My husband has ADHD, and it is affecting our marriage greatly. I am also almost 9 months pregnant and I must say that this pregnancy has been an emotional roller coaster. I feel so lost right now and I need all the help and advice I can get.
I just recently found out that my husband has ADHD, and since then, I have researched, and read all I possibly can about it. I also showed it to my husband, hoping that some miracle will happen. I know that nothing can be fixed right away, but I at least wanted him to see my point of view. Its weird how everything other spouses have said I also have said. I honestly thought that I was the only person that was dealing with something like this.
We have tried to sit down and talk and create a schedule suitable for him to try and follow each day. It worked for about 2 weeks and now its falling apart. I understand that this isn't going to be easy, but he also refuses to get help and thinks that he can cure himself. I used to yell at him all the time, asking him why he is so lazy, or how could he forget, etc... But after I read some of the blogs/posts, I started to approach the issues in different ways, one of them was leaving him alone until I have calmed down. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. And sometimes I just feel like things are so unfair. I am hormonal, pregnant, emotional and overwhelmed all at the same time, and I am still doing almost everything around the house. I feel like I cannot say anything to him because he will snap out at me or because I feel like I can't because "he has ADHD".
I just feel so lost and so alone. Knowing that he is not "hyper focused" on me or is unable to be sympathetic towards my feelings really hurts. I'm scared of what will happen when the baby arrives, I am just afraid of alot of things.
My husband likes to play this game on the computer 24/7. It seems like from the moment he wakes up, from the time he gets off work, he runs straight for the computer. I used to joke around with him and tell him that the computer was his other wife. Then I actually felt like I was competing with a computer!!! This has been an ongoing problem. I understand why he does it now, so I tried to help him by making a "game time" schedule. I probably spoiled him a little by giving him massive amount of game time, but he decided on his own that every Tuesday, he would not go on the computer.
We also had a talk about him not listening to me, and he had mentioned, that I had to be nice about it and convince him that we had made him a schedule and that he would have to stick to it. So for example, today, is Tuesday, which meant no computer. So I told him, nicely, that today is Tuesday and that he shouldn't be on. But he kept going on anyway, and then threw a fit because I told him so. So after that, I just left him alone and he has been ignoring me since, which is fine. But inside I am dying. I really don't know what to do at this point.
Is there a way to get through this without having to end my marriage???? We are a young couple, mid 20s and about to have our first baby. It seems all the symptoms listed, he has. When he doesn't get his way, he throws a fit, and he takes it out on me, and there are times when he just says the meanest things to me. I feel like I am the crazy one, and I feel so helpless in this situation for the fact that I want to help, but I don't know what I can do to help him anymore. I don't want to be his mother/maid, I want to be his wife.
This relationship is toxic and unhealthy for me now. I don't know what to do, but at the same time, I don't want to give up on him. How can I help him???
This sounds very familiar...
Submitted by tornadoscott on
Sorry to hear about the tough situation that you find yourself in.
Ultimately the most important thing to worry about right now is the health of your child. I'm sure you feel alone and isolated, the pregnancy on its own might do that, but you've now got this added layer of problems to contend with. You mentioned that he was recently diagnosed. Is he being treated at all or does he still think he can just "cure himself"?
Since he spends so much time on the computer I would recommend, as I have to others, that the two of you set aside a time to talk about some of this stuff using an instant messenger. It may seem silly but it is an amazingly efficient and non-confrontational way of discussing some topics. I've done that in the past it it is great to just sit and read, then type a rational, well-thought-out response. Tell him how you feel and what you think is at stake if the two of you can't start making some progress on some of these things and remind him how important for the baby to have a safe and loving environment to grow up in.
We all hit a point of reality when it's clear that we can't make this go away. At that point we have a choice to make, either we keep rolling along allowing ADHD to steal and take from our lives or we decide that we've lost enough and are going to start taking life back. It's a hard choice to make but one that benefits every us, every second of every day.
At the end of the day just know that you can't change things, he has to choose that for himself and his family.
I'm not sure if that helps at all but I hope it will. Keep posting...it helps all of us.
