From here to There and Back again

I hate to say that It brings me some comfort to see that I'm not so abnormal in the patterns and situation that I'm in, but it sucks that so many marriages have to go thru this rollercoaster.

I've been married to my ADHD husband for almost 12 years, we have 4 children (10 and under). For the past few years (since our 3rd child was born) things have been going thru cycles of falling apart and coming back together. The years leading up to the birth of our 3rd child I was the only one working, but about a month into my pregnancy he got a job and I have been a SAHM since.

The thing that often throws things into more turmoil is the fact that I also have ADHD. The interesting thing is that my husband and I couldn't be more different. We both have hyperfocus and horrible memories, we both constantly lose things and are late to everything. But where he just avoids thinking about or taking on any responsibilities, I agonize and obsess and worry myself sick. I dont' know if it's a facet of being a woman or just dynamics of our relationship, but even though we struggle with a lot of the same things I somehow end up being the one that is left holding the bag. I know it's partly my own fault, I have enabled him to never take responsibility for anything and have bailed him out of messes time and time again.

I feel like the fact that I have ADHD has made me put up with MORE from him, simply because I really DO understand a lot of where he's coming from. I mean how can I get pissed that he forgot (again) to take the garbage out, when I don't remember it half the time? How can I get mad at him for not getting the kids to school on time when I only get it accomplished 3/4 of the time?

I wrote this in my journal a few nights ago, which pretty much sums up where I'm at right now:

I don’t even want to write anything here, leaving something to confront myself with the reality of my situation. I don’t know what is right and what is wrong. The only thing I truly know is that I’m miserable. I feel alone all the time. I fear that my chance for a marriage that I dreamed of when I was a little girl is gone, never was even there. The hardest part is that I do love him. I love those glimpses of who he is and what we really have if you strip away all the other stuff. That is what keeps me holding on most of the time. The thought that, in the end, the person he is and the strength of our relationship will prevail and win over our circumstances.  But how long do I keep that hope alive? Cradled in the corner of my heart, protecting it from being snuffed out by all the turmoil and day to day strife. I feel like I’m suffocating slowly, but I don’t even realize it most of the time, because I’m so used to the constriction. It’s only when I can fleetingly remove myself from things and see a glimpse of what could be, what I long for, that the reality of my life settles on me like an anchor, pulling me under again. I honestly don’t know who I am anymore. Am I a nagging manipulative b***h? What of the myriad of things that I’ve become numb to hearing are true? I’m no saint, I play ½ the parts in this drama, and my issues aren’t easy to deal with either.

My heart literally aches when I think about the possibility and suspicion that I have that if I am ever going to be happy I will either have to leave this marriage, or resign myself to living with things as they are. I have to either abandon my dreams of our family, or live the rest of my life as an overstressed, lonely, anxious person. What other options do I have? Is it really all in my head? Could I truly be fine in this situation if I could just see it differently? Part of me says I just need to get over it, live with the the situation, I’ve made my bed, now I have to lie in it. If for nothing else but because my kids deserve a family.

How the hell do you give up the idea of a partnership? How do you live with and resign yourself to the idea that you will never have another person to rely on and team up with? Is the ache in my chest because I don’t want to realize that in the end I will truly be alone? Is that what I’m so scared of? At least limping along in our situation gives me a semblance of having someone. There are times I can forget the ridiculousness of our relationship, for a moment, and pretend that I really do have a partner/lover/friend. But can I truly honestly live on those times? For the rest of my life? Can I lie to myself for the next 30 years about what I really need/want?

Why is it that I can’t stand up for myself? When did I become this weak person who caters to and appeases someone who ,half the time, doesn’t give a crap about me? If I heard another woman say that she puts up with the things I let slide I would judge her for staying in that situation, and teaching her children that it was okay. Yet I’m still here. There is no bottom line, rock bottom, line in the sand. It’s been written over, passed by, rubbed out too many times.

Even as I write this my brain is racing to find that one last shred of hope that there is something we haven’t tried, someone we could see, some place to take things. But if I’m honest with myself, I think I’ve lost the ability to believe that any counseling, book, plan or whatever is really going to fix things. To fix our marriage/family, there would have to be a total upheaval of the roles/responsibilities/attitudes for both of us, and I don’t know if that’s even possible.

What do I really want? Is the things I need/want unreasonable? Someone who does not take any and every chance they can get to leave, either physically or emotionally, leaving me with the burden of raising our children and running our household. Not a perfect person, not someone who does everything for m e, not someone who gets it all right every time. I just want someone who is THERE. Not leaving to take a “nap”, staying up all night doing God knows what, then being too exhausted to do anything gbut drag himself out of bed and go to work.


