I am a 42 year old male diagnosed with ADD

I am a 42 year old male diagnosed with ADD about 14 years ago.  While I struggled during high school I graduated with a Masters degree in 1999.  I currently work as a City Planner.  I have been married to my 38 year old wife for 15 years.  We have 2 boys ages 5 and 7.  Our oldest son has also been diagnosed with ADD and I attend and participate in counseling with him when the therapist requests my involvement. 

My wife and I are currently attending marriage counseling: our relationship has been gradually devolving for several years.  About a month ago my wife, after 4 sessions into the counseling, expressed she was ready for a divorce.  A week later she compounded my confusion by declaring she thinks she is gay.  I am absolutely certain I do not want a divorce.

At the risk of this post rambling for far too long I will try to summarize the highlights/lowlights of our relationship:

  • after my diagnosis my wife was elated because "I was n't a jerk," while I was devastated that I had a "mental illness."  I did not seek professional help for a year, after which time I started a trial and error process for finding the right meds.  I have been taking Vyvanse for about 3 years with satisfactory results.
  • our relationship has been on a 6 month cycle for as long as I can remember... my wife has a meltdown about my weakness as a partner, lack of contribution to household chores, not dependable, and not participating in charting the family's future ... the terminology most apt is a parent-child dynamic.  She has declared many times, "at some point I will be sick and tired of being sick and tired."  Our sex life has suffered tremendously.  We have only had sex twice in the last 3 years.
  • 3 years ago I had a major anxiety attack/breakdown and was briefly hospitalized.  I have been in individual counseling ever since and have added Cymbalta to my med regime.  Very recently, I also started on Lorazepam since the divorce and sexuality topics have been front and center in our discussions.
  • I experienced 2 bouts of unemployment about 4 years ago that caused a great deal of damage to our finances.  Shortly after my hospitalization and while recuperating at home, I missed a payment on a credit card which we had transfered a large balance in order to take advantage of a zero interest rate offer: I handle the household finances.  The interest rate jumped from 0 to 30% and the credit card company would not negotiate.  I paid the $1200 monthly payments for about 6 months but the juggling of our finances was clearly not sustainable and we began investigating bankruptcy.  I began working with an attorney who an attorney coworker referred us to.  My wife asked me to handle the filing and I agreed but found myself paralyzed with fear of the process.  After 2 years of procrastination and not paying credit card bills (on the advise of the attorney) I finally finalized all the materials for the bankruptcy when my wife hit me with the divorce bombshell.  This may change our approach dramatically.
  • After my wife told me she wanted a divorce I hit bottom.  At the same time I have been really evaluating myself and have learned a great deal about myself.  I realized I fell in love with my wife with gusto as an ADD individual will.  I also held her up on a pedestal and was always more concerned with her feelings than my own.  I now realize this contributed to our downward spiraling relationship.  She has told me she felt I was distant, when in fact I loved her so desperately and was extremely fearful of her increasingly common rejection of my requests for affection both sexual and non-sexual.
  • In spite of my worry over a potential divorce, I feel as if I have reawakened.  I am frightened about my/our/our children's futures, but I feel excited about the future.  I have affirmatively declared to my wife, our marriage counselor, and my individual counselor my intentions to work towards salvaging our marriage.  With the help of our counselor I aspire to create space for both of us to evaluate our ourselves and our relationship and create an environment where we can have the best chance to safely rebuild a better future for us and our children.

