wife does. My husband and I have been together about the same amount of time as your wife. I have tried to get him to look into helping himself. He has finally agreed because I told him I was done, I wasn't sure I loved him anymore, really don't like him very much. As the non-ADD spouse sometimes the constant talking, inability to listen without interrupting, forgetting what I say two minutes after I have said it, makes me think HE doesn't love me. Because if he did he wouldn't interrupt me. He would listen to me, too, not just ask how my day was so he can launch into a 15 minute story that makes little sense to me about how his day is. Your wife may be feeling these things too.

You may do great things, be great with the kids, but if she feels dismissed she may feel uncared for. And the inability to just relax, that is HUGE too. My husband does a lot of sports stuff to get out his energy, which is good, but he still can't be calm and relaxed when he has downtime. Sometimes it feels like he is a helicopter, churning around me, because he can't sit still but he can't do anything else either. He's somewhere between. And that can be physically tiring to someone without ADD. So give it some time, but just being able to sit on the couch with her is a BIG DEAL.

Pin some pictures of Costa Rica somewhere for you to see them. Put pictures of you, your wife and kids with them. Doesn't that look nice? You can do it, and you have already started. Best of luck to you!

NOVA1986's picture

Hi Nate

Yes, I think you can be successful, but you have to be realistic and face any issue you have to work to fix. The battle is real and you have to fight without rest. Find all the doctors/specialist you need to solve the problems beside the ADD (addictions, limerence, angry, violence, etc) you can even find spiritual support. Every weapon you can find to fight this battle will be useful. Good luck for you, your wife and your little ones.

Yes, you can be successful, but label yourself differently!


It was great to read your post, because it sounds like we are living in parallel in many ways (for example, I met my wife working in Venezuela, and I often dreamed of living and working there again.)

I would encourage you to not give up your legitimate dreams. And by legitimate, I mean dreams that you really want to see happen, as opposed to dreams that you might wish for in the hopes that they will magically make your pain disappear. I, too, have gone through the cycle of feeling I am useless, simply a source of pain or worry for those who love me. I have also gone the route of self-medicating as my life seemed to get more and more complex, and all those things have certainly gotten in the way of my real dreams. 

But as you gain a better understanding of ADD and its significance in your life, you will find ways to work with it, deal with it, even find it an advantage. Many ADDers are very humble because they know their shortcomings. Many are extremely creative because their "filters" are set on Low and they are sensitive to a lot of external stimuli. Others become very dedicated and impassioned leaders because they feel drawn to worthy causes that provide the extra stimulus they need to stay focused on them.

It is encouraging to finally understand how others may fell, isn't it? The same thing happened in our marriage: a few good years at first, but then a creeping insecurity as my wife began to wonder why things aren't going better, and I begin to wonder why she's not being very supportive of me. Then the nagging, and me not understanding why the nagging. This gets punishing to my self esteem, so I start trying to avoid the conflicts, which makes me seem secretive. Bad habits form, and her trust for me gets less and less. 

But the joy of accepting the diagnosis is that it leads to the opportunity for real self-honesty. And with this honesty comes the chance to strip away the little lies you tell yourself to try to make sense of the fact that you may feel one way about yourself while others around you feel completely differently. This, by the way, was for me what really got to my self-confidence. Bosses didn't seem to have any confidence in me, and I could never get why my work wasn't good enough. 

One great thing has come of this recently, and that is the realization that there is a reason for my wife's feelings and behavior, which has led me to change my own. Our fights were "knock down drag outs" as well, with terrible words exchanged, and in two languages, no less! But as I begin to understand what my accumulated behaviors over the years have done to her, I find a starting point to understand how I can  improve myself so that I never cause that kind of hurt again. And that includes hurting myself with feelings of unworthiness, of feeling stupid, or strange, or useless, or as I most often call it, "broken stuff." 

So, absolutely, you can be successful, you can be good. You can be loved! But fair warning, it's a long process, just as any worthwhile journey is. Try to avoid the trap of thinking this is something that can be "fixed" quickly, once and for all. There is some research showing that ADDers are susceptible to addiction as well, and I've found that the 12 steps of AA are actually somewhat helpful in dealing with ADD, in particular with the self-perspective recovery.

Hang in there, Nate! God bless you!  

To Oncehadalife from Nate

Just wanted to say thanks for the thoughtful insight.  Fixing this ADD thing is consuming me as of late.  I am reading everything I can get my hands on I am trying all the meds that my doctor has prescribed.  I want to let you know that I am totally aware that this will not be a quick fix.  I know that this will be a a lifetime battle.  I can report that the meds have calmed me down tremendously.  The next and hopefully the final medicine is INTUNIV which is supposed to calm me down even more and work to lessen the negative feelings that I have towards myself. 


Also my dream to have something real in CR is not a pipe dream.  I have a lawyer friend who is going down there with me in the next 3 weeks.  We have a farm in the rainforest which we are wanting to use towards a farming endeavor.  Anyway, I just feel that I have to get my ADD under control before I can be successful in a business venture.  I just think it will be hard to be successful at anything without being organized or having low self esteem.  I have also ordered Susan Pinsky's book Organizing Solutions, which is supposed to be great for us ADDers.


How are things going with you and your wife?  Casi siempre mi esposa y yo estamos discutiendo en el espanol tambien.  I think she is a great person but man we argue all the time and it is stressing us both out.  I think she is a perfectionist and she treats me as if I were incompetent.  At the doctors visit 2 weeks ago she said I am a good man but she feels as if I am one of her kids as well.  At least for the first time in our relationship I am listening and empathizing with her.


Thanks again,



confused60's picture

Question on ADHD meds

Nate,  thanks for your post.  It is both awesome and a little shocking to read accounts that mirror myself!  Only diff is that I have not been professionally diagnosed yet and am not taking any meds.  I perked up when you talked about your meds reducing your urge to self-medicate with alcohol.  This is a big issue for me personally and I would like to enjoy the same beneficial effect.  You've renewed my incentive to go get a medical diagnosis and start on meds.  I'm not sure how it is that stimulants help with ADHD.  Can someone fill me in?
Thanks, Matt

<edit by author> Just found a post by Sherri where she states that stimulants calm the ADHD brain. Why is this?

sullygrl's picture

Stimulants for ADHD

It's a chemical thing - WebMD states: "Stimulants are an effective way of managing ADHD symptoms such as short attention span, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity. They may be used alone or in combination with behavior therapy.

These drugs improve ADHD symptoms in about 70% of adults and 70% to 80% of children shortly after starting treatment. Improvements include reduced interrupting, fidgeting, and other hyperactive symptoms as well as improved task completion and home relationships.

For someone with ADHD, stimulants regulate impulsive behavior and improve attention span and focus by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as epinephrine and norepinephrine, which help transmit signals between nerves.

Improvements in behavior and attention span usually continue as long as the medication is taken, although benefits in social adjustment and school performance have not yet been shown to endure over the long term.

These medications are not considered to be habit-forming when used to treat ADHD in children and adolescents, and there is no evidence that their use leads to drug abuse. Nonetheless, there is a potential for abuse and addiction with any stimulant medication, especially if a person has a history of substance abuse."

And from "This is what occurs: Neurotransmitters are produced within a neuron. The neuron releases the neurotransmitter and it travels into the synapse space. The neurotransmitter may then be accepted by the next neuron attaching at a site called a receptor, thereby transmitting information from one nerve cell to another throughout the brain.

In order for these pathways to work effectively so that the message gets through, the neuron must produce and release enough of the neurotransmitter. In addition, the neurotransmitter must also stay in the synapse space long enough for it to bind with the receptor site.

After the neurotransmitter is released the excess or unused portion is then recaptured or reabsorbed by the original neuron that produced it. What sometimes seems to happen in individuals with ADHD is the neurotransmitter is prematurely reabsorbed back into neuron. When this occurs that portion of the neural network cannot relay messages in an adequate and timely way.

What stimulants seem to do is stimulate and increase the release of certain neurotransmitters, most notably dopamine and norepinephrine, and block or slow up how much of these chemicals are being reabsorbed back into the neuron from which they were released. As a result, more of the neurotransmitter is held in the synapse space between neurons long enough for it to properly bind to the receptor, thus messages within the brain are more effectively transmitted and received."

Sorry it's long, but hope it explains a little....





This is a good explanation.

This is a good explanation. Dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) work on two different types of brain pathways.I have heard that depending upon what "type" of Adhd you have, one neurotransmitter (DA or NE) system may play a heavier hand in your symptoms. As a result the meds you use will also vary in efficacy because they too may affect either DA or NE amounts more than the other - and dosages are another huge issue (too much OR too little are not good). AND to make it even more "interesting", all of the direct adhd symptoms aside: years of feeling bad about yourself, trouble focusing, etc. may have forced you to develop coping mechanisms to deal with it all. Some of those may be positive, but often may be negative- and the drugs won't necessarily make those go away. Thats why, I think, cognitive behavioral therapy is encouraged along with the meds. CBT tries to help you rethink about how you view things in a more helpful and healthy way.

It is my understanding that

It is my understanding that the frontal lobe of the brain in an ADHDer is suspected to be slower functioning, thus the chaos and lack of focus and attention. The stimulants speed things up and cause a more 'normal' functioning of the frontal lobe. This is a very "for dummies" way of putting it, but it is the best way I understand it. It also has to do with neurotransmitters (as posted by sullygirl) they help the 'communication' in the brain..carry messages, info, thoughts, emotions, etc. between synapses. When there is a low level of these neurotransmitters, everything moves slower.

Hi Sherri, I dont know if I

Hi Sherri, I dont know if I agree with the "slower moving" description- sorry! I believe it is more of an issue of "executive function" and that is apparently dictated in the frontal lobe like you say. The problem is being able to prioritize things in a workable way- as I understand it (and maybe the people with ADHD can clarify) the problem is that EVERYTHING comes in carrying equal weight- nothing is filtered down or prioritzed. So the intense conversation you may be having with your ADHD spouse is coming in on the same "frequency" as the dog barking outside, the TV on in the other room, and thoughts of what happened at work today. It is almost ironic that this disorder is called attention DEFICIT. Really it seems more appropriate to call it attention SURPLUS disorder.

Some testing suggests that

Some testing suggests that the brainwaves in the frontal lobe are slower. The function overall is slower, which in turn makes 'processing' harder and that is why things just jumble up and and nothing gets priority. No one really completely understands the brain of an ADHDer, but the decrease in neurotransmitters and the slow brain waves explain a lot of the 'symptoms'.

I really can't comment on the prioritizing...I have never felt that was a problem for my husband. He shows, through action, that he knows that some things are more important than others. The dogs can bark, the TV can be on, and he can be calm and OK...but if we have an intense conversation and fight it is evident that it does mean more than 'normal' stuff.

Someone else mentioned something about one of their children getting hurt and their DH not really being able to make a decision about what to do...I cannot dream that my husband would do that. He is the level headed one in those kinds of situations...we've had a few with my son who has seizures and has fallen and busted his head/face open.

confused60's picture

Sherri, I am the same as your

Sherri, I am the same as your husband.  If someone is injured I spring into action, commanding people to do this and that and moving quickly to assess the situation and get help or get going.  My adrenaline starts pumping and I hyperfocus on the situation.  I've always bemoaned that I should have been a doctor or a vet.  Matt

There is actually some

There is actually some evidence of jobs involving emergency response being attractive to ADDers because they have the kind of excitement that requires their hyper focus. That is, the job "fits" with the requirement of the ADDer to be something that constantly grabs his/her attention, and keeps it because it is vital. This is probably why you still find ADDers in high achievement careers such as first responder, doctor, pilot, business executive, etc. 

confused60's picture

That's very interesting, and

That's very interesting, and it does seem to make a lot of sense.  We live on a bad curve on a busy county road and there are some nasty accidents there.  I always want to help out but the emergency workers don't want me getting in the way.  Maybe I should join them...

Maybe that explains why my husband can function at work

He's a counselor and he works with severely and profoundly mentally ill. His clients are schizophrenics and other kinds of psychotics. He is wonderful at his job. He says he'd rather work with that population than people with no mental diagnosis. Maybe that's why he can't pay attention to me-I'm not so stimulating.

Hey Matt my urge to drink is still gone..


I just found out about the ADD thing a couple of weeks ago.  It really rocked my world.  Yet it made so much sense.  I was not in the camp that said drugs are not for me.  I want to start feeling better about myself asap.  In fact the drug I am on right now feels like the drug that I have been searching for my whole life, and I have tried more than a few.  All my life I have always felt tense, anxious or just nervous.  It is not like I am afraid of things it is just a feeling that I have had like not being able to relax.  Also the voice in my head is constantly going at about 90 mph.  Its not telling me to eat the dog but rather just  "did I do this or that and if I dont do that this could happen and blah blah blah.  Anyway at night the way that I have relaxed is through drinking watching tv.  My mind is so exhausted that it needs a break.  Also I never just want to go to sleep because I want the time to unwind so I stay up late and drink by myself. 


Anyway, I am not on Vyvanse which is a stimulant.  Apparently it produces dopamine and seratonin which take away the  anxiety and help me relax.  I had to play with the dosage level for about a week to find my "sweet spot" as the doctor put it but now that I have found it things have been much better.  The other night I turned off the lights and tv and just sat on the couch for an hour and it was as calm as I have ever felt.  This is the fifth night that I have been on the meds at the right level and still no urge to drink.  I have been sleeping much better as well.


Today I saw my doctor for the second time and he is going to put me on a medicine called INTUNIV.  He told me this drug is known to work wonders on the self loathing and the sensitivity issues that I have.  He says that it works on ADDers 70 percent of the time.  Anyway, he has me feeling pretty upbeat solely on how good I feel on the first medicine of Vyvanse.  So now tommorow when I mix the two could be the start of something even more amazing.  He said that when it works that ADDers report that they "feel comfortable inside their own skin for the first time in their life."  I don't know about you but for me that  made a lot of sense and it would be fantastic.


Let me know if you have any more questions. 

confused60's picture

Thanks sullygrl,lululove,sherriW,nate

Thanks all for your insight on potential meds and how they impact the brain.  I am trying to hook up with a neurologist who can assess me and make some recommendations.  Supposedly this guy has experience with ADHD but I have an inquiry in to his office to see if any adult experience.  It would be great to get a handle on the constant barrage of thoughts that prevent me from focusing on anything.  It's really gotten bad over the past few years and I am now struggling to focus on tasks at work more than ever.  I get 10 hours of work done each day but it includes too much non-value added stuff that prevents me from delivering on time.  I live in constant fear of being "discovered" and I'm sick and tired of doing 20 things at one time.  It's OK to work on 20 tasks but not all at once!

Nate, your experience with your meds and alcohol is very encouraging.  I must say I am envious and I commend you for finding your sweet spot with both of them.  I hope the INTUNIV works wonders for you.  

PS- It took me an hour to write this.  I have 7 windows open and have bounced from writing this to reading my email and responding to several; looking at new laptops; searching for flight information, rental car, hotel (none of which I finalized); getting directions on MSN maps; letting the dog out to do its business; making another cup of coffee; reading FaceBook posts; reading an article on MSN; more coffee; opening my work schedule and calendar; working on an MS project plan; finally to return to finish this post.  Enough coffee, time for a mimosa (its a Friday ritual with us).  Happy Friday!

There may be a barrage of

There may be a barrage of thoughts as you write that posting, but know that it was an articulate, well thoughtout post. I want to propose to you that you are not "faking" your skills - the feeling of being a fraud and getting "discovered" is also common to those with low self esteem. I know because I was prone to this for what seems a million years. You ARE doing, and though you may feel there may be a better way to do what you need to do, there are organizational "skillsets" that can help you. Yes can meds help? Obviously. But at the core is also the need to understand and renew the trust in yourself that you ARE a smart and capable person- dealing with a big challenge that most definitely needs to be addressed BUT makes you no less the capable person you are. This is further supported by your interest and participation in trying to improve your position for yourself (and hopefully those around you!). While you travel through this mire of emotions (that we are ALL travelling through in one form or another, at least at this web site), please give moment and counsel to working on how you feel about yourself. It can be as emotionally crippling to you as the adhd itself. Best wishes!!!!
confused60's picture

Yeah but it took me an hour

Yeah but it took me an hour to accomplish my task!  It's not just this task but any task.  It is making me crazy.  You were very kind in your response.  Lulu you are ADHD?  Thanks for saying what you said.  I feel I am smart but I struggle so much to get there and it seems like others do not.  I never understood this until recently that other people were experiencing the same thoughts.  It is a coupling of happy/sad; happy to know there is a biological reason for my actions & feelings and sad to realize all the years I did not understand myself.  It would have made a big difference in my marriage, which is what this site is all about.

I have ADD so I can't follow

I have ADD so I can't follow this thread at all, it's too massive but I just wanted to say something that did SO MUCH to me when I realized it - It is not about HOW LONG it takes to complete something. It's about completing. Your days are not about the list of all the things you DIDN'T complete or accomplish - they're about the things you managed to do.

At the end of the day, all I can think about is how it's been 2 hours and I've barely even completed the dishes I started then. God, I suck.
But besides not cleaning the dishes within 10 seconds (which seems to be what I think it takes apparently *sarcasm overload*) this is everything else that went on:

1: I got up on time
2: I was at work on time
3: I worked
Etc, etc
4: I remembered the dishes and tried

Those are accomplishments. And they are all worth something. You might take an hour to write up a post, but you posted.


confused60's picture

Kippei, you are a breath of

Kippei, you are a breath of fresh air sometimes...

