Double Whammy - Desperately Seeking Answers

Where to begin...

My husband and I are in our late 20's, we've been married 10 months.  In 9 weeks I'll be giving birth to our child (my first, his second).  When I first met him, he treated me like a princess.  He was close to obsessed about me.  Hell, he moved from California to New York to be with me - something I thought meant he was simply desperately in love, passionate and serious.  Looking back, I'm wondering if that was a clear case of hyperfocus.  I am just learning these phrases - it wasn't until recently I began to question if my husband has ADHD.  He has a mountain of debt that I'm just learning about in recent months, he makes frivolous purchases and spends money without even consulting me (even though he asked that I manage our budget since he's "bad with money"). Most of his debt is due to neglect or procrastination and we're talking about debt that totals around $100K.  Recently we found out that a major debt from a past apartment would keep us from getting a place of our own. 

We moved home to California since getting pregnant.  We stayed with my mother at first because she has an extra room.  But our constant bickering lead us to split.  He went to live with his family at his grandmother's house.  Our relationship consists of me reminding him to do things, reminding him of conversations he swears we never had, him pushing responsibility, proactiveness and following up to the back of his to-do list.  If he's not at work or asleep he's got his head deeply focused on some other task.  Sometimes it's writing music - and he'll stay up on "binges" for even as long as 12 hours.  Or he'll design logos that I've never seen him use for anything - taking hours, days - sometimes weeks to design them and then moving on to something else.  He has to constantly have his headphones on and be entertained in some way or he'll fall asleep.  If he doesn't get daily reminders of things (which I've stopped doing lately) he will completely forget about them.  I've asked him to utilize his calendar, post-its, even bough him a few planners...but nothing seems to motivate him to stay on top of things.  He'll forget about things he did days before I ask about them.  Important things like filing unemployment papers or transferring money from one of our accounts to another.  Even though we are struggling to save to buy a car, he still found it necessary to buy a $250 tattoo (without talking to me about it first).  He did this to prove that he could do what he wanted (his words) because me staying on top of him also happens to offend him greatly.  Meanwhile he has a child support case that costs him/us a whopping $1300 a month because he hasn't had the case re-evaluated and hasn't gone to see his son in something like 7 years.  I've connected him with people who can help, he dedicated time and effort into talking to them and using their resources and then right before filing the papers - he stalls.  It's been over a month and he hasn't budged.  I stopped asking.  He doesn't realize that we can't live off of his salary being garnished so heavily.  He has no concept of cost, bills or how to budget.

In the process of my pregnancy I've witnessed him being totally inconsiderate of me.  When I got an upper respiratory infection when I was about 11 weeks along, I asked him to help me get a thermometer because I was totally burning up and couldn't move from the bed.  He was annoyed by my request and made it way more difficult than it needed to be - not showing the slightest concern.  Later when my doctor told me to go to the ER and I told him we needed to go now he responded by hardly looking up from his laptop and saying, "OK" as if I was once again bothering him.  The entire night at the ER he sat playing a game on his phone.  I had to ask for water and a blanket which he also did as though I was bothering him.  I felt like crap, and it set our relationship on a downward spiral since.

I guess, I'm at a loss.  I wanted a partner in life, someone I could depend on and instead I feel like I have a teenage son.  Simple things have to be explained and re-explained to him and there's still no guarantee that he will remember or get it.  He consistently goes back on his word.  He contradicts himself all the time, leaving me to realize he's in the habit of telling little white lies.  I have so much resentment towards him that I find myself being mean at times, cold, unreactive, annoyed.  I often don't even want to be touched by him.  It's a terrible way to feel about your husband.  I feel betrayed because I walked into this blind.  Thinking he was the man who loved me so fiercely that he would never hurt me.  That person I fell in love with might have been an actual symptom of a disease.  I'm not 100% sure he has ADHD, but everything I read about it sounds like him to a T.  I don't know what to do...considering ending it.  I just want some relief.  I can't deal with the constant stress of all of this.  It's made my pregnancy more difficult than necessary and I can only imagine how the rest of my life would play out.

