I don't have a good answer for your question why didn't/don't you...why can't you just...why is it....

I've been reading through these forums tonight and seeing a lot of consistent things. Many of them echo the same things that my wife (non ADD) and I (ADD) deal with on a regular basis. We've been married for 14 years and have worked through many issues including her frustration with me and my ADD. I realized tonight what one of the biggest causes of friction is when we get in an argument and I see the the same thing through other posts. It has to do with how we respond to my forgetting to do something that was asked of me.

My daughter told me last night that her curtain rod had fallen down. it was later in the evening and i was in the middle of working on something so i told her that i would fix it in the morning. Tonight my wife went into her room and saw it and began to get upset and ask why it had come off of the wall. That's when i remembered that i needed to fix it and that i had forgotten. I took the blame and as most ADDers felt bad that i had forgotten. Then came the question that many of you ask: " why can't you just remember to do it?"

and that is just one of the many things that i "forget" or "dont' think about." its not because it's not important to me. 

Why didn't you put the dishes away? - I forgot

Why didn't you move the clothes from the washer to the dryer? - i forgot

Why didn't you make the bed?- i forgot/ i didn't think about it

Why can't you just do the simple things i ask? because i forget. and i forget very easily. I'm sorry.

So i say to all, please hold me accountable. don't get mad and go off and do it yourself. instead of asking why, try asking again, the same way you asked the first time. Will you put the dishes away? I agree, you shouldn't have to ask again. However, the fact is, I will forget and no amount of yelling or making me feel an inch tall for forgetting is going to change the way my mind processes things. That only causes me to stop trying and pull away.  Asking me again will help me remember without making me feel like an idiot for forgetting the first or second time. Most of all, please be patient with me.

Things you may not know because many are too self conscious to share: My ADD has caused me to:

Beat myself up over and over again for not being good enough.

Be self conscious about my short comings and worry about letting people down.

be anxious all the time because i feel that there are things that need to be done that perhaps i have forgotten to do but i can't remember what they are.

worry about who i may upset today because i wasn't able to complete something that would seem simple to most folks.

So please don't ask me "why." More than likely i've already asked that question of myself and spent too much time looking for the right answer. An answer that never comes.

Just a thought that i wanted to share. Have a good night.

Beautifully said. I struggle

Beautifully said. I struggle with the same things, more so with bewilderment over how such (in my mind) trivial things can become inflamed into earth-shattering events, with the sea of emotional wreckage left to drown in.  Self-doubt, constant self-reproachment, running in circles to make sure the "non" ADD won't find something amiss to wag his finger at and make me feel even smaller than I do every day, can set me in a tailspin into depression.  It's got me thinking though, that with all the focus and attention on the one wearing the ADD label, doesn't it become a convenient scapegoat for all that is wrong in a marriage so that the apparently "healthy" partner gets off without being accountable for perhaps even more egregiously imperfect behaviours?  I'm a firm believer that "love covers a multitude of sins" but I've also recently come to find that it is only an extraordinary spouse that can put this into practice, and I didn't marry him.


I was diagnosed with ADD about 2 years ago and have since been getting treatment. However as anyone with ADD knows, the problem existed long before being "diagnosed". I grew up in a very strict environment, a slight disappointment to my father would have me reeling from a blow. As such I made sure to "not mess up", in order to accomplish this I became a very sensory person, i.e. "Did the dryer stop?", "Was there enough trash in the pale to take out?", "Does the floor look clean?", etc. This worked great back when I was a kid but now it has become a curse. I still do all those things, go to school full time and work full time. Working towards a balance is hard for anyone but it is far harder for ADD folks than "normal" people understand. Because we are not "normal", when I read these forums I get angry seeing some of the nearsighted selfish posts made by some of the non-ADD visitors. Do you have any idea how frustrating this disorder is? That when my wife asks me to take the trash out the volume of questions that crash through my head simultaneously? "The trash is already full again?" "Do we have enough trash bags?" "I hate the new brand of trash bags we got, I need to remember to try some different ones next time." "Wonder why I forgot to take the trash out earlier?" "I hope the trash truck did not shove the dumpster into the fence again". A "normal" person would simply take out the trash and go back to normal life.


In short do not blame yourself for your memory issues because of ADD, tell your family to use post-it notes if you need to do something and if they wont they can do it themselves. The reason I mention post-its is because I can do a "post-it" task and toss the note and move on to the next one. allowing me to prioritize without missing tasks due to forgetfulness. ADDers all too often self inflict blame as a easier resolution to a issue because the issue is not worth the mental process time. Life is hard, ADD makes it harder, Life + ADD + Broken Closet racks + flustered wives brings tears to my eyes. Stay positive and remember that there is always a better solution. Do not blame yourself for weaknesses your have no control over!

not sure about this comment

That when my wife asks me to take the trash out the volume of questions that crash through my head simultaneously? "The trash is already full again?" "Do we have enough trash bags?" "I hate the new brand of trash bags we got, I need to remember to try some different ones next time." "Wonder why I forgot to take the trash out earlier?" "I hope the trash truck did not shove the dumpster into the fence again". A "normal" person would simply take out the trash and go back to normal life.


I am nonadd but many of the thoughts you said ran simultaneously through your head also go through mine rapidly.  The difference for me is that I do not self-blame or these thoughts do not cause me emotional distress.  For me as nonadd perhaps my response to these thoughts are very different from yours? 

The trash is already full again.  (expected part of living that I don't like to do but it has to be done so just get it over with)

Do we have enough trash bags (I remember the bag was getting low and I might have to go buy bags so if I have to go I should check what I else I might need)

I hate the new brand of trash bags we go, I need to remember to try some different ones next time (I will write this on my refrigerator list now so I remember to switch brands)

wonder why I forgot to take the trash out earlier (I am way too busy, juggling too many things no wonder I forgot)

I hope the trash truck did not shove the dumpster into the fence again (the last time this happened it was a real pain to get the thing fixed but there are a lot of worse things that could have happened in my life)

 So if a "normal" appears to just take out the trash and go back to a normal life it may be because we do not have the emotional roller coaster you experience over what we consider a mundane task.  I also think a "normal" can also get on this emotional roller coaster and experience much of the distress you feel if they have developed negative perspectives about taking out the trash. 

I appreciate you bringing this up because I am going to consider if there is anything in my life that is causing me to feel overwhelm because of the way I am responding to it.


I agree, I have those thoughts

and those thoughts intermingle with others in my mind whenever I end up taking out the trash myself.

The first one cancels itself out

The trash is full again. Hello, everyday, just move on...

Do I have enough bags? Check

Mental note re: brand of trash bags. Check

Forgot about the trash earlier. Check

Man! I'm glad that fence is good now!

By now I'm outside enjoying the fresh air walking towards the garage... Hmmm, got a movie recording, need to rotate the laundry, consider a paper I need to write for class, looking forward to Friday night with the gals... it never ends! I just keep on going and going... I make lots of lists, write on my calendar and plan ahead when I can. I have finally learned how to say no, pace myself and adjust my schedule accordingly. I didn't just give up, I find ways to make things happen.

It seems that (without his meds) my ADD hubby can be paralyzed with the amount of effort needed to calculate and prioritize all these thoughts and then figure out how to apply the necessary action. When he wants to write something down, he has been known to ask me for pen and paper while I'm obviously multi tasking at the kitchen counter.

It's just the trash but we get to analyze how to place it in a proper receptacle and transport it to another environment in an efficient manner and on a certain schedule. wow, there is something going on and it completely baffles me.

I chuckled out loud

when i read the last part of your post : "That when my wife asks me to take the trash out the volume of questions that crash through my head simultaneously? "The trash is already full again?" "Do we have enough trash bags?" "I hate the new brand of trash bags we got, I need to remember to try some different ones next time." "Wonder why I forgot to take the trash out earlier?" "I hope the trash truck did not shove the dumpster into the fence again."

I think we all relate and think the key phrase for us with ADD is 'that crash through my head simultaneously.'

non ADD folks probably have similar questions as stated in one of the posts below, however, the ability to organize them so neatly and process those questions is lost on us. I laughed because i find myself at certain times listening to my thoughts as they "come crashing through simultaneously." and many times, because that happens, I land on one single thought that has nothing to do with the trash or the bags and I end up forgetting to take the trash out. LOL!!! I have to laugh at it.

I was thinking of an analogy the other day and I shared with my wife what it feels like at times. There is show on these days that chronicles those folks with compulsive hoarding disorders. sometimes i feel like my mind is like one of those houses where they have so much stuff piled on top of more stuff piled on top...so on and so on.. as thoughts come in, they get quickly covered up by other thoughts and don't even have time to be processed and filed away before they are covered and forgotten about. 

I'm very open about my ADD with many people and often joke about the time I bought the book called "Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress Free Productivity" by David Allen. It's a great book...the problem for me is that I haven't finished the book because i keep getting distracted. Go figure...LOL!!

