Degrees of ADD/ADHD?

I live with my undiagnosed ADD partner and have been feeling really frustrated and resentful.  We have been together for 7+ years and only in year 5 did I finally realize what the problem is when a friend a mine was telling my about his ADD wife.  I started to read more about it and am 100% sure she is ADD even though she's never been diagnosed.  I wondered if there are degrees of ADD?  Does it really matter since any diagnosis of ADD is considered severe enough to be an issue?  I've told her she's ADD.  She doesn't get mad.  Rather, she thinks I have a habit of labeling people with letters (I called her friend OCD once).

Most of my frustration and stress is due to the fact that we have been together a long time and she wants to get married but does not want to confront her ADD.  What compounds the situation is that of course all her friends and family are pressuring her and asking lots of questions.  Most of them, if not all, have no clue about her ADD and how impactful it is to our relationship.  From the their perspective, I'm a non-committal guy who has issues getting married.  She is extremely charming and attractive so they cannot understand my hesitation to get married.  From my perspective, I'm the most patient guy in the world who has been carrying load the in the relationship for years now.  I am willing to get married provided she acknowledges her problem, is serious about dealing with it, and shows some progress.

Sometimes I loose perspective on what is "normal" and just have bad her situation may be.  I feel like she is the most unorganized person in the world.  Physically and mentally disorganized.  She has the classic ADD symptoms of impulsiveness, which means there is no structure, routine, or planning in our lives.  Anytime I try to instill some routine, she will deny it.  Everything is in the moment and I am expected to accommodate every impulse.  She only ever acts on something when is urgent and I feel like we just go from putting out one fire to the next.  Everything is last minute and to make matters worse is that she doesn't drive.  So, I feel like my job is to bail her out of situations that could have been avoided.

She hasn't worked for almost four years.  While she was a student for a year and a half (graduated with honors--hyper focused!), she's been unemployed for a year and a half now.  I'm convinced I do most of the work around the house even though she's not even working.  During our seven years together, she's maybe done the laundry once.  Our apartment is in a constant of disorder.  I can't remember ever seeing her putting clean dishes away (as a small example) or helping to keep the fridge in order.  She says her contributions to the relationship are keeping it fun, exciting, and social.

What amazing is this knack she has for making total disorder out of order.  I spend so much time picking up after her just to make the situation minimally acceptable.  She was recently gone for two weeks and the place was in good order.  As soon as she got back, instant disorder.  Stuff everywhere.  Stuff just piles up everywhere.  Sometimes I take it upon myself to organize her stuff but that makes here extremely mad.  Often it's just garbage that been accumulating in places.  If it's not urgent, which organizing is never technically urgent, she just puts it off.  Any housework, chores, etc. will always be put off unless there's an urgent reason.  She hoards and constantly brings stuff into the apartment.  I get so frustrated and try to cope by counting everything and shaking my head.  I've done internet searches to find out what a normal amount of stuff is.  Just one small example, I counted twelve bottles of deodorant just in the cabinet (there's even more stashed away under the sink).  She has countless bottles of perfumes, lotions, shampoos, etc.  I didn't even mention all the purses, shoes, jackets, jeans.  She's holding on to clothes that are twenty years old.  I try to compensate by getting rid of as much of my stuff as possible, but I can only do so much.  The stuff just keeps coming in.  She brings food in the house and never consumes it, but never wants to get rid of it either.

So, on top of the disorganization and impulsiveness, she hasn't been working and lies about it to all her friends and family.  So, from the outside, people only see a very attractive, employed individual and most certainly must have her shit together.  They never see what I put up with.  By the way, I think the lying is fucked up, but she feels justified because she says isn't anyone's business whether she's employed or not.  Looking for her ADD really comes out with the tediousness of looking and applying for jobs.  Despite graduating with honors, she hates writing cover levers and fixing her resume and writing simple e-mails.  I have to hold her hand throug the entire process.  And sometimes she tells me I don't do enough to get her a job.  I do so much just so she can focus on her job only.

One more thing... we hardly ever go on vacation even though we both like to travel.  Why?  She is really incapable of planning anything--such as a vacation--and I'm tired of having to deal with the details.  One of her ways of manipulating the situation is by telling my that planning a vacation is my job.  A man is supposed to "take charge".  I hear that over-and-over.  Take charge!  Be a man!  Take care of your women!  In her world, everything is a man's job.  Crazy!  I am hardly a guy who expects her woman to cook and clean.  I'm just looking for someone to meet me half way!

