Immediate things I can work on?

I am new to this site, but what an eye opener it has been!

Non ADD wife married to an inattentive ADD husband, and we have kids.  Though, he has a very successful career and has had the same job (though several promotions) with the same employer since he graduated college (with straight As) 13 years ago.

Has it "together" at work, but comes home and simply doesn't engage.  Not present.  Spends time while I am preparing dinner with his face in his iPhone, or at the laptop working.  Stares off during dinner with 4 kids at the table.  "dad.  dad.  dad." Nothing.  Well over half the time, I have to speak loudly and say "your children are speaking to you, please respond".  When I ask him to do something around the house, he responds that he just wants to relax because he works so hard, or that he doesn't want to, or asks why can't I do it.  Or he tells the me the teenagers should do it.  So, we all have chores and he really doesn't., and least nothing consistent or that is "his".  If he gets to something, its after I have heard 5 "in a minutes".  As soon as dinner is done when I cook, he dishes himself up, sits down and starts eating.  I am always the last to sit down because I am getting the little kids food and drink and whatnot situated.  If he knows I am exasperated, he WILL dish up the kids, but acts put out.  If I ask him to stop taking care of himself, and to please help, he will say "when I cook, I am always the last to sit down, so whats the difference".  The difference is, the only time that happens is when he dishes me up my food and requests me to sit down.

Been to marriage counseling twice.  It didn't stick.  Had no idea until I saw this site, that his ADD affected our marriage.  I just thought he was insensitive or bored with being married and having a family.  We seem to be the most uninteresting thing in his life, much of the time.  He is passive-aggressive, he "jokes" his insults and then tells me I am too sensitive when I state I am offended.

If he starts something, it isn't to completion, unless it is something he really wants to do.  If he has invited company over and we start to clean up, he will head to the garage to "rearrange it", which makes no sense because we won't BE in the garage.  Then, at times, all of a sudden he is up, cleaning, doing chore and after chore (many are not the ones that need to get done for the immediate need) and I am incredibly grateful and thank him (he needs constant back pats, like I read most ADDs need). But then NOTHING, no help around the house for 2 months because afte rall, he DID so much that one time.

I cook weeknights, I do dishes (or a teen does them).  He cooks weekends, I do dishes.  I wash ALL laundry, but everyone is responsible for folding their own and putting it away.  He just heaps his up, sometimes for 2 months before putting anything away.  He will do things like clean the shower twice a year, after me pushing for 6 months first (I physically cannot do it because of my back).  I deal with care maintenance, both his and mine.  I pay the bills.  Every big once in a while he will want to check the checking account online and will ask me for the password (which has been the same for 8 years), but then it is just to complain that we never have enough money.  Then he will spent 3 hours online "researching" a weekend get away for us, after just stating we are "broke".

His habits create physical dangers around the house.  He will snack on crackers and cheese (usually while I am watching a show, which he interrupts with LOUD scarfing of said snack) and leave the KNIFE on his nightstand, within total reach of the little kids.  If he takes a tool from the garage (which takes a long time to find, as nothing is ever put back in its place, so he is constantly searching), he leaves it right where he used it, in reach of children.  He "sheds" every item he brings into the house EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Jacket here, scarf there, laptop bag over there, keys on counter, belt over a chair and shoes either right where he walks out of them (ALWAYS in the way) or on my side of the bed.  Both pregnancies I tripped over his shoes, once down the stairs.  8 years and still not a single effort to stop this.  His side of the bed is so piled with shoes and dirty laundry, that he has to get into bed through the foot of it.  Every single morning he is frantically searching for belt, wallet, keys.  