1. I got up early 3:30
2. I haven't gotten to the office but I have been in teleconferences since 7AM
3. I have many miles to travel today
4. No dishes but I'm about to get my bod ready for the day at 11:00

Thanks for your welcome post (and you most definitely do not suck, but I get the humor), Matt

confused60's picture

I had a light bulb moment and

I had a light bulb moment and realized you are wrong.  It IS about how long it takes to complete certain things in life.  Opportunities are lost when we flounder and take too long to make a decision.  This is a topic I need to reflect on some more.  I guess what is important is 1) to just accomplish what you can, and 2) understand that when you wait too long you can never return.  Thinking about time spent/not spent with my daughter growing up, the stuff I have not done in 25 years around the house.  It's too late now.

Of course it's not a rule

Of course it's not a rule that life follows. Of course if I don't complete my school a certain way then I can't graduate. Life is always like that so you have to adjust my "advice" a bit. The point is that we put us down 10 times more than non-ADDers. I can call my mom crying about how I failed to send a letter that I SHOULD have sent .. and that letter would have been too late (like you said time does matter) and my mom would ask why I didn't get around to sending it. And it turns out I did 10 other errands that day that had to be done. My mom just had enough with me and told me that I need to stop being such a cruel person to myself, sounding like I haven't accomplished anything in life ever just because of a letter.

I don't know if I'm making any sense... but the self-esteem hits that we make ourselves take are very bad and slows down our progress.

Kippei: A pat on the back, and a kick in the tail.

Kippei, I had a drum major in a band who used to say, "Give yourself a pat on the back for surviving, and a kick in the tail to do better next time." I do get what you mean. Some days, it takes everything I have to just get something finished. On those days, give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate that it's done. On other days, I just ignore something, even when I know if I could just set aside ten minutes it would at least move forward a little bit! 

For me, I have discovered that the problem is how much effort it seems to take to JUST GET STARTED. That's the roadblock. By the way, that also leads to another big problem, which is knowing it's okay to quit even if you're not done. That's why sometimes I'm up late at night working on something way past the point of fatigue (the point of diminishing returns). What I'm trying to learn is:

1. Just START. You don't have to have the whole plan laid out in front of you, you don't have to have hours and hours set aside to do the whole thing at once. 

2. Know when to stop. It's a okay to start something, then leave it unfinished.  In fact, the break will do you good by refreshing your mind and giving you good ideas for the next phase. 

3. If you just do a little bit every day, long term projects will finally get done! And for the ADDer, who tends to jump from one thing to another anyway, it makes a weakness a strength. 

Just my two cents!

Hi Matt, No, I am not ADHD

Hi Matt, No, I am not ADHD although there have been days when I felt I was. I am the long time partner of someone who is, and we too, only just now had found out about this disorder after decades of endless misunderstandings, resentment, hurt feelings. I understand what you describe as that almost bittersweet feeling the day you and your spouse found out about this disorder. It gives a name to the huge rollercoaster that we all have been riding. Yet the "solution" seems daunting. What will happen? And aside from seeking the answers for the person with adhd themself- what about the marriage? Can we connect as a couple and are we both equally willing to try?! For me, my anger and resentment whittled away as I became more informed. Yet it is still such a struggle. I love my husband greatly but lots of crazy things have been happening (as my other postings have alluded to). And yes, it sucks greatly. Recently, he changed his meds (stopped taking something) and his kind self has shown up again but along with it, the increase of lack of focus has also cropped up yet again. I am not as invisible as before but I still feel like an apparition for much of the time. He doesnt call, he doesnt acknowledge me often. Yet he is still DH, the guy I know has a kind heart. And he has hurt me greatly, spiritually, emotionally. It is a conflict still ongoing but I still cheer him on from the (invisible) sideline. I, like so many spouses, see the struggle you are going through. Truth is, some of it we are experiencing as well- thats what constant stress will do (make us forgetful, gives us aches and pains, emotional highs and lows depending upon what our adhd partner is in; crashing low self esteem because of the way my spouse will talk to me when stressed and then not remember 15 minutes later, on and on.). So this is what I would ask, were my ADHD husband able to listen (AND retain and remember): 1) try to get a handle on the meds (care to be consistent); 2) Include the treatment as a couple - let me come to the doctor; 3) love and respext your wife by talking to her and then listening/talking at least once a day for 30 minutes. Forgive yourself, so you can also forgive your spouse- there are no winners in this but perhaps... happy survivors?!

Matt from Nate


Glad to hear that you are looking into it.  Trying medicine is definitely worth it.  I am still working at finding the sweet spot with the INTUNIV.  Apparently this can take to up to 4 to 5 weeks to feel the positive effects of the medicine.  My understanding is that we ADDers have a higher constant flow of adrenaline flowing to our brain which makes us feel like we are constantly in crisis or that we get overwhelmed much quicker than the non ADDer (bastards! ha)  Anyway, I just took my first pill this morning and as the doctor said it is highly likely that you will experience anything.  This is the case as it is 4 hours later and I still feel the same.  So all this week he has instructed me to take a 1 mg gram pill a day (in the morning)  the second week I will take a 2 mg pill a day, the third week I will take both a 1mg and a 2mg in the morning until I find the sweet spot.  

Anyway this medicine begins to build up in your system and it works to block the nerve receptors that send the adrenaline to the brain.  Once enough medicine is built up in the body we can continue to lessen the flow of adrenaline to the brain by continuing to take the one or two pills that your body requires.  The doctor has told me that this medicine makes people stop beating themselves up, relax and basically just feel comfortable with who they are.

I wish you good luck with the medicine.  Don't get too discouraged if it takes you a while to find the sweet spot or if the medicine that works for me does not work for you.  My doctor told us that all ADDer's respond differently to different types and levels of meds. 


Let me know how it goes.  I will let you know how the INTUNIV thing works out for me.

Hopefully it will be the chill pill.




PS.  I still feel no urge to drink a week later.  Well I did drink on Saturday night.  Christ I was nervous that I was not even going to like it, anymore.  Nope still like it just don't feel like I need it.


ebb and flow's picture



I just wanted to comment here about the lack of desire to drink after starting up meds.

My ADDer was drinking quite problematically to "self medicate" his ADD. Once he was put on Ritalin his desire to drink stopped pretty much instantly! I think there was a couple of months of just breaking habits of going out to the beer store or liquor store as part of his *daily* routine... but once broken it seems gone for good. It's been since June 2009 and he doesn't desire it like he used to.

Beer/vodka sits in our fridge/freezer for months and he doesn't touch it! This would have never happened before... They would be drunk in an instant with him running out for more before the store closed and to the bar if the store was closed... :/

It's amazing he went from seeming like an alcoholic to nothing in the blink of an eye all because he was actually treating what he was self medicating all along...

You ADDers constantly amaze me! lol :)

Urge to drink...

The stimulant medications actually slow things down for me. The hundreds of thoughts circling my brain slow up enough to actually grab a few and make things happen without being so over whelmed. I have never had a drinking problem, but always feared I could develop one. Drinking could make me act stupidly at times. My meds make me actually feel good. I don't need alcohol to make me feel better. Also... When I drink, I feel how the alcohol reverses the affect of the stimulant meds and I don't like how that feels. It gives me a glimpse of the old me. I have also stopped self medicating with food. Before my diagnosis I weighed over 280 pounds and over the last two years I've lost just under 100 pounds! I love to walk and when I'm full I stop eating. The mindless munching is gone too. If you have not seen a professional, I highly recommend doing so. My diagnosis has changed my life Good luck!

To Melissa

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for the information on, If you`re so unhappy,why stay? It has given me some hope. I look forward to reading your book too, it takes 25 to 30 days delivery! (In Norway)

I have often thought of leaving my husband and still do. Before his diagnosis I thought that I want our relationship to work and I can`t give up, even though he made me really sad. Money and our situation had also a lot to say. I had PTSD then, after an accident.

We have an 8 year old son and a 4 year old daughter who need their dad. How much should one take to stay together for the children`s sake?

A few years back I threw my husband out, we all had a terrible time and I don`t really want my kids to go through that again. It was tough being a single mum. 

When I said to my husband that I am lonely and I would like us to go out and be intimate he asked why? He says he understands what I feel and that it is natural. Also that it is difficult to do something about it. He said he can do things but only because it is right, not because he feels it. So why is he with me then? This is difficult to understand.

What is good is that I am going to start work soon and I exercise. 

I shall plod on, :.) 

Add and affairs

Hello everyone, I'm going to thank everyone for listening here at the beginning of my post as I'm writing from my IPAD and can't seem to get back to the end of my post! New here. I'm reading so much about non ADD partners becoming angry and resentful. I can certianally understand that. My situation is different because I'm not one to argue nor is my husband. He has ADD and has always known but until recently hasn't taken medication for it. He realized he needed to deal with his own ADD when he noticed how his inattentiveness was effecting our son who has ADHD. My husband has often been distant and disconnected during our 16 year relationship. Every time that has happened I've asked if he was ok, was he happy could I help in anyway to make him feel better. His response was alway that he was happy and that everything was fine. I have always tried hard to make him happy and looking back I can see how my feeling of "failure" to help him have effected my self esteem in terrible ways. It's almost as he has just put me on a shelf every once in a while and went about his business. My husband is very successful and completed med school without the help of medication for his ADD. He's never said a mean thing to me and we never fight. We have two wonderful boys ages 2 and 6. This summer he had a two week affair with a co worker who approached him and stroked his ego a lot. I never could have imagined he'd do such a thing. He asked me not to leave and said he did not ever want to leave me. I stayed, things were great, we became closer than we were before. Now suddenly, he has decided to leave me and is once again seeing this woman. He says this separation has nothing to do with her but that she happened because of his unhappiness in our marriage. Unhappiness he never spoke of or admitted to. He says he's not sure if he wants a divorce but that he needs to figure out if what he thinks is missing in our relationship is a real thing or just something that's "wrong" with him. Part of the problem is that he became overwhelmed with feeling like he had to be everything for me or was everything for me. Since I have tried so hard to make him happy for so long I can understand he'd feel like my whole existence revolved around him. It's a misconception but its not unreasonable that he would feel that way. There is also the added responsibility of being a father and having a wife who spend a great deal of time raising them as he is not always "present". Anyway, I'm sorry this is so long. I'm writing because I'm wondering if I'm way off base thinking that my husbands unhappiness may be due to his ADD and his need to for so long hide it from everyone. I knew but did not know that he was desperately just trying to hold onto handling it alone and having feelings of not being good enough. Also the added pressure of my trying so hard to make everything better for him. I'm wondering too if the feelings he thinks has for this other woman are all part of this hyper focusing thing which may also explain the "great" improvement in our relationship after telling me about the affair. It's hard to explain because we are best friends and neither of us can seem to move on. I want him to end the relationship with this woman and to commit to going to marriage counseling with me to really try to figure out if the ADD and my trying to compensate for it along with my own deminished self esteem are the reasons for his unhappiness. He is willing to consider going to counseling but does not think it will help as he's decided all on his own that this can't be fixed. He tells me he's not in love with this other woman but that there are feelings there. She is head over heels for him though. I know he has said and written things to her that would lead her to believe he's more into her than he really is or says he is. I believe that is, along with the excitement of having a relationship with no responsibilities, like children, or a partner who knows about the ADD, all part of the hyper focusing. I don't know, but I desperately want to keep our family together and I have and do love my husband very much. He's feeling guilty and ashamed and still wanting to keep me close yet not committing to trying to work out what the real issues are. I suspect it's because it is a lot of hard work and so much easier not to deal with or to overlook the whole ADD thing. So anyway, is there anyone out there who can relate to this situation. We never have fought or done any of the other things described in other posts, mostly because I've always made the concessions needed and we are just not the type of people who would ever call each other names or belittle one another. However, we've come to a place this place that is terrible. I wonder if anyone thinks there is any hope or that I'm just crazy to think counseling would even help.
NOVA1986's picture

Hi Google Bunny

I am really sorry to read about your story. Definitively it is hope hope. I think it is important for your own peace of mine to try a different strategy that maybe you (you and your husband) haven't try before. So at the end if you get divorce you don't stay with doubts about you didn't try EVERYTHING possible. My physician recommended me in August 2009 to try a marriage seminar (I was very depress for founding a love letter my husband was preparing to send to a beautiful 25 years old lady in Rotterdam). (Links not permitted and removed by editor.) It consist of a very intense weekend where you learn different communication skills (even if you never scream to each other, of use bad language to express yourself). It's more about learning how to recognize and express feelings, recognize our masks, your fears and your frame of reference. It teaches the way to understand your partner feelings, not to agree or disagree about issues but to understand why X person feel in a way or another. For me it was a whole complete discovery of my own feelings and use of the right words to express my emotions and feelings. After the weekend you must attend around 6 Saturdays of 3 hour each of follow up sessions where the couple is exposed in details about specific marriage issues. I must say in the seminar you are not obligated to express anything about your relationship, your self of your problems. In the matter of fact they ask you to don't make any conversation with other attendees and concentrate any communication only with your partner. Of course during meal time you talk with others but not really much because you really don't have much time to say anything. Your mind during the weekend is processing  and pondering all this new information, so you really don't have the need to talk with anybody. Counseling it's also good, the issue with counseling is a very slow process, and sometimes is difficult if not impossible to find the right counselor for both of you. You can probably ask your husband's psychiatrist  for a referral of psychologist/counselor who specialize in ADD couples. It is also good if you find a counselor for yourself. Good luck, you are not alone.

Best wishes, Nova

It always looks greener on the other side

I'm sorry for what you are going through. My personal opinion is that your husband's hyper focus with the other women appeals to him for the very reasons you say - it is fantasy bc there are No other problems he is dealing with when he is with her (or thinking about her). No kids, bills, life. That is why affairs never work! When real life happens with the two individuals they are somehow surprised, and it becomes less fun. You cannot work on the issues in your relationship when there is a third party involved. Focus on yourself and your happiness! Counseling can only work when his affair is over. He cannot have both! Get counseling for yourself!
NOVA1986's picture

It always looks greener on the other side

I am a witness of this true. It is impossible to take advantage of any marriage counseling if one of the spouses continuously falls in the temptation of betraying the marriage votes, making this a pattern of behavior. The fact, that one of the spouses is thinking and/or feeling romantically and/or sexually for other that the spouse makes the marriage therapy not worth it. It is maybe good, hoping a miracle happens and to feel free of guilt after trying EVERYTHING we can. PERSONAL COUNSELING IS GOOD, SUPPORT GROUPS IS GOOD. Do everything you can for yourself. 


Hi my husband has ADHD and he is on medication for it but at time it's like it doesn't work. I  feel so alone even when he is at home, i try and talk to him but he just gets angry and doesn't talk to me. I feel like i am always nagging at him about everything.  He has a problem with telling me the truth, i will know something and yet he still looks me in the face and lies to me like i am dumb and he plays me as stupid. he will not tell me things that are going on in his life and that makes me feel so alone and like he doesn't want me to know or he's hiding stuff from me. He is a people person and i like my privacy and just being with him. he say that i am all that matters to him and he just wants to be with me but yet i see that he is not happy just spending time with me, when i am out of town he's got to have someone over and can't be alone. he will tell me one thing and the next morning it's like he forgot what we just talked about that night and gets mad at me because i am up set because the things he tells me than he does it Anyways. Our jobs docent allow use to see each other everyday or night, sometimes we our away from one another for days or weeks and when i finally get to see him i want him all to myself and want all the time i can get with him and sometimes hes all for that too and others he like he doesn't even care and like i don't exists. I love this man with all my heart and wont give up on him because i don't give up and i want this to work it just hurt some times and i have no one to talk to. It is hard loving someone that you feel like doesn't love you, think that is the hardest part is not having that love back that poor out to him. Don't get me wrong he does try his best and i love for that. I just want this ace in my heart to go away please help!!


I know all too well how you feel.  I am currently experiencing the same thing.  I am dying to find a support group in my area or just someone to talk to, I feel sadness, loneliness, resentment, and most of all anger and I know its not fair to my young daughter that I get so exhausted from those feelings and the arguments that it takes away my energy for her.  I have no idea how to explain why daddy treats her like a military soldier, I finally had enough and told him to leave her he stays in our bedroom on his days off.  Today's argument left me identifying the symptoms of adhd in my mind allowing me to stop what i was trying to relay to him and walk away, but also left me asking myself if i want to continue living this way and my answer is no I don't.  Don't get me wrong, I love him and he does work hard for our family 5 days a week but I can't shake the feeling that if i'm running the household, paying the bills, worrying about our financial future, raising, teaching, disciplining our daughter....why are we living together?   Today's argument was over something simple as not spending money we don't have on an ipad.  While it's a nice piece of technology, I want a secure financial future.  I told him that after 7 years of marriage and this is where we are, we need time apart.  Although he hasn't been diagnosed (he has went to a couple of doctors but said nothing was wrong), I understand that there is something wrong but I just can't handle it anymore and be the mother i need to be for my daughter.  I have waved the white flag and I am surrendering!  I hope you have luck finding someone to talk to, maybe it will take some of that heaviness out of your heart to do what you need to do in order to be happy.

For kclelland


I have your answer. I just hope it's as true in your case as it is in mine.

I have a very hard time choosing when the focused moments and the unfocused moments occur.

I am a people person as well, because people provide the most interesting stimuli there is in the universe. They are diverse, multifaceted, fun to try to decode, always surprising.

I'm on the meds, too, an amphetamine that keeps me engaged, alert, but it doesn't free me from all my issues.

I love my wife with all my heart, but I seem so unpredictable to her that it rocks her world in the wrong way. I DO NOT ignore her on purpose. 

