Being in love or not

How do you really know if your husband/wife is (or was) in love with you, when they act on impulse much of the time? This is very hard to understand because of the drastic change from dating to marriage, with almost a complete turnaround in actions. It IS hard to believe that they still love you when there is no more affection, and you end up living as roommates. I'd like to hear some view points from those who have ADHD, as well as others. THANKS


Well, in my case, my ADHD

Well, in my case, my ADHD husband actually told me he wasn't in love with me and didn't really know if he ever was.  Took the quess work right out it for me.  It was devastating needless to say.  We had been married 25 years and I had no clue of his true feelings.  All I could think of at the time was that I had wasted 25 years of my life for nothing.  We are still together struggling to make a go of it with very little affection or close interaction.  I still am having a hard time rekindling the same loving feeling I had for him before.  My heart is guarded for sure.  I guess to protect myself in the event he gets tired of this whole mess.

Mine told me the same thing

He said he didn't love me and wasn't sure he ever really did. Then later he acted like he never said it. I quoted it back to him, and he said something to the effect "Oh, I just said that but didn't mean it". So who knows what they are thinking? I went by actions, since I couldn't trust his words. His actions didn't show love (at least not the way I define love).


Wow....mine said exactly the same thing..."I've never been in love with you."  Yes, that REALLY hurt.  How do you wrap your head around it?  I'm separated from my husband of 27 years and hoping that one day I'll be able to let the pain of all those spoken hurts go....but I fear it will take much time.  Words like that can leave terrible wounds...they heal but the scars last forever.

Do you guys really think they

Do you guys really think they never really loved you...or the truth is they never really loved themselves? So many times they say things just to hurt too. Regardless, nothing changes the past and what they did or did not feel is in no way a reflection of who you are or how lovable you are. They have a disorder that can bring with it so many ugly things...this is possibly just one of them. Many times they equate "love" with "feeling good". When we stop making them feel good about themselves (ironically when they stop the hyperfocus and treat their loved one like a nuisance, at best) then they somehow feel WE failed the natural thing to do would be to fall out of love, right?

Love, by the very definition, isn't even in this ballpark of "I never loved you"....because Love means considering the other person in every decision that you make and never doing anything intentional, making any decision that would hurt them. To some, not necessarily ADHDers only, love is about 'what can you do for me?' 'how can you make me feel good so that I can love you?'

We stopped going to a counselor once because he told me that my husband didn't love me, not by God's definition. Although, judging from his behaviors in the past, he was husband hated him and refused to go. I respected that and we found our current counselor and love her. My husband tells me, and always has, that he loves me very much, is very happy being with me, could not imagine his life without me, I mean the world to him, etc. So, I'm not sure the "I never loved you" thing is ADHD or just, as I said above, a conditional type love where you have to make him feel good or he's not going to love you.

When you talk about how you feel it will take you a long time to get past it, please consider the source...and accept that it has nothing to do with you as a person. Heal and forgive and move forward...for you. What he thinks, feels, or didn't feel needs to be part of the past. (((HUGS)))

Yes, I do

I do believe that he meant it as he said it several times...not just once.  It is certainly plausible to think he was just angry one time....but four or more?  He wasn't angry on those subsequent occasions...just matter-of-fact and not nasty at all. It doesn't really matter if it's ADHD or not...that's a moot point.  Both are equally painful. Certainly this is not a reflection on me, however pain is pain....please don't discount the feelings of others by saying get over it and move on.  Everyone gets to that point in their own time when he or she is ready, and frankly I don't think people ever get over painful things like this....they only get THROUGH them... a big difference.   I can't tell you how many people told me to "get over it" when I finished cancer treatments years ago.  "It's in the past now and you shouldn't still be feeling bad or depressed."  Well that really helped me lots....:(( Talking about these things is a healthy response and how we work thru these painful life experiences.   It takes time....lots of it....and I'm actually quite proud of myself for getting through as much as I have with my sanity intact.  

I'm through the cancer.

I'm through the ADHD.

I feel nothing but compassion and understanding for those who have experienced the same things as I...that's what helps....lectures don't.

I think both of you have valid points

I think the ADDer does often associate the end of the hyperfocus with "I never loved her [or him]" because they no longer feel those feelings. They are self-medicating with all the endorphins or whatever from being in love. That's why I never noticed that my boyfriend of 2 years has ADD, he acted normal because love is a very effective treatment for ADD, short-term.  One of the best ADD books we read was ADD and Romance, which talks about that very thing.

But we got married, I changed my whole life for him and when the hyperfocus wore off, I realized that I'd never known him at all. I think now that I don't love him; I fell in love with the attention that he lavished on me and no longer does.

It is devastating. It feels like someone has died and you look at this person you pledged your life to and go "who are you and why are you in my bed?" It really sucks.

I'm not going to tell you to get over it. I find that ineffective and honestly, rather stupid. The pain doesn't go away because the disease is cured, or because the person who hurt you did not mean to hurt you. Of course you need to talk about it. We are here to listen. I know that you have been on this board a while, as I have. Hopefully, one day both of us will feel better.