Submitted by lad33hektik07 on
Thank you for getting back to me. My husband was actually diagnosed as a child and was on medication for it. When he got to high school, he chose to stop taking the ritalin on his own because he was embarrassed. Since then, he was just in denial about it. He used to joke with me about it and I just didn't believe him, or would get angry because I felt that he was using it as an excuse to get out of things.
He just recently started to accept that he has ADHD and from that point I decided to do my research and try to find some answers. As of right now, he does not want to take any medication and yes, he thinks that he can "cure himself" at this point. It is like a roller coaster with him, up and down all the time. I have tried to do the instant messaging thing with him, but majority of the time he is on his game, and I can't get him to respond to me right away or keep a conversation going because of this. He threw quite a fit last night because I was telling him that the computer will be there the next day, its not going anywhere and that everything will be ok. He did not like that too much.
I just don't know how to talk to him or what to do when he does something like this. He admits it as well. He states that he knows what he's doing wrong but doesn't like to be told he is doing something wrong. I am just so confused. Nobody knows but me. So I feel isolated with this issue and all alone. His parents think that this was only a childhood issue for him and asked to be left out of our "marital problems". I will try what you have said and ask him if he could take some time away from the game to talk on the instant messenger.
Sometimes I am afraid though, because of the fact that I almost always get brushed off. Especially when problems arise, I am always told "GET OUT OF MY FACE", or "I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS RIGHT NOW", "LEAVE ME ALONE". He is very defensive. And so far, the only thing that I've come up with is to ignore it. But me being pregnant especially, I just can't. And it is hurting me. Is there anything else I can do?
Hang in there
Submitted by cupcakes42 on
I am new to this site but I have read soooo many books on ADHD.. my partner has had it since she was young, she to refuses medication and that is okay and ADHD is very much present in our everyday lives... I see a counselor at least 2 times a month to help me learn how to cope and get back to being me and that is because if I am happy it takes some of the stress off of her but it also puts me back in control of me... because ultimately that is who matters the most. I am very very emotionally sensitive so having relationship problems affects me a great deal and takes a huge toll on me I am also very empathetic so if she is angry or frustrated I sense that and it just ends up building until it explodes. I have also learned that sometimes the thoughts just roll out- they can be about a car, me, sunday, neptune, you name it... But I am learning and it is very hard not to take anything she says negatively or personally because most of the time she doesn't mean it rude, it just sort of spews out lol- and even though she forgets to call or text it doesn't mean she doesn't love me very much it just means she had a million other things going on. I am also learning that when she is stressed out she is more likely to nip and pick more fights because there is already so much going on, but once the stress passes ( and it always does) she becomes the amazing women I love very very much.... Hang in there the beginning is the toughest, find some thing that interests you- for me its painting and drawing so I'm going to look into an art class, but it could be anything, a book club, donating your time at the local animal shelter, anything that gives you a reason to feel good about yourself and something to bring a smile to your face and heart:) Remember to life is what you make it- sometimes it's sunny outside and sometimes it's raining with severe thunder and lightening, but it will always be sunny again!
It Will Probably Get Worse Before It Gets Better
Submitted by Ren on
I went through two pregnancies with my (then undiagnosed) ADD husband. Thinking of some of the things I went through can still make me cry. The first one was pretty bad -- we argued a lot. He kept telling me I was irrational and crazy when an issue would come up and I believed him, thinking I was overreacting because I was hormonal (but also wondering why a man wouldn't just humor his PREGNANT wife even if she was being irrational and crazy, because that's what men are supposed to do, right?). The second pregnancy was awful, just awful. At this point my husband had checked out completely, leaving me to manage a 2 year-old toddler all by myself, while pregnant and working full-time. I remember one time we had a big snowstorm, and he left way early for work so he wouldn't get stuck in the driveway, leaving me to shovel it myself -- when I was 5 months pregnant. Oh, and did I mention I had sciatica? I remember crying while shoveling, because of the shooting pains I had down my back and also because, since I couldn't watch my son from outside, I had him stand in the foyer behind the storm door, where he was probably cold but what could I do? Finally a neighbor saw me and shoveled the driveway for me, he didn't ask but I'm guessing he thinks my husband is a jacka---. And don't get me started about how my husband was TEXTING while I was having early contractions...when he was supposed to be timing them for me.
