Husband diagnosed with ADHD after having an affair - help

I'm brand new to this forum, and to ADHD. My husband of 20 years had an affair with a friend - someone I helped transition into the community when her family moved here and who was the mother of the child who became my son's best friend. We spent at least 3 days a week together via our children and friendship. I discovered 7 months ago that she and my husband had been having an "emotional affair" and sexting for the previous month. I confronted them both and was assured that nothing more had happened than one awkward kiss. I decided to heal and trust my husband again. As we returned to therapy for the gazillionth time (lots of starts and stops over the years because of his inability to follow through) our therapist diagnosed him with ADHD. For the second time. This time he had to face it and began treatment. Just the other day he decided, in his new found honesty, to tell me that the affair had gone on longer, was indeed sexual, and that he had had sex in our bed with our children in the next room, in our son's room, on our dining room table, and other less vicious, but still incredibly painful locations. The affair only ended because I had confronted him about a suspicious text 7 months ago. He met her the following day and told her that it was over and that he loved me and wanted to work things out. When I confronted her 7 months ago she threw him under the bus and stuck to the story that nothing physical had happened, that they had only tried to make each other feel good in their sad marriages.

I am devastated. The person I loved most, and whom I stood by despite all the neglect and pain of 27 years with an undiagnosed partner, violated the sanctity of our home, our children's rooms, our bed, and lied about it after being confronted. Swore thousands of times on his children's lives. Told me repeatedly that I was crazy. He used our children to have access to her. He used our children to manipulate me into supporting his spending time with her and our children while I worked. He used our children to guilt me into forgiving him when I only knew the most phoney version of the truth.  

For the last 10 days he has been taking meds and is truly different in his thought and expression. He says and does what I have needed from him for 27 years. He is wracked with pain and guilt. He says he is committed to me and will wait for me forever. I fluctuate between wanting to hold one another and re-commit to a new life, and wanting to rip his face off and take the kids somewhere far far away forever. I try to hurt him by talking about the fact that this pain makes me feel capable of doing anything and that I want him to feel, not just fear, the pain of me doing the same to him. 

I am from a dysfunctional, abusive, alcoholic upbringing and betrayal and abandonment are my biggest fears; and my love for my children and need to keep them safe and protected by loving parents in a loving home has been the most important thing in my life. He could not have hurt me more if he had calculated the most destructive way to break my heart and soul.  I am so hurt and confused. 

Please help me understand the role of ADHD in his behavior and choices. He is such a good man and despite the chaos and marital problems we have lived through with undiagnosed ADHD, he has been my best friend and an incredible father. We had a great life full of love, travel, good jobs, happy friends - all of our needs were met, except for with one another. This affair makes me feel like that was all a lie and that this selfish horrible person is who he really is. 

Any help, advice or support would mean so much. I'm so relieved to have found this group. I have the book, but because of my anxiety and depression don't have the attention span or retention to read it. I try bits and pieces but I can't swallow enough to really help.

Thanks so much.

I really feel for you

I wish I could respond with some sage advice.  I just recently posted my own sad tale about my adhd husband's infidelity and the many, many lies I have been fed over the better part of six years.  I am still reeling from new revelations every day and am an emotional mess.  I have the same, horrible conflicted feelings that you do; when times are good, things are really, really good.  He has been my best friend.  But this best friend has lied to me and deceived me.  Like you, I wonder, was it all a lie?  

Also like you, I grew up in a painfully dysfunctional home, and the one thing I have always worked to give my children is two loving parents who openly love and respect one another.  My heart broke for you and I read this in your post, because I identify with your feelings so completely.  I actually used to be pretty smug and look down on other people who had problems in their marriage, knowing that my husband and I were best friends, a united team, rock solid, etc.  I was knocked off my high horse--hard--several years back.   

All I know is that the impulse problems that come with adhd are most assuredly a factor in my husband's faithlessness.  I have dealt with years of emotional affairs (though recent revelations have me wondering the extent of these past indiscretions).  The evidence I found of his most recent betrayal cuts way deeper than anything I've found before, and the lies, the MANY unconscionable lies I have been fed, are even worse than anything I've seen before.  The lying and the poor impulse control seems to be an issue with many adults living with adhd; I'm certainly no expert, and I want to be clear that I am not making a blanket statement about others.  It just so happens that my husband's outlet of choice is sex/sexting/constantly seeking the attention of other women.  Lucky me.

