Feeling hopeless

I just found this website a few days ago and have been reading through all the posts and it's scary how well they describe my life.  My husband and I have been married for almost 7 years and until recently I really had no understanding of ADHD.  We were both in our 40's when we met and he told me about his disorder, but he also said it had improved as he had gotten older and he no longer needed meds (which had caused some side affects, thus he stopped taking them before we met).  I really didn't think much of it and proceeded with the relationship as if there were no problems to deal with (naive I know).  He was employed when we met but left his job to come live near me (we lived in different states when we met). He found work quickly when he moved here but was never able to stick with anything, always blaming it on somebody or something else.  He has had about 30 jobs in 7 years and only one has he had longer than 6 months.  So it has fallen on me to be the provider since I can't rely on him but I'm self employed and don't make enough money to support us both comfortably.  He has started numerous businesses that have failed, or that he didn't follow through on, all with the use of my money.  He went through my savings and my home equity line of credit and then ran up my credit cards to the point of causing me to file chapter 7 about a year ago.  I blame myself for letting him have use of my money but I kept believing him because he's such a good talker and manipulator.  I've never known a man who didn't provide for his family so I guess I just didn't accept that he wouldn't step up to the plate.  And what really angers me is when he is in between jobs he doesn't help around the house so basically I'm doing everything and I'm exhausted.

Man/child is a description I saw used in numerous posts and it describes him very well.  He's happy and playful and always wanting to be with me and have sex and I don't even want him to touch me anymore.  I've turned into a raving "B", angry and frustrated, so he blames me for our marital problems and our constant fighting.  I've run out of patience, I feel like his servant and I'm very resentful.  I have no happiness in my life anymore.  I've given up on my dreams because I have nobody to help me achieve them and it's hard to get ahead in life when I can barely afford to support us both.  And what really gets me is my husband has so many dreams and I think he really believes he will achieve them.  He doesn't understand why I won't dream with him and make plans for our future.

After reading through these posts I feel even more depressed because this has suddenly become very real to me...this is my life and unless I get out of the marriage I will probably live month to month struggling to make ends meet, all while doing all the upkeep at home, with no hope of retirement.  This sure isn't the life I had planned!  A friend recently asked me what does your husband bring to your marriage?  My answer was "Not much.  He does love me and is always here for me to listen and support me.  But that's about it.  I don't know if he will ever be able to ever offer more than basic companionship."

I think he would be willing to go to counseling but I can't afford it.  I think he would be willing to get back on meds, but would it really help?  I feel like I've given up without really trying all the options but I'm at my wits end and not sure I have it in me to try.  Yet marriage is important to me and I take my vows seriously so walking away isn't easy either.

i know how you feel....

Hi Laurie - I read your post here earlier today, and my heart went out to you...then, I read a comment you made on another post, so I wanted to just reach out to you here...

I think the most any of us can offer you is our experience, strength and HOPE...which it sounds like you need, judging by the title to your post...

I also have been married for 7 years, husband currently unemployed over 2 years now and I can't begin to tell you how much of MY money and savings is completely gone...just POOF, like a magician's trick....here's where I can offer you the only hope that *I* know, that has helped me, over the last year or so.....don't let money rule y'alls lives and dictate it.  I KNOW that is much easier said than done, as I am the sole bread winner for over 2 years now, too, but I found myself getting more and more and more resentful and bitter the more I thought about how much MONEY he has literally just LOST.  Then one day, the realization hit me that you know what? we are not guaranteed a thing, not even our very lives, from day to day, so just stay in the moment and live in it, at that moment.  This may sound too simplistic, but I am a recovering alcoholic, and this is one thing I HAD to learn, just to survive my first 30, 60 and 90 days...after that, it seemed to get easier.  

