I give up

At this point, I am just going to throw in the towel.  I give up.  Another day, another bounced rent check.  I give up.  I feel like I've done everything I can do and nothing ever gets better.  He never changes.  If I'm not on my game 24/7 watching and monitoring what he's doing, things get out of control in no time flat.  I'm tired.  I don't want to have to keep track of a grown man's ATM charges.  I don't want to have to be the responsible one all the time.  I tired of always being the one who wants to work on the relationship or get our life back on track after it's been derailed by one of his bonehead moves.  There aren't enough apologies in the world to make up for the trust and respect that have been lost. 

I don't even know where to go from here. 

The sad part about it is

I just ordered the ADHD marriage books and started reading them last night.  I read them aloud to him and we talked about things.  Things were starting to look up a little.  At least he agreed to do some work in the marriage. 

The very next day a check bounces because of his nickel and dime-ing with the debit card.  $10 here, $20 there all adds up and now we don't have enough money to put gas in the car this week.  I'm fed up.

Some financial cures

My ADHD husband and I have been married 16+ yrs and I knew him long before that. His dealings with money are and have been deplorable, until I came up with a plan and, he agreed to it.  Many years ago, I got crazy over the repetitive "forgotten" ATM withdrawals. I was asking daily if he had used the ATM. I got so tired of asking and, of course, his withdrawals resulted in no cash reserves or gas money or bounced checks. Finally, went to the bank and opened up a savings account with debit card capabilities. Part of his paycheck is automatically deposited every 2 weeks into that "play" account, which covers whatever he needs for two weeks, we had to up the amount to cover gas recently, because he would forget to tell me about that as well. This financial cure has saved SO MUCH stress in THAT area. Most of the time, he still depletes the account, but it does not affect the family account.

Another financial cure came about after finding out about a secret loan account that he had opened at the bank in order to have Christmas money. I was sick and disgusted at the lie, but also because I was trying to refinance the house to a lower rate.  We opened a "gift" account, which has $100 automatically put in out of his paycheck. He agreed not to touch it unless it was for a gift or special occassion. He has been able to accumulate enough to cover whatever gifts he has purchased over the last few years. Again, it has saved me so much stress.

I know how parent/child it sounds, but I had to save my mind and our finances, and my husband likes the freedom of not having to account for every dime.




I have considered many

I have considered many options to try and resolve the "bottomless ATM pit" that my husband used to think existed. I took his debit card...hated to, but I literally did not know what else to do after years of trying other options.

One thing that did work for us for a while was letting him use our only CC and just paying a set amount on it every 2 weeks vs. giving him cash or trying to set a spending limit on his debit card usage. The only reason this ended up not being an option is because the CC company flagged our account due to "too many payments in one month" and froze our account for 10 days..holding up a $250 payment in the meantime. Paying every 2 weeks, we ended up with 3 payments in one month and they felt that was 'suspicious'.

I have also considered opening up a separate account and transferring bill money to it and leaving a set amount in the original account for his usage OR putting money into the new account and letting him use it. It is a very tough spot to be in, I want so badly to trust him enough to use his debit card wisely but he even admits that he is afraid he won't and he'll nickel and dime us to death. $10 here, $15 there...that was MY life for years. When he lost his 'work from home' programming job and had to go back to work locally, at a big paycut, there was just no way to avoid NSF charges when he was spending in excess of $300-400/mo without mentioning one single word to me about any of it. Honest to God, I wish I had the solution that would make everyone happy. I don't want the 'mother' role in this situation, but I don't know any other way. He says he is happy with me just giving him cash each Friday...and letting him take my debit card to fill up with gas. I sure hope so. He has a tendency to say he's OK with something and then the truth comes out in the end that he's built up resentment towards me because of it.

I know Wal-mart sells green dot Visa cards that you can reload with money by going into the stores or online...maybe that would be an option..and when he spends what you both agree to put on it each month, then it's gone. Surely he can understand the severity of bounced rent checks. :(

If you can fix it, fix it. If he would be open to none of these options...then maybe start withdrawing cash and paying for everything in cash..leaving the account empty?

Well, it helps to know I'm not alone

He did give me a bit of good news - he landed a job interview for Monday.  He will probably get it because he's a very smooth talker and almost always gets jobs after he has gotten an interview.  For him, getting a job is no problem.  It's keeping the job that's the issue.

I think I will ask him if it would be okay to do the pre paid visa card thing.  It's a good idea and one I've considered before.  I think now that he's screwed us again, he'll be more willing to work with me.  I have to suggest these things while he's screwed up because of his "Now/Not Now" mind.  The rent check bounced NOW, so he will be more willing to agree with me that something has to give with regards to his debit card usage.

I think also I am going to go to a cash only system.  I am going to put cash in an envelope for things we need to buy like groceries, toiletries and cleaning supplies as well as clothes and school supplies.  Every other bill is going to be directly withdrawn.  I basically have all my bills directly withdrawn now except my rent and utilities.  I can get the utilities directly withdrawn, but I have to mail the rent.  I could even buy a gas card each week as to not use the debit card to fill up.

I am going to talk to him about it again and try and work out a system that will work. 

To me, this falls under the

To me, this falls under the "can be managed" issues...unlike excessive drinking, cheating, or other personal behaviors that cannot be controlled by anyone but the person doing the behaviors. You 'controlling' (I hate that word, but nothing else really suffices...and if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck...) the finances is in the best interest of the entire family. I was put in charge of money VERY early on in our relationship...probably within one month after he moved in with me. He said "I am not good with money. I will give you my entire paycheck for you to deposit and you can pay the bills. My ex-wife and I fought over money all the time and I am not doing that again." I added him to my account and took his paycheck and deposited it every payday. I actually worked very hard to get his debt paid off (I had none when we met) so that I could quit working when I had our daughter a little over a year after we were married.

I don't necessarily WANT the responsibility, but someone has to have it and I know that he would either never agree to take it over or he would take it over and we'd lose everything. It is just simply something I have to do. Therefore, I have a right as his wife, friend, and partner to expect his cooperation when it comes to spending the money. I am 100% responsible for making sure bills are paid, kids are fed, and that enough is left over for gas, pet food, cigarettes (he smokes), and all of the unexpecteds. I'm not trying to rationalize the reasons why I feel it is necessary that I control our finances...which sadly includes his spending. If anyone here has a different approach or criticism of my system, I am all ears. I.simply.know.no.other.way. However, I do know that I have to do something, history dictates so.

My goal (I am setting a lot of goals for myself as a means to feel more in control of my own life and to stop controlling others) is to sit down on payday and pay each bill I can, figuring to the dime how much will be left once all bills pass through the account, and then going straight to the bank and withdrawing the entire remaining contents of the account and using cash for everything else. I haven't decided how the rest will be dispersed, but if I don't do this, things are going to get out of control. Today is payday. I've only managed to do this one time so far...several paydays back. It was scary...and we really had to scrape by...but we survived. Most importantly...the bills were paid. The way it stands, I avoid paying bills until the account is down to about 1/2 of what it was after his check went in...which is a LOT of money wasted...and then I panic, pay what I can, and keep a cushion much larger than we need in there for fear that he'll want something and we won't have it. In other words, I'm afraid to push us to the limit, live within our means, and pay the bills FIRST because I am afraid to tell him that living within our means = sacrifice, not 'spending whatever, whenever' like we both do now. It won't be easy, but it needs to be done and I don't know any other way. Avoiding making him mad is a huge reason I stay stressed about money...and I cannot blame that on him...that is all me. It has to stop. For a while I questioned my motives (i.e. did I really just want to control him?) but I don't anymore. I love him. I want him to do without nothing that he needs. I will work hard to meet everyone's needs. My motives are pure...keeping a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. Period.

He's not on board with that

Just a few days ago, prior to the discovery of the check bouncing, I suggested this very solution to him.  I asked him would he please give me his checks when he got paid and I would take care of the finances.  I do want the responsibility because I know that as long as I control it, things will be okay.  He said he would cash his checks himself and give me a set amount each week.

I reminded him that we have tried to do that in the past and it hasn't worked because he overspends his allotment when he has the cash in his pocket and then he ends up giving me less money than agreed upon.  It has happened many many times.  He said he wouldn't do that THIS time.  THIS time it would be different.  He said that since his stroke he's different and he knows better now.

I can not accept that and I told him.  I told him that I know that he has the best intentions of doing the right thing but that his ADHD will prevent him from following through.  I asked him politely if he would please try it my way.  I said we've never tried it this way before and it was worth a shot.

He got very angry with me and said, "No.  I can't live that way."

That got ME angry!  I replied, "YOU can't live that way?  But I'm supposed to live THIS way?" 

He gets angry with me when I don't trust him, even though every single thing he's done has proven he can't be trusted.  Finally, he gave up and said, "Fine."  He said it as if I had put a gun to his head. 

Now that this situation has occurred, I unfortunately have to revisit that dreadful conversation again.  I am going to make it a condition of our marriage that he gives me his checks to deposit and I will give him a set amount each week.  It HAS to be this way or I am going to pursue other options besides our marriage.  I don't want to do this, but the only alternative is to live financially out of control and I can't do it anymore.  I have no sense of financial security even though I work every day and spend very little.  It's so frustrating and I'm at the age when I need to start preparing for my future. 

Do you have any advice on how I should approach the conversation?  How should I tell him that I will accept nothing less than his full paycheck or I'm out?

Have you ever tried sitting

Have you ever tried sitting down and putting on paper what you owe, when it's due, and how much you owe and showing him that realistically what he gives you isn't enough? Would it be an option, since you work, to split everything evenly and say "your half is $XX so I need $XX  from you each paycheck"? I don't know your situation, if he makes more than you or less than you..if splitting them in half would be fair. ?? I would be honest and just tell him how much you absolutely HAVE to have in order to make the bills and tell him if he's not willing to help that you're not willing to remain with him. It isn't fair, if I am understanding correctly, that you're working and aren't able to make the bills alone but are being more responsible with your paychecks to the point that you're sacrificing and he's giving you what he wants.