I do not lie to my wife to deceive her, but to hide my own shortcomings from myself. The stronger I fight to defend myself, the stronger the pain I've caused myself with my fears of having let her down.

Sometimes being alone and quiet with her are the only times that my thoughts aren't racing ahead of me. These are the times I feel "safe" enough to just think quietly, though they may be thoughts that she might not like to hear out loud as I think through my hopes, fears, questions. 

Feeling her near and talking in endless streams of words are not the same thing.

Sometimes I don't seem happy when I'm alone with her, because I'm afraid I'm just on the verge of disappointing her again. After all, isn't that what all her nagging is about? That I make so many mistakes that she always, always, has to be correcting me? 

It takes me time to switch gears, more than usual for most guys. Even if I know it's coming, like dinner at six or a weekend off, I have to get there and start before my mind and spirit catch up.

Yes, it must look like I don't love my wife. And I'm trying hard to learn to make accommodations for that, to keep that in mind. Unfortunately, ADHD is all about the difficulty of keeping things in mind. 

Being a people person and being a private person are not mutually exclusive. You can do both. I don't need to be entertained by my wife, I just need to feel that she likes me, accepts me, wants me, has enough confidence to know that I love her no matter the challenges that my oddly wired brain presents me. 

You may be misreading him through the filter of your own insecurities and frustrations with him. He is most likely misreading your insecurities and frustrations with him through the filter of a lifetime of not exactly getting a clear message from anything or anyone ever. If this is sincerely the case, then the two of you must learn to accept these difficulties and empathize with one another. And if the two of you can keep resentments and absolutes out of your relationship - that is, don't expect that your strangely wired companion is going to do things like everyone else in the world and that's the only acceptable way it can be - then you may find ways to communicate, show your love and support for one another in many ways, some traditional, some not so.

Next time you see him, hug him, kiss him, and look for the ways he's showing you he loves you that maybe you haven't considered before.  

I hope this helps!

Thank you

Thank you for helping me understand a little more. Remind you i love my husband with all my heart and i support him and love him everyday like there is not going to be a tomorrow, because you never know what will happened. Why does he always think that i am out for him and always looking to find something to fight about? Why does he never tell me things and thinks he has to hid stuff from me all the time? like things that he may be going to go do with a friend or something for his family. I tell him everything because he is my best friend but he cant do the same with me he lies why? Why when i try and talk to him about how i am feeling he get so angry with me and yells and says bad words at me? He can never just talk to me and be confounding to me, and that makes me feel like he hates me and wants nothing to do with me. why is it when he wants to do something and i am not really up for it he gets mad at me. its like if he doesn't get what he wants he get so mad at me? He always want to buy something for himself, he always has to have the top of the line stuff and at the time we just bought a house and saving for our real wedding  and he doesn't get the whole saving thing in life. i don't ever buy anything for myself or he never things of me to by me anything. It seem like its all about him all of the time and if something doesn't go his way i am the bad person!! I do everything for him and run myself in the ground for him because i care for him and want to take care of him and if i say something wrong or look at him wrong its like all the good and everything i do for him goes right out the window and i am the bad person, it is so fluctuating and makes me feel like a fuck up because i cant make him happy. Do you thing he would ever cheat on me? would u ever cheat on your wife? I just feel so lost and sad sometimes i don't know what to do because i have no one to talk too!!

NOVA1986's picture


I am going to start telling you, you are not alone. The pain and the feelings you have are real and valid. You have a value as human being. You have value as a friend to a lot of people, you have a value as daughter of GOD, you are an unique and special person independently of your husband behavior. I am the wife of "oncehadalife", and yes he have cheated on our family. So, the possibilities are open and you must prepare yourself for anything, do everything you need to do to understand  you are not responsible of his actions. It doesn't matter if you are a nagger or not, a financial support or not, as academic educated as him or not, if you are a dedicated mother or not, and wonderful housekeeper or not, "beautiful woman" or not, blond or brunette, skinny or over weight, blue eyes or dark eyes, soft or strong voice, talented with music or not, same hobbies or not etc. When a spouse decides to flirt, to think, to fantasize romantically or sexually with other than the partner is not because the fault other party(that is the excude). We all have our own agency, and even ADDers do have the same agency. Please sick for help, find support groups for yourself/counseling,/ read books/ psychologist help, go out and do exercise etc. I now it seems a lot to do and no time, but once you start taking care of yourself and enjoying yourself, little by little you will find more and more time for you. I am attending a 12 steps program now, I wake up and do exercise in front of the TV with  Zumba (I like to dance ;-)), pilates DVD's , some days I do this while crying because I feel bad, but the crying doesn't last to long. I also go out to ride my bike, sometimes I do this with a good friend of mine or I invite my daughters. I go to FREE concert at the parks alone with friends or daughters, (I love to be outside and the bad weather doesn't stop me) It is wonderful. IT CHEERS ME UP! ;-D. I had read a lot of books also and ALL OF THAT had been helping me (in the last 3 years). I know I still have a lot to learn and I have to let pass a lot of time until I will be able to feel that my wounds are getting better. So be patience with yourself and try to concentrate all the energy in yourself, but also don't quit when you realized you are falling in the co-dependence or enabler behavior. I have 20 years of marriage and is hard to realize I developed that attitude. My husband advice is good too, don't stop showing affection to your partner if you feel like it, but do it honestly, no because you have to do it to support him. My husband and I have 5 months of separation, and he is  the one who usually wants to show affection but I only accept it when I feel good. During my "bad days" it is impossible to show affection, nevertheless even during my bad days there are few good moments so I take advantage of these good mood moment to be loving because IT MAKES ME feel happy. I usually stop doing it if I see my spouse distanced because I think he is thinking about somebody else, then THAT it will make me feel bad. So take care of yourself. I hope the best for you. And I know you can do this, be patience and don't give up.


I love my wife with all my

I love my wife with all my heart, but I seem so unpredictable to her that it rocks her world in the wrong way. I DO NOT ignore her on purpose.

I do not lie to my wife to deceive her, but to hide my own shortcomings from myself. The stronger I fight to defend myself, the stronger the pain I've caused myself with my fears of having let her down.


I don't need to be entertained by my wife, I just need to feel that she likes me, accepts me, wants me, has enough confidence to know that I love her no matter the challenges that my oddly wired brain presents me.

You may be misreading him through the filter of your own insecurities and frustrations with him. He is most likely misreading your insecurities and frustrations with him through the filter of a lifetime of not exactly getting a clear message from anything or anyone ever. If this is sincerely the case, then the two of you must learn to accept these difficulties and empathize with one another. And if the two of you can keep resentments and absolutes out of your relationship - that is, don't expect that your strangely wired companion is going to do things like everyone else in the world and that's the only acceptable way it can be - then you may find ways to communicate, show your love and support for one another in many ways, some traditional, some not so.

Wow..just had one of those WOW moments...all of this brought me to tears. Thank you!! I wish you all the luck in the world with your marriage.

NOVA1986's picture

Easy said than done

I am wondering what this phrase mean: "I love my wife with all my heart". How a love WITH ALL THE HEART can be sweet and romantic with other women who are not the wife. How his heart can feel so much and so deep for other women , but also love a wife and mother of his daughter with ALL HIS HEART. How after "repentance and forgiving" the same pattern continues. Why this man who is capable to love his wife with ALL HIS HEART can see the tears of that same woman begging him to delete videos of his recent romantic/fantasy girlfriends and he refuses with a smile in his face. But "I DO NOT ignore her on purpose."

​I can say I love him with all my heart and it sounds more sincere, because I do not think about other men romantically or sexually. I am not going to places with him and getting distracted with the dream opportunity to run across with and ex-boyfriend.

The love he offers is a very hard one. That I definitively do not want it. That's the way you love a dog, or a sister, a cousin or mother but not a wife. A wife needs affection, respect, and she needs to feel that she is the only woman on earth can make the husband to feel in love with her, romantic or sexual attracted. But since our first years of marriage he is showing me how attractive is for him other girls: ex-girlfriends, his sisters girlfriends, his mother girlfriends, my friends, his young undergraduate students, neighbors, naked women in the internet, new friends, in facebook, linked in, etc, etc, etc.

I think I gave everything I had to offer him in 20 years. I am now completely destroy in so many ways and sad. I can not trust him anymore. 

He accuses me of criticizing him, but he also does that to me. He wrote: "You may be misreading him through the filter of your own insecurities and frustrations with him", but this phrase is more for him self. 

I hope he can find somebody else to give his heart and this time he can be faithful to his own feelings.  


I just made a similar comment


I feel your pain.  I also have to admit that  made a similar comment last night.  I said I hope you will find someone someday who wants to have sex with you ALL THE TIME, despite cheating, and internet dating sites, and when you find her, I hope you can hold on to her, cause there will NEVER BE ANOTHER that will put up with that.


NOVA1986's picture

ONCEHADALIFE way of loving

In my still husband's heart, there are a lot of names. it seems like in his case, he can love women with all his heart, very fast, and very deep. And I am just one more in his list. ;-(


post-divorce statistics re: happiness for non-ADHD partner?

I have reviewed various literature that concludes that most people are no happier 5 years post-divorce than they were immediately before the time of the divorce.  New and different stressors as well as damaged relationships with children seem to be implicated as some major causes.

 I have also seen some anecdotal reports on this blog that seem to suggest that when ADHD is involved, the non-ADHD partner seems to have increased happiness levels after the divorce, but I have been unable to find any studies or statistics tending to support (or refute) this as a general proposition.   Aware of any relevant data on this?   thanks.

summerwine's picture

Well I am the one with ADHD

Well I am the one with ADHD and I can tell you I am much happier after my divorce. My ex husband is still a grouch though.

Answering my wife

I am nova1986's husband, at least for a little bit longer. This just breaks my heart. To see in writing what I have done to her, the doubts, the worry, it's like watching the sky fall on me, and everyone around me. 

Here's the worst part: I didn't do any of this on purpose. I didn't see the damage being done. I know that may sound crazy. After all, I do remember the fights, the tears (from both of us). I do remember always being on the defensive about something, and I do remember how she went from confusion to frustration to contempt in her feelings for me. I have come to accept that my problem(s) are indeed the cause of great pain and dysfunction. BUT I CAN'T FOR THE LIFE OF MY SAY THAT I DID THIS WITH THE INTENT TO HURT OR TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MY SPOUSE. 

To this very day, I love her. I find her crazy attractive, and I still look forward to seeing her when the occasion permits. But I also realize that my issues bring out the absolute worst in her. I DID NOT KNOWINGLY SET OUT TO MAKE HER MISERABLE. And I'm as shocked as anyone by how our marriage turned out. We were once in love and fascinated by each other. But there's no avoiding the raging fire that has swept through our marriage. 

At this point, the only thing left that I can do for her is file the divorce papers, which I've been working  on for weeks (yep, the ADD gets in the way there, too). There is no trust left, really. She has gotten to the point of accusing me of caring more about people I hardly know than her (as if she flipped through my rolodex and picked a name at random), and I live in fear that her next abuse will be another chair thrown at me, or hitting me in front of our children, or making accusations publicly, starting arguments in the most awkward places and times. It's obvious we're both wrong about each other's motives for acting out like this, but that actually makes it worse. I just don't want to be the source or cause of more misery for her.

The small, subtle things are so important to her: being on time, holding her hand, being focused, not spending too much time on others, not showing extra interest or affection for those outside our family, anticipating a need she may have. I have seen in her face the pleasant surprise recently when I wash a dish without being asked, remember to call for an appointment to have the repairman come over, or when I remember to pay a bill and not get charged a late fee.  But isn't that sad at the same time? That I have to really struggle to have even a little success at such a basic level? And frankly, that's not going to cut it. I fall far short of the emotional and even economic support that my family needs and deserves. I have most certainly failed them.

But I never meant to fail them. I always felt I was trying to do the right things. I never understood why that was so hard for me, though, not until just the last few years. 

So in this case, it's as if there is no getting over this, no overcoming. I know other marriages with ADD, with addictions, etc., whose spouses are surely going through something similar, yet they are "making it through" somehow. But not us. Point the finer of blame, if you need to. 

Sometimes, it just doesn't work out. 

Peter Gabriel says "Don't Give Up"

I did not read your wife's post. But I hope my reply will give you some perspective. I know this is a very hard time for you. You are not crazy. Think of ADD as a blindness of perspective. Imagine what a truly blind person lacks in abilities, yet nobody critiques that individual for not seeing. Mental health is often such a mysterious force, even more so in the individual who has it. There are a million subconscious self-preservations mechanisms going on in our heads, that by the time we get to the age we do, it is so efficient in viewing ourselves in a way that is hard to see objectively, from someone else's point of view. I'm happy you've had an epiphany. Write it down as you have. Print it, post it on neon paper, hang it in the house. in the house. Make it haunt you if you will allow, rather than feel the feeling and then return to a state of "everything's fine" when the emotional high dies and other work and life responsibilities make it all too easy to ignore it again, like you've probably done your wife. Write an item in your calendar to read it once a week. You may still end up letting it be part of your "environment"

  You have some tough choices to make. What stands out in your posting is that this has come as a shock. As an ADD partner myself, I've had this shock recently as well. I've heard so many times from my non-ADD partner how much my symptoms are tearing him up, turning him into a monster, making him frustrated, angry. I call it the earthquake syndrome. It seems as though he would bottle up the emotions, and let it rip when there would be something I did to set it off. All I heard in these times were blame, accusations. Because we don't make the connection between what we perceive and how it actually affects our partner, we dismiss the other as crazy, and discredit what they say.

I recommend starting to personally acknowledge and validate her feelings. Take responsibility for having the most control over the spark that starts the fire, but understand that it is not your "fault". There are criminals that plead insanity. I sympathize for those that did not have the mental capability to understand their actions, know exactly all the ways in which what they were doing is wrong, how their actions affect the victims of the crime or have not been equipped with the life experiences or abilities to differentiate and decide that the action was wrong and therefore prevent it from occurring. Though different, I think it can shed some light on how we with ADD view our actions, versus how our loved ones view our actions.

Read a book like Ms. Orlov's The ADHD Effect on marriage. Read each part about how it affects the non-ADHD partner. Try as hard as you can to be objective about yourself. Copy a quote, and then write a paragraph letter to her explaining how you see how she felt like this. In person, emotions get flared. A letter can be read at any time when she will be able to "receive" it. The more that you acknowledge and validate that she has ALSO not gone crazy, the more it will help you "get outside" your head, which I know is difficult and hard to see ourselves in the "bad guy" light, and let her know that she has the right to feel the way she feels. Read old love letters and recognize that you also weren't crazy when you wrote those as well. Both are real. As much as those thoughts feel distant, and if you remind her of things she might have said during the better days, recognize that it she still feels that way about the real you, not the demon (like in the movie The Exorcist) that has taken control and rendered you helpless.

I did not "hear" my partner, because he yelled at me to communicate, instead of rational, disarmed conversation in the manner in which I was raised. Think of her past attempts to inform you of your ways as having spoke to you in a foreign language. Tell her that you knew she was speaking but that you can't you possibly make sense of a language you don't know.For us with ADD, it's often too little too late, but it is helpful that you are feeling that feeling and growing as a person, stretching your mind to the objective reality of the world, and not just what our own perspective is. (I had to get fired for the first time, see my relationship get a little physical, move out, and actually hear "multiple sources (parents, mentors, bosses, partner) say the same things, without it being possible that they were all conspiring against me that "I" was the variable in the equation, not them. It reaches a critical level, which it sounds like you have reached. I have not mastered the ability to instantly summon an out-of-body/out-of-mind experience to always catch  myself, but it is a start.

I wish you the best. I am not expert on ADHD, and I'm still new to this whole world. I know that she married you and I can assume she loves you in the deepest parts of her heart that have been so submerged by daily events as to be undetectable in the light, like a submarine. ALL humans respond to immediate stresses and factors and use emotions to guide actions, not always deep resolve. We with ADD live in the now and can't see or plan the future, or only look far back into our past when we get emotionally stirred (or at least I'll speak for myself). Non-ADHD can't be expected to be blind to their daily emotions and frustrations and pain. Imagine  if you were tortured, or imprisoned or subjected to daily physical beatings (an Oprah-like story or something). We would all instruct that person to find the strength to get out. This is the advice your wife is taking. But it doesn't need to be so. Do your work. Save your marriage, or at least don't sign the papers until you see things clearly and understanding that maybe YOU and her weren't meant to be, NOT your mental puppeteer demons (the ADHD that has dominated, directed and blinded you). Hyperfocus to improve. Hang in there. Take the "life is a journey" attitude. No one perfects it.


NOVA1986's picture


Why Do this phrase has a negative connotation?  When you gave up something that is corrupted, you are giving yourself and maybe others different and/or better opportunities.
Now, when your actions is showing you are giving up your own feelings, in other words, if you are no standing up for your own feelings and believes, then your feelings are not clear, or not real.
I have the believe that, when you love something or somebody that feeling makes you do what you couldn’t think you were able to do. The feeling of love when is real and it is coming from the heart gives you the strength to show it. But if your actions are contrary at what you say you are feeling, maybe those feelings are not as strong and real you say they are.

I like what you wrote here. These phrases sound from a non-ADD person

“We don't make the connection between what we perceive and how it actually affects our partner, we dismiss the other as crazy, and discredit what they say.”
“I recommend starting to personally acknowledge and validate her feelings. Take responsibility for having the most control over the spark that starts the fire,”
“Try as hard as you can to be objective about yourself”
“it's often too little too late, but it is helpful that you are feeling that feeling and growing as a person, stretching your mind to the objective reality of the world, and not just what our own perspective is.”