Another thing I try to do, is "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, and don't mess with Mr. in-between" - when i get in these bitter, resentful moods at my "lot in life", I make a conscience effort to remember all of the things I love about my husband now, and everything I loved about him before I concluded he must have ADHD (he has not been officially diagnosed, but has every single text book symptom - I've almost convinced him to see a dr, he knows something isn't right), then think about the things that "drive me crazy" about him, and think what can *I* do to help him, help me?  One thing that works, and I hope I don't get banned from the site for saying this...but, you know how you said (and many, many, many others here) that you feel like you are taking care of a child?  Wellll, sometimes, it helps if I treat DH like a child, in a sense...constant praise, sometimes have to explain something like I am explaining to his 11 y/o daughter, etc, you probably get the picture.  I know, this sounds too exhausting and like too much work, but we are like y'all...this is his 3rd marriage, and my 2nd, and I am hell bent and determined to make this work....and hey, so far, so good.  :o)

Oh, another thing that helps me...I had a really bad near-death, if you will, car accident in 2006, ironically 2 months before I met my husband...anyway, from the very moment I realized my life was spared, it became easier to figure out what I wanted to care about in life, or get upset about, etc., and what really didn't matter...so, when I get home tonight, and there are dishes all over the counter like they are EVERY day that I ask they be put in the sink, what I'll do, like I always do, is walk over to the sink, put the dishes in the sink and ask my DH "Honey, would you mind please putting your dirty dishes in the sink after you eat lunch?" like I do, every. single. day.

Just know that there are hundreds and thousands of us out here that are going through the same or very similar situation as you are...just try to hang on, and keep your Faith!!!

I hope this helps! xoxoxo - julie jay

Thank you Julie

Thank you Julie, I really appreciate your reply.  It sounds like we have a lot in common...besides being married for the same length of time this is also my second marriage and his third and neither of us want another failure.  I'm fortunate that his kids are grown and have moved on so I'm not having to deal with the stress of raising children on top of everything else. 

You make some very good points and I know money shouldn't be a focus but it's hard when we are barely surviving every month.  I know I've been focusing too much on the bad and not enough on the good so I need to try and change my mindset.

On a positive note, my husband had a job interview yesterday and it looks like he got the job.  I'm hoping this will be something that lasts!  Even a little financial help would relieve a lot of my stress. 

Like I mentioned in my post here, this has all just recently become real to me.  I didn't understand this disorder so it was hard to deal with the reality of being married to someone who wasn't pulling his weight.  I've started to look at things differently now that I have a better understanding and I will be implementing some of the good advice I've read here.  Just yesterday I gave him a list of things to do and phone calls to make and he completed them all.  I'm willing to help him stay organized and leave reminders for him so he can get his chores done.  Hopefully this new job will work out and he will be home a lot less, therefore making less mess to clean up after.  :)

I'm also glad you brought up the issue of praise.  I never could understand why he needed it so badly.  Geez I never get thanked for doing basic household chores!  But if he did a few dishes he wanted to me to make a big deal of it.  It really kind of made me mad and I blamed his parents for doting on him so much (he's an only child and was quite spoiled).  But now I see it's also part of this disorder so I will try and do better with thanking him and praising him when he does what I ask him to do.

Thank you again Julie for taking the time to respond to my post, it means a lot!

Hug to you!  Laurie

 

hi Laurie

I hope you all had a nice holiday and wishing you the very best for the New Year!!!

xo-julie jay

 

Hi Julie, I haven't been on

Hi Julie, I haven't been on this forum for awhile and just saw this post.  I hope you had a nice hoiday too and I hope 2014 is an awesome year for you and your family!  My thoughts and prayers are with you!

