Expectations of non-adhd spouse due to lack of planning from adhd spouse

My husband of 15 years was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago.  We have been to counseling for about a year, but continue to have the same issues.  The latest issue is his expectations of me.  Last night, he approached me at 11:30 at night,when I was already in bed and asked me if he could use my car at 8:00 am the next day for a meeting that he had.  His car was being repaired and he forgot to call the mechanic to see if it would be ready in the morning.  Suddenly he wanted it to be my problem.  I told him that he could not use my car because I had to take our kids to soccer at 9:00 (which he already knew about).  He talked to a friend of ours and said she could take the kids and I to and from soccer while he had my car.  I still said no because this is an ongoing issue.  I'm sorry if it sounds harsh, but his lack of planning is NOT my emergency.  I have to put responsibility onto him.  Later, I found out that he road his bike 62 miles (round trip) to get to his meeting.  I still did not feel bad.  Instead, I felt like finally he is learning to take responsibility.  I will NOT enable him, nor do I feel like I should be involved if it's not an emergency.  Of course I want to help him, but I've dealt with this situation way too often, where he doesn't plan ahead and suddenly, it's my problem.  Well not any more!!!!! This goes for paying taxes too.  For years he has not paid his taxes and does not have deductions taken out of his UNEMPLOYMENT checks.  I have been the one paying all the bills and paying his unpaid taxes because we are married and it would result in a lein against our mortgage (which is in my name).  This year, I told him that he needed to contribute to what he owes and if he seeks unemployment, he needs to have taxes taken out.  I said I cannot live like this anymore, nor will I live like this anymore!!!!  I am serious.  I don't know if I am getting older and bolder or just sick of all the responsibility.  I know I can stand on my own and not afraid to.  I will not enable anymore!!!  Feeling fed up and sick of it all!  He had the guts to say to me that I only help out when it's convenient for me.  NOOOO!! I am more than happy to help if it's an emergency, but again, his lack of planning is NOT my emergency.

i REALLY appreciate your posting-and in hearing you stick up

for yourself-that is i say bravo!!

i am overtly learning how to strategize keeping up a friendship with a guy recently met who isn't diagnosed of ADDADHD.

in 3 months i've experienced a few fightings that we've had-his being pushy with me/not with great boundaries or claim of responsiblity of himself..

and yeah-i'm not telling you anything that you don't already know-but i am left in wonder as to how much he's motivated to get his ADD/ADHD under manage-so that he's more helpful to himself and: we-a group of people who want to share in helping him, develop a personal development organization-but i know that it won't go anywhere-if he won't bottom line it for himself the go and get multiple provisions of help-or it will be that his really mattering supports of life will go away-more worse-his kids will lose their dad, and granddad:(

it seems that i shouldn't care-like everyone else-but i'm different

because of my thrive of life-despite having been diagnosed my self of dyscalculia (yes-having it is not the same as ADD/ADHD however-for the learn of each-my dyscalculia and his ADD/ADHD i can have more compassion and equip myself with skills/tools-that in being connected/invested in him-he and i both can be of tutiledge-in each other's focus to live a good life).

none the less i will be careful, and not enable him-even if i do love him. i do have motive to love him-but i won't do so with his not being in management. for if he won't be at the effect of it/necessary vs optional in his life-he'll lose more about not showing up for his health-than my going away because he wouldn't take responsibility in taking up management systems, deconstructs, gain insight/gather new truths/transforms and meds-as applies..

again thanks for you post and keep holding up mightily:)