Things have gotten better since then, but I do have to say that if things are already bad before you have a child, my prediction is that they will get worse after unless there is a concerted effort made to address the problems now. My husband and I had some ADD-based issues before our first child (uneven shores, computer playing, etc.) but looking back, it completely went off the cliff after the birth of our son. Where most men step up to the plate when the child is born, my husband checked out -- escaping to work, the computer, drinking, you name it. Since usually an infant creates an uneven load to begin with (in terms of the mom being the one to breastfeed, and thus get up at night, etc.), having a checked out husband truly means that you are doing EVERYTHING. And you're sleep-deprived to boot. I know that both pregnancies, I went through a mild post-partum depression, I think as a result of my husband being so disconnected from what should have been the most joyous times in our marriage.
Of course, you are ahead of the game because your husband KNOWS he has ADD. We didn't. So we went through the same dance over and over again, not understanding what was going on. I am fortunate that he has now taken responsibility for his ADD, is taking meds, is integrating himself into the family routine, doing more chores, and letting work take second priority (most of the time). It's a struggle for him, but he's trying. He does have trouble, though, looking back and acknowledging how he treated me, particularly when I was pregnant. And, in this weird way, I have trouble letting go of the pain and anger from that time, because I need him to acknowledge it before I can do that.
Anyway, I don't mean to be negative about your situation, I really just wanted to share my experience and have someone empathize while also empathizing with you. But I do think that unless he starts to take ownership of his role in your partnership, you will find yourself in a wildly uneven relationship after your child is born, and it will be overwhelming for you. My suggestion is that you try to get a support network in place immediately. Ask some friends to cook a few meals for you or cook some yourself and freeze them. Find someone who can come clean your house for at least the first month. Find and hire a babysitter to come for a few hours each day (even while you are home) so you can sleep. Can your mother come and help for a little while?
It's sad because it would be nice for your husband to take on these roles. But just know that you are not crazy, mean, or controlling. You are normal, and your expectations are normal. I truly feel your pain.
First, I really empathize
Submitted by marcgravia on
First, I really empathize with many of you here. I'm currently pregnant with our second baby and feeling loneliness (which I get blamed for) and heartache. With our first, he was hyperfocused on the newness of the pregnancy experience, and things were mostly OK. Now for the second, it's old hat and especially because I am having worse symptoms, it's hard for me when he doesn't pay attention. I asked him if he could try to be sweet and sympathetic given my condition, and he seemed bewildered like I'd asked for something really unreasonable.
It did get much worse after the baby came. I was keeping afloat before, but after the baby, I felt like I had 2 babies to pick up after. We almost divorced then. We got a housekeeper (which slightly embarrasses me), and things improved a bit. Now, I am really scared about what it will be like with 2 kids in the house. I am with you, I want to be a wife to him not a mother and a personal assistant.
I really resonated with your statement, "And, in this weird way, I have trouble letting go of the pain and anger from that time, because I need him to acknowledge it before I can do that." I printed out an article from here the explain my side of things, and he only got angry. That hurt me so much because finally I felt understood and he denied everything. Whenever I talk about my feelings, he blames my insecurities or other flaws for those feelings. He doesn't accept any part in influencing how I feel, thinks he gets along just fine, and doesn't need any help. He thinks I am just scapegoating by referencing his diagnosis. I feel so hopeless, resigned, and I too am dying a little inside each day.
It is helpful to read the compassionate words here and know that I am not alone and not unreasonable for feeling lonely and overwhelmed.
Just Know That What You Feel Is OK
Submitted by Ren on
I hope you'll keep coming to this site to help feel understood. I wish it had been here when I was pregnant. I know what you mean, when I used to tell my husband that I felt lonely, or sad, his answer to me that "No one can make you happy but yourself," as though it was somehow my internal problem. It was weird because I had never been an unhappy, depressed, lonely-feeling person, and I didn't understand how it could all be me. But people do say, "Happiness comes from within," so I just believed him.
What I've realized is that while it's true that no one else can MAKE you happy, other people can either contribute to or detract from the happiness you have within you. I mean, if it were all you, then what's the point of getting married and having a companion? My realization was that I am fundamentally a person that tends towards happiness, but that being neglected, dismissed, and called names really puts up barriers to me realizing my OWN happiness.
