Divorce vs Separation?

I am 54 and my ADHD husband is about to turn 70.   I am debating divorce vs. separation, leaning toward separation.  Any thoughts, please?  I know this is a long post, but I have no family, and few friends after this roller-coaster of a marriage.  Here's the situation:

We have an 18 year old son with A.D.D. who--after getting into a very prestigious H.S. for Science, and then transferring to an equally selective Arts H.S.-- was finally diagnosed and is now  doing a 5th and final year of H.S. in an expensive prep school for LD kids.  Our 14 year old is Dyslexic and in a different private school for LD kids.  It goes without saying that the tuition is crushing--we get about 70% of the younger boys' tuition back after our (my) annual Dickensian battle with the Board of Ed, but cannot sue for the older boy since he has "elected" to repeat a year (more like finally get some help at a place that needed at least 2 years to work with a smart boy whose grades ranged from A to D- with mediocre GPA and minimal self-confidence!).  Although I am living grocery store coupon to grocery store coupon, spending less than 5 bucks a week on myself, we get minimal financial aid because we own a house in the country (more like an ADHD money pit my husband "had to" have) and because we look like two upper-middle class professionals if you don't know/understand how much I need to budget each year for my husband's parking tickets, damage to the car, lost stuff, broken stuff, whimsical purchases, magical thinking, and miscellaneous disasters.

If you are reading this, I probably don't have to say much about the financial and emotional toll of nearly 20 years of marriage--stolen car which he forgot to insure for theft, tax audit that could have been avoided if he told me about the letter of inquiry from the Tax Board instead of hiding it in his sock drawer until a deadline had passed that automatically had me fighting a final judgment), husband getting us dragged into small claims court...blah, blah, blah... And after the hyper-focus whirlwind romance years I am now no longer a wife but a mother figure who harshes his mellow by cleaning up after the messes.

So divorce, right?  And I tried.  Really. 

By about 10 years ago, my once lucrative free-lance career writing for TV was completely dead--this had a lot to do with my husband's well-meaning sabotage since TV is a high-stakes, high-pressure world where you have to produce on deadline and never let them see you sweat (which is hard to do when you come home from a weekend away to find your husband has asked his buddy to completely gut/wreck the kitchen as a Mother's Day "gift" so you can remodel, even though you 1) have no actual plans for the remodel at this point in time and 2) need a kitchen. immediately, to feed the kids, or...  You get it.  Multiply that story by a hundred.   Then try to keep up with your constantly changing and challenging career.  Or even just have a coherent thought.  A doctor told my husband never to leave the "H" out of his ADHD because, more than any other patient he'd met, my husband has "earned" the "H".  Insert laugh track.  That is soooo funny, isn't it?

So 8 years ago, after the crying, and the realization that hubby was entertained by therapy but unable to profit from it, I planned my (loving, understanding, non-judgemental) escape.   I was still in my 40s, I'm not afraid of hard work, I could reinvent myself!  Fortune had smiled on us in one regard--my husband is a tenured professor.  I knew I had to get us out of the "dream house" in the country (more aptly, middle of nowhere life in a badly-maintained pumpkin).  I had once taught at this same university's film school--where I met my dashing husband the world adventurer (sigh...).  All this paid off when the Dean told my husband that while there was no faculty housing available back in the city, there was a "faculty-in- residence" position opening and he should apply for it.  The Dean also told hubby to take me to the interview though I didn't even work there, which was useful since I made the presentation to the hiring committee and kicked my husband under the table every time he crossed his arms or scowled at the inane questions we were asked.

Cut to 6 years of living in a student dormitory.  Upside: we're back to civilization, "free" apartment.  But it is a j-o-b.  Downside, I'm doing all the work: cooking meals for the students, hosting teas for the parents, booking speakers, taking the students on trips, managing the book-keeping to track our budget.  And I'm going to therapy to figure out what's next.  And I'm teaching at my old job (but not at the full-time salary that my supportive hubby once campaigned for me to abandon to work full time as a writer in pursuit of my dreams, but in the new 21st Century academia of underpaid adjunct hell).  In fact the pay is so bad that I get an additional adjunct job at another school in the same university.   So I have 3 jobs plus the kids plus taking care of hubby and all our finances, etc.  But times are tough, and I'm grateful for the work I can find.  And happy to be back among the living, where I can dwell in possibility.

Eventually, I feel strong enough, emotionally and financially,  to ask hubby to move out.  After all, we own that house in the country bc he had a fit about the city and "how he had to feel the earth beneath his feet" and for years he cheerfully dragged us into the city for his 6 a.m. commute.  Why not go there now?  Please.  The kids might not even notice bc Daddy is often going to the house because there's something he "has to fix"  ( he loves the house for its constant engrossing "to-do" list-- not as a place to relax/enjoy/make memories).  He lets me go through the entire drama and pain of our hashing out this separation.  And then he comes back.  He refuses to leave.  We are provided housing because of HIS job, remember?  (Though I'm doing the work.)  I can't lock him out, even if I wanted to...

OK, I say to myself...I've turned these pitiful jobs into a subsistence wage.  I've been poorer than this, better to have one's sanity than creature comfort.  I will leave him.

And then the first beautiful struggling boy gets his LD diagnosis (years of exhausting research and teacher conferences and detective work by mommy).  And then the second boy gets his LD diagnosis.  And I go through hell to find school's for them (help from husband with this--next to none).  And we do the math.  And I am no longer working for my freedom.  I am working for my boys' education.

And then my husband gets us fired from the dorm.  And moving is a nightmare.

And the cash reserves I've built up turn into credit card debt.

And somewhere around here, patient reader, I either had a nervous breakdown, or a moment of clarity, or maybe both.

First, on my doctor's advice, I QUIT one of my underpaying jobs--no more waking up at 5 am to read students' papers, etc.  Now when my husband drives into a row of traffic cones (sober!), ignoring the family's screams of warning, and we watch the sideview mirror arc into the street and get crushed by traffic, I do not feel that the $50 replacement part has come out of my staying up until 3 am to read admissions portfolios for $10 each.  This is crazy thinking, right?  All our money is from one pot, and we need all we (I) can get to pay for stupidity like this, right?  But reader, having quit that hellish job, suddenly I can get a whole night's sleep.  And interact with the kids.  And breathe.  And maybe ( or maybe not) he wonders where HE'LL get that $50 to pay for his foolishness...