My first husband was like that...he would cash his check and give me whatever meager amount he felt he could spare...and still came back and asked for more later. He would literally give me 1/2 of his $500 paycheck (this was 20+ years ago) and expect me to feed our son, pay our rent, lights, and provide everything on that...and what little I made working for minimum wage..which was barely $6/hr then. He felt that he worked hard and deserved to spend his money how he saw fit, but he never did without beer or cigarettes even when I literally went without food, clothes, and the most basic necessities. I left him when my son was only 7 months old because I knew he would never have anything if I stayed with his sperm donor. I never could convince him that I didn't want to control his paycheck so that I could make sure he didn't have what he needed, he just felt it was the most ridiculous thing in the world for me to expect him to contribute his entire earnings to the family. My husband now feels very responsible for taking care of his family, but his ADHD makes him having liberal access to our checking account (he has direct deposit) impossible.


Your first husband

is my husband - but he doesn't have malicious intentions.  He doesn't feel like he can give me only a little bit of money and I have to make due with it, he just overspends his money and ends up giving me less than even he had planned (Good intentions gone wrong). 

Let's say my husband got paid $500 a week and agreed to give me $350.  He would cash his check, then go and spend it on a $60 video game, cigarettes, a bottle of liquor, going out with his friend, a fast food dinner, etc. . . By the time he comes up for air, he has spent all but $185 - $165 short of what he agreed to contribute.  Then he'll give me the money folded up and not say ANYTHING to me about the amount.  When I inquire about the rest, he'll have some excuse or way of coming up with the other half (which he'll never follow through with).  Then he gets ANGRY with me if I am upset that his is short the money. 

I've learned to cope by not depending on any dollar amount he agreed to pay.  I just pay everything and whatever he give me is gravy.  It's no way to hold someone accountable and it makes me sick that I can't trust him.

What about filling out the

What about filling out the automatic deposit form so he doesnt have to "give" you anything. It goes automatically in the bank, you give him his cash the day it's deposited and no one feels bad? He is released from the "cashing, spending, giving you what's left" and you dont have to wonder how much he'll "donate" to the family. Problem goes away.... Guilt, anger, and resentment go away, the urge to spend is stiffled a bit. And, he may learn to budget what he has in his hand. It's logical and he can blame the bank instead of you. "grrrr, the bank has all my money!" ......you may be able to have the automatic deposit put the amount you both agree to directly into the bank account and then have the company leave the rest of the money in his check if he is a "check" kind of guy.

That is a good option

I will see if his job will let him get his checks deposited into my bank account.  He can't have access to it or he'll lose control again.

I just spoke to him on the phone not too long ago and asked him if we could revisit the idea and he conceded that he needs to turn over all financial responsibility to me.  He said, "I thought I was ready, but with the things that happened today I can see that I'm not." 

It's unfortunate that it takes a major crisis to happen before he can "see" that he needs to do things differently, but it does.  That is one good thing that has come out of all of this.

arwen's picture

limits to logic, not a trust question; direct deposit/payments?

NeedHope and Sherri,

Repeat after me, "This is *not* a trust issue, this is not a trust issue, this is not a trust issue."

I know it *feels* like one.  But if your ADHD spouses are like mine, it's actually a memory issue.  Can't *remember* the agreements.  Can't *remember* the limits.  Can't *remember* to deposit first and spend later.  Can't *remember* how much to bring home.  Can't *remember* when bills have to be paid.  Money is just such a slippery little devil, the numbers and due dates keep changing all the time, it's all too hard to keep track of.  My ADHD DH really *wanted* to handle finances well.  He *wanted* to remember.  And he thought he could handle it.  And he thought he *was* handling it, until the late fees started rolling in and the threatening letters from collections agencies got nasty and we had no money for tangible things that were important to him.

The ADHD brain does not create, store or organize memories the same way that a non-ADHD brain does.  To make a loose analogy, imagine typing with a keyboard that is sensitive/responsive versus a less-functional one where some keys stick and some don't type at all unless you pound on them.  If you try to type the same message the same way on both keyboards, you are going to get very different-looking results.    It's not that you can't *trust* the less functional one.  It just doesn't work the way the average typist needs and expects.  It's just the way things are.

If you tell your spouse that you don't "trust" him to handle the money, it may sound to him as if you're saying you don't believe he wants to behave properly.  If that's the way you really feel, fine.  But if what you really mean is that you can't *rely* on his memory, you may be better served by approaching the problem as simply that, a memory difficulty. 

BUT -- in my experience, both you *and* your ADHD spouse need to accept this point at face value, AND you must also accept what the implications of these facts are, in order to arrange finncial matters in a useful way.  At the same time, nobody likes to be treated like a child or incompetent, so in my case I tried to make sure that the solutions I proposed  ensured as much as possible that both partners retained a reasonable and practical level of dignity.  (Obviously, you and your spouse may disagree somewhat on where to draw the lines on such matters -- my DH and I sure did! -- but we were able to find a middle ground.)

My husband understood that his memory was a sieve -- but understanding the implications was a totally different matter.  All the logic and explanation I could provide did not help -- it was too overwhelming, even in small bites -- and could not overcome his unrecognized, subconscious conviction that all our creditors would understand that he was a good guy and didn't *mean* to be delinquent.  It wasn't until I let him get things into a serious mess that he was able to appreciate just how badly his memory issues could end up affecting us.  (Mind you, I'm not advocating this approach.  It's risky, no question.  I sweated bullets the whole time, it's not for the faint-hearted.  But I had tried absolutely everything else that I or anybody else could think of.  Money just wasn't *real* to him, it's just too abstract.)  I have several posts about our money management experiences and solutions on the thread "Communicating with an ADD Husband" that address this (e.g. http://www.adhdmarriage.com/content/communicating-add-husband#comment-4531, and http://www.adhdmarriage.com/content/adhd-marriage-when-doing-well-enough... on a different thread), and may help.

For us, it has been very helpful to automate as much of financial process as possible.  Each paycheck is direct deposited into our joint account.  Automatic transfers move money to a separate account that is just for paying bills electronically, and those are all pre-programmed, too.  Other automatic transfers are made for our mortgage and insurance.  Every week, a nominal amount of spending money is automatically transferred from the joint account to yet a third account which is just my husband's, where he has a debit card but no credit card, which helps greatly in limiting his spending.    However, he does have a separate credit card -- I have access to his credit card activity -- and we both have access to the joint account.   This allows him to access more money than is in his individual account with the weekly allowance, in case of emergencies -- but it means he has to do special things to access that additional money, which underscores that he is spending money that is meant for other purposes.  This way, he does not feel he is being treated like an irresponsible child, but he is reminded when he forgets that he has limits; I have all the means to manage the money, but since it is almost all automated, I'm not seen as the "bad guy" keeping him from spending more.  I don't have *quite* as much control as I'd really like, but enough to avoid the really bad problems.  He doesn't have *quite* as much freedom as he'd really like, but enough to satisfy all his needs and most of his wants, most of the time.

Hope this helps!

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



Financial Ostrich No More!

I agree with your points, Arwen, and like what you said about memory, because it's true!  I recently got a new credit card with better benefits and changed the due date from the one the credit card issued to the one I had on my old card so I could remember it. 

My husband and I have always had 3 accounts.  I thought it was weird at first, and felt defensive about it to others because it wasn't what I grew up with.  My Mom stayed at home, so by default, there was only one account.  I don't think my husband was thinking about my ADHD at the time, because I hadn't even told him that I had been diagnosed as I didn't believe in ADHD at the time (this is laughable to me now).  We both have direct deposit and on the first of each month,  money is withdrawn from both our individual accounts and put into our joint account to pay for joint expenses, like the mortgage, groceries, and other bills.  I was never a big spender, but I never kept track of my spending.  I have never bounced a check, fortunately, but I've realized I was going to come up short and my husband has had to loan me the money until I could repay it.  This was a great source of shame for me and I've finally made it through a whole year without this issue.  I've been working hard on it.  It's been difficult, because the idea of keeping track of my receipts so I can figure out what money is owed to me from purchases I've made on behalf of our family is not fun and literally makes me feel overwhelmed.  However, BEING REIMBURSED is a great motivator!  My husband used to have a "rule" that purchases under $50- didn't get reimbursed to my account.  Well, I finally proved to him that all of the monthly medicine for our son, plus all the other "Mom crap" and family crap I would always realize and remember our kids truly needed added up.  My method is to keep the receipts and highlight the sum or portions of the receipt as proof.  I number the receipts and also write each number on the area of the credit card statement where it appears (otherwise, I can't figure things out quickly).  Then, I staple the receipts to my credit card statement which I keep in my financial binder and write the amount of the transfer and the date at the top.   Next I can make an online transfer from the joint to my account and print the transfer, which also goes in my binder should my husband have questions (and he does, sometimes).   I transfer the exact amount without out rounding, so I know EXACTLY what the transfer is for (my husband suggested I round the amount, but I told him it would confuse me).  Since my expenses vary each month, this reimbursement transfer is NOT automatic.  However, I am motivated to do it because it means more money for me, and I'm trying to save more.   I know that credit cards are sometimes frowned upon for people with ADHD, but for me, it's better than money.  I can see what most of my purchases are, and I always pay my bill in full and on time.   I wouldn't recommend this method unless the ADHDer has some substantial symptom control and awareness.  I have a debit card as well, and take out 200- at a time so as not to incur as many ATM fees (DH advice).  I sometimes take out money by using a cash back option at certain stores.  I can't take out 200-, but if I'm busy and can't make it to the ATM, it kills two birds with one stone.   

I don't want to be disingenuous about my financial "prowess."  I still have things I need to work on, like investing (ugh), saving for retirement other than the plan I have through work, and contributing to our kids' college funds, which to date, I have not done, due to the fact I have never saved enough to make me feel safe that I will still be able to contribute to the joint account and have a cushion leftover (starting to formulate a plan for the last one).  My husband, meanwhile, is a financial genius who has made thousands of dollars of contributions and is dismayed that I haven't contributed to the kids' college funds.   Even so, I have had the same job for about 12 or so years (the first 3 years of which were pre-ADHD meds) and receive excellent reviews.  Reading over this, I do feel a sense of accomplishment, even if I'm not where I should be or want to be.   I have made progress in an area of my life that I have avoided forever, and that I have done what my husband said I would never do  (be financially solvent for an entire year) gives me more confidence.

arwen's picture

Oh, well done!

