I'm his mommy!

Having more and more time to think, I'm increasingly seeing how unbalanced my marriage was.  I was giving much more than I was getting in pretty much all areas: emotionally, financially, taking care of responsibilities, household duties, etc.  When I was talking to my friends about how much I love my husband despite all that he's done (or hasn't done), and how I don't mind supporting him financially and doing more than my fair share (which I didn't... if I'm in love with you, there's really nothing that I won't do for you), but I held myself back before I blurted out "it's sort of like how you love your kids, how you would sacrifice everything for their well-being?"  

I pretty much became his mom.

And it dawned on me, that's why he's so upset at our relationship.  At home, it's all about being told by "mommy" what to do.  You have to go do your homework (go find a full time job), stop playing your video games (computer, Internet, and iPhone), go do chores (help me with the household duties), we can't go to the toy store, mommy's busy (life isn't always going out to have fun, I'm busy working trying to make enough money to cover both our expenses).  He wants to leave the marriage just like how a child wants to go over to live at his friend's house where he thinks every day is just fun and games.  And I became frustrated like a mother dealing with a teenager.  


To him, home is where all the responsibilities and all the unpleasantness of life happen.  That's why he wants to move away.  It's avoiding and running away from the unpleasantness once again.  Whenever I would bring up something he doesn't want to talk about such as his ADHD and how it affects the marriage, he shuts down the conversation.


Well, now we wait for him to find out what reality is like, and when he's faced with having to do all the same things that he has to do in our home, but now he'll be doing it without me.

This realization, while it makes perfect sense, makes me incredibly sad.  I want a husband, not a child.  And it feels so terrible to realize he's running away from something that basically EVERYONE has to deal with, but he doesn't see it.

There were a few times in the past he has told me, "When I'm out with my friends, I have so much fun.  When I come home, I feel so sad and anxious."

I told him, "when you're out with your friends, they're not talking about the debt that we're in.  They're not talking about how you need to look for a full time job because your current job is not enough to cover your part of the expenses.  They're not talking about having to fix the water heater and where we're going to find the $1,000 to have it replaced."

He just doesn't get it.


Yes, Yes and Yes!  Everything

Yes, Yes and Yes!  Everything you say is to the tee of what I experienced and thought.  I will never forget the day my undiagnosed husband said to me, "we have a mother son relationship".  It hit me hard and I replied with, "well, if you did things on your own, we wouldn't have that type of relationship".  At first he didn't see my point, but later he actually admitted to me that I was right because he didn't do those things.  That one revelation didn't save my marriage but still he was able to see it.  My husband did a lot of traveling and just like you said your husband thinks being out with friends is so much fun, i think when my husband would travel and have the free meals and was sitting in the bars with women who were giving him attention, he came home and felt it was so boring (remember, some of those with ADD thrive on excitement and novelty).  Again, as I said in another post, I think it takes a lot of time for them to see the 'real world' after they have escaped and had whatever fun they thought was out there, but then most of the time it is too late.  This is true, of course, for many marriages, ADD or not.   

I second the "yes, yes, and

I second the "yes, yes, and yes."  You've described my relationship and my feelings.  Guess what, ADHD husband:  I don't want to be your mom!  If you don't want to be in a relationship like this, then start acting like a mature adult, not like a helpless teenager.

Older they get ... the harder it is

I am totally frustrated with my retired husband ... and I feel the same ... feel like his mother and not his wife ... although he has not been officially diagnosed with ADD, my daughter (diagnosed as borderline) and I believe he has ADD without hyperactivity ... he doesn't have a hyper bone in his body ... just the opposite ...  found an old school report card some years ago that described him as a daydreamer and unmotivated ... he is still like that only worse now that he is older ...  he is 68 yrs. old and has been retired for 8 yrs. ... he is extremely passive ... parks himself in front of the TV ... and just sits and watches me take all the responsibility ... I was told by a lady at church that if I wouldn't do things then he would step up and take responsibility ... WRONG!  I did that some years ago ... the house needed to be painted as well as a 3 yr. old shed ... I sat back and waited for him to do it ... instead the siding rotted and I had to hire someone to replace it all for $$$ ... from that point on if I see that it needs to be done I do it! ... He is like a light bulb with a short in it ... sometimes he will be motivated and take responsibility and that is where I find myself letting my guard down because days later he will "dim" and I am back having to push at him to do something other than sit ... that's when the frustration hits ... we havehad some oil leaks with our truck ... he saw them but ignored them until I pushed him to take it to the garage ... we had to have the valve covers replaced ... things like that frustrate me so.  Why doesn't he just do it if he sees it needs to be done ... I was sweeping out the garage when I noticed it ... it was after I pushed him that he finally took it in to be look at.  