I don't expect him to fix everything, but what I'm so tired of is the lonliness and pressure of being a single parent while still having to keep up the facade that things are happy and okay. I do the work of a single parent, I take care of all of the household responsibilities with 4 kids, AND go to school full time. My husband goes to work (I am thankful for that, don't get me wrong), comes home and plays a videogame from 10pm till 4-5am, goes to sleep till he has to get up for his work shift, then is gone. On his days off he sleeps till whenever (he's still asleep on the couch right now), then plays his game/etc until I wrench him away from it to interact with the kids for a few hours. Then as soon as they're in bed it's off to whatever he was/is doing again.

Yesterday evening before he got home from work I got on the computer to check bank stuff, and found 4 charges from that day that I couldn't figure out what they were from. I hadn't done them, and he was supposedly at work, so I thought someone had stolen the card? He comes walking in the house at the normal time he gets home from work, still in his work clothes, and I ask, how was work? He says "Fine." I say, "did you go to work"? He sheepishly admits that he had a furlough day (he works a state job and they have mandatory furlough days), so instead of coming home he decided to go spend about $100 on random fishing supplies and have a fun day fishing. Honestly, if he had said something to me about it, I probably would have been fine with it, but doing it in a sneaky way just rubs me the wrong way.

At the point we're at now, we've gone to 3 different marriage counselors, he is on meds, I don't know what else to do. It's NOT that he doesn't try, Lord knows that if trying got you a medal he'd win the Olympics! It's the same old story of one step forward, 2 steps back. He INTENDS to do things or fix something or call and make an appointment, but somehow it never happens and if I want it done I end up doing it. I have been the driving force in all the counseling/meds/etc, and half the time he makes a fuss about it, but I've endured because I just want something to work.

I feel like I don't have a CLUE how marriage is supposed to work. I've only been married to him, and our marriage has been so lopsided in terms of responsibilities that I have no idea what it should look like. I only look at my parents and my friends' marriage and see how totally different it is and find myself jealous that I don't have a partner in things.

I've been comforted by reading some of the posts here, but on the other hand I'm finding myself a bit desperate because it seems like it may be inevitable that this is what life will be like (to some degree) forever.

I love my husband dearly, he is my best friend, but I now know why people say you can Love someone and still not be able to live with them. I'm scared that I'm getting to that point. What do you do when you can't think of anything else?? I have given ultimatums more times than I can count and he will shape up and follow along for awhile, but inevitably he will fall back into the same pattern and I'm left back where we started, frustrated and even more alone.

I think if it was just me, without the kids, I would leave and be separated for awhile, we have even discussed separation quite a few times, but I don't want to do that to our kids unless it's a last resort. I'm desperately trying to think of something else to try.

If you made it thru reading this, congrats. I don't know if there is any answers, I just wanted to post and get it out there somewhere instead of stewing over things like I usually do.


Married alone

I feel your pain and know your fears.  I hear you.  4 young children, full time job, going to school, ADHD yourself, ADHD spouse.  You are trying to do too much dear.  From your post, it seems that you are filling every minute up with work and trying to be successful in all areas of your I did my adult life.  Now, I am looking back and realizing that I worked too much.  No one appreciates or even knows it and I am resentful that I worked so hard.  I think I worked to keep the fear away thinking that working was the answer. And I worked picking up the slack and lack dh would present. Remember to love and be loved.  Take the moments to love your children one by one.  Do you have parents and/or grandparents?  Sit with them and your children and hear the stories and let them give loving time with you and your children. Let yourself FEEL the love that you have been working so hard for with your children.   I was so busy when my parents were alive, I missed so many opportunities to BE with them and let us help each other.  That is what family is for....belonging and going through the tough stuff together.  If there is not a strong bond, start are going to need it with 4 children and an absentee dh.  I had given so much of myself to a dysfunctional relationship with dh that I was not focusing on the other loving people in my life. I regret focusing on HIM, trying to have that marriage and family that I thought  SHOULD have.  And he does not remember or acknowledge anything I did for him. My work for his benefit was for nothing. He does not even respect me. He is still "gone" all the time.

My family (especially my

My family (especially my parents) are my support. There is no way I would be able to be doing this without them. I've told my mom more than once that she does more parenting than my husband does. Even when he is here or "watching" them he is tuned out and focused on something else. The kids don't even bother to interrrupt him, they just walk around him and come get me.

I think you're right, I fill my time up, that's how I feel like I'm accomplishing something. I am SO tired of my life being about whatever crap he's pulling at the moment. I want to have a good life with my kids, and I'm starting to feel like that may only be possible if I give up trying to have him involved in it. I just don't know how to get to the next step where I'm not entangled with him and his emotions.