Always late.  ALWAYS LATE.  He will tell me he will be home at X time, and text me 30 minutes to an hour after X time to tell me he is leaving.  Then, I usually receive another text 15 minutes later "ok, really leaving", and always blame it on others taking up his time and making it impossible for him to leave. One time he told me that no matter what, if a parent comes in to talk to him, even if he is walking out the door to come home, he will NOT turn them away and he will NOT let me know he will be late.  Its his job, and I simply have to accept it.  I usually try and meal plan, shopping once in the week and then having everything I need so he doesn't need to stop at the store, but lately we have been so busy with the kids schedules and a new diet (which, for the very first time since we have been together, he stuck with for 30 days) it hasn't been happening.  So, he will be an hour to an hour and a half late leaving, then go to the store to pick up what HE WANTED for dinner, then complain the moment he walks in the door that now he has to wait for dinner to be made (because he wants to eat as soon as he walks in the door).

Because of the general time frame he leaves work, I ask him to pick up the teenager from practice.  The very MOMENT he arrives, if he does not see my son, he will immediately text me a barrage of "I don't see him, he isn't out here, he is making me wait, I am leaving if I don't see him in 30 seconds", etc... while I am trying to prepare dinner so it is ready when they walk in the door.  I have tried to nip this in the bud, telling him I am busy preparing dinner and that he needs to work this out with our son, not complain to me the entire time he is waiting. He CANNOT stand to be "disrespected" by waiting for one of the kids, or myself, but yet he leaves us waiting 3-4 nights a week, without fail.

Double Standards.  I am his mother.  He plays the role of child.  Though he has pretty high expectations for the teenagers, he does not have them for himself.  He expects them to do exactly as they are instructed, many times on the whim when HE decides, while barking the order at them, but absolutely does not hold himself to the same standards.  For him, its only when HE feels like it, if at all.  The house just is expected to run itself, and if he feels the need, or I have nagged him enough, he will pitch in, complaining along the way.  He works, I stay home. I hear that often.  If he has an idea, he will say "we need to do X", but what that always means is ME.  He has been telling me for months that WE need to trim our large dog's toenails.  I cannot do it myself, but he won't help me.

When he borrows things from people, he doesn't return them until they are asking for them back.  He will hang onto things for a year or two, and they always come around, asking to have the items back.  Though, you best not EVER do that to him. If he loans you something, he will judge you for not returning it promptly.

I have gone the route of letting his laundry sit, get piled up.  We build a large custom home 6 years ago, and it is never clean.  I cannot keep up, and then I just gave up.  I only CLEAN if we are expecting company, and that company is planned well in advance.  Our bedroom should be a place of solace, relaxation and romance.  But no.  It is piled high with his mess.  Then, because I believe I am depressed, keeping even my side of the room tidy became daunting, then pointless.  It is dusty (we have a large dog that sleeps in it) and just a giant mess, at all times.  Our master bathroom is even worse, because we have a large open space that he piles his months+ worth of laundry I have washed.  His cleans his ears and leaves dirty Q tips ON MY SIDE OF THE COUNTER, in a passive aggressive way (like its my job to pick those nasty things up), trims his nails and leaves the trimmings. Shaves, leaves drippings.  All of his morning toiletries are left out all over the counter. He actually cleaned his toilet (I say his, because he has horrible aim) last week because I flat our refuse to do it, and reminded him that I refuse to touch it. It was the 2nd time he has cleaned a toilet since we built the house.  When we have company, I leave explicit instructions to our friends to NOT step foot in our room.  Ever. It is that gross. I keep the sheets clean, and thats about it.  It is pointless doing anything else, because 2 days later it looks messy.

So, like most of you, I have lowered my expectations to the point my house looks worse than it should.  Since he is in education and we have 4 kids, we really cannot afford a maid.  Or yard maintenance (we have 1/3 acre lot that looks like the eye sore of our nice neighborhood).

