Feeling trapped

I've been posting on this forum on and off lately, trying to figure out whether my husband might have ADHD. I have a strong suspicion that he does, but it feels like such a battle to get him to admit he might need help that I'm starting to feel like just giving up. We've been married for a little over 2 years, and it's been just about the hardest period of my life. I think often about divorcing and getting my old life back -- conflict-free, financially secure, perhaps a bit lonely but more or less devoid of daily stress. I have chronic depression which was well-controlled by medication before we got married, but now I'm increasing my dosage and planning to see a therapist because my depression has worsened. I get so angry at him that I yell and call him names -- jerk, asshole, etc. -- and I feel terrible about that. I don't want to be a person who acts that way. But it's gotten to the point that we can't seem to talk about anything important without it turning into a fight, and my level of tolerance is virtually zero. My resentment of him is starting to outweigh everything else.

The problem (well, aside from all the others) is that my husband is, currently, totally dependent on me. He has significant student loan debt that he barely makes enough to pay off each month, and covering his own living expenses would not be a possibility for him right now. The thought of leaving him makes me feel incredibly guilty, like I'd be abandoning a child. On the one hand I think it would do him good to have to take care of himself, but on the other hand I just don't know that he can do it. He's got terrible credit and a defaulted loan in his name, so I'm not sure he could even get someone to lease him an apartment. He might very well have to move back to his parents' house in a different state and become dependent on them. Basically, I'd be totally screwing him over. So I vacillate between trying to convince myself that things can get better if we keep working at it, and telling myself that I'll just hang in there until he can eventually make enough money to support himself, and then leave. I feel trapped and am starting to hate myself for getting into this situation in the first place.







Hi, soconfused, I am so sorry you are in this situation. 

I read your post and find a thread that seems common from many others. My question is, what is the main issue? Are you still happy with him and do you love him, but feel frustrated? Or is the only thing keeping you from leaving him your fear that you will be abandoning him, and that he will not be ok without you? 

That seems like a good place to start. If it is the latter, then he may never start taking care of himself until he has to. Or he may never do it. But that shouldn't be what keeps you in an unhappy marriage. If it is the former, then there is different work to do, I suppose. My best to you. 

Lyninny, thanks for your

Lyninny, thanks for your sympathy. I guess that's all I wanted when I wrote the original post in a fit of frustration.

I do love my husband, but I wouldn't say I'm happy with him, at least not right now. I think that's the hard thing to untangle -- how much temporary unhappiness to put up with for the sake of the relationship, and when to decide that it isn't actually going to be temporary, but permanent. If it is permanent, due in large part to untreated ADHD, I'm pretty sure I'll have to leave eventually. But at what point can you safely decide that it isn't going to get better? If that time does come, I'd like to be able to live with myself and not feel like I was throwing him to the wolves. I know that giving up now would be premature and I'd always wonder if I should have tried harder. So, I'll keep trying for now.


Now or later?

I'm guessing, from what you describe, that you and your husband are fairly young (20s or 30s).  My husband is 59 and I'm 52, and we have been married for 28 years.  I filed for a separation this year and suggested that he move out temporarily this fall, to see how a separation would "feel."  He is living with his elderly parents, who are both ill.  He provides them with care but also is financially dependent on them.  My opinion is that your husband's dependency issues are not likely to dissipate or decline without some major impetus from you.  I highly doubt that my husband will be able to develop independent living skills now, at his age; it might have been possible when he was in his 30s.  What I see in him now is a big sense of entitlement, plus he is not likely to get a job in this bad economy.  Please don't feel that you owe your husband a rescue.  It's possible that the best thing you could do for him would be to separate so that he can learn to live on his own.