Does the anger ever really go away?

I've stepped away from this site for several days and decided to look back at some old posts from some others. I did not want to comment on a post from a year ago because I wanted to revisit history in the present.

The 'Smirk' discussion was brought up as I have brought it up too as a sore spot in my relationship. I would like to reiterate that this does absoutely suck having this problem. I will say that since I've last posted on this site, my wife and I did have a 'talk'. I did not smirk once and I'm happy to say that I was able to contribute to the conversation. But I digress...

So where's the proof of progress?  The answer may not be complicated, but my recent diagnosis means that it will be. 

- My wife has recently mentioned to me that she feels like she doesn't know me anymore.  Sounds okay because I've been working very hard on learning to cope, but considering the conversation we were having I will take that as a not very good thing. 

That's all I've got. 

A friend of my wife asked me the other day if there was something on my mind that I wanted to talk about.  This took me by suprise because I figured my wife was bottling all her issues with me inside.  Well.....for some reason I felt compelled to say something and I feel like poop for having done so.  I love my wife and I will do all that I can to be the best I can for her, but I can't help but feel terrible for saying anything at all to her friend.  I want help badly because I can't shake the feeling that I'm losing the fight and I don't know if her friend is the much needed help I'm hopeing for.  I do not want her to get involved in the middle of this, because it's not fair to her or my wife and has potential to become very bad for me. 

She told me that I'm a really nice guy and that if I ever needed to talk that I could ask her.  My wife has been helping her through a very tough time and I know that she wants to help my wife just as much in return.  So I opened up a little and told her that I believe in my heart of hearts that my undiagnosed ADD has played a huge role in the downfall of my marriage.  My discovery of the recent diagnosis is making it easier for me to recognize when things would bother me or get me sparked up.  My wife could not hear us talking in the evironment we were in, but I caught a quick scan of her and I think she had an idea.  She's been distant again ever since.  Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I can't shake the feeling that I crossed a line.  I'm just so desperate for help, any insight into my wife's mind.  It's excrutiating going through each day and the love of your life is silent and doesn't talk.  Even on meds I can sometimes find myself stressing about whether or not she's thinking "today will be the day I tell him I'm done".

Look I know she's angry and there's a lot of resentment.  I know that I can't wash away the hurt in a month, but I also can't wash away my hurt.  I've done this to her and I never wanted to.  That hurts.  Not seeing an end to her frustration....... torture. 

June 19th.  The last time she told me she loved me.  I've never forgotten it because it shattered me.  I knew that night I was not being good enough for her.  I can be, but I often wonder if I'm losing hope because I sometimes ask myself - when?  When will I have earned a hug?  A kiss?  A "You look nice today"?  I feel so selfish to even ask anything from her, but all I've got sometimes is my belief.  I sometimes catch myself wondering if I'm going to lose faith in my efforts.  I've been working on my marriage for 1 year now, but only for the last 10 months have I really found some direction, but 2 months towards actual progress with myself.

I've posted about how I know how my wife feels about me because I see her in her sleep and she sometimes would lean in and face me.  She's back to sleeping with her back to me every night.  The only thing I can think of that I've really changed recently is telling her every night that I love her and goodnight.  I find myself wondering if I should ease off for a while because of this and the fact that it sometimes feels like she's looking for reasons to not be home in the evenings. 

If I could see an end to her frustration or even get a sign from her that I'm doing okay, I would relive this journey 100x over.  I feel I'm a better person for having gotten the opportunity to find a major fault of mine and work to fix it.  But i miss her and sometimes the loneliness of not being able to just hug her can be very hurtful.

Slow process...

This is a painfully slow process, referring to to rebuilding of trust... I understand what you are going through, or at least very similar to your situation. Don't forget that a lot of your awareness is going to give distorted information as it takes a while to get used to reading the subtle body language of your wife and others.

I will say the biggest mistake I made to destroy my wife's trust was made with good intentions. I wanted insight from a female perspective, a co-worker who I had become friends with because our jobs interacted a lot. I felt like I could not talk to a close family member because it could create tension and guy friends are useless in these matters. Talking to another woman about my marital matters was a Huge mistake.

If your wife is not at a point where she feels comfortable saying I love you, then maybe back of a bit, as it might add pressure to a response. Keep working on yourself and the results should eventually become apparent.

Great job on the "Smirk" avoidance :-)





DF's picture

But YYZ - It was you

I had stumbled upon an old blog and was reading through the responses when I saw yours back in December.  You were asking for insight into how much longer.  That was 5 months ago.  As I said I don't expect her to accept me tomorrow, but I also thought I saw the worst of this struggle. 

I've told my wife when we had our last 'talk' that I tell her I love her and goodnight everyday because that's what I want to do.  I've told her I do not expect a response from her, but that it was a concern of mine that I might be pressuring her into a response.  I'd told her that I don't want to do that, I just want her to hear those words from me.

Her friend knows how I feel about my wife, but only you people here know the depth of my turmoil.  Another reason for being apprehensive about saying anything to anyone is that I don't want to frustrate my wife even more with the burden of my discomfort.  But then what's a guy desperate for help supposed to do?  Her friend seems to see there's something up and confronting me about it.  Her father knows that something is up and has confronted me about it.  Her sister knows that something is up and has talked to me about it.  What the heck can I do?  I don't know what my wife is thinking so all I do is tell people that I do love her and I'm trying my best.  Are these all warnings of the end for me?

I know I'm good guy because people are concerned about me and I know that my wife would be gone already if I was a complete jerk.  In the same hand, I can't talk of making plans as a family a month from now without feeling/seeing her frustration with me. 

She's still somewhat angry(?) when she tells me of plans she's making.  She told me she was going to start working out again, but when she did that it came out like - " I'm going to work out again.  I don't care what you think, you're not getting in my way".  She didn't say that, but I'm not imagining it either.  I haven't told her no on anything in 10 months and constantly feeling challenged is wearing down my resolve.

I'd noticed over the past several days that when I wake her up she gives me dirty looks - not the good kind of course ( sorry.  just easing the mood ).  Today she grudgingly asked if I was starting at her and then she rolled over away from me.  That sent absolute shock waves through me.  Both hurt and anger.  It made me feel creepy and it belittled something I enjoy doing - waking her up slowly each morning to help her ease into her day.  A year ago I would have shut down and never spoke of it again.  Today I waited 20 minutes and told her I'm not staring at her in the mornings.  I'm looking at her to see if she stirs or if I'm going to need to be more persistent about making sure she is waking up.  It makes me think that maybe she has been to this web site and saw the things I'm saying and I misinterpreted her reaction to them.  If you're angry at your spouse from years of build-up, do you really want to read such dribble as I write?

I'm getting exhausted.  I feel like I'm playing a game of Chutes and Ladders and I can't seem to advance more that 5 spaces before getting shot back down to the first step.  I feel like I'm trying too hard and I don't even know what I'm doing.

I dislike sounding like the victim because I can't see the truth in it.  This whole mess is my fault, but I understand it now so much better.  I just can't stop questioning my resolve.

YYZ - so has it gotten better 5 months later?  For me, if my wife is still with me 5 months from now, I guess that's as good a measure as anything I can get. 



All in all I'd say things are better. Really I'm not sure if my ADD symptoms are her major issues with me. We cannot hardly got out to dinner without eventual comments about how much I eat. It is like the movie Groundhog Day. We fight over semantics. I say Adderall corrects my brain chemistry and she says Speed makes you lose weight. I know it is stupid, but I don't believe the initial side affects of weight loss last for 2 years. She keeps saying I'm not the same person as I was before and when I ask for examples and she only comes up with what I look like and how much I eat. We had other issues long before the ADD was known and they are related to ADD for sure. Spending money on toys for me and my car. No matter what happens, like a blow-out or brake job. Must be because of how I drive... Things I say bring up anger from to deep past. I wish I knew what the answer to this puzzle is.  

Have you asked your wife what you could work on to improve things? I've gotten similar "I'm going to do this..." statements too... It's like walking on egg-shells trying to find the right moment to say things when you know it's going to go bad. Shields are on max at all times. Our daughter was trying to get out of school and I had not lost my temper at all, then I get a stern "Don't out there and Yell and Scream at her!!!"... I have not done that in a very long time. So to be mad at me before I've not done anything makes me say "Wow"... I did not get angry and told her I would not yell. I just try to do my best and remember how I used to act. That's all I can do.

Is your wife not interested in counseling?  My wife is not and says she does not want to get more counseling for herself either... I go back and forth about her reading on this site. She could find more reasons to be mad or find out she is not alone. I don't ask her anything ADD related. I wish I had better news, but it is still a roller coaster in my house.


DF's picture

Same here Brother....

But first - I caught you - "...We had other issues long before the ADD was known and they are related to ADD for sure..."

You had commented to me in the past that that my situation wasn't ADD alone and that there may be underlying things from my past.  I'm not calling you out, just pointing out that your above comment further proves we are very much alike.  Now I just need to catch Sherri and then I'll know she's not perfect too....  ;)

Now on to the show. 

Have I asked my wife what I could do to improve things?  Suprisingly no.  I'm so busy trying to just stop and listen that when it's my turn to talk I don't really know what to say.  And I'm a bit apprehensive about doing that right now.  I don't want to sound like I'm pleading with her or forcing her to tell me too much information.  The rare times she talks to me I can see she feels reasonably good afterwards for a while, but during the 'talks' I can see she's holding back.  My wife is an emensely stubborn woman.  There have been people that would only talk to me because they didn't want to confront her.  They did not see the woman I married.  They don't see the woman that would do absolutely anything for a friend.  They don't see how much she cares.  I've seen her close the door on people that have disappointed her and I'm living that nightmare now.  It's frightful, but she's tough and I like it.  I'm well aware that I need a jarring kick every now and then to get into gear and she's that kind of woman.  Understand though, she's not mean to me or abusive so I hope it doesn't sound like I'm describing her that way.  She makes me happy and I love being with her - well, when she's not giving me the cold shoulder........

Funny, your egg-shell comment has come up in our house as well.  That's another reason I will continue to tell her I lover her and goodnight everyday.  I don't want to tip toe everywhere.  She's not going to tell me she loves me anytime soon I assure you, but F#%K T!  I love her so why not tell her?  What's the worst that could happen - she doesn't reply in kind?  I expect her not to and she doesn't.  I'm over it.  It's not enough for her to see change, she has to believe it's permanent.

And no my wife is not interested in counceling.  We could fix this together, I do believe, if she could let go of the anger.  I really do believe it.  Everyone close to us wants us to stay together from what I can tell, I want us to stay together, but I can't reach the top of the mountain if the mountain is closed no matter what my approach is.  I want so bad to make her happy, but it's hard to know how if I'm only getting cold shoulders.  I would be curious what counceling would do for her.  I've only gone 3 times and it was great.  Can't afford to keep shelling out on the co-pay, but I'd do it in a heart beat for her.  I stopped asking her about counceling.  I gave her my word I wouldn't pester her about it anymore since she's not into it.

As for this site <SIGH>.......... I stopped bothering her about that too.  She has to want to come here on her own.  I can't show it to her.  She would have to find it as I found it, through a search for understanding and how the condition has affected my relationship with her.  Then and only then would she possibly see me here and hear what I'm saying and not see it as if I'm the little child I've been all these years.

Alike indeed...

I definitely know ADD played a role all along. My wife has told me she doesn't think ADD had much to do with any of our problems. ADD explained to me why I did/do some of these things. You are right, counseling sure does break the bank. I went 5 or 6 times and we had one family therapy session with her long time shrink. Ahhhhh... we seem to have a mutual key: "Letting go of the anger" I thought being forgiven meant that past events would not get brought up every time it was convenient to make a point. If past actions are recurring, then okay, but otherwise re-guilting is not productive in my opinion. Our wives seem to be similar from what I've read. Without hardcore definitions of expectations I would have run amok. My wife also appears one way to people and only those let in close know the true person she is, which keeps me trying. We just have to keep trying, I guess...


DF, I hear many similarities

DF, I hear many similarities in the dynamic between you and your wife and me and my DH. My DH (undiagnosed and untreated) will often fill in the blanks of what a twitch of my eyelid means. Instead of asking me what I think, he will translate my nonverbals into a whole dynamic that is usually victimizes himself and happens to be pretty far from what Im actually thinking. Perhaps you share some of this dynamic in the way of translating that look you saw from your wife. Last year I was dying for my DH to ask me anything about what I thought, how I felt, or if I was doing ok. Perhaps you could ask what her reaction meant.
DF's picture

I just don't know

It sounds all well and good, but the difference between many of you non-ADD(HD) spouses here and my situation is that you're here looking for understanding.  You're acknowledging the issue we have as the reason for our demise and want to learn more about it and how to work with it.  Sorry, but I'm not seeing that in my situation.  All I get much of the time is cold chills and not much warm attempts to understand.

My wife is not interested in talking about her feelings with me and a lot of times her visible discord is when the kids are around so there's nothing we can say.  How do I not come across as desperate?  What woman wants a desperate man?  I'm not desperate, I just want to understand!!!!!  I don't need her to nudge me into making my own progress, but is it too much to ask someone to throw a dog a bone every now and then?!

She's frustrated and angry - I get it.  Things I appeared to have no interest in for 12 years, all of a sudden I'm interested in.  She's probably thinking - why now?  The answer is as simple as I didn't know I was being such a daft PoopHead!  She would try to tell me, I know, but if 2-3 days later she's okay my condition by default makes me believe there's not a problem anymore.

I just don't see her getting over being angry.  Lately it feels like it's motivating her and I'm finding it harder to stand tall.

You stated "Things I appeared

You stated "Things I appeared to have no interest in for 12 years, all of a sudden I'm interested in. She's probably thinking - why now?" Can I tell you, you are exactly correct in thinking this. I happen to feel the same way after many, many years of trying to tell my husband what a "PoopHead" he was being. Of course, nothing would change and after 2-3 days of verification that our conversation went in one ear and out the other, I would just let it go (which now I realize was totally my fault for letting it go) and he would, like yourself, believe that there was not a problem anymore. I can fully understand her frustration and anger. It doesn't help the situation much when you haven't been a part of our lives for years, perhaps, and then all of a sudden, when you finally start waking up to the fact that we may be on the brink of being DONE, you panic and want everything about the relationship to be fixed over night. I guess somewhat the now, not now ADHD way of thinking. You must understand that this fix must come gradually. My husband is guilty of this and alot of the time I really don't have the feeling that he is truly sincere through some of his actions. This is something that I must work through, too.
DF's picture

Newfdogswife -

I've been looking for that reply of sorts so I have a few more questions. I know that everyone is different so I do don't expect what works in your situation will work in mine. I also believe that the easy way makes it harder to stay the course, but I ask in hopes of finding some glimmer of hope or knowledge. When did you begin to care enough to bother? What was it that made YOU want to decide to look into his issues further? I was in a very bad place Saturday and I couldn't find proof that my feeling like the most unwanted husband in the world was unfounded. I wrote an email to my wife for her to read which I thought was very watered down, but that I love her regardless. Did your husband do things like that and if so, was it annoying for you? I don't email my wife my feelings or discuss them with her often because she's in a "do not care" mode and I try to respect that and not make it worse. When I do send her an email I never bring it up afterwards. It's as though it never happened and I don't ask questions of her. Also, in reference to her gardening. I figured I was right about what I was feeling and it's not that I was never interested in the past, I just have an aversion to yard work since I grew up being forced to do it as a form of punishment. I've not helped my wife with yardwork because of its' negative side of my life. I can change that and i'd like too. My interest in it lately is that I don't get many opportunities to try and connect with my wife and I know that gardening is something she likes doing. I'm just trying to connect and maybe find something of interest that we can do together. - But yes, it's not turning out that way....... I would love to just have a sign from her that something is headed in the right direction.

Reply Of Sorts To DF

I've been reluctant to respond to your posts because you sound like such a sweet guy and I've been concerned you might perceive my input as criticism. My first step to any 'want' to work things out with my husband was beginning to take care of myself. That process in itself took some time to muster. It sounds like your spouse is focusing on that and I'd say that is worthy of being perceived as a good sign. Secondly, I think it's important to recognize that the spouse has been completely overwhelmed by the adhd spouses daily functioning for a very long time. Even in the midst of improvement this is an issue. One of the biggest frustrations the other spouse faces is inaccurate self appraisal by the adhd spouse. It is common for us to be clearly communicating what we need and yo not have the need recognized. That is still a tough one at our house. Realizing my husband isn't doing it on purpose doesn't make it any less difficult emotionally. I think the word, 'perspective,' is extremely important to understand in relation to adhd. Please keep that in mind, with what follows: Somewhere else in the forum you posted about a social need that your wife expressed. You indicated that you didn't feel this was as much of an issue as she did. You also included, in separate postings, reasons why you felt your past behavior was correct. This type of exchange has occurred ad nauseaum at my house over many needs I expressed. It adds to my feeling overwhelmed. It adds to my partners confusion about our relationship. On my side of the fence it looks like this: He said he wants to work on things. My hope goes up. He asked me what I need. My hope goes up. I tell him. I start feeling nervous when he starts immediately with the impulsive speech. My heart sinks by the time the diatribe is done. It took risk to even make my needs known. I've now listened to him fail to recognize it and justify the behavior. Even if he states hess willing to work on it my hopes are dashed because he doesn't see a problem at all. Recognizing a problem is key to solving it. On his side: I feel like I'm really trying. Why wont she tell me what she wants me to do here? I asked her what she wants, but she told me something that I dont think is the problem. What she said didn't seem like something thats been a big deal to me. I think I've made good choices in the situation she brought up. Sometimes it seems like she makes a big deal over the little stuff. It seems like maybe she just doesn't want things to work out. She doesn't even acknowledge how hard I've been trying. How do I know his side? I've started asking. I've been repeatedly floored at how differently we are perceiving the same situation. I think there is a lot of value in recognizing how important perception is.
DF's picture

No need to worry about me....

Bilf - What wonderful insight!  You need not worry about me being offended.  It's people being critical of my wife that concerns me most.  All anyone here knows about her is what I say so I try to make sure that she is not judged unfairly or that I paint the wrong picture of her.  I'm in this mess because of me and I'm here because it's the cheapest form of therapy I can find.

I do like what you have to say and I liked what Melissa has below.  This blog is important to me  because I want perspective.  I interact so much with people who are here and want to understand why their partner is not compliant with consistent change.  I get that to some extent and I try to give hope to them from the other side of the coin.  This blog is for me to ask for hope.

Reading what you have above about asking your spouse what he is thinking - I crave for that kind of dialog.  Melissa mentions below some great things and I understand how difficult it can be to believe that my wife and I don't have much going aside from idle chit chat.  Truth be told I feel like I'm under the firing squad at every turn.  I know she's stressed about money and I'm a week away from my first paycheck in my new position and I can't wait to start taking bills away from her.  But I'm stressed about talking about it because I worry that now she may feel I make enough money to pay for a divorce - hence we don't talk about shared hopes and dreams ( she gets distant in those conversations ).  You talked about how your husband would say the right things and then let you down.  My problem is is I don't see any opening to say much of anything at all and that's why I focus so dang hard on actual change vs. saying change.  I can't talk about it with her, so I just have to show her.

I completely see your husbands side and I soooo have said those things to myself.  And that's just it.  I don't know how to approach her to ask since I worry so much about "overwhelming" her.  That is a huge concern for me.

You mentioned above about my wife's dislike of my not having friends.  True.  I'm glad to be here for my kids.  With school, work and my kids playing select sports, I don't have much time for me.  Guys like to sit around and drink a few beers and if I'm not drinking, most guys I'm around think I'm not having a good time.  I don't exactly advertise that I stopped drinking because when I do I always go to bed thinking negative thoughts.  I will be active this summer and out of the house starting in two more weeks.  I don't talk much about it because sometimes she seems okay with it ( just reading body language ) and sometimes she makes me feel like I'm infringing on her social life if she has to stay home because of the kids.  That last part is unfair of me and will be taken wrong since I can't word it correctly.  To compensate my feelings of guilt, I'm taking the kids with me all day on Sundays and will pack us lunches so that we can maybe make something fun about them having to be stuck with dad while he does his stuff.  This is so that my wife doesn't feel she needs to stop doing her activity that she's been doing for a month or so now - it's not about me remember.

Another direction in thought that confuses me - I've been very selfish.  Life has always been about me.  Since August of last year, without fail, I've completely eliminated that lifestyle.  It's about her and the kids and I come last.  I've not gone backwards, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm making things worse.  I've not made any promises since I don't know what to promise.  I have asked her via email for forgiveness, not for anything in particular, but just to forgive.  I've not spoke of it since as I figure if she wanted to forgive right now she would have said something.

There is still one question being unanswered though........ What made YOU decide to give in enough to want to learn more about ADD and its effect on your marriage?

Maybe I'm just trying to triangulate responses to form my own equasion for my situation or maybe I just need hope that forgiveness is possible.  Probably both........

reply to DF - 05/23/2011

Sorry that I neglected to reply in a timely fashion.  First of all, let me say that I have not encountered anyone that said dealing with this disorder would be easy.  In answer to your first question, We have been married almost 30 years and I can never remember one instance when I didn't care.  I am one of those that takes their marriage vows seriously and promised to be there through thick and thin.  I believe you could ask my husband and he would verify that I have always been there for him.  In some respects I think it scared him because he came from a dysfunctional family where there was not much nurturing or caring.  In answer to your second question, it was when I was hit up the side of the head with his so-called mid-life crisis and reaching rock bottom on so many issues.  We were heading for divorce, his decision much more than mine, but I would be more than willing to try to work things out.  As a result of some medical issues he had he was told that he probably had depression and when he went to the doctor for that was also diagnosed with the ADHD.  


Regarding your comment about yardwork being a negative side of your life and being a form of punishment.  Why then did you purchase a home when you knew darn well that that was going to be one of the responsibilities of homeownership?  Hello!!!!!   That is what aggravates me about my husband.  We have a home that requires general upkeep, yardwork, painting, inside and out, siding that needs to be pressure washed, etc.  I was taught growing up, by watching and learning from my parents, that these were necessary reponsibilities to keep your home in good shape.  He waits until something is at crisis stage before he takes any action.  He also still has the mentality that if something doesn't bother him then it doesn't bother anyone else either.  That is where the "do not care" mode really comes in to play with me.  When he comes across as not caring why don't I have the right to feel the same way.  But he just can't or won't understand that. 

DF's picture

Thank you -

".....When he comes across as not caring why don't I have the right to feel the same way.  But he just can't or won't understand that......"

Another piece to my puzzle fitting in.  I'm going to leave this website, hopefully until tomorrow with good feelings.  I'll most likely be going to bed alone again as usual tonight so I will try hard to stay away.

I remember my wife saying something like your above quote at some point.  I think it was along the lines of me being too lazy or just not caring so why bother now - kind of comment.

To explain some, my house is in a subdivision surrounded by homes that cost $100K+ more than mine.  Our bylaws do not allow us to mow, trim, fertilize or mulch our yards as we have to pay for it out of monthly dues.  So I get out of that.  The flowers and gardening has always been something that my wife has loved to do.  Yesterday evening she went to take a shower, and it was early so I knew she was going out, so I took it upon myself to water all of her flowers and her small garden.  I do feel like I'm taking a joy away from her, but I looked at much of what she has and I don't see the level of care she used to put into them.  It's just another sign that all is not happy in her world and I take it very personally as being my fault and my responsibility to address.

Yes, she isn't handling turning 40 very well, but at some point you have to realize you're not 20 anymore and your birthday was 2 months ago and you're still alive.  I wasn't what she thought I should be in a partner, but I also see that now too and I'm doing something about it.  Everyday is a new day and a new struggle.  It's so much easier when two people can work together.  I would love it if she wanted to go to counseling with me or talk to me about the efforts I'm making to change - if the bother her or don't.  It's getting harder and harder to keep my f###king smiley face on every darn day.  Everyone keeps telling me here to take care of myself, but that is such a monumental effort when all I see everyday is how much I've disappointed the love of my life and she's not the least bit concerned about how much pain that causes me. 

Never mind.  My mood has soured again and I'll be back online tonight after she leaves.  She just called asking about what was going on and I had to remind her of our kids activity this afternoon.  She may not be home in time, but will be there.  That just only reminded me that she's been gone since she woke up this morning and will most likely be gone tonight too.  What am I doing wrong?!!!

For DF

Your wife seems to be "nursing" her anger, not just having trouble recovering from it and I see that as a big issue.  I admit to not having read all of your other posts (have read this entire thread, though) but have the following suggestions:

  1. make sure you have apologized to her (and continue to do so) for the hurt you have caused her.  "I know I can't change the past, and I feel terribly about how much hurt I caused you.  I can change the future and I'm set on doing so."  Avoid getting defensive if she lashes out at you, which she will.
  2. continue to tell her you love might even make some jokes about it (as in "I love you, even if you mad at me!")
  3. keep her in the loop about what you are doing to change how you both interact.  This means some very specific things:
    1. responding to what SHE thinks is important (ASK her about this - don't assume you know)
    2. creating a plan to overcome whatever it is that she is asking you to do
    3. measure your success against the plan (if she asks you to do the dishes at night, as I did my husband, track how often you do it and keep working at revising the plan and support structures you need until you are doing it as often as you promised her!)
    4. keep her in the loop about your progress.  Ask for her input.
  4. leave a copy of my book lying around the house.  She may or may not pick it up, but if she does, it will likely soften her up a bit

Her anger is legitimate HOWEVER after a while it is also completely self defeating for her and for you.  So keeping her in the loop - listening to what she is saying (I can't believe she doesn't say ANYTHING to you), perhaps writing it down so you can remind yourself of her top issues and stay tuned into them without distraction or wavering...consider trying some learning conversations (see my book on this) as a way to fully understand what she's angry about.

My experience is that those who are angry and nursing their hurt are afraid to let go of it - the anger is a protective device to keep them from getting their hopes up and then dashed again.  The best way to fight that is to become consistent enough so that she starts to feel less like she needs that defense AND to ask her what she needs and RESPOND specifically to HER needs (lots of time people who are working on improving ADHD symptoms focus on what they think they need...which may or may not align with their partner's opinions about the topic.)

DF's picture

Please help me -

I'm writing in an effort to try and remember what just went down.

I gathered enough nerve to communicate with my wife. A very risky proposition as it was 9 in the morning and she was still in bed.  I know, I know, but when else was I going to do it?  I was in a dark place and I needed to get out.  I need answers, I need room to forgive myself so I can move forward.

Moving on....

It was productive.  I found out she has not read the emails I've sent to her, not to be mean, she just doesn't check her email very often. 

She's less agitated with me when she tries to be my friend and not my wife.  I asked her if that was perhaps because she associates being my wife with having to do everything in our lives.  She didn't have an answer, but perhaps that's something she can think about in the coming weeks.

Everything she described as having an issue with, in regards to me, are all symptoms of ADD(HD).  Everything.  But she's not seeing it that way.

She mentioned that she likes some of the things I'm doing because they really are thoughtful, but she gets aggitated because she can't get past the "Why Now?".  I "think" I told her because I'm wanting to be more productive going forward.

I asked her why she would cry when I pay her a compliment about her, not what she's wearing.  She said it was because she gets frustraded with me. It's because "Why Now?"

I told her that I have been beating myself up every day since my diagnosis.  I'm trying to find a solution to my frustration and that's what I'm trying to get past.

She said that since I've been on the medication I speak more monitone and I spend more effort in being detailed.  I think that's what YYZ means by realizing he has a voice.  I told her it's because I'm trying to learn how to listen.

I learned she has read up on ADD(HD), but not as it pertains to adults, just as it pertains to our son.  She's still not interested in the adult stuff. 

She didn't invite me to go to a party tonight because she didn't want to worry about weather or not I'd be having a good time because I wouldn't know anyone there.  I learned that she's still holding onto the past - no suprise.

I asked her if I bought a book if she would read it ( Melissa's book ) and she said no.  She's still not letting go of the past.

She said that when she got looked into for anxiety a long long time back, the doctors told her they thought I might have ADD(HD).  She said we talked about it.  I told her I can't remember that.  I feel terrible about that.  But it provided some valuable insight for me.  So many of you non-ADD(HD) spouses are here looking for solutions to get your spouse to acknowledge their condition and improve themselves.  It seems I was that same person once, unknown to me at this time.  My wife did not persue it, she hardened her heart against me.  I don't like where I'm at and it gave me the insight to find my own solutions to me.  That's what I needed and that's what it took.  The end result though, is that my wife heart is so hardened that even though she doesn't hate me, she can't find me in her.  What I mean is that I'm in her mind and not her heart.  It's a horrible place to be, but we work with what we have I guess. 

My wife is holding onto the past.  I don't know what to do, but I am out of my dark place for now.  I have regained some of my lost strength in order to continue my progress.  We talked and she did not cry or get angry.  It was nice to be able to just talk.  I know there's more, but I just can't remember.  I tried so hard not to repeat myself and not force on her that everything she described about me that she's upset about are symptoms of ADD(HD) in adults.  She said I can't use that as a crutch.  Damn it!  I can't explain it because she just doesn't want to try and understand.  I feel like I'm still viewed as the dependant needy child she's dealt with for so long.

So I ask, no I'm pleading with the non-ADD(HD) spouses.  I know you've read this blog and some of you have answered me, but there is still one question, something I need so desperatly to hear......

How long did it take for you to get over the frustration just enough to open your heart and care to read up on adult ADD(HD)?  What was it that softened your heart after so many years of hurt?  When/Why did you start to care again?

I need you.  Please help me.  I hate going to bed alone.  I hate haveing ADD.  I hate hurting.......

I am much easier, I

I am much easier, I suppose...I am the eternal optimist and give in and keep on trying with very little effort on his part. He's given me very many reasons to have ZERO hope that things will ever change for any significant amount of time, yet I am still stupidly begging for any morsel of a sign that he's willing to change, to try, to engage and be a part of our marriage.

He finally did it today...he used his "I have ADHD, you need to just accept me for who I am" (although not in those words) and he said it through angry, clinched teeth...when I tried to reach out to him and open up the lines of communication.

Your wife may have been hurt. She may have MANY reasons not to trust you...but I sit here jealous as hell of her that she has someone literally begging for another chance, and doing the necessary things to prove he is deserving of another chance (FOR MONTHS!!!), and she's shutting you down. I would be the happiest woman alive.

DF...the only advice I can give you buddy is to keep trying. Be true to who you want to be, for you. I pray your wife comes along with you. You're doing a great job and I am very proud of you for being able to open up to her and at least say a few things she needs to hear. (yes, you screwed up, but you're trying differently're trying to learn to listen, etc). Hang in matter what the end result, you have to do what feels right to you right now. I pray, eventually, she'll learn to trust you again.

I understand...

It's been two years for me and I am not sure what is going to be our final outcome. We sleep in the same bed, but at a distance... Life runs interference for us, so we don't have to deal with our issues. I'm super busy at work, so is she, super busy at home, weekends are a never ending series of "gotta get dones", we never go out and when we do it usually ends with how we don't relate, or that I can't find her attractive, or I won't admit the real reason that I'm not over-weight anymore. I keep working on trying to listen, trying to do the right things, not react badly when she is angry at me. I felt that she was trying to push me away, because she knew that is what I really wanted... I was so sick inside two weeks ago that I started a dialog, through text at first, asking her what was wrong, was there something weighing on her mind, telling her what I was feeling. I told her that I felt we needed counseling, as we could not work out some of these issues. She agreed to the idea of seeing her counselor, again, we saw her right after my diagnosis for one session. No follow through yet. I am glad she opened up a little, but the longer we stay in this stagnant place, the more down I get. I wish I had an answer for you, but I am in neutral and don't really know how to push through all of this. I hope things begin to improve for you and there is a lot of supporters of you here on this site. Keep up the good work...


YYZ, I hate to hear all of

YYZ, I hate to hear all of this. I don't know your wife's specifics, but I do know that one thing that always hits home for me in your posts is that she's just probably needing a lot of reassurances. Not just when she's down and asking for them, but when she leasts expects them. I don't 'get' the issue with her and your weight loss. I'm a little on the chubby side and my husband is tall and thin. His body size has never been a threat to me at all. I think we all know this is more about how she feels about herself. I know you're trying, and I don't mean to place the 'burden' on you, but maybe you could amp it up a little with the compliments...with the reassurances. Get her a card and tell her how much you love your beautiful wife. I have always heard that a compliment a day is very healthy and helps your spouse feel good about themselves. Maybe it isn't something that will help, I don't know. But it is worth a shot. I think you're right..she's preparing herself emotionally for your leaving. You need to (without words, PURELY WITH ACTIONS) prove to her that you're not. Make plans for you two to go out...and refuse to let the conversation go 'negative'. If it starts just say "I love you very much...let's have a nice evening and have some positive conversation..let's save that 'negative' stuff for later, if you'd like". I know how my husband is..he's not one to 'fight' for me. He has been 'reassuring' at times in our marriage, but for the most part I am expected to 'be strong' 'suck it up' and just not need anything emotionally that he cannot give. (which is mostly anything). It may require you stepping out of your comfort zone, but you need to 'fight' for need to make her FEEL that you're not going anywhere..and that she's the most beautiful person in your world.

Thanks Sherri

My wife is definitely "The Worrier" and "The Pleaser" and sets unbelievable standards for herself. Most of these worries were in keeping family members happy and doing what she thinks they need and puts a lot of pressure on herself to handle things the way they were not handled when she was a child. We have had no example of family members staying married in their first attempt and most had affairs involved. We have always struggled with our weight from the beginning. I know she had one thing she never had to worry about and that was me. I was as predictable as anyone, I was not going anywhere and she did not believe that another woman would catch my eye. The modern world says differently, our families history says differently, her unknowingly dim, co-workers who know both me and my wife make jokes about "The only reason why a guy loses weight is because...". My wife always feared being a couple that was not proportionate to each other. I don't think this is the case. I'm not gaunt, like she says, I'm 5'-11" at 185 lbs, pretty much medium sized I'd say. They make these jokes because my wife projects confidence and a marriage built on solid granite. I know her insecurities and compliment her regularly. I think a lot of the issue is all the other stresses in her life add to her inability to drop "The shields". My wife has self-defense mechanisms in place that don't allow much opportunity to stop the nice evening from going bad. I don't react angrily, trying counter with my opinion and stay out of fight mode. It just makes me completely depressed that we have a couple of hours together and have a nice time, then the last 10 minutes ruin everything.  Believe me... I am way out of my comfort zone asking for couples therapy, striking up conversations about how I feel she is trying to write our inevitable marital outcome. Thank goodness that went well. She says does not want a divorce and says she will go to another therapy session with me.

We go on vacation soon, to a nice beach with the kids, and I am REALLY hoping that by separating ourselves from all the daily BS, we can reconnect. She doesn't believe me when I tell her if things did not work out with us I would never get married again. She is it for me... If I fail with my DW, I know I'm not meant to be married. Simple but true. I think like what DF has said earlier, that some of my new ways of communicating come as, oh sure why now?!?, and come across with some sense of what is the ulterior motive? I will keep on working on these issues. Thanks for your thoughts, I always appreciate your perspective from the other side of things I am still learning to understand. 


I can only hope ....

I am the non ADD spouse. Been married to my ADD husband for just a little over 15 years. The last 15 years have been really tough for us. He was diagnosed with ADD about 3 years ago, and though he is on medication, he has not fully accepted his ADD.  Our marriage has been out of control from the very beginning and honestly it has not stop. I read your comment and was just amazed by your patient and willingness to make your marriage work.  I can only hope that my husband will someday be the same. He is the typical ADD spouse, he will not even consider anything other then "what he is used to" (his words).  We fight all the time, mainly I feel such a sense of rejection.  I do everything for the family (cook, clean, run the kids around, and work part time). I've given up so much my so that I can tend to the family's needs, but never once am I appreciated. Never once a "thank you", never once a "I love you", never once a "you did a great job". If he ever says it, it is done as a joke and hurts terribly.  When I bring up the fact that I feel rejected, he gets verbally abusive and emotionally abusive.  He would lock me out of our bedroom or give me the cold shoulder for weeks and completely blow me off when I am talking to him.  There has been times that he would get in my face and scream down at me and on occasions he would throw me around or throw things at me.  He has beaten me up physically and emotionally more times then I can count. I just put on my happy face and go on my business of taking care of the children. There was a time when he actually took some advice from Melissa Orlov's book and things worked great, but then he stop trying and things went to hell, again. I have lost everything I like about myself and feel like a an empty shell. I have begged him to take some of the advice from Melissa's book, and he tries for a while, but then jokingly says that "its too much work". I'm not sure what this means. We've tried counseling but our last counselor says that he is not ready to make any changes and I can't control him.  Our counselor suggested to me to leave the marriage. I don't want to, but I am not sure if I have any other options at this point. Any suggestions would be helpful.

DF's picture

I appreciate your input....

First off - I am very saddened to read your story.  I have asked for help and you are here asking for my side.  I've been through a lot of posts that describe ADD(HD) spouses like yours.  I'm thankful that I'm not that far over on the ADD(HD) spectrum to be at that end where your spouse resides.  Then again, maybe it's because I've not seen nor heard from my father since I was 3 and I was raised by my mother and older sister.  I hold a higher level of respect for women in general.

You are in a tough spot.  It can't be good when the therapist tells you to get out.  There will be those here in the forum that will tell you to leave and I just can't do it.  I don't like what I read about your spouse.  I don't like being associated with him by default of my condition.  By that, I mean that if we were to meet on the street and you thought I was a nice person, your perception of me would change dramaticaly if I told you I had ADD(HD) because you would associate what you know in your own life.

With that said I can't tell you you should leave him.  I don't believe any man should physicaly harm his wife or call her names or be mean in general.  But I can't suggest you leave him.  If I did that for anyone here I would have to question what makes me so much better than those other spouses with ADD(HD) and why shouldn't my wife leave me?  I have to hold on and believe no matter how hard it is and with my crazy view on reality - it's damn hard sometimes.

There's one more thing I read in your post - you're here because you want to believe too.

The other day I came to realize that even though I'm asking about the anger of the non-ADD(HD) spouse, I can honestly say that the anger never goes away for those of us with ADD(HD).  We all just express it differently.  My anger is more heated since my diagnosis, but I feel that's because I accept full responsibility for my past.  My wife didn't marry me because I have ADD(HD) so why should I accept that she should deal with it.  NO!!  Your husband seems to think that knowing he has ADD(HD) means he's accepting it and that's a common fault I'm seeing in these forums with a lot of us.

I'm also seeing that there are ADD(HD) spouses that are angry at what they perceive as how they are being treated and they say stuff like "I don't need you so I'm leaving" ->  That's not right.  That's how I acted when I was dating years ago.  I was never good with expressing emotions so it's how I dealt with things.  I shut down, closed up shop on those that care about me.  I can't do that anymore, but I know it will be a struggle.  I've done that all my life and it's hard to function in daily life, be aware of myself at all times, and deal with the constant resentment emanating from the one person I love the most.

For me I reacted that way because I was angry about other things.  I was always angry about feeling like an inept provider.  I'm reading from non-ADD(HD) spouses and I'm seeing a lot of ADD(HD) spouses that are being affected by forces external to their marriage.  An abusive spouse is one that is not happy with themselves and they lash out in an effort to feel superior and therefore better ( just a theory ).  It's wrong, but it takes an adult to grow up enough to meet the challenge head on and stare it in the eye.  I'm still learning how to stand  in the fires of my wife's resentment and it's just as hard to burn in my own self loathing for the position I put her in.