But, Are ADDers able to be objective?
It seems to me, that even when my husband say I get it, I am sorry, I will not do it again, etc, etc  He may be get it for a short term of time, or he just pretends to get it, to don’t look bad in front of everyone else.

I didn't read in your post if you are divorce or not, or starting a new relationship. But, whatever is the situation I wish you the best. I you are really working hard to improve and to fight the battle against your symptoms, then you deserve the "normality" we all dream in live.

Thank you for your post.

Are ADDers able to be objective

If you study psychology or philosphy texts, it is quite impossible for someone (ADD or non-ADD) to become completely objective and/or self aware. The lack of self-awareness is the defining characteristic of ADD. In my opinion, and I'll speak for myself, while I have a good idea (from my upbringing and interactions with others) what I need to do to not come off as rude, egotistical or actively selfish, I believe that ADDers like myself are innately selfish. This is because my own thoughts race and consume so much of my working memory, there is little room for objectively viewing a situation, looking at the big picture of the here and now in regards to my monthly, yearly or life goals, and ultimately acting on behalf of others.

When he says "he gets it", it means he understands what is going on, how the situation and his role can be viewed as negative, and what would improve it. An example on perspective, if you've seen a movie like "Silence of the Lambs" it is shown through the perspective of the cop trying to find and catch a criminal. You root for the cop and view the criminal as bad and happy when they are caught. In a movie like Thelma and Louise, it is from the perspective of the criminals, and you root for the criminals and hope that the person chasing them doesn't catch them. Then there is a movie like The Fugitive, where you see the perspective of the criminal (the Harrison Ford character and hope the cop doesn't catch him, because he knows he is innocent and needs to be vindicated, and needs time to discover who the one-armed man is.) The point is, it doesn't take long if you are an objective movie goer when you sit down, to become deeply biased when you only see one side of the story, it doesn't matter which side it is, whether it is "right" or "wrong" in some moral sense, it's only that the human mind is easily biased and rooted in perspective. (Actually, movies that objectively view both side of the story, like a debate, are hardly ever made or successful because the psychology of the typical person/movie goer likes to take one side or the other, be seen as "the good guy" and fight against "the bad guy". People don't want to have a war of sides play out in their heads when they drop money to be entertained). I think, ADDers, like myself, see themselves like the Richard Kimble/Harrison Ford character in the movie The Fugitive, and we feel like we are being blamed and accused of a crime by the Tommy Lee Jones character (or our non-ADHD partner) that we feel we didn't commit. We feel innocent and believe we are innocent, and are looking for the "real criminal", the one-armed man (or in our case, the hidden ADD symptoms and behaviors). Imagine how that movie would play out if instead of finding the one-armed man, Harrison Ford found out that he really WAS the killer, he really DID kill his wife. Imagine the shock, disbelief and confusion he would feel, that the audience would feel, a Sixth Sense type of ending with a twist. For those who get diagnosed and discover they have ADD and that the way they saw "reality" was not real, and that they really DID do horrible things to their non-ADHD partners, and they WERE somehow responsible for cause of the anger, frustration, and ignorance of their ADHD partner, it is a hard pill to swallow. I believe, for those with ADD like myself, we understand how "someone" who does those things is capable of blame, but we are still deluded and our minds resist with all our subconscious might to see OURSELVES as a bad guy. It's not just an hour of movie time, the movie of our life has been playing before our eyes for our entire lifetime.

So I return to the question of "Can ADDers be objective?" Yes, it is possible. But don't expect it to come through "telling" the person that what they are doing is wrong and that they should change. I am a science teacher, and we are taught in the school of education about addressing misconceptions. In order to produce true change, we need to be shown, and perhaps live or figure out for ourselves, why our old way of seeing the world was inaccurate and invalid and why an alternative viewpoint is better. People believed that the Earth was the center of the universe for thousands of years. When Copernicus suggested the Sun was the center of the universe and the Earth (read: me, us, myself, my ego), was not, it was rejected and dismissed and disregarded. It took a lot of time and a lot of evidence for the collective consciousness of humanity to see that our old, deeply ingrained model of seeing the world and our place or role in it, was wrong and needed a makeover. Imagine how difficult is was for humanity to then discover again, that we were wrong again, the sun is not even the center of the galaxy, and our galaxy is not even the center of the universe. What happens to our self-perception when we keep discovering that our place in the universe, or our once held high horse keeps getting cut down to size?

People with ADD, myself included, already have low-self esteem because things don't go the way we think they should, and we are confused, unsettled and lost as to put a finger on why that is so. We ultimately realize that we must be responsible, but it is like a dark energy that pervades our universe that can't be detected, or seen and only presents itself we are afforded the time, perspective, and sometimes, unfortunately, harsh words by our non-ADHD partners, as to the true nature of our actions and their affect on our partners. The most modern ideas and theories of the universe championed by scientists and physicists is that there are an infinite number of universes, and that we exist in millions or billions of them, some in which we have become a doctor, or a lawyer, or married this person, or even died as a child, or that we are just a hologram, a projection onto a 3D sphere of the universe. Like the movie the Matrix, these thoughts blow our minds, and stretch our understanding to new distances. However, if you've even taken a rubber band, you may stretch it to it's limit, (it's hard to do to begin with, but certainly capable for most people.) When a non-ADHD partner brings to light the ADD partner's disabilities, this is exactly what happens. But does the rubber band "want" to stay like this, in this stretch out "high energy" state? No. If you release it, it snaps back to its lower energy state, it's "normal" conformation, where it can live and exist the way it's known, in peace. The minute the argument between a non-ADHD partner and the ADHD partner ends, or light-shedding educational lesson is over, and the ADD partner goes back to doing the dishes, talking the dog out, going to work, getting the mail, surfing the internet, and watching TV, (i.e. the daily grind), it reverts back to it's normal shape. If you were to ask a bacterium sitting on the surface of the rubber band if the rubber band changed after it snapped back, it would say "Yes, it's changed." However, if you ask someone the size of dinosaur if the rubber band looks the same, or is the same size after it snapped back, he/she would say, "No, it hasn't changed." The fact of the matter is that from the perspective of the ADD partner, "We HAVE changed" "We ARE trying" "We DO believe that we aren't doing the same thing we used to do" or that "We DO feel different", but in the eyes of our non-ADHD partner's "We ARE still the same" "We HAVEN't changed" "We STILL do the same thing we've always done." It's no wonder our non-ADHD partner can't see it, and still gets frustrated, and discouraged, and angry, and becomes hopeless that we'll never change." The fact of the matter is that the rubber band DOES change each time you stretch it, but unless you have the best, most precise tools in the world, it is hard to see or notice or measure. No matter how much stress we with ADHD go through, no matter much we try and catch ourselves, and try to do things differently, it never seems good enough to those we love. We often get no credit, no validation, no positive reinforcement that anything has happened and we are constantly reminded that we're still not there, still not ideal, still not what others think we should be or do things the way they think they should be done.

I guess the ultimate lesson to learn is that both partners need to stretch, stretch their minds to understand that each viewpoint is valid (the bacterium AND the dinosaur). Education, empathy, compassion and perhaps a little bit of faith that both partners can BOTH be right, that "the good guy" in the movie (Batman or Superman) is not any better, just or heroic than the "the bad guy" (The Joker or Lex Luther) in the big picture. Everyone has their story, and in each of our eyes, and our self-validating and self-reinforcing ego, believes we are correct. We wonder why world peace is difficult to achieve, but in America, we may just be bull-headed, stubborn, and maybe even too egocentric to recognize that our enemies overseas (be it the Nazis, Communists, or the Taliban) do what they do because they are who they are and do what they feel is justified and appropriate based on their own nature, history and way of seeing the world. As someone with ADHD, I just want to feel like I am in harmony with my world and my life, a feeling of success, accomplishment, and supported in that longing and struggle to achieve the upper level of Maslow's hierarchy, where I'm not just struggling everyday to do what needs to be done, fulfilling my most basic needs (whether it is food and shelter) or more common mid-American needs (getting a good performance review at work, paying the bills on time, satisfying my duties and/or vows to my non-ADHD partner), but getting to the most where I am actually happy, and feel at peace and satisfied with my life and who I am as a person. The more I learn about ADHD, the more I learn about myself. It is a chronic condition, a lifelong condition, where we are never free from those habits and behaviors that present themselves like ghosts, "the ghost in the machine" if you will (google it or read it), is always with us, always lurking in the shadows, always haunting us everyday. It is tiring being on guard 24/7, making us distracted, sending us into hyperfocus, playing with our thoughts and intentions, shuffling our priorities and focus on a timely basis, and requiring us to always work to outsmart them. We can get medication, and we can get therapy, and we can build mazes to slow them so we can get ahead, and navigate life virtually free of their destructive influence. It still doesn't resolve the fact that we are always on the run, fugitives from ourselves, and racing to get to a better place.

I know this is probably more of an answer than you were looking for. I haven't had the opportunity to sit and journal this before. However, I think you hit on a very key issue that I've struggled with, and felt, my entire life, but only now am I reframing it in an ADHD context. I hope that if you, or others, have had the patience, and attention :), to get to this ending of this post, you've had a chance to consider things and see something in a new light. If you agree, or disagree with me, or if I am speaking from my own personal perspective, but not necessarily on behalf of the entire ADHD community, please let me know. Feedback is greatly appreciated. I wish you and your husband the best, and ultimately a happy ending, be it two worlds bonded and united, or apart.

Specific replies and random thoughts


I took your "don't give up" to mean "don't get depressed and go jump off a bridge." I think Nova1986 saw it more as a plea to not give up on the relationship. Hence, her reply, why is giving up taken as a negative?

The stretched rubber band is a great analogy for how ADDers feel when they successfully get out of themselves and try to see themselves differently. And the fact that the rubber band's shape is slightly altered every time it is stretched is hopefully true. But to the partner who needs a paper clip or a staple instead, a slightly altered rubber band may still be inadequate. 

As for objectivity: Can non-ADDers be objective? My opinion would be, NO THEY CAN'T. And I think there's some scientific method behind this. The non-ADDers see the world as it is, and they see that the non-ADD way of dealing with it usually works (being "realistic," "practical," etc.). So they look at the ADDer, constantly banging his or her head against the walls of reality, and say, "Why can't you just see things as they are? Why do you insist on living in this fantasy world, or why do you lie and deny? What is wrong with you, that you can't understand what is right in front of your eyes? For example, "Right or wrong has nothing to do with it; if you argue with your boss, he will be angry with you."

As to the thoughts on being objective in a relationship with an ADDer, I suppose the further we are from a particular dilemma, the better our objectivity. Conversely, the closer we are, the less we're going to be objective. If you're married to the dilemma, all the more reason to more subjective and less neutral. If my wife were neutral to me, she wouldn't care, and none of this would be a problem. Nor would our marriage have been very loving or fulfilling, but just kind of "there," and I suppose she  would have walked out on me years ago.

As for self-awareness, I'm often troubled by the whole concept. Seems to me that most people use the term unwittingly to mean "observant of oneself in the way that others observe you," ie, externally in the physical sense (like watching yourself on video), or objectively/subjectively, as in, "what will others think of me as they observe me?" But both of these are different from, say, being cognizant of your own self's needs, wants, or motivations behind certain behaviors, which would precede reaching the tippy top of Maslow's pyramid, the elusive self-actualization.

So I am now aware that I have hurt my wife. That was a real mystery before, but is now a total no-brainer. I think it was a mystery before because I would define anything as progress. For example, she worried that I was too distracted by women I worked with. Well, during a typical day I may play dumb about a couple of double entendre jokes, bypass a gossipy water cooler conversation, turn down a lunch invitation, maybe even deflect a bold come-on. But at the end of the day, I'll spend a half hour chatting over email about new music with a young girl at work. That's five victories and one failure. I'll be exhausted by the five victories; they took everything I had in me to keep focused on the right things. But, tired, beginning to relax, I blew the last challenge. 

I can't deny that I robbed my wife of a half an hour of companionship, time and attention, plus ran the risk of giving the young girl the wrong idea. But given that she was the least risky of all the other potential distractions, I'll be looking for some credit for having "chosen wisely" my indiscretion. Someone who plays strictly by the rules - naturally - is not going to see my interpretations of the shades of gray with much approval. But I'll snarl at them for not patting me on the back for going 5 of 6. 

The real hard nut to crack here, though, is, once having made the realization that whatever is going on in the "black box" parts of my mind are hurting my loved one, HOW DO I STOP THEM FROM HAPPENING AGAIN? Especially when the "reward" of the ADD might just work to patch over the lack of self-esteem you  mentioned. Example: if all the young girls at the office think I'm "cool" because I know their music and don't treat them like coffee maids, that's going to go a long ways towards filling those potholes left by all the times I've come crashing to the ground because my ADD messed up some or another project that took me down a peg.

You say, "It is a chronic condition, a lifelong condition, where we are never free from those habits and behaviors that present themselves like ghosts." For the first half of my life, I knew there was something odd there, but I was content with it, accepting that it was part of the life and vocation that I had chosen. But now it has taken on a sinister personality that acts like a veil of uncertainty placed between myself and the things in adult life that I hoped would provide happiness and personal security. 

I feel sometimes like the designer of an airplane that has had a great crash, and I want to promise the public, "This will never happen again!" Except that I'm not sure how to fix what's wrong with the darn thing!

Well I appreciated the Peter Gabriel reference. I've always enjoyed in particular the version and video with Kate Bush. I wondered what a five minute hug from Kate would be like, with her singing in my ear. That would be a time when one would surely wish to live "in the moment." :)

You said:  "That's five

You said: 

"That's five victories and one failure. I'll be exhausted by the five victories; they took everything I had in me to keep focused on the right things. But, tired, beginning to relax, I blew the last challenge.

I can't deny that I robbed my wife of a half an hour of companionship, time and attention, plus ran the risk of giving the young girl the wrong idea. But given that she was the least risky of all the other potential distractions, I'll be looking for some credit for having "chosen wisely" my indiscretion. Someone who plays strictly by the rules - naturally - is not going to see my interpretations of the shades of gray with much approval. But I'll snarl at them for not patting me on the back for going 5 of 6."


THAT'S IT!  We want credit because we are trying so hard to do the same things in the same way that other people take for granted, but it takes us so much more effort than they can realize - and we won't be encouraged to keep trying if no one realizes the work we've already done in that direction.  We're swimming but our legs are MADE out of lead.  If they want us to keep swimming we have to know it's worth it!

Appreciate your posts Oncehadalife

and the insight into the ADD mind is truly invaluable--I am part of a very happy 10 year marriage to an ADDer (I am non). 

Do you go back and read what you write though with a view to seeing how your wife might take the things you do.  For example, on the one hand I believe I understand what you are saying with this example:

Well, during a typical day I may play dumb about a couple of double entendre jokes, bypass a gossipy water cooler conversation, turn down a lunch invitation, maybe even deflect a bold come-on. But at the end of the day, I'll spend a half hour chatting over email about new music with a young girl at work. That's five victories and one failure. I'll be exhausted by the five victories; they took everything I had in me to keep focused on the right things.

I get that to you this is 5 victories and 1 failure.  I get that because my husband will sometimes say to me after my listing of 5 times he has screwed up the same thing over and over (and I have to list it sometimes before he will actually admit to me that he can see that he has a problem with this particular issue, not because I love 'keeping a count of the injury').  The first words out of his mouth ALWAYS used to be a ridiculous (to me) defense like "Well last Tuesday I did it right" as if that matters in the here and now where we are likely in the middle of dealing with one of those screw up or we wouldn't be having this convo.  So I get it is important that the acknowledgement is there of 'I know you are strugging with this and I have definitely seem improvement' and I try to give it, but he also can now see where throwing in that defense of himself is not at all helpful in the middle of the problem and that he can bring up that he'd appreciate some acknowledgement of his hard work and progress at a later time if he feels that has been lacking lately.

However, you seriously cannot expect ANY WOMAN ON THE PLANET to think you deserve kudos for resisting the advances of other women?!?!?!  That is part of your marriage vows that there is no wiggle room on keeping if you want to stay married.   And an even more insulting comment (for a wife) if you can try to see it from our viewpoint is that you claim that turning down attention from other women TAKES EVERYTHING YOU HAVE IN YOU.   Please go back and read that again and tell me if you'd want to be married to a woman who has to give it all she has to not flirt/hang out with/return the attn of other men and that the effort is just so great that she often fails.

This same woman who you love and want to trust completely also has KISSED another man AND THEN CONTACTED THAT PERSON AGAIN while telling you that she wants to stay married to you and that a situation like that kiss will never happen again--how would you feel if you then found out she was playing with fire by going back into contact??  She also has communication with other men that your pastor and several professionals as well AS YOU AS HER HUSBAND tell her are inappropriate, yet she persists.  She also has at least one if not multiple emotional affairs with other men  including one she debates leaving you for, but she thinks you should give her kudos for only giving in once in the day mentioned above?

PLEASE tell me you see the ridiculousness in this example.  NO woman is going to accept a relationship with you on those terms. 

Do you have some kind of sex/attention addiction/personality issue on top of the ADD?  Cause doing and thinking in the way you list above will never get you to a happy, healthy relationship....not the one you are about to lose nor to any long lasting one in the future....until you resolve your need for the attention of other women.  It is obviously more than just getting kudos from other ppl or you'd be happy to have some complimentary guy friends and never risk your marriage vows.

My husband has inattentive ADD and there are times his distraction can make me scream, but he is a drop dead gorgeous, extremely intelligent man and is regularly checked out by other women on the street and occasionally one will be disrespectful enough to our marriage to try to flirt with him.  His absolute unshaking loyalty to me (including the fact that his inattention issues extend to them moreso than me....many times I've had to tell him that some woman was trying to hit on him) is one of the ways I know I am loved and that I am secure entrusting him with my heart. 

