Anyone experienced these with ADHD spouse? Just so tired.

Not sure where I am right now. I love my husband, who was diagnosed with ADHD (takes medication) a few years ago, but I am so tired and frustrated and I find myself angry much more frequently than is healthy. I know it is affecting my children and my ability to parent and be a healthy, happy person. It would really help just to know that there were others out there who have experienced these things, and to know how they dealt with it. We have 2 young children. We live without family close by. We both work, although my job is more demanding and time consuming. And my husband has developed physical health issues which are now complicating everything. I am sure I appear ok to the outside world, but inside I feel like a shell of my former self. I don't know how much longer I can go on like this, but I don't know what to do. I am young but feel like I am about 80. Here goes. 

Much of this stuff has gotten worse over time. It honestly wasn't bad, or there, or noticeable, when we were first married. We had a great deal of fun when we first met. When we met, my husband hyper focused on me. He is a loving, smart, charming guy, but over the years, the gestures, affirmation, and general kindnesses have waned to almost nothing. He frequently does not edit what he says, he can be abrupt and quick to anger, and his sense of humor can be hurtful. He becomes defensive when I try to talk to him about this. He will not go to counseling, despite my begging him to over and over again. He says it is just too painful for him to have to sit and talk about everything, and he hates talking through issues---he may apologize, but when I try to analyze what happened or what went wrong, he gets so anxious and defensive, it is like I am trying to peel his skin off. He just can't talk through things. I am so very angry, so much of the time. 

He does almost NOTHING around the house except large scale projects which he usually doesn't finish. He is bright and creative and often has amazing ideas. At this point, I don't want amazing. I want someone to clean the toilets once in a while. I don't consider washing the dishes or picking the kids up from school or paying the bills optional, and the things he chooses to do, like build a whatever, are. At times, he will tell me that instead of getting resentful, I should just ASK him. True, but it is so hard to have to be in charge of everything all the time. How can he not see that children need dinner or a bath? That the laundry is piled up and the sidewalk is covered in snow? I have to be in charge of, and worry about, EVERYTHING. I end up doing almost everything that has to be done to keep our family going. He tells me that it doesn't bother him like it does me, to just leave the dishes. He threw clothes in to wash once last week, to "help" (it isn't "helping" when I do it:-) and then forgot and left them in there wet so long they mildewed the washer. I am getting so tired and overwhelmed that things are getting missed. I missed our utility bill and almost got our power shut off. 

His sleep patterns are very hard for me to deal with. He has always had insomnia, but he also has a natural rhythm of staying up very late and sleeping late, or going without sleep. It is not unusual on a weekend for him to sleep until almost noon. He comes awake at night and does not understand and is hurt when I just want to sit and watch tv and not talk at 10 p.m. I am an introvert and by that time of the day, am just so exhausted, I don't have anything left. He loses track of time and can go on talking about something for 20 minutes, not noticing that I have gotten tired or haven't gotten a word in, myself. If he does get up and get ready to do something, I can count on him not being "ready" until 2 or 3 p.m. He moves like molasses and keeps saying, "I am almost ready..." Well, our kids get up at 7 a.m. I am on my own, for years now, with the morning shift. I am not a morning person either, and I can't remember sleeping in or not being the first one up. Ever. I have tried and tried to explain my point of view. I would be willing to take this one off the table (I understand--this is physically really hard for him), but nothing else is changing, either.  I end up letting our children watch tv or play video games way more than they should, just to get a break. 

We do not have discussions or come to decisions together about how we will work together as a household. I try to explain to him that his decisions affect the family. I understand the ADHD component---he can get so caught up in a task that he won't eat. But for example, when our children were little, he would just walk out into the driveway and start working on his car. For 8 or 10 hours. He wouldn't ask me, or talk to me about it. I can't imagine doing that to him--I know it is at least partly the ADHD, but it is hard not to see it as inconsiderate and selfish. And if I interrupt him mid-task, it really upsets him and he can't rest until he feels like he is finished (can't walk away with the idea that he will pick it up again later...) He recently disappeared into the garage to fiddle around with a project, which took days. I got so mad, I yelled, and told him that his decisions affected me. It was vacation, and he just left me and the children on our own. We had a horrible fight. He mentioned that I get my hair cut, or I sit and watch tv at night, and it is the same. Well, I don't think it is--I might relax at night for an hour or two, after working and taking care of our children for 14 hours and they are asleep. I hate this. It wears me out. 

He honestly is sick, and has developed physical issues, but he is so melodramatic and emotional, it just sucks all the air out of the room at times. When he is sick or in pain, he moans, and talks endlessly about how bad he feels. He will tell total strangers that his back hurts. If he feels nauseous, he will make the loudest retching noises you have ever heard--and this can be 10 seconds after I quietly mention that I have a pounding migraine. I can't understate this--once, when I was recovering from surgery, he fell down in the floor with stomach cramps, and I had to get up and help take care of our children (my mother was helping, but got sick and had to leave early). I am sure his stomach really hurt--he had undiagnosed celiac disease--but really--I had just had surgery!!! I hurt myself getting up but we had toddlers! I think it may be some sort of weird exaggeration thing for him--if he has a cough, it is probably pneumonia, and if his knee hurts, he has to use a cane to walk, etc. I have had friends and family look at me like "is he serious?" at times. I feel like he gets so focused on himself that he does not even think about how I am feeling, and I feel terrible about this, but it makes me so resentful I have a hard time even being compassionate, at times. I tried to talk to him about it and he was so hurt, and accused me of being cold and uncaring and having issues with letting people know I am sick or in pain that I am projecting on him (true, I am very private about this and something about my upbringing makes me keep it to myself). He is very, very sensitive to criticism.

He takes medication, but will not engage in any type of counseling to go with it. Our family doctor, who is compassionate and smart, but not a specialist, has prescribed the medication for him. I am not sure it is the right kind or dose, although it does seem to help him focus at work and on tasks at times. My DH cannot pick up, or clean, or organize anything. He loses EVERYTHING. Our house is almost always so messy and dirty that I am embarrassed to have anyone come in. I can't find things. We spend HOURS walking around looking for keys, or a document, or reading glasses. I used to keep it fairly clean and orderly, but I just can't do everything any more. And now he is physically sick, in pain, and it is harder for him to get around or do tasks. I am afraid that I am going to be practically a single parent who is burned out, resentful, tired, and joyless, who does not have a loving, kind relationship with my spouse. I can't tell you how many times I have tried to talk to him. If I mention his ADHD, he tells me I am anxious (probably true) and angry all the time (also true). It just doesn't work--we end up fighting or crying or debate and talk in circles. I hit every sore point possible, and I know I am resentful and hanging on to things, and sometimes take things the wrong way. There is never a "good time" to try to talk. Recently, my car was in the driveway, covered in about a foot of snow. His was in the garage and there wasn't room for two. I was late for work and had to dig the whole thing out, with my children late for school. I cried the whole time, and couldn't believe he just didn't care. It took 20 minutes to scrape the ice off. He was inside, asleep. Well, later I mentioned it when I was no longer upset--and honestly, it didn't dawn on him. He offered me the spot in the garage and was worried about me. He has started looking at me, sighing, and saying, "What did I do wrong, now?"