What I don't get about the ADD men in some of these posts (and my own husband, pre-ADD diagnosis and sometimes even now) is: when your wife comes to you and says she is feeling bad or lonely, THAT IS A CHANCE FOR YOU TO STEP UP AND BE HER HERO. I keep hearing how ADD people always feel like failures. Well, when there is an opportunity staring you in the face to be the most amazing person in the world by simply putting your arms around your spouse and whispering a kind encouraging word, which is really ALL it would take, why would you not do it? It's like an easy gold star! There's no reminder, list, alarm, or anything needed to be COMPASSIONATE. And yet they choose to lose the respect and admiration of their spouses by acting like jerks instead.
P.S. Do NOT be embarrassed that you have a housekeeper. Hell, I am considering hiring someone to come and cook once a week! It's my life, and I'm going to do what it takes to make it enjoyable and easier (since I really don't have anyone else stepping up to help).
Thank you Ren, for your
Submitted by marcgravia on
Thank you Ren, for your compassionate reply. It really made my day to feel the support! You "get" it exactly. When I ask what specific things I can do to help our relationship, he says "just be happy." I agree completely with your take on happiness. I have done much soul searching, making of mistakes, and therapy and also realize that we make our happiness. However, I think it's safe to say that negative and frustrating events detract from happiness in even the most enlightened individuals. I've also asked myself about what's the point of being married if you don't have a companion or someone who can help share or reflect back to you the happiness you have inside and create for yourself.
One problem I have is that I have struggled with depression in the past, and he is quick to latch on to that. I know and others close to me affirm that I have made significant strides in overcoming its effect on me. I don't feel otherwise depressed in this situation, I just want to find a way that we can work cooperatively together to make our relationship peaceful. I guess the big hurdle is that he doesn't think anything is wrong, and that I am just too darn needy. The neglect that commonly happens with ADD only feeds the insecurities that remain, and it really is a cycle as you mentioned and know.
I wanted to stand up and applaud when I read your comment about being a hero. He is my hero overall despite all the troubles we've had. It sure would be nice though if it could be on a day-to-day basis as you describe.
Hanging in there and so thankful for the love and support here!
6 months pregnant and hanging in there with a spouse with ADHD
Submitted by rrodrigur on
It's like a miracle that I came across this website and this particular blog. I have been seeing a therapist to cope with the many difficult situations in my marriage especially now that I am 25 weeks pregnant with me and my husband's first baby. I can't tell you how many times I have felt like leaving the marriage, especially because now that I am pregnant I am worried about my husband losing interest with our baby. I've always knew my husband had ADD but it wasn't until yesterday while confiding with my therapist whom explained to me that what my husband has according to my descriptions is actually ADHD. I've never actually taken the initiative to learn about ADD, probably because my husband had me convinced that he is okay; but since yesterday's conversation with my therapist I had an epiphany. That epiphany is that my husband's ADHD is the main root of all our problems, and what causes my resentment, loneliness, and feelings of wanting to leave the marriage. Now that I read your post, I know I'm not alone, and I believe we can both learn alot from one another, since I'm in my late twenties with my first child on the way too. I'm actually planning to have my mom move out here for a few months to help me with baby; I'm due November 2nd. So don't worry, we will get through this, especially now that we know it is ADHD that is the root of all problems.
Submitted by tornadoscott on
I think you will definitely find some comfort in reading the posts that people write here. It helps me to know there are people dealing with the exact same things and its great that people offer up some really good advice too.
After reading your post I would offer you just a word of caution. I wouldn't present things to your husband as "the cause of all the problems" he will immediately, and I mean immediately take offense to that type of idea ( I would bet anyway). I'm not implying that is how you would approach things but I would keep in mind how defensive ADHD can cause people to get when it comes to problems.
I guess that he will need to get some treatment and it is good that you are an advocate for him.
Keep posting and reading, there is a lot to learn here and I've come to realize there are a lot of great people behind these weird screen names.
To everyone that responded to my blog
Submitted by lad33hektik07 on
Thank you all for responding to my posts. I feel better knowing that I am not the only one that is going through this right now. My husband is actually in the military right now and we are so far away from home. We are in Germany. So no family close by at all. But I do have a great support system of other Army spouses, which I do not want to confide in them yet with my husband's ADHD, but they are there for me.
