Inconsiderate, thoughtless, clueless or just ADHD?

I have been seeing my ADHD diagnosed boyfriend for a little over a year, we are both 39. There have been many ups and downs but I believe he tries hard to be a good "significant other" despite the ADHD. Yet there are continuous issues that keep popping up that I am trying hard to not take personally and put into perspective (accounting for the effects of ADHD) but I am having increasing trouble doing this. (He has a prescription for Ritalin but often forgets to take it so the benefits are questionable).
Since we are both divorced, have busy/challenging careers and children from our first marriages, our time together is limited. So because of these reasons I have tried many times to put a schedule in place so that we can set aside time to see each other. This has been a very frustrating experience. Although he has made progress over time, most weeks will come when I don't know for sure if I will be seeing him and usually have to wait until a few hours before our normal date night for "confirmation" that I will actually be seeing him. And when I do see him it's often not until 10-11pm at night because he is tied up with work (he is a lawyer with his own practice so it's not a typical 9-5 job). I have tried to be patient with this schedule and he also admits that it is not ideal but always says "I just have to get through this month and things will be different" or "this is not usually how crazy my life is, this is just a chaotic time" or "once I have enough saved up I can hire someone to help me". But after dating for a year, the patterns are the same, so I'm beginning to doubt that this lifestyle is going to really get better?
The latest conflict comes from his choices for New Years Eve. We both have the night free but he is choosing to attend an annual party of a friend of his rather than spending the night with me. He is trying to free up, Thursday, the night before so that we can be together, but I am hurt that presented with the choice to spend the evening together, he is passing on the opportunity. I really can't imagine spending the night with anyone else than him. Attending the party together is not an option since he is not comfortable introducing me to his friends until I am officially "divorced" which is only a few months away. The divorce has been ongoing for 18 months unfortunately. And was not initiated because of my relationship with him.
I plan on talking with him about how this situation on New Year's effects me (he already knows that I am somewhat upset with his choice) but I don't believe he realizes how much.
In addition, his communication skills are not great. He doesn't enjoy talking on the phone so keeping in touch is mainly via text messaging and not very elaborate.
When I am actually "in front" of him, he is kind, passionate and very attentive. But getting "in front" of him is the challenging part. Also, the lack of planning and chaoticness of his life is driving me a bit batty! I try to approaching issues with a "team like" attitude rather than accusatory, but I'm still feeling emotionally exhausted most of the time.
Is this chaotic, inconsiderate, lack of planning and poor communication behavior ADHD? Or is he just self centered and not invested in this relationship as much as I? I have told him that I feel very strongly for him and believe that I am falling in love with him. He has told me he feels the same way, and he has never had such a strong relationship with anyone else before (aside from the happy times of his first, short lived, first marriage).
What really is the prognosis? Is there a better way to handle the situation? Or should I walk away like people close to me have suggested since he doesn't seem to be capable of ever really making choices that are more in tune with what I view as "normal"? I have read many articles on the topic of ADHD and relationships and it has helped me to understand him better, but I'm still left feeling like the situation is not ideal and I'm always left wanting more of him.
Thank you for reading this long description of my situation and for any information you can provide!


I'll get right back to you on this...

I am 45, male was diagnosed ADD almost 2 years ago.

First of all, I applaud your efforts to try to understand this ADD thing. You have described several behaivors that I am all too aware of, now...  

Next month will get better... We have to hold on to hope that this is true, but it also pushes things off for another month as well. Cross one thing off the immediate list, procrastinate, yep.

Tries Hard to be a good significant other... Yes it is true, some of us Do try and succeed sometimes and fail in many efforts.

Last minute "Confirmation"... If you are lucky, right :-) Outlook reminders, to-do's, tasks and calendar events save my life many times, so organization is a must. Send invites from your outlook for any appointments you would like him to make. It helps...

New Years Eve... Is a sample of Unintended Hurt to you. It is still hard to explain the decision making processes I use, but many times I make a "Logical Choice" to me, and a completely hurtful choice to my wife. Less often after my diagnosis I think, but when I realize the choice is hurtful because it has to be pointed out to me, I feel the guilt of a lifetime of disappointing people and then to top it off, I'll have a hard time looking like I care, because I can be stunned by the moment and have a thousand things going through my head and still not be able to say anything to show empathy of sense of remorse. THAT sucks, let me tell you...