You *should* feel a sense of accomplishment, and proud of yourself!  There's no rule that says that you can only manage your money one way, or that everybody learns how at the same pace.   You have made important progress and are not resting on your laurels.  You've determined your motivations and put them to work for yourself.  That's a great attitude and approach.

In our household, my husband has made more money over the course of his career than I have over mine.  That's mostly because he was out of the work force being Mr. Mom with our first child for a shorter period of time than I was on the homefront after our second child (our eldest had undiagnosed ADHD as well, and once in school, he needed more supervision than a working mom could have given him).  Basically, we lived on one income for ten years, and didn't put any college money away during that time.  When I began working again, we didn't use any of my income as "living" money, it all went to the college fund and other educational opportunities for our kids, and retirement investment.  We still ended up having to borrow some money for college, but it worked out fine, and our retirement fund is currently in pretty fair shape.

As I always say, everybody's different, and what works for one won't necessarily work for another.  But if nothing else, it may spark an idea, or provide a new perspective, and that alone can be useful.

Keep up the good work!

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

On Trust

This is a trust issue. It doesn't matter what his intentions are.

If she can't rely on her husband, she also can't trust him. It's pretty simple. His intentions do not matter. They are irrelevant. You can trust him to "want" to do the right thing, but you can't trust him to actually do it. And she's actually complaining (and rightfully so) about her disappointment in his untrustworthiness in this area.

My ADD wife wants to do the right thing, but I can't trust that she'll do it. Yeah, her memory sucks. So what? I still can't trust her to pay her bills, keep a job, not make a mess of the house, etc. Doesn't matter to me why she can't. Used to. I gave some support. She leaned on in and then took advantage of it. No significant changes.

So no matter how many times you repeat "This is not a trust issue," it will remain one.

arwen's picture

different perspectives on trust

Clearly, you and I look at trust in different ways.  I think intentions *do* matter.  I was brought up as a Roman Catholic, and taught that in order for something to be a "sin", you had to (1) know it was a sin and (2) want to do it anyway.  While I have left the church these many years past, this is one teaching that I have always felt held water.  And just as intentions matter when it comes to determining wrong or blame  (e.g. in our society, different punishments for crimincal negligence and homicide), I think it also matters in trust.  So, I make a distinction between trust and reliance.  I certainly cannot *rely* on my husband to fulfill his obligations, or remember what we've talked about.  But I can *trust* him to try, because that is something he is able to consistently do, and intends to do.  It's a subtle distinction, but one that I think is important in dealing with an ADHD spouse.  In my experience, it's extremely difficult to make progress in dealing with the ADHD impacts on your relationship unless grasp this.  For many years, I did not, and it was part of the reasons that our relationship continued downhill.  My sense is that you look at trust and reliance as being equivalent.  I understand that point of view, but in my experience it does not serve the relationship well.

I know that an ADHD spouse can be intensely frustrating!  I have been fortunate that mine has not had addiction problems, but I've pretty much been through the mill with all the other common problems.  In the past, my husband used to not only forget to pay bills or exceed our credit limits or bounce checks, he would also lie to me about what had happened.  In those days, I could neither trust nor rely on him.  But when he came to understand how destructive his lying was to our relationship, and I truly began to understand how his mind worked, and what was and wasn't reasonable to expect, and find better ways to deal with it -- we were able to solve our problems.    In the process, I developed a razor-sharp ability to detect when he is lying (learned to read his "tells" and he has no clue what they are), plus I now have many ways to verify that I didn't before, and I'm pleased to say that he lies extremely rarely now (about once a month maybe, which is a miracle compared to the past).  It took a long time (five to ten years), we were separated for a while and on the verge of divorce -- but today we have a good relationship and far fewer difficulties.  Not saying it isn't still frustrating at times, and it still could be better.  But we both worked hard -- me to understand and him to change.  Many cases of two steps forward and one back (sometimes two or three! before forward again).  We continue to work on it (although admittedly not as hard as we needed to and used to in the past), and the overall trend is a positive one.

Obviously, I don't know what kind of support you gave your spouse -- but possibly it wasn't the kind she actually needed.  (Goodness knows I've done *that* enough myself!  I'm sorry to say it's a mistake I still make from time to time.)  For us, it involved an enormous amount of trial and error (since at the time, there were fewer resources like this site available to us for help).  I encourage you to objectively consider the experience of those who have successfully dealt with these problems and revisit your point of view.  There is a great deal of useful information on this site to provide ideas and insights.  Of course, every relationship is different, and it may well be that your spouse does not deserve "trust" according to my definition any more than she deserves your "reliance".  That's something only you can determine.

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


Does being married to a person with ADHD mean

you have to change the standard definition of things like what it means to trust someone or rely on them?  Do I have to change my definition of what a partner is all together?

I read your post twice in an attempt to understand what you are saying and I still don't get it.  To trust someone means you can rely on them.  That IS the definition of trust.  If you can't rely on someone, then you can't trust them.  I don't understand how you can trust someone and at the same time know you can't rely on them.  It makes no sense.  My husband can not be trusted with the debit card = I can not rely on my husband to make responsible choices with the debit card.  They are the same thing. 

To say that you can trust someone to TRY and do something is irrelevant in my humble opinion.  One thing that I learned during college is there is no TRY.  You either do something or you don't.  Try is an excuse word.  If you ask me to pay my rent, I can't say "I tried to pay the rent but there were shoes on sale so I bought those instead."  Either I paid the rent or I didn't.

I can not excuse my husband of his choices.  He made the choices he made and to say that because his intentions were NOT to make those choices does not make them effect me any less.  The ONLY thing that his intentions do are to help me to take his mistakes less personally.  I know he doesn't do these things on purpose.  Regardless of that fact, I still can not trust him.

Maybe it would help my ADD spouse feel less shame if instead of saying, "I can't trust you", I could rephrase and say "I can't trust your memory" or "I can't trust your impulsiveness" or something to that effect.  Maybe that would help him get less defensive when I make the choices I make in response to his mistakes.  I really don't want to hurt my husbands feelings or shame him, but at the same time I know he can't be trusted when it comes to money.  It's just as simple as that.

Great idea!

I think that if you told your husband that you couldn't trust his memory or impulsivity, that *should* be better received than saying you can't trust him.  I know it would be effective with me, and were it me, I would absolutely appreciate that you were differentiating between my ADHD and my character.  It's kind of you to even consider that as I'm sure his behavior must be driving you crazy.

After that, it's on him to make the necessary adjustments in order to function better as one-half of a couple.  I imagine that's the hard part:  letting go.  Good luck!

arwen's picture

A different connotation

"Trust" and "rely" are certainly considered to be synonymous in many situations, they have the same *denotation* and can be used interchangeably in many situations.  The two words have someone different *connotations*, however, which is where the subtle differences I was suggesting earlier come in.  Trust has the connotations of an aspect of faith or belief in a person's character or ability.  Rely connotes depending upon or perceiving consistency.  These are not quite the same things.

No one is asking or expecting you, however,  to change your views or definitions!  I find making these distinctions works for me and my spouse, and I offer the concept in case it might be useful to some folks.  If they don't work for you, you need to practice whatever does work for you.  What I *do* advocate to all spouses, regardless of whether ADHD is involved or not, is that it's valuable to get inside your spouse's mind and look out their eyes.  I'm not saying this is easy, and many find it to be too much trouble.  Most couples I know who manage this find that they did not really understand their spouse's viewpoint.   Often they agree on a general concept but have different standards.  For example, my ADHD spouse and I both agree that our house should be clean when we have visitors -- but my standard of clean and his are quite different.  My husband believed he was doing an adequate job with our finances, while I thought it was a mess -- his idea of adequate and mine were not the same.

Your spouse may feel that he/she is reliable because he/she fulfills obligations more often than not, while you may feel that a person cannot be considered reliable unless they fulfill obligations 95% of the time or more.  If you then say to your spouse that you think your spouse is unreliable, your spouse will more than likely interpret that to mean that you think they fulfill obligations less than half the time, based on their own internal standard or definition.

So I'm not trying to suggest that you change your definitions.  I'm trying to suggest that you and your spouse may not be communicating effectively because you are each applying slightly different interpretations to words like "trust" or "rely" or "adequate" or anything else that involves a personal judgment.  If you and I can disagree about what these things mean, so could you and your spouse.  It might prove worth your while to find out whether that's the case or not.

I also take issue with your statement that "Try is an excuse word".  Some people do use it that way, I agree.  But in other cases, what people really mean is "I'm still learning, I haven't achieved this goal yet, my execution is imperfect at this point."  We all have had to learn along the way, and while we were doing it, we were trying, even if we weren't succeeding.  Some of us just take a lot longer to learn than others -- sometimes because of disabilities, sometimes because of narrow-mindedness, sometimes because of childhood indoctrination, sometimes because of other factors or combinations of factors.  It took my ADHD spouse *seven years* of sporadic trying to learn not to blame *me* for the problems he has with his disorder -- like most of us, he found it so much easier to blame someone else besides himself, and to treat any criticism about it from me as unreasonable and uncooperative --  but he has finally accepted that his disorder is nobody's fault and we both will just have to keep working at coping with it.

I agree that it is inappropriate to excuse bad choices!  But not *every* "bad" behavior exhibited by a person with ADHD comes about by choice!  A person with ADHD cannot always *choose* to remember or forget.  Even those of us who do not have ADHD often react reflexively, without conscious choice.  I do not *choose* to have trouble thinking when I have a cacophony of racket going on all around me and six people talking to me at once, any more than a person with ADHD is always *choosing* to forget when they have many distractions.

It really isn't simple at all.

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


I really appreciate your advice

We'll just have to agree to disagree.  Maybe one day I will be able to differentiate between trusting him and relying on him, but today is not that day.  Today I don't trust him.  I know that motives and intentions matter, but it doesn't help the stress I feel today.  Actually I am glad I feel this way because it helps me to stay on task.  When I start to think of my husband in terms of "oh, he's not that bad" I let my guard down and things like this happen.  I don't want to live ever vigilant of the next disaster just waiting around the bend, but that is my life right now and I have to accept that.  Not trusting my husband helps me to accept that.  I've realized that every other time things have gone wrong I have rushed to trust him again.  I want to have a good relationship with him so badly that I get over things really quickly in an effort to show him that I accept him and that I can forgive.  Well, I realize now that is a mistake.  I forgive him, but I'm not jumping back into being the trusting wife just yet.  He has to earn the trust back and it's not going to happen in a day or week, or even a month.  I have to stay strong because as soon as I don't he takes advantage of me.  I know he doesn't mean to do it, but he does.  I've been doing this for 7 years now and I am finally strong enough to stand up for myself. 

