Finally Divorcing My ADHD Husband

I was so grateful to find this site over a year a half ago that I felt compelled to come back and continue where my saga left off. At the time I posted my first entry, I was contemplating leaving my husband. I am now 17 months into what I call an “ADHD Divorce” and I am hoping to shed light to those in my situation. I wanted to come back here because when you’re in the ‘thick of it’, living with an ADHD spouse, it’s almost impossible to see how bad it is. You become so accustomed to it—the frustration, the stress, the denial (his AND yours) that you have no idea of the magnitude of the situation. I knew it was bad when I first wrote that post, but I really didn’t understand the craziness I’d been living in until I was finally away from him.

My first post was lengthy, but here’s the gist…He:
- Had 5 jobs in 5 years. The only reason he stopped there was b/c NO ONE ELSE would hire him. Passed up for promotions 3x’s despite testing the highest.  It was always someone else's fault.

- Finally got a job he liked and within two months was applying for a different one while at the same time contemplating a career change

- Decided he wanted to become a real estate mogul in addition to the 70+ hours a week he already worked in law enforcement; bought 4 properties in a matter of a few months; all are in the process of/ or have already foreclosed

- 20 different cars in 13 years; he once borrowed my car for a day and came home with a new one
- And all the little stuff:
- Couldn’t ‘man’ the grill because he’d forget the food was out there. I had to take over the job of mowing the lawn because I'd rather just have it done than fight about it. I’d find the milk in the cupboard, important mail filed before it'd even been opened, we’d pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars in fees to the bank because he couldn’t balance his many accounts. I never bothered to ask him if he knew where something was that I set down; he could have put it away two minutes before and would have no clue.
- Our sex life was non-existent. Who wants to have sex with someone they totally resent and view as their 3rd child? And even if I COULD get him to stop playing Legos with the kids long enough, STRESS does not do much for the libido.
- And I could go on…..and on.

Oh, and I also found out he had been cheating on me again. After finding the cell phone bill with thousands of texts to women he claimed he only spoke to a few times (sometimes 90+ texts a day) I realized he could not stop lying to me. I had put up with so much; this was the final straw. (Side note: he does not believe he has ADHD. I begged him to see a doctor; he talked with our GP for 15 minutes who blew the whole thing off and said there was nothing wrong with him. I felt really alone at that point.)

And now that we’ve been separated for over a year? One word: PEACE. The fog has lifted. The utilities are now paid on time. I’m not accumulating any more debt. I’m not stressing over listening to him want to change jobs….AGAIN. He’s not here telling me about more remodeling projects he’s planning for our house that is $350,000 under water. I am in control and I have hope for my future.

But it hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies….In fact, it’s been, and continues to be an ADHD divorce nightmare.
-We are 2 million dollars in debt—largely from the rental properties he bought, but also for 2nds and 3rds he took out on those properties
-My credit is ruined - my credit rating is now in the bottom 5% of the US population. I cannot get approved for even a pre-paid credit card.
-My home is in foreclosure - it was only through my divorce did I find out he hadn’t been making regular payments since the beginning of our mortgage.
-He’s taken me back to court FOUR times in the past year attempting to get more custody of our kids and pay less support. Each time he is denied his motion he ignores the court orders and files a new motion as soon as he is allowed. It costs me $3,000 every time my attorney has to show up (all of which my mother is paying, but the divorce fund is all but dry now).

-He has taken our kids on multiple weekend trips to Disneyland, Legoland, river rafting, Joshua Tree, Las Vegas for a car show….bought them motorcycles, a piano…bought himself new cars, toys….and yet he can’t pay his child support. I had to get a court order to have his wages garnished. I only get half of what I’m supposed to per month and he owes me $25,000 in back support pay.

-I’m going back to court next week because he filed another motion to move back into our residence so he can ‘save’ the house.

-He’s told me he won’t stop taking me back to court until he gets what he wants: 50% custody of our kids, despite the fact that he’s never done a page of homework with them, keeps them up til all hours of the night, and oftentimes ‘forgets’ to FEED them. When the kids are with him, he no longer has me around to pull him back from the island of ‘Neverland’….. so the kids are running a mile a minute trying to keep up with Dad’s next big adventure.

Sounds bleak, I know. But I have to say, I have NO REGRETS. I’m very sad my kids will grow up in a ‘broken’ home—but I’ve come to realize it’s better to be ‘broken’ and to start over than to be warped and just keep spinning in circles. I am SO HAPPY to be free of his constant Tasmanian-Devil presence. I don’t miss it one bit. Being removed from the constant stress made me realize just how crazy my life was. A few months after my husband moved out, my six-year old said to me, “Mom, your face looks like it’s glowing!” It brought tears to my eyes—I am happy for the first time in a very long time. Even though he has financially ruined me, anything I make and save in the future can actually be SAVED. I know I’ll never be sitting in the dark because he forgot to pay the bill again. I’m no longer running in circles trying to catch all the balls he’s sent flying in the air. I now have a chance at having a relationship with an actual ‘adult’-- someone who will make me feel like a woman and not their mother. Life is good.

I pray for your continued

I pray for your continued healing and sanity!

I also pray that your children are not scarred from the interaction they saw and in turn are able to find ADULT LIKE and compatible spouses of their own.

I mention this as with my honey, (who is ADD), I believe a lot of his inability to function in an adult way has to do with the things he saw at home. Not sure if anyone is ADD but I believe there was a lot of other things going on! He's so loving and it affects him, to this day, very deeply.

I pray you ALL find a good support network and that yourself and children are able to get therapy and maintain a happy/healthy life.

I also pray that you are able to find it in your heart to forgive your ex as I am sure he loved you and did the best he could... Not saying he shouldn't have gotten help but the lifestyle of denial makes it hard for people to even be honest with THEMSELVES!!!

I pray that this situation (at some point) will show your ex his true self and that he will be motivated to modify destructive behavior and that he may even give you an apology at some point!

I also pray that, in time, you both find COMPATIBLE loves' and people that will be tender and compassionate to your needs. I pray you find a LOVE and peace that surpasses all understanding and that this experience be used (someday) to benefit someone else!


hockeymom11's picture

my life too

holy cow, your life sounds like mine.  My husband once put his toyota in the shop ($300 a month loan), came home with a "rental" BMW and had actually ended up buying it!!  ($650 a month loan!), he also financially ruined us.  I was able to get a credit card with a $300 limit and I've been making small purchases and paying them off in order to rebuild my credit.

We are separating using a mediator (much less than lawyer and legal in our state).  I too cannot wait for peace and quiet.  My husband constantly tells me how I am inconsistent with our kids and I'm a terrible mother and he too has forgotten to feed them!!! ("I wasn't hungry so I didn't cook").

I'm so sick and tired, really tired of living with another child.  I cannot wait to be free and I know it will not be easy.  I'm trying hard to get the finances in order and get small things fixed on the house in preparation for winter.  It won't be a cake walk, but it WILL get easier.  I'm blessed to have a doctorate and a good job so at least I can support us for the most part. I feel so bad for you that your husband cannot and will not be responsible for his end of the child support.  Maybe once he has realized his problem he will seek help.

I guess we are both on the long road, but I know things will work out for us.  Stay strong.  Be happy.  I know it's early and I need to heal, but I too am looking forward to a relationship with an "adult".  I know I will be quite jaded and careful, but I'm sure there's someone out there for everyone. 

waynebloss's picture

Very sad that I am reading

Very sad that I am reading more and more of men with ADD not willing to step up and own up to the blame!  I didn't for 11 years until one day my wife and I had a "talk" and was told that I was going to seek help, possible medication and make some drastic changes or she was walking with the kids.  That was the first of many "slaps" up against my bald head that woke me up to the HELL i caused her and my kids! Sorry that your men have chosen to hide and be ashamed instead of dealing with ADD and understanding the what's the why's and the how's to change.  It hurts, I was ashamed, and thought less of myself as a man everyday but I also wanted to change, wanted my wife, kids and marriage so I sought help and  I am taking meds for ADD, Vyvanse which has been a blessing, seeing a counselor 2x a month and reading all I can about how to go about making changes so that my wife will see that I am changing and that she will want to stay in the marriage. Glad that you have started taking care of yourself, my wife started this and I became defensive, angry and scared that she was leaving!  It wasn't until recently that I truly understood why she was doing this, healing herself and gaining some peace for her!  I also will tell you that I have turned more towards God during this than any other time!  If it was not for him and his forgiveness of me and what I did I would not be here today! 


I am glad that you both have started to find peace and start the healing process, just remember that you are not alone!


Take Care!


hockeymom11's picture


You are a strong man for not only admitting the problem, but aggressivly seeking out help.  My ADHD STILL blames me for everything (which my therapist has explained the reasons behind).  He is taking meds, but making NO effort to save the relationship or do anything around the house.  Maybe he is as tired of me as I am of him.  I guess I don't blame him, I've been a raging lunetic for years trying to get him to help etc.