I am starting therapy next week, and we are scheduled for marriage therapy soon thereafter.  The marriage therapist is an adhd specialist and I think that this could either be extremely helpful or an absolute waste of time.  Meanwhile, my husband says he isn't going anywhere, and that he is committed to us and our family and knows we can get to a place that is really good.  I am just trying to get through the days.  I waver between wanting to work it out and thinking that maybe we can put this behind us (and I hate myself for thinking this), but then considering, deep in my heart, that despite anything he can/will do, that I can never trust him again.

I am really, really sorry that you are going through this.





Thanks so  much for taking

Thanks so  much for taking the time to write that. It helps me a lot. It's so horrible to see how many people are in this pain. Taking my kids to school and seeing all the parents I now automatically look at everyone and wonder what secrets they are keeping. How they are getting through the day with all the pain that is out there.

Is your husband on any meds? Has that had any affect? If not, I hope going to therapy can help get him on that path. One thing our therapist has done for us, which is utterly ridiculous but SO helpful - is that when we are talking about our feelings or our relationship we can only say one word at a time and take a breath between each word. So it ends up sounding like, "" And then he has to answer the same way. It is such a hassle to speak this way that you choose your words SO carefully and don't say anything you don't mean or need to. It drives me nuts, but it has really helped us hear each other. If in therapy you find yourself like I did - crying and yelling at him - it's a great way to slow down and keep things calm so the adhd brain doesn't shut off.

Our therapist, also an adhd specialist has told me that as long as he is on meds that she is certain he won't betray me again. She has known us for years and met with him every day the week before he came clean with me, and coincidentally is an adhd specialist, so I feel I can trust her judgement.  I WANT to trust her judgement. She has told us that part of the adhd is an expressive language disorder which has affected our marriage very profoundly. He blamed me for the hurt I felt at not being sure of his feelings for me (because he was incapable of expressing himself effectively about ANYTHING). The pain, rejection, and self loathing that came from "not being able to satisfy" me allowed his narcissism to permit this affair. Now that he is on meds, his thinking is completely different, he can express himself so clearly and beautifully, and he can actually have a conversation that goes two ways (prior to meds he could only talk about himself and there was NEVER a meaningful exchange about anything of any importance). I wish that could take away the pain, betrayal, and resentment that I feel. He talks about our "old marriage" ending when he told me the truth about everything, and how we are building a new marriage now. He is so utterly different on the Adderol. I can SEE and HEAR a huge difference when it starts to wear off, and he recognizes it too and can tell me so that I understand he might start to say stupid stuff or be thoughtless. He is far beyond the best in him that I ever saw in 27 years. But I'm still terrified of trusting him. Still want to slap his face right off his head. Still want to run away.

My husband was diagnosed in college

It was just prior to when we actually became a couple.  I got to witness then how things started to fall into place more easily in his life--his academic life.  I didn't have much point of reference for relationship/personality issues at that point in our lives.  He's been on medication ever since:  20-odd years...geez that seems like a long time.  I made the mistake of thinking that this was a managed problem, or assuming that what he was taking was getting him to a point that was as good as he could possibly get.  Of course I could always tell when he missed a dose, or went the odd day without meds.  Looking back over our years together and the other issues we have had to deal with, I now wonder how I could've stuck my head in the sand about the adhd NOT being a factor in day-to-day life.  Reading just a little of Melissa Orlov's book and sifting through the other posts on this site have been a revelation.  

Thanks for shedding a little light on therapy.  Honestly, I have no idea what to expect at all.  Our appointment is in two weeks and I feel like I'm marching to the executioner.  He doesn't want to discuss his latest affair outside of this mediated space (he says he is afraid that his issues with communication will wreck any conversation we can have and cause more harm and pain than is already there), so I am just trying to make it through the days.  All the while my mind is thinking of worst-case scenarios and how I will handle it.  And, unfortunately, finding more evidence of his deception over the past several months.  Meanwhile, he tells me "I really am a lot less evil than you think I am."  Part of me thinks "Good!  My message is coming across loud and clear!" and the other part thinks "...could things really not have occurred to the extent I imagine?"  It is this kernel of hope which is so damning, confusing, and painful.  

I think it's a really wonderful thing that your husband is being helped so much by the meds.  And it sounds as if you have a good situation with that therapist--someone who knows your history. I can't imagine her making a comment that she is "certain" he won't betray you again without being more than 100% positive in her assessment.  She must understand the pain you're in and wouldn't say that to you if she didn't firmly believe it.  As far as the terror over trusting him again--I relate so completely.  At this point I'm at least open to the eventual possibility of this happening somewhere down the road, but something radical will have to change to enable this process to begin.  And I don't know if he realizes this yet.   The fact that I'm even open to the possibility of moving forward makes me feel like a crazy person.  


