Last time I posted, I wrote about the trainwreck my marriage became. I was in a hard place with my emotions and needed help. The gist of it was that we have been together for 20 years with three school-aged children. I got diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of last year (at 42) and immediately sought treatment. Treatment has been very successful and I was doing very well. I had a new lease on life and I spent much more quality time with my family. I really enjoyed spending time with them and I actually felt like I belonged. Until my wife told me she wanted a separation. My trusted partner of 20 years, my safe place, the most important adult in my life had just told me that I was not important. In true ADHD fashion, I reacted very badly as my emotions got the better of me.
I worked with my Psych and my Coach to shift from work-related to relationship skill building. First I had to work on myself and I can happily say that I am no longer prone to impulsive reactions and have built up my self worth. Looking back I can see this has had a negative impact on my relationship as suddenly it was all about me. Every week I had an epiphany that helped me grow. I would try and show my wife but she refused to communicate or engage, let alone show support.
A few weeks ago a major realization changed my perspective, it isn't about me, it's about my family. I have grown very close to my kids, especially over the past year. Since I've made my family the priority we have a level of closeness that I never thought possible. I cherish my family. I even thought that things were better with my wife. Until last week she told me she saw a lawyer, wants 100% custody of the children and for me to move out of the house. The initial shock was incredible but I'm pleased to say I remained calm. I cried myself to sleep that evening.
That next morning I realized something else. I was so seriously focussed on making things better, I wasn't as much fun as I used to be. It wasn't hard to back in touch with that fun part of me though it's awkward with my wife as she been responding negatively and with suspicion. Last night we all had a movie marathon with dancing, laughing and we slept on a mattress on the living room floor. My wife was there but insisted she sit on the couch and didn't get involved.
When my wife went to bed, I went into the bedroom with her. We chatted and I let her know that I can understand why she wanted to split though I am confused as to why she doesn't want to try and repair our relationship. I asked her to talk to me about it, to tell me more because I really do want to understand. Her reply was that it hurts her as much as me but she still want's to split. She then said all she's wanted all along was for me to be the person that I have been lately, especially with the kids. Then she left it at that. This left me even more confused - I still couldn't understand why she didn't want to even try to make things work.
I received one of the ADHD and Marriage emails today that had some interesting points and clicked through to this site. I haven't been on for months and started to read some of the posts. Most of them are from spouses with ADHD partners. I've read quite a few and they've all touched me with the struggle they have gone through with their SO. The stories that have most resonated have been about withdrawing because of the chronic pain that someone with ADHD can inflict and why they don't want to, or can't, let their partner in or give them another chance. That's why I'm posting this.
To those who have gone through this, I want to say I'm sorry that you have had to.
To those who have shared, I want to say thank you.
I also hope to shed some light on the ADHD partners perspective, and the confusion that often surrounds us. Especially when we get a late diagnosis and are trying everything we can to break old habits to make new ones in a strange new land.
Tonight I'm going to talk with my wife and let her know that I love her more today than I have ever loved anyone, that she is part of my family which is the center of my universe and that I finally understand. She has made a decision and even though it hurts, I will respect that. I'm surrendering, though not giving up