So, why our we still together?  Good question.  While there's definitely resentment, she is very charming and we do get along well.  She would be a great mother and we could have a very great life together.  I keep telling myself she just needs to a few things:  1.  get a job  2.  learn to drive 3.  work on staying organized and 4. help me with doing laundry and keeping the house clean .  The first two items are black and white.  The third and fourth items are subjective but I just want to see effort and some progress.

We talked about her about being a stay-home mom, but I've made it very clear what I expect.  She says should would rather work, but getting is a job seems very difficult (and I often wonder how her ADD might be impacting her job search!).  I keep telling her that I cannot be the "breadwinner" and stay-home dad while she doesn't work.  That would be stressful and very unhealthy!  I know she thinks about leaving me, but deep down I think she knows she can't possibly live by herself and find someone like me who will compensate for her ADD.  She has always had people to lean on and the thought of having to be by herself must be frightful.

So, on days like this, I feel like my only solution is to move out.  It's so difficult though and comes with so many emotions and guilt.  She's 38 any want to have a baby.  So do I... but at what cost??


Proceed with Extreme caution...

I'm an ADDer who did not know until age 43 after 13 years of marriage. You have described so many classic ADD symptoms in your post. One of the most important things that I've learned is that 1 + 1 <> 2 .Basically There is You, your Wife (If you get married), there is You and your Wife. (3) Now also, 2 + 1 <> 3, You, Your Wife, You+Wife, You+Child, Wife + Child and finally, You and Wife and Child. To the ADDer, or anyone really, each of the life steps we take seem simple enough, but in fact are far more complicated. I went undiagnosed for so long, because I figured out things I was not good at and found ways to compensate. I like to say, "For 13 years, I juggled the exact number of oranges". The year of my diagnosis was filled with things that added to my load, one after another, until I began having paralyzing anxiety attacks which lead me to the doctor and diagnosis.

The thing is, you cannot fix her, so she must get help and follow through with the treatment. The treatment itself takes a while, even if things go really well. If you think things seem frustrating now, think about the stresses of marriage followed by children. For any Non-ADDer, I believe kids are much more than you ever imagined, well for ADDer's who my like the idea in the now, may really be scared to death of the infinite unknowns and total breakdown of any structure in life brought on with the first child. Help me out here any of you ADD Mom's out there ;) I Love my DD's, and have been very involved in all aspects of raising them and they are the best thing I've ever accomplished (With help of course)

Knowing what I do now about ADD, I don't know if I would have been brave enough to get married and have children. I am glad I did...  

Before you even think of

Before you even think of marriage & possible child, the issue of ADHD NEEDs to be addressed and managed, period. Marriage and children will NOT make it better, it will only add to the stress and responsibility on your part,  unless she gets the treatment it sounds like she needs. If that is taken care of then the next steps in life can be considered.  I love to see posts by YYZ, an ADDer who has taken hold of his life and managed the chaos, I'm sure it was not easy. However there are many that do not do that and marriage is extremely hard for anyone, throw in kids who very often also have ADHD and life can be down right unmanageable. Try and convince her to go with you for an evaluation, see if she accepts it, manages treatment, if not, move on with your life.

Yes, There Are Degrees Of Add

Though my exact issues may not be the same.

The chronic lying has been an issue that has completely undermined my marriage.

Partnership is a normal expectation of marriage.

My experience is that it's impossible with the "degree" of add my husband has.

The latest 'surprise' was finding he hasn't been taking half his medication for months.

Despite me not knowing this, it caused huge problems which he seems to have no idea about.


I do believe there

I do believe there are different degrees...but maybe what creates those varying degrees is how well (or not so well) the person has learned to cope throughout life. My husband wasn't diagnosed until June 2010...he was 37. By then he had learned some very destructive coping skills (avoid, ignore, deflect blame, and!) and it seems by the grace of God only that he has been able to provide for his family, even after losing several jobs. 

To me, the fact that she isn't an equal partner to you and won't keep a job (expecting you to do EVERYTHING) only means more of the same (and worse) for the future. She will only be able to keep up the facade for so long, then it will all come crumbling down on her. Dishonesty is a big problem with me and my ADHD husband as well...I see so many red flags for you.

Years of consistent treatment would be about the only way I would think this would have a happy ending for you. :(