My husband & I moved 11 times during our first nine years of marriage, living in five cities & even briefly overseas before I finally insisted that we settle somewhere for awhile. We did--I chose & did all the leg work to purchase a house, which he very reluctantly consented to doing only after I put the full press on him--and for the next seven years, he undertook (but never finished) enough disruptive remodeling projects, neglected to perform pretty much any household tasks, & agitated to move to one house/apartment/city after another until I finally relented & we sold the house & relocated yet again, this time briefly to two different countries, then back to the U.S. so we could live near our extended families for the first time. Now we're here & he's doing the same thing: agitating, agitating, up all night brooding & pacing, regretting coming here & insisting that we return to the life I loved & that we systematically dismantled & have been struggling to rebuild ever since. I keep thinking he'll settle in & get over it (especially since he loves & is tremendously successful at his job), but he's kept it up relentlessly for two years.
Both of us have been feeling at the end of our collective rope, & I'm not sure who was more relieved by his ADD diagnosis, him or me. We love each other & our partnership, but I am struggling with a practical & wise response to his chronic restlessness. We've been in this city for two years, & I like it fine, but he is wearing me down with his constant recitation of all the negatives, which I agree do exist--although, of course, negatives have existed everywhere we've lived, which is why we moved again!! I don't think his dissatisfaction has much to do with circumstances, although he is extremely convincing & convinced that they do, & if he could just find the perfect situation, he would finally be able to rest. He is also a powerful personality, & honestly, I get tired of the intense pressure.
I am embarrassed to admit that he had almost convinced me to break our city lease, sell our country cabin, pull our kids out of school, & move back across the country to where we lived before, when I woke up to the realization that this was likely simply more of the same symptoms of a disease we're so accustomed to living with that we have a hard time recognizing.
Here are my questions. First, this restlessness is related to the ADD, right? I haven't seen references on this site or elsewhere to constant moving as symptomatic of ADD, but it makes sense in regards to everything else I've learned about the disorder. Maybe it's just that other spouses aren't such suckers as to actually do it so many times!! Or maybe I just didn't find the relevant thread. Or maybe I'm just completely confused. (I'm definitely completely confused...)
Second, provided that it is, what should be my practical response? We are both pursuing treatment & knowledge about living with ADD, but of course, change doesn't happen overnight (especially when one partner has trouble following through, sigh). In the meantime, I am paralyzed with the ambiguity of our futures & the unhappiness of the present, profoundly impacted every day by his constant distress & dogged by exchanges like:
Me: "The crappy oven at our cabin has burned one too many things I've worked hard to prepare. I think we should buy a new one. I've done the research & chosen the one I think we should get."
Him: "Sounds good....BUT...."
Me: "What? We have the money, right? And we agreed that this cabin needed some fixing when we bought it?"
Him: "Yes....BUT...." [tortured look on his face]
Me: "What is it?"
Him: "Well, nothing really...It's just that...I don't think we should spend that much money if we're just going to sell this house. We won't get it back in the down economy."
Me: "But we aren't going to sell it. We agreed that we were buying it for the long haul, right?" [That's why I've gone through all this trouble?!?!] "And it kind of doesn't matter anyway, because it's just a stove."
Him: "Yes....BUT....I don't know, I've been thinking & I just can't stand the thought of having this crappy little place in this loser town & I hate the Midwest & you do, too, you didn't want to move here & just talked you into it, & I made a terrible mistake moving here & I can't stand living in such a big city during the week & this is nothing like what I wanted for my life & all I want to do is get out of here &&&&&&&....." [ad nauseum]
Me: "So what are you saying? Are you saying I should keep burning everything I try to bake for the next two years while you decide whether we're keeping this place?"
Him: "No WAY will I be here for two years. NO WAY."
Me: "Forget about the stove, just forget it. Obviously, we have bigger issues to deal with."
Him: [Relieved.] "Okay."
So I quit baking anything & we just eat out more & buy store bought birthday cakes!!!
I'm making light of this a little bit, but it's very serious: it impacts me tremendously (like other posters, I'm on anti-depressants & desperate for change). It also impacts our children, particularly the older, whose teacher recently recommended we have him screened for depression.
I need some practical advice. Should I go ahead & buy the stove? Renew the lease? Register our son for school? Tell him to buzz off when he wakes me for the 500th time straight in the middle of the night to talk about how miserable he is here? Go through the trouble of obtaining licensing to practice my profession in this state, the difficult process of building a personal & professional network while raising two small children? Hire a nanny?
Incidentally, my family thinks the answer to all of these questions is YES. My friends are all in another state, & think we should move back. Our kids are traumatized, & wish we'd never moved at all. I feel trapped between a rock & a hard place. I just want to get to the bottom of this.