They didn't send the check back yesterday but the bank didn't run it again so I can only assume that the management company got the returned check yesterday and I'll get a letter in the mail today.  I hate the waiting and not knowing.  The worst part about it is the stress and the worry about a situation I didn't create!  I think I may be overreacting about what will happen with the landlord.  I'll probably just have to pay some fees and then everything will be fine as long as I pay on time from here on out, but I don't KNOW that and it's making me crazy.  All I can do is wait and see and do the best I can to get things back on track.

I DO need to take better care of myself.  This situation has caused me to look at things that I do.  I take care of my husband.  It's like a mom who constantly watches their child so he won't burn himself or put something in his mouth that will make him sick.  Always watching and making sure that he doesn't hurt himself.  Then it turned to just hoping that he doesn't screw things up for me and the kids.  It went from being concerned that he wasn't arrested or hurt when he stays out all night to hoping that he comes home with gas in the car so that I can get the kids to school and go to work in the morning.  My focus shifted from caring about him to protecting myself and the kids.  That makes me feel guilty because I started feeling like I didn't care about his welfare anymore like a wife should.  It's not that I don't care about him, it's just self preservation.  Still, it doesn't help me to feel less guilt.  I want to care about him, trust him, love him the way he needs, but I don't know how.  I've done every thing I could think of and the results are always the same.  I'm not an illogical person.  I know that if something I am doing isn't work that the only thing I can do is something else.  It seems no matter how I come at this situation nothing ever changes.  The only thing left to do is to drastically change myself.  The only thing is, I do not know how to do that without disconnecting from him.  I don't know how to be autonomous and still be loving.  I didn't get married to live separately from my husband so the idea seems foreign to me.  I don't know how to be a good wife to a husband from whom I feel I have to protect myself.  I can't make sense of it.  In my mind husband = partner.  Now that I've accepted that I don't have a partner in my husband, where do I go from here?  I don't know how to love him AND protect myself from him at the same time.  The two things don't seem to go together.

I'm sorry I'm rambling now.  I'm just at a cross road right now.  I accept my husband for who he is.  He's shown me time and time again who he is and it has finally sunk in.  Now what do I do?  Where do I go from here?  I love him and I always will but I do not know if I can be his wife the way he needs all the while knowing he'll never be the husband I need.  I honestly don't know what to do.

arwen's picture


I found that restructuring was the way forward when I was where you are now.  Restructuring the relationship.  Restructuring responsibilities.  Restructuring priorities.  In my experience, the right structure is *critical* in successfully managing ADHD.

It *can* be challenging to learn to be autonomous and still be loving.  I know some people just naturally do this, but it's not in my nature.  Like yourself, I wanted to believe my husband would be the partner I had envisioned, or at least some reasonable approximation.  I wanted to be connected to that partner.  But like yourself, for me it was also a question of self-preservation.  He was "using me up" and I was constantly running on empty.  I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, the next crisis to develop, and the stress of that uncertainty was like being the proverbial cat on the hot tin roof.  One can manage to live that way now and then maybe, but not as a way of living every day.

For me, it was necessary to try to "model" my husband's thought processes -- treat it like a "black box" -- figure out what goes in and what comes out, under what conditions.  This was very difficult and unpleasant and time-consuming for both of us, but in the end I came away with a pretty good approximation of how his thinking works,, even if I never will understand *why*.  I discovered that typically, when he's trying to answer a question or make a decision, he only brings two or three factors into the process, and while there is a high probability that one of them will involve his personal comfort (digestive, entertainment, emotional, whatever), the others are pretty much random.  When he comes to a decision or answer, he virtually never asks if it's a good answer, let alone whether it's the best answer -- as far as he's concerned, *any* answer is acceptable (I should be grateful he found one at all).  And so on -- we don't have enough time or space for me to describe it all.  But when I was done investigating his brain like a bug under a microscope, I was able to predict and anticipate a lot of his behaviors.

Being able to predict and anticipate gave me what I needed to avoid problems to begin with -- head them off before they ever occurred.  And it significantly reduced the stress of uncertainty.  Naturally, my spouse didn't like it very much when I was occasionally wrong, because it felt to him that I was being unfair to prejudge him -- so I did work hard to treat my conclusions as "working hypotheses" instead of facts.

We were able to restructure our responsibilities so he could be helpful and productive within the limits of his abilities to keep track of things.  We got him a PDA, that would sync up with his computer at work.  (Of course, I *still* have to tell him to put stuff *in* it at times, but that's still way better than the way it was before.)  We regularized his schedule as much as possible, so that he could deal with a lot of things from daily habit.  I let him continue to interact with our kids in ways he could handle reasonably well, like helping with science/math homework, or material projects, but kept him away from other situations he handled badly.  Our kids could see that these arrangements worked better and helped maintain them when their dad would sometimes stray away from the regular setup.

I had to relax some of my standards, which was a bitter pill to swallow -- when you have always believed in excellence, it's galling to settle for barely average -- but the only alternatives were no sleep and insanity, which wasn't really an option.  Because he had trouble driving safely, I stopped letting him drive our kids anywhere and arranged other transportation if I could, or drove them myself.  I certainly did more than my fair share of the work as a result, and it put paid to my career ambitions, which made me very sad.

I also had to learn to interact with him differently.  I learned in the course of my miscroscopic investigations that in general, any strong emotion -- positive or negative -- gets seriously in the way of my husband's brain functioning.  So I damped down the emotion in our ordinary interactions.  (Humor, however, we kept!)  I made sure that when I needed to deal with him on matters that were bound to get emotional somewhere along the lines (e.g. serious strong anger, love, joy), I chose a time when I didn't need him to be mentally functional.  I still experienced *my* feelings of anger, love and joy when I naturally felt them, but I put off their *expression* -- "put it on the back burner", so to speak.  It's not natural, and it's not what one would prefer, but it can be done and it can be helpful.  If I want to share those feelings *right now*, I share them with others I'm close to -- family, friends.  That doesn't mean I don't sometimes spontaneously share feeling with my spouse, though.  Some feelings *don't* generate strong emotions, and we can interact about those.  We actually set up regularly scheduled meetings, and handled them like a business situation, to deal with both logistics and conflicts.

And especially -- no more fairy tales, make believe, let's pretend, or whatever other label you might want to stick on the disconnect-from-reality mentality that my husband used as a place to root his fantastic perceptions of life.  My husband's credibility  with me lives and dies solely by his track record.  I can't count the thousands of times I've said to him, "I know you think you mean what you are saying, but ... ", or "I know you want that to be true, but ... " or "I'm sure you're sincere in your belief, but ..." -- "*I don't see the evidence*", and then I invite him to give me examples of his behavior that back up his statements.  And if he expresses a viewpoint about *my* behavior that I'm convinced is skewed or outright wrong, I provide him with chapter and verse about *my* track record.  It's tedious, but it makes the point that the intentions or beliefs are *less important* than the actions.

This was and is all hard work!  And it obviously doesn't happen overnight.  It's restrictive and frustrating and painful and not what anybody would ever ask for.  And while all this restructuring worked and still works for us, that doesn't mean it will work for everybody.  Some folks with ADHD can't deal with as much as my spouse can.  Some non-ADHD spouses are already past the point of no return.  But maybe you can see something in it that you can use.  Even if you read it and say, well, *that* won't work -- ruling things out is almost as useful as ruling things in.

Am I the wife my husband needs?  Is he the spouse I want?  It's really hard to say.  All I really can say is that we tried separation, and while that brought temporary much-needed relief to both of us, in the end it wasn't as good for us as trying again to make it work.  In the meantime, I managed to bring my kids through college to adulthood (not without some scars), and without completely self-destructing.

I hope so much that you can find a way for you and your kids to make it through to a better place, with fewer scars and pain than I and so many others here went through.  Don't blame yourself for your good motives or feel guilty about your limits -- you are doing the best you can in a very tough situation.  That's the best any of us can do.  Hugs and Health!

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




NeedHope1980, This is a tuff


This is a tuff spot to be in and I think many of us, including myself, are at the same crossroad.  I'm finding that I am the same way, loosing my ability to care, trust or love my husband.  For me, I don't know how because he refuses to talk to me as these subjects are way too deep for him to discuss with me.  Why, I have a feeling I'll never know.  Although several years ago he had no problem discussing these deep subjects with a woman he had an emotional affair with, go figure!    Oh well, by then, I was pretty much used to the fact that communication between us would never be where it needed to be.   I have learned to detach from my husband and have done my best to live my life the way I want to live.  The decision wasn't what I ever expected to have to choose but I did so in order to save myself from destruction. 



I wonder how the ADD/ADHDer would be if the shoe were on the other foot?   I ask my husband this from time to time in situations that arise and all he says is "I don't know I'm not in that situation".    Sometimes I long to be the untrustworthy one and the one that noone can depend on.  IT ISN'T FAIR!!!!!

Frankly, I just get so tired

Frankly, I just get so tired of everything having to be at crisis level before my husband will take any kind of action.

I Remember in the beginning

I Remember in the beginning of our marriage (15 years) my dh said "I'm not a smart man, you have to tell me something over and over and over and over again until I get it..." that is all i see when the same thing happens over and over and over. I had been conditioned to go balasitc before he could recognize there was a problem and then "i was crazy" and since his brain finally was "stimulated", he could finally "see"... So much time could have been saved had we known. I wouldn't be sitting here in a huge pile of anger, resentment, lack of respect, and tired. I have to say, he has been the calm one lately, he is really trying and i think he see's how much damage has been done, but how long CAN it last? Anyway, i bought a book and hope it helps him and me - he is perfect for "all his bad self talk" that seems to make things ten times worse. He puts words in my mouth I would never dream of saying to a human being... He believes them. Then it's up to me to undo what his thoughts do. Well, I decided a very long time ago to only hold myself responsible for things i actually said and he can deal with the rest. Maybe this book can help, it's called "how to deal with self-defeating thinking habits". Anyway, i hope your discussion goes well.