I don't want sympathy, i just want to be accepted the way i am. I'm also realistic to know that i drive my wife and others nuts. The beauty of it all though is that we LOVE each other, flaws and all.

Gotta run... No Lie, my wife just asked me to take the trash out. I better do it before the thoughts start streaming in... here they come...
"the trash is full again already...why can't we recycle more to decrease the amount...Maybe we should compost...etc... :)



Just Ask Again?


I appreciate your post, and I understand that my wife often "just forgets and/or doesn't think of it."

It would be great if the solution was to just ask again.

My experience is that I have to just ask again several times . . . and that is nagging.  Nagging is not a good thing.  I don't want to BE a nag, and my wife does not want to be nagged.

So while I appreciate that for you, just asking might be the solution.  In my situation that is not the answer.

It's not my "job" to make sure my wife remembers.  I might be comfortable reminding her once.  But actually, since I did so much nagging in the past, now even an occasional reminder feels like nagging to her.

Instead, I think the solution for us is for my spouse to come up with systems and techniques to help her remember more and forget less.  Maybe if she asks I will remind her about something.  But I don't think that should be the norm.

And I need to not get so upset when she does forget, which she inevitably will.

We're working on it.

Why do they have to write your post its?

I am genuinely asking because my husband says to me at times that he'll remember better if I write him a note.  Won't he remember even better then if he writes his own note??

I think I have a decent understanding of how the ADD brain works.  I feel that many ADD people do not have a decent understanding of how a nonADD brain works.  They are so busy thinking the rest of the world has it *easy* that they don't pay attention to the fact that almost EVERYONE in this busy culture we live in has to use some kind of external reminders--notes, phone reminders, organizers, timers, maybe all of the above.  I am not saying that it isn't harder for the ADD person, but I am saying that we are all responsible to do what we agree to take on, and the vast majority of ADD people get more in the way of help and reminders from others than any other segment of the population gets.

A great many nonADD partners are already doing a HUGE percentage of what needs to be done to organize the family.  They are generally doing most of the care at home and most of the care of children.  If you are doing that much less, I do not believe it is fair to ask the person doing much more to write you a note *or do it themselves*.   As a matter of fact that is a pretty snotty way of putting it in my opinion.  They are doing a LOT themselves, and if you agree to take something on then I would hope you would have your own tools to remember to do it.  And if it is as simple as *write a post it* maybe you should grab that post it and do so.

As far as working moms with ADD who are also taking care of the home and the children, well in that situation she needs all the help she can get.  Whoever is doing the lions share of the work deserves at LEAST support from the other one, but in my situation it's often unworkable for me to stop doing my 15 things to help my ADD husband remember to do his 5.  He just needs to find a way to remember it on his own.  And if I offer him a kind reminder (which I do often) he has a responsibility in my opinion to not then be defensive about being reminded.

Absolutely don't beat yourself up about "weaknesses you have no control over", but do develop the ability to minimize these weaknesses as much as possible and work with your ADD brain to figure out ways to remember the things that are most important.  No one is going to remember it all.  And we ALL forget, so absolutely don't put yourself through the ringer for it.  But I think you SHOULD ask yourselves WHY more often.  Why does this thing keep getting forgotten?  What can I do so that I remember it better and so that important things will not fall through the cracks?  Isn't the point of getting counseling and coaching to develop the ability to remember more and meet more of your responsibilities and goals?   I think ADD ppl spend to much time moving on and trying to forget that a bad situation happened, and not enough time analyzing what went wrong so they can do better next time.

My husband and I are in this analyzing phase and it is AMAZING to me how he acts like he just can't figure it out alone, but if we talk about it together he can generally come up with what is unique about THIS situation that makes it more likely to be forgotten.   Often in only a couple minutes of talking about it. 

arwen's picture

Who should write the post-it's

Aspen, as with so many things, my take on this question is, "it depends".

I think you are absolutely right that it can be helpful to the ADHDer to write the notes themselves -- it helps to reinforce the memory.  But . . .  (there's always a but!)

Sometimes my husband has a hard time writing an appropriately useful post-it/reminder when it's something that's a bit complicated, or there's some special aspect of whatever it is he's trying to remember.  For example, if what he's trying to remember is to set up automatic timers for our sprinklers, but in a manner that makes sure that no more than two sprinklers are going at any one time (so there's enough water pressure), the post-it he's likely to write for himself (which makes sense to him at the time he's writing it) is "Set up timers for sprinklers, </=2 at once".  Then later on, when he reads the post-it again, he may interpret it as "don't set up more than two sprinkler timers at a time".  Whereas, if I write the note, I will express the reminder more usefully, and the job will get done right the first time (well, probably!).

The natural rejoinder to this is to suggest that he practice writing better notes, so this doesn't happen.  And he does, up to a point.  Where the trouble comes is in the difficulty of interpreting things the same way at two different times when he may be coming at it from two different mind sets.  It's the same problem he has with filing.  When he looks at a paper on one day, it seems like it should go with the legal papers, but on another day it looks like it ought to go with house papers, and another day it looks like it ought to go with the sewer retrofit papers . . .  maybe you get the picture.  If he tries to think of *all* the possible places to file (or ways to write himself a note that might be more clear), the most likely outcome is that he will get so lost in his contemplations that he will forget entirely what he was trying to do in the first place!  The more complex the problem, the easier that happens.

So, at our house, he writes the simple reminders -- and I write the complicated ones.  Like practically everything else with his ADHD, it's a compromise, and a work in progress.  I insist he handle as much as he can, and we push those boundaries all the time -- but when he tries and tries and just can't, I help out.  I don't write nearly as many of the reminders now as I did five years ago.


"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Albus Dumbledore

nicely said

Reading this forum is like someone is reading my mind, my husband can't find items in my phone book because each time i see it a little differently first name?? last name?? profession?? what if i can't remember last name next time then maybe i should put everything in first name. etc... Thats why it is so painful when he asks me where i put something my answer usually starts with a sigh then I think of all the common sense spots it could be after the first 2 he becomes frustrated hence starting with a sigh.

Yesterday I had a list of items to complete that I nicely wrote out and darn if i didn't leave without the list, then when i came home I lost the darn thing 3 times in trying to complete it. That is my typical day. Why do I have a hard time completing  a simple list.....because I spend half the day looking for the darn thing. Then to late or tired to complete it because i have cleaned or done different things in the process of looking. And it goes on and on and on...

hockeymom11's picture

at what point?

thank you for the insight of the ADDer's "forgetful" brain, but I have left notes of all kinds for my ADHD husband and I can STILL come home with 99% certainty that it will NOT be done and he will be up playing video games.  What do I do now, do I MAKE him make his own list? (which he won't use), do I "nag" (which I also agree is asking again and again) or do I just friggin do it myself because I can't take it anymore????

Last night he was doing his laundry and I DID think to myself "If he forgets to take it out of the washer, I REFUSE to put it in the dryer for him".  Am I being completely petty or mean?  I think for the past 14 years I have actually been enabling him to be a completely helpless individual.  I don't know what to do.  I have lists, I have a HUGE white-board calendar in the kitchen and he STILL ask's "when's ***'s soccer game?", "what's the daycare schedule".  And I say "it's on the white board".  Now I feel like I'm just being mean and I should help him, but again, I feel like I'm enabling the alchoholic by handing him a beer.

HOW can I get my husband to be more organized, by the sounds of the posts by the ADHDer's I cannot.  this is why my marriage is ending and as of right now I am making up a contract for a controlled separation.  I just can't take doing everything anymore.  

My husband has a very demanding job and he always tells me "you don't understand how stressed I am about my job and how hard it is".  I am a veterinarian and for our ENTIRE marriage my husband has acted  like I go into work every day and play with cute fuzzy puppies and kittens.  He does not understand that my job is physical, intense, fast paced, incredibly mentally challenging and emotionally draining.  How do you feel when you look into the eyes of a person and tell them their dog is dying of cancer?  I have to keep it together at work and THEN I come home and DO EVERYTHING.  I'm about ready to give up, NO I've given up.  The contract will be written today.  I gave him the book "should I stay or should I go" byLee Raffel and he said "I'll take a look at this book tonight".   Well, three days later here is still sits on the table.  He won't.

Thanks for listening. 

It comes down to them wanting to do it...

I am convinced that my husband likes having ADD. He takes meds, and on meds he's willing to at least work, but I've seen no differences in our relationship or his contribution in the house.

Minor example:

[We've just gotten home with a new jug of kitty litter. I have mobility limitations.]

Me: Will you dumb the kitty litter box?

Him: Where are the paper towels?

I tell him and find out he's cleaning the tv screen. When I remind him about the litter, he says he'll get to it, it was just too hot go outside to dump the litter. This morning, it's still not done. I was gone last night for class. He seems proud of himself for getting out of it. He knows I'll do it today because the litter box is in the computer room and I plan to spend the day doing homework in here so I don't have to do it on the weekend.