I have taken him to the doctor and psychologists off and on through our 40 yrs. of marriage ... the last psychologist told me not to divorce him but to live like I was single ... being the responsible one ... the hard part with that is taking care of the things he messes up or neglects ... I feel like my time is spent back tracking to take care of what he has neglected ... I have to push to find time for me ... and I am tired of being his Mom!  but guess I will be until one of us leaves this world ... so not fair that he gets to sit in front of the TV while I paint the exterior of the house ... pressure wash the house ... rake the leaves .. cook his food and clean his house while he chooses the easy chores like putting the dishes in the dishwasher and then going to sit on his butt ... I have taken him to his primary care dr. ... concerned that it could be depression or the beginning of dementia ... was sent to a neurologist where that was ruled out ... I am in a loveless marriage and have been for years ... he gives little of himself ... he listens to music, goes to car shows on the weekends ... but nothing that includes me.  If I want to go to a movie or out to dinner I have to be the one to ask ... and most times he doesn't want to go ... so I have learned to go alone ... I don't like the person I have become ... and if I could live life over again I would never have married him!  Biggest mistake of my life!

I think being anxious and sad

I think being anxious and sad is something a lot of ADHD spouses feel. My hubby said that multiple times...and even used it as an excuse not to move back in with me for several months. He said that he felt that he wasn't at home because I was so angry and resentful towards him. Now if I found out that he had been sleeping around on me during that time, I probably wouldn't be typing this. But that wasn't the case (in fact he went extremely celibate during that time and it continues to be an issue with us now...but that's another story). One day something clicked and I stopped being so angry at him, and he started being around more.

The Mom/Child dynamic is a dangerous one. And the Catch 22 is that we enable this behavior. We have to stop it before they see that they need to stand on their own two feet. How do we do it? Heck if I know! It's something I struggle with too. How many times has my ADHD hubby said, "Quit acting like my mom!" and I've told him, "Quit putting me in that role!"

We need to decide what things can afford to be let go as a point. House work, maybe? Can you stand to live in a pig sty until he figures out that he needs to help out? I did that with the dishes recently, not really intending to. I just let them pile up in the sink and when I finally broke down and asked him to wash them he told me that he had already. Wow. What made him do it? I really don't know. My one rule for him in the house is that he pick up his dirty dishes and put them in the sink. He does it 95% of the time. Otherwise, he doesn't really contribute the mess. He can be somewhat "cluttery" but he's not a tornado of destruction. Honestly, I would hire a housekeeper if we had the money. I hate to clean, it's not a priority so why should I hold him to doing chores that I put off too?

What about other things? Paying bills? I took that over long time ago. I'm too anal to let him be in charge. He fought me for a long hard while, but eventually caved knowing that I excel in that sort of thing. He's still responsible for his own phone bill though. Yeah I wish he could contribute. Things would be a bit easier for us. But he's recently decided that he wants a dog and we can't have one where we're living. So I put it to him last night, "Until you get a job where you can contribute, we can't have kids (this seems to be an issue with him) and we can't rent/buy a house with a yard for a dog. You make the decision." We'll see what happens and that segways into the applying for jobs issue. That's a tricky one. Without his meds (he takes his sporadically and dependent on whether he has the money for them), he can do little to sustain his focus to fill applications out. I'm actually about to sit down with him and ask him to let me help. I don't mind. I have a lot time of hands some days and if it means him being able to take advantage of an opportunity, then I'm glad to do it. He might turn me down (he has in the past), but at least I tried. All I can do is to continue to send him job opps that I find and hope/pray for the best.

