I have no sexual desire for ADHD husband

This is the first time I've posted.  My husband has ADHD.  We discovered this after my son was diagnosed.  The issue is that I am simply exhausted all the time picking up and organizing everything for the two of them. They help and do their best, but frankly, it's not enough.  I'm also tired of always having to repeat myself, always having to give "gentle reminders," and constantly ask them to "let me finish before you start interrupting!"  I'm tired, tired, tired!  They are on medication and are gentle and well-meaning.  Well-meaning isn't enough. 

I know that lumping my husband and son in the same familial category is probably the problem - but since he is incapable of sharing responsibilities with me -- the lines are drawn.

While I still love my husband very much, I have no sexual desire for him.  Sex is just one more thing I have to do for him, one more chore.  He does not understand that he is a high-maintainence spouse.  He thinks he is no work at all.  He is upset by my disinterest in sex and claims we lack "intimacy."  For him "intimacy" = "sex"... no difference.  I've tried to talk to him about what intimacy is to me.  That it's a quality in a relationship where you feel validation and understanding in who you are and who they are - acceptance of that, and true reciprocity and empathy.  Not possible here.   

He only knows who I am through what I tell him - and even then he forgets.    He often confuses past events with previous girlfriends - as events that happened with me...  (These were previous relationships that ended no earlier than 10 years ago!)  He says it was a slip and does not understand why this upsets me to the degree that it does.  There are a lot of slips.  He's confused photos of my son's classmates with my (and HIS) actual son!  When I pointed it out, he said they have the same type of hair.....  Isn't part of familial intimacy to recognize who the others in the family are ?!?! I could go on and on.....

I don't want to divorce, but I don't want sex either.  I don't know what to do as the self-effacing demands are driving me crazy.


I agree with what you are saying here. I think my lack of desire comes from being like a mother to my husband rather than a mate because he act so childlike. That is a major turnoff! Also the exhaustion is a big part and of course the yelling and verbal abuse doesn't help me get in the mood either... but if you ask him, its all my fault. Everything is my fault.

You know what I am the ADHD

You know what I am the ADHD wife....and my husband wants sex all the time.I dont because many reasons but most of all I am tired and can not focus.Since on Ritilan it has helped.But I lost respect for my husband.He cheated.I struggle and I know I have these issues and I am talking to myself it seems all the time.I need to be positive I need to be motivated I need not to worry I need a hobby a friend a lover. I feel all alone.No one understands and it is NOT excuses.I struggled all through school and work and I was pretty successful concidering did not finish high school and had learning disabilites.The thing that got me by was me....I worked hard...and NOW that after 52 years I was told I am add ....I knew it...but everyone thought you had to be bad or hyper to be add...and I was not that.I was sweet,hard working,kind,loving...but a scatter brain and lived in a mess....I could never find anything.My kids are adults and they laugh because they say a really spin...looking and thinking of things when trying to do something. The meds are great but I still need to learn new skills.....and god no one has time for me.So I have to do it....alone.I feel maybe your husband may be depressed somewhat and kind of given up.He needs you so much,if there is anyway you could get him to do things he is good at....and you pick up the slack in the things he is not.Forget the gender thing.I know you are frustrated and you have every right to be..be you are one this site and that confirms you are getting help.So you are a great wife.Your hubby I am SURE does not understand what you go thru....but I know he feels it. Baby Steps.....you do the books,get him to get the stamps,mail them,pick up the groceries from your list,Ask him if it would be ok...to give him a daily list(start small) of what he could do to help with you not nagging and he could give you a list.Make it fun....and maybe say at the end of the week lets see who did the most....(you have to be realistic) and they get king or queen for a day following the next week.Tell him it is to help him not to demean him...this is a great tool....nagging makes it worse.It is like telling that fat person to stop eating all that crap it will make you fat....you just cant deal...YOU MUST CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK AND WORK.The old way will never work..trust me.My egg timer is my best friend.I reward myself after 30 minutes to blog or something I need to do to escape the boredom...yes 30 minutes is boring of doing something you hate.....but for the ADD person it is HELL....you cant get your mind off of the thing you really want to do...which is some cases it is nothing...TV maybe. You have to get creative and have fun...and know this is too help him because you understand you really do.........he will love you for that and he will try and then you willl want to make mad love too him.....hopefully....lol Good Luck(he is lucky to have you)

Adhd single guy quite attractive but frustrated.

Reading the comments of married women on this forum. There frustrations. I have ADHD..Im a 38 year old male in Perth West Australia. Never had a successful relationship as i get overfocused on the lady im focused on. And no matter how hard i try i will screw it up by being to communicative. Loose respect. Ilisten to the ladies on this forum who r frustrated with there husbands. and im sorry. I want to cry after reading your stories of ADHD husbands. As i feel your frustrations and i Hate i am that male. Then i deny im the same. But then i realize im disorganized and yes i see i need help thru the day...It makes me feel frustrated and hateful at myself. To the point i would not let that happen if i was married and i would do anything not to let that happen. BUT THEN a second thought comes to mind and "failure" "yeah right" etc. Frustration is when executive function isnt up to standard. Take dexies then it is. Short time. Hell i dont even bother giving myself the chance to have a relationship. Ive given up totaly. I have lots of interest. However im sensitive and enquiring mind will only want to explore 24hrs a day. But u know what? Being ADHD with an exploring mind has its deep revelations of life. But at a cost. I dont chase my tale. Rambling bye all. Marry a Adhd guy but make him take his dexies :-) Marry anyone else your house will be clean. But ive noticed unadhd wives would like unadhd husbands. whatever. Ive stuffed up 98% of everything arnt i good?

No Sexual Desire for ADD Husband

I totally understand this feeling.  I am still with my husband (of ONLY 5 years) now because I made a promise.  I feel like I live with a child and I, too, am exhausted from all of the slack I have to pick up and the "gentle" reminders, losing respect for him because of the way he talks to his mom and me, and me working 3 jobs and going to school while he stays at home.  I TOTALLY feel your frustration. 

I wish I had some good advice for you.  My husband and I are going to a support group tonight.  I pray this helps.  I want to be the spouse who gives back (in a physical way) for my husband as intimacy is very important.  But when you don't like or respect your spouse anymore (yet alone LOVE him), it's a hard thing to do.

If anyone else out there has some advice, I would love to hear it...any advice on how to soften a hardened heart?

CR and hardened heart

Don't be so hard on yourself ("hardened heart") I felt guilty for a long time too over not wanting to be with my husband anymore. I guess I just mistakenly expected that I would have a partner, an equal when I married him. After "I do" he turned helpless and I turned into his mother really quick by picking up the slack and doing everything. Trust me when I say it wouldn't get done if I didn't do it. Not wanting to be with him-I think its just a side effect from this mother/child relationship we seem to have. I wish he acted like a man...I don't need a little boy. I don't think ifs fair to label your poor heart "hardened". I think its more like "protective" heart because you have experienced a lot of ups and downs and its hard to trust him to come through for you and then your heart (and body) just goes into a self preservation kind of thing after a while. That's just how I think this happened to me. I have talked to him endlessly about what I need from him and he tries for maybe one day and then its back to the same old stuff. So there I am, drained, disillusioned once more. So Cherokee Rose, Give yourself a break. You should be loving yourself, not knocking yourself down. :-)

I am going through teh EXACT same thing

I feel for you both. I am going through the exact same thing! It's not that I don't want intimacy with anyone, it's just that I don't want it with him. I'm terribly lonely, but I cant just have sex to have it. I'm too young to be living like this, but too stuck in this relationship to get out just yet. I won't cheat either. I wonder if I'll ever feel love or romance again...I don't know what to do to fix things either. I know I can't do it on my own and my husband just won't get it...

Going Through the Same Thing

I understand where you're all coming from.  By the time I listen to my husband's many comments about his day and himself, get cut off several times when trying to talk about my life or respond to a question he asked, and pick up after things that he's forgotten - I have no interest in being intimate with him.  The energy is spent for the day, and I feel too much like his mother.  It's a very lonely place to live.  I am also working hard to learn how to fill up the empty places in a healthy way.  Chocolate works well, but it does have the downside of also adding weight if used too much.  Taking quiet time every day helps too, but usually isn't long enough.  I'm running on empty all the time, and haven't figured out how to change that.

mother/wife confusion & question about medication

I am having the exact same problem. I feel more like the mother than the wife! 

My husband has ADD and is also bipolar. We have been married 10 years and he was diagnosed 9 years ago.  In the past few years I have noticed him sinking.  He has had trouble holding down a job for more than 3 months, he sleeps A LOT and I have terrible trouble getting up in the morning (Unless he's going to be doing something exciting and fun for him.  Then he jumps out of bed early.).  His parenting skills have gone from bad to worse, (he's more like an annoying 14 year old big brother to my kids than their father) and the absolute worst thing our kids and I have had to go through is witnessing his temper tantrums.  If you close your eyes and just listen to him you'd think it was our 6 year old son!!  His latest meltdown was regarding a fishing trip with a new friend he had planned on a night that I have to work.  After I reminded him for at least the 10th time about my schedule he had his tantrum and then got even more mad because our sitter options are slim.  He left this morning without saying goodbye - just slamming the door so we could all know he was leaving.  He didn't even speak to our kids. 

His behavior causes so much stress in our home and to the people around us.  I've lost touch with quite a few friends after his obnoxiousness at several different get-togethers.  He embarasses us in public with his loudness, rudeness....  We do not have sex because his hygiene is really horrible, among other reasons.  I absolutely feel more like his mom and less like his wife.

I would love to leave him - LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! to be legally finished with this relationship, however, my kids are still young and the thought of sharing custody with him scares me to death.  He's not capable of taking care of himself so how could he take care of two children?  I can't put my kids through that.  On the other hand I don't want our kids to have to live through their parents' unhappiness and I especially worry that they will grow up to think that this is normal adult behavior.  It's such an unhealthy situation to raise children.

