Cancer, Addiction, Sexting, and Now ADHD? Oh my, when is enough enough!

Married for 4 years (lived together 1.5 years) - Yes our dating and living together was all hyperfocused, now that I've learned about it from this website - but at the time I thought it was love.  I (non-ADHD) was diagnosed with cancer, while we were living together - I went through chemo, radiation, surgery, chemo - my husband started drinking (heavily) - at first, I felt guilty because, after all I had cancer, it was stressful to me, I can understand that it must have been pressure for him.  I'd mention his drinking, and he would promise to slow down or quit.  Didn't happen, promises broken.  Stop, start, stop, start - drama drama drama. Then he started stealing my pain medicine.  (I didn't know this for quite some time).  Ok, buddy, you need help, professional  - can't deal with the addiction! - I set boundary after boundary, and he walked across each one several times.  4th time worked - well maybe!  Did I forget to mention that he lies - I had no idea he had an addiction history - when I met him he didn't drink at all.  SURPRISE.  Not only lying about his history, but when he would take something to make himself high, I'd ask?  His answer was always NO.  

During this whole time (we are talking 3 of the 4 years of our marriage), I'm trying to fight cancer, and I'm dealing with ALL HIS DRAMA!  So he has been "sober" for over 1 year (albeit he does continue at times to take something - always denied), and his behavior didn't improve.  He's not a bad guy, in fact when we were dating and living together he was quite charming, is an extremely hard worker - albeit he takes disorganization to a level I've never seen.

I have felt ignored and in fact, INVISIBLE!  He rarely would go to a dr. appointment with me, so I went by myself to it all - every chemo treatment, every radiation treatment, every test under the sun, and Lord, I was sick, but just plugged through it all with a positive attitude.  But man I was lonely and horribly scared.  What happened to that loving guy I lived with and married.  All I needed was for him to show me some attention?  I'd ask, he promise, promise ignored!  Ok, I'm a fighter, I will make it alone, I can do this.  Maybe his behavior was caused by his addiction - he's recovered, things will get better.

Then his focus changed to the internet!  I'd talk to him, cry, scream, yell, and yes NAG!  Why oh why can't he pay me a single bit of attention.  He'd respond when did you get "so needy"?  Do you expect me to just quit my job so I can pay sole attention to you?  No, he is a hard worker - 12-14 hours a day. I work too, and I was sick, but there is so little communication that I dread him coming home - I get nothing - maybe a hi, how was your day, but when I would speak, he would just be looking at his blackberry, or roaming the internet, or walked in the other room mid-sentence.  So I withdrew more and more. 

Then I found the sexting - and I was crushed!  He of course, lied, until i showed him the emails - and then he said, well you've been sick, and I was lonely, what is a guys supposed to do -- it is not like cheating!  Yes, it is cheating in my eyes, and he knew it - we had discussed it when we were dating, when we lived together and before we got married.  These were not just random emails, they were specific to certain women, and they were on-going, so much so, one mentioned that "she missed hearing from you this weekend").

I told him to leave, and he was gone for a few months, and then we agreed to work on our marriage, and then next thing I find is Adderall - of course, I thought he was taking drugs again and was using them for "speed" - after all he got them from someone that he works with.  He said he can't focus  --- I said, ok, then go to the doctor - who just asks some random person for their drugs?  He never told me he went to the doctor, but apparently he did, and he gave him a prescription.  Things dd not improve - I'm like why did you even bother to come back, he agree to start counseling.  He told the counselor he had ADHD (when did this diagnosis happen)!  She recommended that we read the Marriage/ADHD book, which of course, I did, and found this website.  I have to say that it was mouth dropping shockingly true - it was like someone wrote the story of our marriage.  I felt actually acknowledged and validated!  There is actually a reason for his behavior.

I have tried to let go of the anger and resentment that was built up over the 4 years, but I'm struggling with it, because I think it's gone and then something will happen - usually it's just his completely ignoring me for hours on end, and it just comes up - it's like I can't control it.  I can't deal with his emotional disconnection, and I really am struggling with all the lies -- do I want to spend the rest of my life (however long or short it is), with someone who seems incapable of being vulnerable, sharing an emotional connection?  I read the blogs, and frankly I get more scared, because is this what my whole future will be like? What happened to that guy I met, lived with and married?  WHERE IS THAT GUY?  If they could focus during one sustained period of time, why can't they do it again - I'm not even asking for hyperfocus - BUT SOMETHING!  I told him the book was very enlightening and he might find it beneficial for helping to manage his life, and he just rolled his eyes.  He accepts very little responsibility for all the chaos that has occurred in our marriage - He calls his addiction period and the sexting - "a bad time" - a rough patch.  I try to explain all the hurt I have felt, and still feel, especially because I really needed his emotional support while I was fighting for my life, and he just says - you weren't there for me! Check, ok, we are even - you are an addict, talk with random women on the internet about sex, completely ignore me - and I guess I, what, got cancer - ok, that makes us even!  It makes me so angry I could just scream.   He blames me - the bitchy, needy, sick girl.  He is right, of course - I have been bitchy, I have needed his help when I was sick!  I have withdrawn from him.  At some point after so much drama, a person has got to guard her heart! and I really needed to save my own life.  I needed to detach to just survive and focus on my own health issues.  Have sex, are you kidding me, with a person that is completely emotionally void and who shares himself with strangers on adultfriendfinder! The other night I just could not take being in our house one more minute - I feel like I'm INVISIBLE, I told him to leave, I mean go - we're done, it's over!  I need space to breath! Of course, now he wants to work on the marriage!