I am so sorry for what you are going through right now

I just read your post and had to comment.  The first thing I want to say is I am so sorry!  I never will forget those first few days, weeks, months after I had found out about my husband's affair in our 24 yr marriage (heck, 2+ years later there isn't a day that goes by that it isn't on my mind).  As you know, it is an indescribable feeling that takes sometimes years to work through.  Your feelings in your sentence, "the person I loved most, and whom I stood by despite all the neglect and pain of 27 years with an undiagnosed partner...." described exactly what I, too, struggle with daily.  The questioning if the marriage was a fake is so common.  I know it doesn't help much with the pain, but please do remember that him choosing to have the affair has nothing to do with you.  As far as ADD causing it, all people with ADD do not have affairs but the marriages with undiagnosed spouses get so broken that I feel an affair is almost inevitable.  Also, you throw in the impulsivity component of ADD and you have another problem.  I was happy to hear he has been an incredible father because that is something I have never seen in my undiagnosed husband.  As the time goes on and you sort all this out in your head, only you will know if you can create a new type of marriage or not.  If there is any positive in this situation, your husband is showing pain and guilt and hopefully will continue.  True remorse shown is so necessary for the betrayed spouse.  Sometimes this is never shown.  Also, he is being treated and I hope that continues and he sees progress whether you are together or not later on.  I feel, though, that it is not right to stay for the kids sake if you are not happy.  I know so many people do this, but children survive divorce and you will always be there for them and sounds like your husband would be, too.  Possibly you wouldn't/couldn't split up now or even a year from now, but as time goes on and the grieving process continues and you become stronger, you maybe think differently than you do now.  For me, I knew I could never feel the same about my husband or ever trust him again even as painful as it still is to be alone and not with the one whom I shared so many important events with.  Again, the most important thing I want to say to you is I am very, very sorry for the tremendous pain you are in right now.  I wish I could take it away.  You are definitely not alone and hopefully will receive help from this forum.  Reading your post in a way helps me (even though I would never wish the situation on anyone!) so thank you for sharing.  Please keep us posted on how you are doing as the days go on.              

Thanks so much, st. It is a

Thanks so much, st. It is a lonely lonely feeling, so you can't imagine the comfort I get from your support. Will your husband go to therapy? Is he open to a diagnosis? years ago our therapist told my husband he had adhd and he resisted. I tried to get him to follow up and then just rolled over, as usual, when he wouldn't follow through. Now here I am. I wish I'd pushed. Insisted. Left if he didn't follow up. Our first day back at our therapist after a couple of years away was after the initial reveal of the phony affair story, and she called him on it then, too. He argued and resisted. For months. She persisted - he resisted - I cried. Last month he was unknowingly self medicating with TONS of coffee and had a moment of clarity about things she had been saying to him about adhd. After that he started to listen and weeks later started  on Adderol. it HAS MADE A PROFOUND DIFFERENCE IN HIM. It just happened too late. Like I said, I'm complicit in that - I WISH I had made him take it seriously. It would have saved me from the worst experience of my life and my children's lives. If it had been another disease, would I have allowed him to say, "No, I don't have cancer"?? I would have INSISTED he get treatment, and I would have stopped at nothing. That's such a bitter pill for me to swallow because I'd been trained to shut up and roll over to keep the peace. I'd lost myself and my truth and it ended up almost destroying me. If there's any way you can push the agenda and get him diagnosed - if you have even a thread of love or the desire to trust him again, think seriously about what you're willing to do to get what you need for you and your kids. I really really wish I had, but I just kept on in the same old pattern of not rocking the boat. As I write this I am just so grateful to have the outlet and the empathy that you've shown. Thanks so much. I hope you let me know how you're doing.

Part II

Thanks so much for your words of support. As you know, this feels like the loneliest place in the world. I'm not sure which is worse - that feeling of loneliness, or the reality that so many other people are in the same pain. It helps me so much to know I'm not alone in this, so thank you for sharing your experiences with me. It helps me accept that the adhd could really have something to do with this affair, and not just that he did it because he is a selfish, hateful prick. 

Which leads me to where my head is now - when I had believed the affair to be just 'emotional' I was on my way to being able to forgive him. The only new revelations were about the length of the affair and the details on lots of nightmarish sexual encounters. Which according to him were awful. He said that when he told her it was wrong and he wanted to stop and she manipulated him into continuing. Not to excuse his decision to carry on, but the fact that a sliver of his humanity tried to break through should offer me some comfort. Right? Or is thinking that putting me right back into the same pattern I've been in with him for 27 years???

