Blending a Family with an ADHD Husband

I am new to this site and just can't thank everyone here enough for sharing their struggles which mirror my own. For the first time in years I don't feel so alone and I've found some hope in the idea that I'm not crazy or needy. (Or, as my husband feels, a burden) Finally my struggles have a name:  ADHD and Marriage. 

I am fairly newly married (just over three years) and after an initial but hasty wonderful whirlwind courtship, I've been reduced to the smallest person I have ever known. I barely recognize myself at times; one minute wallowing in despair at his complete lack of interest or caring about me, my kids, his OWN kids, or our home- to the next minute raising my voice and demeaning him in an ugly but often successful attempt to get him off the computer and on to some chores here at home. 

Each of us came into this marriage with two young children of our own. As a result, the stakes are high. Our kids have all been through enough heartache and confusion in their young lives to give up now. But if you think blending a family is hard, having to do it with a man with ADHD feels impossible at times. 

My husband is a good provider and is dedicated at work (recently admitting he does write tasks down to be sure he doesn't forget). But that's where the benefit ends. I am of absolutely no interest to him, nor are any of the four children. He is obsessively dedicated to a blog about gold values that he reads and posts on. His preoccupation with this blog takes up every last second (millisecond) of his free time including but not limited to a few fender benders in his car in an incessant need to either read or respond to a post while driving. This obsession has recently expanded to include twitter as well, (speedily written brief updates) as the very idea that something newsworthy could be missed while he is begrudgingly taking his son to his football game (staring into his blackberry reading and writing rather than watching his son play). This has not gone unnoticed by his 11 year old, he has become accustomed to having to say, "Dad" pause "Dad" pause "Dad" pause "Dad" pause for at least three minutes each time he seeks his father's attention be it at home or in a public setting.  My husband has told me on more than one occasion that he takes pride in the fact at his amazing ability to tune everyone out. A shocking thing to be proud of, but certainly not unexpected from one with such little interest in engaging with us. 

When I've tried every tactic imaginable to share my feelings with him, he tells me that I am a burden. My wanting SOME attention from him and even more pleadingly for his own children annoys him. He has two young boys. They lost their Mother in a car accident just a year before I married their father and were denied the ability to talk about or grieve with their Dad this devastating loss. I spent the first entire year with them celebrating her memory, making them scrapbooks with many memories of her, and allowing them to talk openly. But even as I write this, the older boy would give his right arm to be sincerely acknowledged by his Dad. Conversation much less hugs from Dad are about as few and far between as his other obligatory glances in our direction which are usually driven by my making him feel guilty. His youngest son is seven. He is a high functioning autistic child. (Yes autism was piled on my plate as well).  He will stand behind his Dad's computer chair just jumping up and down peering over his Dad's shoulder while he types on the blog. He'll do this for four to five hours straight - either one rarely exchanging a word -But to him, he's spending time with Dad. 

As far as my two children go, they ignore him or disrespect him. My husband finds it difficult to accept they don't obey him when he hasn't developed any kind of relationship with them whatsoever. You simply cannot expect respect from step-children if you don't ever engage with them. And so I feel the pressure to be all things to all four of these children in my husband's absent presence. (absent presence - that pretty much sums him up)

I have sadly concluded that he is blind to everything, everyone, and every activity except his work and his blog.

BUT....just this morning I purchased Melissa's book "the ADHD Effect on Marriage" and would be reading it this moment except that the first few pages me cry. Seeing that I am NOT alone, this CAN be managed successfully, combined with my gratitude for stumbling upon it.... momentarily overwhelmed me. 

I know what I know what I know...her description of her courtship and marriage and sudden shocking insignificance not only made me cry as it could easily have been my own story, but it gave me hope.

Words cannot explain how relieved I feel to be standing on a new road with promise. Between the book and this outlet where I can walk with all of you, I just might get tall again. 

Thanks for listening.

The (small) Pink Crow




Welcome abroad, PinkCow. I'm

Welcome abroad, PinkCow. I'm glad that you found Melissa's book (I cried too!) and the forum.

Hang in there. You sound pretty spectacular. Taking care of your husband's kids and allowing them to grieve is pretty amazing.

Your husband sounds a lot like my ADHD least the way that he was a couple years ago. We've only been married for four years but it's been rocky the whole time. We're staring down the year anniversary since we went into marital counseling. We've made a lot of progress but I fear we have stalled out where we are now.

Keep reading and keep posting, and remember, we're here for you.

Hang in there.





I am so sorry you are dealing with this. Your description of your stepsons trying to remember and grieve their mother makes me teary...

I am the ADHD spouse- and I have many faults- but ignoring family members is not among them. If anything- I might focus on them too intensely and smother them. :)

I grew up with an ADHD father that sounds like you describe your husband. My father was always lost in the newspaper, television, or at work. My mum had to berate him to take an interest in us.

As a kid I always fought so hard to try to gtet his attention and make him proud. It hurt.

Interestingly- as an adult, I have completely forgiven him- both because I was diagnosed with ADHD (and I realize how little self-insight and control he must have, since I struggle so much in other ways) and because (and more so because) he has turned a major corner and is making a real effort to be a better grandfather than he was a father. He now acknowledges that he has ADHD (he was never diagnosed but it's blatantly obvious) and says he wishes that he would have known years ago.

My mother struggled for years with what you are describing- the saving grace for my father is that he means well and he has a very good-nature and is (as your husband sounds like he is) financially very reliable. So aside from being checked out (which is still a biggie- I'm not saying it's not), there was never any emotional crap to deal with (the kind I deal with regularly that's in my particular brand of ADHD).

Now it's funny how much my dad wants to connect... Sometimes he will call me and I'll be like "who died? what do you want?" and he'll tell me he's calling just to chat. Blows my mind. I never thought it would be like this.

Anyway- I am sorry that you are dealing with this. Maybe you can really lay the law down about him seeking treatment and indicate that these years with kids at home are short. He will blink and miss them and he'll regret it. My dad does.