And because I'm so underpaid, the 40 hr job I quit "only" results in about $15,00 of take home pay lost.  I am looking at at least 8 more years of filing financial aid forms, and starting to wonder if making less money might ultimately have its advantages.

And my breakdown continues.  I experience the millionth relationship "last straw".  I think it was when he cheerfully explained to me he was coming home late for dinner because he kept a six-pack at his office so he could "unwind' with a beer at the end of the day. (Is he an alcoholic--not at present, he's  had lots of bouts of self-medication.  He's on meds now.  I don't know.  My beloved friend who is in AA tells me figuring this out is beyond my control.  I am ready to take the advice of others when lucky enough to get it.)  Long story longer (thanks for this forum!):

I ask him to leave.  He does.  (He's done a lot to our teenage sons, who are starting to see him clearly.  That may have more to do with his leaving than how I feel.  I am past worrying that point.)

And I stay.  And some more aces show up in my hand.  The university deducts rent for our faculty housing from his paycheck.  I do not have to trust/rely on him to pay for the family housing.  Plus he can live in the country.  Plus several hair-raising episodes have led to my complete control over bill paying and the checkbook.

And I have gray hair and career-wise I'm somewhere between "not dead yet" and a has-been, so why get a divorce?  Why not collect the Social Security that's about to kick in?  And wait until one of us is dead, and the sons are older, to deal with that ruin of a house to sell it?   And put a stop to 2 decades of upheaval and reinvention.  And if the stress I've been through doesn't counteract the actuarial realities, avoid the expense of a divorce and instead reap whatever is left someday as a widow who wrote and typed her husband's application for tenure, and who put down a 30% down payment on that house from her savings (those were the days!) and got the best mortgage deal, and held on to enough cash for him to contribute to his IRA...?  If I can get through the next 10 years, poor, as I know how to do having come from nothing, I have a pension he cannot touch.  And the rest will be gravy.  And I can make sure as much as possible goes to the boys.

Meanwhile, I wake up alone.  And I think new thoughts.  And they are mine.  And might lead to something.  And I'm a calmer, better mom.  And remaking friends.  And I don't wonder what random, left-field remark he will make that will have me fighting tears. 

It's true my husband could have an ADHD fit at any moment, and do something devastating.  But can I really control that?  And isn't it better to hold the checkbook as long as possible, rather than try to co-parent with him let loose on the world?

After years of feminist action, making something of myself from nothing... What I want now, that is mine, that I've earned...is to be the wife...to be supported...and to inherit what I have done more than my share to earn.

I cannot believe I feel this way.  But I do.  Have any of you been here?  Or felt something like this?

 

I can't necessarily relate as

I can't necessarily relate as I am struggling to keep my marriage together. There will be others who can, so be patient. I wanted to say that I really enjoyed your tale of woe even though I'm sure that was not your intent. I'm a writer as well so I know craft when I see it. You really should write a novel, or memoir actually. It would be a best-seller. :-)

It sounds like you are on the right track--mentally and emotionally. Do not feel sorrow for this hard won state of--dare I say peace? Filing for a formal separation would probably reap the best rewards for you. He can't get to your money and I would think you could obtain more financial aid for your boys if you are on a single person income. Especially since it sounds like your husband is unable/unwilling to contribute. But you would know best since you are in the university system. I'm just re-learning the ins and outs as my husband has returned to school. I was shocked that he got the Pell Grant for his education; thank God for being poor (for once).

The best is yet to come for you, I feel. You have won a hard-earned freedom. Use it to your best advantage and don't look back. 

Thank you

I appreciate your reply D&D.  Will definitely explore Legal Separation now that applying for college financial aid is on the horizon with my son.  But it may turn out best to keep this separation informal, because, honestly, my husband is so ill-equipped to deal with finances.  (After we married I learned of a parade of room-mates, "friends" and exes who took advantage of him; at the time I thought his chaotic living situation was due to his always being on the road as a film-maker.  Silly non-ADHD future wife!)   He's not a bad man (think Mr. Magoo on crack) so I suspect he will do right by the family as long as that doesn't require him to do anything special/different. 

Your kind and unexpected comment on my writing led to so many emotions.  Sometimes I think it's my destiny to write about an ADHD marriage, but as you know, a tale well told requires knowing the ending.  How to make 2 decades of this not sound like a litany of victimization?  Let's hope that whatever doesn't kill you, makes you funny.  I hope you are finding moments to nurture your own creative spirit.

Good luck with your spouse going to college.  Apologies if I'm telling you what you already know, but The Carter Act provides tax deductions for LD-related educational expenses--you and your husband might look into whether it applies to adults.  I know being on meds for ADHD would prove eligibility for Carter.  And the college should have advocates/support in place for ADHD students--if your spouse made his disability known, professors would be alerted, which can be very helpful if a later confusion arises over assignments, deadlines, etc.  Self-identifying and being pro-active with the faculty paves the way for kindness, should it ever be needed...

Wishing you good things...

Thanks!

I didn't know about the Carter Act. So thank you from the bottom of my heart! Fortunately he is covered by the Pell Grant and state lottery grant for technical school/community college. But should he go on to get his BA, we'll lose the lottery grant and he is ineligible for the other money that normally kicks in at 4 year institutions because too much time has elapsed since his last attempt to get a degree. So any tax breaks would be fabulous!

His school does have a learning disability program. He was supposed to meet with a counselor--but he missed the appointment. Fancy that! They supposedly need a letter from his doctor stating that he has ADHD. But he forgot to get the letter from his doc last week when he went. I probably shouldn't, but I think I'm going to have to go to campus with him to make sure these things will get done. Who knows how many parking tickets he's racked up because he wouldn't wait in line for his parking permit!

This first semester has not gone well at all. He's missed many classes and I had to finally make my peace with the idea if he needs to fail in order to get his heine in gear, then so be it. He started out with four classes and dropped two because the teachers were going to test them on subject matter not covered in class. That left him with two classes which of course is the bare minimum to keep his FA. He told me over the weekend that he failed a test in one of the classes, so I don't know how things will turn out. He did tell one of his professors about the ADHD and he was very sympathetic. In fact, he said he would stop marking him absent for when he showed up late to class since he knew that he wasn't oversleeping due to partying all night. He's 32 for goodness sakes!

Honestly, I think I pushed him a little too hard, thinking that his intelligence would override the ADHD. But that hasn't been the case, unfortunately. I'm hoping for a better semester in the spring. He desperately needs a degree in order to get back in law enforcement. Not to mention if he can get the BA, he has a standing interview with the state police force.