Communication skills... Not very good before diagnosis, see above, better now but still not that great. Work in progress. Post meds (Adderall) I feel I can better asses my choices and read emotional responses to help prevent some of these disasters. 

Self-Centered, not as invested... ADD traits sure make one look this way. I know it can look this way and many coping mechanisms have to be re-learned to make things look Any better. It's been almost two years for me and I think my wife is beginning to see/believe that I might be a little better. It takes a long time to fill an empty bucket.

Getting "In Front" of him... Classic... Yep in the right set of circumstances (No distractions) I can be attentive to my wife too. Phone calls are hard for me, because something can distract me during the conversation, then I'm in trouble, and it's hard to get a read over the phone. During a "Real Confrontation" email and texting really help me communicate my thoughts, because "On the Fly" unprepared thoughts are hard to process and add real pressure, because of the many failures before... Emails give a little processing time and editing opportunities which have probably saved my marriage. If my wife would not accept this as a means of beginning to work out a problem, we would have been done a long time ago.

For the ADDer, treatment is a must. Whatever combination of meds, therapy and general knowledge of the subject works.

In some ways, ADD is a known issue with many tools to correct and improve the condition. I'm a programmer and problem solver, so if I have steps to follow and tools to use I can do it! There are many other issues a significant other can have that don't have easily defined options for correction. You have a big decision to make regarding the choice of living with this condition, but better to understand it now, than to learn of it later after unknown damages have been done. I almost destroyed my marriage, and it has been a real rough road to begin repairing it.


Good luck :-)







yyz re: "Logical Choice"...

Is there any way possible you can explain this "logical choice" thing?  Because I am confounded by the choices my husband makes, and cannot find- though I desperately seek- the logic in many of his choices.  I would dearly love to be able to follow the neural pathway that said "A cheap knife sharpener is the perfect Anniversary gift."  I must confess that one reason this confuses me is that I would imagine that he sees ridiculous television commercials like the rest of us.  And there are no TV commercials that suggest such a thing.  Why the creativity?  Why not just a boring "Eternity" necklace, or "tennis" bracelet or something else that the TV is blaring at us at X-mas time?  Please help!

why not a boring 'eternity' necklace?

Two years ago I got an unwrapped army issue compass. For my birthday. 

I think the problem is a total them-centric outlook on everything. An eternity necklace is great, but he would have to be thinking about me (i.e. not himself) in order to travel down the neural pathway leading to that purchase.


Logical, to me, is not always a good choice. I guess what I was trying say is that there can be a thought process involved in the decision process. The choice may "Look" like there was no thought put into it at all. When it comes to gifts, I usually ask for ideas and then I usually do okay. Knife Sharpener... Every women's dream, if she is preparing to use them :-) Kidding... ADDer's are are not all alike, so I don't know where that gift came from. I will say that TV Adds so transparent and aimed for either the low IQ or the compulsive spender. I could go on for hours about TV commercials, but I will spare you :-)

I guess when it comes to gifts, give suggestions if you don't want want an ADDer's "Logical Choice", sometimes the lack of surprise is better. Every now and then, I can come up with something for my wife that she would have never thought of and she likes it, but I give these gifts when they are at unexpected gift times, so I can just return it if needed. That's just the way I handle Gifts.

I hope this helps...

Thank you for asking that

I would like to know this also.  Last year for my 35th birthday I got a SNUGGIE.  As in a blanket with arms.  And it was not intended as a gag gift.  I cannot tell you how upset I was.  I've since learned to laugh about it (I even "liked" the company on my FB page), but how on earth did he come up with that?

Revelation makes my point: there are so many generic gifts that would be equally thoughtless but at least plausible in a "clueless-guy" universe, and that would at least not be insulting.

