at the end of my rope now

I feel like my life is falling apart, I've only recently completely accepted and understood the imapact my ADD partner is having on my life and now I feel devastated why I've allowed this to happen to me.

I am 24, we have been together for 6 years we have 2 lovely children together, they are 4 years and  2 months old. I cannot cope with this relationship anymore and I want out but I cannot bear the idea of him looking after our children for alternate weekends, I don't even think he would be able to be civil with me if we broke up. I'm also scared he would just take the children away and I would never see them again. I also feel that he wouldnt let me go, I broke up with him when we had been together for only a year and he hounded me by phone, text etc until I finally just gave in and took him back just so he would stop. I can't face going through something lke that again.

He works very hard to look after us all but I just cannot live with him anymore. He is inconsiderate and leaves me to run the house. I am at university full time and work part time plus looking after the kids and all this doesnt make me as tired as living with him makes me. I just feel like if I carried on living wth him he would drain the last piece of energy out of me until there is nothing left of me. I am in my early 20's but feel like an old lady, every day is a huge battle and I'm exhausted.

He doesnt understand the huge impact that what he does has on me or the children. I got him to read one of the articles on here and he just looked at me and said "but the problems cant all be coming from me" He is getting an assessment through work next week to get re diagnosed for the ADD as it was so long ago when he was last diagnosed (when he was 16) but im not feeling hopeful about that, we know he has it, he thinks he can just take the medication and all will be fine.I tried to explain that theres counselling etc but he just says "you know I dont like talking"

He does try, he tries to do things to make me happy, gets me presents, takes us out for family days, always making sure the boys have what they need and he plays with the boys lots, he is a great father in that way but I don't know if maybe it is wrong to feel like this but - for me its too late...He only decided to grow up when our first child was 1 year old. I had PND and struggled through that first year while he went out whenever he wanted and stayed out, ignored me most of the time he was home. Theres so many things hes done and I feel those things have damaged our relationship and I just cant forget, Ive lost that feeling of affection for him and I dont know how to get it back.

Lately he has been complaning that we don't have sex ( we really dont very often) but I feel no connection to him, no desire to have sex with him, it just feels like another chore, I dont want to give him anymore of myself, Ive given enough.

I'm just so confused I don't know what to do please someone give me some perspective, I cant cope.

you are definitely not

you are definitely not alone!  I have a similar marriage to yours.  I have two kids, 9 and 6, and am in nursing school.  I do almost everything inside the house and all the bills/paperwork/appointments.  It is hard work to be with a person that doesn't give back to you emotionally and then expects sex.  My husband doesn't get why I have rare interest in him sexually and thinks there is something wrong with me. I assure him it is not that I do not want sex, not exactly anyhow.  It is more that I have no energy or desire because my husband is more like my child than my partner.  I also know what its like to be brought back into the relationship after break up.  We have separated twice only for him to try his best to get back into our lives (with success).  It's tiring and I fear if we divorce that I will have to ask for supervised visitation because of his irresponsibility with our kids and his own life.  He lies alot and will not clean or cook.  How can I trust my precious children with someone like that?  I wouldn't hire a sitter that was like that!

I have no answers but at least know that you are not alone!  Everyone must make their own decisions as to when is enough and trust me I have thought I have had enough so many times I could puke.  It's never easy with kids either.  So my thoughts are with you and hope that you are able to figure out what is best for you and your family......

hockeymom11's picture

you are SO not alone

Your situation is identical to most of ours.  We work, we have kids, we do 99% of the housework, bills etc. I posted tonite the "support please, need a hug".  you can see the conversation I've just had with my ADD spouse.  He blames EVERYTHING on me.

Last night I went to my first NAMI (national allience for mental illness) support group meeting and it was WONDERFUL. they welcome everyone regardless of the illness.  I know my ADD spouse has co-morbid conditions (depression, anxiety, OCD) and I told my story, listened to others, got advice, networks, community offerings as far as doctors etc.  My son also has ADHD and oppositional defiant behavior and they gave me info on that too. 

More than internet support, this support was REAL (not that this site isn't!!), but to have someone hug you or touch your shoulder or tell you before you leave for the night to "be strong, you can do a lot when you're strong" means everything.  I left the meeting feeling like someone lifted an elephant off my shoulders and I could (possibly, maybe, slightly) see the minute light at the end of the LOOOOONG tunnel.