I don't want to leave and I don't want to be this angry. I don't want to shut down, which I am in danger of doing, and close him out and only worry about myself. I want my family intact. I want my joy back. I want my husband back. He is so smart, and funny, and loyal, and when he is engaged, he is such a wonderful father. His smile could break apart clouds. I do love him, but I am not in love with him any more. I am afraid that soon, I won't be able to be, again. These things have been going on for so long (11 years) that I think it would take a great deal of conscious work to change things. And he won't go to a therapist, and I don't think we have the tools to do it without one. 

Any words from anyone out there, would be much appreciated. 


Hi.  I sympathize with you. 

Hi.  I sympathize with you.  I too have a spouse with ADD.  I wish that I had more to offer you than sympathy but unfortunately, things aren't working well for me, either (although my children are adults and at college and so I don't have to spend much time being a mom these days).  Your post did hit a nerve for me.  I just emailed my husband a list of things that I do for and in our family.  Not because they're too much (although sometimes I feel burdened) but because of an ongoing conversation he and I have been having concerning "asking for things."  He says he never asks me for favors.  I agree.  And then I point out that he doesn't need to, because in our marriage, I do almost everything that one might need to ask for if it weren't already being done (e.g., cooking, cleaning, paying bills, working, taking care of the dog, etc.). 


Hi there, thank you so much for replying. I really appreciate knowing you are out there. I sympathize with you, too--and it is great to hear your story. Hang in there. 


I'm so so sorry you are going through this....

I could've written this letter. So much of your story rang true for me. I have a 6 year old and I'm enduring so much of what you're going through. I'm very close to a make or break situation but it's so so hard. I want so much for my daughter not to have to choose and get shuffled back and forth. Is a life with a non present Dad that at least lives in the house better for her than a divorced family and all that entails. I wish I had a solution or words of wisdom. I will tell you that little by little I'm starting to get help for myself and the strength that I've received from that help is allowing me to start down a different path. We cannot control them. We can only control ourselves. We also need to understand that what we think might be easy for them is not easy at all. That said, new ways can be learned by them to create a different life...for all concerned. We can not enable behavior that is simply unexceptable on any level. I'll be thinking of you...keep coming back here. You will, if nothing else, have people who understand the path you're walking. (((hugs))) Gina B


Hi, thank you so much for replying. It really does help to know that I am not alone. Please know that I will be thinking of you, too, and your family. "We can only control ourselves," true and wise. (((hugs))) back to you! I feel so happy that I have found this site. 

Hi, again.  I decided that I

Hi, again.  I decided that I should try to come up with something constructive, so here goes.  Here are a few things that have helped me that seem like they might be relevant to your situation:

1) Anger has been a problem for me, too.  I decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to commit to at least one big change, and so I decided to work on "anger management."  I've never been violent and rarely even yell, but I do get mad at my spouse.  He has told me that when I get mad, he withdraws, curls up like a scared bunny (yes, he actually used that image), etc.  So I vowed to not show anger to him.  I've been able to do that consistently since early January, except for a few times this week when we've had conversations and I've shown my emotions, anger included.  My reining in of my anger seems to have helped our conversations.  It makes me feel better about myself, certainly.  I do still get annoyed that while I've been mostly successfully working on this, my husband has not made noticeable behavioral changes (I asked him to work on something, too).  Although I've mentioned my annoyance to him a few times, I try to not dwell on it.

2) Home organization used to be a bigger problem for us when our daughters were still at home.  It's less of one now, because I can do a nominal cleaning job and then have weeks in which I can keep track of things.  Clear a space by the front door for things like your children's gear and keys and mail.  Try to keep on top of that every day.  Get extra copies of keys made.  Hide a few.  Then, if your husband can't find his things, he's on his own. 

3) For chores, I suggest starting by making a list of what needs to be done.  Ask your husband to pick some things that he can commit to doing regularly.  Ask him if he would prefer to be reminded by you or to have an impersonal reminder, like programming an alarm into his phone.  I hate to vacuum.  My husband doesn't mind it.  I clear the floor (if he does this part, he looks at every darn piece of paper that he picks up; I just grab everything in a big pile and dump it on a piece of furniture) and he vacuums.  I also don't like cleaning toilets and the floor and for some reason, my husband doesn't seem to mind these major tasks, at least if he doesn't have to do them too often.   

4) The sleep issue is very tough.  I hadn't realized until recently how many people with ADHD struggle with sleep.  Maybe to emphasize to him how disruptive this is, you could talk about how you miss time with him and that you and your children have to be on a more "normal" schedule.  It might inspire him to work on his sleep habits and medication regime.  I don't know.

Good luck.  Keep breathing.

thanks again

Hey, thank you. That a total stranger would take the time to write back to me is so gratifying. I really appreciate it. And you are right--especially #4. Nothing comes from being negative or nagging. I have a suspicion that his medication and ADHD really cause him to struggle with sleep, and that he is very tired all the time. I will give it a try, and keep encouraging him to go for a sleep study, which his doctor recommended. 


Your #3 makes me laugh--DH is always telling me he doesn't like the way I clean--that I just grab everything up and put it in piles and stuff it away. It is true! And he also takes each individual item and examines. 


Take care and you keep breathing, too:-)

I may have conveyed that I

I may have conveyed that I think it's wrong to get angry.  I don't.  I think everyone has a right to their emotions, including anger.  But purely on a rational basis, it seems unwise to let the anger show much when dealing with someone with ADD, given the tendency of folks with ADD to not be able to deal well with anger.  So my attempts to not show anger are purely strategic. 

Good luck.  We're in this together!

Just recently, I made a new

Just recently, I made a new rule for myself and my husband. For me, when I feel angry, I make myself stop and identify what I am really feeling. I've heard there are only two emotions, love and fear. So, I'm not angry, because that is just a tool to cover up my fear. I make myself identify my fear. Then, when my husband says, you're always angry, I look him straight in the eye and I tell him I am not angry, I am afraid of XYZ. That usually gives him pause. Once in a while, he even asks me why I'm afraid, or asks for clarification. This is more attention than I ever get when he can just dismiss me because he doesn't want to deal with my anger.

perhaps fear is easier for a man to deal with. An angry wife is just a bitch, but a wife who is afraid is a wife who needs help. What man doesn't want to solve a problem and keep his wife safe? Don't get me wrong, he still dismisses many of my fears as "unlikely" or "irrational", but at least he doesn't storm off in order to avoid my anger. It isn't a perfect system, but it has helped diffuse a few fights.