I know it pales in comparison to what a parent goes through when the other partner won't contribute, and I know how demanding and stressful your job must be. It just seems to me like they don't want to fix things because they've got it all their own way. They don't have to do anything. Their life is perfect and we do all the crappy stuff of life.

hockeymom11's picture

Sueann, I agree

please ADDers who read this, do NOT take this the wrong way, I'm NOT saying that all people with ADHD are lazy etc, but I DO believe that some people with ADHD use it as a cop out to everything, like my husband.  It could be that he is just spiteful and sick of my nagging or that he truly is a lazy bum.  I know the ADHD brain works differently, remembers differently, organizes differentlyand analyzes differently, but even my 11 year old son with severe ADHD and ODD knows to open the door when Mom is carrying a heavy load in!!  This morning as I was running around trying to get two kids ready and then remembering it's garbage day, my husband stood there TEXTING as I walked right past him with an EXTREMELY heavy garbage bag, struggled to open and fit through the kitchen door and get outside with it.  HOW CAN A HUMAN BEING NOT KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG AND TO KNOW TO HELP?!?!?

My husband has flat out

My husband has flat out admitted to me that anything I 'nag' him about, he will sometimes be intent on NOT doing it simply because he feels it is 100% just me wanting to control him. If he was going to a friend's house for a few hours...and I said "please don't stay out late" he would say he wasn't going to but at some point he convinced himself it was OK, and would stay out late simply because he felt 'controlled' by me asking. Control has been a huge issue for us. He insists that all I want is a puppet, someone I can control that will do everything I ask/say. I insist I only want him to have some SELF-CONTROL and to see how hurtful his behaviors are. I have ALWAYS pointed out to him anything and everything he does that's hurtful..from a simple snide remark about dinner to staying out until late or spending too much money. I am a 'fixer' too, I don't cope well with chaos. I have to make everything OK, right now...and that just does not work with ADDers. Learning to walk away from potentially explosive situations has been the best gift I could have ever given myself.

As for him not holding the door for you when you're struggling...I am not sure that's ADD...seems just plain old inconsiderate and thoughtless to me. Do you ever draw his attention to things like this? Sometimes, even if it means I get grumbles and attitude, if I truly need help and he's not helping, then I ask...and he helps.

hockeymom11's picture

I've asked


I HAVE asked multiple times for help and I've left lists and then I've YELLED at him for not helping.  I"ve tried it all.  Maybe you are right, maybe I just married a totally inconsiderate lazy human being.  I don't remember him being like this when we met, but then again the last 14 years are a blurr of mind boggling, exhausting, frustrating events so maybe I'm not too clear headed.

I guess next time I am struggling to do something I should just ask  "do you see I need help? can you help me or are you just being inconsiderate?".  I'm guessing I would get some bad remarks back, but at least I'd know the truth.   I just didn't know that because he was texting at the time he was "distracted" in his ADHD way.  who knows. 

Coming home late is his own business

I don't ever ask my husband to not stay out late, or to come to bed early. I don't see that I have any right to tell a grown up man when to go to bed. It is his life, and I am pleased that he wants to share it with me, but it still is his. I guess I am lucky that although he likes his drink, he doesn't have a drinking problem so he doesn't get out of hand. Sure, he could do better in terms of having a better sleep pattern, but everyone could do better in so many areas, including me, and I don't think it is up to me to fix this, just like it isn't up to him to fix various problems that I have. Maybe some of you are in a different situation from mine and cannot live like this, but I really think one has to respect one's spouses right to make independent decisions.

I'm just hoping noone is using ADHD as an excuse for interfering with everything their husband does - which a lot of women like to do, whether their spouse is ADHD or not.

We're all different

When it isn't something that is abused, I can see why it wouldn't be something one would consider doing. It started out as once a week, him meeting up with friends to play music and just hang out. I ENCOURAGED it and was happy for him to hook up with old friends and finally get out of the house (he'd worked at home for 4 years by this point and NEEDED something besides me and the kids). I never asked him to come home at any certain time, had the same attitude as you, that he was a grown man and if he didn't come home until 2 a.m. then I had no problem with that. I was the "cool" wife..the one that didn't treat him like a child and keep tabs on his every move..until he started taking total advantage of me being that way. What started as one night a week ended up being 2, 3, 4 nights a week...sometimes, although rare, he didn't come home at all. The more he stayed out, the worse his drinking became. He wasn't like that at all the first 5 years of our marriage and it was a very hard pill to swallow. The more out of control I felt he was, the more I tried to control him, the worse it got. I don't feel it is unreasonable AT ALL to expect a 37-year-old father of 3 to come home at a decent hour. I know we all have different things that work for us, but I don't want to be married to a man who stays out half the night 2-4 nights a week..regardless of what he's doing. For me, it's a deal breaker. Unacceptable. Would it help to know that he would absolutely die if I did it..just once a month? When I trust him again, when he can prove that him going out once and a while and staying a little later than I'm comfortable with won't turn into 4 nights a week again..and an affair again...then maybe I'll be the "cool" wife again and not care how late he stays out.

Yes, we are both adults, but we are also partners in a marriage and have rights to have certain expectations of respect and trust. There is so much about him that I used to HATE that is directly related to his ADD that I've either already accepted or am in the process of trying to learn to accept and I love him very much regardless, but when his behaviors directly affect and hurt his marriage and his family then I have every right to ask for, at the very least, a compromise.

We are all different, I understand what you're saying. I'm not comfortable with him staying out extremely late, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Although I don't nag about

Although I don't nag about it, my ADHD husband's sleep pattern negatively affects the family in a number of ways.  He is up until sometimes 4-5am, which makes it impossible for him to wake up a reasonable hour in the morning.  Because he is the caretaker of our son during the day, this means our son is awake in his crib, alone, with no human interaction, for hours while my husband sleeps in. 

And on weekends when I don't have to work in the morning, I have to get up and take care of our son while he sleeps in, and I really feel like this should be family time to spend together.  Instead it becomes his sleep time.  It is like he is robbing our son and me of quality time together so he can stay up late on the computer for hours every night.  It is really frustrating.

Pink's picture

it is not safe to leave the

it is not safe to leave the kid alone while you husband sleep. My husband stay up late on the computer every night. but before I leave to work. I wake him up and he must be up. I make sure he drink something and make sure he is full active so you know you have someone to watch the kid before you leave. You have to tell him that you do not want to wait until something bad might happen to the kid for him to wake up. Today kid need to be full time with someone watching them. I hope you can do something for the safety of the kids.

sleep patterns

When my husband worked at home, he was on a completely opposite sleep pattern from the rest of the family and it too caused a LOT of issues for us. Now that he's a 8-5'er he is in bed by at least 11. Although it took a lot of time for him to readjust, he did. The 'staying up late because of ADD' is just an excuse. It is the 'sleep cycle' they choose and suffering through changing this isn't easy, so they just don't do it. Granted, I am new to the ADD scene and have a lot to learn, but in my own personal experience, his having a different sleep pattern was a choice...and something that can be changed if they so choose.

I make him a cup of herbal "sleepytime" tea in the evenings and he sleeps better than he ever has. Otherwise, he tosses and turns, grinds his teeth, snores, and makes sleeping almost impossible for us both. The tea has valerian root and chamomile it it. It has helped him so much.

Unfortunately, he works

Unfortunately, he works afternoon shifts (either 5-10pm or noon-8pm) so he doesn't have much motivator to get up early.  If I'm lucky, he'll get up around 10am if the baby starts fussing (baby is usually up around 8am but plays quietly in the crib for a couple hours while he sleeps).  But given his choice, he'll easily sleep until noon and stay up until 5am.  He claims that his medications give him insomnia.  (he's been on Depakote, Wellbutrin, and Lamictal).  But he also did this when he wasn't on any meds.  So I don't know.  He gets very angry and defensive if I try to get him to sleep earlier...so I just gave up. 

I understand...I, too, have

I understand...I, too, have given up on a lot of issues and decided they aren't worth the battle.

On a side note, what used to kill me is that he would say he had trouble sleeping and that's why he couldn't go to bed early, but yet he would sleep from 2 a.m. until 2 p.m..twelve straight hours..and a tornado wouldn't wake him. If I slept until 2 p.m. I wouldn't be able to go to sleep at a decent hour either. Um, hello!? LOL Sometimes you just have to laugh at the logic. I never attributed it to ADD, just to him liking the time alone at night, almost all night most of the time, to himself. His going back to work outside of the home, 8-5, Mon-Fri, REALLY helped in so many ways. Not only does he appreciate family time more, he appreciates a good nights sleep.


You and your husband would benefit from having a discussion that places your comments in the "it's not personal" category.  It is understandable that your husband may be sensitive about whether or not you are "trying to control him." While you may not be intentionally doing this, by stepping over his boundaries on a regular basis (which pretty much all partners of ADHD spouses who haven't learned NOT to do so do) you come across as wanting him to do things a particular way - even when that genuinely isn't your goal.

