Final straw. Not sure how to cope anymore.

Over the last 28 years, my wife has been just unbearable. I can have the same conversation ten thousand times and every time it's like we never talked about this before.

No matter what I do, it's always wrong. I follow her around and make sure she functions because she can't on her own. I have to make her breakfast 99% of the time because she can't manage time. God forbid she has to make me breakfast. Once or twice a year at best. She will set her plate on the hot element and then blame me for burning herself. Yesterday she told me that asking her if she wanted her eggs and toast now was too much pressure.

It's one thing to have to treat her like an infant. I get that I have to carry her so that she can make it look like she functions to others. I could even be 100% ok with that and no hard feelings. But, when everything I do is cut down, I just can't keep going. 

If she would say, 'well crap, I didn't manage my time well again. Sorry, my ADD is bad today' I could be fine. But I get the opposite. Everything is my fault. 

Someone tell me something other than 'just take it' or I'm gone.

I don't think you should just

I don't think you should just take it.  I don't think that ADHD is an excuse for dependency (you having to make her breakfast every day) or rudeness (her snapping at you).  Stop making breakfast for her, and don't apologize or explain.

Ah Parenting the Spouse

I'm very sorry you are going through this.  The consistent advice is to stop enabling the behavior so that they have to function as the adults that they are.  Of course we started parenting them because in some ways it made life easier, but they do come to depend on it.  I agree with Rosered, just stop.  Very hard to do in my experience.  She won't be happy with that either of course.  But at least then you aren't doing her chores too.  Setting boundaries after having none for so long is hard.  Being consistent is hard.  Fixing any relationship that has had 28 years to nourish bad habits is hard.  Doing so without your spouse's cooperation is impossible. 

I've spent a lot of self pity time dwelling on the hyper-critical behavior.  It's really hard to hear the nitpicking, and the complaining about every little thing.  Often about behaviors they often commit themselves.  This is behavior that lessens as treatment starts to kick in.  Especially the therapy part.  Medication doesn't really fix that part, and it seems worse before they take it in the morning and it wears off at night.  I won't discuss anything with my spouse before he's eaten and taken his meds.  If he's crabby I know he hasn't taken it yet.

It sounds like you are really fed up.  Is it possible to get away for a couple of days?  Has she expressed the desire to get better?  Does she understand how pervasive that behavior is?  Has she taken real ownership of having ADD?  My husband's behavior improved after he did.  Does she know that you are considering a split?

There is no reason you should have to deal with that type of behavior indefinitely.  Good luck getting through this.

just say

I am so sorry you are dealing with this. Caveat that I left my spouse with ADHD 2.5 months ago. 

I hear you--I always said, good grief, if he would just say, "I am sorry, I know you are doing everything, I just can't make myself pick up my laundry, something is going on here, it's my ADHD..." or "I know you are taking care of the kids every morning. I am sorry that I just don't feel like I can get up and help you, but maybe I can give them a bath tonight," I would have been fine. I think there are those with ADHD who develop such significant systems for coping with their disorder, including defensiveness, and it takes work to change this. I also think ADHD can cause some pretty extreme irritability in some (at least from my experience and reading these boards). Once mine blamed me for leaving a soda in the refrigerator, which he drank, when he was on a no-sugar diet, because he couldn't tell that it wasn't diet soda, and it was all my fault (not his for not reading the label or asking or not shopping for himself or whatever). He was really upset, like yelling at me, and I told him, "I can't believe you are blaming me for this!" I think he was upset for blowing his diet but I didn't develop the ability to just walk away and not let it affect me personally.

The everything being your fault is awful. I know there are many on this site who have found a way to work with it or shut it down or rise above it and take care of themselves. It sounds like you are reaching the end of your rope. Can you take a break? Encourage her to go to counseling with you if she understands how serious it is? 

It actually helps to know

It actually helps to know that the unbearable nature of my spouse is something you have experienced. Well... I don't mean I am glad you had to deal with it, but not being alone in this helps in some weird way.

My 3 boys have ADD as well, so it's a constant barrage of emergencies to fix. I really thought it would abate some when they left home. And don't get me wrong. My boys are the best in the world. But I am exhausted and I don't know how much longer I can juggle it all. They are all out of the house but still require quite a bit of management. 

I know this sounds really bad, but I just want to start over with someone and have the few remaining years of my life be ADD free. I want to know what it's like to live with an adult without these issues.

My wife's family has always mentioned how she was like this as a child. How the other two sisters would have to carry her chores and such. But now, they just demand that I cover for her on their behalf as well. I can get nasty calls from my Sister-in-law who is mad at me because my wife doesn't call her enough. OK, I get that my wife will defer blame, but we are talking about a highly paid speech pathologist who has her masters degree. How can someone with that intellect posit that I am to blame? That, of course, is a rhetorical question. 

Getting away does me no good. It's not like I need a breather. I am so far beyond that. I just need it to stop. 