My husband is like that with laundry

If there is ONE CHANGE of clothes for us both, he won't do laundry. Maybe that's not the outfit I want to wear for what I'm doing the next day. No thought of having a drawer and closet full of clean laundry ready to wear (sigh!).

so sorry

I'm the one with adhd and I just wanted to say I'm sorry I see now how bad it can get. how it affected the people in my family. I've taken over the budget many times over many years but it always ends up badly and I'm always looking for a reason to take it from my husband and do it myself because well frankly...it's easier to skim off the top when no one is looking. I always had a reason because the ways and reasons to spend money are endless. unfortunatly the money is not. I faught my husband for a long time when he said I was terrible with money because to me it wasnt true. the money was always somewhere we just had to find it :) whether it was moving a bill around or selling someones stuff around the house for that extra five dollars to buy something else. it feels like a drug. when someone cuts off your money you go into the shakes and start going crazy. you will foresake all those you love in order to get that next fix and the sneakier you do it the more you get away with it. the more you manipulate the more you get. guilt? occasionally. once I had my fix I was usually sorry and then I would get angry because "I said I wouldnt do it again" and my husband didnt believe me. he was angry!

but I can do the budget now and I learned how to say "no!"  as long as I can remember I've never had to say no. there was always change under some couch cushion. always someone who wanted to buy a dvd off my shelf or someone willing to listen to my bull crap about unforseen circumstances and how desperate my situation was.

good luck

I have dealt with my

I have dealt with my husband's manipulation and the guilty feelings for many years.  It is not a fun place to be.

Just tired

I say to all whom deal with this, after years of thinking it was me not making enough money, while raising two kids... I began to realize that some families make it on a third of what my husband and I make. I began to realize the way some evaluate the situation of debt is to say the others not making enough. I also began to realize it makes you seriously crazy, makes you angry , not trust, hateful, just plain miserable. I am writing this to say Thanks to all the comments , I learned that it isn't just in my life. I have tried to do everything above in comments. Nothing is working he just gets more CC adds on them and expects me to get with it and pay them.. It's like talking to a Box, tryin to explain you can not keep spending what you don't have, getting more jobs is not helping the spending issue.. I can handle cleaning the dirty house and clothes lying around for me to pick up, but when it comes to finances I need stability. I have raised two brilliant kids, have made them think I am crazy with their dads stress put on me. I just hope one day they may realize he might just have ADD or something and it was not just mom yelling all the time for no reason. Anyway, this is to all that are going thru it, Marriage is a commitment and I strongly believe this. After 27yrs I know it can't get any worse..

Going through a myriad of emotions

Today I feel confused, angry, and insecure.  I was hoping the bank would try and run the check again because now I have enough money in the account, but they haven't.  So now I'm waiting for my landlord to send me a letter outlining what I have to do to get back on track.  I'm sure it will include some fees that I can't afford especially since the 1st is right around the corner and I'll have to come up with the money to pay the rent again. 

The hardest part about all of this is the feeling of knowing that my husband is not my partner.  I really appreciate the advice.  I understand that it is probably a memory issue.  I can totally see where he could lose track and forget.  That being said, I still can't trust him.  And I blame MYSELF because of it.  We only have one debit card at the moment because he doesn't have a job and there isn't any money in his account.  So I asked him to go and get some diapers for the twins a while back and I gave him my debit card.  I never asked for it back.  I TRUSTED him that he wouldn't use it.  I was wrong.  Had I simply asked for it back and kept it with me, this all may have been prevented.  It sucks that I have to do that. 

I told him this yesterday.  I told him that I HATE that I have to check up on him like he's a child.  That I can't trust him to hold on to our money.  It makes me sick.  The whole situation makes me sick because the money was there.  I went to work every day and counted my pennies and managed the money and knew exactly how much we had.  It was tight, but there was enough money there to pay for everything.  And then *POOF*!  Not only is the money gone, but I know have to figure out how to pay late fees and bounced check fees and I don't know if the landlord is through with us and will evict us.  Then where will we go?  What will we do?  And I'm sure it will be all on me to figure it out. 

I feel sorriest for our children.  They didn't ask for any of this.  I can't make plans to do things with them on the weekends because I'm not sure I'll have the money there to do things with them.  I'm so sad.  I'm depressed.  This isn't what I thought life would be like.  I knew life would be hard and I knew money would be tight sometimes and I was ready to accept that, but I thought we would work together.  Now, not only do I have a husband who doesn't work with me I have one who works AGAINST me.  He brings me down.  He brings US down - our entire family.  So I really don't care if his memory made him do it, his ADD, or if the devil himself made him do it, I'm done living like this.  I resolve to get myself out of this mess that I didn't not create and never again give him access to our money so that he can ruin us.  I will be strong regardless of how badly he makes me feel when I say NO.  I will be strong regardless of whether or not I have to run every errand myself so that he does not get his hands anywhere near my debit card.  I am going to do this, because I realize that I can not change him at all.  No amount of loving him or trusting him or talking to him is going to make him better.  He has to do that for himself.  So this is me throwing in the towel on him and handing it back to myself so that I can dry my tears with it and get up and do what I have to do.  My story will not end in financial ruin.  I am going to get it together once and for all no matter what. 

What type of work CAN he do?

What type of work CAN he do? Can he find a night job? Something to contribute? Can you have him set a deadline to get a job? I see all kinds of "help wanted" signs now that school has started back up. A lot of college kids have gone back to school. Who would help out with the kids during the day? He needs to step up. No more excuses. This is real life with lots of responsibilities. He may be too overwhelmed with the twins. I find that your whole brain does turn to mush when with the kids all day, but a part time job at night may help to stimulate him enough to get back into the groove of working and contributing. There is really no one else to rely on but you. Being frustrated and mad at them only seems to push them backwards and makes them unable to move forward. There has to be a consequence for his actions just as there should be a reward for doing something to help contribute... Maybe his reward will be a sense of accomplishment or just getting out with grown ups again. I'm not trying to offer an excuse for him, but being with children all day is a different drain on your body... You really need grown up stimuli to get you moving again and playing video games is Not the answer. I feel you frustration and pain. So sorry.

Thank you for your kind words

He has a job interview today.  It's for a customer service job.  He's worked these types of jobs before, so I'm pretty sure he'll get hired. 

I understand how overwhelming taking care of the twins can be.  The problem is he doesn't ask for help.  My mom offers to help him, but I guess he doesn't feel comfortable accepting.  That's another thing that frustrates me.  His whole attitude of "I got this" when it's so clear that he's failing but he only recognizes that he's failing after he has failed.  It's an on going cycle and it can almost always be avoided. 

He's not giving me any more excuses.  He's so ashamed at what he's done.  He admitted to me yesterday that he should have listened to me about handing over his checks but he let his ego get in the way.  He said he realizes now that he can't handle finances and that he can't be trusted to have access to our money.  He's all apologies now that it's hit the fan.  His words are falling on deaf ears at this point.  The only thing that is keeping us together now is the fact that I don't want the kids to grow up without a full time father.  Yeah, their dad is screwing up big time and making me miserable in the process but they still love him.  I can't take their father away from them.  I won't do it. 

I once read that people with ADD are sometimes more willing to work for others than they ever would be for themselves.  My husband is like that.  He is super motivated right now.  The worst consequence for his action is seeing me upset and knowing he is the cause.  He will do anything to get things back on track once he's derailed them.  The only time anything changes in our marriage is when things have gone terribly bad. Once he sees the outcome of his missteps, he steps into gear big time.  I'm sure he'll get a job this month and be humble as all get out until things are back on track.  Then it will start all over again because he can't remember how it felt during the crisis.  If he could only remember how it feels right now then he wouldn't do these things.  I read that people with ADD think of time as Now and Not Now.  I could modify that for my husband as Crisis and No Crisis.  He is the most responsible person when there is a crisis.  He hyperfocuses on how to get us out of it.  Once it's done it's like he works equally as hard to make another crisis and even fights with me when I try to avoid one.  It's as if he wants to live in a state of catastrophe because that is the only time when he is responsible.

There is NOTHING to feel bad

There is NOTHING to feel bad about when you're literally protecting your family from losing their home. I FULLY understand everything you're saying about wanting to 'trust' (the wording doesn't matter, in the end 1+1=2) them to not spend money without asking to avoid things EXACTLY LIKE THIS. It isn't something you should have to live with and I am with you that he should not be given use of the debit card again until he is, at the very least, making his own money and isn't taking from the account that pays the bills for the family and provides a roof for everyone.

Have you considered calling the landlord and explaining it was a simple error and asking him to run it back through when he gets it back? I find they are always willing to work with you if you give them a heads up instead of waiting for them to have to come to you. Could you offer to pick up the check from him and give him cash instead? (be sure to get a receipt!) Just anything to show him that you do have the money and maybe he'll let the late fees slide? I find that tears help too...much better than being a witch. LOL

I feel your pain. There are no words to describe the feeling that you feel wanting so badly to have a partner who UNDERSTANDS that taking out money from the account, even just one withdraw that isn't discussed, can cause a shit storm of problems and living a life where you are constantly trying to avoid that shit storm isn't fair to anyone. If there was one thing I could make my husband understand, that I feel is the ONLY hope that he'll ever be more responsible with money, is the amount of stress it adds to my life trying to play keep up with him and his spending and go behind him to look and see "can I pay this bill?" and then living with the dread that if I do, he'll have used his debit card and it won't go through. I think in their minds is about NOTHING BUT CONTROL and the truth of the matter is, I just want to be able to say "Ok, here is you X amount of money and me X amount of money and the rest is going for bills" and being able to empty the account, pay the bills, and not worry that two days later they'll come and say "I need ______"

I offered, in good faith, to give my husband his debit card back about a week ago and he refused it. Said he didn't trust himself. I was only going to ask a couple of ground rules (ask before taking money out and when I say we have no more money in the account, believe it and don't use your debit card) and take a leap of faith that he would somehow agree to them, but he didn't want the card he said. A few days later I realize that he took it and has still yet to tell me he has it. I am going to sit down and figure out the rest of the bills and then empty the account and use cash for the remainder of the next two weeks until next payday. Otherwise, I will not be able to pay the bills and they are already behind enough. I feel he'll be OK with that...I truly have no choice. I need money for gas for school and we'll need groceries by the end of the week. I have several hundred more dollars worth of bills to pay too. I just don't want to fight with him about it, but I have to pay bills. I'm losing sleep over them again. :( (Christmas just around the corner isn't helping either!)

