Don't know what to do

I feel like my heart is breaking... I love my  husband.  We have been married nearly 4 years.  both had been married and raised children previously.  knew each other for years (but mostly through others) and share so many great things together.  He is undiagnosed yet, I believe he has ADHD (easily distracted, time management issues, forgets, disorganized-organization, hyper-focus, etc.).  He has so many wonderful qualities that I feel like I am married to 2 different people.  When we are together we get along, share common interests and can work together on projects and things.  When we are out he can't seem to pass up a chance to check out a good looking woman.  If he can get her to smile he says he is just being friendly. When I try to talk with him about how much this hurts me he is defensive and says he isn't doing that and I am the one with the issues. yet he has on occasion admitted he has a problem with this.  It concerns me - the steps he takes to engage a woman... it's more than noticing.   I have found him interested in pictures of women on flickr... lots of them....  Right after we were married I found out he had been maintaining friendships with other women while we were dating - he said he let them know he wouldn't be calling them anymore just before we got married.  I  have discovered on a number of occasions that while he and I are on driving trips he takes unusual routes which go passed or close to the homes of former  "friends".  He had been single for a number of years so there were quite a few.  Some inconsistent stories make me wonder what he does when I am not with him. I work fulltime some distance from home and his work has been a problem due to the economy.  It has been frustrating for both of us.  He doesn't complete projects, distorts what "really" happened, changes his mind and our plans without discussing with me, the list goes on.  I feel like I am running in a non-stop marathon and I know I am not coping with it as well as I could.   I try to understand that some situations are just "ADD" things yet I enable some of the behavior by being passive and letting things go until I can't take anymore.  Other things I refuse to do to compensate.  Then we have an argument.  He says the right things but nothing changes.  I don't nag about unfulfilled promises - just hurt and feel resentment.  I am not sure how to deal with it...  feel so much heartache...  don't know what to do...

Feel your pain

I'm sorry, I don't really have any advice, but I've gone through some similar stuff with my boyfriend of 4 years.  He used to really stare at other women (actual head turn) and look at a lot of porn.  After a lot of discussions (read: me crying) he stopped with the porn and mostly sticks to glancing versus staring at other women.  Also we met online, and even after we moved in together he was still chatting with other girls online until I asked him to close his account.  He was happy to do that, but I was pretty shocked that he didn't have an urge to do that on his own - that he could be living with someone and still chatting up girls online.

There are always instances, like last week we met up with a (female) friend of mine at a bar and two of her (female) friends joined us.  The whole group talked a little but after a while 3 of us girls were talking and him and the other girl.  That's fine with me, I don't get jealous because he has conversations.  Then all the other girls got up to go outside for a smoke (neither me nor BF smoke) and he got up to follow them because he wanted to continue talking to her.  Didn't even give me a glance, just left me sitting there all by myself.  I called after him and he came back and seemed to understand where I was coming from but then a while later we were dancing and I caught him staring at her. Major hurt feelings, still haven't gotten over it. Yuck.  Fortunately this isn't a too regular occurrence but it really hurts when it happens.  

It came as a shock to me that he was kind of surprised that I was bothered about this.  And since he seems to lack all sense of common courtesy (like not leaving a person sitting alone - I mean I would have been bothered even if it was a guy he was following outside, but it was worse that it was a girl) he will do all these weird things until I explain to him how much it hurts my feelings and why.  Then he at least tries not to.  I honestly feel in my case it boils down to not knowing better as opposed to just being an a-hole.  Mostly because when I get upset he seems to genuinely care and try to make it better.  And he doesn't watch porn any more and tries to avoid the staring.  

I just wanted you to know your not alone and that someone could relate.

Thank you!

Thanks Tasla,  I really appreciate your sharing with me.  It's validating to hear what you have dealt with.  Just so sorry to have anyone else feel this pain!  It hurts so much to see  the man you love studying other women.  My husband just did it again the other night around some friends.  A young woman the same age as my daughters!  He straightens his tie when he catches sight of her... his body language screaming "look at me"... makes me sick!  Yuk!  You describe the feeling well!  makes you feel just sick inside on so many levels and it doesn't just go away... but builds with  each time it happens... I address it, but somehow it just continues. 

We were at a home improvement store this weekend and while he was getting help at the counter, a man who was waiting for assistance kept looking at me (I was standing behind my husband).  My husband saw it and kept looking at the guy then turning around to look at me... It made me uncomfortable so I walked away and went looking at products down the aisle - out of the view of both of them.  My husband knows I don't flirt or engage other men and he saw that again.   We never talked about it but I think it made him feel good the way I handled it because I respected him and our marriage.  Interestingly, he was very attentive the rest of the day . .  Maybe he needed a lesson in appreciation.  Who knows.  Just wish he would treat me the way he likes to be treated.

A person with or without ADHD only pays attention to what interests them.  Other women interest him and that is a huge problem for me.  I want to be the one he sees but can't make it happen and don't want to "make" it happen.  If he doesn't see me than it is what it is.    So many mixed feelings... love him and loath what he does at the same time.   We all notice attractive people... its the continued looking, making opportunities to engage that really concern me.  I feel like it is only a matter of time and he will be unfaithful and that will end it for me. 

Thanks again, Tasla!  I wish you the best!

My husband was never this

My husband was never this blatant about it, but he has always had (what felt like to me) some unfilled void in his life that could only be filled by the attention of other women. How far he has taken that at times has crossed boundaries that have left scars the size of the grand canyon. (an affair and a one night 'fling' with his ex-wife..and various other 'friendships' that I still question). It came to a head at a New Year's Eve party in 2009 and I had enough. I told him "you are doing something that is very disrespectful to our marriage, that makes me uncomfortable, that YOU would NEVER tolerate from me, and it needs to stop. You need to figure out why you crave the adoration of other women and figure out how you're going to feed that need in another, less destructive way". I don't think he ever even thought about it...or considered it being an issue. I think he just felt good about himself when people (not just women, but it was the women that bothered me) thought highly of him. I know I didn't do much in the way of building him up as a man and as a human being...so I felt I had some work to do as well, but after me pointing out his inappropriate behavior that night, and one other time, I haven't seen it since. There is no room for misunderstanding...he knows I won't tolerate it.

I'm curious..what does he say about it when you call him on it?