Thanks for the well wishes and keep us updated on everything.

 

ADHD academic challenges (off topic but it's all related?)

My son has severe ADHD, and is brilliant, so I understand some of what you're going through.  This is a source of much pain and confusion and upset in my household, so I am by no means an expert, but I can share with you what I've learned so far.  I know other spots on this site deal with why ADHDers have trouble self-identifying and getting help.  Frankly, as soon as I find the emotional strength, I'll be checking them out myself.

But if I may stress this, identifying as ADHD goes a looooong way toward getting some slack when the missed homework, etc starts piling up.  It's not an excuse or a free ticket, but it does help over-worked faculty understand and, where possible, help with an extended deadline or an Incomplete, etc.   Plus it helps if a teacher isn't ticked off because a student seems lazy or seems not to care and therefore comes off as disrespectful, even if that's a false impression.  Also, depending on his type of ADHD, it might get him extended time on exams.  That helps my son a lot bc he has executive functioning problems that make it very important he have time to recheck his work.  Some programs have a counselor with whom the student can check in regularly about time-management and upcoming deadlines.

There are also a few colleges with especially strong programs for ADHD students.  Some have more hands-on type of classes, internships, etc.  Others are structured so the student takes one class at a time, maybe 4 days a week for 3 weeks (a schedule that makes it harder to get off track).  Some have especially strong LD support.  And my family is just starting to google scholarships for ADHD students. 

Just reread your post...

Apologies, just reread your description of how helpful your husband's prof was, and realize I AM telling you stuff you know.  Guess that's a humbling reminder that the ADHD spouses aren't the only ones who act impulsively and fail to pay attention to what someone's telling them...

No, no. I appreciate all of

No, no. I appreciate all of your insight and help! We've never had an active discussion on here about ADHD spouses and school, so I find it very helpful to talk to someone with experience.

Apparently the school LD counselors can make recommendations on which professors to take, etc. And once you are in the program, you are allowed to have extended test times and a "distraction free" testing environment. I'm frustrated with him for not taking advantage of the service. This is where I struggle the most--understanding why he says he'll do something and I know that he knows it's important, but he can't follow through.

I don't know if the professor was exactly helpful but he seemed relieved that there was a reason for my husband's lateness. When he was in school the first time, apparently all of his professors could not understand why someone so smart was constantly late. This of course was before he was diagnosed.

Unfortunately, from what I understand and what he's told me, it sounds like school has gotten too flexible. Multiple quizzes and exams with the chance to drop a bad grade, etc. Whatever happened to two exams and final paper or project? I honestly think this culture of free passes is not helping my husband. He doesn't take going to class seriously when the attendance policy is "extra credit is earned when you miss no more than two classes". Really?!? I just don't get it.

I should have encouraged him to not take early classes. OK, I think I did but he said he could handle it. He was in school every day but Friday from 11am to 1:45pm. Now he has one 11am class twice a week and one 12:30pm class a week. 11 is just too early for him. I don't even know he went to class today. He finally got his prescription refilled and in the past, he's asked me to wake him before I go to work and make sure he takes the pill. But now he's decided that it will help him get up if he knows he needs to get up and take it. Yeah right! He's told me repeatedly that he can't form a coherent thought when he wakes up at first. It's just like he sets himself up for failure from the get-go and I just can't understand it.

I think that staying married

I think that staying married if it is the most workable situation for you is a fine and reasonable choice.  There are many, many people who choose to stay married to people they don't necessarily love or who have hurt them, because marriage is a better choice financially and emotionally.  If you feel safe in your marriage and strong enough to deal with more problems that may arise, I think you're making a good decision.  Good luck; keep us posted. 

Thank you

Rosered, it was good of you to comment.  Dealing with ADHD can be so isolating.  And it is not easy to find people who understand.

Part of me longs to take big, bold, dramatic action.  Maybe that's the writer in me.  Or maybe it's just that there has been no shortage of drama caused by my husband:  Robberies!  Rushes to the emergency room with a near-severed finger!  Getting fired the week before Christmas!

When's it my turn to stir things up?

But I don't have the "H".  Nor the "A.D.".   And my disorders aren't capitalized.    So I guess I'll forego the excitement of a big break-up, and instead try to figure out the prudent route that'll do the least damage. 

I've noticed people can be brutally honest (in a good way) on these threads, which is why it means so much to get this support for a decision/realization I still can't believe I've come to.   

Well I think that was

Well I think that was cracking read,   I can’t say I have been there, as I am the ADHD spouse, but…

How to put this, you have time on your side do you not?   I say find some peace by putting some distance between you and wait for the old guy to cark it.  Drive fast and recklessly when he is in the car, pop balloons when he least expects it, encourage him to run a marathon without working up to it, feed him lots of butter/lard, keep his booze cabinet constantly stocked etc.      Many a loving long -term relationship goes thus.  Besides all that legal crap is just a lawyer’s picnic.      

You just need to be assertive and creative and remember that all good things come to those who wait.

Not long in the grand scheme of things and it will be all good. 

:)

Thank you, I think

Sometimes it is hard to interpret an email, especially from someone you don't know.

On one level, this response doesn't surprise me, because I used my post to voice a taboo, certainly a taboo for someone of my generation and gender and path in life.  It is hard for me to admit, even to myself, that my goal is to be the traditional Wife, and perhaps someday (another taboo to express this) the Widow, with any and all societal benefits those roles may bring.

And your post made me laugh for a moment.  Which is always a gift.  So thank you for taking time to express your reaction.

But I cried, too.  As a spouse of an  ADHDer, I so often feel conflicting emotions, so that's nothing new in a way, but...

Being the wife of a man with ADHD, I am more than adept at imagining future scenarios.  Not the funny ones in the post, more like : A) He starts going to the country bars, makes new "friends", who later return to rob him, or heaven forbid, worse... (He used to volunteer at a center for Juvenile Offenders, whom he encouraged to visit him when they got out, and who knew he had a policy of never locking his doors.  They did visit.  He made them sandwiches.  They came back when he was working and carried off his new VCR.  He drew no conclusions about this that might affect future choices BTW because his world view is a mystified, "stuff happens...!")  Or,  B)  He decides to fix that leaky roof, and instead falls off it, but unlike the time he almost severed a finger using a new toy to build a shelf  (the table saw I've since thrown away bc that's what we do, pay for stuff from which we get no benefits) THIS time I won't be around to take him to the E.R.  Or, C) use your own ADHD experience and imagination to fill in possibilities C through Z.  Then repeat, starting with A...

