I am not sure where to start. I apologize ahead of time if this rambles a bit or gets long. Please read though. I am at my wits end and really need some help and/or advice from people that understand the struggles with ADHD and marriage
I am the one with ADHD. My husband has always been an avoider and through recent marital counseling I have come to believe that he is extremely passive aggressive. He of course denies this and feels it is unfair that I am putting a label on him. He says that he has some of the traits, but doesn't feel he has enough to have a problem. We haven't had a lot of time to talk with the therapist about this, but she seems to agree.
I never felt so validated after reading something. When I read about passive aggressive traits it made so much sense. There has been a lot of blame put on my ADHD and our marriage problems. I have worked hard to improve, but still things are poor in our marriage. This seems to explain a lot of what I have seen and felt over the years. Don't get me wrong I have contributed a great deal to the problems, but it takes two and he only is willing to take responsibility when it is vague. It also makes a lot of sense that when I have read ADHD articles a lot of the symptoms seemed connected to him as much as me. He isn't ADHD, but there are some similarities between passive aggressive and ADHD.
He has always avoided. He will say yes and not follow through. I have learned that I promise usually means no. He avoids giving answers. Hearing I don’t know triggers a bit of anger in me because I hear it so often. He avoids responsibilities and is pretty helpless when it comes to doing a lot of stuff. I usually do all the organizing stuff. Thankfully I keep pretty organized. I learn to do that as a coping skill. However I get stressed out really easily by it. He gets frustrated when I want him to do things. He thinks I always want him to do things on my schedule. He always has had an attitude of if he ignores it it will go away. Many times it will because I deal with it. I don’t want to get in trouble for not paying a bill or not having something else done because he didn’t know how. He is trying to be better, but he is still often helpless. We work together. The other day he called me from the office and asked me which way to put the papers in the fax machine. I don’t remember that sort of stuff. I told him to look for the picture on the machine. “What picture? There isn’t any picture. Oh wait…. never mind. Love you bye.” I end up doing a lot of this stuff, because it was easier than hand holding to get him through it. At one point I was even filling out applications and writing cover letters for him.
Our marriage is a mess. We have been married almost seven years and it has always been a struggle. He shuts down and avoids and I nag and complain. I realize now that I sort of learned that negative attention is better than no attention. It feels that he learned to shut down and do his own thing until I just took care of things.
He struggled with finding and keeping a job. I don't know how many jobs he lost of quit because it didn't go right. He did get some bad shakes, but he also didn't fight to fix things. I have made so many excuses for him over the years for this, but the reality is he could have worked harder to do more. Looking back I realize he always quits when it get hard. He feels that I wasn't there to see what happened at the jobs so I am judging unfairly. He became very depressed over work and not being able to get a job. He of course blamed everything else. Either people or situations, but did little to change it. At a point he quit trying to work. For almost two years I was the bread winner. When I say breadwinner I mean working full time with sometimes a second and third side job. While doing this I often had to beg him to get up and work. He is a teacher so he could always substitute, but sometimes he went over a month without a single sub job. He had a part time night job, but it wasn't much. He often didn't feel up to working when he did get a day job and called in sick a lot. That put a lot of stress on our marriage and I am still trying to forgive.
I tried to get him to look at things besides teaching, but nothing interested him that is all he has ever wanted. Finally at my wits end we looked into overseas teaching. I am a teacher also. I have worked hard to be successful as a teacher. I actually hate teaching and have wanted to quit, but couldn't afford to go back to school and support my husband. Anyhow....teaching overseas was a good option, because they like teaching couples. I didn't want to go overseas. I had a good job (even if I didn’t like it it was a great teaching situation), we had a house, we had pets, we were settled. However, I wanted my husband happy. We needed money desperately. I wanted to save our marriage. If he wasn't working we would fall apart; we were. Teaching overseas could get him a job at least partially on my credentials. Get him out of his depression, get us out of debt, and let us start living life.
That is what happened. We got jobs together overseas. We later found out it was because of me. That he didn't do that well in the interview. We are out of debt, he loves his job, and he isn't depressed. However, now our marriage was still a mess. While trying to keep my head above water with finances and his depression we neglected everything else in our marriage. We have been slowly working on that, but not doing well. I was still nagging and he was shutting down and ignoring. So now everything in his life was happy except his marriage. I have made his life bad.
Also, I hate being overseas, at least where we are at. Don't get me wrong I have tried to make the best of it and have learned to love a lot of it, but there are major problems. Mainly I can’t get my medication here. Adderall is not allowed in this country. I take Concerta and Stratera together, but they don’t work as well. I went from being a great teacher with many responsibilities at my old school to struggling to be on time and frustrating my new boss. The only thing I was good at I now sucked at. I have come to hate teaching even more now. We had a two year contract. I wanted to leave after a year and go back. I had a one year leave of absence from my old job in case things didn’t work. I could have gone back. However, he wouldn’t have got any references if he didn’t stay two years. I stayed because I felt we shouldn’t be apart. That it would be bad for our marriage.
