Has anyone else lost the esteem of those around them for standing by their loved one with ADHD through the years? I'm finally divorcing my husband after a rocky 10-year relationship and it's cost me more than I want to admit. I've read a lot of the posts on here but haven't seen people discuss much about how others in their life have viewed the relationship so I'd like to share my story and would love to know if others have gone through something similar - and if so, how did you deal with it?
Ten years ago, a senior in college, I fell in love with a foreigner who'd come to the US to study seven years prior. He was out of status at that point but was getting by as a salesman at a friend's shop. When we met, it was fireworks, true love at first sight for both of us. Chemistry, emotional connection, shared values, everything. We were madly in love.
Then there were things he was hiding that started coming to light. The terrible temper (aimed at others at first, but eventually me too), the impulsivity, the social faux-pas, constantly getting in fights with friends/coworkers/family/me, never showing up to court for a dozen speeding tickets, losing job after job after job, the passive-aggressive behaviors that protected him from failure by setting the bar very low, fighting like a six-year-old, failure to pull his weight in handling responsibilities, mental/emotional/financial dependence, addictions (marijuana, porn)... and on and on... It was so exhausting trying to solve all the problems that kept "coming up" somehow.
All this emerged over about five years. That was when I learned what ADHD was and it all fit together, especially in light of his typical behaviors in childhood. Unfortunately, where he grew up, people didn't know what the problem was so he was teased, picked on, called crazy - which made him extremely defensive. So while he admitted an ADHD diagnosis sounded probable, he'd swing back and forth between wanting treatment and denying anything was wrong because of the stigma. I didn't want to turn my back on him thinking if he got treated things could be okay - but we couldn't afford to treat him unless he was working, and he couldn't get stable work unless he had his legal status sorted out...
So finally we hit a brick wall after exhausting all the cut-rate counsellors and self-help books. We couldn't be sure if our problems were because of ADHD, the pressures of his legal status, or just who he was, so we took a risk and married discreetly to get him his green card and try these solutions. Unfortunately, the government tried to deport him. I had to go to court for two years to keep him here. During that period I found out he had been seeing another woman behind my back for three years, and in the two weeks immediately after our marriage when we were apart (because we were moving and I went ahead of him) he looked the Other Woman up and had two weeks of marathon sex with her before coming to join me.
I have strong principles, and they were really at war here. I don't believe in changing people but he asked me to support him as he tried to change for me. I also don't believe in walking away from someone in a time of crisis; too bad his crisis lasted for 10 years. But I carried him over the finish line because I love him and realize there is something he can't control without meds he hasn't been able to get yet, and his legal status limited his options to deal with the situation in any other way.But I've had it now - he's still not being honest or open enough and now seems oddly under-committed after everything I've done for him (this being a guy who proposed marriage after 3 months of dating).
This relationship not only broke my heart, it destroyed who I was. My faith, my principles and values, my optimism... my self-discipline... my self-esteem... my financial, emotional and mental security... and especially my reputation. I used to be known as the level-headed, strong, smart, compassionate one who was bound to achieve great heights, and now because stress from this situation has boiled over into every other aspect of my life, people think I'm unstable, neurotic and weak. My family, friends and colleagues have seen me power through to fix this situation but they just think he's a loser, a jerk, mentally retarded, lazy, and anything else you want to label someone with ADHD as being. So I am by extension an idiot, naive, blind, etc etc. Everything but strong, loving, caring, patient, tolerant, understanding. Two counselors have confirmed the ADHD diagnosis so it's not in my head. The guy does have a good heart but his life is total chaos and he has some really terrible coping mechanisms and terrible impulsivity. But he's aching to be a good person; he prays regularly, cries with frustration when he talks about trying to achieve his goals... it's heartbreaking. Why he had to bite the hand that feeds him is what I don't understand.
So I'm starting over now. I have to lose everything I worked for, and face everything else I lost along the way. I feel like my entire life needs to be rebuilt from scratch, starting with my own mental/emotional well-being, my character and my reputation. I'll get there eventually. I'm so relieved to find this site. I'm glad I'm not nuts and I'm not alone.
Has anyone else lost the esteem of those around them for standing by their loved one with ADHD through the years?