Yes, it sounds very much like ADHD

I'm sorry you are going through so much pain at a time that should be one of the most joyful of your life -- the coming birth of your new baby! Congratulations -- I'm sure the baby will be the light of your life.

However, your observations and analysis of your husband are incredibly accurate for ADHDers, and you are most likely going to be looking at some difficult times ahead in your marriage. It doesn't sound like you are in a good position for leaving or separating right now, so you may have no choice but to make the best of things. Read all you can about ADHD behavior and marriage. Melissa's book is very hopeful and gives a realistic picture of living in an ADHD relationship while offering suggestions to make things better. There is a lot on the internet.There are good videos on YouTube.

Your experiences are so common in ADHD relationships that it is almost too hard for me to read them. However, to keep your sanity you MUST reach out to others and get support from them. ADHDers may try to isolate you from others and get you to depend only on them -- but then they don't come through for you. Reach out to your parents, your new baby, friends, church -- anywhere and everywhere you can find support. You are going to need additional support from somewhere other than your husband, and you may end up feeling like he is more like a child that you have no real control over.

The bottom line is, you are probably going to have to lower your expectations for him significantly. You can either  become bitter about the lack of a satisfying relationship, or get your emotional support elsewhere for now and make the best of the cards you have been dealt. You will probably be in a better position to make choices for your life and your baby's life a little later, but you'll need all the support you can get. Don't give in to loosing that outside support, no matter what.

Good luck and prayers.

Do Not Let The Isolation Get You

I cannot stress that one enough.

I fully understand not being at a point to be able to realistically leave.

That's truly the worst, was an independent woman before.

Agree that many have walked here before you.

Get the support you need.

Also agree, do not rely on him for the support you need.



Its sad to say your story sounds very similar to mine, and probably alot of us ADHD spouces.  My H was so passionate, considerate and totally focused on me while dating, after marriage he slowly started to change, I wouldn't say he lost total interest in me like it sounds many ADHD people do, but it was a definate change, he all of a sudden seemed to forget how to do dishes or make dinner or take out the trash he became moody and we started to argue frequently, he spends money like its water on things for him that end up piled up in the garage, he promises do to things and doesn't follow thru. When I got pregnant I assumed that he would be a partner in raising our child, wrong, he continued to live like an 18 yr old and my life suddenly became overly burdened with everything. Even after a C-section the day i came home he did not help with ANYTHING, he complained he had no clean clothes to wear..hello why didn't you do the laundry while i was in the hosp ??  He never changed a diaper, never got up in the middle of the night...he loved our son but only did the fun stuff. Along came second child and it was dejavu all over again. Now they are older he still hardly spends time with them, has no patience for them, doesn't go to their sprting events...basically doesn't do anything he doesn't want to do, doesn't seem to get that some things you just have to do because you are and adult and a parent.  He did get diagnosed with ADHD and depression about 8 years into our marriage, but he just doesn't seem to want to change, doesn't acknowledge that he needs to change, even though i have threatened divorce several times. Only with the threat of splitting up does he change, but then its always temporary.  Here we are now 17 years later and nothing has changed expect neither of us like each other anymore. I'm tired of all the BS, and he is tired of me nagging him, we argue contstantly when we talk at all.   Your Husband sounds very much ADHD, see if you can have him see someone for a diagnoses, acknowledge his behavior needs to change. You have a very long road ahead that wont be easy, get help sooner rather than later.    There are some ADD people on this site that are managing it well so it may not be hopeless, I hope for you that your H will put in the effort to make your relationship work.  best of Luck. Congratulations on your first child, enjoy him/her.

The 180

Yes, it's totally common as I've learned.

All of a sudden I was expected to serve all the convenient functions that his mother did... Cooking, cleaning, your basic maid service, without any semblance of partnership. Herein laid the problem... That's not a marriage.

On the money front, yes was spent like water n often kept a secret from me, once again like something a child would hide from a parent. When confronted I'd hear, "It's no big deal, loosen up," except I could see what the future held for our family with this type of spending and it definitely came to fruition.