I really do think sometimes that I'll go first, because of all this stress, and because that would be a fitting end to this ridiculous love story.  But if I do end up a widow, I see a ruin of a house in the middle of nowhere to somehow renovate enough to sell--a place that's 1/2 kitchen with granite countertops and beautiful built in bookcases....and 1/2 walk-in shower built by his ex-buddy which has such Rube Goldberg plumbing choices it's been unusable for 5 years, and a renovated garage featuring sliding doors that open onto--a "deck" that's fallen off the building to lie upended in the mud, where there once was a pond, which has reverted to a stream since the wall that dammed it was washed out in that flood a decade ago.  You know, the kind of home improvement project an old lady can't wait to start on, that just screams "golden years"...

And I imagine finding his body among the mouse shit.  Or getting the call from the State Troopers.

But the point is--married or not, separated or not--I would fear for his safety.  And as the father of our children, he will always be deeply connected to me.  The reality I am working to face, is that there is little I can do to prevent him from being who and what he is.  The one thing I can do, is seek peace, and as long a respite as I can, before I once more clean up the mess.

And when you are wondering who will die first, wondering that on a daily basis, surely it is no longer a marriage.  BTW, if you knew how accomplished this man looks on his resume, or experienced how kind and charming he is when you first meet him...you would judge me even more harshly, or have me committed as delusional.

Welcome to the crazy-making

Welcome to the crazy-making world of this forum.  If you express complaints about your relationship, people will tell you to stop complaining or leave the marriage.  If you say you're going to leave the marriage, you'll be accused of being heartless or lacking in commitment to the institution of marriage.  If you say you're going to work with your spouse so that both of you can change, you'll be reminded that you can't get your spouse or anyone else to do anything.  If you say that you're going to focus on making your own life better, you'll be accused of being selfish and of neglecting your disabled (by ADHD) spouse.  

I'm totally on your side, CosmicJoke.  I think you need to do what's best for you.  Just because divorce is somewhat easily obtainable does not mean it is the best choice for every unhappy married person. 

First of all...

...you are a great writer.  You really painted a picture for me.

I haven't read any other of the posts above, but do you really want to give up on your dreams for him?  You have a lot of years left ahead that you can fill with happiness.  Don't be scared to take care of yourself.  Plus, your kids may understand that this is HIS problem and that you have to do the best thing for you and them.  They will learn self-respect and courage from your example, albeit there may be inertia at first.

And, most importantly, they will learn that you didn't settle.

Best wishes to you...

If staying married to him

If staying married to him would afford you some financially secure 'golden years' then DO IT. It isn't about how much you've done for him vs. how much he's cost the family. It isn't about how much he might 'owe' you for staying with him all of these years because, let's face it, we all stay for our own selfish reasons. You're right, you cannot predict what the future brings...no one is promised tomorrow. He might outlive you by 10 years. However, as the spouse of someone with ADHD you have learned, as you said, to think FAR ahead because you have literally had no choice but to live this way for years. Why stop now? Take care of yourself, plan for your possible future, and stop feeling so guilty for wanting something for yourself. Enjoy the peace and allow yourself some time to just readjust and decide NOTHING until you've put some time and space between you. All of the benefits you've listed of staying married to him might mean nothing to you a year from now. Relax and decide later. ((HUGS))

CosmicJoke, First, I

CosmicJoke,

First, I agree--that was a great (funny, albeit, wince-inducing) read. You are a great writer. You should keep doing it!

I don't know if I can comment on the married vs. divorced question. Can you see an attorney for advice--someone who specializes in helping women? Just a description of what would happen to you, your kids, and your finances/security in each situation? No one has to know. In my estimation, ten more years is a long time to look at being legally bound to someone who is so unhealthy for you; but, I can see that if it is actually advantageous then you may be doing the right thing. I always make lists in situations like this: what is the worst/best thing that could happen in each scenario? I have found lately that the worst thing is not really that scary. Most of us are a lot tougher than we think.

And finally, good for you. You have moved from giving him all of the power and letting his actions and behavior completely control you, to getting yourself and some space back. Best of luck to you. I hope you post again and let us know how it is going. 

News Update from Lake Woebegone

Here's how the middle-aged choice of separation, rather than divorce, is going so far.  Just in case anyone else is contemplating this.  And because the initial responses my post got were so helpful and confidence building.  Thank you all.  Deeply.

It's been about 6 months since I've been to the country house/fiasco where DH is now spending much of his time.  I went back once and quietly got the marriage certificate and papers related to the house, so that, if needed, they wouldn't be miles away.  I have not been to the house since.  Sometimes this makes me sad, since I poured so much heart and energy into trying to make a home.  Mostly it is a tremendous relief, like quitting a bad job, since it was rarely used for making joy and existed as a second place to clean/fix/undo hubby's damages.   Whatever demented man cave transformations are underway there, I am the saner for not observing them.  Someday either I will make one prolonged trip to clean up the mess and sell the place, or the boys will be men who can make their own adult decisions about what they want to do with their inheritance.  Increase in peace of mind:  +10%

By not being dragged to this weekend hellhole, I have discovered a condition called "relaxation".  Without wishing to sound boastful, it is a heck of fine thing, which I recommend to all.  For example, did you know it is possible to spend an entire winter Saturday in bed and read a book from start to finish?  Who knew?!!!  And actually staying in one place has allowed me to finally unpack and settle into this apartment that we were tossed into almost 2 years ago when DH got fired from our live-in position at the school dorm.  The place just looks better and better, more like home, welcoming and peaceful each time I look around.  My younger son had 8 kids over on Friday--laughing and watching TV in the living room and falling asleep on the floor.  He's been opening up a lot lately about the toll being dragged around by Dad from one living situation to another, feeling rootless etc has taken--so to see him feel at home, and proud of his home, is so wonderful.  Similarly, his older brother and I finally had a moment to figure out where we could squeeze his drum kit into the apartment, with a little furniture rearranging, and he frequently has his musician friends over.  So tears and fights are now replaced by teenage laughter and music.  Inspired by this, I found myself reconnecting with facebook friends, which led to a mini-reunion at my place, which led to a deep reconnection with another "girl" from high school, once my best friend,  whom I hadn't seen in 37 years!  Increase in happiness:  +50%

