I don't understand this behavior and he can't seem to explain it

I keep reading that there don't seem to be many success stories here, and I tend to agree with everyone who posts that the happy ppl are usually out living their lives being happy.  BUT I promise we are not like unicorns--happy couples where one person has ADD do exist and I am about to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary with my love!!  I apologize for not posting more, but I tend to post on websites mainly when I have questions (like today--sorry)  or really feel like something I can say might help a situation (which since I check the sites I read only about once a week or so usually the good stuff is all said by the time I get there).

My husband (he is the ADD one in our relationship--we are about 4 years post diagnosis and he takes meds and meets with a coach about once every 3 weeks)  regularly does something that is baffling to me to understand.  I do understand that he doesn't mean to upset me with it, but that is the reality and him just hearing "when you do that it hurts my feelings/ makes me feel like you think I am stupid/is disrespectful" doesn't seem to be enough to stop the behavior.  I am hoping some ppl here who've dealt with the same thing may be able to help me.

His behavior manifests itself to me as having too fluid of a relationship with the truth--as in he isn't telling me the truth. He doesn't see it that way at all.  This is question #1 for me.....How do you get asked a question and give a false answer and not consider that to be a lie?  Now he almost never does this about anything important (though in our first few months of marriage he lied to me to try to cover a bill he forgot to pay and that happened again at the end of last year......each time that really rocks me backwards as it is NOT in any way ok).  For me telling the truth is a boundary that I absolutely will not tolerate being crossed, whereas for him saying the first thing that comes to his mind and then thinking he has to *go with it* definitely seems to be a way his ADD manifests itself at times.

On one hand I understand this:  I've read of other ADD ppl saying that sometimes even they are shocked when something comes out of their mouths. I can believe that I ask him a yes or no question (like I did last night) and when the answer is 'no' somehow 'yes' slips out.  I can accept that is an ADD behavior.  What I cannot understand is why doesn't he then say "You know what? I am so sorry, but I had an ADD moment and I really meant to say no right then." I would TOTALLY accept that with no argument, fight, nor recriminations.  We'd probably laugh.  Instead what happens is what happened below.

Firstly, PLEASE understand I don't consider this to be on pair with the heinous behavior I read here of some mates.  I KNOW I have a great one, and I know some ppl will be thinking "If that is the worst problem she has with him....."  I know all that & is part of why I hesitate to post when there is a lot of serious issues going on here because in comparison our problems truly are unimportant, BUT nevertheless they are problems that affect us and there is a wealth of knowledge here that I want to take advantage of too.  Please don't judge me for being upset about something silly........it is being upset that he doesn't tell me the truth and then gets REALLY ridiculous with his story and I feel I NEED to understand why because of my truth boundary. 

Ok last night he was supposed to have arranged something at church, but I knew for sure that it didn't happen.  There was also a timing issue, so I was wondering if it didn't happen because he didn't arrange it or it just had to be cut for time.  Nothing important--just conversation on the way home, so I asked him sorta absently if he arranged it.  He said "yes"

Now my husband is the WORST liar ever (one of the reasons it offends me so much when he does it!), so immediately there was something about his "Yes" that sounded like it should have been no, so I asked "You did arrange it?" to give him a chance to get his tongue under control.  When he said 'yes' again I was sure he wasn't telling me the truth.  This makes NO SENSE to me, I mean for what reason on earth would you lie about that?!!  So where a lot of times I roll my eyes to myself and let it go, I decided to press the issue.  

I said "Who did you arrange it with?" 

He said "I texted Leroy and asked him to do it, but since we ran out of time, we just had to cancel"

This all is perfectly reasonable, except it was just obvious to me that it wasn't at all true.  So I asked again, "You texted Leroy?"  He said "yes" 

I said "Ok, this seems like one of those time you're talking out your butt.  Are you sure you texted him?"  Now he is sorta rolling his eyes at me and acting like it is ridiculous for me to press the issue and confirmed again that he texted him.  Now as soon as I mentioned *talking out his butt* which is what we call his ADD conversation at times, we were just sort of laughing and bantering.....no one was angry, but I was obviously going to get to the bottom of the issue.  And he seems to actively enjoy it...not like he didn't do something that he was supposed to do which causes him shame and he is just trying to avoid the conversation---I say that because of the conversation we had after this one.

I said "Ok I am going to need you to show me that text"  This was the point where he knew for sure that I knew he was lying......and he was off to the races.

He gets some kind of *now I am screwed* crossed with *this is fun* look and says "I am sorry I said that I texted him, I misspoke. I talked to him on the phone"

Now is where I really started getting irritated.........this was a stupid thing to say since from the time he was asked to arrange it until we got to church last night we were together pretty much every moment.  I said "You called him?  Really? Then how is it that I never heard that call?"

"I didn't say I talked to him on the phone/  I just said I talked to him.  I talked to him in person when I got there tonight"

I looked at him with my eyebrows up and said "Really?  When you got there and were pulled directly into a meeting and then church started??" 

And he kinda laughed and gave up that he didn't arrange it at all.  I was angryish but staying calm and told him this casual view of lying to me is what frustrates me so much about him.

He immediately says "It isn't lying....it is like a game"  I said "A game?  Well you aren't playing a game with me because I am not playing. Are you playing alone?"  He makes that face like *you aren't getting it and I can't gather the right words to explain it*.  I said "How would you win this game?  By convincing me that you did something you didn't do?  By making me believe your lie?" 

That immediately gets the "NONONO I am not lying to you" reaction.  Then he said it was more of a battle of wits.......I said "Babe I am not battling you. I am asking you a question and you are telling me a lie and then telling me things that I would be an idiot to believe to support your story.  I let this go a lot, but it hurts me when you do this and I hate it and I want to know why you do it."  I asked him to think about it and then we'd talk about it so that he wasn't only spouting off whatever came to his head.

The best he could then come up with is that "It is like banter.  We banter all the time.  It is fun"  I said "Yes we banter all the time and it is fun, but THIS is NOT it. I am not bantering with you.  You are trying to *win* by lying to me and either getting me to believe it or at least be willing to drop it"

He admitted that was probably true, but that it was fun and not lying.   I think I made him understand he is the only one having fun with it.   Over the course of this he apologized several times, so no one was mad.  It was just an honest discussion of some baffling behavior by this point.

We talked about how frequently this happens and we have WIDELY varying beliefs about that.  He thinks it only happens occasionally.  He said he has NO idea why the original YES slipped out but then he feels he has to come up with support for it and he get more and more convoluted with it.  He said it feels like a way to release his creativity........like telling fairy tales.  Literally I was like !??!?!    This is a genuinely creative man. I told him since he HAS creativity and his stories when he is trying to cover SUCK, that he'd be better served answering a question correctly and saving creativity for art and music.  He agrees...........I think he might *get it* this time.

But I still don't think I totally get it.  It is crazy crazy crazy to me.  And I told him the same thing I posted here........if something slips out wrong or backward just admit it was an ADD moment and move on.

Wondering the same thing!

Ok, reading your post was like reading my own situation.  I have the same problem with my ADHD spouse and he just doesn't get it.  I am with you that lying to NO ACCEPTABLE and for goodness sake JUST TELL ME THE TRUTH!!!  My ADHD spouse will do one of two things...... he will outright lie to me (I always know when he is lying) OR he will respond by saying what (he thinks) I want to hear just to try to 'keep the peace' but that never works because he is usually lying.  If he would just tell the truth there more than likely would be no arguments.  I get SO FRUSTRATED because he lies and doesn't see it as a problem!!  If anyone can shed some light on this topic I would be ever so grateful!!

Thanks for your post

The one thing I have to say is different about my situation is that you say for you that [b]If he would just tell the truth there more than likely would be no arguments.[/b]  This isn't true for us because a lot of times if he tells me the truth about something that he didn't do, I will definitely have something to say about it (esp if he's been forgetting this particular thing for a while).  My husband I am sure somewhat is doing the "Yes I did it" lie that really means I am going to do this really quick so that it soon won't be a lie.  And I know he doesn't consider that a lie, while I consider anytime you tell me something that you know isn't true when you say it  <------ this is a lie ppl.  And if your mate feels the way many of us here do about it, you better modify your behavior before he/she loses any  more respect for you!

