Happy medium?

Not sure what to call this question...honestly, but gardener make me think about something and then I was noticing a pattern emerging for me and a couple of other members and wanted to get some input.

I find myself struggling between what I should put on the table as an issue we need to work on and not wanting to address too many issues for fear of making him feel worse about himself...like "why bother". What gardener asked me was if I could see a pattern between when my husband's ADHD was worse and my own level of commitment to the marriage. In other words, when I'm giving up on him does his behavior become worse. I have been thinking about this for about 24 hours and the answer is "probably".

So...first...why do I get to the point where I feel like giving up? For me, it is because I feel like he is unwilling to admit that his ADHD is causing any specific problem in our marriage. Right now, communication has completely shut down. We either avoid each other, talk about mundane BS, or fight like hell. That is our only communication. From my perspective, which he would surely disagree with, it started because he takes any and all attempts to 'talk' as attacks and no matter how hard I try I cannot seem to get it right when I try to talk to him about anything. If it involves the marriage, then he is automatically defensive. Now, what gardeners point made me question is...is he in such a defensive frame of mind because he knows I am losing hope? Because he is giving up too? I haven't made it a secret that I am not happy, that I need him to get more professional help, that I need more from him than attention only when he wants sex, and that his sneaking and lies (which he denies) are pushing me out the door..and FAST. The 'solution' to this is counseling...and lots of it...but we cannot afford $50/wk out of pocket for the counselor that I KNOW would help us. I've considered taking out a loan. Honestly. We can't make it as it is though...and we need to see her at least once a week. I admit that in early June I just decided I didn't want to deal with any of it and stuck my head in the sand and wallowed in my anger for a while.

So, yes, I am sure he feels I have given up..that he cannot do anything right...and that no matter how hard he tries, it is never going to be enough...like he's fighting a losing battle. But, honest to God I am not sure that I can name one thing that he has done that has been helpful. There is never a good time to talk, he doesn't want to discuss anything, he's got too much on him with work, etc. I feel I have tried...

So...I'm between a rock and a hard place. I know that confronting our issues adds to his stress and anxiety...but when we don't confront them it adds to mine. He's much happier with me just 'going along' with whatever, whenever. I have legitimate concerns that have to be addressed. He states he can control his ADHD himself. I know that adding to his anxiety makes his ADHD symptoms worse...he says he cannot function when things aren't right between us. I think he 'makes up' with me most of the time just so he can have some peace but it is done in a way that NOTHING gets resolved.

How do you address the issues when doing so adds to the anxiety and stress, which makes the ADHD worse, but the issues never get addressed or resolved (just brought up long enough to make him defensive), without making the ADHDer feel like they cannot ever get anything right? I honestly don't want to pick him apart like a vulture for everything he does..but i do feel that the BIG issues being unresolved (and him avoiding/denying them) makes me much more apt to pick apart everything he does. I know it isn't fair, but I feel like giving nothing to someone who seems to refuse to GET that his ADHD behaviors are destroying our lives. Even if not actively and everyday, there are definite patterns that tend to repeat themselves over the course of several months/years and until the 'whys' are addressed and resolved I will NOT have any peace in my marriage. His cheating is the main one. Whether ADHD related...100%..50%...10%...it still needs to be addressed..WHY does he do it and what can he do to stop it? My class reunion was proof positive that he still does not recognize what marital boundaries are. Ours or anyone else's. What he did that night was disrespectful to my friend's husband too, I feel.


Maybe start with an email, note or text...

He knows things a not good. He avoids conflict? If you are not going off on him, things "Must" be kind of okay... The note could start with missing the closeness and there are things that need to be discussed, list a few, ask him to list some things that are bothering him. Maybe give a few days to think about the responses and agree to meet at a quiet place for dinner. Have someone watch the kids. Change the location/setting where all the conflicts occur. A public place should keep things civil. There needs to be Some forward progress. I was going out of my mind during our stalemate. I hate stagnation or worse regression. The dinner could open a new format for some constructive conversations.

My DW and I did this a few times and some were helpful, some not so much and some started nice and ended poorly. So I can't say it is this Genius Idea, but it removes the location of the anger and sadness and the public arena should help keep things from getting out of hand.

Just a thought :)



DF's picture

Makes sense...

YYZ has good points.  All things I can't do myself seeing as how it would just anger my wife more.  Whatever....

I like the note idea.  Gives your spouse the knowledge that you care, are thinking about them, and that their opinion will be taken into consideration.  All good stuff, unless their frame of mind is not on resolving conflict.  Same as the dinner idea.  Good stuff, but without desire to resolve, you wanting to go do something may put the defensive mode on auto startup at the slightest hint of "time alone".

Sherri - much of my button pushing over the years came from my fear of failure.  I'd known for years that I needed to be better for my wife and it caused me huge amounts of stress.  When I displayed frustration towards my wife I was telling her, the only way I knew how, that I was hurt and frustrated with failure.  I can't tell you how many times I would measure myself against people that had more material signs of wealth and then get angry with my wife at the mere mention of a family vacation.   We can't afford a trip like the Jones's, are you crazy?!  Problem is, I was the only one getting in the way of doing anything.  I knew it in a way, but didn't know how to address it.

When my wife would tell me I wasn't affectionet enough I saw that as failure and sank lower inside.  I never once told my wife plain and simple - "I'm trying very hard.  I do love you.  I want more for us, but I don't know what I need to do and feeling like a failure angers me."

I did what any unknowing goof does, I got defensive or just nodded in agreement and moved on my merry way.  But failure, like debt, has a way of catching up with you.  There is an answer, but it lies in the person that's struggling.  Your spouse can't find the answer if he can't be honest with himself.  There in lies my own past guilt and my wife's current guilt.