Feel Like My Loving Husband Has Gone AWOL

My husband and I have been married for 6 and 1/2 years. It has been rocky at times, and I also have anxiety issues which I have been successfully treating with cognitive behavioral therapy. My husband was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and admits to having it, but I don't think he is really wrapping his head around how his ADHD affects me.

He has a short fuse and will get angry and say very hurtful things. He is inattentive, works very late as he has trouble getting things done, does not get very emotionally involved in things. I have spoken with him about all of these things, and we did couples counseling. Our therapist, however, didn't know much about ADHD and my husband barely talked and it ended up being all about the problems that I was supposedly causing and nothing about his ADHD.

Recently, I have been taking better care of myself, meditating, exercising, etc. Two weeks ago he had another angry outburst where he said very hurtful things. I had just talked with him about this in the 3 weeks before the latest outburst. I told him 2 weeks ago that he needed to seek treatment with an expert on ADHD, and that I wanted to be involved so we could work on it together. He then dragged his feet for a week and a half, supposedly calling the expert but never making an appointment, so last Sunday I told him he needed to find another place to stay until he decided to seek treatment. He wouldn't leave the house for 3 days, then said he would seek treatment, then said he didn't know if he would and last Wednesday he left. He has been staying with various co-workers since. Most of his coworkers are about 10 years younger than he is (he's 36) and very into going out, drinking, "partying."

In the past he has wanted to join them more than I have been comfortable with. Right now it seems like instead of being contemplative and figuring out how to work on our relationship he is having a great time being the center of attention with his "friends" from work. Yesterday we had agreed over email that we would talk on the phone in the evening and I called him but he never called back. I know from being friends with his coworkers on Facebook that he was at his boss's house helping her husband fix a washing machine, and it makes me angry that he has time to help his boss but not to consider our relationship. (I am no longer friends with his coworkers on Facebook because that stuff just upsets me.)

It is like he is having a mid-life crisis and the man I love has gone AWOL. He seems completely oblivious to the fact that if he doesn't begin to show some interest in working on our marriage that we may not have a marriage anymore. He doesn't seem to realize that living it up at his co-workers' houses is not the appropriate action to take at this time. On September 19 he will be back in the condo he owned before we were married that we have been using as a rental. I am wondering if no longer being surrounded by his "friends" he will be able to better see what is at stake here.

I have tried to make it clear to him that I am willing to continue working on the issues I bring to the table, that I want to support him and that together I think we can make things better, but this doesn't seem to matter. He has a hard time admitting he has a problem and I am fed up. If he does call I want to ignore him and give him the cold shoulder, but, because of his social obliviousness, I think he will not realize that not calling me back when so much is at stake is the reason for my not wanting to talk to him.

I do love him very much, and I do think that if he decides to take responsibility we can work through this, but I am wondering if he is capable of taking responsibility, and it is seeming less likely with each passing day. All I want is for him to be willing to work on things. Thank you for listening to my vent, and if anyone has any insights I would appreciate your thoughts.

Dear AWOL My husband has been gone for past 2-3 yrs.

I have experienced everything that you are going through.  I can relate to ever word.  My husband began spending lots of time after work reporting that he was going on "team outings" with his sales teams.  Historically he was not doing this a lot.  He came home one night at 2:30 am from one of these "outings". I confronted him and said husbands who stay out until 2:30 am on a week night are usually screwing someone.  The bars close at 12-12:30 so what have you been doing for the last two hours?

Response: "Your being ridiculous". This event caused me to drag him into the Hallowell Center where I put all my cards on the table with therapist David Keevil.  Maybe Keevil is good at individual therapy but I was not impressed with his marriage counseling skills.  My husband insisted he did not want a divorce even when I offered him this as an option.  He insisted he loved me and did not want a divorce.  Dr. Keevil said he needed to end the marriage counselor relationship and work with my husband one on one which he was unwilling to do and wanted him to continue as our marriage counselor.  All the problems were identified but Keevil was not great with concrete solutions to the problems that were identified.  Did not seem to try to get my husband to embrace his diagnosis and educate himself about his diagnosis.  So we stop going and I leave there thinking we are ok.  He said he loves me, he said he does not want a divorce.  He drives me to the train almost daily and hugs and kisses me and says I love you, don't talk to strangers make good decisions.  When he picks me up more hugs and kisses.  Then one morning after saying these words to me he drove to a hotel in Marlboro to meet his lover.

His computer use was out of control, his blackberry use was out of control and on April 20th, 2010 I discovered he was having an affair with a married work associate.  He had been doing lots of online facebook flirting for the past 2 years unknown to me and was behaving like a single guy when he was outside of the home again unknown to me.  Sadly the majority of the affair was online.  It was not about being with her, or spending time with her, or making her feel special.  It was all about the secret e-mails.  They had sex 3 times in 4 months.  I only get it monthly by saying "do you realize we have not had sex in 1 month?"  Response: Really has it been that long and then it seems he has sex but more out of obligation then wanting to have sex.  He even made her pay for the hotel room at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.  He paid for the 2nd hotel in Marlboro (far less expensive) and once they had sex in an office conference room after hours.  He inniciated the affair and she ended it because she was unhappy with how he treated her.  After she pulls the plug on the affair he goes to the Newton Wellesley Hospital at 3 am in his PJs saying he wants to kill himself.  My phone rings at 6 am and it is him telling me where he is and could I bring him clothes.  He did not show any signs of depression prior to this incident.  After his release from the locked psych ward at Newton Wellesley Hospital where I visited him daily holding his hand and being the supportive wife.  The first thing he does when he gets out is sends her an e-mail trying to keep the affair going.