N yeah, if I'm ever gone, the reason doesn't matter (exactly like when our daughter was in the hospital, or taking care of an aunt with a broken leg), the house will be a sh!tstorm of a disaster (I assume there aren't children here as I vent, I certainly hope not!). It gets even worse than the flood I can't normally hold back is the point.

Definitely he doesn't do anything he doesn't want to.

I gave up on threatening the divorce thing. I realize I'll eventually hafta do it, although it isn't what I what. For all the $hit, I still love him. There just comes a point you need to love yourself and realize that the other person isn't capable of love in the sense that it translates to another person in a meaningful way.

The lack of consistency is huge.

I quit nagging long ago. It didn't work, despite not being what I'd EVER thought I'd be. My husband takes normal interactions as nagging. I had a long career as a problem solver, so I know this probably isn't honestly me, no matter how much this disaster of a marriage has made me question myself.

Waiting later rather than sooner will definitely never help this situation. I do know how my husband likes putting things off, so I assume your does the same.

I agree despite my individual situation, that some folks who take charge and do what is needed do actually have marriages that work.



Oh Honey...

Without getting into specifics, this sounds so similar.

A complete 180 at the onset of marriage, a complete lack of partnership. The feeling of being completely duped. Not having someone there when you really need them in a way that is crucial and expected generally within a marriage.

I'm so very sorry for you darlin'.

Many have had the same experience.

You are not alone.

Thank you...but...

Thank you (all) for the confirmation and support.  It helps to know that my problem is similar to yours and understood.  It feels good to know I'm not alone.

I guess my "but" is should I walk away now?  I have the support of my family, my close friends....  I wouldn't be homeless or poor if I left him.  I would however be free of stress and arguing in my life, free of feeling like a mother to him instead of a wife, a woman, a partner.  I feel sometimes like I'm missing out on marriage.  That although I have a ring, and wedding photos and his last name - I'm still ultimately a single person.  He weaves in and out, but not as a husband but as someone who plays husband when the fun or easy stuff comes up (i.e. sex, watching a movie together, talking about our unborn son...).  So I still feel like I'm lacking a husband.  I WANT to be married.  And that's the main reason I question if I should leave or not.  Because I'm totally giving up on myself, my needs and my wants by making my life about him.  Everything seems to revolve around him - even though he would never see it that way.  Even my family sees that.  I don't often focus on myself.  My conversations, efforts and thoughts are all about him.  Even now, on a Saturday night when I should probably be asleep or doing birthing poses on my yoga mat - I'm online....trying to figure out my husband.

How do I know when it's time to leave?

How do I know when it's time

How do I know when it's time to leave?

B'girl I have been asking myself that same question for 14 years, we started marriage counseling 4 years into our marriage...I recently even googled that question online to see if there was a book that could answer that for me, I asked my therapist that question 2 months ago... there is no magic answer.  My therapist did say that one day when you just can't take it anymore you will know its time to leave, thats probably true and i feel i have come so very very close to that point but held on, then things would calm down but they are never 'good', only tolerable. I regret that I did not move on many years ago now that I look back.   I hate to think of someone expecting a baby being in your situation and possibly divorced but here is my 2 cents.   IF he does not get help, medication, therapy, etc. and make drastic changes to be present in your marriage and give you the support you need. Do NOT wait the 20 years I have hoping someday he would change. I am angry at myself that i have spent 20 years i will be 50 soon and i cannot tell you how sad that makes me and what I have missed out on due to this relationship. I have given myself a deadline that if things don't turn around by that big day its over.  I too have given up so much of myself because I just felt I had to, in order to handle everything, i no longer do ANY of the hobbies or activities that I used to enjoy, I feel just a shell of my former self. Don't let that happen to you. If it does not get better and he does not actively try and improve, leave.   