My marriage is a total wreck, my husband is treating me like dirt, but you know what....

it's like she said at the meeting: it's like the airplane crashing.... no matter how tempted you are to put the oxygen mask on the other person, put the oxygen mask on yourself FIRST".  So I am putting the oxygen mask on myself.  I'm trying, I'm REALLY trying.  I don't think my marriage will survive b/c I too do not feel any love for him, just pity.  But I want to be the best mother I can and support my kids.

I would encourage everyone to go to and see if you have a local chapter.  anything to help in our situation is worth it. 

Hockeymom Thanks, I had a

Hockeymom Thanks, I had a look at that support group and think its just a US thing, I'm in the UK, but thanks for the idea, I'm going to see if I can find something like that though as it sounds great.

I couldn't agree more with the oxygen mask metaphor, you are so right, especially where kids are involved. Also I expect my kids will have ADD too just like your son, isn't there a 50/50 chance? I worry a lot about that too...I dont want a woman some day to feel about my son how I am feeling about my other half at the moment. I'm going to go and read your previous post, hugs to you  xx

hockeymom11's picture


If you notice any signs in your kids, have them evaluated ASAP.  I was very fortunate to have a local university that happens to be the ADHD "hotbed" of research in my town.  Drs. Pelham and Waxsmonsky are two of the best in the US, unfortunately they've taken a grant at another univ and will be leaving, but I feel my son was accurately diagnosed.  I'm hoping if I can guide him and teach him how to live with his condition, he will be a functional adult some day. 

All we can do as moms is be there for our kids and help in any way we can.  It's hard when I myself feel so dysfunctional and I know some of my behaviors are negatively affecting them.  this is where I hope the support groups can help me.  Just last night my 11 year old (one with ADHD) came up to me and said "I'm sorry Daddy doesn't help you".

I think we really need to divorce and as soon as we are financially able I am looking into it.  From everything I've read on these posts, it doesn't seem like these men change much even with meds and counsel.  I'm not optimistic that he will ever become the man I need or want. 

I need someone to take care of ME, to cherish ME.  I told him I was going to talk to his mom about how she deals with her spouse's ADHD (my husband's father), and he screamed at me "my mother is VERY supportive of my father!!!".   I believe this, but over the past 14 years, I've seen their relationship and his father treats his mother like a queen.  I get treated like a piece of dirt.  big difference that he doesn't see.

good luck to you as well, keep me posted. 

hockeymom11's picture


Your post made me remember my past too.

make sure you DO do something for yourself.  I know exactly how you feel about being a "shell" of your former self.  I was an outdoor enthusiast, a gifted athlete: equestrian, skier, competitive sailor and a person with a wicked sense of humor.  Once I got married and got into this quagmire called ADHD many years ago, I gave up everything.  I don't know why I gave it up, it's not like I wanted to, it just felt like I wasn't supported and my husband could "care less" about my hobbies or interests.  I gave things up slowly, like someone was peeling the outer layers of myself off.  For years in our marriage we had no friends (just a few from his work and all they wanted to do was play video games and drink): not my thing.  I begged him to find friends who liked to hike, canoe, bike ANYTHING.   

I worked so many hours in my first few jobs (10-12hr shifts) so I didn't get out much at all.  But NOW I've started playing ice hockey (started about 2 years ago) and it has been my SALVATION.  I know that sounds kinda is my religion :)  (right next to Buddhism!)

I'm a goalie and not only does the intense exercise help a lot, there's nothing more satisfying than stuffing someone on a break-away!!!  My teammates have been a net of support.  I don't give them the details, but they know my marriage is failing and my husband is less than supportive.  He's never even seen me play (and we've been to two championship games!!).  Anyway, what I'm trying to get at is that you MUST do something for yourself whether it's a manicure, a spa day, a walk in the park.

When I play hockey, and pretty much ONLY when I play hockey..... ALL of my problems go away if only for that 60 minute game (except when they score on me!! :) )

I also volunteer coach the USA hockey disabled team which is also a wonderful outlet.  So please find some time for yourself, it will save your soul.   Become that person who used to laugh and laugh again. 

Stay strong.