One other thing I can say is that after our full convo about it last week, my husband is much more on the same page as me about understanding why it is a problem.  He wants me to respect him and trust him, and he seems to get now that telling me the truth about things is part of that.  Have you had a full conversation with your husband about this issue at a time when neither of you are angry?  I'd have sworn that we have discussed it before, but any time I can recall was in anger after I *caught him* at it.  I've never really heard his side of thinking he was bantering and that it wasn't really lying.

I think this convo might have done the trick....he's been scrupulous all week but I suppose the real test will come when if/when I catch him at it again. Will have to see how we handle it!

Appreciate knowing that I am not alone at least!

Any chance the original "yes"

Any chance the original "yes" slips out because he missed getting it done and thinks saying yes will buy him time to get to it = avoid looking like he messed up?   As you question it he just keeps digging a deeper hole.  Maybe he can't come clean because he knows it is a boundary and by admitting he wasn't truthful confirms he crossed it.

I think there is often a big element of this

but in this case if it wasn't done, there was no way to go back and do it.  It was just one of those things that didn't happen, and it didn't really affect me particularly as I only asked originally to make conversation.......just curious.  So since I had no emotional attachment to what happened, and he couldn't have rushed out and done it, it doesn't make sense that he'd have been covering it up to avoid my anger or to buy time to get it done.......this time.  Frequently I do think that is a factor, but it only makes me angrier that he'd lie about it than if he just told me upfront that he forgot and will get right on it immediately!

That is the part I think is often hard for the ADDer to understand.  He spends too much energy trying to keep me from getting angry by sneaking around and trying to cover up things that he didn't do/forgot to do, that he ends up making me WAY WAY ANGRIER!!  I even told him one time that since his ability to predict my reactions to things is not very good, why not leave my reactions to me and just worry about his responsibilities?  And when he tries to guess what I am thinking......LOL  At least he loves me and is trying right?

Hey stranger!

I can relate to many aspects of your post. *poor liar *can tell immediately by his tone that he's lying *when confronted refuses to admit he lied.

The very first thing that popped into my head was that he wanted to lie to buy himself more time (as the above poster said) and then was going to get it done. To avoid fighting with you...or having to openly admit "I lied" he makes light of it by making it into something completely off the wall like "a game". This MAY be where his mind is .. "I know she knows I'm lying, so I'm just going to joke around with her and keep this 'funny story' going". He probably knew from the get go that he was busted. He's not stupid..when you kept asking questions, he knew that you knew...so maybe from that point on, it was a game to him. funny. ?? Maybe he wasn't trying to 'beat' you, just going along with the 'skit' that he knew would play out to him being busted for lying. This is probably easier for him than just saying "I lied. I didn't do it".

If I would have pressed the issue like this...like you did...I would get complete defensiveness and anger. He told me he was going to run into the office for a few one day last week. I knew when it came out of his mouth that he was lying. I am working on it HARD, but was unable to make an issue out of it at the time...until after he had left and I had time to stew over it. (yes, wrong on my part...working on it!!!) Most I got out of him was that he didn't go into the office, had one of his employees meet him somewhere (most likely still a lie) and he refused to tell me where he went. With the trust issues in our marriage (100% HIS fault..I will not take blame for any of it), it is just devastating to me at this critical point in our journey. When I basically told him "please just tell me the truth..I know you didn't go into the office..and you know you didn't leave this house with any intention of going into the office...so where did you go?" I got cussed at and he left again. This issue, the lying, IS a huge issue for anyone who deals with it. What bothers me the most is that he insists (when he's in a real ADHD 'mood') that he lies to avoid me being mad. To me, this translates into him doing something wrong. Why would I be mad if he said "I'm going to run to town to get XX" or "I need to run by ????'s house for a minute"? It is a brick wall for us...he still lies after me insisting that it is destroying our marriage...he blames me..he continues to do it...and I continue to distrust him more and more each time. There is never enough time to rebuild the lost trust because of stupid lies like these. :(

Thanks for your post, Sherri

I do think the way you posting his thinking in the first paragraph is very much what he described it as when we talked that night.  It was a good night for us.  We tease and banter a lot.  The way the convo went, there actually did avoid being any argument over the *lying* which if either of us hadn't been in the mood to handle it the way we did, it might have degenerated into an argument the likes of "You are a liar"  "I am NOT a liar".   I think the way it went did allow for there to be a productive conversation about it that night, and he's been sooo careful not to say anything not true ever since.  I am going to call this one a win so far......


BUT I still don't understand the inability to just backpedal and say "You know what, honey, I said yes but I really meant to say no. Sometimes the wrong word just slips out."  We were in a good mood with each other.  There was no chance that would have become a fight.  It only risks becoming a fight when he starts with the story when he KNOWS he's busted.  Like you said he isn't an idiot, and as soon as I kept questioning he knew that he was caught.  His only hope was that I would just drop it, but a couple minutes in he knew that wasn't going to happen............keeping that crazy story going sometimes makes me think that he thinks I am an idiot because who else would believe it?

That is probably my biggest issue with it.  1.  Thinking he has the right to decide what I should care about (granted I DIDN"T care about this until he lied about it but once he lied I all of a sudden cared VERY MUCH).  That was one of the excuses he tossed at me at one point.......It wasn't something that mattered.  I asked him where he got off thinking he got to determine what matters me to me, especially if it was something he was willing to lie to me about.....that automatically makes it matter A TON.  He backed off, but that is definitely an element to the issue I think......he thinks he doesnt want to risk fighting about something he didn't do for someone else when there are so many other things he didn't do that directly affect me that he can risk becoming an issue LOL and 2.  Thinking he might think I am stupid because he'd try to sell me such a stupid story and hope I'd believe it.  It always hurts his feelings when I say this, he insists he's NEVER thought I was a moron, but then i suggest he listen again to the story he hoped I'd be stupid enough to believe and all he can claim is that he wasn't trying to make me believe it...........which begs the question "so then what the heck were you doing?"  Sometimes 'I don't know' is the most infuriating phrase in the english language, and if you don't know how bout you figure that one out and get back to me?

I honestly think SO MUCH of ADD is having a person in "cover your butt" mode just trying to keep other ppl from realizing how out of control they get at times.  I know this is a learned behavior and I know he didn't get diagnosed till he was 35 so it is fairly ingrained, BUT I am the person you should come to when you feel out of control so that we can fix it together.

The absolute worst part of ADD in a marriage that I experience is the solitary "I WILL FIND A WAY TO FIX THIS" thinking of my ADDer.  It is at odds with being part of a true couple and helping each other with challenges.


As far as your situation, he is in such a disrespectful mode of behavior now that I don't even know what to tell you.  He's decided you don't deserve to know things and that he is gonna do what he is gonna do.  I don' t even know how to suggest that you try to reach him.  At this point I think it would almost have to be through a 3rd party who can give him an opinion of his behavior that isn't yours...he is disregarding what you say for some reason and I don't think there is a more dangerous thing to happen in a marriage :(  Really really hope it works out!!

Your last few paragraphs

Your last few paragraphs really hit home. Also, the "he thinks I'm stupid enough to believe..." comments. I feel that way too. I feel like he thinks I'm such a fool...and he HATES for someone to do this to him...so why do it to me? ADHDers? Anyone have any insight to the 'thinking' when lying and does it relate at all to thinking the other person is stupid enough to buy into the lies?

The part about "I will fix this on my own" you have NO IDEA how badly that is tearing us apart right now. Only the issue is a work issue and until recently (been dealing with it for about 2 months) he finally asked for outside help. He's over the IT dept. It is a computer worm on his network. It isn't over his head, but it isn't something he specializes in either and he has insisted on carrying the ball alone for this for WEEKS which translates into working 24/7. If he's not sleeping, he's working. I have no idea why calling in help wasn't an option in his mind..he tried to tell me "who do I call? You tell me..who do I call?" Like there was no one. BS. This is what he does..this is HIS line of expertise. He's been calling Microsoft, Apple, Dell, and Sophos (anti-virus) and is finally making a lot of headway. It just frustrates me to no end that he acts like he's GOT to do it this way and no other way will work for him when there much easier ways and ways that don't completely shove everything else to the side. EVERYTHING! I am just praying he figures out how to remove it soon and this nightmare can be over.