Do you see how neither your wife, nor any other woman you may try to build a relationship with in the future, can ever feel that way about you while you are behaving this way?

summerwine's picture

I took it to mean that his

I took it to mean that his wife is the jealous type who doesn't like her husband even looking at or talking to other women and that he has to dodge women to avoid just a conversation. I didn't read it that is has to fight to not flirt to not cheat. My sister in law is like that she hates it if her husband even talks to a waitress who she thinks is pretty he is like always on guard afraid that some girl will ask him for directions and get him into trouble. He has never cheated on her but her ex husband did and now my brother pays for the other guys crimes. I wonder which is it? Are you just not allowed to socialize with other women or are you wanting to cheat but trying not to? Either way I like his points and please don't throw away them because you don't like his example.

I think you might not have read the whole story

This man has had a chronic problem with other women.  Went overseas and almost left his wife for a woman he met there and she found letters he wrote to this woman while he was mulling over sending them.  She has shown emails that he writes to female students to professors and at least one pastor, and it's been universally agreed that he is out of line.  He has admitted on this thread boundary issues he's had with other women and how he has used their interest to bolster his almost non-existent self esteem including his kissing of an ex and then getting back into contact with her after promising his wife that inappropriate behavior was going to end.

Because of his background and because his wife's issues with other women is a big part of what they fight about (at least here), I took his example as his thinking on this issue.  He struggles with temptation all day and only sometimes gives in..........YIKES!

Hopefully he will be back to clarify his thinking on this matter.  

As far as the basic point of *I struggle and struggle and sometimes fail, but I need help to continue the struggle*, as I posted in my response to him, I appreciate reading the ADD side of this.  I think we all know we have to keep reinforcing the good, but he has a way with words and explanations that helps refresh these ideas even if we already know them.  That is why I say I appreciate his posts a lot.

In the example he posted however, kudos will not and should not be offered, especially by the spouse he is betraying by his interest in and attention to other women.  They are currently going through a divorce :(  I certainly hope they can find a way back to each other as it truly seems like there is/has been a lot of love there, but this behavior needs some SERIOUS PROFESSIONAL HELP in my opinion & he won't get his marriage back nor ever get into a healthy relationship with another woman without it.

summerwine's picture

Oh sorry! The layout of the

Oh sorry! The layout of the forum is different than I am used to and the threads get so long and mixed up. I am sure that I miss stuff.

Yes, i deserve no kudos. Context needs to be provided.


You are right to bring up the whole story. I stopped writing here in he middle of the summer because, frankly, my cup ran over and I found myself becoming increasingly saddened by my visits here. But I'm glad someone recently wrote a response to something I had written at that time, because it has brought me back while I am at a much different place now. I am really appreciating everyone's comments, questions, even critiques. I think it's all useful in finding a healthy way to deal with this situation. 

Here are a few clarifications that may help. Sexual addiction does play a role here. I had two abuse experiences in my younger life, once as a 7 year old by a male teenager, and one episode in my teen years involving a woman in her twenties. This in the context, of course of a young man learning and exploring some of the typical things that puberty presents. Fortunately, my family was a church-going family, and I was able to rely on my spiritual beliefs to provide some balance and not allow myself to sink deeply into despair, or perhaps some other kind of addiction like substance abuse. 

Counseling sessions with a psychologist over the last your and a half have been very helpful in getting me to see how these experiences created the barrier issues I've had, and how those barrier issues have created problems such as self-esteem issues and limerence, "a term coined c. 1977 by the psychologist Dorothy Tennov to describe an involuntary state of mind which seems to result from a romantic attraction to another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one's feelings reciprocated. The concept grew out of Tennov's mid-1960s work, when she interviewed over 500 people on the topic of love, and was first published in her 1979 book Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love" (Wikipedia, Limerence).

Regarding this trip and "letters"for another woman, however, it was really notes I made while considering writing a letter to someone I had met abroad at an academic conference. i never did write the woman, and I understood completely why my wife then packed a suitcase for me and pointed to the door. But the context is that this all occurred two and a half years after a brief separation after my wife said she would stop saying she could no longer say she loved me, and true to her consistent nature, she did not. So while this is NO EXCUSE, we had fallen into one of those "not really a marriage" marriages. 

There were other big challenges I was facing at the time: failing health (diabetes that was no longer controllable with diet and exercise was was now difficult to control with medicines), and a piling up of regrets about a career I abandoned and doubts about the new career path I had chosen. I think it is fair to say I was deeply conflicted about all the things that until 2009 I had pretty much counted on to hold me together; my family life, spiritual life, work life, and health were all in free fall.

As for the "five victories and a failure" statement, I only meant to describe how I got to the end of the workday feeling simply overwhelmed by the kind of events that "neurotypical" people might glide through without too much thought. I made the remark about growling because I'm getting no kudos only to express my feeling of frustration over not being able to tell whether I was doing anything right or wrong, yet feeling utterly exhausted by the experience. I chose the example other women because it is the most egregious offense in the eyes of my wife, and the one that I regret the most. I DO NOT DESERVE TO BE CONGRATULATED FOR BEING SO "OUT OF TOUCH" THAT I CAN'T EVEN GET MY WIFE TO UNDERSTAND I LOVED HER.

Think about it: a guy with ADD, low self-esteem issues, daily emotional stress, and on top of it all this limerence deal;he is *going* to get distracted by women! I've read on this blog about guys who spend all day playing video games, working on their car and forgetting to go to work, or drinking alcohol as their ADD-fueled destructive behavior. As luck would have it, I got girls. And if you think that I find it fun or cute, think again. My religious beliefs did not allow for premarital sex (thank God!). In my young, pre-marriage life, it seems I was either hated for being a tease who never took anyone to bed (one alleged girlfriend came over to my apartment when I was out of town for a weekend and slept with my brother, telling him, "You know, your brother won't do this"), or I was the guy who was "so easy to talk to," usually about the grief being caused by other guys (which reminds me of a girl who turned down a date, telling me that a friend of a friend said I had a "reputation," only to call out my name on a dark sidewalk in our apartment complex three months later, falling against me and bawling about how some guy had just used her. I didn't wash the sweatshirt I was wearing that night because her running mascara had stained it, and I wanted those stains to remind me: "See? I'm not such an a**hole after all"). Either way, it didn't result in many healthy relationships from which I could learn healthy habits. 

So then I married someone I was deeply infatuated with, and yes, in love with, but who had her own set of baggage. Her father was a philanderer with a complete second family in the shadows. He dragged his family around two different countries chasing jobs that he couldn't keep until HIS wife told him, enough, we're staying here, you go to the next job alone (and that's where the second family came in). While I truly believe that my wife loved me from the start (she has only recently admitted that she actually had doubts that she hid), I was on the "short leash" from the start. She would get angry if I wasn't the first one on the dance floor, taking it to mean I was ashamed of her and didn't want anyone to see us together (the truth was that I was very self-conscious about dancing because I didn't feel I did it very well, but explaining that didn't change her mind). It was, in fact, others who pointed out a jealousy streak in her that I always defended. I was always making excuses for why she was angry, for why she didn't want to go certain places with me, for why she was yelling, or made this or that critical comment about me. 

Now, to make it worse, I had never heard of this limerence thing until just this past year. I was now starting to feel really weird about other women I knew, that I worked with (in the arts, by the way). It really *did* concern me that I would find myself - attracted to? Engrossed in? - others. Everyone had always pegged me as a "people person" and told me what a great future I would have in education and academics. But when it came to women peers, I really had this conflict going. I wanted it be engaged and supportive, but at the same time you know what this made me feel? GUILTY! ASHAMED! I could just feel *something* about my feelings was just beyond the pale. I did NOT want this going through my mind. I tried to channel it into professional things: work relationships in which I could spend time with some of them working on a project or or event, instead of, say, dating them, or doing social things with them. Right about this same time, just a couple of years into the marriage, we are seeing the effects of the ADD (again, many years before I had any knowledge of the disorder), so the pressure is on at home. I recently found a journal entry that mentioned her first mention of the "D Word," in 1995, not even three years of marriage yet. 

You can probably imagine that I am leaving out some specifics of detrimental behaviors on both of our parts. Why? Well, it would take too long to write about very little thing that ended up either disturbing her or adding to my guilt and confusion. Just suffice it to say that we are becoming a nightmare to each other. She sees me as someone who wants to cheat on her but is too much of a coward to actually do it (her words), and I see her as so highly critical that I'm afraid to come home at night. Though I hadn't really vocalized it yet, I was beginning to harbor resentment, and not just for the little nagging, but for big things like career redirections I didn't want to take, for my self-esteem problems, even for values changes (suddenly I began worrying about salaries, promotions, big houses, new cars). 

But in the end, my dilemma still remains. I need to take responsibility to this, ownership of it, if you will. I'm ready to say, this is all my fault. The fear I have, however is two-fold. Firstly, with this whole ADD cloud fogging up the lense, am I really seeing things right? And secondly, whether a longtime issue or not, I am more than a little self-esteem deficient at the present time, and big commitments, like accepting that I am the party mainly, mostly, or completely responsible for trashing my marriage, are big burdens to bear just now. The fact that I've promised my wife the divorce and I'm working on the paperwork right now should show how I feel about things, but it feels a little like pulling the handle myself to open up a trap door in the floor of an airplane where I'm standing, without a parachute, and whilst flying over an active volcano on an unpopulated island somewhere north of the Arctic Circle. 

Woa. ADD or not, I'm feeling pretty focused now. Back to Sinatra. 

Please let me know your further thoughts or questions. 

Never heard of limerence

but it doesn't surprise me that you had some extra things beyond ADD going on here because your attention to other women is really completely out of line, and since you post that you now know this, I am curious as to how long you've been treating it?  1.5 years in therapy doesn't explain why back in the summer you were still spending so much time on other women, and if your wife's post down below is truth, you are still communicating with some of these women even now?

As I responded her her post, my understanding of you channelling your interest into doing work projects together and chatting about music, sounds completely like playing with fire.  If you have any kind of spark of interest in another woman, the only thing to do if you value your relationship with your wife and your marriage is to IMMEDIATELY CUT ALL CONTACT.  In this day and age of rampant emotional affairs and physical affairs, it is fairly well documented how one turns into the other.  If you already are inclined toward addiction to the attention of other women, why would you arrange to do things together and chat about ANYTHING?

The analogy that came to my mind is an alcoholic who needs to avoid alcohol, hanging out in a bar and just 'spending time' with what he craves without drinking it.  How long do you honestly think his resistance can last in that situation?  Your wife says you have been told to completely avoid these women.  That sounds like the only solution to this type of addiction to me.  Why aren't you doing that?

I really did understand part of what you were saying with your 5 victories and a failure analogy, but what I was trying to point out to you is that you are applying it to a situation that NO WIFE is going to accept.  And you choosing that one, really does reveal your attitude about dealing with your seem to feel as long as you are avoiding MOST of the contact with other women that a little is ok.  That is NEVER EVER ok for a husband to give attention due to his wife to other women, but especially not for you because of your addiction problem.

Your 5 victories and a failure analogy works to help many of us dealing with the important thing that our husbands forgot to do and why our anger about it causes him to list the other 5 things he did.  In an ADD mind with lacks the automatic priority listing of the non ADD mind, I can see that those 5 other things might seem to outweigh the one that was forgotten--even when the forgotten one was really really important.


IT IS A GOOD ANALOGY but not for what you were using it for.  You could have 50 victories and you are still going to get pounded about the failures until you stop failing where it comes to other women.  You have to CUT YOUR CONTACT COMPLETELY with other women that interest you because this is a form or cheating and because it has to be making your addiction worse.  Your wife posted that your psychologist says the same thing, isn't this true?

Question about this point:

I was beginning to harbor resentment, and not just for the little nagging, but for big things like career redirections I didn't want to take, for my self-esteem problems, even for values changes (suddenly I began worrying about salaries, promotions, big houses, new cars).

I recently read through your old posts on this thread before replying, so I know that long ago you posted that you were unfairly blaming her for your career redirection.  That you started the career you wanted, but it was harder than expected and you weren't enjoying it, and that when this redirection came up she did encourage it because she said you seemed miserable all the time (which you didn't argue with).   At that time, your posts said that you redirected, weren't happy you redirected, resented her for encouraging you to redirect, but knew that you shouldn't be blaming her.  Based on what you posted about that situation, I don't see how you can blame her.  Most wives will try to help their husbands get what they want and you said you were miserable and that she felt you acted miserable.  Now neither of you might have handled it well, but this sounds like a complete breakdown communication wise that can't be blamed on her.   If you wanted to stay in that career, how would she know if all she sees is how miserable you are?

Also completely unfair to blame her for self esteem issues that you've posted that you've had for most of your life.  I am certain that her way of dealing with your issues (esp when you had no idea what was causing them) further hurt your self esteem.  But I've recently read about a lot of marriage-rewriting that goes on in the minds of a person who wants to leave his partner/justify cheating on his partner, etc   And maybe with divorce looming you are having a hard time seeing where you were/are at fault and where she was/is.

I assure you there is plenty of blame to go around.  Her reactions were clearly not what you needed (mine weren't either when we had no idea what we were dealing with), but that can change when you take the advice of the professionals, do the work, and repair the damage you've caused.  It sounds like your main damage has been your attention to other women which is ongoing, so what would your wife be able to point to as a way to work on your marriage and get through this situation?

For you taking the advice of your counselors and REALLY LISTENING to what your wife needs and doing it.......probably through a third party at this point since your communication with each other is so damaged.....could be a way through this mess.  Of course for that to happen, you'd both have to be working toward reconciliation and from the last several posts from each of you, you sound resigned to a divorce. 

Wishing you the best in whatever you decide!!  And in life of course....

Looked up limerence

and it sounds like you are addicted to the infatuation-type feelings that you get at the beginning of a relationship.  I had heard it referred to as a 'psychological type fog that impairs the thoughts/sense of reality of a person going through or approaching an affair' but had never heard that term before.  Sounds like it is basically the same thing. It is similar to a little amphetamine buzz that you get when interacting with one of these women and because you get that buzz, you continue thinking of the other women and contacting them because your brain is addicted to the buzz.  Does that sound right?  Cause that is what I've found. 

If that is accurate, you need to understand going in that what you have to fight is this brain chemistry addiction, and that every time you give in and go for the buzz, you are putting yourself back to square 1 in recovery.  This is VERY VERY common in ppl that have emotional and physical affairs......who knew but that is what the website says!  I congratulate you for not cheating, but you are DEFINITELY handling this wrong by continuing contact as you cannot recover that way.

Recovery was described online like quitting smoking.  The longer you go without giving in to the cigarette buzz, the easier it will get.  One person who successfully recovered personally as well as her marriage after an affair (which are usually based on craving this type of buzz), was that she completely got rid of every form of contact she used for the other man as well as every time she thought of him or of wanting to contact him or send him a poem or whatever, she very deliberately did the same thing she wanted to do for another person for her husband with sincere romantic interest behind it.

The key is apparantly replacing all the good thoughts you have about other women with thoughts and feelings about your wife. 

Any of this sound like you?

Chiming In

I just wanted to let you know that I've been reading the blogs. I got into a hyperfocus again trying to develop a response, but after re-reading it, it more of just an opinion piece on marriage, divorce, fighting and overcoming. I'm sure it would be helpful, and I'm quite proud of myself for writing it, but it ended up being way to long to address your specific dilemma. So, allow me to summarize in short, if it won't be taken out of context.

You are making headways, sounds like you are growing personally, even if the marriage is breaking or now completely distroyed. Though time is not on your side, you need to continue to share your history with your therapist, or two. It seems like there will some maturity of committment issues at the start and right state of mind and intentions that preempted your marriage.

Both of you have issues that are destroying the marriage, they are not uncommon in many marriages, but exacerbated in one where ADD plays a role. Consider the past, present and future, with and without your wife. Decide whether marriage is healthiest for you, good and bad, better or worse, independent of customs. Together or apart, I hope you will continue fighting, grow stronger, learn to stand up, raise self-esteem and empower yourself to make the best decisions for you, and not let others, or even your ADD, cloud your judgment and focus on achieving happiness, whatever that may be. I know that is preachy, but just know that there are certainly others who are torn in marriage and misery loves company.

I wish you the best.

I replied to Aspen.


I just posted a long reply to Aspen. I hope you see it. Let me know if I should repost it to you. 

Thanks for the interesting discussion. 

A little extra detail here

So I just saw these comments of yours, and I should add that, sure my wife is the jealous type. But what I hear from her is that it's not her problem, that if I were behaving correctly, it wouldn't be a problem. 

The thing is, though, that it seems like it's a combination of both. Yes, I have this limmerence problem I explained in the post to Aspen, but she also has this jealousy and anger issue that is triggered exactly perfectly by my problem. 

"Are you just not allowed to socialize with other women or are you wanting to cheat but trying not to?" Yes, a sad combination of both, I guess. I mean, I don't want to cheat. And I don't want to feel overly engrossed in anyone who is not actually my wife. But this may be my "patch" over the wounded self-esteem. Again, I can only compare it to alcohol, and how an unhappy person might turn to drinking to forget about their troubles for a while. :( 

A few brief thoughts.


"Do you go back and read what you write though with a view to seeing how your wife might take the things you do."

Yes I do. But I think it's pretty obvious from her posts that she's having none of my claim that I understand any better. 


".many times I've had to tell him that some woman was trying to hit on him) is one of the ways I know I am loved and that I am secure entrusting him with my heart."

