Here goes. . . everything. . . what now?


I am one of you.  I have recently become one of those people who just learned the answer to "why".  Why is our marriage so difficult?  Why can't I make him happy any more?  Why does he act so angry all the time?  Why is he so insecure?  There are so many "why questions".  The discovery of the answer to why was wonderful but the moment of understanding and hope almost immediately disappeared.  I'll try to put 30 plus years in a nutshell for you.  My hope is that I will receive some helpful recommendations.

Apparently, a little over a year ago my husband decided that he might have ADD.  He discussed this with his GP and was prescribed Vyvanse.  He did not tell me this.  Recently, due to a medical emergency he had to list all of his medications prior to treatment.  I was familiar with most of his meds that he has taken for years for anxiety, depression, pain, etc.  the only new one mentioned was the Vyvanse.  Oddly enough I had recently read a book written by someone with ADD.  While reading it I found similarities in my husband's behavior.  A few days after the medical emergency I asked my husband if his doctor had diagnosed him with ADD.  He said yes.  I said when?  He said, a year ago.  WOW!  So, I was immediately hopeful that with this information, that answers so many of the "why questions" we could improve our relationship, finally.  The husband suggested I read and learn about ADD so we could talk about it.  I did just that.  However, on several attempts to talk about it I was informed that his medication is helping him very well in doing his job and that he only has a mild disorder and that he is fine now and that I am not to discuss this with anyone.  So, there went my glimmer of hope.  I have continued to read and learn but now even with much knowledge and understanding, I can recognize the traits but my husband is not interested in trying to work on problems he does not acknowledge. 

There are some things that are not typical.  For example, my husband is extremely intelligent, hard working, very organized, very clean and well groomed, well respected by peers and people in general.  He is empathetic and caring and at times very generous.  Manages money like a financial planner and has an excellent credit score.  I strongly suspect that one of his additional traits is OCD.  Over the years I have always thought he was what some might call a "high maintenance" husband.  But, I have dealt with many of the same feelings of abandonment, and being ignored, etc.  The meds he was taking prior to the Vyvanse sometimes made him angry, irritable and just plain mean.  Being who I am, I always made excuses and forgave him because of his high pressure career and the extreme amount of time it required of him.  I have made excuses for too many things.

So, here I am venting to all of you.  I am violating the order not to discuss this with anyone but I absolutely need to know, what now?






Did I not sound desperate enough? Well I am!

Hi Everyone:

In my initial post I was trying to just get the basic facts out there.  I did not want to come across as in a panic or as desperate as I really am.  I have been to my GP.  He says I am depressed and wants to put me on medication.  I told him I would consider it but that I really feel that if I am truly depressed it is situational and I would prefer to repair the situation, if at all possible.  Unfortunately, I am at this point where I have read many of you either are or have been.  Can I continue to live the status quo?  I don't know.  Before I knew about the effects of ADD on a marriage, I used to think to myself, what a roller coaster ride.  It's funny to me to see that description used by so many others.  Well my roller coaster is completely off the tracks.  I don't know if I have the strength, energy or desire to continue a relationship that will more than likely continue to decline and never get better.  At this point my husband is so paranoid that I might tell someone he has ADD that he is hovering over me and monitoring everything I do, everywhere I go, who I talk to, etc.  He implied recently during a "discussion" (I use the term lightly) that our lack of intimacy "recently" is due to his enlarged prostate and this is very frustrating to him.  Okay, that may explain his avoidance of the subject and any attempts at intimacy for the past year or so but I still want to know what his excuse is for the past 10 years.  That's right 10 years no discussion or explanation just everything stopped.  So I made excuses, I blamed myself, I accepted it without ever saying a word.  Now I suppose because he is on medication he realizes on some level that I have been neglected and ignored and I imagine he finds it hard to believe that I have remained loyal and loving in spite of living without any connection to him whatsoever.  Now that I know better I want to do better.  I had hoped that we would at least try to work on these issues but as I said before I just don't know what to do now.  I am not terribly concerned about the intimacy issue.  After all these years it is not a priority.  I deeply miss the feeling of being connected and important to each other.  This is a very sad and lonely place to be.

I hope some of you will respond with some guidance.  I am exhausted from thinking about this on my own.



Hello Heregoeseverything... Sorry nobody responded to you earlier. I'm an ADDer who was diagnosed 13 years into my marriage at the age of 43. A lot of what you said describes the classic ADD guy. It is possible your DH did not say anything to you about the diagnosis because he is grieving the diagnosis. After taking the meds he may have began to see all the ways his ADD has let you down. The meds cannot do everything, they are like eyeglasses in the way they assist you, the real work comes in understanding how ADD has affected everything and how to un-do the bad coping skills used to combat failures caused by decades of undiagnosed ADD. You both will need help from counselors individually and together, but your DH will have to do a lot of work to improve things.

Keep reading on this website because there are many good people here from both sides of ADD. Best wishes... 