When it came to decide to leave the second year he wanted to stay a third year. I couldn’t. We agreed that matter what I needed to go. I was now depressed and falling apart. I thought he would decide to come to. He decided to stay and told me that he needed another year. He didn’t feel finished here. He is so scared to deal with going home and being rejected for teaching jobs again. He is finally happy and unwilling to let that go even if it costs him his marriage. He says it is perfect here and he doesn’t want to give that up. It is perfect here without me. He says he loves me and doesn’t want to lose the marriage, but he has to stay. He wanted me to do long distance. I didn’t feel our marriage was strong enough or that I was strong enough with the ADHD to have my life split in two in that way. I asked him to go anywhere else international. It would be easier for me to go home and regroup. I have gone back to school online now that we have the money. I want to change careers, but I would teach two more years somewhere else so he didn’t have to go home and we could still be together. Still work on the marriage together. At one point I even offered to stay without working since that would mean I didn’t need the meds. He felt I still wouldn’t be healthy and that was too much pressure on him.
I just needed to go somewhere we could be healthy. He refused. All I wanted was my husband to support me in being healthy and he couldn’t give up his fear of unhappiness for my health. He had a good chance of being happy elsewhere if he was willing to try.
This all happened in the beginning of February. It has become so much worse. I lost it over the rejection and what I believed was an irrational decision on his part. I struggled to understand why he wouldn’t compromise and why I wasn’t worth it. I cried almost daily and pushed him away even more. Not that that takes much, but looking back I think I was doing it intentionally. It is going to hurt so bad when he leaves me. I was hurting already. If I distanced myself I wouldn’t have to drag the hurt out. I did some really irrational things. I flopped my emotions all over the place. I cried daily. I begged him to go elsewhere. I told him I was going to divorce him. I got drunk once and threw a shoe at his head and broke every picture in the house…glass everywhere. Another time when drinking I shredded a blanket that he likes to use as a pillow. I have been trying to avoid drinking, but socially it is one of the few options here. I am doing better in part, but mostly because I have managed to socially isolate myself. I worked so hard to make new friends here. I struggle with relationships with the ADHD. I have a hard time focusing on conversations and interrupt sometimes. Also if you haven’t noticed I struggle big time with tangents and organizing my thoughts. I am so hyperactive out the mouth it is ridiculous. I get worried about those things and come across pretty socially awkward. Anyhow…. I worked so hard to make friends then all of this happened and I couldn’t let go of the hurt. I got so hyperfocussed on it, that I have pushed people way without realizing it.
At the end of the day I don’t believe in divorce. I believe that I need to keep trying to work on my marriage. At the same time I have always struggled with self worth issues and for a long time have felt worthless in this marriage. It self esteem problems are not solely because of my poor marriage, but it has been a huge contribution. I have been flopping back and forth between trying to save my marriage or some bit of my self esteem. I feel like I am going crazy
My husband was trying to work on things for the first few months of all this. We were going to marriage counselor. He was being very patient with my break downs. Trying to calm and comfort me. He was trying to walk away less and trying to discuss more. Even when it was hard for him and he would have shut down before He was really trying to work on our marriage. I struggled with it being for his own agenda and too little too late. He finally wore out and started wondering if it was worth it. That is when I started to feel that I needed to try. I at least needed to try to get past the hurt. All I was doing was pushing him away. That wasn’t going to help him make choices that were good for our marriage or choices that were part of a team. Pushing him away wasn’t going to help me get him to go elsewhere (not that I believe he will, but it surely won’t help him realize how selfish he is being). All it was doing was making him want space and making him think he made the right decision. I didn’t want to regret not trying. He was really happy here. He is a great teacher and was finally given the chance to show that. I still was hurt and resented that he wouldn’t try to go elsewhere, but if he was willing to help me work through that and help make some choices that helped myself esteem in the marriage I would try.
It seems it was too late. He would say he would try to make decisions that were good for the team in the counselors, but then made poor choices at home. I am his last choice for everything because I make him unhappy. So much lately he wants nothing to do with me.
He has started going out dancing and partying. He used to hate dancing, crowds, and loud music. He refused to go with me over the years. He wouldn’t even dance with me this summer at a friends wedding. He started to go off and on this year. He didn’t want me to come. It was a way for him to let loose and escape. I never liked it simply because he wouldn’t do it with me and wanted to go out with a bunch of girls and couple of single guys. I TRUST HIM COMPLETELY. He has never given me reason to doubt, but it was hurtful and seemed detrimental to the marriage. He felt I was trying to keep him from making friends. I felt he was making friends with women to replace parts of our marriage that were poor. He has always gotten along better with women, but they have always been my friends too. I have tried to encourage him to hang out with guys and never complained about that. I also tried to drop the girl thing, because it wasn’t worth it. He never has had a lot of friends and I think he is just excited he was getting invited out, even if they never invited him to anything but clubbing. I still really struggle with this. I think largely because I have never been invited. I haven’t been really included with this group of people. I think mostly because he never chooses me first anymore. He chose the job over the marriage and now he chooses to go out to avoid me. It was occasional at first, but it has become a problem again. Since he started saying he was unsure about the marriage he has gone out dancing and drinking every weekend. Once his phone was going to die so he shut it off and then stayed out until five in the morning. I was so worried and couldn’t do anything. We talked at the counselors’ about that being detrimental behavior and he agreed not to do it again. He then got mad at me the next weekend and refused to come home. I begged him to and he told me he was shutting his phone off. He then stayed out until 5am. The next day he told me I was making too big a deal out of it and refused to talk about it. He decided to go golfing. I told him that if he left I wouldn’t be there when he got back. He left and I packed up.