If there's anything I've ever known as truth in life it's that every turd has a rainbow.  Each turd may get more turd piled up on top, but that just means the rainbow will be brighter and stronger when it chooses to shine.  Basically, no matter how bad something gets, something 2x as good comes out in the end.  It could be your spouse, it could be you, but the rainbow will always come out in the end.  I personally believe I'm the rainbow, but all my wife sees is a turd.  I'm working on that because it's time I grew up,  I can't say I know what it takes for an abusive person to grow up, so perhaps you should work on being your own rainbow.  You just need to shine bright enough for YOU to see it and then you can see some of the answers you seek.......?

Your words rang true and has given me hope

DF and YYZ

I have just finished reading this entire post. There is a lot of great advice and insight from both of you and the other posters. One of the things you wrote had an impact on me and has pushed me to ask you if you could try to explain your thinking process on the following, specifically why you would shut down and close up shop:


  • I'm also seeing that there are ADD(HD) spouses that are angry at what they perceive as how they are being treated and they say stuff like "I don't need you so I'm leaving" ->  That's not right.  That's how I acted when I was dating years ago.  I was never good with expressing emotions so it's how I dealt with things.  I shut down, closed up shop on those that care about me.  I can't do that anymore, but I know it will be a struggle.  I've done that all my life and it's hard to function in daily life, be aware of myself at all times, and deal with the constant resentment emanating from the one person I love the most.

The reason I am asking is that I have been involved in a long distance relationship for 6 years with a man that has ADHD. He can be the most loving person I have ever met and then suddenly he just falls off the face of the earth for days, weeks or months with no advance notice. He doesn't respond to text messages, phone calls or emails and this is so hurtful and confusing to me. When he does surface again, he thanks me profusely for not walking away and is thankful that I continue to believe in him.

This site has helped me so much in my quest to understand him and ADHD but I still have a long way to go and I hope with the help of the people on here my relationship can only get stronger and better.

Thank you for any insight you may be able to provide


summerwine's picture

Out of sight out of mind. And

Out of sight out of mind. And lots of people with ADHD have a hard time on the phone or writing emails. I don't check my voicemail as often as I should and the next thing I know it's been 2 weeks. Days go by so fast and theres so much to do that little stuff gets lost. Like calling someone back or writing a email or whatever. It's like, where did Wednesday go and how it is Monday again???

DF's picture

Summer sums it up best for me

Sass -

I always read what I said before someone's reply so I can try to recapture my train of thought.  You posted on something I said a long time ago and the thing that stood out to me was that last paragraph.  I guess I needed a laugh because my rambling about turds is killing me.......

I don't know that I have an answer to your question.  Summer sums it up very well and the truth of the matter is as simple as out of sight, out of mind.  I think that in many cases, mine included, it's not that we don't care, it's more like we don't always see the importance of things the same as others.  There was another person here in the forums that thought very little of assisting with tree decorating at the holiday's.  It wasn't that making her family happy wasn't important to her, it seemed to me as though she believed she was making her family happy by being a good provider and that holiday's happen every year ( I could be wrong on that, it's only my side).  Through working with her spouse she learned that it was important that she be a part of that even if it doesn't seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things.  For me personally, I treat every one of them as though it's something special and I try to make each one better than the last since for a while there I was veeerrrryyyy close to not having anymore as a family.  May still be that way, but not nearly as bad as this time last year.


You're asking about my "shutting down".  I don't know where your point of reference is so I'll try to address as best I can.  I recall my first love Lupe.  She was nobody special accept that I hit 12-13 and my hormones zeroed in on her.  I don't say that to be rude, just pointing out the reality of the situation that it was.  I was head over heels for her and after a time it didn't work out and she found someone else.  I gave her all of my heart, perhaps obsessively, and it was shattered not long after.  I was depressed for weeks on end.  I mention this because I still recall how determined I was to never let a woman do that to me again.

This was during the action 80's when movies showed guys that were strong always got the hot girls and she loved him unconditionally even though he gave her none of that "lovey-dovey" stuff.  I had no father of my own so insert Swartzeneger and Stallone.  As relationships came and went, I refused to offer my heart because I didn't want girls/women to see that I really did hurt.  So as the women would leave, so ended another chapter in my life, no loss to me - shut down.  After a while people need to be reminded that they matter and I wasn't very good at providing that.  I also think I was a bit stand-offish in that I didn't want to be perceived as desperate either.  I think that has something to do with my track record of dating head strong individuals.  I was a tough nut to crack and I wasn't giving anyone room to figure me out.  I didn't want anyone breaching my heart and it took a tough gal to get in there and man it hurt when they left. I always felt it was because they saw me as a fraud. Maybe they did, I don't know. 

Thing is, none of those 2-3 month whirlwind relationships mattered until Mrs. Stone ( as I affectionately called her ) in my earlier college years.  Her last name meant something like Stonebreaker and that's why I called her that.  Most people called her something a bit more playful to go with her fun nature, but I chose to refer to her in my way.  It was the first time a relationship lasted longer than 3 months much less a year for me.  When she left I went into shut down over drive.  What's the point in chasing after someone?  Who wants a needy 'man' pleading for returned calls? 

I'm rambling on and on again.......

Basicly, shutting down for me was a coping mechanism for me when someone got too close.  Much of it was fear on my part, the fear of that unrelenting depression that Lupe gave me, or the fear that I would find that I was the reason you left me such as with Mrs. Stone.  There was the added fear of not knowing how to act towards a woman.  I didn't have a father and I never saw what a husband does to show affection to his wife.  I had Stallone.  Hell of a role model that guy turned out to be for me ( sarcasm ).  I can't say that's the same for everyone with ADD(HD), but for me I'm pretty certain it was a fear based coping mechanism.

The difference in my life today is my wife.  Simply put, I love her.  I wasn't the best I could be for her and now I have no choice but to learn how to do that on the fly, one day at a time.  Through my wife's anger towards me I have learned to really look at myself.  I was unhappy too and so much of it came from my poor habits.  My wife taught me that shutting down in love or in anger in hopes that the situation resolves itself is far more unattractive than putting yourself out there and being there for someone you love. 

I hope I shed some light on what I meant by shutting down.  As for the rest of the paragraph it's the way things are right now for the most part.  I have to develop routines in order to create new habits so that I don't have to worry about forgetting things ( which I still do, grrr ).  I don't know where your relationship is, but mine gave me pause to try and learn how to be something better.  I'm forgetful as all heck so I work every day to keep trying.  The fact that my wife didn't serve me those papers yet means I've been given a chance - or so I like to think.  I work everyday on not shutting down my heart, expecting her to trash it someday.  I've always felt I had more to offer in my relationships and I got a pretty good wake up call to start proving that.  Long distance relationships are tough.  My heart goes out to you. 


Thanks for the reply

Thank you for the reply. It has given me some things to think about. I’m happy to hear that your relationship is getting better, maybe not at the pace you were hoping for but at least it is moving in the right direction.

I thought I would give you a little background on what just happened with the 2 of us. We usually communicate by text message throughout the day or we webcam in the evenings and just sit and talk about our days. It’s the next best thing to being there!

We recently were able to spend more time together than we have ever been able to in the past 6 years. My guy has been unemployed for 2 years (darn recession) and just recently got approved for disability. Because of this we were able to spend 5 weeks together. We both had a fantastic time, we got along great, we had good conversations about our future, and when I left to come home he sent a text to tell me he loved me and missed me. Then nothing … No replies to my text messages or emails. After a few days of no contact I sent a text to ask what was going on. He replied that I am controlling, pushy and I take advantage of him – this was a complete shock and came out of nowhere for me. I have been his cheerleader for 6 years now and it hurt to hear him say these things about me. Is this the coping mechanism you referred to if someone is getting too close? He has disappeared in the past but has never said these hurtful things to me – is this how he truly feels about me? He just spent weeks with me and told me this was the best time of his life and how much he loves me and made plans for our future and now he tells me I’m controlling, pushy and I take advantage of him? What’s up with that? I’m really trying to understand where he is coming from because I love him. I have been sending him text messages on a regular basis just telling him about my day to day activities or just to say that I miss him and love him and hope he had a good day. I don’t know if this is the right thing to do or do I just leave him alone for while? Any suggestions?

What exactly was your "wake up call"? Was it your diagnosis? My guy was diagnosed in his early 30's, he is in his late 40's now. He has had several unsuccessful relationships. He did live with 3 of the women so it seems he doesn't have a commitment issue. He has told me that ADHD was the reason none of the relationships worked out (the diagnosis was confirmed during the 3rd relationship).

Thank you for your time


DF's picture

My wake up call?

My wake up call was my wife shutting down completely.  No talking, no email, no texting and she wouldn't even look at me ( for many months ).  One minute she's there and the next it didn't matter if I dropped off the face of the earth.  There were warning signs that led up to this that I didn't take care to pay attention too.  I didn't know what to do for a long time, I still don't I guess, and I stumbled around a lot trying to get her to notice.  Many sleepless nights ensued as any efforts I made to express my feelings were constantly shoved to the side.  At one time I tried to do something nice for her and I stumbled across the legal papers regarding the dissolution of our marriage.  I didn't react with anger and I didn't throw my feelings at her.  I just appologized that I was trying my best and it wasn't enough.  That was New Years Day.

I helped fill out a form for my oldest son and I saw that many of the questions applied to me.  I started to see more clearly that I had a problem.  It was by chance that I stumbled upon this website.  It's rather suprising that there's really only one website that addresses ADD(HD) and how it affects human nature in relationships the way this site does.  I read my own story in many posts here and went for diagnosis.  I was a confirmed ADD ( not HD ) candidate in April of this year at the age of 37.

As for your partner....... I'm no expert, but sounds like things got serious for him?  I never said anything like that to my wife that I'm aware of.  For me, when things got real, that's when I would push back.  There are times that when I would argue there was an underlying issue at play that gives an ADD(HD) person pause to take a step back or force a step forward.  I had my own issues with not believing I was a good provider and it contributed to a lot of my pushing back.  What I should have done was talk about it, but I was afraid.  I could see that the subject of finances caused my wife a lot of stress and I hated to see her hurting.  I blamed myself and I got upset when she couldn't see that.  I expected her to just 'know' and would get frustrated that she didn't.  There's a communication break down in my relationship and always has been.  I'm working on that.

You're asking good questions about your spouse, ones I'm sure my wife was asking too.  Perhaps your partner needs to be asking himself those very same questions.  You can't tell him to do the thinking, he has to want to.  Many people here are still waiting for their spouse to answer those questions, but there doesn't appear to be a way to make it happen if they don't want it too.

Marriage and ADD Spouse

My husband is a wonderful man...with ADD and chronic depression that was diagnosed..basically after I diagnosed it.  We got married when he was 59, and after one year I knew something was terribly wrong. I kept after him, and he finally went and got tested by a Neuroscientist who confirmed it. What I'm seeing in all these comments is the same thing from both sides...lack of being understood, and the feeling of being alone.  People with ADD think differently,  sometimes completely detached emotionally, and other times acting out.  With my husband, I found that he was actually not putting together everything that I was saying..he was missing about every third or forth word; thinking he understood what I meant. ( His anxiety and depression).To say in the least, he made a mess out of many simple tasks.  What is scary, his PA can't get him to control his diabetes; to take his meds on time.  He blames this on his ADD..I say no. It's his behavior. So does his PA.

There are times I think--I didn't sign up for this!  This isn't what I wanted..this isn't what I call an equal relationship.  I'm doing all the giving, and he is doing all the taking.  When do I get someone to take care of me? Be there for me?

I see the same feelings expressed in many of the comments here. What I also see are the spouses emotionally detaching.  Living in the room upstairs, avoiding them, etc. That doesn't solve the problem.  The problem is ...the wife/husband has a mental disorder, and it needs to be addressed professionally.

When someone is diagnosed with ADD, they need professional help, counseling, and to be taught to be responsible adults. It should be a mandatory part of the treatment, and on-going. Dispensing medication doesn't even come close to resolving the problem. And, let's face it--spouses do not have the education to do this.

As for myself; I've been in the medical field for close to thirty years, in Ops Management in many different disciplines.  I understand a great deal about ADD, but I don't have the education to make it easier for him, or me. As well as the other spouses on here.  It is apparent to me that there really needs to be a much more effective treatment protocol.





DF's picture

Still here, still waiting for answers

I'm keeping this blog active until I can get answers.  They most likely will not be answers that fit my scenario, but I'm looking for hope.  I think I'm losing it faster than I think I'm gaining.  Words of encouragement from all of you, as much as I love it, wears off when I see the look in my wife's eyes.

I'm writing because I confronted her again in dialog and she was just getting into bed as opposed to just getting up.  I chose this moments because I knew she would not leave me to go to bed alone if she were getting into bed.  Of course, now I'm in the living room online and she's in bed "detoxing" from me.  That is my design.  It's bad enough I corner her, she shouldn't have to sit there with me with emotions on the table.


Today we took the kids to the pool.  Her good friend came along and I'm glad she did.  I don't have a good history with pools - low self esteem.  Seeing as how I'm trying to work on this, I chose to make today seem like I was not bothered at all.  I should be happy that at almost 40 years old I have 4 out of 6 ab muscles and a pretty well defined chest.  I should be happy, but what I always thought was vanity, was low self-esteem.  Craptastic!  So her friend was there and I was glad to see her.  My wife seemed distant with me as usual so I spent the whole day running about with the kids and just keeping them busy so she could visit.  I like doing that for her.

We then went to another friends home for dinner and I looked upon this as a time for me to display my desire to change.  Something I left out from the other day's post about our discussion - my wife said I corner people in conversation and don't let them go.  She said I also say things that are from way out in left field and people don't know what to say.  All I can say is that I was stunned.  I had no idea.  The cornering - yes, but the way out stuff?  This brought my house down.  In past posts I had talked about being adept in social situations - I feel like such a liar.  Anyway - so we're at the friends house and I was careful to not stay in one place for more than 5 minutes and to also give my wife distance.  This was the second time in 1 month we've been at this persons house and my wife ignores me and looks pissed off.  The host even asked me if she was mad about something. 


I "cornerd" my wife tonight and I told her that I have a long history of shutting down and waiting for her to speak to me for me to know things are okay.  I told her I don't want to ever do that anymore.  I asked her if she didn't want me to go to this persons house with her anymore.  Understandably she did not know what I meant so I told her it was because she seems angry the last 2 times I was with her there and every time I made eye contact with her I only saw resentment.

Two things happened.  She reaffirmed with me she's in a bad place right now and I felt the entire conversation as though I was being needy.  She also reaffirmed that she's having trouble getting over my past "issues" - which I will add were unknown to me pre-diagnosis.  I ended the conversation when I felt as though it would drag on.  I told her I hoped that she could find it in her to forgive me and let go of the past and then told her I loved her and goodnight.

With that said.......

I appreciate YYZ and Sherri and the invaluable input they have given me.  In YYZ I practicly see a mirror.  In Sherri I have a "love / hate" thing going.  Sorry Sherri it's true.  You have such an amazing grasp on a reality I don't see until it slaps me or you tell me, but in you I see 'Atlas'.  To have the strength you have I feel I can't keep up and I'm trying so hard.  I'm not like your husband from what I've read from you, I'm very tame and mild, but I envy your strength.

For the rest of you.  I still need to hear from you.  I have ADD.  I have read a lot from so many of you.  But what I read is of women with the mega-strength to let go of the past.  My wife will not let go and I don't know what to do.  I'm begging for insight!  You can tell me time heals all wounds and I'll cry BULLS**T!  That's the easy way out.  Hard for those of us trying to accept and conqor this ADD(HD) daemon, but the easy answer for the non-add spouses.....

I've read your posts.  Something happened.  Something, a conversation, an event, something in all that time you were/are angry and resentful changed.  You stopped holding onto the resentment and found it in you to look into ADD(HD) and try to understand and to heal.  What was it for you?  Please talk to me.  I believe I will never forgive myself for not knowing about my condition sooner if my wife can't heal.  I hate the person I've been.  Having clarity only makes thinking of my past hurt every damn day when I realize I'm alone in my battle fix me.  Losing my wife's love is what got through to me and my outward love for her doesn't seem to be getting through to her.


Ellamenno here... my DD woke me up a bit ago because she was itchy and now i can't get back to sleep...

DF just READING your posts frustrates me so I can't imagine what it's like to live the way you have been for so long.  I have NO IDEA why your wife is still holding such anger after a year.  My husband is also holding onto some of his 'reaction' behavior, but we are communicating.  It is frustrating to know that after the diagnosis and some big changes he still can't trust that i'm making a permanant change... but it's only been a few months for me.

I'm sorry I can't give you any insight - since i'm the one in my relationship with ADHD, i'm just as perplexed as you are with your situation.  Maybe you need to be more aggressive with your questions with her?  The fact that you can't talk to her regularly is just not fair.  you seem to be stuck in this servant-mode and it's making you feel smaller and smaller.  I know you're afraid to confront her, but what else can you do but demand to know what's going on???

I was lousy in social situations too:  talking too much, not knowing when someone got bored/uncomfortable with my rambling.... over-sharing, interrupting...  this has gotten much better with the meds.  Maybe you need a different medication?  I'm grasping at straws here DF.  I'm just as confused as you are right now.

Hang in there!  Lot of  hugs!


I am pulling out of my self imposed lurker mode to add my comments as you requested (you are, after all, a "dear friend" DF) What brought the anger and resentment down to manageable levels (for I am not sure sometimes it is completely away, as the behaviors still continue plus I'm human and have ongoing conflicted feelings!!)? If you ask my spouse, he would probably (and has) comment(ed) during his less brilliant moments it was because he decided he would "not take it any more" and started acting for himself. In actuality, that meant suddenly having alcoholic benders, horribly verbally/physical abusive episodes, and not coming home at night. For me, it came with the diagnosis and my reading about this disorder. I have come a long way in trying to "get it". Unfortunately, my husband is still struggling with accepting how adhd plays a role in our marriage. I can't, I realize, force him to before he is ready and neither can you with your wife. It sucks, because the desire to change (and change NOW) is so present, feels so within reach. If. Only.... But it is a slow process. So in the meantime, if you want to stay "sane" and on yourself. Find your places of support. Do not be afraid to talk to your wife and refuse the eggshell game- as if it was not even there. Speak pleasantly and with the love you feel for your wife but do what you need to feel good for you (as long as it is healthy!). Work on your adhd symptoms to help YOU. Reminders, alarms, calendars. Also, take note throughout the day (perhaps witha periodic alarm as reminder)... whether you are on target with what you need to accomplish for the day. I also have to ask, and in no way do I mean this critical (especially to you, DF, you are too tough on yourself as it is!) much time do you really spend talking to your wife? I know you spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about her, and her needs and feelings... But how much fime is really spent just shooting the breeze, going food shopping w her, hanging with her and the kids? Setting the table if and when she cooks the meal (or vice versa)? Sometimes its not so much about saying the "right thing" as it could be just being there in a positive and nonjudgemental way...sending big hugs dear I go back into hiding for a bit..hang in there.. I am trying to as well!! :)
DF's picture

My reality is a bit distorted

Lulu and Elle - I will do what I can as I have found that my reality is distorted.  Today I'm reading your replies and I'm not down or depressed.  I started my team sport event last night and had a great time and it's nice to know my 38 yr old body can still hang and not feel sore the next day.  Even though my wife had mentioned a few months back that I look thin and sickly, I'm not seeing it.  5'10' 150-155, I'm not pushing my belt line anymore.  I feel good so whatever - I'm off the reservation.

Elle had great insight for me.  She brought up the section of social situations.  That touched a nerve with me because that is me.  I will not let it bring me down today, but it will at some point this week.  I thought I had a grip on recognizing my symptoms and yet again I'm the fool.  I am growing weary of my lack of understanding.

As for the meds, Adderall XR works just fine for me.  I almost never drink coffee anymore and I stopped drinking a while back when the sad thoughts crept into my mind and made going to sleep impossible.  I keep saying/ thinking that I'm on the mild end of the ADD(HD) spectrum, I'm not sure anymore.  All I have to base it on is what I read from others here in the forums.  I do not stay out late, I spend more time with the kids than my wife ( as of late ),  I have never called my wife a name ( respect has always been huge with me ), I have never ever been violent with my wife.  I need focus and calm so I think the Adderall is fine for now since it provides both. 

From what I know of my symptoms, I am forgetful, I have low self esteem, I have raging anxiety ( amusing still since I had no idea what that was ), I'm a bit of a Chatty Kathy in social situations especially when I shouldn't be, I have severe issues with shutting down, I can't manage bills even though they are due on the same day each month.  When I cook dinner I have a severe lack of imagination ( frustrating for me ).  I have issues expressing "feelings" and communication and have kept distant with my wife for a very long time.  I was always in a grumpy mood and completely exhausted mentally everyday which is why I snapped at my wife.  I never showed an interest in helping with the daily bills.  - I'm sure there's more, but I still need to be told sometimes.

My wife got used to me being a certain way and I really do understand what she means by having hardened her heart and got used to taking care of herself.  I also understand that it must be massively frustrating that all of a sudden, on day, I come out and I'm "different".  I'm doing things that I should have been doing for the duration of our marriage.  I understand that that can be very hard on someone who tried so hard to make me a part of her life.  It has to be extremely frustrating for her.  It also has to be hard on her to learn to give again if I'm still doing some things that are ADD(HD) related that I'm not seeing. 

Am I in master-servant mode?  Yes.  It's not the best alternative parent-child, but for now it's all I know.  I build on things where I see them, such as developing routines for helping around the house.  I have spoken more to my wife in the past week about my feelings and hers, than I  ever have.  I know I have to be a good person and I'm pretty sure I know how she feels about me.  I know that she will not tell me she loves me, but I think that might be because her heart hasn't softened enough.  I love this woman very much and my servant mode comes from my realizing recently just how often I failed to tell or show her for years.

The fact that we're still together is a testament to her dedication to her children and "family" in general.  I don't think she wants to leave me so much anymore, but she's not ready to forgive.  For a guy, we can just have sex and we're all okay.  I believe a woman is much more complex and should be treated with care and understanding.  I'm just learning what that means so I know it will take time on my part.  I will continue to try and talk more with my wife and not just about feelings and the weather.  I just don't know what that is right now since it seems like anything I take interest in that she likes, she tends to make me feel like I'm infringing myself on her life.  I'll work on that.

Thank you for your input.  As I mentioned before, I love this woman very much.  What seems as frustrating for some of you is very much so for me, but you are only seeing my side and I'm still trying to learn how to see her side.

Paying Bills

We have set up ALL of our bills on automatic drafts OR online bill pay with our bank.  Can you do this to help you get those bills paid that are due the same day each month?  Most utility companies will set up auto drafts.  Even our pest control company will auto-draft our payment after they come to do our service.  (They actually required this after we were on COD for a year because I kept forgetting to pay them! It used to be the only bill I had to actually write a check for...)  For bills that can't be set up that way, we will now set up an automatic bill payment with our bank--we just enter the payee, amount and the address, and the bank sends out a check on whatever date I schedule it.  I even pay for our daughter's piano lessons this way!  I do much better with a boring and tedious task like paying bills (which also requires those pesky filing, sorting and organizing skills!) if I can sit down every few months and "hyper-focus" on it for an hour or so rather than remembering to pay bills regularly.  For bills where the amount changes each month (credit cards), we can set up "reminders" with our bank's bill-pay system that will send an email to tell us to pay it.  I LOVE online banking!  I have so much peace of mind knowing that bills are getting paid and I don't even have to think about it or worry about getting behind when life gets busy.

DF, you should try this!  There are almost NO bills that we pay directly by check anymore.  Even if it is a one-time bill such as paying off a doctor bill after insurance claims have been processed, I will often still have the bank send the check as an "automatic bill payment" vs. mailing a check myself.  It's just easier!

DF's picture

Wow - you just mule kicked that can of worms

AW - Oh my!  Automatic bill pay?!  Hell no!  Can't do it to save my life.  Nope!  Not happening!  No way!  I work in IT and deal with security everyday so I'm not too paranoid or anything, but up until 2 weeks ago I had to keep track of my hours.

I'm salary now so I get the same pay regardless of hours worked which is nice, but with all the hours I work I never knew how much I was going to take home every two weeks.  Utilities?  I JUST started paying on them this month and if there's anything I can't do it's automatic withdrawl.  The bill is not the same each month and if it changes by $50 one month I'm screwed. 

The best that I do I make my payments online when it's time, but never ever set up automatic withdrawls.  I have to because I'm always robbing Peter to pay Paul.  I'm trying to change that.  I'm already behind again on the new salary, but that's because my wife was doing the same and I'm trying to catch us back up AND pay for the kids summer activities.  I'm still check to check until I can get this under control.

Ha Ha! Sorry.

Yeah, if you are living paycheck to paycheck there is no way you can do automatic payments.  Sorry about that because it really does help.  Maybe one day you can get to that point.  Online payments are good too, though.  For some reason, that's a lot easier than writing a check.  There are too many possibilities for distraction for me before the check gets into an envelope with a stamp and to the mailbox! Ha.  Paying over the phone is pretty easy too.

Also, I wanted to comment about the social skills.  I have the same problem, although I used to think I was really GREAT with people!  But the reality is that I have no close friends.  I have read books and tried to really stop and figure out what I am doing wrong.  I am not sure of it all, but I definitely think I talk WAY too much and interrupt a lot.  I also have to "personalize" every conversation so that I tell my own story or example about the topic at hand.  I'm sure I miss cues and signals too.  I definitely corner people.  I can be at a party with 30 people and talk to one person all night.  It's fine with ME, but probably miserable for them, not to mention all the other people I could (should?) be talking to.  I try not do these things and sometimes I do better than others, but because I am trying, it makes me anxious, which makes me behave awkwardly.  

I actually think I used to BE better with people before I developed anxiety in social situations and became so self-conscious.  When I was younger, I think my unrestrained talking really did put other people at ease and help them feel comfortable.  But over time, I would often "over-share" and then feel really awkward afterward.  Maybe I had always done that, but I finally began to realize it, which created the anxiety.  At first I was anxious AFTER a social event, but now I get anxious BEFORE...(I'm usually okay during)...and then I'm anxious again AFTER when I re-live the event in my mind and worry over whether I talked too much, over-shared, interrupted or committed some other social faux-pas.

I really wish ADD did not have to be so HARD in SO MANY different ways.  It stinks.

Embrace the Bill Pay :)

I only have auto-draft Bill pay on my car payments. I use my bank website for other recurring bills and other payments. I set them up when they come in the mail, so they don't get misplaced or forgotten. I setup the pay date and can change the payment, if needed... Writing out Bills, NO Freakin' Way!!! :-)



Sorry DF, I tried to write

Sorry DF, I tried to write yesterday but ran out of commute time. :) In response to the end of anger, I have to say for me, I wasn't super angry at what was going on with our relationship, just more frustrated and a lot hurt, before I could really see what my DHs disbelief of his probable ADHD was dong to us. It was frustrating because to me, it was so obvious from the outside of an ADHD mind what the steps were to problem solving. I was also a lot hurt by the things he said to me along the way, so I also spent a good deal of time in self protect mode, again more hurt than angry. But when I came out of that season with a willingness to find solutions, I discovered a change in me. A little at a time, as I applied my ADHD research to our circumstances, I can say that my perspective had become less of "why can't he...?" to a point of compassion. This newfound compassion and also my faith were key in dissolving most of any anger in me. We are seperating this month (his decision) and I find it so sad and even ridiculous that we cant have simple conversation about our sorrows without ADHD stealing the show. I think if my husband came home after a time with a change of attitude toward ADHD and a real diagnosis he was willing to confront I would be willing to entertain reconciling. I admit I would likely be looking for sincerity for a long time before "buying into" the notion that he is willing to change. And the one thing I KNOW I'd be looking for is a man who could stand on his own if he needed to instead of waiting on me for approval, decision, and direction, however pleasing he might think those things may be to me. Thanks to our years of parent-child dynamics, my radar for who needs me is hypersensitive now. I want to RUN FAST from the first person who NEEDS me for their emotional well being. The most disappointing thing about my relationship is that I have a man who not just wants me but becuase he wont tackle his ADHD, but he absolutely in a very practical way NEEDS me (or someone else who will take care of his responsibilities.) If he were willing to take meds and behavioral therapy which could mitigate even some of it, it would be a dream come true. If he came back just wanting to be with me and strong enough not to collapse because me eyelid twitched, now THAT would be something. I hope that doesn't sound too harsh. I am a strong decisive woman and so these are qualties I appreciate in a partner. I just want him to please stand on his own and I will stand on my own, so together we will make a stronger whole, able to support one another. That is the dream I thought my marriage would be, not just one to the other, one way only. When my DH told me a few weeks ago that he was moving out, I was sad initially and I still am. But as it became more of a reality, I have to say I am more relieved than sad. Grief will run its due course--our marriage did have love and happy times, and I expect more tears in the future. But right now it feels really good to be free of the fight and the blame and the burden of holding us both up myself. For the first time in about 20 years I am not NEEDED. The part that makes it sad, is I am no longer wanted, but at this time it seems the lesser loss. I don't have to try so hard and fight what seemed to be a hopeless battle. If my DH got a diagnosis tomorrow and suddenly became willing to do all the right things, I know I would have a hard time picking up the march again, even though this time he would be "all in." I really do need some R&R before I can think of engaging the good fight again. The possibility of that dream would have to look very possible for me to consider it. You sound like you've sustained quite an intense effort so far, I congratulate you for facing ADHD head on. I am sorry you wife has not yet softened to your new self.

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The comment box eliminates tabs and paragraph returns on mobile devices. Apologies to readers for my run on paragraphs, as if thum typing wasn't bad enough! ;)

Very interesting perspective, Hermie

I was/am in the position where I refused to see the hurt that my ADHD was causing my wife; but in Mar of this year, I realized the toll (less of a flash of inspiration than a slow dawning) and got a Dr., medication, etc.  But while I am tackling the ADHD problem, I can't solve the latent relationship issues alone.  I don't feel like there's any support for that, though, and because I feel like I _can_ stand on my own, I am thinking about moving out.  From reading your post, I am wondering - is your husband's move out part of his 'proof' that he can stand on his own?  Is it a permanent move out, or did you two agree on a schedule? (3 months, 6 months, a year...)

I read your level of exhaustion, and hear the echos in my own relationship when you write "I know I would have a hard time picking up the march again, even [if] he would be "all in." I really do need some R&R before I can think of engaging the good fight again. The possibility of that dream would have to look very possible for me to consider it."

I wonder if you could comment on what sort of R&R you might need, and what possibilities would have to become realities for you to want to get back together?

Thank you



Thanks for your kind reply. I

Thanks for your kind reply. I am happy for anyone who is willing to face their problems with honest effort. The type of R&R I think I need is just a long period of not having someone constantly checking with me to be OK with themselves. I would like to spend time at home not wondering if what Im doing in any given moment is offending anyone. The years of walking on eggshells has exhausted me and I have my own childhood baggage to work through in that area. I would like to remember how to have fun again and relearn to live without that cloud over me. For starters I am planning a european vacation with my girlfriend. As he is preparing his relocation I am scheduling outings with my friends, for coffee, hiking or whatever. Regarding his reasons why, he has admitmitted that until recently he didn't think he COULD stand up by himself. Now that he feels he can, I believe he cannot envision our or maybe any relationship, without the "need dynamic." I make an educated guess when I say that I think it is embedded in his definition of love. Regarding what would have to be in place for getting back together, I am working on what that looks like now, since his decision was recent. So far we are setiing a 6 month timeframe, but thats all so far. It is hard to discuss rules and expectations when he has long considered those things so much a part of the problem. I am concerned that structure and "high expectations" will push him farther away, but sadly that is a consequence I have to be willing to accept. After rereading you post, I also want to say that I would be on board with helping him with ADHD treatment if he was willing to engage that effort whole heartedly. I hope this helps your journey.

Hermie, I think we are in the same place

My husband has the diagnosis and takes meds, although no regular counseling or behavioral therapy. Our marriage is going to split up because of logistics. Neither of us have jobs and we can't pay the rent for our house, so if nothing changes by the end of this month, we will split up. He apparently doesn't see anything wrong with this. I posted that he didn't even remember to eat yesterday while I was gone. Like you, I hate being needed so much. I already raised 2 kids mostly by myself. One of them has ADD. So I understand your desire not to be needed. I do feel that my husband will founder without me around to tell him what to do. I feel that his recent firing was the result of his ADD. He has the core competencies of the job, but could not keep notes, hang onto company property, etc. If I could have gone on his rounds with him, he'd have been fine.

I am sorry your DH doesn't even want to try. Mine wants to try, he's just not succeeding.


I can totally understand why you would need R&R...  I am the ADHD spouse and I feel like *I* need R&R from my marriage for the reverse reasons.  I HATE that I feel like i need to ask my husband's opinion on everything.  I hate that i'm afraid to make decisions without his input for fear of doing something wrong/ making a mistake YET AGAIN.  Sometimes I wish I could be on my own for a bit just to FIGURE THINGS OUT without the constant threat of criticism/anger.  When I'm facing a challenge and he is home, I feel scrutinized and often stumble and make mistakes I wouldn't have if I weren't being watched.

Part of my 'recovery' is always asking myself before I ask my husband for advice/answers/help 'Ok, what would I do if I were alone?'   ONe of his complaints has always been that he has 'ten balls to juggle' and that when some unexpected problem comes up and I don't know what to do I always bother him with it and it's 'an eleventh ball' he has to juggle.  He has been genuinely stupified lately when I take care of something.  Like remember medical forms for kindergarten or paying a school fee or fixing something.

I've discovered also that nothing matters but actions.  we are NOT human beings after all.  We are human 'doings.'

Maybe, Hermie your husband when left to his own devices will recognize there is a problem and accept that he needs to do something about the ADHD?  I hope so!

Expectation Anxiety / Stress...

One of the Most stressful days for me is when I am at home and my DW is working, for example, and I feel like I have to get some things done, but things that can be noticed because I don't want to have to point them out after the assumption of having done nothing. In the past, I had many days where I would let the day go by and not get much done. This is not the case anymore, but the anxiety of trying to make-up for those days and still do some things for me that wouldn't normally do on Home Project days. You mention "'ten balls to juggle'", which is funny to me because I handled my ADD well enough to 43 years because I was "Juggling the correct amount of Oranges" for most of my married life for sure. The ADD was discovered when I was suddenly loaded up with Too Many Oranges.

I have often thought how easy it would be if I could get myself together without then tension of living with people watching and think it's just me, not understanding the affects of ADD. I don't want to do that because I love my family and I'm not going to run away.


Even as I was writing my

Even as I was writing my response I was considering that at least I CAN take a break when I need to. It troubles me to think that you and other ADHDers may not have the same luxury, because your ADHD is with you all the time--you can't put it aside if you wanted to. Is that accurate or can you ever picture a scenario where it doesn't cause you angst? Regarding my husbands self actualization, I do not hold a lot of hope in it because he is going to live with his parents at least for while. I suspect they will give him all the love and acceptance he desires without challenging him to explore the possibility of ADHD. They poo-poo'D thed idea more tha. He did. His mom is the fixer I refused to be; I think she will "make it all better" for him. She loves her sons dearly, so I get it to some degree. Im not saying she's horrible, I just think she'll give him the kind of care he wants, but not necessarily the kind he truly needs. Thanks for all your insights.

The ADD never goes away...

Meds (Adderall for Me) have helped me a great deal staying on track of things. Tons of reading have helped too. It is the re-training the brain that is hard. Old habits are well engrained and need to be realized and re-worked. So... The meds push the ADD down and help my overall awareness and concentration, but always thinking of my ADD traits creeping back in and spoiling things cause me worry I never had before. Ignorance is bliss, right??? Two years later I am still improving and I think my wife is beginning to notice some change in me. She never really thought ADD had much to do with any of our issues, but I know otherwise.

If the ADDer does not accept what he has, I don't know how they can really expect to improve. Has your husband been officially diagnosed and more importantly does be believe he has ADD? My mom almost cried when I told her about my ADD, because she felt like She missed seeing it and all the pain it caused over the unknown years. I assured her that I was not upset with her and that being the Non-Hyper type and a fairly High Performing ADDer, I slipped through the cracks.


No, he hasn't been diagnosed

No, he hasn't been diagnosed and doesn't want to consider the possibility. He's read ADHD Rollercoaster a few times but can't see himself in it. When we started going through some stressful things I recognixed his behaviors as something more than male female differences. I thought about it alot and did some cursory research online about many conditions before finding ADHD. I read books before I approached him about it. My life was in those books too, as the spouse of the one with it. Anyway, he told his mom that I asked him to consider that he might have it. He told me later that she said,"Don't you think I would have noticed if you did!" There might be some of the same feeling there as your mom. Whatever the reason, it wasn't helpful for my case, so to speak. He seems to really resent me for suggesting it at all.

That is sad...

I suppose that the general unknowledgeable perception of ADD is that of some "Excuse for bad behavior", and I freely admit I used to think that too. The Mom's response is not surprising... My mom was upset that she did not notice, but who knew anything about ADD in the 70's/80's??? I'm just glad I know now and that I feel so much better and the second half of my life will be great! I hope your husband comes around, but there is not much you can do that you haven't already done. Best wishes to you...



My mother-in-law didn't notice either

and she's a social worker!

We think my late Father-in-law must have had it, and I'm convinced she does too. My oldest brother-in-law says he has it too (not surprising).

My husband has a degree in psychology and he didn't figure out that he has chronic depression and ADD. I did, based on quizzes on the internet (of course, supplemented by formal diagnosis from professionals).

His parents did wonder what was up with him as a kid. But the school psychologist discounted the idea of ADD because my husband had/has no reading problems. So they decided he was just lazy.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

DF's picture

To your insightful reply

Herm I enjoyed your reply.  I read it last night and it stung some as I expected, but I have slept on it and re-read it again.  I see it differently now.  In most all my posts I feel like I come across as needy and I do agree that's a very unattractive quality.  It is also why I'm in my situation, or at least a big part of it.

When my wife and I met I was in control of myself.  I made my own decisions and I did not fail myself, but life was also simple.  Relationships did not last more that 2-3 months and I felt nothing about calling or not being called.  My energy was focused on me.  I would do what I wanted and be at ease about my actions.  But alas, I'm on the creative side of ADD(HD) and much of my inspiration was based on not having anyone to "share" my depth.  In my wife I had found that.  She intrigued me in a way that nobody ever had.  She brought things out in me I had never known before and we had a ton in common.  I suppose this was that hyper-focus stage, but at the same time I had never before experienced the gravity that drew me to her.

When I met her I had already made plans to move away.  I asked her if she wanted to come with me because I wanted to spend my time with her.  We had similar interests and she understood me.  So we had a long distance relationship for a few months until I got settled in.  After a time she got pregnant.  I was in disbelief and also knew that my life would change.  I was scared, not as much as her obviously, but if there was anyone I was going to be with forever I didn't want it to be anyone else -> I never once told her that.

My living in the present as opposed to the future caused my wife great concern during that first pregnancy.  I wasn't planning on a baby even though she was pregnant.  I didn't see the baby so nothing changed for me.  She was concerned I would leave and instead of giving her ****normal**** emotional support, I thought she was nuts that she would think that of me.  This is a pretty good summary for my years with my wife.  She needed something from me that I did not give because I thought she was crazy for not knowing.  Sounds like ADD(HD) to me -

So with that said, I do feel terrible about your spouse and Sueann's and everyone else's.  I hate myself for not knowing sooner, but I also think this situation I'm in would have been the only way for me to truly address it.  As for being NEEDY.  I have some perspective on this....

I, among many other ADD(HD) people here, have a constant battle of looking at everything as failure.  My wife is, like you, bothered by my constant indecision.  I see now where my indecision comes from - I don't want to disappoint her.  She has always meant the world to me and I see much of my frustration that caused me to snap at her over the years was from my feelings of not being able to make her happy.  "Why can't I make you happy?!  Can't you see the stress is killing me?!"  ->  The 2 underlying sources of any and all of my outbursts.  I expected that she knew, but never told her and was frustrated that she had no idea.  Nasty cycle there, but back in March I found out about ADD(HD) and finally SEEING for the first time is a wonderful and sad thing.

