Filed for divorce on Friday. Wondering if I ever loved him

How can you love someone you don't know? How can you love someone who won't share with you? I didn't know anything about what made him tick. It took 2 years of marriage before I figured out who was depressed. I thought that was the fundamental problem, not realizing that it's probably the result of his ADD.

I think what I fell for was the hyperfocus on me. Anything I wanted he'd do for me. He got up 7, drove 30 miles to pick me up and take me to work, then took me to my second job (where he worked too), then 30 miles back to my house. He did this for months, while I saved up money to buy a new car. It was wonderful. Everything I needed or wanted he did for me. Then we got married. Then he got fired, and wouldn't keep up our house even though I still had the same 2 jobs.

Maybe I never loved him at all. Maybe I just fell in love with the hyperfocus. Maybe after a first marriage where I was expected to do the housework, raise the kids, etc. and was beaten if I didn't do it right, maybe after being a single mom to 2 teenagers, one with ADD, and raising them to adulthood, I just thought I loved someone who seemed to love me so much.

Maybe if I loved him, I would have been happy to work while he didn't and come home at 10:30 and do the dishes, etc. Maybe if I loved him I'd have been glad to support him while he hyperfocused on NCIS and Charmed reruns. Love is about giving, not receiving. Should I have stuck it out, even though there was no more partnership there, because I made the commitment? Maybe he didn't feel loved because I had to work so much to support us both that I couldn't spend much time with him.

So now I kind of feel guilty. What happens to people who won't work? His mother isn't going to be around to support him forever. How will he eat and how will he have a place to live? I don't make enough to support 2 households, and I'm not going to be paying alimony. We weren't married long enough for him to get Social Security on my record, and his own will be pathetic, and he won't qualify for at least another 11 years. So what happens to these people, who are so damaged?


ADHD perspective

I think you loved him. You saw the best in him during the hyperfocus time and that person is still in there. Unfortunately, it sounds as if he hasn't recognized the need to change himself. That part is not your responsibility nor can you feel guilty about that. We can only change ourselves and be responsible for our own actions. Hopefully, at some point, he will realize this and turn his life around but you should not have to suffer if you have done what you can to try to let him know that his behavior has affected your relationship and he has not made changes. The courts will decide what's fair in regards to your finances. This is part of the price paid when someone in a relationship has decided that they cannot continue to be a part of it. I wish you the best of luck.

Unrealistic perceptions

I've seen other spouses post on this topic before. My husband actually accepted service on our divorce papers, much to my surprise. But he said it was my fault, not his ADD. He said I didn't do enough in the house. I had 2 jobs and am physically handicapped. He's perfectly healthy physically, and wasn't working. But he feels that I was unrealistic to expect him to do all the housework. He says I hardly did anything. Of course, he didn't see it because I was sitting at the computer all the time. When he does it, he's Facebooking or playing solitaire or watching cat videos. He can't comprehend that I was working. And I guess I wasn't working when I was at my "real" job either, because he couldn't see me doing it, because he got fired from the same job years ago. I suppose I was supposed to praise him like he donated a kidney to me whenever he washed the dishes.

Anyway, I'll be divorced by the middle of October. I'm never getting involved with another man again. I couldn't pick out the hyperfocus from real love, so I don't ever want to be involved with anyone again.


Sueann, my answer is SURE. Sure you loved him. Let yourself off the hook. I know it hurts--I spent a long time mourning the years I lost. But you went into it with the best intentions with the information you had at the time, and it sounds to me like you made a good decision to marry him and then a good decision to leave. You saw his potential, his "best" self, and unfortunately, he was unable to maintain that energy, that person, that ability, for the long term. How could you (or I) have known how it would be when untreated ADHD, or whatever, reared its head? Like you, I thought I "knew" him when we married, but he and I were actually on very different planets and I couldn't see it through the hyperfocus.

I also now have an ex who can barely function--I believe his ADHD and whatever else have contributed to some stress-related physical problems. Mine is on disability now and has to take money from his family (and a several joint items from me--divorce still isn't finalized). I worry about him--what happens to him? I do what I will (we have kids together), draw a line, and then walk away. Because you can't rescue your ex. He has to rescue himself. Right?  

I also have been so happy being on my own with my children that I often think having another relationship or trusting someone else would be too hard. I think I would be happy being alone (except for my amazing kids) for the rest of my life. I think, though, that you and I could learn a lot from our experiences. Never say never--you deserve to be happy. But we could say that we would never commit quickly again:-) And that if it seemed too good to be true, it may be. And that a friend could be worth ten romantic partners in a given situation. And that we love ourselves. And that we would listen to our guts. And that if I met someone, I wouldn't be trying to, but if I did, I would take it very, very casually and slowly.

My best to you. I know you've had a rough road. It will get better.  

I appreciate the kind words

I know you know where I'm coming from. I was lucky in that I got out after 7 years, and we never had children together.  I absolutely have no desire to date anyone else. I'll be 60 this year, so I don't have any sexual needs any more. I'm overweight and unattractive, and I have a very noticeable disability, so I don't guess it matters whether I want to or not, I doubt that anyone will want me. And I work very long hours trying to pay off debts (that he said he'd pay half of, but of course I can't expect that), so I have no time anyway.

I didn't start dating him until after my kids were grown and gone. If he'd been willing to meet me at least a quarter of the way (not expecting half) we could have been very happy together in the last third of my life. That is what breaks my heart.