I stayed in a hotel for two nights and then found a friend willing to let me stay. I have been gone a week and he hasn’t initiated any of the contact. He didn’t call that night when he got home and found me gone. I finally broke down and called him. I asked why he hadn’t. He said I left and now we both have to deal. He said he was too mad to talk to me. He has since said that he is hurt and confused by everything and not sure if he wants to keep trying. He loves me, but just feels pushed to the limit. He feels having me gone is two sided. He is sad that I am gone and doesn’t like that, but feels better without the stress of trying to please me.
I left on a Saturday and we went to the counselors on Monday. We agreed that we would give each other some space and see how things went, but that separation is only a means to sort things out. We still should be trying to work towards reconciling and coming back together. We agreed that we should be making healthy choices. I am still the one making most of the contact and effort. He just isn’t sure what he wants. I told him I was going to try to leave him alone, but then realized that he would never decide anything and I would just end up hurting. I instead came back and asked if we could do a few dates to spend some fun time together. It will be hard work to make any improvements and a few nice dates won’t fix our marriage, but he will never want to try he doesn’t feel he can enjoy spending time with me.
He did go out again this weekend. He had told me he was going to rest all weekend, because he was starting to get sick. Then he got invited out. He did call and told me and said he would go home by three like we agreed at the counselor. I don’t remember coming to an agreement, but didn’t feel I had a lot to go on since we were separated. However it wasn’t much of a healthy decision for coming back together either.
Spending time together doing fun stuff has gone okay so far. We agreed to go back to the counselors tonight and make some rules for the team. Things we both need to have right now that will help us work together. If that goes well I am going to move back in and he will move to the spare room at least at first. However he is now feeling really sick. Possibly because he didn’t rest and he isn’t sure that he will go tonight.
Though I am learning a lot about myself and him through this I can’t help but regret how this is going. I am still not getting many of my needs met and feel I am sacrificing a lot. Not to mention I really don’t see how long distance can work now. Things are even worse now. This has brought out so much we didn’t even realize was there. It is so hard not to think that we only have three more sessions with the counselor here before summer break and less than three months until he leaves to come back here. How can we make enough improvements to this mess.
Also, I have had a lot of pressure from all sides. My parents want me to leave him because he will never grow up and be responsible. His parents think I am trying to force him into what I want and that I should stay with him in the long distance. It is not compromise to go elsewhere if that is giving me what I want. I tried to explain that I don’t want that. I want to go home, but will go elsewhere for him. I think that is a compromise. They feel that I always get my way and he is finally standing his ground for what he needs. They think I use the ADHD as a bit of a crutch and that I am upset I am not getting my way.
I think his parents feel this way because they have seen me nag over the years and heard Jack agree to do what I want, but they don’t realize that he doesn’t follow through later. Also he does agree to small things if it fits his agenda. If it is easier to do something to get me to stop nagging he will do it. However I feel that when it comes to big things we have always done it for him. Almost every job decision I have made is based on getting him a job. I didn’t get to go back to school until recently because he couldn’t pull his weight financially. I moved to Dubai so we could meet his needs. I took a teaching job in his home town so we could be close to his family and he could hopefully get a job at his old high school, where he also student taught. He didn’t manage to. I didn’t want to work summers or weekends serving, but we needed the money. I wanted to start saving, but we couldn’t even pay the bills.
I know I need to do what I need to and shouldn’t listen to people who are wrong or misguided, but I don’t know what I need to do. I do value these peoples opinions overall. I am actually as close or closer with his parents than mine. Also, I am a huge people pleaser and I don’t want to disappoint. I also don’t want to fail at my marriage.
Oh one last thing. My husband believes I have ADHD and sees the improvement with the medication. However, he also feels that I do use it as a crutch sometimes and hide behind it. I probably have some, but probably not as often as he thinks. He doesn’t feel it is a real enough health problem to have to move to get better. He does support me in some ways, but doesn’t have much interest in learning about ADHD. I have been hurt about this for years. I feel that if he had a better understanding of the symptoms he would better understand me and why I do what I do. Not that I should use it as an excuse. I work everyday to be the best I can with ADHD. I am not perfect and sometimes I fail. It would be nice if he understood when something goes wrong that is at least part of it.
So there it is ….thoughts, advice, anything. I am at the end of my rope. I feel lost and helpless. Not much hope anymore. In a few weeks I will have no job, no home, possibly no husband. That still feels better than now. Alone and away from my support system, in a job I hate, with few friends, and a husband that cares so little. Man have I screwed my life up.