(((HUGS))) Please try and be proactive with the landlord and explain to them that you have the money and wish to make good on the check. I think a conversation with them to clear the air might help ease some of your worry and take the stress of not knowing off of you. No one wants to evict someone...they just want their money. With the way things are, a good faith effort is all anyone seems to want any more. (((HUGS)))



I wish I could

I live in a complex, so a management team is my landlord.  If it were one person, I'd call and take your advice.  I can't do that because it's a corporation.  If I call they will say they haven't received any returned check.  Basically I just have to wait and follow the instructions.  As long as I give them the money we probably won't get evicted.  They might say that I can't pay with checks anymore which would be very inconvenient. 

arwen's picture

You are in my prayers

I hope this current situation works out for you OK.  My heart aches for you, I've been through the same kind of despair and depression.  My husband and I had to separate before he got seriously committed to making things work better.  You are 100% right that you cannot change your spouse, he has to change himself, and until it's important to *him* to do that, it won't happen.  You can *help* him, you can work with him, you can offer him ideas or insights, but the motivation must come from within him.

I also felt terrible, for my kids.  And for their sake, I shouldered the load and did what had to be done, for their benefit and future.  Sherri is right, that you (and I) have nothing to feel bad about, but knowing that doesn't necessarily make one feel any better.  It's a very tough row to hoe.

When I went through this "Slough of Despond"  ten to fifteen years or so ago, I did not get any counseling and I did not take good enough care of my health, both of which in retrospect I feel were mistakes.  Of course, back then, there wasn't much *available* in the way of counseling for someone in my shoes, but even some kind of single parent support group would probably have helped.  (Because from my perspective, that's what the non-ADHD spouse effectively is, in your and my former kind of situation.)  And while my health wasn't badly impacted at the time, the cumulative physiological punishment of inadequate sleep, too much stress, and the effort of always having to be strong eventually took its toll over the years.  It's an easy trap to fall into, and I hope you will be able to avoid it as much as possible.  Take care of yourself as much as you can!

[I'd like to clearly state my priorities in dealing with my ADHD spouse while I raised a family and worked.  My children were *always* my first priority.  I delayed having children so we could save a stash of money that would enable me to stay home with them when they were young.  When I went back to work, it was primarily to provide money for their college and other educational opportunities.  I was very fortunate in that my husband had "found his niche" and was able to hold down a good paying job, but unfortunate in that he was not diagnosed until he was in his forties and prior to that was in very serious denial about his problems.  While our children were growing up, after he was diagnosed, my viewpoint was that I was sorry that he had ADHD, and that I would try to help him as long as he worked as hard as I did at solving the problems, but that my first priority was to make sure that it had as minimal a negative impact on our kids as possible.  (Not unlike King Canute trying to hold back the tide!  Although I was successful in many ways, I did not manage as well as I would have liked.)  I expected him to be as much of a grownup as he could manage -- regardless of whether he understood what a father's responsibilities were when we had kids or not, he was stuck with the job once they were born.  After our kids were no longer living at home, I was able to give my spouse a good deal more of my time and assistance, more patience, more understanding -- and that has helped our relationship greatly.  If I had understood his problems better while our kids were growing up, it probably would have been even more help to our kids, but there weren't many resources for help back then.  When I talk now about dealing with an ADHD spouse, I'm speaking from my current knowledge, based largely (though not entirely) on the past seven years, but I wasn't able to handle it well myself while we still had kids at home.  After my spouse came my job.  And I'm afraid I've always made myself the last priority, which frankly is nuts, and I don't recommend it to anyone, but I can't seem to stop myself -- childhood indoctrination.]

Your words about how you didn't think that this was what life would be like -- "I knew life would be hard and I knew money would be tight sometimes and I was ready to accept that, but I thought we would work together" -- are *exactly* the way I felt.  I'm so sorry you are going through this, too, it is an awful feeling.  My husband to this day does not entirely understand what being a partner involves, although he has a much better understanding than he did 15 years ago, when he didn't grasp it at all.

I got through it, and I believe you *can* get through this, too.  And I don't necessarily mean "and save your marriage".  To me, that was paradoxicallly important but incidental -- what I mean is, I believe that *you* and your kids can come through this OK, with whatever path you choose.  It seems to me that you've come to the moment of truth, and you're looking it in the eye and refusing to be licked.  So even though it may not feel very good in some ways, you should be proud of your courage and take heart.  I will keep you in my prayers!

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

No One Listening

How do you handle the lonliness of being the non ADD spouse who knows that any thought or emotion you are going through that you share, is gone from the ADD mind in less than a day? Do we just make small talk? cuz that is about as shallow a relationship as anyone can have.  

We have that problem too.

My therapist (I'm the non-ADD) suggested shrinking the window of when I'm ready to talk about it, and increasing his "right now" window. Our marriage counselor also suggested he write down what happened and the emotions he felt in that moment, so when I was ready to talk about it, he could recall it better, and we could actually have a real constructive conversation about it. (Believe me, we've been there where you are, and at times we can't even say good morning to each other with out the other person saying "what's that supposed to mean?")

Another suggestion is journaling when you're having feelings and there's "no one" there to listen to you. Just sit down at the computer, and pound it out on the keyboard about how you're feeling. Or, write it out in a notebook or something. Also, using your own friends and family as an outlet to talk about meaningful things to you, is a good way to not feel lonely. You may also have to face up to the fact that meaningful conversations with your spouse can only revolve around what stimulates them, for right now. Until you can get into therapy and start having real "learning conversations" about this issue, try connecting with your spouse on only the things they enjoy. Again, this is just for now until you can work it out professionally.

Hope this helps.

We had problems with rent as well

My husband wrote a check for our first half-month's rent on a joint account he had with his mother. They closed that joint account without realizing that the landlord never cashed the check. Three months later, the landlord cashed the check, or tried to. They had held the check because my husband had never signed it! Then they put it through (without telling him he hadn't signed it). When it bounced, they made us pay by money order or certified check indefinitely. Yes, that is inconvenient. But we've never been late on the rent and we've never bounced a rent check. When he was getting paid at the beginning of the month, I went and got the check on the 1st. Now we just don't have him use his unemployment debit card at all, and I pay for everything else. Then when the rent is due, he pulls the money he's gotten in unemployment that month and we get the rent check. At least if you get a certified check for the rent, you know you won't be homeless. I think it was a blessing in disguise.

You may be right

Perhaps this is the only way to get back on track.  I know we won't be late and the funds will be there, I just hate the idea of having to pay $1 for the money order.  In the end though, it will probably save us hundreds if not thousands of dollars in late fees.

There is always a silver lining.  Thanks for reminding me! 

It IS a trust issue

The idea that the never-ending antics of the ADHD spouse don't boil down to a trust issue for the non-ADHD spouse really bothers me. They can't help it? It’s just how their brains work. Therefore, in order to feel normal and safe in your marriage you must perform daily functions (such as paying bills) in secret, play keep-away with the ATM card, lower your standards to expect failure, expect disappointment, expect worry, expect your spouse to blame you for phantom wrongs and make sure you never ever slip up and respond with outrage to that which is outrageous. Give me a break!

My younger sister has a visual impairment, but nobody in my family has become emotionally and financially debilitated from the daily grind of keeping her from driving the car. Think about it.

arwen's picture

trust, reliability, acceptance, expectation

Smithy,  I'm sorry that my post on trust and reliability has riled you and others.  I can see I'm not doing as good a job of communicating as I'd like, and I apologize for my shortcomings.  I'm trying to make certain subtle distinctions that I think are nonetheless important in understanding and dealing *effectively* with an ADHD spouse.

I remember when I was taking driver education back in the dark ages, my instructor said something that has always stuck with me about the right-of-way.  "You can *give* the right of way," he said, "but you can't take it."  What he meant is that the law defines right of way, and based on the law, a certain driver in any given situation has the right of way and the others don't.  The driver who has the right of way always has the option to yield to another driver, giving them the right of way.  However, if another driver acts in conflict with the driver who has the right of way, that still doesn't put that other driver *in possession* of the right of way.  It's an important distinction.

Similarly, trust can be given but not taken.  If someone is trustworthy, they have earned our gift of trust.  It's a gift because trust is our *belief* in something that cannot be seen, measured, or counted, because it  involves a person's integrity, honesty, character -- all intangibles, like a right of way.  Reliability, on the other hand, is measurable or countable.  We observe a person's actions and we can keep track of them over time and determine from these observations whether someone is consistent or not.  It is all about track records.

My ADHD spouse lacks the brain capability to be consistent and predictable beyond a certain point.  He is not reliable and probably never will be.  However, his inconsistency is only because of his lack of brain capabilities, not because he lacks integrity or honesty or character.  His inconsistency doesn't occur because he can't be bothered to try to be consistent, it's not because he doesn't care whether his inconsistency is a problem for others, it's not because he thinks being consistent is too hard or stupid or unreasonable.   When he behaves inconsistently, he is generally  able to consider and evaluate why it happened, without excusing himself, and he works at devising better means of being less inconcsistent in the future.  Therefore, I can trust him to try to do his best to be reliable, even if he and I realize he will never actually achieve it -- at least he will continually improve.

This said, there certainly was a time when I could neither trust nor rely on my ADHD spouse.  In the past, when he would forget, when he would fail, he would lie -- both to himself and to me.  He would excuse, he would whine, he wouldn't take responsibility.  That guy I definitely could not trust.  But we worked at it and worked at it and he turned that around.  I learned what he truly could not handle or manage despite all kinds of efforts and exhausting every possible approach we could think of, and therefore what was reasonable to expect and accept, and he learned to take responsibility for his actions as well as his intentions.

