I hope my husband does have ADD - at least I'll know what's wrong

I hope I'm right about him having ADHD.  I pray I'm right because at least then I'll be able to not take things so personally.

Here's our story.  We are both 30 and have 4 kids (5, 3, and 6 month old twins).  He also has a son from a previous relationship.  We've been dating on and off since high school, went to the prom together and then broke up during college (when he fathered his son).  We got married soon after I graduated college.  It was a whirlwind elopement and we were are strongest then.  He doted on me and we had so much fun.  He was irresponsible then, but I thought it was because we were both young and still figuring out how to be adults (go to work, pay bills on time, etc.)

Over the years he has been reliably unreliable.  I can't count on him for anything, especially when it comes to money.  I've learned to let go of the little day to day things, like not keeping the house clean or forgetting things I told him but the financial instability drives me absolutely up the wall and has me contemplating divorce.  Recently, this aspect of our marriage has me looking into quickie divorce.

I went on maternity leave in October. Prior to this, we talked about how I would no longer be working and how he would have to take care of the family financially.  It gave me huge anxiety because this is the one area in our lives in which he has consistently let me down, but I had little choice.  So he got a job (making very little money at a temp agency) and did his best.  His best was paying the rent (chronically late and incurring late fees) and buying groceries/gas.  He ignored the light bill, phone bill, car insurance, etc.  Even though he wasn't making much money, I know for a fact he could have paid the remainder of the bills because I have done it before on the same exact salary.  I just overcompensated by using my short term disability checks to keep the lights on and phone one.  I couldn't pay the car insurance because my disability didn't start coming until after the insurance company had cut us off, which infuriated me because I was with that company for over three years and he couldn't manage to pay the bill for one month!  UGH!

Anyway, he got an opportunity to get a job driving a mini bus.  When he told me he was going to leave his temp job and take the job driving, I was apprehensive because he has a horrible driving record and has had his license suspended many times (very common among ADHDers).  I told him that I thought he wasn't eligible for that job because of his driving record, but he dismissed my concerns and said it wasn't a problem.  Well of course it was, and he lost the job when they got his background check back citing all his traffic violations.  He had depended on getting that job so much, that he had neglected to pay any bills that month choosing instead to go ahead and pay for everything needed to obtain the job (blood work, pay off fines for license, get a new license).  So when it came time to pay the rent, he had nothing.  In order to pay it, he had to ask my grandmother for the money upfront and then use my tax returns (his get garnished because he never paid his school loans back nor called to make arrangements) to pay her back.  This was a crushing blow to me because we were planning on using the tax returns to buy a much needed van to transport our 5 children!  On top of everything, we got turned down for a bigger apartment because of HIS credit report (ie the school loan he never bothered to pay). 

He has done things like this for years.  We've been married 6 years and there was only one year of our marriage when he held a job for the entire year.  Other than that he goes from job to job or is unemployed for long periods of time leaving all the responsibility on me to handle every single bill and all the other things that comes with daily living.  I think I could even handle the financial instability if he gave me the attention I so desperately crave.  Yesterday, I came home and he was playing video games while the dishes were still in the sink, floor sticky and needed to be mopped, laundry not put away, etc.  I just went about getting the dinner started.  After I made it, I went to sit down and was hoping he'd stop playing and look at me.  After all, I'd been at work all day.  Surely, he must want to speak to his wife whom he hasn't seen in 10 hours.  Nope.  He just went right along playing his game as if I wasn't there for about 30 more minutes.  Then he got up and didn't say a word to me, like I wasn't even there.  Never asks how my day was or what is going on with me.  The only things he talks about are television shows and movies.  I can't take it anymore!  I'm at the end of my rope. 

I'm sorry this is so long, but I really needed to get it out in a forum where people may understand what I'm going through and not just say that my husband is a lazy good for nothing loser who needs to grow up.  I really feel like something is wrong with him and I'm hoping that at least once I figure it out I'll be able to deal with him better and not see him as a monkey on my back, holding be back from having any type of better life.

It's been six months since this post

And no one responded.  I guess the post was too long or something.

Anyway, I feel terribly low right now.  A lot has happened since this post.  Right after my husbands 31st birthday he had a stroke that put him in the hospital for 3 days.  After he came home he couldn't do much of anything.  His speech was slurred and he walked very off balance. 

