Submitted by blytheandlove on 06/03/2017.
Hi All! I am new to the forum and new to being the spouse of a diagnosed ADD partner, though we have known for some time that something was "different" about my dear husband. I have started this post about a dozen times because I want to be respectful of my husband but also give an accurate account of life as it is. So before I get started, I want to assure anyone who reads this that I love my husband dearly, we are happily married, and while I might sound negative, I'm just coming for compassion and understanding from people who know what it's like. My husband and I were high school sweethearts. We started dating when I was 14, married when I was 19, and we are coming up on our 11th anniversary. We have been together through high school, college and the beginning of our adult life. My husband is an Electrical Engineer, and I give private woodwind lessons and am mostly a stay at home wife and mother of our 1 1/2 year old son. My husband is incredibly smart, very kind, romantic when he is feeling inclined, giving and super sweet. He has always been a perfectionist, can't seem to get past a problem when he's faced with one, though he is also distracted easily, he works very slowly and has very little concept of time and time management. He also is often completely unaware that he can come across selfish and cold because he doesn't read emotional cues of other people. I'm sure there are other things that I am not remembering right now. In school, this meant he only finished a handful of tests completely. He was late picking me up consistently, he would stay up all night playing a video game because he wanted to get past a certain point. In college, this meant not seeing him for three days because he lived in the lab to get things done. In our marriage this means that I do everything around the house. Everything. I have learned how to do a lot of home repairs, I take care of our three dogs, I pay the bills, I keep the house clean, I keep the garage clean, I finally hired someone else to do the lawn work this year with our new little one. But I do it all, which sounds typical from a stay at home wife, but really, everything. When my husband comes home, he usually plays video games or goes on a long bike ride. For years, this has been a fine arrangement for us. He provides an income, appreciates my hard work, and treats me well for the most part. I don't mind doing a lot of the work around the house and I work quickly and am an organization freak, so it works well for me. Our son is adopted, which means the adoption process was a lot of work that I basically did myself. When our son came home, my husband was stressed with work and having a new little one and so he avoided coming home. He would work, go on a long bike ride, come home just in time to go to bed. I was with the baby 100% of the time for months, with the exception of date nights, once or twice a month. I told him I needed him to step up, he felt horrible and promised to work harder, and nothing changed. Again and again. And again. I tried helping him create a schedule at work, I read books on how to help organize his life better, I tried giving him "due dates" on projects I needed help with at home. None of this worked. Eventually I had enough of doing everything, realized he might have ADD and finally talked him into visiting a doctor. He was "somewhat diagnosed" (the doctor said "highly likely you have ADD") but he refused medication. We are currently in a second adoption wait, hoping for a second child. I absolutely love motherhood, love being a wife and can't wait to have a second child. I am, however, concerned. I got married to have a partner, and while I love being a mom, I don't want to mom him anymore. I need him to adult every once in a while. Anyway, that is our story. I just needed to share it somewhere. I hope that my time spent here is more encouraging than needing encouragement, but thanks for reading anyway :). Feel free to ask questions if you need more information.
Submitted by Chevron on
I've been attracted to your post, that tells about both you and your husband, and tells the story of you two, up to the present. You certainly communicated to me that you love your husband very much, and he loves you. I've been on this board a couple years. I'm in love with my husband who has ADHD, too. He's such a wonderful human being.
I was in read only for awhile. One thing stood out from just reading what people wanted to post about their lives..was that there is a really strong match from couple to couple, including the one I'm in, of some of the kinds of problems the ADHD/non ADHD or ADHD/ADHD couples need to work on, regardless of how long the domestic relation has been going on, and regardless of whether or not the pair still feel in love or live in hope. I'm not talking about a relation that has to deal with extras, beyond ADHD, like psychosis, addiction, or crippling life wounds brought into the relation. So many on this board come needing to talk about the impact of the mix of ADHD and co morbids, regardless of which of the couple brings the comorbid in. There are people on ths board with very hard lives, or having been through very hard lives. Denial ofADHD or ignorance that it's the catalyst of behaviors sure is no joke. I'm often nearly in tears reading what some on the board are going through.
I'm talking about events and habits in the home more directly produced by one or the other of the couple reacting to ADHD or the ADHD partner reacting to the other partner's difficulty (like dealing with work increase and inability to be attentive in the same way due to theabsolute needs of a new baby in the house).
I keep coming to this board, because, while at the moment...and I have to say, at the moment, there's no sense that this will continue on out, daily life for us is more balanced than the lives of people who are living with ADHD and some really terrible things added in....the ADHD relatable problems that other people describe here are astonishingly like what I find difficult at home.
You do have my compassion. There's such a persistent tendency of the literature to treat people who cohabit with someone with ADHD as if they are irrational or a whiner, for speaking up about impact of ADHD on them, and of course people in RL with no knowledge from experience of living with someone with it really dont possess enough facts to evaluate what they're hearing. I find I self edit with this kind of offline person. . I've thought some in my life offline who've heard stories of things-at-home incidents, either quickly jump to conclusions that my husband is a slacker not treating me well, or that I was a loser whining about something that I should be able to handle...which is creepily close to the prejudice in some of the professional literature, in my opinion. And it is also uncomfortably close to some of the gaslighting that some partners do on their spouse, in order to avoid dealing with the fact that their own behavior has created real difficulty for their partner. No compassion extended, just just judgmentalism. While partners of people with ADHD are not supposed to be "the parent", they're told to be the parent by professionals,some, and sometimes are boxed into it by partners. It's a crazy loop, that one...
