I haven't been on the site for a while to read some experiences and was a little shocked when I signed in to see that I first started seeking answers a little over 8 years ago...E.I.G.H.T. YEARS...went by in the blink of an eye.
I have finally reached my breaking point; long-story-short, through medication for newly diagnosed bi-polar tendencies and cognitive therapy of my own, I have decided what I need to do but still just unsure, so I am now in the process of "seeking the counsel of many"...so the main question is, for the folks on here that decided to eventually leave or divorce their ADHD partner, what was your personal breaking point? Also, in what way did you carry out your plan of action? For me personally, it seems easy when there is a severe argument or fight to want to pack up my belongings and head out or even just leave with the shirt on my back after 16 years of this. However, when things are going well (as they have been recently except for a few instances here and there) like since I came back last year from staying with my mom for 7 months after my father passed away, I am having trouble approaching or determining a good time to tell him that I simply cannot live like this any longer, because I know he will blow up. I am getting too old and no longer have the mental energy or even physical stamina to carry on like we have for this long.
Just asking for personal experiences and not saying that divorce is the only or even healthy answer, etc., there's just a lot more to the story (mental and emotional abuse included that I did not want to acknowledge or accept) that have helped me arrive at my decision.
Blessings to all and thank you for reading.
xoxo - julie jay
Submitted by 1Melody1 on
My breaking point was just realizing he was unwilling to change anything. I was carrying the marriage and pleading for help and some level of reciprocation. His response over the years could be summed up in a shrug. It took me a long time to accept it. I realized I had to leave when my body and mind we're so destroyed by the weight I was carrying that I absolutely could not stay and survive. That sounds dramatic but it's not. I was wrecked.
I just ripped the band aid off one day. I'd been looking for apartments for myself and my daughter and I just broke down and told him. It shouldn't have been a surprise as I'd been clear that what we were doing was unsustainable for me. He didn't react well. He went through denial and pleading and promising and that was so hard to withstand. Like you though, I knew I had to go through with it. I knew it was time to end it. It might help to read about what the person who doesn't initiate the divorce goes through so you can understand the potentially strong emotions he'll have. It will likely take him some time to accept what you're saying and catch up to where you are. Even if they should see it coming, they often don't. I tried to stay empathetic because I knew he was hurting, but strong in my resolve. There is no way for it to be easy, unfortunately. No good time. You might want a plan in place - like somewhere to go stay after you break the news.
If he is a good person, you may not have to worry, but I would recommend seeing a lawyer over leaving with the shirt on your back. Being single is expensive! Print out all financials. I did all of that just in case, but thankfully didn't need it. But it's good to have.
Good luck. It's okay to put yourself first. I am so much healthier now that I've left.
thank you Melody
Submitted by julie jay on
Thank you so much for your thoughtful input, that means a lot to me!!
thank you Julie
Submitted by kadyw on
Julie, I am at a similar point myself, close to breaking, so thank you for posting this question. I'm going to eagerly await everyone's replies.
My issue is that not only does my wife have ADHD, but she has also be suffering from treatment-resistance depression for many years now. She hasn't worked or brought in any money in more than 3 years and helps around the house only sporadically. I feel like our entire stability is solely on my shoulders and it's just becoming too much. I know that depression and ADHD are real, and she is actively seeking treatment, but I feel like I am now more like a parent and caretaker than a partner, and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. My thought is that I will continue to support her financially after I break the news and move out: I'll probably fully support her financially for as much as a year and help her get to treatment appointments but then taper off the financial assistance.
It's hard for me to explain why, but I'm so damn angry. She was never very helpful around the house before and much more of a homebody than I am, so I don't know if we would have lasted anyway, but now I am wrestling with the guilt of leaving someone who has clinical depression (verified by many physicians). We got together quite young and I never had another serious relationship before her. I just want it to be out in the open that this isn't a real partner relationship, that this is a caregiver and, idk, "patient" relationship now and I want my own space and my own life and the possibility of finding someone who can truly be a partner to me.
The guilt is terrible, because I know the ADHD and depression are real and not her fault, but I still have these thoughts of "is she really trying the best she can?" She turns down so many suggestions and ideas from other people with ADHD and depression and doesn't do them at all, so it feeds those thoughts in my mind.
I would really like to hear from others who have been in the same or similar situations. Thanks. –Kady
I see you Kadyw...