I think that your rule is really smart. This afternoon, I ran in from work for 15 minutes (after working all day since 6 a.m. when I got up and got the kids ready), before I needed to go back out to pick up my children. My husband met me at the door, and told me that this was the day he had an appointment to get his car fixed, and could I drive him or meet him after I pick up the kids. It was 4:30 at this point. My immediate reaction was anger, and I was annoyed a) that every, everything happens at the last minute and I am expected to adapt b) that he is ill right now and I am carrying a lion's share of the work, and this would be my only 10 minutes to just sit for a second, and think about what to have for dinner, and I am TIRED, c) that the trip for the car was across town during rush hour, so an hour round trip, and d) he acted completely hurt and couldn't understand my annoyance at him, and said, "well, fine, I'll just take a cab," which made me feel guilty. And e) for some reason, I don't do well when people spring things on me in the first place, I don't know why. 

Wow, I bet a therapist could dissect this entire thing! But you are right--I was afraid--afraid I would not get to gather myself for 10 minutes during a 16 hour day (I am a teacher and don't stop much at work); afraid to say no; afraid that he is ill and would have to take a long cab ride; afraid that I was not enough of a person to be able to be generous and take care of him in this way without feeling something negative--what is wrong with me; and wow, next time, I am just going to try your rule and see how it goes. He is a good guy, and I know that planning ahead is hard for him, especially right now when he is sick and his new meds seem to be canceling out his ADD meds. Thanks for the advice. 

I lived a happy delusion

Hi,  I've been thinking about your post for a while, and I'm not sure I have any "answers" but I have been where you are, and lived all the way through to today:  still married after 36 years to my ADD guy.  And for 35 of those years, I didn't even know adults could have ADD.  Imagine living with all you are going through and not having a clue there is a 'third party' in your marriage.  I'm sometimes quite amazed at myself.  How did I do it?  It was kind of a relief to find out I wasn't crazy for seeing all that I was seeing and feeling all that I was feeling.  

1.  I never stopped appreciating the great things about my guy, the things I fell in love with.  Whenever his ADD symptoms or his crappy coping mechanisms would cause me difficulty, I was always able to get through it or over it or around it by focusing on the good things that came with those negative things.  Nobody is perfect, I'd say.  You say He is so smart, and funny, and loyal, and when he is engaged, he is such a wonderful father. His smile could break apart clouds.   Wow!  What a gift to have such a person in your life!  I would like to know him, too!   Always remember that the coping mechanisms ADDers have had to develop to get through life can cause as much of our pain as the inattention, disorganization, lack of focus, too much focus, etc.  My guy's crappy coping mechanisms are deflect, deny and distort.  Deflect is when he says things that really say "It's not me, it's you".  Deny is "I didn't say that, do that, etc" and distort is "I didn't mean it that way" or "you took that wrong".  All of these tools he uses are to protect himself from pain or to make himself feel better when he feels he has failed (again).  I have great compassion for the ADD folks, my husband especially.  To always feel like the next failure is just around the corner, to always wonder what you are missing that everyone else is getting, to continually "wake up" and realize you haven't been paying attention.... Can you imagine how scary this would be at work, let alone at home?  Or as a child, with no way to explain it to adults?  Or even not knowing that not everybody feels this way?    So:  Separate the person from the ADD symptoms and the crappy coping mechanisms.  The person is always still there.  Look for those moments, savor them, celebrate them.  That is where your joy is.  The psychological principle "You find what you look for" applies to both negative and positive things.  Which are you choosing to look for?  Yeah, I know sometimes the negatives just jump up and bite you when you're over looking at the pretty flower..... but oh well.

2.  I never expected my guy to do much at home or with the kids, I guess.  I am a generation before you... It was certainly okay for women to have jobs, make more money, be "liberated" (unlike for my mother) but we hadn't gotten very far down the road in guys participating more with kids and housework.  My sons-in-law do vastly more with both kids and housework than my husband did.  Not because my guys thinks it's my "job" but just because he didn't think about it.  All throughout our marriage, when I asked specifically, honey, right now, could you do X?  He would almost always agree.  (They were short jobs!  :)  But he was never able to successfully commit to and fulfill regular household tasks.  Still isn't.  I recently said to him, Honey, when you leave dishes in the living room, or clothes on the floor, or a spill on the counter, are you consciously thinking "I don't have to take care of this, my wife will."  He was aghast.  He said no, never, that would be so insulting.  I just said, good, I didn't think so, but I had to ask.  Then I waited.  Quite a while.   And he eventually came back with... I guess I just don't see it, or I think I'm going to take care of it in a minute, and then I never do.  He has made more of an effort (say 30%?) ever since then.   With housework I decided I like living in a clean home, I am capable of doing the work, it takes much less time that I think it does because resentment DOUBLES or TRIPLES how long these tasks take.  I once read a study that said men vastly overestimated how much time they spent doing housework.... and women overestimated, too!  So:  Decide how clean you would like your home to be and do it.  Don't do it wishing you didn't have to do it, don't do wishing HE would do it, don't do pissed off.  Do it with love and care because you want it done.  If you can do this for a month, with no arguments with your spouse, I guarantee something will change.  AND here's a warning... if you're doing housework on a Saturday, humming around, going about your business, involving your children as you move from room to room, and your guy walks in and says anything that resembles "need any help?"  don't you dare turn him away.  See #3, martyrdom.  

3.  You might need to grieve the marriage you don't have, and get on with enjoying the one you do have.  Don't, don't, don't waste any time on poor me, this isn't fair, this isn't what I signed up for, I would be happy if he would change, I would happy if this were different........ Those are fantasies.  Do better at what you can do better... he is the only one who can do better at what he needs to do better.  You might end up happily ever after, and you might not.  But while you're on the road you're on, YOU have to be the BEST you.  Whole, independent, loving, compassionate.  If you are a martyr, you can't ever receive enough love, attention, etc.  etc.  

4.  My guy isn't medicated at all.... But if yours is spending 8 to 10 hours on a Saturday doing just one thing, I suspect he isn't taking meds on weekends??? Next time your guy has to go to the doc, tell him "I'm going to come along... I have some questions."  Then ask them.  If he says no, you can't come, say don't worry, I'm not going to talk about our private lives... I just have some questions..." Then ask them.  Do it in a way that doesn't shame, embarrass or humiliate your guy... because many guys, ADD or not, when they feel those things, come back with anger, sarcasm, etc as DEFENSES.  Red alert, red alert!  Feeling crappy!  Feeling crappy!  Defend, Distort, Deny!  Do what you can to not intentionally push your guy into those "defense modes".