Hugs,

Laurie

I'm new to the Group but can offer you some hope

Hello Laurie, Julie and everyone else,

I just joined the group today but have been reading the posts for hours.  I am non ADHD and married to an undiagnosed (and in denial about it) husband for 17 years and I have two kids, tweenies that have been diagnosed with ADHD. I joined today because I am exhausted and tired of talking to all my friends and family who try to understand but really can't.  I too was feeling very hopeless.  After reading many of the posts, which sounded so much like my own life, I realized how far my husband and I have come.  I am grateful for that and grateful that I have a place to vent when I need to.  Everyone else is tired of hearing it (as am I).  I feel hopeful now because we made it to 17 years of marriage.  I read the stories of others who are newly married or married less than 10 years or don't have children, and I realize that we somehow got through some really awful times.  Like others, I have gone through phases of indifference and anger as well as times where I wanted to leave.  Mostly now, I just feel exhaustion.  I also have depression (from all of this) and am 50 lbs overweight (emotional eater).  However, I know I have to take my meds for my sake and theirs, and that exercise and eating healthy will help me deal better.  I say if you have a spouse who is contributing in some way (financially, emotionally, or domestically) and is willing to at least make some small changes, things can get better.  My spouse started making baby steps on some things about 5 years ago.  I tried my best not to get snarky ("that's the best you can do?") and instead praised and thanked him.  Thus, as the years passed, those baby steps became huge changes in our lives.  If I didn't have those changes, I would have left. 

I say to those who aren't married, if you're complaining now, you should probably leave.  This is a tough, tough road to go down.  If I had known in the dating stages what I know now, I probably would have turned and ran in the other direction.  Now I feel like I'm stuck.  I feel like he will fall apart if I leave.  My career has suffered for the sake of his (he is a workaholic, but a great provider).  I'm exhausted now and all I can do is turn and look back at how far we've come (instead of "how did I end up married to this idiot?  or "why weren't the signs there back then?!").

Thanks to the ADHD spouses who do post.  I appreciate hearing your side of it and it helps me to understand my non-communicative spouse better.  I say to you to ask your spouse occasionally what one or two things you can work on.  Write them down, put them on the mirror, post them in your car and truly work on them.  Your spouse will see that you are taking his or her needs seriously and will love you more for trying.  (Also, see a doctor and get behavior thearapy and/or consider meds.)

To everyone on this site, read Melissa's book and other ADHD books!  I have a stack of them as well as books on parenting, marriage and Christianity.  I haven't read them all or completely, but I read bits and pieces when I can and write down key notes in my notebook.  Also, I advise going on dates outside of the home with only your husband at least 2x per month. If you can't afford it, date in the house (kids asleep at night) with tv and electronics off and just talk.  When you get away from the domestic responsibilities, you may remember why you picked this person in the first place.  Date often so you don't spend all your dates discussing the issues.  Go to a movie, then discuss it.  Or sit on the porch and talk about anything not serious.  Have a glass of wine.  You'll be surprised at how amorous you feel towards them when you're not yelling at them to do something or listen to you.

Hopefully, we can continue to encourage each other and give each other hope!  I'm glad I have this forum and I will be back to read, vent, empathize and advise.
 

Thanks for your post

Thanks for your post Buttercup, it's helpful to hear from people who are making it work.  It gives me hope.  I wish I could say my husband contributes financially or domestically but he does contribute emotionally.  He is very supportive of me and very affectionate but I guess that's not my love language.  His emotional contributions to the relationship mean very little to me without some help with paying the bills or keeping up the house.  The anger and frustration I feel from being over worked and tired all the time while he sits on his butt most of the day makes me not want him to touch me or even talk to me.  Maybe I'm being ungrateful for what I have because I see other posts where the ADHD spouse is inattentive and uninterested in the emotional/physical side of the relationship.  It's just hard to want the affection or attention from him when he annoys me and frustrates me so much.  And I'll be the first to admit I'm not the most compassionate, affectionate or nurturing woman, which is probably why I never had children.  But now I feel I have a big child who is out of control.  He expects things from me without being willing to do his share in return so it's hard to want to be the woman he needs.  You make some good suggestions - the dating and the posting notes of things you are working on.  I need to get some books but it seems I'm always too exhausted to read. 

Laurie