ADHDer, Divorced, and Well...

It has been a year. I made the mistake of leaving. As any successful woman who is on her feet in a similar situation she proceeded with the divorce steps. She begged and pleaded for me to stay that night. I felt  I only wanted to separate but she said  if I left it would be over. She had enough of the issues over 14 years. I knew I had issues and wanted just a break but eventually on the night I left I was drunk and couldn't hear her pleas just my temporary pleasures.

Naturally the ADHDer avoids the conflict and signs the papers and agrees to terms that cannot be met either financially or morally. Being the ADHDer, I take full responsibility for ruining a beautiful thing. We have two kids-the younger one on Strattera for ADHD and has Asperger's. I never fully accepted my diagnosis until recently. I learned much from just reading books about ADHD, its effects on marriages, and the root causes of when it all began with me. Being in my mid 40's, I have come to realize it is inherited AND from the environment you grew up in as a child. Both parents I believe have mental issues. Although I am the youngest of five, I can see that none of my siblings have the traits. However, I can see how a very tense, hostile environment between parents can mentally scar a person long term. My parents (both in their 80's)are still married but their conflicts both mental and physical had me in the middle being the youngest-my closest sibling was seven years older than me. I do believe and joke that maybe I was a mistake due to a night of drunkenness by my father. I for the most part joke about it but maybe it was true. My parents both prior to and after my birth in early years, fought constantly due to lying, affairs, money, family situations, and/or just about anything. The negativity and mental stress of this on a daily basis repressed much my ability to interact with people.  I would hide behind my parents in social settings, I would cry over little things, I hated loud noises, and I would run from the house crying when there was arguing, etc. Also I believe for the most part that the youngest of five allowed me in no way to express an opinion good or bad. I was basically led around like a lemming not allowed to do my own thing or be who I wanted to be. Through all this I had a decent childhood, was active, did things/activities with both parents (alone), and somehow got through it. But yet for the most part relive the bad memories and not the good ones.

 In my marriage many many issues we had were part of the ADHD circle of evil: numerous failed jobs, lying on a daily basis, poor spending habits, high amounts of debt caused by me or initiated by me, hyper sexuality, poor communication, inattentiveness to her needs and needs, easily distracted,  arguments over nothing, excessive alcohol to escape her wrath-which I started in the first place, pie in the sky ideas, negative outlook on life, underachieving in all aspects, unfinished projects, no self-confidence, irregular sleep patterns due to computer, drinking, TV, porn, etc.

I read much of the ADHD and Marriage book that Dr. Orlov has published . Whatever you do READ IT!. ADHD is a diagnosis that can be managed and not cured. The saying, "It takes two to make a thing go right", should be practiced in healing a marriage with ADHD present. . There is no cure, similar to high cholesterol or diabetes has no cure, but their treatments to manage are parallel: medications(examples,CONCERTA vs. LIPITOR) , therapy (PSYCHOLOGIST/PSYCHIATRIST vs. CARDIOLOGIST), Healthy living (MENTAL and PHYSICAL for both). In a marriage the spouse will give you the assistance because they love you and you need to TRUST them. The last thing a NON-ADD spouse wants is the "D" word. A person who has high cholesterol would need the same help by the spouse encouraging them to exercise, eat healthy, go to MD appointments, etc. So like some people with conditions, I can categorize my diagnosis as chronic ADHD, untreated for 40 years.

It has taken me a year to realize all of this. In the next three weeks, I am committing to following every step, small as they may be, to plan, change and MANAGE my ADHD. I am setting up things immediately to start anew. Emotionally I will mostly be doing it alone. She has offered support but I refused saying her plate is too full to manage mine once again. I am single, in debt, and trying to survive a heavy heart.  I miss my old lifestyle: not only the kids but her. It isn't her success, beauty, material things, or even the kids. It is just my deep LOVE for her that was there along. The wiring is NOW connected between the heart and brain.  I see them a lot and we are amicable for the kids. They are stronger than me at this point. She is happy, determined, beautiful, less stressed, and glowing. Not knowing how it hurts but she says she is better off now. I believe her. I know much about nothing. I am jealous of how she has come out of it. Both camps or side takers have advised you are better off with out him/her.  I am not and as my love is still there. Since our divorce other issues as a result or are conditions in ADHDers have been exposed.  At this point it could not hurt more than what I have done. I told her on the phone the other day in another argument about something stupid in the past that I dwell on still, that friends have probably told her that she is too good for me or why did you ever marry him. She didn't deny it. Like I said I still love her and wish it were the same. I know I could change to be a loving, caring husband for her.