This year my husband for Christmas got tickets to see a play (which I have suggested as a gift for three years -- and he purchased them on Christmas Eve with me sitting right next to him...but it was a major step up from Snuggie so whatever) -- and I was really excited...until he told me that I should take the au pair with me because SHE has never seen a Broadway play and she would really enjoy it.  I was a little shocked.  Like, you finally got two tickets to see a play, which I have been asking for, and then you want me to go with my employee?  Then I asked him, "Do YOU want to go?"  And his response was, "Yeah, I can go.  It's your choice."  How about "I want nothing more than to go with you to see this play, because I know you'll love it and I want to be there with you to share in that."

Is that just not a feeling that these guys have?  I am REALLY having trouble processing this.

Reminds me of a Simpson's episode


Did you see the one where Homer gives Marge a bowling ball for her birthday with the name "Homer" engraved on it? 


No, but that made me literally laugh out loud.  Maybe it's just a gender thing, not an ADD thing.  Amazing.

But I'm not sure if I can ever let my DH live down the Snuggie.

Need advice from all TREATED ADHDers

Why does my diagnosed, untreated ADHD husband start an argument and /or be angry and blame me ?, this behavior is so panful. If that's not enough he comes back with "you know we are not compatible"...In my head I think "no I don't have ADHD", but I say nothing.

We started looking at houses last Monday,and were to go again Tuesday starting at 11, put I got an interview and could not go until later. When I got home he had not only gone house hunting without me , but had made an offer on a house that I had not seen. He didn't even tell me about the offer, I found out when I listen too the answering machine. I was so hurt, I could not even talk about it for a day. When I was able to talk about how hurt I was he said: "you didn't tell me about your interview, so what's the difference?" Yes I went there, I said there is no comparison to an interview for a job too you making a decision on to buy a house without me. He said without emotion you are to sensitive.....WHAT THE HECK what logic was that ? I have shed more tears over that mess, than I knew I had. Belive it or not it gets worse.

He wanted to give me $$ for Christmas, he has NEVER in our relationship of 2 years EVER bought me anything except flowers and that was not for Valentines, birthday,Anniversary,or Christmas. All I wanted was for Christmas was for him to make it a personal gift not $$and to be a surprise, so he ask me to make a list,  I did (it hurt me to have to make a list...I mean in 2 yrs he could not give me space in his mind enough to pick something out for me). I kid you not...6 hours later he had lost the list and ask me to make another one, not only did he do this it was within min's....min's of finding out about his offer on the house. I made another list...twice the pain , but trying to keep peace ( he has a consoler appointment 12/30...want him to keep it). I make a list of about 8 items and answered his questions about it as best as I could, but not well enough for him...example:  wrote down food Processor and/or hand mixer brand name Kitchen Aid and where he could find it Publix's and Belk's, also that Wal-Mart did not carry that item in that brand....seem very simple to understand to me. He looks at the list and says "will you go with me to get them?" I'm so $%#^&* I  said that is no difference than giving me money.He said I don't want to get the wrong thinking ??????? He returned home with a box and said no peeping...? He places the box on the sofa and covers it with a towel . Why not take it to another room???? About 20 min's pass and I look over and he has sit the food Processor on the TV tray without the towel and it's NOT THE BRAND I WROTE DOWN....I lost it. I know I should be thankful he bought me anything , but but could anyone do this? I was ugly and said just take it's not worth what I have to go though . He say's I make it too hard on him....?????? He returned it and I received a pair of walking shoes for Christmas.....not on the list, not my style, or taste, but he bought them and that is something. He could tell I did not like them and wanted me to promise not only would I wear them but wanted me to say I would wear them often or he would feel he wasted his $$$. I will NEVER make another list for him.... it's not worth it. I told him from the beginning , all I wanted was for him to think about me and buy for me ...I ask him what was my favorite color...(he has been told many times in 2 years) his reply was he didn't know. We both like/love football , me TN him AL...he buys AL. stuff year around for himself and a lot why not get me something that is TN. ? His response to that was they don't sell TN. items here. No they don't but it can be found on the Internet. WOW... I guess thinking about my Christmas gift before Christmas Eve is too much to ask.