Everything is my fault in his eyes and I accept that.  He feels that I'm to blame for our marriage failure, I am at fault b/c he has no friends (I wouldn't let him go out), I'm to blame because he has no hobbies (I wouldn't let him do anything), he gets terrible reviews at work (someone else's fault), dropped out of college a semester before graduating with a bachelors degree (Knew more than the teachers) and everything else under the sun is my fault too.  I can accept his blame, but NO WAY am I living like this any more.  We have to have a relationship b/c of the children and I will remain civil, but I need my life back.

Wayne I wish you could slap my husband up side the head and tell him what it's like at the "end of the tunnel".  I feel bad he has a mental illness (depression to boot), but at some point in your adult life you need to take ownership of your behavior, your health and your life. 

I'm glad things worked out for you.  Again, you are a strong man.

Hockeymom....just had to

Hockeymom....just had to say.... I think we're married to the same person!  Oh my gosh-- Your second paragraph describes my husband to a tee (including dropping out of college just before getting his degree!  Mine needed ONE class).  It's scary!  Sending you good luck-- You can do it.

fuzzylogic72's picture

Tough to say this...

I really got a lot out of this site while here. Just in retrospect; I am one of the apparently few adhd people who actually has acknowledged my condition and it's impact on others, esp. those closest to me. I have spent the majority of my waking life over the last 4 years taking full accountability for my own actions and behavior, in spite of a condition that makes it almost impossible to do so (like we are missing a circuit or something), and trying tirelessly to unlearn the bad and re-learn the things I need to internalize in order to get by in the world, let alone be fortunate to have another chance at a relationship. But honestly... I've heard more than enough bashing on adhders for a LIFETIME. Maybe the majority of us ARE ignorant, stupid, lazy, self-absorbed, argumentative, paranoid, hypersenstive (just a few of the choice descriptors I've gleaned off of the posts that the supposed 'committed partners' of us vile creatures have left on this pro-victim/anti-adhd rant-a-thon. For someone new to the idea of taking on the task of turning years of ill-behavior and the effects that they have on OUR lives (yes, believe it or not adhd DOES effect us more than it effects anyone who knows us, because YOU can get away; YOU can escape it). Reading the constant put-downs of people like me (maybe they aren't self-aware yet, but that's just going to make it more difficult for them) on this site REALLY, REALLY takes the wind out of my sails and makes me want to give up; many of you sound just like the autocratic teachers that crippled us with their labels throughout most of our adolescent lives. If you truly mean HALF of the horrible things you say about your adhd spouses, then why in GOD's name didn;t you have the judgement to leave them before you got married, rather than wait, blame EVERY SINGLE problem on THEM (and their twisted mental deficiencies), then vent all the problems of your relationships (half of which are more than likely a combination of BOTH partner's behaviors and attitudes) for other people to hear. If you are SO bitter towards your partner, then LEAVE them; you would both probably be better off.

I always wondered why I would hear comments from other adhders on here, and then they seem to disappear; it's becoming clear why they wouldn't stick around here, as it's certainly not a site that offers any kind of support or encouragement for the ahdhd person (unless we berate ourselves to get the good graces of all those who hate their partners).

I'm sure that reading this is going to disappoint the one or two non-adhd partners with whom I've shared posts (you know who you are, and I really do appreciate the positive perspectives we've shared), but I've just had enough of the self-righteous condemnation of anything and everything we do, simply because you don't like it, and you can conveniently pin it all on the adhd rather than take any accountability yourselves.

Either stop whining and leave your horrible relationship, or spend some of this angry energy looking for a positive solution (which doesn't include ripping on your supposed 'partner' behind their backs.

Good luck to all of us, and remember: "if you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem" as the saying goes. Feel free to bite back with whatever accusatory diatribes you feel you need to chuck out to justify your own negativity; I won't be reading it.


You did have a lot to offer,

You did have a lot to offer, and I hate to see you go...but I hope someday in your journey you are able to realize that you are lacking in the one thing that will help you the most in your struggles...and that is compassion. Compassion is simply not judging people for where they are in their lives, but trying to help them by having a POSITIVE attitude towards them and being able to step outside of your own comfort zone and see things from their point of view. Be mad, hurt, upset, or hate me...but I LOVE my husband more than anything...he is my best friend and confidant...I admire, respect, and cherish him tremendously...but that does not change the fact that for YEARS he lacked the ability to put himself in the shoes of others and see the world the way they saw it...and since the day you came to this site you chose to take everything personally and complain instead of doing the most productive and helpful thing..which would be to try and HELP people who are hurting..for WHATEVER reason. I truly feel that your negativity is just as damaging to the 'stereotype' of ADD as the negativity from the other side is...from the "normals". I TRULY hope someday you can see this. You had so much to offer, but you do not have the patience, understanding, or compassion to put your wisdom to good use..and that's really sad.

I wish you the best in your attempt to stop drinking and save your relationship, but most importantly so that you can find some happiness and peace..and self love. I know none of it comes easy, regardless of what you think, I AM one of the ones who has accepted my husband, who loves him as God loves him, unconditionally...and I treat him with the respect he deserves...and most importantly I take the time to listen and learn and further my knowledge of what he might be going through so that my understanding is vast enough. You contributed to my understanding in a few ways..and for that I'm thankful. Good luck. 

I'm Sorry I Hit a Nerve

I'm sorry I hit a nerve.... or maybe I'm not.  Since this poster sounds like he's not coming back,  I'll address this to anyone else interested.....

First of all, to all the ADHD members who are taking accountability; my hat's off to you.  I think it takes a lot of courage to accept responsibility and actually DO something.  I applaud those who, even if they sought help only at the point where a spouse is threatening to leave, did whatever it took to save their marriage.  Do you know how much I envy your spouse?  Do you know hard it is for me to get on here and read posts from ADHD members who are struggling, striving, and determined to conquer what my spouse could not? 

I understand that the 'bashing' would get old.  My intention is not to bash anyone, including my husband.  I didn't know my husband had ADHD when we were in college and dating.  He was FUN, kind, dynamic and larger than life.  People took notice when he walked in a room, people listened intently when he told stories, he could get an entire room laughing to tears telling a joke..... And no one laughed louder than me.  He was my best friend for 13 years!  We were supposed to raise our family together, grow old together, and be the one person to each other in the whole world that we knew we could always count on.

My husband's symptoms came on slowly throughout our marriage, and they seemed to get a lot worse as more time went on (Is this age?  Just my denial before?  Is it that I just had more time to see everything pile up?)   So, as I'm sure many spouses of ADHD would agree, it's not really fair to say we should've just left before we got married.   Any 'symptoms' I saw in the beginning were just part of his personality, 'quirks'.  So what that he could be absent-minded sometimes?  I'm not perfect either.  As in any marriage, you take the good with the bad and you just have to stand back and look at the whole package.  I had a suspicion he had undiagnosed ADHD in childhood because it was the 'big family secret' that his mom had wanted to medicate him and the rest of the family would not allow it.  Even if he told me, "And by the way, I have ADHD," (which he didn't) it wouldn't have mattered.  I was in love with him.  And I would've had NO IDEA how much it would've completely changed the outcome of my entire life.

I'm just guessing, but I'd say a lot of the spouses "venting" on here or "whining" about their ADHD spouse only sound that way because they've been the one to blame throughout their marriage.  They've been the one who 'didn't know how to compromise', or who 'over-reacted' to 'minor' incidents, such as someone showing up 4 hours late... regularly.  I was made to feel like I was crazy all these years--I was called the irrational one, the "emotional catastrophe".... I was made to feel like I was too ridged, too crabby, too controlling.  And you know what?  I was.  I am not the same trusting, loving, carefree person I was before all of this.... When I found this site (and I've noticed this reaction from other spouses of ADHD), it was a GOD SEND.  The light suddenly came on.  And it was NECESSARY to read all the specific examples (which may just sound like bitching to some) because they're all pieces to a puzzle.  Reading those posts and seeing my story over and over made me finally feel not alone.  And I was able to separate the "ADHD" from my husband and make some sense of his reckless behavior. 

But heck yah, I'm bitter.  I'm bitter that I'm 40 years old and having to restart my life 2 million dollars in debt.  I'm bitter I'm losing my house and that my children and I will be moving to apartment living--that is, if anyone will lease to me.  And that my kids will now be shuffled between two parents, like I was.  I'm bitter that I put my career on hold to raise our children while my husband applied for his 'umpteenth' job and I am now re-entering the workforce at the worst time possible.  And that I've had to swallow my pride and ask for help from my parents so I can feed my children.  I'm bitter that my health has suffered greatly from living in constant stress.  I'm bitter that my husband still cannot take responsibility for his actions.  I'm bitter that even now that I'm divorcing my husband, the symptoms of his ADHD and they chaos they create are following us into our divorce.

But mostly, I am just SAD. 

I am losing my family.  I am losing my best friend.  I am losing the entire idea of what I thought my life was going to be.

So, have a little compassion for us.  It's been a long and rough road.

hockeymom11's picture


I don't think you hit a nerve, I think you just described PERFECTLY what most of our lives have been.  Yes I could have "never married him" or "divorced him 10 years ago", but I DIDN'T know!!  I thought he would have grown up from the behavior when I first met him, I too think his signs got MUCH worse as the crap of life piled on (kids, jobs, homes, schedules) and it's been a downward spiral since.

I'm sad too: this is NOT how I imagined my life.  This is NOT how I imagined my marriage.  I DO feel horrible for my children, but we will survive.