Finally, do not blame the ADHD for the marriage problems. You may have not known the many symptoms, played your usual self as an ADHDer, or did not realize the hurt you were causing. Sometimes it is too late like in my case. It will also only hurt you if you blame yourself. That in itself will cause more damage to your mental and physical wellness. Read anything you can get your hands on about ADHD-pre, during, and post diagnosis. It will help you. Talk open, although with ADD it is hard to do, with your SPOUSE. If they are smart, they will help and be proud of you that you are seeking help from them and others. The first you will get is a hug and a kiss.

Each day is a battle. Do not think you are weak or pitiful for being the way you are. I have for a year. It has been nothing but broken promises, crying, silly efforts to get back wuth my wife, a hospital stay, and a year lost. Tell people about what you need to go through, seek help to pay bills, create a daily schedule, set small and big goals, and never make decisions when black clouds are hanging. I now see all this. Set up a plan for managing this, but you need to follow through on it and give 100%. At some point that wiring between your heart and brain will connect for the first time during your marriage and emotions you never felt will come out. Enjoy those moments. I did not since the wiring was not hooked up until recently. Take care.

willie re: your testimony

It is beautiful, and gives much hope to those of us who are struggling with spouses with this issue.  My husband will (hopefully) be formally evaluated soon.  You give me hope that there is a chance that his "wiring" between his heart and brain will connect and maybe help us get the happy marriage we both want.  Thank you

waynebloss's picture

Re: Wiring

It is not between the brain and the heart.  The heart is sheilded and hurts as much as you do when he is at his worst.  The wiring between the right and left brain is what is messed up.  The heart has an incredible shield that protects it against ADD thoughts and actions, it is the brain that needs help.  I bet that he really does love you, he hates how is thinks, how he acts and reacts but with ADD blinders on it is hard to see. To take them off you need to see someone, find out if meds are for you and have the desire to WANT to changes.  Without the desire and the "want" no meds, doctor, or anything else will make the change.  Just like a smoker who REALLY wants to stop will, others will take a break but not have the desire to actually stop. 

I do not know your husband, but if really does love you and himself, he really does not want you to be gone then the desire is there, he just needs to actually want to change for himself! 

I do pray for the "stable" to find love, peace and happiness once again.  I have now have peace with to work on love and happiness and I will be just fine! 

Good luck

Thanks for your post.  I am jealous and sad that my husband cannot reach this point.  I had all of the hope that my husband would and could get to where you are.  But, he has stopped trying with me, and we are on track for a divorce now.  My heart is broken because I really do love him and have tried so hard to make it work (definitely with mistakes!), but he's at a point where he doesn't want to acknowledge that ADD is at the root of it.  After all of our struggles for 15 years, I see things very clearly now, and I see what has to be done, but I cannot do it...there are many days I feel like Cassandara, a character in Greek plays who can prophesize, but no one believes what she says, so no one can prevent what will happen.

Good luck, my heart goes out to you.

Thanks for sharing. There are

Thanks for sharing. There are many here who read who will have the strength to go another day, maybe another week, or month and set into motion good habits and communication.

I agree

This is a great place to vent and just get out some of the frustrations that we don't want to hurt our partner with, but still need to express... does that make sense???? ... which I have done, but it is also a good place to regain hope, promise and knowledge that things can get better in time...

Honestly after posting for the first time last week... I felt guilty for even sharing my story (even though I didn't even really go into the horrible details)... I felt like I was betraying my husband because I spoke ill of him... and I want to acknowledge that he is a good, kind man, who does do a lot of GREAT things and has GREAT moments... but I also have to acknowledge that the ADHD effect that is not so great and those moments hurt... and that is why i am here to gain strength from people that are in the ring of fire with me... and understand me... so thank you to you all...