Do I need my wife?  YES, but not because I need her to run my life.  I need my wife for the same reason she needs me - a partner that you can share life with that you enjoy being with.  I've not been that partner the last several years.  I SEE that now.  I SEE so much more than I ever had.  I SEE that both nonADD(HD) and ADD(HD) spouses alike both need assurances from their loved ones that they matter and in doing so can be truly happy together.

If my wife called me and told me she would like to grill chicken for dinner, I would suggest some side's and jump at the chance to get dinner started since I get home before her.  I never did this before and I SEE that now.  A ***normal*** spouse would just do it without thinking about it.  Why couldn't I?  I'm wired differently?  B.S.!  I've been selfish and I know it.  I read about people with more extreme cases of this "disfunction" than me.  I don't hold myself to the same excuses.

I SEE that I have failed as a partner and I SEE some of what I can do to change that.  Sometimes being a man means I have to include my wife in my life and what's going on in my head.  I have a ton to tell her, but I've got distance to close between us.  I want so bad to make jokes about my issues - humor is my best defense, but I have to wait till my wife can re-learn to laugh.

Herm - I need my wife for support of my emotional well being, but in the same hand I SEE that I never gave her that support either.  I need to know that she loves me, wants me, enjoys being with me and that I matter.  I SEE that now.  I SEE that I needed to be doing that for her since the beginning.  I hadn't done that "consistently" since she told me she was pregnant with our first child.  I believe you need it too because we all do.  Having my disease means I failed due to my lack of understanding.

Thank you so much for your insight.  It means very much to me and it helps me.


I am impressed by your

I am impressed by your discipline to sleep on the sting. I didn't mean to direct that neediness comment toward you, I just meant to explain where my own disappointment and angst come from at times. At the same time, I am glad you found it all helpful. It also seems fitting to clarify my reference to "need" for the benefit of others that might read later as well. I don't mean to say that married people wont or should fill ANY needs. Surely this is part of togetherness and relationship that we all crave. For me I need the level of intimacy in which we can share dreams and encourage one another or talk about wild ideas without judgement and so forth. Sometimes I really need to hear that I look pretty today or that I had a great idea or whatever--some sense of encouragement. I also recognize I need at times for my spouse to take me in him arms and tell me everything will be ok, and even if it isn't, that he'll help hold me together. I know there are needs in our deepest parts of who we are as humans and lovers. Im sure each person has such a list. The neediness I was referring to is the day to day decisions and tasks that simply go with the stuff of adult life. Something else you mentioned about mAking decisions that will make your spouse happy. In my relationship I kept wondering what KEPT feeding his fear of disappointment. Its like I could never be encouraging or approving enough to keep his confidence that I would never tear into him for choosing the "wrong" bottle of wine or whatever. I now understand that it was the ADHD.. For you I would say, now that you know it is only the feeling of fear stemming from ADHD, not necessarily proven reasons for it, so is there anyway to mitigate it in your own mind? Is there any way to tell yourself "I know Im FEELING fear, but she hasn't recently given me a reason to think this decision, however I decide, will disappoint or 'fail' her?" And for the record, I don't believe a person can make me happy. I think a person can contribute to sadness or happiness, but generally a person does not determine that decision for me. A topic for another post perhaps.
DF's picture

You are a lot of fun Herm

I like reading your insight.  Right quick to what you have further up - "....because your ADHD is with you all the time--you can't put it aside if you wanted to. Is that accurate or can you ever picture a scenario where it doesn't cause you angst?...." - Well considering for 37 1/2 years I always thought i was normal, I'm still exploring this.  I know for me, I would really have to say it's all the time for one reason or another.  Before I went back to school and before my wife shut me out, I used to have 2 drinks before going to bed.  I did this because it relaxed me when I wanted to go to sleep.  It made my thoughts stop racing or I was just better able to ignore the direction it kept shooting off in.

I do not drink anymore but maybe 2 times a month ( 2-3 beers tops ).  Too many negative thoughts dealing with the pain of my current situation.  And I don't like the way my head feels while on the Adderall and drinking, it feels like a pressure squeeze on my noodle.

I'm in a place in my life where I realized I was wrong in so many ways and for so long.  My 'angst' is everyday.  Can I stand alone and make choices in the face of failure?  Knowing about my condition I bet I could.  I'm so absolutely engrossed in learning to recognize my symptoms and punch them in the face when I see them.  I want better from my relationship with my wife and I want her to have better from me.  What I need though, is my wife back in my life so I can get further perspective on my symptoms.  Knowing what I know about me today, there should be no reason for me to be so insecure, but I admit that I need to hear that she loves me before I can begin to forgive myself.

I don't suffer with small things like choosing the wrong bottle of wine.  Actually for a while there my wife and I liked to explore new tastes and it was fun, but it got expensive and the stress of finances I wasn't helping with became consuming.  What my wife does not realize and I just did, is that I can flurish under the gun.  I can zone in and just get something done.  Last month I wrote my first ever critical analysis paper for school.  Never done it and had no real idea how to go about it.  Wrote 11 pages in 4 hours and that's only because I had to search for sources online that I could quote.  I was 5 points away from getting a perfect score and the professor raved about me.  It suprised me.  Now ask me what I want for dinner and I couldn't tell you now or in 4 hours.  I'm too easy going in respect to the daily tasks.  What I would do, my wife is not usually interested in or the kids aren't.  I get flustered because I don't know what everyone else wants.  I just don't know what to do and my wife would get annoyed because I couldn't just say something other than 2 or 3 pre-programmed responses.

Now my wife rarely cooks.  It's something she loves to do, but doing it for me is not something she cares to bother with.  I struggle daily with the decisions of making dinner for the family and hoping she would be interested in eating what I make and knowing otherwise. 

thank you

I don't believe I've ever heard that my insight is fun. Thank you. Your compliment makes it seem like less of a curse. :/
DF's picture

Herm -

Hope you don't mind my cutting your name short.  I do that with everyone in life.  

I do like what you have to say and even more so in this post.  I have just gone through and reread most of it as I often do to many posts because I'm going to bed alone again tonight.  Last two nights were out of character that I went to bed after my wife since she's not usually home.  It made it so much easier for me to get school work done and laundry.  I went to bed after midnight exhausted, but happy.  She was home and safe.

Back on track....

Reading my replies to you I feel I sounded a bit harsh and defensive.  I did not mean to do so.  You have provided me with an answer to my questions and I greatly needed that.  The sting I got the other night from reading your reply was that I found another piece of this huge jigsaw puzzle I'm dealing with.  I'm dealing with a huge jigsaw puzzle that encompasses my life.  There were many good times, true, but those are not the pieces I'm working with right now.  ADD(HD) is so complex and the spectrum of symptoms is endless at times.  If I'm ever going to get better as a person I need to find what makes me not so good.  It's a painful journey that I see everyday I see my wife's unhappiness.  I want very badly to express how badly I have to beat this and complete the puzzle.  I get clues and they hurt.  You spoke of not wanting someone who's so needy and I agree 100%.  My wife is a very tough woman with a very kind heart, I just don't happen to be in there right now.

I used to say my greatest fear was that my wife would get amnesia and I didn't know if she could ever fall in love with me all over again.  I'm living that nightmare indeed, but living the nightmare has given me food for thought.  Why would she want to fall in love with me again?  What have I done for her?  At times, when I don't hurt so dang much I take care of the chances I have now to do everything I can for her.  It makes me feel pushy and overbearing at times, but I don't know what to do.  Let go and hope she doesn't get further away or crowd her and push her away?  Without her input and my trying hard to listen, I don't know if I'm walking on one end or the other. 

No worries. You didn't sound

No worries. You didn't sound harsh to me at all, just honest and factual about what's going on with you. Which after what I've experienced, is pretty refreshing. Glad I could be of help to you. Although our future looks bleak as far as togetherness, I find it somewhat therapeudic to put words to things. The processing of what has gone on and is still going on is not over. BTW: I'll bet you wife still loves you. After all the pain, frustration, confusion, and seemingly hopeless outcome, I still love my husband. I care for his well being and safety. I worry when he's late coming home from work. I don't want bad things to happen to him when we part. I still see flashes of who I fell in love with but I just know with my logic cap on that he makes an awful partner/teammate for me and probably me for him, at least in the state he is in. Continue the march.


I see now where my indecision comes from - I don't want to disappoint her.

DF, your comment is RIGHT ON!!  I don't make decisions easily--I always want my DH's input because I do not want to disappoint him.  Although I have learned that in some ways, even this motivation bugs him.  He actually said to me once, "Why should I always get my way?"  He wants me to be a thinking, feeling INDIVIDUAL with my own opinions, even if they are different from his.  This makes us seem less needy, I think.  It is a big burden to bear for the non-ADD spouse to live up on that pedestal we put them on.  I actually think he is happier after an argument where I have been STRONG in myself; where I have not crumbled into self-loathing and despair; where I have not blamed him out of my own defensiveness, but where I have had an opinion about something and argued for it.  Even when we do not agree about a topic or issue, I think he LIKES it when I stand up to him sometimes.  Then he doesn't feel like he has to carry me.  I think it makes him feel like maybe I really am capable of taking care of myself and managing myself.  It makes ME feel that way too!

PS--Meal Planning

I also struggle with meal planning.  I want every meal to be something really great that makes him happy.  But all too often, my indecision leads to not planning or preparing ANYTHING, which really does NOT make him happy!  But he does have some responsibility in this area.  I was able to show him one time that anytime I have not ALREADY PREPARED dinner, he will change something or make another suggestion.  For example, if I plan to have grilled chicken with peas and potatoes or something like that, he will take his piece of chicken and cut it up to put over a salad instead.  He never COMPLAINS or even asks me to do this for him; he always takes care of it himself.  But for me, it translates into: FAILURE (naturally!); he did not like what I planned.  Or if we are talking about what to do for dinner and I tell him what I am thinking, he will invariably suggest something different.  To him, this is fair game because I am still in the planning stage--he is not intending to be critical in any way.  In fact, he is trying to be helpful.  But that is what causes me to become paralyzed with indecision.  Because then whenever I DO make a decision, I fear that he must not like it (even if he doesn't say it)...and then if he makes any slight change (like the salad), I am convinced that I have definitely disappointed him.  He has also made comments over the years that he likes to eat low carb for dinner when possible, and that during the summer he prefers "light" and easy meals (vs. heavy, hot or baked meals).  Well, I have a hard enough time already, and then when I start to add all these criteria to my planning, I just totally shut down.  I know I am irrational about this.  But I have a REALLY hard time with planning meals (no problem COOKING, though, and I don't even mind cleaning up).  But I am not creative about meals, so I get frustrated trying to think of what to make all the time.  Then, add to that my fear of disappointing him...and voila--you get indecision!  Like right now.  It is 5:30pm.  I have no idea what we are having for dinner.  And I will have to go to the store before I can make anything.  Ugh.  I better get off this computer and figure it out!  Boo.

I hear you! Same here

My husband typically cooked dinner but he always wants me to specify what I want. When I lost my job I started cooking so it would be ready when he got home. I'd try to talk to him while he was at work about what I was thinking. But he had trouble remembering that he was married while he was at work, so I stopped calling him. Now with neither of us working, we talk about it and he cooks. But he still wants me to say what I want. I guess it makes sense. He'll eat anything and I'm a picky eater.

For me, being afraid to cook without his input was a remainder from husband #1, who is a food addict who can't cook a lick and who would beat me if he didn't like what I made or there was a problem with it. If I tried to make a new dish, I had to have a "recovery meal" available to be on the table in 15 minutes if he didn't like the new recipe. Anything I made and it didn't come out right (tough meat or a shell in the clams or something like that), I couldn't make ever again.

Same here...

I used to be the most laid-back of husbands. Not nearly as much anymore.

ADD Wife... When you say "Even when we do not agree about a topic or issue, I think he LIKES it when I stand up to him sometimes.  Then he doesn't feel like he has to carry me."

My DW HATED it when I was quiet and she was upset about something. She grew up with and abusive step-dad and one of the main qualities she liked about me was my laid-back personality. It has taken a while for her to get used to me popping right back when she has something to say. I like being more than able to hold my own now and I think it flusters her. She is not used to losing these debates and sometimes we will not ever agree about a topic, but that is okay. She at least knows I have an opinion, which equals "I DO give a $hit" :-) Sorry, but she used to get really mad because she thought I didn't care because I was quiet and shut-down. 


yyz, the laid-back thing comes across as apathy

I am panicking and running around like a chicken with my head cut off, applying for everything and trying to get him to do the same thing. I am totally panicking because I can't get him to pack and get our stuff ready to move.

He thinks he's just laid-back. I think he just doesn't care, doesn't want to do anything unpleasant (does anybody like packing and moving?) and is expecting me to do it all and rescue him.

Do you have any idea how to light a fire under him?

1st post in months

DF, I read most of the posts in this thread. I haven't posted here in months but wanted to give you some insight. Your wife's "Why now?" is something I relate to.

I am the non-ADD spouse. I have asked the "why now" so many times. I am going to reply to you as if you were the man I married.

Before you treated me like crap. I asked, begged, pleaded for you to get help, be nice, pay attention, and care. You didn't. I gave up. I gave up a long time ago. Then one day you just wake up and say "oh turns out I have ADD and that is the reason for everything. I am going to try now."

Yeah, why now? Why not years ago? Why not when I was in tears begging you to stop, to listen, to care? That was years ago. Now as I am walking out the door you suddenly care, want there to be an "us", and want to help me? Really? Now? Why now? Why not then? Didn't I matter then? Didn't you care then? Oh, it was the ADD not you. Yeah, it was you. It was you that hurt me, it was you that didn't want to work on us, and it was you that broke my heart time after time. Don't tell me it wasn't you. That it was the ADD. It was you- you stood infront of me and did all of that. Now all of sudden it is something else. Whatever.

Now you want to be better. Now you want to try. Now you want there to be an "us" and you don't want me to leave? Now? Why now? Where were you when I was crying stressed out and begging you to work on us? Now as my bags are packed and I am leaving you want to make everything better? And I'm suppose to be the bad guy? I'm hurting you? 

Don't you remember the past? Don't you remember all the shit you put me through? Don't you care? Oh, you're sorry? Sorry. Yeah I know you are. Thing is now I don't care. I don't care that you are sorry or that you are trying or that you want to save us. I gave you warnings, red flags, begged for you to open your eyes how many times over the years. Now you want to do laundry. Now you want to help. If you want to help, then carry my bags to the car and wish me luck in being happy.

DF, that may sound harsh but that is my answer to the "why now" questions you have. It may hurt and you may not like it, but there it is.

DF's picture

Glad I brought you to posting again

More wonderful insight.  I see your anger.  I see myself.  I am further disappointed with my behavior.  Since she first asked me that question a few very short weeks ago, I have seen her response exactly as you are saying above.  My "excuse" ( condition) is an eye opener in that just because she asked me in the past for help, doesn't mean I still saw a problem when we were seemingly happy again a day later.

I'm remorseful - yes, but that's because I see things through a different light now.  I'm constantly recalling memories and feelings that I'd had over the years and I'm seeing the "Why" in my actions.  It's very frustrating and all I can do is address the "Why" in my actions as they come up in the present.  I had a severe lack of control over my frustration.  I did not yell often ( I think ), but I shut down on her a lot when I was upset.  I see that I really was a child and I see some of what it takes to be an adult.

As hard as it is for her to understand why I'm doing what I'm doing, it's equally hard for me to understand how I could have been so blind, deaf and dumb in the first place.  I remember things as I read through the forums and I am so angry with myself for not knowing any better. 

"...Thing is now I don't care. I don't care that you are sorry or that you are trying or that you want to save us....."

The truth does hurt, but it is answers I seek.  I've heard her say the first part.  Perhaps she held back on the second. 

DF, I don't know Enough's

DF, I don't know Enough's circumstances, but I do want you to keep in mind that with love and marriage comes forgiveness and understanding. patience. for better or worse. If you did not know, if you did not have control over things you did, then there HAS to be..SHOULD be some type of f***ing compassion and understanding. I get the anger. I get the resentment, I get the survival mechanism that keeps the walls up and is TERRIFIED to let them down for fear that things really WON'T change. Call me 'stupid' or naive or whatever negative name you can come up with, but I feel that the 'why now' attitude is WORSE than the ADHD itself because it shows very little sign that there is ANY desire to understand ADHD and how it truly does cause behaviors that are out of the control of the person with ADHD. I cannot FATHOM my husband finding out he had ADHD, reacting in the way you have (with more than a years worth of consistently TRYING and doing things differently) and me shutting down and saying "screw you and your ADHD....I'm outta here".

I cannot express enough the pain he's caused me, the behaviors that have left me and our kids with scars that will maybe never heal completely, so I am no stranger to the "begging, pleading, crying" etc trying to get him to see what he's doing/done and to just work things out with me. MOST IMPORTANT thing I've learned through it all is how MY behaviors made things 1000 times worse and that I have NO RIGHT to ask anything of him until I am willing to work on my own shit first. My anger was just as toxic to the marriage as his ADHD behaviors were. Yes, he acted like a 17 year old kid, but that does not excuse my behavior AT ALL. I fussed. I was degrading. I was disrespectful. I manipulated him through threats and by withholding sex. I punished him for doing things that, hindsight being 20/20, weren't really all that important. I cussed at him and made him feel horrible for forgetting to do things and if the situation were reversed, he'd have never said a word to me. ("oh well, it happens" would be his attitude)

I think the only thing you're doing wrong is focusing (obsessing) entirely on making your wife happy again. I truly think, just as with the rest of us, you've got to learn to forgive yourself and you've got to start putting all of your efforts into accepting things for what they are The world will not end if your marriage does not end up working out. What will most likely be the death of your marriage is that you're making the wrong things a priority. JUST BE YOURSELF. If you want to water the blessed friggin flowers, then water them and stop analyzing "Am I stealing my wife's joy?" or better yet, if she acts like you are, then let the damned things die. JUST TAKE A DAY...ONE DAY AT A TIME...AND JUST DO NOT THINK ABOUT HOW YOU'RE GOING TO WIN YOUR WIFE BACK AND JUST BE A HUMAN BEING WITH FAULTS LIKE THE REST OF US. Take a day and just frickin relax and BREATHE!!!

You have gone above and beyond buddy...time to put DF first. You had every right to worry...worry that there might be someone else. There is no law written that says you're not allowed to ask questions. Any reasonable human being would want to know...considering she is never home. Stop beating yourself up for trying to get some answers and to have a normal conversationw with your wife!

All I can say is,

All I can say is, WOW!!!!!  

That pretty much tells it like it is.

DF's picture

A turn for the worse update

 Lo' and behold today began with epic failure.  I did something I knew I should not have done and I can't take it back.  The distance between my wife and I is growing.  The resentment she has for me is written all over her face when I look at her so I did the worst possible thing I could think of.  I asked her if there was someone else........

My moment of weakness has set me up for epic failure.  So does the anger ever really go away?  I don't think it will for my wife.  She is so angry with me - her words.  She leaves because she doesn't want to hate me, but being around me is causing her to stew in anger - her words.  Why, you might ask?  Seems all the effort and work I'm putting into myself and us is not the person I am - her words.  She knows I'm trying to be someone I'm not - her words. 

I did not bring up the word, but she did, she doesn't know if she needs a 'separation'.  She was fighting tears of anger and I could hear it in her voice.  We have grown apart - her words.

If I bring up the word ADHD or medication at all, she gets angry.  I can't change who I am because of a diagnosis like this - her words.  She's so angry with me. 

If I called her names I could go back to that and try to improve that, but I never have.  If I cheated on her I could try to show her my dedication to her, but I never have.  If I ever laid a finger on her in anger or frustration I could try to prove it would never happen again, but I've never done that.  If I gambled us into debt I could try to prove my resolve by managing money better, but I don't gamble.  If I drank too much or was out of control I could make the correct changes, but I don't drink but a beer or two once a month - maybe.  If I were overweight I could lose weight, but I'm not.

I just don't know what happened.  June 19th 2010.  After being intimate, she held me very tightly and told me "I love you so much" and she did not want to let go of me.  I don't know what happened.  I don't know. 

She gets angry when I do the things I do, like actually remember to get something for her for holiday's, because of my track record of failure.  My being meticulous about cleaning the house and doing laundry causes her anger, because of my track record of failure.  Everything I am doing to be a better "husband" and a better "person" are all things that make her angry because of my track record of failure.  She's told me two or three times now to stop doing things for her and do them for me - it's making her angry.  so does that mean I have to just stop everything I'm doing and go back to being a lazy a$$?  I do those things for her to relieve her stress and to help me focus on being a better 'me', but it's making her angry.  I don't want to be who I was anymore, but everything I do she interprets as me doing it for her.  She told me she was under so much stress, but I have no idea because she keeps me at arms length anymore and doesn't include me in much of anything.

I love her.  I will continue to thank God each night for everyday that she is in my life and for my children.  She is worth the fight in every sense of the word so please - no negative comments about her.  I'm in a sick place right now.  I've made my own bed and I'm just lost and confused more than ever.  The horror of hearing that word 'separation'.......

I'm F##ked - my words.

I'm REALLY sorry to read this...

I wish I had something to say that could help, but I'm still walking the fine line myself. I guess do exactly what she asks and give her space. Maybe just ask her if there is anything you can do to help out around the house. Tell her you were thinking about working on X, Y, Z and she what she says. It sounds like she is on the razor's edge, so hold what you got. Maybe it's time to check in with your therapist? I'm not qualified here and don't want to suggest anything to make things worse.

SherriW... I know you are probably DF and my greatest resource from the NonADDer's side, I think your input here would be REAL Timely.

I'm not to make a ranking list here, Everyone from the Other Side of ADD has been very helpful :-)


DF... I'll be thinking of you. Try not to panic too much. Maybe just stand down and listen to exactly what you wife asks...


DF- "She gets angry when I do

DF- "She gets angry when I do the things I do, like actually remember to get something for her for holiday's, because of my track record of failure. " It probably reminds her of all the times you didn't.


DF- "My being meticulous about cleaning the house and doing laundry causes her anger, because of my track record of failure.  Everything I am doing to be a better "husband" and a better "person" are all things that make her angry because of my track record of failure." You could have been doing it all along. You could have been helping all these years. You didn't. You left her to carry that burden. Now you want to help. Now you want to try. All you are doing is throwing it in her face that you could have been doing it all along but didn't. That is why she is angry.

DF- " She's told me two or three times now to stop doing things for her and do them for me - it's making her angry.  so does that mean I have to just stop everything I'm doing and go back to being a lazy a$$?" If you are like my guy, as you do these things you say "hey babe, I got that laundry FOR YOU. I did the dishes FOR YOU. I did this stuff so you can relax... yeah, for me. I did it every day of every month of every year for the whole family. Now you are doing it FOR ME. To win something from me. For my approval. Do it for yourself. Do that stuff so everyone, including you, can have a clean towel after a shower. Don't do that stuff for me. It isn't my job. It is A JOB. A chore for daily living. For everyone.

DF- "I do those things for her to relieve her stress and to help me focus on being a better 'me', but it's making her angry." Why didn't you do it before?

DF- "I don't want to be who I was anymore, but everything I do she interprets as me doing it for her.  She told me she was under so much stress, but I have no idea because she keeps me at arms length anymore and doesn't include me in much of anything." She has probably learned not to count on you for anything.

Again, I am replying as if my husband had written these things. If you want insight to her thoughts, she may be like me. She may not. Everyone is different. It did make me angry when after he was diagnosed he wanted to wash towels "for me" and take out the trash "for me." Do things because they need to be done and stop trying to win her over with your actions. The fact that the trash is out on the curb should be reward enough. That was my only reward when I did it all those years. Don't help her. Help yourself.

DF's picture

Correct, correct, but a pintch different

I see much truth in your words, but there is some differences.

"....If you are like my guy, as you do these things you say "hey babe, I got that laundry FOR YOU. I did the dishes FOR YOU....."  -> I'm a bit different.  For me it's important to show my wife change.  I'm aware enough that I know not to ask for gratification or point anything out.  I never point out what I do or did for her.  I let her SEE it for herself and ask nothing in return even if it is tough.  I never ever talk about cleaning and I try to keep up the kids bathroom too since I know she doesn't ever go up there cuz they're messy kids.  I make a concentrated effort to do things when she's not home so that she doesn't think I'm doing it just to rub it in.  I can say I'm very aware of that.

I'm still seeing; however, that I'm doing the wrong things.  She likes to take care of her flowers and bought a strawberry plant for the kids.  It is now on the verge of death because it had not been watered.  She commented that nobody had watered it.  So I started watering it, but I feel like I'm over reaching my bounds with her.  I may have also done a bad thing by buying a new sprayer for the hose since the one we had was decrepid.  I didn't say anything to her about it and she has yet to see it, but I am concerned she'll see it as me being imposing.

"...She has probably learned not to count on you for anything....."   -> Been telling myself that for months.  Been trying for months to prove otherwise.  It's tough, because why not before?  I thought I was normal, but that she and others could maintain life better.  I often lost track of mundane tasks and everything out of sight was out of mind.  I'm channeling my focus on listening and making sense when I talk to her as well as the mundane tasks. 

She told me likes that I have coffee ready for her in the bathroom in the mornings before she takes a shower.  There has to be something else I can do and I'm looking for it.  Something simple that wasn't something I "should" have been doing all along.  I hear what you are saying and it paints a new picture.  I like that very much.  It is very helpful.  I just hope that not all of my efforts go straight to angry town.  I made dinner again yesterday and I was so happy that I didn't screw it up and we all ate as a family.  I said nothing about it and I did get a thank you even though I expected nothing.  It was very nice, but it's also confusing me a bit more since her revelation this morning.  Are some days better than others?  Some days I'm not frustrating her, but doing the same stuff?  I'm very confused.

Some days better than others?

Some days better than others? Yes. It is clear that despite the baggage on both sides, that there is love. Your wife loves you and you love her.. That is why sometimes the cloud seems to lift a bit by a gesture, or by confusion should be there about that. Your posts are always interesting to me because although you are currently in a different place than us (tho w lots of similarities) you bring up a really helpful point of view. Obviously you are trying, obviously but the communication breakdown is still there, the assumptions from both sides that things are not really going to change versus your wife's suspicious feelings as to what is your motivation behind todays apparent changes. Everyone here seems to be posting some great advice, and I keep rereading this thread for myself. I think someone said it best though, DF, when they said that at this point it would be best if you just BE YOURSELF (the nice one, that is, that you have been..). Dont perpetuate the eggshell dance, but act as you are now without the pervasive "will she like this" question every step of the way. dont get me wrong, Im jealous too- but i could see how that was annoying if I felt my basis needs were still not getting met (if that is her perception). It is verging on a different kind of codependence and that path is not a good one. TruST us! So start again with being the kind (and correctly medicated :) ) self that you are, and talk to your wife when you feel you need to, take care of yourself, be a part of your life, your kids life, and your wife's in the best way you can for you. Just be.

Agree. Seperation doesn't

Agree. Seperation doesn't mean f###ed. Somebody said something like this already I think. I have witnessed and have heard of remarkable reconciliations, even after paperwork was signed for years. There is hope, DF. Part of our conversations have been focused on strength--now is the time to engage this battle with the same strength that you defy ADHD. You don't have to collapse at the sound of a word or the rearranging of your life. Your kids will be more positively affected by well placed strength. Hold them close tell them you love them more than anything and let them know they are not the cause. Be their dad whom they will look to for reassurance. Come back here as often as you need to fill up again. I believe you can stand firm; believe in the strength of God whom you thank.

DF... I once asked my


I once asked my husband if he was behaving only to be nice because he didn't want to leave me while I was in the middle of a semester...I asked this because in all honesty his on/off behavior made me question how genuine his efforts were to improve our marriage or if they were out of pity and guilt for how he'd made me feel.

You're more than likely overwhelming your wife with all of your new concern- and she's probably very angry that you decided all of the sudden to do something that you should have done before you caused her to detach emotionally from you. Granted- this is a fundamental lack of understanding of your disorder that your wife has- but it's still a valid emotion.

My suggestion- tiptoeing around her should be stopped. You're creating a sympathy equity that slaps her anger and frustration with your past behavior in the face and turns everything into a "but I'm trying so hard to bring us back together". If you really did cause her to detach with your behavior- playing martyr and victim now will only shift the attention back onto you and your feelings (where it has most likely been all along from her perspective).

Separation is not necessarily a bad thing- it might give your wife the room to breathe to let go of some of her anger and gain a better perspective. Structure the separation- begging her not to go will probably only make her feel more suffocated by YOUR needs.

I'm not trying to chastise at all- honestly- but I know where your wife could be coming from due to my own experiences... I spent a lot of time being hurt- and then coddling my husbands emotions about how badly he'd hurt me because he was depressed over his actions and the effort that he made not having an instantaneous curative effect...It took my feelings and put them on the shelf because he was sad and that made me feel like my feelings and frustrations couldn't be heard because again- just like with the rage and emotional over reaction from him when I was upset about something- he now was too emotionally raw to hear me or help me cope in a realistic way (even if it went from rage to sadness- same outcome- it was all about HIS feelings and he didn't have to say it out loud for me to feel the burden he was putting on me with his expectations).


DF, she may be realizing how much she has actually been doing over the years.  This is very overwhelming for the non-ADD spouse.  She may be saying, why now?  Why not then?  Who are you, and where is my DH?  Can I trust this new person?  Should I trust this new person?  If I do, will it all come crumbling down?

Having been there, I can say--it did come crumbling down.  I put my heart and faith in the trusting too fast, then my expectations rose, then he ran out of his medication and forgot to make the appt., then forgot to get the prescription, then....things retreated into the past.  And, this was after nearly 2 full years of treatment.  

Consistent--be consistent.  That is my absolute best advice.


DF's picture

Ended Wit

Thank God for you.  I'm not a very religious man so I don't mean "second coming" kind of thing, but more that you replied with an answer I needed so bad when I needed it most.

Separation is a bad thing.  We have 2 young kids and the oldest suffers from major self esteem issues and is ADHD.  It would be devastating for more than just me because if she chooses to leave, there's no coming back. 

I see a bit more clearly now, through your reply, what it is my wife might mean by doing stuff for me and not her.  Unfortunately I see myself in your husband.  I do believe I'm being the same and I'm struggling with forgiving myself enough to radiate confidence.

"....My suggestion- tiptoeing around her should be stopped. You're creating a sympathy equity that slaps her anger and frustration with your past behavior in the face and turns everything into a "but I'm trying so hard to bring us back together". If you really did cause her to detach with your behavior- playing martyr and victim now will only shift the attention back onto you and your feelings (where it has most likely been all along from her perspective)......"   -> Dang it!!!!  I didn't see it before but it makes so much sense to me.

What I struggle with here though is I don't know what to talk to my wife about.  I can't talk about future plans, I can't make a date night - which I understand why more than ever now.  I can't ask her about her job because she's unhappy with it.  I'm finally taking some financial stress off of her and it feels great for me, but I think it's still too soon for her to feel the relief.  But I really don't know what to talk about because she's not interested in anything I have to say.  She has mentioned that sometimes when I try talking about "whatever", it comes across as trying to hard.

I want so bad to be different, to be a partner and not the needy child I've been for so long.  She informed me recently that I'm socially awkward and I had no idea.  Now I'm uncomfortable around people because I don't know if I'm saying something off the wall.  I recently started getting out more and doing things on my own since team sporting leagues started up and I can go play.  I don't go to bars so this is my outlet.

I want to go out with my wife and do things together that we could not afford before - like a date night.  I want to work on being social with my wife.  I'm always putting a smiley face on no matter how hard things are for me under the surface, but I guess it's too transparent.

EW - I seek her understanding and I'm starting to understand I'm running over-kill.  She's under a lot of stress from stuff that I know nothing about because I'm not included in her life.  But you have provided me with the strength to go to bed alone un-sad for the next few days.

The thing that really bothers me too is that I was reading everything all wrong.  In the last few days she had been waking up in her sleep and facing me as opposed to turning her back to me.  She rested her foot on mine and last night she had shifted in her sleep to where her leg was against my arm at my side.  These are things that had been missing and unheard of in my life for almost a year.  I read it all wrong and I feel very low about that.


Wow, "DF"--I am so sorry!  And Wow, "Enough"--you have some serious resentment!  The problem here is that while Enough might be right about why DF's wife is reacting the way she is...he is in a lose-lose situation.  So he was a crappy husband before; he knows that and has acknowledged it multiple times.  The ONLY thing he can do about it is change the present and the future, which is what he has been trying to do.  But by doing that he makes her mad.  And NOT doing that would make her mad.  I guess I understand that it could be too late, but come on!  He has never said he should not take the blame for his previous behavior and in fact has taken full responsibility for it.  I have never seen him blame it on the ADD.  I am one who is in somewhat of the same boat as DF, although thankfully so far my DH is a little more forgiving.  Maybe I was fortunate enough to "catch" it before he got to that point--I think he was getting VERY CLOSE.  But I am interested to hear from "Enough" - what SHOULD we do?  I guess if you are determined to leave, then just LEAVE already!  But if you are at all willing to try to work it out, then you've gotta allow us to do SOMETHING.  So what will it be?  Surely you can realize that it is unfair to continually punish your ADD spouse for both making improvements AND not making improvements.  A bit selfish, I think.  It does NOT excuse the past.  Nothing can.  We are completely helpless to change the past, no matter how much we wish we could.  So how much punishment is enough?  I'm willing to accept consequences for past behavior.  But is there an end?  Or at least a beginning of a new phase, even if you can never really forgive the past?  If not, then you may as well leave unless you're just having fun punishing us, which I guess is your right.  But that makes you just as bad as we ever were, doesn't it?  Our bad behavior may have been irresponsible and stupid, but at least it was not intentionally malicious.

Separation: I just cannot believe that separation is EVER a good idea (assuming there is no physical abuse or danger, of course).  How can you possibly expect to heal a broken relationship while you are APART?  It's hard enough when we are together.  Distance is not going to make a frustrated partner feel MORE committed to the relationship.  It is only going to make "escape" seem that much easier and more attractive.  I guess if it was a separation under a counselor's supervision for the purpose AND with the requirement of intense therapy during it with some SERIOUS boundaries, then MAYBE it could be helpful (still not sure, though???).  But simple "time apart" will not heal these wounds.  Let's remember there are children involved here.  And that DF truly loves his wife.  He is doing everything he knows how to do--consenting to a separation is a bad idea IMHO.  If she insists, then maybe you have no choice, but I just can't see how that would possibly help here.  She has one foot out the door already--it would just help her rationalize walking away.

And DF--I have not said it because I did not want to upset you, but I was beginning to wonder the same thing about whether there is someone else.  I am not surprised you asked her that question.  In my experience, when spouses start behaving irrationally, there is often someone else.  And I would say she is approaching "irrational behavior," although I acknowledge that I am only hearing your side and since you have defended her very extensively, I know my perception may be just skewed in your favor as a fellow sufferer.  I hope it is not the case for her, but I do think it's fair for you to at least think of it, since she goes out at night without you and then stays out so late and etc.

My final two cents (and I know it's worth about that much!) is for DF--you HAVE to start LISTENING to your wife!  She has told you repeatedly that some of the things you are doing "for her" are making her uncomfortable.  STOP DOING THEM!  You are smothering her.  You are being stubborn to have decided for yourself what YOU think SHE needs, while totally disregarding what she (the object of your efforts!!!) keeps telling you she wants.  Just TRY doing exactly what she asks for one week and see what happens.  You could even tell her that you plan to do this and ask her for specifics--put her in the driver's seat and let her drive the car--just BE THE CAR. Continue to do things around the house and for the kids (but like "Enough" said--do them FOR YOURSELF), but do NOT do things for her that she does not want you to do!  At the very least, LISTEN to her about SOMETHING and show her that you are willing to do what she asks--and stop doing just whatever YOU want to do!  You have written the rules on her behalf and you are following your own rules.  But she is playing a different game.  Just give it a try?

I recently posted about "standing up for myself" and having an opinion with my DH and that, even when we argue, he really seems to PREFER that (and has told me so) rather than me acting like a doormat.  Maybe your wife needs to see some backbone in you (I know you've got it!).  She might feel like even though you are doing things FOR HER now, she still has to be the responsible one because everything you are doing still revolves around her and her needs, etc.  I am totally guessing here, but maybe down deep somewhere she wants you to get fed up with HER a little bit and take over some of the leadership role?  Like maybe she wants to know that some of the things she is doing are bothering you (maybe it wasn't even the end of the world that you asked her about someone else?)--it shows that you care and that you assume that she has responsibilities too.  Maybe one of our non-ADD spouse friends can jump in here, but I wonder if continuing to behave as though you have this huge debt to pay off could actually start to backfire? Maybe it's time to start acting like you are now in a more normally balanced relationship where you both have responsibilities to each other and for the family, and you expect her to fulfill hers just as she should expect you to fulfill yours--period.  Maybe it's time for YOU to start having some expectations here too.  (Just sayin')

 ((HUGS to DF!))  Sorry if you are reeling a bit--this thread has been a bit rough on you!  I am still in your corner.

One More Suggestion

DF, have you ever seen the movie "Fireproof?"  The husband in that movie follows a plan for how to truly love his wife (can't remember the name of it--it's probably on the movie website or something).  I know it was just a movie, but maybe you could try that method so you will still feel like you are actively doing something other than just "waiting" for her to decide she's ready to accept you back.  I think it tells you something to do every day for a certain period of time.  You are already doing some of the things they suggest (like making her coffee, etc.).  I will warn you since you said you are not religious, it is basically a Christian movie and system--but it follows the concept of sacrificial and unconditional love, which is necessary for any lasting relationship.  

Hang in there, DF!  You are right about the separation.  Not good for anyone.  I would resist that option very strongly!

It is called The Love

It is called The Love Dare...I have the movie and the book. The movie was a huge turning point for me in my marriage, but I have never managed to do the entire 40 days of the Love Dare. It is based on Scripture and loving our spouses as God loves them...treating them the way God wants us to.

The Love Dare

Yes, achieving the entire 40 days of the Dare is much harder than I thought it would be.  I am trying to love and treat my husband the way God wants me to but my husband continues to struggle with so many of the symtoms of ADHD and I find myself, still, from time to time asking, "WHY BOTHER'? 

DF's picture

Why Bother?

First off, when I saw that movie I was way beyond the 40th day in my own journey.  There is one aspect i'm not certain I agree with on that movie and that's his wife's reaction to the things he's doing.  She succumbs over time to learn to believe and trust again and he was meaner to her than I ever was to my wife.  My wife thinks everything I'm doing in the last 5 months since I've seen that movie is all about doing it for her and not for me.  I continue to anger and frustrate her by doing things that she see's as being someone I'm not - almost 1 full year later.  I give her as much space to grow and relearn her priorities and I get nothing but resentment in return on a daily basis.  As hard as I'm trying to be a better person forever, it seems she's working just as hard to not budge an inch.

So from the ADD(HD) side of the coin - I answer "Why Bother" with "Why Not".  At times, my heart feels like it dies a little everyday, but I step up everyday regardless of how hard my low self esteem pushes me down.  I don't understand any thought pattern aside from my own way and knowing my way is broken makes it just as tough.  I have a combination of love and respect for my wife and my family that gets me out of bed everyday and suffer going to bed alone almost every night.  I'm not saying any non-ADD(HD) spouses are wrong.  I'm equally frustrated that there are so many spouses unable to "man up" and take responsibility of their diagnosis.  I have been running all my life when life got hard.  I have a family and a wonderful wife that has gotten me this far that i have to fight for and i know I'm going to be a better person in the end, but for me it took a hard look at reality.  A lot of us with ADD(HD) don't see the damage we do until it has reached a climax.