I'm taking our toddler and

I'm taking our toddler and leaving next week. He won't see him til next year. He cried, but today, the day after, he has sat in his chair watching tv and dozing off, like every other day. Spend time with your child ffs!

    Your husband sounds a lot



Your husband sounds a lot like mine especially in regards to staying up and out of the house. He's basically an insomniac. He sleeps on the couch most nights either after coming in from his amateur pool league or because he stays up watching TV. He tries not to disturb me by coming to bed, so despite me feeling that we're odd for not sleeping together, it's kind of him to think of me because I will admit that I don't sleep so well with another person beside me. He's not as bad as he was when we first married, but he does stay out a lot. It's something that's come up a lot at our past two counseling sessions. He finally admitted recently that he's in a bad mood a lot of the time and doesn't want to bring that home. So he just rides around...while I'm at home, by myself, just wanting to spend some time with him. He came home on Monday at a reasonable hour and admitted up front that he was cranky. So I tried to be nice to him in response. We watched a movie and then I went to bed (he stayed up of course and eventually went to Wal-Mart to wander around). In any case, I hope that my response was positive reinforcement for him to see that he doesn't have to hide. We're supposed to support each other, right?

I totally understand about the going off and doing things and then telling you after the fact or lying to cover it up. I recently caught my DH in a lie regarding the dentist. He didn't make his appointment so instead of telling me (he didn't want to because I would most likely yell), he told me that he had a cavity and would have to get it filled, and then kept our FSA card because he said he wanted to go to the chiropractor. That may have been true but he also wanted to make it to the dentist to cover his tracks. Only he forgot and when I went to the dentist two weeks later and asked for his receipt, I found out that he didn't show. All that fibbing just for a missed dentist appointment. Wow. I was more irritated that he lied about the whole thing. I would have been irritated that he missed his appointment because he doesn't take very good care of his teeth, but seriously?

We don't have kids (yet...maybe never...who knows?) but one of my biggest fears is having to be a single parent even though I'm married. My mom has offered on multiple occasions to help out should we have a child, but that's not her job. She raised me and shouldn't have to help raise her grandkid.  

The one thing that jumped out at me is that you cannot compare your marriage to others. It will make you miserable. I know it's hard and sure you'll have a bad day when you just wish he would help or do what he says he'll do like your friends' husbands, etc but try to resist the urge. I also want you to sit back and make a list of things you absolutely have to have in your marriage. Not what you think you want, or what you dreamed you wanted, or what society tells you to want, but what you need to operate effectively. Once you figure that out, you may be surprised that things are not so bad. Or maybe they are as bad as you think they are. But at least you'll have the core and not something that's colored by other perceptions.

Try to focus on the fact that he does try. It's something I have to keep in mind with my DH. He tries so hard and gets upset when he fails. My heart breaks for him, for the fact that I'm pretty much the only one who tries to understand him (his parents and siblings don't). Sometimes we really are all that they have, you know? Yeah that's a burden we have to bear, but I console myself with the fact that maybe God put me with him because no one else wanted the job. Maybe God knew that I would grow in strength (I have) as a result of my marriage and that I would stay with him with no one else would have. Our fifth anniversary is on Friday and while I won't lie and say that I wish our marriage was like some of our friends, I do know that I still love him and that we are continuing to get better. It's slow progress but it's progress all the same.

Hang in there. :-)


You're right.. I can't

You're right.. I can't compare him or our relationship with others, that doesn't help. I know there's a lot of things/ways I'm lacking too that I'm sure he'd be happy if I was more like someone else.

I think the fact that he is trying (in some ways) is what keeps me here. If I didn't think he wanted to change I would have left, but what do you do when the wanting/trying never amount to change? Can you stick around just because someone WANTS something, even if they never take the steps necessary to get there?

You can if you don't mind

You can if you don't mind living with the consequences. I can't live my life on other people's good intentions. Show me substance or move on. 

It is almost like reading my own life thru your story

Today is one one those days that I feel what is the point of keep going, when or will my life ever have a positive upcoming? Yes, I want to get out of this marriage or either put a bullet thru my brain every time I have to deal with my husband about his constant procrastination, lies, lack of emotions toward me or the kids, he treats a total stranger better than he ever treats me. But as you described I don't know what to do because I have two small kids. And most of the times I am so frustrated and angry of him that I get so mad! And he tells me that it is because I love to be mad and scream at him and the kids that he shuts down....what?!?? How am I supposed to get to him if I ask him to do the dishes after we finish the mean and he drag it until like midnight or the next morning to do it....on weekends the dishes from breakfast sit there until I do it because I do not have any space left to use the sink. Or like I am so uneasy to leave the house even for a couple of hour because when I come back will be like a tornado went by and him and the kids will be walking around stepping on sock, clothes, foods and bunch of the other stuffs on the floor. So yes I get very upset but then it is my fault because I expect too much of him, like watching the kids and keep the house decent. And he uses the TV as the babysitter while I am gone most of the time while he is in front of his computer doing who know what. 