I've done all I can to fix things but I'm at the point where I just don't even want to try anymore!  I've had enough.  He refuses counseling and when I mention that perhaps his meds need to be altered he says maybe I'm the one that should be medicated.  Doesn't the body get used to the same medication (Paxil 40mg) after a while, and if a considerable amount of weight is gained over a period of time wouldn't that affect it as well?  He has been on the same medication for almost 7 years with only 1 increase in mg, which was about 5 years ago.

Thanks for reading and sorry for such a long post.  I have been holding it all in for so long.  Feels good to get it out though!



we try hard not to give specific advice about medications and dosages here.  Perhaps you can talk with your own doctor about your questions about efficacy, dosages, and strategies to get your husband a bit more involved in his own care.

Have you considered that

Have you considered that maybe your feelings are mutual?  I am a wife with AD/HD and I could not enjoy making love to my husband because he was always angry and treating me like scolding father instead of a husband.  I could never live up to his expectations.  I was depressed and starved for affection and validation.  There are many things that I am good at, but he never affirmed me.  Just prior to my diagnosis at 41, I told him that i couldn't take the tension anymore.  I wanted to be with someone who would love me the way I am, and who I could enjoy pleasing and spending time with.  He didn't want me to leave him, but i had given up hope.  Both of us started individual counseling.  In therapy, he worked on his anger issues while I began to discover who I am.  It's taken a lot work to understand how AD/HD has impacted my self-esteem and how it was affecting our marriage. But the more compassion and understanding he developed about what it's like to have these deficits, the more i wanted to face my AD/HD challenges.  Medication has helped me to see things from a new perspective.  I have been able to focus on learning skills that I never had before.  It still takes me longer than people without AD/HD to accomplish certain things, but I now feel that I have tools to make responsible choices instead of simply reacting to things in life (like my angry husband!).   I am happy to report that it's been six years since I wanted to separate and we are now comitted to our marriage and both of us feel loved and respected.  I do sympathize with your frustration, as we have a teenage son who has just been diagnosed.  Needless to say, I have experienced both sides of the coin. 

Re: Have you considered that

{ Hopefully a better worded version }

Its good to see hear from people who have had the same problems/situations, reached a bottom, have chosen to keep your marriage together and are making it work.

What do you think you're doing differently from those of us who are trying to achieve the same thing, but aren't making any progress, or can't seem to sustain the gains they've made?

One thing that stands out to me is your husband taking it upon himself to attend anger management classes - I think a lot of people might miss this one. He could have taken the view that since it's you who's been diagnosed with the disorder, he has an understandable right to be angry for the problems its caused...he's the victim in this, etc. And it is true - he has sufferred as a result of your ADD, but he chose to look at what he could do to make things better; irrespective of the ADD. In this case, it was anger management - but it could have been any number of things; just something to make things better, be a better person in the marriage. I guess its a by-product of letting go of the resentment and rising above it.

I think a lot of the non-ADD partners have the sincere belief that they are doing their part by accomodating their ADD spouses, when in fact, they are actually accomodating the disorder and the messes it creates. Thats not what we who have the ADD need and it will only make things worse for everyone. Those of us with ADD need to have a sense of extreme urgency that we have to fix ourselves, take ownership - thats full ownership - for the consequences of our actions [ usually its INACTIONS ] and then make  things happen for those around us with no expectation for a pat on the back for what we should have been doing to begin with. No one owes me a thing. We have to realise that having ADD does not absolve us in any way whatsoever, from our responsibilites. ADD blinds us to our faults, it doesnt create them; we do,

Did you, having ADD, ever reach a point where you said "Oh s***, it isn't everyone else, its me." or was it gradual? How do you maintain the progress, ever have periods of falling back into your old patterns?

Is there any kind of  '12 Step' programme for people with ADHD or something similar? I think that is probably a more appropriate setting for me as I've yet to really make the concrete, definative corrections to things in myself that I know need to make.


Even Agent Smith Gets the Blues

                                   - Eugene Donohoe, Dublin City


Marital Sex and the ADD/ADHD Partner


I think you hit the nail on the head.  Both partners have to have an understanding that each one contributes to the frustrations AND the triumphs in their relationship.  Albeit, my husband taking ownership of the diagnosis of ADD has really helped us.  Like Dr. Hallowell says, "If nothing changes...nothing changes."  I personally started looking at myself (the non-ADD spouse) to see what I can do to help him get the help he needs as well as trying to help him with his self-esteem.  I realized that it was a lack of hope that had driven me to the "hardened heart" or me trying to protect my heart.  After years of my husband being told that he was lazy, stupid, selfish (you name it), a person's self-esteem can end up in the dumps if that person starts to believe these things.  I never called him the above things, by-the-way, but others have while he was growing up. 

I have recently become his cheerleader again while making it a point to understand that what may seem like selfish behavior or him being irresponsible at times is really a person struggling to get through the day...a person who is feeling overwhelmed by what to me might be little responsiblities...a person who needs my understanding and a little help to get back on track. 

I recently shared with my husband how angry I have been feeling and how bitter I have become inside.  I told him how I don't want to be this way but that it is hard for me to feel loving toward someone who continues to neglect his responsibilities.  The first conversation didn't go well, but we talked again later about how we could change this.  Recently, we started really working together on our issues.  I think my husband started to realize that our marriage depended on it.

Now, I can see my husband really trying and it has made such a difference.  We are working on this TOGETHER.  It is no longer HIS problem to deal with but OUR problem.  Just seeing my husband trying has made all the difference for me.  We are also getting him a coach so I don't have to play "mom" all the time.  We could never afford a coach in the recent past (since my husband currently can't hold a job and I make about $300.00 a week) but we recently have been blessed with this gift from a very generous person who wants to see our marriage thrive.

For the women here (myself included) we don't want to be our husband's mother -- and they don't WANT us to be, either.  If you can afford to hire an ADD/ADHD coach who can help your spouse with life skills and the daily to-do list, this will take a lot of the burden off of you and you can begin to build up that husband/wife relationship again.  If you can't afford to hire a coach, maybe there is someone in your life (i.e. - a friend from church, a friend of your spouse, another relative) who would be willing to hold your spouse accountable...and you, as well.

Listen, don't be afraid to share these issues with family and close friends.  You will be surprised how many people there are out there who are either going through some of the same things or who would be willing to lend a hand to help you.


God bless all of you!

Cherokee Rose



re: Marital Sex and the ADD/ADHD Partner

Its great to hear that your husband has started to really work on things and that you able to see differences being made already. Don't forget though, that its more often than not, two steps forward and one step back; ie he will have periods where he seems to be slipping back into his old ways. That happens with me and with my 7 yr old son who has ADHD.

It is not really 'going back', its just very difficult to make ( read MAINTAIN ) the sort of profound changes to deeply ingrained thought patterns and coping mechanisms - or whatever they are - that need to be made and you can expect bumps along the way...but I think you already know that if you've come this far ;)

You are very right in what you say about being your husband's mum. It understandably sickens the romance in a relationship for the woman, and I can tell you that it does a number on the man's drive as well.

I think understanding that, as well as having the perspective of being a father to an ADHD kid, were the catalysts in making me want to not just cope with life having ADD, but to rid us of those most negative effects altogether. Your husband will have to take that approach to it - absolute zero tolerance to those things in himself.

I wish I could say it was as easy as that. Its not. But its required.


Good luck!


Singularity shows something wrong in the mind.

                                         -  Erica Jong

I feel ya...

.....Those of us with ADD need to have a sense of extreme urgency that we have to fix ourselves, take ownership - thats full ownership - for the consequences of our actions [ usually its INACTIONS ] and then make  things happen for those around us with no expectation for a pat on the back for what we should have been doing to begin with. No one owes me a thing. We have to realise that having ADD does not absolve us in any way whatsoever, from our responsibilites. ADD blinds us to our faults, it doesnt create them; we do,.......


I totally agree. My husband is the ADDer and he oftentimes uses it as a crutch. He doesn't see it that way however. He told our councilor that he needs me to be more understanding to his deficiency, however had a hard time defining what this "understanding" looked like. For me to continue to turn the other cheek, not say anything and "take it," is a tall order as I have reached the end of my rope. He's been on meds for 1.5yrs now and has recently been reading a lot of books...but it's applying the knowledge he's gaining that is giving him great difficulty because there are years and years of compensating and bad behaviors ingrained in him.

We've been married for 12 yrs and lived the first 10 without knowing the source of the confusion that has been our lives. I'm so burned out I want to run. It's only by God's grace that I'm still here. I try really hard to stand on the "for better or worse" mantra that I vowed to him years ago, but it's SO HARD for me, and especially so since I learn that ADD is a lifetime battle. I don't want to devote my life to this. Wher does one draw the line. This is his issue...and 10 years later I'm tired of fighting a seemingly loosing battle. I kno that sounds selfish but his lack and my having to "do it all" is begining to affect me too in that I have anxiety attacks due to being stressed all the time. This is unhealthy!

I was on my way out the door 2 yrs ago until he said he'd try meds. It's been better, but he still has far to go. He doesn't understand the insanity that I live due to many of his quirks, and I'm boarderline "hating" hm now because of it. Resentment has eaten away at the "love" I had for him, and all I have left these days is..."I don't want anything bad to happen to him..." I stay because I feel sorry for him, it's not his fault. I feel bad even having admitted that, but it is what it is. We have 2 kids (one of which has been diagnosed, the other we received a negative diagnosis, but we're not convinced) and I don't want them to grow up w/o their dad...but it's like I have 3 kids. I'm staying for all the wrong reasons in hopes that maybe just maybe the windows of heaven will open up and change our lives...or fix us somehow. I want this marriage, and want him ,but I don't know how to get back a positive image of him in my head. The thought of him frustrates me to no end and I'm tired of our life as it stands.

I've lost hope in this realtionship and want to run away....I do so in my thoughts often. 

re: I feel ya...

All I can say is 'don't give up'. It sounds hollow and plastic, but I've been in your husbands shoes and my wife has undergone much of what you have and for nearly as long with many of your same feelings as you've shared here.

Maybe Heaven's windows will open up and smile. The opening of the windows bringing to your husband the understanding of who you are and what you've sacrificed for him all the years; the realisation of what he's been missing. When one really does see clearly what they've been missing, it knocks the wind right out them and things won't be the same afterwards.