"Why Bother?" - Maybe there's hope that your spouse can figure it out and face up to the responsibility and difficulty that being an adult demands.  I hope so, because I have to believe there are more than a few of us ADD(HD)'ers here that want to really try to be better and not for just a few weeks at a time.

How do you know that your

How do you know that your behaviors werent as bad as the way he treated his wife? Being ignored, neglected, taken for granted are all just as painful as outward displays of anger and selifshness. I am always impressed by your persistence and consistency...but think maybe we have hit on something here. Are you sure you are fully aware of why your wife has arrived at Bitterville and is refusing to get off of the train? Knowing you hurt her and FULLY accepting the precise ways in which you did so are two different things. If you now scrub toilets consistently...but didnt for 10 may seem like you are doing great in your world...but it may not mean squat to her. Are you certain you have dealt with and are changing the behaviors that really matter? You mention money a lot...wanting to make more so you can relieve her financial stresses...but is that truly something she gives a damn about? You bring her coffee...but are you addressing the real issue? You have mentioned many times that you let her assume you loved her for many you make damn sure she knows (regardless of whether she responds with the like?) Just some thoughts that jumped out at me. You know I think you're quite awesome. :-)

Movie - Fireproof

ADD Wife,

I thought that was the name of the movie, too.  But Sherrie has mentioned another title.  In any event, it is a great movie and rings so true for many of us.

I recommend it. 

Movie is called

Movie is called Fireproof...workbook that accompanies it is called The Love Dare.

The Love Dare

Just to clarify in case anyone is trying to find these resources: The title of the movie is "Fireproof" and the system that the husband follows in the movie is called "The Love Dare."  

It's been awhile since I've seen the movie, but I remember feeling like the wife's reactions seemed pretty realistic to me--they didn't make it look "too easy" so that she immediately embraced everything, but eventually she did decide that his efforts were "real" and he was not just going through the motions.  I guess this could take longer for some and might be quicker for others.  And of course, there is no guarantee.  Everyone is going to respond differently according to their personality and relationship.  

However, it is a Christian movie and the Love Dare is based on Christian concepts.  So I believe that the Love Dare method is not necessarily perfectly transferrable to a totally secular situation, although the principles can certainly be used regardless.  It is about unconditional love and commitment.  It's just that I think it would be impossible to successfully love someone unconditionally for the long-term without supernatural help.  For me, my faith provides the spiritual encouragement, comfort and accountability that I need in those moments, days, weeks and maybe even years when I may question "Why bother?" so that I can effectively control the resentment and anger that threatens to damage the relationship.

ADD wife- "And Wow,

ADD wife- "And Wow, "Enough"--you have some serious resentment!" I've posted the story of our marriage. I think if you click on my name you can find the thread.

ADD wife- "But I am interested to hear from "Enough" - what SHOULD we do?  I guess if you are determined to leave, then just LEAVE already!  But if you are at all willing to try to work it out, then you've gotta allow us to do SOMETHING.  So what will it be?  Surely you can realize that it is unfair to continually punish your ADD spouse for both making improvements AND not making improvements."

Years ago we said our vows and exchanged our rings. We said "for better or worse, sickness and health." I remember it. I remember it clearly. I remember how much you cared for me and loved me back then. Now that love and caring was just hyper focus. After we married I started noticing a rash on you. I pointed it out. You said "I don't have a rash and if I do it is from you. It is your fault. Why are you giving me this rash?" I defended myself. I had nothing to do with it. I was just pointing it out.

The rash spread and covered more of your skin. It was making you sick. I took you in front of the mirror and showed it to you. "I don't see a rash. You have vision problems. You need help."

The rash spread more to cover 50% of your body over the years. I was getting sick being around you. You were making the kids sick. I begged you to go to a doctor. "There is no rash. You're just crazy. This is all your fault. I can't believe you are making up rashes just to make me look bad. How dare you?"

So I went to a doctor. I told the doctor what was happening and that I was worried. I got my eyes checked. My vision was perfect but the doctor was worried about my stress and anxiety. The doctor wanted to see you. "I'm not going to a doctor there is nothing wrong with me. The problem is all with you. Don't blame me for you illness," you told me.

When the rash spread to cover most of your body and the kids and I couldn't take it anymore we left. We packed our bags and walked away. You called a few days later. You went to the doctor. "Yes, I have a rash," you tell me over the phone. "Turns out there is some medicine I can take for it and some treatments that can help. This is all my fault. I'm so sorry. I need you here. I need you to rub this medicine on the places I can't reach. It is the only way I can get better. Please, please come back."

Two months later I came back. Shortly after that you stopped using the medicine and stopped going to treatment. Now when things go wrong you don't blame me for it. Now you blame the rash. It is just the way you are. I should learn to deal with it.

I said for sickness and health, better or worse. Your rash went untreated for years. I told you about it and you did nothing. But since I said I would stay with you through it all I did stay. Now you too know there is a rash. You now blame the rash for all of your misdeeds. You are a victim of the rash you won't treat. At what point do I get to say "I took vows with you. Not with your rash. Make the rash go away or I will go away."


I dated a man. I married a man. After we were married a wolf would come to door while the man wasn't there. The wolf bites, growls, and howls. I stayed waiting for the man to return. A sheep appears after the wolf. The sheep holds me, tells me he is sorry for the wolf, and licks my wounds. Then the man I married comes home. I tell him about the wolf and sheep. He tells me I'm crazy.

The man was normal, nice, and loving. I liked him- that is why I married that one. The wolf was mean, blaming, howling, biting. The sheep was sorry and cried and apologized for the wolf's behavior.

I started building a brick house. I laid the brick in one by one over the years. When the man or sheep are around, I come out of the brick house. When the wolf comes back, I lay more bricks. Over the years the walls have grown quite high. The bricks are not of clay or stone, but of pain. The pain the wolf gave me. I stack them high. I hide behind them.

It doesn't take me long to notice the man, wolf, and sheep all have the same eyes and same voice. I talk to the man about it. "What are you going on about. I don't change forms. Come on, lets go to dinner." I talk to the wolf about it. The wolf howls and bites me and leaves me there bleeding. I talk to the sheep about it. The sheep holds me and cries. The sheep admits that he is all three beings. The sheep is so sorry for the bites and sorry for the denial. He loves me.

I love the man, fear the wolf, and pity the sheep.

This goes on for years. The walls get higher. There are some small gaps in the brickwork. I can see through them to the outside world. The wolf scratches at the walls. The sheep plants flowers around it. The man knocks on it and begs me to come out. "I am a man, the man you married. Yes, I was the wolf and I was the sheep. I'm sorry. I don't want to be those things anymore. I want to be the man you married. I want you to trust me again." I peek out through the cracks in the wall to see those eyes I know so well looking back at me. I come out. It is the man I trusted and it was him. I was so happy. Then suddenly he transforms into a wolf again, then a sheep. I add more bricks to the wall.

12 years. For 12 years I let this go on.

Now he stands at my wall again begging for another chance. He tells me again and again he doesn't want to be like that anymore. That he is trying to bannish the wolf. Then he turns into the sheep. He cries and begs for my pity. I asks that I give him something, anything. A token to show that I am still there and still willing to talk to him. I reach my hand out to pet the sheep. He turns into a wolf and bites it again.

I stay safe inside my brick walls. The one that I married outside of those wall. He promises that he will stay a man but he is in sheep form as he begs. He lays down at my walls crying and asking what he can do to prove to me he is a man and will stay a man. I stay inside my brick walls watching him. Perhaps if he can say these things to me as a man and stay in that form for while, I can trust him enough to come out. Until then I stay inside silent and watchful.

ADD wife- "But I am interested to hear from "Enough" - what SHOULD we do?"

You should pick a form and stay with it. Be consistent. If you are consistent with it for long enough, the one inside those brick walls can trust enough again to come out and talk to whatever form you choose.

Right now it seems to me you are the sheep and as soon as I step out of my protection you will become the wolf again. I can't trust my husband. I can't trust him to stay in the same form.

ADD wife- "But if you are at all willing to try to work it out, then you've gotta allow us to do SOMETHING."

No, I just have to silently watch from safety.

ADD wife- "So what will it be?  Surely you can realize that it is unfair to continually punish your ADD spouse for both making improvements AND not making improvements.  A bit selfish, I think."

I'm not punishing anyone. I am just staying safe. I think it is selfish to ask someone to come out from behind their defenses when their safety is not guaranteed.

ADD wife- "It does NOT excuse the past.  Nothing can.  We are completely helpless to change the past, no matter how much we wish we could."

The scars will always remain. The do fade with time and you get use to them after a while. But before they can become scars, the wounds have to heal. That takes a while.

ADD wife- "So how much punishment is enough?  I'm willing to accept consequences for past behavior.  But is there an end?  Or at least a beginning of a new phase, even if you can never really forgive the past?  If not, then you may as well leave unless you're just having fun punishing us, which I guess is your right.  But that makes you just as bad as we ever were, doesn't it?  Our bad behavior may have been irresponsible and stupid, but at least it was not intentionally malicious."

I don't think hiding behind a wall for self preservation is malicious or punishment. I think it is survival. You won't see me cry. You won't make me yell at you. I will just wait behind this wall and watch you change form time and time again, with each form promising me this is the one. This is the new you. I watch and I can't trust.

Be consistent in a form then maybe I can talk to you through the wall, then maybe I will come out. I'm not punishing. I am protecting myself.

I am married to an ADHD

I am married to an ADHD man...and have lived your life...for 14 years.

My question to you...from a very sincere place of concern for you and your current state of mind...have you held yourself accountable for any of the issues in the marriage? Can you identify yourself in any of the blogs Melissa has on here addressed to the non-ADHD spouses?

I agree 100% that consistency is ideal and sometimes vital to the survival of the marriage...but this consistency comes from both spouses. Your husband will most likely NEVER feel the motivation to change as long as your walls are up. They may make very honest efforts to change, but when met with brick walls, they lose hope and motivation very quickly. The fear of failure is ENORMOUS in ADHDers and recognition of their efforts is imperative to the success of their changes. You have a role in the success (or failure) of changing the dynamics of your marriage. NO ONE understands your pain and frustration better than I do...I could make a long list of things that my husband has done to hurt disrespect our vows. But, I choose not to hold against him things he TRULY could not control (not everything he did, but a lot of it)...however, now that we have the diagnosis and know what is going on, there is no excuse for him not trying to improve the marriage. He refuses to admit the ADHD is an issue (although deep down I know he knows that it is). If your husband is claiming responsibility for it, and making progress...even if it is VERY slow progress...then I would urge you to start doing some very deep soul searching and look at how you might have contributed to the vicious cycle of the last 12 years and how you could make some changes within yourself that might bring about some positive changes for the marriage as a whole. I know it is a tough pill to swallow, but marriage takes two...and we are just as responsible for making things work, changing unhealthy behaviors, as they are.

The wolf will not go away overnight...the best thing you can do is to stop reacting to the wolf, tell him how hurtful his behaviors are, and let it go. The less you react to the wolf, the more you recognize the wolf as ADHD, the less you will see the wolf. The wolf comes because it is won't go away overnight. Seeing the wolf occasionally does not mean it is the end of the just means that taming a wolf when you have ADHD is extremely complicated. I don't have ADHD and taming my own wolves has been a very slow process..over 18 months now...and it is still my 'go to place' (anger). We are all human.

DF's picture

But she has to be in that place

My wife and some others here have to be in that place where the fork in the road begins.  They have to stop and either keep on as they are, move back to the start in order to take the other route, or stop where they are and make a new fork that meets up with the other route.

You're very positive and a joy to read.  I also need to see the other side of the coin.  It doesn't help me beat down my guilt, but it makes for a more complete picture.  If someone farts in a rose garden it shouldn't always smell like roses and I've been living in that dream for too darn long.

I don't know what it will take for my wife to reach that point of forgiveness or if she ever will.  I just know I can't stop trying to be a partner and not a lazy a$$.  When I ( an ADD spouse ) was living in my own little selfish world I was oblivious to most everything around me.  When my wife shut down on me I knew the problem was me, but I didn't know what all it was.  I was doing all kinds of things but had no direction.  When I learned recently of my diagnosis I really began to see the world I had been oblivious too for so long.

As hard as it is to let go of the anger because you don't see how an intelligent adult could be so blind, it's equally as hard for someone like me to believe I couldn't see it either. It's hard to comprehend how something perceived as a "theory" can have such an impact on ones life.  I can't see it, it doesn't make me physically ill, but you're telling me it makes me angry?!  My wife gets angry and my coworkers get angry, but they don't have ADD(HD) so how can that be my "excuse"?  You're telling me it makes me forgetful?!  My wife forgot to pick up bread while out at the grocery store and she doesn't have ADD(HD) so how can it be my "excuse"?  I see where she's coming from on the ADD(HD) thing, but she has to accept it as I have in order to move forward.  I still don't understand how ADD(HD) can separate people into two types of classes, but then maybe I'm just hanging out here too often and that's just me talking.

Sherri- "My question to

Sherri- "My question to you...from a very sincere place of concern for you and your current state of mind...have you held yourself accountable for any of the issues in the marriage? Can you identify yourself in any of the blogs Melissa has on here addressed to the non-ADHD spouses?"

Imagine yourself with two young children and seven months pregnant with the third. It was already a troubled pregnancy and you can't help mow the grass. While he is outside mowing you are inside doing laundry, cooking dinner, and looking after the kids. When he comes in you take him a cold drink and tell him dinner will be ready soon. You look outside while he is taking off his shoes and say the yard looks nice.

"Nice?" he asks.

"Yes, it looks good. You even weed eated. I made hamburgers. Do you want cheese on yours?"

"It looks nice. That is all you can say?" he stares you down.

"What am I suppose to say? It's grass. You did a good job." I know trouble is starting. Now I have to figure out if I should defend, ignore the fight he is trying to start, or go silent. "Do you want cheese on your burger or not?"

"You mean do I want MY cheese on my hamburger. The hamburger I bought with the money from my job that I just had to come home from and mow? Yes, I want *@##$$% cheese. Stop being so worthless. You are so lazy. I work all day and come home and mow. All I get is it looks nice and do I want cheese. ^$$# you."

I take a deep breath. After two near miscarriages with this child he knows the doctors don't want me doing things like push mowing the grass. He probably just had a bad day at work and I will just let it go.

When dinner is ready I bring him his plate. I put Miracle Whip on his burger just the way he likes it and asks if he needs anything else before I sit down. "No" he replies. I sit down and start eating. "Bring me salt." I bring him salt then sit back down. "Get me another drink."  I get him another drink then go back to eating. Get me a napkin. They are right there on the table but he is testing me. If I point it out he will just yell. I pick up a napkin and hand it to him.

Half way through his burger he says "this is Miracle Whip. I wanted Mayo."

"Do you want me to get you another one?"

"No, I'm not wasting it. I will eat it but it sucks. You should @%%^##@ know by now that I like Mayo sometimes."

"I know you like Mayo too, but you usually eat it on turkey sandwiches. You always want MW on burgers." I try to smile then offer to get the Mayo for him. He could put mayo and MW on it. No biggy.

Then he throws his plate across the room, grabs me and throws me against the wall. He is screaming in my face about how stupid and worthless I am. Our two children start to cry. He storms out. I don't see him for a few hours. When he comes in I pretend to be asleep.

"My question to you...from a very sincere place of concern for you and your current state of mind...have you held yourself accountable for any of the issues in the marriage?"

It is hard to hold yourself accountable when you don't understand what just happened or why. I will continue to stand within  the safety of my walls and silently watch the wolf crawling around outside.

A) you are in NO WAY

A) you are in NO WAY accountable for this situation...and this is something bad going on with him that is completely out of control.

B) where you've enabled this is by having no boundaries...this kind of behavior should have been tolerated one time..and then he should have been shown the door. Abuse like this is not OK by any means.

C) if you cannot forgive him, then you owe it to him to leave him. I believe everyone deserves a second chance IF they are trying (seeking treatment, getting help, admitting responsibility for their actions, NOT playing the blame game). I think maybe some space between the two of you would help tremendously. You need to be shown that he can change, and you need to let go of the past and be willing to try and move forward..otherwise, letting him go would be best for everyone involved.

My husband is not physically or verbally abusive-most of the time (unless we are in a bad fight..and then we both start throwing daggers with our's horrible)...he's much more laid back and takes everything in stride. He did, however, cheat on me when I was pregnant with our daughter (married only 6 months) and again 12 years later and subsequently was not there for me through one of the worst months of my life (when my father had an ATV accident, was hospitalized for a month, and ended up Nov 2009), he's been known to get drunk and pass out in the back yard, get drunk and drive home and wreck his truck, stay out all night long on numerous occasions drinking, have a handful of 'suspicious' friendships with women, put my step-daughter before me- for 6 years I literally had to fight for my rights as an adult in my own home, spending money that was meant for bills (which I am 100% responsible for) 100s of times,  etc..the list goes on and on. We didn't have the ADHD diagnosis until June of 2010...all of this started in Feb of 1998. In all fairness, most of his behaviors are in the past...have been since we reconciled after a brief separation in 2009. But, the aDHD is there. I see it everyday. It still really hurts sometimes. He tried meds, they didn't work. (made things WORSE). He won his way back into my heart in 2009 (after my Daddy died, and his affair) with overwhelming displays of remorse. All I wanted was to feel that he was sorry and held himself accountable for what he had done...and was willing to TRY.

If your husband admits that the above behavior was wrong, he was completely wrong for behaving this way to you and WANTS to change, and you want to try and forgive him, then you MUST at least forgive the past and give a clean slate. NOTHING will change as long as you hold onto the past so tightly. I know it hurts, God knows I've shed my share of tears and mourned the loss of the innocence of our love and what I thought it would be according to those first few months of dating...but ADHD is real. It causes good people to do bad things. It causes good people to behave in ways that makes them appear to be selfish, lazy, and sometimes just flat out mean. The kind of anger your husband has probably stems from an extremely low self esteem...therefore beating you down with words (and criticizing your every action, no matter how the mayo thing) is his way of surviving in his chaotic world where he feels horrible about himself. As Dr. Hallowell says, it isn't an excuse, but it is an explaination.

Is he seeking treatment? Taking meds? Do you feel he's remorseful? I can assure you, you will know the difference between "just another line of BS..'" and true remorse.


Thanks Sherri

ADHD is real. It causes good people to do bad things. It causes good people to behave in ways that makes them appear to be selfish, lazy, and sometimes just flat out mean.

I just want to swim around in that for awhile.  

If only everyone could have that perspective!  THANK YOU for showing me that it is possible.  I think my DH is much closer to your attitude than those who are struggling with so much anger, although he is not nearly as knowledgeable about the condition of ADD itself as you are.  I am INCREDIBLY thankful that he is willing to forgive and willing to hope, and even willing to acknowledge that he has some responsibility for where we are as a couple, even though he was simply reacting to my symptoms in the only way he knew how.  I doubt that he fully trusts me yet, but I am working to earn that.

DF mentioned being able to sort of see two basic types of reactions among non-ADD spouses.  I can see this as well.  I see that those who are willing to "blame" the ADD instead of their spouse and work together with their ADD spouse seem to be much more successful at building a happier marriage.  A pre-requisite is that the ADD spouse has to be at the place where they want to change.  But since I am at that place, and my DH seems willing to give us a chance, I am very hopeful that we can have a good future together.  Thanks, Sherri.

WOW... No Excuse for This Behavior!

I've got ADD, diagnosed 2 years ago, but the behavior you are describing here makes me sick. I don't see where you have done anything wrong, if anything, you are going above and beyond. When I read some of your posts regarding the Sheep, Man and Wolf, I was trying to figure out how I am a "Wolf" or even the "Sheep"... I am all full of the classic ADD traits, but I am very even keeled. I never yell at my wife, I have sadly yelled at my kids, (Before ADD Diagnosis) but only in extreme cases of misbehavior and I am EXTREMELY guilt ridden for this, so now I only yell at the dogs... Physically violent, NEVER... A few spankings, sure, but Never in anger and never hard enough to hurt them and also these were rare occurrences and if my DW agreed with the punishment. (Terrible Grammar, sorry)

I guess I cannot imagine provoking fights, much less trying to keep them going after they start. Name calling... Never

Your walls seem very justified to me. I guess there are ADDer's who certainly qualify for the "Wolf Role", but I am glad to say I'm not a member. And I wish the Members would get their crap together.

I hope things improve for you soon.


I agree! This is more than ADD

I am married to a man and on rare occasions he is becomes an angry man.  If the sheep represents the soft gentle person who shows up after a fight to admit to his part in escalating a relatively minor issue (because that is what we deal with--NOT saying that is what you are dealing are dealing with abuse), then he is sometimes a sheep.  I would just call him an apologetic man, but I understand the imagery you are using.  My husband has never ever been a wolf.  Even in the sense that I thought you meant it the furiously angry man that some women deal with as an ADHD symptom.

I think there is a difference between a man getting defensive or angry because of something he failed to do & you are angry about it, and a biting wolf.  A big big difference, but I thought that was the imagery......that men who have anger issues (which can be a symptom of ADHD) represent the wolf.  You are dealing with much, much more than that. You are dealing with something horrible and dangerous and mean.  If he isn't completely done being the wolf, then for your sake and that of your children, I recommend you get to true safety and that might be somewhere more physically safe than behind your emotional walls.


Best wishes to you and your family!!!!

That's Terrible!

What a horrible scene.  I'm so sorry he acted that way.  And you should NEVER be expected to subject yourself to physical abuse.  I am curious to know how long ago was that situation?  Was it recent or years ago?  Was it a one-time incident or was he always like that?  Is he still like that now?  If it was recent, then you should probably get away from him, at least temporarily.  I know you have kids and I usually think separation is almost always a bad idea UNLESS you are in physical or severe emotional danger!!  And what you described certainly constitutes abuse.

However...IF it was years ago and/or a one-time thing or very infrequent behavior, and IF he is currently expressing remorse for those types of behaviors and a desire to become a good husband, then I agree with Sherri.  You need to find it in yourself to forgive him and give him a chance to change.  These changes are extremely SLOW and difficult, and usually involve some reverting to old behaviors (our security blanket!) before real progress is made.  Giving him a chance does NOT equal giving him your TRUST.  Trust must be EARNED over time.  But grace is freely given, often when it's least deserved.  By not trusting until it's earned, you can still protect yourself; but you can also forgive, encourage and support your spouse as he attempts to do the most challenging thing he has ever faced in his entire life.  And if he has decided to try to change, then he is willing to do that FOR YOU because he loves you and wants to show you that.  I hope this is where he is!  Of course, decisions and desires and willingness are not enough...outcomes are even more important.  But at least it is a start.

MagicSandwich's picture

claiming responsibility

Yes I agree. No amount of claiming responsibility on his part will 'erase' behavior this bad. Unfortunately so many of us on here know that it DOES get this bad.

Ah Yes, Consistency

Well, sadly if it's consistency you're after, you may never get that with an ADD spouse.  Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong about that!?  At least for me, inconsistency is my absolute number one problem.  And while I do have hope that I will be able to IMPROVE, I have no disillusionment that I will ever reach the level of true (or even normal?) consistency.  My best hope at this point is to just learn how to get back up and keep going when I fail rather than getting overwhelmed and shutting down or giving up.  It does not sound like this would be enough for you; I hope it can be enough for my own DH, because I'm afraid that it may be the best I can ever offer.  I am starting to come to terms with that and accept it for myself.

I have spent YEARS lamenting my failure at consistency.  It has had a paralyzing effect on me.  I have always used the measure of consistency to evaluate my own success or failure.  And since I am rarely, if ever, consistent, I have labeled myself a TOTAL FAILURE for many years.  And I have equated that failure with moral failure.  When you feel like a total failure, and especially if that includes thinking you are a bad person too, it is really hard to get back up and try again.  Believe it or not, other people in my life will often compliment me on being organized or detail-oriented (this happened just today!).  How is this possible?  Because I AM GOOD AT THOSE THINGS SOMETIMES...the problem is that I can't maintain them CONSISTENTLY!  So up until recently, I would never give myself any credit at all when people said those types of things--I completely dismissed any compliments I received as "false" and assumed the person just didn't know me well enough to see the truth.  In my mind, my inconsistency was one and the same as being BAD AT or not even possessing those skills.  Well, this is not really true; I am good at lots of stuff!  Do I need to increase consistency?  ABSOLUTELY!!!  But by recognizing that I actually do possess some organizational skills or the ability to pay attention to details, etc., I feel much more empowered to try to work on my CONSISTENCY rather than feeling like I have to first develop totally "foreign" skills from scratch AND then perform them consistently too.

I can understand what you are saying about protecting yourself, and of course you need to do that.  HOWEVER...IF your husband really is trying to change, waiting and watching silently is not likely to help him be successful.  Do you have to help him?  No.  Do you have a right to be angry that he refused to seek help for so long and then abandoned the help after he finally made some progress?  YES!  But if you want a marriage with him, you need to release your "right" to hold onto your anger and learn to work as a team to enable him to become the man you want him to be.  I totally get it that this is NOT FAIR to you.  But as our Mamas always said, "Life is not fair."  (I know, easy for me to say!)  It is very doubtful he will be able to make changes totally on his own, and even more doubtful in a hostile environment.  Even if you think you are not being hostile by just being someone with ADD, that SCREAMS hostility!  It may not seem like it to you and it may not be your motivation, but it really IS punishment.  Remember that you are angry about your perception of HIS motivations (or lack thereof) for so long, even though much of his behavior can probably be attributed to ADD symptoms.  But perception IS reality.  You know this all too well--his "excuses" are hollow to you because the reality for you is that he has hurt you repeatedly, and it doesn't really matter to you WHY he did that.  But you see, regardless of your motivation of self-protection, if he FEELS punishment in your attitude towards him, then HIS perception is reality for him too.  

I know you and I may not see eye to eye here, and that's okay.  I realize you need a lot of healing and some proof before you can offer your spouse any more trust, and I get that.  I also agree that it is his responsibility to fix it.  But, if you are NOT ABLE to allow him the opportunity to fix it, understanding that he WILL make mistakes along the way, you really should not lead him on to think there is hope.  Regardless of what you may think, that IS punishing and malicious.  It will sabotage any chance he has to be able to overcome some of his symptoms for his future.  

Change for an ADD spouse takes so much more than an "ah-ha" moment and a genuine desire to be different or make things better.  You are dealing with a BRAIN DISORDER.  He has had it all his life.  He developed ways of coping, probably unhealthy ways, either for himself or for the people around him.  Finding new and healthy strategies takes a LOT of hard work and progress is excruciatingly slow.  But I would argue that the very best hope we have for success is a supportive partner who is on our side.  We certainly don't deserve that and have never done anything to earn it--in fact we have probably done plenty of things to stomp all over it...but we desperately NEED it if you can be brave enough and strong enough to offer it.

I truly do wish you the best and hope that you can be happy, whether it is with your husband, or apart from him.  I will be interested to follow your story and see how things go for you--I hope things get better and you can begin to heal.  I hope he can make enough progress for you to trust at least that his efforts are sincere.  Your perspective is helpful to me as an ADD spouse so that I can better understand the pain that I have caused in my own relationship, and I appreciate your openness.


Ended Wit, Your last

Ended Wit,

Your last paragraph, in reply to DF, rings so true in my household, too.  I am trying very hard not to get discouraged but I really don't think I will ever experience any real follow-thru when it comes to my husband hearing me or helping me cope.  It still continues to be all about HIM no matter what the conversation may be about. 

DF's picture

So many to reply too....

I read a whole bunch of new comments on this subject.  Bunches and bunches and it was like tug-o-war.  "Enough" has challenged my train of thought and I hope I'm getting more out of it than I perceive that I am.  I read responses ranging from defending my wife and defending me.  I slept on them and having been on call all weekend, I was glad to have been able to sleep a full, uninterrupted night.  I will attempt to place thoughts into text and I'm sure I'll miss something since there's been a lot of traffic here.

First off ->  Seen the movie Fireproof.  My sister told me about it a while back.  When I saw the movie I kind of laughed since i was on like day 90 at that time.  I had already been getting coffee for my wife every morning and was making attempts at dinner more consistently.  I had already been aggressively fighting against my draw towards adult material.  The religious stuff was a bit much for me, but I could look past it enough to get the message behind the movie. 

-  I like the wolf, man, sheep metaphore, but I'm not certain of my own role.  From this perspective I see things differently, but I'm here to see the other side.  In here, I profess my love and my dedication - in these forums I am the sheep.  In life I do everything that I do and I ask for nothing in return, only that she observe - I am a man, but in sheep's clothing.  The wolf?  Not sure I can answer this.  I don't know.  I'm in line with "ADD Wife" in her saying:  "... [we have been] irresponsible and stupid, but at least it was not intentionally malicious...."  This I know is true for me.  I've read so much here in these forums and I have my issues, but I don't know much about the wolf.  I see the parent-child relationship in our marriage and that's what I'm addressing.  It's unclear to me how I was biting at her.  I'm not saying I didn't, I'm sure my own level of distance over the years can be interpreted differently than my take.  I always chose to shut down when I was upset with my wife vs. yell at her.  My silence was my way to tell her I was upset - I see the error of my ways and I see that was something ADD(HD) people do.

-  I am seeing one message over and over again here - Be consistent.  I agree and that has been my trial since August of last year, when I really started to work hard on me.  Last May is when I tried to establish routines for cleaning up around the house.

-  The explanation of how the wall gets built as well as the insight on the wall being torn down, only to be deceived in the end is very helpful.  I do not want to deceive my wife.  I want my efforts to be as much a part of me as breathing air to survive.  I have read that ADD(HD) people need structure and that's not something I've had on my own.  I don't have a guideline other than distant memories of things I'm sure my wife told me about.  I do what I think needs to be done and I work to make it a routine so I don't even realize I'm doing it anymore.  I guess that kind of answers the "why now" question to some respect.  I would start something and it would go by the wayside because I didn't realize I had an issue with daily tasks.  I also know that I should have known better before and that's part of my wife's frustration.  I'm an adult so I should have seen it, but I didn't.

-  I also agree on the perception of "Sorry".  I try not to say that too much anymore because it means I messed something up or that I'm being all sappy and needy.  I've said it enough over the last year that I don't like hearing myself say it.  It seems so shallow anymore.

-  I have to work on the eggshells.  That's a legitimate problem.  I know much of that comes from the fact that I'm always home.  Work, school, kids is my life.  My wife has told me that she likes to go be with her friends because she doesn't feel frustrated with me.  It makes sense.  When I do my team sport activities I don't think much about my hurt and I feel really good afterwards.  I know that much of my issues lie in that I'm home to stew in my basement of thought.  It does make getting school work done a bit difficult.

-  I don't think I ever blamed my wife for "my" behavior, but since my recent diagnosis and reading up on it, I have to second guess everything so I will say that I had at some point.  I do recall her frustration with me for agreeing with her all the time and then nothing come of it, so maybe I blamed her, maybe I just agreed and didn't act on it.  I don't know.

I'm getting long winded and work keeps interrupting so I'll end with consistency.  I believe in consistency too.  If I've never been consistent, it's time to train myself to be because I don't plan on dying tomorrow and I want to function in daily life without issues.  I also know that I don't ever want to fall backwards again.  I was on my own two feet when my wife met me - the man she married - and I need to get back on those feet.  I need to forgive, but never forget.  If I can forgive I can beat my guilt and address life moving forward in a better direction.  I have to beat the guilt and I think that's what I'm going to change my mantra too.  I want to be consistent forever and I want to make my wife smile again and I don't want to feel so spineless and needy anymore.

Before you Stop Saying Your Sorry

Before you stop saying you're sorry, ask your wife how she feels about this.  Even though it may make you feel stupid to be saying your sorry all the time, saying "I'm sorry" combined with making specific changes can be an excellent route.  The words "I'm sorry" acknowledge that you KNOW you did something that bothers or hurts her.  Without your commenting on it, she has no way of knowing that you realize this...maybe not a good trade off.  Maybe instead of just saying "I'm sorry" you can change things up a bit:

"aarrgghh!  I didn't mean to do that!"
"my impulsivity got the best of me, but I'm working to control that in the future!"
"I know I hurt you when I said that - I feel terrible about it"
"guess I'm still working on my brakes...I apologize"

I'm about to write a post for Psychology Today on the topic of the best way to say you're sorry...keep your eye open for it at the right bottom column, where we link to those posts, too.

DF you are asking for nonADD opinions

and I am non ADD and I have opinions, so I thought I'd join your discussion :)  Our story is that we are coming up quick on our 10th wedding anniversary and we discovered the ADD (no H for him) about 3.5 years ago.  I'd say we had several years of honeymoon phase as we've always been (and still very much are!) deeply in love.  My husband took the lead in discovering the problem after a rough year we had involving a huge move and life change for us (we are now immersed in a foreign language and culture--he loves it much more than I do but the rewards are many)  We'd been arguing a lot which seemed to cause him to forget/drop the ball more often than before which made me angrier, and the cycle went round and round.

In his initial diagnostic appt, my husband was asked why we were there.  He described the following phases of our married life (we'd been married almost 7 years at this point):

First years-- "Man this is a blast!!!" 

Year 3--"This is a blast but I can think of a couple things that will make us even more successfu!l"

Years 4-5--"Babe I am getting frustrated, I think more of X, Y, and Z NEED to be worked on now"


It was hilarious to me because of how accurate it was.  I really didn't have any built up anger because immediately following that rough year, he did the research, pinpointed ADD (which I didn't think he could possibly have since I didn't know about inattentive kind at all), we read Delivered to Distraction which CONVINCED us he had ADD, and he got himself to the doctor.  I don't think the entire process took 2 months from first trying researching symptoms on the computer to having an official diagnosis.  As soon as we found out what it was, everything in the past (which honestly we were still practically newlyweds for how happy we were most of the time) immediately was wiped out...except for 1 financial mistake which made me still hesitate to trust him 100% on finances.  The reason for that was that he made a genuine mistake--forgot to send in a bill payment just before we got married (we agreed to no debt ever so he was paying off his final bill of a couple hundred dollars).  He never sent the payment.........mistake anyone could have made.  Once he started getting past due notices 6+ months after we were married I guess because of the move, he hid them to keep me from finding out while he tried to figure out a way to deal with it.  BIG BIG BIG BIG mistake.....hiding or lying about anything will be the most destructive thing you can ever do to a person you claim to love!!!   I started seeing envelopes and he lied to me about what it was.......he is the worst liar EVER and tried to say that they were trying to get him to return as a customer since he'd closed the acct.  Like I don't know what a bill envelope looks like.   I dug it out of the trash.......YEP this was his big plan to deal with it.......throw the bills away and hope that it went away.  SHEESH!!   Anyway I found it and with all the late fees we ended up having to pay about $1000.  I still have a little bit of a hard time with that situation........mostly because he tried to handle it like he was alone in the issue rather than as a married partner.

Anyway I didn't have built up anger except over the lying episode, but the year after diagnosis was really rough on us both.  Because he isn't a self-analyzer and isn't the best communicator of his feelings, he never expressed to me that he was grieving over finding out about the disorder and was grieving for all the struggles that he went through that had been unnecessary if they'd just understood.   I was SOOO excited.  We had a diagnosis, we had a plan, LETS GET MOVING ON IT!!!!   Needless to say, we were in completely different places which caused the frustration to build up more.......and I think quicker since now he seemed UNWILLING to get moving whereas before we just hadn't known what was wrong.

Once he came out of the grief stage (and I really regret that I didn't know that is what it was at the time because I really withdrew my support during that time with an attitude of "well if you won't help youself, I certainly can't carry it all for you anymore"), he was ready to talk about working on it but I was ready for work to be being done.  He was saying "what should be try about X" and I would stare at him in disbelief because over the course of the last year, we'd talked that issue to death while nothing was done.  When we were talkings as a team, he would be fired up, but once I waited to see what he'd do on his own, he just deflated.  I didn't KNOW that is what it was though :(  My  husband tends to want to follow me......when I am overwhelmed it overwhelms him, when I am happy he is happy, when I am working on his ADD he is working on it, but I don't always want to be the emotion setter/leader.

We finally got settled into our new situation (I also had 6 deaths of ppl close to me to deal with during this time so obviously the ADD couldn't get our full focus), got our communication back on track, figured out where we each were, and recommitted.  Things were going ok but frustratingly slow for me as he did a lot of talking about what to do but not enough doing it.  He was on Ritalin which eventually changed to Adderall and had a lousy doctor and a worthless coach provided by insurance......since his coach had all the exact same organizational and accomplishment issues, he had great symapathy sessions but no real help.

Around this point a couple things changed.  I found this site and got some new perspectives which got me rejuvenated again, and we attended the virtual ADHD conference.  If you are a couple needing help and you can afford the less than $200 early payment fee DO THIS CONFERENCE!!!! I am not associated with it in any way, but it was so helpful to us to get on the same page and to see the other side of it.  I am fairly sure it is in October of every year.  We came out of it with new understanding as well as new commitment to a direction to put our focus into and we've hardly looked back since! Sometimes you really need some outside resources!!

Shortly after that my husband got a new doctor who knew more about ADD and demanded his Vitamin D levels be checked as it is frequently low in ADD patients-- can't remember if it is caused by the ADD or the meds, but his was DANGEROUSLY low.  Megadoses of that helped his fatigue immeasureably.  He got a new coach who we both LOVE LOVE LOVE.  She has an ADHD son, and I have just recently been brought into the sessions and was able to fill in some blanks.  She's really helped me get over the money thing........being lied to is my absolutely inviolable boundary...esp since he had a small slip up recently with screwing something up and not telling me about it first, and then when I started suspecting something he lowballed the problem because telling me the whole amount was just "too much" (his words).......this was he told me he overspent by 200 when really it was 500.  Not a huge issue except he reverted to his *hide and try to work it out himself* default which I basically see as LIAR LIAR LIAR LIAR LIAR, so that was a hard knock this year.  He'd wanted to try keeping a credit card that he could buy presents for me online with as well as silly hobby type stuff like online virtual items in games that he would pay for out of his blow money.  Remember we are no debt, so the deal was his balance would always be zero at the end of the month, but he overspent his blow money, and it all made him feel like a terrible failure so he tried to cover it himself for a couple months before I found out.  I hadn't wanted to go along with this credit card at all, but we did it because he felt it was an important test of how well he's been doing and the failure hit him hard.


It ended up feeling to me like a lot of things do that are upsetting with ADD........and I suspect your wife feels some of this too.......he did this thing which hurt me soooooo deeply because I thought we were a true team and partners and I've have NEVER EVER hid anythigng from him.  And while I am reeling from the shock and hurt that he did this AGAIN, he is devastated and apologizing practically in tears and needs comfort from me.  I have to give it because I can't stand to see him so hurt, but it is hard not to resent that somehow his HURTING ME becomes how HE FEELS about it.  REALLY?!?!


Anyway, you ask primarily about anger, and I think your wife is taking hers too far.  But I also think you hurt her for better than a decade and feel like your comparitively short amount of effort time-wise should be putting everything back to rights.  I think for a forgiving person your changes might well be sufficient, but you are not married to one of those :(   Many wives might well say "BYGONES lets be happy"--I am definitely more of the latter, but your wife seems to feel more like Enough and is not ready to trust you yet.  I wouldn't be ready to give up at this still have put her through way more than she put you through & I don't get the sense that she is just doing it to be mean.  You both seem to be indicating that you were pretty crappy to her and in denial that you had any problem if she tried to tell you that there was one.  That is HARD TO TAKE especially when it is from the man you love.  And honestly I think especially hard to take when you are a woman and especially a many ppl need nurturing from you and if you aren't getting enough it can really really hurt.