The problem in these situations is that your husband thinks it's YOU, when in fact you are responding to your situation in just the same way that many spouses would respond.  What you are seeking isn't control over him, but control over your own life.  If he's out really late, for example, he might wake you up when he comes in, or you might spend a lot of time worrying if he drank too much and got in an accident or...

Once he understands that you are trying to coordinate things in order to live your life more easily, he might be able to back off of the defensiveness and start to work with you a bit better.

Pink's picture

it is the same with me. my

it is the same with me. my husband never open door for me or hold bags from the car to the apt. He see me carrying all of that bags and never help out. But, my son with ADD and my daughter 3 years old came by themselves and took some bags away from me and open the door for me. what is worst is that he walks in first and didn't mind let us in first. Something is wrong with a man with ADD. They simply have no respect. I think they do not know what respect is.

Miss Behaven's picture

Excuse me but plenty of ADD

Excuse me but plenty of ADD men (an us women) are very respectful. My ADD hubby always holds the door open for me, so does my ADD father and brother and son. Thank you very much!

I could say that all NTers (Normal Thinkers) are judgmental snobs, as based on my experience most of you are. But I wouldn't, because that just wouldn't be nice, or accurate.

ADD does not make you not open a door for a person carrying a heavy load. The fact that your children do this for you should be evidence of that.

What you have here is a disrespectful man, one who may have not been taught proper, manners as a child, on an abusive ,man. But do not blame ADD for this. ADD is not at fault here.



One thing I have learned on

One thing I have learned on these forums is that every person's experience of ADD/ADHD is different.   Some may not be able to hold down a job, whereas others are very successful at work due to being able to hyper focus on work tasks.  Some reminders and time management tactics work well for some sufferers, and not for others. 

So it is entirely possible that some ADD sufferers are easily distracted while out shopping or in a rush to get into/out of a building and don't think about opening doors, whereas others are not.   Everyone is different.

And just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't make them a judgmental snob.  In fact, I think calling other people judgmental snobs is a bit ironic.


hockeymom11's picture

Miss Behaven

If you read my post, I clearly stated that I DO NOT BELIEVE that all ADDer's are lazy, inconsiderate etc, but I do believe my own husband may use his ADHD as an "excuse".  It's true that maybe he is JUST PLAIN RUDE and that could be the case.  My point was that he was texting at the time and was he distracted?  Please don't accuse me of stating that ADHD individuals are all "jerks". 

hockeymom11's picture

Miss. B

how do you use the threaded list to respond?  I usually just click on the "reply" tab under the comment, but I know what you mean about threads getting out of order.

Thanks, no hard feelings. 

Miss Behaven's picture

There's an option box at the

There's an option box at the very bottom of the page. I usually view in Flat List Expanded, but if I want to address a specific post or see exactly who is responding to whom I will select Thread List Expanded.

Pink's picture


Sorry to get on your nerves. Imaging living it everyday with someone has ADD. I have been told by his mother to read some many books which I have and she used to do everything for him and now she tells me it is my job. She tells him he got a gift. ADD is a gift. I have been the soul person working here with 2 kids by myself. Everyone I meet they simply tell me what is wrong with him. Why can't he work, why he talk too much and why he wants to know what every one else is doing. I am been put down and look down at me like I am the problem here. Let me tell you what... I have my own disability and I do not put it on my own to say I can't function because of that. I am deeply hurt by his family that they don't take the respoonsiblity that it was their mistake not to teach him to do things on his own. He simply have no clue how to live on his own. He still doesn't know what is life all about. He only think of fun things.

Miss Behaven

Do you have any patience, compassion, or any sort of understanding for those of us who had no such dealings with ADD? Many of us, like myself and my husband, are JUST NOW getting diagnosed after being married for 13 years! ADD doesn't wear one face, it doesn't fit into one 'mold' of "this should be this way and that should be that way!" My husband's ADD might manifest itself in ways that you'd never dream of behaving and vice versa. I am learning as much as humanly possible about ADD so that I can equip myself to better deal with my marriage...and I am ONLY doing this because he (seemingly one of the rare ones) admits he has impulse control issues and WANTS to get help for himself .. and his family and marriage. If he weren't trying..or didn't seem to give a rats ass like some of the spouses here, I TOO would probably be angry and defensive and flat out disappointed.

It is a HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE thing for someone to finally realize and ACCEPT, after many years of marriage, that the hurt, lies, infidelity, disregard and disappointment might truly have a reason that is completely out of the control of the person doing the lying, hurting, cheating, and uncontrollable spending. I spent far too many years just feeling like he was a selfish jerk who didn't love me or his family the way he should...and it is COMPLETELY unfair to hold it against anyone for having a hard time moving past that. I feel blessed to be 'on the other side' of the anger, and even if my marriage doesn't end up working out at least I have learned that it wasn't personal all of these years and that my anger was making everything 1000 times worse. We aren't caught in the web of anger anymore. I am so grateful, but having been there and done that there is NO WAY I could ever judge anyone for being that way. I know how difficult it was to get out of the hole, it took a lot of person tragedy for us to finally 'get it'..there just isn't an easy way to slough off the years of pain and resentment. Whether it is caused by not knowing that you're dealing with ADD or knowing it and having an ADD spouse who doesn't do anything to help themselves is beside the point.

I had ZERO experience with ADD, certainly not in adults, before now...like many of the spouses here, I'm sure.

I agree 100% that letting go of the anger...and either moving on or committing yourself to love, honor, and cherish the person you're with is vital to one's happiness...but knowing that your spouse is ADD simply is not always enough. If they will not acknowledge that they need help and get the help they need then why wouldn't one be angry and defensive? You said you'd been through 3 years of ADD counseling..right? What if you hadn't? What if you refused? Or your husband? Maybe that counseling equipped you with strategies to better manage your own ADD and your marriage, but many of us aren't there yet. I don't agree with a lumping of ADD people as "lazy", don't get me wrong, but it seems you have little "understanding" of what it's like to be NT...when insisting we understand, accept, and embrace anything and everything about ADD and the adults who we are married to who have it. ???

Just responding in general to

Just responding in general to your own 'witch hunt' yesterday, not just in this thread but others too, seemingly having no understanding of why people are upset with their spouses for various reasons. I saw very little 'understanding'. I am very new to the boards and had already felt "attacked' by your lack of ... I'll call it 'compassion' or 'tact' (kind way of putting hard things that need to be said) and you had no remorse for it when you did it to some other people. I just know that I came here trying to find help...as all of us do I am sure...and you gather more bees with honey. It was, honestly, my genuine impression that you're very intolerant of anyone who is the least bit 'upset' with the behaviors or inactions of their ADD spouses...but I will try and do more reading and expand my opinion.

hockeymom11's picture

thank you SherriW

for putting what I felt so clearly. I too came to this site as a non-ADDr desperately seeking advice, support and knowledge.  I feel like 99% of you on this blog both ADD and nonADD are very supportive and helpful.  Unfortunately Miss B (and I've read many posts by you) seem like you ARE very intolerant of most people in general whether they have ADD or not.  I am sorry I asked for your input and I PROMISE I will NOT bother you again.  After yesterday's comments directed toward me I was going to leave this site for awhile, but I can see that I'm not the only person who feels the way I do.

I believe you call us "NT"s or Normal thinkers and I believe your exact words were: "I could say that all NTers (Normal Thinkers) are judgmental snobs, and based on my experience most of you are".

I guess that says it all.

Pink's picture

Thank you

Thank you... she has pick on me as well. I see that she post on every topic.  She keeps saying how her life is fine.. then she should just get off the site. let us get the help we need.

I think we ALL have a lot to

I think we ALL have a lot to offer and we could all learn a lot from each other...but the respect and kindness need to be mutual.

I suspect,

that having ADD yourself means your view of living with an ADD partner is different to how those of us without ADHD see it.  

To re-use my favourite analogy, it's like differently wired televisions. My TV may have emphasis on sound while yours may have be more focused on picture clarity. Neither of us will ever be able to fully experience the program the same way as the other. 

Mine wanders off unawre of where I am

I've been with my husband for 7 years now. You'd think he'd be aware be now of my (very slow) normal walking pace but he's not. He wanders off without noticing I'm not with him and I have to yell like a fishwife for him to slow down. He just says he's walking at his normal pace and he forgets I can't keep up. Surely that's ADD because he really isn't a jerk.

Please don't think I'm picking on you. You have such a great perspective because you are married to an ADDer and you have it too, so you see both sides. I think it's wonderful that you and your hubby have made it work.

Congratulations on the Princess. Thanks for letting us know.

Miss Behaven's picture

I am so confused by you

I am so confused by you Sueann. One day you write your hubby doesn't care whether you get the medical attention you need to live, that he doesn't care is you should live or die. Then another day you are insisting that he is not a jerk. This makes no sense.


Also, walking at a fast pace and needed to be reminded to walk slower is a trait of absentmindedness. Seeing someone right in front of you carrying heavy stuff and not holding the door for them is being a jerk. They two are completely different things.

The only man I know who does not hold doors for people is my father in law and he does not have ADD.