I am 60 years old and just

I am 60 years old and just realized that I had given up all my dreams because of add in our marriage.  When my husband made a declaration I believed him.  When he said he would hire someone to rebuild our roof, I believed him.  He had plastic on house for over 5yrs.  I gave up outings because I wanted to support my husband as he did the repairs himself ignoring our talk.  (still unfinished project)  We can have a conversation and come to agreement and he does what he wants.  This pattern made me stop talking.  What was the use??  I never ask him to do projects but he insists on it.  When we moved to our house 30yrs ago. the basement was to be a playroom.(its a finished bacement!!)  Now and all ways its been a place to hoard stuff.  Magazines, wood, papers broken lamps, trunks stacked on trunks that I can not get to.  A room I can not get to, a phone I can not get to .  He has been "taking care of it" for years. I can no longer use most of the clothesline.  He sees a value in all this trash over the value of a usable room for family.  (we have a small house) The clutter started moving upstairs.  This is when I went into a hole.  i was embarrassed to have people over because "its the wifes job to care for the house"  Now I have grandchildren and its unsafe for them to visit.  My sons think its my fault because I mentally checked out.  My husband unlike most add people wants to do EVERYTHING himself.  He fills his life with all His interests.  Teaches a class, treasurer of a club. family estate business busywork  if he didnt have all these balls in the air he might have time to complete a task.  He doesnt get it.  he uses all his energy to stay focused on the job and doesnt want my help.  Now I wonder if I should have left years ago. I was a stay at home mom and had no other financial support. It was important to us. I wonder if he would have gotten help if he saw me leave.  On the other hand I have two successful sons.  One with add who manages it quiet well but he accepts help and doesnt take it like a personal failure.  My husband has just started again addressing the add issue as we are a broken couple and both struggling to hang on.  We continue to honor our marriage commitment.  My husband appears to be be so caring and respectful, but I feel like a hypocrite. Trust I no longer can trust because he talks but doesnt follow through.  When I want to take care of something he says he will. (doesnt happen) It is painful for me to laugh.  I now know I must be the person I used to be.  The one who laughed and cared.  I should have taken better care of myself...You are young try somethings before giving up on marraige.  You know what you have with this man.  The next one is unknown..

Thanks Hockeymom, I

Thanks Hockeymom, I understand the need to keep a part of myself, in fact its vital...always keep a perspective on who we are. For me I love just getting out with my friends I love meeting new people and I'm quite outgoing and I'm slowly starting to build up a good circle of friends just through being a mum. The things I enjoy doing are reading, swimming and yoga and I can't remember the last time I read a book but I think that is more to do with our youngest being so little and also I always have so many textbooks to read for uni that reading a novel seems a bit indulgent! Good for you on the hockey front! On the subject of friends and your husband, do you find that this is a really difficult area? My OH has 2 friends, thats it, people get put off by his constant butting in and talking about himself all the time, Ive seen it when we're in a group situation - people just sort of back away after a while, which is sad for him because he is someone who needs to be liked. He quit often says to me "its ok for you, you have loads of friends" its bizarre how something like that gets twisted to be used against me, like am I expected to feel guilty about this!? The mind boggles

hockeymom11's picture


My husband has very few friends.  Only one that I know of that he actually hangs out with and they may play video games, tinker on their motorcycles or go for a ride.  My husband too has the need to be the "good guy".  he's always lending money (which we have NONE), one night he told me he "had to go into work" and ended up going to his friends house to help him put breaks on his car.  Yet he would NEVER help with a project at home for me!!

I too am starting to build up a nice network of friends, through hockey and work.  For the past 12 or so years all I've read were medical journals and books!!  I'm just NOW reading my first Robin Cook novel (ok, he's an MD and it's a medical story, but hey it's a book!!).  I've realized how much I have missed the simple act of reading for pleasure.  I don't get a lot of reading time, mostly just before bed and I'm so tired I only last 15-20 minutes, but it's fun again.

I don't know WHY our spouses blame us for having friends and a bit of a life.  Maybe because they long for it and don't know how to achieve it. 

I don't know how to help my husband anymore.  He's depressed, he sleeps all day.  Today I told him that I need a functional adult living in the house with me, I don't even need a husband anymore, just a functional adult.  I told him that him staying up all night and sleeping all day is NOT going to continue.

A dear friend of mine who is a psychologist gave me a friend's name who is a psychiatrist and I gave the info to my husband.  I don't know if he will call or set up an appointment or follow through with the appointment, but this is all I can do at this point. 

If you have kids, I'm sure you've seen Finding Nemo a few hundred times......

just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming...........

Sarah, he is in pain so

Sarah, he is in pain so trying to look at it as if he had just been gardening (social setting) decided he wanted to plant a rose (talk to that person there) and as he was planting it his funny knee gave way (butting in) and he fell into the rose bush and was injured. (social rejection). 