I threw him out and was willing to live apart and poss. try marriage counseling again.  Then I realized, I love him but what is in this for me?  I'm giving and giving and giving and being supportive and understanding and this is how I am repaid?  Since leaving he is sleeping on a mattress on the floor of his parent's spare bedroom.  The home he grew up in is filthy and neglected. He is in the bars every night and this past month spent $4,800.00 on bars and eating out.  He is college educated and has a Master's Degree from Emerson.  He is a smart guy. He is all worried about turning 40 in 3 years and surrounds himself with 18-21 year olds that hang out in bars in the Gardner and Fitchburg area.  He is happy now.  He is living with his parents at 37 and does not contribute to that household in any way shape or form.  He spends his evenings in bars being a regular like Norm from cheers.  The people in the bars are his new family now.  He is happy.  This is the kind of life that makes him happy.  Its all about him and no responsibility.  He is in therapy weekly at the Hallowell center and supposedly is taking his meds for the first time ever, but I don't he is telling his therapist how much time he is spending in bars or how much time he is spending in bars drinking.  He is a master at pretending everything is fine when it is not.  He has this down to an Art Form.  So divorce is in my future.  I am sad, I am heartbroken but some times you need to know when to give up and sometimes the only person you can save is yourself.  I hope my story helps you.

I believe my husband would

I believe my husband would spend all of his time in bars drinking and surrounding himself with younger women also, if he had his way.  But I have made it very clear that if he does so, we will be divorced.  He pretends everything is fine when he knows deep down it is not.  It is all about my husband, too and his lack of responsibility.  It is sad when someone you loved does not want to make the effort to help themselves.  Most of us do give up after awhile and you are correct, you finally realize that the only person you can save is yourself.  If there is anything left to save, if you know what I mean!!!!!

Thank you!

Dear Newfdogswife,

Yes I do know exactly what you mean. 

Wow.  Just wow.  I so

Wow.  Just wow.  I so empathize with you, but also give a silent "atta girl" that you are strong and know what you do and don't deserve.  In a way, he's made it easier to make that decision, instead of continuing on forever (or at least it always feels that way) hemming and hawing like I've been doing because mine hasn't been that drastic.  You'll also have the support of anyone you talk with, as that's a pretty straight, across-the-board acceptable reason to throw a guy out, regardless of the ADD.  Bonus:  You won't have to spend as much time explaining all the ADD issues and repercussions whilst they stare at you blankly or poo-poo you by saying that "everyone's like that".  I also have to laugh over your description of him back w/mummy and daddy.  Mine would likely do the same, except Mrs. Cleaver would eagerly serve him and clean up after him for as long as she could make him stay, and her house would remain spotless as she defended his every thought and action.  Enabling at its finest...

Oh yes - I absolutely have to comment on your comment:

Re: "I only get it monthly by saying "do you realize we have not had sex in 1 month?" Response: Really has it been that long and then it seems he has sex but more out of obligation then wanting to have sex."

UNBELIEVABLE!!  I swear you borrowed and played the tape recorder that I should be using!  I've even taken to marking the calendar just so that he can't argue and deny the time lapses in between.  It's just that he's so busy...waaaaahhhh!  (Let me call the "waaaahmbulance!!)  Helpless to his circumstances and lack of scheduling or time management.  You make time for your priorities...


Thanks for your online support

Dear Chronic vasilator,

It is so nice to have someone who understands where I am coming from.  It has been 5 mths since we separated.  It has been very hard but very necessary.  He was totally and completely out of control.  The computer addiction, the online porn, the in person flirting the online flirting, the excessive spending, meeting single women at bars and lying about it, then finally the affair with a married work assoc.  Most likely not his first affair, but the first time he was caught red handed.  We had been in marriage counseling 1 1/2 years ago and the guy cut us loose.  "No point in you two coming any longer.  I need to work with your husband alone." He refused.   We stopped going and he got worse and worse and more out of control.  I find myself missing him and I say what in the world are you missing?  The little crumbs of attention he thew my way.  I think of all the awful things he put me through before it all blew up.  So I am trying to be strong, to not see him, not talk to him, not communicate unless absolutely necessary and only e-mail or text message.  I need to feel what it is like not to live in a home with a very mentally ill person.  To  experience normal again.  It has been 10 years since I experienced normal.  I will file divorce when I am feeling strong and I am in a better place.  I just think I stayed too long and I lost myself in the disorder.  I am trying not to what if myself.  The person I loved, the person he was in the beginning of the relationship, that is the person I miss.  That person was never coming back to me, I kept waiting and waiting and waiting.  He was gone, never to return.  I miss him, I love him, but he is gone and I need to accept that.  There is no happy ending for me.  I am so very sad as I grieve the loss of my marriage and all my hopes and dreams.  Hopefully in time I will be happy again.