If its any consolation, reading your comments brings home a lot of things and makes me want to try all the harder to be a better husband - I've a lot to make up for.



Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.
                                                                                                                              -Kahlil Gibran

WOW!!!!!! I have so many of


I have so many of the same thoughts you have.  I'm sure many others do, also.  Perhaps because of our motherly instincts, for the unconditional love we have for our "children", is the main reason we stay?   

No Desire for ADHD spouse

I have found solace in all of your comments.  My husband has ADHD, as do all four of our children.  I have muscular dystrophy, as do our two younger children.  Yesterday morning my husband accused me of having an affair.  His evidence was very flimsy.  I had a hysterectomy two years ago which resulted in a severe bacterial infection.  I was put on massive anti-biotics and developed a systemic yeast infection.  I have been fighting vaginal yeast infections for the past two years and finally pinned it down to the lubricant I was using.  I was sick last week and slept for 12 hours two nights in a row, and was not able to give anyone in my family any attention.  Also, I work in an office and cannot always answer my cell phone immediately. 

He decided that the infections, lack of attention and not answering the cell phone right away were all signs of an affair.  Never mind the fact that I have children at home and a PCA (personal care attendant) until 8:00 am, when we all leave for school and work, and that I leave work at 5:00 PM and I am home by 5:30 PM, where I spend an exhausting time attending to everyone else's needs.  When I pointed this out, he explained himself and apologized and then thought that I should be hunky dory about it.

He has no idea how much emotional damage he has done.  He is the only person I have ever been with.  I have lived my life with very high morals so as to be trusted and beyond approach in every thing in my life.  We have spent the last two years in family counseling because of my two youngest.  He has made some huge strides in not thinking their behavior problems are all my fault, but a neurological problem.  For 10 years he was a complete a _ _ hole and I was always mad at him.  ADHD or not, I did not feel he had the right to treat me and the children the way he did and to threaten us every three months with abandonment.  I have finally gotten to the point where I wasn't mad at him all of the time and was thinking that we might actually be able to make a go of it, then he did this. 

He tells me that he wants to take care of me when we are old and my MD has gotten the best of me.  He can't even handle one week when I get sick without attacking my character.

He did agree to marriage counseling, so I set it up today.  We will be starting in three weeks.  I have very little hope of it working.  I don't know if I can ever trust him emotionally.

I can totally relate

But I am on the other side of this equation and I want to tell where things are for me.

I understand that my spouse has had to put up with a lot from me. I am truly sorry and repentant. I've finally sought treatment when my son had the same problems and we went through some tests to get to the root of the problem. It turns out we are both inattentive. The difference is that I've developed coping skills over the years and my son has yet to do so. Maybe I was also more driven to succeed but enough of about that. I've only lost 1 job (recent economic issues) and I do all the driving (and therefore shopping) and earning and child parent-teacher interviews at our home. I also have had the responsibility of coaching and monitoring an ADHD son and that was hell for me. Consistency in oversight is very difficult for me. I also don't send in rebates for my purchases in a timely manner, let her do all the finances (I do the taxes - on time too), cleaned up only when asked and missed the garbage pick up several times a year. We bought a house that was a fixer upper and I've had a hard time finishing the million projects we or she has started.

Intimacy issues started when we married. Now as I turn 40, I reviewed my life and made some changes for myself. I got some meds and I am learning more about my issues and successful therapy for changes in behaviours. And I am relearning habits and finding that I can create a new habit. Nice for me, right? I want a real marriage too. I have expectations of a wife and it is frustrating to distraction to feel rejected. So I moved out of the bedroom and eventually told my wife that I saw us as only a child rearing cooperative and that wasn't enough for me.

I've experienced "duty sex" and it frankly makes me feel cheap. At least half of my joy comes from the expression of pleasure I see in my wife. If sex with me was just a chore, then I wanted out. Our family could not survive the resentment that being unwanted was bringing. I slept a lot easier without the resentment of an unavailable wife beside me. So don't assume that you can have a platonic relationship with your spouse. Marriage takes 2 but it only takes one to divorce. If you don't want to be a wife, explain the new relationship you are willing to have with your husband.

We've not gone the path to divorce and we're rebuilding our relationship. You'll have to decide what you are going to do but don't think that you have the right to remain a "wife" and withdraw intimacy. I'm glad I didn't marry your husband but you did. He does sound like a chore and no one has the right to demand a sexual relationship with you. I'm sorry that it is so hard to live with that man. The way you describe him makes him seem like a cardboard cutout of a man. Of course he didn't vow to be celibate so it sounds like you are redefining the relationship. It's totally understandable to me that you no longer desire him but to me it sounds like you've broken your vow. This is not the pattern that I would want my kids to follow.

Hearing this from the other side....

I guess I needed that perspective. Thanks. But how does that work when he's the one creating all the negative situations in our union that causes me to feel turned off from him? I'm new to this site, and have read a few of these posts but decided to reply to yours specifically. Though you have ADD, yours doesn't seem to affect you half as bad as my husbands affects him. We've been married now for 13yrs this year, and he was diagnosed 2 yrs ago after our son was given his diagnosis and told it was heriditary. There was NO question as to where it was coming from, but this gave him the courage (after many months of denial) to get tested himself. The tests were surely positve. Our life has been pure turnoil...in every way you can imagine. 2 yrs ago I was on my way out the door had he not made the decision to get on meds. He's on Adderall which has helped tremendously, but it's not a fix all. There are behaviors and habits that he's learned over the years that need redirecting and reteaching. He likes to brag on how much better he is now, and I have to give it to him, he is better, but still has a looooooooong way to go. Our life, in my eyes, is hell, and I'm not sure how much more of this I can take. He doesn't understand, becuse he deems himself the one with the issue, and living with this situation. He doesn't grasp the insanity of the owrld I like in because of him. I don't think he takes me seriously because I've been wanting to leave for many years but I can't bring myself to because I feel sorry for him...this is not his fault. So I'm guilted into staying for him and our 2 kids (12 and 10). I feel terrible even being able to say that. I do love him, but not for the right reasons anymore. Resentment has eaten away at the romantic love that I should have for him. And all that's left is"I don't want to see anything bad happen to him..." This is horrible. It's not that I don't want to love him, but I no longer have respect for him due to all the repetitive mistakes he makes due to his ADD. This has eaten it's way into our bedroom and everything you said above is so true and I agree. But how does one turn back the hands of time and regrow love when the same habitual mistakes happen over and over and over again. How can one forget all the frustrations and make "happy" in the bedroom. Underthe pretense that for a woman it's mental....I can't get around how I "truly feel" for him at times....and because I'm not stimulated mentally by him, there's NOTHING there. I don't believe anything he says because he's inconsistant and it's like I have 3 kids not 2. He's gotten us into all kinds of financial binds not to mention many other situations that I don't have the time nor the energy to discuss. We were in counciling and our councilor has given up on him because she says that the issues we have are far escallated above "normal" marrital problems and that he needs someone who specializes in ADD. He uses it (ADD) as a crutch instead of holding himself accountable for the issues he causes. I'm sooooooooo burned out. I really feel like I'm hating him now. He drives me insane and I have anxiety attacks because of him. This relationship is unhealthy and I want out, but I don't know how to release myself from him....I feel like I'm in prison. The sad part of it is that he's reading books and really trying; he's not a bad person, and this is what makes me relent everytime. I'm a Christian and the Bible does say for better or worse....I feel guilty thinking these thoughts....but where does one draw the line. This really goes far beyond sex...and I held on for many years....I've feel like I've let go, he's holding on to me which is the only reason why I'm still here........and I hate that. I want us to be better, but I've lost hope in this relationship. I'm not convinced we can fix this.

My thoughts too

"How can one forget all the frustrations and make "happy" in the bedroom. Underthe pretense that for a woman it's mental....I can't get around how I "truly feel" for him at times....and because I'm not stimulated mentally by him, there's NOTHING there."

See, I totally get that. I don't fully believe that my wife's efforts to reconnect with me as I finally start to turn around will be a lasting thing. I sure hope it is. I hope that my efforts aren't the result of hyperfocus on an issue that has lasted a number of months. I don't think that it is either. In short, I told her that I understand that I've done stuff to lose her love and that it was my fault and if she no longer felt passion for me I can understand why. But that didn't mean that I'd stay with her. Maybe I'm more selfish than you.

Gotta run - wife was talking to me and I couldn't tear away to communicate with her - still isn't easy - will continue reply later...

"Though you have ADD, yours

"Though you have ADD, yours doesn't seem to affect you half as bad as my husbands affects him." Thanks but now I can't let my wife read the forum because she would spoil my story with the whole truth...

I'm trying to reconcile:

"He doesn't understand, becuse he deems himself the one with the issue, and living with this situation. He doesn't grasp the insanity of the owrld I like in because of him. I don't think he takes me seriously because I've been wanting to leave for many years but I can't bring myself to because I feel sorry for him...this is not his fault."

with later you say:

"The sad part of it is that he's reading books and really trying; he's not a bad person, and this is what makes me relent everytime."

When I first found a forum like this one where they talked about ADD and relationships, I cried and cried with the realization with what I put my spouse through. It was a real revelation for me. I saw the real pain of wives and wondered if my wife had been posting there over the years because it looked so familiar. In years past, I had wanted to change too. We'd have fights and I'd promise to remember to do X, Y and always finish Z. And then I didn't. I know that I am totally inconsistent in my level of effort. Diagnosis and treatment brought me realization and understanding that I never had before. That plus meds is what is helping me. My second-hand non-professional opinion is that I am not sure if your husband is quite there yet. Disclaimer: please remember that I have relationship problems and should not give relationship advice.

And the Christian guilt thing too. That's rough. The implications on your relationship with your church and body of believers and their judgement on your situation. Of course you can always show your spouse to be totally at fault to them but that's a choice that isn't appealing either.

And even the kid thing is complicated. So what do you want your ADHD son to learn? Leave and its "ADHD men are not good for marriage"? Or stay and its "That a wife should be expected to suck it up and bear all the problems of a relationship"? Neither of them seem good answers.