I am not entirely convinced of the importance of my wife's assertions concerning her sexuality.  While she claims she has sexual fantasies about woman "all the time," I have the sense she is using this as a way to create a barrier between us.  My wife's parents divorced when she was 10.  Her father was an alcoholic and a drug abuser: he has since died due to an overdose.  My mother-in-law has not been supportive of my wife in the ways she needs (listening, comforting, support) ... she blames her for our marital problems. My mother-in-law supported three children as a single parent with help from her parents; this support came with significant strings and tied her financially to a very domineering father.  My wife has shared with me her childhood memories of going to school hungry and the shame of unpaid school lunch bills.  My wife has developed a very sophisticated set of self defense mechanisms to protect herself.  I am trying to be cognizant I may be clinging to my desire to preserve the marriage, but I believe my wife has erected barriers between us to protect herself.  Further, I believe her disclosure about her sexuality is intended to be the most insurmountable barrier imaginable: our relationship cannot possibly continue because she desires a sexual relationship with a woman.  While I don't doubt my wife's assertion that she has sexual fantasies about women, I don't think this necessarily means she is exclusively gay.  She has said she has always had these sort of feelings, but she never felt uncomfortable with the thoughts because it was just part of who she was.  My wife intially pursued me in the early part of our relationship: I am relatively confident her assertions about her sexuality are overstated.  My feelings have been strengthened on this issue in the following ways: as I feel better and more confident about myself and assert my feelings regarding our marriage, my wife has become less certain about her convictions concerning the divorce... she has expressed doubts and her feelings seem to change over the span of a few days.

In spite of my conviction about fighting for our marriage I struggle with the following issues:

  • I am angry that my wife is willing to give up on me, our marriage, and the life we have built for our children.  I feel she is opting for an easy way out, rather than doing the hard work of working through our issues to see if our relationship is worth saving.
  • I am uncertain how I feel about my wife asking for a divorce.  I am of two minds about this; I could interpret this as a rejection of me, as a statement that she no longer wants me or as her trying to protect herself from yet another disappointment.
  • A small part of me struggles with my wife's sexuality in spite of my belief she is making more of this than is necessary.  I love her and want to support her... if she insists she is gay then I want her to be happy, but that would mean supporting her and accepting divorce.  I do not want to live in the unhappy situation we have been living in.
  • I am worried about setting a bad example for our boys.  On the one hand I have always told them, there is no problem we cannot resolve as family.  On the other hand I don't want to be a poor role model and irrationally struggle with a failing marriage out of fear of loss or rejection.

My goal of avoiding rambling has failed.  I would appreciate any feedback anyone may have and I thank those that take the time to read this.

I am a 42 year old male diagnosed with ADD

My wife and I met with our marriage councilor this morning.  I am very surprised by this but we discussed separating and I agreed.  I saw my wife's anguish with my anger and frustration and she acknowledged she is the primary cause.  Our oldest son with ADD had a major meltdown again as we were leaving for daycare.  I guess I just have realized that our current path cannot continue.  Everyone is suffering and no good is coming from our circular discussions.  I will begin discussing with her the logistics of the seperation tomorrow.  I hope we can create a better future for all of us.

Wish me luck.

Welcome

Hi Rob,

I read your posts.  I hope your family gets clarity and healing through this very difficult time. 

Kind words

doublej:

Thank you for your kind words.  Knowing someone out there is paying attention and expressing support is helpful.  I look forward to clarity and healing.

You have great insight and a

You have great insight and a great ability to reflect on what is going on here. My only advice would be to try and continue counseling during your separation, and secondly to try and put aside what you THINK your wife is feeling or thinking (why did she ask for divorce? why is she saying she's gay?) and just DO WHAT YOU FEEL is best for you..to be the person you want to be. If you want to fight for your marriage, then do it 100%...even if your wife is throwing the 'divorce' and 'gay' things your way...what does it matter, if you're true to YOU? In the end, you'll have no regrets and will have done what your heart compelled you to do instead of spending all of your time worrying about your wife's motives for everything she does and says. If you want her back, fight for her. Ask what can be done and do it. You very clearly recognize what issues your ADHD brings to the table, now is the time to step outside of your comfort zone and do some hard work on those issues. It will be uncomfortable for you too, to face the possibility of rejection (it is for all of us) but fight for her if it is what you want..just be damned sure that you're willing to work on the ADHD issues and change yourself because it isn't fair to fight for her and convince her you're going to do things differently..if you're not.

You and your family are in my prayers.

Sherri

Thank you

Sherri:

Thank you.  I did not understand how valuable this site and this post was going to be for me.  I feel as if I am now getting the support I have been wishing for for a very long time.  My hitting bottom has forced me to evaluate myself in new ways.  I have reached some clear understanding about the underlying issues exacerbating my ADD behaviors, fear of rejection, a very recently rejected but deep held belief that I was not worthy of the type of love I am so longing to offer, fear of failure, and the fear and frustration I feel while I watch my ADD son head down the same path I did.