I think compassion is important for both ADDrs and Non ADDrs alike.  it's not easy living either life.

I don't blame my husband for his illness, he didn't choose his genetics BUT I do blame him for knowingly living with a manageable/treatable condition and NOT doing anything about it's impact on himself and others.  I hope someday he can be happy and even find someone who can understand him and love him for who he is.  I just am not that person.  Life is too short. 

Get out while you're still young

Be glad you're not almost 60 on your third marriage to an adhd spouse and run for the hills.  Having to start over at 40 is far easier than when you're almost 60; I would trade places in a heartbeat.

I understand your bitterness

I understand your bitterness about the negative stories that you read, as well as the impression that they can give about people with ADHD if you are prone to take the stories and generalize about them.  Any blog/forum on the internet is "self selecting."  In this case, people who are experiencing deep difficulties in their marriage find this site specifically because they are having trouble.  Since I don't market the site in any way, it means that people have to be searching to solve a specific issue.  What you read here is not typical of all marriages with ADHD, but it does provide a range of experiences for those who are specifically seeking information - from the curious to completely dysfunctional.

Please don't generalize that the people on this site hate folks with ADHD because the opposite is actually true.  Most of the people on this site are here specifically because they LOVE someone with ADHD deeply but have exhausted all of their own ideas and are now looking for input from others about how to save or fix their relationship.  Many have lived in very difficult situations (like the woman above, who suffered significantly because of her husband's impulsivity) and I can guarantee you that the difficulties they face are often related directly to negative ADHD symptoms.  But those people they are talking about are other people - they are not YOU.  So you shouldn't take their comments personally.  (And, yes, I understand the idea of gross generalizations that people make - and we are in the process of posting and enforcing stricter rules about this because there has been too much of this at this site and I, too, am tired of it.)

Also, you note (I assume with ironic tone) that you say you must be the only ADHD person to take responsibility for your ADHD.  Know that the majority of adults with ADHD don't even know they have it.  So that means that their ADHD symptoms are unmanaged.  Those who do not know they have it are in a different place (most likely) than those who do know (or, as in your case, have known for four years.  Surely you are more self-aware now and better able to manage your ADHD issues now than you were on the day you were diagnosed.)  The symptoms of untreated ADHD in a marriage can be disastrous.  You may not like the idea that an impulsive person with ADHD can be 2 million in debt, but statistically speaking, if you have ADHD you are more likely to have financial problems than if you don't have ADHD.  You may not like hearing about a man who is still in denial, but in this case this is what is happening in this particular marriage.  Frankly, I don't like hearing about it, either.  I would much rather hear about the success stories (and they are out there, I know of many).  But few people come back to write about their success stories and sometimes when they do it's a version of success that still shows the hurt and pain and anger that is underneath, as well as the personal triumph (as in the post that you are responding to.)  This woman has found what's right for her particular situation.  I'm not fond of the way she felt she needed to post the news, but it does take self awareness on the part of both partners to be able to save a marriage.

I hope you do decide to continue to post here, but certainly respect whatever decision you decide to make about whether to participate further or not.

I Understand

Melissa--I apologize if the manner in which I posted did not follow the proper culture for this board.  In no way did I mean to suggest that my story is everyone's story; it is simply me sharing my experience because I have valued the expressions that I've read here.  I am hoping my husband will find help on his own, despite the fact that it is too late for our marriage.  Not every story has a happy ending, or at least the happy ending we were hoping for, but there is still hope to rebuild--with your spouse or without. 

Finding help

Thanks for writing back.  You are 100 percent correct that not all stories have a happy ending - and the moral of this one seems to be that one must take responsibility for being a good partner in a relationship, and if - even after repeated requests and hard work - both partners can't (or choose not to) take responsibility then the marriage will likely end.  Your ex husband will go out into the world again and, if he is not capable of reflecting on his own role in your divorce, possibly make the same mistakes again.  Probably, in fact.  And that's very sad.

You do get a much-deserved ability to rebuild now and that is a happy ending in this case for you and for your children, but I hope that you will not paint your husband (and their father) as a "bad" figure, but rather as someone who was unable to muster the internal strength to get his life under control.  Modeling compassion for your kids will, in my opinion, be a gift you can give them as they try to piece this all together.  (And you may be doing this already, I don't know.)  I'm not suggesting you shouldn't stand up for your and their rights and what's best for them in the courts etc, but rather that you be thoughtful about how you talk about him and your situation.  You have the right/duty to protect yourself and them (which is ultimately what your particular divorce seems to be about) but he is not inherently a bad person, just someone who couldn't get his issues under control.

And that's the dividing line that I hope people will think about - is either partner remaining in denial?  How damaging are the specific behaviors to any individual in the family's well being?  How do I love myself within this relationship?  Am I being heard?  How can I be heard and attended to better?  These are the questions that every reader (ADHD and non-ADHD) needs to be asking.  In your case, you tried long and hard, and have finally resolved your situation with a path that preserves your well being and that of your children, and allows you to love yourself and them in a way that you couldn't within the confines of your relationship because both partners couldn't work together to a resolution.  But that isn't always the case.  Divorce is sometimes a very good solution.  But not always.  If my husband had listened to those (including a professional counselor) who suggested that divorce was his best personal option my family and I would now be in a very different, and less happy, place.  So it is my hope that as people read you post they do what you did - weigh all options, try new ways to address the ADHD symptom issues in the relationship, and make up their own mind based upon their own personal situation, rather than just take a "divorce will ease my pain in the fastest possible way."  That was my issue with what you had originally posted - it seemed presented as a magic bullet without the offsetting information you wrote later on about your sadness, your compassion for your husband, and the hard part, too.  So the original post reminded me of the counselor's suggestions to my husband (and so, yes, my personal biases show here!)

In spite of those personal responses, I am touched that you felt that this site was important enough in your discovery that you felt compelled to come back and relate the rest of your story.  And I think that the conversation that your post has started is a very good/healthy one and for that I thank you.

Well Said, Melissa

Well said and well heard, Melissa.  I definitely agree that no parent should paint the other as a "bad" figure during or after a divorce (or during marriage, for that matter).  It can be difficult when one or both sides are not playing fair-- In my case, since I am the 'responsible' parent, I am usually made to be the 'bad guy' (by adhering to court orders, etc.).  I know that it will be a long time before my children are old enough to see the situation for what it is, but I know it is in the best interests of my kids to bite my tongue.  I took a "Divorce Recovery" workshop when this all started, and the most important piece of information I took away from it was this: "Your child is 50% you and 50% your ex-spouse.  When you speak negatively about your ex-spouse in front of your child, you're basically telling them that half of them is 'bad'."  I think about those two sentences a lot.

I wanted to respond to what you brought up in your third paragraph about (me implying) divorce as a 'magic bullet'.  It's interesting that you said that, since it's the opposite of what I thought at the time I left my husband.  Divorce was the last thing I wanted.... out of fear.  I have a feeling there are more women out there like me than you might expect; women who are stay-at-home moms and not working, or maybe who have allowed their spouse to control all the finances and are now faced with the prospect of having to do it on their own.  To me, the thought of divorce was really scary.  I was frozen in fear at the thought of 'making it on my own' for many years.  I've read a lot of posts on here and I can identify with many of them.  In my case, I was married to someone who was in denial of his ADHD.  But I was also in denial!  I was in denial over what he was doing to our family financially!  I had stuck my head in the sand for so many years that I didn't want to come out.  I let him do as he pleased to keep the peace and keep my family in tact.  And the longer I was in that denial, the worse things got (see above; $2 million dollars in debt).  The financial ramifications of staying with someone who is financially out-of-control is frightening.  I am proof of that.   And I think my 'need' to come back was tell others in my situation (who deep down already know what they need to do but are afraid to do it) is that I'm surviving.  I have so much compassion for the posters here.  It's difficult to see the person you love spiraling out of control, taking you with them, and feeling like you have few options.

I want to thank you for the most comprehensive site I've found on this topic.  There's plenty on ADHD/ADD in children--but there aren't many (any?) that focus on Adult ADHD in marriage.  It gives another resource to those who've been told by counselors to "leave him" (which, in my case I did--but that's beside the point).  Finding this site helped me understand what I've been experiencing the last 13 years in my marriage.  It explained SO MUCH.....  You're doing a good thing.      

For Divorcing

Thanks for the nice words.  It's fulfilling work that I do. You are right - I often tell non-ADHD partners that they are in denial (often about the role that their anger plays in the dysfunction in their relationship) and that's a bad place to be, as your denial was.  My approach to this issue is to ask people to go back to their basic values and "find their best selves" again.  That good, thoughtful, self-loving person has often been buried as you were by the awful situation they've been in for so long.  In my book I talk about ways to "refind" this person, and hope that in so doing people will be able to start acting in their own best interests again.  This "re-self discovery" if you want to call it that often leads to a dramatic change in the relationship.  In my case I thought it would end my relationship, but it saved it instead.  In your case it sounds as if you went the other direction - by standing up for yourself you ended up divorced (because your husband wasn't willing to come along with you to a place of greater respect).