There definitely still seems to be hope!!   One more thing I would caution you about that I experience with my husband's ADD.  He seems to be capable of believing anything he wants to believe regardless of any evidence to the contrary.   SERIOUSLY one of the most frustrating things about trying to get through to someone is to have it be someone who can overlook all evidence!!  You have received some shocks because her reality isn't your reality--for example her comments on your social behavior.  Look for evidence and clues as to what is actually happening!  She might be over-exaggerating since she's angry, but I will lay you odds that you think you are pulling off many things way better than you are.   Not criticizing--just saying in general ADD seems to keep you from some types of self-awareness.

I read of many things you are doing to help.  My husband helps more than most husbands, so I really congratulate you for this.  However, sometimes he doesn't do what I ask but thinks I shouldn't be mad because he was either "doing something" or "thinking about doing something" which sometimes seems to be the same as actual action on his part.  Doing *something* is good but  *doing what I asked you to do* is obviously going to be more important to me.

My husband seems to feel the same confusion as you with regard to anger-fun times together=anger is completely gone.  This is not the case.  Sitting here thinking about it, I can get all worked up about the money screw up from December again.  I am not going to, but it is not gone, and we have regular date nights and fun times and sex (sorry if that is TMI) but I am just saying everything can be happy happy joy joy and then I can bring up something that I feel wasn't fully resolved from last week, and my husband will look at me with a confused expression on his face and say "but we had an awesome date night on Saturday".  My response is "Yes and?"  He says "But doesn't that mean that everything Friday is forgotten?"  My response is "?!?!?"  How does one follow the other?  I can put something aside and mull over how to address it while continuing to have a great time with my husband.  Now granted I can't have sex angry....incapable of responding.....but as soon as it is resolved then all is back to normal, but I can still think something needs to be addressed and move one with my life while figuring out how to do so.  Are you missing this ability?  Maybe that is the problem with you misunderstanding things with your wife?

Again I could just be talking out of my butt because my hurts have been relatively minor and we have never been into the vicinity of breaking up.  That said just this weekend it wouldn't have taken much for me to wrap my hands around his neck and start squeezing......he lost several very important things this weekend and when he found 1 he seemed to want a party.  Frustration will always exist even in happy marriages.....ADD or not we are different ppl living in a stressful world.

DF's picture

A small sting here -

First off - "Enough".  Stuff I read about a spouse acting as your husband did about dinner and mowing is definitely not me, not even close, but I am by default in his price range due to my diagnosis.  When I'm upset I shut down and I'm silent.  I see a lot of what you are saying in several of your posts and I relate to much of the behavior as you describe some of it, but on a way way way more mild level.  If I ever got angry enough to make my kids cry it would kill me.  I read what you have and I see some of the anger my wife has and I hear the hurt in her trembling voice when she tells me about it.  Her anger I see is that she doesn't want to hate me because I know she doesn't believe I deserve it.  I know I don't deserve it.

Next -

There's a lot more again to reply too, but I'll go with Aspen for now.  You are way more forgiving.  It's nice to hear that.

" soon as it is resolved then all is back to normal, but I can still think something needs to be addressed and move one with my life while figuring out how to do so.  Are you missing this ability?....."  -> I'm not sure I understand your question.  I'm missing a lot of abilities, but I'm motivated and excited about possibilities. 

You are also correct in that my wife has dealt with me for a long time so me just flipping over a new lifestyle for one year is not a grounds for a holiday.  I'm aware of this, but it doesn't make it any easier.  Your gift to your husband that I can see is that you have been a part of the understanding process.  The journey to realizing what's going on.  I know that I needed my wife to get to this point for me to really look hard at what I do at everything.  As others have said I am also guilty of too much information in social settings.  If my wife was still connected to me and this was 2-3 years ago, I'd still be awkward in social situations.  I don't mean to be so unobservant and inept, but I am and if I'm going to learn new skills I have to be fully aware and I don't see it helping if my wife feels she still has to correct me all the time. 

For a while I had hoped my wife would come to this site and find me.  The more I write and the more we talk, I don't think it matters anymore.  Maybe it's just the mood I'm in today.  I feel no hostility towards myself, but I know my wife is angry and as "Enough" and "Bilf" and some others have stated round about here - I would not be helping my situation if my wife saw me dribbling here.  And that's exactly how it would come across as to someone who doesn't want to hear it.

Aspen - what I like about your reply and everyone else's is what I was looking for - some form of explanation.  I know I'm in this for the long haul, but I got this blog going because things started to go in reverse and I'd not done anything ( knowingly ) to fall backwards on.  All of the female non-ADD(HD) spouses have something in common and it is anger and frustration and how they come out in the end is what I find the most useful.  For some it's a journey together and some it's a time trial that will go on for years because of constant setbacks.  My wife is a stubborn woman and it's hard on me, but it's also the reason she hasn't taken the kids and left.  I also know that if she ever lets me back into her heart, I have grown enough to know how to stay there and we can be happy.  I want to make her laugh and I've only done that once since maybe July last year.  Its' been a long time.

Am I faced with constant resentment day in and day out?  Yup, and I hate that she should have to feel a certain way about me that she never wanted too.  I know she's holding onto the past mistakes I've made and my history of not listening to come to her conclusion that we've grown apart and it is frustrating that I can't prove after this long that I'm serious about being better.  I also know that much of my writings were making it sound that my wife was involved with someone else.  Some days it did bother me and that was reflected in my writing.  I feel bad that I didn't trust her enough even though I preached that I do.  I had a breakdown, but I asked and I believe her and I told her I was sorry I didn't trust her enough to have to ask.

What Melissa said about continuing the apologies.  It makes sense and I'll give it a shot.  I still get frustrated that I don't see the obvious sometimes.  I will always struggle and I know things are supposed to always get worse before they get better, but I hope this is the rock bottom and I've nothing but on and upwards to look forward to.  The massive amounts of replies you all have thrown at me over the past 2 days has been an absolute feast for thought.  There really is no one specific event that your ADD(HD) spouse came through a champion that made you think twice about your frustration.  I just have to keep rolling even through my own defined setbacks.  One crummy example is that I had started going to church some while back at 7am when my schedule permitted.  It's something my wife always wanted to do as a family, but I was in the way.  I didn't tell her for almost 2 months and that was only after she asked me why I was waking up so early on Sundays.  Of course that backfired because I was taking my oldest son to church with me.  Backfire, but move on..........

My husband does this too!! :) LOL

"However, sometimes he doesn't do what I ask but thinks I shouldn't be mad because he was either "doing something" or "thinking about doing something" which sometimes seems to be the same as actual action on his part.  Doing *something* is good but  *doing what I asked you to do* is obviously going to be more important to me."

Last week, I actually yelled at him, "JUST DO THE D*** DISHES!!! That's all I'm asking for!  That will make me happy."  (He was trying to "do something" or "think about doing something" in order to please me, but really, all I wanted was the dishes done.)

Also, DF, I had a epiphany.  Maybe Non-ADD spouses have to consistently praise their partner (which feels a bit unnatural and "overdoing" it) and the ADD spouse has to consistently apologize to their partner (even though it may not come naturally and feels overdone).  Just a thought.




My Top 3 Plan...

About 6 months ago, I was tired of doing projects/chores all weekend long and hearing "When are you going to do "This"..." You could walk through any room in the house and find something that could be worked on. So... It hit me one day. I ask my wife on Saturday mornings "What are the top 3 things you would want to see done this weekend?" Then I know what I work on is not just something that Needs to be done, but something that has been bothering her more than the other things and I can feel like I have not wasted time working on matters way down on the list.

It has worked very well for us :-)



for DF

I've been reading your posts and firstly want to say thank you because I really learn a lot from people with and without ADHD who post.

I can feel your effort and frustration and the only thing that came to my mind was, "ask her".   Just ask her "what do you need for our situation to improve".  Most people will fill silence eventually so if she doesn't respond right away - wait.  Don't talk/write just listen.  Even if you have the urge to apologize or explain don't, that makes it about you...just listen.  Perhaps some direction will come out of what she says.



DF's picture

A bit more "Why Now" overkill -

I'm still holding steady in a solid frame of mind so I'll roll with it here. 

I like what YYZ said about asking her what she wants done.  I will try that, but seeing as how my wife is in a dark place of her own she will most likely have nothing to offer.  This is a point of frustration for me because it shouldn't be an issue to just ask, but it is when it seems like she interprets that as me trying too hard for her and not doing it for myself.  The past year has been a huge guessing game for me.

"Got It" - You have very valid input.  It should be so simple, but it is complex due to my nature.  I'm a work in progress and as others have stated throughout this blog, she's had a long time of dealing with my insensitivity and carelessness.  Should I ask her what it is she thinks she needs for our situation to improve?  I will not get a productive answer.  The conversation the other day was similar in nature, but not exact, and that's when she said she didn't know if she needed a separation.  It struck a chord with me and today, having had time to think about it and I can see why........

- Have I been selfish over the years? Yes. 

- Have I neglected her human need to be wanted and cherished?  When she needed it most - Probably, but in my defense I did have moments of spontanious showings of affection that I know she appreciated over the years.  I wasn't all bad.

- Have I become un-fun to be around over the years?  Yes.  Even I feel like an old fuddy-duddy at 38yrs old. 

- Have I listened to her pleas for help?  Yes/No.  As with most ADD(HD) persons i was in it for a couple days and as she seemed happy I dropped off again.  As for saying Yes, I listened enough to be able to remember now a lot of what a forgot to do over the years.  I understand if that will make some of you angry as it makes me angry.  I don't like having ADD(HD)!  I don't like making it sound like it was an excuse, but if you don't know what it is and after so many years if finally catches you - what else is it?!  I had/have no intention of ignoring my wife or her needs, but it is a fact that I have and I'm still doing it somewhere now.  Again I'm drawn back to "Why Now?".  DAMN IT!  I didn't know I'd lose sight every time you told me something!!  I didn't always know what was going on to make me act certain ways that disappointed you because I've never looked beyond my own damn nose!!

A separation without interest in seeing counseling or even trying to work as a couple is what quitters do.  My wife and I both raise our son's to always finish what you start so why should it be so different for us?  Am I a bit put off by her mentioning the word "separation" - you bet.  I hate quitters and I always have - my wife is no quitter and we both know it.  I hate quitting because I've had a lifetime of feeling I'm stupid and lazy and self loathing.  Sorry if that makes some of you mad.  I know that seems a bit harsh coming from me and a bit unfair, but I'm speaking for myself and not for or against any of you.  I do not believe I can hold judgment on any of you seeing as how I'm the broken one in my own relationship.

Why now?  Why now?  Why now?  Why now?  Why now? 

Those words haunt me because I know "why now".  I have been given the gift of sight and the courage and strength to want to use it properly.  I am haunted, because I do not see my wife wanting to hear my answer - Because I care enough to stand in the face of resentment for however long it takes.  Because I am not satisfied with being condemed to fail.  Because every morning I wake up and see her sleeping face and it makes my day.  Because I'm sick and tired of seeing ADD(HD) as an excuse for what I should have been and wasn't.  Because I love her.

I'm still trying to figure out what she means by me doing things for myself.  I kind of thought I was with some exceptions.  I know that that's a huge piece of my puzzle.  Maybe, like love, if I'm not trying so hard to find it it will find me. 

Non-ADD spouses can never relax

I struggled mightily to support my husband for over 2 years while he refused to work. Then he got a job he loved and by all accounts was good at. I relaxed to the point that, when I lost my job, we decided I could spend a year going to school full time.

Then he lost his job for something insignificant most definitely caused by his ADD. He isn't looking for another job and we will have to split up. I feel like I can never count on him for anything because he didn't even know he was in trouble. Even if he gets a job, I'll never feel secure again. If he can't even do a job set aside for those with mental illness, what security do I ever have?

I once come home for lunch and found a car like his in front of my house. I assumed it was his car and he'd been fired. I must have looked so stricken, the person whose car it was practically feel over himself apologizing. I'll always be expecting to see that car at the wrong time.

Maybe your wife can't let down her walls (to steal Enough's wonderful analogy) because she can't trust that the changes are genuine. She must be expecting you to revert to form as soon as the hyperfocus wears off. My husband had the best will in the world to do his job, but, in the end, he didn't succeed. Now I am going to be dependent on the kindness of my family and we aren't going to be together any more.

Will the anger ever go away- the flip side

I am the non-adhd partner of my adhd dh, who we found out to have this after many many years together. Yes, we had the parent child dynamic down pat. He felt powerless, I felt angry and resentful- yeah brought to overbearing but I dont believe ever vindictive levels. I was frustrated but I love my dh, it just did not show for so many years. Nor did it on his side, unless he was interested in intimacy, at least it seemed. I have moved out of that anger- I now understand with a big slap to my forehead...the "ohhhh, that makes so much sense.". I am sorry for the years we have wasted and apologized again and again how I acted, though he has yet to understand why I acted that way. At all. Now HE is the angry and resentful one and nurses the anger in a relentless way, it seems. He can torture me with cruel words, and says he does not trust me. Yet he still wont help with the kids, our lives, our future in a way to show he will take ownership of his actions, as I have. He is, using his new found awareness to take care of his needs more.. And that is good. I want him to feel his power- but not at the cost of my dignity or our family, frankly. Did I mention I love him? I do, and it has nothing to do with the fact that he has and is a good provider- though he thinks differently. I would just give anything for him to start treating me like I exist. To talk to me like I mattered for any appreciable time. To be willing to help if I ask without making me feel like i was a needy b%tch for asking. He is ANGRY for all the lost years, and has mentioned the sitting by the bed you have all done. But does he know how much I was waiting too?! I love him and all I really wanted was someone to cherish me as i would them. We can work out the adhd symptom stuff about the organization/prioritizing issue. But as addwife said, dh would have to be willing to face up to his challenges instead of laying the bulk of the blame on me. I love him, and it hurts so much that he wont try to lose this periodic explosive anger, which has been the bane of both of our lives for decades- and which he acknowledges while refusing to link it to the adhd (and states that if I just dont do the things that push his buttons...). I love him but I stand back while he figures his crap out. I love him but I cant allow myself to be bullied or ride the crazy train (with kids). But I am still here, happy to help if needed and asking for help in turn. Will he ever watch my back again (in his way) or will he just keep on giving up, not trying, blaming, and worst of all holding onto his fury, the trigger anger?
DF's picture

You were the first.... ever reply to my first ever attempt at talking online so I'd like to try and encourage you.  I'm still feeling okay even if I can look at my wife right now across the room and ever since Sunday, she's been extra resentful.  I left a message for the therapist to call me back and lets get back on my crazy train together.  Why not I suppose.

Lulu - When I first read your posting you were very hurt and pretty down.  Then for a few weeks there you appeared upbeat and in a better over all place.  Reading what you have above I get a little of both.  Much of what I read in these forums about ADD(HD) spouses is a bit hard to swallow because quite frankly I've always had a high level of respect for my wife.  With that said, that's where I'm losing myself.  I respect her very much still, but then why couldn't I figure stuff out till now? 

Here's the deal that's on my mind this very moment.  I knew little to nothing about ADHD other than doctors put kids on medicine that made them space out and lick the windows on the school bus.  That's it.  In the past I knew something was not right with the world, but not knowing what that could possibly be I just kept moving forward day to day.  My wife as I have learned from reading replies here, was still upset about things from a week to months ago and all I saw was today and tomorrow.  My wife was stressed out to the max to the point of having medical issues.  I figured it was because of our lack of money ( pay attention cuz this will come up again ).  I would constantly see husbands sit there drinking beer and look at their wives like "You actually want me to get up? You can do it just fine." - I wasn't like that was I?  I helped out so many times so where did I go wrong?  Everywhere.

Now that I think about it, there's a lot of things I took for granted that my wife would "just do" and I think she did it because she got tired of waiting on me.  That can piss a lot of people off.  She always wanted to do stuff as a family - I was always concerned we didn't have money to do things and was almost always a bump on a log about doing anything.  What I see now is that my wife was paying some bills every other months so that she could afford things for me and the kids.  What was I doing?  Playing politics at work to get ahead and sinking entire paychecks into mortgage and our cars ( payment, insurance, etc. ).  Did I pay bills every other month?  Sometimes, but whatever it was for it was not for things for my wife and kids.  Money always weighed heavily on me.  Money doesn't bring happiness, it brings security.  I look around the house and everything was bought with her money and she always made less than me.  I felt/feel low, but before I knew about my diagnosis, my anxiety over money gave me the incentive to shut down on my wife. 

When she would be having fun, I would be sitting there looking at a woman who was haveing more fun without me.  I didn't make enough money to give her security.  After our firstborn we used to talk about hopes and dreams and how I would make enough for us and her money would go to family items and vacations.  I was so full of a promising future it made life fun.  A few years went by and we were still check to check.  I was not providing her with security and it was starting to consume me.  I was easily aggitated as the years progressed.  When we finally bought our first home we went back to honeymoon phase, but as other homes much larger than ours were being built in our backyard I began to dread money again.  Everyone we met and became friends with always had bigger houses and never seemed to run out of anything.  I'm not materialistic, but I saw and I stressed about not being able to provide such security.  I had talked very little about this with my wife because she always brought up me getting a new job somewhere else.  I'm in IT and I'm not very good with computers so I was very scared about failing.

Needless to say I know enough to keep alive.  I have finally gotten to where I can have piece of mind about security.  It feels really good, but it comes so late.  My stress, my irritability, everything.  I couldn't provide her with financial security and I hated myself for it.  So instead of leaning on her for support I distanced myself by feeling unworthy of her.  I see now that it wasn't financial security she needed, it was me.

So after such a long explanation......

If he's reverting to frustration, perhaps there's something bothering him that he's unable to articulate well or he doesn't think you'll understand?

Something you said about your

Something you said about your wife and others was that she (we) rememeber and are still angry about some things that heppened a long time ago. Don't worry, Im not taking offense. :) I happens to be true for me. Though my situation differs (my DH is not seeking treatment as you may recall) I can explain why I still refer to events that happened last year. Im not angry but I am awfully hurt. I had still brought up those exchanges occasionally because they haven't been properly dealt with. He has never understood why I was hurt at all and that I'm somehow to blame for those. I never got an apology, an admission that he might have been out of line or that he would do no such thing again, NOTHING. For me there was no closure and so my mistrust that he might do it again persists. There is another reason I feel like I end up dragging the past into the present and that is because we have had about 4 meaningful conversations in two years so those events are still relevant on a very slow moving continuum. They are my only frame of reference because we can't talk about any of our difficulties, so they remain in the foreground for me. For him, an hour ago is ancient history, so he's mystified that I can still be angry/hurt/whatever for even a few hours. I have sinced learned that I probably can't expect closure so I am guarded with my heart.

Hermie40, I totally


I totally understand where you are coming from.  I continue to deal with a situation that my husband cannot let go of and therefore I, too, probably will never experience the necessary closure to regain my trust in him.  I believe my heart will remain guarded for as long as I live, whether he and I stay together or not.  The damage unfortunately is permanent.  At least you have had some meaningful conversations.  I don't think my husband knows how to have a meaningful conversation.  How sad is that! 

Thanks DF, for your reply.

Thanks DF, for your reply. Yes I guess I have been all over the place emotionally, havent I? I am trying to stay upbeat for my sake and for the kids, despite the constant sniping that would go on if we let it. Hermie had a very good point about the feelings driving past "nursing of the grudges".. A whole lot of past hurts that if not validated by you, would be very hard to relinquish by her. But it should not be a self-skewering event- I hear the amount of personal growth you seem to be undergoing yet I do not hear the forgiveness in yourself yet. To be able to really fluorish healthy love of someone else, you must also love yourself. It is a fine line to be sure in meeting yours/her needs.. Start by identifying your needs and then hers. Work on real compromise that you are BOTH happy with. Unfortunately buddy, it will take conversation whether you both like it or not, in order to effect a change. If she was so stressed she was getting physically ill, then likely there is a great deal of past hurt there too. ** As for me, the answer is yes. He has been frustrated and angry about specific issues. Pray they get resolved in counseling!!! Moving on... :). PS please forgive the crazy train reference- I do not mean to imply yoy or anyone with ADD(HD) is crazy, but rather the dynamics of the relationship. Sending cyber moral support your way!
DF's picture

No offense taken. I'm not that thin skinned.

I like what you have and it gives me pause.  The title of this blog is " Does the anger ever really go away?"  - > for me, maybe.  I've been searching for answers and experiences through others, but reading what you just said I realize just how angry I am with myself.  Does it ever go away?  No and it should be no different for someone like me with ADD(HD) than it is for our spouses.  The anger is keeping me on my toes and always trying to balance my attention, listening skills and control of myself.

What would it take to forgive myself?  My wife back.  She will always have anger as all non-ADD(HD) spouses will have constant reminders of why they got mad in the first place.  What I believe it would take for me to begin to heal is knowing my wife cares about us and not just guessing, but hearing the words.  She told me a few months ago that she knew i was trying hard and that she knows that all of her friends would kill to have a husband like me.  She left out that she is happy with me or that she would kill to have me in her life.  It did not go un-noticed.

The anger, frustration and resentment seems to be in a constant change and I'm unable to detect a pattern.  As others have said above, there are and will be good days.  There are also bad ones as outside influences tend to dictate how my wife acts around me.  These past two weeks or so my wife has seemed more angry than other times and it has given me courage to approach her and try to rectify the situation.  In the past I would shut down because she would be fine in a day or two.  That shutting down was shutting her out and breaking the communication chain I never had with her.  I'm working on that.  I have to stop assuming she just knows, even if she seems very spiteful these past few days when I tell her I love her and goodnight.  That is extremely difficult for me to face day in and day out, but the act of looking at her and telling her makes me feel better within minutes of turning away from the resentment.

It's a delicate balance lately and I try not to over analyze, but it seems there are outside forces in her life that are perpetuating the distance between us.  Something is going on lately that is putting her under duress.  It drove me to ask if there was someone else in her life.  My wife has been putting herself out there to help her friends and more than one is having trouble with a spouse.  It's taxing on my wife, because she seems to have involved herself enough to have some of the heat deflected onto her.  It upsets me because I always warned her about these things, but I was viewed as just being critical.  I hope her friends can find happiness soon, because it seems my wife takes her frustration out on me at times and that's not fair.  I'd even venture to say her mentioning "seperation" was from her experiences with her friends.  She was aggravated and I approached her with something that triggered a very negative response and it was hurtful for both of us. 

I'm going back to counseling.  I have a new/better insurance plan so this time it will be more steady appointments instead of 1 every 3-4 months.  Maybe after a while she'll want to come too.  I won't ask, but I do know I will not accept any terms of separation without her going to a counselor first.

I asked her to go on a date this coming Monday.  It could be a lot of fun, but it's risky since she's in a really bad place right now.  If she says no ( 80-90% chance of that ) it will be hard for me to get over that.  I'll just have to keep moving forward I guess.  Just not sure what direction I'm moving in at any given time.

Df, you do sound angry. And

Df, you do sound angry. And all my admittedly super sensitive spidey senses are making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up because ... well because. You keep seeming to set up scenarios that, if it does not meet a specific outcome, will have a consequence in your perspective. If she does not go out want to go out on date night, for example, let her say no without further interpretation. There needs to be a defusing of the situation and EVERY step does not need to have a specific move or you're not validated? It does sound like your wife has many distractions - and it can be very upsetting when people you care about are having personal problems, particularly marital ones (ironically, can we all relate or what?).. Let her deal with it her way..and if she needs help let her tell YOU. And dont think about it... In the meantime, I am glad you are going for individual counseling- is it someone familiar with adhd? Can I also suggest that if your wife does agree to go to counseling, go to a second couple counselor. It helps to keep it separate, insurance willing. In any way, patience is a skill I am learning to helps to survive...
DF's picture

Spidey senses?

Nice.   Yes I am angry, but not at my wife.  It's the ADD and its' crippling effect on my relationship with my wife and oldest son.  I do read too much into things as much as I try to convince myself otherwise, but it's not so munch about learning, but more about growing as a person.  I don't think I'm letting myself grow and I know it's me and it's right on the tip of my nose, but I still can't see it.  Things are coming to light.  I've been actively exercising in preparation for my summer of team sports and about 3 months back my wife told me I look sickly because I've lost too much weight.  I look in the mirror and I see a six pack for the first time in years and I don't get what the problem is.  Well now that I'm engaged in three different sports it hit me last night.  I looked in the mirror and I looked gaunt.  I don't know how and why it took so long to see it, but I do.  I picked up some weight gainer because I'm always hungry and I eat past full at breakfast and lunch, but I'm just not eating enough.

The Adderall is definetly not getting in the way of appetite, but I think it's getting my metabolism to step up.  I got to get at least 15lbs back.  I was tired and sore going into my game last night and it felt like my body just didn't have it.  But I'm still in good spirits today.

Last night I got home about 11:30 and my wife was still up.  I asked her mull over doing something together next Monday and didn't ask for an answer since I knew she was in a salty mood.  Because I need to reserve our spots for the event I asked her for an answer.  She wanted to know how long it would take and various other details and then she asked how much it cost.  I told her that I have stressed over financial security for so many years now and that I was sorry for not communicating that very well to her for so long.  I asked her not to ask me about cost because we will have fun.  ->  She said okay.

This blog has provided me with so much that I've needed and I love it.  Thank you all!  I am taking lots of advice on trying new things for me in baby steps and I have all of you to be thankful for.  Life may suck tomorrow or a month from now, but today - HUGS to you all - even though I'm still angry with myself......   ;)


You sound so strong, I hope you know these are huge realizations you are making. It is okay to take baby steps, thats how it is supposed to be. Awesome. And yes, I was/am a science fiction geek. Gee what else can I bare at this goshdarn web site?!!

DF re: wife angry when you help out

Sorry, I've read so much tonight I've lost track of the posts.

With regard to DF's wife seeming angry when he tries to help out it occurred to me that she might be annoyed but not because he's doing anything wrong.  Sometimes the same dynamic comes out with spouses who work away from home for extended periods or when one spouse retires.   The spouse who is at home has gotten into a routine that works for them.  Cleaning the house their way, managing the budget their way,  setting a schedule that works for them.  When someone offers to help it's disrupting a system that has been working for them and that can cause irritability.  It's not about the help it's about disrupting a routine.

Having new help, especially if that person already has alot on the go, can seem like an extra thing to think or deal with; someone is sticking a finger in their pie.   My sister had four young kids as a single mom.  I asked her once why they didn't make their own lunches.  She said she has too much to do.  It's easier just to do it herself and check it off as done. wham bam and she had peace of mind.

Perhaps picking a specific time to sit down and articulate household job responsibilities in advance could make it a smoother transition.  I know for sure laundry wouldn't ever be on my guy's list because I like doing it my certain way and if it's not done that way it makes me antsy.  On the other hand he is phenominal at organizing our play time so it's on his list.  I hate cutting the lawn so if I know he'll do it on a regular basis I can happily never think about it again.  He'd be happy if he never had to worry about cleaning a bathroom. etc...

Just a thought.


Don't forget... baby steps.  Don't bite off more than you can chew.  If cutting the lawn falls to you set up a system that allows you to get it done consistently; lists, alarms, a calendar, whatever works for you.  I realize you will need positive feedback but that can come in many forms not just words.  Your wife being able to relax, let go of a task and count on you is positive feedback in and of itself.

Where are you buddy? I hope I

Where are you buddy? I hope I didn't chase you off by 'picking on' you the other day. :)

Seriously, just hadn't seen you around in a day or two and was hoping everything is OK.



Like Sherri, I was wondering where you were and how you are doing. Check in, if you can...

Your similar friend,



DF's picture

Parental Discresion is advised......

It's nice of you all to care.  I've been in deep thought and have kept my distance from this site in order to not be interrupted.  I will remind you that I have thick skin and I'm here for constructive input.  Part of growing, is hearing other peoples perspectives on what you're saying and doing something about it and not complaining. 

On with the show......

Last Saturday I saw my therapist.  I felt no hope, but she told me to read 5 Love Languages.  I did. Twice in 2 days.  It makes sense too and gives clarity to what YYZ said to me so long ago - there may be something more going on other than ADD(HD) that has gotten the relationship to this point.  -> Well said my friend.

So I read this book.  Turns out I've been speaking 3 out of 5 of the languages for a very long time now.  They are important, but wrong.  Mind you, I'm doing all this stuff on my own before I even read about it.  I'm guessing my wife's language is quality time.  Everything I can think of or remember boils down to this.  Problem is, how does one re-establish this important connection to their loved one, if their spouse isn't interested?  How would i know you may ask.....

She's gone.

The kids went to their grandparents for this week ( planned ), and I was concerned that she would use this as a reason to leave.  She did.  Last week I had to almost plead with her to go out to dinner with me.  We did, and we had a great time.  When I dropped her back off at her car I got my third thank you since dinner had ended ( she had fun! ) and it meant nothing to me.  It was the first time I had seen her in over 24 hours and "thank you" meant nothing to me.  That's when I learned that Physical Touch was my love language.  I took the self-eval and had an even draw between quality time and physical touch.  When she left, she didn't touch my hand, give a hug or even look at me.  I had a great time and would love to do it again, but it hurt real bad.

Turns out my therapist had a cancellation on Tuesday so I went.  It's the first time I went to see her and left utterly hopeless.  2 things happened.

1) My therapist listed all the things I don't do that are common with people with ADD(HD).  She listed all the things I'm doing to heal the relationship ( therapy, books, internet ).  She told me that most men would not have been as patient as I have been for so long ( in case you had any thoughts as to my integrity or anger management skills ).  She said I should let my wife have her "break", but after the kids get back my wife and I should talk.  - Whatever.  Talk to an angry wall?  I'm about tapped out of that f***ing s**t.

2) During my therapy session, the only time my wife acknowledged my existance outside of our dinner 24 hours earlier, was to send me a text.  She was asking me if I changed the code on the garage door so that she couldn't get into the house.  Are you f**king kidding me?!  She left me!  Her resentment of me has beaten me down daily into a bloody f**king pulp and even though she hadn't been home in almost 3 days, she thinks I would do something so f**king childish as that!  Unbelievable!  We've been together for 12 years and have never done anything I could think of to give her the impression that I would be so f**king disprespectful to her.  I'm trying to fix this mess, not destroy it!  After my therapy session I called her while getting to my car.  I had to tell her I wouldn't do something like that.  Turns out we had a power surge and the electricity was off for an hour.  She told me she didn't think I would have done that, but seeing how it was a coincidence that it happened when SHE LEFT ME.........

These 2 events set me to thinking.  Really thinking.  I always wondered what Sherri meant by drawing a line for her husband not to cross.  I know now.  My invisible line has been crossed.  "She left me without even trying."  She is so consumed by anger that the first thing she thought of when she couldn't get into the house, was not that I've been going to therapy, reading books, or researching online, it was to accuse me of being a total f**k head.

I left my therapists office and I found no satisfaction in being a woman's wet dream for a husband.  I may not be loaded with cash, but I would travel to the ends of the earth for my wife.  I would do anything I could for her.  I would anything for a simple f**cking hug.  I know I'm good.  But alas....... I have another bigger problem.

I've come this far on the flimsy dreams of hope and belief.  This week has changed me.  I hate quiting.  It has been the only constant in my life for as long as I can remember.  It's what caused a lot of frustration for me in regards to my oldest son and his behavior over the years and I have worked hard to nurture him as a father should and not get angry when he "quits" on something.

I hate quitters.  I despise them.  Last night I had one of my team sport events.  We were winning 9-1 and there was no hope that the other team would even come close to beating us even though there was still 15 minutes in the game.  They gave up.  They barely tried.  I hated them.  I have been on teams where many times we would lose by 10 or more, but I never once gave up.  You gain nothing from quitting.  Quitting is filthy and discusting.

So I'm faced with a dilemma of universal perportions......

She left me.  She refuses to even try.  Can I hold on to the pipe dream called forgiveness when I look at my wife and see a quitter who resents me or will I fail to pick up the pieces of my heart and turn into a quitter myself.


Sorry to those of you contemplating leaving your spouse.  I mean no disrespect to you.  Everyone here means a lot to me, but that's just how I feel about it.

Dude....what? Ok my poor

Dude....what? Ok my poor attempt at levity underscores my confusion. What do you mean she left you? The kids went out of town for a week so does that mean she is coming back after the week, in which case she did not leave per se but taking a break? She and you had a great dinner, she said thanks but no physical touch so you are furious? Forgive me, because I do recognize how much you are doing but it still sounds like there is a BiG disconnect between what she is feeling and what is coming out between you. If it is true that so many years passed that were the quintessential bad adhd (and then some) years, I'm wondering if you guys are both having problems putting this nastiness to bed. FYI we are having the same problem here- my dh cant seem to move past the anger and I am more than ready. But in our case, my dh is doing some over the top rude behavior. Is your wife doing this too, or is she just pulling back (ie fearful to trust that this is for real?). F*#cking wet dream of a husband or not ;) (hmmm) there has to be some better communication going on or all your best intentions/actions are not going to be enough. If quality time was your wifes "language" then why was the nice dinner out not enough to sway her from stepping away this week. Something is missing my friend, I just dont know what that is. As for your strong feelings on "quitting", please ease up!! Life is never that simple, and putting that rule in without sensitivity to evryone's feelings does not do justice to the reconciliation process. But then again thats just my opinion (and I dont seem to be doing any better either. :( PSI missed your input too.

DF... I'm real sorry you are going through more...

difficult times. I disappear from the site from time to time because sometimes I think I cannot add anything of value here anymore. I am glad one of my ramblings may have helped you in some way. I read your post at work yesterday and knew I could not effectively respond then, this morning I'm not sure I can come up with anything that might help you. You do have a lot of supporters here, including me, so hopefully you know you are not alone with your pain. I hate using the "Time heals blah, blah..", but maybe this is a forced step you are about to take. You have been working so hard to improve your situation and are in now way a quitter. Maybe your wife is in some kind of Fog herself. My wife has said she feels like we don't have the common traits we used to have, since my meds have changed me. I think we have moved forward from there. Maybe you are in this pattern too, just a few months in this cycle behind me???

I know I like to have a plan with steps and a time-line of completion. This process does not seem to be one like this... The healing seems to be ADD in a nutshell. The healing never seems to get done and is over-whelming at times and I feel like I don't know what do do next. My wife has her emotional issues, not related to my ADD, and I understand why she has them, so I try to understand that some of her reactions come from these issues. I think my understanding of her issues help me not go to dark on when they get aimed at me. I have to try to understand, like she needs to try and understand my reactions sparked by my ADD.

Please try not to go to dark during this time. I hope you have a close friend that you can confide in to help you work through these times. I certainly will try to help on this side, but I fear that my ramblings are not much help. At least you can be sure that you are not alone in going through. Take care...


DF's picture

An applogy is required

I re-read my post as I often do here.  It seems I've left out some important information.  When I said

"......Sorry to those of you contemplating leaving your spouse.  I mean no disrespect to you.  Everyone here means a lot to me, but that's just how I feel about it....."

My anger and frustration is directed at the ADD(HD) spouses I'm reading about that either don't try or continue to give up after a few weeks of effort or find others to blame their issues on.  For the non-ADD(HD) spouses, I do understand that many of the symptoms can be intolerable for anyone to have to put up with.  With that said, I still can not find it in me to advise leaving even if deep inside I think some people should.


When I say my wife left me, she took a break from me for this week.  She will be back, but for how long is anyones guess.  I've never been good about expressing "feelings" so just going to a therapist was a huge step for me and talking to a friend about all this is not something I care to do.

I am in a dark place and will remain so for an unknown length of time.  This can not be helped.  It is stuck in my head that when my wife does come home again it will be back to resentment from her.  She goes away for a week, I don't bother her, call her or question her in any way.  I give her all the room and space she requires while I sit at home and stress over "what if something happens to her?".   Yet all I can really focus on is the woman who will come home to me and continue to resent me.  I really don't know how much of this s**t I can keep taking.  Forgiveness is giving way to my own anger and I don't want anything to do with that, but I can't shake the feeling that I don't deserve this.

It's getting harder and harder to hold on to hope.  Feeling unwanted and unloved by the person I care the most about is destroying all of my efforts.  I've been living with the nightmare that she doesn't want to try.  Hiding my misery from the kids is getting tougher and only serves to spoil any chance of a good mood I'm in when they ask me questions I'm afraid to answer myself.  How on earth do you get someone to go to counseling that doesn't want to go?  Doesn't care enough to want to try?  I feel like such a damn jerk and I know I'm not.  I'm not a bad person so why wouldn't someone want to fight for me?

Fathers Day is around the corner and I'm hurt about it.  I don't need a card.  I need her to find a way to tell me I'm more than just a f**king sperm donor.  Knowing that won't happen only makes it harder for me to hold on to the pipe dream called hope........

I just don't have the luxury of hope anymore right now.

Dear DF, Your worth as a

Dear DF, Your worth as a human being is not determined by the extent to which your wife wants to work on your marriage. You are looking to her for affirmation. Just because she can’t give it to you right now does not mean it isn’t deserved. She is a separate individual with separate pains/tolerances/limits than yours. Yes you can control your actions & behaviours but please, please do not feel that you are not “good enough” if they do not elicit a desired response from your spouse. You are not diminished as a person because your marriage is in trouble. We ALL have failings and we ALL have good qualities and we ALL have problems at certain times in our lives. It doesn’t alter our value. It just makes things more challenging (weary sigh). Please tear off all those negative labels (eg “sperm donor”) and replace them with positive, accurate ones (eg “loving Dad”). Good Luck

Df and yyz, you gentlemen

Df and yyz, you gentlemen always give me a point of view that is helpful. Yyz, the meds do cause change, but so do life experiences, maturity, priorities shifting. My dh has definitely changed his life view and not all for the better. Some is from meds for sure as well as the direct realization of how adhd affects him, and then mid life has made things harder too (bigtime). This has changed me as well, and also maybe not all for good. I have stopped thinking (and taking for granted) that no matter what happened, my dh andI were in it for the long haul. I am no longer sure because all that I once thought I knew turned out to be crap. Just as I was at one time sure he would never try to push, kick, or hit me when he was in a rage. That innocence is gone and sadly, I dont know if my spouse really cares one way or another. It really stinks feeling this disconnect that seems to exist despite my best efforts. Boundaries have been smashed - and i dont see him ever really wanting to bring trust and equality in. Df, i hear the frustration about your wife and I get it. It is so much of what I have been going through, and Im sorry. Run this by me again: why do you not call, question or discuss with her about leaving? Maybe its a guy thing but I would be all over it (girl thing, lol). Er, and I guess I have- but not like i used to. He is too much in the mode of considering me a nagging b if I even dare ask where he has been (sometimes). Other times he will answer. The thing is, I am fighting for equality and respect... To be HEARD and not lost in the adhd chatter that fills his mind sometimes. So I HAVE to talk, I have to try to communicate or whats the point?! More years of room mate marriage?! Being on the dark has not helped me, though my personality would bring me there often if i let it. All the dark does is make you trip on the way to the bathroom. I want to stop wasting time and find a new peace. Don't you?! Fight the black, you are so strong by nature it seems! Even talking to the therapist was a huge step. Be at peace.

Mid-Life for sure, lululove...

There IS a whole lot more than ADD going on for sure. Me mid-forties and my DW very close. What does not help is that the standards of male behavior is set by all the A-Holes out there cheating and then dumping their wives for someone 20 years younger... Thanks for that guys :-/ My wife hears this stuff all the time. Divorce is epidemic with people we know or live by and now I'm different for sure, but not following the "Roles Models" out there. Our dynamics as a couple are different, but the old interactions/reactions are engrained and difficult to change. It seems like two years later we are "On" the roller coaster, before just a dead flat track... I see moving targets before me. Improve here, then there is something new... We are so busy being parents that starting up a quality conversation is hard to do at the end of the night because she is exhausted and my meds are all gone. The room mate thing sucks! It takes time and peace to connect, when does this happen? We are each the "Peacemaker" for our families and only adds to the additional stuff that comes our way. I always laughed about the "Mid-Life Crisis", well I'm not really laughing now. Don't panic and keep working, right?   


