Husband of an Undiagnosed ADD Wife

We've been married for 20 years but just now beginning to realize that the reasons I feel miserable about our marriage and unloved may have more to do with my wife's undiagnosed ADD than anything else. On one hand its a relief - offers hope that something can be done - on the other anxiety about failure.

We have a high school age daughter who has just been diagnosed with inattentive type ADD. She is extremely bright and smart and seems to have coped well till her high school years. In researching ADD and its lifetime consequences I came to this site. Melissa's blog about introduction to adhd and marriage just hit me over the head. It EXACTLY describes our marriage. However, looking at the site bothers me as most of the comments I see on this site are from women discussing their ADHD husbands. I see very little about men with adhd wives. Perhaps its because men tend to be less open about their feelings? Or perhaps there is a forum or blog that I have not seen.

I have started reading the Melissa Orlov's book but still unsure how to approach this with my wife. We are at a point of essentially no companionship, minimal intimacy, strictly business discussions (chores, grocery etc - most of which essentially I have to do) and the only thing holding us together is kids and my resolve to make this work. Every problem has got to have a solution, its a matter of finding it.

Sorry for the disorganized rumbling of thoughts here but I felt like venting somewhere and asking for support. Did not mention that we have been in marital counseling for over a year now and my wife just suddenly pulled the plug and declined to go anymore. I am not sure if the counseling helped and I don't think the marriage counselor realized the ADD issue before I bought it up recently - makes me think that I need to go somewhere else for help.

Would greatly appreciate to hear any suggestions. Feel very lonely and out there by myself. I really love my wife, despite everything, and really want to make this work. I think the first thing will be to make a diagnosis and seek care but I don't even know how to approach the topic with her.

Welcome

Statistically, many more men than women have ADHD and that is probably why there are not as many husbands on here with similar situations to yours. From what I understand, women are more likely to have "inattentive" ADHD, which presents a little differently (and usually takes a much longer time to diagnose).

I wanted to let you know that my husband was diagnosed after my son's diagnosis. My son's psychologist recommended I read "Driven to Distraction" to understand my son...but I understood my husband better! On the next family counseling visit, I brought in my marked-up, highlighted book and told the Doc that I thought my husband needed meds, too. (I didn't blindside my husband, though. He knew we were going to talk about it. He also has more self-awareness than the typical ADHD person.)

My husband doesn't necessarily like having ADHD (he can feel "defective."); however, he can recognize the tremendous, positive affect meds have had.  A couple of months after starting medication, he said, "Why didn't you make me use this 20 years ago? I just solved a computer [programming] problem that has been plaguing me for years!" So I know we did the right thing.

Can your daughter's doctor diagnose ADHD in your wife?

 

Thank you doublej. I think

Thank you doublej. I think that's a good suggestion and I will set up a parent meeting with our daughter's psychiatrist. I have read Russel Barkley's Taking Charge of ADHD for Parents (my wife started it but did not finish).

Does your husband get treated by the same person as your son? Wonder how it works with psychiatrists?

My two sons and husband see

My two sons and husband see the same psychiatrist (not psychologist as I said above) for medicine management. When diagnoses first happened, we were in family counseling, and all the males started treatment at about the same time. Sharing a psychiatrist has not been a problem. Our GP will take over med management because we have new insurance with different coverage (grrr....HMO). We've never had a problem getting meds (unlike some of the stories I read on here). All our doctors seem very pro-med.

That being said, I don't think marriage counseling can be very effective until ADHD is properly diagnosed and treated. I think marriage counseling takes a degree of self-awareness that is typically in short supply for ADHDers. 

Men Caregivers 2013

Did you know that Fox News said, 40% of men are Caregivers in 2013. This statistic is on the rise.  My husband, came home to be a caregiver to his Mother so, she could stay in her home.

People who are at the age of retirement are now Caregivers or retire early.

Just think of this all across USA that folks who have NO Professional Training are now involved with medical doctors and THE CARE OF A LOVE "ONE OR TWO"!

Retirement early and using savings to keep things afloat. Or, living on ""ONLY" Social Security or Disability.

How did I get here in this (position) and will the person ALLOW me to be their medical advocate? Maybe, P.O.A..

As long as the person is of sound mind they will make decisions for themselves.

The cost factor of the ADHD and how it impacts the long term illness.  

The younger couples with family have so many issues with ADHD that they want HELP.

My Relationship turned into a Caregiving Relationship

I had to Acknowledge my role and get myself into a support group to listen to MY NEEDS as a CAREGIVER! 

 

 

Men Caregivers 2013

Did you know that Fox News said, 40% of men are Caregivers in 2013. This statistic is on the rise.  My husband, came home to be a caregiver to his Mother so, she could stay in her home.

People who are at the age of retirement are now Caregivers or retire early.

Just think of this all across USA that folks who have NO Professional Training are now involved with medical doctors and THE CARE OF A LOVE "ONE OR TWO"!

Retirement early and using savings to keep things afloat. Or, living on ""ONLY" Social Security or Disability.

How did I get here in this (position) and will the person ALLOW me to be their medical advocate? Maybe, P.O.A..

As long as the person is of sound mind they will make decisions for themselves.

The cost factor of the ADHD and how it impacts the long term illness.  

The younger couples with family have so many issues with ADHD that they want HELP.

My Relationship turned into a Caregiving Relationship

I had to Acknowledge my role and get myself into a support group to listen to MY NEEDS as a CAREGIVER! 

 

 

Welcome

Hello. I think more men are diagnosed because its easier to see the hyper, but I believe the incident rate is pretty similar for males and females. Inattentive is more difficult to diagnose. There are men on this forum, but the women tend to be more vocal. The divorce rate is higher when the female is add, possibly because of it takes a lot of empathy and patience to be the spouse. And time. 

I'd suggest setting a mtg to discuss the issue. Try to pick a time when she's not tired, or hungry, or stressed. You could also try broaching the subject while on a walk. ADHD people tend to process things better when not forced to sit still. Your daughter being diagnosed gives you an opening due to the highly heritable nature of the condition. Don't blame all your marital woes on the disorder tho.  She can't change her brain and no one wants to be the one to blame. Also, how you react to the symptoms is generally an issue. You don't want to demonize ADHD either, rather try to identify the positives and work with those. Mitigate the negatives. 

Hopefully your wife will be open to the possibility and agree to seek treatment. It is really helpful if the counselor understands what an ADHD relationship really looks like. Perhaps your wife will be willing to try counseling again after diagnosis. Best wishes for you both.

Thanks. On Chapter 3 of the

Thanks. On Chapter 3 of the ADHD effect book and you just echoed some of the points mentioned there. Good point about discussing while walking - I actually had noticed that she is able to do this well - it is me who has difficulty walking/moving and thinking at the same time.