You are both very fortunate, then. I envy you.

"Do you see how neither your wife, nor any other woman you may try to build a relationship with in the future, can ever feel that way about you while you are behaving this way?"

YES, I DO! And that scares the living daylights out of me. Who wants to go through life being the kind of person that no one is ever going to trust or want to get close to?

I do appreciate your point of view, and your ability to express it so straightforwardly. 

NOVA1986's picture

Don't destroy with your feet what you build with your hands

Don't destroy with your feet what you build with your hands. This is a direct translation from Spanish saying. And, when I read this: "Well, during a typical day I may play dumb about a couple of double entendre jokes, bypass a gossipy water cooler conversation, turn down a lunch invitation, maybe even deflect a bold come-on. But at the end of the day, I'll spend a half hour chatting over email about new music with a young girl at work. That's five victories and one failure. I'll be exhausted by the five victories; they took everything I had in me to keep focused on the right things" It made me think of this saying. I do not know if it make sense in English, but it just passed through my mind.

The problem with this 30 minute of cool chat about favorite songs, more than likely will repeat several times in a week, or in month, or in a year. I am pretty sure oncehadalfe don't even pay close attention or 100% attention to his psychologist, who recommended to him to cut conversation with those (specific one) student. I will not doubt at this moment that 25 years old girl is a again one of his 1000 friends in facebook. He again and again will have available the pictures of this former student of him and the opportunity to continue chatting about music, and maybe someday to go together to a concert. I hope, for the oncehadalife's peace of mind, that happen after his divorce.

It does make sense in english

And it is a very very sad/odd to me situation.  Limerance is a completely new one on me, but it makes sense that the advice would be to completely cut all contact with the girls/women in question in a similar way that an alcoholic would have to avoid alcohol like the plague.  Your husband posted that he tried to turn the attention to something like doing a project together vs going on a date, which made no sense to me.  That sounds to me like an alcoholic sitting in a bar, looking at alcohol or even holding it in his hand, but believing the whole time that this at least he isn't drinking it.  

No idea why he'd spend time with them.  His doctors have said that continuing to talk to them/do projects with them is not the right way to handle his addiction?  I was very curious about that but not quite sure how to ask.

It isn't like I can't understand you being done...I know that a lot of partners start making changes too little too late, but it is hard to read about his genuine desire to have things better and know that it is so unrealistic while he is still doing some of the things that ruined your trust in him.  Do you genuinely not feel like there is anything worth saving with your marriage?  It is so sad to see any marriage end and it does sound like at least a bit of your issues were culturally based.......your desire to dance all night and his to not dance.  I have spent a lot of time with friends from Mexico, and as soon as the loud music and dancing start, I just want to leave.  I hate anything that cuts out the ability for everyone else to converse, but I know for sure that is cultural because they LOVE it.

The truth of the matter is that a marriage seldom ever fails on it's own and can recover from most things if the desire to do so is there on both sides as well as actions demonstrating that desire.  We had a year of fighting quite a bit just before our diagnosis and while his undiagnosed ADD behaviors were starting most of the issues, my poor coping skills and lack of knowledge about why he was behaving that way caused me to react with anger and escalate the problems.  As soon as we backed off the "this is the way to do thing correctly" attitude, we both got much much further and accepted that there is more than one way to do things.

I was the one trying to come up with ways that he'd remember what needed to be done etc, BUT I was not presenting them in a way that he heard anything other than "you are broken and driving me crazy"...which honestly for a time I guess that is a lot like what I was thinking, so I am sure that comes across whether or not you ever say those words.  The anger hurts you most of all and then really hurts the marriage too.  I hope that you are recovering from your part in this also :(

It is really too bad that it couldn't work out because as I posted to your husband it is clear that there is/was a lot of love there.  Since he hasn't cheated, there is a way to recovery for you, but it doesn't sound like the desire is there for you anymore.  I am sorry to read that because your husband sounds like he loves you and is trying to get treatment.  With that said, however, other women would be my deal breakers too and the kind of attention he pays to them would be absolutely NOT OK with me.  In my religious belief, though, since I would have no grounds for divorce without him cheating, we would be plugging along through this situation with professional help on both sides.

What about this limerance diagnosis he has?  Is there a way for him to recover? I mean it doesn't surprise me that he has that type of diagnosis based on what you have each posted, but I assume recovery is possible right?

NOVA1986's picture

To Aspen

Does you husband also falls in love with other women every once in a while? and does he make you feel ignored from the very time you got marriage?

No my husband is faithful as can be

He never looks at other women and he doesn't seem to notice them at all.  And my husband is gorgeous so women seem to look at him a lot.  He has never once looked back that I have seen, and we've been married 10 years and friends for 15 years.  He didn't take advantage of the attention back when he was single either.......he is a monogamist all the way.

I don't know what is wrong with your husband.  If he is who I think I remember him to be, he is addicted to the infatuationfeelings/dopamine rush you get from new relationships.  Those feelings aren't based on anything real so I imagine that is a really hard battle to fight.......reality vs fantasy when you are with a man who loves the fantasy more than the reality.  That is an impossible battle without real therapy in my mind.

My husband took several years to start focusing his attention on other things and making me feel......not ignored exactly but suddenly less important to him.  It hurt my feelings at lot because he'd been attentive to me for years and years and then it felt (to me) like I was boring to him.  The interests he was focusing on instead of me were things like hyperfocusing on a video game and playing it half the night so that I went to bed alone, or taking up a new hobby and seeming to prefer that to spending time with me.

When I would complain about the inattentiveness to me, he'd snap back into focus on me, but then he'd slowly drift back to his other interests.  What we later learned was happening with us is that I seemed so disapproving to him....nagging him to help more at home, being angry over things he'd forgotten, etc  So he started escaping into games and other things he enjoyed and felt good at. I was making him feel like a failure.

Once we got a diagnosis and through the grieving process it has been steadily onward and upward for us :)  For all of us it is a work in progress, but I seriously believe you have to be fully committed to the marriage or nothing can improve.

NOVA1986's picture


We have now two "DON'T GIVE UP", the one from the handsome Peter Gabriel song, were the lyrics encourage a man to continue fighting without fear for his dreams. And the Wrestles's "DONT GIVE UP". I will quote the last one:  "Read a book like Ms. Orlov's The ADHD Effect on marriage. Read each part about how it affects the was non-ADHD partner. Try as hard as you can to be objective about yourself. Copy a quote, and then write a paragraph letter to her explaining how you see how she felt like this. In person, emotions get flared. A letter can be read at any time when she will be able to "receive" it. The more that you acknowledge and validate that she has ALSO not gone crazy, the more it will help you "get outside" your head, which I know is difficult and hard to see ourselves in the "bad guy" light, and let her know that she has the right to feel the way she feels. Read old love letters and recognize that you also weren't crazy when you wrote those as well. Both are real. As much as those thoughts feel distant, and if you remind her of things she might have said during the better days, recognize that it she still feels that way about the real you, not the demon (like in the movie The Exorcist) that has taken control and rendered you helpless.

I thought, based in this paragraph, Wrestles was trying to encourage oncehadalife to don't give up the relationship with that woman that it is loved with all oncehadalife's heart.

Maybe I misread twice but I think wrestles was talking about the relationship. This is why I said,  that giving up a relationship is not something negative, because when you finally realize you have nothing to offer to that relationship, the relationship itself doesn't exist anymore.

perfect metaphors.

I'm with this 100,000 percent.  And the next question is... how do we get the rubber band to stay stretched?  


quick note, I haven't read anything leading up to this post!!  so I don't know the big context, all I know is that this comment so perfectly describes my experiences.  And I wanted to say thank you for that.  I will be sharing this!

summerwine's picture

A rubberband that is

A rubberband that is stretched too often and too far snaps or breaks under the strain.

summerwine's picture

I know how you feel. ((HUGS))

I know how you feel. ((HUGS)) hang in there!



Thanks. I appreciate the sentiment. Sometimes that all we want. :)

To Everyone in this thread,

To Everyone in this thread, thank you- you have really made me think at a time I am searching for answers. Oncehadalife, by your name alone, suggests the sentiment that you understand (though feel you can not change) the dynamics of how you feel. And Nova, I hear you too- we have parallels between us to be sure. It feels very tragic this situation because w all the love and depth of emotion, commitment over years past there has and continues to be misunderstandings of the other persons intent. Its like being in the same empty room speaking two completely foreign languages to each other, you know? You see each others faces, both loving, or angry.. But the content and INTENT of whats being said keeps getting lost. And ironically, you know each others strengths AND weaknesses SO WELL that 1) you jump to conclusions that you know what the other person is feeling without trying to hear what is actually being said; 2) the ability to hurt each other is so great because you know each other so well. This is our situation as well and it is so clear that it is your way as well. I cant and wont say what I think you should do but I can tell you what I wish for me: I DONT want a divorce (though this not just my choice). I want to have my husband commit to ME and let US work on our miscommunication TOGETHER without the anger, malice, and criticisms. AND to openly acknowledge the demons in the room and tender to them by supporting each of us in our moments of vulnerability. I guess if my husband does not love me as a woman, partner, etc.. Its a done deal but I know what I know- our marriage has been real and filled with love. If this makes you "roll your eyes", or call me out-of-touch then all I can do is shrug my shoulders and struggle forward...

You took the words right out of my mouth

All I can say is....YES....your words could have been written by me.

What do we do though?  That's the hard part.

I wish you every happiness.

Also to everyone on this thread

I had a comment mostly written just a while ago, but realized it was self-pitying and depressing. So I erased it. I've written here many times in the past, but in spurts.. After a while it gets depressing, frankly. I find myself too often being the sole voice of males or the sole voice of ADDers. I can't remember the last time I read a comment from an ADD male.

So here's what I'll say instead, for the preponderance of female, nonADD spouses, and I hope to do so with all respect and sympathy. 

But get over yourselves. 

If your spouse has ADD, *he* has the problem. All the whining, nagging, self-pity, and denial in the world is not going to change that. Someone said earlier, it's not like it was a medical problem. WHAT!! It's a BRAIN problem. The one big organ with which none of the rest of the organs are worth anything. If it were cancer, and you all got on line and said, "His cancer is really tough on me emotionally," could we then say we're sorry, we didn't realize it, and turn the cancer off? 

Do you have ANY idea what it is like to have this issue? No, you don't. And just like we ADDers can't believe we forgot the trash, overdrew the bank account, lost a job, crashed the car, lost our diabetes meds (again), and made you mad again on a daily basis, you can't understand how it feels to be seen or talked about as LESS THAN USELESS. In fact, we are burdens, giant rocks placed in your paths. We are "man-children," we are albatrosses tied around your necks. We are the ones bosses hate, the ones parents see as dangerous or careless, who almost lit the house on fire as kids, or had to be pulled out from under the chairs at Sunday school every blessed Sunday. Teachers always called us out for being lousy class members, and later we end up addicted to stuff, who can't hold a boring job, who "doesn't take care of his responsibilities, because a man should do whatever he has to to take care of his family."

After a while of hearing this, from doctors, bosses, loved ones, even clergy, you get tired. You  look for a way out, an escape route, even if you don't want to leave. But it all becomes unbearable. Once, just before the internet age and years before learning anything about ADD, I went around with an armful of photocopied résumés and delivered dozens in a single day by walking building to building. When I got home, my wife started with "you didn't do this, you can't do that, you forget the other." I remember grabbing her by the hips and burying my face in her middle and saying, "Please stop. I can't handle any more 'no's' today!"

Many of us have gone from the idealistic dreamer you admired and fell in love with to the root of all your problems and pain. Do you think we *like* that? It's shameful. it's depressing. It's everything we didn't plan to be, and the exact opposite of what we dreamt for ourselves and the love of our lives. 

Now, on the other hand, ADD has a commorbidity rate that is rather high. And if your spouse's ADD has dragged him into one of your deal-breakers, then that's probably not going to change for you, right? Whether it's infidelity, pornography, abuse, or something similar that really damages your dignity and your ability to lead a normal life, then you have all the right in the world to say it's over. 

My soon to be ex wife commented tonight, if God made you like this, how come he doesn't speak to you loudly and clearly about what to do about it? And he surrounded me with people who could help. But it's not going to magically disappear.  If they want to, and if I let them, things can be better. But if I don't want to let them and they don't want to anyway, then it's senseless to keep fretting over the same grief over and over. Why stay, indeed? 


Once, your post easily could

Once, your post easily could have been written by my husband. And I can tell you this: I KNOW this is not about me. That it is about you trying to find your PEACE. Yet you and my dh dont seem to get this important thing: you are not an island. You may go through this hell of feeling like a constant f*cking failure- but that is NOT what I think about my husband AT ALL. But tell me: what is it you want to hear from your spouse to make you feel like,"okay, she gets it" and then be willing to work WiTH her to overcome the less than fun aspects of adhd?? I also hope you recognize, truly, that if you did not know you had this diagnosis until recently that you probably had other feelings crop up to cope with it- some not so helpful ones like low self esteem, angry refusal to have to deal with all the crap frustrations you feel DONE with, even if it means walking away. And that is not necessarily adhd itself, but the fallout from having to deal with adhd. And all the meds in the world wont address that, but counseling, reading, working on your self esteem will. It is true, the possibility of comorbidities appear to be high but it doesnt change the "solutions therein" but further underscores the need to address your feeling via several ways at once. *you sound pissed*, in fact more than pissed- at us the "gaggle" of seemingly whiny women who dont seem to get what you are going through. But we have and will continue to deal with these same symptoms through how they affect you. And the mean words like, "get over yourself" - which seem more like a message of "go away because I can not deal with you AND my frustrations" do not give us a way to work WITH you and thats really hard. In fact, it could be maddening, and I am guilty of losing my temper as your wife (and you, and my husband) have . It doesnt, once, feel good trying to be the partner of someone who pushes us away. But then maybe you should understand why we do: we actually do NOT see you as that unmitigated screw up. We see you (or at least thats how I see my husband, I don't know you or your wife) struggling to make good but then doing things that alienate us- for you, the interactions w other women are, well, trust breaking. And if it requires a written list of mutually agreed upon behaviors specifically outlined (the two foreigner speaking to each other) all the better. Thats what I foresee as a way to start breaking the stalemate... But YOU and YOUR wife have to be able to separate the adhd symptoms from the toxicity that can foam up in your relarionship. Because, in that way, it DOES become about us- husband and wife. I dont know if there are answers for you once, or for my beloved husband (no sarcasm there). Or for your wife/me. I just want to know: what IS to be done to make you want to try to make things more positive... Otherwise what are you going to do to make your life happy instead of just existing? Your wife, your kids (?), AND YOU deserve the chance to find these answers.. Hope this was somewhat helpful truly... I am hoping you did not just hear blah blah blah, or"lip service". There are good answers to this conundrum... I KNOW this, but it is a two person effort w regard to keeping your family intact.

Just re-read your post once...

["And just like we ADDers can't believe we forgot the trash, overdrew the bank account, lost a job, crashed the car, lost our diabetes meds (again), and made you mad again on a daily basis, you can't understand how it feels to be seen or talked about as LESS THAN USELESS. In fact, we are burdens, giant rocks placed in your paths. We are "man-children," we are albatrosses tied around your necks. We are the ones bosses hate, the ones parents see as dangerous or careless, who almost lit the house on fire as kids, or had to be pulled out from under the chairs at Sunday school every blessed Sunday. Teachers always called us out for being lousy class members, and later we end up addicted to stuff, who can't hold a boring job, who "doesn't take care of his responsibilities, because a man should do whatever he has to to take care of his family."]** * WOW and once again struck by HOW HARSH you have felt put upon through your life, and yes: it wasnt fair or nice to feel ANY of it. Want to suggest strongly please a way to look at it that may be helpful.. Through life there has and will be an EXTERNAL requirement: to do your homework, to get a job, to try and keep it and if not, get another one...those are not emotional requirements, they just are (if you want to not go to summer school/eat/not become homeless etc)... We ALL screw up at times and its not about that..just noting the external (its really helpful to make a list of to dos). BUT THEN the big thing is to see how the INTERNAL drives your ability to work on the external. If you feel like shit about yourself, that you do things "wrong" but dont know why and it inhibits you from trying...well thats the thing to look at. You do HAVE the power to be in control.. And in a way that makes you happy and functioning around the people you love (who can also be happy and functioning)-- enough of the time (but not all of course!). Deal with the negative storylines in your head and you can move on in a good way. I tell this to my son now- as he is struggling too with these effects. And you know what? He is "getting it". And his self esteem has been shit too but I am not letting him miss the GOOD that he is doing. Apparently, it is an easy thing to miss sometimes when you have adhd. At least that is what it appears to be in this home... In the meantime, its true that the people around you should try to gain understanding of what it means to have adhd. Please understand how hard it is for us sometimes; unlike having cancer (where you can see it, assess it in tangible measures, etc), adhd is tricky. And many of you are so awesome at compensating for the symptoms enough so that only those around you on a daily basis may bear the full brunt of its side effects next to you. The people you see intermittently... Not so much (but your wife, big-time!)... And thats not bad necessarily because the one person who is your partner/advocate can help you- as she would hope you could help her in her times of vulnerability. Sorry for the prosyletizing...but I do feel and hear your pain too.

Another ADD Male voice...

I'm still around, although I've been a little off and on lately... Things have been going fairly well in my house lately and I've needed a little time off from the site to really take a look around at my personal situation. I've posted and read here for a long time and sometimes it seems to take away my hope that I'm actually improving because so many guys with ADD never "Get it".