While your ex-husband will likely paint you as the bad guy (and have few qualms about doing so, is my guess) I am a believer that you should continue to do what's right and in the best interests of your childrens' mental health simply because it's the right thing to do - for them, and for you.  Divorce is traumatic enough.  And even if your children never do end up seeing the situation fully for what it is, you will know that you did the thing that best protected them, and that is something about which you can be proud.  (But I do believe that kids can see when they are offered pure love with no agenda, and that they will appreciate that for the gift that it is as the years progress.)

Best of luck with it all.

Boy, can I relate to alot of

Boy, can I relate to alot of what you have said.  I still remain married (29 years) to my ADHD husband (diagnosed about 3 years ago) but our views and perspectives of progress continue to be an up-hill climb.  I don't really have much faith that we will ever be on the same page because of this.  Unfortunately, from my perspective that is, he still remains stuck in both the grieving and denial stage of this awful disorder, even though we have the diagnosis, have done alot of research (my gosh, he was the one that found this site and initially told our story.  We even talked with Melissa, not only via this site but on the phone one that I think back to that time, it seems that he went entirely silent after all of that.  HMMMMM, Truth hurt too much, I guess), is on medication and did go to counseling for awhile.  He was totally hyper-focused until the newness wore off and he discovered that it would take alot of work and effort, on his part, for the rest of his life, to deal with this disorder.  A commitment to live a better life that he still continues to deny himself. 

Great info you got from the workshop about the 50/50 deal.  You sure do have to choose your words and comments carefully.  But, like I have heard before, in alot of cases, the kids can hear, see and feel what is going on.  They will also hear, see and feel where the love and nurturing is coming from.  Hopefully from both sides. 

I have to agree with you regarding the denial on my part, too.  Before we knew what the real issue was, I did exactly the same thing, letting my husband do whatever he wanted to keep the peace and us in tact.  Our finances have always been out of control (not to the tune of $2 million though) I AM SO SO SORRY FOR THAT!  But the manipulation and anger that I put up with for many, many years, if he didn't get his way, has taken its toll.  In our case, it was my husband who, when things got tough, let the "D" word fly.  Finally, the last time it came flying at me, I called him on it and told him that we couldn't afford to divorce.  We were in too much debt and neither one of us could afford to live on our own.  This was somewhat of a reality check for him in that I then was able to show him how much debt we were in and also let him know that if we took steps to pay off the debt, I was more than willing to go through with a divorce.  Just for the record, this is my second marriage, first one ended in divorce, so been there done that and this is my husband's first marriage.  I guess this all scared him because he is still here.  I am out of my denial now and living much more peacefully.  But, I still am prepared, if that word happens to come at me again and my husband knows it.      

fuzzylogic72's picture

Group Hug...

Thanks for taking you time to post that Melissa; I appreciate it. And you're right about taking it personally. That is something I am really trying to work on (one of the hardest parts), but am finding that having removed alcohol from the equation, the hypersensitivity is abating as well. I guess it's especially important for me to try to look at the experiences of others (with and without adhd) with compassion and objectivity if I intend to follow through with my plan to specialize in the treatmet of this condition when I finish my Psych. Masters (or Ph.D. if I can stay on task that long). Up to now, I've really been focusing on the adhd side, as there seemed to be comparatively few treatments to the number of ways it impacts our lives. But future clients will also be bringing the stress and anxiety of the damage it's having on their relationship to me, so it's probably the best thing for me to practice not taking the angry posts as a personal thing (guilt by association), but rather experience-based research into that face of this disorder.

So I'm back, and ready for a group hug!

I appreciate everyone's words.

fuzzylogic72's picture


Was that my first hug?

hockeymom11's picture


congrats on working on your PhD.  Maybe you can add some significant insight while treating those with ADHD!!  I know it's hard to read the posts, believe me, I've been "corrected" too.  I try to take everything in turn and learn from each one.


fuzzylogic72's picture


Now we're feelin' the love!!

Please don't censor us!


I must say that I am VERY thankful for this site. I've only posted about 5 times (one to vent my frustration) and the other times to just encourage people in their frustration. As you said in your post, I found this site about a week ago at my wits end trying to figure out how to deal because I feel as if I've exhausted all my strength trying to 'help' a person I love when they don't seem to feel there is a problem.

Also as you said, especially in this section, people come here to vent and seek help when they don't know what to do. Sometimes the 'generalizations' come because most of us aren't experts on ADD or ADHD, maybe our partner helped to add to the generalizations (I.E. - I do this because I have ADD) or we have read online in our research 'characteristics' of people with ADD.


(And, yes, I understand the idea of gross generalizations that people make - and we are in the process of posting and enforcing stricter rules about this because there has been too much of this at this site and I, too, am tired of it.)

I can understand (as a person who believes I also have ADHD) the frustration of feeling like people are either being bashed or generalized. But I MUST ask you not to censor us. If this happens, some of the honest anger, frustration and dialog that goes on now will cease. When dealing with disorders of any type there is always going to be some level of uncomfortable. Usually one 'issue' can open up the can of 'issues' and that is NEVER easy! It is also not easy to see that people you love feel that YOU are (or can be) their biggest source of stress! Ouch! However I feel it would be far more helpful to have experts (like yourself) post the FACTS about ADD if a forum member is misguided than to censor what they say. (Unless they are just blatantly disrespecting someone). Most of us don't post names... So while there may be some identifying characteristics a lot of times MANY of us can just relate.

Having more experts moderate and point us in the direction of tangible resources, to me, would be more helpful.

Again we are just people at our wits end or hurting. For most of us, we aren't trying to be ADD bashers. And quite frankly sometimes the truth just hurts. But if dialog can be kept HONEST and OPEN there actually might be some marriages (in the anger/frustration) section saved.


I'm not intending to censor in a way that should distress you - people will still be able to vent their frustrations.  What I'm trying to prevent is the ongoing playing to stereotypes.  I have no problem with someone saying "my husband does X because of his ADHD symptoms" but have a lot of problem with someone saying "ADHD people are jerks" and the like.  I agree completely that it is helpful for people to be able to express their frustration and receive support from others in the same situation.  I don't agree that it's helpful that people get themselves lathered up in a mob mentality against a specific poster or against a group of posters.  That's all I'm trying to prevent.

If you see something I've edited that you think is unfair, please feel free to report it to me.  This blog and forum, just like any relationship, is constantly changing and adapting to the needs of those who are on/in it.

ebb and flow's picture


I'm sad to see you go, too.  :/

It kinda bothers me a bit that I come to this site to vent, a lot of times under the Forum "anger, frustration & ADHD" and the odd time I hear from an ADDer, they're pissed about it! I don't really understand what kind of topics you're all expecting to read in that Forum... And, more importantly, why you don't use those posts as a helpful tool to see others point of view or else use it to vent your own "anger, frustration & ADHD"! Why leave the site because of the 'reality' of it all??? It's a 'sucky disorder' for you, me and everyone who might be dealing with it incorrectly! It can be an 'ok disorder' if approached and dealt with properly (from what I read here)...

I thought this site was open to people to come and get some feed back about their situations... Whether it be from an ADDer or non-ADDer; anger and frustration or joy and happiness. I hate to say it but if people were happy in their ADHD marriages they certainly wouldn't be posting on a site like this... They'd be enjoying their happy little lives together! :/ And if by chance they were coming on here to post, it would be to help those who ARE STRUGGLING to get to that happy place themselves!

I would like to note that I have ALSO posted my 'hopes' under the "Hopes and Joy" section when there was any 'hope' to share with the bunch!

"For someone new to the idea of taking on the task of turning years of ill-behavior and the effects that they have on OUR lives (yes, believe it or not adhd DOES effect us more than it effects anyone who knows us, because YOU can get away; YOU can escape it). Reading the constant put-downs of people like me (maybe they aren't self-aware yet, but that's just going to make it more difficult for them) on this site REALLY, REALLY takes the wind out of my sails and makes me want to give up; many of you sound just like the autocratic teachers that crippled us with their labels throughout most of our adolescent lives."

It's the ill-behaviour and the LACK of "turning them around" that ADDer's partners come here to vent about. :/

Also, I know ADHD *MUST* effect the person who has it more so than the people around them... So why don't ADDers come here to discuss how it effects them negatively? Nobody stops them from sharing... As a matter of fact, I've thanked most ADDers for posting "their side" so that I might be able to see my partners "side" more clearly and develop some compassion for his suffering.

I'm sorry. It must be super hard to come to a site like this where most non-ADDers can openly vent without having to become "self-aware" of their situation; and where there aren't a lot of ADDers "self-aware" and venting. I guess that's a HUGE part of it... an ADDer has to become "aware" of how ADD is impacting their life and the lives of others around them in order to even see it as a thing to vent about! OTH, the non-ADDer knows what to complain about RIGHT OFF THE BAT! They are "aware" of the situation and how the "ill-behaviours" are impacting them negatively... but they're not sure what to do about it because they love the person who's acting so "ill".  :(

I'm sorry you feel you have to leave... I would hate to feel that way. :(  

Plus, I was starting to really like hearing your perspective on things. I wish I could've learned more from you.

Good luck! 

ebb and flow's picture


ok... I just took the time to write my 'two cents' and didn't even look further to see the "group hug" and "glad you decided to stay" posts...