So every time I get upset he likes to punish me by sleeping in the cough or one of the kids room, it got to a point that I really don't care where he sleeps but please can he help keep the house and the kids in order? Can he take the kids out on weekends instead of lying around the house? I am so mad because this is a long weekend and I told him last week that we should do something fun...yes....yesterday he had to spend all day painting the fascia board around the house because a month ago we got a notice of the city to clean up the trash he left on our driveway and paint the peeling paint on our fascia board. I took care of the kids all day and then I came home this morning from the gym and found the kids seating in the floor with food over everywhere and he was sleeping in the room....needless to say we didn't do anything and he didn't finish painting fascia board or the mess he left on the driveway plus has nails on it now. What really upsetting me today is that last weekend his niece came to visiting with a friend and stayed over for two nights which is fine with me only that he decides to taken them out to eat when my kids where asleep at 11pm and came home at 2am and he decided to skip church the next day to stay out with them until 10 pm the following is not is close relative....he only saw her once on our wedding day and she is the daughter of a cousin. My point is that he goes out of his way to please anyone besides me our my family. I feel that he never considered me as his family. 

He likes to sits around playing with his smart phone until whee hours and then drag himself out of the bed next day to work then come home and started all over again and weekends he always says that he is tired of working all weekend and that the kids needs their nap in order to grow smarter...what?!?! 

His favorite words to me " I don't care", it hurt me so bad that right now I feel that the wound he made on my heart will not heal and I only wish he could see it but instead he never show any sympathy toward me....hurts not being loved ever in life and hurts that even I would give my life for my kids it seems that I don't know how to she my love to them and as a result they only look for daddy because he is the fun one, he is the one that never gets mad at them, he is the one never control them, he is the one that never ask them to clean up after themselves, he is the one that everything is okay no matter if you drop the juice in the floor or you painted on the wall with permanent makers. I am the bad guy, I am the mom that freaks out with my walls in every single room painted and written with permanent markers that now I am ashamed to have anyone over....even my own nephew comes to my house and will just step over stuffs and thrown trash on the floor because he thinks that how my house is all the time.

By reading ur story today, just makes me wonder how many of us goes thru this? We tried counseling but it turn out that she focus so much on me that I felt suffocate and betrayed by her because she was my therapist to started with and by her suggestion we turned it to a couples and she was the one that suggested that he has ADD but we never addressed it on our sessions instead on how negative and angry I was all the time. Also in here it was suggested that I am co-depended or something like that. And because of these two different feedback so I started thinking maybe I am the problem, I am the b**** like he implies but never out loud...

Today he filmed my outburst frustration and he tried to posted on YouTube saying that he will show the world how I verbally abuse him and the kids all the time. I felt betrayed can someone be so cruel that you can't see or ignore to acknowledge ur wife's feeling? How can he ignored what I asked him last night to spend some time with the kids and then the wife? And not only that he turn that it is my fault. 

The reply turned out much longer than I intended....

cheers ....hope ur long weekend and everyone else here are better...

Amazing how similar so many

Amazing how similar so many of these stories are. My husband does the falling asleep on the couch when he's "watching" the kids too. I know that a day away from the house for me equals 2 days afterwards cleaning up. His idea of watching the kids is playing his video game/computer while they run wild and he interacts when someone asks him a question.

I don't know what to do when the reality that he lives in is so different from mine. Do they really see themselves as the poor nagged husband with a b*tch of a wife? I honestly don't understand.

Unfortunately I really truly

Unfortunately I really truly believe that my husband sees him as the victim of verbal abuse and nagging. I went thru depression after the birth of my second child and he assures me that I didn't because for him I was always depressed. 

Now he says that he thinks I am bipolar because I gets mad at him and then the next morning or day I am talking to him normally. What am I supposed to do? I think it is not a normal marriage to fight, get mad at your spouse and then not to talk for days and week without trying to figure it out how we can solve or at least compromise the situation. I guess I am wrong...that is not how marriage supposed to be, according to his behavior when we argue ( or better when I get mad and start yelling) he moves to the couch and not talk for who knows how long and I should not expect him to do anything for me. It can goes for a long time...

I was always curious to know if most of ADDer behaves the same way or it is only my husband way to tell me that he doesn't love me anymore and it is a matter of time or when his ADD will allow him to leave his family. 

I am starting to think maybe I am ADD also because I can't keep my house neat and in order even now that I am SAHM. I can pick up the kids but I can barely make on time to drop both kids off.