Just as there is a distinction between trust and reliability, there is a difference between acceptance and expectation.  I expect my husband is going to have problems because historically they have been endemic and I'd be an idiot to ignore that.  I don't accept that there's nothing that can be done about them.  I don't accept that he can't improve or find work-arounds or new strategies and tactics -- in fact, I know he has been able to in the past and there's no reason to think he can't continue to do so in the future.  But asking him to remember every detail of everything he hears or sees is idiotic -- he can't do it, his brain is incapable of functioning adequately to perform those tasks.  It would be just as idiotic for him to insist that I be able to run marathons with my asthma, plantar fasciitis and lower leg lymphedema -- I just can't do it.  In my experience, and the experience of many others I know with ADHD partners, it's essential in living effectively with an ADHD spouse that both partners make every effort to evaluate and understand as much as possible what their own and the other partners abilities and limitations are, and then to formulate mutually acceptable approaches to dealing with them.  Both expectations and acceptance have to be carefully applied.

You said, "Therefore, in order to feel normal and safe in your marriage you must perform daily functions (such as paying bills) in secret, play keep-away with the ATM card, lower your standards to expect failure, expect disappointment, expect worry, expect your spouse to blame you for phantom wrongs and make sure you never ever slip up and respond with outrage to that which is outrageous."  This in no way represents my perspective or philosophy of an appropriate relationship, nor has it ever, nor have I practiced any of these behaviors.  I do not pay bills in secret nor see why anyone else  should either.  I do not play keep-away with the ATM card.   My husband and I developed our financial management structure together, it is consensual.  I don't lower my standards to expect failure, I lower my standards to expect the level of accomplishment that his brain is physiologically capable of, which happens to be less robust than mine, just as he lowers his expectations of my physical endurance which happens to be less robust than his.  I do not expect disappointment, worry or inappropriate blame and routinely chew out my spouse when that happens, and I most emphatically am outraged at the outrageous (whether it comes from a person with ADHD or without).

As far as feeling normal and safe in your relationship with your ADHD partner -- well, I guess to some extent that depends on your criteria for feeling "normal" and "safe".   I know people who live in the same situation with an ADHD spouse as I do, and who feel normal and safe even when I would not -- because they grew up in (to my way of thinking) an abnormal and unsafe environment, and therefore have a lower standard of normal and safe than I do, who grew up in an extremely safe although perhaps not entirely normal household.    I certainly didn't feel safe with my ADHD partner ten or fifteen years ago, and while I nearly always do now, every once in a blue moon something happens that makes me feel less secure.  On the other hand, I don't think my level of "insecurity" about my marriage is any different than a lot of other married people, without an ADHD spouse.  As far as normality goes,  I have to say that I don't really think anybody's *entitled* to a "normal" relationship in the first place,  and frankly I'm not interested in a "normal" relationship in the second place -- normality is too dull for my tastes.

What I'm really trying to get at in all this is that it's very easy to make mistakes in attributing motives or explanations to ADHD behaviors, and I've found in my and other ADHD relationships that the greatest successes have stemmed from a realistic differentiation between feeling and facts, between interpretations and realities -- and that if you want to heal your relationship, it can be very useful for both partners to eschew all the judgments, conclusions, feelings and wishful thinking and get their hands around a mutual understanding of what simply is and isn't.  When we say we can't trust our ADHD partner, we are not just commenting on their consistency, we are also passing judgment on their character -- which in some cases may be deserved, but in other cases may not be.  Learning to separate fact from opinion requires patience, objectivity and dedication to the goal.  It sounds like you are struggling with this kind of approach, which is perfectly natural and understandable -- I was there once myself, and I appreciate how you seem to feel.  But it is possible to get to a much better place if you can learn to see the paradigm in this different light.

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

Re-establish excellence?

With respect I don't think there's a diversity of choices when it comes to the criteria for feeling normal and safe. The UN and Red Cross agree that food, clothing and shelter are the basic requirements, and for a lot of commenters here those three things are rarely assured. In an early post within this thread you wrote, "when you have always believed in excellence, it's galling to settle for barely average -- but the only alternatives were no sleep and insanity ... " and I was reacting mostly to that sentiment. 

Over the years of adjusting expectations,  have you been able to re-establish a level of excellence?

arwen's picture

I understand your point about

I understand your point about food, clothing and shelter being basic necessities -- they are certainly a criterion for safety  (although I still take issue on the "normal" part of it -- truth be told, the "normal" condition of most of the world is "unsafe" by the definition you would seem to be applying).  But when you say "assured" -- assured by whom?

Most of us here are not fundamentally dependent on our ADHD spouse.  (Those who are, do have a very serious problem, and my comments in this post are not intended to address this situation.)  I am the primary person who is responsible for my safety -- my ADHD spouse's responsibility is to not endanger it, either actively or through negligence, just as I should not endanger his safety.  Realistically, we all make mistakes, we all forget at times.  Have you *never* left a door unlocked, or failed to realize you spilled and created a slipping hazard, or whatever?  Most of us do, albeit very rarely.  So I don't think it's realistic to hold my spouse to the "never endanger me" standard, the most it seems to me that I can fairly expect is that he not endanger me more than I endanger him.  My spouse is not responsible for "assuring" my safety, I am.  If I feel I am in danger being with him, I have the choice of leaving (even though that would certainly be a hardship, it is still a choice).  And  "not endangering my safety" does not include him  "not endangering" *my* specific view of what our lives should be like, it just covers "not endangering" the minimal necessities of life.

I *do understand* that some ADHD spouses of folks here (and elsewhere) *do not meet* this criterion.  But from what I read in these posts, that is not mostly the case -- most of us are in a relationship where we do not *have* to be dependent, and our partners create a lot of problems and cost us a lot of money but rarely truly endanger our physical safety -- though they sure do drive us crazy.

Some folks choose (I believe usually unconsciously) to be co-dependent in an ADHD relationship.  I've seen this work, actually, but more typically it does not.  For a time, I was myself in a co-dependent relationship with my spouse, but when that turned out to jeopardize my children's futures, I worked my way back to an independent position.  It took a long time, it was a lot of work.  But I can support myself.  I can take care of my own needs.  I can ensure my own safety.  I can't accomplish everything I wanted to without the cooperation of a partner, but I don't need him.  I'm certainly not in any way disparaging the difficulties or efforts of someone who is in a co-dependent relationship, but for most it is a choice, and one that they can un-choose (not without pain or sacrifice, I do appreciate).  In my view, a partnership should make one's life richer, or easier, or provide some other improvement over being alone, but if it doesn't, one has the choice of continuing to bear the burden of it and reaping whatever benefits the partnership does provide, or leaving the partnership with the whatever loss that involves -- or sometimes, one can restructure the relationship to limit the potential harm and maximize the potential benefit (not unlike what corporations do when they go through financial restructuring), which is the course I chose and try to help others to understand.  If one chooses to maintain a co-dependent unsafe relationship rather than move to an independent position, I sympathize but cannot offer much more than palliatives.

As far as being able  to re-establish a level of excellence, is concerned, the answer is a qualified yes.  When it comes to money, my spouse will *never* be able to master the necessary skills and information in order to *manage* the complexities well.  But he *has* learned to operate within a fixed budget, and we can set up a trust for him when I die.  In other arenas, his progress has been slow but steady.  We have worked together to clean up his credit rating and he has kept it clean for the last five years.  He no longer has the boundary problems he used to, he is able to interact socially with others perfectly normally (i.e. like people without ADHD).  He has learned to be much more safety conscious -- takes better care of his car, no longer leaves power tools out plugged-in and "live",  only rarely creates hazards for others (no more than a non-ADHD person does), changed his driving so that he no longer has any problems and is an excellent driver.  He doesn't remember absolutely everything I would like -- but he does take special care to deal with the really important things appropriately, with extra alarms in his PDA and paper reminders in key places.  These accomplishments give me reason to hope for other re-establishments of excellence in the future.

He still frustrates me on a daily basis -- mostly in the area of ambiguous communication (an area where he has definitely improved but still has problems).  His personal room is a disaster area that I won't go into except in an emergency, and about twice a year, I have to tell him to spend a weekend retrieving it from the brink of being a germ factory.  These are areas for future improvement.  It is a long, slow, painstaking process -- I've learned I can't "fight" too many "battles" at once, it is more than he can cope with, so I have to prioritize and give the current improvements a chance to become ingrained habit before moving on to further issues.

Yes, I did write "... when you have always believed in excellence, it's galling to settle for barely average -- but the only alternatives were no sleep and insanity ... " -- I was referring to an earlier point in our relationship (something I thought was clear in my earlier post, but again perhaps I was not communicating well).  And I still settle for "barely average" in some of the areas we have not yet worked on.  But frankly, the progress he has made, the effort he has put in, have made me a more patient and less galled where there is still work to be done.

My spouse and I have a particular problem -- he not only has ADHD, he also has Seasonal Affective Disorder, which fortunately does not make him extremely depressed during the winter but does have significant adverse impacts in his ADHD.  So every winter he reverts to "bad" ADHD behaviors.  It's not something he's even aware of, and we've found ways to mitigate the problems, but it's still like taking the proverbial "one step back" each year from all the improvement made earlier.  Yet *even with this additional wrench in the works*, he still overall improves from year to year, he has still managed to re-attain certain levels of excellence.

Look, it's not ideal.  It's not what I wanted (but then life isn't obligated to deliver that, is it?).  And it was really really hard getting to where we are, for both of us.  We've both had to learn to understand (at least to some degree) a mind that works extremely differently from our own.  It's not "fair" to *either* of us (life isn't obligated to deliver that, either).  At one point we chose to separate because we didn't think we could make it work.  Later we chose to try again.   Trying again involved making compromises, doing things we didn't like for a future better life.  In the end, it's a question of one's priorities, and what kind of pain you are or are not willing to go through to achieve them. 

I don't pass judgment on anybody's decisions,  I can't know what's right for them.  All I can do is share the knowledge I have gleaned, explain the mistakes that I've realized that I or others made, and relate the experiences (both positive and negative) that I and others have had in dealing with the problems, in the hope that it can be of value to people who find themselves in a similar situation to where I've already been.  Sometimes that involves suggesting ideas that seem surprising or counter-intuitive or just plain crazy.  But they are ideas born of successful experience, and as such I think they have some merit and value for *somebody*.  A lot of the issues and problems that are commonplace with ADHD revolve around the differences in points of view between the ADHD partner and the non-ADHD partner.  Based on my experience, I'm trying to shed some light on these differences and open eyes and minds to possible different points of view that may be of some value in dealing with these problems.  If it doesn't work for you, fine, I appreciate that's a possibility.  But please don't dismiss it out of hand -- twenty years of experience with a significant degree of success ought to be worth something to somebody.