Your comments regarding my compulsive analysis of my wife's motivations are right on the money.  Our marriage counselor and my own counselor have expressed this too.  I feel less compelled to do so, at least right now, since we have tentatively settled on separation.  I am surprised, but I feel a sense of relief and I anticipate some of the pressure will be released, a least a little.

Your advise about fighting for our relationship is also well taken.  I am going to give myself a bit of a break and breath for a little while.  There will be plenty of time for that fight.  I need to relax and rest and focus on me for a few moments.  But I do want to fight for our relationship.  My love for her, my children, and my newly developing desire to heal myself by moving forward are the few things I am absolutely certain of.

Thank you for your support and your prayers.

Rob H

Excellent post

By expressing yourself lucidly you help all of us.  I am a 40-man that is in a similar situation.  We are not yet separated or divorced, though we are talking about it.  But I do feel your pain.  I too struggle with many of the issues you raise; I too want to recover/grow into a loving relationship with my wife- but in all these things, we cannot force them, we can only give what we have; love, support such that we can offer, and a commitment that we will try our best to do what's right for the family as a whole.

Good luck, keep us posted.

Thank you

Arkyn:

Expressing myself allows me to organize my thoughts.  If I can help you in anyway I would be happy to chat through the forum.  I find that discussing this with others also helps me obtain a practical sense of perspective.

Thanks for your interest and your time

Rob

Good luck

I hope everything work out for you and your family.

YYZ

Thank you

YYZ:

Thank you.  I believe we are on the right path.

Rob

Latest Development

My parents have been planning to take our family to Disney World to give everyone a break.  They have offered to cover all the expenses with the exception of entry fees and souvenirs.  I shared my wife and I's decision with my parents regarding the separation.  They expressed concern about the trip and the awkwardness that would likely be felt by at least the adults.  I spoke to my wife about this and she said it was very important to our boys to go and she said she would stay behind.  I discussed this with my parents, expressed that I thought it would be better for the boys if their mother could go with them, but I also let them know I understood their apprehension and concern about the vacation being awkward.  My parents expressed their preference for my wife not to attend.  This was Sat. and unfortunately my wife's birthday.

Fast forward a couple of hours... my wife is furious with my parents and me.  In her opinion,my parents are lashing out at her and I am not standing up for her and advocating for my children.  I explained I had told them I felt it would be better for the boys if she came with us.  I also explained I can understand their position also.  I also stated I would call them again and encourage them to reconsider.  I also suggested that she call them too to discuss this and explain her position: she refused.  I am planning to discuss this issue with my own counselor, and have offered to schedule an appointment with our marriage counselor for my wife separately, for me separately, or us together to discuss the vacation, but she does not seem interested, finally I have also suggested we meet with our son's child counselor who is also familiar with our younger non-ADD son.  I am concerned and a little confused by my wife's reaction.  I understand being hurt and not being included, but it was her idea.  I am also angry she is accusing me of not "manning up" and advocating for her and the boys (which is not true), yet she refuses to make her own case with my parents.

Fast forward again to this morning... Sunday was relatively uneventful a couple of minor discussions, but no fireworks thankfully.  We both had our weak moments, but given the status of our relationship that is to be expected.  This morning was all drama again.  She reiterated her statements that my parents were punishing her and now they are also punishing our children.  Then to my dismay she began talking about the separation and asked if we could slow things down,  because she was having doubts she was doing the wrong thing.  She spoke of finances and selling the house.  She also said that she had strong feelings inside and then began to cry.  I assume she meant she has strong feelings she is gay, but I am not certain.  Whenever I feel I am approaching a little clarity I get hit with yet another bombshell.  The one thing I did not hear is that she is having doubts about separating because she wants to heal our relationship!  This makes me a little angry.

Thank goodness for councilors because I am at a loss.  Wish me luck... if anyone has any insight please share because I do not have a clue.

Rob H