I urge you to not feel

I urge you to not feel guilty. I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but there are very few circumstances where it seems that the ADDer is just plain horrible..and that is usually because they refuse help/to see how their behavior hurts those who love them.

It is so hard to explain to people "yes, this person that hurts me consistently, blames me for everything wrong, and continues with the same horrible behavior he profusely apologizes for time and time again, REALLY is a good person in many ways." It isn't about them being horrible people, it is about them having a disorder that can sometimes make their perceptions a little skewed and their self-control a little lacking. I'm not making light of ADD, it can be and often is PURE HELL for those living with it and those living with those with it, but my point is that we all know in most cases they aren't horrible people.

We all have frustrations and what I find most comforting about this site is that it has afforded me a place to vent where I am understood...and most importantly, where I can relate to people and learn about ADD so that I can HELP my marriage and hopefully decrease the need to vent. :-)

waynebloss's picture


When I first started using this site, I ranted, vented and said some mean things about my wife.  I am the one with ADD and we are currently going through hell but at least now there is some light at the end of the tunnel.  The best part about being in here is that the people in here are real, they will not judge you or your spouse no matter what you say.  Many times people will post that they understand they are getting only one side of the story, and will give you honest feedback based on what you say on your posts.  MY wife is not a bad person, she is beautiful, kind and one of the best mom's I have ever seen.  She is going through HELL with me now, notice I said with me, so we are not giving up but she has done some mean things within the last year to me. I have also done some mean things so like I have always said marriage is a dance of 2 people, one might dance very badly (white man's disease. yes I cannot not dance unless it is line dancing or 2 stepping)  but it is still a dance of 2 people.  

We are in the ring of fire together here, I just stepped out of the ring of fire from Melissa and George, so I am still a tad charred! This shows that even when you mess up, the people here on this site understand, do not hold grudges and allow you release anger, frustration and learn "on the job" training from experts who live this life everyday! 

Hang in there, continue to pray to God, take care of yourself 1st, and (listen to Sherri, I had to add that in there!) just breath.



Original Poster-ADHDers are better writers than talkers!

It is amazing how you feel just getting started on the process to coping with this ADHD crap. Just by setting up budgets (and PRINTING THEM OUT!), placing reminders on your phone to call your kids and take meds and meditate three times a day, or just doing one thing at a time at work correctly instead of 6 things at 50% it is a start. Take small steps. If you want to exercise, set out to reach small goals. My first goal was a modified couch to 5 K program. I never ran in my life and I am in my 40s! So I would run 4 minutes and walk one minute within 5 reps. In two weeks you will see the difference. That first week I ran, I must have looked at my stop watch 20 times per run session. In one month I ran my first 5 K. In two months I completed my first 10K. In May I am running in a half-marathon. My third race was with my 11 year son who never ran but is very athletic. We finished together. I never stopped for a break either. It was wonderful. Looking back it may benefit ADHD people to run as exercise since it is in increments such as minutes or miles-naturally structured. Never stop running (unless you are sick, hurt of course) because it means as usual we put in 60 to 75 % effort.

One final thing, people looking in from the outside cannot tell sometimes how we are "behind the scenes".  They do not see the bad side. They see how nice we are to our spouses, how helpful we are to people, positive, and even the way we are always happy. ADHD is invisible. Like my comparison to high blood pressure, 9 times out of 10 HBPers can not wait to tell you.  It may be in your best interest to share with close people who you TRUST, to tell them what the hell happened then and now. They may understand and of course will help. You are not weird,  just living for the moment. Smiling and laughter go even further when others know why you do it and what you are trying to manage.

ADHD is invisible

WOW did you say a mouth full right there... everyone in my life that I have attempted to explain my situation to only see's what a great husband I have and how lucky I am... blah blah blah... but on days like today (just a very bad financial situation he got us into that I only learned about before my commute this morning and now have to "put the fire out") has me so angry that I actually feel "hatred" and have cried on and off all morning...

