Apologies for the lengthy diatribe but this is 25 years worth... My husband and I have been together for a long time... 25 years (married for 11) but for almost all of that time I have felt frustrated and let down by him in so many ways. On the outside he's a nice guy... gentle, funny, easy going, never mean or argumentative with other people etc. but even when I first met him he was sort of in his own little world, obsessed with cars, a bit OCD - always cleaning certain things - wiping down kitchen cupboards or polishing the car to within an inch of its life - but oblivious to other things like clean sheets, clean bathroom, dishes in the sink, decent furniture etc etc. He was also always late and had a reputation for tardiness with his friends. He was the laughing stock and thought of as a bit of a hopeless case but we were young and he was cute and so I fell for him. He was also a talented graphic designer (loves details) and had a good job so I figured all would be well. Back then he was affectionate, even tempered (unless I pushed him out of his comfort zone or tried to get between him and his cars), kind and even generous in the beginning but he was also thoughtless, forgetful, disorganised, late, and would never call. He was dismissive of my feelings at times but very apologetic at others and constantly promised to try harder but rarely followed through. It was like he wanted to be the man I needed him to be but he didn’t know how. It caused a lot of fights when we were young, but we were young and I thought he just needed to “grow up” so I waited and nagged and sucked it up and surrounded ourselves with friends and activities and work, and life went on. Over the years, I have tried to accept his rituals, obsessions, lack of “class” or romance, forgetfulness, disconnection etc and sort of grew into becoming his pseudo mother but it has destroyed me. I slowly took on more and more responsibilities and have pretty much always been the driver in our life - prompting and organising everything from social outings to purchasing of property, furniture, equipment, holidays, marriage, children and most recently a new business, while he has been the passenger. His own mother was mentally ill and his father left when he was very young so I have always felt very sorry for him as he had a tough upbringing and I thought his self centredness and need to keep his world focussed was all due to this. Fast forward 25 years and I am BURNT OUT… We now have two children, a mortgage, two businesses ( I have my own and I help him with his as I always feel like it’s going to fall in a hole if I don’t) and I feel like I doing more than ever before. He is a good, fun dad to the kids and he works hard (although not very efficiently) but he’s completely disconnected from me – even though he doesn’t think so. Oh, he’s still affectionate (except that I don’t let him near me) and tries to crack jokes (which are not funny to me any more) and likes to get take away food and a movie at 9pm at night (after he comes home 3 hours late with no phone call), but he is mostly oblivious to my feelings and remains in his own little world where mummy here looks after everything. He is not a mean person and I honestly don’t think he does things maliciously but there have been so many incidences where he has let me down (not doing the one thing I asked him to do on our wedding day, spending the day after I gave birth looking for a new car instead of visiting me in hospital, watching the TV in hospital and eating my hospital dinner because I was so distraught about our new born’s health, poking fun at my anxiety about our daughter’s illness, secretly sending $2000 to buy a go-kart when we were struggling to stay afloat, buying a new motorbike without telling me, forgetting Mothers days, anniversaries, birthdays etc, rarely organising date night (despite repeated hints, promises, meltdowns), taking no interest in Christmas presents for the kids or his family, never organising family outings, taking no interest in kids’ education, sporting pursuits etc,, leaving renovation to me, leaving all bills, tax, cooking, social events, shopping, etc etc to me) that I feel like there is a black pit of anger and resentment that I just can’t get over it. We had another “talk” about it last week when he came home 3 hours late after telling me he'd be 20 minutes and I gave him an ultimatum (again) and then the benefit of the doubt (again) because he was upset, sorry, down trodden and confused but two days later he let me down again in a big way and that was the final straw. I suddenly realised that he will NEVER EVER change and I feel like leaving but I am trapped. So at the moment I am punishing him again by being mean and silent with him and that is just killing all of us. I thought he might have Asperger’s but perhaps it is ADHD. What should I do? Where do I begin?
Alarm bells ringing... I think my husband has ADHD?
Submitted by hanchar on 01/29/2016.
I'm not going to answer this
Submitted by c ur self on
I'm not going to answer this like I think it needs to be answered, it will just make you mad...I do have empathy for you...based on your post you both have issues that a good counselor could really help with....I'm not saying much of your dysfunction as a wife isn't related to what you have dealt with over the years....but it's yours none the less...
I wish you the best...
What Should I do. Where To Begin?