I feel deeply for both of you and I wish I had options and paths that would lead you out of this.


crazy cycle

Hello, I'am sorry you are having such a difficult time in your marriage. I can relate to what you have written. I'am the spouse of a Adhd/depression/alcoholic husband. I have 4 children one with Adhd/Odd. My husband is not a bad person either but he has done many things that  has damaged our marriage. He was diagnosed as a child and now he is 40 yrs old. He has been on and off meds for years. I think they help him. I don't believe half the things he says. you wrote;

The sad part of it is that he's reading books and really trying; he's not a bad person, and this is what makes me relent everytime. I'm a Christian and the Bible does say for better or worse....I feel guilty thinking these thoughts....but where does one draw the line. This really goes far beyond sex...and I held on for many years....I've feel like I've let go, he's holding on to me which is the only reason why I'm still here........and I hate that. I want us to be better, but I've lost hope in this relationship. I'm not convinced we can fix this.

I can honestly relate to what you wrote here. I'am a christian also, and felt guilt at times but really I wasn't thinking straight when my husband lived with us. We are seperated since January and now that he is gone I see things in different perspective. I had lost who I was and wasn't living my faith to full potential like I had before. I started to be full of anger and stressed out 24/7. It was effecting my health and I knew that this stress wasn't any good for me. it escalated so bad after my husband had left for a few weeks to a different state for work then came back,  I ended up snapping.It was so surreal and I ended up in shut down mode and had a friend talk me into the hospital which I stayed for 4 days. I was o.k.  they understood the stress of all that was going on and it was too much for any human to endure. My husband had pawned off our wedding ring and did other bad stuff. He also had bought a gun behind my back and carried it with him in his backpack. I told him I didn't approve but who was I oh ya just his dumb wife. Well he ended up getting fired from his job because someone saw it and then he was going to college and the police one day arrested him in his class. He was in jail a night  etc...it was like I was living a nightmare. let me ask you a question how can you submit to someone when they aren't submiting themselves ? I prayed long and hard for answers to my misery. even for my husband to leave and one night he did! I feel peace about my decision and my kids who range 7 yrs old to 17yrs old are doing great and its soooo peaceful in my house. its much more healthy. My church supports me they understand what I was enduring and many also read in the paper bout his arrest. (my husband lost the gun and was kicked out of school for 2yrs). What you are going through does go far beyond sex. You have to decide and only you what it is that you want for the future. walking on eggshell's, fighting so much of the time, being stressed all the time? If you hate your marriage so much , maybe you may want to think about seperating. doesn't mean divorce but sometimes people need  space to think and grow.I'am not advocating thats what you should do, but sometimes you just got to get out of the crazy cycle. I'll be praying for you, don't lose hope! 

No amorous feelings here either....

I think this is universal. How can you feel the least bit turned on to someone who you no longer have respect for or are constantly frustrated with? It's really annoying, and they don't understand. They seem to turn it on and off whenever they see fit. But under the pretense that for a woman, it starts in the brain....if we're not mentaly engaged with someone....often times there's no happs. It will just end up as pity sex to get them off our back should they ever get that far.

It's really sad to say but it is what it is!


numb73's picture

On the other end of the stick

My husband of 14+ years is ADD. I too feel like the mother, secretary, personal assistant, house maid, cook, delivery girl, the accountant, you name it. I am on the hamster wheel, constantly taking over everything, picking up the pieces, making dr. appts, calling in and picking up meds, filling in, being the buffer zone between him and the kids (they distract him and he gets mad) ... I even have to run his meds to his office when he forgets them. I don't have to list this stuff, you all know the routine. It's exhausting, even moreso being a mom to three, one of which is ADHD. EXHAUSTING.


My issue, is that I want sex way more than he does. I know what it is to feel bitter and resentment, but somehow, being intimate with my husband seems to be the ONLY way I can feel like something other than his mother! As much as he says he loves me, and I know he does in his own way, his "love language" is letting me spend money, and don't get me wrong, I love my "stuff" and tend to use "retail therapy" to cope with this thing we call LIFE. And if I try to talk to him about not feeling loved, the first thing he jumps in with is, "I give you everything I can afford! I work for you and the kids to have a nice life! How could you not feel loved??" (But then again, I handle all the money, which he never wants to hear about, and I know how much we CAN'T afford and I stress deeply over the money problems and there again is a whole ADDITIONAL issue.) I end up feeling really guilty about having said anything...and then I cry myself to sleep. And even after counseling, he still doesn't get it, what would help to make me feel better about having to do soooooo much for him and for our household...He never lets me sleep in, never takes over with the kids, never lets me have a day away without calling my cell phone every two hours or more, these are the things that might help me feel respected and valued more than buying STUFF. That, and responding to the fact that I need intimacy on a regular basis. He is affectionate and I'm sure if he wasn't, I'd have been long gone. A person can only feel like a personal slave for so long without getting anything back. But the sex thing, is on again-off again. Sometimes he turns it into the "hyper focus" and it's daily (and I tend to really enjoy every second because God knows when I'll get it again!! LOL) and then other times, it's down to almost nothing and I feel like it's (someone else called it this on here:) Duty Sex. That's when I feel totally depressed, lost, "tolerated", and JUST PLAIN ANGRY. After all I do, all the running, all the help (heck, I even did his resumes, online applications, and follow up letters for HIM to get HIS JOB! which, by the way, he is AWESOME at, constant rewards, promotions, praise, you name it, and I'm happy for him, it's great for his self esteem, but honestly, and I know this is a whole different subject, it gets kinda old to hear about it, because at home he acts like a vegetable who can't focus on anything to get it done or help out!) ... You'd THINK, if nothing more, than he could make love to me. Seriously...I gave up asking him to do anything around here other than the lawn. All he has to do is lay around and watch TV, hang with the kids, and go to work. Oh, and go fishing, that's this month's new hyper focus. LOL How bad is it for a man to make sure he just sleeps with his wife a few times a week?? (And just for the record, I bend over backwards DAILY , to keep his attention--losing weight/exercise, dressing up, new lingerie, hair done, makeup, tanning, nails, food and freshly baked deserts I know he loves, little gifts, spontanious notes, suggestive language/texts/emails and no, I haven't hit stalker level, I swear!! But the combination of trying to be SuperWife, SuperMom AND still show him I love him, am attracted to him, and care about his every need ((afterall, my mother taught me to do onto others,)) WEARS ME OUT!!!)

I hate the way I sound. I really do.

If I try to talk to him about this, I'll feel like if he does turn around and makes love to me, then it's because I whined about it and he feels obligated, and that will create a whole new depression on my end. If I don't say anything, then I feel like this whole post sounds, just taken advantage of in every other aspect of life and USED.

So, not to make light of anything that you're feeling, can I just say, I WISH I didn't want my husband so bad!!!! I guess I wish mothering him was more satisfying.


I need some chocolate. Thanks for listening.

"...I bend over backwards

"...I bend over backwards DAILY , to keep his attention--losing weight/exercise, dressing up, new lingerie, hair done, makeup, tanning, nails, food and freshly baked deserts I know he loves, little gifts, spontanious notes, suggestive language/texts/emails..."

Look...No one, and I do mean NO ONE could ask for more than that. For a lot of fellows, if the wife puts on something more than jogging trousers once a month or so, its a real treat.

He's not got ADD, he's spoiled.

All too often, guys don't wake up to see what they've been missing all this time until someone else takes notice and acts accordingly.


God made woman beautiful and foolish; beautiful, that man might love her; and foolish, that she might love him




numb73's picture

re: bending over backwards

Oh how I do wish my husband would read what you wrote. I appreciate your reply...greatly. What I wouldn't give for another man to say this to my husband---maybe THAT would wake him up??!

Having had neglected my own

Having had neglected my own spouse for the time that I did, I can tell you that it probably wouldn't do any good for someone to actually tell your husband that. It would just be ignored at best or resented.

I remember a very good friend of mine telling me in a similar vein that I wasn't treasuring my wife the way that I should've and it didn't really click until much later, after I realised it myself. Its just the nature of things. He ( your husband ) will have to have that epiphany - as someone here put it recently - before the lights come on.

For me, it was just being in a unique situation where I could see my spouse through somone else's eyes, so to speak. At that point I understood what a lout I'd been.

Don't give up on your husband!


Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.