If you were a friend out gardening and he was admiring all the plants you had in your garden but struggling with his own, what would you do? Do it for him? Tell him he was useless and to give up gardening? Tell him to get a gardener? or Perhaps take half an hour out of your day to show him how to do some of the things that you can do with a smile.  He want's to garden (have social interactions) he has told you this, he is not turning it against you - he is asking you, the person he loves most, that he needs help.

You need help too - this is why you are married, you love each other and want to help each other. The fact that you are tired and stressed, the fact that he is finding things difficult and doesn't want to give you more hassle by telling you how he feels is the result not the problem. Sit down face to face - ask him honestly how you can help him, tell him that you care about him and love him and want to help. When he tells you just listen. when he is finished say thank you for telling me this it is important. Then get him to do the same for you (just ask him to repeat what you just said to him back). Try and do this when there are no kids around, have someone take them to the park or something.


Is mother in law really treated as a queen?My sons would say I was treated like a queen.  It could be all smoke and mirrors with a ADD spouse.

hockeymom11's picture


from all of the interactions I've seen over 14 years, yes he treats her very well. 

It could all be smoke and mirrors, but I don't know if someone can put on an act for that long, that well. My father in laws ADHD is NOT like my husband's and I believe my husband has other co-morbid conditions going on (depression, possible bi-polar).  My F.I.L does NOT have the anger/impatience issue that my husband does.  I've NEVER seen him react to anything like my spouse does.  My F.I.L plays  mind games and likes to "one up" you, but he is calm, patient and does treat his wife well.

I believe it was your post that said "we know what we have with this man, the next one is unknown".  true, but are you saying we should just "stand by our man?".  Why should we be miserable?  Life is too short.  I know plenty of people and people in my own family who have divorced and found someone wonderful to spend the rest of their lives with.

I guess I'm ready to take that chance as I'd rather be alone and happy than with a spouse who constantly blames/denies/is angry/is sick/refuses help and is just plain inconsiderate regardless of the illness.  No way.  I still have half my life to live.  I've already spent 14 years unhappy.  It's just not fair to us. 

Linsy's picture

child with ADHD

The realisation that husband had ADD came through because son is on his way to diagnosis. Caught early enough, it is not like lifelong and undiagnosed where the symptoms have become like a hard old bark on a tree with age, impenetrable, obtuse, angry and really rather mad.  I am very worried that he will never be able to improve his behaviour, and ADHD actually spells EXIT for me. Good luck to you though.

hockeymom11's picture


how old is your son?  Mine is 11 and I bought the book "The survival guide for kids with ADD or ADHD" (John Taylor). He really likes it.  He especially liked the part where they explained that having ADHD means you have special skills and talents. He was so proud and came to me to tell me his special talent was music, math and sports.

It's very well written for that approximate age group.  I also got him the book "how to do homework without throwing up".  It's great!

Good luck with your son.  stay strong and supportive.  My son is doing much better with medication and behavioral modification (sticker charts, small rewards etc), plus our school has been wonderful.  make sure you set up a 504 plan in your school (in the US).

Linsy's picture

Useful sounding book

Thank you, am going to Amazon now to check the book recommendation.

Son is 9, been hyperactive since birth. Able to go along like a caterpillar from 4 months. Walking at 10 mos. Very difficult to breast feed. One doctor mentioned it at 18 months (he was running round the surgery getting embarrassing bits of gynae equipment out of cupboards) but I didn't take it in. Many 'experts' later diagnosing or not diagnosing anything useful, at last we are with an excellent child psychiatrist who looks like she can help. Very very bright, does lots and lots of sport which really helps, achievement on school report A* behaviour off the bottom of the scale, which would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Awful oppositional behaviour, also violence.

Thank goodness we moved house and found the right help at last. And then found out why husband was so impossible. And then older brother too, the sweetest little boy, but always distracted.

hockeymom11's picture


My son also has oppositional defiant behavior.  We took some Coping parenting classes for ADHD and ODD at a local university.  You can see if there is anything like that in your area.  If you're in the US, I suggest going to and finding a local chapter (national alliance on mental illness) they are a wealth of information and know all the ins and outs of ADHD, schools, doctors, programs etc.

good luck and keep me posted.  I hope your son likes the book.  we try to read it together (I've already read it, but ask him what he read today).  I've also given my son a "diary" which he likes to write in every night.  I didn't think he would stick with it, but I guess it's a good outlet for his anger/frustrations.

good luck again. 