5.  By now you are wondering, why do I have to do all this when it is him with the "problem".  Because you are the one that is here.  You are the one looking for answers.  You are the one looking for change.  So you're the only one I can tell what to do!  :)  And you are the only who knows what you are doing to contribute to the problem.

6.  Instead of "relaxing" by watching television, try yoga, meditation, walking, running, biking, writing in a journal, refinishing a chair, knitting, whatever.  Use whatever "you" time you have to strengthen and honor yourself with activity, rather than believing you "deserve" to "veg out".  Take it from an old lady who has been where you are and feels it like it was yesterday it's way too easy to fall into feeling sorry for yourself rather than actively building yourself up.  Even in a marriage without ADD, this is a requirement for a complete, satisfied person. 

Now get busy.  Best wishes and a hug.  And a swat on the ass.  :)  

eye opening

Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. Your words, and re-reading my own, made me realize what a negative, angry place I am dwelling in and that in the end, I am the only one responsible for it. 

Your #3 answer is very wise, and I appreciate it. I think I do need to grieve for a bit and then let go of my idea of what things should be like, and appreciate what they are. He is a good guy, and I do love him. 

And wow, what a revelation to find out that this is a syndrome, a frontal cortex thing, and that you are not crazy. Kudos to you for being in such a good place after 36 years. 

Many thanks!!!


@gardner447 I think you are truly wonderful - a beautiful magnificent woman. The world needs more of you... we'd all be happier.

If you don't mind, I have a question. I won't go into great detail, but I dated a man with ADHD, who disappointed me terriby. And hurt my feelings. But time, and this website, have made me understand him better. I know he is fundamentally good, and tried his best, but his best just wasn't enough. So... after many months we are trying friendship and I get the occasional email from him. He always says, 'we must have a catch-up... would love to hook up for a drink... would be nice to see you...' We make plans and he invariably doesn't follow through, then he'll call to apologize.

He phoned at midnight on Saturday, drunk, and admitted he is having a terrible time, everything is on top of him, he is stressed beyond measure, finding it  hard to cope, unable to keep on top of work and his house (tidiness), unable even to watch TV from lack of concentration, and suffering from existentialist angst. He is not medicated and went from hyperfocus on me to hyperfocus on another woman within 8 days. That too is over. He feels a failure in life and alientates people becasue he hasn't got a filter and says things he shouldn't. He is fundamentally lonely.

This is my question: there is no point offering to take him out for a drink as he won't follow through. And sometimes, just sometimes, I get the feeling he is playing games - not replying to emails, making plans and not following through. An example: we had agreed to meet for brunch this Sunday. He said he'd text to make arrangements and never did. At 6pm on Sunday I got an apologetic text saying he was buried in work. And I know he was, because he needs to complete a report for work, which he's been working on for three weeks. But I struggle to believe he didn't remember ONCE, at any point on Sunday, that we had made plans.

Sometimes I feel it's futile knowing him, and other times I feel he's too worthwhile a person to discard simply because his behavior pattern is different from mine. Since you are a seasoned wife of an ADDer, how should I go forward? Knowing he is having a terrible time, should I give him space? Should I back off? Should I show up at his house and rescue him? Should I disappear from his life? Should I carry on as I do, sending him emails and texts, knowing that for every five I send I will receive one reply? Is he giving me hints or does his chaos really render him so dismissive of me? Does he ignore my emails and texts because he is giving me a hint to go away?


I have some ideas, but have to ponder for a he in his 20's?

These are what I think are

These are what I think are the essential ideas of your post.  If I missed the mark, sorry.

So... after many months we are trying friendship.   How would you define a "successful friendship" with this guy?  Not knowing your answer, I would still bet that this kind of behavior ain't it.  Yet you "feel he's too worthwhile a person to discard simply because his behavior pattern is different from mine."   If you have been sending him emails and texts, and inviting him to get together, and he's been blowing that off -- does it really matter whether it is the ADD or not that is responsible?  Does it really matter whether it's because he's busy or forgot or is playing games.... Is what you have a "friendship" according to your definition?  For example, I have a friend who I could say has a "behavior pattern" different from mine.  She likes to have a drink, laugh a lot, listen to loud music when we get together.  My general preference might be to have coffee in a quiet shop, or browse through new shoes, or sit on my terrace for an hour with a glass of wine when we get together.  We do some of both, because we both value each other and the friendship.  Not returning calls, not keeping dates, not getting in touch until it's late at night and you're drunk wouldn't, for me, qualify as a "different style of behavior", it would qualify as not really friendship....  Again, does this meet your definition of friendship?  

How should I go forward? you ask.  Start with what do you hope to ultimately "get" by continuing to pursue "friendship" with this guy?  Help him, support him, rescue him....?  Lord, no!  Helping a friend is a ride to the airport, a sympathetic ear, chicken soup when you're sick, belief in them, remembering their birthday... at least that's what is is to me.  Help is not fixing his life, accepting rude behavior, or rescue in anyway.  You can physically rescue someone from drowning, a fire, even being trapped in a car teetering on the edge of a cliff.... but you cannot rescue someone else by making their life choices for them.  

Knowing he is having a terrible time, should I give him space?   He's giving you both plenty of space already.

Should I back off? If you want to.  Will his behavior change one way or the other, probably not.  So back off if it helps you, or don't if it doesn't.

Should I show up at his house and rescue him? No.  No.  No.  

Should I disappear from his life? If you want to.  Will his behavior change one way or the other, probably not.  So disappear if it helps you, or don't if it doesn't.

Should I carry on as I do, sending him emails and texts, knowing that for every five I send I will receive one reply? If you want to.  Will his behavior change one way or the other, probably not.  So disappear if it helps you, or don't if it doesn't.

Is he giving me hints or does his chaos really render him so dismissive of me? Does he ignore my emails and texts because he is giving me a hint to go away?  It doesn't really matter why he's doing what he's doing -- what matters is that what he is doing is not conducive to maintaining a friendship.  

Sorry for all the repetition , but I was trying to make a point.  What you do should be because it is what you want to do.... knowing it could have very little affect on the choices he is making.  I really feel bad for not giving you better advice... a solution... a thing you could do that would work magic on him and change what he is doing.  Do friendships break up, dissolve or just fade away because one or both of the parties didn't do the work required or put in the time it takes to keep friendships going?  Sure.  Are you someone who doesn't want to just "let it go" but wants to keep the friendship up, but it isn't being reciprocated?  Then, yes, you have to reach a point where you say "oh well, I tried." 