I have also been dealing with my nephew's lack of maturity since he has a new female in his life....Last night I was so upset he said that I needed to get help because he could not take it...what the $%^&* He has plenty of advice about how to handily my nephew and unkind words to describe him and how he treats me...HELLO SHOULD I GET THE MIRROR FOR HIM ? Background information on hubby ....he has been diagnosed and was on med's...after being increased 3 times without good changes he stops taking them...says that he doesn't want to try them again , but as of yesterday to my knowledge still has an appointment to see the counselor 12/30. Thanks for reading, feedback and prayers needed.

Christmas in the half-ass zone

Once when I was a kid my hard-of-seeing grandfather accidentally sent a pair of long rhinestone earrings to me instead of to my mother. His long distance phone call to apologize for this mistake was empathetic and genuine. It is a memory I use to comfort myself after an ADD/ADHD gift-blitz. 

Because a non-add person almost never makes amends. It does not matter the level of offense or how much hand-holding, list making etc. etc. I had to provide, my ADHD-er is also the type to swing into the 'my reality trumps what's actually going on' game to strongarm me into a public declaration of gratitude. He will do and say almost anything to keep from operating above and beyond the comfortable half-assed zone. So yeah, zip-up footed pink jammies in size medium are a grand thing to have and never-the-eff mind I'm 43 and six feet tall. 

You are not too sensitive blesseddelaine, and he is the one that needs 'help.' 

H/A Zone...

I have always tried to pool my resources in the "Gift for the Wife" selection. I think I can usually spot the "Zip-Up footed pink jammies" (Very funny and a good example too) and steer clear of that iceberg. I make sure I tell my wife, if I go off the list, that I will take no offense if she does not like the gift. I can tell you gift giving and the hollidays, in general, are pretty over-whelming for me still, even after diagnosis, meds and much study of ADD.


The is NO excuse for somebody acting like a jerk! Chris39... You are absolutely right about who needs help there.

Unfortunately for those of us with untreated ADD, subtle hints that we are acting poorly usually go un-noticed. My wife used to really have to blow-up at me to get my attention, which was a pretty destructive way for couples to communicate. Thanks goodness things are improving for us. I hope your husband realizes the beast that he is burdening you with must be dealt with soon for your sake.

I hope things improve for you soon.

yyz re: subtle hints

I don't get the "subtle hints" thing.  I am not a subtle person.  I am very direct- blunt even- much of the time with my husband.  He seems to need to get me to the "blow up" to hear me at all.  Here's an example of a conversation we had this evening via telephone- tell me where you think I was too subtle:

HIM: (calling me on my cell phone) What time will you be home, because if you're going to be late I was thinking of ordering the kids a pizza.

ME:  I have two more patients to see, so I won't be home for a couple of hours.  Yes, that would be nice if you get them a pizza.

HIM:  Are you sure?  Because I could pick up burgers instead.

ME:  Whatever is easier for you.  But I will be late getting home tonight.

HIM:  What would you rather have- pizza or burgers?

ME:  Nothing for me, thanks.  I had a very late lunch and I won't be hungry.  Just get the kids whatever you want.

HIM:  Are you sure?  Because you might be hungry later.

ME:  No.  I don't want anything.

HIM:  But you were hungry when you got home late yesterday, so maybe you'll be hungry tonight.

ME:  No.  I don't want anything.

HIM:  I could pick you up a burger.

ME:  (testily) No, I don't want a burger. I don't want anything.

HIM:  But if you DID want something, which would you rather have- pizza or burgers?

ME:  (increasingly irritated) I said I don't want anything, thanks.

HIM:  Well, I could wait for you to order the pizza or I could just pick you up a burger...


Where is the subtlety here?  These kinds of communications are as torturous for me to experience as it was for you to read it. And I hate having to be rude, as it is truly not my nature.  BUT- these kinds of "discussions" take me from 0 to 60 in seconds. I just hate devoting any of my brain matter to these "burger or pizza" matters.  Why can he not just accept the answer to his question the first time?

No subtlety there, for sure...

Wow... If I were on your wnd of that call, I would be Very irritated, especially with the call only needing to be about 30 seconds long. I can't imagine myself, in your husbands place, dragging that conversation out even at my worst unmedicated not knowing I have ADD part of my life.