DF's picture


Lulu - I don't see a wife that quits in you because you're here.  Nobody comes here if they're not looking for help.  People come here saying they're through, they've had enough and they're gone, but I don't see that.  I see blogs written with "leaving or Divorce" in them, but I don't see them.  I HEAR people pleading for help because they don't want out.

Why do I not call her or talk to her?  Let's backtrack some to..... oh October of last year.  My wife had been working dilligently on making new friends.  Whether she went out with them or took her iPod out to the park and sat for hours to contemplate whatever, either way, she was gone for hours on end.  I started school again and was up late reading and doing homework and began to see a trend.  The later I was up when she came home, the later she came home.

This was before my diagnosis and it played hell on me.  I would text her when I would wake up after midnight and ask if she was okay.  More often then not, I got no reply other than she was more distant the next day.  When she did reply, her answers were observed by me as curt and to the point.  They hurt me.

Did we talk about this?  No.  I'm not good with feelings and I knew she was unhappy because of me.  I had to do something about me and being pushy and demanding with her was only going to be bad for me.  I turned to supporting and encouraging her.  Not leaving me per say, but giving her support by letting her know I wasn't mad at her -> even if under the surface I was a black hole of hurt.

Last Sunday after she had dropped off the kids at her parents she called to tell me she did not have her normally scheduled event for Sunday's.  I immediatly asked if she wanted to go for a walk or something, because I wanted to spend some time with her before she left every night for hours on end.  Instead she told me that she needed a break from us and that we were going out to dinner on Monday and not to bother her all week.  --->  DISCLAIMER:  This is not an exact recap, but it is how I translated it.  Can't be helped.  What's done is done.

Its' been a long drive to go see my kids.  They are not back yet so I'm just sitting on the front porch deep in thought.  My wife and I do need to talk when our normal schedules resume.  I just don't know what t say.  I can think it, I can write it here, but even on the meds it all goes back to me not being too good at sharing my feelings.  My feelings get consumed with grief when we talk lately and I can't focus on what needs to be said.  I've always been a listener and her a talker.  Granted my ADD just meant that after all these years I didn't realize how much I kept forgetting.  If she's not talking, I don't know what to say.  

I just know that we have to talk about counseling.  I can't keep living with her resentment and I can't believe she's happy  living with the anger.  It just doesn't make any sense that she's so resistant.  How can anyone want to be so unhappy?

sadgirl - I am looking for affirmation.  There's not much left in my heart and I'm needing something from her because it has been so so long.  And isn't that what we want from the ones we love?  Affirmation?  I wasn't completely clueless for the 12 years we've been together.  We've had some great times together and it "seems" ( I don't know anymore ) that we make a great couple.  I was diagnosed with ADD/Anxiety/Low self esteem this past April.  Everything I've ever known in my life is no longer real to me except for my unconditional love for my wife and kids.  I need my wife's affirmation of our love, because I can't believe that we were a mistake.  It's tearing me apart when I see it in her face.............

She has said several times in the past few months that she doesn't hate me.  This is very hard for me to believe when she felt she needed to take a break from me instead of fight for our marriage.


You are INCREDIBLY You express yourself so beautifully it makes (im guessing its not just me) all of us nonadhd spouses green with envy that you can be so aware of your foibles, so caring about your wifes feelings, so excruciatingly hard on yourself. Wtf?!! Would your wife be shocked as all get out to know that this was her DF speaking? If so, I feel so frustrated that I want to shake not only you, her, MY spouse, and the whole dang audience at this web site...ok ok sorry. But you are right. I dont want the end of my marriage. Yes, I love my spouse- and I have to tell you, though its hard to tell for sure through your posts...i am not convinced the same is not true for your wife. You want your marriage too, and not just because the quitter philosophy, Im guessing. So this means, yea- sorry to be a broken record...communication. Even if you do not know what to say, if you keep the anger down byt the words flowing...connection forms. Start w talking about the kids. Talk about non-angry topics. Talk and say how you care about her and hope that you hope she feels the same for you--you've travelled a long path but that thefe is still love. You know? It doesnt start with big solutions or huge a ha moments. I think it starts with a willingness from both sides to talk without attacking. Hearing both sides of the discussion without interruptng or tuning out. I too am the talker of the couple- and i HATE it. The best sign of trust is the willingness to put yourself out there and ....just talk.

Blind drunk 2am he

Blind drunk 2am he comes stumbling in. Somehow the point between saying he is on his way home and now? Totally disregarding me except to say really mean things. And then just to go to sleep? HOW do I explain this to the kids or even to myself that this is even close to being ok? And do I ask him to leave on fathers day weekend? So Df, when IS it time to say uncle? To quit? At the risk of sounding like a whining nag, when should I put my fears aside of the unknown, risk the fallout of my childrens losing their dad (though that has greatly happened), and quit?? My youngest is still really young, do I ignore this behavior and demean myself more even as he accuses me of using him for a meal ticket (ignoring the fact that it is with OUR children)? I need to be around for my kids, there is no one else. At what point do I stop saying yes but I love him? What the Hell am I doing? Logic and pride seem to be smashed to the ground, I really need answers, but my heart and brain keep disagreeing. Help, anyone?!

Blind drunk...

Think of any decision you make as the net sum of all the Good and Bad. You have to think of the overall health and safety of you and your children. This is not a Win / Lose game. I don't think life can be boiled down to something so simple. Your husband maybe self sabotaging the relationship by his actions, he may be hurting, but he is hurting you and the kids in this process. I wish I could tell you what is the trigger for the Stay / Go decision, I don't know myself. I think the choice feels like setting of the nuclear bomb to your life and it is terrifying. My dad told me a long time ago his thoughts about marriage. "If there is more good than bad, then it's good" pretty simple, I think. Staying married just for the kids is not the answer, as they will eventually figure it out anyway and wonder why you stayed if you were miserable.

I sure don't want to have any influence on your choice, as I don't know the whole picture. I hope you have people close to you in which you can confide in about all this. There are a lot of people here who support you, including me.


When you are done, you won't

When you are done, you won't be asking yourself any questions (or anyone else) like will just know. Protect your children as best you can...that is the best advice I can give you..until you are 'done' or he decides to change. I have lived that life and my daughter IS most definitely scarred for the rest of her life because of it. He quit drinking, in February of 2010, after an extremely horrific night (broken cell phones, us physically wrestling and falling to the ground), and my baby girl was witness to it all. To this day, over a year later, she is terrified to leave me here alone with him if we are fighting. I am not IN THE LEAST afraid of him...but she still remembers seeing him have me in a head lock and me being so terrified I yelled "call 911". That was the first, and I promise you the last time he was/ever will be physical. He was drunk. Now if she sees any alcohol in the home (he thought it would be 'ok' to buy a 6 pack not too long ago) she panics. She has lost a lot of respect for me because she sees me as someone who lets someone else treat me horribly...mostly because she has seen me cry far too many times (not in the past several months) and that, to her, is just devastating. I have had to lie about my tears a few times lately..when she has caught me. So, FF to your future, a few years down the road...when your children have no peace, a broken hearted mommy, and a daddy who takes zero accountability. It might help. I set very very clear boundaries about that when he came back...and for many, many months now we have not fought in front of her. I do not let her know we are fighting..but his absence from the family was undeniable and she's back to not trusting him again. I hope, in time, he will rebuild what they had worked so hard to rebuild before. She needs a strong Daddy.

I'm so sorry...words cannot make anything Ok at this point...but take peace in knowing that you are where you are TODAY for a reason and that when the time comes that God says to you "enough" you will know, without any question. I am praying for you all.


DF's picture

Taking a vacation......

I'm going to drop for a while I do believe.  I'm sure that for those of you who have read through my self inflicted torture these past few months probably were wondering when I'd get here.  After my wife came back from her break from me we talked.  As is the case, I blamed myself for everything and I couldn't remember everything I wanted to say to her.  I hugged her -> not a good idea.....

.....Not a good idea.  A switch went off.

I read the 5 Love Languages 2 times in a weekend.  My language, the one that speaks to me and gives me the confidence that I'm wanted is physical touch.  It's not about sex so much as it is the intimacy of love that I get from a hug or from when the person I love takes my hand in hers.  All worries wash away and I feel alive.  This explains why I'm a bit of a "touch freak".  I do not like people touching me ( not handshakes, but hugs ).  I don't like it because it is an act of intimacy that I reserve for the people I love and care about the most. 

....... A switch went off.  A light turned off.

A simple hug clouded my vision and my effort to really hear what my wife was telling me.  24 hours later I told my wife that she had something really special with me and that I'm a late bloomer, but that I get it.  I told her to not just wait me out until she leaves me, but to work with me.  Even with her sunglasses on I could see her face.  I was actually glad she didn't say a word, because she would have failed to explain her blank stare.  As soon as I said it, the light turned off.  She wants out and there's nothing I can ever do to change that.

You all, my counselor, my family, her family, books, everything - they all talk of communication.  what is communication if it's only one sided.  A marriage takes two to want to make it work.  It took me a while to grow up, but I have and now I want to ask what is it she's done for me.  If she wanted to make this work, why am i the only one reaching out?  If she wanted to make the marriage work, she would "talk" to me and not only when I approach her first.  She claims to be tired of all the years of my selfishness - okay I woke up now so tell me what you would like to see me do.  The answer is nothing. 

The problem is that I have woken up and that I have matured and grown.  This has made it difficult for her to stand firm on her decision to leave.  It's not giving her second thoughts, it's just making her feel bad that it will break my heart.  This is all speculation, but 2+2=4........

...(2)....... I've been going to a licensed relationship counselor that can address ADD(HD) in an official capacity.  I've read books and spent countless hours researching online both relationship and ADD(HD) material.  I've changed my habits around the home in an effort to be more helpful and meaningful.  I don't drink, gamble, squander money, chat up the ladies or bring my personal life up to every Tom, Dick, and Harry.  I've even realized my stress levels at work and even though I'm even more over worked I've made adjustments to maintain calmness in order to give my family a better standard of quality from me.

...Plus (+)....

...(2)....  She's grown even more distant.  She has stopped looking at me.  She REFUSES to go to counseling.  She stays out later at night more nights a week.  She won't even touch me so in her sleep it must be an accident.  She never talks to me or starts up conversation.  She is visibly agitated around other people when I'm present and people ask me if she's okay - must be she's nicer when I'm not around.  I've not made her smile for a year.


I'm an idiot.

Emotionally detaching from the one person I need love from the most will be hard.  It is also difficult knowing that I have compromised my identity here to a friend of hers in a plea for help.  I know that putting my heart into writing will be used by her lawyers to make me look like a bad person.  I'm not ashamed of what I've written here.  I've learned about caring, love and forgiveness and I have defended her regardless of how I believe I've been treated by her.  I will always defend her, but knowing that she will not defend me is why I'm detaching emotionally.  It will not make things better between us, but I'm hoping that when she finally serves me papers it will not be as big of a heart break.

I need physical touch from her, not words of affirmation.  If she loves me she would prove it to me.

You have all been wonderful - everyone.  I need a break from here because people come here for hope and I don't have anything anymore.  I'm not depressed, just sad that I'm not enough for her.  I've worked so hard for her.  ADD(HD) or not, I want so bad to "see" what I did to make her so unhappy with me.  Maybe then I could justify her behavior. 





a) you have said nothing here

a) you have said nothing here that I could ever imagine would be used against have given it your all. In your mind and in your heart you were trying and trying. If it wasn't what she needed or what she wanted, then that lies on her shoulders to be an adult and be honest with you. No matter your past mistakes, you do deserve respect for the way you've tried. TRYING is something many of us don't see in our ADHD spouses..your wife is very lucky you have even given ANY effort. I'm very sorry she couldn't let go of the past and try with you.

b) people do come here for hope, but there are many of us here without much of it left..and we come for the support of being able to make the tough decisions that lie ahead of us. I repsect your decision to go, if it is what you truly need...but just never forget that whether it be support or a good swift cyber kick in the butt we are here and will help in anyway we can.

c) my advice to you at this point would to just let her be. Leave her alone. Find ways to keep yourself busy (even if this means SHE stays home more and you go out more..which I think would be excellent for you) and just move forward with your life. You need the counseling to help you continue to grow and flourish in the wake of the diagnosis and the devastating realities you've had to face in the past year or so. Keep going forward. Learn to forgive yourself and realize that your wife's inability to forgive falls on her. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves, not others. You have fought a good fight..a great fight. Time to look forward and focus on what DF wants to do with his life and detaching from your wife is probably a very good place to start. I only say this because it has been more than a year...and she just keeps pulling further away. Time to start protecting your have made mistakes, but you do deserve to be loved. Start by loving yourself.



Df its okay. And the scuttle

Df its okay. And the scuttle going on between your wife and you CAN NOT just be about adhd because my husband is acting exactly the same way. The emotional detachment, if you can pull it off is smart- I cant seem to do that and I am feeling like the world's biggest loser. He has the adhd and he is the one out all the time, letting me know how much a conniving, nasty, and a horrible human being I am. Most of my friends are maintaining a friendly distance now- guess it is too painful to witness a train wreck up close. How to emotionally detach from someone you love? Have kids with? Yet looks at you with such distance and apathy. I am in a lot of pain, and though it may not be obvious to my work colleagues- Im heartbroken. Dont really know where to go from here. So yes, I get what you say. All too well.

I am so sorry to read your

I am so sorry to read your post and feel your sadness. FEEL it. All of this feels so wrong to me anymore. I ask myself 'how can two human beings with half a brain get something so off track and into the ditch?'.

What your husband is doing (laying out drinking, not coming home when he says he will) is something I've 'survived' in my marriage. That was the story of my life for about 3 years. It started as one night a week, with friends, playing music...doing a little drinking, but nothing more than just a beer or two. Literally. From May of 2004 until Sept of 2009 when we separated, it gradually got worse and worse and worse. I wouldn't go back to it for a million dollars. (not that other issues we're suffering now aren't as devastating and hurtful.

I woke up today with an overwhelming sense of..well..just 'bad'. Just feeling that all to familiar sense of 'overwhelm' with everything. His suspicious behaviors (mostly involving his continual withdrawing of money from the bank...lying about where he's going) it is all adding up in my head and all of the sudden, every few days I just lose my mind over it. The walls are going up and I'm going into 'the other shoe will drop soon, I have to prepare myself' mode. I woke up with all of this on my mind...and then it dawned on me like a ray of sunshine. I don't have to carry this burden. I'm doing what I feel God led me to do..taking care of the 'human' aspects of preparing for my future..and I'm leaving the rest to him. He won't discuss the marriage with me AT ALL. He is sleeping in the den again. He is in complete and utter denial about everything. I asked for just 15 minutes of his time each day for us to sort through just a little bit of it. 15 minutes...I got no response which tells me he's not interested. Not interested in saving his marriage. One person cannot save a marriage. I am staying for two reasons...I love him...and God is telling me 'not yet'. I pray for him I will put on a smile, do something that I can be proud of today...and not let this monster ADHD destroy THIS day. Today I feel strong enough..tomorrow I may not..but today I do. I would like to leave you with a few quotes from this site that a friend shared with me that she had copied and saved on her computer...she e-mailed them to me yesterday and I cannot describe how powerful they were to me. I am going to print them and keep them close by.

 "It isn't the marriage contract you are trying to save - its you. Sometimes you have to back up and look at what fulfills you. Don't mistake me here- Im not advocating for divorce. Im simply saying that some people have more likelihood of being happy (and maybe even staying married as a result) if they get out from under the pressure that the idea of "saving my marriage (at any costs)" can bring. Some find that "giving up on my marriage" can help them erase their anger. It can also provide a sort of "clean slate" from which you can recover. If your marriage wont bring you happiness it reinforces that YOU must bring happiness."

From Ned Hallowell: "Your kids are stable, resilient kids. You are a wonderful person in extreme pain. You should seek your own happiness. Don't define ahead of time what that happiness looks like. Don't link happiness with either "saving your marriage" or "getting out of your marriage". Just pursue what brings you joy. the rest of it will fall into place. He argues that I had been working to save my marriage for 10 years with little success - it was time to try something new." 

I make my journey BECAUSE I NEED IT FOR ME and he can come along or not as he chooses.

I give the responsibility for fixing him back to him, where it belongs.

I don't have to cure my spouses ADD traits, but simply contain them in a way that does not effect our communal life so negatively. Im pulling myself and kids out of
the chaos with or without him.

Peace and acceptance will come lady..for us both...if we let it. The marriage doesn't have to end to find either.  (((HUGS)))


That's it, Sherri.  LET GO

That's it, Sherri.  LET GO AND LET GOD!  Here, Here, I'm all for PEACE, HAPPINESS AND JOY for all of us.  We're getting there!!!!

Dr. Hallowell got me off pot

I was self medicating with pot for ADHD and it is a wonder drug in terms of, reducing the crazy energy I have, making me not interrupt people, and not getting angry.  However, it can cause a condition of smoking all day and doing nothing (paraphrasing Dr. Hallowell).  A total rut.  Its very difficult to keep to a dosage and not over dose into depression with pot.  So I'm clean 6 months and going.  Its not a very addictive drug so I have no urges to go back but I know it is an easy fix to allot of ADHD problems and for that reason it is tempting, especially in my trouble marriage.  There has been some really good advice on here though about finding yourself and focusing on your own happiness.  You can't make your spouse be happy or love you no matter how hard you try it will just lead to anger if they don't have love to give.

DF... You are Not an Idiot!

You have worked so hard to try and better yourself. With many parallels to my personality, it seems, you have been a great help to me and I'm sure many others. Yet another dead on similarity in your post "My language, the one that speaks to me and gives me the confidence that I'm wanted is physical touch.  It's not about sex so much as it is the intimacy of love that I get from a hug or from when the person I love takes my hand in hers.  All worries wash away and I feel alive.  This explains why I'm a bit of a "touch freak".  I do not like people touching me ( not handshakes, but hugs ).  I don't like it because it is an act of intimacy that I reserve for the people I love and care about the most." This is me to a "T".

There is more than ADD going on here and marriage is quite complicated on a good day. Many Non-ADDER's have said that that they cannot "Fix" their ADD spouse. I have not read about any of us ADDers working as hard as you trying to correct, own and control their ADD and you alone cannot "Fix" what is missing or broken with your wife by yourself.

Take care of yourself and get a little vacation, but do come back and check in with us. I drop off from time to time myself. You have worked 10X as hard as I have and I believe you set a great example for many of us out here searching for answers.

Take care...


I never wanted to "fix" my

I never wanted to "fix" my husband-it sounds like castrating, like you do a pet. And if you really love someone, you dont want to do that to them. The touch thing is interesting- by response to Physical touch do you mean NOT a good response? I take my dh's hand and it seems like he either tolerates it, or he'll hold my hand but never by his initiation. These things have taken on a "power struggle" accent- like if I hold your hand, YOUWIN. If I dont, I WIN. Too complicated indeed...cause I just wanted to hold hands to say "I love you". Df i dont understand what you meant by when you took your wifes hand and the switch went off. Sorry- dont mean to try to pull you back in, I respect your decision to remive yourself from here - am thinking I need to take a month off myself... But things have degraded and I still feel so lost- like I dont GET what it is he is feeling this way about me. Am I an idiot?!! Nononono.. As for sex, well no way- at least not at this point because the level of trust and intimacy has not been addressed as of late, and I (and most women, sorry to make it a statement about gender..but there you have it) cant allow that closeness in- not with a broken heart. If I could, I just might as well go to a bar and pick up a stranger. Not an option or even close to something I want to do. I want my marriage- strong, trusting, sustainable.

PS DF. I get the haze of

PS DF. I get the haze of marital stress you have been experiencing, the self doubt, the guilt of what you may have done to promote it, and most certainly, the love you feel that does not feel even close to being returned. You know I do, right? You DO need a mental break, my friend, from this mess- to the extent that you try to lose the anger and misery, and find yourself and the (no faces please!) LOVE a person must carry for themself if there is to be a true opportunity to love someone else (and to be able to receive it as well). To be truly happy. You are a stranger, yet the clarity of much of who you are and the weight that you have been carrying comes through VERY CLEARLY. I also get this is not about villainization about your wife, whom you clearly love. You are a GOOD person, and you deserve happiness. Hold onto that thought and believe it, without bitterness for yourself or others. Wishing and praying for you buddy. I have plenty of those lately! :)
DF's picture

Lu -

Is this a cry for help? - probably.  Without giving too much information, you guys are not the only ones trying to hammer home the simple message that the way my wife is handling things is not productive.  I'm so busy trying prove to her how important she is to me........... but she does not reciprocate. 

What I've learned in the last week or so is that simple gestures are not for everyone and you can probably see this in your own relationship.  Building routines in my life to address mundane tasks around the house can be something that some people identify with, but not me or my wife.  They are appreciated, but they are just tasks that need to be done.

Some people identify with giving/receiving gifts.  I did not always forget my wife's b-day, anniversary and holiday's, but she only recalls the ones I did, or just got a card.  But I've addressed this over the course of this last year and there have been numerous opportunities.  Even though it is important to recognize someone on special days, this has not warmed my wife's heart.

Some people identify with words.  Hearing someone you care about giving you compliments is special and even more so when other people tell you your spouse has been saying such nice things about you when you're not around.  A positive nudge here and there, "I like how you stack the glasses in the cupboard.  It free's up space and gives an orderly appearance." -> gender neutral comment.  For some people this is really important.  I've been working on this stuff for a long time now too.  To me, I've always felt it was more important to compliment on the outfit my wife was wearing "I like that blouse.  It looks really good on you." - This is true as to how I feel and it shows her that I'm thinking about her, her fasion sense, the fact that she's not just a warm body to me.  This has done nothing to change my relationship for the better.

Some people identify with time spent together, either just talking or doing stuff together.  By talking I mean talking and listening about cares and concerns, hopes and dreams.  Doing stuff together can be a date or just a walk.  This is where I identify my wife.  The one thing people take away, it would seem, is the one thing that they need/want the most.  Being a selfish person for so long only meant that I was not always an active participant and this added up over years.  Problem is, she's not even giving me a chance to address this.  No walks, no talking, no dates.  Just "It rained here at the house today.  Did you get any at your office?", "Traffic wasn't so bad today.".  Sounds like fun - yes?  Welcome to my entire last year.  Have I asked her about hopes and dreams - yes and got nothing.

Some people respond to touch.  The common reaction would be sex.  As said by Sherri in some far gone post somewhere, sex is not important until you're not getting it.  Guys must be very careful not to "assume" that physical touch is what makes them feel wanted.  As I've mentioned before, it's not about sex.  I have a very active sex drive, very active, but putting things in perspective is why I see myself here.  A hug from my wife really does make everything okay.  I can't really explain it other than for me it jump starts my heart and makes me feel like she cares.  When she tells me "thank you" or I did something good, it doesn't do for me what a simple hug can do.  Gifts are nice, but many times it just makes me feel guilty about my inability to buy something for her in return.  Spending time, just the two of us, is very important to me.  Before she resented me I felt like I had to say something during quiet times, but I never had anything to say.  I just liked being there with her.  One of my favorite things was to go to a winery and just sit with her and look at the surrounding scenery.  Seeing as how I have an active brain I'm always in deep thought and usually have a look of concentration that my wife translates to a frown and not having a good time........

Lu - A woman not interested in intimacy with her husband is most likely because your spouse is not giving you what you need.  Keep in mind that even with the curse of ADD(HD) your spouse may not be getting what he needs either, but from the ADD(HD) perspective, it's a bit more amplified.  What I'm saying to you is, something that upsets you stirs anger in us, something that brings you a simple joy is a 100lb gorilla jumping off our back.  What you feel as a non-ADD(HD) person is doubled for us and it isn't always handled well.  I can't speak for everyone with ADD(HD), but a person is a child until they can wake up and mature enough to want to take control of their lives again.  I woke up.  My wife's distance with me is not going to stop my efforts to learn control. 

Your spouse knows you love him Lulu.  I've read the things you write.  My wife knows I love her too, but if we're not showing/telling them in the way that speaks to them it just isn't enough.  Your husband is not responding to physical touch positively when you take his hand so chances are he needs something else.  I don't know your situation, but are you critical and demanding about his going out all the time?  It's hurtful to you, but if he comes home to someone judging his actions he may stay out later in hopes that you are not up waiting.  Think of it this way - if I'm out and it's 10PM, but I'm having a good time and forget that I was supposed to be home by 9PM I'm going to "possibly" think that I'm going to get in trouble when I get home.  Why not just continue having a good time and hope that when I get home at 2AM you're asleep and in the morning I'll deal with your anger with me.  After all it's harder to go to sleep when I'm angry. Lulu, I didn't forget at any time that I was in trouble with you, I just didn't want to deal with it at that time so I waited you out till I thought you'd be asleep.

I struggle with this almost daily as you all know.  There is nothing right about a spouse, male or femal, that leaves their home all the time and doesn't come home till whenever.  This plays hell on the other persons nerves, the family and the marriage as a whole. 

My frustration is setting in.  I'm trying to build a damn to block the resentment that follows, but it's going slower than I'd like.  Last night my wife did 2 things she has not done for me in a very very very long time.  She spoke to me a few times ( casual stuff ) without me saying a word to her and se didn't leave the home after the kids went to bed.  These are almost trivial in themselves except for one important factor -> she didn't sit on that gosh-damned phone of hers.  I feel so unimportant to her when she sits there texting or facebooking or board games or whatever she does that translates to ignoring me.

What wass I doing?  I was studying for my classes.  I've lost enough sleep over the way she's made me feel and it has affected my work, my school and my emotional well-being.  I'm angry that she gave me one night and I crapped on it because I'm detatching.  I told her to work with me, but I chose to ignore the effort.  One night does not make up for shit and that's why I've been working so hard for a year and counting.

I love this woman so much and I don't want to sabatoge my own efforts, but I just can't keep going on feeling unwanted, unloved, and rejected.  I will maintain neutrality until I see that she is making an effort to try.  It's time she earned me.  I'll give my wife the world, but I can't get past her blank stare and her concentrated efforts to hold onto her resentment of me.

I understand that my wife wants to find her sense of self and be happy with who she is, but at the expense of our marriage?  When a person is doing whatever it is they want that's fine if they are making efforts to communicate with their spouse and keep them part of the process -> " Look I'm sorry.  I'm just feeling frustrated.  I love you, but I'm not happy with myself right now.  Please just give me some time".  I've been selfish for years, but I've never done anything close to what my wife is doing to me this past year.  My wife has done nothing to show me that she wants to be married to me anymore and I'm tired of hurting and blaming myself.  I'm exhausted and sad.  It's time to focus on my kids, my work and school.  I can't do heartache anymore. 

Another perspective for DF

I've been reading this website almost daily for about two and a half years, but almost never post because I seldom think I have anything of value to say.  So I hope you will all forgive me if I suddenly jump into this ongoing conversation.

I've been married for 35 years to a spouse who technically doesn't have ADHD, though he has a brain condition that, according to an evaluation 2-1/2 years ago, exactly mimics ADHD, and he has personality traits that cause behaviors similar to what I see described on this site.  So for all practical purposes, he may as well have ADHD.  I'm still not convinced he doesn't have it.

I can tell you that after all these years of certain behaviors repeated endlessly, despite my asking for things to be different, I feel absolutely shell-shocked and unable to tolerate any more.  Since the evaluation, DH tells me has worked hard to improve.   To be truthful, I think there is a huge gulf between his perception of the changes he has made, and my perception.  Yes, I can see minor, occasional improvements, but there are also many instances of unfortunate behavior he thinks he's altered, and in my bruised and battered state, each new instance is like ripping the scab off and leaving the wound bleeding again.  Each relapse on his part triggers in me emotions that tie back into years of misery.   This triggering is beyond my control.  I can't help it.  So it is hard to just go on as if none of the past happened.   It will take years to fully get past the pain, if I ever actually make it.

DF, I wonder if your wife can even see the changes you think you've made.  After many years of an intolerable situation, a year doesn't seem to me like a very long period of time for healing to take place, and there may not be enough of a consistent track record for her to begin to feel she can trust again.  Each of us has a different tolerance for difficulties, and each of us has a different timetable for getting past history.  If she is as wonderful as you describe, would she really deliberately withhold forgiveness just out of spite or for some other negative reason?  

You say, DF, that "My wife has done nothing to show me that she wants to be married to me anymore ..."  What???  She is still living in the house with you; she hasn't asked you to move out or for a divorce; she shares a bed with you; I don't think you have evidence of infidelity; she still appears to at least be civil; I gather she still cooperates with you on child care, groceries, and other activities.  She was willing to have dinner with you.  To me, this is a woman who has not reached the point of wanting to end her marriage.  I see her as a woman deeply hurt and uncertain, someone trying to find her way cautiously.  The way you FEEL about your situation is not necessarily an indication of her intentions.

I see you doing something that I often find myself doing: putting my own interpretations on my husband's behavior, and then getting emotionally upset by those interpretations.  It's an easy pattern to get into when we're in a difficult emotional situation, but it can actually bring about the thing we fear, because it causes us to act in ways that may be counterproductive.  It's very difficult, but infinitely more positive, to observe without interpreting.  Thus, instead of saying, for example, "He failed to do this thing again, and he just doesn't care about me," I can just observe that he didn't do what I wanted.  And let it go at that.  I also see you labeling her sometimes.  She's "a quitter."  And you hate quitters.  Do you see how that moves you further away from her, from what you say you want?  My DH happens to be a fearful person, in some circumstances, and I have little tolerance for fear and have almost no fear myself.  But I avoid thinking of him as a coward because I despise cowardice, and that label reduces him to that one element, and he's so much more than that.  A wonderful book that will help you explore this issue is "Feeling Good" by David Burns.  It's a book on avoiding depression, but has dynamite ways of deconstructing our own self-defeating thoughts.

Years ago, a wise mentor shared a quote that I've found incredibly valuable in life:  "Show up.  Pay attention. Tell the truth.  Don't be attached to the outcome."  It seems you're doing the first three actions.  But, if I might suggest, you seem to be very attached to the outcome of all your efforts to salvage your marriage.  And I suspect many of your efforts feel like pressure to your wife.  They feel to me like pressure as I read about them on the page.  Might your wife have meant something like this when she asked you to make these efforts because they were the right action for you, not for her?  She feels the way she's feeling right now, and you want her to feel differently.  Surely she must know that.  But a renewal of your relationship has to come organically, not because you're doing so many things to prove your worth to her, or expecting that she feel and behave a certain way if you're to be happy.

Detachment, in love, seems to be the wise decision you've made at this point.  You need to somehow separate your own emotional well-being from whatever your wife does or doesn't do.  She has to find her own path, and it may not be the route you think it ought to be at this moment.  But overall, it seems to me your marriage can make it if you can back off of trying so hard to push her the way you want her to go, and make your own happiness independent of what she does.  That's what I'm working on right now, as my happiness doesn't come from my marriage.  And Codependent No More, by Melodie Beatty, has been a huge help so far.

I congratulate you for taking ownership of what ADHD has done to your relationship with your wife, and for your efforts to make life better for your whole family.  You sound to me like a winner.  I hope for the best for you.



I read something in Melissa's

I read something in Melissa's book yesterday and immediately thought of you...

It said that a spouse either reacts with anger (to the ADHD behaviors) or completely detaches. I think your wife may be doing the latter. It also dawned on me that, although I am still angry, I find myself detaching (I do not WANT to...but it just seems to be happening) and just not really caring either way anymore. I feel I am in some odd, gray area where I am still here, still love him, but just really am not sure what I want anymore. I think your wife may have crossed the gray area into the 'completely detached' area. I am not one to feel that these kinds of things cannot turn around, but it would require her wanting to. I am not sure she does. Time for you, as you said, to start detaching too, my friend. You cannot save this sinking ship all by yourself. I agree with you...she has given you no reason to believe she wants you in her life in any capacity other than roommate.

"Fix" does sound aweful...

I had never really used "Fix" before and it does sound bad. I had seen it used in a lot of posts before. The Touch thing for me is not a power play at all, it's like connecting without saying a word which is helpful for me to feel good or drop out of defensive mode in hard times. Like Df said, I am not a huggy touchy person at all, but I do hug the ones closest to me, the ones I trust and not need to worry about the next thing I say to them...


Agreeing with others--you are

Agreeing with others--you are not an idiot. I also agree that leaving her alone is a good course of action right now.

If there is anything I've learned from my own struggles, it is this: If I am earnest in my efforts with everyones best interest in mind and willing to own up to my part and make amends, then I've done all I can do. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for my spouse's reactions, good or bad, and I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for how he feels, good or bad. I AM ALSO NOT RESPONSIBLE for making sure I "generate" love within him. If he can no longer see good in me, it doesn't mean I am not good. It means he can't see it because he has his own blinders on that only he can choose to take off.

The knowledge and perspective you've shared here is a permanent part of my wisdom bank and therefore is a lasting gift. Thank you. Take care.

Let her be - I guess

  I like this idea of not caring what she thinks of me.  I'll just do my best and if she ignores me or abuses me or whatever.  I just won't let it affect me.  I am a very upbeat person who is always smiling and not very confrontational.  I just have the energy of 5 people.  So if she is annoyed by me I am just going to smile and play with the kids.  Its just a lonely way to be married.  I'm toying with the idea of a separation.  I have told her that if you don't start showing some love or affection or even friendship I wont wait for ever.  In her opinion if she cleans up once a month that is showing me love (this is her job, see my early post for how the work is split up); but I am not going to let her depression get me mad any more.  I just feel like I deserve love; I certainly have lots to give.  My kids are 2 and 6 months am I supposed to have no love till they are 18 then divorce her?  At what point do I go and find real love.  I refuse to cheat.  Should I ask for an open marriage or just hope things turn around in 5 years when both kids are in school.  Please I need some input I feel like my posts are being ignored because I am new here.  It also seems like there are allot of wives on here that are really mad at their ADHD husbands so I am the enemy.  How do you not get angry when you spouse does not love you simply because your energy levels are too high.  I have ignored her and self medicated in the past and done some damage, but that has bean gone for a while.  Does the trust ever come back?

Adhd spouse vs Depression spouse

Let me begin by saying I haven't read every post here, but I will. There are alot of post here. However I needed to say something about the non ADHD spouse. Your wife sounds alot like my wife. Sure my adhd rants and inability to contain my anger have hurt our relationship. However her clinical depression has just obliterated our marriage. Adhd and depression are like oil and water. Let me give you an example. My wife has stayed home all but 1 of our 6 years married. I never minded her staying home because I really wanted kids quickly. However part of staying home, which we discussed, was cooking cleaning and laundry. Now for my example (and ill talk prekids). So I see she is behind on laundry. I know with her deppression she is very sensitive so I tread lightly (not easy for an ADHD spouse to do). I say dont worry about the laundy you dont have to get it all done just get one to two loads a day done. Then I ramble on a bit and explain between the two of us in one day we use less then 1 load of laundry so therefore 1 load per day should get you caught up. Im very analytical but she is not. Any way she gets pissed she sais I only married her so she could be my slave. Now im getting angry because I work 8 hour days surveying and do freelance graphics and webdesign at night. this I know is where I need to do a better job controllimg my anger. It always the same if I say our relationship needs more intamacy she hears your a bad wife. if I say it time ffgdtoftake the binkie away from our two year old she hears your a bad mom. if I say some advice that will make the house work easier she hears your lazy. If I say the house looks nice she says thanks master(sarcasm). As the ADHD spouse I find it very hard to moderate everything I say and all I ever do is offend her we are at the brink of divorce. If we didnt have kids I would file today. Recently I have been very lonely and have basically started ignoring her once the kids are asleap. But anyways the resentment your wife has toward your Adhd and he inability to forgive and move on reminded me of our felationship. Before I finish to be fair to my wife before we had kids I turned to pot and video games mostly out of loneliness but also to avoid offending her. Any Ive been sober and off MMOs fors 6 months and im at the point where I know I deserve better but I cant bear the thought of be apart from my children.

Similar situation to me, Bryan...

I only have a second to chime in and I know DF well. He and I are brothers separated at birth I believe. I didn't know about my ADD until I was 43, about 2.5 years ago. My DW has has to deal with anxiety/depression for most of her life. I was the constant steady rock she had always needed, until I got to a massive over-whelm point in my life, strickened by anxiety attacks and then diagnosed with ADD. This explained SO Much of my life, but now her rock was cracked and my DW felt/feels like now she has to worry about me on top of it all. This is a bad combination, but we have been working through things, I guess. Things could still be a lot better, but our lives are so busy with stressful full time jobs and very active kids.

Oil and water is right. Walking on egg shells and the ADD not saying the exact right thing = many misunderstandings... I'll post more later, but I need get going. Good luck!


Two things... Depression is

Two things... Depression is often a result of living with "inability to control my rants and anger"....what have you done to heal THAT damage? One short sentence about you...a full ranting paragraph about your wife. Keep reading...posts by DF and YYZ especially...they have stopped blaming their wives and taken a hard look at their own fault. Doesn't matter if you work 23 hours a day...a loving gesture such as YOU washing the perfectly rationally assessed needed one load a day might go a very long way in helping your wife feel more important to you than she currently does (I.e. You are treating her like a child...and your love is conditional upon how well she does what you feel she should..and how you feel she should). I quit work when I got pregnant with our daughter 13 years ago. My husband NEVER says a word about the house, clean or not. That isn't your ADHD, that is just an inability to think past what you want and see what she is needing. Get off of your indignant horse and take a look in the mirror...can't say that you've done the hard work it takes to change your behaviors AND shown her compassion above and beyond (vs your condescending and demeaning "suggestions" as to how she should do her 'job'). Your idea of helping her..isn't. Love and REAL tangible shows of your love is what she needs to get motivated.

Bryan, you remind me of my first husband

I never did a thing right. When my older daughter was a newborn, he demanded I sit up all night in a reclining chair holding her so she wouldn't wake him up when she woke up because he had to get up and go to work. When she was a year old, he basically demanded I go to work, but in the 3 months I worked at that job (longer hours than he worked), he did the dishes once and hung up one load of laundry (we didn't have a dryer.). He got to the point he rushed through dinner and spent the night in his "den," a tiny hole in the wall that had a tv and all his books. Eventually, he bought an intercom so he could call up and order me to get the kids to bring things down to him (drinks, etc.) Heck, yes, I was depressed because I had no human contact with an adult. Then he wanted sex when he finally came up and went to bed!

I've got to agree with Sherri, you sound like you're treating your wife like a servant. You are unhappy because she's not keeping up YOUR house to YOUR specifications. Being a stay-at-home mom is hard work. You work 40 hours a week and her job is 168 hours a week and you will tell her how to do it, but not help. No wonder she's depressed! That is abuse, not ADD.





And, there are No days off,

And, there are No days off, No sick days, No vacation days.... And it's all without a payday..... Minus the endless rewards from being a mom : ). But, this does not make up for a lack of appreciation or support from the spouse. Add or non add.

slave wife or slave husband?

Typical day for me is 8 hours of work then watch both kids chang diapers, cook dinner put both kids to bed, then my freelance work. 5hours of interrupted sleep, yes I get up with the kids, then do it all over again. In the past you could replace freelance work with gaming. Weekends I spend the whole day parenting and helping around the house and fitting some more freelance work. The reason I do so much around the house is because my wife is constantly overwhelmed. Also her clinical depression was diagnosed long before we met not as a result of my Adhd. Some how though when we do have a moment alone I am always have energy for intimacy. She however uses my advice as insults and uses this combined with beimg overwhelmed to not be itimate, yet gets on facebook instead. This is the reason I took up gaming and freelance work. So where are my breaks? there are none. Clearly I am nothing like your ex husband. However im not suprised at the negative responses. Many men dont help with kids and housework an thinking kids are more difficult then working is such a typical response.