Thanks for the response



I have read quite a few of your posts.  I appreciate your thorough understanding of what it must be like for the non-add spouse.  I agree my husband is grieving.  I am as well.  The difference is I want to talk about this and help him and be there for him but he seems to be totally okay with having nothing to do with me right now.  There have been times when he has told me he loves me so many times in a day that it became sort of a joke.  He would say I bet I'm the only husband in the world that says I love you to his wife as much as I do.  He also apologizes all the time.  It comes across as a little pitiful sometimes when there is no need to apologize.  I think I have been a victim of the arguments he has in his head where he assumes how I will react to something and what I will say so then he doesn't even bother to talk at all.  I know I am not perfect, who is?  But I promise you I have been told I have the patience of a saint and I agree that I am very patient.  Right now, my patience is very thin.


Thanks for getting in touch.  I will keep reading.  I feels good to know that someone in the world knows what I am going through.  I don't feel quite as lonely now.




I'm sure you have had many years of poor communication from your DH. During heated discussions I would tend to get over-whelmed and shutdown. There is hope, because I know how differently I think and feel just three years later. I used to have 500 things flying through my head and could not spit out one thing. I was exhausted by the end of every day, I had sleep apnea and was 100 pounds heavier before my diagnosis. My mind feels so much sharper and I don't need nearly as much sleep, maybe 6-7 hours and I feel better than I used to after 10 hours of sleep. I can participate in the heated discussion now and remain calm doing it. I discovered that I "Like" to exercise, mainly walking the dogs and daughters ;) I am more efficient at work and more productive at home. I have learned so much from the people on this website and combined with the books I've read about ADD I am able to help my 2 ADD daughters work through their issues. My main goal, after saving my marriage, was to make sure my DD's did not go through years of not knowing why they are different. I can tell them about how their minds are wonderful and full of creativity and coach them through some of the disorganization and other challenges. I still slip up, as the ADD never goes away, but I can see when I need to re-focus afterwards and press on. 

The grief your DH has to work through is certainly difficult to do, but if he can focus on how the future can dramatically improve, it will help him move on from all the disappointments of the past and focus on reconnecting with you and improving the future. 

Thanks for your replies!

I just want to thank all of you that responded to my "cry for help"!  I wish I had been able to read them sooner.

Last night was another disaster.  On the 4th of July we had discussed going out to dinner and then going to see the local fireworks.  But it turns out the the husband took a much needed nap and did not wake up until 6:30 PM.  He wanted to go but by then I was concerned about the timing.  You see, I had to work yesterday and he did not.  I was concerned that if we went it would become another occasion where one thing would lead to another and another and we wouldn't get home until very late (for me).  The husband is a night owl as I have read many with ADD are.  I am a morning person.  So, he decided to go ahead without me since I obviously didn't really want to go.  So he left.  Long story short, I got home from work yesterday, he was on the phone (typical) so I waited as usual.  Around 6:45 I was in the kitchen when he came into the room and he looked at me but didn't speak and just went about starting one of his many unfinished projects.  Shame on me, I couldn't resist saying well Hello.  It went down hill from there.   I should have done this, that, etc.  So for over two hours last night I listened while every thing about me was criticized, again.  I discovered during this discussion that I am: not doing my share of chores, not doing the grocery shopping, not cooking, and not cleaning the house to his exacting standard.  In addition, I am evil, not a Christian, I don't want to do anything with him, we have nothing in common, and on and on.  I'm sure you all get the idea.  A new one was added to the list, now I am a hoarder!  To me it felt surreal.  I thought I was losing my mind.  I tried to practice my new found skills and did not criticize him at all.  I told him I was sorry for disappointing him and I would try to do better.  Things calmed down for a few minutes and so I tried to let him know that I feel that the ADD is what is causing a great deal of stress for us and I had hoped that we could work together to find some ways to move forward with the right perspective.  He once again denied having "full blown" ADD.  After that I just gave up, I told him I loved him and he said he loved me but. . . . .

So everyone, I guess I have some serious thinking to do.  It almost feels like the husband wants to eliminate me from his life and he is trying to justify it to the world he lives in.  For all these years, to his world I have been the best thing that ever happened to him, his soul mate, the person responsible for all his successes and the mother of his child, of whom he is immensely proud.  So in order to explain me away I guess I must change in to an alcoholic, cigarette smoking, hoarder, atheist!  I'm sure he will get years of sympathy for all of his endurance while my reputation goes in the dumpster.  This hurts to even think of.

It's Friday, I hate Friday.  For the next two days I will be in an environment that makes me sad, uncomfortable and exhausted.  I think things are getting worse every day and I am feeling pretty hopeless.  However, I agreed at the end of our discussion to review some marriage counseling videos that the husband thinks will help us because they are "Christian" based.  He believes that my spiritual life is insufficient and that I need to get closer to God.  Perhaps, but I reminded him that I am a Christian, always have been and pray constantly for our marriage.  God answered my prayer by allowing me to find the truth about the source for so many things that have caused pain and distrust for years.  The sad part is that even though I got my answer I think it may be to late for us.  So I'll review the videos and if I truly think they might help I'll give them a chance, maybe it will be good if we can just sit in the same room and stare at the same thing for a little while.