Lastly, I want to leave you with.... are you absolutely positive you don't have a little fantasy going on here that the two of you will be "more than friends" again?  Don't be a rescuer, a martyr or willing to do "whatever it takes" to make a relationship here.  You currently have no foundation at all on which to build a lasting, healthy relationship.  Do you?  I'll bet he's really cute, though.  Best wishes!

Also together 36+ years

As the non Add spouse I agree with what you have to say. I do have a lot of built up resentment though. I have no expectations from him so when anything get accomplished it is a major deal I try to always thank him for cleaning thedishwasher etc. The times I resent most are his days off from work. I must say I am thankful he has a job because throughout all these years he has been out of the work more times then I care to remember. I resent his days off because he plays softball in the morning then he sits around all day too tired to do anything else he doesn't shower until late in the day or evening so when I get home from work at 6:30 he is sleeping on the couch then he asks what's for dinner I get so angry I also have a 30 year old daughter with ADHD he blames a lot of stuff. On her that she should have made dinner. My daughter lives at home so both of them have screaming mat he's almost every nite about the tv. Sorry I am rambling I usually just read the forums not contribute Anyway, I, have no desire to be close to him anymore sex is a thing of the past he still wants it but I have no desires I don't even want him to touch me it makes me sad I know we need counseling but it has never helped in the past and now we can't afford it thanks for letting me get this offmy chest it nice to know I'm not alone. I forgot to mention I still love him but I'm not liking him much these days.

Together 26 years

When I first met my husband I knew there was something about him different from most.  Shortly after we met he introduced me to his family and then I thought I had the answer to what was different.  All I had to do was be around him and his dad for 10 minutes to pick up on the huge sense of disappointment his dad had in him.   My husband was in the US Air Force at the time, he was an officer and was raising through the ranks fairly quick.   The problem was his parents had no idea he was ADHD, just that he was very disorganized and in his dad's eyes irresponsible.  He also has an older brother who is incredibly successful.   He had a few choices for his career path.   My husband is an engineer by degree and currently writes software, he taught himself many years ago how to do that. 

When we told his parents we were getting married after being together for about 1 1/2 years, his dad pulled me off into another room and told me I was making a huge mistake.  I told him he had no idea who his son was, and that he should be very proud of all his children.  I still did not know my husband was ADHD at this time.  You will notice I don't say much about my husbands mother as she could only follow what her husband thought and did.  It made me very angry that as a mother she would not protect her child.  I did not have children at the time, I was just basing my feelings on the parents I grew up with.  They never put me down, they always supported me no matter what direction I chose.  This is what I grew up with.  My husband and I had a very hectic relationship which I attributed to my husband trying to please his dad, he said very little negative about his dad, he just allowed me to be a part of all the negativity his dad threw his way.  Every time he spoke with his dad he would pace, our whole marriage until his father died, every phone call my husband paced throughout our house.  I did my best to stay out of their relationship, because I did not want to run the risk of my husband resenting me at some point.  One of the worst instances was a fist fight my husband and his father got into the night after we got married, I tried to stop them, my mother-in-law said that I should just leave them to go at it.  I to this day could not tell you what the fight was about.  I know it came out of nowhere and I do not know who threw the first punch.  

After being married for just about a year, I became pregnant with our oldest child.  My husband was involved and very attentive until the day after our son was born, then he was too busy to be with me at the hospital, he chose instead to be at home working on his hobby.  He was off work at the time and I saw very little of him while I was in the hospital.    Once we came home, he constantly used the excuse that he was not good with infants, didn't really know what to do.  I kept trying to bring him in and make all of us a family.  During this time, we did find out he had ADHD.  Since I had first met him, anytime things got to overwhelming for him he would just take off.  I kept trying to explain to him that he did not have to run from me, I loved him no matter what, I may not always like what he did, but that did not mean I did not love him.  I was sure he did not always like everything I did either.  I tried to express to him over and over how proud I was of his achievements, how great a father he could be if he just tried.  I tried to let him know it would take both of us to raise our children.  I won't tell you he didn't help, he did, he just never formed any emotional bonds with either of our sons.  We had our 2nd son 2 1/2 years after the first.  His parents came to "Help" when we had our second.  I had to have my husband send them home after just a few days.  In the beginning, my husband drove himself crazy trying to prove to his dad that he was a more involved father.  His dad didn't really care, he was at our house for a vacation and for my mother-in-law to wait on him, when she was supposed to be helping me.  It got to be too much, they were very rude and as I said I finally had had enough.  I could not stand seeing my husband so miserable and they were more work than help.  

We have see many therapists since he was initially diagnosed, he is all about going, until he finds out that for the most part the ADHD is what we need to work with, not anything he thinks I am doing.  I will not claim to be perfect, I am far from it, but I do feel as though I have done all I can until he finally sees the light.  

As our sons were growing up I had to find kind ways to explain to them what they were seeing their father do was not ordinary behavior but instead things he could not control because of the ADHD.  The truth from some of the things I have read is that I have enabled him to continue this way by letting it be about the ADHD instead of trying to make him be more responsible.

At one point when our sons were about middle school age, he threatened to commit suicide, being very descriptive on what he was going to do.  It scared me so much I called the police and had him hospitalized, they kept him for 3 days.  When I went to pick him up, the doctor he was seeing at the time asked to meet with me alone.  She told me he is a game player, she did not think he was at risk for suicide.  We found another ADHD therapist for him at her suggestion.  He seemed to thrive on any drama he could create.  He did not care if the attention he got was good or bad as long as he was the center of attention.  I understand some of that is the ADHD, but I still have to wonder how much came from what he grew up with.  The funny thing was any time I would ask what it was like for him growing up, he could not remember a thing.   I love him very much to this day, I understand though that our marriage will probably end fairly soon.  He does not want to own the ADHD, there is always a reason he can't do anything about it, he is too tired, too busy, he forgot.  I know alot of this is the ADHD, but I have purchased books for him that I have read, he starts to and then he just stops.  

About 5 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Right after I got the phone call from my doctor, I called my husband.  I told him about my diagnosis, and then I asked if he was going to be able to support me through it.  I really hoped this would be the aha moment for him.  I told him there would be days I could not leave the house because my immune system was at risk and I would need him to be the parent to our children at their events.  I also tried to explain how scary it might be for the boys and I needed him to help me watch them so we made sure they were ok.  He assured me he would be there for me.  He was not, he basically collapsed within himself.  He would not help me take care of our house, he would not make meals, the only thing he did was go to the kids events.  I made a conscious decision that I would have to be extra strong through this so my sons had a good example of how to weather the tough moments in life.  I was and am still very angry, I was never allowed to be scared, or fall apart, it was not an option.  