That was three months ago, and now he's doing much better physically.  I don't know how his stroke has changed him mentally though.  He refuses to sleep in the room in which the stroke occurred so he's been bring the mattress into the living room.  We haven't slept in our bedroom or in the same bed for months.  I feel very lonely and confused.

I hate to say it but I resent the fact that he had the stroke because it gave him a valid excuse for not doing anything.  I had to do everything prior to the stroke, but now it's gone up a notch.  I'm very angry at him and there is no where for the anger to go because I know it's not his fault.  It's not his fault his brain doesn't work like mine or that he had a stroke at 31.  It's not his fault that he had a messed up childhood or that he never learned how to cope with his ADD.  So I blame myself.  I blame myself for marrying him and having so many children with him.  I blame myself for not figuring out sooner that he had ADD.  I am just so upset that my life is the way it is and I feel helpless to change it because I feel alone.  I know I can't get help from the person who I chose to be my partner in life because he's not a partner at all.  He's just there.

I'm sorry if this isn't making any sense.  I am very emotional this morning.

NeedHope I am so very very sorry for what you are going through

In the battery of tests they no doubt have done since his stroke, has he been diagnosed with ADD or anything else?  That might at least give you a place to start from in learning how to help him?  Is he in a support group for stroke survivors or getting any sort of ongoing treatment/counselling?  That will be invaluable in reinforcing any good habits that he begins.

I apologize for not seeing your post.  I come here a couple times a week to read but lots of things fall through the cracks when you do that :(  The truth is that I have never experienced anything like your situation.  My ADD husband holds a job and has throughout our marriage been the primary bread winner.  Also we have no kids, so I wouldn't blame you at all if your response was "You have no idea what I go through"  I know that I don't which makes me feel unqualified to do anything but sympathize.  Take heart though there are people who post here who have been in very similar situations as you.

My guess is that if your husband has ADD (maybe his problems were the result of whatever neurological disorder caused the stroke?), he likely would have the hyperactive type.  As my husband has the inattentive type, and the actions (or rather inactions) are both similar and very very different.  ADD (without the H) doesn't have the crazy impulsivity that causes someone to change jobs all the time looking for the perfect situation or to fail to pay the bills.

My husband is what I would describe as bad with money....as a single person he spent his entire paycheck every month yet he had very little to show for it.  Many many movies and electronics--I think we had about 5 computers when we first got married!!  Yet he paid his bills too.....in a way that I would describe as bad.  For example, putting a check in an envelope and not sending it so that he never realized that it didn't get paid until the next month.  Also he has NEVER in his entire life balanced a checkbook.  He just looked at what the bank said he said and figured "that is about right".  I was horrified.  I immediately had his bank reverse the charges on a automatic deposit that he'd never authorized that had taken hundreds of dollars out of his account.

I don't understand how anyone can be so careless with money, which is so necessary to survive especially with a family.  But that kind of thing is classic ADD.  He now (mostly) sticks to a budget as long as I reiterate what we are doing once a week so that he doesn't forget where we agreed the money is going this week.  He understands why we need to have some emergency savings and he goes along with saving even though he'd rather everything other than bills to be *fun money*.

The only way to find happiness in your situation is for him to get fully treated for whatever his problems are.  You then will be in a position to discuss with him what reasonable expectations are in a marriage partner.  Playing video games all day is unacceptable for ANY adult, much less a father of 5.  Playing video games for 30min-1 hour to decompress from a hard day is understandable....we all decompress differently & my hubby tends to decompress with games too.

Honestly I think communication and having the type of relationship where you both listen to the other person's viewpoint is vital.  For example, if I tell my husband that I think he has been playing on the computer too long, his immediate reaction is likely going to be "no it has only been 15 min", but he has learned to trust my experience and that I don't tell him things that aren't true.  So he'll look at the clock, be amazed, apologize, and get back to our regularly scheduled life........well most of the time since he does have ADD after all :)

I wish you absolutely all the best in the world and sincerely apologize for not seeing your post.