My husband laments about not seeing the boys, but they are smart enough to notice that his attention is given over to the first thing he notices--most often his job, rarely remembering to call his sons, etc.  I frequently must arrange for them to connect with their Dad; we are all 3 of us just learning to see him clearer, to not expect things from him he cannot give.  This is bittersweet because none of us would wish this but there is a liberation in understanding a situation and dealing with it from a position of acceptance as opposed to hurt and wishful thinking.   He does come by to make dinner for them on the day I work nights (ie to heat up something I put out, make a mess that he doesn't clean up, and bolt when he just gets too antsy, despite the guys sometimes being in mid-sentence with him or having planned to do something with Dad).  He does better when he can take them skiing, etc.  The situation has made them realize the limits of his ability to connect with people, to appreciate his efforts, and, I hope,  to understand some of their father's demons, the better to deal with them.  It's easier of course, though hardly simple, to reassess a husband than to reassess one's view of one's father.  My heart is with them, best as I can manage.  My related journey is a lighter one--when he walks into the apartment in a flurry of urgency about who knows what, it's easier for me to say, "I'm on the phone; I'll be off in a few minutes; talk to the kids", rather than drop everything.  Similarly, it is easier now, to interject when he's ranting, to say "I don't understand you".  And when I ask him what time it is, and he answers "six from Tuesday", sometimes I don't even say anything; and I certainly don't find myself trying not to cry in public over my lonely marriage.   In fact, sometimes it's easier to be kinder to him, because I know night will come and I'll sleep alone, in peace, and wake up in peace.  Such a simple thing- to ackowledge the truth of a moment, to express my own needs.  I took the long way to get to that, after 20 years of marriage.  Clarity of vision: -75% (painful truths) + 100 (freedom from wishing for the impossible) =+25%

Of course, I did anticipate disaster, and of course I got some.  At the height of his rage about our new arrangement, his Social Security kicked in.  Despite his unlimited ATM access to our joint account, he woke one day and decided to put "his" money in a new account he opened for himself near the country house (we had already allocated much of this money toward paying off tuition we'd had to put on credit cards...plus within days we would need a substantial deposit to re-enroll one of the kids in his LD school...).  He gave me 2 partial checks, I never saw any paperwork, and it has taken weeks to even figure out how much money we are getting, since his calls about all this to Social Security, etc. were incomprehensible when he reported them to me.  The day after this first came to light, I bolted out of bed like a cartoon character in shock with eyes bugging out: this arrangement would risk the kids falsely appearing to live out of state, a potential disaster since the younger one had just gotten into a state college, and the other would need to show proof of payment for reimbursement by the city for his special ed school, so clearly all paperwork should be local.  I called him up.  He hung up.  I called back.  He shut off his phone.  I had to walk over to his office and quietly lay it all out for him.  (I do "quietly" better now that I don't live with him and we are not under constant stress.)  So he did immediately rearrange to have the checks go to direct deposit into our joint account.  But not in time to pay that tuition deposit, because the funds were in limbo for a few days as the transfer went through.  Which meant I had to spend several hundred extra dollars to put it on a credit card check.  Even he is ashamed of himself.   Given that disaster was averted (mostly) and he is too humbled (I think) to pull any nonsense for a while and (I think) he finally gets that I am not out to rob him , I'd say we're slightly above breaking even (which for us, is great!) in... Warding off Disaster: +4%   

I'm writing again.  And have been doing a bit a interesting copywriting.  And am slowly building my consulting business, which is better than having no time at all to work on it.  Cautious career optimism: +20%  

And he's kind of a bit of a mess.  The kids and I don't always know if he's worse, or that we just see him more clearly, or if old age is shaking the ADHD cocktail.  The car needed a wheel replaced because he "hit a ditch in the road" in the country.  Hmm?  Drinking?  He says no, but younger son spent time in the country where Dad had a case of beer and a box of wine.  But he was drinking in his office to "unwind" when I finally asked him to leave, so if he is drinking it's not something new caused by separation.    And DH, the tenured professor, is now missing a side tooth, which he told me today was because he couldn't afford a dentist because of kid tuition.  I suggested he go use the dental insurance we pay for, but maybe try to "save" by doing less damage to our 2012 car.  (No, this is not understated reporting of a fight...I said this so quietly...not fighting is such a revelation.)  There remains a huge possibility that my kids' Dad will not age well, that I'll have a decision to make about taking care of him, etc.  This is a time of accepting what I am powerless over...knowing what I cannot change...trying not to live as a hostage to some unfathomable future disaster.  I know there are more decisions to make.  But hopefully, there will be time to get a bit stronger and saner and more centered in preparation.  Emotional toll (still) of caring about the father of one's children: -50%  

If you are on this site, you are on a journey.  And I wish you well, fellow traveller. 

 

Don't panic,...

and trust my journey. Be grateful. Pay it forward. Have courage. Smile. Random acts of kindness. One foot in front of the other.  These are my mantras as I slog through my quagmire as a non with (undiagnosed) ADHD partner, completely out of control. But he's trying. (Insert sigh, loaded with sarcasm and despair.)

I can't do this screams in my head. Yes, I can. I have too. For myself. Regardless of the outcome of our relationship. At this point, I do not have hope the relationship will survive. I see the statistics. I know my man. I know myself. I see, know, and try myself to practice what needs to be done. Not very well at times. I feel deeply every unintentional hurt, slight, and accusation. I try not to respond unless it is crucial. I pick my battles. I begin no conversations but participate as cheerfully as I can through the myriad of unimportant minutiae chatter that is of the utmost importance to him. It feels better too not start any topic of my interest; they are readily dismissed (unintentionally, of course) as unimportant, anyway. I need to survive and I do not want ADHD hell to be my permanent address. I need to plan. I need to talk. Or write.

CosmicJoke, you and many others have laid their souls bare on these pages. To not be alone in this battle, is life-saving.

Thank you. 

He is sorry. I believe him. I love him. I'm sorry, also. (And sad, scared, lonely, frustrated, anxious, worried, numb, lost, desperate.)

Don't panic. Trust my journey. Be grateful. Pay it forward. Have courage. Have courage. Courage. Sigh. Smile. Random acts of...

Get a lawyer...

I think you know what you want but what you really need is legal advice from a divorce/separation lawyer. Go find one and get a free consultation and see what you learn from it. You might find that you are entitled to more than you think even if you do get a divorce. You might also find that you are entitled to less than you think in a separation. A legal separation isn't necessarily the same thing as being married. It's a type of limbo that's usually intended to be temporary so... you need qualified legal advice.