My husband had a medical evaluation yesterday and he, to my surprise, on his own, told the doctor that he had ADHD!!!! But I am kind of on the fence about it for the fact that the doctor told him that he was depressed and had anxiety issues, so he came home with an anti-depressant/anxiety med. It is called citalopram. I am not a doctor, nor do I specialize in ADHD, but something doesn't seem right to me. She gave it to him to take for 30 days to see how he is with it and if it helps him. Can anyone give me some feedback on this one?
Also, he is supposed to schedule an appointment to see a social worker. Is this something I should go to with him?
Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand with ADD
Submitted by Miss Behaven on
Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand with ADD. Some doctors choose to treat the depression and/or anxiety before the ADD and some go the other way around. I am not a doctor but it seems to me that often the untreated ADD is the root of depression and anxiety in ADDers, so it makes better sense to me to treat the ADD first. But she's the doctor! It shouldn't hurt to do the 30 trial, finding the right medication is often also a trial in patience.
I am not familiar with citalopram but some meds for depression and anxiety do also help the ADD symptoms. My hubby was on wellbutrin and it had been helping both his ADD and occasional depressive phases. However we switched over to concerta and that was doing much more for his ADD (he is currently on a brief med break right now, but I suspect concerta will be back on the menu when the break is over.
I am uncertain about the laws and rules for seeing the social worker with your hubby but it shouldn't hurt to ask. You'd provide a different perspective on the same issues after all. We ADDers are not typically very good at self examination or self reporting.
As a former Marine
Submitted by Nemone on
I do not have much faith in military doctors because I have seen them give a lot of poor evaluations of people before. I'm pretty sure that your husband has the right to request the opinion of another doctor. If I were him I would immediately do so. The military has a tendency to push people around a bit so you have to be forceful to receive proper care from them. I once had a chest cold, went to the doctor, and was told to return to my physical activities because "a chest x-ray showed nothing." They always assume that people are making things up to get out of work or slack of. That time after going to the doctor I ended up with pneumonia two weeks later and I ended up having a reaction to a medicine at the same time. I had pneumonia and hives for 3 months with the doctors taking all that time to realize that I had pneumonia and that the stress on my body was preventing the hives from disappearing. Well, I could tell you so many horror stories about military doctors but my point is that with the military it's always best to get a second opinion. If you think something is wrong then say so because it probably is. If you and your husband think that it's ADHD then you could at least talk to a therapist or someone who could help you figure it out. Don't rely on the opinion of just one doctor. He may be reluctant to call it ADHD because he has no experience with it while anxiety and depression, on the other hand, are common in the military.
ADHD & the military
Submitted by rrodrigur on
My husband is also in the military, and we just got moved to a new station, and so I totally know how you feel about not having the same kind of support system like the one's we have back home. But I've been seeing a therapist, and my husband and I have talked to the pastor at our new church, which is helping up build a new support system. However, my husband has insistently proclaimed to me that he can't get on medication for the ADHD because it will hinder any advances in the military for him and it could even induce a forced discharge from his position in the military. I would like to ask you (I don't me to seem intrusive here) but how has getting on meds for ADHD, affected your husband's career in the military, and can my husband get the medication and help he needs without it being detrimental to his career?
He Could Be Right
Submitted by Ren on
I know a little about this (though it's based on anecdotal evidence). A well-known doctor who treated my husband did say that the military doesn't look too favorably on ADD, and that people can be discharged for it. Maybe it depends on position, like if it is one that requires on the spot judgment, etc. (like a fighter pilot), but it is the case for at least some people. He said that interestingly, the military tends to attract a lot of ADD people because 1) it provides a structured environment, which they need and 2) it provides stimulation (again like fighter pilots). But basically their position on the disorder means hat here are just a lof of untreated ADD people in the military as a result.
As a side note, it's interesting to note that -- to use fighter pilots again as an example -- they give them amphetamines to increase concentration on long missions, which suggests to me that they know it exists but don't want to aknowledge it, I can only guess for liability reasons.
back to the beginning....
