Hi all! Thank God I found this forum. I'm so tired and feel like my marriage is on the rocks although divorce is out of the question as this is both our second marriage and we are raising a big family.
One of our children just got diagnosed for ADHD. All the time I've known my hubby, he's jokingly/semi-proudly referred to himself as having ADHD. I've urged him to get tested and/or do something about the stuff that makes his life difficult and mine just too much to bear. He hasn't done it for many years (although we almost got divorced a couple of years ago because of these problems). Now he did several internet tests and scored very high adult adhd points in them. He's also read the leaflets for our kid and recognizes most symptoms in himself (as do I). I've told him I can't take it anymore, I'm too tired, I don't want to be a mother to my husband, I need and deserve support and participation in chores at home and, more than anything, I need and deserve to be loved, talked to, listened to. He just sees his potential diagnosis as a joke and is a very strong advocate for "I am perfect as I am and somebody who wants me to change anything is stupid and wrong." He also thinks that the reason we are unhappy is that he is a good guy and I'm just a horrible person. This breaks my heart, in my previous relationships I've taken it for granted that I make my boyfriend/husband happy by being warm, empathic and fair and square person.
1) division of responsibility. He manages his demanding job and has been working in the field succesfully for 10 yrs (He sometimes struggles, but has developed systems that make him do ok. For instance, he doesn't listen or read well, so he often checks out details from his colleagues, makes them repeat them to him, reads quick guides online etc or then just does things his own way. He doesn't really plan ahead but instead of seeing this as a problem he kind of brags about his doorhandle method and how he always lands on his feet). At home, I feel I have to do most things and be responsible for everything. I do most household chores (and there's plenty as we have a big family with small children). He doesn't help but just stands there watching me slave away or sits at the computer. He may even talk non stop about his own things while I slave away. I don't interest him, I could be a cardboad cut-out. He just needs these cut outs that acknowledge his existence. He doesn't want fairness, communication or to listen. It's not just that he is not good at them, he really does not care. It doesn't bother him at all that I fought his custody battle for him, I wrote more than half of his thesis, I raise our kids, I plan our life, I have to do the everyday things at home or then remind/half force him to participate. I've told him so many times that I hate this and I want a more normal division of responsibility. He is not bothered at all, the only thing that bothers him is that his instrument (myself) whines about it and is not happy with this arrangement. he doesn't listen, waits till I don't talk/cry anymore and continues his life exactly the same way as before. As if he wasn't a dad, a grown-up and a husband. He's not even like a child. He's like a teenager and gives me the attitude. This really kills me, where is my room to be an individual? A woman? A mother? Loved? I feel I don't exist and he can still walk in the door as if everything was ok between us even if I've told him I'm desperate etc. It's really creepy and cold.
2) memory problems
These don't make our life any easier. Very often he forgets what he was supposed to do. He forgets more than half of the agreements/conversations we've had about family life, children's hobbies, doctor's appointments etc. He forgets our relationship discussions (where he refuses to talk although I ask him). I try and make him write notes, put alarms on his mobile etc. Sometimes he does, but mostly he just rolls his eyes at me and leaves me to catch him when he falls. He "blanks" so often, almost like Dora in Nemo, yet refuses to try and tackle this or learn to live with it in a more family friendly way. He does forget stuff at work, too, but much less.
3) I am frustrated, tired and angry because of this. There is a list a really big hurts inside me that have never been dealt with, despite me trying to talk about them and solve the issues beneath. He treated me like s*** when I was pregnant with our youngest. I lost my appetite, cried a lot and still took care of the rest of the family. He didn't comfort me or try to be more nice/normal although I begged for it. Instead of acknowledging that my state of sadness and frustration stems from this intolerable "marriage" or his adhd, he blames it on me. I am angry because I am an angry person etc. This feels incredibly unfair and hurtful. First, he treats me bad. Then, he blames me for feeling bad about it. He knows I have not had these problems in my previous relationships and life with children has been enjoyable for me in my previous marriage. I wasn't "angry" then, although I did most of the household work. I've taken on a lot in my life before yet relationships have always been a source of strength to me, even in rough times. I've also loved family life before.