Knowing they had sex is painful, but in a way, my fears about the 'emotional' affair (the unfulfilled desire to have sex - and that being interrupted only by me finding out) was in some ways worse than finding out that they actually did it and that it was  totally lousy (luckily, I CAN believe him about that). So why is it so hard for me to pick up where I left off in terms of being on my way to forgiveness?? After all, he made the super scary decision to come clean on everything on his own. Once he started on Adderol he said his brain and heart were linked for the first time in his life and that he could finally see what he had done and could finally feel the consequences that his decisions had on me and our kids. So that's positive, right? More positive than the negative of him having lousy sex with a really messed up predatory woman? My emotions are all over the place and my thinking is blinded by pain.  Is it possible for someone in his position to have an epiphany about who he has been and the pain he has caused and make a real commitment to completely turning everything around? He says the Adderol has changed his entire life - the way he thinks, the way he feels, his self confidence, his productivity, his ability to communicate - everything. I see it, but am fearful of its true ability to change such long held selfishness and detachment. He is so much happier and is insistent that he is going to take it every day of his life. Is it really possible that what he's saying is true? Was undiagnosed adhd really at the core of his years of narcissism and could Adderol really make that big of a difference? 

I want to trust him but it's always turned out to be my downfall every time I have in the past. 

MagicSandwich's picture

"He said that when he told

"He said that when he told her it was wrong and he wanted to stop and she manipulated him into continuing."


Im new to this forum and am

Im new to this forum and am in a lot of pain. I came here for support and to learn, but comments like yours, although I suspect you're trying to help, don't help me to feel safe. Without knowing what she did or said to him, without knowing the details of my marriage or anything about the three of us involved, your comment takes a leap that increases my pain and fear. Please, if you want to comment on any of  my posts in the future, keep in mind that I am seeking understanding and for me, anything which fans the flames of my  fear and anger hurts me. I'm sure this was totally unintentional on your part, but your comment really knocked me back and I am trying to learn to stand up for myself for the first time in my life.

I wanted to reply too but couldn't find the right words

I'm glad you did.  Your response was kind in the extreme, and I can tell that you are a thoughtful, understanding person who is trying to make sense of something that is illogical.  Knee jerk and reactive comments are hurtful--you are still struggling to sort through it all yourself, and frankly, nothing is ever clear cut.  That's what makes it so painful.  Hang in there, ck. 

MagicSandwich's picture

Absolutely unacceptable situation

I'm sorry. My comments knocked you back? Why? What is it that you want me to understand about this situation? I am truly outraged at what he has done to you, and if you look at the diagnostic manual you'll see that your husband's deep, ongoing duplicitous behavior does not show up in the inclusion criteria for an ADHD diagnosis. ADHD is not the catalyst and Adderall won't cure it.

Your husband cheated, and not just on one solitary mistaken occasion. He repeatedly cheated on you with somebody you know. This woman lied to you when you confronted her, as did your husband at first. This slow torture of discovery is affecting your health. First he admitted to emotional sexting with her. Then he admitted to emotional -sexting + a kiss. And then when you really began teetering emotionally, he finally admitted to actually sleeping with her in your marriage bed and included a frank description of the planning and deliberate deceptiveness involved in meeting each other behind your back. That's quite a confession. It seems he thought nothing of drawing it out over time in a way that which maximized your pain. As soon as the whole horrible truth was out, he quickly and conveniently blame-shifted his responsibility onto the "other woman" for his inability to stop sleeping with her. Even the powers of Adderall couldn't stop him from returning to his habit of lies. Consider how his claim "she made me continue to have sex after I said no" would be tantamount to rape if the gender roles were switched. He, a man in full admittance of all the ways and means he invented to see this woman behind your back - was forced to have sex with her against his will? Really? It was she who was the dominant manipulator of his unwilling flesh and therefore the forced sex was lousy. Uh huh. That's supposed to make you feel better. But you don't feel better at all. In fact, you feel much much worse. 

You know, Mia Farrow was distraught when she discovered Woody Allen was sleeping with her daughter. When the media got wind of the affair, Mia's old flame Frank Sinatra called and asked if he could send someone around to break Woody's legs. Of course that didn't happen, but Sinatra's obvious outrage helped reveal and solidify the truth about Woody Allen's moral depravity, making it impossible for him to seek atonement without the proper mea culpas.  I hope you have a Sinatra-type friend who encourages you think about what your husband did and get mad about it. Before things can proceed in any direction, you have to get angry and keep getting angry until all of it is out of your body. Once you do this, you will feel safer than you do right now.