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

I enjoyed your post

I know I wasnt part of this whole post but I just thought I'd say I've seen your posts on here before and I apreciate them as I appreciate everyones posts here. no matter how productive to my current struggle or part of life because everyones thoughts and ideas are going to speak to someone and we need them all. it may seem counter productive or "Wrong" to some people when reading them because it sounds like bad advice. but when someone posts something and people respond. no matter how the opinions vary or where it seems the advice will send them, people pick the response they most identify with for a reason and we will never know their lives better than they.  I might seem to favor particular responses but I apreciate everyone particpating and trying to be helpful wether they are laying it all out, warning me about the danger in taking certain routes or telling me I should just let it go or just be me. because one post wont shape my life, it's just what I needed for the moment at hand to do the best I can. most of my own posts probably fell on deaf ears or seem to advise something that will do more hard than good, yet others might seem to be ok or even helpful. it's all in where you are and what you needed and I appreciate everyone here whotakes  the time and responds to anything because no matter how far off the mark it may seem it spoke to someone out there reading it and it helped them in some way whether big or small. so thanks :)

Since he took his debit card

Since he took his debit card with him 8 days ago he has spent $300. I won't even say I hoped he would do better, although I did want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Feeling your pain today...bills will have to go unpaid (that are already past due) and it will be up to me to micro-manage the checking account now when I truly don't have the energy to do so. I will pay bills first thing in the a.m. on payday and then empty the rest of the money from the account. I don't know any other way. The 'reason' (trust? impulse control?) doesn't matter at this point, $300 is a HUGE amount of money for us and the added stress on me isn't fair. It isn't something we haven't discussed 100 times before. I will just have to take control of it and brace myself for the backlash. I refuse to fight with him about it ever again. It does make me feel a certain sadness...I was hoping that since he was on meds this would improve. Oh well, life goes on. I can prevent this and I will. I'll keep you posted.

How are you doing?


He knows what he is doing every second he is doing it... You know he knows. He also knows you. My dh has said to me, more than once, "it can't get any worse than it already is, it doesn't matter what I do - I'll just deal with it later"

I agree. He even said, when I

I agree. He even said, when I offered it to him several days before he took it, that he didn't want it because he knew he would nickel and dime us to death like before. Oh well, no use crying over it...moving on and doing what I have to do.

I have been doing really well, very proud of myself. In spite of the fact that he works late still, comes home and goes straight to the den to drink, does not even spend time with us on the weekends, I am holding my own and finding my own way. I have no 'fight' left in me, no anger to speak of. But, about an hour ago he called me to tell me about a party ("meet and greet" he called it...guess it sounds less harmful) that the mayor was having that he claims to have completely forgotten about until just then. He said that spouses aren't allowed. I hope he wouldn't be dumb enough to lie about that. I have two family members who work for the city besides him. God help me if I find out he lied about that. I really didn't know what to say, just told him "OK" and then he said one of the most thoughtless and hurtful things he's said to me in a very long time. HIM: "well, at least it means that I will be home before 11" ME: "what do you mean?" HIM: "well, I will leave here around 6 and be home by 7 or 8". Ok...he can leave work at 6 p.m. to go hang out with people he claims to hate but he cannot leave work before 8..9..10 or later otherwise? God, how insignificant have I become to him? Wow. Just wow. That really cut deep, first time he has made me cry in a few weeks. But, it won't change my course. I am really starting to bloom...making new friends and getting out and enjoying life as I should. I don't have to be important to him to be important.

I just can't figure out of he thinks he's putting enough into the marriage or if he knows he isn't and doesn't care. In the end, I don't guess it matters. I promised myself I would never 'lead' him in his role as my husband again, he will either be what I need or he won't. It is the only way I will know that it is real and not just done to keep me around. I am just glad to be past the overwhelming cloud of loneliness that I lived under for so long. I live under the cloud of optimism now. I know that no matter how things play out, Joy, Peace, and Love are in my future. Yes, I'm sad that he could be so thoughtless and hurtful with his words...but this too shall pass.

Please say a prayer that I don't find out he lied about spouses being invited. I honestly don't think I will be able to contain that hurt...and it will pretty much signify to me exactly where I stand in his life and I can tell you right now, it isn't somewhere I'll be content staying.

whoa nelli

I would never presume to tell someone that something "shouldn't have hurt their feelings", because I've heard it so many times myself, so please God let me express this in a way that doesn't give you that message, Sherri.  If in fact his exact words were "Well, at least it means that I will be home before 11" I beg you to try to not leap from there to "I work late all the time and only leave early when it's for people I hate and never for you."  I also beg you not to agonize about how you will feel if he lied about "no spouses "before you actually know.  I am the champion,( and you may not dethrone me!!! ) at thinking about things that might be so, and imagining what I might feel, and what I might say and what he might say.... all based on my many years of experience and the usual patterns....and end up feeling like CRAP and nothing has actually happened!  It is called catastrophizing.   it matters not if you end up right!  What matters is that you are feeling crappy now over something that hasn't yet happened, i.e., he lied again.  We all feel crappy enough over stuff that actually  happens, without feeling crappy in advance. 

Perhaps his comment "well, at least it means that I will be home before 11" actually means "I know I'm a sh*T for never getting home early, at least this work thing means that I will for a change."  This is just as possible as the interpretation you have given it.  I have a question for you to consider:  what was your frame of mind when he called -- just before he called -- the second before he called.  Were you thinking then about the $300?  Or were you in your strong place?  Does your answer about how you felt just before give you any insight about how hurt you were?  Maybe not.  Maybe I'm way off base and way out of line.    My only request is that you not suffer in advance of when you actually have to. 

Yep, yep, yep,

Yep, yep, yep, catastrophizing.... Did it again today. Wasted about 4 hours today. I think the hormones are all jazzed up too. Have had butterflies all day. Sheri, I can tell you are doing for you and not living each moment wondering about how he will perceive your actions or words. I feel your determination and admire your direction and your strength. i don't know if this is good or bad, but your words reminded me a little of DF's place. He's moving along, OK. Not in a reactive place constantly ping ponging back and forth to try to please the spouses. I am sorry that you have had a bad day today. Sending hugs your way. ((((()))))). Also hoping your days are better Gardner ((((()))) hugs your way too!

After he admits to me that at

After he admits to me that at least two spouses were there, I decided just to ask him if he told me they weren't because he truly thought they weren't or because he just didn't want to fool with me going. I am just going to leave it at this. I am not 100% clear on whether I was officially invited or not...he did not answer this question directly. I do not feel he had any intent to hurt me although I do feel he wanted to go alone. His reasons were confusing at best.

It is over, it will no longer get any of my energy or concern. Bottom line, I do not feel his 'thinking process' was malicious and I'm letting it go.

Nope, it was worse. My frame

Nope, it was worse. My frame of mind was..I was making supper and feeling a twinge (albiet a teeny,tiny smidge) of 'hopeful' that he might actually be home at 6 or 7. I was excited for him to see the house. My kids were out of school today and my daughter and I cleaned for hours. I wasn't thinking about the money. I mean it when I say I'm not fighting with him over it and I'm not obsessing over it. Lesson learned, moving on.

I took the kids to see a movie. He got home before we did. He is in the den, upset over a comment made to him by his boss at the 'party', that I think he totally took the wrong way. I am exhausted, but at peace with everything, and going to bed. Moving on.


When I read this and

When I read this and responded last night I was half brain dead...wanted to clarify a few things.

#1-I am sure that his comment was MEANT in a nice way. "I didn't mean it that way!" weren't we just talking about this the other day..how what comes out of their mouths isn't always what they were thinking? I know he meant it to make me feel better, not hurt my feelings. I didn't say anything to him because it would add to his frustration ("I cannot say anything without hurting her feelings!!") and because I truly don't think he meant to hurt my feelings. In his mind, somehow, this was meant to make me feel better.

#2-I think, looking back, what hurt my feelings was the way he sprung it on me as he was ready to walk out the door and go. Couple that with the "spouses aren't invited" comment and it just made me feel he was being dishonest with me. If he had come to me three days ago and said "the mayor is having a meet and greet with all of the department heads and the city council after work Friday, and I have to go. It is employees only" then it wouldn't have made it all feel so suspicious. I HATE...soooo very badly...to feel that he is lying to me about anything. If I had to pick the one thing that I feel will end our marriage, if it doesn't make it, it would be either cheating or lying. Lying about ANYTHING just changes the entire atmosphere of the marriage for me. ADHD or not, it is one of the hardest things for me to forgive. Now, having said that, it is very possible that he did not lie. I did decide that I won't seek out the truth, but have Faith that in the end the truth will find me. I prayed about it and am at peace with it. I cannot control whether he tells the truth or not and I am not going to feel guilty or responsible if he destroys himself and/or our marriage with lies. I can only pray he doesn't.

It is all behind me and I've already moved on. I know I will have 'tests' and speed bumps like this. Thinking it through to a conclusion that I'm at peace with is what has helped. I prefer to call my reactions "being a drama queen" but catastrophizing would be the technical term for it. LOL

Lastly...inattention has not always been a part of our marriage. With some broad reflection, I recall it being a huge part of it for about the first 5 years or so. I nearly lost my mind. I finally demanded that he spend time with the family, just ONE day a week. We picked Saturday and called it Family Day. We went riding, to eat, hiking, walking, etc...but we ALWAYS went somewhere as a family for at least a few hours. This all ended when he came unraveled in February and it really bothers me. My daughter (13) said yesterday "Momma, I miss when we used to all sit together at the table and eat" and it made me feel horrible. We don't do anything together as a family anymore...and she is at such an impressionable age and we're setting such a horrible example for her. Will she marry someone who won't have anything to do with her, be lonely, but think it is ok because that's how her home life was? God, the thoughts of it breaks my heart. Anyway, I am a very sociable person. I love spending time with my family. (even my brother and sister and their families). I can't spend the rest of my life like this, but I am giving him time to grow into who he is going to become now that I've given him all the freedom in the world to be whatever/whoever he wants. I'm not afraid anymore of who he will grow into, because I know that I will be OK no matter what happens. I still hope that as he stretches his wings and lives his life by his own rules, that he'll eventually make his family a priority again. Right now, he is either at work or in the den.