I'm glad you decided to stay, too!!!!!!! :) lol


I'm glad you're staying too,

I'm glad you're staying too, Charlie, I really appreciate your input here. You write so clearly (which is often an issue for people with ADD, since organizing their thoughts is hard - I often proofread for my guy when he is sending important emails or reports) and for those of us who truly love their ADD partners and have no intention of leaving them your messages are so very helpful.

I can get irritated by negativity and arguing on the site (as well as others) too, my solution is to stay away for a few days and then check back. I do hope you stay here for a long while, we need you :)

fuzzylogic72's picture

Blue Sunday

Thanks Tasla; I've really enjoyed our exchanges.

On a more blue note, my fiancee and I just broke up today. It's tough to get my head around this rush of thoughts and emotions. I am having SUCH A STRONG URGE to go across the road and get a six-pack. I know that wouldn't have any positive result on anything in the long term, but it sure would be a way to escape these chaotic walls of thoughts and feelings from closing in on me. I'm not trying to avoid the end of the relationship, because neither of us were happy so it's best, but I just have an almost desperate panicky need to avoid thinking about it. So many conflicting thoughts/feelings within me now, like a blender (a loud and leaky blender). After having read so much on here from the non-adhd partners who have tried so many things, put up with so much crap, and still haven't given up, my logical side tells me that I'm not missing anything, since in my relationship it was me trying everything while she was intolerant of everything about me. I know it will be a relief to no longer have to continually prove myself to her, and hope and pray that it will be enough to avoid some kind of reprimand, or some other clear expression of her disappointment. But then the emotional side of me (far bigger and more influential than the logical side), keeps wanting to dwell on the parts that were actually good at one time, and not accept that they can be gone... then the fear of being alone creeps in and amplifies the sentimental brooding. It feels like oscillating between anxiety and depression, or both at the same time. It's strange when I write about it, because I realize that this anxiety/depression is the constant 'background' mental state for many adhders, and breakups just amplify the feelings, and they can't be avoided because the safety and comfort of what was thought to be forever, is now gone.

The craving for beers as an escape/bandaid has been building so fast over the last two hours; I don't think I will be able to avoid it. I was at the grocery store (exchanged our final words via text, which is very romantic), and I pass the grocery store's liquor store on my way home. I was SO tempted right then, and walking away from it felt like those dreams where you're trying to walk/run, but you can't; like your legs are sandbags. I got home, took a Revia (pill to kill cravings and positive effects of alcohol) and tried to do some house work (which I really can do on Adderall), but my mind is being flooded with all this (end of relationship, fear of aloneness, feelings of another failure, and the urge to drink which I KNOW is not a good idea), so I can't do anything. Well, I guess I'm writing this, so that's something.

I wish I could just 'disconnect' from this storm for a while.

So Sorry to hear that

Breakups suck and it's normal to feel crappy and not want to think about them right after.  I understand your need for a drink and think it's great that you're resisting.  Can you distract yourself some way? Go see a movie or two?  (and not pass the liquor store on the way there or back). Have a friend come over or go out and see someone?  Or at least call someone?  Stewing over the fresh hurt could just be too much for you right now.  I like to watch old episodes of sitcoms to distract myself when I feel like crap or a favorite comedy (nothing too romantic, obviously). Exercise could also help. Either going out for a run or a long walk, with the ipod in your ears and just getting away from your thoughts.

I hope you stay strong.  Tomorrow is another day (hey, you could watch Gone with the wind, that'll eat up a few hours) and after a few tomorrows you'll start feeling a bit better. From what you've written here, you sure seem to have done your best for the relationship.  I'm sure someone who loves you the way you are (not if you were just a bit more/less so-and-so) is out there.


fuzzylogic72's picture

i'm sorry too

Thanks. That last line of your message is all I've wanted for so long, and each time I fall in love, I'm CERTAIN that i've finally found that person. It's getting tough to believe that there really is someone like that out there.

Please don't run for the

Please don't run for the alcohol!!!!!   That is what my husband does when he is in a tough situation and it really aggravates me as it just makes matters worse.  Be strong you don't need that crutch. 

fuzzylogic72's picture


I know, it's the worst possible response. I've been doing great with it too; nearly abstaining! But now without her around, at least it's not going to hurt anyone but me. Not a good justification, but I don't hardly know anyone in calgary. I moved here a few years ago, and was always just busy teaching, or in a relationship that I gave all my time to. It feels right now like it's the only way to not feel "trapped" in here with myself (and my cat, Bunky). I won't get hammered, I promise. I'll only get a couple of beers. I am assuming the Revia will make it a horrible experience anyways. I haven't eaten yet today either and beer is such a convenient way to get calories! I know I shouldn't be joking about it...

ebb and flow's picture

Sorry to hear about your break up Fuzz

Don't do it!

Try not to drink during times like these.. It's just going to add to the crappy feeling because when you sober up you'll be feeling crappy about the break up AND the fact that you reached for a drink to try to 'make the pain go away'.

It never helps. It only pseudo-numbs it. The pain will just creep back in. You're just prolonging the inevitable... that you must let TIME heal the pain of the break up.

Just remember... It may suck now, but its only temporary! The pain is not going to last forever, though it may feel that way now. There will also be little breaks here and there from the heartache. The heartache feeling will not be a constant.... Enjoy those little breaks and take the time to breathe when they happen.

You'll be ok.

It sucks but you will be ok. 



fuzzylogic72's picture

thank you

Thanks so much for your support. It wouldn't be as bad if I hadn't changed myself so much during the relationship.. well I guess if I did adn she didn't, then that should be a comfort and it shouldn't feel like such a loss. I just get so discouraged and sad when even a short relationship ends, but this was my fiancee; I had bonded with her two girls, and was ready to spend my life with her. But I guess everything happens for a reason; field research for the next one. And thanks also for the alcohol support, it really goes hand in hand with adhd. I went across the road, but only got two beers. By the time I was done, of course I wanted more, but this morning I am happy I only got two!

ebb and flow's picture

Hey, you've changed so much

Hey, you've changed so much in the relationship, but are you a happier person for it? Because if you are then nothing was wasted! If she didn't want to stick around to see where the changes would've taken you both.. too bad for her!

I know it's hard to lose a long term relationship... been there, done that. It's never really easy because it sort of feels like a death. :( (Dramatic, but true)

But with all 'death' comes rebirth! :))) Stay positive!

Calgary's a beautiful place to discover... I know you've said you just moved there not too long ago. Have you been all over, checking out all the wonderful sites?? Maybe you should do that! Plan something or a couple of things to look forward to... even if it's just a mini road trip, or two. Maybe that will keep you feeling positive!

And, who knows... maybe when you're ready, you'll meet someone else along the way! ;)

In the meantime, keep up the positive introspective work! (and I'll try and keep up with mine) heh.

fuzzylogic72's picture

your posts make my day!

Just popped in to check updates, and read your post; it was like going to the mailbox and having happy mail! Going to the drugstore to get a new drug for alcohol cravings; hoping it works. Thanks again for your support and encouragement :)

ebb and flow's picture


No problem!

I'm really glad to add some happiness to your day!


finding the right relationship

So many people at this forum are already married, but for you, the issues are somewhat different.  I was struck by these words:

"my logical side tells me that I'm not missing anything, since in my relationship it was me trying everything while she was intolerant of everything about me. I know it will be a relief to no longer have to continually prove myself to her, and hope and pray that it will be enough to avoid some kind of reprimand, or some other clear expression of her disappointment. "

That's such a difficult place to be seem to have learned so much from reading what's at this site...what I hope you also take away is that it is important for you to pick the right person - not someone for whom you have to jump through hoops and constantly prove yourself, but someone who appreciates all of you (good and bad) and is patient with the efforts you make.  You know enough now to know that you need to work particularly hard on your relationships to keep them strong (both partners need to do this, not just the ADHD partner) and so you will make a great partner to the right person for as long as you keep that in mind.  Those who don't nurture and think about their relationships suffer (ADHD or not, with unmanaged ADHD if it is present making that suffering more likely).

It takes a long time to learn that you cannot change another, only yourself, and then embrace the idea of making yourself the best person you can be.  But as you think about the sadness of your failed engagement, I also hope that you see a glimmer of hope - you've learned a lot, and can apply that learning to your next (and better) relationship.

Good luck with it (and don't head for a drunken stupor - doesn't change anything except how you feel the next morning!)

fuzzylogic72's picture

The right one

Thank you Melissa. I think that's what made it so hard to let go of, even though I wasn't at all happy in the last month. I just had that voice telling me, "you're the one with ADHD, so it has to be your fault, if you just did a little more she'd accept you". But I know you're right, my friends and family even tell me that it seemed like a one-way street with her. But even now I am being bombarded with those insecure adhd assumptions ("she's probably dating already, and SO relieved to be rid of you; you probably should have and could have done more; you're the only one missing the relationship, she's probably happier than ever")

My focus was on her and her girls so exclusively for so long (I tend not to lose that romantic 'hyperfocus' unless the relationship is falling apart, in which case I freeze and wait for the curtain to come down..again), so now that she's gone, there is this palpable "stimulus gap", or vacuum. I'm going through every  possible emotion like they're in a blender (along with my heart and self-esteem) all day <<sorry about the melodrama>>. It has been, and is even at this moment, very difficult not to escape these emotions with alcohol. I just started Baclofen for cravings and it seems to be helping but it's hard to say because there are so many emotions driving the compulsion right now.