I can say that I would hate the thought of getting dinner and having my wife get home during, or shortly afterwards dinner and seeing that she did want something. You made it Quite clear you were good, though. Maybe he thinks he has blown these situations in the past and doesn't want to disappoint you again? Again, I would have gotten it about 1/3 of the way through your example. Could it have been chaotic and noisy at home? Phone calls can be a nightmare for me. When I read "You Mean I'm not Stupid, Crazy or Lazy" they described the "Telephone Tyrant" (Me) because when on the phone I naturally have problems staying focused on the call and if someone at home tries to tell me something during the call, the net effect is I hear nothing from my caller or the interrupter, which used to send me into a rage. Your husband seems to be Extra Over-Trying not to mess up dinner, which of course, is messing it up in the process. He sounds a lot like a friend of mine who knows he has ADD, his Ex-Wife is a Psychologist, but he thinks he can just "man-up" his way through it. He likes to re-work whatever plan you have going after getting involved. He means well, but it's SO annoying :-)

I'm not trying to make any excuses, as the call you described would be annoying during a long stressful day at work. Forgive me for asking, because you have probably stated if your husband is medicated and working on his ADD or not, how is he working on the issue? My diagnosis came at the tender young age of 43, and the last 2 years have been a roller coaster for me and my wife. I always take my meds and Never want to go back to feeling that way, but I am still having to re-learn ways of coping and communicating. I wish my wife would come to this site, because I think she could benefit from reading the posts as I have learned so much from people like yourself. 

I doubt I helped you too much, but I sure hope your husband is getting the help you both need.

Best wishes to you :-)

Not to this degree, but my

Not to this degree, but my husband also struggles with making decisions like this...used to be a constant source of discord between us because we never could decide where to go eat. He would insist I decide, I would point out that HE is the picky eater and I was fine with him deciding, but he would insist I decide..then shoot down my idea. *pulls hair out*

Honestly, and I know you will probably want to smack me for this....but please understand I'm not saying what he is doing ISN'T annoying as hell, or that it is something anyone would want to deal with..but half way through that conversation I would have said "Pizza. Just order a pizza. If I'm hungry later, I'll have some". I don't know where they're going with these things...whether it is to just make sure WE are taken care of with something we like to eat if we're hungry later or them just really struggling to make a decision...but it isn't worth you having to take medication. These kinds of things roll off my back like water on a duck...I literally don't even realize things like this until some one posts something and then it dawns on me 'yes, we have this sometimes too'. I guess, deep down, in my mind it is easier to just give my husband the 'nudge' to order a pizza (or burgers) and cut the issue off at the knees than to force him to make a decision he very obviously does not want to make. In time, maybe when he's making changes in bigger areas, these kinds of things won't be so stressful to you. There will always be ADHD...and you will always be forced to pick your battles. I just truly hate to see you get so upset. :(

The one thing I hate the most...that he has quit doing for the most part...but now my 12 y/o has started doing is asking "what is there to eat?" Drives me nuts!! I immediately want to scream "I don't keep a mental inventory of what we have on hand to eat" and get defensive thinking a criticism is coming because nothing we have is what they want. I don't mind making him something to eat, but would prefer he know (just as I do) what is in the kitchen to eat and ask me specifically for something. I don't know why, but that is one 'decision making' issue that really puts me on the defensive. I guess I just feel it creates very unnecessary work for me to prepare a mental inventory of what there is to eat. If he says "do we have corn dogs? Will you make me a couple?" that's fine. Ya know?

Anyway...again, just trying to give you the 'other side' of how these things could maybe play out in the future. I know having to micro manage him must really strip away at your respect for him...just try to keep in mind that he is untreated right now and the goal is to not stress yourself out as well. ((HUGS))

Question for Sherri

Sherri, I love reading your posts because you are the Gandhi of the ADD marriage site.  I always get visions of that scene where the Indians are marching to the sea to make salt, and the British beat them down with clubs, and the wives drag them away and a new group of men try to make their way to the sea, etc.