I think it all comes down to boundaries. What are we willing to do and what are willing not to do? We need to stop looking at things so starkly. Yeah, our friends' husbands might help with the house work or do other stupendous things that our husbands don't, but if we dwell on it, we're doomed. And confiding in people who don't have experience with ADHD is another no-no. They can never ever EVER understand what we go through here. Though I'm not afraid to admit that I fail at both confiding in people who understand and comparing my marriage to others. In this age of social media it's hard. One of my friends posted this weekend that she woke up to a fed baby and pancakes courtesy of her husband. I kind of wanted to punch her in the face for that because I probably will not get that sort of thing out of my husband. But then I remember that she is a good listener when I confide in her and has been the ONLY friend to not counsel divorce.

In the end, the important thing is that my hubby may fail horrible at some things, but ultimately, he makes me laugh and I know that he loves me. Everything else is up for negotiation and certainly not worth divorcing over.

Dazedandconfused, what you're

Dazedandconfused, what you're saying is almost exactly like my situation.  I don't mind too much doing all the stuff for the household, including supporting him financially.  I'm a freelancer, and my jobs are not always steady so sometimes things end up going onto my credit card for me to pay off later.  But all of that's ok.  The reason why I'm angry all the time is he continually ignores me and chooses his computer, iPhone, or TV over me.  He spends all day fooling around on the Internet when he could be looking for a job, and then he has the audacity to complain about me when I'm keeping everything together and paying HIS bills, his bills that he can't pay because he's not looking for a job.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not resentful for paying for things.  I would be more than happy to help him with looking for a job, setting a budget, figuring out his finances, whatever else, if he would let me. But when I offered to help, I'm being a nag.  Without my help, I know it won't get done.

Where I do get resentful is I'm doing so much, and there's no appreciation.  And THAT is where the parent/child dynamic starts.  If he appreciated and did what he could to contribute and help, then I would just say that's a partnership between two loving adults who are struggling and doing what they can to make ends meet.  Plenty of families are in that situation.  I always romantically viewed us as "hey we don't have much now, but we have each other, and one day we'll both be in better financial situations and we won't even look back at our struggles."

But he takes and takes and takes and doesn't appreciate just the amount of sacrifice I make, and then start complaining about things.  That sounds like a mother providing for her ungrateful teenager.  And then for him to leave because I'm not as fun as his friends, that's just infuriating.

Yep, he definitely needs a

Yep, he definitely needs a kick in the pants. One of the things I have seen on here is that a lot of ADHDers can act like children. I think it's their need for constant stimulation. They want to have "fun." My hubby was a cop when we were dating and he was 100% different. I think it was part him being stimulated at work (getting shot at is an adrenaline rush apparently...LOL) and the hyperfocus. We spent every day together and so I didn't think things would change much when we got married. But he lost his job two days before we were married and our whole dynamic was shot. For the longest time I clung to the hope that once he was a cop again, we would go back to our "normal" selves. But five years down the road...he's basically been blackballed out of law enforcement. I finally had to figure out that I needed to love him as he was and not love (and mourn) him as I remembered him. It helped a lot. He may be getting back into LE again, and I do wonder if I will have to re-adjust to the way he was or if he'll change at all. It should be interesting if not a little scary.

I can agree with you on the use of time thing. One of my pet peeves with my hubby is that he stays up all night either playing tournament pool, working, or playing vide games, and then sleeps all day when he should be out doing things like looking for jobs, etc. Then he waits until I get home from work to go do errands. That's one of our big problems right now. He works the three other nights a week, so we may get an hour between him getting up and having to leave. He plays pool on two other nights and I don't see him at all because I go to the gym after work. We're supposed to get two nights just for us and he understands the import of spending time together, yet he seems to think that one night a week devoted to each other should be enough especially after the fact that we were barely seeing each other for over a year. I don't think in terms like that though. I think those two nights should be "sacred."

