How can I save my marriage?

I am hoping some of you can offer advice in what is a very dark time for me.

Some background: I am an ADHD 33-year-old with no hyperactivity and many effective coping skills when it comes to organizing my professional and financial life. But my DH's frustration and hurt resulting from my distraction at home is endangering my marriage - very seriously. I desperately want to fix the ways in which I have hurt him and continue to ... but I am not aware of any tactics that can reverse my behavior. I'm hoping some of you can share the skills you apply at home.

While I am able to keep my focus -- or at least hide my lapses -- during an evening out with a friend, I seem unable to do the same thing at home. When spending time with my husband there are times when he speaks to me and I don't respond. And, less frequently, there are times when I carry on a conversation but don't truly attend to it ... and then promptly forget it happened at all.

DH is often fairly patient with me, but at times my distraction is deeply hurtful, especially if he is trying to tell me something important. He had circumstances in his childhood that meant he often wasn't heard or paid attention to at home, and I know my behavior shakes his sense of self-worth. Meanwhile, when we do fight, he often flies into a rage and yells a great deal, which leaves me more likely to withdraw than engage ... although I try to stay present with him. As our crisis has worsened, my sense of self-worth has been shaken as well.

It is very painful that this is coming to a head right now, because we were just about to start trying to conceive. He is, I believe, wrestling with fears about whether I can be a good parent and whether he could ever get the attention he deserves with a child in the house. I have overall felt happy with him in the 12 years we've been together - and despite my fears had come to believe that if we loved our child a lot and did the best we could it would make up for our deficiencies. I never envisioned, not seriously, that we might not last.

I wish I could promise him that things will improve, but I feel very unclear about how much of this is truly in my control. What steps can I take to be more present at home? At least for now, I am stopping drinking wine with dinner in an effort to keep more of my focus in the latter part of the evening. 

I keep thinking that if he could truly feel that my distraction was unintentional then it would become an inconvenience rather than a deep blow. But he says that he no longer cares why it is happening, and all that matters that it is happening to begin with. In his mind, if there's any chance that he -- or our future child -- could say 'I really need your help' and not be heard, then there is no way to repair this. I believe that right now he's not willing to embark on approaches or solutions that require that he do much of the work.

Thanks so much.

Hi there, I am a 34 year old

Hi there,

I am a 34 year old female with ADHD as well, although i definitely have the hyperactivity.

Are you on medication? If so- maybe a small dose at 4 or 5 pm to get you through the evening... That is what I do sometimes when I really want to be on point. 

I feel for you. I would suggest not trying to conceive until you figure out if you can stay together. I would think long and hard about staying together and having children if this guy wants a bunch of attention and is oreads complaining about that pre-children because there's no question you would give him a lot less attention if you had a baby. No question. But I don't think that's an ADHD thing. Mothers are programmed to tune in to their children and take care of them and when they are little they are so dependent and time- consuming.

best of luck to you. 



Takes two

Hello. I'm very sorry you are struggling. I do not have ADHD but no longer really get irritated with my spouse's lack of attention. It helped me, a lot, to read Orlov's and Pera's books because they are effective at communicating it is not my fault DH isn't paying attention. It isn't personal. That diffuses a lot of the anger. So I'd suggest to him that he schedule important discussions for a specific time, or that you have a regularly scheduled partner meeting. Set it for a time when you are at your best. If he flies into a rage, he is no position to be rational, and you should set a time to discuss the issues at hand then walk away. My dh also staggers meds a bit, vyvanse in the morning then a half dose at lunch that helps get through the evening. And do the basics: sleep, eat healthfully, and exercise. Take omega 3s. It sounds like your spouse's ego is hurt,childhood not helping, and perhaps needs to adjust his expectations of ADHD reality. It really wood behoove him to read the books if he has an open mind. Best wishes.

Regular Scheduling

More valuable information.  I think I'm beginning to gather some tools...who knows if they will make the difference but we have to try.