I just don't know how to stop being angry.... and no one "gets it" because all they see is the outer person that they love and who is so sweet and helpful and "what a great guy"... that of course they dont have to live with or share a intertwined life with...

waynebloss's picture

Re: I just don't know how to stop being angry

You don't just stop, it takes time, HARD work and a break.  Not many can understand us, understand how and what ADD does to a person, but we also have to remember that ADD is not an excuse to treat others like crap.  I have owned up to the major crap I put my wife and our fmaily through, I know that even though ADD played a BIG part, I was still a man and a human so ADD did not "make me do it", it helped but in the end I wsa wrong. 

My wife has been angry for over a year now and just this past Sunday we finally sat down and had the talk of all talks.  She said she is still angry but now with herself more than me.  She said she had to start talking to someone to get this anger out and start to heal again.  So there is no way anyone can just stop being angry from years of hurt from someone they love, it does not happen.

ADDer's can turn it around, we can start to make a better life for us and for our families, I am one who is doing it as we speak. 

Again, hang in there, educate, breath, and take care of yourself 1st, it will pay off.



Thank you Wayne...

 I appreciate the words of hope... the suggestions of self care as well... and all I can commit to at this point is doing my best... I am just so angry... which really comes from the years of being hurt, fearful that he wont change or get help and sad that if he doesn't I don't know how much more I can reasonably take...

All the hurtful words, actions and irresponsible things... just keep building and I feel like it is going to cave in on me at any time now... all I can do is cry... I feel like I am losing myself is a sea of his ADHD and there is no rescue boat in site... I always pictured myself as a strong woman with self determination and now I look into the mirror and see a weak shell of that woman... I have not seen a good day in a while now... and I could use one...

I even feel pathetic for even complaining right now... wow... where did my self esteem and passion for life go????????

waynebloss's picture

Re: You are my wife!

You sound and described my wife starting the end of last year and this year!  She was so bad, so mad, hurt, resentful that we have not been physical since Jan 2010.  It seemed that I was going to start doing better but I was not changing at all, just going through the motions for the 1st 4 months, then she told me either I do ABC or she and the kids were gone and there was no getting them back!  Something about her look, her eyes told me that I was in deep caca, so I had to decide if my way was suffice without my kids or do I need to do something about it?  I cannot and will not live without my kids and my wife so I started reading "Driven to Distraction" and started to cry!  It was me, it was what I was going through adn I thought that I was the only one! 

I started to see a counselor and then found a PCP that knew about ADD and put me on Vyvanse.  THe world has been so much clearer and  better!  I will tell you that once I started to actually see, I opened the door to my past and saw how I treated my wife!  It was not pretty and something that I have been ashamed of!  I started to change for her,, but then had to ask is it really for her or is it for me?  Once I chose for me it has been so much easier to change my habits, my thinking and my words! 

Now the damage was done to her,, she had enough and started to "move" away from me and built up walls around her that she still has.  He anger came out and I saw what I did and it was time to "pay"  For the last 4 months we just kept on sinking, and the start of Nov of this year I really started to change for me and kept the changes.  My way of thinking, my actions, my words and my habits all started to change for the better...started to change for me!  I decided that I needed to fo forward for myself and if she was there that was sa bonus and if not then I understood and would accept it,  Thanksgiving I thought that I was going to be alone but then a wonderfuul person here suggested I check out "Healthy Separation" link.  I liked it and e-mailed it to my wife.  At first she was mad but then started to read and she was happy that I sent it.  We had our 1st conversation in 3 years as adults and put down the framework for our separation.  It will be long and hard journey but for now we are both still trying to save our marriage.  It was Sunday when she tiold me that she finally she can see past her anger and understands that the ball is in her court now.  She said that she is going to start seeing someone professionally and is going to start changing herself. 

So there is hope, the key I think that the "WANT" has to be there or it will not work.  I want to continue to change, I want my marriage to work and I want to be a better dad so I am going to be.  It can happen, I do not know what the trigger is for anyone else, just remember that there is hope but you are correct.  Take care of yourself first, you need to be strong and healthy before you can tackle something big like a marriage!