Submitted by julie jay on
Hopefully you saw Melissa's response as well. I have more to comment on your post, but time will not allow me at this moment, so I will come back to you and share more. The short version is, is that like you, once I decide to make a plan and execute it, I don't think I'll have any choice but to do the same thing, help him along for about 6 months to a year. He has not worked a 'real' job in almost 11 years, except very briefly in 2018 for 11 months. I bare all of the financial responsibility and also liability, hence I'll have to help him until he can figure something out or until he's 62 (in 16 months) when he can officially retire and start collecting SSI.
I used to be angry, now I'm simply mentally worn completely out. I have depression/anxiety and now told I have bipolar tendencies, all of which have developed/gotten worse in the last 10 years or so...I'm getting old and I just can't do this anymore. I have to know my limits.
Talking about guilt...oh my, preach it...louder for those in the back :(
Breaking Points are Different For All...
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
...but you know when you reach them. My thought is that you give it your best...and watch what your body and heart are telling you. If your body is telling you that you are completely stressed out, that you can't take it, that your heart will break if you stay, that you won't be able to respect yourself if you stay...those are all signs that it's time. Other signs include if your partner is unable to be kind to you, respect you, or take your needs into account even though you've made them very clear. Sometimes you end up with a partner who simply feels his or her needs are much more important that your own and you really aren't partners - just someone who is used for convenience to create a good life for another. Or that you are the problem and they don't have any work to do. That sort of denial is the basis of many a divorce.
Other signs - when you stop attending to your own needs - putting yourself second to your partner's volatility, smoothing the way for your partner, etc. When you find that you are spending a lot of time making it so that your partner doesn't need to suffer the consequences of his actions - with kids, moods, actions, the consequences of affairs...whatever it is that you protect him from. That's co-dependent behavior and it makes your own life not your own and is unlikely to be appreciated by your partner, either. More likely the partner that you are trying to 'help' will see you as 'too controlling' or 'the enemy'...
When your partner decides that he can no longer share his inner self with you (or worse, starts sharing it with someone else rather than with you) you no longer have a relationship.
These are all indications that it's time to consider leaving.
Submitted by julie jay on
"Sometimes you end up with a partner who simply feels his or her needs are much more important that your own and you really aren't partners - just someone who is used for convenience to create a good life for another." <<< I can't even begin to describe this dynamic in my personal situation. Too much to type and no one would want to read it anyway.
Regarding the rest of your post, yes ma'am, everything you said is basically what my therapist has been telling me...I've been struggling with what is the "right" thing to do...I took a vow "in sickness and in health" - however, one thing she pointed out, is his "sickness" (and i know and realize it's not an actual sickness, just neurological difference - as Temple Grandin says: "different, not less") could be treated or coped with if he chose to and was willing to implement some changes. Again, just too much to type and go into but it has really gotten severe...I believe to the point of what *seem* like schizophrenic tendencies...grandiose delusions (that nobody will believe unless they heard this themselves) and paranoia, seeing faces & images in everyday objects and occurrences that are simply not there...but they are, in his mind, and I believe him when he says that is what he sees. When this first started, I told him this or that was not what he was seeing, that it was xyz...he lost it. Completely lost it...told me he hated me for not believing him, that "any idiot could see this" and worst of all, he'd find like one part of one sentence on some website to "prove" what he was saying was the case. I'm not trained to be a caregiver and am beginning to accept that I don't have to be. I just feel SO GUILTY for the thought of leaving him to his own devices because I know he will not fare well. My therapist tells me that I need to decide if my own mental health and stability are worth staying and "helping" him. That's where I'm at...I just know me, and I know I can't do this much longer.
thank you and update
Submitted by kadyw on
Thank you both so much for your responses. They meant the world to me. I've been hesitating to share much online because it's very possible my wife will see it. I'll just say that I have decided that we need to go our separate ways. As the days go by, I am increasingly sure that this is the best choice for us *both* in the long run, but it is so hard right now. I believe I have been unintentionally enabling her for several years. I am supporting her in the transition. Thank you for validating and empathizing with me. I have recommended the ADHD & Marriage books to other friends and it seems to be helping them very much, so even though it was too late for us, I have found it a very helpful resource for understanding what is and isn't fair to expect of a partner with neurodivergence. Thank you again.