I think it's important to

I think it's important to hear this type of perspective for people in ADHD marriages/relationships. It's easy to get so caught up in the chaos and confusion of day to day life, that sometimes we need someone to break it down as simply as possible. BAM, here's what's true. Yes, there's room for debate as to how to heal/proceed/continue the marriage (if you choose to). BUT if you can't see reality for what it is, it's impossible for you to make your own moral decision, not based on chaotic manipulation. Yes it's hard, but it saves you YEARS. 


ck, I am so sorry for what you are going through. 

Relationships are incredibly complex and what may work for some couples may not be ok for others. Just a few things you may want to consider as you live through this: 

Are you really ok staying married to someone who is capable of what your spouse did? He didn't just have an affair, he had sex with another woman in your house, with your children there. I can't imagine anything more disrespectful or disconnected. I can only surmise from your posts, but coming from a dysfunctional family yourself, it is possible that you think that you don't deserve better. Ask yourself, do you really love him or are you afraid of being alone or unwanted? (I know, really tough questions--I just asked myself the same ones before my STBX spouse and I separate. I am moving on Saturday). 

I am delighted that his medication seems to be helping, and I understand, having been married to a spouse with ADHD for over a decade. What will you do if he stops taking his medication, or if it stops being effective? Is he willing to go through cognitive behavioral therapy or treatment along with the medication for his ADHD? 

And please, don't feel like you need to explain or apologize for being hurt or mad. Research, and ask your therapist how long it should take someone to recover from this type of betrayal. You deserve to be mad and hurt, and he should understand that he is going to have to spend a long time making it up to you. And don't worry if you don't know what you want or what he should do right now. You are still reeling. 

And I understand why Magic Sandwich's comments sounded abrupt or startling to you, but I wish someone had said things clearly to me earlier on: your husband is an adulterer and then he lied about it. Sure, maybe the other woman was predatory but the idea that he didn't want to and she convinced him to sounds like you are working very hard to explain something very painful to you, so you can endure it. How would you feel if your best friend's husband had done this--what would you tell her? Would you be incensed on her behalf and advise her to kick him to the curb? Of course, he is not all bad, and it is a huge thing to end a marriage, but before you spend time figuring out how to save it and what to work on and how to communicate, take some time and figure out what you want first. I can't imagine living in the same house with someone who had done something like that to me. ADHD can cause impulse control, but not all people with ADHD cheat and it is not an excuse, right? Can you separate for a while until you have some time to think? 

Best of luck to you. I am so sorry for your pain. My gut tells me that you deserve much, much better than this, but I am not sure that deep down you believe it. I know, because I just lived with someone who was emotionally abusive to me for years, and it was only recently that I found the courage and self-respect to believe that I deserved better. I excused a lot over the years as being ADHD, and realized later that is was not just ADHD, but also some pretty unacceptable behavior. 

Awww... hang in there....

I am the ADHD spouse and was undiagnosed my whole life until about 10 months ago.

While I have never cheated on my husband, whom I have been married to for 9 years (and together for 12), I did flirt with the idea about 6 years ago when we were in a very rough patch and someone else was pursuing me heavily. It was kind of the perfect storm where I was working out of town (for 3 months) and having a wonderful experience with my colleagues and then I was completely unable to share it with my husband, who was at home and going through a hard time in his job and taking it out on me. I would call my husband at the end of my day and try to tell him about my day and and he would sit there stormy and silent on the other end of the phone and get off with me quickly having asked me nothing and told me nothing... I tend to need a  lot of communication and love from him. Meanwhile- this guy at work was really laying it on thick and paying a lot of attention to me and saying all the right things... In the end, I didn't do anything too egregious- I sent one email that was inappropriate (no sexual content but talking about things that made me unhappy in my marriage- which I wrote and sent impulsively in a moment of absolute brainlessness), but then cut it off when the guy pursuing me tried to follow up with a suggestive email. I immediately regretted sending the email and when I got the response, I cut the guy off- feeling completely ashamed with myself and also puzzled that I had actually done that. I then called and told my husband everything.