We need a mantra to stay sane...AND a lawyer

Thank you.  You are both so right.  And advice from strangers makes the hard truths harder to ignore.  (Which is one of the reasons we post here?)  It continues to amaze me how a bit of peace can bring a person slowly back to herself.  How a little less chaos, physical and emotional, can pave the way for new thoughts.  New actions.  I will take both your advice, which I so appreciate.  Here's to none of us being victims.

Yes to legal advice

Thank you, notavictim.  Part of the reason we send our pain into cyberspace, I suspect, is to find someone out there who "get" us.  Another reason is because strangers, in this setting, can speak so honestly.  This thread has morphed into permission for all of us to take it day by day.  That is so valuable.  It's the taking it day by day that is finally giving me some peace and perspective, and the strength to face the next step.  Here's to non of us being victims.  Thank-you again for your excellent advice.

Wow Walker.  You get it.  I

Wow Walker.  You get it. 

I feel deeply every unintentional hurt, slight, and accusation. 

 I try not to respond unless it is crucial.I begin no conversations but participate as cheerfully as I can through the myriad of unimportant minutiae chatter that is of the utmost importance to him. It feels better too not start any topic of my interest; they are readily dismissed (unintentionally, of course) as unimportant, anyway. I need to survive and I do not want ADHD hell to be my permanent address. I need to plan. I need to talk. Or write.

I finally gave up on planning and am living a  day-by-day existence.  I would love to separate, but I'm not ready to deal with all the drama it would involve.  I can't talk to him.  He rants and rambles about the same things over and over.  And now he is off his meds.  I have begun to see humor in his fits of anger that always accompany the lapses between prescriptions.  We are roommates.  No sex, no affection, no emotional attachments. 

 

Day-by-day existence, McCleskey

Yup. I get it.

And day-by-day really isn't so bad, compared to floundering with fear about tomorrow. I will accomplish, day-by-day, something, anything, that makes me feel better about this whole freakin' mess. I am a loving, kind and patient woman, (of course I am), calling on the depths of my convictions. 

I am ashamed, however, that planning to leave is part of my daily plan. I accepted this man's offer of marriage, 14 months after we met. We are both 52, both married previously, him for 14 yrs, me for 27. I was in love like never before. But right after the ring went on, everything... just...changed. Hyperfocus off me, and on to anything and everything else. Any television commercial is more interesting than I am. And now, 8 months later, I get it. I find myself a Wallenda. Without a tether.

I studied, researched, learned, understood. I can share what I learn, whatever medium. I have found the doctor. I have the books. I scour the library and the internet. I understand. I get it. We can do this. Mmm, maybe not. He will take in bits and pieces. He gets the concept, the enormity, the impact. Sort of. As a big picture, yes, but not on a day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute basis. He is horrified and elated that he sees himself, himself with ADHD, so clearly in the information I have shared with him. A relief, and a huge, overwhelming task all at once. He has done some research on his own, but no longer. No time. No insurance. Can't afford. Not able. Some sort of denial? Insert excuse. I will go with him, I will work with him, I will work on me.  But oh so sadly, in my heart, I don't believe he can do this. This meaning to engage himself fully, even partially,  in managing his own ADHD for his own benefit as well as for us. I need that. I need to feel the emotional attachment, the affection, the amazing connection we had. At least sometimes. And it's gone.  But I can't make him need that. Or do that. Or want that.

I need a partner, not an adult child. So, I am learning how to manage. To do things within a household that I have never taken over before.  To do it all. Without. To respond with empathy and kindness as best i can, and to disengage from a rant. I do love him, and I am more terrified for him and his future than mine. And I pretty darn nervous about mine, but let's not talk about that today because today is just fine without tomorrow. I will be his roommate. I will do the best I can on a daily basis for him, me, us. But I will plan for me also. For the day I can't do it anymore.

Humor is good. It's essential. Even when it's dark and the joke is on me. Not funny, but I laughed. Today I found the dining room. Today's not so bad.

 

 

 

nicely done

Just wanted to tell you that this was nicely written. I hope that you find happiness and peace. I am so sorry you are experiencing this. I know that saddest day of my life was the one I realized that the emotional connection I had with my spouse with ADHD was gone, and it wasn't coming back. That the way our relationship had started for the first year or two was only temporary. It was devastating, just absolutely devastating. You sound like you are doing all of the right things and taking care of yourself. Maybe what you are learning will really help. Best to you. 

 

Thank you Walker

Thank you for writing this. Putting things into words is helpful in getting to acceptance.  It is where I am also. I am accepting what it is, what he is willing/able to do and what my options are.  I have exhausted all avenues that have to do with trying to have a life of love, appreciation and partnership.  I question everything he says and I don't believe in him.  How can you love someone you can't trust? 

Devastating...

...is kind of an understatement, linninny! It was a kick in the gut, slap upside the head, full force brick wall kind of moment when the light bulb went on. Or blew up, depending on the metaphorical state of mind I am in. I am truly amazed by life's lessons. I obviously have not gotten something right; I sure hope I am learning.

jennalemon, I hear you. And I weep for you. I hold dear my memories of love, joy and happiness. I believe that allows my respect for him to remain. I accept what I have, and don't have, and will never have. I feel guilty that I can't live in an unconnected, no intimacy, chaotic relationship. I have no support in this relationship for my own issues; in this last 6 months, I have lost my surg tech position because I am facing freakin' blindness, literally. I just must remember that his paper cut really, really, really hurts. And his new headset doesn't work as well as the other 57. I must keep my own priorities in order. I cannot allow his priorities to be mine, because then there will be nothing left of me. I'm so sorry for your pain. Keep moving forward, honey. One foot in front of the other. 

Thank you both. Thank you all for everything.

Today I will look for the office.

 

  

Not in Control

a quote from Heart of the Spirit~Julie Sanders

    "Love is not about holding on, love is about letting go.
    I don’t know if you’re like me but I’m always searching for meaning, always hoping for a sign to appear to affirm I am on my perfect path.
    Last year I did a lot of letting go that seems to have spilled over into this year so I wonder…why? Why so much letting go? It’s painful and leaves this really empty hole in my heart.
    To lose a relationship we cherish, is evidence that divine intervention has taken place. We run such tight ships of control. We maneuver, manipulate and contrive to make life work, to make relationships work… at what point do we say STOP! We tried this, we tried that – it didn’t work yet we stay on that same treadmill thinking that all of this effort we are pouring out will eventually work… but sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes we are forced to let go of someone we love. And sometimes… after the dust in our heart has settled, we understand.
    Today I pray to embrace that in letting go my message is that I trust that I am on my perfect path, and so are you. And so it is."