janne w

adhd in a 58 year old male

My husband has ADHD with a defiant disorder.He has a 17 year old son who is also ADHD and is being treated.His son could be Bipolar because his mother is bipolar.I have these three people in my life doing all kinds of crazy things and them making a decision is near impossible.Nothing they do has any common sense in it. Issues are arising about him taking so many drugs like Ambien and he is snoring so badly he is gagging at night.It sounds like death at the door.I have to get up and go to another bed to get rest.The other bathroom has a running toilet ....... His son failed his English class and he is in our county taking this class.His mother claimed he can't enroll there in summer school 3 weeks before school was even out.Does not sound convincing,but I agreed. My husband is overextending his stay,by weeks and weeks and weeks.Now claiming for him to be here for three months.That is not what we agreed to.School program was 6 weeks, 4 days per week he has to be there,remainder of his week he "can" go home, but he is not ,only if he gets bored and wants his friends.He is 17 1/2 and he should be working.He doesn't help around the house or even wash his sheets and his clothes he wears them over and over. I am 53 and raised my own child who is now 23.She is a delight.I have never had any issues with her or my ex-husband.I have never seen such strange behavior in my life time as I have seen here.Memory is an issue for him.He takes anti depressants.He takes pain pills for every ailment.He takes ambien.He takes cold medications,was taking Sudafed and it nearly cause him to have a heart attack. He is ring me literally out.He got in the above ground pool with rust all over him and all kids of alge from this car hood he was power washing.He messed up the pool.I had to spend money to correct the water.He does jump in that pool when he is all grossly dirty.I asked him to please wash off,shower.He used a water hose and still had on his shorts from the dirty job.He claims he didn't mess up the water yet I drained 5,000 gals. and I scrubbed it and set it back up all by myself,with having tendinitis he knew about,he played golf.He is claiming he is ill, sickly ill.Yet he played golf 3 days in a row.Some how I can''t find it in me to have sympathy for a man who is abusing me as far as this house work and yard work goes. Things are becoming impossible.He is approaching the 60's mark and he is flipping bout it most likely.Why doe she need me to pat his back and rub his head like a 2 yr old? May we need to see counselor for the issues.He takes depression mes. because he is frustrated but I do not know what that means for him.He gets his head worked up to the fact of his own needs and that is nearly impossible to meet.He needs to be in hospital to have to be waited on 24/7 so he gets so much attention.I make meals and i have meals all the time,3 meals a day.Sometimes it is fend for yourself around here especially now in the summer and his son is here.His son is not my job,itis his job.He actually told me do I ned help from Jon to put his bed sheets on.I said no he can do it himself,which he didn't do for 4 days.I wanted to tell him he can help his own son put on his bed sheets. I mowed the yard and my wrists and hands became sore.I asked him for his help to throw the blade down on the mower.His remark was if I can''t do it get off.It was ugly! I reminded him of it later while I decided enough is enough and he replied to me he never said that. I am beginning to think he is more than cruel, or he is actually bipolar and it is really showing up. I need professional help and am thinking it will only help me in our case.He is a liar.He has told more things so far fetched.He actually believes all of them.From moving furniture from this house that had a matching but somewhat smaller dresser,he pulled a switch and tried to lie about it.I fully knew i wrote on the back of this dresser and it was all cleaned and shelf paper was out of it.He proceeded to keep in tact his switch never happened.He switched it out with his ex-wife involved,his daughter wanted the larger one.I didn't care if she wanted it ,it was the fact he was telling me untruths.The stuff was his mothers and not worth anything but the fact if was hers. Does this sound like an ADHD'er? It is becoming so stupid I can't think of keeping it up anymore. I love what we have done on the house.He built this patio and porch and it is beautiful.I wanted to enjoy it with him and he will never sit out there very long,he gets up and leaves me out there to sit in front of the tv.He wanted to stone it,he had 9 months of work put into it.He decided to do it that way.I told him to use different materila it would be easier.the cost came out the same and it was better.I think he is mad he had do so much work and i didn't put the stones on myself.I did lay these things out for him and did tons of yard work and kept his drinks coming so he wouldn't dehydrate.He gets out there ans never stops for food or drink at his age that is not smart to do.I have been patient in this and he is taking me for granted. Thanks for listening,What a long note. Becky
regal.70's picture

Your post makes me sad


can see your point about not having to always rescue your forgetful ADD spouse, but i have to wonder (reading your post) if part of the reason he married you was that you were so non-ADD, so responsible? my man is a rock, and he has a truckload of common sense (of which I have little to none). if it weren't for him, there'd never be gas in our lawnmower or money for summer vacations.

i am the rushing river who comes at him from all directions. i realize that it takes all of his energy to get my head out of the clouds (to effectively "ground" me) but most of the time he does such a great job of pinning wings on my dreams. to ask him, he'd admit life without me was painfully hum-drum ;-)

ADD is a plus sign in our family, just like Dr. Hallowell says. what you did to your husband reminds me of many authority-figures in my childhood who tried to control and manipulate me by peeing on my dreams and stifling my options...do you believe that he is just lazy? he should work harder? how creatively humble your husband was to eat his hat and call on a friend to taxi the kids...

sounds like he was trying to cope with his ADD on-the-fly (like so many of us do) but you immediately pulled the rug out from under him by seeing his survival skills as a personal attack, and shooting back...how exasperatingly sad that making your point became more important to you than being kind and understanding to him? Hmmmm...

...boy, am i glad i didn't pick someone like you for my life mate, my compliment...how choked my life would have been.

Some of us spouses are tired

Some of us spouses are tired and exhausted with the constant disruptions caused by the ADD spouse. Usually the rug is pulled out from under US! Because he forgot to call the mechanic to make sure HIS car was available now her life and plans are disrupted. It's hard to have sympathy when its the other person constantly causing chaos in the home. It is extremely stressful in general, but it can cause resentment when its always one sided and one spouse is always left holding the bag, cleaning up the mess, or having to coddle the other. My husbands constant disruptions threw me into a depression. I didn't want to get up in the mornings because I was afraid of what disaster I wold have to face that day when I've done nothing wrong but they ALWAYS seem to become my problem and my problem alone. Sorry but I agree with the poster. Her husband is an adult and he, like many ADDers who are used to their spouses picking up the pieces behind them, have to learn consequences. And if they can't manage their lives properly to compensate for their disorder they need to take the initiative and get outside help.

reply to kia

My relationship is exactly the same.  I am also tired and exhausted.  After 27 years of this it has taken a toll.  We have gotten a diagnosis but progress is very slow.  My husband sees a counselor but it doesn't seem to do much good as there is little follow through on what "supposedly" they discuss.  I'm 55 now, a time when I should be winding down from all the caregiving, start enjoying life and it is not happening.  I don't like that.  My mother is elderly and even though right now she is doing very well, I know some day she will need my help in caring for her.  I will be there for her, too.  I'm worn out just like so many others.  I hope you have recovered from your bout with depression.  It can be a horrible thing.  Please take care of yourself, first and foremost.  Good Luck!!         

to Regal.70


I have thought for a couple of days about your post.  I felt angry reading your comments to Speechie.