It probably doesn't make sense

"Jerk" to me implies a deliberate choice not to care about another person. I know the species well, my first husband is a jerk. When my bad knee gave out in a hotel in Mexico (where we did not know a soul) and I cried out in pain and surprise, he yelled at me for humiliating him. That is a jerk.

My current husband is heedless and absent minded. He does not think of the consequences of his behavior to himself or other people. That is ADD, not him being a jerk. That I could have died as a consequence of his ADD is something he just refused to think about at the time, or now either. I'm not sure what do about it.

Anyway, people can believe contradictory things at the same time.


I understand...my husband would never just sit and watch me struggle..nor be so 'involved' in texting to not notice, so it could very well just be a simple case of an inconsiderate nature vs. ADD. He holds doors open too. However, we often have the same scenario you describe where he walks 10 feet ahead of me like he doesn't notice that I'm struggling to keep up. He's 6'4" and I'm 5'6"..I always just thought it was because his legs were longer. I have found it helps if I hold his hand..that way he can't wander off. LOL

I think the one thing we all can agree on is that every experience is different, we're all different people with different ways of responding, feeling, and reacting to our situations..whether we have ADD or our spouses do..and we all have something to learn from each other, even when we don't feel we need to learn anything more. I know my learning has just begun. I also know that contradictory feelings are a part of my everyday life. For many of us acceptance and clarity comes later...and for some maybe never at all...as much of this depends on BOTH partners' handling of the ADD itself.

Carmen's picture

I agree with this statement

We all have different stories and different experiences in life that shape the way we do things, the way we see the world, the way we think. Even our culture makes us see the world in a different way than other people! A man with ADD is not a "rude person". By the way, the ADD men that I know are more polite and honest, and calm and well behaved that overall non-ADDs!! From my experience... I would say the opposite: ADD men are all polite, calm, generous and romantic!:) I truly believe that the "temper" problem is related to something else: family history, anxiety, bipolarity, not ADD.

Dear Paladine: Your post

Dear Paladine:

Your post serves to remind us all that ADD is not a simple, one- size- (or treatment) fits-all and that these tendencies from the way we are wired do not exist in a vacuum.  In addition to working out the automatic thoughts that crowd your brain from stress of what should be a stress-free simple task, you have to carry the conditioning of your upbringing that plays its tapes in your head. 

Add to that the type of work you do and/or who you are married to, the combination could be toxic and volatile enough to traumatize a person and emotionally paralyze you. 

I thought your comment about your strict upbringing explains a lot.  I don't know from a therapeutic stand-point if this is something to be struggled with as a separate matter, or how it might be entangled with the ADD, but I do know that if you don't have a someone in your life whom you can trust and feel safe with to express your inner world to, it can be a lonely, dark place with little joy or encouragement and can take our thinking to places we don't want to go. 

It's important for us to remind ourselves daily that our value as human beings is not in what we do but in who we are.  ADD is not who we are.  We are entitled to respect and dignity just by virtue of being human.  My feelings in reaction to reading much of the non-add complaints and characterizations is that of being dehumanized and demoralized.  It is always a joy to find those positive posts by couples who are finding ways to make things work.  Overcoming the struggles, transcending the "normal", becoming better people together--what encouragement they bring.  I wish there was much more of that here.

In my case, my upbringing was in a household of dysfunction and chaos.  There were no routines, no controls, everyone did pretty much what we wanted the way we wanted with no guidance--alcoholic dad and depressed and possibly ADD mom.  In any case, survival and coping with constant conflict anxiety ruled the day, and we had to figure out life skills on our own.  Needless to say, it has taken me a lifetime to work out all the issues as they come to light in the struggle to live in this world.  Somewhere along the way, in an effort to decrease the stress and anxiety, I adopted and attitude of letting go of non-essentials and prioritizing only what was important.  Example, paying bills and living within my means, very important; organizing my closet, not so important.  Then I married for the first time when my husband and I were both approaching retirement.  No kids to raise, no debts, just time to enjoy. Or so I thought, expected, and dreamed of. 

Unfortunately, the man I married is humorless, has power and control issues, and is toward the other end of the spectrum in terms of household skills.  He tends to maximize the little things and turns on me if I don't do things his way.  It's not that things don't get done, they absolutely do. We live in a nice, clean, tidy house with most things in its place.  It's more about the how and when of things. And the thing is, *he* occasionally does things poorly, breaks things, loses his temper, overlooks important things, forgets dates and appointments, has difficulty understanding financial processes, doesn't do things that I've asked him to do repeatedly-- yet I wouldn't dream of treating him the way he treats me. We are radically different in our thinking.

Now I can see where these "little things" such as when and how laundry gets done, dishes, cooking etc. are a really BIG deal in a household with children where everything needs to be managed in a more regimented way lest little things pile up into big things.  But we are middle aged people with much simpler lives--at least they should be simpler in my opinion.  That's *my* preference. 

He was raised as the only child of a hyper-critical, bitter father and fearful, clinging mother.  Add to that a rigidly structured career, a failed first marriage, his own character and personality flaws, and now a second wife with ADD (me), and it is a recipe for great unhappiness when our values come in conflict.  In our case, I had to separate from him.  The divorce plane has been boarded and is taxiing down the runway ready for take off.  There is not much hope for us and I've learned to accept that.  All that to say that I sincerely doubt that ADD had much to do with our relationship failure.  As someone else who posted in this forum (sorry, I can't remember who), we have irreconcilable imperfections.  His imperfectness violently clashes with mine, and in the end, love is not enough in our case.

Paladine, I wish you the best as you struggle to control the thought processes that steal your joy and drag down your self-esteem, forcing you to be hyper-vigilant over small things.  May we all find freedom from this oppression.

rapidly aging's picture

Dear EinsteinHadItToo

I don't see Paladine's post on this page and am a bit new to this forum. But your last sentence is so beautifully put and something I needed to hear, too. I am going to print it out and put some place where I can read it daily.  Thank you!

Hate feeling and thinking the horrible things about him

As the spouse of a recently diagnosed ADDer, I would like to reply to your comment:

"It's important for us to remind ourselves daily that our value as human beings is not in what we do but in who we are. ADD is not who we are. We are entitled to respect and dignity just by virtue of being human. My feelings in reaction to reading much of the non-add complaints and characterizations is that of being dehumanized and demoralized. It is always a joy to find those positive posts by couples who are finding ways to make things work. Overcoming the struggles, transcending the "normal", becoming better people together--what encouragement they bring. I wish there was much more of that here."

I think that ideally we all want to lose the dehumanized and demoralized ideas we have of our spouses, speaking for myself specifically, it is heart-breaking to struggle everyday trying to see him as God does and love him as God does, because I believe that is how it is supposed to be. After 13 years of lies, betrayal, infidelity (twice), and behaviors that he is always sorry for, but that never seem to get better, it has taken an emotional toll on me to the point that I don't recognize myself and "I" feel dehumanized most days. When you're dealing with someone who 'forgets' to take out the garbage, it is much easier to love them in spite of the ADD. When you're dealing with someone who is unwilling to accept responsibility for hurtful behaviors, who rationalizes that all of the problems in the marriage are you (nagging, trying to control them) and uses that as an excuse to have an affair, then not so much so.

I too have been dragged down to the pits of ADD hell, never understanding what was going on..why he couldn't just STOP hurting everyone who loved him..and I think an important part of "healing" is finding the courage and strength to throw yourself into it 100% and focus on showing them respect and dignity for the reasons you stated. It is extremely hard to look at them and say "I Love You" when you're hurting inside because of something insensitive or hurtful they said or did, but it is essential..and often pays off in pleasantly unexpected ways. Of course, if they aren't willing to get help, admit they need help, then it would probably be a waste of time. However, in my opinion, if they're addressing their issues and doing what they have to do to get the help they need, then changing the negative thought patterns towards them are essential in the non-ADDers road to a helping rebuild.

More than ADD going on??

Hi SherriW13:  Sounds to me like the behaviours you describe -- infidelity, irresponsibility, heavy drinking. lying etc are issues that may have deeper significance than just Attention Deficit.  I am finding that "ADD" on this forum has become a catch all for behaviours that are not just about distractability or forgetfulness, but about something else entirely, whether related to ADD or not, I don't know.  But these are serious lapses in judgment and moral centredness that strike me as being something much more serious.  And when you add physical violence into your situation, from my point of view there is need for serious intervention, and at the very least a warning sign to you of things to come.  

I would urge you to seek counselling for yourself first to make sure you and your kids are safe and protected, speak to a counsellor at a women's shelter about the drinking and violence, and really get a grip on what's going on in the marriage.  It does indeed sound like you are in relationship hell.  The quote you began your post with applies equally to all of us--we are all worthy of respect and dignity and valuable in our own right.  Do please go for help yourself and don't wait for your partner to wake up to his abuse toward you.  As it has been said many times, you cannot change someone else, you can only change you.  When you are strong and confident, you will be able to set those healthy boundaries in the relationship that may give the other some direction to get help too.

