Frustrated, Absolutely Exhausted, and Possibly Losing Reality

My best effort to summarize my painfully long story: I came across this website several months ago.  I began talking about it with my husband.  At first he was open to the discussions and receptive to my apologizes for treating him horribly in result of not know what was going on and just feeling like he didn’t care about me at all.  (He was diagnosed before we met, I just never knew anything about it, and never even looked into it, until our relationship was falling apart before my eyes.)  But very quickly his reaction to my self educating changed.  I guess it became very real very fast and way too much for him and he freaked out.  He asked me for a divorce, out of no where.  I moved out and we were separated for two months.  During that time he was hateful, and horribly horribly disrespectful.  I was depressed, felt rejected and like a failure.   At some point I realized I had no choice but to accept it and try to move on.  I met another man and we were having conversations through email and text messages.  We never met, dated, or had/did anything more than just talk.  After four days of talking to him my husband found out and told me he never wanted a divorce, he just freaked out about everything, and wanted to fix our marriage.  I immediately let the other man know I was no longer interested and started attempting to repair my marriage.  It was so extremely hard to forgive him for all he had done but I knew that we had something special and I truly do want to be with him for the rest of my life.  He is my best friend and he is an amazing person.   He began taking medication, we scheduled an appointment for marriage counseling (with an ADHD-savvy-therapist, or at least she says she is, and as far as her credentials and our experience so far, I think she is) and we purchased several books to begin reading.  He is doing several things to begin managing his ADHD and I give him all the credit in the world for that.  The problem?  He is absolutely pissed at me for talking to someone else.  We have been “back together” now for a month and every single day he wants to hash up something about what I did or lied to him about while we were separated.  He will ask me questions like, “What was the first day you started talking to him?” My response was, I don’t remember, the week of … ” Then he will yell “That’s a lie!  You just keep lying to me and I can’t trust you!”  Because I don’t know the exact date and time, or if I am 30 minutes off, then he says I’m lying.  (He knows the exact time because he pulled my phone records)  I feel trapped and like he continues to “set me up.”   Our therapist says we can’t do anything until we fix the trust because it is the foundation of any relationship.  I completely understand that and agree.  But I feel like I am bearing all of this.  I feel completely screwed over.  I seriously didn’t know that he was going to come back and say that he wanted to repair our marriage.  I wouldn’t have thrown myself into even attempting to move on if I had.  I feel like right now both my husband and our therapist and solely concentrated on “my infidelity.”  Which seriously pisses me off.  Its like they are acting like I had a romantic relationship with this guy.  I’m not trying to rationalize the situation or not take responsibility for what I did.  I completely understand that it hurt my husband.  I do.  But he asked me for a divorce!  Does that not matter at all?  Is that not a factor in this?  I’m just supposed to sit here and take his hatred and harassment and anger until he decides to get over it and move on?  I feel like we have so much to work on and I just want to move forward.  But we are just hitting a brick wall.   I guess I’m just asking for some input/ opinions.  My friends and family say what I did while we were separated is my business and he needs to accept that and get over it.  Yet, I understand that its an issue and now that we are back together he has every right to know what happened, etc.  But we have talked about it and talked about.  I have complete transparency with him, he has access to every email/ social media account I have.  Nothing is good enough. Hes just madder than hell.  And in response I have to swallow my pain and anger and attempt to sooth his with constant apologizes and sympathy.  Am I rationalizing my actions?  Is it rational for our therapist and him to treat this situation like an infidelity and constantly tell me, ‘You were a married woman, separated or not.”  Our therapist also says things like, “I’m just going to sit here with him because this is where he is as long as it takes.”  Easy for her to say!  She “sits there with him” for an hour each week AND isn’t married to him!  I know he is in pain and that kills me.  But I don’t know how much more patience I can have!  

Oh my

Wow, I can really sense your pain.  I think your husband may be using your "infedelity" (I agree it was not) as a distraction and a way to cope with his fear of being able to repair your relationship.  If he is like me and many other ADD-ers, he probably suffers from low self-esteem and a significant fear of failure.  His discovery of the "other man" was enough to motivate him to finally want to make necessary changes (finding motivation to do hard things is VERY DIFFICULT for us).  But when we (ADD-ers) try to make changes, we can easily become paralyzed by a fear of failure because, all too often, we DO FAIL.  And if you have studied ADHD, then you know that he WILL FAIL, at least temporarily.  But he knows there is a lot of pressure riding on his ability to succeed here, and now he has a tangible "proof" that you may not stick it out during those down times.  So if he can create something to blame outside of himself, he is in a much safer place emotionally.  

Have you noticed any pattern when he brings it up?  Like maybe when he is feeling cornered or if he has done something wrong or NOT done something he is "supposed" to do or has agreed to do?  It may be his defense mechanism to protect him from his fear.  So it may be more of an issue of YOU trusting HIM (or convincing him of that) than of him trusting you!  I am not sure it is true that you cannot move forward until the trust issue is resolved.  That takes time anyway, and may not even BE the real issue!  He is probably feeling totally responsible for all of your marital problems, and if he can hold onto what you "did" (nothing, really), then it alleviates some of the "fault" off of him if (in his mind, WHEN) things go wrong.  My husband gets so mad when I use the word "fault" because he always tells me he is not trying to say something is my fault.  But no matter what he says, that is how I FEEL.  Like me, your husband has experienced so much failure in the past that deep down he probably expects this marriage to fail too, even though he may desperately want it to succeed!  But he may be creating a type of "safety net" to protect himself by making this issue such a big deal.  Does that make sense?

So I guess I would suggest to work hard at reassuring him that you will not leave and that you are in it for the long haul, if he is too.  Reassure him that you know it will be hard and convince him that you EXPECT there may be setbacks, but that you are committed to working through all of that with him.  Maybe if you can convince him that you really are there for him and that this is not a "test," he will relax from feeling like he has to be perfect in this process (because he KNOWS he can't) and maybe he will be able to let go of some of the attacks.  I'm sure you have already apologized ad nauseam and have already said all the things you need to say about the "other guy" in a very sincere way, so I doubt that is the real issue. Although you do need to understand that his fragile self-esteem probably DID suffer from it and it will take some time and effort to heal his ego in that area.  But I think the main problem here is fear.  Fear of failure.  Fear of you leaving.  Fear of not being able to maintain success and the energy/motivation to keep trying...and then back to failure and you leaving.  We who have ADHD know ourselves.  We know our inconsistency.  So he knows he will never be able to meet your expectations, much less your needs, consistently.  And he is waiting for the other shoe to drop when you realize that.  So you have to convince him that your expectations are not for perfection and that they allow for this inconsistency.  And that you will not give up as long as he does not give up.  He needs to have the SAFETY and freedom to try new and hard things and that you know he will make some mistakes along the way.  And ENCOURAGE, ENCOURAGE, ENCOURAGE every effort he gives as much as possible, no matter how small, and no matter how many other things went wrong that day!  Find something to praise.  And if whatever he tried didn't really work, ENCOURAGE him for the fact that he tried something and assure him that you will be patient while he experiments.  If he feels safe and secure in YOUR trust of his DESIRE and INTENTION to change (does not always translate into success!), he will probably lighten up on the other issue.  

PS--Don't TELL him that you think his anger stems from this stuff.  That will NOT help!!  He does not know or understand this and the issue is way too emotional for him to be rational or logical if you try to explain it.  It would be like telling a woman experiencing PMS moodiness that it is just her hormones.  Keep it to yourself and allow the knowledge (or at least the suspicion) to give you empathy for him.  Do NOT respond to his anger with anger!  Respond with reassurance, and you will diffuse the flames.  Good luck!