About two years after I was diagnosed, my father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, liver, lung and brain.   Things as usual were strained between my husband and his father.  I decided that I could not let his father die without them coming to some kind of common ground.  I sent his dad an email, telling him all the things that I had experienced in chemo and radiation as he would be having both.  I sent him pillows that were comfortable while I was getting treatments.  I had to sleep with a special pillow as I had a port in my chest because my veins were worthless during chemo.  I tried to bridge the gap between them and it seemed to be working.  I am very ashamed to say that I was hopeful than when his father passed he might start to feel like he was the great person I knew he hid from everyone and that he let the ADHD keep from everyone.   I just wanted my husband to be at ease in his own skin.  To be able to work together in our marriage to get though the obstacles we  would face.  It wasn't to be.  I seems to have gotten worse.  I know part of it has to do with the fact that both of our sons are in college now and away from home.  It is just the two of us in the house now and I cannot do this for much longer.  At first when my youngest son went away this last fall, my husband was very nice to me, he did things I didn't even ask him to do.  I think that is what is most frustrating, he can do it.  

We both work full and part time jobs because of bad financial decisions he made and lied to me about.  He does a lot of lying to avoid the fallout from the truth.  I don't get that.  He says that I am not hard to talk to when he is honest with me.  So why lie?  I am angry and resentful about a lot with him.  I feel your pain though I am at a point where I am torn between wanting to keep slamming my head against the wall and hope that he gets it eventually, but there is a bigger part of me that is ready to go.  The one thing cancer made me very aware of is how very precious every day is, you never know if you will get another.  I am a pretty spiritual person, so I have always had my faith to get me through.  I have tried to involve him in that as well.  I am not sure where he is with that.  It is hard to tell if it is real or just a ploy for my praise.  I want him to be his own man.  I don't want him to do things for me just because he thinks that will make everything better.  I want him to make decisions because he loves me, loves our sons and wants our family to be as strong as it can.  Sorry for rambling, once I got started it just kept coming.  He promises over and over he will do what he needs to do to change and then does nothing.  It is so sad, our sons have both verbalized that they will never be the way he is to their spouses or children.  Fortunately they are both very loving and most of what my husband does and a result of the ADHD, they see as destructive and have tried not to emulate his behavior.



What an insightful piece of writing. I hurt for you all the way through it.

Do you believe, however, that after 26 years he might finally "get it"? I think you deserve a rest. Even just a separation might help. Good luck and I hope you give yourself some peace before you get too old to enjoy it!

wow, just wow

I hope you don't mind--I was so struck by what you wrote (and the wonderfully clear way you wrote it). I am so sorry about your cancer and the ordeal you went through. You sound like a strong, strong person. 

I see so much of my marriage in your post. My question is, when do you get to the point that you decide that it isn't worth it? Wow, I committed to this man, love him, he is my children's father, and he has so many good qualities. And to boot, he is sick right now with a painful condition, but, is this an ADHD thing? As you mentioned, mine also just seems to thrive on drama, and now that he is in pain at times, I tell you. I have never, ever seen anyone make such a huge spectacle of themselves. Not women in labor, not a child with a broken arm, I am serious. He doesn't care that our children are in the room and I tell him that they are being upset by his moaning and sounds. He doesn't care if he attracts all the attention at his children's birthday party. If I mention to him that he spent 90 per cent of our child's parent/teacher conference talking about himself, to the point that the teacher was visibly uncomfortable and I kept trying to interrupt, he gets defensive, even if I point it out nicely. And I feel guilty because I find myself just shutting down most of the time now.  

I am finding myself, now that my children have reached a certain age, needing to explain to them as you do, that their father's behavior is not necessarily ok, but he has a difficult time managing it. Is this appropriate for 6 - 8 year olds? How should I handle this when his anger is too much or he forgets to feed them lunch after promising me he will and I walk in the door and they are crying because it is 4 o'clock and they are so hungry? 

What do I do when I have asked him for a year, begged him, point blank, to read books, to call or go to a therapist, when I tell him that I am miserable, and he may lose me, and the answer is that he has to finish x first, or that he can't think about it right now because so and so is so stressful, or that the problem is that I am angry and anxious, and I point out that basically he is telling me that I am not as important to him as those other things? How long do I wait before I give up and break up our family? He is a good person, he is charming and can be kind and amazing. He can also be very angry, moody, and blurt out the most hurtful things without editing himself. He can seem so self-absorbed that it is unreal. I can say I just worked 10 hours and have a pounding migraine and need to help the kids with their homework and make dinner, and he will disappear into his workshop area to make something for himself. I have to ask for absolutely everything. I have to work so hard and it is so tiring to have to be the only one worrying about everything. I am tired of being in charge of everything all of the time. I really think that a happy marriage is not too much to ask in this short life and that I deserve it. And I know that I am pretty unhappy, and that happy couples do not fight like this, for years and years and years. What next? If something doesn't change soon my health, my peace of mind, and my identity are going to be far gone and I am not sure I can repair them. Thanks for this site, thanks for caring and relaying your stories, everyone. 


I have been where you are.  I was raised that marriage was something you had to always work at.  I think that was why I did not give up sooner.  I have spent a lot of the last year contemplating leaving now that my sons are both pretty much grown.   The one thing that stops me is that under all the garbage I have dealt with, all the things I have gone through because of him, I have proved to myself I am a strong person, and I love him.  I also see how much our sons love him, regardless of the ADHD.  This makes me feel like I cannot give up until I can look both of my sons in the eyes and say i have done all that I can.

I don't know where you are faith-wise, but I have always been a very big believer that everything happens for a reason.  I believe I was put in my husbands life because I am strong and I kept trying to find ways to get through to him.  Like I said I knew there was something when I first met him, but I also knew that he had a great capacity to love.   

I just found this blog about a week ago, right after I got my copy of "The ADHD Effect Marriage".  I actually started reading the blog before I started the book.  It really helped me to see other people were experiencing almost the exact things I have.   I also found posts of people with ADHD, who genuinely seem to get it and are trying to change.  It made me stop and think, how would I have felt when I was diagnosed with cancer for my husband to have said I am leaving you, this is too hard.  While he was not very supportive, he was here.  I am starting to see this for what it is.  While we know people with ADHD think differently than non-adhd, I think I finally realize what that means, or at least I am starting to.  I wish I could tell you exact steps your husband could take, or that you could take to get him to see the damage he is doing and will keep doing until he owns his adhd.  

I asked my husband tonight if he has noticed a difference in me since I got involved with this blog and started the book I mentioned earlier, he said he definitely has.  I have also noticed that when I approached him in a less angry manner he started to be more willing to listen to what I was saying about his adhd.  I won't lie, it has taken a long time to get to where I actually think I may see light at the end of the tunnel.  The one thing I keep thinking is that I know my marriage will never be like marriages where neither partner is adhd, but then again there are plenty of couples that split up where adhd is not a factor.   My husband has agreed to read the ADHD marriage book, I have nicely told him that he has to be willing to put in the work to make this right.  I also asked him if he thought I would support him if he did put the work in, he agreed I would. 

