Hi all, I'm an ADHD husband married to the best wife in the world, and I have a very big problem.
Also, I have positively no idea which section of the forum suits better for this, so I will post it here.
This turned out to be a very, VERY long post, so if you don't feel like reading through it, you are welcome to scroll down and check the questions, which are very important for me (well, your answers to them are, definitely).
And I hope I provided enough information here, if I missed something – I'm sorry, still, you are free to ask questions to get more details.
Part 1. General background about my ADHD
I was diagnosed a couple of months ago, and I started taking Strattera (40 mg first, then 60 mg). It is the only medicine available to me, anything other than atomoxetine is prohibited.
I have real big problems with managing my symptoms, as if my ADHD goes into high gear, when I sleep too little, even though I'm taking Strattera (and I wouldn't stop, no, I don't want that band in my head playing again, it is awful).
I am not consistent in my improvement, which is the main problem between me and my wife, because she is already depleted, and that little recovery I am giving her when I'm hyperfocused due to an argument we'd had, or due to her saying she's leaving me, well, it doesn't last.
We have a kid, a wonderful boy 2yo, and my wife's daughter from her first marriage 12 yo, and I do love them both, but I feel really sorry for them to see and hear her shouting at me, me defending when I can't control my own frustration with myself and with her any more (she calls me names, but my main point here is that I am the cause of all this shit and it ain't getting better anymore so everybody will be better off without me), and all this adds to our strain.
Part 2. More details about our relationship and my behavior
When we met 3 years ago, I hyperfocused on her and managed to give an appearance of a self-confident successful man, however this did not last, and to make it even worse, I lied to her about... a lot. About the number of my partners, about my obsession with porn, about the fact I didn't have any really long-term relationships before her (no longer than a year and a half). Also, when we were already almost dating, I called a call-girl. I know how it sounds, but forgive me for maybe using wrong terms: I considered, and I told her so in the very beginning, maybe indirectly, but I did, that we had a kind of an open relationship, because I knew about my indecisiveness, and I was afraid to try another long-term undertaking, knowing I was (probably) facing another frustration and heart-breaking event.
As for call-girls, I had lots of those before her. I never cheat though, it may be the only thing I'm proud of about myself. But I didn't tell her about that part of my life, because I felt great shame about it. I was afraid she was going to get angry with me for this, I was afraid that she was going to hate me for this too. So, I lied to her about this for two years almost, until I broke down and told her everything, and I didn't even manage to tell her everything in one go! Forgot to tell some details, or was afraid to tell her some details... Can't remember right now. Edit03: The point is, she kept feeling, and telling me, that something was wrong for these 2 years, and I kept telling her that everything was fine and there was no reason to worry. Basically, that was gaslighting, come to think of it. Also, no sex because I felt constantly tired, sleepy, couldn't get erection, etc. I even went to see a doctor on this subject, but he found no apparent problems.Also, I kept masturbating while not giving her any sex. Porn-addiction was what I had, though I didn't know it then. And my wife kept telling me it was not normal, and she cried, and she kept asking me to tell her the truth, and I simply didn't. I thought that if she simply drops the subject and forgets about this, it will be better, and we can have normal relationship, without all this shit. And I also thought that she would leave me if she learned about all that.
So now she feels deceived by me, and this also adds to the frustration, because I have big problems with self-confidence in non-work situations (like, chores, doing stuff around the house, and interpersonal relationship). Also, we've both read about this, and found out we were not alone with our respective problems.
Edit01: I totally forgot to add that she taught me to wipe the table, she showed me and explained to me how to deal with the baby, and she basically explained everything to me. Also, brushing my teeth (which was still a pain in the ass until I started medication - now I can do it, at least, normally).
Also, now she's caring for the kid, cause I work full-time, and she's afraid to leave me with our son 'cause I can get distracted and do something stupid, like letting him sleep in the stroller without cover when it was +16°C and windy (I got lucky, he didn't catch a cold or anything else).
Another thing to be added here is the problem with sex: I really had a hard time getting erection when a TV was on, for example (music's fine, but the TV distracted me like hell). My dear wife found out about the porn-addiction, and two years into our relationship finally we've started having at least some sex, from time to time. When I didn't forget about it. Still, this is an issue, because I still have troubles concentrating when I feel tired, or sleepy, and this adds to the frustration.
Here is something, I again forgot to add more information on what I did to make my wife's life miserable:
1. I used to forget to pack some of our baby's clothes when we were going to my or her parents' house. There were at least three times I forgot to put a warm overall into the bag.
2. I put a saucer with jam in it onto the eggs in the fridge. The eggs were located on the topmost shelf, and my wife simply couldn't see what else was there, so the saucer with the jam fell on her when she tried to get some eggs out.
3. She asked me to put a blender and a mixer onto the exhaust hood for convenience; I did, but in such manner that when she tried to take the mixer out, blender fell down on her, too (because of the tangled cords).
4. When she came home from the maternity house after giving birth to our son, I didn't let her sleep, despite the fact that I arranged myself a vacation specifically for this purpose.
5. And I didn't even get her a card into the maternity house while she was there and when it was her Birthday; I did congratulate her via phone in the morning, but still...
Part 3. The Question, and some more information.
It was my wonderful wife who discovered I had ADHD and who told be to go get diagnosed.
Turns out, I don't even sweep the dining table consistently... =(((( I thought I was doing at least this.
So, I've been reading the forum, and I see guys posting here how they started writing all those lists, and doing something else and bam! - improvement, everyone happy, consistency rules, and so on.