Submitted by lad33hektik07 on
Right now, my husband is only taking medication for anxiety and depression. His 30 day trial is not up yet, and I am not sure if his doctor or whoever he saw is going to put him on a medication for ADD. According to my husband, the pills that he is taking are "helping him". I am happy that they are helping him, but I still feel stuck. I mean, I appreciate the fact that he spoke with someone and talked to someone about getting help.
I feel as if the medication made him more comfortable in his little world that he has and now the schedule we both had made for him is does not exist anymore and he is constantly on the computer again. Now its the computer and the play station 3. If its not one, its the other. I am so frustrated. I can't stand the blank facial expression on his face every time I try to express the way I feel. This has truly been an ongoing roller coaster ride for me. It makes me not ever want to be pregnant again!!
Today is his birthday, and I of course, went all out and baked him a cake, let him have his game day, cooked one of his favorite meals, which he didn't even sit down and eat with me. I mean, I just don't know what to do right now. He is so caught up in this new game that he bought for his computer and nothing else matters. I thought that we were getting somewhere here, but now I feel like we are back to square one again.
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
If your husband is focusing more intently upon the computers than he would otherwise, it may actually be a side-effect of the meds. Point out to him that the focus is great, but it would be helpful to the family if he would expend some of it on you (make sure to say this nicely, though). Marriage is about attention...to YOU.
Submitted by rrodrigur on
And before I forget to mention; I'm definitely no expert in psychiatry, but I had spoken to my therapist about the meds they give for ADHD, and according to her expertise ADHD patients are prescribed SSRI's (selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors) which includes Citalopram . And just as prior posts have stated, military doctors can be shady, I know from personal experience and from the experiences I have witnessed from my other friends who are in the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. So keep asking questions, get a second opinion, and ask the doctors how an SSRI can help with ADHD patients; it should give you the answers you need.
Also don't be afraid to go over anyone's head to get the treatment your husband deserves; I had to do so when I witnessed the brutal neglect and automatic assumptions some military doctors make on patients like my husband who really are sick, injured or suffering. Our military men and women are always given the third degree, and treated as if they are just making up illnesses to get out of work, until its too late and someone's health really turns for the worst. So don't be afraid to demand for better treatment for your husband (I did so and it really helped my husband). Furthermore, don't give up, hang in there, and keep asking questions.
Submitted by tornadoscott on
Wow, lots of good discussion going on.
One thing I would add to the medication discussion is the importance of having a good psychiatrist overseeing things. General Practitioners often prescribe medications for ADHD but I personally think that should only happen as maintenance after drug selection and dosage have been optimized with a good psychiatrist and if that psychiatrist is comfortable with doing that. He or she may not be OK with it, and that is understandable, but some will be.
For me dosage made all the difference in the world and turned a drug (vyvanse) that seemed to do nothing at all into something that started working pretty well. I encourage everyone to communicate often with their psychiatrist when starting medication, keep track of how you feel and be sure to let your doctor know if you are on any special diets or exercise regimens as these may or may not have effects on the way the body metabolizes or absorbs different compounds. Work closely with your doctor, change dosages to identify what level is most effective while offering the least side effects.
Finding your ideal dosage is something that I think rarely happens in ADHD treatment. I think most people get the calculated, recommended dosing and stay there and never realize the full potential of their medication.
I write about my life dealing with adult ADHD on my blog at http://myfastmind.wordpress.com
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
Very good advice - usually a psych will have a better feel for the nuances of ADHD treatment than a GP
Submitted by lad33hektik07 on
Thanks for getting back to my post so quickly. I had the worst day yesterday!!! I am definitely going to look into a psychiatrist for my husband as well as myself. I feel like I am having anxiety and depression from all of this now. I feel at times that I am going crazy. I agree about the military and the whole shady thing as well. I used to work at the hospital in the states and this is nothing like that. I've noticed that all they do are "quick fixes". Basically, since our health insurance is free now, they brush us off and are just so quick to diagnose someone and get them out of the room. They didn't even really take the time to talk to my husband. Of course I wasn't there at the time, and I am pretty sure my husband didn't go into details either, but I told him that I would like to go next time.
There's really not much we can do here in Germany. There is no hospital on the base and u have to get a referral to go off post to see a specialist, which makes things a little more difficult. Just for my pregnancy I had to do the same. I will try and discuss this with my husband when he gets home today. Fingers crossed!!