LilacRed's picture

Sueann, RE: ....Valid points

My husband as well, hyperfocused on me and lavished attention on me while we were dating.  The hyperfocus definitely wore off, and our sex life is at a stand still.  To give him some credit, however, he takes insulin for his Diabetes and is on blood pressure meds, which can contribute to his bodily dysfunction.  But, I can't help but be (paranoid?) concerned that since the hyperfocus has gone, does that mean all of the attraction that was there is completely gone?  Is he getting it elsewhere?  he says no, but who's gonna say "yes"??  He says he's still attracted to me and he loves me and if he didn't he wouldn't stay in the I take his word for it.  But it still gnaws at me.  I do know, however, that if he said, "I don't love you", or any derivative even once, I would not hesitate to get out immediately, even if I had to stay with a friend until I was up and running again.  It would be self abuse and a self esteem killer to continue to put up with daily ADHD behavior, as well as sacrificing my own needs, lowering my standards, and all that we deal with for a person who doesn't love me.  Self sacrifice and hyper-compromising is worth it to me in a mutually loving relationship, but not for no love at all..

Exactly right

Sueann; that's it exactly. When someone you love and think you know suddenly becomes a different person, one who claims he doesn't love you, it changes you. I can move on, go on with my life, but I will never "get over it".

MIne SAYS he loves me

But does not act like it, or like he acted before we got married. He does not support me, we have no heat in our house, would not help me pay the co-pay for surgery I need, etc. He thinks he's wonderful because he works. He comes home, eats and sits. He does nothing in the house. When I ask him for particular help (something I can't do) he angrily rejects me.

I struggle with the disconnect between what he says and what he does. I struggle with the disconnect between the loving, attentive man I married and the man I'm married to now. I can't leave because I don't have a job and I can't see how to stay and live with a stranger. I am just sad at how it all worked out. I don't think I'll ever "get over it" either.


Maybe he does love you, in his own, strange way. I think some people don't really understand what love is and mistake need or want for love. Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree, and face that he won't/can't love you the way you need.

I"ve been trying to face it

I know I didn't get what I expected. I know I've never been as miserable as I am now. I've been through hell-first husband was physically abusive, he was injured when I was 8 months pregnant with my second child, so I returned to work when she was 3 days old. (and that's the child who has ADHD.) But our house was always heated and we always had food. My current husband is so hyperfocused on a job that doesn't work out to minimum wage, and we lack many things. I'm biding my time until I can get a professional job. Then I can feed myself and heat my house, whether he is interested in that or not. Maybe I'll feel different when I can support myself and take care of my own physical needs (or pay someone else to do them.) Right now, as I am in between surgeries, I can't.

But no, I don't expect to ever be happy in this marriage. I may decide it's better to be alone, or I may decide I'd rather stay with him for what companionship I get. (My cats are just not very good conversationalists.) But it's awful to need someone who doesn't care whether your needs are met or not.

I cannot help but think that

I cannot help but think that you have taken my response completely wrong. There was no part of it that was in any way meant to lecture you...or anyone else. I didn't say 'get over it', I simply tried to make you understand that regardless of what he feels or doesn't, it is no reflection of you.

Anyway, won't explain further. I would ask that you re-read my original response....from a different perspective because if you're getting 'lecture' from it, you're taking it 100% the wrong way. Sorry for the confusion.

Thank you

I want to say thank you for posting this. I'm currently in a relationship with a man who found out a year into our relationship that he has ADHD. He's been taking Ritalin and Wellbutrin XL to help control the symptoms.

It seems that I am riding a roller coaster with him. He loves and wants to marry me most of the time, then he goes through these periods where he questions our relationship because he doesn't feel like he's "motivated" or "moving along." I often feel that he brings this up when he's not feeling good about himself and is somehow blaming me. We are in therapy together now, but I'm really beginning to question whether I want to make the effort any longer. We have spoken numerous times over the years about getting married but I don't think I can keep riding this "I want to marry you," "I don't know if we should be together" roller coaster. I love him very much but I can't tell if his ADHD is causing these swings and if they can be worked on through therapy, or if he's only staying with me for some sense of stability.

Reading your post as well as the others today have really helped me see that I'm not alone and this is a common problem with ADHD men. Thank you and everybody else who have posted. 

thanks for posts

Thanks to all of you who posted. It was encouraging to read that I'm not alone in this, but discouraging as well. I've been having a difficult time "getting over" all the times (many) that my husband told me, "I just don't have those kinds of feelings for you any more". It's been very hurtful, and hard to forget. Since he refuses to talk about our relationship and will not give me any insight into what is going on in his head, I can only take him at his word.

   Since my husband often "doesn't mean" what he says, it's hard to know when he is being SERIOUS or not. So my questions are, "Is he lying?", "Does he still love me or not?" , and "If he can tell me that he doesn't love me any more, why can't he say other things?"

  Yes, it is indeed a lonely life for the wife of an ADHD'er, because what they say, and what they mean, and what they DO, is very confusing. We will be married 28 years on Saturday,  and I feel bad that so many of those years have left me feeling so empty, broken and sad. 

   It's also hard when my husband wants and needs so much attention to feel good about himself, and doesn't think that I might need some of the same from him.

   My husband didn't lavish attention on me while we were dating, but there certainly was more "closeness" , "touching", "sex", etc., which then abruptly stopped shortly after the wedding. I don't know what to do. But, I CAN tell you that my feelings "also" are very guarded now, and it's hard to give him what he wants when I feel so emotionally bankrupt.