What my therapist said...

First I had to cry and tell a few of my marital horror stories.

But my therapist didn't really "believe" in ADHD.  And reminded me I was here to work on me.

And as I worked on me, inevitably, a few more tales from my marriage came up.  And I casually mentioned that, beneath the dye job, my hair had gone totally white (I was  47 at the time.)

And my therapist, who'd barely move during a session as he listened quietly, nearly fell out of his chair and gasped, "Totally?  White?!"

(Full disclosure, this must've had something to do with being 3 blocks from WTC on 9/11.  Ask me why I was there on 9/11 and it has everything to do with a long trail of bad choices having to do with my husband.  And part of the stress that day came from 1) pulling him around the corner and away from the impending crash of the first plane as he watched, rapt.  2)  Being all alone when the 2nd plane hit and the foundation of my kid's school rocked, and we all hit the floor en masse, because we had no view to the street nor info and thought the building was being bombed.  Where was my dear husband as I thought I was about to die?  He had wandered off, being the great guy he is, to comfort the security guard, leaving me alone to wait for the school to bring my son downstairs to me.  3)  Seeing how wired he was (this was pre-diagnosis) I wouldn't let him drive, given that the street was jammed with people fleeing and I feared he would run someone over.  So we walked our child back to our apartment.  And by the next day, that area was cordoned off by the National Guard...and when we could get back there, the Secret Service had towed our car as a security precaution when Geo. Bush gave a speech at Ground Zero, and it took us 3 weeks to find it in a lot on Staten Island.)

As an aside, Ladies, who would you like to have with you in a crisis?  Or next to you when you thought you were about to die?  If it's not DH,what do you do with that knowledge?  But I digress...

So now, the therapist actually starts asking me more about my marriage.  Because, despite hearing everything as part of his job, he has never heard stories like these.  He's starting to think there may be something to all this talk about ADHD.

Then he says to me....

...wait for it...

That this mess is NOT MY FAULT.  Sure I'm human, imperfect, responsible for my own choices, saddled with my own baggage...but I had never ever encountered this ADHD behavior and could not be expected to have known how to deal with it (as I had when avoiding involvement with drunks, womanizers, etc.).

And...

After then about 12 years of marriage...

he felt I was suffering from PTSD.  Not post-traumatic stress from 9/11. 

PTSD from my marriage.

Hang in there my cyber-sisters.  We are not alone.  We must tell our stories.  Hold on to reality as we know it.  And face the day.  And the day after.  And do our best to undo these gordian knots. 

 

 

Thank you, CosmicJoke.  I

Thank you, CosmicJoke.  I realized several years ago that when I die, I want my children and my siblings with me, but not my husband.  I actually have a hard time even contemplating having to call him if I am ever in an accident.  

I feel like I have PTSD, too.  The problem is, the trauma keeps on keeping on, so it's hard to resolve the stress.

Thank you for sharing that Comicjoke.

Wow!  I am speechless.  I think your counselor has something there.  It DOES feel like there has been trauma. And like many of my recurring dreams involving my DH. I am in peril and he runs to help someone else. I am sorry it played out for you in such in such a dramatic way on  9/11.  What does your therapist tell you to do about it?

Therapist, part 2

Dear jennalemon,  

I'm "speechless" too.  Because, until it really happened, I never could have dreamed my husband would be more interested in the security guard than his own family during a terrorist attack (every other family was huddled close).  It is so thought-provoking and troubling that you do dream such things.  If we were in the same room, I'd hug you. 

What else did my therapist say?  1.  That I was "unmoored".   2.  That I should stop beating myself up about why I had chosen this man, of all men, to make my life with, and accept the universe's love of "The Cosmic Joke" (this from a devoutly religious man).  3.  That I "shouldn't give up anything else" in this marriage; and when my husband, at the time quite uselessly entertained and diverted by his own expensive therapy, offered to come see "my guy, too",  my therapist gave an empathetic "no" and a big speech about boundaries.  I was such a mess at the time, that I first thought he was chastising me for not respecting the boundaries of others--since everything in the universe was my fault and/or responsibility--not imploring me to set up a few protective walls of my own. 

BTW, after much thought, I had deliberately chosen a male therapist, despite the feeling of some that same sex doctor/patient treatment can be more effective.  I wanted to work with a man because, rightly or wrongly, I wanted a male perspective on whether this was a "normal" marriage to a "normal" husband from the perspective of someone who was a husband himself...and I wanted to avoid the double-edged female stereotypes of either "man bashing" or being exhorted by another woman to be more patient/nurturing/accepting--ie to embrace all the "wifely virtues"...

More and more the therapy centered around my various dreams deferred, the possibility that I was a pretty good mom, and the need to think seriously about how to end this marriage.  I would've continued therapy, except I ran out of money bc my son was going through lots of pain and drama that lead to his own ADHD diagnosis and the beginning of the tsunami of tuition for his own doctors, meds, special school, in addition to the expensive dance that would lead to the other kid's dyslexia finally being diagnosed.  As I've written earlier, I'd been saving money and going to therapy to make the move to leave my husband, but instead, the Cosmic Joke was that I was saving money and getting strong enough to do what it would take to pour all my resources into educating my sons and getting them help. 

But I left therapy with so much food for thought, much of which I'm finally able to put to use, about 8 years later!  At our last session, I started to thank him for all he'd done, etc--and my therapist told me to stop needing to wrap everything up with a bow and make everybody feel better and find the meaning of every experience...and just get on with dealing with how messy life is.   Is any of this of help/use?  I think I find myself on this site whenever I need to touch base, to not forget or rationalize away the intense ADHD issues I'm wrestling with.  My head is spinning and my heart breaking over all that you, and the rest of the people responding to this thread, have written.  Reading these messages today was exhausting.  But it's a useful dose of reality for which I am grateful.    

Putting a pretty bow on the messes

CosmicJoke

You seem to be intelligent and thoughtful and clear.  Keep writing. It helps to write for clarity for us all.