My husband was very hurt and confused. He took about a month deciding if he would forgive me. He wasn't sure if he believed me that nothing physical happened- "why would you even tell me about it then if it was just one email?" Sometimes I questioned whether I never should have said anything- but I cannot keep a secret to save my life and I could never have lived with that kind of guilt. Anyway- my husband did forgive me and nothing like that has EVER happened again. I now never will take an away assignment that is more than like 3 days... if I am feeling disconnected with my husband, I go talk to him about it ASAP and he makes more of an effort to make sure he isn't shutting down (he had a tendency to shut me out and it made me feel insecure). Most of all- I don't put myself in situations where anything inappropriate could develop. If someone at work or wherever is flirting with me- I cut that crap off and basically put that person in their place or completely cut them off. I am happy to say that 6 years later, we are happier than ever- even though there are still ripples that come up here and there from this... but it gets better and better the more time that passes.

Finding out I had ADHD did not provide an excuse for what happened... but it did help confirm to me why I am more susceptible to this kind of situation. I like high stimulus situations. I have trouble with impulses. I grew up feeling bad about myself, so I kind of lap up attention. I feel emotions deeply... for 5 seconds... but in that 5 seconds I am CONVINCED of them... I have trouble with boundaries. My idea of what is appropriate is sometimes not accurate... The list goes on...

So- while I would NOT just attribute this whole experience to your husband having ADHD and letting him off the hook for it- I would realize that having ADHD made him a lot more susceptible to this kind of situation. And him KNOWING about his ADHD and treating it, may well help him to make the changes he needs to make to make sure that this never happens again. I do believe that it is possible for people to change, especially when they have more self awareness. Having said all that- this will only work if you can trust him again. And maybe you can and maybe you can't. And you probably won't know how that will go just yet... He has to wait patiently in the doghouse for you to figure it out.

I am so sorry this happened to you. I can imagine how shattering it is. I was cheated on by a serious boyfriend back before I was married and it absolutely gutted me- so I can imagine that this would be like this, but many many times worse. I am sorry for the pain you are in.  Hang in there.

I have experienced your pain

I have been married for 30 years we have been separated for the past 7 months. My husband was diagnosed with ADHD after I left him I  and all our friends and family thought we were the perfect couple. My husband was witty kind wonderful father with the tendency to be Jekle and Hyde at times. The first affair (that I know about) happened 15 years into our marriage, i was shocked and devistated when i uncovered it. looking back i believed he was manipulated by the other woman. He appeared to be suffering from depression from work stress so I believed every thing he said and forgave him. The second affair happened about 8 years later with the mother of my youngest daughters best friend. This time shocked humiliated and angry I had enough was going to leave him. When he gets caught he has a break down very pathetic it's all about him and his problems. But again I felt sorry for him even though I now accept I knew even back then that he was nice to me when family and friends were around helping us and not so nice when they left. The third affair was last year, the other woman came to see me. Can't describe how devastated I was, not only because of another affair but for the first time I realized how much my husband lies. In a funny way it was the lies that ended our marriage I could never trust him again. I too wondered if the last 30 years had been one big lie. Now I think there were lots of good times I think I had my head in the sand about the things that were not right. No one can tell you what to do you have to look to yourself be honest with yourself think of yourself I put my husband first too often. For me even now on medication he is still of quick to lose his temper and blaim me foe everything. He uses alcohol to self medicate. I don't think he can chande I worry about him  and it has not been easy for me to do but leaving was the bet thing I have done for me. Good luck

CK, I'm sorry that you are


I'm sorry that you are going through this. Try to focus on the positive responses that you will receive here. However beware that there are a lot of twisted-up, angry people on this forum as well. They are the ones that have been pushed to their breaking point and beyond, and as a result, they are not capable of giving you the advice or loving empathy that you need. And then for some people, cheating in any type of relationship is just a deal breaker. We all have to make our own decisions and shouldn't be belittled for them just because what someone does is not what we would do in a similar situation.

Set aside the ADHD. Some people just cheat. He did it once, repeatedly, with one person. Believe me, it could be worse. I had a close family member who repeatedly cheated on his wife for five or ten years, through the kids, etc. His case was extreme, and it turned out that he had a form of sexual addiction, for which he received counseling for. His wife stayed with him because her marriage was important, she still loved him, and her children needed their father. Was that decision easy for her? I'm going to guess not but I was not party to her thought processes.

Add the ADHD, and a person who might not be generally predisposed to cheating may suddenly find themselves doing. Impulse control is an issue and a part of the diagnosis.