I had a sobering moment last night when my wife told me the she would have left me if it were not for the kids at the time that my ADD was diagnosed. She told me she loved me, but was so mad that she would have left because of the anger. I knew this, especially after my new awareness of ADD's affects on my marriage and Adderal's assistance in reading more signals around me. It has taken a long time for my wife' anger to drop and her defense scEens to lower. Maybe my post ADD diagnosis behaviors are being seen as consistent and not a temporary hyper-focus driven phase.

Oncehadalife... I will try and be another representative of ADD Males Who Get It, and maybe more of us will get it.

Im so glad you showed up yyz,

Im so glad you showed up yyz, I was hoping you would. My last post lost, Im sure, pretty much EVERYONE w adhd and then some. It was a bit everywhere, sorry. Glad things are going well, Ive never held doubts that you (all) can deal with anything that comes your way.

Like a bad penny, I keep showing up :)

Lulu... Your post will not run anybody off :) I come to the site to hear both sides of the thing. If I cannot understand the NonADDER's side, how can I understand my part in the struggles of my marriage. Keep posting and I'll keep reading. Maybe I'll even say something that makes sense ;)

Well I feel the same. So

Well I feel the same. So yyz, once (and DF wherever you might be)... Keep posting too, so we can hear your viewpoint too.
NOVA1986's picture

Question to YYZ

Hi YYZ, I want to congratulate you for being so brave and dare to write your insights here. You and my husband are a great help for a lot of us in this forum. I would like to know - if is not much to ask- do you have the infatuation factor as your ADD symptoms? Do you have some kind of addiction, like TV, video games, food, etc. If yes How do you think you are managing it/them? Just curiosity.

Thanks, Nova..

I'm not sure what you mean about infatuation factor, but addictions I have had to deal with for sure. I've always been a tech junkie, like audio, video, car stereo, cars, computers and so on. These sure helped cause money issues throughout my life. I'm much more controlled about this addiction these days. Before my DW, I was not a very good boy friend for very long. Once the chase was over, I was the typical ADD guy and temptations caused by my flirty personality usually ended things. My DW made her boundaries real clear, so I had to develop a strategy to steer clear of situations where things could go wrong. I did not know what I was dealing with, but I knew I was weak when it came to women. I have Not ever messed this up with my DW. Food was always a vice for me too. When money was tight and my other vice had to be throttled, so food was an easy craving to satisfy. After we got married my weight ballooned to dangerous levels. 5'-11" and 285 lbs, since my diagnosis and treatment, food has lost it's hold on me and I've maintained my weight at 185 lbs. No secret formula, just eating less and a lot of walking. I never realized how much exercise helps me, THIS is an addition with no harmful side effects! 

I've never had alcohol or drug addictions, but my worst mistakes came after drinking. I think that my fear of addiction has kept me from the really bad stuff. I am visual and love good TV and movies, it also ties into my tech toys, but it was not an issue. I could care less about porn (It's so Fake and useless) I never got into video games, every now and then I will play, but I suck as a gamer, so I lose interest quickly ;)

My diagnosis and treatment, including Adderall, has changed my life in do many ways. This website has been a huge resource too!

NOVA1986's picture

Thanks YYZ

YYZ, congratulations for your lost weight success, I am can imaging how good for yourself and for your wife that change represented.

Flirting is natural in every human being, and I am happy for you and your wife you are able to control it good enough, so it is not an obstacle to achieve noble goals you set for yourself and your marriage. Your answer give me some hopes about men in general. I think we are all imperfect somehow, but our brain is design to solve problems, to overcome personal challenge, to progress, to achieve, and of course to work hard, because there is no magic to disappear challenges.

Wishing you the best always. ;-D

Hello YYZ

Hello YYZ, 

Good to see you. I remember you. Glad things are going well for you.

It's been a looooooong year, and as we get to the holidays - the beginning of the end was last year around this time - it has caused a lot of reflection. I'm realizing just how deeply I've hurt my soon to be ex wife because I'm seeing how orderly and tranquil her life without me is. She's not the hyper-critical shrew I thought she had permanently changed into. Without me setting her off, she's back to that life-loving girl I fell in love with. 

But it's also plain to see - and we've discussed this - that we both fear trying to put it back together. She doesn't trust me to keep focused, and I can't trust that she'll not go back to beating me up over it. 

The two things I can't stand are misunderstanding and being misunderstood. So, yeah, I'm feeling a little put upon and a little unable to put out the effort I should/could/would.

Life goes on. There's no quitting, no giving up. So we'll see. 

Linsy's picture


You guys sound so great, having realised that us wives are not 'shrews' but just trying to cope. My life is not exactly orderly and tranquil without husband from whom I have separated, due to my boys, but it is at least under some kind of control now instead of full of shocks every day that sent me into deep distress. Good luck to all of you. My problem is that my husband is not hastening to get himself diagnosed, but continues in deep denial of the pain his condition/behaviour has caused.

NOVA1986's picture

Some old answers and new questions for ASPEN

I am sincerely happy for you for having a loyal husband, that makes ADD´s symptoms easier to cope.
"I seriously believe you have to be fully committed to the marriage or nothing can improve" I like your statement, yes you need to want to commit, unfortunately my husband had years and years showing the opposite.
In one year, He confessed about a facebook/ text involvement with a woman in Canada, a violinist, married 3 or 4 kids, etc. Somehow after several communications, she started to suggest sex-chatting. Just recently he also started a friendship with a woman in Pittsburg, after few weeks he commented to her that he was getting divorce. After that announcement, the conversation started being romantic and all day long they were texting each other. Few weeks later he travel to Pittsburg for Business affairs, and he took the advantage to meet her personally. To make the story short, his second day there she was already avoiding him. The 3rd day she refused to accompany him to church, and to take him to the airport. She is bipolar. I didn't know until him came back that 3rd day and came to my place to have a conversation with our 14 years all daughter who got involve in some inapropriate behavior. So he told me about his broken heart.

He is also keeping close friendship with a woman in Venezuela , divorce, 3 kids, and living "la vida loca", you must see her "beach pictures". With some facebook's friends you really do not need pornography. She is already commenting about her desires to leave Venezuela and move to USA. I think my husband will become the visa dream for her.

It seems to me that hi strategy is to start building relationship to see who will  be the next blind woman to accept him in the way he wanted to be accepted.

No idea why he'd spend time with them.  His doctors have said that continuing to talk to them/do projects with them is not the right way to handle his addiction?  I was very curious about that but not quite sure how to ask.

"What we later learned was happening with us is that I seemed so disapproving to him....nagging him to help more at home, being angry over things he'd forgotten, etc  So he started escaping into games and other things he enjoyed and felt good at. I was making him feel like a failure."
I can see why we nag. Is it probably we try to turn our husband attention to some family/home activities expecting them to be excited to serve his family and to help them to build self-esteem? But it is hard for them to give up being self-centered.

"Once we got a diagnosis and through the grieving process it has been steadily onward and upward for us :)  For all of us it is a work in progress, but I seriously believe you have to be fully committed to the marriage or nothing can improve"

How long the grieving process lasted?

"His doctors have said that continuing to talk to them/do projects with them is not the right way to handle his addiction?  I was very curious about that but not quite sure how to ask" If I remember correctly he told me that his psychologist told him that the problem of keeping a too close relationship with their college age students, combined with his need of their attention, admiration, thankfulness, etc. Is that his professional advices for them can lead him to suggest them to stay in our town so he can fulfill his desires to occasionally see them, invite them, etc.

Once in while we talk about the possibility to get together. Of course both of us are afraid of each other behavior, so he has said, that I most be aware and do not react negatively when he failed in pornography, or get infatuated with a co-worker, facebook friend etc. He has one year without a job, and he has some few non-paying music projects, that are late, and I am almost sure that his multiple distraction don't allow him to finish them. Some of these projects have income promise in the future. Even do he is stock with his distraction. But, if you personally ask him, he may say it is because I bother him asking him favors, or because I don't cheer him enough to motivate him to work. But my question is, doesn't have he enough friends who constantly and cheer him up?. Every time he communicate with them he show in his unique way the need of some cheers and moral support. And he got it. I know because I have been able to read his friends responds.

I use to have the hopes that with the separation, and being far away of my daily nagging he were going to be able to make some significant progress in his music career, or other teaching project that he have been working since 2009.





NOVA, I honestly am not sure what the answer is for you

With regard to nagging, you asked:

Is it probably we try to turn our husband attention to some family/home activities expecting them to be excited to serve his family and to help them to build self-esteem? But it is hard for them to give up being self-centered.

The short answer is that I don't really know.  I know I nagged for a lot of reasons but probably mostly it had to do with the issue of control.  I wanted so badly to rely on my husband and he was so darn inconsistent.  I tried really hard to help him set up routines that would help his consistency and I honestly believe my motives were GOOD, but my manner wasn't.  I felt forced to nag cause it was the only way that anything seemed to get done around here, and Melissa posted to me way back when on that very subject....that we feel forced to nag to get what we want, but in the end we don't get what we want at all because it leads to so much resentment. 

I get a lot more effort out of my husband when I trust him to get things done even if it is a different way from me, and I work hard on my tone and my attitude when it comes to reminding.  In fact just this week, my husband was very very late on something he promised to do (like he'd been keeping this project around like a pet for YEARS) and we had talked about it on Monday, he promised it would be done by Wednesday (was less than a hour's work).  On Wednesday, I gave him a couple hours to get to it on his own, but he kept working on different things......sort of piddling around if you know what I mean.  Do a bit of this and that but getting nothing done.  Finally I was starting to get angry and was thinking of all the things that I was going to do/say if he didn't do it.

I just stopped myself and said that he clearly needed to be reminded of his promise.  So I went into his office very softly (instead of stomping in and demanding as I was inclined to do when I see him wasting time) and I talked to him nicely about some of the things he was doing, and then I asked about the other project, and his face sort of fell which means he either forgot or was avoiding it subconsciously (he'll tell himself he has PLENTY of time left in "Wednesday" so he can do it later).  I just said "I think it is only fair to warn you that this project is becoming a source of real frustration to me.  You are in control of your own schedule, but if you don't make the phone call and write the letter today, I am going to be very upset."

He immediately and lovingly detached from what he was doing and started on it and had a letter for me within the hour.  We both felt relieved, no one was angry, and it got done.  Did I handle it in the right way?  Honestly I don't know sometimes, but  I find with my husband it is all about my attitude with him if I act like I think he will fail to do something, he is angry and defensive immediately!  Even if all the evidence of the last year with this project points to me having a right to that attitude.    Men really need to be trusted.

Which leads me to a really important point.  Your husband is desperate to be trusted.  And nothing I am reading about his actions or his attitude toward his actions demonstrate that he deserves that trust.  As early as only a week or so ago he was pursuing a new woman in Pittsburg?  He is still involved with that Venezuelan? He thinks you should take him back and love him and trust him and accept that he will backslide and form these relationships, but that you can still work out your marriage?

To all these things I saw WHAT THE HECK?!?!?!?!??!?!  That is not a marriage.  His limerance/addictions/whatever are on HIS OWN HEAD.  Get help, stop putting yourself in those situations.  NO woman is going to accept his 'relationships'.  It just all sounds like excuses to me.

The other question you asked is much easier to answer:

How long the grieving process lasted?

For us right at 1 year.  It took him about  a year post treatment (which means the year didn't start counting until he was diagnosed and went on meds even though we were pretty sure for a couple months that he had ADD).  I think hearing that diagnosis is quite a blow to most people.  He felt like he was working like crazy and I felt like he was doing nothing.  Was a difficult year........easily the hardest of our marriage.

Once he came out of that and had a game plan, it has been steadily, if sometimes slowly, upward progress.

NOVA1986's picture

Thanks Aspen

This makes sense: "that we feel forced to nag to get what we want, but in the end we don't get what we want at all because it leads to so much resentment" And yes we want to learn a home chore routine, and no matter how we said with horrible or good attitude, at the end, they will do it on their time. With our separation help to cope a little better with the nagging, because I have to face in regular basis less frustration/anger triggers. Recentely, I have to ask him to by some milk and 4 more products from the grocery store, and I was very surprise that he did. It took me only two times to ask me. The second time I just wrote a list, and he did.

Oncehadalife met the Pittsburg girl on Oct. or Sep. but if a remember right, they started the emotional affair in Nov. And the finally met in person in Feb. I know she blocked him from facebook, In spite of that he was looking at his FB page using another FB pages my DH has. I think he told me she blocked the other 3 facebook pages he has with different names (two of these pages are for business, he posts some of his music compositions and arrangements. My DH has her phone number so, if he is continues trying to communicate with her, I don't know. With the Venezuelan girl, they still communicate. But he needs more than a cheerleader, so I am sure he has more than one friend to cry looking for Sympathy.

Thank you to illustrating your successful story about asking with a positive attitude. It really can help the brain to remember the story and to be able to repeat the example.

TRUST, what a wonderful word. If you can trust your husband with ADD, there is hope that I can one day meet a man with or without ADD that I can trust. I think, there are few things I like about ADDers, some of them are fun (sometimes too sarcastic) and very relax, but the limerence part of the whole personality is impossible. And my DH has showing more that enough that he is not willing to give up that flirty activity by text messaging, FB messaging, etc.

Thank you all for your support.

Airing one side of a conversation is not going to help anyone.


At the risk of creating a public argument between the two of us, I must comment that, knowing the other side of the conversation that you have referenced carious times in your last posting, a conversation we had just last night, I don't think it helps to anyone else. I imagine it serves the purpose of venting frustration, inasmuch as this forum is all about helping one another, seeing we're not alone, understanding others are going through the same thing. But what I see is that we didn't really do much "communicating" last night. I'm not saying I need to win you over to accept my view as the only view, but there are things that I said that were meant to help you understand my view regardless of whether you see it as right or wrong. 

So what I see from your recent post here is that you either didn't understand at a l what I was trying to say, or you simply didn't understand what I was trying to say. I know it sounds catty for me to say that, but what am I supposed to do? Should I just accept that you don't want to understand?  It seemed like at the end of the conversation that we understood each other, and that we were accepting that we have different views that were incompatible. If that's the case, then say that. But from this post I get the impression of *me* that I am intentionally engaged in behavior that I know is wrong, and that I'm telling you, "Tough, just accept that I want to do bad things that hurt you."

NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER THAN THE TRUTH. I'm so sorry that you feel that everything I do is meant to hurt you, like I have some sadistic desire to make your life miserable. Frankly, I am so tired of being miserable myself, that I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

 The bottom line is this: I am afraid of two things:

1. We'll get back together and I'll have "slip ups" (not my term, but the one the addiction counselors use). They will scare me into hiding things from you again, felling guilty, awkward, imperfect, and unacceptable to you the way I am.

2. You'll notice me behaving as I have in the past, and you'll accuse me getting comfortable again and lying to you from the start about everything, of wanting to get back together so I can continue to happily go about some "secret life" as well. This is what has happened in the past, as we've discussed, so there's no reason to doubt that it won't play out the same in the future.

I am completely tired of making your life miserable. When we separated last year, you were so angry (remember the folding chair you through at me, after I slapped you, after you literally grabbed my by the clothes to prevent me from leaving the room where you were calling me names in front of our kids?). The reason we were splitting was so we could divorce and you would never have to worry about me again. That was your desire. If there was any talk about the separation being a "testing period" to see if we could improve enough to come back together, that might have been my own wishful thinking, something *I* said to convince *me* that I wasn't going to be lost and lonely forever.

I am glad things have improved for you. You have a great job, the kids are happy, I see your great sense of humor coming back, and you have moments of wonderful calm. But it's taking me a little more time. I'm the one, after all, with the ADD, the *other* chronic disease, the one who lost a career position in his mid-forties, and in the end had to move out with nowhere really to live. It's taking a lot longer than I thought just to get over how depressing a situation that all was. In your post you made the few hopeful successes I've had look like window dressing whilst I'm otherwise just sitting on my a** sponging off of those around me.

Today, I'm trying to help you as much as I can, to the point where even my unemployment checks go mostly to you. I'm always nearby to help with the kids, I'm NOT running around dating. Maybe it's just that we've been getting along so well recently that I fooled myself into thinking that that maybe there could be a second chance. But what I've learned - my *perception,* anyway - is:

1. that such talk makes you very nervous

2. I still feel that any criticism comes down on me like a ton of bricks

3. You perceive that I am unfaithful to you and I *want* to be unfaithful to you

4. You feel that any interaction I have with a female is prohibitive, from working with one to being nice to a waitress (I wish I were being facetious here, but you know it's been the literal case sometimes).

5. You don't have any problems, *I* have all the problems. And they *all must be 100% fixed,* or no deal.

So I see that there is no chance. I think we are clear that we both live in fear that we'll reunite and end up right back in the dangerous patterns we followed before. There's no way I want to do that. It's bad for you, and bad for me. I can't promise you perfection, and I fear what will happen when I screw up, even once. But just because I am trying to recognize my own faults, it doesn't mean I like them or want to keep them. And lest anyone think this is all about other women, I define some of my faults as forgetting to pay bills, losing track of time, not being able to hold a job where micromanagement is the system of choice, etc. 

So there, for everyone to see. I'm at my wits end, but I'm going to keep trying.

NOVA1986's picture

Oncehadalife, my intentions

Oncehadalife, my intentions weren't to attack you. I just wanted to decompress, to take my frustration and sadness out of my chest. In our last conversations (not only last night), plus your attitude in front of your biggest problem (limerence/infatuation/sex-addiction) are not going in the desire/ more recommended direction (according to me and maybe your psychologist) You know it have being hard for me all this year of separation, to have to see the same pattern of behavior.

