back from the brink

Facts: 34 yrs old diagnossed with adhd in first grade, not constantly treated for adhd since college in 1998, married for 8.75 years, Wife is an engineer and main bread winner logical thinker finacial wiz does not know how to identify her own feelings and harder time sharing how she feels with me and since she grew up in a house without argueing she refuses to argue anything with me, i am the role reversed emotional one with the support income with spending issues and often can not tell to what degree wife feels about something since she refuses to argue with me, have not been maintaining my share of house hold chores since returning from over seas two years ago(not that i can say i did a great job before), have stopped playig with kids (4 year old and 20 month old)in evening leaveing it mostly to wife for a while now, have delved further and further into 4x4 truck over last 8 months, wife started a new stressful job 7 months ago, have felt more and more distant from wife, realized 2 to 3 months ago that a key to wife's attention and affection might be to start doing stuff around house when i get home so she does not feel preasure of haveing to do stuff after work. One month ago wife started crying easily one morning and then after a night out by her self felt fine and then the next day after asking many questions of her found out she was not happy with relationship. Situation: The next day i signed up for an ADHD doc and a MArriage Doc because i knew that My ADHD was interfearing more than I realized and had been procrastinaiting since getting on good insurance. I signed up for the Marriage Doc because figured we needed help working on stuff. Later as the week went along the more i got to talk the more i figured out that she had been bottleing up resentment over me not helping around the house and kind of droping out as a dad and lack of appreciation for her over the last 7 months or so and she had finally poped. I also think that some of the majour problems became more majour when she started a new stressfull job 7 months ago and my stress i put on her went from managable to over load. What scared me was i always thought we were both so dedicated to out marriage that we would always look to work on problems, but she started hinting that she might be done with our marriage. For her it was working on her for several months but for me it was like poof your marriage is over. She made several indirect coments about knowing what its like to live without me while I was overseas and that she could imagine what life would be like without me. That friday we went to a joke of a therapist who did get us to talk some. Wife told therapist in a very non-convinceing way that she wanted to work on the marriage. That night at home I finally got her to realize that it was a lack of appreciation that she felt and was making her feel "not in love". Once she voiced that out loud it seems that her logical brain kind of went "ah ha thats something concrete I can Work with" and then ever since then has been very convicing that she wanted to work on our marriage. I have since been doing my share of the chores and participaiting with the kids in play and showing her appreciation. the first week it has been out of shear terror hyper focus. the second week it was still out of angziaty.(sorry bad speller) the third week we were in Hawaii. The forth week I have been on meds. The chores this week have been easy to do when i say i am going to do something it is easy.(no whininh or complaining in the back of my head or daydreaming. the family relations stuff I have changed my paradigm about what I am actually doing. I see walks and fun with the kids and holding hands as a chance to connect instead of just a thing to do. The worst part is that trying to get my wife to talk about her feelings is hard. We have found another therapist and have seen him once as a couple and once each as individuals. We have not really begun"working yet" with him but our relationship is already better, its just that unlike me who wants feels and displays instant emotions, it will take her a long time to believe that I have made some changes for the good long term. I am afraid also that I will not be up to the task long term. what I mean is that i have every intention to and in the past I have had great succes with meds, but after reading a lot on this sight i do not know. Everything that goes on right now I seem to over analize. I have to be the one to initiate all the talks about real feelings as appossed to the conversations she wants to have about work and superficial stuff. Don't get me wrong I listen to these conversations and actively participate in them because they are important, but like i said I have to push the emotional get in touch with your feelings talks. Sometimes I feel like I am over whelming her with it but not haveing this kind of comunication allowed us to get as close to destruction as we did. How often is right for not just talking about work and family but also how things have made us feel latley and how what we have done has made each other feel? Being on ADHD meds has seemed to make it easier to stop rehashing what has happened to our marriage over and over so much that it turns my stomach and chest into knots. Know it seems when the random thoughts about the horrible feelings of several weeks ago pop up in my head I can kind of just say ok thats happened and this is where we are and put it back where the thought came from. well I think that is everything i want to say. Thanks. Any comments would be appreciated.

To Treeminer

It's great to hear from the ADD person on the site, and great that you are the one who is pushing for therapy and help.  It sounds as if you and your wife have complimentary styles (she is the logical one, you are the more emotional one) and this always takes special effort when it comes to communication and building good communication skills.  It also means that an easy way to get around conflict is to divide tasks - in your case, you dropped out of the household tasks because it was easier to let the more organized half of the household take over.  But, as you now know, that's a real relationship mistake because it is SUCH a DRAG to have to do all that stuff and feel as if your spouse doesn't care enough to help!

And, yes, this is about whether or not you are communicating that you care, which it seems you really do.  So, you are moving in the right direction by taking on some of the chores again, and playing with the kids again (which is your way of showing them that you care - nothing communicates "I care" to a child as well as spending good, fun time with them).

In almost every household there is one person who earns more than the other person does, and that's just fine.  If your wife's job is really stressful, then you can show her you care by really picking up the ball and making her life easier for a while until things get better...again, it sounds as if you are starting that - keep it up!

Non-ADD people get into the habit of expecting that their ADD spouse will not follow through on doing something that they are supposed to do.  It is easy when this happens to lose trust in the ADD spouse's ability to support you.  It will take a while before your wife sees that you have changed.  You report that the meds make it much easier for you to do those pesky tasks and tackle tough things...GREAT!  They're working!  Make sure you keep taking them!  Have patience as your wife adjusts to the "new" you, and keep at it.  Also, keep the lines of communicaiton open.  For example, it's perfectly fair to sit down at the end of the day and say "I did X, Y, and Z today and was thinking I would do A, B and C tomorrow.  Are those the things that are most important to you, or should I be focusing on something else?"  This both gets her attention around what you did already, and also sets you up for the maximum amount of success for tomorrow (better to do the things she values most as you are trying to regain her trust than to do stuff she doesn't care about!)

"Falling out of love" is a tough one...but rest assured that you can both fall back into love as well.  Think about setting time up that is just for fun stuff - whatever that means to you as a couple...and make sure that you get enough adult and adult time (vs. adult and kids time).  "Working" on a marriage is great when you are talking about creating better communication patterns and the like, but "work" needs to be replaced by "play" sometimes to reignite romance.

As for letting go of the past...you wife will need to work through her anger with the therapist...but also encourage her to address the anger and then let go of the past.  The past had some mistakes in it that, when revisited, bring back her pain.  Better to concentrate on building a wonderful future together again.

Keep in touch and let us all know how it goes....

Melissa Orlov