Intellectually I know that she wasn't the right one, and staying with her would have been very damaging down the road, but I'm an idealist and always feel disproportionately sad when things end. It's time like these that the hyper-focus is very self-destructive, and just adds to the pain, and amplifies the feeling of loss and aloneness.

I did change and grow a lot while with her, and that was done on my own accord, which is why I don't understand the feeling that I can't maintain these changes on my own, that it was "all for her" and now I'm back at the beginning.

Par for the course

First off, many of us did not realize what was happening after being love-bombed, and once we did realize we were being abused, taken advantage of for convenience, and left empty, the majority of the damage was already done.  I for one, have been trying to leave for over 10 years; it's simply not that easy, especially if you are in your late 50's, and everything you built up was destroyed by your adhd spouse.  Are we part of the problem for having a place to vent the horrific wake you people leave?  Only because we believed your vicious lies in the first place.

Divorcing but feeling guilt

So my  husband and I are going thru a divorce and I'm feeling awful.  He's the one with ADHD and I've been nothing but supportive for 5 years.  He was the one who wanted out and now that I've moved on he's freaking out and wants me back.  He's finally realized how not taking meds not only hurt him but us.  I did everything in my power to help him but at the time he didn't want help.  He finally sees how it impacted his life and how if he doesn't get help it will hurt his future.  He's always been extremely depressed, anxious and pretty much all over the road.

I feel so bad to see him suffer. I never wanted to leave.  I fought for us and he rejected me.  He's been very cruel.  I just hate that it took him losing me to realize he loves me.  I wonder if its temporary or if he really can change.  I really want the best for him and I hurt seeing him hurt.  He really put me thru a tremendous amount of pain and I know I deserve to be happy.  Should I feel awful?  I mean he's been abusive and now I finally met someone who loves me, who is attentive, gentle and puts me first. 

It's so refreshing to be off the rollercoaster and see myself as an emotionally stable and happy woman.  How do remove myself from feeling bad for him?  Should I blame myself?  I'm confused because now he is suffering.  It's like I feel guilty because I see my future being what I always dreamed.  Anyone else experiencing this?  Am I doing the right thing?  I will always support him and be his friend.  God only knows if he cheated on me.  I caught him numerous time on the net emailing people.  Why do I always blame myself?????  Any thoughts?

If I had and opportunity

I would take it. It just seems that if I could move on and get involved in another relationship, I'm sure it would be tough but, at least I'd have another chance. Really, what kind of struggles would I have in a typical relationship? After the challenges of my ADD husband for almost 30 years, I'm very curious about what it might be like to let my guard down, be considered, or have a bit of financial security. Do you think my blood pressure would come down? Gosh, I've been in this long enough to know that his emotional appeals are fleeting. The drama pulls me back in and before I know it everything is the same again. If he made the initial decision to leave the relationship, and you made the decision to move on, you've set your course. Don't blame yourself, he started it. (For years my husband had me convinced that I was the problem but now I know better) He was abusive, he rejected you and you suspect he cheated on you. It's not okay for people to treat you that way. You know you can't change him, there's no guarantee he'd change and you're not responsible for the choices he's made. Sounds pretty cut and dry but, I've had a long time to think about things. I hope it all works out well for you :)


Clarity, your post always give me pause.  I think about what you say, and realize that I fear that at some point I will be wondering, "What if..."  I will tell you something that I think is funny:  Years ago I used to do some work with Vietnam vets, and during group discussions, if there was a disagreement one of them would invariably say, "Is this the hill you wanna die on?"  I have found myself saying that to my husband in the past.  He goes out of town and doesn't check in within 24 hrs (and wants to argue that this is acceptable)? "Is this the hill...?"  But you make me ask that question of myself and my marriage in general.

That is such a profound,

That is such a profound, thought provoking Thank you!! I shared it with my husband and he said the same thing. It really is a good question to ask yourself. That is what I was asking myself last fall when I decided I was SICK TO DEATH of being the person I had become. It took almost 2 years in counseling and then the final straw of losing my father for me to REALLY get that my anger was MY CHOICE. My bitterness was my choice. My resentment was my choice. I did NOT want to die on that hill....


hockeymom11's picture

love the hill quote

I don't think you should feel guilty at all for starting over.  We deserve to be happy.  I've finally picked up the pieces and I too am moving on.  Therapy has helped remove me from the angry inner quagmire I was in and place me on the outside looking in.  I'm shocked at what I see, but am understanding it much much better.  My husband is a very immature, emotionally void, sad sad sick person.  I feel bad for him and I hope he can make it on his own. 

I've decided that life is TOO short and I have two kids to look after.  I don't want to die on the hill of misery, loneliness and  frustration.  I want to be happy again. 

good luck to you, it sounds like you've found a happier life.  I wish you well.  Don't go back to the past. be supportive and kind to him, but don't get fooled into thinking he will change. 

fuzzylogic72's picture

Quote of the year

I love that hill quote... it's on my fridge now because it's applicable to so many things!

You are right

I need to embrace this opportunity to better my life. I'm still young and I feel as though he sucked the life out of me.  Thank you so much for replying.  I'm fearful of it being 30 years later and saying that I should of left 25 years ago when the door was open.  I need to be strong and know I deserve just a normal simple life.  Look I understand things aren't perfect in any relationship but I can't bare getting yelled out, insulted and ripped to shreds over petty unforeseeable things.

Again, thank you for the reply.  It means a lot and I'm always going to be on this site supporting you all out there.  I'm not the type of person who will abandon my husband without support.  He'll always remain a friend and I will try to help as long as it doesn't interfere with my present and hopefully future relationship with this person.

I truly do believe that

I truly do believe that people can change...and do change most of the time when faced with 'crisis'. There is one sure way to know if he has changed...and that is to give it TIME. A LOT of time and a lot of patience and starting from scratch would seem the safest way to know. I am not sure from your post if you would be OK with moving on if he were just leaving you alone and letting you move on. Do you still love him? Was the marriage happier when he was on his meds? Situations are all so individual, but my own personal feelings are that people (even ADDers) can change and can minimize the bad parts of their ADD with meds and therapy.

You have no guarantee that the new guy in your life won't end up disappointing and hurting you either...we have no guarantees in relationships period. If the only reason you would even consider starting over with him is out of pity or guilt for what he's going through then it would be cruel for you to take him back. If you can open your heart up to him again...and if he's willing to do what YOU need him to do for the marriage...then maybe it is worth a chance.

My husband started an affair, acted so horribly that I asked him to leave (wasn't aware of the ongoing affair at the time), and the next 2 months were pure hell. He blamed me for everything wrong in our marriage, he called me names I can't even bring myself to repeat here, he said some of the most cruel things anyone has ever said to me. He scraped the bottom of the sea for the worst scum he could throw at me...but the entire time begged me not to divorce just give him time to "sort things out". He would not give up his apartment, saying he needed to learn to stand on his own two feet..and the entire time he was drowning. He was an absolute mess, drinking himself into oblivion every evening. I felt sorry for him, but at the same time didn't recognize who he was...and hated the person he'd become. I finally took responsibility for my own life, my own anger, and decided life was changing. He eventually decided to join me. I had every reason to walk away from him...years of being treated like a monster, being made to feel like I was a horrible person, coming last in his life after many other things, empty promises, broken vows, and all of the other ugly things you can imagine. When he said he wanted to change, and would do whatever I asked him to do in order to save our marriage, I threw myself back into it 100%. I didn't have any expectations from him except good ones. I had a renewed blind faith in God that he would work things out...and even if my marriage did not make it this very last go, then I would have no regrets. My husband IS a good man. He does battle demons and he sometimes loses. He wants things like a kid wants candy...and obsesses until he either gets it or moves on to the next obsession...although lately I think he has finally started 'winning' a time or two and just simply resisting. He craves abnormal amounts of attention...but is now understanding that all of the attention he needs is at home, because you get back 10 fold what you put into it...he was just never willing to sacrifice his wants for my needs. Now he does. Almost a year later and we are doing great. No more huge battles...haven't fought in probably 4-5 months..?? He is slowly earning my trust back...although he struggled to 'conform' to what I needed in order for him to do this at first, he finally learned to see it through my eyes and realizes how his decisions affect me.

All I'm getting at is that there is always hope if you love him and if he is willing to do what you need from him. Counseling and staying on his meds. This will be a very long, tough process...we will probably be in counseling for at least 1-2 years...but it can be done.

If you decide not to return to him, then you have nothing to feel bad about. Sometimes we have a way of just knowing that there isn't anything in them that makes us think they'll really change...and he is a grown man who made the decision to leave...he will just have to live with those consequences. Stop communication with him, if possible...until he stops making you feel guilty.