I feel it's callous of you to judge Speechie's behaviors.  When I read her post I said "Right On" out loud!  She did what I have done many times in my marriage. And it's been working for me and my husband for him to learn that his crisis is not my emergency.  And dragging friends and family in to solve his crisis also puts a strain on those relationships - no matter how "creatively" he may be trying to deal with his ADD!

For you to comment that you're glad you didn't pick someone like her because your life would be "choked" is incredibly judgemental from my point of view.

You comment in your post that "there'd never be gas in our lawnmower or money for summer vacations." if it wasn't for your husband.  And frankly that is how my husband is too.  He'd also never pay taxes, forget the mortgage, forget the utility bill, etc.  I personally would love to go on a summer vacation sometime - but he never makes enough money to make it work.

It may be okay with you and your spouse that he is the responsible one while you are free to wander the world with your head in the clouds, but many non-ADD spouses would like to have an equally responsible spouse.  That is not some kind of controlling, stifling authority behavior - it's called a balanced marriage! 

Kudos to you that you found someone to love you and take care of everything for you including pinning your wings on you so you can fulfill your dreams.  You admit it takes all HIS energy to get YOUR head out of the clouds.  Why should he be responsible for keeping you grounded?  Why can't you ground yourself?  I'm not judging you, if this works for you guys.  But don't bash someone else for trying to take control of an aspect of her life to get her husband to get his head out of the clouds.

I have a real problem with the assumption that the non-ADD spouse doesn't have creativity, dreams, aspirations and dynamic energy and that our lives are hum-drum without the wildly creative chaos that you seem to think is so attractive in the ADD guise.  Frankly, I'm an artist, creative, motivated, driven and dynamic in my pursuits - and I'm successful in these pursuits - and I don't have ADD - and I don't NEED my husbands creativity to inspire and bring interest to my life.  I'm also responsible, grounded - and can play with my head in the clouds sometimes.  I definately don't need to be the only responsible one in my marriage.  It's an alternate reality construct to think that the oh-so-fantastic-wild-creative-ADD-joy is somehow all worth the struggles for the hum-drum life the non-ADDer would have without the ADDer.  How shallow and barren.  Non-Add people can be just as creative AND succeed because their executive functions are firing on all pistons.

Thank goodness my husband sees that I am creative, motivated AND that I spend a lot of time dealing with his stuff.  He doesn't want me to take all my energy managing his life.  He's trying to learn to deal with his life so the two of us can use our combined energies to accomplish twice as much!

Has it ever occured to you that your husband wasn't put on this earth to spend all of his enegry managing your life?  You might be surprised to see how much BOTH of you can accomplish if YOU take a load off of him and let him have some of his energy back.

My mom has ADD pretty severely.  Her husband of 35 years did EVERYTHING for her.  He died swiftly and unexpectedly without life insurance.  She was left not even able to pay her own bills.  She never learned how!  And like you, she had her head in the clouds and she's been an artist forever and he always "pinned wings on her dreams" helping her with her painting passion (that's NOT a judgement - I love her and her gifts!).  But guess what?  It's been devastating for her (aside from losing her husband) to try to learn in her early-70's how to do all those practical things that she never had to take responsbility for because he always did EVERYTHING for her.  I've been helping her learn to pay bills, and do the practical things in life; including getting a job at 72 because she can't afford her mortgage.  And I am coaching her - but I'm NOT doing everything for her.  She is proud of herself for learning on-line bill pay, and she feels strong in her life because she is now learning to do things like pay her taxes, pay her mortgage, her insurance - and yes, put gas in the car.  She is given a new sense of accomplishment and fulfillment because there was an insidious lack of self-fulfillment in not being able to do anything for herself - even in her marriage.

You might do yourself a favor and learn how to use your enegry to get your head out of the clouds, not only so the two of you can SHARE the energy you both have, but just in case he suddenly disappears out of your life.  You might also consider that some of the people on this forum are looking for ways to bring equality and sharing in their lives to free up energy that will allow them to pin wings on themselves and follow their dreams rather than feel strictly like an anchor for someone elses life!




Bravo Speechie. Holding spouses accountable for their actions is totally appropriate.

The whole concept that just because someone has a mental illness they are not responsible for their actions and their consequences only hurts them and us. It does nothing to improve the situation. Holding people accountable helps them get out of the "I'm a victim" mode of living.

I have a sign in my office that reads "Bad planning on Your Part does not constitute a crisis on My Part." I live by it.

I find Regal.70's post self-satisfying and myopic. Looks like denial and self justification to me. I get tired of people thinking that just because they are ADHD that they are somehow more creative than others. Or that they think they are all artists. It is absurd.