You did not clarify that in

You did not clarify that in your original post, I am glad you did.  I admire you for all that you do for your family. My only advice at this point would be to insist that your wife change up her counseling/medication and maybe the two of you get joint counseling to help bridge the gap between the two of you. Whatever she is doing to treat her depression is not working. Couple that with your ADHD and it is a miracle you've survived thus far. I just hate to see you give up on each other, but you BOTH have to work HARD to get through the crap that your disorders bring to the table...not that I am telling you something you didn't already know.


I was probably being to hard on you

Minus the full time job and the kids in the home, you've pretty much described my life now. My husband is depressed and, we think, has ADD. His current provider (few choices when you don't have insurance or income) has decided he doesn't have ADD at all, that all the things that drive me nuts are symptoms of depression.

I have a totally freelance job. I am an eBay seller, and I sell for a furniture store. They give me work, and I have to be available 7 days a week for them. I also acquire and sell items on eBay for myself. So I have no "off" time at all. The more I sell, the more money we have. Since my husband has chosen not to work, that's all we have. And yes, it hurts when he won't do necessary things in the house, leaving all to me.

One night this week when I couldn't sleep, I went on the internet looking for a support group for spouses of depressed people. It was surprising how many of the posts were just like the ones here: the walking on eggshells, anger, lack of attention. So, in your house, you have a double whammy of those problems.

I echo Sherri again. You may need to treat your ADD more aggressively, and your wife needs to get a better handle on her depression. I wish I could tell you how to make that happen.

Male depression symtoms are very similar to adhd

Doing some reading last night I found a site that had a list of depression symtoms in men. Creating conflicts, trouble focussing, anger, being overwhelmed, self medicating on sex, drugs or media. I had to double check if it wasnt Adhd symtoms. Now im not so sure if their is a difference. I feal like my extremely high energy that never wanes might lean more towards Adhd. However it was eye opening and perhaps Ive suffered from some depression at times too

It is very common, due to the

It is very common, due to the 'complications' (for lack of a better word) of ADHD (low self-esteem, fear of failure, destructive coping skills the destroy relationships), for someone with ADHD to have a co-morbidity. Depression and anxiety are two fairly common ones. I've heard a lot of people with AD"H"D describe the feeling of being run by a motor that won't shut off. My husband is ADHD, but his "H" part is mostly impulsivity.

Is it wrong to want a listening ear

  My wife does not listen to me because I stress her out.  All I want is to tell her things that are on my mind and things that have happened during my day.  No matter what it is I want to talk about it stresses her out.  I'm sure I can come off as excitable, but I have had friends in the past that I could talk back and forth with for hours on end.  So I know it is possible to have an outlet for my storm of ideas.  This is something that has driven a wedge in our relationship.  I have an urge to communicate and she wants nothing to do with it and has nothing of her own to share.  Perhaps this is why most of the good friends I have had in my life also have ADHD.  I guess only someone with the level of energy that I have can comfortable communicate with me.  She even feels threatened or drained by me when I just want to tell her a funny story that happened to me that particular day.  If I were to read this message to her out loud she would probably stop paying attention half way through and then say "WHAT...Im so exhausted."  The worst part is when I lose her attention I just talk faster and repeat myself so I can be heard.  I did notice someone posted, try sending her emails.  I will try this; she does allot of reading.  I'm not sure this will help my need to be heard though but at least maybe we can start communicating.

I suggested e-mails... I only

I suggested e-mails...

I only have a second, I can elaborate later, but there are times that my husband's "sharing his day" leave me with a knot in my stomach. It IS what WE feel/see as chaos, to you it is just 'sharing your day'. The chaos scares me. He tells me of a confrontation he had a work, nothing huge maybe just so-and-so pissed him off by some e-mail they sent (that I wouldn't consider worthy of the ire it aroused in him) and some big elaborate plan he had for 'revenge' although he wouldn't call it that, just always feels under attack and wants the upper hand. He used to threaten to quit his job everyday, leaving me feeling sick and stressed 24/7. This has all improved for us, but I can relate to feeling like I wanted to hear nothing he had to say because it always stressed me. Another thing was that I stopped sharing anything with him because he got to the point that he would argue, it seemed, just for the sake of arguing over everything I said. For the longest time our conversations were very one-sided and I knew that anything I had to say wasn't really welcome, would be met with him arguing with me, a quick subject name it, anything that was hurtful and made me feel that he didn't care about anything I had to say. Trust is lost. She doesn't want to listen to you because she does not trust you not to say mean things. She does not want to talk to you because she feels that you don't really CARE about her, her life, her feelings, her dreams and desires. If I had to guess, you feel the same. You're both stuck. Start small. Send quick e-mails...short, sweet, and just a "hello" and "how is your day going?". Or a note, leave her a note. If you don't get a response initially, keep trying. When I stepped away and removed myself from the chaos, things did get worse before they got has taken a good two months to get a normal looking/feeling/sounding conversation. I hope this helps some. I tell you this not to make you feel bad, but to give you some inside info on what she might be feeling and to help you resolve it. I will help anyway I can. I feel your pain. Hang in there! Be back later if you have any questions, feel free to ask.


Sherri is correct...

My after work rants used to make my DW crazy. I did not realize how she was taking the rants. My DW would totally get the idea that I was going to quit, or do something to get fired or do something that would embarrass her (The Worst Offense), she would usually end up mad at me for talking about my day and it was really frustrating as I would always listen to her blow off steam. I know now that my rants all made sense in my head, but I'm sure I did not communicate them effectively.

Emails and Text messages are great, especially for us ADDer's. We can take time to READ what we are sending, think about the tone/message it is sending, modify and process and send a much more coherent message and give then Time to process what we are saying too. Win Win as they say...


DF's picture

please be careful when texting

Texting is a short hand impersonal messaging system of communication.  There is usually character limitations and therefore your message would be more simplified without explanation.  If you're having relationship issues as many of us here are, be cautious of how you text.  Example:


A simple word in response to your text where you ask if your spouse would like you to make burgers or spaghetti for dinner.  The word in itself is harmless, but not knowing the receivers mood at the time, this little word in itself can generate an assumption that your spouse is in a bad mood.  You have no idea if they are giving you a cheery "whatever" or a angry "whatever" or a stressed out "whatever". 

I can't tell you how many times over the last year I would get a text and look at it wondering what the heck I did wrong to anger or upset my spouse.  Oddly enough, a lot of text were no different than what my wife and I used to text each other.  Only difference now being that she's unhappy and I know it.

On the flip side - try to view your text from the unhappy spouses side before you actually send the text.  They may see you as angry and reply in kind.

Am I walking on egg shells here again...........?  Sorry.  Had a moment last night.  My wife was in a seriously bad state about work and I honestly didn't know how to help.  She didn't want to talk to me about it and I didn't know what to say to provide an open door for her.  I knew she had to get it out and I wanted to prove that I could be there for her without trying to "fix" her.  I know I failed her.  I felt the ice get thinner and I just couldn't find the right words and the silence was deafening.  I dropped any attempts to communicate seeing as I really felt as though I wasn't what she wanted or needed.  I know it's not realistic to believe I can be there for her when we're barely on the level of simple conversation.

It was during this time that I was introduced to my wife's "happy pills".  She has a prescription in her purse.  I've not gone in there to look at it since I've never been comfortable with going into my wife's purse.  I did not ask her what she was taking either since the kids were around.  I know she doesn't take them often and perhaps the perscription is new.  Having seen the effects last night I can't help but feel bad.  I know how hard our situation is on me, but I can only imagine how hard it is on my wife.

Hey stranger!

Am I walking on egg shells here again...........?  Sorry.  Had a moment last night.  My wife was in a seriously bad state about work and I honestly didn't know how to help.......Then say "I would like to help, but I really don't know how to help. If there is anything I can do, let me know"

 She didn't want to talk to me about it and I didn't know what to say to provide an open door for her.  I knew she had to get it out and I wanted to prove that I could be there for her without trying to "fix" her............1. how do you know she 'had to get it out'? Assuming you know what she needs is never a good idea...again, ask if you can help, and if she says no then take her at her word. 2. you are wanting to be a 'rescuer' here and that is never a good thing. She could possibly see your attitude about this and feel you don't give her enough credit. There is NOTHING wrong with being a sounding board for her, or wanting her to talk to you, but that isn't what I'm getting from this.

I know I failed her.  I felt the ice get thinner and I just couldn't find the right words and the silence was deafening.  I dropped any attempts to communicate seeing as I really felt as though I wasn't what she wanted or needed.  I know it's not realistic to believe I can be there for her when we're barely on the level of simple conversation..............even if it WAS personal, that she didn't want to talk to you, you cannot let that make you feel this bad. You can be there for her by letting her know you're there, if she wants you to be there, and giving her space if not...and by not taking it personally (being hurt or defensive) when she won't share.

I hope you're doing OK, you seem to be down again. I know how hard it is to stay focused on the 'big picture' and keep the attitude that no matter what, you will be OK. I miss your wisdom around here. Pop in when you can. (((HUGS)))

DF's picture

not sure about being down

The issue she was upset about was money.  Her employer informed the office that everyone is getting a big pay cut starting in January.  It's not the economy either since the books show that he's on mark to beat last years earnings.  I don't make over time any more so I couldn't offer to take more of the financial burden.  I've already taken as much as I can and I've been using my financial aid refunds from school to pay off the medical bills -> which she knows nothing about.  It's one of those things I do and don't speak about to anyone.  I see a medical bill in the mail and I take it.  She doesn't ask about it and I don't talk about it.  It just gets done.

Now with the money thing....... I'm a selfish guy.  Been one a long time.  I couldn't find the words last night for my wife because when it comes to her stressing about money she's heard it all before from me.  She's come to expect that she can't count on me.  I didn't spend us into debt, I just didn't spend for the sake of the family.  Its' always been about me and what I wanted, not what everyone needed so for me to tell her "I'm sorry I just don't have the money" is like throwing gasoline on a fire.  I'm trying to earn back her respect with results and maybe I can pick up some dignity in the process.  Tonight, she spoke to me about it.  She was still upset, but calm and not on those "new" meds.  I saw that she was more open so I made my move and it worked better tonight than last night.  I know I helped relieve some of her stress as it was easier to find more positive things to say.

As for me being sad or angry - no.  I'm not jumping for joy about anything, but I'm not angry either.  This semester is just hard is all.  I got a letter in the mail yesterday saying I was on the Dean's List.  For the first time in my life it wasn't because I was being placed on academic probation.  I just have to work harder now is all.  This semester is just very tough for me to find the right answers.

Hey DF! Glad to see you...

I have a really short list of the times I made the Dean's List... Congratulations on that GREAT accomplishment!

I'm sorry things for you are still in the netherworld of "Are things Improving?" Something hit me after reading your post. You seem to be doing very well with your life's juggling act, improving yourself, trying to be a better husband without asking for anything in return, Kicking A$$ in school!!!, being a good dad too. You also appear like you are so busy that you never stop. This is not bad, I feel the same way... Once I'm up I feel like it's time to hit the list and push through the day without stopping. How much time before diagnosis did I just not feel like doing anything but the minimum that would keep my DW off my back? I have been trying to make up for this since my diagnosis and prove I'm NOT That Guy anymore. I don't wait until I see my DW start doing chores on the weekend, when the clock strikes 10am, I'm on to my first task. I don't expect my DW to keep my schedule and if I go off and come back and she is still not ready to get started, that's okay... She is too hard on herself and if she takes a little extra re-charge time I am fully supportive.

Here's the deal... I've fallen into the trap of we shouldn't do anything until everything is done. Everything is Never done, no matter how hard you try. My DW made a comment that hit me hard a couple of weeks ago "We are a great couple when we are doing our tasks, it's just when we are together that there are problems". WOW... Nail on the head... We handle the household and are raising the children pretty well, but WE are not well after all this time. Nothing seems to break this stalemate, not baby steps with hand holding, attempts at cuddling without any expectations, listening to her, cute messages, lunch dates... Stale Mate

I'm not sad or angry either, but I seem to be facing a problem without any specifications. It is really hard to solve an undefined problem. Being super productive just masks the problem we have as a couple and we can't spend couple time together because there is too much to do. I've even talked to my DW about this realization, stating that we work hard all week and Never Stop on the weekend and said "That weekends Are for something other than constant chores" and she said "Well they have to be done"... The regiment of chores keeping us from fighting is beginning to fail. This will bring our issues out and already has once. I will not accept an angry criticism of my choices in household tasks, especially when I'm home with the kids and having to sort through the balance of there needs and my quota of tasks and she is at work. I knew how badly she needed to get caught up at work, so I wanted to handle everything at home because she would then worry about what is going on at home and be less done at work and be mad about that... "Catch 22" That Sunday was Not an example of me in my best by a long shot, but I did not stop all day. I did not watch a minute of football. The right answers do seem hard to find.



It really sounds to me like

It really sounds to me like you're either staying busy 24/7 out of fear that if you don't, you'll never start again OR you're doing it because it is what you think she expects.

When does the time come that you just sit back, relax, and spend a Sunday watching football? What is wrong if you DID watch football? Before I go further, am I wrong to assume that you're always busy because you're trying to complete HER to-do list or is it something you are doing because you need to stay busy?


I want to get stuff done, maybe because I used to not see all the things needing my attention. I used to sit around a lot more, but if I missed the signals that we ought to be doing something, then I felt bad. My DW is always fretting over all the things that need to be done. These things are her criteria for self-judgment based on what she believes others would judge her as a wife and mother by. Her Bar is so high that I don't believe it is realistic for a woman working a full time job and rarely ever 40 hours. No matter how much gets done she is not satisfied with her amount completed. She does not come out and say if I have done enough, but I can tell when she doesn't. Believe me I don't need to stay busy 24/7, but I will when it is needed. I have been trying to re-create the perception of my free-time work ethic. The things I do are appreciated, but when will enough be done to get her to the point of feeling like she can relax and we can do something "Not Chore/Task Related"? I did not watch football because she was working and needed distraction free time to feel better about her work load. If I were to call then she would begin to feel guilty about not being home and question what I was focusing on. My DW is unable to relax without feeling guilty about it and this standard carries over to me.

The Time to Kick Back and Relax is never before 9pm. When I mention we have worked completely through another weekend, she just says "Well all that stuff needed to be done". She does not seem to want to relax around me. We can have an okay week, no issues, but when we get to the weekend That is when something happens.


Good Points

I'd add for me (maybe for other ADHD) once I start to relax it is very very very difficult to "reengage" especially if its late in the evening when meds are weening.  When I come to the point of "relaxing" that is when I let my mind rest and "zone" out.  If my wife and I did have something plan to do together I couldn't actually "rest" my mind I need to stay on the ball.

Real rest for me is mental rest which takes being able to "zone out" thus most of the ADHD symptoms would be in a "heightened" state.  That said this is a perfect time for cuddling, watching a movie or physical intimacy because in those moments "hyper focusing" on her wouldn't be difficult at all since it is stimulating and interesting to me.

DF's picture

One more thing

Hello Lu.  I did notice you posted.  It's great to hear from you again.  You sound happy in your writing even if things are hard. 


That is amazing news about the deans list!! Congratulations, that is an accomplishment - and I am not saying for "a person with adhd" but for anyone going to school. With all this stuff going on, u must be getting your multi-tasking skills really pulled together. Am I happy? No not wity the crazymaking saga going on but I do feel like I am moving forward nonetheless. It is scary. But being called names, cursed at, having belongings kicked or punched, and grabbed go beyond the realm of "okay". And though you dont know me, the truth is that almost as bad is the " secrets of finances (that is really not secret because I snoop to feel safe- I have to because I fear financial devastation for myself and kids). I know my situation is not yours, thouth ironically there are parallels bet the apathy and resentment your wife is demonstrating with those of my spouse. And the other thing that worries me,DF, frankly is your comments about being selfish and the fact that financial secrets still abound in your dynamic. These things may have arisen out of your mutual (?) comfort zone but I can say from my experience it does not lead to trust but the antithesis of it. I know you are trying DF and I can hear how your wife is acting in total apathy. But I can also offer some possible thoughts from your wifes side, if I may. You pay the medical bills to be helpful but say nothing. She will know this ofcourse and thats importantbut she WONT know where those funds came from necessarily. As far as she knows itmeans you are nowcharging up a storm to cover expensed or worse (!) using these funds to paymedbills instead of applying them to your student debt (that can not be exempted by the irs on the event ofbankruptcy). The lack of communication is literally deafening and just as bad: crazymaking. How about the towels? Perhaps she prefrs to keep the "nice" towels for company (lol something I might do, I admit it!) but instead of laughong ovet it, it has becomea power struggle. Again lack of trust is crazymaking. Crazymaking leads to apathy (look up learned helplessness). Equals unending crap relationship. I want done w this business of the crazies butI recognize I can not do it alone, nor can you. But what you CANdo is strive gor the clean slate idea and work on a more amicable and communicating dynamic. Busy scholastic schedule notwithstanding... But it will have the possibilty of forcing you out of your"this is mine, this is yours mentality". And only you can decide to do that (at least from your perspective). Selfishness and all.. But then - are you reallybeing that or just protective? Missed your insight too, DF. You always make me think.

Ugh btw sorry for numerous

Ugh btw sorry for numerous typos (hate that!) but rushing and on the fly! Happy day all....!

Okay feeling incredibly

Okay feeling incredibly insecure today. Am I completely offtrack in what I am saying? I go from feeling like I need to empower myself to feeling like an incredible loser. Starting to wonder if the only way I will make it through the holidays will be through meds... :( sorry for the weakness but this stuff is so....traumatic you know? Am I wrong?

No. You're human. I think I

No. You're human. I think I already read that you were exercising, that was going to be my first suggestion. Anytime I feel some 'weakness' coming on (and I do!) I try and go power walking for about 30 mins...with the CoDependent No More audiobook blasting in my ears. (I have it on my iPod). I know that you know you are not a are just a human being who is being hurt and emotionally torn apart because you love someone who is suffering and cannot/will not give you what you need. This is where 'what you need' has to morph into something different. What you need is to build up enough emotional courage to battle these kinds of days and still come out knowing that you're going to be OK. What you need, what I need, what MANY of us to focus on why we are so 'weak' in the first place. The anxiety that you are is something that about killed me. I don't ever want to feel that overwhelming BS again. I KNOW it is something I can fix...I can fix that about me a whole lot quicker than I can fix anything about my DH so I choose to get stronger FOR ME because if I didn't, his ADHD was going to surely kill me. BREATHE. Take things one minute at a time if you have to. That is all that matters. Get through one minute and then focus on getting through another. prayer. That is what has gotten me through. I have turned my focus on anything and everything EXCEPT my DH. (cleaning - something I have NEVER put a lot of time house has never been cleaner, movies, TV, computer, time with the kids, yard work, baking, shopping, etc). Your marriage is under attack...I mean it when I say I pray for you guys. All of you. I am praying for you lady. Please hang in there...find something..ANYTHING to do besides thinking about your marriage/DH. You cannot change him, you can only change worrying about it only hurts you. Focus on getting stronger so that he cannot hurt you like this. Focus on YOU. ((((HUGS))))

Thanks Sherri. I know... But

Thanks Sherri. I know... But today it feels not enough. I have been so "strong" for me, for the kids. I have come to a point where I am accepting that this is a no win situation. To say nothing and live in this hell or end it once and for all (so much fear). Calling the lawyer. If he wont cant is unwilling to accept how the adhd is/has affected us and instead insists its all me- THIS WONT CHANGE. Worse, it gives him credance to do and say terrible things including physical and psychological abuse. It does scare me as it does him.. But not enough to do anything. I just dont understand it... Though rationally I do. He acts like a neanderthal and I have to say wth am I thinking staying w him?!

Maybe you're growing to

Maybe you're growing to accept that it will just simply never change...and that's terrifying. I know. I have days where I honestly think that I am just simply going to have to walk away...and my DH is NOT being mean or abusive in any way. Imagine seeing all of the chaos, the lies, the self-medication, the inattention...and have him being really nice and loving. If he weren't...I couldn't do it. I know that much. It is the only thing keeping me here...but it isn't enough to keep me here forever.

I have often felt that the pain of divorce would hurt worse than the pain of staying. Maybe that is where you are at? I don't know lady...all I know is that no one is demanding you decide today. It is hard to know for sure what to do because we once knew a side of them that made us feel like we were on top of the world. I think we wait...we spend years and years of our lives waiting for that person to come back to us. Accepting that that person is gone, for the most part, forever is gut wrenching. That has been a part of my 'healing', accepting that my reality is here and now, the man before me TODAY and that will most likely be my future if I stay. I haven't decided yet if I can, and I haven't given up hope that he'll eventually meet me half way. He still gives me reason to have hope.

If your marriage ends, or mine, because of this it is not the end of the world. I know it sure as hell feels like it sometimes, but the sun will shine even if we think it never will again. You cannot save your husband. You cannot save your marriage alone. If you cannot detach then, for your own sanity, get some space between the two of you somehow.

"Nice and loving" seems very

"Nice and loving" seems very far away now... I dont remember what thats like anymore. But I also understand that thats where he is now for himself and not just me (though he will say its just me). I dont know Sherri if this will lead to anything positive but Im learning that you learn to deal w what you have keep yourself and your kids happy, right? Just moving forward and trying to fight the blues... Unfortunately, I think I have an issue w seasonal affective disorder/ and the holidays coming dont help... so I have to watch it for now. Thank you for your words of encpuragement (second time you helped out of the hole of despair :).

Have you ever tried taking

Have you ever tried taking fish oil? I have some friends who swear by it for depression/blues. That and doing some 'heart raising' exercise for at least 30 minutes are two good ways to try to alleviate your seasonal depression, if that is what you have going on.

I feel so thankful to be where I am in my life right now, personally (not marriage wise, but school wise and family wise) that I am making tons of plans for the holidays to keep me busy and keep my spirits up. I looked through cook books for dough recipes and will make dough ornaments with my daughter and I found some I made years ago with cinnamon and apple sauce that you roll out and cut and they smell SOOO good. Gonna make those. Been buying up baking supplies for weeks now, so we can do a lot of baking (and giving) because I don't have the money for gifts for everyone (teachers, bus drivers, etc) this year. I think having some goals, planning ahead a little, and thinking of fun ways to keep myself busy has really helped me remain focused on the wonderful parts of the holidays vs. being depressed about the rest. I'm even looking for some good coloring books. I love to color with my DD, even though she's 13 now. :)

SOO very glad to have been around and been able to help a little. It really is all about perspective. You can't change him so change your perspective. ((HUGS))


A loving gesture

This is where woman lose me. Saying I love you, or you look nice is a loving gesture. Giving her a preasant or taking the kids to the park so she can rest is a loving gesture. Doing her work for her is being a doormat. Honey im overwhelmed too can you do my work for me? Do I get to say that when im overwhelmed no. That is not why I posted this. I simple wanted to talk about the sensetivity of a depressed spouse and the insensetivity of the Adhd spouse. Trust me she gives lots of unheaded sarcastic hurtful advice, but I have thicker skin. I was serious about my vows. However walking on eggshells is getting to me and for an Adhd spouse it is near impossible.

See my above're

See my above're right, you should not have to do 100% and her nothing...but I did not get that picture in your original post.

DF's picture

Sigh......Can't help but believe

This is the first time I've been back to this site since my last posting.  I'm not happy nor sad or angry, but it seemed appropriate to come here today when for the past several weeks I've honestly not wanted to come here.  Is it irony or intervention that I should pop in and see that an old post of mine was replied to - I'm not saying.  I'm struggling with school this semester and it's taking a lot out of me.  I'm putting in the effort, but it's just one of those things that seems to want to be hard no matter how much you study or try to read between the lines.  So I've been busy and I also know that much of what drives my 'emotional' state lately is a reflection of either how well or how bad I'm doing in school every few days this semester.  Eh...  Off course.

Bryan -

This original post of mine seems like an eternity ago.  I re-read what I wrote at the top and it seems like such a distant past.  I have been running through a gauntlet of events, emotions and situations and if there's anything I have learned as of late, it's that reading my past comments both distant and not so distant have a common theme - I'm at my worst when it's about me and what "I" want.  ( Aspen, PJ, please correct me if I'm wrong on that :)  ).

I don't know your situation so I offer myself to you.  I read this original post again and it sounded quite selfish.  "When have I earned a hug?"  I believed that many months ago.  It upsets me now, because perhaps maybe my wife had been saying the same thing for years and I didn't hear her because it didn't apply to what "I" wanted.  I'm very selfish by nature and it's hard to retool my entire outlook on living, but for the most part I really don't mind the work.  I think it's great that you do so much for your family and I like to think I'm doing many of those very same things, but differently now than before. 

You see, when I wrote this original post several months ago I was, as you say, a "doormat".  By my own definition a "doormat" is someone who functions for the sake of someone else, always seeking acceptance and never getting what they 'think' they should get or deserve in return.

It's my view and some may agree or disagree and that's their take, I accept that.  Where I stand today is that I continue to do what I can for my wife and kids because I enjoy it.  I get little to no thanks from my kids and I continue to get resentment from my wife, with a mumbled "thanks" every now and then.  I just don't see it as a competition like I used to.  I'm not trying to win my wife back so much as I'm trying to ease her various stresses so that she has time and space to address her own needs. 

I still struggle with happiness and frustration.  There are times when I want to just scream at my wife ( not many, but there are times.....), but in the end I choose to grin and bare it.  Is it bottled up inside me?  I don't know, but I don't think so for the most part.  It's natural for us to get angry and expressing anger is so easy and feels good sometimes, but based on what?  I often ask this of myself when I'm frustrated or angry - what would I accomplish by expressing anger to wards my wife an/or kids?  Much of what I get angry about seems to center at times around how stressed "I" am, but what about them?  I notice I often get angry or frustrated because I'm not taking anyone into consideration aside from me.

I don't work two jobs, but the one I have is very demanding and I have school on top of that ( not trying to 1-up ya Bryan ).  I work hard to build new routines to try and keep a small house a home, which I rarely used to help with.  I also try to be more understanding of my wife and kids needs without ever asking for anything in return.  Will my candle burn out?  I don't know.  I just know that every night before I go to bed I pray that my wife will find love and happiness and even though it hurts sometimes, lately I've been making that prayer knowing full well it may not ever include "with me".  I really do want what's best for my wife and I'm getting better about accepting that it won't be with me.

I don't believe I'm a doormat anymore because I don't want anything in return.  Odd, I just now thought of an old movie - "The Princess Bride".  If you've seen it, it's the beginning part of the movie that comes to my mind.  The girl made demands of the stable boy consistently.  She even made a game of trying to break his will, but all he ever said was "As you wish."  Even in high school when I first saw that movie I wondered if I'd ever know love like that, because all I saw was the guy as a sucker.  I'm hopeful that maybe now I'm that stable boy.  I kind of think I see what he was getting at.

Hi stable boy, do

Hi stable boy, do sound busy! Its been very much the same for me as I started a second part time job that combined w my first AND the complete responsibilities at home make things a continual run for my money.... But I find that is okay these days. I am focusing on me and the kids now. I dont cry like I used to, though I will admit to the persisting loneliness...despite having my core of gfs for support. My spouse is so far removed now that it seems unlikely that he will ever be "back" and I'm not sure I want him "back" to be truthful. He has been physically and verbally abusive for so long that i can no longer say it is the Adhd, the meds, the alcohol abuse, the midlife crisis...yada yada... It just IS. And I deserve more, as do my kids. I am sorrowful that he still refuses to see his part in our demise but so be it. I have to struggle still with the idea of backsliding because while I love this man (remarkably), I have to protect me and the kids from this literal insanity. and he seems to be at that point too- refusing to have any conversation w me beyond a 1-2 minute boundary. Sleeping elsewhere in the house or not coming home. Apathy apathy the demise of all. Yet, not of me if i can help it. Counseling continues to help, as does doing well at my profession, exercising, hobbies, seeing friends for both me and the kids. We are struggling to find a new happy baseline without the craziness dictated by him. **Keep up the good work in school.. Diligence is the key to success, not necessarily gettkng that amazing "A" but perhaps the minimum grade that will let you continue on your path (?)- speaking as a former "professional student" all growed up now.. :)

Hi stable boy, do

Hi stable boy, do sound busy! Its been very much the same for me as I started a second part time job that combined w my first AND the complete responsibilities at home make things a continual run for my money.... But I find that is okay these days. I am focusing on me and the kids now. I dont cry like I used to, though I will admit to the persisting loneliness...despite having my core of gfs for support. My spouse is so far removed now that it seems unlikely that he will ever be "back" and I'm not sure I want him "back" to be truthful. He has been physically and verbally abusive for so long that i can no longer say it is the Adhd, the meds, the alcohol abuse, the midlife crisis...yada yada... It just IS. And I deserve more, as do my kids. I am sorrowful that he still refuses to see his part in our demise but so be it. I have to struggle still with the idea of backsliding because while I love this man (remarkably), I have to protect me and the kids from this literal insanity. and he seems to be at that point too- refusing to have any conversation w me beyond a 1-2 minute boundary. Sleeping elsewhere in the house or not coming home. Apathy apathy the demise of all. Yet, not of me if i can help it. Counseling continues to help, as does doing well at my profession, exercising, hobbies, seeing friends for both me and the kids. We are struggling to find a new happy baseline without the craziness dictated by him. **Keep up the good work in school.. Diligence is the key to success, not necessarily getting that amazing "A" but perhaps the minimum grade that will let you continue on your path (?)- speaking as a former "professional student" all growed up now.. :) btw- please dont worry about your original post, we all have changed in these many months and that should be embraced. I firmly believe the key to progression is acknowledging and validating each of our feelings in some way (including my husbands) while working them into the framework of a good relationship, if possible!

You inspired my return...

I got up at 4:45am and was out the door at 5am for my Power Dog Walk. I have said it many times, but even I need to be reminded how much better I feel when I start and end the day with some exercise. You comments the other day pushed what I had been thinking for a couple of weeks. My DW and I had a pretty good weekend too. A balance of getting stuff done, AND a little "Not working your A$$ off time too. The way it Should Be :)

Thanks Lulu! 

Great to hear you moving forward!

Hey DF! I still pop on here for a while, then disappear for a time. Things are moving forward for me and my DW. I have posted some recent frustrations, but still edging forward. "The Princess Bride" what an awesome movie and the funny thing is "As you wish", I thought Only in Fairy Tales... But when you really think about it, if both partners don't attempt some version of this thinking can the marriage even work? Keep up the good work and Great Job pushing through with your education!


Glad to see you are still

Glad to see you are still going forward. I slipped away for a while too. I have been checking in this past week and seeing things that help and "escaping" every day stuff. I find that things are same, but different here too. Dh just popped his head in to apologize for something that he says he did and I honeslty didn't think anything of it... So, I said, "oh, I don't care, it didnt bother me at all" to which he walked away saying "you don't care..." Of course, taken in the way it wasn't meant at all. So, I'd say, he is the "same". I'm not going to go run after him to say that "i don't care didn't mean "I don't care" - "it meant that I didn't take offense". I didnt think it was rude... I have been told "I'm always looking for something." Well, half the "things I'm looking for" have been legitimate problems. I"m trying to figure why I have more compassion for Yyz, you, and add dad, but not him? He has been traveling a lot, so it has been good to have time to think and not worry about offending or being hostile. But the second he is close by, I still freeze. Sorry, i must still come across as a royal b. At this point, I must b. Take care, keep up the good work, good luck with school!
DF's picture

no title

PJ I'm going to try not to 'assume', but give my side of the story as objectively as I can.

When my wife had shut down on me in every aspect of our lives I was very in tune with every little moment.  My wife rarely, if ever, spoke to me and when she said something along the lines of " I don't care. ", it didn't matter what was said before or after that.  If someone walked up to the two of us and said " I hope it doesn't rain today" and my wife responded with "I don't care" it would be almost the same.  My wife was/is unhappy and I know it and feel the burden of most of that.  So if I know she's unhappy, "I don't care" comes across as "My life sucks so what difference does it make."  Not knowing how to react I would sometimes say something or make a gesture that would show her that she was being hurtful or that I really care.  Took me a long time, but I realize now that she knows I'm hurt and that's just doubling her misery.  

You see in my situation, my wife spent years being 'Atlas'.  She took on all the responsibility of holding our family together on her shoulders.  When she asked for some help, as most guys would do I helped for a few weeks and then receded into the background.  My take seems to have been that she'd been doing it for so long and seemed fine.  Then as the story goes, 'Atlas' had enough and without a word - shrugged.  The world came apart.  I reacted along the lines of panic - how could she not see how important she is to me?  I should have been asking what could I do prove that I'm not a needy child, but a partner.  It's frustrating to know that she tried to tell me and I didn't heed the warnings. 

So now we're in extreme mode.  My wife is tapped out.  Done.  Showing her I care about her seems to act as a constant reminder that she's not interested in reciprocating and therefore can't make me happy.  This can fuel anger and resentment in her because she may think that it's her "job" as my wife and she had already quit that job.  Not to mention - what have I done for her while she spent so many years doing things for me?   I don't blame her.

I'm not completely heartless and blind.  I'm not saying I never did anything for her for years, I'm just more aware now of what my inconsistency has done to help develop the situation I'm in.  I didn't always do a good job of addressing her needs or recognizing her for her efforts.  Now she is done.

Every now and then, when my wife is under a lot of stress or something is bothering her greatly, she will not look at me and will say very little to me.  I've learned, with much time, that it seems that her grief is doubled by the fact that she has nobody to talk too.  If her friends are busy with their lives, all she has is to come home to me.  To talk to me is to admit that she has some small need for me and this would make me happy because it could provide an opening towards healing the rift in our relationship.  This is what I want, not what she wants.  I do get it and I know I'm not alone and that other people have gotten through it.

I have continued to work very hard to eliminate any "need" from my current relationship with my wife.  I don't offer to do things for her because it comes across as "needing" to please her.  Now days I just "do" things.  I try to just "do" what has to be done and maybe every now and then something I do turns out to be the right thing.  My wife sometimes offers me clues or hints that I eventually pick up on.  An example would be the very nice high-end bath towels I bought for her early this past year.  When she finishes with one I would replace it with another and wash the dirty one.  I don't like seeing towels laying around and since they can't be washed with other laundry I would just take care of it.  Seems over the past two months my wife would replace the nice towel with one of our regular bath towels when she chose to dispence of the dirty towel instead of using one of the other nice towels.  At first I thought she just grabbed the first towel she saw in front and used it.  The second time, I saw that wasn't the case.  I took no offense to this and paid it no mind.  If my wife is fed up with me, chances are the towels are not viewed as something nice I'm doing, but as something suffocating.  I don't mess with the nice towels anymore.  They are clean and she knows where they are.  I don't think I'm being rude or petty, I'm just backing up a step and trying to give her more space.

My wife told me that my presence in the house makes the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.  I make her freeze up too.  You read what I'm saying and you may know that I'm not just trying, but really making a few things stick.  I'm going to be a better partner, but before I can reach that point it's up to my wife.  I can't and will not try to force her hand.  It's up to her to want to accept my love for her.  I don't offer my heart, only my time.  I do not want to be looked upon as a needy burden.  It took several years for my wife's frustration and resentment to build to a break point and I expect that it's going to take a long time for her to see me again if she "chooses" to do so. 

Almost but not quite

Re this line :  If my wife is fed up with me, chances are the towels are not viewed as something nice I'm doing, but as something suffocating.    If this were happening to me (i.e., you were putting out nice towels for me as a thoughtful gesture) and I was responding like your spouse is (i.e., using old towels instead) it would not be because I thought your gesture was suffocating.  I would know this was a nice gesture, but if I let you do something nice for me, I would have to acknowledge that you are able to do nice things for me, and then I would have to give up a little of my anger and self-righteousness and give you a little credit.  And I can't do that because I've only been able to get through all these hard years of carrying the whole world on my shoulders by learning to enjoy being a martyr.  I can't be a martyr if I'm using nice towels.  Make sense?    So now you may be wondering what the solution is.  You are right to just "do" what is right to be done as to running the household, finances and work.  Keep filling the trust bucket.  Let your wife see you when you are natural, and happy and hopeful for the future, and that you feel that way because she is in your life.  She will either learn to believe she can come back into the relationship without taking on the whole world again (that's called trust) or she won't.  But that part of the work will be hers to do. 


summerwine's picture

Damned if you and damned if

Damned if you and damned if you don't?

re being damned

No, I don't think so.  DF's gestures of love are doing him good, even if they aren't received in the way he would hope. 

Very well said, and I'll take

Very well said, and I'll take it a step further and say that we convince ourselves that our anger/walls protect us...but they don't. They only turn us into people we don't like and make our situations 1000 times worse. It is extremely difficult, after years of neglect and inattention, to open yourself up to being hurt again. My husband (ADHD) used to TRULY feel that if he was 'nice' (didn't go out drinking with friends, stayed home, spent time with me) for a day or two (yes, JUST ONE OR TWO DAYS) that he was "doing better" and felt like he deserved all the credit in the world. You do not UNDO years and years of repetitive, hurtful behaviors in a day or two. I agree...your wife is afraid to acknowledge your nice gestures because it is terrifying to just simply let go and let things unfold, one way or the other (stay together or divorce) and it is easier to hide behind the anger/walls and pretend that it protects us from getting hurt...all the while, we're hurting and dying inside protects us from NOTHING. It protects OUR PRIDE, that's all.

It is far harder to use the damned towel and say "thank you" than it is to not use it and rationalize why it's OK not to. (cause DH is a jerk).

This is where OUR habits, OUR learned behaviors, are just as damaging to the relationship as the ADHD is. Just keep trying. Keep trying and keep trying. Once she sees that you're not going to predictably (we feel) react and stop putting out nice towels then she can start to learn that you're sincere. If you buckle under the rejection, you'll prove her point. So don't. Keep trying.

And there's a benefit for you

By continuing to try, you are continuing to express love (which can't ever be wrong), continuing to pay attention to your actions and their results, intended or not, so you can make good choices, and taking the "high road" or practicing "virtues" -- however you want to put it -- whether your continued kindness "pays off" by improving your marriage, or it doesn't, in the process you have been acting and practicing being a person who thinks well of others and can continue to love even when there is nothing in it for you.  Because there actually is something in it for you. 

One more thing

Oh, and you're going to have to do without developing or displaying a sense or superiority or becoming a martyr yourself.  That's the sucky part.

This week, in one of my

This week, in one of my textbooks (Supervision, believe it or not) was a quote that I just loved...somewhat related to this.

Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden: "You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you"

I don't see it as a martyr, but yet as a part of my own spiritual growth (which includes humbling yourself), to show love to my husband even when I don't feel he is showing it to me. He is being kind and 'loving' but literally the only time we spend together is when he wants sex. We barely even share a bed together anymore since he is coming to bed just a few short hours of when I am getting up. I know he loves me, but he isn't showing it in the sense that is "speaks love" to me...yet I still strive to give AND SHOW him love everyday. (not perfect, but I am trying)


DF's picture

Makes sense, but.....

Took me some time to get here to read and reply.  Its' been a nerve racking mid term week and I didn't do as well as I hoped.  My happy face turned to doom face for much of yesterday.  Today I feel better because I figured it's better to stop peeing and moaning about it and start my studying for this up coming week.  After yesterday's test results, there's little to no room for excuses going forward.  There's also some minimal comfort in knowing that I tested higher than class average on one test and on the other..... well it seems there were several of us that got a 0%.  That one broke my heart and my will.