After Christmas, I removed all of the decorations (we have a ton, he loves Christmas time and how the house looks when I decorate).  His chore was to remove the Christmas Lights on the exterior of the house and the tree, and then remove the tree. It was a 14+ foot tree.  Also, after I had boxed up all of the decor and put it in the garage, he was supposed to put it in the attic.  He had one of those urges to clean the garage one weekend, and now it looks like he never did a thing, because all of the Christmas stuff is piled up (I can never park in the garage, as we have a boat he refuses to sell that we have NEVER ONCE USED in 8.5 years on one side, and clutter on the other).  So, this 14 foot tree wound up in our living room for 2 weeks and he never took off the lights, or removed the tree.  I ended up taking manual shears and cutting it down, branch by branch until I had what looked like a forest in my living room. I heaped branch by branch over the deck railing, down to the yard.  Then I realized, after 2 hours and a naked trunk, that it was too heavy for me to get out of the stand.  Husband came home, said "good work", but left the trunk still in the stand.  My ex husband ended up being the one to dispose of it when he stopped over to pick up the kids 2 days later.  This was the 2nd year in a row that I cut down a Christmas tree in my house.  Last wekend, he sent my son out to clean up the branches and put them in the yard debris.  The trunk is still laying in our back yard.

ETA: How I ended up finding this site last night.  It had been a long, long time since I had addressed my feelings to him, and they were starting to build up.  I let him know I was feeling distant and disconnected and uncomfortable with the increasing amount of "jabs" being thrown my way, and how short he has been with the kids.  I also once again addressed his obsession with his iPhone in the evenings, which starts the moment he walks in the door, and throughout dinner.  The night before, he spent the entire dinner texting. At the table.  He apologized for his actions, and gave me a bullet list of the things weighing on his mind. Said things would improve.  They used to improve for a couple of months. Then a month, then for a week. Now?  It won't even make it home.  Last night was a replica of the night before.  It was like I never said a word, and like he never told me he was sorry.  Three of the four kids have the stomach flu.  I haven't slept much in 3 days, and have been tending to their every need and washing a LOT of laundry.  Two nights of this, he did NOTHING to help me.  Text, emailed and then went and watched TV.  Last night, while I was trying to stay up and help one of the puking kids AND because I needed to head to the high school to pick up my teenage son when he came back from an out of town sporting event, exasperation got me googling.  And here I am.  I spent 2 hours devouring this site and just WOW.  We belong here.

When it comes to the teens, he is VERY black and white.  He believes in educating their brains, but has no concept of their emotional needs, and how that is just as an important part of their education.  He used to play a more supportive role, backing me up as their parent, but then he took over once they hit middle school (as they were students of the school he was a principal at, at the time).  Middle school was pretty ok, even though we had some emotional turmoil with my daughter when she was about 12.  We made it through.  He developed a much closer relationship with my older son (my ex husband travels and is not around much).  But man, does he harp on them something fierce about their grades.  I tend to take the approach of addressing the bad grades, setting up the expectations and coming up with a plan of action, and then regrouping to check on progress.  My husband prefers to harp on them almost daily, makes snide comments and "jokes" about their failures (his expectations are Straight As, because he has never in his life had a B).  For my son's entire freshman year, my husband called him "C Boy" (he got mostly Cs that year).  I took him out of multiple sports and let him focus on ONE sport, so he had more time to concentrate on grade improvement.  Now? He has all Bs and one A.  My husband still wants to gripe to him about how they could be better.  How he will never make it in a 4 yr university with his grades.  I am very happy with his progress, and the fact he is a good, good kid with a strong moral compass.  

My teenage daughter is finding her freshman year a huge struggle, much like her brother did last year. It is a huge transition, and she does NOT do well with transition.  We are going through a ton of issues with her right now, and it has been hard.  Both of the kids pretty much avoid my husband right now because he rarely has anything positive to say, and he is always cracking "jokes", but really they are insults. If any of us get upset, he tells us to lighten up because he was just joking.  Anyway, I now have my daughter in therapy because she has some real issues stemming from her father being pretty vacant in her life. She is a daddy's girl and she feels abandoned by him.  It is hard, and I am doing my best to get her the help she needs.  All my husband wants to do is complain about her grades. THERE IS MORE TO BEING A TEENAGER THAN A REPORT CARD. I am hypersensitive about this because of how I was raised. Only child to a work-a-holic and alcoholic father who only showed interest in harping me about my grades and how I could better at sports.  It is so frustrating to see my husband doing this to my kids. Our daughter together is in first grade and is the smartest in her class, and in the 97th % on nationwide standardized testing.  Let me tell you how "funny" I find it when he always jokes about how it is because its "his kid, and his blood".  Because, clearly, since I did not finish college and MY kids are "average".  (insert large eye roll)