I laid it out on the line in my reply to your other post about marriage being hard, but out of curiosity, what do you guys do to spend time together? Unfortunately, expecting him to put down his phone, video game, computer, etc to spend time with you just might not happen if you stay at home. I know it's hard, but it's not deliberate slight to you. Have you suggested that you go somewhere together? Go to a book store and have coffee or go out to eat? Maybe ask that he leave the phone in the car once you get there, or leave it off or something? That was a real battle for me when we were still healing and getting to know each other again. Hubby had to be stimulated so he had his phone out. Once we started getting along again and actually enjoying our time together, the phone stayed up because we were talking or being silly together.

He says that his friends are more fun and I know that has to hurt (been there), but have you ever asked him why? Is it because you nag, etc.? Have you asked him what he considers nagging? Have you explained to him that it is hard for you not to nag when he asks you to help him be accountable? Sometimes just putting aside your feelings and asking questions (even if the answers hurt) really help you gain some perspective. If he can't answer them, then well, I don't know. My hubby could usually answer them and was generally surprised that I even took the time to ask. I still sometimes have to think deeply about his responses and ask why he did or said what he did. It's hard sometimes to do that when all I want to do is get angry...especially when his answers are unreasonable or not logical!

I hope your husband gets that

I hope your husband gets that job in law enforcement that he's looking for, and hope he goes back to the way he was!

In response to your question about what we do, we try to do things like go out to eat, get coffee, go out for walks.  Sometimes he will agree to leave the phone in the car, but even he will admit, the entire time he's with me, he's thinking about who might be texting him, and how he wishes he had his phone so he can Google for stuff that he's wondering about.  In other words, he's not mentally connected with me.  We don't have a lot of money though, so going out to eat and getting coffee are treats.  When we don't go out, we try to spend time together at home.  It could be trying to prepare dinner together, watching a movie, or maybe playing games.

His friends are more fun because his friends don't remind him of responsibilities.  When he's out with friends, they go out to a fancy restaurant or to some event and he spends his money there.  When he's with me, going out to a fancy restaurant costs a lot of money, and I tell him, we can't afford to eat here or to do whatever fun event he wants to go.  When we're together, I end up paying for everything, and since I have to make sure household expenses get paid, I have to put limits on the spending.  And whatever money he spends with his friends means it's money that he can't contribute towards the household expenses, so in the end, I end up paying for his fun times with his friends too.

But it's not just that.  These friends that he's so excited to hang out with are new.  So it's all fresh and interesting.  Until he gets used to them and then he gets bored with them.  Ask any of his other friends, he doesn't rush to go hang out with them.  It's the new friends that he's excited about.

I think at this point though, I've got to let him go out there and crash and burn on his own.  I can't keep living like this.  I work too hard to be unappreciated.  Maybe one day when he gets bored of his new friends and he's broke and can't afford to have any fun because he will have to pay for his own bills, he'll realize just how good he had it.

I think at this point though,

I think at this point though, I've got to let him go out there and crash and burn on his own.  I can't keep living like this.  I work too hard to be unappreciated.  Maybe one day when he gets bored of his new friends and he's broke and can't afford to have any fun because he will have to pay for his own bills, he'll realize just how good he had it.

Absolutely. When me and my hubby were split up, he ended up living with his "friend" and his girlfriend in a pig sty with dog poop all over the floor. He was the one who cleaned up (not often, but some), he had to make sure he had his portion of the rent, etc. It was a living hell for him and to be honest, I don't think he would have progressed to the point that he has with me had he not been able to experience that. His problem lay in the fact that he told himself that he deserved that sort of lifestyle and he was fearful of moving back in with me due to our past experience. It took my grandfather becoming terminally ill to get him to realize that I needed him home.

And I understand about not having enough money. We had been able to afford to eat out cheaply once a week, but with the increases in FICA and insurance, that's gone down the tubes. Though he does seem cognizant of the fact that he can't contribute to our meals and feels bad. I just wish those bad feelings would give him some gumption to do something about it!

Continue to stay strong. If he does start to turn around, do try to get some counseling for inviting him back home.