Submitted by kellyj on
Hi hanchar, I'm an ADHD male who is diagnosed, been on medication for a number of years and has been in therapy for even more. Everything you described sounds very much like ADHD including the OCD looking behaviors to go along with it. It fits me like a glove as well in my past....but not so much anymore. Many of the the things you mentioned I no longer do ( a few have stopped or are completely not an issue anymore) and I have changed dramatically since then. Some of the things you mentioned however.... if you H does have ADHD (which it does sound very much like he does....I concur with your speculations as a great possibility) would fall into the category of things that are not going to just go away or stop to the point.....they are hard wired in way that he can't just try harder and do it that way. It won't work)
All you can do it find better solutions and ways to manage them or work around them. There really is no way possible for him to make them just stop even if he's been trying and trying as hard as he can. All his behaviors and the things you mentioned would appear to go right long with this?
What is possible is for him is to become aware of these things by getting diagnosed, into some kind of treatment plan with the help of a medical professional a and then begin to take the steps to learn some new and different ways of dealing with these limitations so they will not have such an adverse effect on you. Both of those things are possible but he can't do it alone.
Right now.....that's what he's been doing and why it won't work. The reason why it won't work is in part.....your responsibility even if it doesn't feel that way to you. Without intention or without being malicious on your part (from the same ignorance and unawareness and all the reasons why which are many) you've fallen right into the same trap that everyone does on your side of the relationship as the perfect compliment in doing everything you can to NOT get what you want as the response to what you are experiencing. For him...he has things he needs to do differently. For you...it's more of a matter of what "NOT to do" on the list you already mentioned not what you "should do". In this case....less is more.
Since I just told you what he needs to do...and since you asked without writing a book here about WHY what you are doing is ineffective.....I can tell you where to begin (specifically based on the things you said only) and tell you the things that will not help you get you what you want....straight up at face value here with no further explanation.
"I suddenly realized that he will NEVER EVER change and I feel like leaving but I am trapped. So at the moment I am punishing him again by being mean and silent with him and that is just killing all of us." Since you are taking some responsibility for your actions here and realizing that it is killing everyone as you say.....I agree with you in that this is the last thing you should be doing and the first one to take off the list (at the top being #1) of things you should not do.
"Oh, he’s still affectionate (except that I don’t let him near me) and tries to crack jokes (which are not funny to me any more) and likes to get take away food and a movie at 9pm at night (after he comes home 3 hours late with no phone call), but he is mostly oblivious to my feelings and remains in his own little world where mummy here looks after everything." You've fallen into the "parent child" dynamic by no fault or intention on your part.
" We had another “talk” about it last week when he came home 3 hours late after telling me he'd be 20 minutes and I gave him an ultimatum (again) and then the benefit of the doubt (again) because he was upset, sorry, down trodden and confused but two days later he let me down again in a big way and that was the final straw." You're your own worst enemy here and you set him up to fail and then punished him for failing by giving him an ultimatum in an area he has no control over (literally if he has ADHD...many reasons for this that would need a book to explain.... but they are real and legitimate if he is undiagnosed and doesn't know why himself) and told him he cannot fail or else!! (which it is not possible for him to do in the first place) and then when he fails...(which you can predict 100% that yes he will before he starts) you just asked someone to do the impossible and then got angry, mean and started punishing him something he does not do with any intention, awareness or ability to understand how you feel and why this is so upsetting to you. He cannot see the list of things you mentioned and translate that the same from his perspective....and yet, he is being punished for them as he see's it for no reason; rejected by you, made a "laughing stock" as you refer to it for no reason, is not doing it with any intention what so ever (he isn't even aware of half the things he does. You are 100% right...it is without intention or even awareness and it's not malicious ) And he doesn't understand any of this and cannot explain it or doesn't know why? Check all the above in the last sentence.
These individual specific things that you mentioned and going down a item by item check list of the things you are mostly focused on.....are just the symptoms of ADHD....they are not the cause or the source for finding better ways to manage them or ways to work around them. That is ALL that is possible and that is ALL he can do (either now or in the past) There is NO cure for ADHD.....only ways to work around the symptoms so they don't affect you so much but they will never go away entirely. This is not possible and yet....this is what you expect and what you have been demanding from him. That's the failure on your part in all of this and not understanding how impossible it is for him to do what you want and thinking he's doing it for entirely different reasons and misinterpreting what you are seeing...and then taking it personally which it is not.
Not that is doesn't make you feel the way you do.....only that it is not directed at you in any way and the reason you feel the way you do is not by intention or fault on his part what so ever. If there is any blame to be laid here on anyone....it falls solely on his ADHD not him as a person for having it. The trees here are the symptoms which you have listed quite completely. The forest is his ADHD. You can't treat the symptoms ( the trees) and think that the forest will somehow magically be cured....in the case, your entire relationship along with it. This is what is not possible but you keep expecting it to work this way and then continue on the same path your in hos you are approaching this.
The definition of insanity? Doing the same action repeatedly and expecting a different result each time you do it. What is required here...is something different on your part as well as his....together and individually.... if there is any chance of making these changes and hoping for them to remain permanent.