So you are able to let SO many things roll off of you.  I am wondering about one of the things in the original post -- how do you deal with lack of attention?  I have realized that one of the things that is really depressing to me in this marriage is my feeling that there is no "sacred space" -- space that is inviolable, just for the two of us, that we both know we have and can count on, and that will always be there.  The most popular form of this is "date night," which we tried, but which just fell by the wayside because I ended up having to 1) remind him that it was date night; 2) plan the date; 3) drag him off his computer and out the door to whatever we were doing...after weeks and months of doing this, I am like, Really?  This is our sacred space?  Where I have to remember it, plan it, and drag my husband to it like a bag of rocks?

So then I suggested a 30-minute time for us in the evenings, before bed, just to catch up and talk (Melissa/Dr. Hallowell suggestion).  He could leave afterwards and stay up as late as he wants, etc.  Oh. My. God.  You would have thought I told him that he needs to be velcroed to me 24/7.  "How much time is going to ever be enough for you?  "If you average it out, I spend 30 minutes a day talking to you as it is, we don't need to schedule the time."  "I have nothing to talk about."  

So I suggested short phone calls during the day, just to be in touch and know that we are thinking of each other.  Too busy.  Hates the phone. Etc., etc.

OK, so I am going to break it down.  I am an attractive, 36 year-old woman (people I don't even know tell me I am beautiful -- please indulge me while I boost my self-esteem a little bit); I am very smart; I am really funny, can get people rolling on the floor laughing; I read, listen to music, am in touch with politics -- i.e., I am not BORING; love to go dancing, singing karaoke, etc. (I have INTERESTS); I have friends, love to socialize and have dinner parties (I am not a LONER) this idea that I am some pathetic, needy woman trying to control her husband and keep him from having any hobbies (his version) is JUST NOT TRUE.  

Do you deal with this?  Is this going to be the rest of my life?  I am looking for a friend and partner who is excited about me...and yet I HATE having to beg and plead for attention.  I am BORED, LONELY, ANGRY, and HURT.  I kind of feel like I have a lot to offer, and if my husband truly prefers the iPod or computer to spending time with me, isn't it time to move on?  Would love your insight.

Thank you...but really...

Have you read all of my posts? Cause lately (since starting trail-and-error with husband, that is) I'm feeling more like Sybil than Ghandi. LOL You kind words are appreciated...but deserved? Not so sure. :o)

In the first few years of my marriage, after that lovely hyperfocus wore off, I might as well have been invisible. I cannot explain it...I don't know how it 'corrected' itself, but with enough begging, b!tching, crying, pleading, and lastly just insisting he stopped ignoring his family/marriage and became more plugged in. The beginning of 'change' was Family Day. I insisted we spend one day a week (Saturday) as a family. We could go riding across the mountain, out to eat, whatever...but I NEEDED something from him..more than just a few passing minutes here and there. He was on his computer (i.e. avoiding his marriage) for about the first half of our marriage. We've been married 13 years. Even when Family Day started, he would spend countless hours in the den. He spent 2-3 years sleeping on the couch in the LR. Looking back it makes me sad to think that I 'accepted' that as part of my marriage to him...never even sleeping in the same bed with him. I would even try to use sex as a 'weapon' just to get my husband to share our bed. He had all sorts of 'excuses' (bed too small, didn't like sleeping with the dogs on the bed) but no solutions. Sad. And when I tell him, still to this day, how I was lonely and depressed TOO (I think he feels he was the only one that was...because my anger masked any real 'tenderness' I felt or needed, in his eyes) he just does not want to discuss it. Maybe it is too painful for him, I don't know.  I think maybe too, at some point, I just checked out and gave up...and maybe that helped him 'come around'.

Anyway...Thank the Lord, I do not deal with this anymore. Although I made it clear to him that him sleeping on the couch, him spending too much time on his computer, etc were hurtful, nothing changed for many years. He started sleeping with me again when we got a king sized bed. His job at the time (working from home as a programmer) burnt him out on the he doesn't abuse that anymore either. It is very hard to explain...hell, it is hard for me to things morphed from him being very inattentive to him being the way he is now...but he isn't inattentive and BEGS for date nights. Our biggest hurdle is finding babysitters. Our son is 18 and autistic and has seizures almost daily.  Our daughter (along with one of her friends) has been watching him in short spurts, here and there, but we are taking it slow and could/would never go far from home.  Eventually I would love to work up to something date night every other week (payday) even if it is just dinner and drinks...because I know it means a lot him and is a 'recharge' for us both.