It is so hard to fit

It is so hard to fit everything into one little post...although your impression is correct, my information misled you a bit. He does have a problem with alcohol, but fortunately, he stopped drinking heavily this past February. As a matter of fact, he rarely drinks at all now...maybe once every 4-6 weeks, if that. He isn't violent or abusive. I am not afraid of him, nor or my children in danger. The situation in February, it was ME shoving him, not the other way around. For that, I am ashamed. It was months of pain and betrayal and hurt just overwhelming me and I lost it..for the first time..I just lost it. (I lost my father just 2 months before that...I had a LOT on me) I have read how SO many people here get to the end of their ropes and find themselves a person they did not want to become, that they hate as much as they hate the behaviors of their ADD spouse, and that is me in a nutshell. The 'heavy' drinking was during our separation...and my belief is that it was to numb the guilt he felt for the hurt he was causing everyone..including himself. The last 6 weeks or so of our separation, he would literally sob every time we had to see each other. He had just lost his mother (she passed away during our separation) and I thought it was just him grieving, but it wasn't.

Many times, adults with ADD do have another mental issue, so I'm not ruling out anything. He has many of the classic ADD symptoms...poor time management, procrastination, poor money management, poor follow through on projects, constantly forgets things, constantly loses stuff (keys, cell phone, cigarette lighter), trouble sleeping, trouble listening, poor self control, poor self esteem, impulsivity, compulsivness, the list goes on and on. He is a caffeine and energy drink junkie because he says he cannot function (concentrate) without them. He is successful in his career, he's head of our city's IT department, but it's very fast paced, he's never sitting still, so it works for him.

He isn't inattentive at home, he's not always angry or always having a short fuse, and for the most part he's one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I know. I've spent many years wondering how he can be so kind and thoughtful and considerate but yet do things that SCREAM the opposite sometimes..selfish and hurtful to others. His biggest faults are his inability to control his spending (which is getting better) and his inability to control his emotions sometimes. While reading the stories here about how "divorce" is the first words out of their mouths during a fight..or just anything and everything that can be said to hurt and inflict pain...it was like reading my own story. Sadly, after 6 long years of this (we didn't have fights like this before we got custody of my step-daughter 6 years ago, which sent his stress level through the roof, consequently sending his ADD symptoms through the roof) I have fallen into that black hole with him. We are crawling out...not always getting it right, but February was a HUGE eye opener for us both and through lots of prayer and with lots of determination to not put my children through ANYMORE drama, we are working on it. It won't happen overnight, but we're getting there.

Ironically, I feel lucky after finding this site and realizing that I'm not alone, that his behaviors aren't 'proof' that he doesn't love me, that he's not as angry as a lot of what I see from other spouses, and that he's 100% willing to get help. I feel 100% certain he has ADD. Whether there is anything else going on, only time will tell. Anti-depressants (prescribed by a GP) in the past made his behavior worse and DID make him irritable and snarky...3 different meds, but so did Concerta (also prescribed by a GP) so I'm praying that he won't need the meds, that CBT will help enough. Maybe his dosage was just too high, as I'm reading here happens a lot, but if we can avoid them, I would really like to try..and so would he. Hope this clarifies a bit.

Good to hear a more 3-D description :)

Thank you for filling out your "profile of an ADD spouse" more thoroughly--yes the space is limited for doing much of that, and easier just to summarize the venting to get it off your chest.  So thanks for taking the time to do that, and I can hear the loving side of your marriage coming out.  It sounds like you have a lot going FOR you in the marriage, as he IS able to meet some of your important needs, though falling short on others.  And it sounds like you both went through some very stressful times with other personal crises going on that adds to the destabilizing feelings.  Loss of parents on both sides, custody battles, changing households, stages of grieving processes--a lot of emotional upheaval and turmoil.  I can't imagine how you are both standing up under this without the help of others.

IMHO I think it's excellent that your H is staying away from the meds and focusing on behaviour awareness.  Becoming aware.  That is the biggest leap toward change.  Maybe goal setting together.  Maybe a weekly check-in time together at a pre-set appointment to really listen to each other's struggles, what was learned in CBT that week, what's being put into practice etc.  I don't know.  If your relationship is fundamentally solid, adding a little structure to the "business" of household management might be speaking his language.  I don't know. Everyone's different.  Every marriage is different.  Maybe a his and her's whiteboard where you can jot down things to be done/remembered for him, and perhaps he can leave you messages too; A table, box, basket, drawer near the door to drop keys and cell phone. Instead of repeating yourself several times before he 'remembers' just ask if he's checked his whiteboard and checked things off yet.  It will take some "on the job training" for both of you to work out a system for things to be done more smoothly, so you can both be less stressed at home.

Also, it might be good to get some nutritional advice--substituting protein shakes for power drinks eg. and cutting down on carbs for more protein, taking omega oils daily etc.  But then that's advice for him to get as he becomes more aware of how what you put in can affect what comes out.  And high energy exercise might also help bust the stress levels and help with focus.

God bless you. Praying you are able to work things out.

He has had 'spells' during

He has had 'spells' during our 13 year marriage where he would 'check out' on me. They were always triggered by a something causing us great stress. I used to feel it was depression..well, actually I felt there were just pity parties. As I read, I am seeing that maybe the stress sent his ADD into overdrive, he felt being with me added to the stress, so he would just 'check out' until he stopped reeling from the panic..usually taking 4-6 weeks of just flat out, indescribably self-destructive behavior.

The most recent 'episode' was last summer. He lost his job when the economy crashed, tried to start his own business, but before that got off of the ground a job fell in his lap and he took it. He had worked at home as a programmer for 10 years, but the new job was local...and he took a 50% paycut. I had to go work again after being home for 11 years and he hated that. We were struggling hard financially. All of this came at the time that his mother's health started to decline quickly. We separated (I asked him to leave because he was literally never home when I was..laying out all night sometimes...things were just completely out of control with him), his mother passed away about a month later, a week to the day she passed my father had an ATV accident and was in the hospital for a month expected to make a full recovery but got an infection and died from sepsis. Our marriage was horrible during our separation..he was cheating (although I didn't know until mid-Dec)..we were both reeling from the loss of our parents, the separation, he was dealing with the guilt of the affair (which he ended in Nov), and you are right..it's a miracle we aren't both in a mental ward somewhere. Sadly it took all of that to make us see how important our marriage is. It was the worst time of my entire life, but had we not gone through it I honestly don't think we'd have ever even SEEN the vicious cycle we were in and FINALLY got what 4 years of counseling couldn't make us see...that we had to stop the blame game and work on ourselves first. We never 'heard' each other, never cared to. We took so much for granted and it about destroyed us. Some issues still persist and the only reason we are still in counseling is because if he doesn't 'fix' what causes him to cheat then I can't be with him. It's just a bonus that she recognized his ADD and that it'll, Lord willing, help with other areas that I had just 'accepted' and decided that I loved him enough that it wasn't worth divorce.

I have had my share of absolute misery, of being lonely and feeling like living with him was like playing russian roulette..never knowing what 'bad behavior' was coming next. If what we suffered through and survived last winter wasn't enough that the changes are real and long term then only time will tell. I can only pray they are.

Everything else too

Lol, this is difficult to explain because we do not get to to visualize others thoughts. We only have our own and we have only ever had our own. As with the trash comment, all the other tasks are bouncing around in my head as well. If I need to do the dishes, add 5-10 more questions, the laundry add more, work? Add more. School? Add more. So on and on and on. This is why those of use with ADD have horrible memory, we never get to catalog our thoughts they just keep bouncing around. This is also why we seem to "not care". We do care, we just do not consider it a priority because "caring" is not something that "needs" to be done. Caring is hard to do when there are "all those things" that need to get done. The only way I can stop the noise is by letting my focus get completely immersed by something, like video games (Turn based strategy, lots of planning, speed irrelevant and can be paused/walked away from on a moments notice.) Not saying that I do not enjoy other types of game but they tend to feed the ADD monster and that leads to "problems" that i am sure your all quite familiar with.

From what I have read I feel good about how well I handle/control my ADD. Some of the stories I have read on here make me cringe. There is always room for improvement and that is why I am here.

Why do we have to ask...

This post is so interesting because it gives the ADD perspective on things. Thanks a lot.

The simple truth is that until your spouse understands how you are wired, she or he will feel neglected and abused when you don't do your "simple" chores. They will think you don't care about them and begin to wonder if you only got married so that you'd have someone to sort your trash. That is a very scary and horrible feeling when you have married someone and promised to stay with them for ever. I have sometimes come home to a messed-up house and felt my husband was almost literally taking his frustrations and depression out on me by leaving a pile of dishes an a full trash can despite all his promises to deal with these things.

Things are different today, I feel I understand him better and I do not nag. Sometimes I need to vent my frustration because it IS a real problem that you come home from work, tired, and then there is even more work. But I try to show him that I'm not frustrated with him, and I don't blame him.

