I would have left by now if I didn't love him so much

Where to start.  My husband and I have been married for 14 years and have three beautiful boys, 13, 10, and 8.  Our marriage has been a bit of a roller coaster since our first year.  There were times that things were really great.  He was great with our first child; he would wake up crying at night and my husband would get up with him and walk him up and down the hall to quiet him.  As time went on things started to change.  I can remember the first time that he 'exploded'.  I don't know what it was about, but it was definitely not as if we were having a violent exchange.  He kept getting more and more upset and then he turned around and started punching the door.  He had never been physical toward me and I was in shock.  His hands were bloodied and our door was demolished.  As time went on his 'tantrums' became more common.  We moved out of one house and when a friend moved in to rent our home, she commented that her movers were worried that ours was an abusive relationship because of all of the holes in the walls (which, incidentally we did repair before she finished moving in). 

It most certainly was not and has not ever been physically abusive.  But many many many of our disagreements end in him storming out of the house.   When he gets in this 'mode' he will not listen to reason.  He'll storm through the house in the dead of night - while our kids are sleeping - yelling obscenities.  This was also very out of character for some time, we were married several years before I ever even heard him cuss; and it was during a fit of rage.  He's also not very logical during arguments; he seems to talk circles.  And the more I try to reason with him the more upset he gets. 

There have been times that I've thought that I was going crazy.  He has blamed me for every part of our lives that have made him unhappy, financial or relational or anything really.  So I've tried to compensate for the 'mistakes' I've made.  He once wanted to move halfway across the country to attend bible school.  We were young and we had a young child, no college degrees, no jobs waiting, we didn't even know anyone there.  So I insisted that I didn't think it was a good idea.  For years he blamed me for squashing his dreams and so when an opportunity came up for him to take a job halfway across the country (in the same general direction) I jumped on the idea thinking that it would be a way for me to redeem myself and support him in something that he really really wanted to do.  We were there about six months.  I was working two jobs - one of which I would get home from after midnight and find nothing had been done at home.  Often my kids hadn't even had baths. Hadn't done homework.  Then I'd get up the next morning and get the kids ready for school, only to do it all over again.  We fought regularly and it was always about how miserable he was and why I wouldn't agree to move back home.  He applied for a new job in the area (since he hated his new job) and it seemed promising.    He interviewed (he always does great with interviews - people love him) and was pretty much offered the job on the spot. He emailed the gentleman who interviewed him to ask more questions about the job and soon receive an email back that they had decided he wasn't a good fit. I read the email that my DH wrote and I was shocked. It was cold and unprofessional - nothing like he would normally write.  I don't know if he did it on purpose or if it was subconscious, but he sabotaged his new job. He returned to our home state with our kids to visit family for Thanksgiving and I stayed in our new state to work. While he was 'back home' he went and talked to his boss about getting his job back. He returned with our kids and eventually told me that his boss had offered him a job, but we had to move right away... the job had to be filled. But what he didn't tell me is that he went in and talked to his boss and they made a position for him to return and he convinced our landlord to release us early from our lease (provided that they could rent it out quickly),  he talked to his parents to borrow money because he just had to leave!!  So I agreed, despite feeling that I had been 'duped', I was exhausted and just wanted to go home.  I made up my mind that I was going to leave him when we returned home.  We packed up a truck and drove home (the same day we packed) 12 hours.  He did almost all of the packing himself - it was the most happy he had been in months and he did anything and everything I asked while loading!  He did just about all of the work. 

But soon that enthusiasm waned.  He suddenly (in the same month) decided he wanted to return to school to finish his degree.  This has created a lot less time for him to be a partner in our relationship/family life.

But let me back up. Our problems were exacerbated by circumstances when five years ago he went to the doctor for a rash and ended up having open heart surgery several months later (unrelated to the rash). He totally pushed me away. He insisted that it was him going through a tragedy, not 'us'. He just knew that he was going to die. He wouldn't hear any reasoning about the likelihood that he would not die. He had his mom and sister looking for a hospital bed to move into our house (because I wouldn't do it) despite the fact that he was going to be up and walking in the hospital within 48 hours of having surgery. Not to sound insensitive, but he was in panic mode and was blowing the situation up to be much more tragic than I felt that it had to be. I resolved to just be there for him if and when he decided he needed me. I never left, but I might as well have not even been there. 

He has lied about other stuff.  1. He used our business computer to look at porn and I blamed an employee.  He let me believe it was our employee one night I was discussing it with my DH and he seemed off.  I pushed and found out that it was him, not the employee.  2. He took an inspector out to lunch and she was apparently really 'hot' (according to DH's co-workers).  He didn't want me to know because I might be jealous.  3. He told me that him and 'the guys' from work were going out for dinner and there were no wives allowed, only for me to find out later that there was a female co-worker going; but he didn't want me to know she was going and didn't want me to go, so he lied. 4. He went to a strip club on a business trip and he came home and told me that he had a lap dance and that he felt horrible.  He cried and I felt bad for him and consoled him (in very intimate ways)  But once again as we discussed the events the next day, he seemed 'off' so asked questions and found out that he had had three lap dances.  Hm. Must have been a horrible experience for him!  I felt used. 