I do not know why he refuses to answer my questions...knowing that I know he's lied and knowing that my 'imagination' is probably going to take me 'there' and that is the last thing I would think he would want. He did apologize for the breach of trust and said he would basically be more mindful of it, but still no explanation about where he went that day...and I am stil 100% convinced that he was up to no good. (which = wedge between us). Walls stay up and emotions shut down. I cannot help it. When I know I am being lied to, it is the most difficult thing in the world for me to just let go of.

Sticking my ADD neck out...

I can only speak for myself here and I don't claim to represent actions of all of us ADDer's. I definitely do not think my DW is stupid, remember feeling stupid or perceived as such, is one of an ADDer's biggest fears. I thought many times in my life that "They" might figure out I'm not That Smart and get rid of me. I feel like most of my lies are thrown out when I am unprepared for the question and suddenly realize it is something I've let slip, so my defense is a quick answer that hopefully satisfies the question enough to move on to something I did not forget. I think it's wrong, of course, but hard to stop with the alternative of facing the truth head on. Now that the lie is out, admitting to the lie is the easy part, the hard part is the "Why did you lie in the first place?" question, which results in the ever-loved "I don't know" response. Then the flow of "What else are you lying about?" questions follow. This is an ugly, embarrassing cycle that I've been through too many times to count in my life. I think I am much improved in this area these days, since so many lies are the result of stupid impulsive things that I have done.

I doubt many ADDer's Really think their spouse is Stupid, after all why would we marry someone we thought was stupid?

Please don't be too hard on me as I was reading this forum and not really planning on getting involved :)


Listen, I SOOO appreciate the

Listen, I SOOO appreciate the ADD viewpoint that I try to never be too hard on anyone for it. :o) I really want to feel it is 'harmless' as it seems in many of the instances here...but in my case, where the trust has been destroyed it is that much harder to just overlook or blow off. I know getting complete honesty from him is probably never, ever going to happen. I just think he could do a little better about being honest about where he's going and what he's doing when he leaves the house. He has promised to..so we shall see. He has a tendency, when trying to earn my trust back, to have periods of 'rebellion' where he starts saying it is my problem, not his...but usually comes around and stays consistent enough. I hope this time is no different.

I knew you wouldn't berate me Sherri...

I think my DW unknowingly made REAL CLEAR many of the "Boundaries" so many of you guys need to have for your ADDer's. I think this is why most of my unknown symptoms did not flair up during our relationship for so long. Keep a good job, Go out and Not say where I'm going, much less lie about it, share housework, share the responsibility of raising kids (We both came from divorced families) and did NOT want them to share the experiences we had, Cheating (We have discussed before), Big Ticket spending, I admit having had issues with smaller impulsive spending and am improving there...

Before my DW, I was probably an example of the worst of the ADDer's discussed on this site. I hope your situation does turn around :) 


poor liar

Just  got in on the tail end of this but...my husband does this all the time over small things, big things,  just about anything.  He can't understand why it makes me so mad when he says he won't do it again but always does!

Do you think it has something to do with the ADHA person's poor ability to "read facial expressions and body language"?  Or something like that.  I mean what are the chances of so many here with the same experience or problem? 

ADD guy here...

We want to make our ADD spouses happy, really we do... I have never read the facial expressions and body languages, hell I never noticed them at all before Adderall. The "Lie" can happen when I try to answer the question the way I think that will make her happy, then try to do it. Now the problem with me is that I Can see facial expressions and body language and I'm like a 6 year old in my new skills. I went 43 years blind to these things and now I have to learn the correct responses, sometimes over-reacting, sometimes under-reacting. My Dw has had a "Be careful what you wish for moment" in she always wished I could communicate with her instead of my shut-downs. I can respond with lightning like quickness now (Not angry, just fast) and it catches her of guard sometimes. The funny thing about facial expressions is I have told my wife "She" needs to go to Facial Recognition School because of what she gets out my My Facial Expressions. It makes sense now... How can I make the correct expression if I've never seen them myself until recently???


hey new guy

Yes, I think your are right when you say" we want to make our spouses happy".  My ADHD husband is always trying to "make me happy".  I think my husband also tries to answer the question  in a way to make me happy.  Sometime I wonder if he has a true self or opinion. I must say I sound like I'm nit-picking, but who wants to be surrounded by a yes man all the time? Just once I want to know what he really thinks regardless if I agree with it or not!  Your comment regaurding the Adderall and expressions is very interesting!  It must be like stepping into a new world every day!  Maybe it's a good thing my hubby can't read me....have heard the old expression, if looks could kill?  Oh my, lol

Thanks for you input.  Its good to hear from someone in the know.

Not only that, even if you

Not only that, even if you did something that will potentially upset me, at just be honest about it. My husband is known to say he lies to avoid conflict, but what he cannot seem to get is that it doesn't avoid anything, just prolongs it. Maybe that, in his book, is an acceptable alternative to just telling the truth, but in the end not only did he not avoid conflict, he chips away at my trust that much more...double damage. I also wonder if there isn't an element of hoping he won't get caught...and thinking it is worth the risk to lie to possibly 'get away with' what he's doing.


I can say it is easier now

to just admit the mistake than it used to be. There was so much anxiety over admitting the error before, now I feel a little unburdened by saying I was wrong. It is still not easy, but I can also better communicate what happened as opposed the "The Shut-Down" that was sure to happen. I have such a better perception of wasting time over something, just get it out and resolve the issue and move on...

XYZ honestly trying is good enough for us

...or at least for some of us.  This is one of those issues that is SOO hard for me because it is such an emotional turmoil for me to feel lied to.  Anyway, I didn't want you to feel ganged up on....you make a statement and we just jump all over why it isn't good to do it in your knee-jerk way.  We know that you know that, and I know for sure that my husband knows it too.  Just keep up the good work in minimizing this behavior as it is SOO damaging and seems to be one that is easily blown off since the ADD brain sees it so differently.

I really applaud you taking other ppl's reality to heart in your work on yourself.  I really think this is a true hallmark of developing a happy marriage whether ADD is involved or not.

Thanks :)

I appreciate your support and any comments :) we are all here to learn and improve our situations. I really do like talking to people like you to gain more perspective into my own understanding of ADD. YYZ

Regarding "Yes Man"

As an ADDer we have pretty low self-esteem and know we have disappointed our spouse so many times that I believe we try to keep the scales balanced. I we do more good than bad it will be okay. Once the scale goes the wrong way, we will never be able to dig ourselves out. The new facial skills are a work in progress, for sure. Trying to manage my new reactions has been interesting. I'm not quite the oblivious laid-back guy I used to be... It's scary to know all the things I never noticed before. Watch out for the facial recognition awareness :)



I hope you don't think I'm picking on you. That was not my intention. I think you do a great job of describing how you process things differently.  It's like translating ideas from one language to another. :) It does give me insight as to how my husband might feel.

I find the facial recogition extremely interesting.  I wonder if anyone has studied the differences in infants with ADHA and without and if the mother/baby interaction differ? However, I don't think ADD is detected in very young infants, is it?

Anyway...keep posting! I enjoy your point of view and your experences.  Wishing you the best for you and your efforts.