It is very hard to do...your

It is very hard to do...your story sounds a lot like mine...him making financial messes, me cleaning them up. He never saw it that way, saw that side of it because I pretty much wasn't allowed to discuss money with him, but was given full burden to handle all bills and expenses...him never 'getting' how much damage he was doing. I told him, but I never showed him on paper...that was one thing that I think helped.

I know I sound like a broken record, but counseling is sometimes the only way to get the lines of communication open. Also, he apparently needs help understanding and controlling his financial issues. It is extremely hurtful when they consistently wreck our lives have every right to be upset and hurt. Focus your energy on getting help from a professional who can help you both see what the other is seeing. Your no longer being angry will not take away his impulse to spend or tendency to get into financial dilemas, but counseling will.

Very hard...

I can completely see your side of things... My husband refuses to even listen to me rant or talk about bills... his theory is that because I have a degree in accounting then I should be able to handle everything... and that is true, to a point... "FIXING" the messes he creates is not part of regular bills and or budgeting... sometimes I truly feel as if he thinks I can just bend over and pull money straight from my buttocks and all is merry again... no the stress of "reworking" our finances weekly (sometimes daily) to keep things moving forward in a good direction is overwhelming and yet I am expected to do it with ease and excitement as well as all the other tasks, chores, kids, shopping, "regular job" and etc etc etc... on a daily basis...

I know counseling will help... but it really takes one step at a time... so that our insurance will help cover the costs... and yesterday was the PCP who gave us the referral and now Thursday is the eval... and we can move step by step from there...

I am just scaring myself with all this pent up anger and frustration...

NO ONE can manage money in a

NO ONE can manage money in a way that doesn't give them a stroke when there are people creating messes and spending left and right without any accountability or discussion. I mean I literally could not wrap my mind around why this was so hard for him to get. This issue was fixed for the most part by him giving up his debit card to me...however, it has recently hit me like a ton of bricks that it really isn't resolved, apparently he has some building resentment over it and our counselor said it would be first and foremost when we go back next time. I know if he had his debit card back that within a week he would be using it without asking and risk us bouncing a check or a payment of some sort being returned NSF.

I'm glad you're getting into isn't easy, our insurance gave us a very hard time and ended up not paying for it at all. We pay $50 out of pocket for each session. I'm hoping it will be a tax write off if nothing else. We can't afford it, but we can't afford not to go either. 

Just breathe...try and focus on working out these issues in counseling, when the time comes, and try and keep the peace and let go of some of the anger as you can. I was able to 'change' my anger up a bit...and deal with it a bit better knowing that counseling was at least on the horizon and that we could save the 'big' issues for then. It helped just knowing we had that coming...and didn't have to hash out every single little issue on our own anymore.

Debit card

Oh I took the debt card once and for a week life was a little better (he has a habit of spending money losing the receipts and or just plain not giving them to me... ugh!) but he too did not like it, thought I was treating him like a child and that he was a man... I have tried to explain things in different ways and I always get the "I don't have time" "I can't be bothered" "I am not good at this you are" responses and things never change... even threatening separate bank accounts has not helped... he is oblivious to the fact that only so much money goes into the account, we cant take out more than that without penalties... ugh.. that is a never ending battle and circle at our house... makes me want to scream...

I will do some research on who is really good with ADHD in our area... and go from there... I want to believe that there is hope for us, just today is not my "glass half full day"

receipts MIA

I used to have that problem with my DH - not giving me receipts for debit card expenditures.  That problem was resolved when I went to online banking.  I now have a record of everything and immediately as soon as it's spent.  That however doesn't eliminate the problem of someone spending more than you have in the account.  Fortunately we don't have that problem.  He knew he could not manage money well early in our relationship and has always happily allowed me to manage our finances.  He fortunately also values financial stability so does not spend beyond our means.  There were some years before online banking however where it was difficult to know if we were beyond our means or not because I didn't know how much he'd spent.  We had a lot more bickering over money back then.