I think we grow up with a sense of what a marriage should be and when it is not that way, there must be something wrong.  I am not saying you don't deserve to be happy, but think about this, you love your parents and if you have siblings you love them as well.  There are times you don't like things they do and they are your flesh and blood.  How can we possibly expect to have a perfect relationship with someone that we have no biological ties to.  I think that being married to someone with adhd is something concrete you can point to as the problem.  I have a lot of friends who have been married for about the same amount of time I have, they all have complaints about their spouses.  Ours are just more consistent.    

If there is family you can stay with maybe you could remove yourself and your children temporarily.  It is important to give your kids what they need from you.  The one thing I worked very hard to do was make sure I was taking care of my children first.  I always figured that no matter what I was always going to be their mother, I may not always be his wife.  Right now I am taking one day at a time.  I am hopeful that we will actually make progress this time.  I look at it this way, anything worth really having is worth working for together.  I am always happy to talk with you and I will try to update as we make progress or if we don't.  I think the important thing about a blog like this is honesty.  

As far as your husband's pain, ask him to think about how he would have felt to see his father act as he is about pain.  I have asked my husband that a lot and i get the same response every time, he would not have respected his father or liked to see him act that way.   If I continue to make progress I will keep sharing with you.  I think if we stick together maybe we can get somewhere good.  If you make progress please let me know what works for you.


Thank You, Thank You, Thank

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, this is the most hopeful, honest, Positive advise I have heard on this site. I have read it twice and made me give him a extra little kiss this morning. I need to educate myself more on what's happening in his brain and understand more and not take it so personally I think. I need to focus on me more and not so much on him and his ADHD. I need to cherish the wonderful moments (there are great moments) I have with him and not dwell on the bad ones.

I often wonder how his parents stayed married for over 40 years when I know one of them must have it as well? Mostly also because I see it in his sister and some of the other grandkids as well both his daughters have it. One was diagnosed the other is still young. 

Also my ex has ADHD and so does my son. My son was diagnosed at 9 years of age. He knows and openly admits he has it and can even tell you when he feels he lacks focus on something. He seems to not be ashamed about it. Maybe cause I talk so openly about it without shame myself. My ex mother and father-in-law have been married for over 50 years and I know for sure one of them must have it also as I see it in my ex, my ex's sister and some of her children as well as my own. I wonder how they stayed together for over 50 years?

Maybe there is hope with non medicated ADHD? 

Try removing the negative emotions from tasks

Last summer, I wrote a letter to my (then undiagnosed ADD husband) that was eerily similar to what you've written here. I was angry beyond words, and that was affecting my coping and parenting skills of our 2 toddlers, and THAT made me REALLY angry. He understood the letter and my words in the moment, but we were right back again within days. I was at my wits' end, and started thinking about what life might be like for me only having to take care of toddlers. He was medicated for depression, which moderated his mood swings, but not medicated for the ADD. I incorrectly assumed that the absence of depression would mean joy. Not so. I found myself asking him if he had remembered to take his meds when he would have an outburst -- understandably this would make him more upset.  I started thinking of ways to REALLY get his attention as to how bad we really were; I considered essentially not doing anything to "take care" of him anymore. I mean, nothing. Never putting his dirty dish in the dishwasher, never his laundry, never picking up his things, never buying grocery items that only he eats, etc. I never actually did this, but I do wonder what might have happened. My hope was that he would see all the things I actually do for him, and realize how very little he was actually contributing. But I might have just as easily thrown gas on the fire. I just don't know.

What did happen, however, is what changed everything. He did hit rock bottom; I discovered the affair he was having. The reality of that sent him reeling, and he has truly realized that he might (rightfully so) lose everything. He totally understands how his ADHD played a role in the affair (he was diagnosed only about a month before I discovered it). It was bittersweet: if I hadn't discovered it, we would probably still be dancing around how to tackle and acknowledge the ADHD in our relationship & lives, and he would still be involved with the affair not recognizing that it was playing a massive role in the fact that our marriage was joyless. What happened instead, we ripped the scab right off, and everything is on the table.  For us, it has been a direct path to acknowledging and accepting the changes that need to happen. It's brutal, but it's also been the silver lining. Meds, therapy, books, etc. all along the way to help guide us. I do believe it's the fact he hit rock bottom is what propelled us into honestly and openly acknowledging the role ADHD was playing in our relationship.

Which leads me to the subject line of this post. At this moment, I've separated the ADHD painful "distancing" from the "volcano of pain" associated with the infidelity. I see the ADHD attributes much more objectively now, and don't blame him for what had become the classic action-response-response negative mantra of our communication. An example: the pill reminder issue. Instead of asking him if he'd taken his meds only when he was blowing up, we delegated it to the calendar. We have a white-board calendar, and we would put a small "X" on each day. When he would take his meds, he would wipe the "X." If I still saw the "X" on the day, I was free to ask him if he'd taken it. It removed the emotion for both of us from the task. We're trying to do more of this with other tasks, which leaves us more emotional energy to focus on dealing with all the hurt of what has happened, and then deciding how we want to move forward.

My last suggestion: what led me to this website & Melissa's book was a NYTimes article. It's very short, and easy for an ADHD spouse to read. After my husband read it, I asked him what it said. He answered, "I feel like it's describing our life." Bingo. His eyes were open. Here's the link:

Good luck. It won't be easy, but you know you won't be ending it without trying. I know that was important to me.

Wow, thank you for your

Wow, thank you for your words. Good luck to you, too. I am looking up the article right now....

MagicSandwich's picture


I think my question is why - why don't you want to leave?

It's an interesting question because when you look at the laundry list of his behaviors, wouldn't your wanting to leave be a natural and expected response? I'm not suggesting that you do leave. I'm just fascinated by yours and mine and the many other spouses' lack of "flight" reaction to this kind of stress. Sometimes I wonder if my natural self-protective reactions have been switched off somehow.

I've asked myself this a

I've asked myself this a million times. I've never tolerated this much BS from anyone.  I married my husband when I was 34- first marriage. Was he perfect when I met him? No, but he paid attention to me. Our first Christmas together he bought tickets in advance for various concerts, plays, etc. that extended over the next 6 months. I mean the commitment that required! We traveled to the Bahamas during that first year. We did things together! We had fun! And he was kind to those around him. He owned his own company. After the initial hyper focus wore off, I just thought we were getting comfortable. After we married, we had three kids in 15 months ( twins), bought a fixer-upper, and my husband lost not one, but two businesses. Both of my parents died, they were our biggest support system. 