So sorry to hear your

So sorry to hear your frustration. I started posting in July with different problems but with the very exact anger and frustrations. I was so angry at myself for putting myself in this position and so angry at myself for making the decisions about my life that had made me miserable. I wish i could help you. The only thing i can offer is to take care of you. Keep reading. There are some amazing people here. They can help by listening and being here for you. He definitly needs to get help and he needs to take a hard look at himself and do some work to help get it all together! Is he open to counseling? Is he open to meds? Is he aware of what he is doing? I hope you have family and friends close by to help you during this extremely stressful time.

I am so sorry...

Nobody responded to your original post. It was not too long, even for me the did not get diagnosed with ADD until age 43 guy.

I wish I had more time to give you right now, but I am at work, so I will try to come back to this posting later.

Everything you posted is classic ADD, pretty extreme too. Was your spouse taking meds or in counseling for his ADD? Stimulant meds work for I believe about 70% of us. The meds are not enough though, educating yourself and dealing with your poor coping mechanisms and facing the inattention to your spouse is key. The ADDer Must own his/her ADD and want to improve the situation. You cannot fix this, as I am sure you will realize after reading the posts on this website. Your anger is totally understandable. Do not blame yourself for not seeing the ADD, most people don't even know more than the common stereotypes about ADD, much less how it does not end with childhood and how much it affects so many marriages.

I am sure people will also respond to your post. Hang in there...



Relief can come in many forms

I'm sorry to hear of so many burdens on your shoulders. Stay tuned in the forum for support from some of the most compassionate individuals that wander our lands. I struggled all my life with traits like unrealistic ideas of what I COULD do. My fabulous and grand ideas never quite reconcile with what I am willing to do. In the past year, I happened across material about Adults with ADHD and the discovery, assessment, and explanations have been a relief to me.

I encourage you to tap into your husband's strengths and interests. You know things he's always liked to do or tinker with or play. If there is a way for him to re-connect with those playful interests in an adaptable way, you can work together at redefining some of his life purpose. For instance, an acquaintance of mine founded an annual musicians jam in Arkansas after he became confined to a wheelchair. He produces and expands this event each year with indulgence in his interest in acoustic music. He started with playing guitar, learning from other musicians, and publicizing the venue. Now it spans three or four days in a reserved campground with meeting hall / performing stage. He does all this with help of his family but primarily on his own strengths of networking with musicians, email, phone, and photography. Perhaps this example can inspire you and your husband to tap into his imagination of how he can create a significant impact as an executive director or producer of a product or service which is intrinsically interesting to him. Another example is a meteorologist who is the NASCAR weather guy because he created his brand out of his love for NASCAR, his skills as a meteorologist, and his interest in social networking. He keeps an eye on weather each week of the schedule related to the specific venues. These two guys took interests and talents they had already and assembled them into something new. They can do these things right from home except for special weekends that they choose to schedule as vacation trips.

Happy inspirations



My heart is breaking for you.

My heart is breaking for you. I know what it is like to have a full plate with kids, school (I don't work but am in college), and dealing with the problems in the marriage. I am so sorry no one responded initially. I know I checked the dates and that was when my DH was going through a complete shut down and me, being co-dependent, followed right along. That is the only reason I can think of. I certainly hate that you didn't get the support you need. ((((HUGS))))

As for your DH...just thinking out loud here, you don't have to answer...but I was wondering why a 31 year old man would have a stroke. Is his health poor? Could he qualify for disability? You said he was doing better which leads me to believe that is probably not an option. I know even a steady income would not fill the void left in your heart due to his inattention. My best advice is to be completely up front with him and address the issue. E-mail him some of the posts under "Melissa's Favorites" (above, right corner). See if you can get some counseling for the two of you. Many times medications help, but they aren't a cure all. Just be honest with him and tell him that you feel maybe he has ADHD and ask if he'd be willing to go to get an official diagnosis from a professional and get some help. There comes a time when you have to just simply lay it all on the table. If he refuses to get help or listen to your needs (at the very least) then you have some hard decisions to make. If you're going to do everything yourself, you may as well do it as a single parent instead of having him around as a constant reminder of how lonely you are. I think the single hardest part of the inattention phases my husband goes through is being lonely. You can only take so much before you start needing to crawl out from under it. I hope and pray you are able to talk to him about this and that maybe he's willing to get some professional input.