And I have a question: how do you guys manage to be consistent in your improvement? Also, if maybe non-ADHD spouses here can ask their ADHD spouses, what's the catch? I really want to be consistent, but it seems like I just can't no matter what I do or think or think I do.
Part 4. What I do and do not
Also, my wife says she doesn't see me putting any effort into improvement, so I'll just write here what I do now, and what I've tried, and maybe you could write me where I'm doing it wrong?
1. I have finally started a bullet journal, which I manage to keep at least every couple of days (I look there every day, but I'm not always writing because I use weekly planning in addition to Month view, Year view and Daily planning)
2. I'm making lots of reminders on the phone to make sure I don't forget to do something (this is why I'm not always writing todo in my BuJo - I do mark-off my habits and daily duties though).
3. I also have a Zoho notebook app, where I have some lists like what we should have food-wise, and what should I tell my mental health professional and what questions I need to ask (because I will definitely forget half of what I'm thinking about by the time I get there).
4. I've recently (a couple of days ago) added another notebook, a smaller one, so I could write down notes when I don't have access to my phone.
5. I don't use lists at my bedside (I set reminders if I need to do anything in the morning).
6. I don't use lists anywhere in the house, because I can't figure, what and where should I write: if we're talking kitchen - what lists do I need? I know that all flat surfaces, the sink should be clean, and the wiper dry; to ensure this, I need to stop and look back when I'm leaving the kitchen, and this habit is still in the making (as of now, it is the hardest habit for me to get). Also, I have the food list in my phone, which is always with me, and I started making photos of the fridge to study them and check what we needed (another habit I'm developing, without great success yet).
7. I am trying to learn how to read non-verbal signs of a person being tired, for example (granted, I started this research 2 days ago), because I cannot tell a person is tired by simply looking at that person; I need them telling me 'I'm tired, could you help me?' Seems like everybody learns this in some obscure way without even realizing that, because I still can't find any information on the signs of normal tiredness in a person - all articles and pages I find tell me about depression and other stuff like that, which is interesting, somewhat useful in general, and totally off the target in my case.
8. I started meditations, which sometimes end up in a nap, but otherwise give me a bit more concentration and better mood than I would have otherwise.
There is a problem with the lists, though: if we talk to-do list, I'm mainly getting things done, yes. However, when we get to the grocery shopping list, I only do it from time to time, like: open the fridge - suddenly realize that it's almost empty - open the list - check it all out - order the delivery from the nearest supermarket. Or go shopping, either way is fine, and both ways are rarer than a super-nova.
So, from time to time I do have this idea of making myself a schedule like 'Check the fridge every other day, add products to the shopping list' but then my darling tells me something which I interpret as 'Don't go buying one thing at a time, u need to buy everything in a bundle', and I simply don't do anything at all.
Part 5. Final thoughts
I realize that my account of the situation is my account, and I am writing this under the stress of my wife threatening to divorce me because she can't take it anymore, and because I'm a slug instead of a man she wanted, and because I agree to almost all she says (I consider her proposals usually better thought-of than mine), and I agreed to her on the subject of divorce because no matter how hard I try, I can't get to this level of consistency she needs to get better. This act also made it all worse, and I promised I wouldn't lie to her, so I really said what I thought at that moment. And if you misread the message in the previous sentence, it means that I should've written this post long ago but I postponed it, and I am only writing it because my ass is on fire.
I do think she's rigid in terms of her attitude towards my mistakes and occasional errors or faults (e.g. I was tired last night and didn't put all the dry clothes from the dryer into their respective places, and she needed something from that pile in the morning and got all wound up because last night I also did something really stupid or said something really stupid). And sometimes I think that despite her saying she understands me, she still thinks I am doing or not doing something out of spite and of my own free will. I'm positive I don't like being shouted at, scolded and so on, and my actions (or lack of them) often lead to heated arguments. Some of those actions, I don't even think were important. Again, that's my side of the story.
Oh, and I also tend to forget what was said to me like 5 minutes ago, but I'm a standard ADD in this respect, I even consider myself lucky - I am capable of working and earning money.
If you want an account from my wife, which is less biased, it's here; also, note that if I missed something from her account here in this post – it doesn't mean I don't acknowledge it, it means I forgot to mention it because I've written this LOTR-like post and I can't postpone it anymore - I need some advice, or help. Unfortunately, right now we don't have the money for me to go get the cognitive therapy. Maybe you guys could name a couple of articles or books for me to read (articles preferred, I need to do it ASAP, not spend a week reading a 400-page book making notes). Also, I feel a bit panicky. And I should mention that reading is not a problem for me, luckily, this part is not touched by my ADHD.
NOTE: For those of you who don't have time to read all those lines, again:
ADHD spouses, I have a question: how do you guys manage to be consistent in your improvement? Also, if maybe non-ADHD spouses here can ask their ADHD spouses, what's the catch? I really want to be consistent, but it seems like I just can't no matter what I do or think or think I do.
Also, another question: did I really need to write the whole story here in this post, or would it have been fine if I only briefly described what happened 2 years ago and left a link to my wife's post? I do think it's important to know this, otherwise my account will sound too good to be true, but I still don't understand why can't the reader go to that other post and read about the situation from the other side, get some unbiased opinion on the subject (because it's still hard for me to understand how could anyone get overfrustrated about forgetting to turn the sound back on on the door-phone after muting it for the night when I called a delivery (to prevent it from waking the children); yes, I forget about it on a regular basis, it's something I don't do very often and I also forget to make a reminder).
I realize it's highly annoying, but I also know that I can forget to do something, and I am always ready to correct my mistakes, knowing that sometimes I do not even perceive them as mistakes.