ADD people are wired in ways that are difficult for non-ADDs to understand - but I guess we non-ADDs are wired in ways that are hard for ADDs to understand, at least that is what your post suggests. It just means that in order to be happy, both partners must pay attention. I love my husband, and I love getting to know him and figuring out what works for him. He is one of the most unique and interesting persons I know.

"Simple truth" comment was spot on!

Your comment:" The simple truth is that until your spouse understands how you are wired, she or he will feel neglected and abused when you don't do your "simple" chores. They will think you don't care about them and begin to wonder if you only got married so that you'd have someone to sort your trash."  is spot on!

Being a nag, complaining, every hurt turned into anger, did not happen over night.  There was respect (mutual), enough from me to overlook or work with what I had and just be happy.  But realize, once our life obligations become fuller with a family, the ADD'r diagnosed or not, starts to pattern into all the complaints we've all heard from the non-add spouse.  Our focus is now on the family, not just our spouse anymore.  There lies the beginning of "trouble in the marriage or relationship".  We simply don't have the time, strength etc. to pick up the pieces of unreliability, excuses, defensiveness anymore because we are taking care of children, working, keeping house, running it all.

Understanding ADD and accepting it is not a problem, but when the person deflects responsibility or will not seek treatment beyond medication, it behooves us all to look at the big picture and to go on from there.  

I have become the person that I do not like because of all the hurt and anger that has built up over many years.  Understanding definitely goes both ways and while I understand him and work diligently with both my ADD children, I do not accept his non-action and him not understanding me. Perhaps a book on "what a normal, less chaotic mind" feels like for those who don't understand our frustration should be written.  I read ever ybook possible on ADHD to help me understand, but there is not  a lot out there for ADD'rs on how non-ADD'rs function so they can understand us better.  Their normal is now ours, I'd like to see an effort in the opposite direction to rebuild our respect for each other.

I also have this problem with

I also have this problem with my spouse forgetting things.  I actually don't expect him to do ANYTHING the first time I ask.  I start to get a little annoyed the 2nd time I ask but don't show it.  When I ask the THIRD time, I start to show my annoyance.  After I'm ignored the 3rd time, I get angry and just do the thing myself.  And then if I say anything about his forgetting three times, he gets angry with me for not allowing him to be human and make mistakes.

Apparently I'm not allowed to get angry or frustrated or be human myself, since I don't have ADHD.

I don't even bother to ask anymore

I rarely ever bother to ask my spouse to do anything because EVERYTHING I ask is seen as nagging...especially if I ask once and then 'remind' him days, weeks later when it's not done. The roof needs repairs, many things around the house need some manly attention, but if I cannot do it, or it doesn't directly affect our ability to live day-to-day (water issue, large appliance issue) then it just does not get done. I do EVERYTHING..yard work, children, house work, laundry, and quite often taking the garbage to the curb..which is supposed to be his only chore. Honestly, if it weren't for the other serious negative aspects of his ADD (lying, cheating, overspending, chronically complaining about things the he CAN change but doesn't) then I could live with the fact that I do it all. I don't work, he does, but just recently went back to college (I'm 42, he's 37) and sometimes a LOT just doesn't get done. On a positive note, he rarely ever complains about my slacking around the house.

What about when the questions are far more difficult?

What if the questions are:

"why can't you come home at a decent hour when you promise to?" - an issue that has plagued my marriage for many years now. He wants to go play music (he plays guitar) with his friends, hang out, relax a bit...but more often than not, even when PROMISING not do to do, he will have too much to drink and then uses that as an excuse not to roll in until 1, 2, 3 a.m....sometimes not at all. This was a HUGE, ongoing issue up until last Fall when we separated. I asked him to leave because his behavior was off the charts...NEVER being home if I was. Come to find out he'd started an affair. I didn't find out until right before he was scheduled to come home in Dec. (it started in Sept). He hadn't stayed out past 11 since then...until last night. He was drinking very heavily during the separation, but stopped in Feb after a huge fight, the first one (and only one) we've ever had that got physical, with some shoving. Last night he drank, apparently quite a bit. He feels that since he can go weeks without drinking, he doesn't have a problem, but our counselor told him that it isn't how often you drink, but how you act when you do that suggests you have a problem. I have accused him 100s of times over the past 6 years of putting alcohol before his family/marriage. His way of dealing me being angry about him staying out late drinking is to just go along with my cold shoulder for as long as he can and then start trying to act as if nothing ever happened. Last night was a bit different, he begged my forgiveness and apologized profusely. He knows I am at my wits end. 

"how can you profess your love for me, and turn around and do something so hurtful and destructive to our marriage?" - over and over again

"how can you go spend money when I flat out tell you we have NOTHING in the bank account?"  - sure maybe there is a balance because a check or two hasn't cleared, but surely he's intelligent enough to understand that, right? I took his debit card away from him months ago. He used a credit card that I would put a set amount on, but that didn't work either, as he would over spend and expect me to just add more and more..sometimes resulting in him spending more than with the debit card. I HATED being put in the position to take it away from him, but my father had passed away and left me his life insurance and he was blowing through it at the tune of anywhere from $300-$1200 a WEEK. I saw no other option. He handed it over willingly..but slightly resistently.

"how come you lie about things that cause WAY more damage when the fact that you lied comes out than if you'd have just been honest to begin with?" - this is one area that I feel has improved, but as I've always said, I always feel like living with him is always like living waiting for the other shoe to drop...and I've often felt like I don't know him at all; like he has some kind of huge secret life I don't know about. This stems from him lying about small things. He'll say he's going to one friends house, but end up at another. Again, this has improved since we reconciled last Dec. but the old 'feelings' still sneak in on me occasionally and I worry what dishonesty will surface next. He used to say he lied to avoid conflict, but it never really made sense to me...that line of thought...because we fought far worse over him lying than we would have if he'd have just told the truth...I feel certain of that. For example..he would say he had to run to town for cigarettes and he would end up being gone for 2 hours and come to find out he went to town with no intention of getting cigarettes, but with the intentions of going to a friends house.

Many of these issues have improved since we reconciled, actually...thinking over it all...but that is only because, for now, he is on his best behavior due to the affair and him knowing that our marriage is very fragile and anything he does could potentially be the last straw. I am trying to stand by the marriage and give 100% to making it what we both need, but my condition for him coming home was therapy, and lots of it. It is an absolute MUST. He has to 'fix' what causes him to cheat and lie or I have no desire to be married to him anymore. The diagnosis of ADD was a relief and it was devastating. We have some answers and a solid 'condition' to work with, but knowing how he is, and knowing how good he is at convincing me that he's got it all under control, I'm worried that the help won't come and that we'll end up in divorce because affair #3 is inevitable if the patterns don't change and change quick. He swears not, but I'm not able to accept his word on it..understandably. The 'reoccurence' of an old hurtful behavior last night just reaffirmed my fears, that without counseling, this won't work. He is 100% willing to go to counseling..but after he was diagnosed we found out his insurance won't pay for the counselor we were seeing. We have a $200+ balance we have to pay off first, then she'll see us at a reduced rate...if we pay cash. We're currently figuring out how we'll afford 8-12 months of behavioral therapy at $50/session..a week.


Tbird, Palidine, Hoping4more

Tbird, your post helps me as the non-ADD spouse. Your description of forgetting fits my husband like fine, handknit sweater. Sometimes I am astonished by his forgetting or not noticing something, like he's pulling my leg, and your post helps to underscore that it is ADD, and not some masterminded plot to drive me insane. Even though I KNOW he would do most anything in his power to please me, it is very hard sometimes for me to not get frustrated, impatient, and even hurt. It is hard for me sometimes because my husband is quite intelligent and educated. So,why can't he connect the dots between the cat meowing at his feet and her empty food dish and 5:00 pm? Your post allows the possibility that I can expand my understanding and compassion and keep looking for peaceful strategies to help us.

Palidine, Your comment gives me insight about what is going on in that quirky brain of his. I watch and listen to him with such despair because he seems to make every task into something way more difficult than it has to be or is. It exhausts me. And from your description of the crashing thoughts, I bet he exhausts himself with all those intrusive thoughts.  Oh, and BTW, yes, we non-ADDers do know how frustrating this disorder is! :)

Hoping4more, I relate to your comment. Asking again feels like nagging or feels like he is my kid instead of my partner. It is tiring. It wears me down. This is why for so many years I just did practically everything myself. But I have changed the rules, and I won't do it all myself anymore. So, we are struggling through trial and error and revision to get strategies working for both of us. We have both practiced our way of being for many, many years, so it's hard.  

How did you change the rules?