These are the four 'big ones' that he often refers to when trying to explain to me that it's not rational for me to not trust him over only lying four times.  But there are other small lies/omissions also. Such as leaving work early (I just happened to be leaving the house at the time he was pulling in) to study - but the only reason that he didn't want me to know was because I might tell him that he shouldn't. This is completely suspect to me.  It's not like a lot of lies happen on a daily basis, but over the course of 14 years one begins to wonder what you don't know.  He doesn't understand why I would feel this way and thinks that I should completely trust him. 

As a side note, the strip club lie happened during a time that I had lost weight and I was in the best shape of my life and I felt great about myself.  However, since that event, any time I ask him why he doesn't want to be intimate he says that it's not him it's me, because I'm insecure because he went to a strip club.   Which brings me back to everything always being my fault. I'm insecure.  I'm controlling.  I've pushed him away and made him feel like he's not capable. He can't even help me by loading the dishwasher because I might not like it.  Yep, it's my fault that he doesn't help around the house. 

 

I didn't leave him.  I talked to him and he told me that he wanted me to stay (this was a year ago).  He was so happy that I had agreed to move back that he would have done anything that I wanted in that moment.  But now I'm working more hours per week than he is and, oh yeah, I'm a part time student.  Managing the kids' lives.  Managing sometimes his life (except for when he has extra money from say a side job or something that he wants to use to buy something fun, which I apparently don't allow because I'm too busy using our money for boring stuff like bills - then he wants to manage that money).  I have three boys who don't know what to do around the house unless I tell them precisely.  I need a home-management partner. 

We had a great weekend last weekend.  We even had a heart to heart over the phone and I told him how wonderful I think he is.  I woke up Monday morning and something seemed 'off'.  I don't know how to explain it but it was like I knew something was up when I woke up.  I noticed his phone was beside him in the bed and not plugged into the charger like it was when I went to bed.  I got online (this is very incriminating to myself and I'll probably take some heat for it and I can't really explain why I did it) and logged into our account with our phone service provider.  Our detailed data usage showed that his phone was using data past midnight (we were in bed before 11).  I asked him about it and he denied.  He started fumbling through his phone rather nervously and said he didn't know why that would be he was in bed.  He popped open his browser and said "there's this hustler page on here, but I didn't do there. Maybe it was a link from a website I was on or something" (disclaimer: not ver batim but you get the idea).  I don't really believe him but I don't really care either.  The kids and I have stayed at my mom's the last two nights because of the weather and her house is closer to the school.  And probably because it puts some distance between my husband and I.  I love him.  I love him so much.  I don't want to be without him, but I don't want to be 20 years older and still in the same place we are now. 

I'm not sure why I wanted to post on here.  I guess because after reading so many posts I feel like maybe there's a reason and I'm hoping that maybe there's an answer.  I'd like to think that he does love me and that he doesn't do the things that he does because he is 'punishing' me.  I feel like he is resentful and bitter toward me but he says he's not.  I just can't do it all by myself. I'm not a single mom - I shouldn't have to live like one.  He emailed me today (we communicate a lot through email because it seems to work better for us than talking face to face and getting heated) and told me that he wants to fix things but doesn't know how.  I don't either. But I know that this can't be as good as it gets.

ADHD effected relationships

It certainly sounds as if your husband has many of the negative ADHD symptoms.  Is he being treated?  No you absolutely shouldn't have to live like this.  There are probably changes that you and he can both make to improve the relationship but you both really have to want to make changes.  It looks as if your husband wants you to stay but either doesn't recognize that his behavior is devastating you, and/or doesn't know how/ is overwhelmed by the idea of how to go about it.  I would recommend that you locate a therapist/psychologist/coach with extensive experience with ADHD for your husband and give it to him to make the appointment.

Also, it is critical that you recognize which behavior is reflective of symptoms; impulse control, quick irrational anger, blaming you, etc, and internalize that they aren't personal.  This is one I have to remind myself of often.  Even when he's yelling obscenities and calling you names, and blaming you, those are symptoms, not personal. 

I've been struggling a lot with the question of is this as good as it gets, and if it is, is that ok?  My psychologist pointed out, over and over, that I can not make him change.  He has to do that himself.  And sometimes that doesn't happen.  It's very frustrating and I feel powerless, I just want to fix it.  But he has to do the fixing.  What I can do is respond rather than react, let go the anger and resentment accrued with symptoms, treat him by my own values, and try to not disengage.

I feel for you.  Best wishes through these very tough times.  It can get better if you are both on board.