They couldn't tell me why he had the stroke.  He does smoke and drink, but the doctors said that wasn't the cause.  They really have no idea.  Apparently, his cousin had a stroke at 32 which makes them think it just runs in his family.

Right now we do not have insurance because we can't afford it.  We've applied to Medicaid but have yet to hear anything.  In order for him to get disability he has to see a doctor to track him, and he can't see a doctor without insurance.  *sigh*  It's been three months since the stroke and we are scraping by.  He's decided to go and look for a job instead of waiting for disability. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I am in a bad place emotionally today and I needed the feedback and support.  I really appreciate it. 

I place an order for two books on ADHD marriage today.  The one from this site and another one.  I need to start somewhere with getting this under control.  I know I can only control myself, but reading the books should help me feel validated at least and give me some practical advice.

I read a quote recently that said, "You have to give up on the life you had plan so you can start living the life that is waiting for you."  I feel like that is where I am at in my life right now.  I had planned for my husband and I to do things together as a team, but now I am slowly giving that up.  He is not a partner to me.  Instead of taking away my burdens (as I assumed a husband would do for a wife) he just adds to them.  I feel so alone in my dreams.  If I want anything in life, I have to get it completely on my own.  I didn't think that was what marriage was about.  I mine as well be single if I have to work for everything (a house, cars, kid's education) on my own.  I feel miserable and trapped and unable to accurately articulate these feelings to my husband so that any real change will occur. 

Recently I have just thrown myself into my children.  I'm planning a birthday party for my soon to be 1 year old twins and planning a Disney vacation for April.  It has taken up a lot of my time so I don't think about how horrible my marriage is.  It works most of the time.  I even went out with my mom a couple times this month which gave me a much needed break.  I think I feel low right now because I took a couple of days off from work and never really got a break.  I feel more relaxed at work than I do at home.  My husband is looking for employment again, but the way he "looks" is frustrating to me.  He doesn't go all in.  It's like he applies here and there, but in order to get a job in today's economy it is necessary to make looking for a job - your job.  He doesn't do that and I know I can't make him.  Yesterday he watched football all day instead of sending out resumes.  It infuriates me.  What makes me even madder is that I know yelling or nagging him to do it won't do anything but make him defensive and less likely to do it and that makes me feel helpless.  The bottom line is, I need his help.  I've tried just telling him that so that he would feel needed, but so far nothing has worked.  It's always the same and I'm starting to feel hopeless.  I've even contemplated getting a second job, but I don't want to miss out on seeing my kids grow up.  At the end of the day, spending time with them is my priority even if it means we don't live in a nice house or have nice things.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read and offer advice.  I just really needed to vent today.

sending support long distance

Hello needhope,

 Well, alas I don't have much advice for you, but spinning through the cyberwaves I'm sending a loooooot of support!!! You've got too much on your plate. 

 fyi my mother had a stroke when she was in her early 40's. The reason is still not known, one of them could be an atypical migraine. She didn't get any treatment and it sent her in a tailspin for a couple of years. Best of luck with that, and any support and info you guys can glean is better than none!

 There's a song I heard Etta James sing, called, " Whatever Gets Your Through The Night", and I think that's a great one for really hard times. You're doing it right. Kid's bdays, Disney...in my world it might be a pedicure or a glass of wine. ANYTHING. Those little things [ well, bdays and vacation aren't little! ] make allllll the difference. 


rara avis

Thank you!

Last night I broke down.  It was like I was keeping the flood gates closed for months and I couldn't hold it in any longer.  It all came flooding out.  I asked him about his job search and he got really annoyed and said as much.  I just let it all out.  How disappointed I am, how much we need change, how we have to start somewhere.  He was just cold and irritated.  He never wants to talk about our marriage or anything serious.  As long as it's all fun and games, we're good.  Life isn't all fun and games.  Sometimes you have to discuss hard topics and it seems impossible to do with him.

After I talked though, I felt much better.  I got a bowl of ice cream and started watching 30 Rock.  I really needed to get it out.  Today is a better day.  I'm focused on me and the kids and making a better life for us in spite of my husband sabotaging my every effort.  I'll just use my past mistakes as lessons learned and move forward a wiser woman.

Thanks again for all the support.  I really appreciate it.