Can't tell you how many times I have said in his therapist office with my H sitting next to me "He isn't present in our family",  my H responds I'm home I'm not out drinking or anything, he doesn't get it, I swear he cannot grasp the big picture, being present isn't simply being home, if you you are sitting in front of a computer for 6 hours playing games or in the garage for 12 hours straight while the kids and I are playing board games or watching a movie or I am trying to wrangle them to get into bed and he is oblivious to the chaos and noise around him. Getting two ADHD boys showered and into bed is not small feat.....and he is in his own universe. I might as well be a single parent I would be less angry and resentlful I'm doing it all by myself anyway.

Have you read Melissa's book ? I am rereading it now for the 3rd time I think, I know some of our issues are due to the way I respond to his behaviors so I can't say he is 100% at fault, but the ADHD IS the symptom underlying alot of our issues...and he does not manage it. so I am giving it a last ditch effort to change my response to the symptom, but it will only improve partially if he doesn't change the underlying behavior. Has your H read it ?  Maybe if your husband read it he would see how it is effecting you and your relationship.


When the pain and fear of

When the pain and fear of being together is worse than the pain and fear of the thought of being without him it's time to leave.  When the pain is so much that you consider ending your life to be out of the relationship, its time to leave.  When you have options it is at least time to try out the options. Don't let a relationship that sucks the life out of you cause you to be less than you could be as the mother of your child. The love and happiness you have in yourself is what you give to the world.  Don't be resentful and worried and confused and sad.  Do what you have to do.  He has the choice to learn, try, and be better and be with you or stay aloof and be by himself.  Don't permit him to be less than he could be - by letting him "do his own thing" while you take on all the roles of family life. This is a turning point in your life.  Choose happiness. 

Where to End...

So much emotion runs through me as I read all the comments to this post.  It all sounds SO familiar.  I have been with my non-diagnosed ADHD spouse for about 10 years now.  I thank God every day that I am beyond having children with this man and that my son is almost grown and on his own.  Then, I will be able to move on with my life and make some changes for the better.  When I met this man, I believed his behavior to be charismatic, fun-loving and attentive.  I thought he was the life of the party and everyone loved him, including my family.  Only when I began to get more involved did I realize that he embellished most of facts regarding his professional career and financial status.  He doesn't remember most of his childhood, nor the past few minutes of our last conversation.  Fast-forward 10 years later, we cannot buy a house because of his lack of responsibility regarding his debts.  His credit score is so horrible at this point that everything has to be in my name.  I take care of ALL the household bills.  He is a businessman and holds a "C" level position in a business that is in dire straits.  Again, thank God I never put my name on ANYTHING that had to do with his business.  I was once a well-respected career woman who was on a path to a bright future with a large oil and gas company.  I quit my job, thinking that HE would provide a future for me.  BOY WAS I WRONG!!!!!  All I do now is to try to get through day-by-day, until the day that I can start separating myself from him forever!  (Of course, if you ask him anything about me he will tell you that I am a nagging, "white-trash c*nt.")

The advice that I would offer is that if you have outside support (family and friends) that will help you get on your feet and provide a loving home for your child, then leave as soon as you can.  Don't put up any false hope that this man can or will change.  Do the best you can do NOW to help yourself and your unborn child.  Although you may love this man, you will suffer many years of disappointment.  Do yourself a favor right now and make a plan for a better life for you and your unborn child.  Congratulations on your son/daughter.  Please make the most of your life (yours and your child's) together.

MagicSandwich's picture

Only one answer

At this point if you aren't fed-up with your husband, I'd recommend you have your head examined. You need to leave. Don't diagnose him and don't constantly review his bizarre behavior looking for hope. Don't think that reaching out for support from others in place of a stable husband will make your life bearable - it won't. Very shortly your friends will grow tired of watching you put up with the man in your life; they will keep you at arms length to prevent your misery from oozing into their lives. You are a mother now and you are married to a man who hasn't bothered to visit his other child in seven years. Um, no. You are married to a man who lives in a state of ignorant debt and buys himself a $250 tattoo - who ignores you when you need him most. Again no. There's no question what your next step should be. Get out of there. Protect your child and yourself.