Picked on? Not at all :)

Thanks for the positive comments. I don't think ADD is detecable in babies. Coming out of the ADD fog was amazing to me. I felt like I could see better, hear better and felt so much better. I was not tired at 5:00 pm, I did not need as much sleep. I stopped obsessing over food and have lost 100 pounds over the two years. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm getting there... Thanks again for posting! YYZ


I think maybe ADHD can be seen in babies. I have 2 daughters. They tested at exactly the same IQ and have many other similarities. But #! daughter is not ADHD and her sister is. #2 daughter was "lying" before she could talk. She could convince her grandma that she needed to be fed when I had just fed her (I was trying to 100% breastfeed.). By the time she was 2, we were reading books like James Dobson's The Strong-Willed Child. I've posted before about how she ruined her life because of impulsivity, and nearly ruined mine. She is a compulsive overeater, a nicotine addict, uses drugs, high school dropout, got pregnant at 15 and lost custody of the child. She cost me a good job because she kept my car overnight and didn't come home to take me to work so I was fired.

Her big sister who has no ADHD was such a pleasure to raise that we decided to have a second child. She is a happily married lawyer who owns her own home, has never tried drugs, and is an excellent mom to her adopted son (my other daughter's child). She struggles to figure out how to parent an ADHD child but other than that is practically perfect.

The funny thing is we can't figure out where the ADHD came from. I don't have it, and I don't think my first husband does either (although he has many other flaws).

If I could have seen the ADHD in her as a young child, maybe she could have a better quality of life today.

About 2 years old...

I think if I could go back in time, knowing about ADD as I do now, I would easily be able to explain the 180º difference between my two girls. My oldest was the easiest baby and toddler you ever saw and my youngest was Full-Speed, Full-Time, Never Stopping for a moment. I got so frustrated with my youngest child and I did not know why???

Well now I know because she is just like me is so many ways. I could go down the list, but I'll spare the details. My DW was not willing to accept my thoughts on her being ADHD until very recently. She said I saw it everywhere... Well now that I know the symptoms I do pick up on them quickly. I backed off the subject concerning my youngest, until recently, when my DD had a breakdown the seemed so illogical. When I explained what could be going on in her mind, my DW seemed accepting of the possibility.  My DW, on her own, pulled up info regarding the signs of ADHD in young girls and went through the list with me at lunch recently. I did not say anything as she read the list to me. She said that she hated to admit that I may be right. Huge leap forward for us in my opinion... We are going to have her tested this summer. I never want my kids to go through life not knowing they have ADD as I did. The sooner we find out the lesser the damage, I hope.


My DD gets very angry at the

My DD gets very angry at the drop of a hat...over how many pork chops I grilled yesterday. She is extremely irrational about things too...like truly feeling I am lazy if I won't do something she asks me to do for her..because she doesn't want to. I have also noticed she is extremely critical of me and everything I say and do. It isn't in a 'mean' tone, but it really bothers me all the same. She's obsessed with controlling the radio when we are in the car...and furious if I don't let her. She is very easily angered but gets over it very easily too once I send her out of the room or just start ignoring her. Her irrational thoughts and ideas are what scare me the most.


I wonder if there is something about birth order?

yyz, you and I have the same experience with our daughters. My husband is the youngest of the three boys in his family and the only one diagnosed with ADHD. I wonder if there is some connection with birth order.

Do have her tested. She can have a decent quality of life, I think, if she learns to manage the symptoms at a young age. My daughter will never have the quality of life she should. She's had her child be adopted away from her. I feel guilty for not being able to help her. I tried so hard.

Honestly as much as anything

for us I think it has to do with him thinking that everyone else places the same importance on things that he does.  In the scenario in the original post, it wasn't a big deal to him, therefore wasn't worth being questioned about.  But he gets to live one life and have one set of priorities and he doesn't get to determine mine.  I had a right to ask him a question, he lied about the answer which just grew something that was originally insignificant in both our minds into a great big huge hairy deal in my mind.  In his mind it was still not important, and I think that is where the attitude of "why are you making such a big deal out of something so minor comes from". 


The origional issue........unimportant.  That you would lie about it.......suddenly the most important issue of the day.  And when an attitude gets copped about it, immediately the anger triggers.  Fortunately my husband in the origional post did not cop a tude with me when I started expressing the seriousness of the issue to him.  I often thinks this is where ADD discussion goes off the rails, especially among undiagnosed ppl, because they don't see any further than their opinion on the issue.   It is the only excuse for the tunnel vision I keep hearing about of how a man didn't realize how little he was helping or how big of an idiot he was being before he got on meds...........I mean I can guarantee most of them have wives who were telling them, but they were disregarding the info because it wasn't the same as the reality in their minds, I suppose?


I am soooo thankful that I didn't experience that.   As soon as we realized there was a problem, then the help came soon after.  If I'd been disregarded for years while talking and explaining and begging for change, I don't know if that is something I'd be able to get over.

Hi Ladies! Let me enlighten you....

I used to do this ALL THE TIME!!!!  And i think that yes:  i was trying to cover my butt because I just didn't want to face getting 'busted' again for forgetting something or doing something stupid.

One day (years and years ago) my husband shouted from the other room, "Hey!  Were you eating toast at the computer????"  I shouted back:  "NO!"  then he walked in the room with a plate covered with toast crumbs and then asked, "Are you lyyyyyyyying?" and I just said, "Why, yes. Yes I am."  From then on, every time I impulsively/defensively answered a simple question with a lie, he'd say, "Are you lyyyyyyyyyying???" and I'd have to say, "Why, yes. Yes I am,."  Do I still do it?  Yes. Yes I do.  Can I tell you why?  Hm.... mostly it's because i'm frustrated with myself when I forget to do little things - and I always scramble to fix it as soon as i'm 'caught'.  But it's getting better.... really... it is....

Aspen, you've got a stubborn ADDer, and I'm sure it's super annoying that he thinks it's 'fun banter' when you are so frustrated.  Maybe next time he does it, since he thinks it's a game, you can say, "sorry! BS detector is flashing!  You lose a turn!"

LOL You crack me up. So, as

LOL You crack me up.

So, as best you can 'evaluate' the situation, why does it seem to be a commonality that ADHDers do as my husband does and lie about stupid stuff? It isn't when I'm asking him if he did something and he lies about having done it...he really doesn't even bother to lie about stuff like that. It is more along the lines of money disappearing...saying he's getting out $20 and getting out $40...and the example I gave above about the real reason he went to town. I had learned to accept that he would say he was going somewhere and he might end up 10 other places as well...until his affair. I need him to be more specific now. Sorry, but it is what it is.

When I said he refuses to tell me where he went..it is more like he refuses to admit he lied...even though he doesn't deny it...he just avoids the entire conversation by saying stuff like "why are we doing this again?" (Me questioning him/not trusting him) or "I did meet Greg to the get the computer". I flat out said "you know you didn't leave here with the intent of going to the office...why did you say that? Where did you go?" Just his saying "I met Greg to get the computer" proves that he lied because he had just said seconds before that he was going INTO the office. I mean there is blatant dishonesty going on from my point of view, but I think he feels in his mind it is 'resolved' even though he refuses to say anything to defend himself when I insist that I know he's lying. He gets defensive and leaves again..that is his response. Sigh. I know he's capable of being able to say "I planned on doing XX and ended up doing YY instead" or "I decided to swing by XX while I was out" SOOOO I am left believing (feeling with everything in me!) that he went somewhere he knows he shouldn't be. I know it does not sound good for him...and his credibility...trust me, I understand..I'm living it. The only thing I can think of, considering the area he was in when I called him, he went to see his brother...who is, putting it mildly, VERY bad news.

Ellamenno I think you are right

and that he is impulsively/defensively saying he did it cause he wishes he did it and doesn't want to admit that he didn't.  I can even understand it a litte, but it is SOOOO infuriating to be lied to when it is a inviolable boundary that you have.  I think our "Are you talking out your butt again?" comment is similar to your "Are you lyyyyying?" comment, but though he'll usually smile in that 'Yes yes I am' manner, he isn't always willing to let it go with a 'yes yes I am"  perhaps because he is afraid that I won't let it go at that.......which I have to admit there are times I would let it go and there are times we'd have a 'lying' convo.

Hi!  I'm late to the wagon

Hi!  I'm late to the wagon but impulsively chiming in!