Also, I have let my friendships go, because I have spent so many years in "fix my marriage" mode.  My needs have been going unmet for so long, that I just have ZERO motivation.  I don't WANT a messy house, I don't WANT to spend the day in my PJs doing chores, I don't WANT to feel so alone, I don't WANT my kids seeing how one sided marriage is.  I have tried it all, like most of you.

I need IMMEDIATE suggestions.  Sure, I could just go out with a friend and reconnect, but since he has a demanding work schedule, I have to pencil it in, and then HOPE he comes home in time to tend to the kids.  I KNOW he will spend the time I am gone stuck with his face in his phone or laptop, like every single night.  I know I need to give up that "control" aspect, but I don't want my kids being left to their vices while he ignores them.

I read a post about Finding Myself Again, and getting back to ME. Like most of you, I have completely lost who I am because I am married to another child.  My question is HOW do I approach this with him?  Do I just buy the book and give it to him?  I have bought a slew of marriage books, that still sit under a pile of dust, unread.  We have done worksheets, work books. Nothing sticks.  Actually, its a negative trigger if I present him with ANY marriage "fix it" material.

He knows he has ADD, and he may go get help. But I am tired of pushing him to MAKE A CHANGE. I cannot MAKE him make an appt.  I need something that works for me NOW, that can get me on a path to rediscovering what I used to like about myself. I used to be fun, engaging, outgoing, strong and independent.  Now I am just BORED, sad, frustrated and pissed off. I am no company to be around.




Here is an idea for something

Here is an idea for something you can do immediately.  It might not last long or go far, but if you keep repeating it, it might help a little.  

Remind yourself that you ARE strong.  You have kept yourself and your children and your husband going through an extremely stressful situation.  You are an awesome mother (I agree with your parenting views 100%).  You are bright and you communicate well.  You recognize and acknowledge problems.  It stinks that these behaviors and traits had to make themselves known because of your husband's ADHD, but they're serving you well and will help you in other challenges you face in life, too.

Please keep coming to the forum.

Thank you, Rosered. I

Thank you, Rosered. I appreciate it.  My friends have been telling me to remind myself of that, and at times I do. Other times I fail miserably.

Me, too!  I mean, I tell

Me, too!  I mean, I tell myself these things and sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn't.  But partial success is worth something, isn't it?

Oh Banders, I wish I had

Oh Banders, I wish I had advice for you, but I see myself and my husband so much in what you wrote. I too am at a loss, and based on some recent happenings, really feel I am at my breaking point. I also decided 2013 was going to be the year of "me". I joined a gym because I have gained a ton of weight (thanks to self-medicating with food) and finally bit the bullet and saw my doctor about an antidepressant. Being in the situation I am in, I am not sure if any meds will actually help me. I just have goot to take back my life. I used to be so fun and happy. Now, since I have to be the one who tries to stay one step ahead of DH AND follow behind to pick up his messes, I am so crabby all the time. I seriously rarely have fun with my kids b/c I have to do all the household work, while he can swoop in am be Mr. Fun. I am just trying to find myself again, too. 

My Dh did get diagnosed and put on Adderall, but it is hard to tell when he takes it and it seems to annoy him when I ask about it. We have never tried counseling, but after a stunt he pulled at my families Christmas, I told him I wanted to and he actually agreed. We'll see when I present him with a counselor, though.