I can relate to both Hoping4more and knittergirl comments about your nagging and having another child and not a partner.  How do you revise or change up the rules when you decide you can't do it all anymore.  He automatically goes into defense mode when I ask him to do anything, so I get mad, he's mad and the vicious cycle goes on and on.  I want to get off the roller coaster and make headway in getting things done.  Usually a list of things needed to be done worked because he didn't have to hear me words as a "nag" but even that gets pushed aside.  I have a two page list of house chores for him that I said need to be done and he told me last night he knew I was "testing" him.  I was completely confused but he sees getting those things done is not his manly duty, just a way to get me off his back.  I'm at a lost to know how to even approach him about his responsibilities.  He is just so defensive, I'm wore down and don't have much left to give.....

What has worked for me...

Lord knows I have my share of resentment and frustration and anger..and He also knows that I SOO wish things were different for me sometimes, but I have found that anything I can do myself, I just do it. I was a tomboy and had a lot of "chores" and responsibilities growing up, my parents both worked and everything was pretty much left to me and my siblings. (i.e. housework, dinner, etc). I have a son with special needs from a previous marriage, so working for me is almost impossible, unless I work nights and my husband hates that. He is, and cares about being, the sole bread winner. He is a great provider. (if only he'd stop trying to live beyond his means!!) But, I digress, my solution has just been to do it all. He's a slob. His 'area' (the den) gets trashed and MANY empty promises to clean it never gets us anywhere except me frustrated and him defensive..so I clean it when I can't stand it anymore. Even if I have to grumble and grouch and vent to my friends and family, I do it because to me is just is NOT worth fighting over. Can I hope that with therapy that he'll see this as something he needs to do more of..housework? Sure. But if not, if I choose to stay married to him, then I accept that I do it all when it comes to the house. If the washing machine tears up, he fixes it without much nagging. If my riding mower, that he got for me for my birthday one year (LOL!) tears up, he'll fix it without me having to nag. However, if it isn't something that makes day to day life difficult or impossible, then forget it. I used to hate having to do everything but I just came to the realization that this is my reality. I either fight with him daily over stuff like this, or I do it myself. I like having a peaceful household. He has enough 'good qualities' to make it worth it to me. I do what I can, when I can, he never complains, and it works. MUCH better than the huge chip I used to carry on my shoulder called "resentment". I have enough of that in other areas to keep me busy for months.

I'm glad that works for you

I CAN'T do it all, I am physically limited and can't do everything for him. He does not understand that. Aside from using crutches, which I hate, I don't know any way to get him to take my physical pain and difficulty seriously.

And if my husband gave me a riding mower for my birthday, the next day I'd be looking for my daughter's professional services (She's a divorce lawyer, LOL.) That would be worse than giving me nothing, which is what usually happens.

I do remember you saying

I do remember you saying that, about your physical limitations. You're right, there isn't anyway you can do it all. I have no other advice because in all of the areas of issues with ADD that is only one of few that we've 'overcome', but I do wish you the best and hope that you figure out something to get his help. I was so independant when I met my husband that it took me years to be able to ask him for help with anything...carrying in groceries, with the kids, etc...but I got over it. Maybe you should just say to him "I really am struggling over here and could really use your help" and see how that goes. Like I said, even if I get grumbles and attitude, at least I get help. Took me a very long time to not let the grumbles piss me off, but I'm there...for the most part. Best of luck to you!

OH..and I actually ASKED for

OH..and I actually ASKED for the mower. It didn't hurt my feelings at all, I got a wagon for it too so I can putter around in the yard, something I love doing. He is a very generous gift giver, never forgets my birthday or our anniversary. Not sure why, this seems to be 'against the norm' for ADDers, but special occasions and holidays are very important to him.

Why do you feel you *have* to clean up *his* messes?

His messy den--is this shared workspace or just his stuff?  If just his, what would be the worst thing that could happen if you just closed the door?  One thing about boundary setting is to draw the lines at doing for him what he can do for himself.  Don't pick up after him anymore.  Why should you let that be *your* problem?  One thing about expectations is that you teach others what they can expect from you.  If you keep doing for him what he can do for himself, he'll just keep expecting "mom" to clean his room. But then resenting you for playing his mom and treating him as a child.  If his preference and comfort level is what you might see as mess and he might see as organized chaos, as long as it's confined to his space, would that be acceptable to you, ie, could you let it go?  Maybe it's something that can be negotiated?  That way you both have your boundaries--he won't feel controlled by your "invasion" of his space, and you won't feel disrespected because he has failed to do what you expected.

Ah..the dreaded disastrous den issue...

For years and years I let it go, tried to ignore it, and nagged and nagged and nagged and it never got done...for years. It is his space, I don't go down there at all. It isn't just 'work' stuff, it is empty cigarette packs, overflowing ashtrays, empty soda cans and bottles, dishes, etc. It was horrible. I have to go through the den to get to the laundry room..and also the cat boxes are in one area of the den..so I cannot avoid it or shut the door. When I walk through it, when its a disaster, my blood pressure literally goes up. I can feel it. It literally is, after 10 years of living here, easier for me to just do it. I didn't even start cleaning it until about a year ago. So, if you can imagine, in that 9 years prior to that he MAY have cleaned it once a year. Yes, that's embarassing to admit, but it was that bad and that huge of a bone of contention between us. He is rarely down there anymore, and since my daughter and I boxed up everything and threw it out (while he and I were separated) it's livable again.

I don't call it forgetting anymore

When my husband says he forgot or he didn't hear me, I can feel the blood pressure rise in me.  We all know men have a tendency to "tune us out" when it comes down to it.  But then add in ADD and you've got a master puppiteer who can just say he forgot or didn't hear me.  How do I know, because when its important, it gets done and he doesn't forget and he does listen.  When its trivial and it just bothers me, he turns a deaf ear to my requests or comments or opinions or feelings or well ...you get the picture.  

I used to really believe him when he used those excuses because I'm sure some of them were true, we all don't pay 100% attention to what each other says all the time.  But as years go by, I am often reminded of the "boy who cried wolf" because I can no longer differentiate what is true and what is an excuse.  Cynical I know, but so true.  So great to know I'm not alone anymore, what a relief to vent with those who truely understand me.


I absolutely understand what you are saying. I hope this won't happen to us, but reading your story doesn't make me optimistic about it.

Btw, we just had an argument - we usually don't, but there you go. Some of the things we talked about made me think that some of the problems are not strictly about ADHD, but about how a man, or any person, reacts to not being in control of his life. Some of it is simple male psychology. Maybe that is why some of the posts I read here make me wonder if the complaints many women have are that different to those of women married to "normal" guys. In other words, is it ADD or is it XY, as in the chromosome... 

Good luck!

Wow that describes me

Wow that describes me perfectly. I see so many 'symptoms ' of ADD in the comments made here that I just don't identify with. I work with several people who have ADD and I just don't see the anger that is commented on frequently. Most of the people that I know with ADD are easy-going and fun to be around.

I completely agree about the anxiety of what I may have forgotten that i have said I would do, and the why question. I forgot is such a poor excuse which is the one i honestly use  frequently. I remember as child getting asked that question and never could come up with a good answer.

I just want to point out the symptoms of ADD as I see them through my own behaviors and those of my son (the other ADDer in our home).

1. I am easily distracted, start one thing see something else that needs to be done and start that and may or may not go back to what I initially started (may not even remember what I started to begin with)

2. I rarely do any consistently the same. (Sometimes I knowingly come up with a 'better' plan which I forget the next time). Therefore I lose a lot of items. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised when I find the 50 dollars i put into a safe place.

3. Forget that I promised to do something even said I promise I won't forget.

4. Notorious for making appointments and forgetting then I think I remember and I was wrong.....I have sent my husband to an appointment an hour early and I have shown up for my kids dr appt a week early.

5. My thoughts are very scattered and having simple conversations can be very difficult making me very socially awkward. Sometimes I appear to be listening but my mind is elsewhere.

6. Poor time and distance concept, I can say that my driving was pretty rough when I first started I got into an accident every 6 mos for about 2 years (that has improved).

7. Overwhelmed by a long list or difficult item that i may have to do...making it difficult to get started, hence once i start I don't want to stop (hyperfocus) until it is done. It may take a little dyanamite to get started. The long list may only be my perception. 

8. I have noticed that my common sense is not the average persons common sense. I truly sometimes do not understand what is being said to me even when it seems it should make perfect sense. Or I have had my husband or someone else say how did you come up with that? then say hmmm thats interesting  not neccessarily wrong. Sometimes its making more work for myself or a different way that no one ever thought of.

9. I do sometimes become defensive, but i am rarely angry. Mostly my defensiveness is because I either am frustrated with myself or I worked really hard on something and then I am told I forgot something important.

Despite all these 'symptoms' I have managed to be successful employee, and a pretty good parent according to my 14 year old, 17 year old and my husband. 

I hope this helps someone. Sometimes knowing the shortfalls helps put solutions in place. I know I have said this before but my husband will sometimes try to give me his solutions which tend to not work.... when they fail out of frustration he asks me what I think will work forcing me to be my own solution. Such as putting the keys in the same spot, parking the car in the same spot everyday no matter what excuse I may have to change it (in the parking garage). He is also my motivator on long complicated tasks breaking it down into pieces and time frames.