I'm 17 years post-diagnosis and I figured out, finally, in high school some time (after one too many screaming matches with my mom) that lying is never as good as telling the truth.  That telling the truth hurts more now, but makes things better later.  Once you tell the truth, you can work on fixing the consequences.  HOWEVER, I totally get your DH's instinct to do it.  I still do it with non-family-members and verrrry occasionally with my BF.  

When he asks, "Have you done X?" my inner self smacks its proverbial forehead and says "NOOOOOOO!  I forgot!"  Then I think, "I should tell him I have, then scramble like a madwoman to make X happen in whatever way possible, so he is not let down yet again."  That's what I think your DH is doing, and that's what a bunch of other people have already said.  I would speculate that your DH gets defensive about it because he hopes that if he gets prickly enough you'll give up, back off and let him dash off to go and fix X.

Self-indulgently talking, now: I learned not to lie with my parents way back in the did-you-do-your-homework phase.  But when I tell the truth to my BF, he doesn't seem to care about the solution, but rather about the motivation.  About the past.  So there's no motivation for me to tell the truth, because the end-result I learned as a teenager (we will be able to fix the problem much faster if I tell the truth and we move on) isn't true with him.  When I tell him the truth, we take two hours to "discuss" (often with tears on my end) the problem.  Most of it is because up until literally a month ago, we would spend two hours saying the same thing to each other over and over, and not saying the things we each needed to hear.  But really, often what would calm him down is for me to say "I should have" - after I'd spent two hours and had no success saying "I will." 

Non-ADDers, if you still tune in to this discussion, does this sound like you?  Do you need to hear an apology for past behaviors; do you focus on the shouldas?  It's really hard for me to give this kind of apology because it suggests to me that I was somehow inadequate in my behavior and that nothing I do could possibly fix it - though I already have devised a dozen novel solutions ​if only he'd let me get out of this argument and go start working on them!

Non here!

We rarely have "did you do X?" type arguments here in the sense of task completing. There are things that I would really like an apology for..and I do have a tendency to need to hear "I'm sorry" a lot. I was always very hurt by the fact that my DH didn't seem to know how to say he was sorry...so your insight as to why this may be is very helpful. Do you think your reasoning for not feeling the need to apologize applies to when you do things that are personally hurtful...not such things as forgetting to get milk at the store or something like that...but something like some of the hurtful ADHD behaviors we non's see from our spouses?

good questions!

Thanks for asking these questions.  I feel I've just had this realization recently about defensiveness and apologies so I will be more than happy to share a bit of how I go about my life + thoughts.  The following is a long ramble with about 15 ways of saying the answer to your question so I hope that one or a few of them will speak to you!


Before I can make an apology I want to feel that my side has been heard, too.  And that usually means screeching irrationally about why ​I was justified toooooo! - even if, with calmness and reflection, I can see from the other person's perspective that sometimes, my reasoning was pretty baseless.  After a recent long "discussion" with the DBF and thinking through it with the aid of these forums, I've decided that what I want is just some validation for my defensiveness.  As crazy, petty, stupid or hurtful as my behavior probably was... I personally feel that, hey, I reacted the way I did.  I'm a human.  We react to stuff.  In the entire course of human history I can't be the only one who's had this kind of a reaction to this kind of a situation. I want my non to relate to the way I'm feeling - which is already pretty low because by the time I get defensive, I already know I've messed up.  

I want him to be able to convey the feeling: "Hey, I know that you know you messed up. [or even, I know that you know something is wrong somewhere.]  I also know you had a reason to act the way you did at the moment."  And I want to know that I have support from him.  EVEN IF this reaction I had was, in hindsight, ridiculous or a non-reaction or dumb or whatever.  Because for him to harp on the shouldas is like saying, "You don't deserve to have lived that moment."  

Sometimes I feel like making an apology = saying that my behavior was worthless.  So first I have to know that no, that behavior happened, it was worth something, SOMETHING happened (I mean this in the cosmic sense... like, even if you "did nothing" all day, time still passed = something).  


In terms of "not feeling the need to apologize" I think it's the ADD tendency of get-to-the-pointishness.  "Okay, I messed up, now ​hey quick let's find solutions!  The faster I act, the faster it will be better!"  In doing that I often skip completely over my DBF's need to hear me take ownership of the hurt I've caused him.  And that's probably because it hurts to admit to myself "I caused my loved one pain and distress."  

I'd prefer to avoid apologies because they suck!  I hate, HATE feeling that I hurt my BF's feelings, so I hope that if I can skip right over to the resolution I can work on making him feel better right away.  And all the better if we can avoid talking about them even a nanosecond more.  Because yes, they happened, but I know we can fix them!!

My BF gets disappointed often because he "holds me to a high standard" which I tend to let him down on in a consistently inconsistent way.  i.e. I'll make all the same mistakes, but not every time.  That makes ME afraid because I know that no matter how well today went, eventually I will slip up.  And when I do slip up, he'll be really let down because I had been doing well lately.  (Or he'll be really let down because I haven't been doing well lately and yet again I slipped up.)  Living your life afraid of an error you know you'll make at some point, but having no idea when and knowing you won't be able to control it when it comes... that's HARD.  I get really disappointed in myself and I'd rather not feel that way, so rather not apologize.

Oftentimes, apologies somehow make me feel inadequate and I personally am very afraid to feel that way without knowing that the BF will be there to support me (by listening to my petty defensive reasoning) once I've admitted to this deep personal shortcoming.  Because he gets so worked up when we go through this demand/defensive routine, I find it hard to believe that the right action to take is to make myself even more vulnerable.  I assume he'll tell me, "You SHOULD be sorry."  Despite not once hearing this in my entire life, from anyone.   Although every time I have apologized in the past he has in fact supported and forgiven me, I can't get it through that this time he will do the same.  And I have these wonderful intentions to solve the problem, anyway, so I shouldn't have to apologize until the problem is fully dealt with and we'll see if I even needed to apologize.  I got the end result, didn't I?  Or, if I didn't - the world didn't stop turning, did it?


Another part of this equation is a bit of the difficulty we can have in seeing other people's feelings.  I had a big issue with that when BF and I would get into arguments.  I just wanted him to see my side first.  After that, I would be free to look at his side.  He just wanted me to see his side and then we could finish talking about it.  But I couldn't step back first and look for the motivations of his anger in clear, blame-free reasons. 

What it took lately is as soon as I hear the first sigh, or the whine come into his voice, I tell him I understand.  I figure out what it is that is causing him to feel that way.  "I understand that you feel disappointed because I let you down - you are probably going to have to spend extra money making up for my lack of action today, though I was available to do it all day.  You are frustrated that I responded that I would do it, but then didn't."  I keep saying sentences like this and, by gum, IT WORKS.  In return he has promised to do the same when I start to get defensive.  It's getting easier every time I do it, and I actually value stepping back and realizing things from his perspective.  Instead of saying "I flubbed up, mea culpa, I know I'm in the wrong," what I say is HOW my actions made him feel.  And that, to me, is far enough away from eating the blame and good for him because it gives him the understanding he wants.  


*whew* I'm spent!  I hope you've found some insight in the rambles.  Feel free to ask me to clarify anything I've said here!  I know that everything sounds a lot clearer when I just say it to myself. :)

I guess what amazes me most

I guess what amazes me most is all of the thoughts, feelings, assumptions, and proactive thinking involved in your process of making a mistake & having/needing to say "I'm sorry". Although getting to the point where I admit I am wrong doesn't always happen fast, the thought process is "damnit, I was wrong and I really do need to apologize" and then I apologize. LOL That's it. I don't worry about his reactions because I know that it is right FOR ME to apologize. I need to feel better about myself, so I want to apologize even if it gets thrown back at me and used against me. I am happiest with myself when I can apologize from a sincere place and give no regard to his reactions. This is not to say that I haven't had things used against me...he has done that before...but I knew that apologizing was the right thing to do.

