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.