At least on this board, people who read what you have to write will believe you when you talk about your good times and bad.
I believe you when you report that adding a 1 1/2 year old to your marriage is putting a strain on you...as well as on your husband, I'd guess, if he's building some time away in, now that the baby's there. What new needs do both of you have?
The one thing I saw, reading your description, that I'm pretty sure just wouldnt work in our house...my husband and I are considerably older than you, which may make a difference, is me being the one to schedule my husband's time and give him due dates, to be his minder regarding new tasks on his plate, etc would be a bust...at our house. That's expectation external to my husband being laid on him. He has his own ways of handling himself. He struggles with change and disturbance . Reminders whether verbal or visual, of an externally imposed task that he hasnt chosen just dont work with my husband. They dont even work when he's asked me to be his reminder or when he has agreed to the change in the abstract or in principle. My husband is so much into "if it's not MY now, it doesnt exist" that the only thing that generally works for us is for him to be the one to put the new thing on his own horizon of desire...for him to take it in as something he wants to do and he's the one who incorporates into his schedule. Not my schedule for him. And it's quite a deal for something new, proposed from outside of his ways and choices, to go by his choice onto his schedule. Google calendars, reminders, no matter how sweetly delivered, chorewheels, agreements because what I ask is reasonable...are no match for his now/not now. And once he has chosen and willed, the new activity needs to be executed enough times for him to add it to his habits. Which means that there is Groundhog Day, over and over again about any domestic change that involves his necessary change of action. He'll be on his old schedule, unless he voluntarily has tackled the considerable work for him of interiorizing then changing the habit behavior. I am not talking down about him. He has different ways because he has different hard wiring in some things than I do. That we have to do routine change over and over again before it sticks in his memory and practice is just part of life for us. He's a man of very good will, and this has nothing to do with intelligence.
On the other hand, I dont think he sees my wiring and challenges very well, eithr,nor easily recognizes my need to manage using my wiring, not wiring like his. I know you mean it when you talk about the workload at home being what it is, and going up considerably when a baby came into the house. I think you're very smart to start to try to address the changed workload on you. Me, I'd hesitate until life worked better for me, before adding that second baby...There are parents on this board who you can talk with about that total load.
I'm not raising a young child, aiming for two. I'm doing the everything at home plus working about a shift and a half per day outside the home, and the work total nearly broke me, until I started doing something about it. This is going to sound tough, but it's your job to manage your work, not your husband's...regardless of adult responsibilities in principle, or between another couple. You're married to a man with ADHD, not one who doesnt have it, so solutions are going to be different. Your husband may not be able to see your workload. I dont think mine did for a long time, though I chirped about it like a parakeet. It m.It took three years of marriage until my husband took in that I was indeed working myself ill. But even when he grasped it, there was only so much he could do....he, too, was working a shift and a half 6 days a week, and he couldnt solve MY workload problems...that was for me to do. Ihave to accept that any change in his pattern of behavior must be truly voluntary on his part, he must then internalize it, in his own way, not my way,and he is the one to execute. As is perhaps obvious after writing all this, our wellbeing, and mine at home depends heavily on both of us wanting to give each other slack, and try. Keep trying.
All best. Life has to be livable for both of you. I am cheered to read your post, Blythe.
Chevron, thank you for your
Submitted by blytheandlove on
Only one person you can change
Submitted by adhd32 on
Hi B, there is only one person in the world you can change. He isn't changing. He gets to do his thing and decide that he doesn't want to be a grown up and you pick up the slack. He complains when you request he act like an adult. He shows you who's boss by not coming home from work or engaging in "me only" activities. If you read through the boards you will see that most long term marriages end up with non spouse doing most and add spouse living the life they want free from mundane tasks and responsibilities. I did this to just get through the day/week/minute and keep peace. I do not know what is in us, or that is missing that allows us to accept this life. I was unable to see his ADD at first because my H's behavior was not full blown until after the birth of our children. Prior to having a family he was able to deal and manage the stress of life and I had the time to devote to many mundane tasks that life requires. H became worse with the arrival of each child and life became most unbearable when I had to return to work and take care of the house and kids. I thought I married a man who wanted a family, after all he said he wanted a family. But instead he wanted to do whatever he wanted without any demand on him or his free time! He wanted me but I don't think he really wanted the kids or the demands they brought to life. They were here though, why couldn't he just step up instead of rebelling like a child? Why was he punishing me by checking out? Who was suppose to pick up the slack if H didn't? Why didn't he care about my well being? I don't know the answers.
Only you can determine how you choose to carry on but keep in mind that unless he is a willing participant in change your life will continue to be rowing a boat with only one oar.
adhd32, Thank you for your
Submitted by blytheandlove on
I really appreciate how you
Submitted by Strivingforjoy on
I really appreciate how you said he doesn't have the tools in his toollbox to do it. That's exactly how I feel about my husband both of us are ADHD and it's a strain. But I feel he is so kind to me most of the time and since I know how it goes with ADHD I don't get mad at him, just the situation. At times it really stresses me out to have so much on my plate. But I don't get upset with him. The funny thing is that me being so busy makes him feel left out at times. I am just patiently waiting for him to learn. He's seeing a counselor to help him. I hope it works. I can see that he has the desire to do better but many times I think he just doesn't know how.