                               - Amy Bloom



Husband here

I am the husband of a wife on Paxil. We have been together 17 years and she hasn't wanted sex with me in the last 15. We once went through a stretch of something like 7 years without having sex once. We have it more often now (quarterly), but it's bad when it happens. She's just not interested. I am the breadwinner (she is not working now, but has worked for about 2/3 of our relationship off and on) and I am also the one who does all of the household chores. I even do her laundry. The one chore she does do is cook and she cooks elaborate meals at times because she enjoys to do so. I sometimes wish she would just microwave a meal for us and do more of the other work that has to be done and I have told her as much. Not that I don't appreciate gourmet meals, but it's not a priority for me when so much else has to get done and then it adds a mountain of dishes to do, too. We once created a list of chores to divide up and almost all of them were on my side. Even her mother commented on it when she visited the house. I really resent that, especially when she withholds sex, too. She jokingly says that "women like her" (meaning more beautiful than the average) are able to get away with these things with men "like me" (lacking prospects in her mind, I suppose, but also just giving and patient). I came very close to having an affair 9 years ago and she was hysterical when she found out I had seen another woman (overheard us talk on the phone), but she still doesn't know exactly how close we got to cheating. (Me and my ex-girlfriend ended up on top of each other, kissing but clothed, in a hotel room before I developed a conscience and extracted myself.) So I have more prospects than she thinks I do. We have talked this issue to death and she sounds like many of the women on the forum. She wants sex, but not with me. However, she says she has not cheated and I believe her. She doesn't even masturbate. She says she is asexual now, which is her way of suppressing her desire and remaining faithful. We no longer share the same bedroom and I can relate to the person who said that I sleep much better when I am not beside my wife. It just makes me angry and bitter to do so and she says she sleeps better without my snoring, which she says I have always done so I am not sure why it started to annoy her so much 7 years ago, when I moved out of the bedroom and into my own. On my side, I am no angel. I am a perfectionist. I am very critical. I am controlling. I have a loud voice at times and a quick temper. She says I am emotionally abusive and I never thought so but I think so now. Not so much that I had an epiphany, but that my behavior has definitely gotten worse the longer our relationship has deteriorated. I don't think I called her a name at all the first 3 years we were together, even though she was quick to use foul language. However, I have no problem calling her a 'fucking bitch' these days when she pisses me off. I tried to explain that part of my behavior is her fault and I was met with the 'that's what abusive men say' line. However, in my mind it takes two to tango and only one of us is working hard to keep the marriage together and it's not her. She threatens to leave me and in fact did so for a year when a job took her out of the area and she got her own apartment. Our relationship actually improved in that time, with her telling me she missed me and agreeing to have sex (when we finally broke the drought) and saying she felt more like 'a girlfriend again'. I am a loving partner, very loyal (in spite of that one moment of weakness which I think is understandable when you've had sex 4 times in 10 years) and I'd do anything for her. She says I am kind and sweet and thoughtful and a "good house husband" (who also just happens to have to work hard to pay all the bills - when she works she keeps her money and spends IT ALL as she wishes to the tune of $50K+ per year when, even though I make much more, I have to think hard about spending $30 on a pair of new tennis shoes because all my money goes to our expenses including the new luxury cars she drives while I drive her hand-me-downs.) As you can tell, I really resent that. Our garage door has been broken for 3 years now because I don't have the cash flow to fix it while she spent literally thousands of dollars on make-up, eating out, and I'm not sure what. My money is her money and her money is her money. When she doesn't work it is even worse, because I have to put her on an allowance (another sign of abuse, she would say) and she gets very unhappy about that and about how I track her expenditures, which is when I tell her to get a job and she does only to spend all the money only on herself. Some years she doesn't even buy me a birthday present other than a cake. I am trying to work on my abusive and controlling behavior, but it is hard to do when I am filled with so much hatred and resentment. I threatened to leave her, but she knows those are idle threats. However, the idea is becoming much less idle to me. I *want* to change and be a better person, but she offers me no incentive to do so. Her depression and anxiety really affect her and she says a lot of her feelings have nothing to do with me at all, but her own bad genetics. (She has had suicides in her family.) She is also an alcoholic and if I was being honest I'd say I am, too. She gets drop-dead drunk to the point where I am embarrassed to take her to events and have to worry sick if she goes out alone or with the girls (which she says is controlling behavior, but she will drink and pass out and I really do get worried because she has been in situations where things could have done badly.) I don't get drunk almost ever, but I drink in moderation more frequently than I should and I crave liquor (beer or wine) if I go so much as a day or two without having any. I collect wine (my only indulgence) and I had to move my collection out of the house, because she would get drunk on cheap wine and then raid it. Nothing pisses me off more than when she's had two bottles of $8 wine and then decides to pop open an $80 bottle which she doesn't even finish - at least drink the good wine first! I am hurt, I am frustrated, I am very resentful, I am angry, and I see the part I have played in making things this way. My mother left my dad and my wife says that I am just like him and she can see why. However, I think that: 1) That is being unfair to me, 2) I actually side with my dad in the matter as he was very loving, kind, and loyal while my mother ran over him like my wife runs over me. Was he faultless? No. He had some of my faults. However, I know he loved my mom very much and she just used him. I feel like I am also being used. Help.

Are you kidding me?

DG, the only reason you are still in this relationship is because you have low self-esteem. Respect yourself and get out of it.

"She jokingly says that "women like her" (meaning more beautiful than the average) are able to get away with these things with men "like me" - That is not a joke, it is abuse and manipulation. You are probably the only man on earth that would put up with her.

You are being an enabler to an alcoholic. You can not win this fight and get what you want out of this relationship because alcohol is a chemical and chemicals are stronger than you. You are not, I REPEAT, you are not responsible for her behavior. Don't fall into that trap.

I fail to see any incentive in this relationship for you. "She wants sex, but not with me." Quarterly sex? Quarterly bad sex? Are you kidding me? So who is she really having sex with?

Real people in real relationships have sex. End of story. Stop being her sugar daddy. You aren't doing yourself or her any good. She will never improve her behavior because she doesn't have to. She gets what she wants anyway. Get your own bank account she doesn't have access to. She spends money and you have to scrimp? And you are the breadwinner? Are you kidding me?

You are not weak because you almost had sex with someone. You were looking for the affirmation that people need to stay alive and not go crazy. Women will typically characterize you as "acting like a man" because you want sex. As if "acting like a man" is a bad thing. If women don't like it then they can live life without men. But that is not what sex is to a man. For men sex is the affirmation that they are worthy people and the person they are with loves them. Its one of the few things that, for men, is fulfilling in a relationship that is often plagued by money and emotional problems. Sex is also the way we reafirm the bonds with have with our spouse.

You are angry and resentful. You have a right to be. You are being used. You are being held emotionally hostage. She is never going to be able to provide you with the affirmation and the love that you need to feel like a worthy person. She is doing the opposite. No one else in this world, not your mother, not your family, not your church, not the gun club, has to live your life. Only you do. Life is short. Why live it in frustration and anger over all the hurt and denied needs you have had???? Your wife has emotional problems, some may be genetic. This is not your fault and you can not fix her. Feeling guilty is never going to make you happy and it is not a good reason to stay with anyone. You are already broke and alone. So, why are you being broke and alone with someone that is making you miserable? Once again, Are you kidding me?



You have some good advice, but I think some things need clarification: I am not still in the relationship because I have low self-esteem. I am still in the relationship because I made a vow which I take very seriously. I pledged to remain with her through good times and bad times, sickness and health, rich and poor. I am a very loyal person and someone who lives up to his word. Breaking that promise is something that is extremely difficult for me to do, even if things aren't going well. I am not so sure that "real people in real relationships have sex." Read this forum and you will see how many people are not interested in sex with their spouses (or vice versa). I don't think it is a requirement for a relationship, even a marriage, to have a good sex life. I mean, we have sex in our relationship. It's just not regular or even good. She's not having sex with anyone. I know this because she says so (she may be many things but not a liar) and she has no real opportunity to do so without me knowing about it. I work out of the home a lot and she's not working at the moment. She has never given me reason to suspect she was seeing anyone and I'm sorry but just because she's not having sex with me doesn't mean she's with someone else any more than me not having sex with her means I am sleeping with someone else. We do have our own bank accounts. That's part of the problem. I can't trust her with mine and she doesn't let me spend any of hers. I pay all of the bills and then some. Money she earns is hers to do as she wishes. What irks me is that she rarely uses it for 'us' and mostly uses it for 'her'. Yes, occasionally she helps share the costs of a vacation and she pays some of the food bills with her penchant for gourmet cooking, but if I tell her that the garage door needs fixing or my car needs servicing she's like 'That's not a priority for me. You make more than I do by far.' Yes, I do, but I am spending it on expenses that benefit us both like the mortgage, cars, insurance, utilities, and so on. In terms of disposable income, she probably has 5X as much as I do maybe more. I told her that the reason she has so much money to blow is because she doesn't pay her share of the expenses, but that just makes her upset. Anyway, I do appreciate the advice and I am struggling with the idea of leaving her after so long together. I just feel like I will be breaking my vows and that will make me an abject failure. What makes it worse is that I really love her and always have. How do you leave someone you love and who you thought was your soulmate? What I really want is to erase the last decade we have spent together and go back to how things were, maybe make some different choices, start with a clean slate not full of so much anger, resentment, and the years of built up negative emotions that can have us at each others' throats over the most stupid stuff like which route to take to the store and the constant criticisms and insults, veiled and open, we hurl at each other. I have this sense of resignation that I made my bed and now I have to lie in it. I know it doesn't have to be this way and I can have a fresh start with someone else, but I will never love anyone else in the way I love her.

For DG

I am interested in your posts for a variety of reasons.  Starting with the reminder that I am not a doctor, a couple of things strike me.  First, you are in a relationship which seems destructive to you, and to your wife.  You are currently verbally abusing each other (calling each other names, arguing over every little thing) as well as mentally abusing at least you, probably her (witholding sex from a partner, telling them you can't/don't want to be with them (just want to be supported by them), telling you that you aren't worthy or interesting)...

You seem to be aware of some of your own foibles - too controlling, etc - which is good.  But the two of you are in a very bad pattern that you need to force yourself out of.  If she, too, can come along, great - then maybe there is a chance of making your marriage bearable or even enjoyable again.

I would suggest you read "The Dance of Anger" as a starter.  This will give you some ideas about how to step out of the cyclical dance that the two of you are in.  Second, you may wish to talk with a counselor about your issues so you can work through your own feelings about marriage and about your commitments and vows vs. your own well-being.  Possibly a good counselor could help you work through your priorities and work through different scenarios - how would I feel if I did "X"?

I do agree that the comments like "you are just like your (no good) father" are manipulative.  Those kinds of statements always carry much more emotional baggage than a simple "Gee, I can't believe you are thinking of leaving me".  And the speaker knows this is the case.  Don't let yourself fall for that type of comment.

Your description of your wife's behavior seems to indicate that she thinks that she is in control right now, and that is probably an accurate statement.  It's also probably not helpful for you (or even healthy for you).  I'm pretty sure that I'm not hearing the whole story here, but it's time for you to insist that she step up to the table better.  Don't do this until you've read "Dance of Anger" because this will make her mad and you want to know good ways to respond.  What could you start insisting on?  Financial equity, for one.  If she earns 20% of what you earn, then one option would be to make her responsible for 20% of all of your joint expenses.  That's reasonable, and lots of people do that.  If she has more time than you do because she is only working part time, then she should be able to pick up some of the chores.  Sit down together and talk with her about which ones she wants to "own" then don't interfere with how she does them (this is one issue that controlling folks have - if she does it, then she needs to be able to do it her own way, without your interference or comment).