What I will say is this...I know telling you to stop over-thinking it won't work. My husband says "you saying it doesn't make it true..it isn't that easy". What I will say is that you would probably be happier, less stressed, more relaxed and able to say "I'm sorry" if you would at least work on NOT ASSUMING you know how he'll react or what he needs. I do feel your attitude about "I'd rather fix it than apologize" is, in theory GREAT...because making things right is more important to most people than an apology that has no 'meat' to it. But, it does not hurt to hear "I really am sorry" every now and then as well. Where that needs to end though is with you apologizing and then LETTING IT GO. You're assuming it's a lingering dark cloud and that it surely goes into this file in your BFs head titled "all of the things she's ever done wrong" and that typically is not the case. The negative that follows is probably mostly in your mind. I make mistakes...and I apologize and move on. I don't beat myself up about it.

One of the members here spoke recently of accidently tossing out the 2-3 day old newspaper due to a miscommunication between she and her husband. He raked her over the coals and she felt horrible. Don't. It's stupid. Say you're sorry and then let it go even if they won't. It's an honest mistake and not the end of the world. I forget requested grocery items all the time. It happens. Whatever. It'll be there the next time I go.

Thanks for the insight. I feel for you that you go through all of this just to process mistakes. We all make them. Let it go. Great idea about saying "sorry, I know it is frustrating/hurtful when I do this..." and I think your BFs response proves that you're on the right path.

Guilty as charged...

Happy couple dealing with ADD... Not quite there, but getting closer 2 years post diagnosis of my ADD. I read a couple of things in your post that I can relate to. I have responded well to my meds and have been reading, posting and learning for two plus years. My awareness of all the things that need to get done is quite a lot to manage.

I am the bill payer and check book balancer in our house. I have been Real Good at this job for about 8 years, long before I knew about my ADD. My system was good because I could update in real-time. My company issued me a laptop and I had my Quicken loaded on it so I could update at any time. I also had an office, which made quick updates and when I got home, sync with my home pc. I never got behind, because I never got over-whelmed by a massive job waiting for my attention. I changed jobs last August and had to work in an open IT environment, so my "System" was out of whack because I could not do my little updates all the time. I began to struggle staying updated and I am supposed to be better organized because my ADD is improving, right? Well there are so many home projects that I fly through that I don't seem to have time to go sit on the pc, which always get's perceived as screwing around (Somewhat understanding since I've got ADD), so it has been difficult getting a new system in place. I missed a bill or was late about three times during this period and all of a sudden it was like "If you can't do this simple job...", which I was mad at myself because I knew I was struggling to reconfigure my system. "Another Failure" seems to be key, like invalidating my improvements over the last two years. Like being judged on performance solely on being 4 days late on a bill when I've paid thousands on time over the last 8 years. This is what bosses do... No matter how many successes you have had over your years of service, they look at what have you done for me lately?!? I did not lie when confronted about a late bill, but felt judged and talked down to and this could also be an over-reaction to the situation. (Another topic altogether) I'm still learning how to deal with the things I was never aware of before Adderall brought me out of the fog :) I guess I needed a little kick in the A$$, who doesn't from time to time.

I also do the "Exaggeration of Truth", some call a "Lie", in the typical knee-jerk ADD fashion if I believe I can get the job done before the forgotten deadline. I hate feeling Stupid, again, and if I can scramble and not look Stupid that is what I usually do. I used to lie when confronted with a failure for all the ADD reasons we know so well, but now if I missed something I will just own it and try not to over-react to being confronted with the Dropped Ball. I am a "Work In Progress", I guess...

The simple truth comes down to "Did You?", Yes or No, but to me there are a million things that lend a hand in the success or failure, so the answer is not so black and white. I know I need to own the "Done or Not Done" and I'm working on this, but I don't like feeling judged solely on this fact. I try to look at all the things that are getting done and if my DW forgets to do something I go out of my way to not make her feel bad about it. I certainly know what is like to forget.

You guys are great! Sometimes when I try to explain my ADD behavior to others I actually begin to understand the dynamics a little better after my rambling answers :)



Appreciate your insights xyz

and I can definitely see some of your comments in my ADDer.  Obviously I don't know your DW or your situation, but I have to say based on our experience that a lot of times the judgment and the talking down to are mostly existing in your own mind.  Do I judge my husband for not doing some things? Yes I do...working on it...but I do, BUT and this is a BIG BUT is that it is only the VERY VERY big things in our lives.  The bill he forgot to pay that he assured me was paid that I find a week later still in his truck.  AND HE HONESTLY THINKS HE PAID IT.  When he thinks about it, he pictures himself paying a bill a different month, and truly belives it is done.  Do I feel sorry for him for having this condition? Absolutely.  Is it ok to only think you paid a bill? NONONONONO  If you have this problem, then you need to check it off when it is done, you need to get a confirmation, you need to do something to make sure that what you think is done is actually done.

Do I yell and scream when something like this happens?  I do  Do I like it? NO and neither does he, but it is honestly his responsibility to find a way to makes sure that doesn't happen again.   He is a brilliant and creative man, but he doesn't always seem to apply that to ways to keep disasters from happening.  We are closing in on 4 years in so he is naturally getting much better, but when something like that happens does he get judged and talked down to?  Well I'm not sure what would happen if it happened again TODAY because it has been more than a year since something like that happpened, I might be able to let it go, but when that kind of thing was happening a lot, well yeah my reaction reflected the amount of disasters he was involved in causing.

Should a relationship be like work where the only thing that matters is your latest performance? Absolutely NO   And in a marriage where the care goes both ways (lets be honest some of the marriages here the ADDer is NOT caring for the mate well at all), for example when my husband took up the reins on our household including bills and cooking while my grandmother slowly died and I was helping care for her........did he do a perfect job? No Did some things get paid late? Yes  But when I came home and couldn't do much but cry, I had a strong shoulder and a partner to cling to.  THAT to me is a big part of marriage.

When he drives me crazy, do I think of those times when he is the most perfectly caring mate? Yes I do.  My husband is better at the emotional shoulder of marriage than I am at times. I got stopped for speeding recently and when I called to tell him, I just got a very sympathetic "I am soo sorry, baby.  I know how it is frustrating for you" even though we are saving all our extra money for an awesome 10th anniversary trip in October.  I think we both know there is a good chance the first thing out of my mouth might have been "Oh no what is that going to cost?".

I have to own that and I don't like it, but as he says I have wasted far less money in our marriage than he has too LOL


Wishing you all the best in your continuing journey.  You are definitely doing your part in learning about your ADD and trying to apply it.  That makes a huge difference to us wives!!

You have hit a few "Nails on the head"...

Thanks for the learning about ADD comment. I want to keep the improvements going...

My wife has ALWAYS been the designated worrier in the family. You mention "But when I came home and couldn't do much but cry, I had a strong shoulder and a partner to cling to.  THAT to me is a big part of marriage." This IS also something I do for her and always have. She never thought anything was Really wrong with me, even though she knew my "Quirks", I was a constant Rock of support for her. She has said that after my ADD diagnosis that her concept of Me being the Rock of stability was kind of shattered. Now I was yet someone for her to have to worry about. I think this perception has improved as I have gotten over the shock of the diagnosis and been working hard to regain the role.

Your Speeding Ticket example is "Spot On" for us... If she gets one I tell her I'm sorry and tell her it just happens sometimes, If I get one, It's because of the way I drive and the kind of car I like to drive. FYI... I have not had a speeding ticket since 2004 and it WAS a speed trap. (100 feet past a 10 mph reduction sign) No lie, I swear...

I hope my journey continues to improve like yours seems to have improved.



Reading your post kind of

Reading your post kind of struck me... I've noticed that being unable to follow "my system" makes me much worse.  I do love travelling but when I travel it's almost a certainty that I will lose my wallet, keys, etc... I do not have a system to put them in a specific place.  

I also do the truth exaggeration/lie thing, sometimes it is easier than trying to answer "What?!  Why didn't you...?!"  It's something that happens almost automatically...  I am worst about how far along I am when I am late...  Sometimes I feel so bad that I just advance where I am in the process a step or two... mostly just sort of exaggeration or fudging, it's a bad habit I think, but sometimes it feels like it hurts less than teh truth.

Travelling IS Harder...