I think people can change but I've given my husband 5 years of patience, love, support and help.  I've never judged him but embraced who he was.  He was given every opportunity and chose NOT to take meds and was in denial of his ADHD.  I learned I can't save anyone and people have to help themselves.   He's jeopardized my safety and emotional wellbeing.  My decision would be easier if he was just distracted, aloof or forgetful.  He's severely depressed, anxious, abusive with his mouth (I'm fearful of having children with him because he has no self control and is very very selfish).  He can't be trusted and is far from responsible and mature for his age. 

I need to clarity he is not making me feel guilty but I feel guilty just because I hate to see him sad and cry.  You know, we all think about our vows and they repeat in my head but when is it right for me to look out for me when a situation has been abusive and pure madness.  Sometimes I'm in shock of the situation or fights we find ourselves in.  I'm not saying anything is guaranteed but I'm finally living my life.  I'm at peace and very happy.  Things are simple again. 

I've been on a rollercoaster ride (and we all know this very well)...its so unncessary to live like this!  I do think its time I put me first because I have been living to save someone while its slowly destroyed me.  My patience has worn out and I have one life to live and I don't want to site here 2 months later, 6 months, a year, 5 year or 25 years later saying I should have left when I knew.  Because you know what I say now..."I should have walked away the first time he flipped out on me".  I tried to manage his behavior and shame on me for thinking I can do that.  I don't want to be in that place years to come and sometimes as hard as leaving him just know.  I 99% now but you always have that dream of it working out and what if.  It's just now how I want to live and I believe its going to kill me.  I think I aged 20 years by being with him these 5.  

My only issue is that I don't want to abandon him.  I'm not that type of person.  I just want to make sure he is ok and I don't want him alone if he is trying.  It's just a difficult situation and I do see your point of patience but from my experience with this individual the probability is low.

I really appreciate the response and its so nice to get everyone's thoughts on here because it does challenge you to think and dig deeper into my decision.  So thank you for you reply.  It strengthens even more what I'm supposed to do.

hockeymom11's picture

we all need to decide

what is best for us.  Sherri I admire your tenacity to stick with it and stay in the relationship.  I have just been though too much and I feel the prognosis for any long term "normal"relationship is very poor.  My husband is also VERY emotionally immature, depressed, anxious and has severe anger management problems.  Hope, I admire you for moving on knowing it's the best for your situation.  I wish all of us that come to this site could have the fairy tail happy ending with the ADDr helping themselves and the non-ADDr learning how to cope/respond, but it just doesn't always happen that way. 

Last night my therapist said "you must be excited to start your new life, you've come so far and learned so much" and to be honest, I am.  I'm excited to get the "old me" back.  I know it won't be easy, but peace will come. 

There is always a time to

There is always a time to walk away...and stay...and on one can dictate those times to us. I have had very few times in my marriage where I didn't feel my husband was trying, even when he was failing miserably to improve or stop being hurtful. I guess maybe this is the difference. Equally, I have rarely felt 'unloved' by him. I have admittedly struggled to understand how I could even believe him when he said he loved me, but his actions screamed otherwise...but admittedly, something in me just knew he loved me.

Even if we don't make it (don't like to think that way because I have Faith in us..and God) then I will accept that and have no regrets. We are very new to the diagnosis and I feel, in a way, just starting out...even though we've been married for 13 years. Now that we know, and are able to learn from the past, I have high expectations for us both...and if I were in the shoes of anyone here whose husband refuses treatment or to acknowledge that the ADD impacts the marriage, then I too would probably leave. Again, I don't often let my mind wander in this direction because I feel it isn't fair to him to even consider this as an option. He is fighting for me and his marriage...and I understand how blessed this makes me. My heart truly does break for those who don't have the same.

Yes, Sherri, you are

Yes, Sherri, you are blessed.  You are very lucky that your husband "got it" so quickly and is taking the necessary steps to create a brighter future for the both of you. 

You might want to check out,

You might want to check out, "Will I Ever Be Good Enough?"  It all goes back to our foundation in how we were raised.  There, the blueprint is set and has serious ramifications on who we choose as partners.  I have found that the book, "Boundaries" is another good one in healing and recovery.  And another in terms of understanding what has happened is The Neuro Typical site.  I have just read No Team Player, and it has opened up a whole new perspective.  Hope that helps.

ADHD vs Aspergers vs Narcissism vs Bipolar...All the same to NT

As an NT wife of an ADHD spouse, I can say that the last nine years has been a living hell. It doesn't matter what the title is...It all amounts to the same grief for the neuro typical spouse....A lonely life of hell. I have gone beyond the call of duty on every aspect to make this marriage work, and it just isn't. On addressing someone who said to get out and get on with your life and why did you marry in the first place, I would like to comment that my charming husband was very deceitful in luring me into marriage, because as soon as his hooks were in me he turned quite the opposite; a true Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde. Watch out for online dating!  I am so done....Can't wait to be free again...


Sorry. Not sorry


women change the minute that ring goes on the finger. Then pop out a kid or two and suddenly you are no where near the woman that man married. Men don't change. You women seem to think it is your job to Change  us or expect us to change.  It is you that was deceitful. Divorce that poor man and give him his life and his freedom back!

What Changed?


I don't think personally that men and women change in who they are?  The only thing that changes is your own perceptions and what you believe?  In the things you said....there is a kernel of truth in them...but in the big picture seeing it that way....the only one who can be fooled, tricked or deceived is you if you only use your eyes to see other people...instead of using their eyes to see you?  Know what I mean?  If you don't.....maybe you should work on seeing things that way instead and see if what you believe doesn't change along with your own perceptions of other people?

I believe personally....that both men and women....have a nasty habit of doing exactly that with each other and ...then to themselves more importantly?  Why would anyone want to beat themselves up like that?  You're always your own worst enemy...don't you know?

If you stop feeling sorry for yourself....maybe you could feel sorry for someone else instead?  I find it really hard to do both at the same time myself personally?  Just a thought?


I agree - I dont think people

I agree - I dont think people actually CHANGE who they are.  I do think that when you enter into a relationship and get to the place of marriage or at least living with each other, that true self that doesnt change comes out and anything you might have said or done to impress, or use to manipulate to get what you want will be exposed as false to your partner.


My husband flat out lied about most of what he wanted in life, and for the life of ME I have no idea why.  Why would he persue a relationship with someone who so clearly had a different life path, different desires and absolutely different expectations of what a relationship is.  And its not like I was quiet about what I wanted.  I was 100% up front with all that I wanted and expected in a romantic relationship.  But he lied.  Over and Over.  Blatant lies, lies of ommission, and lies to himself about who he is and what he wanted.  And for what?  What is he walking away with?  Maybe a few new pieces of armor for his hobby?  Some new clothes? He is walking away with a car that he bought with money he made from the last job he had.  And what is he leaving behind in the wake of this destruction of another person - just to get those piddly items?


Its sad really.  I feel sorry for him.  I resent him, and I am sick to death of the games and manipulation.  If he would have had the balls to be truthful to me in the FIRST place, things never would have gone further than that first trip to see him.  I would probably have never even taken that trip at all.  What would have been the point?  But I guess he found some perverse pleasure in seeing my crucify myself for him.  I guess he found some sort of satisfaction causing hurt to me that was caused to him. 

I should note however, that I

I should note however, that I believe that people can change themselves.  They can find the things inside them they do not like and work to better themselves.  There are some very deeply flawed things about myself that I am working like a DOG to change.  My health is one, but even more - my anger and desire to cut things off immediately.  I have a history of hitting that point, that one place where when the line gets crossed, I cut you out - and thats that.  NOTHING left for you.  I have done it to friends, I have done it to family.  And once I pass that point, its like all respect and kindness in me for that person just evaporates.  My husband has crossed that line over and over, and I keep working hard to push that line out, to accommodate what I know are very real issues he faces...  So I do the work to accept, lift up, build him up, show him true, honest to goodness love and kindness - and he returns that with lies and betrayal.  And so I push the line out further.  And he says all the right things, but never means it.  Or he means it in the moment - but not when it counts. 


He is like that guy that likes to talk about how tough he is in a fight, but when the fight comes, he is running away as fast as he can.  He likes to carry the look and appearance of a solid, stand up man, someone to be counted upon, someone who can be respected and believed in, but he has no intention of following through - not for real at least.  His in the moment desires over ride what ever his goals supposedly are, and what ever honor he has in relationships.  Its like an alcoholic who chooses that "one" beer over his family because "HE is a MAN and WILL NOT BE CONTROLLED"... never seeing that that one beer is what he is a slave to.  He doesnt drink - but has a list of other things that he is a slave to.   And what ever desire he has in the moment for what ever master he is bowing to at the time - THAT is who makes the decisions.


People like that can change and become better people and they can reach places in their life that are unthinkable.  They can become who they pretend to be for real.  He has had every chance, every support, SO MUCH MORE than so many in his same circumstance.. and he couldnt be bothered because it was too hard.  So, yeah - I do believe people can change.  I have changed, I have become a much stronger person, and I have seen what is important in life early on.  I count myself fortunate that I can recognize what true control of one's self is unlike him.  Knowing that means I have armed myself with what I need to change and become better.  Become less angry, less bitter.  I can remove the toxins in my life slowly but surely and work to be a kind, generous person.  I have a long way to go - but AT LEAST I KNOW IT CAN HAPPEN.  He doesnt - because he cant handle the work it would take.