As you think about the idea of "failing" in your marriage I want you to remember that the only behavior that you can control is your own.  This means that while you certainly can influence the outcome of your marriage, you can't always be assured that you can "succeed".  I'm guessing, but may be completely wrong, that you may have been too "nitpicky" (controlling) on the little stuff, and not insistent enough on the big stuff (like having a sex life, and insisting that she treat you with the respect you deserve).  And speaking of treating each other with respect - you DO have control over whether you treat her with respect.  It is easier to do this if you let go of your past with her a bit and start thinking and living in the "now".  If you have trouble forgiving her enough to do this, try reading "Dare to Forgive".

You say that you can "start fresh with someone else" but have you considered starting fresh with her?  Perhaps it's time to explore that as an option.  What would it look like for you?  My husband and I actually did this, with great success with the help of a counselor who kept us "honest" about it.  To us, starting fresh meant:

  • taking each day in the "now" and not letting our past baggage intrude in our responses to each other
  • treating the other person with respect - controlling our own behavior towards the other
  • letting the other person be their own individual and do things his/her own way (no "help" from other spouse)
  • taking responsibility for moving the relationship forward as best we could (responsibility for ourselves, not telling the other person what to do)
  • spending part of each day focused on the good things that we have together and we had that day
  • talking about our dreams for our future again
  • taking time to connect physically, even if that only meant holding hands for a while or cuddling on the couch some days (and, yes, sometimes it meant sex even when we weren't really in the mood for it as we knew physical touching would help us reconnect)
  • setting aside part of each day/week to do something fun or different together (again, to strengthen our connections)

"Starting fresh" might mean something completely different to you.

In order to be successful, we had to let go of our past marriage and both admit that it wasn't a given that we would stay married - that only with significant work would we be married in a year.  In fact, even today we talk of our "old" marriage and our "new" marriage.  There is a very real demarcation between the two, related to a specific time when we decided to change, as well as to our changed behavior.

A counselor helped us stay focused on the present and it may help you to get help.  Make sure to ask any counselor you are considering whether or not they are willing to focus on the present and future without mucking around in your complicated past.  Asan FYI, I will be starting a marriage consulting practice in September, so if you want I can probably help you, though you may wish to remain local.

Let me know what you think of what I've written here...

Thanks for the response, Melissa

I think you are correct that the relationship is destructive for us both and yet we are still together. I am not sure why. I know I have thought many times about leaving and so has she. Sometimes I wish she *would* leave and put the relationship out of its misery. I wouldn't be forced to make the difficult choice and I could focus my blame on her instead of feeling guilty that I left. I know that's not a healthy way to feel, but this isn't a healthy relationship. I wonder if she feels the same way. We have discussed the idea of going to counseling, but she won't pay for it and I don't have that kind of cash at the end of the month - at least not to pay for as many sessions as I'm sure we need. Also, we have no idea who to go to and we're both a bit skeptical of many of the people in the profession. We did once take your suggestion of splitting up the bills. She paid for own car payment for a while (a year, I think) and there was a time when she gave me money every month to help with expenses. The problem there is that she was not timely about it and would get angry when I told her I needed it. We had a second mortgage at the time and the idea when we got it was that she would pay half and I would pay half and we would use the money to fix the house. She had it on autopay for a while and things were great, but then some bills of her bounced (even though she *cleared* thousands per month with no bills other than a $50 cell phone bill and $200 student loan payment) and she stopped that. Her payments became less consistent and timely and I had to nag her about it. I would "spot her" 2 or 3 months worth and then when I'd ask for the money she'd say "Well, this is how much I can give you right now." In the interests of paying the bill on time and avoiding an argument with her over it I gave up asking completely and she didn't volunteer. She has always been this way (loathe to share her money but also bad with it). I remember when we were dating and I forgot my wallet once. We were at a fast food place and I asked her to pay for it all. She got so upset at that idea. She did it, but not without getting pissed. However she will order the most expensive item off a menu when we go out without fail or she will order items I tell her not to (because I can't afford it) with a huffy "I'll pay for it myself". Sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn't, but it upsets me that she acts that way and embarrasses me in front of the waiter when I tell him "I think we're fine" and she jumps in with "Actually, I want the XYZ" and glares at me. I know she thinks I am being cheap with her (she has told me so) but when I explain that I have a large salary but also large obligations it goes in one ear and out the other. I think it is disrespectful of her to ignore my wishes and do exactly as she pleases with the threat that she'll pay for it herself. I know her finances and if I tell her "*YOU* can't afford XYZ either right now" then that really sets her off because I am being controlling. So, yes, she sees herself as being in control but at the same time accuses me of being too controlling. I am nitpicky and you are spot on when you say that I interfere with how she does things. However, it's hard not to be. She is completely destructive. Whenever she tries to do a chore I can guarantee you something will break. I went away on a business trip for a week and during that time she broke the trash can trying to empty the trash, broke the dishwasher trying to do the dishes, cracked the sink in the bathroom by dropping something heavy on it while cleaning, and to be honest there's more I can't remember. In that one week the amount of damage done was ridiculous. I wasn't even mad at her. I felt bad. I could only shake my head at that. However, how do you split chores with a person like that? She says it's because she grew up with a maid and never had to do that stuff herself. Lately, the chore she took over is doing the dishes. It's actually a chore I like to do, but I figured it's one less thing for me to do so go for it. Well, she did do the dishes but she did them every third day. That will not get it done. I started doing them myself if they were in there more than a day and she did get upset that I "interfered". I told her if she does them it has to be more often and that led to an argument about me being critical. Melissa, I know what she's talking about. I mean, your comment that "she needs to do it her own way without interference or comment" is directed at this situation. However, I cannot live with the dishes in the sink for 3 days between washing and I don't think it is unreasonable to say so. She said she has been busy with school (she just took a class for professional development) and didn't have time, but I feel if you have *ONE* chore and *NO* job you can find 15 minutes to do the dishes. I was in grad school while working full-time and doing all the other chores and did the dishes every day. I told her this and she said "Good for you. I wish I could be perfect like you." in a sarcastic tone. When I tried to help her with the dishes I told her that I was just helping out and she could continue to do them on her schedule, too, and we could share the task but that went over like a lead balloon and now I am back to doing them. Another thing we tried when she was working was hiring a maid, but that was up to her to pay for and after the maid came a few times she decided she didn't want to pay for it anymore. I mention these anecdotes not because they are important, but because they highlight the dynamic in this relationship. She feels she can't do anything right. I try to be supportive, but that's not really my forte. I really think she needs to be married to a very rich man who travels a lot in order to be happy so that she can do all the things she wants to do like go to dance class, go shopping, and cook gourmet meals without being troubled with the burden of a household, finances, or husband. Of course, she's going to have to have sex with said rich man and I doubt she's okay with that unless he's Johnny Depp. On her side, she says I need a thin, flat-chested Asian wife (my wife is not 100 pounds anymore, but she is still a size 6 and turns heads with her nicely proportioned figure so I dunno why she would say this) who is perfect and makes as much money I do, manages finances well, and is willing to be subservient to me. I don't know what to say to that except that it's obviously a commentary on the power struggle within our relationship that we feel as we do. I will take your advice about forgiving and treating her with more respect. I have lost a lot of respect for her recently. She used to wallow in pity and I did have a lot of respect for her even during those times, but she never believed me when I told her I respected and adored her. It was very frustrating. I do not like those "Do you think I look fat?" games. I can't say I much respect her anymore, though. Truthfully, I think she's the disaster that she always feared she'd be and it was self-fulfilling. However, I shouldn't kick her while she's down and I will try to be more loving and supportive of her. It doesn't do any good to be negative. We have no problems holding hands or finding times to do fun things together. Probably the most fulfilling aspect of our relationship is that we do go out to cultural events, dinners, gardens, vacations, and whatever together very regularly and we like the same types of things so we have a good time. However, when it comes to anything remotely romantic then forget it. Kisses, hugs, cuddling, no way. Sometimes we hug, but only if I hug her. She will hug back, but it would surprise the crap out of me if she came up behind me and wrapped her arms around me or stroked my hair or any of that sort of behavior I would call adoration. She is like a very good friend or a sister. People who don't know us well (and we don't have many close friends) think we are the perfect couple. People who know us a lot better (like our parents) call us The Bickersons but think it's cute how we bicker like an old married couple, which we are (although neither of us is 40 yet). They don't realize the deep problems with the relationship or the emotional blackmail that takes place when we are together. I am making less effort to hide it, though. One time her mother was commenting how difficult her daughter can be and how (when the relationship was young) I told her that it didn't bother me and how sweet she thought that was. I made the mistake of saying something like "Yeah, it's gotten old. She's a burden to me now." Not good to say to mom-in-law, but I think I subconsciously wanted her to know that all is not well. I remember one time at dinner her mom said (about my wife's sister, who has been divorced for 7 years now) "She told me she doesn't care if she ever has sex again. How can you not want to have sex?" which caused an awkward pause in the conversation followed by us completely ignoring that comment. I'm sure she thought she embarrassed me, but I felt like saying "Why don't you ask your other daughter that question, since we have sex twice per year in a good year and it usually involves the words 'I'm sorry' from one or both of us after the act because it sucks so hard?" I can try to let go of some of the past, and I think that's good advice. I like the idea of an "old marriage" and a "new marriage". However, every time I try to find the right time to start anew something happens. We went on a romantic holiday to a famous mountain resort in the winter to rekindle the marriage and it ended when she locked me out of the hotel room because she was upset. To this day I don't know why. She gives some vague and very weak reasons. I think we were discussing the entertainment industry (which is her field) and I told her what I, as a consumer, expect from a movie and it conflicted with some of her notions. I told her she was entitled to her opinion but I was also entitled to mine. We continued to make small talk and we were sitting in front of a roaring fire together after dinner one moment having brandy and then she got up and left (I thought to the bathroom or to get another drink) but she never came back. She wouldn't even open the door for the hotel staff and we had to get the master key to make sure she was okay. I expected to find her passed out, but she was very much awake and unapologetic to me and the staff. I walked through the snow at night to another nearby hotel and spent the night there by myself because I was so angry at her after that stunt that I couldn't bear to share a room with her. That's probably the angriest and most disappointed I have ever been with her, because that trip was supposed to be about reconnecting and we didn't even have an argument per se. I cried a lot that night and she said she did, too. We went to Paris this year for a similar reason. She had been a few times and I had never gone. She thought it was romantic that she could show me the city and share it with me. Sounded like a great idea and we managed to have fun without any blow-ups, but neither was it romantic in any way. We ate dinner in view of the Eiffel Tower and strolled along the Seinne together back to our hotel, which sounds romantic, but there were no sparks on her side. That was very sobering for me, given that she had been the one to talk about how romantic it would be. If you cannot find romance on a beautiful warm day in Paris then there are issues. I was going to have a heart-to-heart when we got back, but we unexpectedly had to watch my nephew for 3 weeks and we were never really able to be alone. Tonight is the last night we have to do that. We are leaving for vacation to Oregon (we live in California) starting next Thursday and I think I will use that time to talk about giving up on the "old marriage" because it is dead and ask her if she is interested in starting a "new marriage" with me. It is a much better idea than trying to resuscitate the old one with all the baggage it involves. I used to write her poetry and massage her feet and tell her I loved her and those days faded when she started to become the ice queen. (I will only do a foot massage so many times between sexual encounters and its not dozens.) I definitely pulled away from her to make her feel the same hurt I felt. Valentine's went from an expensive dinner to flowers to a balloon to a card. I'm not sure she even got me a card this year. Same with other holidays. As she pulled away from me physically and emotionally then my retribution was to do the same and I doubt that did the relationship any good. We need to go back to dating each other, the people we are now - not the young lovers and not the old bickering married people - and seeing if we want to marry each other - start over at Square One. Maybe the answer is that we don't want to. However, I think we should give it a chance and that's what I intend to propose. We should make a conscious effort before we throw it all away. I was thinking of doing so while on travel so that all the worries of the household and work aren't in the way, despite my poor success in the past with this formula. Thank you for your time.