When I arrive at a hotel I immediately Find a "Landing Zone" for my keys, wallet, phone because I'm afraid of losing them and know myself too well.

"Automatic" response to the question that already has the assumed answer, "No, I forgot (Again) to do this thing that was Really Important for me to do". When I admit that I had forgotten something and my DW is very angry about it, I know I've said something like "Do you think I forget on purpose because "This" is SO Fun to go through!?!?". I know it does not help the situation, but getting mad about forgetting something is not productive either.

The exaggerating/fudging is certainly a skill/problem I developed long before I knew what I was dealing with ADD. If you can correct the issue before it's deadline, what does it matter anyway? If anything, you admit to having screwed-up before you Really did screw-up and then your proven inconsistency gets even more of a reputation.

The Adderall has certainly helped me with some of the forgetfulness, but some of the old knee-jerk coping skills are harder to stop before they fire off automatically...



If the deadline hasn't passed

yet you've said you'd have it done before a certain time before the deadline & you haven't then yes, I am sorry to tell you that you have indeed screwed up.  This is because you gave your word on something that you didn't fulfill......it completely is irregardless of whether the actual deadline has passed if you've agreed to an artificial one.

I have talked and talked and talked to my husband about being more careful with his word and that when he give it to me or to anyone else, he is making a bond to do everything in his power to do what he says he will do.  That means he needs to track his time, and work this into his priorities, and make sure it gets done.  DO NOT give your word if you aren't going to take it seriously like that.

I let my husband choose his own deadlines when possible.  I am willing to not remind him or nag him before that time (that is on me) but getting it done is on him.

IT IS IMPORTANT to keep your word if you want to be trusted and if you want to earn respect.  This is not the small issue that it often seems to be in the ADD brain.  Just cause is seems small or unimportant to you, does not make that true for anyone else.  I really think I'd be happy if I never have to hear "but it wasn't that important anyway".  You made a promise and by virtue of that, YOU made it really important.

I can give a really good

I can give a really good example of this...broken promises.

"honey, I'm going to go downstairs and make a few cigarettes and then I'll be up...wanna watch a movie?" "sure"

....and I fall asleep well after midnight...and this conversation might have taken place at 7 p.m....

I recently asked him to please consider the promises he's making. If he has no intention of doing it, then don't say it. Don't just say what the hell ever is on the tip of your tongue simply because you think it will be pleasing to me at that very moment. If you do say it, then for God's sake, follow through because when you don't it's hurtful and makes me feel like I cannot trust a word he says. I know it's ADHD stuff, but I do feel surely some of this can be improved upon. It has gotten slightly better, but for a while it was about daily that he would do something such as this and then leave me hanging. This was/is especially painful when making plans for the weekend...we used to ALWAYS be together as a family on the weekends and do things. Praying this will improve when the work issue is resolved.

A lot of times the road to

A lot of times the road to ADHD hell is paved with good intentions and this is one of them.  It's just too easy to get distracted and forget commitments or plans.   It's important to remember that most of the time... it's not a "no intention of doing it" kind of thing.

Good point...and well taken.

Good point...and well taken. It IS, I admit wholeheartedly, very hard for me to imagine that he just 'forgets' that he told me he wouldn't be long and wanted to watch a movie with me, but it is all too common I guess for me not to 'get it' that it is truly just ADHD and not 'I never intended to' just like I'm always wanting him to 'get' things about me and my way of thinking.

So, in your opinion..or any other ADHD/ADD opinion...how does one improve on this? Should I have a role in it? Should I remind him 30 minutes later "you coming up, honey?"? Should I remind him as he is saying it "please don't tell me you're coming up unless you're committed to following through" or should I remind him that maybe he should set a timer to remind himself since he has issues with distraction? Do I wait patiently and hope he follows through and fight the feelings of disappointment when he doesn't? In your opinion, who does the responsibility to 'change' this fall on? I would rather he never say ANYTHING at all than to say it and not do it. It isn't an issue before anything is said..I go on about my night as always. BUT..once he says it then whether either of us likes it or not, it changes things. It sets expecations. When he doesn't follow through, it chips away at trust and his reliability factor in my eyes. I can't imagine that is OK with him. I think, being cautiously optimistic, that he's doing better in this area. I just asked him not to say it if he wasn't going to follow through. If you promise it, then follow through whether you want to or not once the time comes to follow through. Surely this falls under the "not easy" category and not the 'impossible' category. ??

You are asking a lot of the

You are asking a lot of the same questions that I as the ADHD spouse am asking.   And that my partner is asking.  What is she supposed to do if not nag?  How can she be sure I know it's important without a big blowup?  My gut feeling is the timer idea is the best one.

Really they say you can only control your own behavior...  So your part of it is helping come up with strategies like the timer...  especially if you have a real expectation of something.   It is up to him to follow through to some degree.   And of course it is up to you not to nag constantly or create that negative atmosphere....  It's still a hard problem, it will require some effort on his part.  The trick is relying on something external like a timer and not on his own sense of time or "paying attention".  Also bear in mind that ADHD people are terrible at estimating time!

I also wanted to add that ADHD people just like all people ARE capable of lying or having no intention of X...   but with this kind of thing... it just seems like a classic distraction play... he thinks he's going to be a few minutes... then he notices that project he has been meaning to do... then he wants to water the plants... oh dang and the laundry has been piling up... ooh I wonder if that TV show is on...  

Just like that the original intention has been forgotten.  I have actually left an ex on hold for a moment while I get a glass of water and wound up totally forgetting about the conversation until I found the phone off the hook hours later!


Ok, ADD folks, can you answer this?

Hubby is getting unemployment on a debit card. It's in his name only, I am not on the account. Not a regular account. Just a debit account that there is no other access to. He's lost his wallet. He knows it's here somewhere so he's not looking, waiting for it to "turn up." Meanwhile we have no access to any money and rent is due Friday. Why doesn't he care about this? How can I make him care? You tend to assume someone knows where their wallet with driver's license, etc. is but I guess not with someone with ADD.

Your girlfriend feels she has to nag or you'll do it wrong. I know I'm not supposed to nag. So how is he supposed to keep track of his wallet? He's rejected every suggestion I've tried.


I don't know what state you are in but unemployment can get distributed in other ways. Check your state website. If there isn't an alternative, have him get the cash out of the debit card when it is distributed and put the money in your joint account, so you can pay the bills. If he refuses, then there is not much you can do but face eviction and pay penalties (for attorneys and costs) if your landlord files for eviction. Not a good option!

I know

We meant to send in the form with bank info for direct deposit, but the card came before he "got around to it." We decided to leave it to build enough money for the rent because it has no fees. Now the money is on there, and I don't know how to get it off.

What really bothers me is that he doesn't seem to care. I guess he thinks I'll find it for him.

if he doesnt find it tonight

Then look on the website and order a new card, the money that was left on that card will be rolled over to the new card, then KEEP that card in a safe place. They don't seem to care bc they never play the video to the end of the movie - he is not thinking about the potential consequences. While normally I agree that you should pick up their slack, but when it effects your livelihood you have to! Sorry you have to go through this!

how about keeping the debit card yourself?

If he has lost it, call the # (your state unemployment website will have it)., and get a new card. Keep the new card yourself so you can pay the bills. My husband loses or leaves his wallet all the time. I just wouldn't give him control over something that would leave me homeless or on the street (or unable to eat bc of the fees for late payments bc he can't keep track of his stuff). Sorry, but that's me! I'd given him a break if it happened just once (we all lose stuff sometimes -ADHD or not), but I wouldn't let it happen again!

He found it this morning

He had left it on the computer desk. He wondered why I didn't see it. I didn't see it because I wasn't expecting it to be there and it's black like the desk top and I just didn't see it. Everything is always my fault.

I don't nag...I don't say

I don't nag...I don't say anything. I go to bed quitely, alone and never mention it. I only brought it up after MANY repeated instances of it and wanting to try and bring it to his attention so that maybe he could improve a little. I felt it was the lesser of the two evils...the other being me laying in bed night after night feeling disappointed and hurt and wanting to withdraw from him and depend on nothing he says. I want him to know..'hey, this hurts'..just like I would want to know if I was doing something that was hurting him. If it hurts, let's fix it. Let's COMPROMISE.