How do you build an emotional connection with someone with ADHD, is it even possible when all they do is blame you and refuse to recognize their own issues?  Does it take a lifetime?  Even if I did everything that was in the book - how do you rebuild trust?  I get that they may be "wired" differently, but does that excuse bad behavior?  All I can do now is breath in the house, without the constant tension from his presence, and work on my own life - what he does, is really up to him.  Can someone else understand and give me guidance?  I think a divorce is in order!

Your story is heartbreaking.

Your story is heartbreaking. I rarely give this advice to anyone, but in your case I think it is warranted...STAY AWAY FROM HIM. Take care of yourself. You're literally in the fight of your life ..for your life..and he's got nothing to offer but this b***s**t??! I have dealt with many of the same things you have, but not while battling an illness such as cancer. Find the love for yourself and leave his a$$ at the curb for now. If he wants to be a part of your life, let him start by showing up at doctor's appts to just simply show he cares. After a few months of that, then maybe consider going on a date with him. His addictions were a choice he made...and I know all to well how scary it is to be faced with someone who is addicted and seems so very much out of control and feeling like they hold your very life in their hands..their shaky, weak, addicted hands. You got cancer. Not even in the same ballpark.

You'll be in my prayers.

(HUGS) Sherri

I'm so happy I could just shout it out

Sherri: thank you for your kind words. We have separated and I know this may sound bad, but I'm peaceful. I wake up in the morning and I'm happy, I come home I'm happy. I dont have a worldwind of drama surrounding me. I feel like I can breath. I can sleep! My house is clean and organized and i dont have someone dumping all his stuff everywhere. I am back at work, and i can really focus! My mind is not distracted a million times a day trying to recover or plan for new drama. The cancer is in remission, and honestly the deadly emotions would have killed me first, so it was not a difficult choice to make. I don't know what all the good Lord has planned for me, but I'm excited to find out. My husband has a lot of things to work through. I hope for his own sake, he chooses to do that, but I have let go of the control over that. Again, thanks for your kind words of encouragement! What we put up with in the name of love! Oh my!

You're the second person I

You're the second person I know in the past few weeks that has separated and has found this strange thing called "peace". I'm jealous. I never thought I would be at the point where I KNEW the 'right' answer, if I want peace, is to get some space between us. I am seeing so many people find that peace, after finding the courage to separate, and I'm honestly thinking it is the choice I need to make for myself.

God is thrilled to hear that your cancer is in remission!! I was wondering about it when you posted, but figured you would share if/when you wanted.


I'm the 3rd

I have been separated from my husband for 5 months, and I have not felt this good in 20 years.  I hate to say it because I desperately wanted everything to work out between us, but I feel as though a giant weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.  I am completely happy and positive, I don't have headaches anymore, I don't use sleeping pills anymore.  I have less worry about my life and my children.  I have been able to completely let go and recognize that his problems are truly, his problems.  They no longer affect me.  I could not have done that without the separation.  

I am no longer spinning in circles. I am no longer addicted to hope.  I am living my life for me.





I'm not supporting separation or divorce, but isn't it wonderful! The sense of peace, good and positive things for the soul! I have lived in the depths of hell, at least it felt like that, and between my cancer recovery and this, I feel that I've really been given a second chance at life! We are still in counseling, but I'm really questioning whether that is really fair to my husband. Despite what has happened, I took my vows seriously, and want to make sure I have explored all opportunities for reconciliation, but with more strength and centeredness, it hard to understand why? Can things really change? I'm doubtful! Cheers to your happiness!

the second (I think)

That last question of yours haunts me as well--can things change? I think ADHD marriages CAN work. Every once in a while someone pops into the forum with great success stories. I think the people who post in here are "generally" the kind who are struggling with affecting the right changes, as they are more complicated by the ADHD factor. Do I think MY marriage will change? Not likely, not until he pursues treatment. But still anything can happen, and therein lies the doubt for me. Am I giving up too soon? Is there something else I can try? Somewhat irrational I realize, but a valid part of the grieving process.

Take care of you right now if you have already split

I am the ADHD'er but will say regardless of side.. Take Care of you right now.. Do what you need to do to be happy.. You don't have to slam the door or lock it.. Just shut it for now.. If he wants to get help and loves you and more importantly Himself enough.. he will seek treatment and help.. If he does and realizes his part then address that if that time comes but you can't live in "WHAT IF".. He has to be a part of his own solution or he has to crash to a point that he realizes he is a part of his own problem..

My words would be different if you were still together but being separated now.. take this time to look at yourself.. work on yourself and if you need to, Pray he might do the same..

What if's and grief

All sound advice. It's good to hear kind supporting words from the flip side of the coin.