My husband's ADHD was annoying, frustrating, and even cute ( my absent minded professor) when I met him. We didn't know he had ADHD then.  After we married, and life got too real for him, his ADHD became the bane of my existence. Yes, he was a business owner. Do you know how easy it is to cover up your procrastination, tendency to lose things and be late when YOU are the boss? When I met him he would work 7 days a week for months on end. I thought, what a hard worker! In reality, he couldn't keep up with things. Don't get me wrong, he is a hard worker! It's just that there was more to the story.

i guess what I'm trying to say is, we know there is more to our husbands than their ADHD. It's hard to walk away from someone you know means well. It's hard to divorce someone who loves you and says I just want to grow old with you and be buried beside you for all eternity. It's hard to give up on a person who has a problem that is not evil and is quite treatable. When I see my husband behave in ways that melt my heart, it makes it hard to justify the he's-just-a-selfish-jerk claim.

anxiety really sets it off

Just curious--have you or anyone ever realized that your own stress or anxiety can really set off your ADHD spouse? Example, I am running late, trying to get ready for work and get my children to school, have tons and tons to take care of that day at work, am really stressed out. I realize that one of my children is sick and needs to stay home, and my DH, who is very rarely up in the morning (and if he is, tends to just "space out," and not help in any way unless I specifically ask) freaks out at the suggestion that even though he is off work that day, he stay home with our child, because he has "so much to do." And that the things he has to do are as important as the things I have to do. (Mind you, I have to go into my job, and he is not scheduled to work that day. In my mind, washing clothes and paying bills can't wait, while finishing cleaning out the lint duct on the dryer, can). And "now I know how he feels," about something that happened months ago, although, honestly, it does not seem the same to me. He actually refers to staying home with our child as "helping me out." This is a bright man, who had hardworking parents who shared in the household. I saw no sign of this when we were dating. I just don't get it. It seems so difficult to reason with him or discuss this. He gets so fixated on tasks that he gets incredibly upset when I might interrupt them, even if it is to stay home with our sick child on a day he is not WORKING and I am. I end up getting upset myself (who wouldn't, with 5 minutes to get myself and my other child to work on time--) and my getting upset just really sets him off. It is a horrible scene, early in the day, and I am ashamed to say, our children hear some of it. He has always responded pretty badly when I get anxious, even though I try to explain to him that I am afraid--afraid I won't be able to do everything I need to, to take care of all of us, afraid that he will get really mad, afraid that I will be late for work. Thanks for any insight out there, folks. I have been inspired to try to break these patterns but it is a one way street, and I am getting to the point that I think that it is just not worth it anymore. I am too tired. Waterfall, I know he is not a selfish jerk, but his actions suggest otherwise in these instances and they just wear me out. 

The specific details differ

The specific details differ (my husband was always willing to stay home with the kids; he has for the most part been a very good parent), but on the general topic of an ADHD spouse's reaction to the "non" spouse's anxiety, yes, definitely, it's a problem.  He can't deal with my anxiety or depression or sadness or anger or anything other than "little Susie Sunshine." 

Thanks, it's good to hear

Thanks, it's good to hear from someone about this. He can be a great parent, but just inconsistent, either hyper-focusing or disappearing into his own things for a long time. It seems like any mood or issue on my part can set it off, and I find myself afraid of showing any anxiety, or depression, or worry, or PMS, or anything, and then I hide it until it just comes out. Ugh. 

I think it's the celiac

Hi lynninny,

I signed up for an account here to reply to you after reading your post because this might as well have been written about our family.  We are 40ish, both work professionally, and have a young son.

At one point you mentioned that your husband has undiagnosed celiac (that is how I came across your post).  As unlikely as it may sound, celiac was causing this problem for us, and based upon your post I am nearly certain it is the root of yours too.  In fact, ADD/ADHD-like symptoms can be caused by celiac.

We have been married for 4 1/2 years, and even though I've discovered the problem (and stopped the bleeding), my wife tells me our marriage is not strong enough to recover from all of the damage done.  A part of me knew I was not carrying my own weight, but I didn't know how else to be.  It was like I was telling myself that being present was 90% of the work - wrong, I know.  I couldn't fall asleep at night and I couldn't get up in the mornings.  I didn't understand why my anxiety levels seemed to be through the roof at times.  My wife used to tell me I went into hyper-focused states that normal people don't do.  My behavior led to us having discussions about bi-polar, ADD, and Asperger's.  I was suffering from major depression but continued to "act" like I was holding it all together as long as I could - especially outside of the house.  I was continuously making promises to my wife that I was unable to keep because of not feeling "up to it" when the time came.  When there was a major need, I would rise to the occasion because I knew I absolutely had to get it done.  But, I now know this complicated matters in our marriage because it sent the message to my wife that I could do all of those other things if I only wanted to.  In my state, it seemed so easy (logical) to put off household tasks until a time "when I'm feeling better".  Of course, this only placed the burden on my wife.  To make all matters worse, I frequently used alcohol to self-medicate.  I had no idea what was wrong.

Until the beginning of this year, I had no idea what celiac was.  I finally began seeing doctors for fatigue and depression? (I didn't know what else to call it), but they were unable to help.  I was told I should take B12 supplements and take steps to lower my cholesterol.  I tried about 4 anti-depressants last year, but they didn't seem to do anything for me.  After searching for a long time, I finally self-diagnosed using the web early this year and have been gluten free since.  I am still amazed at the wide-spread symptoms that arise from undiagnosed gluten intolerance.  Here are some of the things I was experiencing. 

terrible sleeping patterns and too much required, fatigue, joint pain, anxiety, depression, "brain fog", irritability, abdominal discomfort (bloat, const., diar.)

They have all lifted for me over the last three months.  If any of this sounds familiar, my suggestion is for him to take the gluten free diet VERY seriously.  Also, if it's not too late for your relationship, get into marriage counseling now.  Your husband might be much more agreeable to this after achieving 20/20 hindsight as a result of newfound clarity of thought from the diet.  I felt like I "woke up" to the mess of a marriage I was responsible for.

It is a cruel condition when undiagnosed.  It robs you and everyone around you of your quality of life.  The person with the condition is the last to see it because they don't know what it's like to feel normal.  The stronger you are and the longer you try to hold onto a thread of yourself and not surrender, the more you hurt the people you love the most.  

Best of luck to you both!  btw - my wife read your post and agrees that she could have written it.



I agree completely. My

I agree completely. My husband takes care of the kids, no questions asked, but I feel like you, rosered, I feel like I must be a Stepford wife. He can't handle anything other than sunshine and roses from me. He can freak out over any little thing and he tells me it's just because he's stressed or frustrated. If he doesn't like the look on my face he gets anxious. There are completely different rules of engagement for us.