I just can't trust my ADD wife of 15 years anymore - is it over for us?

I have been the spouse of just over 15 years to a wife with ADHD.  Like all of the other stories I read, when we dated, all was great.  When we got married it all changed...immediately.  I found out a month after we got married that she had been sleeping with my best friend while we dated and were engaged, and the weeks before we got married, she said she slept with several men to get "it" out of her system.  She had numerous flings during our first 4 years of marriage and now that I look back, I was too young, insecure, and depressed to deal with it.  She promised me (after she was caught each time) that it was anything more than just flirting or just kissing, or the occasional heavy petting but never intercourse.  Any attempts to talk to her ended in her crying, wishing she was dead, shutting me out emotionally, or blaming me for constantly bringing up the past.  All of this is in addition to the constant daily distractions, not completing simple tasks,  not cleaning or cooking (even if I begged or plead), not taking care of the children properly and not even taking care of her own personal hygiene, including her monthly feminine hygiene needs.  I had to take on everything to make a family work.  She would tell me to please be patient with her but never could get past square one. 

She is my wife and the only person who I want to be with for the rest of my life, but as much as I love and miss her now, and need her with me, I can't trust her.  I know of, and she has admitted to, approximately 6 times in the beginning of our marriage alone where her loyalties and affections were aimed at another man over a period of time - usually old classmates or old teenage boyfriends or co-workers, but she chose to stay with me each time (gee, thanks).  I now know that those were behaviors brought on by the symptoms of ADHD - that need for attention and stimulation but it still hurts badly.  I went through years of thinking it was me - that I was doing something wrong.  I blamed myself a lot.  She always said that I had not done anything emotionally, physically, or financially to cause her to look elsewhere.  I am confident in my abilities to provide for her and to satisfy her sexually, and she claims that she only wants to be with me intimately, but if sex is the only part of the marriage that actually works - at some point even that's not enough to sustain true happiness and I feel guilty that this is all that we can do together now.  She was diagnosed with adult ADD a few years ago and has been on and off of medication.  Even when she took meds she changed for a minute and then reverted back to her old habits.  Her self esteem is lower each year than before and I can't risk losing the confidence I building in myself to try to raise our daughters.  

I have noticed lately there have been two Facebook relationships in the past year - those who have experienced this know exactly what I'm talking about - she accidentally leaves her page logged in and there all these messages from guys and her flirting back and forth.  I am now just getting over the past hurts from over 8 years ago.  After finding out about the last one I decided that we had to live in two different houses, so she is living with her parents.  I am trying to keep our daughters on the regular routine as much as possible in our home. Her mother seems to do everything for them when they visit (cook, clean, clothing, etc) and my wife is showing little signs of improvement - and they see for themselves now that she is very distracted and unable to complete simple tasks in the midst of this crisis.  I am sensitive to my wife's problems and it hurts me to see her cry for me and the children and tell me how much she loves us, but after the tears are dried, she goes directly to sleep, goes directly to eat, looks blindly at TV, or surfs the net for hours into the night and she can't find the motivation to really start change.  This has gone on for over 15 years.  She can't hold down a job because either she quits, gets fired, or battles the urge to be the "buddy" and not concentrate on getting the job done.  I am mentally exhausted and wondering if it will ever get any better. 

I can live with my wife having ADHD (for better or worse, in sickness and in health), but these symptoms of ADHD lead to her need for attention and she says that she has issues with separating platonic relationships from infatuations and affection.  She told me that she was molested as a child, and is scared to even talk about it all these years later.  I don't know by whom (I think it is a family member and he still coming around now) or how long it took place.  All I know is that the ADHD has led to behaviors that have weakened my marriage.  Am I fighting a lost cause by trying to help her through this?  She has agreed to see a psychiatrist.  Should I give this one more try.  What if it happens again?


Your wife doesn't cheat on

Your wife doesn't cheat on you because of ADD!  She cheats because she is a cheater.  She has shown you a consistent pattern of behavior over the last 15 years and even though you have expressed your feelings and needs to her, she has not made any changes.  Period.  She has no interest in actively making this marriage work.  Why would you want to give her another chance?  You deserve better than that.   

I agree with Steph...ADHD did

I agree with Steph...ADHD did not cause her to cheat. My finace has extreem inatentive and hyperactive ADHD and I trust him more than any man on this planet (he is my 3rd serious relationship).She is cheating because she is a cheater and ADHD is NOT an excuse. If it were, then all with ADHD would cheat, no?

The fact of the matter is that she is taking advantage of everyone taking care of her and she needs more professional help. I am sorry ADDspouse but if she can't even take care of her monthly time then she has been in a self-destructive pattern her whole life. ADHD or not, it's very hard to ignore and take care of the misery that is happening down there.

You need to think about your health and your children's health. Stop making excuses for her ADHD. Yes it is a hinderance but if she is not working at it everyday (medication, reading, that one chore that is her responsibility), as you do, then she is just taking advantage of you taking care of everything. Someone, you, her mom, anyone needs to start holding her accountable.

Good luck with everything but as for now, you know deep down what is best for you and your children.