What I am experiencing is grief. The grieving process is basically the same regardless of what we go though as humans. It's not a linear or even cyclical process, but it seems any phase can happen at any time and for an unpredictable amount of time. The stages of grief are mostly summed up as follows: depression, anger, guilt, doubt/bargaining, acceptance. I happen to be in the doubt stage for the moment, since he moved away only recently.

Living seperated has a way of being moment to moment almost as much as ADHD living can be. I'm trying to hold it together for each moment I go about the necessary things of the day like work and errands. The is also a need to figure out what I might do with my time instead of thinking about how to save my marriage. The habit of thinking about it hasn't changed yet, so "What if's" tend to fill the space. I guess that's why "taking up a new hobby" is on the how-to-get-though-grief list. :J

If nothing else, use this

If nothing else, use this time as a time for personal spiritual awakening. I dont mean, necessarily, finding God- though to my happy surprise, it is a connection that has appeared before me in a way it never did before, giving me great comfort. But what I mean is to become in touch again with that individual we have long forgotten in lieu of our loved one, and the struggling relationship. ME. Find perspective in what this means in the big picture, and try to do it without the bitterness that could scar your view on life from this point on. Try to find true joy and happiness in being, and in being yourself. If nothing else, being treated poorly, and being around a difficult and emotionally ripping and painful life will do one of two things: take you down OR bring you to a point of true survival. I choose the latter, because survival and striving to find center/joy is in the best interest of my kids AND me. I dont know what today will bring from my husband, it is not good it seems. I AM worried. But I must know that no matter what, I will still try to stay standing on my own and importantly, with happiness and peace in my own life. Working on my game plan is what i am doing now... And while I am not negating my husband (though he might wish I did), I am looking at the bigger picture to keep the all important perspective.. You know? If anyone has any other suggestions, I am all ears.

Waking Up from the Coma of Depression

I am so happy! Since we have separated, I feel alive again! No nagging, no blaming, no bitchy person, just plain flippin happy. I'm on the journey of self discovery and enjoying it. I never want this feeling to go away! Its like the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders! Why do we torment ourselves so, when the world around us seems like it is crashing. I've lived the last 4 years in such a state of emotional stress, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I always described is as living in quick sand, the harder you try to dig yourself out, the more it pulls you in! Man, I did try to feel better! I went to counseling, but all I could ever talk about was what my husband was doing or not doing. What a shame that I wasted all that time and energy focusing on the wrong thing! I have no doubt that all the complications from cancer could very well have been caused by my deadly emotions! God has graciously given me another chance. This time I hope I do better with the opportunity that I have been given. Never to go back to the life of my past! I'm sitting on my back deck just enjoying the beautiful day! Peaceful!

God bless you kmh. I just

God bless you kmh. I just felt so sad and then read your post and felt light. I want happiness and peace. I pray for it and for my kids. I need to think hard. Thank you and keep posting.

Finding my way to God again

Finding my way to God again is the true reason I have made every inch of progress I have made. When I first started back to church our preacher did a series breaking down the Lord's prayer. It was like an absolute gift from God was given to me...through our preacher. He's light, he's funny, but yet I am moved to tears by the feeling of the Holy Spirit in me each and every Sunday. I have never in my life met a man who was so 'human' and down to Earth, but had such a gift. God truly speaks to me through him. The series is online at under "worship service' -> "message archives" called iPray. It truly changed my life. It truly awakened me to just how much God wants a relationship with me and how much he has to offer me. You mentioned comfort. YES. Nothing like it.

I didn't realize he had gone

I didn't realize he had gone already. (((HUGS))) YES, take this time to figure out what you want. Open up the paper and see what is going on in your community (cooking classes, pottery classes, zumba, festivals, summertime events) and go out and LIVE.

I am grieving too...but not in the same way. I am in limbo between denial and acceptance. I am at one place one day, the other the next...and stupidly holding out hope that he'll come carry me back from the brink of giving up. I told him the other night, I truly have never felt so hopeless about our marriage ever before. I asked him "don't you feel it too? It has never been so I the only one who feels it is just about beyond repair..nothing left?" he told me to get out of his face and leave him alone.

"Get out there and LIVE" Ah,

"Get out there and LIVE" Ah, yes I failed to mention that I planned a European vacation this summer with a girl friend. Kicking off a new beginning, either way it turns out. I wanted to be intentional about creating some GOOD memories in this season, as there are so many I'd rather forget.

There comes a point

There comes a point when you realize (if you've separated yourself) that there is only so much you can do.  People can tell you that, even here on this site, but until you fully accept that your partner MUST recognize and accept the impact of ADHD on your marriage, you are bound in chains.  

I can honestly say that I did everything humanly possible to save my marriage.  Our marriage counselor said to me, "One person cannot save a marriage".  Although it seems obvious, hearing someone who has heard your struggles say it has a profound impact.  I did EVERYTHING to save it, even sacrificed my own well-being.  And for what?  Why sacrifice my own well-being and therefore that of my children?  An addiction to hope?  There has to be a full commitment on BOTH sides of a marriage to make it work as well as a shared vision.