As someone who has had to deal with accusations regarding her partner's fidelity, it is one of the worst places to be. You don't know what to think, to say, or to do. The thought of the person you love with someone else, of that betrayal, of the heartbreak is just mind blowing. I chose to believe that my husband did not cheat not only because he gave a compelling argument but also because the the details regarding the supposed instance were sketchy (he was accused of being with this other girl at the same time he was at home with me).

But it is your choice, and your choice alone, to stay with him and mend the pieces. While his confessions were stunning and heart breaking, he came clean. That's amazing and certainly not the mark of someone who is inherently duplicitous.

My advice to you is to seek counseling for yourself and as a couple. You absolutely will not be able to work through it on your own.

Best of luck to you.

Beware of apologies

I agree it appears hopeful when the ADHD cheating spouse comes clean and attempts to do the right thing to make things right. The problem I found in my marriage is it did not stop future affairs, though he was undiagnosed at the time. You have to take into consideration you are not dealing with a normal situation the ADHD spouse in my experience has no impulse control and craves excitement because they can't find happiness in their every day lives. My husband after the last affair was discovered was telling me one the phone I was the one he married the one he would always love while at the same time trying to talk the other woman into going back with him. My husband so many times was so convincing about how sorry he was but it wasn't real he will lie quite easily to get what he wants. When you can't believe a word your spouse is saying no matter how convincing they sound you don't have a relashionship and it does your head in. Even now on the medication he lies about how much he is drinking and still thinks only of himself and wants everyone to do everything for him. My girls are living with him in our house until it is sold and they are seeing the things I have had to deal with and can't believe what he says. I can only say this in my experience but be careful even when the ADHD spouse sounds convincing.

ADHDers can be very

ADHDers can be very convincing, but just because they are have ADHD doesn't make them liars or cheaters.

But every ADHDer is different. Not all are unfaithful. Not all have addictions issues. The OP's husband could truly be sorry and want to make amends. If there hasn't been any other affairs, it's safe to say that he made a big mistake this once, and may not do it again. As I said in my post, a lot of people are pre-disposed to cheat. As my ADHD husband says, "They have no moral compass." And I think he's right. That is not to say that people don't make mistakes and cannot learn from them (and hopefully never commit the offense again), but in general, if you don't have morals, then you're going to struggle with infidelity (among other things) regardless of having ADHD or not.



Just found out...

This forum has been really eye opening in light of new information...

Monday, I was diagnosed ADHD. 

7 months ago my wife separated from me.  Four years ago I admitted to kissing two women.  She forgave me and we moved on.  I continued to struggle with pornography, inappropriate texting, etc..  I rage.  I get angry.  I am irritable.  I stay up late.  I am a workaholic.  etc...  Seven months ago my wife found some of the texts and said she wanted a divorce.  I have been devastated. 

The problem for me is that I DON'T WANT TO DO THESE THINGS.  None of these issues with other women have been longstanding.  None have been relationships.  My impulsivity and lack of discipline have been sources of major shame in my life.  Since I can remember I felt as though I was a slave to my emotions.  It wasn't until a few weeks ago that my father recommended that I see someone and ADHD is what I found.

I am glad to know about ADHD but I don't want an excuse for what I did.  I want to own it.  I don't think I get the option of claimed to have been one person and then turn around, hop on some medication and then expect her to forgive me.  I appreciate the understanding it brings, and a chance to learn from a community of people who deal with similar issues and have found hope.  I do.  I hope my wife finds hope. 

I am also capable of being a great friend to her.  I find such joy in her as a person.  I know she is angry and she has a right to be, but I am just holding on, hoping that she decides that rebuilding is possible and worth taking a chance on. 

I don't want to hurt her.  I don't want her to experience pain at my hand. 

You guys are right.  Not all men are bad.  Not all men are good.  Each man is different.  I'd say, don't put pressure on yourself to trust or love before you feel like it, but don't RUSH either.  I am desperate for more time to heal.

I'm so grateful for your

I'm so grateful for your post. Thanks. 

I can tell you that when I need(ed) comfort from my husband I need for him to be calm, compassionate, and absolutely steadfast in his love of me and commitment to our marriage - in both word and deed. As the non adhd spouse we are in such a vulnerable position, and consistency of trustworthy behavior is really critical. We are used to riding a roller coaster and when the last straw comes we just want to get off. I need(ed) to be shown and told daily that there is not yet another shoe that's going to drop; the ride is over; consistency and stability are the new reality. I need(ed) to learn that I can be relaxed in our marriage and not always on my guard to clean up messes or have to take the steering wheel yet another time. 