Linsy's picture


A disturbed atmosphere in the house as parents drift apart and are no longer aligned can bring on ADD type behaviour.

Thank you for your reply, I

 Asetamy, Thank you for your reply, I can completely understand how you feel your partner is more like your child than friend, and whats sexy about that!? We want that emotional connection, but its just not there is it. My other half always says he is confused why this is a problem for me "all of a sudden"...I tell him these things have always been a problem I just didnt know before that they were related to ADD...and I am /was a very optimistic person so always try to see the good in things but this has finally beaten me down. I just don;t think he believes how Im feeling is genuine - he doesnt think he is that bad and I think he expects me to be a an emotional wreck each and every day and if I'm not then surely it cant be "that bad"!! But I can't have some sort of break down because of the children, moping around all day because of the way he treats me isnt going to get us anywhere...and besides every other part of my life is how I want it to be, I love my children, my job, studying, my friends and family, it is just him that brings me down. The one thigs that really upsets me when I think about it is how I am not the person I used to be and also that my children will never see that person because I have become this nagging, nasty, angry person who is always expecting the worst. Just the other day I pulled out an old box of things, memories from my past and found a card my friend had given me about 5 years ago when I left the job we shared - she had written that she would always remember me as the girl who never stops smiling and the girl who laughs and laughs and laughs! I felt so sad reading that, im not her anymore....

Linsy's picture


this is so familiar. I particularly was made guilty and miserable about how unhappy the situation made me. But a bit of distance and I am gradually coming back to myself. 

slow down a bit

You are sounding desperate and hopeless and my heart goes out to you.  You don't mention if you've tried to get any professional help for your issues, but that might be a good place to start.  (Make sure to use a counselor who knows about ADHD issues or you won't get too far.)  Also, if your husband does discover he has ADHD and starts to treat it you may well be totally shocked at the results.  You are at the beginning of a journey with ADHD, not the end, and things can change dramatically for the better if you will allow them to.  I've seen this happen over and over again.

As for the treatment issues - many start out thinking meds are the magic bullet then find out they aren't...but good treatment comes in a very specific format - read Delivered from Distraction to learn about alternatives, and also my book has an overview of what good treatment looks like in a relationship.

I am wondering if your hopelessness might signify depression.  You might want to talk with your doctor about it.  I certainly had that experience myself, and treating the depression did help me move ahead (though it doesn't solve the ADHD symptom issues).  It sounds as if you place a lot of blame on the ADHD and that your husband is picking up on this.  In fact, I have yet to come across a marriage in which both partners weren't contributing in some way (well, okay, just one that was pretty much all ADHD).  So your husband's claim that it can't all be ADHD is true.  HOWEVER, at the same time, the ADHD symptoms are often the starting point from which your responses and issues rise, so treating the ADHD is critical for moving forward in the positive direction you both seek (including more sex).

There are many things that can be improved in a relationship in which both partners are trying hard.  In spite of the complaints that you have, your portrayal of your husband as a person who tries to make you happy suggests that there is much "upside potential" in your relationship and that if he finds the right tools (that let him manage ADHD if he has it) he will be willing to work hard and put in the effort needed to make things much better for you both.  You, of course, will need to put in your own effort to overcome your current issues (including your disconnection and hopelessness.)

Melissa, I would just like to

Melissa, I would just like to say thanks for your reply as it has made me see that I am starting to feel depressed myself and I think I needed someone to spell it out to me. I understand how we are both to blame for problems in our relationship, as we react to each other, you can't argue with yourself. And yes you are right I do place a lot of blame on the ADHD.

I'm not really sure what to do about my depression though as I just find GP's completely useless. I was on anti depressants after the birth of our first son for PND and found they made me just feel spaced out, dizzy and sick. A friend of mine recommends St.johns Wart so I may give that a go.

You are right, there is a lot of "upside potential" in our relationship although I find that getting help for the ADD is one of the things he is least bothered to do. He honestly can't see the problem. His work have sent him to a specialist today in harley street london to get re diagnosed as he was 17 when last diagnosed for it and it seems they want "proof" I'm really hoping this specialist can help him to see that this is real and does impact on his life.

Thanks again.

Linsy's picture

Harley Street

Sarah, did you find the diagnosis helpful? I am just catching up here after a long break. If so who was the practitioner? Need a recommendation if possible.

Hope things are better for you now.