Divorce has crossed my mind seriously lately. But, I am a stay at home mom with very little part-time income, so the thought of trying to get a place (because I know he would never leave the house), job, etc. is overwhelming. I have no family nearby, so that is not an option. We have a 5 and 7 year old. Would divorce make his anger issues disappear? Nope- I just wouldn't be there to help diffuse the situation. Would he suddenly be on time for things? Nope, and when he had them, my kids would constantly be late to things. 

I wish I knew the answer. But I do agree with the other posts- you have to remember that you are a strong person, even though you probably don't feel that way. I also think you do need to figure out some kind of way to take time for yourself. Is your schedule flexible? Could you take some kind of class or do an activity when the kids are in school? Make 2013 be the year of rediscovering you (I know...easier said that done!)

I often hate the 'connection'

I often hate the 'connection' I feel when I read stories on here...yours is no exception. I have only read a handful of posts this morning and they all have the common thread of "my life has been lost to his ADHD". That is where you start. Literally. You are in no way, shape, nor form responsible for 'fixing' the issues his ADHD brings to the table. Not only that, going a step further, you are not ABLE to fix his issues that his ADHD brings to the table. You simply cannot change him through nagging, begging, pleading, crying, cussing, fussing, or sheer will. Won't happen. Accept that first and foremost. The empty promises are THE ABSOLUTE WORST. (the apologies for texting during dinner..then doing the same thing again the next night). What I feel has to happen is that he has to be put in a position that he realizes he has consequences of texting during dinner and he has to care about those consequences. What this specifically means for your marriage, I don't know.

You need to restore your own life. We (non-ADHD spouses) say it all the time...I need to find myself again. I've lost myself. I don't like what I've become. I don't like him. I want out. I want to feel loved. It is all true, but we rarely find the courage to do something about it. I realized that I had gone too far in this situation when my ever waking thought was about HIM and how I could change/fix/help/control/stop the pain he was causing me. You can't. I couldn't. I simply just let go and embarked on a journey to start living my life again in a way that did not revolve around him. I started 9/11/11. That was my D-day. You can go back and search through posts here...someone specifically posted something to me and it was like my entire world a good way. It is still a work in progress. I am still trying to find myself again and, most days, I think it has been the very best favor I could have ever done for HIM. At no point was my mindset "I am going to get stronger and leave him" it was just simply to stop trying to control him, give him the chance to lead his own life, prove what kind of a man he could be (to me and to himself), allow him to live up to his potential, and me find some joy in my life in spite of all of the despair and pain I felt from our disconnect and conflict. Things went from bad to worse. Then to even worse. We're still digging ourselves out. It took me well over a year to realize that once he started getting better (after hitting rock bottom and everything that could go wrong did go wrong) I was still dragging around all of the old baggage, afraid to let go and just believe that things might actually be getting better. I almost feel I resented him doing so well and finding myself asking why we even had to go through all of those horrible years in the first place. Why?! It sadly took another set back, hitting another horrible place in our marriage, for me to see this and start to do something about it.

I get up in the mornings and all of my thoughts don't immediately go to his ADHD (which we all know encompasses a lot of things). Ask yourself...why does it have to ruin dinner for 5 other people if one person texts the entire dinner? It is rude, it is not setting a good example, it is not what most of us would want ideally...some might even find it unacceptable...but in the meantime why not just engage with your children, enjoy their company, laugh and enjoy life. Clean your room because it is what makes YOU feel better. (for the record, you described my bedroom as well...right down to the 'he has to enter the bed by the foot of the bed'...but it does make me feel better to keep my side clear and clean as possible). Sit down to dinner when it gets done, and let him eat alone if he's "15 more minutes" late. Stop letting everyone's lives and happiness depend so much on what he does or doesn't do. It isn't working.

Also, you need to read CoDependent No More by Melody Beattie. She brings this idea home in a way that I cannot possibly do in one post. I think then, and only then, can you start to work on the marriage and deal with the ADHD issues together...because before I started applying her ideas in my life my DH wouldn't even admit that his ADHD brought any issues to the table.

You're in my thoughts and prayers. You can do can change things today...even if he doesn't change a thing. You have the power you just have to believe it.