Somebody posted the following: "Limerance is a completely new one on me, but it makes sense that the advice would be to completely cut all contact with the girls/women in question in a similar way that an alcoholic would have to avoid alcohol like the plague.  Your husband posted that he tried to turn the attention to something like doing a project together vs going on a date, which made no sense to me.  That sounds to me like an alcoholic sitting in a bar, looking at alcohol or even holding it in his hand, but believing the whole time that this at least he isn't drinking it" Unfortunately this statement is clear, it makes completely sense to me.

I am not saying that you INTENTIONALLY kiss, date, chat, share our intimacy, etc with the intention to hurt me. Nevertheless, it happen and it is painful and confusing for me. And knowing that the only way to keep my marriage I have to face this fact for the rest of my life, it is not very encouraging. Do I have to start every single day of my life thinking that there is possibility that my husband is going to expend most of the day doing not productive job in the computer.

I read an old post from you (oncehadalife) when you said you love your wife with all your heart. My question is how a person can love so much but at the same time do some activities that are painful to that special person that is loved with all your heart. I understand the addiction factor on that, but can you understand that your addiction affect directly the core of a couple relationship. It can not be several 3rd persons, because it can not be called a couple relationship.

Sometimes I try to think in a man that I am attracted to, just to see how far my imagination can go. And imaging my self being you in Rotterdam, Pittsburg, St. Louis, Utah, Japan, Venezuela, etc and re-create your stories with that real/unreal person, and it really doesn't make me feel happy. My desires to feel loved it is not strong enough to encourage me to do such a thing in real life. It is seems absurd and  non-sense. Sincerely, I would like to ask you (oncehadalife), how would you feel if you were aware of me feeling excited to have dinner, lunch, with a personal friend or a friend of yours; visit the apartment of neighbor to talk about porno literature, chatting about the time we have being intimate during our separation. And please do not come up with the story about my bike ridding friend, that also is a very good friend of you, that invite you to go to movies, etc. Probably the only friend that invite you to do something with him. Did I tell you that more that once, probably two, while I go for a bike ride I cried wishing is you were the one enjoying the ride with me.

You said that my post are not very useful, but even if I am the most terrible wife for an ADDer, it's good to let the rest of the forum know and let them have their own perception to guide them. I am who I am, maybe now they feel more sympathy and empathy for you reading my post. Good, bad, mediocre, defensive, attacking, long, short posts are good. What we are posting here are feelings, and feelings are real and validated. My feelings, your feelings, everybody feelings.

I am sorry that my post make you upset, but I would like to throw my last frustrations to see if I can learn a new lesson. Am I still seeing ghosts here?  Am I inventing words that I never read in your facebook messages and texts. The things you have told me you never said them? How sick am I with all this experiences in my marriage? Do I deserve sympathy or only ADDers are allow to receive sympathy and empathy? May be that anger you felt reading my post is the same pain I feel when I read your communications with your special friends? I would like to know if each of them feels like the only woman/friend that you share everything you share with them? Do they think they are unique in your life? Probably some of them feel that way, may be those who are begging for attention and love.

To finish thank you for clarify some confusions in our last conversations.

Oncehadalife, I want to be supportive to your situation

as  I know that dealing with ADD and also dealing with any other addictive behaviors is a challenge.

Honestly I don't understand your post.  You seem to have read something different than I what I read in your comment, which is why I don't think it is a good idea for husbands and wives to post here TO EACH OTHER.  I think it is a very good idea for you both to post and present both sides of an issue so that there can be good advice offered.  But to post to each other and try to refute the other's post, in my opinion very unhelpful.

What I read to be the major issue for you and your wife (and please correct me if I am wrong) is your inappropriate relationships with other women.  An ongoing one with a woman from another country, some of your students (which even others in authority have told you are inappropriate), etc etc

You say you are afraid of getting back together and then 'slipping up', in what way to you mean slipping up?  Because it reads like you want to get back together with your wife and have her not be angry with you if you start having more inappropriate relationships with women.  If that is what you mean, I don't think you would find any woman anywhere willing to accept those terms.

DON"T get back with your wife or into a committed relationship with ANY woman without being confident that you can avoid inappropriate relationships with other women.  That is what your therapy is for right?  Do you have a sponsor or someone to call when you feel weak?

You are getting a dopamine jolt from these inappropriate flirting, porn, fantasy relationships with other women, that you CAN get from being in a relationship with your own wife, but only if you CUT THE OTHER WOMEN OUT.

She is probably hypersensitive to things like being nice to a waitress because of your addiction. You may linger a bit long with the eyes or start flirting without really realizing it.  If you want things to work out with any 1 woman in your life, you have to limit your contact with other women.

If you have had an inappropriate relationship, you cut all contact with that woman. You recognize it as a fantasy and not real and not conducive to what you want with your life, so you delete their numbers and you ban then from Facebook (in fact maybe you should ban yourself from Facebook while you are still having trouble controling yourself).

DON"T continue to talk to a woman you have gone too far with.  They are not your friends and they are surely not friends of your marriage.

You sound like some cheaters I know who want desperately to have a wife and kids at home in a loving marriage and also have extra excitement on the side.  You can never keep a wife and kids in that situation if they aren't agreeable to an open marriage.  You realize that right?  Your wife will not live like that, so the ball is in your court.

As far as the abuse.......slapping her and her hurling things at you.  You both need to STOP THAT.  It is horrific and will damage your children beyond belief.

I wish you the best ONCE, I feel for your situation, but the other women have to stop. It isn't even working for you, so why do you keep doing it?




I feel this awful need to "defend" myself. You know I've felt this before, often. I know that we have talked about this so many times. But I'm worried that, in the way you present it, of course you're going to get a lot of people saying that you really have an impossible situation with your husband. So let's see if this helps. 

Limerence is being in love with that feeling of being in love. It's not a desire to be unfaithful to one's spouse. I know you define any attention paid to another woman as infidelity, but the truth is other than the kiss with a former girlfriend 12 years ago, which you knew nothing about until I freely and of my own will confessed to you, I have had no intimate physical relationships with anyone else. I know you may try to count kisses on the cheek, but that is a part of your culture and my mother's and I have been taught that it would be rude to avoid this typical greeting. 

You mentioned the woman from Pittsburgh, but got the dates really wrong. We "met," if you want to call it that, through a thread on Facebook that involved politics, where various people commented, sometime between the 1st and 15th of December of last year. We did fall into a pattern of almost daily messages back and forth. No sexting, though, and since I believe you have fished these conversations out of my phone and laptop, you know that there was nothing that anyone could reasonably call explicit or damning. After I got the call to go to PITT on business, I asked if she'd like to meet in person. This was maybe Dec. 27. But you will also know that I made it very clear to her that I considered myself still married, that the divorce papers were just then being put together, and that we shouldn't expect more than just a nice conversation over dinner or what have you. Also, I'm sure you remember that by this time you and I have been separated for 10-1/2 months, and had already been collaborating on the divorce paperwork.

You know that that trip turned out to be a good two days of work, and probably a grand total of 3 hours spent with her over two different days. You also know that, for whatever reasons, she pretty much rejected me out of hand. Did I get my heart broken a little? Yes, because her two or three weeks of friendly, supportive emails helped make what was going to be a very lonely holiday season at least tolerable. But then meeting her in person was a complete letdown. I know she had told me about her manic depression, but I had never been around anyone with it before, and I had no idea how quickly her status would change, and how hard it made it for her to have face to face relationships. I should probably congratulate her for trying, but this turned out to be very shocking for me. Yes, it is true that she has blocked me on Facebook, and though I may still remember her number, I have never tried using it. The last text communication I had with her was maybe the 24th of January. By that, I mean I HAVE NOT TRIED TO REACH HER, not that maybe she's just not answering. I have made NO  ATTEMPT. 

You mentioned I have various Facebook accounts. What I've always had, and you've always known about, are the separate Pages for my music, publishing, and teaching work. BUT THEY ARE ALL LINKED TO MY CENTRAL PERSONAL ACCOUNT. It is as plain as day to anyone who visits them that they are all administered by the same person: me. The other personal account I set up just a couple of months ago was so I could separate my actual personal friends from the 1,000+ business and arts contacts on my original page, AND YOU WERE THE FIRST PERSON I FRIENDED. I hoped it would give us a way to communicate without your having to be bothered by the other page. Since, however, you got angry - over what  don't remember - and unfriended and blocked me. You know this has made me sad, and I never wanted that and I miss having that line of communication.

The "Woman in Venezuela" is actually someone I taught down there right before I met you. But I did not know her very well. You know that there are no letters, no phone calls, and absolutely no communications with her since, well, 1985. A mutual male friend reconnected us via Facebook. Yes, we have chatted once in a while, and she did joke about coming up to the U.S. to visit, or taking a trip to Brazil. But since you have the password for my bank account, you know that's not going to happen any time soon. She is a nice person, has a sense of humor very typical of you and all your mutual countrymen. We do not talk about sex. We do not talk about love. We do talk about our kids. We do not talk about our ex's or soon-to-be ex's. We also DO NOT TALK VERY OFTEN. I know you have seen some of her pictures on the beach. Yes, I have, too, but I also explained to you that, knowing they are there, I intentionally avoid her albums. Frankly, I avoid them to knowingly and intentionally keep myself from being affected by them in any way. 

The Canadian woman was a predator who initiated and then groomed contact with me. I eventually told you about it as an example of how I was learning to actually recognize the symptoms of limerence, and to express my shock at the "techniques" that I realized a predator was using to gain my confidence, how she was able to take advantage of someone with "barrier issues." You know this was not a "relationship" I was comfortable being in, and you know I desperately wanted to be rid of this. You know this because I went to others first to look for encouragement and strength.

Some people have asked, why do you tell your soon-to-be ex wife all of this? Why don't you just keep it to yourself? Well, I guess we could blame it on the personality test I had to take in the grad degree that said I'm worse than 99.7% of the entire population when it comes to privacy (again, the barrier problems). But part of it is because when we're getting along, I try to share with you what I've learned, where I've improved. But I think you also have an ability to get things out of me, sometimes by intimidating, sometimes by accusing me of worse things, so that as I try to defend myself I end up sharing a lot more than I intended to. And then, of course, later on you turn these into accusations of affairs. 

When I shared with you that I am worried about how you would react if we were back together and I backslid, I WAS NOT REFERRING TO RELATIONSHIPS with other women, but rather everything that has been at issue these last few years: the ADD symptoms like forgetfulness or distraction, or the self-esteem issues that we've discussed with my counselor. Life has been so hard for the last nine years for me professionally, and the last six years for us personally (since you told me you'd stop saying you loved me because you weren't sure anymore, which, by the way, was before all the rest of the stuff discussed in this post). You know how my physical health has been, and you know how hard I've tried to deal with the ADD since the 2008 diagnosis. I've been up to my eyeballs in meds for this and the other chronic disease, and how they affect each other, and how many times I've tried different ones, or adjusting dosages, etc., etc., all the different counselors I've tried, too. 

I don't understand why you still care, as if there were a chance we could get together. But considering that makes you so nervous. And I am very confused by how much of your life still seems consumed by my problems. I am also confused by how it seems that you want our marriage to work out, yet at the same time, you want me to feel like I'm a dishonest, unfaithful, confused, unable to work, useless human being. Why would you want someone like that, anyway? And why would you want the person closest to you to feel completely emasculated?

And, pertinent to this forum, I don't understand why you are so insistent on outing my "bad" behavior. We've discussed this in private so many times in both peace and battle, but it seems like whatever we learn just goes out the window the next time you get a chance to publicly drag me down through the mud. You're only telling part of a story, and while I recognize your right to vent, I get very confused about what you really believe about me. 

NOVA1986's picture

I just found this post and it

I just found this post and it made me think about my daughter, me, my still DH and people in general. How to teach a child to stop the following symptoms? Is it a effective therapy we can take to be able to learn how to control this hehavior?"

"But, something I'm hearing in there sounds like a spot of oppositional defiant disorder, which I don't see talked about much here.


I'm just throwing that out there because it is common that is with adhd.

The general symptoms are this:

The DSM-IV Revised Fourth Edition written by the American Psychiatric Association uses the following signs of Oppositional Defiant Disorder as its diagnostic criteria(1):

A. A pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least 6 months, during which four (or more) of the following are present:

1. Often loses temper
2. Often argues with adults
3. Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules
4. Often deliberately annoys people
5. Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
6. Is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
7. Is often angry and resentful
8. Is often spiteful or vindictive
Note: Consider a criterion met only if the behavior occurs more frequently than is typically observed in individuals of comparable age and developmental level.

B. The disturbance in behavior causes clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.

C. The behaviors do not occur exclusively during the course of a Psychotic or Mood Disorder.

D. Criteria are not met for conduct disorder, and, if the individual is age 18 years or older, criteria are not met for antisocial personality disorder.

I was actually floored when I read it, though they don't apparently have the same diagnostic criteria for adults. They apparently call it passive-aggresive disorder in adults, which was something a marriage counselor mentioned to me"

Linsy's picture

Reading this again the day after my wedding anniversary

It all makes perfect sense, but crucially it is the recognition of the ADHD half of the equation that their condition is the root of all the problems, and that their furious, stressed partner is reacting to the constant broken promises, mood swings, hypocrisy, pointless, baseless rage and dependencies (multiple, including illegal substances and the non ADHD partner's earning capacity, patience, hard work and strength of character). I am nearly four years away from living together, both my sons are now diagnosed and successfully treated for their ADHD (two different types, inattentive and hyperactive) and I am mostly recovered from the damage caused to me by the situation (acute and chronic stress reactions and panic attacks - none of which stopped me from rebuilding the family's security). Partner is living in denial and off his birth family, and when he does see me he loses his temper immediately caused a reversion to the stress reactions that leave my heart pounding. There is literally no recognition that his behaviour has anything to do with us parting and he blames me entirely. I have told him that there is one way back, and that is via treatment but I am not the person to tell him this as I am the hate figure blamed for all his difficulties (although he tells me he loves me and misses most of what we had). I don't think I do love him any more. I am too tired of being shouted at and attacked, and of his behaviour towards our eldest son which is pettily critical and entirely unsupportive. I have carried the family for all this time, and it is a MUCH lighter burden without him and often filled with joy, progress and achievement without the deadweight of his negativity, inaction, terrible repeated damaging mistakes and so on. I do this without any family support of any kind, practical, financial or emotional, as his family enable him and blame me, and mine have their own preoccupations. My friends have been wonderful however, in being there when I hit the bottom, and I thank God for that and all my other gifts particularly my darling children.



Bravo! Great to hear how well

Bravo! Great to hear how well you are doing on your own. What a strong capable woman. Well done!


Linsy's picture

Thank you

I feel as if I am making it up as I go along, with no map or good advice from any other reliable adult. But one of the best things I have learned is that I can trust myself however wobbly I sometimes feel when I wake up at 4am. That I don't let myself down, or my children who all believe I did the right thing by getting their father out of the house. My best friends, and I have a good bunch of them, are wonderful but one is bi polar, one has a disabled child, a third has cancer. Their problems make mine fade into insignificance, but they still reach out and comfort and support. As another cancer sufferer said to me, 'There is no hierarchy to suffering'. I do hope you are well and managing OK. Best wishes

i agree with this!

i agree with this! Unfortunately, my partner is in total denial+won't seek help. He is a wonderful man with so many talents+special attributes. I am conditioned to accommodate this as my mother was+is ADD+train+trained me from age 4 to accommodate this. I am at a dead end. I care deeply for him but my ability to accomodate this has maxed out. I am compassionate+ flexible with his issues-even though they are outside my experience. This is totally exhausting. I'm dancing as fast as I can+it's never enough or even close. HELP!


I've read up on this+tried to be more understanding of the challenges. It seems the more accepting - become of rudeness, lateness, irresponsibility, etc. The worse it continues+increases. I'm at a dead end how to deal with this.

why do I stay

I've been married for almost 4 years and my husband has ADHD and he is a recovering drug addict (pot and speed) there has been much more unhappy times than good times. He has 3 children from his first marriage and I have 1 child so that makes us a family of 6. At first I was very happy to be a part of a big family, but having the big family and dealing with my husbands issues feels like it is too much for 1 person to deal with. In the beginning I was sympathetic to his problems and I wanted to be the one to help him through his difficulties but know I just want him to help himself.  He has tried counseling for his own problems and we've tried marriage counseling but when he is given homework to try and help him with his ADHD he won't do it, or if he does do it he will wait until the last minute and put minimal effort into it.  He just wants to take medication but he doesn't put any work into trying to help himself.  We have his children every second week.  He gets very irritated with his children very easily.  He loves them very much, and he always wants them around but he won't do any parenting, they don't clean up after themselves and 1 of his children also has signs of ADHD. I always feel like I have to entertain his children because he will not do anything with them except to watch TV with them. He has lost his job for being unmotivated at work, so now I am the one who is paying for everything.  I have always been the person to handle the finances because I can't trust him to pay the bills.  He has no credit because he was very irresponsible.  I just wish I can see a bright light in my situation but right now it is looking so dark. I was so in love with him despite his problem when we first got married but I didn't realize how draining this life is.  I feel like I'm starting to hate myself because I am always nagging for him to help me with his children, the cleaning, the cooking. I try to ask him to help out and either he get mad at me or he will "forget" so then I have to get mad and yell for anything to get done. We don't have sex.  I use to beg for it and I felt so unattractive because he would always say no that his medication was affecting him too much, but now I don't even want him to touch me.  I just don't know if I love him  anymore because I'm just too tired. I am losing who I am and i'm just becoming the housekeeper. Is there any hope?