Any-who.  Gardener - what you're saying makes sense, but I just refuse to believe it.  If I do, then I'm subjecting myself to "hope" and the possibility that there is progress.  That is more vulnerable than I wish to be right now.  It's hard enough seeing things sort of work themselves out for the better or have prayers answered.  I'm just not ready to really believe the ice is melting enough for her to see that it is a nice gesture.  I guess I still have my own doubts about where I am and what I'm doing and what you're take on what my wife's perspective might be sounds like something that's been so impossible for sooooo long.  It is very nice to hear.  I put myself out there for her everyday as it is, but I'm not certain putting myself all out will work right now since it failed so miserably a year ago.  It just doesn't feel like the time is right yet.

PJ - I really want to hear what's on your mind here.  Please chime in if you have a moment.

Lu - Me being secretive about money is not the best idea - agreed, but since money is such a sore subject to begin with I'm inclined to avoid it.  If I were to advertise what I'm doing with the rare extra I have it just doesn't feel right at this time.  If she doesn't know that I'm doing something with the medical bills, she will eventually, but if it's on her own time that she finds out I figure she's less inclined to believe I'm looking for a pat on the back.  Not to mention that I don't think she believes yet that I'm going to finish college and rightly so.  This isn't the first time I've gone back to college, but it will be the one time I finish.  I know my wife enough to know that if I finish school this time, the money was well spent, but if I don't finish (again) then I've just added debt in order to pay debt and that would be bad.  I will finish this time.  I believe it's my path.

I have a new path too.  I'm going to bring Christmas to our home.  My wife and I were talking and her pay cut at work is more than she can work with when there are nieces and nephews that she's close too.  She told me what she wants for our kids and I told her I would do everything I can to make that happen.  I have a plan and that's all I need right now.  I'm excited about Christmas for once.  I kind of feel like Scrooge opening up the coin purse except I have to find some coin.  I'm busting my butt to keep her from having to work two jobs and this pay cut of hers is more than I can make up for.  I feel terrible, but if she's going to look for another job that's a decision she has to make on here own.

All for now.  I'm sure I forgot some important detail so please be gentle......

I will be honest, I don't

I will be honest, I don't know how you've done all you have for as long as you have. I felt from the beginning that she would either warm up to you or you would get fed up and demand more for yourself...I just didn't know which would come quicker. Two months into my 'epiphany' I am seeing things all around me that are just screaming to me that my marriage is not going to work out. Two months of stepping back and letting him do his own thing has shown me what I am truly dealing with and EVERYTHING that matters to me, has been taken away and he is 100% the opposite of what I want in a husband. I don't know how you've hung on this long. I don't know how you held your faith and gave and gave for as long as you have. Cut yourself some slack. We can all give our opinions, but bottom line you have to preserve a little dignity at this point and survive. Yes. Survive.

We have less money than we ever have this Christmas...and my holiday cheer is overflowing. I've had the spirit for weeks now. I'm excited. It is a lesson learned about how it isn't about money, or gifts, but about other far more important things.

Lastly, you had nothing to do with your wife's pay cut. You're working, going to school, and doing your part for the family around the house and such. I admire you immensely for buckling down and trying to come up with ways to help. My only concern is that you add it to your already long list of "burdens" you're carrying for your family. It would not be the end of the world if your wife took another job, or switched jobs. It would not mean you failed somehow. I hope she wouldn't do anything to make you feel that way. I hope you don't feel that way.


DF's picture

I will return your honesty

My reasons for getting this far I'm not sure.  I know some of my competitive nature has something to do with the pushing I'm doing on myself.  I look back on much of my past in disdain.  I'm so frustrated that I'm 38 and it took this dang long to grow up and stop being so self centered.  I'm tired of asking about the "what if's".  I want to just 'do'.  Thinking I have an idea of what it means to be an adult is both exhausting and exiting.  I don't have all the answers, but instead of sitting around because I want to do nothing, I'm actively attacking my erratic ineptitude.  

Another thing that I kind of draw strength from, and is in no way a knock on anyone else, is when I realized that I really would sacrifice my life for my wife that there would be nothing to stop me.  Seeing as how I'm not suicidal this would mean that I'm willing to dig my own grave trying than give up.  I don't see this as unhealthy like it was several months ago, because I'm not watching my wife and reacting to her like I had been.  If our relationship is going to fail or succeed, it's on her to make the call and when she does let me know I will move forward with or without her.  Until that time comes, I'm going to continue to be supportive when given the opportunity and continue to just "do" what feels like the right thing.  I'm doing as much as I can and either it's enough or not enough, but I'm better off today than I was at the beginning of the summer or this time last year.

Melissa - Thank you for offering your insight.  I have tried some things like that in the past to initiate some form of conversation and direction on how she feels.  Unfortunately, it back fired about every time.  I don't talk much about midlife crisis stuff anymore, but I think that it is playing some added role in our relationship.  My ADD only means I've got twice as much work to do.  Whenever I would try to express interest in my wife over the past year, or offer insight as to how important she is to me, she would get visibly aggitated. 

I've listened very closely as best I can when she would speak to me about how she feels and it's not so much about what I've done to get us here, but how life is not what she thought it would be when she reached this age.  Our relationship today, 11/21/11, is far better than it has been for over a year.  It's not where I want to be, but it's a huge leap from where we've been.  She has taken to calling me every now and then to talk about something at work that frustrated her.  If she's going to the store she asks me for input if there's anything I might want or we need for the house.  She even makes dinner at times and has asked if there was something I'm in the mood for.  Heck, 75% of the time she even says goodbye now when she's heading out the door.  All this is a far cry from where we were at several months ago.  We did not get to this point until I kind of shut down myself and pulled back from making my feelings known.

I'm very happy with where we are vs. where we once were.  I don't know what's on her mind, but I don't pressure her anymore.  She's gone from complete silence to casual conversation at times and most importantly, has asked for my opinion or advice on things.  I work hard on being supportive, positive and just plain relating to her instead of coming off as being right all the time - something I had an issue with here in these forums not too long ago.

We've not told the kids yet nor her parents, but I'm taking the kids to her parents alone for Thanksgiving.  Her pay cut has forced her to have to work more hours at her second job which she was only working 1 day a month at anyway since I took on more of the finances.  With the holidays coming, she lost her money to buy gifts AND pay bills so she'll be here at home working.  She's very upset and rightly so.  I'm excited about my plans to make a sudo-Thanksgiving dinner for her.  While she's at work Wednesday night, I'm going to have made dinner for her.  My sense of humor has inspired me to bake a cornish game hen and dress it up as a turkey and I'll have made all the sides too.  She will not eat it most likely and I'm not bothered by that at all.  What's important is that our relationship has advanced enough that she will appreciate my effort.  She's very close to her family and spending the holiday working and not partaking in the Black Friday tradition is very hard on her.  I look forward to doing something that lets her know she's important, but very quietly.

Oh my, DF.

I've come back and edited my first comment because I think I was too hard on you.  But it is really important that you understand that this comment --  what you're saying makes sense, but I just refuse to believe it.  If I do, then I'm subjecting myself to "hope" and the possibility that there is progress is, to put it mildly (which I didn't on my first attempt), not helpful self-talk. 

Would you give this "advice" to your child?  Stop believing in hope? 

I'm not asking you to wear your heart on your sleeve.  I'm not going to let you put your heart in the vault.  Just leave it there in your chest where it's comfortable, and handy for when you might need it. 

A good insight

I hear from non-ADHD spouses ALL the time that they fear saying something nice or supportive to an ADHD spouse they hope will change because they fear that spouse will take it as "okay, you're good! and revert to their old ways."  So there is a good deal of witholding of warmth that goes on and I think your insight is a very good one.  That said, it is useful to also talk with a non-ADHD partner about what he or she needs/craves in terms of love.  We all need love.  But how your partner dreams of receiving yours might surprise you.  At one of our lowest points I told my husband that one of the things that would be most meaningful to me was for him to take full responsibility for doing the dishes.  As a way of showing his love, mind you!  It was symbolic for me that he take control of something - fully - so I didn't have to do it any more...and I happen to hate the late night dishes after I've cooked dinner.  So he forced himself to figure out how to effectively take it on (took some practice and readjustment of his "who does the dishes" mindset...but he got a lot of browie points for listening and responding to my specifically stated needs - something that shouldn't be underplayed.)

could you not talk with her about the towels?

I could imagine a conversation that went something like this:

"I've been laying out nice towels for you because I thought it might help you understand I think you're special.  But I notice you keep replacing them with the old towels."

"I don't care about the towels."

"Do you genuinely not care about them?  Because if you prefer the old towels for some reason then I wouldn't want to impose my standards on you.  But if you genuinely don't care, then I would like to continue to put out the nice towels for you as a small gesture of how much I care about you.  It makes me feel good to think of you wrapped in a really nice towel."

"I want you to leave my towel alone and let me handle it."

"I will certainly respect your wishes, then.  So what is something else that I could do which would communicate how much I care for you?"

Hopefully, unless she answers "drop dead" you'll be able to start a conversation about what she wants and what would be meaningful for her.  It's tricky to try to second guess what will make another person thaw out.  You're to be commended for your willingness to observe her boundaries, but it's also okay for you to ask her what would be effective ways to show her you care.  If she can give you specific ideas about things that are important to her you'll be ahead.  Otherwise, it may be a very long time spent "guessing."


This is such a prime example

This is such a prime example why life is so exhausting 24/7! While trying to open up learning conversations is a great idea- I think both people involved need to be willing to participate. Ironically DF, Im starting to identify with you way more, esp if what Gardener said about your wife is true... Being a little responsive to your nice gestures means giving up some of the anger is almost exactly what my add husband seems to feel about me. Thus its not necessarily an adhd problem (!) but a relational one. He remains convinced that I ruined our marriage because of my past controlling ways while refusing to believe much of my behavior was guided by his equally unkind behavior. And he still cant see how his rude behavior is so upsetting while being quick to point out my every flaw- real and perceived. I will continue to try to draw it back like you do DF...but its hard to keep up the reasoning to be here around someone who carries so little respect for me and makes that clear.

Sorry DF, I didnt see this

Sorry DF, I didnt see this until today... I think you and my DH are walking on incredibly thin egg shells and there isn't a predictable safe path. It is a terrible roller coaster of "come close-back off." I have to say he keeps assuming and over thinking and trying to do stuff for me and sometimes it isn't helping, sometimes it adds a little bit more to the pile. I have been watching lifeclass and it has basically transformed my thoughts and me from where I was this summer to a better place today. I feel willing to go forward and as much as I want to go forward, it will take a while to fully embrace "all" of what has caused so much frustration. The last episode really hit home and it was basically about dealing with problems and protecting ourselves from hurt or from making mistakes or from allowing people to hurt us. So, to fully evolve to become a force for the greater good and be truly happy and fulfilled we need to "embrace "IT" and allow it all in" we will then learn and grow and move forward instead of stay back, protecting ourselves, behind a huge wall. This isn't even close to living. 1 hour each day, usually when I am getting ready in the morning, I put on the taped show. It can also be seen on the internet. I still am struggling, I am no where near the "husband/wife" connection, but I am moving forward. He is working hard on him, I am consciously trying to figure me out. If I could talk to your DW, I would reccomend these shows to her - and you. They empower you, they help you to "be you", "find your purpose", "let go of anger", "learn to love you", etc. There are atleast 15 shows... This would help anyone... You don't need to have adhd to benefit. I will suggest them to him when his travel calms down. The days seem brighter, my steps seem lighter, and my outlook is getting better. I am by no means "there", but I am so relieved that there is something that I can grab onto and embrace. I swear, each time I think about what this has done for me, I just want to cry. I have spent so much money for counseling, I have tried so hard, I have been exhausted, praying for help, and now I am so grateful for a few tv shows. They have transformed me and my life - all for free. I have a lot of work to do, it is not easy by any means, but I have a place to go to repeatedly to hear the message and advice that will keep me on track. Just like Melissa's book. If you think about it, you could put it on loud while you are in another room, maybe it will interest her and she may find it on her own? The first shows 2-8 amazing....then the last show was the ultimate game changer for me. If you want more info, let me know and I can send links to you. I would be curious to what you thought if you saw them yourself...? I know you probably can't because of your school work, but maybe someday... Sorry.....I know this sounds corny : )
DF's picture

As far as I know...

I've not hidden the ability to contact me through my user profile here by clicking on the user name.  I've sent an email to someone several months ago that way.  Not sure if I should be advertising that - I mean no harm Mr./Mrs. Admin

Lu - There was a time that I too questioned your motive for not leaving your spouse seeing as how he seems so impossible and frustrating.  For me, my thoughts used to be based on waiting for my wife to see how she's been so hurtful to me.  Now days it's more like wanting to be there for her to tell her it's okay and to not sweat the small stuff.  Thing is, Lu, maybe there's more under your surface that you have yet to see.  I don't know really what to say.  I do have hurtful moments and my approach is far better than it once was, but I don't know the whole reason why.  Sometimes it just seems like I can see that my wife is hurt too.  It wasn't always easy to see that she was hurt when I couldn't express my own pain to her.  Kind of like butting heads.  Thinking about my own hurt got in the way of me getting things done and not really hearing what my wife was trying to tell me or show me.  When I stopped thinking about me I started to see my wife's anger is how she's expressing her own hurt and pain.  I started to hear what she was telling me AND how she was telling me.  I also noticed I was able to start getting things done and that's when I kind of shed some layers and started feeling positive again.

PJ - The show is a very thoughtful suggestion.  I will Google it after the semester - "Lifeclass?"  I will not watch it with my wife around, because I believe she has to want to find her own answers first.  My attempts may be viewed as trying to fix her.  I made a very delicate move the other day when my wife and I were texting each other about our son being "angry" these past two weeks.  I mentioned to her that I had been trying to connect with him on a level that he understands and I asked him questions geared towards finding out how he identifies "love".  I made no mention that I was referencing the book "5 Love Languages" and I only explained that I didn't make up the questions, they were legitimate research questions.  It didn't go bad, but I jumped off it fast enough so as not to make it so obvious that I've been doing homework on her too.

"It is a terrible roller coaster of "come close-back off." I have to say he keeps assuming and over thinking and trying to do stuff for me and sometimes it isn't helping, sometimes it adds a little bit more to the pile"

My efforts are trying to not make it obvious.  My efforts are geared more towards "come close" because it's here that I work hardest to just be there as her buddy.  She called me twice today on her way home from work just to chat.  It was nice, but it was hard work.  I have to think fast, but controlled so that I don't pause too long ( the meds ) or say something stupid ( the ADD ).  I'm also very guarded about showing any signs of emotion on these calls other than being 'upbeat'.  I "assume" she doesn't want to talk to me in the first place and that's as far as I allow myself to "assume".  I did a lot of that and I did a lot of trying to show her signs and acts of appreciation.  Now when I do things, in my minds eye, if it doesn't feel right she won't receive it right.  The things I do for her/us now are geared more towards just being natural.  As in if she asked me why, the answer is as simple as "why wouldn't I?", instead of "Can't you see it's because I love you my Dearest rose peddle on beautiful moonlit evening."

I'm tired and have more studying to do. I'm ending this cuz I'm not making sense to me.  That last paragraph sounds stupid to me right now.

Bottom line is - it's hard work because I'm not trying to trick my wife into believing I'm someone different, I'm constantly testing/evaluating myself so I can make the right adjustments and really be someone different.

Hope that sounds better.  Sure feels better.......

I am going to try to send you

I am going to try to send you the list through email. If I have a problem with it, i will ask for permission to post the episode list... Who knows if you think it is helpful, maybe we can start a new forum subject on here... : ) Heck, I feel like I was lost down to the deepest darkenss of my soul and although I am not "there", this has been a huge stepping stone for me. I hope it does something good for you.

Here are the really good parts

1.  The things I do for her/us now are geared more towards just being natural.

  You CAN be natural and still aware of how ADHD affects your interactions.  I'm totally convinced of it.  I'd like to ask the non spouses to agree with me here... it's not the ADHD that's the most painful -- it's the Three Stooges.  The denial, the deflection and the distortion.  The crappy coping mechanisms.  You, the real spouse, spontaneous, generous, loving, ADHD, untidy, ferocious hard-worker, procrastinator, positive-thinker, that you is one we can live with.

2.  Thinking about my own hurt got in the way of me getting things done and not really hearing what my wife was trying to tell me or show me.

Well.  Not much I can add to that.  See Three Stooges above.

3.  Now days it's more like wanting to be there for her to tell her it's okay and to not sweat the small stuff.

Think back.  This was probably one of the things she fell in love with.    Yet if ADHD ever led you down the path of thinking everything was small stuff, and not noticing that she was taking care of a lot of actually-not-so-small stuff, you might just want to tell her, best at moment when you have taken care of some "stuff" together, that one of your goals is to make sure you are paying attention to the difference between the two, and taking care of your share.

Lastly, I so enjoy your insights, your attempts to be honest with and about yourself, and your continued journey.  In another post, you had a bit of bull**t that I'm going to go call you on.  Cheers!   

DF's picture

Study break!

Okay Gardener I'm smiling now.  I agree on your last sentence there about me getting over board.  I was overly confident to the point where it was not just annoying, but arrogant.  I agree and have called myself out on it.

On a more serious note, I don't mind being told I'm way off base.  Who are we if we can't take critisizm, much less learn from outside observations of our behavior.

You have a lot you covered and I'll try to address here.

I would like to think that my "don't sweat the small stuff" was something that initially attracted her to me.  I have since realized that while she was stressing out over things I was offering very little in return to help her not sweat so much.  This is another driving force behind my wanting to just "do" things and get them done.  If it's out of sight, out of mind, and completely delt with, she can stress less.  I don't talk about what I 'do' with her, not so that I can be sneaky.  I believe that if she's stressing about something, but then realizes on her own that its' been taken care of, maybe she can relax a notch.  Do I risk complications like what Lu mentioned about "hiding finances"?  Yes and no.  I have nothing to hide if she what's to know how I'm able to do things I really struggle to accomplish.  I see it as a bigger risk to offer an unwarrented announcement that I'm using money refunded from school loans and selling my books back.  What I risk is my desire to change course and be helpful, coming off as "Hey look at me and what I'm doing for you Dear.  Aren't I awesome?"  To which she could easily reply "What do you want a medal?  I've been carrying the load for 10 years and you just started."

Gardener, you noted my 'strong' words about not wanting to believe in hope.  It was a bit of a strong statement, but possibly due to not pointing out more detail.  When I left these forums over the summer at an all time low and came back after several weeks or so, I learned something new about "hope".  I'm not against it and I do believe in it, but I learned that "hope" alone isn't going to help me do what needs to be done.  When i say I don't want to become hopeful, I guess I'm kinda saying I don't want to fall into that old trap again.  The one where it just seemed like everything was dependent on my wife.  I don't even know if I'm saying that right.....

I agree with you that my heart in a vault is not the best place.  It's not very productive and most likely would contribute to feelings of resentment at times when I might feel most hurt.  I like to think my my heart is in a cupboard, not locked away and easily accessible if called upon.  Maybe I'm not saying that right either.... That's most likely not really true.  Maybe I'm saying that because when I do hurt or my wife is hurting I feel the pain, but I don't offer the soothing voice or touch of a partner.  I offer her my undivided attention and neutral concern.  My wife would leave the house just to get away from me and still does at times, just not so much lately and the last thing I want to do in invade her personal bubble space with a hug or a brush of my hand on her shoulder or arm.  I'm very sensitive to touch and I fear the devestation resulting from being rejected - again. 

My focus really is just being friends again.  I didn't take the time necessary to nurture a marriage for the long term and got caught up in my own wants/needs.  We have to be friends though if she's going to want to give me a shot.  I'm working for the opportunity to take my wife on a date.  Not one that ends in bed, but one that we can just talk to each other and relate our hopes and dreams.  I would like for my wife to be comfortable around me again and not be so guarded.  I would love a chance to just say I'm sorry, but this time maybe she would not loath me for it.

My wife is a great woman.  I know she's angry and upset with me at the same time.  I know this hasn't been easy on her and I believe that she cares about how I feel.  I'm optimistic that the effort I've been giving has been the reason behind her slow and steady warming trend as of late.  There's still so much ground to go, but it wouldn't be fair if I didn't point out that I can see that she is trying.  Maybe not to save the marriage yet, but to be friends again.

The Three Stooges..... ain't that the truth.


Maybe it's just wearing a really heavy sweater.

where to start

hi im new to this and i know i dont by any mean have the answers as much as i wish i did and so do we all to start off i hope im in the right place lol im 30 my wife is 28 know each other sense she was 15 and i was 17 we need at a church camp  how weird i think if you know are sexual history lol but any ways i have been told by a wife and a few friend that i may have add and when i see what you commented i wander if that way me and my wife see thing in a different world i know i have done shit in the past and that i feel im not who she should be with and i know we both seen  that we have changed as we been married for 8 years and we have a 2 kids one 10 other one 7. i know in the past i have gotten very angry with her  and i know looking back at it is was BS  granted some of it was i was working 70 hr or so to support us and i have her do all the bills and told her to let me know if i need to do more  or if are finances are ok.  now maybe it my falt that i had her do that i know she get very unsaturated very very easy and that was when things started to go down hill 6 or so years ago when she lie about money and her spending that i could not keep up with.  and i have to by my self file bankruptcy because every thing was in my name but i could not keep up with it all by my self.  i wish i could just make every thing better and her happy and i even tell her even to this day if i cant make you happy im ok with you leaving i dont want you to feel trapped i will still support you because i still care deeply about you and i want the best for you.  so me i know i have not been happy for many year many but for me i am ok with it i came to the point that it not about me but her and the kids i just wish i could give her more  i think  about 3 time a week we fight over the stupidiet  things and now i am seeing that more and more i feel they are discussions but in her eyes and mind i am yelling about i really don't see it. i will say i have hit her and wall when we was younger not making a reason but if i hit her is was not like i bruised her or broke bones or didnt pushed her down stairs just more yelling and grabing her arm or leg now i know im 5'9 195 she 5 feet 120 have to give that to her you cant tell her she 5'11 1/2 she get mad    but i do think it some what funny and i do think now it funny what she gets mad at   but back to what i was saying about 3 years ago i took some E or party favors with my wife just to see what would happen we never done any thing before that at all. well any ways when we took it i trully found my anger and how bad it was and and how stupid some the shit i was getting mad about was like why the kids are eating on the floor or why is the sink filled with dishes not she yell at me about why i dont help out more and do more shit.  but as i get older i see there thing i need to let go in one and out the other ear right away  and now i have leared that when we are mad that i just need to leave the house for a few hr or so and then come back dont ask me why but so some reason i like to talk and discuses thing right away and see what going on but for her it makes her more mad and i dont know why  and im mad at my self i did not see this before not it has been about 1 year or more sense we took e or party favors again and  just dont know what to do not saying we need them because i think they help me find my anger problem but im not really getting mad any more i see when im getting there and i just walk out as nice as i can know to get at what i have been bad for in the past i have cheated on my wife and there no reason for it also i have lied to her i say it so she not hurt but im learning there no reason for it not at all be truthful the truth may hurt but the deserve it.  it never good to hold any thing in because it just will hurt you  and the ones you love the most and some time the asshole we meet still not good. i try to think of other to the most and they and not be selfish but sometime i dont mean it but i still am   now for more info  my wife is Bi she like ladies  and really only ladies according to her  that im the only guy she ever want to be with but i dont Truth people  never have never will  just some thing i have a hard time doing with any one   and i mean any one  i know she want to work on her body so she more attractive so she can find a female that she likes but i tell her every day she very attractive but as you know and it goes both ways why your partner says it you feel then have to say it and that they dont mean it..

DF's picture

Dire it is

 From the sounds of it you have a lot of work to do within yourself.  Each person is different and the answers to questions will never be the same, but admitting some of the things you've mentioned is a big deal.  If you believe you have been wrong, saying so is only a first step and it might be helpful if you can identify "WHY" you did some of the things you talk about above.  Identify your trigger points that get you worked up and try to understand them so that you can give yourself a chance to stop short of an escalation when you see a problem approaching. 

We all want to make our spouses happy, we don't get into relationships in order to push people aside.  Don't put yourself in bad situations is half the battle.  Cheating, by my belief is unacceptable.  I used to bartend years back in a nightclub.  Turning down a woman's advances does not make you less of a man, it makes your spouse that much more special to you.  If you're the one doing the advancing then you need not be in that situation and walk away.

And the best advice I've learned, I will pass on to you ---> Stop.  Listen to your spouse!

Walking out on your spouse to calm down and approach her in a manor that you approve of is not what a woman fantisizes about.  I get that you're angry sometimes and you only get more angry when it seems like you can't get your point across.  You may even think that stepping away and coming back later is a great idea.  Maybe this works for her, but what it sounds like to me is that you're putting your best interests above hers.  Don't just say you want her to be happy, prove it by putting her above your self interests.

If you want her to be happy, really want it to be true, hold your head straight and hold tight cuz you're in for a very rough trip.  She will not respond to you being critical of her or angry and neither will you, but you're going to receive it.  It sounds like she has some justification for it from what you're saying above.   Find your trigger points and work to address them.  It will help you address what makes you unhappy or angry.  If you can learn from yourself, you can learn how to make yourself happy.  Maybe stop yourself for a second and do the opposite of how you think you would normally react.  Don't worry so much about getting your opinion across, let her get her's across and try harder to listen.  She will tell you what she wants, she's been doing it already for a long time now.  Good luck.

Non ADHD input

I applaud your efforts to your marriage. Your will to survive. Your refusal to stop fighting.  It is truly interesting to me how you seem to connect your relationship issues with your ADHD. I dont know much if anything about ADHD so I will not speak to that, however, I have dealt with my own relationship issues and they are quite similar to yours. I have not been tested or diagnosed for ADHD nor has my wife and there has never been even a hint of suggestion that either of us may have this issue.  Much of what you have written about here is normal relationship turmoil. I did not know it even existed because my 15 year marriage was blissful 95% of its life.  As I type this, I am briefly scanning the "227 Interrogatory questions" as part of my impending divorce.

Now, that being said. I will not tell you that you are wrong in what you are doing. In fact, it is very noble and shows you have the heart of a lion and the loyalty of a great hunting dog.  I will just tell you that I too experienced a change in my wife and how she responded to me.  The best way to explain it, and this is how I see it, but the best way to explain it is; it was like she had turned our marriage and love switch to the off position.  In my eyes and the eyes of nearly everyone around us we were perfect. like honeymooners at year 14. Comments like "get a room" were often heard in company. You just dont find what we had very often. There wasn’t a “behind closed doors” issue either…we simply never fought. We edified each other and displayed love and affection to eachother as if we were still on our honeymoon like earlier stated.  But out of the blue one day, my wife of, that time 14 years, started flirting and behaving differently than she ever had. Flirting is common among men and women and it can be harmless a majority of the time, but when it takes place in front of the spouse with total disregard for his or her feelings it can feel like a shotgun blast to the middle chest.  I observed this behavior and confronted her on it subtly so as to let her know it bothered me and ask her to stop without causing too much distress. I knew it would be a touchy situation to approach and had to be done was at this moment I began to analyze my wife and even more myself and my reactions to her. I was told that I was being ridiculous and untrusting.  My wife was becoming a master at justifying herself and making me feel bad for even feeling bad...which was also a new talent.  But she did say she would stop. Unfortunately her behavior did not stop, in fact it escalated and I would continue to front her on a feelings based approach stating that the behavior was new and it made me uncomfortable as her husband.  Again, she would pull the you just don’t trust me card and justify her actions.  Because I analyze by nature....actually it is what I do professionally in a matter of speaking...I was now analyzing both of us...especially me.  I began to wonder if she was right and my morals were somehow skewed. I prayed, face to the floor and cried out to the Lord to help me be NOT so jealous and untrusting.  But along with the self pity and self anger I couldn’t help but think of my moral foundations and what I thought a marriage was supposed to be. This was being questioned now.  This behavior was never in our relationship before these new occurrences.  So, something happened, I dont know what it is but it happened. She was 34 and I was 35 at the time. Unfortunately I was about to be sent out of the country 2 months later for 12 months. We knew about the "job" a year and a half before this, so maybe it was that, I dont know.  The behavior seemed to discontinue after I left or at least I did not witness it. I did not feel it in our conversations either.  That was August 09.

My job out of country was good for the first 3 months. It was until she suggested we get the brakes done on my truck so my son could drive it. One of the tasks I did not get to before leaving due to expense.  A gentleman from her work offered to change the breaks and rotors for free, just needed us to buy the parts.  About $400.00 worth that eventually cost my marriage.  I know that sounds dramatic, however, it is sort of how this all went down. Out of country husband, lonely wife, and an eager friend there to console her creates a marriage poison.  I began to notice distance with my wife while we talked on the computer and or phone. I was blessed enough to communicate almost nightly with my family so i continued to see the distance being created. At this time I did not know our handy mechanic and my wife were becoming close friends.  Ok, so my point to all of this is not that my wife strayed because one spouse straying doesn't just happen. Something was wrong with the relationship which leads to one spouse reaching out...yada yada yada sometimes infidelity occurs.  I am not even saying this happened because I loved her so much that I would have gotten past it all. 

I confronted her that following April (on leave from my work) when i found all the pictures of her and her close, single, recently divorced male friend.  i expected to get tears and apology, but instead I got the "I dont care", you don’t trust me attitude, the anger and denial. From this moment I became you DF. 

I went back to war and wrote her 2 letters a day, I waited till all hours of the night to call her (due to the time difference), I checked my email 40 times a minute to see if I would hear from her and my FaceBook just as much.  I read every relationship book I could order.  I logged in every phone call to take down her interests, troubles and joys so that I could bring them up in conversation the next time we talked so I could show her I cared enough to listen and I did not want to miss a thing. I set up huge Mothers Day and Birthday celebrations for her where I individually contacted several people to wish her personal messages from her husband. Even went so far as to have clerks at stores she planned to go to on those days address her by name and tell her that her husband loves her very much and wishes her a happy birthday.  All from 5,000 miles away. Things like this were common throughout our marriage. By the way, these kind gestures work if the other party is receptive. I did not sleep and as the conversation chemistry dwindled I continued to convince myself that I was to blame and something was wrong with me for not accepting this new behavior of her single, newly divorced male friend coming to my house to watch movies and drink beer and entertain my little girl and my wife after completing little projects around the house. I should be grateful that someone is there to help right? Every fiber of my being told me it was wrong, but her justification caused me to lose belief in myself and my own morals and ideals of how a marriage is supposed to be.  So, I continued to go back and forth between anger, disbelief, hurt, distrust and nice, romantic, understanding, empathetic, humble ect.  It was an emotional nightmare and at 5000 miles away I was rendered helpless.  Kept saying to myself…if I could hold her she would feel my love and all would be well.

I returned home with the goal of never giving up, no matter what it took.  I needed to fix myself and trust my wife and let her work on herself while I remained patient.  DF, I became a puddle of worthless, lovesick, pride less and confidence deprived shell of a man. I had nothing. I was pouring my heart out to her and getting no response, little or no affection, blatant disregard for my feelings, heartless cold responses and yet still thinking I was the problem.  I have a competitive nature as well and I wasn’t going to give up this fight for my marriage for anything.  Offers for walks in the park; supper surprises waiting for her when she got home from work; candles lit one for each of us illuminating the pages of our wedding album as our wedding song played in the background and I asked for a dance.  These moments were rejected or at the very most, she pacified me so I would "just quit" as she put it.  My efforts were relentless and I'm a pretty romantic guy always lighting the fire...which was a big part of the success in our marriage I think. But i tried everything, counseling that she didnt want to go to or again would pacify me by going.  She would give me forced I love you's because i think she may have felt pressured by my soon to become suffocating attempts to gain her love back.  One of her friends once told me that I needed to court her again…I tried which is obvious by the attempts listed above…but at the same time I truly felt like the victim and yet I was treating her as she was.   

Soon the anger started coming.  I would still do nice things for her, breakfast in bed, start the car, get the kids ready or fed...basically treated her like a queen. REJECTION is a powerful tool, i think especially on a man. We can’t handle it. So I went from the nice guy to the pacing, angry calling her names under my breath, driving in the truck for 100 miles and screaming at the top of my Jekyll and Hyde. But not in front of her because I didn’t want to ruin any chance I may have had the next day to make a difference.  You see how this is a slow killing poison? Self destruct was just around the corner.  Like the movie “50 First Dates”, I would work at it all day and by evening she would warm up to me only to reset by morning….I was going insane.  But I thought, this is my marriage, my kids, my life…surly everything we worked so hard for the last 20 years/ 15 years marriage is worth a fight…she was bound to come around right?  I would tell her that it felt like she was leaving me a little more each and every day that passed and if I could only stop time we would be ok.
Again, sometimes one partner "checks out" of a marriage. They leave you or you leave them and for multiple reasons.  But once someone checks out of the love hotel....they turn in their key and it is hard to get back in.  I began to give up and reach out to others for advice...eventually after months of emotional abandonment I strayed. A brief relationship in December that year for about a month but still, I realized how horribly wrong I was and came back to try all those, as I began calling them “hat tricks” again.  I used to call them gestures of love which in my heart that’s what they were, but now they were just psychological desperation attempts.  Within the month I strayed she had found someone new…I didn’t learn this until March.   I still tried, bought her gifts, gave her ‘her’ privacy while she talked to this other man on the phone, and I pretended I was oblivious to it. It was killing me inside and my self destruct meter was approaching dangerous pressure on the dial.  I had zero self confidence and esteem because I kept convincing myself that there was something wrong with me. Not the case… I was made to feel from the attention I was getting outside of the marriage that every girl wanted me except for my wife which was the only one I wanted and needed.  My lowest low was an offer for "open marriage/ her only" so she could get this adventure or whatever she was going through behind us as long as she came home to me each night and let me hold her.  I couldnt believe I had just givin my wife permission.  That was it...I realized I had reached the was no longer about the kids and the had to be about saving me.  There was nothing left of me but teenage desperate attempts to feel like I was worthy so I started going out to grab any attention I could to make myself feel worthy of a womans affection and prove that I “still had it” so to speak. Didn’t do anything but I had hoped the attention would make her jealous or anything…something.

She continued to work on this relationship of hers telling me she needed time to decide.  She was basically keeping her option open. I kept asking myself "how is he even on the same level as me" .  I had become the other guy.  I took my daughter on a father daughter vacation in June and when I returned she had moved in with her boyfriend.

I have learned so much from this. I don’t lose at anything but I failed at my marriage. It’s the only thing I ever really lost and the biggest thing Ive ever lost.  Keep trying but don’t forget who you are and where you came from. You may have more success then I did because every person is different and I have always believed in hope.  The gestures and attempts I made to save my marriage should have worked and would have if she still loved me.  I now consider myself a widower because the feelings are the same. I have joined a church group that deals with coping loss and all the pieces will come back together eventually.  But for you, I have always said you only truly love once so hold on to it as long as you can and never stop fighting for what you desire most. I better get these questions answered.

DF's picture

I don't blame you

That's one hard experience.

The thing about the original post I made is that I'm not that person anymore.  When I came here I blamed my ADD and believed that my wife couldn't see that I loved her.  The more I tried to show her the more I pushed her away.  From any other perspective, people once looked up to us as a great couple, but in retrospect it seems that what made us great was my wife's effort to keep giving.  She gave me what she thought I wanted until she realized it wasn't what she wanted.  Where my ADD comes into play is the need for stimulation and without it, my wife giving me what she thinks I want is not getting the response she's looking for.  This becomes tiring for both of us and I stop meeting her needs, because selfish me isn't seeing the bigger picture.

With that said though, I don't think there's much that could have stopped this experience from coming.  The difference in my thought process these past few months vs. when I first came here, is that my focus IS on me.  I can look back through my marriage and see ways that I disappointed my wife and that's not the person I want to be.  If I don't fix me, I'm doomed to go through this again. 

I am happier now even though I still want more from my marriage, because I find my own validation in me.  I'm human and I hurt, but what about my wife?  Yes, she would leave if she could afford too.  She's told me that enough times already and sleeping in the living room is a good reminder.  This does not bother me so much today as it did many months ago.  I see this more as an opportunity for me to learn about me and my wife.  Doing all the things I could think to do to show her I love her wasn't working so I needed to find out who I am and why these things didn't work. 

I did 2 things.  I got in touch with me, who I am and what I wanted from me.  The other is that I'm just trying to listen and be my wife's friend.  From what I'm recalling, part of things going south was when we stopped being friends.  My wife has been telling me for years what she wants or what's bothered her and it's up to me to find the pieces of the puzzle.

I don't know how my story will end or where it will be a year from now, but I know my wife doesn't trust me because she doesn't believe in me.  We lost our friendship.  I'm working on being her friend with no expectations.  I remain positive and I'm not angry so much anymore behind closed doors.  I use every opportunity to talk about nothing because friends can talk to each other without the burden of judgment.  Although I keep as much ridicule, frustration or negativity out of the conversation as possible since those imply that I'm not happy and that she can't make me happy.  This is my time too and how I spend it will dictate how my life plays out, not just my marriage.  I don't have the luxury of holding my wife or telling her I love her, but I'm not losing sleep over it and I'm not looking for someone else to hold.  I don't want what my wife and I had, I want what will be.  My wife deserves my best, but so do I and that's what I can control on this journey.

Good luck to you.  Your story isn't over.


wow... your wife does the same thing I do with my husband. I can't say what your wife is thinking but I can tell you what I would be thinking. I'd be thinking you where saying this every night because you wanted more sex and my body language would be a clear signal that I'm not in the mood. But that's my relationship where my husband has a clear agenda. I don't know what you've communicated to your wife in the past. It's really important that your wife FEELS (which is different from "knows") that you value intimacy with her that does not involve sex. Also how long have you been saying this every night? Are your actions backing up your words? Did you contribute to the family that day or were you "checked out"? Has she caught you looking at porn or some similar intimacy violation? There are a million and one reasons why she could feel not that close to you however you do need to find out what the specific problem is and deal with it. 

Have you tried saying:

"You seem upset with me or at least like I'm not making you feel that warm and fuzzy. I know I screw things up a lot and I know you think I'm full of shit when I say I love you because it feels more like sentimentality than reality to you because I suck so bad at (insert the thing that bugs her most) but in spite of all that could you please explain just one more time what exactly it is that I can do to improve how you feel about me and I'll try really hard to write it down and create a reminder system to help me to take responsibility for the initiative I need to show in this relationship and try to have a system to meet more or your emotional needs.... but first I need to know what you need exactly. 

If you have not already started with developing a schedule for yourself and a reminder system like alarms on an ipod or something like that then you need to start there. It takes a huge burden off your spouse if she doesn't have to "parent" you that way. I love my ADHD husband's ipod. You might also want to record her answer so you can listen to it again and again. My husband asks me the same questions like this and I keep answering but not all spouses have that kind of patience. Do you fall into the belief that you will remember. You will not.

joleahm's picture

Living with someone with ADHD

Hi, I am new to this site (joined today, in fact). I am a non-ADD living with an ADHD boyfriend. Doug and I have been together for 3 years now. I love him and want a place to vent frustrations and ask/seek advice. I do realize that I have anger issues when dealing with some of Doug's ADHD aspects. I am taking it upon myself to educate myself as much as possible about ADHD-what it is like living with someone who has it, what it is like for the person with ADHD, how to cope, etc. I am realizing that ADHD affects everyone and it takes education and finesse, much patience, and creative thinking to deal with it, things that I am not well known for, but am I am willing to learn and try. I now know that getting mad about a situation helps no one involved, me or him, and just causes more pain and hassle. I also don't like the person I seem to become either.I would like to introduce myself and would like suggestions and information about how you all cope and what you find to work best. I am sorry if I have posted in wrong spot, I am new here and will try to find another spot to post also. Thanks!