BTW, Lynninny, I agree. If my wife could just own up to it instead of insisting it's always my fault. 

The biggest nail in the coffin is that she can simply forget sex. For weeks and weeks. As a guy, I have a pretty strong sex drive, but being ignored and forgotten has made me have complete distaste for her sexually. There are some hygiene issues as well. I won't get into it, but it turns my stomach. Lack of sex on top of all of the other dysfunction completely severs my emotional ties to her. I don't think women understand how important a good sex life is for a man to stay connected emotionally.


Well, enough ranting. Any insight is helpful and thanks for the commiseration! haha


The flip side...

I get you on the sex thing but if it helps to know this... (gross generalization). My husband never initiates sex at all. If I initiate sex he's happy to have it but often can't perform because he has recently masturbated. So he'll do what he needs to to satisfy me but truly it's so insulting to know that he would rather masturbate than have a mature sexual relationship with someone who wants to have sex with him. I'm just tired of being invisible. He sleeps next to a mostly naked woman every freaking night and still masturbates. He only just decided to give up the porn that I found out about a year ago. I have not caught him so I assume he really has given it up. Either way I totally get what you are saying.

funny but sad...

I use porn but it's sort of the opposite chronology. It's a last resort to not cheating. About 10 years ago she cheated then I cheated. I don't think it was as much retaliation as wanting to connect with someone without the pain. But it was still cheating. I never want to be that guy again so porn is just about all that is left for me. I can't really wait it out like she can. Guys just don't get that kind of physiological grace. 

I'm sort of the exception to the rule. If my wife slept naked, I'd be all over her, but she wears 2 sets of clothes to bed. It screams 'I'm not sexual'. Plus, she gets herself buried in 'tasks' until late at night. This will go on for weeks. I'd initiate if she left any room for it, but there isn't. So, porn is what's left. As a guy, it's fun sometimes but I sure miss having a sexual woman to be with. 

As for your man, If he wasn't ADD I'd suggest telling him in the morning that you want sex because most guys use porn because they are pretty sure their wife doesn't want sex that day. If they know it's a sure thing, they would rather have sex. Actually, I don't know of a guy that looks at porn that didn't spend years begging for enough sex and then finally gave up and turned to porn. But, none of them are ADD, so that changes things.

With my wife, if I initiate, she stops completely. It's that way with anything we do. As soon as I try to be 50%, she just vanishes. For the longest time I thought that women were just that sexless. I was becoming a misogynist and that wasn't cool with my values. Then when I cheated, the woman I was with was amazing in bed. Looking back, I am at least glad that I figured out that it was simply my wife and not women in general. I didn't know women could actually be good at sex! haha. Sounds funny and cruel, but I had no other data other than friends that complain non stop about their sexless wives. 

Try telling your hubby to 'save it' for you the night before and then again in the morning. It's a pretty good plan for men in general. Most guys I know need sex every day. Whether you know it or not, we have to take care of it ourselves or go mad if we don't have sex every day. It really gets annoyingly bothersome if we try to just not take care of it. So, maybe if you make sure he knows you want it that night, he can be there for you more. It's not perfect, but it might be an improvement. 

And on behalf of all men worldwide, we give you 1 million points for sleeping naked(ish). As a gender, we thank you haha.


i so wish that were true

I can totally sympathize the desire for an ADHD free life. I also see Melissa's point about enabling. We can help by changing our approach, but it sounds like your wife was never all that functional so she really doesn't have a frame of reference for competence. But I think the sexless marriage is more of an ADHD symptom. First there's the lack of intimacy with the parent child dynamic. Then there's the Adhd spouse being distracted by everything else. After all in a long marriage the sex isn't shiny and new. At least that's what I attribute the lack of interest to. He says its post 40 lower testosterone levels and maybe the meds. Whatever, I miss it. And got weary of rejection. At least he doesn't seem to be substituting with porn. Argh. You are in an ugly spot. Good luck making the best decision for your mental health. I've never met anyone who regretted divorce...

I doubt it's an over 40 thing and more of an ADHD thing

I'm 46 and most of my buddies are that age or older. 99.9999% of them are just as sexual as when they were 20. The only thing that seems to change is that going a day without sex is less painful haha. It could be low T, but the single male I know with ADHD over 40 says he simply forgets. He wants it, but spaces it out until he is nearly asleep, makes a mental note to do 'it' tomorrow and never gets around to it.

Yeah, you can feel pretty unwanted being married to an ADHD person. How you didn't cheat is amazing. Especially the other reply where it's been years. No way I could survive that but I'm a guy. It still hits emotionally the hardest. I don't know if women do this, but guys have their entire self image subject to being desired sexually. Well, non ADHD guys. It's not that it's really THAT big of a deal, but not being wanted will pretty much gut your self image as a man. Sexual identity is extremely important... at least insomuch as it's a key ingredient. You might not need large quantities, but without it... not good!