It's been almost a year since I found out the truth about my husband's affair. We are a lot better. Lots of therapy with an utterly amazing therapist who REALLY knows adult ADHD has literally saved both of our lives and our marriage. 

The combo of medication and therapy has allowed my husband to be who he has always wanted to be and who he always promised me he really is deep down. Through out his life he experienced all of the shame and regret that you express about yourself, and that pain is still there but it's now a reference point rather than where he exists. ADHD is still difficult in our marriage and I can still personalize his behavior, but we've gained the tools to not make the same mistakes we made in the past. 

The pain of his affair still stops in me my tracks daily, but the pain is lessened by a deeper understanding of ADHD and him, and of my own role in responding to his adhd in the past before we knew what was really happening in our relationship. We will always have ADHD in our marriage, and he will always be an incredible man that I love deeply and he'll also always be struggling with inappropriate behavior, irresponsibility, and impulsivity - but therapy, medication, honesty, and understanding can at least minimize negative effects.

I hope through therapy and meds you can get yourself to a good space. My husband has done it only through being brutally honest with himself and the source of his pain and the role of his ego and someone compensating for always feeling "less than" because of ADHD.

There is a lot of amazing help out there to be had, I hope you and your wife can both find it.

And just as a final little blow... BOTH of our kids have since been diagnosed with ADHD. As impossibly exhausting as it is,  I'm so glad that we've identified it early so that we can be the parents to them that they need - So that we can teach them what they need to know about themselves and the world around them -  so that they can navigate through the world feeling and causing the least amount of pain possible.

All my wishes for strength, healing, and peace to your and your wife.

Update request

Ck, it has been 3 years now since your last post. I am reading this all today as I am in the same situation. Multiple affairs and even while also going to therapy, I'm being lied to. Medication has not yet been discussed bc we have only been twice (we went 9 months ago when his ADHD was first discovered but he refused to continue and of course the problems got worse) but from what I am reading Medication may really be helpful. How are things now and how have they been for the past 3 years? What medication worked best? I hope you will reply; I can see how much others responses helped you! What compelled me the most to reach out to you is the fact that I see myself and more similarities in our situations than any others I have read. You haven't mentioned faith in God during all this but that is what is driving my desire to learn, try and not give up. I need some support from others as well. 

ck, so sorry, been through it also

I'm SO sorry you are living through this. My ADHD husband also had a 3 year affair with a young girl almost 30 years younger than him. He denied it and lied to my face repeatedly, and it hurt me more than I can even describe. When he had the affair, we had been married 21 years, then he took a new job, moved all our stuff out of the house. I was left to clean up our old house, repair and restore everything, and put our house on the market. All I had left was a couch and a tv in the family room which was all torn up being renovated. There were paint materials everywhere trash all over the floor, ands I felt like all the trash on the floor and was the  "throw away wife". It tore my heart and soul out, and to this day, he has not acknowledged the damage this did to me, or to us. He said a quick and angry "sorry", and felt that was good enough for me to forgive him and "get over it".

     He stayed defensive and angry, and didnt understand why I just didnt  scoop him back up in my arms and "forget the past"' (in his words). He learned nothing about affairs, or why he DID this, or try to help fix what had Been broken down. He didn't want me to mention it AGAIN, or ever talk about it AGAIN.........and THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE. He wanted things done,........all on his timeline and done HIS way, the most comfortable way for him. In other words, he didn't want to face ANY consequences of what happened. 

     Then this past Christmas he admitted he was still in love with his old college girlfriend, and had never gotten "over" her. So, on that on top of the affair DID it for me, and I was DONE. No more. 

     I felt like you,like eveverything we lived had been a LIE. I even an felt so ashamed for even falling in love with him. His chaotic ADHD, that was not diagnosed at the time, and was.creating chaos in all our lives. (We have 2daughters) 

      I tried SO hard, and do much above what I should have done, that I wore my physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental self out, and was dying. I had to leave, which I finally did after almost 33 years. Even though I'm now disabled, I had to leave for myself, and because I disn't want to die alone and isolated in a house, feeling like every aspect of my life was being controlled and was under the control of someone who couldn't even control himself.

     SINCE I've been gone, I'm slowly getting myself back up. It's slow,but it's for ME, and its mine.

  He wouldn't face his ADHD, until after I left, And I could not understand why it took THAT for him to get help. He is now going to a good adhd therapy behavioral group. But, I must say that I'd have to see a LOT of change before I'd even consider going back. I've also been working on myself. It's slow, And painful, but I'm getting a little stronger.

    I pray better things for you, and hope you are doing well today. Hugs to you.