He is in sooper-dooper hyperfocus mode lately over a work issue...and I FULLY get that. I am sure what seems like 30 minutes to him is actually 4 hours. He's a horrible guesstimator of time. I know that. Maybe, in the future, I will just say "If you're not up here by X o'clock then I will know you're not coming..so if you really intend to come/want to come/plan to come then set a timer or something so you won't forget" and do my best not to feel disappointed. I've even suggested just saying "Don't tell me you're coming up...if you decide to come up, just come up...surprise me" but I think there for a while, he was spending SOOO much time working (in the den) that it was pretty much all about wanting desperately to say something that would make me be "OK" with him disappearing, yet again, into the den and I cannot say whether he did or didn't intend on following through. It is like he thinks "if I can just get through this door and down these steps without feeling like she's mad or that I'm disppointing her again, then after that nothing else matters"..the "I can't think more than 4 feet in front of my face" thing you hear so many ADHDers describe. I hate, though, to assume I know what he's thinking or not thinking..I just hated hearing the empty promises and had to try something, ya know?

Be patient as your girlfriend re-learns everything too...it isn't easy for us either.

no luck yet with bedtime deadlines

Sherri, you said: "Maybe, in the future, I will just say "If you're not up here by X o'clock then I will know you're not coming..so if you really intend to come/want to come/plan to come then set a timer or something so you won't forget" and do my best not to feel disappointed. I've even suggested just saying "Don't tell me you're coming up...if you decide to come up, just come up...surprise me""

Danger, danger, Sherri, ADD poison.  Timer will go off, I will remind myself and pop into the room to BF to let him know that I know it's time and I'll be around in just a minute, and I really don't want to miss this opportunity to spend time together, really.... just wait up another couple minutes for me, I'm just wrapping up all my stuff...

OH CRIPES, where did the last half-hour go?

BF is either: already asleep, just falling asleep and I wake him up coming into the room to get ready for bed, or waiting in bed for me and getting more annoyed by the minute at the sleep he is losing and the promise I have broken.  What a lose-lose situation and completely overruled by the one tiny shoulda - why couldn't I have just gotten off the computer/wrapped up tonight's work/???

For this one I really don't have a solution.  Yet.

This has resolved itself, for

This has resolved itself, for the most part. Ironically, he now works late and by the time he gets home, he's ready for bed. Either way, I miss him, but he's just overwhelmed with work right now. He keeps telling me it is only temporary. I hope so.

Timers are Good

Just now, I'm working past my "Go Home Time", No big deal... but I have a 6:00 Max Time in my mind and that is it. I been working on a problem ALL DAY and was hoping for headway, but it is not so important that I need to stay. I saw your post and thought this was perfect. I used to get in this situation and the next thing I knew was it was 7:45 and I had not called my DW and totally lost track of everything. I think the memory topic improves with meds for me so the reminder situation does not have to be like it used to be. When your husband was on the meds did this help his Time-Awareness? I know you said it made him more agitated/angry than either of you liked, but were there any improvements like this?

The meds help my follow through, for sure... But it is now almost 6, so I gotta run...


This reminds me of what I

This reminds me of what I call, the "out of sight out of mind" aspect of ADHD. I figure it's the distractions plus the in the moment living that kept my DH from doing promised things. Even if only minutes later, now and present beat out future absent almost every time.

I understand what you are saying and agree...

Good intentions are not enough and I know this... It is also very hard to decide on the spot when to give your word about doing something for someone. I usually feel like I don't do enough for some people and I want to help, sometimes to my own detriment. I am very aware of my poor time management skills and have often over-committed myself because of the lack of skills. I was not condoning the truth bending, but even with better time management skills I can still get caught by surprise on an upcoming deadline. I would not come out and say "Yes... this is done.", but I might exaggerate the percent of it's completion. It is a difficult coping mechanism to stop, because of speed of the reaction to suddenly knowing you are almost out of time. Stupid, yes, but improving too... Some things are Really difficult to set anything but a rough deadline, especially before you start a project. I utilize my electronic reminders to help me. I know I have to get a lot of things done when I say I will complete them before a new perception will take hold and build some trust. I have figured out that I am not good at knowing what is important to my wife regarding the long list of projects, so on a project kind of day I'll ask her "What are 2 or 3 things you would like to see me work on today?" This strategy has really helped me from wasting effort on things that are way down on the list. 

Work in progress, but I am trying...


I hate those questions...

I hate those questions...  Sometimes I just want to say "I intentionally burned that out of my brain so I could spite you".  What answer can there really be to "Why did you forget?"  A better question is "how can I help you remember in the future?"  

This goes especially for things where she has a strong preference but I view the end result as the same.  I can't think of any good examples off the top of my head, but really, why tell her I didn't do something only to get her disappointed and possibly precipitate a big fight when I can just tell her, sure, I did that?

The response comes especially for things that are not important...   That is, she cannot observe the difference readily.  

Hurts who less than the truth?

I can accept that the lie/exaggeration/fudging/whatever you want to call it is less painful to YOU than the truth, but I think if you gave some real thought to what you are doing to your relationships with these untruths, you might modify your last statement.  I know it hurts ME way way worse to know he'd lie to me about something so stupid and that affects my feelings for him and respect for him.  Even as far as the pain of my irritation with him if he forgot something I was really counting on, it is magnified by at least 10 if I found out that not only did he not do it, he also lied about doing it or how much of it he got done.

I think sometimes they don't know they aren't telling the truth

I asked my husband (when we were dating) if he'd ever lived on his own. I was NOT going to marry a man who had never lived on his own, paid his own rent, etc. I wanted to be with someone who had a grasp on life's realities. He said yes. After we were married I found out that to him "living on his own" meant living in his mother's paid-for house while she lived in an apartment during the week (because she worked somewhere else) and she paid all the bills. If I had known that, I never would have married him. There are 2 explanations and I think they are both true

1. He knew I wanted to be with an adult who understood adult responsibilities. I might break up with him if I knew the truth.

2. He genuinely thought living alone during the week was "living on his own" because he did have to do his own cooking and laundry.

I honestly don't think he meant to lie, but it took me a long time to come to that conclusion. I was very angry for a while.

He also tells me he did things he didn't do, but he is genuinely baffled when I prove to him he didn't do it. He will think he put out the trash cans (or put them back). I will take him outside and show him that they are not where they are supposed to be. He genuinely thinks he did it. I saw an explanation on here years ago that their memories are such swiss cheese that they fill in the "holes" with things that seem "plausible" but aren't actually true.

And yes, sometimes they lie to keep us from being mad. They are so present-focused that they don't think about the fact that the spouse is going to be angrier and more hurt when they found out they lied. That is somewhere in the future so it doesn't matter.

That's kind of a different

That's kind of a different thing.  I was talking about the automatic response to small questions...  not the big question.  If you ask me "How long have you been broken up with your ex" (unless the exact definition of broken up is unclear), then I will tell you honestly.

I'm more concerned with "When did you start preparing this dish?" or "How much time did you spend playing your game?" or "How close are you?"  - these are the sort of questions I fudge without thinking about.

Lying - big or small always breaks trust

The lie is ALWAYS worse than just telling the truth - even if it relieves a person of the immediate reaction that they fear (or they have a temporary memory lapse). What's wrong with saying, I don't recall whether I did XYZ. When you tell a small lie, the receiver usually questions everything else you say - after all how could we tell when you are speaking the truth! It is hurtful, childish and completely unnecessary - ALWAYS! We teach our children this, so why can't we follow those same rules as adults! Even if you have ADHD! ADHD does not excuse bad behavior! Parents hate it and so do we!


i wonder...if you knew the answer, why would you ask him?  In a way, you are doing as he indicated...playing a game...I would suggest you could improve communication by simply stating the fact "I know you didn't get this done" and move from there...it seems that by asking him to answer a question you already have the answer to, you care tyring to "trick" him...know what i mean?