no interest whatsoever

It is so nice to see that I am not alone and am not crazy for feeling the way I feel.  My husband is in the denial phase of ADD.  I knew something was wrong after months and months of his forgetfulness and having having to go behind him and do things that he should have done or tried to do.  His messiness.  His asking questions that he already knows the answers to.  His forgetting that he bought something that is right in front of him.  I truly thought he was maybe deliberately trying to drive me insane.  So, he finally talked to his mom who told him that he had ADD and that she had it and that her sister has it and that he has always been that way.  So, at least I knew it wasn't deliberate, so he was like "okay, I'll get on medication."  Today, it is "I haven't really been dignosed with this." And then he proceeds to go on all about his troubles and woes and how I don't want to sleep with him.  That is his number one thing.  It's all about him.  I don't feel attracted to someone who is constantly driving me insane.  And get less interested in them every day but he can't see that.  He flip flops from yes I have it to no, I don't.  He is driving me bonkers.  I am calling a counselor that I know tomorrow to see if I can get some help before I lose my mind.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Just here to echo these

Just here to echo these statements and say I have ZERO sexual attraction toward my husband because he's not an equal partner. I don't respect him. I don't see him as the strong, safe person I had hoped he would be. He's like a child and he exhausts me and I'm so disappointed because I will never have the life I wanted for myself (and my unborn child) as long as I'm with him.

I total agree

It's amazing how many things I have read that mirror my feelings. My husband (of 23 years) has ADHD/depression and was officially diagnosed 3 years ago. It's been over a year since we had sex and before that it average about once every 6 months for the last 3 years. Initially it was my husband that lost interest, I think mainly because of his depression. But recently he has begun to make comments about having sex. I have no interest not only because I have adjusted over the last 3 years to not having sex, but because I have nothing but resentment towards him.

He is on Social Security Disability, so he doesn't work. I work FT plus do extra work at home for additional pay. I'm fortunate that I have this or I would be working a second job outside of the home. He does nothing to contribute to the family, he evens waits until I get home to ask what is for dinner. About a year ago when things got really bad before he was on Disability our family doctor told me that I needed to hold him responsible for things, that he is not an in-valid and should share in the marriage responsibilites if not 50/50 at least something. He said if I didn't I would grow to resent him. Guess what I do!

I don't know if I will ever have a sexually interest in him again. As many have said here, I love him but I'm not "in" love with him anymore. How can you be in love with someone who adds nothing to your life, no physical or emotional support. Just a dependent.

arwen's picture

yes, but . . .

I can certainly sympathize with your feelings, I have been there!  *Exactly*  where you are.  And you are probably right that you will never have the life you wanted for yourself and your child while you are with him.  But . . .

It doesn't mean you can't have a good life.  It doesn't mean you can't have just as satisfying a life.  It just means it won't be what you imagined.

I stayed with my husband, because I felt I didn't have a choice at the time.  If I'd felt I had a choice, I probably would have decided to leave.  Even today, many years later, it is hard for me to say whether leaving would have been better or not.  There were bad things that resulted from my staying, but there were also good things.  Some things in my life have been what I imagined, despite all. Other things have been quite different, some good, some bad.  I'm not sure that isn't true in *most* marriages!

I very strongly believe that if there had been resources available to me, like this website, when my husband and I encountered his ADD problems, there would have been fewer bad things.  I started out as an ignorant, angry, frustrated, impatient person, which didn't help anything.  If I'd had more knowledge, I think I would have been able to help the situation more and I would have made fewer mistakes.  Some of the bad results were because of my own anger and stupidity, not all can be laid at my spouse's door.

So, I urge you to be smarter than I was, read and listen here, your situation can improve, you can have a good life, but I won't pretend it doesn't take a lot of work!  Melissa has great advice, seek out other professionals, join a support group for spouses of ADDers.  It *is* disappointing to let go of your vision, because that vision is *part* of you, but if you are open to the possibilities of a different vision, there is hope you can be healed.

My prayers are with you!

wow I know you posted this

wow I know you posted this months ago, but i'm with you It's exactly how I feel towards my husband now. I can't be attracted to a man thats not stronger than me. And not safe.  How are things now?

I hear you...

Expectations, like curiosity, kill ... What I see, often, is that we have expectations of how "things" should be... "Things" may be marriage, may be a relationship, may be how clean the house needs to be, may be just about anything. If a spouse has ADHD, they likely had it prior to the two of you getting married. At that time, why was it "not a problem?" I ask this not to be critical but to focus the conversation of the issue. The posts appear to be by people who are frustrated, at the "end of their rope," tired, angry, or hopeless. Let us step back. 1. What is the problem or problems? Is it that "they" are "messy?" Is it that "they" are "forgetful?" Identify specific elements that affect you and your mood. 2. Is "that problem" his/her problem or yours? I want a clean garage and a clean house. My wife wants a "spotless" house. That is "my" opinion. Her "opinion" is that I don't mind things "messy" because my "clean," apparently, is not as "clean" as she wants. We both have valid feelings. Now, how can we address the way each of us is feeling? Can we "meet in the middle?" Can we reach a consensus? Making me realize "things aren't clean enough" is changing the way I think. I am certainly more aware of what "she prefers," but I don't want either of us to be a slave to the other person's "wants" because then we lose ourselves. For example... You want less "picking up" and for him to "remember more" things so you don't "feel" as if you are a mother and not a wife. He wants support and understanding. It may be that both of you are not getting what you want... Thus the "tension." So, is it that you want it "so clean" and anything less than that does not bother him? If so, is "his clean standard" so bad? Could it be that yours is "higher" than it needs to be considering the circumstances? Either way, how is frustration and anger helping the situation? No, I am not asking you to "not have feelings..." Ways to think... Imagine yourself always having to meet the expectations of your "significant other." How would you feel? Sex, often. Doing what they wanted, when they wanted. Being criticized for not doing it the way he wanted... You both need to realize that each of you have lists of "things to do." Each of you is an individual in a relationship and that it may be impossible for each of you to get the top 5 things on your list done in a manner in which you both want them done. Since we are different, can you pinpoint the top priority? Can you agree on something that gets you both closer to where you "expected?" If you can't get past the frustration to empathize, you will never have a good marriage. You say you "understand" their issue, but you can't control your reaction/feelings. When a person cuts in front of you on the road, do you go into a road rage? If so, does it solve the problem? Does your frustration and anger solve the clutter or the forgetfulness? If not, it is wasted energy that is depleting your life, his life, and the life or any kids... I see "I love my husband, but ..." Sometimes it is "I am angry," "I am frustrated," or "I have no interest in sex." I am not sure that you are in love with your significant other. Before you flame me, think objectively. If you can't let go of your "feelings" in order to resolve the issues, your feelings will sabotage you trying to "fix" the problems--it will make them worse. So think about what attracted you to this person. Has the situation changed since you dated or is it that your expectation for what "would happen" has not been met? We all have expectations that are not met. None of us want to be that "spoiled child" who cries when they don't get their way... We want to work to solve our problems--sometimes this may be a separation. However, I don't recommend that until you have tried to reduce your "bad reactions." By "bad reaction," I mean that we often react with emotion. Emotions are great, but they don't always lead to a solution to "the problem." Instead of being critical, being "the mom," or getting frustrated and angry, see if you can alter you reaction when "those events" happen. Even if the house isn't any cleaner, you will be happier... Remember, we don't simply want to be critical and degrade our "significant other" with criticisms--however "accurate" those criticisms are to "our thought process." Ever seen an angry, ignorant, "racist" who yells some slur? The anger and slur say something about the (ignorant and angry) speaker and not anything about the person spoken about... Think about that. Your response to the situation says something about you, not about your significant other. You may not be able to do "as much as you want" with their actions or non-action, but you can do something about how you react when your expectations aren't met. However, if you have given up, you need to talk to your therapist--keeping the agony going for both of you may not even help "the kids." I wish you all luck...
arwen's picture

expectations come in different flavors

I agree that we all tend to have expectations about how things should be.  Our expectations are formed by a lifetime of experience, in our upbringing and in our interactions with others during school, at work, at church, etc.  We develop a concept of what is a reasonable or normal way for things to be, and it's not an unreasonable place to *start* in relating to a significant other.  It's not expectations in general that kill, it's *inappropriate* expectations that kill, and that's true for both the ADD partner and the non-ADD partner (neither has a monopoly on inappropriate expectations).  What expectations are appropriate and inappropriate are not nearly as clear or easy to define when ADD is part of the picture.  As Tom Hanks' character says about relationships in "Sleepless in Seattle", "Everybody's an adjustment," but my experience indicates that when one party in a relatinship has ADD, the relationship can require more adjusting than the norm.