I believe anyone can make them selves a better person if they are ready to put in the work.  You have to start with honesty with yourself and with others around you, and you have to keep your honor and your word.  In the end - that integrity is all you ever have.

Halo Effect ....... Stacey

That Halo effect is really something to consider here?  As I just read recently about this put in this way..."that beautiful people" compared to on average...get away with a lot of things just because of this Halo effect and nothing else?  They aren't smarter, better, or more of anything being born..."naturally good looking".  But people treat them better and they get away with murder sometimes...only because they are "beautiful".

Remember that stupid commercial about some stupid hair product?  "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful".  HA!!  Give me a break!!! LOL  Sounds like a BAD CASE of Narcissism to me? LOL

But that same effect I think happens in the "Love if Blind" stage when you first are with people..and I know this myself more factually based...when I became more aware of this myself..and intentionally tried to play things down...and even with my wife now....who I made a play things "down"..and not try to impress her...and spell out as much that was wrong with me...right from the start?

It was really disheartening and frustrating when she would say things like "you lied to me"...when I made a point not to...and this is the reason why I think?  It was like I could do anything wrong ( even intentionally ) and I could do "no wrong" matter how hard I do everything wrong on purpose...or to play things down with her?

It's not that I didn't tell's that what she heard...was put through the Halo Filter...and came out...."all rosy and peachy".....even though I was trying my best to tell her that these things are not....."so good".  It felt like I was trying to convince her "not to fall in Love me " more....than it felt going the other way....which seeiningly....made no difference what so ever....and I think this is the reason why?  Or least....has a part to play in all of this?

Now add actually embellishing or even total bull shitting on top of that.....and this makes for all kinds of trouble, later on down the line?  The same kind of trouble...I was trying my best ...not to happen which is why I can say that this Halo Effect is definitely something to consider here as having a part to play in all of this?  It's not all or nothing you know?  There is more than one thing going on which means....all of it is varying degrees more accurately said I think?


I think you are definately on

I think you are definately on to something here with the halo thing.  My husband is very good looking (to me at least), and he has had people who fawn over him for that reason his whole life.  His looks are fading because he doesnt take care of him self, but his looks were never something that were a priority for me anyhow.  I think for me - I so love the person behind this mask he wears, that I forget how things really and truly are, much to my own harm when I have wake up moments like I did last night.


I dont know why he did the things he did.  I think he genuine believes one thing, acts on it - and then either forgets or decides something else matters more - IN THE MOMENT.  Which is fine when you plan on having meatloaf for dinner, but then get a craving for tacos instead.  But its not ok when you tell someone you know your life is with them, and then change your mind because you would rather not have any relationship responsibility to that person so that you can play video games (which is how I think this whole thing started last year, because a stupid movie came out about a game he has an admitted addiction to and for what he got help with).


He confusess me in 100 different ways, and its like dealing with 2 different people.  What I thought was the real him, the genuine, kind, love, generous man  - so brilliant and bright that it amazed me daily, the man whose heart was so deep and who had ideas and dreams that were so lovely and wonderful that I sacrificed all that I had to be part of them.... was really the mask.  The mask he used to get what he wanted from me.  The real him - the one I THOUGHT was the mask, was the one who cared little for anyone other than himself, giving lip service to those he felt obligated to to get what he wanted from them.  The one who enjoys manipulation and bragged about how he could get people to do what he wanted, and who doesnt care if what he wants in the moment hurts anyone else.  The man who shucked his responsibilities to his family because its "too hard"... and I am not talking about our marriage either.  The man who has depended on everyone else to bail him out and support him while bragging about how independent he was.    Well - he was right - he was independent, and not in the way that is good. He lived alone and confused that with being strong and functional.


What I thought was the mask is the one who would betray my faith for another - and would just say so.... so matter of factly with out even realizing it... thats who the real him is.  And I was so very very wrong.


I should have known better, I should have realized it all.  I thought I did - but I am pretty much an idiot because for the life of me, I still take people at their word, even though it seems almost everyone I love has lied to me.  In the end - I have just realized that he is just like "them".  And that makes me sad.  Because the man I thought he was is the man I loved with everything I am  - still do in fact.  If I had reason to think that man was real, I would eat all these words, I would take them back and confess how wrong I was.  I would shout to the world what a horrible fool I was to doubt, and I would gladly lay down and take what ever punisment the universe decided to give me.  I would do it happily - because the man I believed him to be is so incredibly amazing....  But that man would not have brought us to this point, that man would have had the fucking balls to keep his ring on and that man would know that the definition of love is not how you feel in the moment but what actions you choose. I guess you can say I was love blind, and he certainly used it to good effect. 


I am so stupid it hurts.


I still love that man, and I still choose to act with love.


Hi! Thanks for your post. Wow--5 years later....I can't believe it. Your post came at such an interesting time because just a few days ago I was served a notice that my ex is taking me back to court for more child custody. We go to court in a couple of weeks...Also, I'm not sure if I mentioned in another post, but I believe my ex is a narcissist, and ADHD is just part of his chaos.

As for my update....It has been a very difficult journey. My emotional state has been put to the test, and I finally saw a doctor who put me on anti-depressants a few years ago. They helped me a lot. I had to file for bankruptcy. I spent two years in a crappy job because it was the only thing I could find, but a year and a half ago I found the job I have today and I am really happy with my career. I have been rebuilding my credit, and living (for the most part) a very stress-free life. My kids are 14 and 12 now, and they are both excellent students with friends and activities and they have adjusted to everything quite well.

My daughter is getting old enough to realize what her dad is like; it's pretty interesting to hear her comment things like, "dad said he'll be here in 30 min. so I guess we'll see him in an hour...." Their dad threatens that they'll have to move all time because he doesn't have enough money to pay the mortgage, and my son said, "I wish we would just move already so he wouldn't keep bringing it up..." For the last year he has been on a medical leave from work. He's fully capable to go back, but he's milking it for all it's worth. I think he's taking me back to court because he wants to get rid of the child support before he (hopefully) goes back to work and tries to promote. It's hard to stay one step ahead of him. Just when I think things have settled down, he does something to disrupt it all.

He's still living the same life I remember...His house is in a perpetual state of being on the brink of foreclosure. He's got a live-in girlfriend now....poor lady...who's already thrown a bunch of money at the lenders trying to save it. Little does she know it will always be this way. He is still a tornado, destroying everything in his path. He owes everyone money, and bill collectors call me all the time trying to track him down.

The sad part is, I'm looking forward to the day that the kids are out of high school, so I won't have to deal with him anymore. It's like, I want to enjoy my kids growing up, but at the same time I want it to go quickly just to be rid of their dad.

I've dated, but I haven't found anyone I'd want to keep. And I hear a lot of, "I'm not HIM," because I'm constantly worried I'm going to end up in the same situation again so I'm a little paranoid. One guy I dated told me I was so "broken" that he didn't know if he could get through to me. It's sad but true, I don't know if I'll ever be able to trust anyone again.

Thanks for checking in, I saw your suggestions on the books, and I'd like to check them out. After what I've been through, I am still always trying to figure out why and how to avoid it again.

I Too Am Divorcing My ADHD Husband

I just read your story last night, and it did nothing but validate to me, that divorce is the correct decision on my part.


After 20 years of marriage I can't take anymore.  I'm 63, he is 60.  My final straw was him starting to beat me.


We lost our home.  Due to his bad business decisions being a real estate broker We now rent.

Our checking is always overdrawn, but he can spend $300 a week gambling.

He's an RN, and makes over 200K a year, but he wants to go back into real estate.  After he went to jail from my last beating, I found infomation he is already in business with his sister, has an office in another city by us.  Secret checking, business, who knows what else.


His family completely enables him.  They always blame me.  If I say anything about it, I'm not to talk about it.  It's all about looking good, and nothing to do with what you really do.  


He lies and tells everyone after he beats me that I was drunk and fell down.  Told me if I left him or he lost his RN license he would lie and do everything he can to make me lose my 11 year old grandson that I've been raising for 2 1/2 years after my daughter killed herself.  He turned me into cps, but all charges were dropped.


I got a restraining order, and have filed for divorce.  It's not worth my losing my grandson, or my life trying to understand or feel sorry, or try to do any of it anymore.


I'm done.




This is something my H has accused me of, lacking compassion and empathy for his issues. Maybe I do. I did not used to. In fact I used to be so caring, giving, and to a point enabling to my H. I took care of EVERYTHING. You know what I got. I got blamed when shit went wrong. I also got no compassion in return. Like when I was sick barfing in the toilet with a stomach flu and my H, annoyed I could not take care of kids asks me what is for dinner. Or when I had food poisoning while 8 months pregnant and I asked if he would take daughter to daycare and bring me home some gatorade or sprite then possibly may have to take me to hospital b/c I was contracting.....I called to find him an hour later and he was out for breakfast having coffee (btw I did end up in labor from dehydration and the Dr. wanted me to not be in labor b/c I was so sick and it was not healthy so he put me on an IV my H did not listen to any of this and posted all over Facebook I was in labor and having a baby). Where is the compassion for me? I think being married to my H removed most compassion from my heart and trust of anyone. My kids are the only ones I feel safe with and care for anymore.