When there is someone in my presence who is letting me know they are in pain or trouble or suffering or even in discomfort, I am inclined to use what I know or have to help them and alleviate their suffering. I feel good about myself to be able to help and that they trusted me to open up to me.  I cannot go to dh with my emotional needs because his response to those needs is to disconnect and run away as in "Cant' you see I am in the middle of something?".  He is willing to give his time in any physical need...ie: physical work if I specifically ask him and begin the process for him.  But he has nothing to give in terms of feeling/thoughts/solutions/compassion/assurance/love.  Sometimes I can see him trying to fake care and understanding but I can tell it is "put on". His mind seems to not be able to connect/partner/have empathy.  I have heard him say too many times, "What's in it for me?"  I don't think this is ADD.  I think this is a personality he has in response to his overwhelming ADD....taking care of his own needs is all he can do. One of his needs is to be seen as desirable to other women.  No matter what the causes or reasons, you cannot love or feel loved in a committed relationship with someone who is not THERE for you.  You need to trust before you can love. You can be physically/hormonally attracted to someone who is allusive and mysterious but you can't be in a loving/reciprocal happy marriage with them.   In a marriage, you want someone more than a handyman who you must contract and pay in some way.  You want someone who you can count on to lean on in difficult or scary times.  Someone who BRINGS themselves and value INTO the partnership....not that drains you out of your goodness.  You want someone who cherishes you and desires to be with you and walk with you to grow together.  How can that happen when one of you is not open or truthful or even THERE?  How can that happen when one of you is running away giving his attention/allegiance to others rather than to the relationship he promised to?

So, how does one get moored when our M.O. is to give of ourselves to family and loved ones?  We both have deferred our own dreams to sacrifice for others.  Maybe expecting that they would do the same for us when it became our turn.  But our turn didn't come to us.  We need to be OK in order to give to others and I am not OK anymore.  I have been depleted.   How do we change our thinking to be able to be mentally healthy and keep our loving natures?  I have worked hard my entire adult life only to find myself in a bad financial situation I am shocked at and didn't see coming because I gave to children, gave to dh, trusted dh, I gave of my time and talents so others could prosper for their well-being.  I was so afraid to be selfish that I gave my SELF away and now I don't think too much of myself anymore.  I thought I would be loved for all my giving...it didn't work that way.

Jennalemon

It so disturbs me to see that you don't seem to see the value in your gifts.  I can't say if your kids or husband loved you for your giving but I have hard time believing that the kids don't.  Although I'm also sure no one fully appreciated the sacrifice.  But even if your giving wasn't appreciated, you should love yourself for being the generous loving person that you were.  There is nothing wrong with being generous.  Nothing wrong with loving.  Nothing wrong with trusting.

There is something wrong with not being trustworthy, for not acting with integrity, and for not accepting and returning the love you are given freely.  And sure, you could have protected your interests better, but that's water under the bridge and you need to forgive yourself.  It seems to me you acted according to your internal values and that is all that can be expected of anyone.

I wish you the very best in finding your new path.  And I hope that you can continue to be loving and generous and receive the same and more in return.

Spilled milk, Self-advocacy, and being the Non-Adhd Spouse

Jennalemon, bless you for your kind words, but trust me, I'm a mess.  And please forgive me for smiling as I write that you sound like a mess, too.  We seem to have married the same man, which is troubling enough, but what I can't figure out, based on perusing this site, is how he managed to marry a couple dozen others, too.  But some men have written in about ADHD wives, so, wow, maybe he's also cross-dressing.  I know he has a lot of energy when he's hyper...

And we all have the same problems.  The song remains the same, whatever key it's played in.  Money owed.  Creditors.  Firings.  Nasty catastrophic surprises.  Humiliation.  Hurtful things said by someone who apparently has no filter.  And some days (most days?) it's just so overwhelming.  I've had a day like that--I don't even have the energy to write it down (lucky readers!). 

And we are lonely.  And isolated.  And tired.  And worried.  And depleted.

And we're so confused.  Because we've done everything we're "supposed" to do.  And more.  And we've called on every bit of faith, philosophy, meditation, ethics, and the more helpful bits from The Girl Scout manual to love and take the high road and feel compassion and honor our marriage vows and do everything that would make Santa Claus proud of us as we stood by our beloved and our beloved's disability (that noisy third wheel in our marriage).

Some of us are even beginning to suspect that life isn't fair.

Here's a radical suggestion.  I'm putting it in writing.  Here.  In black and white.  Because you are all such a kind bunch, I hope you'll hold me to it when I post again after whatever crisis of the day.  This is it, my impossible, dangerous suggestion:

I hereby declare that I am good enough. 

I refuse to apologize for taking a risk and loving somebody.  Whatever the outcome, that should be a source of pride.  I'm sick of beating myself up about it.

This wasn't my fault.

I cannot be responsible for what another person does or does not appreciate about what I have done/sacrificed/cleaned up after. 

So from now on, when I put out fires, solve problems, etc...I'll do it for me. 

Because I deserve to be rescued.  Even if I have to do it myself. 

And I don't need any more pressure.  Or anyone else to judge me, including myself.  All this talk about the co-dependent, blah, blah, blah?  If it helps you get stronger, embrace that.  If not, well, walk a mile in my vinyl shoes from K-Mart, and then try to make me feel bad about doing the best I could while the money was being poured down the toilet and the kids needed whatever normalcy I could fake for them.

Joralemon, please listen to what folks are saying.  And help me listen to my own advice.  There's a saying in my business: "Fake it till you make it."  Let's get a broom and start sweeping and act like we're good people who deserve love and friendship and laughter and have our lives together.  And if we pretend enough, maybe that's who we'll become...?

Who's in?   

 

 

Thanks CosmicJoke

Sometimes I read something and it has a physical effect on me.  A weight lifted for a while.

I refuse to apologize for taking a risk and loving somebody.  Whatever the outcome, that should be a source of pride.  I'm sick of beating myself up about it. This wasn't my fault.  I cannot be responsible for what another person does or does not appreciate about what I have done/sacrificed/cleaned up after.

I deserve to be rescued. Even if I have to do it myself.

I have been feeling stupid for being a part of the mess he is making.

Cheers

Cheers to that! The phrase that Jennalemon pulled out is very self actualized and true. It is a strength to love others when its not easy, to care for your children in spite of roadblocks. The people on this site are very strong. That includes those who stay and those who go. Because taking care of yourself requires fortitude as well. The adhd people are also strong in their ways too of course, because they persevere despite the wiring. But right now I say Cheers to you!