I need help.

I am trying to figure out what has happened in my relationship and need some advice. My husband left me at the end of March. This came as a total shock to me and to everyone around us. My husband up until a few days before he left was telling me how much he loved me and how I was his motivation. In the recent past, he has lost a job, lost a car he had bought, and when almost getting another job had a setback due to needing his high school diploma. He has since decided he wants to only be responsible for himself. He says that if he doesn't have a job or a car that as long as it only affects him that is okay. He now says he feels like I am more a mother than a wife to him due to the endless nagging and such due to his inability to remember anything. We discussed the fact a long time ago that he possibly could have ADD. He shows so many signs. He can't remember things unless they are important to him. He promises things then has a hard time delivering. Cleaning and most household chores are started and rarely finished. He starts out with a bang and then it just fizzles. He is currently living at a friend's gym. Has been out of the house for 3 weeks and still does not have a job. He is waiting on two that he has almost had for quite some time. He does the occasional computer tech job for cash and this is what he is living on. I have started therapy and I would love to get him in to see someone and see if he possibly needs to be medicated. Someone help me out and tell me what I need to do.

Husband Left, Clueless

I want to know - is it you that feels clueless, or your husband who is clueless?  In any event, you don't say how your past conversation about ADD went.  If he was open to the idea, you might get him a copy of Driven to Distraction or Delivered from Distraction (which is more recent).  Many report reading it and seeing themselves in it as the beginning of understanding their issues.

I am always a little suspicous when someone leaves that abruptly, particularly if they claimed that things were fine immediately before.  Check cell phone records, if you have access to them, to see if there are lots of calls going to a number with which you aren't familiar (and if there are, find out to whom).  There may be something else happening.

If he is telling you that you've become a mother figure to him, then you should pay attention and see what behaviors might need changing.  This is a very common pattern in ADD relationships, and it is usually quite destructive.

Is your therapist well versed in ADD?

Some ideas for next steps:

  • Ask your husband if he will join you for marriage therapy.  choose a therapist who knows all about ADD, just in case he has it.
  • Give your husband a copy of Delivered from Distraction.  You can tell him that his comments about you acting like a mother to him made you think about ADD as you know that is a common pattern in ADD marriages.
  • Talk with him about what the next steps should be.  Does he want to come home?  Does he want a separation?  Does he want you to change your behavior?  How will you learn to trust him again since his walking out was such a surprise?  Is there someone else?  Why did he pick this particular time to leave?
  • Think about what YOU need in all this.  How has his leaving made you feel?  What have you learned about your relationship or about your needs?  What do you want out of all this?
  • Your therapist can also give you some good ideas and help you explore your feelings.
  • You may wish to think about whether you need a "controlled separation".  This is a certain type of separation the basis of which is setting clear rules of behavior and interaction within the hopes of getting back together.  You can find out more about it in the book "Do I Stay or Do I Go?"  Note that I'm not suggesting you ask for a separation - I'm all for getting back together again.  If he suggests separation, though, this is one option that might work for you.
  • Rely on friends and support from people you care about.  Don't go into a shell - connections are very important right now
  • Take stock of your financial situation - make sure he can't clear out your bank accounts by surprise, either.

Good luck with this.  I know you must feel as if the bottom just fell out of your life.