In my own case, my husband and I were actually *not* that much of an adjustment when we first married.  In my husband's family, ADD symptoms are hormone-related -- they are in very little evidence between puberty and around age 40, and no one at that time recognized what the familial behaviors really were, so I knew nothing about them.  When I met my husband in his early 20's, he did not have anything like the problems that developed later on.  So part of my frustration and anger came from having formed negotiated expectations about him during the early part of our marriage, and seeing him stop meeting those expectations, for apparently no good reason.  Eventually his behavior became so abnormal that I became convinced  that there *did* have to be some good, physiological, reason that I didn't understand, and pressed him to see a professional for diagnosis.

Knowing a name for the problem didn't stop all the frustration, though.  I think the reason many of us non-ADD spouses have experienced so much frustration is that it is not obvious a lot of the time just what our ADD spouses can and can't handle.  Without that information, we use our lifetime-developed expectations as a gauge of whether a person is behaving responsibly or not.  When that doesn't work, many of us *have* examined our expectations.  Often we *do* negotiate.  Unfortunately, when we're doing these things, most of us still haven't understood what the real problems are.  We find too frequently that our spouses don't fulfill what they negotiate, even when we do our part.  That's pretty frustrating.   There's a very natural tendency to feel that our spouses don't care for us anymore, or that they do not respect us.  Whether that makes you feel angry, or sad, or whatever, the reactions are very normal and natural.  But you are quite right that they do not *solve* the problems! (In fact, in my experience they are often outright counterproductive!)

I learned I had to get inside my husband's head and learn how he felt and saw the world around him.  This took many years, but I eventually was able to build a "model" in my mind of his feelings and behaviors that allows me to interpret or predict pretty accurately how he will act or react in most situations.  For example, one of the important things I learned is that my husband understands intellectually what honor is, but he fails to understand completely that a philosophy of "whatever works" (one of his standard coping mechanisms) is not always consistent with behaving honorably.  He has convinced himself that his good *intentions* to be honorable are all that matters.  (The road to hell . . .)  By observation and trial-and-error, I learned when he actually is likely to be *able* to act honorably, and under what conditions it's not likely to happen.  I understand how he came to look at things the way he does and why there are some things about the real world that he probably will never really understand.

The French have a saying, "To understand all is to pardon all,"  and I've found that's mostly true.  Because I understand my husband much better now, I find it easier to forgive and I don't get angry very often anymore. But it's nonetheless difficult to respect someone who is missing the boat on fundamental principles of good relationships, even if you understand the reason why.  And it can be difficult to be intimate with someone you feel you can't trust or don't respect.  That doesn't automatically mean you've stopped loving your partner!  It's perfectly possible to love someone you don't respect or trust.    I love my mother dearly, even though she's a dingbat I can't respect and as she ages and is becoming considerably forgetful, I certainly can't trust her.  Feelings of anger or frustration don't intrinsically prohibit feelings of love, any more than simply getting rid of the feelings of anger or frustration will *solve* the problem, either.  But that said,  I do agree that turning from anger and frustration to understanding is an important step that greatly helps progress in healing the relationship.

You say we need to step back, and to look at what attracted us to our spouses in the first place.  I think it's pretty clear from my story that this would not have been particularly helpful to me and my husband.  I'm sure there are others here who have had similar experiences.  What I think is more helpful is stepping *outside* ourselves, outside our relationship.  Those of us with an ADD spouse need to try to do more than just step into their shoes.  We need to step way down deep into their skin and recognize that their experience is vastly different than ours, as much as if they came from a foreign country, so that we can understand just *why* our expectations may be playing us false sometimes.  We need to see the world through their eyes and ears, we need to experience *their* difficulties, we need to feel *their* responses.  This can be hard to do! But it can be a huge eye-opener.

Two things helped me with this process:  (1) I have some physical limitations of my own (asthma, allergies, a chronic leg problem), and the ways I perceived, had difficulties with, and responded to these physical problems gave me a little insight (2) I had a serious infection that required powerful medications for several months which in turn made my own brain function poorly synaptically -- there are things about that time in my life that I know I ought to remember but don't and  never will, because the memories did not form properly -- and the way that made me feel and behave both during and afterwards was pretty enlightening.   It's an incredibly debilitating experience to be aware enough to know that things are not right with how your mind is working, that you are making mistakes and forgetting not just trivial but also importnat things, but you feel, and probably are, completely powerless to do anything about it.  It feels terrible.  It feels better to just not think at all.  My experience has made me wish that there was some kind of medication available that a non-ADD partner could voluntarily take for a while (that would not have any harmful effects!) that would produce the kind of brain fog I experienced during my infection.  (On the other hand, I wouldn't wish the experience on my worst enemy.)

Once I was able to get inside my husband's skin (with additional cooperation and insights from him), I was much better able to differentiate between the things he could handle and those he couldn't, between the changes he was capable of making and those which were probably beyond him.  Then we were able to realistically go to work on those areas where we could improve our relationship and really make some progress.  It wasn't smooth and there were still some really bad spots, like the time we were separated, but I don't think our relationship would have survived without this fundamental understanding on my part.

This has eventually, after the many years of work, brought my husband and myself a new interest in sexual intimacy.  That doesn't mean I love him any more (or less), nor does it mean I'm not still going to get angry with him sometimes (sometimes he still doesn't meet what we both agree, along with the counselor, are perfectly reasonable expectations, because like all of us, he is simply not perfect!).  Please note that, just as not all expectations are "killers", not all anger is unearned!  Sometimes it *does* say something about the person at whom it is directed.  This all works vice versa for my husband -- his love for me hasn't changed, and he'll still get angry at me for my failings.  And frankly, I think that's all part of a fair, respectful, loving and honorable relationship.

sex and adhd

I feel the same way.  I don't feel like having sex for all the reasons that you mention. Plus, I feel like he is a child.  I don't feel like a women, He does'nt do anything to make me feel like anything but a mother, appreciated, like we have fun together, have intelligent conversations, or even have much of a connection.  He relies on me to take care of everything! 

ADHD men and high libido?

In my case, my ADHD husband could never get enough. Three times a day would be good for him. We settled on about once a day. I could be fine with less in the best of times, but his behavior had me so chronically frustrated, tired and angry that it usually took a real psychological effort to put myself in the mood and ultimately I just disconnected my emotions from the physical side of it and just tried (with limited success) to enjoy it on a strictly physical level. A lot of the time, it was more like doing situps or going for a jog - almost like exercise - because he would just want it out of nowhere when we were in this longstanding period of mutual frustration with no sort of romantic buildup to put us in the mood. 

It was not a way to feel closer, especially because it hurt me so much how he wouldn't even wait 10 seconds before hopping out of bed afterwards and into the shower, often with conversation about some chore or some person he was angry at or the new shirt he bought or some other equally unromantic and impersonal topic. His mind was already onto something else. He got what he wanted physically and didn't care if I was satisfied or not, emotionally or physically. There were also times when he would make really insensitive comments and physical observations that would totally kill the mood - speaking without thinking.

Now I understand it's not really his fault that he was being insensitive, but before his ADHD was diagnosed it was very difficult to know how to understand him, especially since he's from another culture - for a long time I thought that might be all it was, but now I know that's not the case.

Earlier in the relationship he would lose his temper if I didn't put out - complain, threaten and harrass - and because I was young and inexperienced (he was my first intimate relationship) I let myself have small doubts that maybe he was right that I wasn't "normal" for not wanting to make love regardless of my frustrations and lack of emotional connection.  Just enough that over time it became easier to emotionally detach from the act and just get it out of the way than to try again and again to make him understand what the reason was for my lack of desire and preference for emotional intimacy before physical intimacy. 

Now that we're divorcing, I'm looking forward to intimacy with someone else who understands that before getting physical I need emotional connection, honesty, tenderness and trust  - what I'd call *true* intimacy. Too bad he doesn't get it, though, because we certainly had the chemistry and on the physical side he was a champ when he wanted to be.


Wow I could have written this post!  I thought we were talking about the same man until the end when you said he was a "champ".  Mine needs to read some books on the topic because he is the worst partner in bed!  Cares nothing about my needs.

He too can expect sex after days of not talking to each other.  But when I decline, its that there is something wrong with ME!  He also does the harassing, complaining, and manipulating for HOURS sometimes in order to get me to give in to him.  He simply does the act while we are together-not really treating me like a thinking, feeling person at all.  There is no intimacy-just an act.    And not a very good one at that!   I am never satisfied.  I talk to him all the time about what I need, yet in the moment he does his thing and that is that.  Its boring for me.  Its not worth the effort for me.  He once told me that he expects us to have sex 15 times a week!  WHAT?  WHAT?  Must have gotten that idea from all the porn he views!  But really, I doubt porn stars do it 15 times a week! 


High libido, porn and empty sex

I couldn't help but laugh (there has to be humor in all this heartache somewhere, right?) reading the last couple of lines of your post - you expressed the incredulity and utter exasperation so perfectly. My god, the porn, *so much porn,* and eventually despite it all, mine did go looking elsewhere. The last one was a college undergrad half his age. It makes me sick. Sometimes it really did feel a lot of the time like I was just a half-step up from an inflatable doll, and in the initial period where my abhorrence to this empty sex thing was still in the process of being eroded by his manipulation and outbursts, afterwords I would feel so horrible about myself for letting myself get used that way, like some kind of hooker.  It makes me really sad to look back and see what I put myself through for this relationship. I really didn't deserve it, and neither do you or any of us posting on this board...



But the thing that you should focus on is that you are getting out!  You are moving on!  You are a strong woman for doing something about a situation that was not healthy!  Yay for you!  You go Girl!