4) his coldness and lack of empathy
It's hard to write about details so I won't. Mostly, this is a characteristic that is there all the time - in sickness and in health. Thus, I feel he does not express positive feelings such as love, passion, compassion in the normal way. Instead, these are either non-existent or very rare and mild. He does not compensate the coldness by "doing" or "buying", either. Not saying he should, just saying that it would make me feel better if I felt he cares in his own way. The stuff that belongs to a relationship - love that you feel and see in yourself and in the other person, in words, hugs, actions, concern for the other, apology when needed... it just isnt there. He does have his sex drive and is furious that for me, there can't be sex if there is no emotional trust.
Coldness and lack of empathy with regard to life in general. He can be kind of lively and jumpy and smiling, but still he is very cynical "any man would **** anything, like a watermelon". His world views seem sometimes even cruel, yet he doesn't seem to say those things to hurt me but he seems to seriously think them and not understand how it sounds, thinking everybody thinks like he does.
When somebody dies etc, he can do some basic things (like hug me) but it is very shallow. He doesn't really care and tears kind of freak him out. If somebody at work confides in him, he tells me he often acts sympathetic yet feels nothing or even frustration. At home, he doesn't want to even play sympathetic with me. This is not because we are now in a bad place emotionally, this has always been the case. I just thought I could "cure" him with my love.
The worst is relationship problems between me and him. He turns into stone, goes mute, doesn't talk, doesn't listen, doesn't comfort, doesn't agree on anything, doesn't acknowledge my pain... For me, if this part of relationship is this bad, what is left? The only thing that sometimes gets his comforting side running is if somebody is really really young and vulnerable and adoring towards him. Even then, weakness may just as well irritate him. He seems to be really afraid of feelings.
The sentences above. Maybe they are adhd but for me, they are also a signal for lack of loving.
Still, my husband loves animals to an extent.
5) no remorse. no learning from old mistakes.
All the things above I've tried working with. Talking, crying, arguing, writing. Being careful about, being repetitive about it, trying out different techniques of problems solving etc. He doesn't want to change. He doesn't want to change anything in his life but pushes extremely hard this philosophy of "I am who I am. I am nice. If something, I'm too nice. If there are problems, it's the other person's fault. If I am blamed on something, I deserve to be furious and/or leave emotionally or physically". He has had similar relationship problems all his life. Funnily when we met he told me about them and said he is more responsible now. He has taken back his words since. He went to therapy for three years. That did not help although he liked the therapist. We went to counselling. He sat there coldly and nothing happened, except I got my heart broken as at the time I was really struggling with will to live and cared for our newborn baby, he was actually in counselling with us.
6) Crushed beneath the bad stuff, no room for good things we had together:
love of family life and children (doesn't work anymore - I'm tired of his clownery and lack of responsibility. I hate the way he dodges responsibility and makes me be the only adult in the family)
Many mutual hobbies and passions (I don't feel like sharing these with him anymore, it would seem weird and shallow as I do not feel I trust him or his good intentions and he has hurt me a lot, not really ever regretting it).
We are (were) sexually compatible (I can't bear the thought of touching him as I feel he is cold, selfish and has a total disregard to my feelings. Those are probably the three biggest turn offs for me. I would change his good looks to a warm heart any day if I could. The former is just surface, the latter makes you want to be near that person).
I am so scared of writing this down because in a way I suspect there is no hope. adhd can be a challenge even in its milder forms and even when both spouses are willing to work to make it work. I am terrified for our kids too. If any one of them ends up marrying someone like him and being treated like me I only have myself to blame. I know what this does to a family and I care. My husband just doesn't. All his wants is his home and his comforts. No close contact with anyone, except sexual.
Sorry for a really long post. I did not know what to leave out. Advice would be greatly appreciated. I am so tired and sad. I feel like I'm disappearing somewhere. :(