My husband of almost 8 years has ADD and while he is managing it with medication, so many of these symptoms have played a huge role in disintegrating our marriage. Alcohol and late night partying in loud bars/clubs was used as self medication (he did drugs in college), and he'd do it even knowing I felt ignored, unloved and never a priority in his life. I know why he did it - he needed to block out all the 50 radio channels in his head and the stress of life - but it sure didn't make me feel important or loved. When he realized that the booz and late nights were going to cause me to kick him out, he stopped that but then became hyper-focused on work instead. He worked constantly, leaving me to do the chores and raise our daughters and the resentment brewed and I turned into that nasty, nagging wife who asked him why he "didn't do this" or "couldn't do that." I stopped giving him empathy, stopped respecting and validating him, starting to focus on all the negative things about him. Over the years my husband has become more and more unhappy. He's unsatisfied, unhappy and we can't seem to get along or see things the same way. He insists he says "abc" and I hear and interpret "xyz" and I'm called frustrating and exhausting because I don't hear or interpret "abc" like he does. He doesn't understand why he feels this way - so angry, resentful and unhappy even though his life from the outside looks wonderful (nice house, good neighborhood, 2 great kids, stable job, etc).
Basically, he has come to the conclusion that he must have done all this drinking and staying out late, followed by the hyper-focus on work, because he was avoiding me because he no longer loves me. Because he doesn't want to be around me. I knew he was unhappy - he's felt "lost" career wise for a while and I can't imagine what it's like to have ADD - but this was a shock. I've responded by getting us into counseling together and individually. He's currently started seeing his own counselor, but I don't think he's an expert on ADD. I will work with a counselor on my own issues, but also on how to better enhance my relationship with my husband who has ADD.
I'm certainly not freeing myself of blame, here, about the current state of our marriage and how we got here. I'm big time at fault too. But I don't think my husband realizes the impact his ADD is having. I can't bring it up - he gets super defensive about it. He's also become more irritable, angry and having more "blow up" episodes and I've often thought that maybe years of being on the same medication (Adderall) is partly to blame for this behavior and attitude change. I've suggested that maybe he combine this drug with an antidepressant or change to a different drug altogether, but that just sparks a defensive reaction that he's not depressed and doesn't need to be medicated more than he already is.
We don't sleep together - he needs the TV to go to sleep and often can't fall asleep until late at night and I go to bed earlier and like it quiet and dark. I can't keep up with him sometimes in conversation - he thinks too quickly or changes the topic - and then he gets mad and frustrated with me because I "don't get it." He doesn't take his medication on weekends to give himself a break but then he can't get out of bed in the morning, can't motivate, can't really do anything all day. Then I get angry and resentful.
I've realized that I've stopped giving him the empathy, respect and validation he needs and deserves and I've been working hard at letting go of all my anger and giving him what he needs. I'm realizing again how hard this must be for him - the stress of ADD on top of the stress of helping to financially support the family, pitch in with house-work, help raise 2 daughters. All this, with 50 radio channels going on his head all the time, etc. It's hard enough doing all this without having ADD!
But he thinks that all these things he's done in his life - ignored me, gone out late drinking, hyper-focused at work, not being able to motivate to do house chores, etc means he must just not love me anymore and must not love our life together. Because if he did love me, and did love our life, he'd be able to NOT go out drinking, or NOT work all the time or WANT to spend weekends mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, cooking, doing dishes, etc. Right? Wrong! Not if you have ADD. It sounds an awful lot like his ADD at work here.
How can I explain to him that it's likely his ADD without him getting defensive, angry and blowing up at me? How can I explain that maybe he does still love me? I'm hoping that by being the once empathetic, loving, validating wife I used to be that he'll realize he does still love me and therefore the source of his actions (working late, drinking late, not being able to motivate to do house chores) and unhappiness is rooted in something else - namely the ADD!
Anyone out there who's been in a similar situation?!