The ADHD Effect on Marriage is a perfect reflection of our marriage. As I read the book, it seems as though Melissa Orlov was looking at our marriage when she wrote the book. My wife is the ADHD spouse and she was diagnosed with ADHD for the last 12 years. The diagnosis came after having 4 psychiatrist and 2 cases of post partum cases. Also, we used 4 marriage counselors to help correct our marriage troubles. However, different counselors were used because she did not want to agree with the fact that her ADHD could not be used as an excuse to be unproductive. Sadly, for the most, part her treatments have not helped much.
The six signs are directly on point:
1. There is a seriously unbalanced distribution of responsibility in your household. I have picked up the slack while maintain my duties. I have work many days and come home from work to do most of the housework and cook supper for the children and myself while she was home all day. She has no responsibility while having all the rights and complains when I do not complete my choirs and her choirs correctly.
2. You hate to nag or be nagged, but it happens all the time. On many occasion, I have asked her to complete her choirs. Just asking causes her to be very angry and on the edge of be physically violate. This reckless behavior falls into other important areas of our lives as well. We are in a stalement.
3. You were the sun, moon and stars during courtship. Now you feel like chopped liver. When we were courting, she was mostly kind and living with occasions of mild confrontations. I just wrote off the confrontations as honest mis understandings. In good times she was very compassionate, supporting and a loving woman that I wanted to marry. And so I did.
4. No matter how hard you try, things never seem to change - except for the worse. Yes, there seems to be no way out. I have supported all her freely chosen goals. We have used our children college fund with her promising to pay it back and she funds her goals. She has not completed any of her goals and did not pay back the money resulting in our oldest child having to obtain loans to go to college.
5. You have a child diagnosed with, or suspected of having, ADHD. We have four beautiful children. Of the four, 3 have ADHD and one have autism as well. Two are doing well and the one with ADHD and Autism is struggling to function socially in school and general social environments.
6. One spouse feels as if the other is more like an extra child than a partner. Sadly, our relationship has become a parent/child relationship. She constantly states that I am not her father when I request that she complete her duties she willfully accepted and freely chosen goals.
These dominant patterns as per The ADHD Effect on Marriage book are very present in our marriage 2, 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 and 12.
In summary, over 21 years-3 years dating and 18 years marriage- with my wife, she always had ADHD which was not diagnosed until six years into our relationship. Before and after diagnosis, she did not complete the four schools attended, got fired, layed off or had to quit 5 jobs, very confrontational relationship with me, our children, friends and business associates. In helping her to accomplish her goals, she has taken $80K from children college fund which she promised to pay back that have not happened.
Having been through these 21 years of struggles, I am exhausted mentally because there seems to have no answer to the problem and emotionally because I am stressed out, angry and resentful. In addition, socially, I am affected because we, as a family, cannot have family gatherings and friends do not want to come around because she antagonizes them. Physically, I suffered with ulcers, depression, and benign diagnosis of cancer and intense occasion of rage. Finally, spiritually I have almost come to not believing in God anymore! To cope with this stressful life, I went back to college and studied Religious Studies, Registered Nursing and Behavioral Science. I have earned an associate’s degree in each field and soon to earn a bachelor degree in Health, Safety and Environmental Science. Also, I volunteer as a coach at the local youth sports and high schools teams. Most effective of all is recovering my faith and working out. Professional counseling and talking to close friends helps tremendously.
With the above stated, I am at end wits with my wife failure to deal with her ADHD. I do not love her as a wife anymore however being educated about ADHD I am slightly open to try to have a positive relationship again. If she does not change, our marriage will come to an end. In the meantime, I just have enough strength to maintain my job, and to provide for our children. And the book and direction to proper help is the last hope.