ADD and Life

I will agree with the other commenters. I myself have never cheated on my fiencee of 7 years. The problems mostly relate to my hyper activity and carelessness at times. Give a psychiatrist a try, but I also would meet with the psychiatrist seperate and ask for their opinion she may have some psycological imparment outside ADD. ADD is many time a co-existing condition mine happends to be Dsylexia. She may have some emotional problem? Good luck! If the doctor tells you she has only ADD I would pray and really think about your relationship as I know you have already.


While impulsiveness and addictive tendencies that often come with ADD may add to your wife's issues, the ADD isn't the reason that she's having her affairs.  Something else is going on.  And, regardless of what's going on, she is either able to pull her life together or she's not able to.  She is reponsible for her behavior - and for the consequences of her behavior, good or bad.  I applaud your willingness to stick by her, but at some point you deserve much better than this.  The tone of your message suggests you might not yet be ready to leave her, but something definitely must change for the two of you.  Else you risk ending up feeling hollow and regreting that you stuck around.  So, with some internal soul-searching, then I would be tempted to let her know exactly where your line in the sand really is.  If she crosses it, then you will leave the marriage.  You understand that this line may well get crossed - so make sure that it is REAL - that it represents that boundary over which you will not go.  You might find that it has to do with additional affairs (emotional or physical), or you might find that it has to do with her taking her treatment more seriously by X date, or you might find that it has to do with something completely different.  But for your own sake, find something that gives you the opportunity to bring this uncertainty to an end.  Towards that end, you might want to read "Too Bad to Stay, Too Good to Go".  I think it could give you some really good perspective.

Don't use ADD as an excuse for your wife - she is STILL responsible for treating you as you deserve to be treated if she is going to earn your love.  People with ADD are almost always capable of treating their ADD effectively if they are inspired to do so and willing to put in the effort that it takes.  She doesn't strike me as making the effort - rather it sounds as if she's just floating along on the goodwill of those around her - you and her parents.  However, some firm action on your part might help her see the tenuous nature of her predicament (if she doesn't already) and seek help.  (You might also work with her parents on this, if you have a good relationship with them).

Thank you SO MUCH Melissa.  I

Thank you SO MUCH Melissa.  I talk with my wife everyday and she says that she doesn't want me to divorce her, but we can stay separated if that is what I want.  She also says that if we stay together things will be okay, but if we decide to divorce, things will be ok as well.  This doesn't sound like someone who wants to work it out, but one who can go either way.  I am so hurt by all of this, and am glad to know that I can now separate the ADHD from the constant emotional affairs.  I can accept her statement that she never had intercourse with any of these men that she knew, but the fact that there was a rolling emotional attachment with each one and that my trust for her has been severed - I cant bring myself to go any further. 

I guess now I have to work on me.  I am a good man.  I deserve better and I know that there is someone out there who can appreciate me for me and my children.  Not too many fathers want to take on the responsibility to raise his children, especially girls into productive and strong-minded women.  My hat is off to all mothers out there who do this everyday, working, planning meals, getting everybody to school in the morning - thinking about them all day - then getting everybody home and cooking dinner, baths, doing laundry, helping with homework, creating a safe and peaceful home and just making sure that their needs are all met just for that day.......and then doing it again the next day - WOW!  They are laughing, playing, and enjoy being home - now that the constant arguing, fighting, yelling, or cold silence has ended.

Your knowledge and expertise on this forum is a GODSEND!!!!!  Thank you again Melissa and others who have posted so far. 


I'm really sorry for what you

I'm really sorry for what you have gone through....I'm in a similar situation with my husband and it's all very confusing.  BUT I still have a hard time believing that ADHD has nothing to do with my husband's impulsive behaviors as far as affairs/emotional affairs.  If he can make the poor choice of practically financially ruining us, why isn't plausible that he would make the same mistakes as far as fidelity?  He continually has shown over 13 years that he has trouble with 'boundaries' ... in his case, knowing when to 'stop' the fantasy...whether it be cars, houses, toys, or women (in my case, one known 'real' affair and two 'emotional affairs' on Facebook--Dang that Facebook!)  But I still feel that he is a good man that can't help but sabotage himself.  He is ashamed and remorseful of what he's done (I do believe that) but even then I'm not 100% sure he wouldn't do it again.  Sometimes I don't know who I'm married to... 

I feel like you said...my trust has been severed.  And my husband's response sounds like your wife's -- one minute he'll be desperate to save our marriage, and the next I'll sound depressed about things and he'll say, "Well, it sounds like you just want to end it."  As if he expects me to sit here begging to go on with him when he's making me CRAZY.  And I'm thinking, you should be the one trying desperately to keep me here!!  Not the other way around!!  It's very frustrating and exhausting.  Especially when kids are involved and you want to do what's best for them as well.

I don't have the answers, but just wanted to comment and let you know I feel your pain and hope it works out the best way possible for you.  Whether it's with your spouse or without her.

Amazing how similar this situation sounds

Hearing the exact phrases my ADD husband and I say from so many other people in this forum, this give me so much certainty that the ADD is more a part of the problem than me or him. My husband has great values and has been treated for depression and ADD for several years but we are struggling more than ever. If I can handle the stuff he drops, the kids and the finances, should I handle it all and just let him be if he basically loves me and the kids and does what he can? I feel emotionally abandoned many times, but is this just the hand I was dealt? I know many marriages are worse but his ADD behaviors (all that have been listed at one time or another) have warn me down.