I just don't know yet.


Thanks to all again,

I will keep reading.


Extremely Sad To Say

And.... embarrassed, I'd die if anyone knew, but the lack of marital relations exists in my marriage too.

It is a problem for me.

I know the opposite is an issue for some husbands, but not mine.

It chips away at your self esteem as a wife to have this happen.

Who'd ever imagine a wife begging for sex? Happened to me though. It was humiliating.

I've tried living with it, but really, it just doesn't work.

*BLEEP* I get hit on everyday when I go out in public. Yet it seems the only man who isn't interested is my husband.

I wish I could articulate how this actually makes me feel.

The one word that comes to mind?


Should also mention:

It's a fallacy that adder's can't be brilliant. They can. My husband is no dummy.

Also, besides the dreaded shutting down in a conversation (which definitely kills any hope of partnership for sure) my husband also throws everything n the kitchen sink at me during anything resembling problem solving. It simply cannot be his fault. Bottom line.


I have read about the ADD guys lack of sex drive and I just don't get it. I can tell you how many times I thought there was a chance of it, until I realized the my DW fell asleep at some point during the back massage. After this, I was awake for hours... I certainly know about being a husband needing sex, but not willing to beg or guilt her into "Pity Sex". Through most of our first 13 years of marriage I was 50 - 100lbs overweight. So my self esteem was crap and my DW knew she had nothing to worry about with someone flirting with me. I lost 40 pounds before my diagnosis and about another 60 afterwards, but until recently the weight loss really made things worse because guys only lose weight for one reason, right? It took a long time to convince her of otherwise and things seem to be turning around. To me, I feel so connected when we are together, but 10 years of room mate situation almost destroyed everything. I know from experience that getting the connection back is really tough... I still know we are not out of the woods yet. I know the shame of what you speak of. Seeing friends every day knowing that in their marriages they have this connection and I have to go along and pretend I had something similar. Self esteem in the tank...

My DW is actually believing the compliments I give her now, at least starting to believe there is no motive other than a compliment for my wife. Since Adderall my "Shut Down" moments are pretty much gone, unless it's really late and the meds are gone and I can struggle a bit, but Nothing like the old days.

As far as smarts go... I think some of the most brilliant ADDer's I know seem to have no common sense and are just awkward and oblivious. I lucked out and had common sense most of the time, but fought impulsivity and was pretty oblivious to social cues. I don't like to be wrong, but will admit it if it is the case. Everything is much easier after the meds and my learning about ADD and it's effects.

Hang in there Bilf...

Hi.  I'm sorry that you are

Hi.  I'm sorry that you are going through a lot of pain and distress.  I too am the spouse of a man with ADHD.  My husband also is extremely intelligent, hard working, and well liked by his peers and relatives.  But like you, I also feel abandoned.  

What now?  Accept, if you can, that there is little you can do to persuade your husband to change.  Easiest thing to say; hardest thing to do.  I still struggle with this, two or three years post-ADHD diagnosis.  Other things to do?  1) Take care of yourself.  2) Think about what is most important to you in life.  Decide whether you have the possibility of getting these most important things with your husband.  Accept the reality of the situation:  your husband might never change.  If he doesn't, do you think you can stand to spend the rest of your life with him?  3) Examine your own behavior.  There might be things that you do that don't help with the ADHD.  These behaviors might be perfectly justified but if they don't help and they don't make you feel better, try to get a handle on them.  (One of mine is anger.  My husband apparently is deathly afraid of my anger.  I'm sounding a teeny bit sarcastic, because if you met me or even heard me while "angry," you'd probably not be scared.  But my husband is. And so I've tried very hard to not respond to him with anger.  It has helped me and hasn't made his situation worse.) 4) Keep coming to this site.  It will help.


MMM Similar Experience

Well, minus the part I knew at the original diagnosis point.

Once my husband was diagnosed, everything thereafter became a giant secret.

He really believed he, 'had this,' I think.

Unfortunately in my opinion, it's just another symptom, the inability to accurately self assess.

Pbartender's picture

This is one of the reasons I

This is one of the reasons I wish my non-ADHD wife was a little more comfortable talking about it...  I know that I might be perfectly accurate in my own self-assessments.  I know that she probably has a different point of view on which parts of my ADHD is causing problems, and what sorts of progress I have or haven't made.  It'd be nice to "compare notes" with her, and make sure we're on the same page as to what needs to be worked on.



I am sorry

Reading your post made me sad for you . I feel a bit less lonely knowing I am not alone in my sadness and fears. I wish I knew how to help