I'm 44, been on Methylphenidate and Buproprion for the past couple years, and have tried to make improvements, with varying degrees of success. But, I still misremember things my wife says, or I even continue to forget conversations. I made an impulsive decision last year to quit a job where I was miserable without having my new career ready to go. Not long after that, my wife had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized briefly. My leaving my old job was a major factor in her breakdown. My wife comes from a troubled family background with a mother who has Borderline Personality Disorder and who had attempted suicide twice. My wife, at the age of 18, found her mother after the second attempt. For our entire marriage, my wife has suffered with social anxiety and depression. She has been in counseling for a couple years now, dealing with unresolved past issues and also trying to find ways to cope with my "disorder".
Yesterday we had a highly charged conversation where she asked me why, if I truly believe that "a man should support his family", it took me almost a year to get started in my new career. I didn't have an answer--I thought long and hard about it, but I had no real answer! Today we continued the discussion, and she was able to come up with what I realized was the reason: there was so much stuff going on, I had just come away from 7 years in a miserable job, and I just needed a break. Enter procrastination and poor time management/perception, and almost a year later I'm finally starting my new career.
This incident was the last straw for my wife. She is fed up with my inability to understand her, my forgetfulness, and having to help me dig deeper into my thought processes. Because of our sleep schedules (I go to bed at 9pm and get up at 5am, she stays up late and gets up late), we have been mostly sleeping in separate bedrooms for the past couple years. Today, she gave me an ultimatum: CHANGE OR LEAVE. She said that she would rather be alone with the cats than have me around anymore.
I just finished a quick read-through of Melissa Orlov's new book and recognized that a lot of the "hot points" totally applied to our marriage. I just fear that it may be too late. My wife is tired of having to work to understand me or to make any allowances for my ADHD. In the past year, our arguments have ended with her in a RAGE. I've never raised a hand to my wife nor threatened to. She is fed up with my not being attentive enough as a husband and with my not noticing and acknowledging the improvements she has tried to make in herself. I do notice and praise her, but admittedly not enough. When I try to work things through with her during one of our arguments, I am now met with sarcasm and contempt.
I would love to change and be more consistent, and with the medication I HAVE improved. But it's just not enough for her. One thing that really ticks her off is that I have greatly improved in my focus and organization at work and at church where I do some volunteer work. And yet, in our relationship, any improvement I may have made in attentiveness, time management, and communication is minimal, from her perspective. She believes that I don't truly love her or find her important. It isn't true, but after reading through Melissa Orlov's new book, I can see why she would feel that way.
I don't want our marriage to end, and I'm definitely willing to keep working at it, but how do I keep that focus after the crisis period is over? One other thing she told me is that, with the help of her therapist, she has become a stronger person and will never let anyone ever "walk all over" her again. She applied that statement to both her mother and to me, which confuses me a bit because I've always encouraged my wife to get out and meet people and make friends outside our household and I usually don't force issues unless I feel it is necessary. I've never tried to control her.
I wonder if our marriage is a "perfect storm" of two people with the types of emotional/neurological challenges that collide with each other in a way that prevents a long-term solution? I think Dr Hallowell mentioned something about ADHD'ers marrying certain types of people who are more able to handle the challenges of being married to an ADHD spouse. I wonder if my wife and I each just married the wrong type of person. The more I think about it, the more it seems like I'm being blamed for our marital problems, and my wife is just trying to cope with a difficult spouse. One good thing is that we don't have children who have to watch their family fall apart. The way she phrases things makes me feel blamed. She'll say things like: "I'm working with my counselor trying to figure out productive ways to respond to you/things you do (etc.)".
I just don't know what I can do now that will do any good.
I'm open to suggestions.