I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but having to repeat requests... especially the more important ones, has got to stop. I am literally making a set of videos so that when I have to repeat the same thing, I just queue up the computer vid and play it. I save myself the rage I feel having to repeat myself... and at this point rage is the correct word. And I have a counter on the vid that shows how many times I've had to play it. So far, I've only previewed them, but I am interested to see how this plays out. I'm a programmer, so this is easy to set up for me. I have it so I can simply say, 'please play #5 now'. 

Is that mean? I'm really just trying to stop some of my frustration. Maybe that's my 'break'.

I hear you on this. My dh

I hear you on this. My dh takes care of himself every single day. I don't remember when I last had sex with him, so it's been years. It's never been satisfying, he never follows what I ask. I was nearly asphyxiated a few times when he didn't respond to me telling him to get off of me, so I stopped wanting any.


Everything you say resonates

Everything you say resonates with what I'm feeling nowadays. I'd be okay if he would just say, "it's the ADHD. I know you and I have had to work around and compromise a lot so I could perform at my optimal for you and the boys." The other day he went off saying how it was my fault that I lost the last credit card bill because there was a past due statement. What he forgot was that he had specifically requested the billing cycle be changed, and the cc company was at fault. He could not stop long enough to register he had done that and blamed me. I ended up having to call the credit card company myself to get the late fees lifted. It's sort of like rubbing salt in your own wounds LOL

I had already learned if the bills aren't laid in a certain fashion in the Inbox, it would never be paid and I've been doing so for 20 years. But for years I was asked where I put the bills in an angry way, as soon as he walked in the door, despite the fact that all bills were placed in the InBox all the time. I finally asked him if he actually expected me to fetch the bills from the InBox and lay them in front of him. I also stopped answering him when he was so angry nor fetched him the bills; I asked him where he *thought* the bills were. And he finally registered they are in the InBox. I think he was upset for having to pay the bills, and the thought of some kind of cost phobia makes him both furious and anxious and I would be attacked. (If I were to explain this to him, he would deny he was attacking me tho).

Maybe a tiny bit more than half the time, I am able to shut down my fight response but it's almost pushing myself to have a flat affect for as long as it takes for him to remove himself from my space...


"Everything is my fault"

I'm going to suggest something that I hope turns your view 180 degrees.  Don't you think it would be easy for her to say that everything is your fault when you are doing everything (for her)?  How can it "be" her fault when you're doing it?  Though you may feel backed into a corner, you are contributing here.  Time to move away from parenting her.  If nothing else it may help diminish your resentment.

BTW - don't misunderstand me - I'm not blaming you...just suggesting that you can impact this more than you think.

Fear of responsibility

I understand your point, Melissa.  I think it's true.  But how does one encourage someone like my husband, who seems to have a pathological fear of being responsible for anything?  He sometimes criticizes me for being too controlling, but he refuses to do things and to make decisions.  

It's so tough

For the OP, I can see where it's frustrating for you to never be appreciated for anything you do and, worse yet, blamed for things that weren't your fault.  It's like you're caring for a teenage girl rather than your wife who's supposed to be your teammate.  I often have to do the same thing for my own wife who leaves messes wherever she goes and only occasionally cleans up after herself after I've vented to her when my inner turmoil was too much to keep controlled.  I approached it as sharing her a fear or hurt that I have because of her disrespect of me and my effort to provide for the family and to keep everyone safe and secure.  When the place is a mess and there's no personal responsibility, it's hard to feel safe and secure.  Usually, there's tension and anxiety.

She's probably sensing that you are in a position of power over her; able to keep organized, disciplined, and focused, and she is insecure about that because she is powerless and helpless to do things that you easily do because of her ADD.  So, she tries to regain power in a teenage way by criticizing you and blaming you so she doesn't feel completely useless.  If she's able to get under your skin, she will hold onto that shred of power that she has to affect you in some way, rather than possibly being made to feel any less than she already does.  Maybe you could try to only focus on the good that she does and to sincerely and specifically praise her for it?  Doesn't have to be so often that it seems weird, but at specific times, like when she is getting ready to criticize you or at a completely random time when you're just relaxing.   This may help her gain strength and confidence to feel needed and to help you around the house.

It's easy to get focused on our own needs and to get those met when, on the other hand, we have the power to change the environment of our homes and marriages to ripen it for our needs to eventually get met.  This can be done by empowering the other person to take responsibility for their life and, eventually, your marriage.  That's done by encouraging them in their strengths in a very gentle, kind, compassionate, and sincere way.  There may be a pain process they go through as they convince themselves to accept that you aren't going to follow up your good comment with 10 bad ones, but if you show consistency in choosing to praise their good for a while even when you see their bad, then you can take the next step in gingerly bringing to them your fear and hurt and sadness (at the root of your anger) about your own needs and how they can help you through that.