We are struggling with communication right now, just being able to talk about anything...and that's something new for us...but I am certain it is medication related. It has made him VERY defensive...and it seems like I do a lot more listening than talking right now for fear that I'll say the wrong thing and set him off. I don't like it, but I'm trying to be patient and bringing it to his attention in the hopes that he'll see it and work on it. Other than a few subjects that are taboo for us (my SD, being one) we have always been able to talk for hours without running out of things to say.

30 minutes a day? Really? Honestly..I've been there, done that...felt like I had to beg for my husband to pay attention to me, treat me like his wife and not his maid (if I had a dime for everytime I asked "why do you even want to stay married to me? I am nothing more than your maid. You don't care about ME at all. You don't know me at all"). I guess the only explaination I have is that he just finally got his head out of his butt....and it may have been his saving Grace...if he were inattentive...God help us.

You ask yourself..what reasonable human being wouldn't see that comments like "I give you an average of 30 minutes a day" are just insulting, hurtful, cold, and down right mean? What reasonable human being wouldn't see that their 'lack of interest' in date night wasn't all of the above as well? You need to start setting some boundaries for yourself. You need to ask...and ask again...until it becomes habit for him. What would happen if you told him that you wanted a date a specific date and tell him you fully expect him to make all of the plans and take charge? Even if you had to remind him 10 times in the days prior, I would give him a change to prove himself capable. I would stress to him "It would really mean a lot to me to feel like you are plugged in enough to our marriage to do this" If he gives ugly responses such as acting like it's silly or blowing your seriousness of the issue off, I would stab him in the neck with a letter opener...NO NO NO...I mean I would just remind him "look, you don't have to agree or understand...I am asking you to do it for would mean a lot" and try and not let any negativity you feel about it ruin it. I guess I'm just saying, ask for more. Demand more. Push and shove...drag him kicking and screaming...but insist he either plug into the marriage or suffer the consequences. He does what he does...blows off your wants/needs/desires...because he feels he can get away with it. Why bother putting forth any extra effort? His needs are obviously being met. You need to 'motivate' him to give a $hit about yours too! Argh.


Thanks, Sherri.  My husband keeps insisting that he just doesn't "need" as much emotional intimacy as I do, and if that's really true, then I think we're in for a lot of heartache (I also go through the "Then why do you want stay married?" and the "What emotional value do I add to your life/What do you even know about me?" argument a lot).  But a part of me eels like if he experienced it, he would realize that he not only needs it, he wants it.  It's just that getting to that point is so hard and frustrating.

So full disclosure: I had an emotional affair for a couple of months starting in October.  I met a guy at a wedding I went to by myself -- he's married but was there alone also.  We danced a lot at the wedding, stayed up late talking, the next thing I know he's emailing me.  I was tempted to ignore it, it would have been the thing to do, but I responded, and we ended up in daily chit-chat which finally culminated in me meeting him for dinner in a close by city.  He did kiss me, and I have to tell you that the combination of attention, interest, him telling me how gorgeous and awesome I am, etc, had a drug-like quality to it.  After the dinner I wanted to end it, but his emails were like crack and the thought of having an emotional void back in my life -- even though, mind you, I TOTALLY knew this wasn't going anywhere and it's not like I was in love with him or anything -- was SO depressing.  Anyway, God intervened b/c HIS wife found the emails, he called and left me a total Tiger Woods voicemail ("Just get rid of everything!") and I haven't contacted him since.  

My husband probably wouldn't have ever known about it, but I was very self-aware in this whole thing, watching myself proceed like a psychotic horse into a burning stable into this totally inappropriate situation, and realizing that I was being selfish...and you know what?  I honestly didn't feel guilty about it.  I actually felt more guilty about the hurt this guy's WIFE would feel if she found out (having been there, my husband had an affair a year ago, on top of abandoning me and the kids, alcohol abuse, etc. etc., pre-ADD diagnosis) and almost half wanted to give this a guy a lecture like, "Listen, get off your damn IPod and stop emailing me and go take your wife on a date and make love to her."  But I didn't, because honestly, I enjoyed, for the first time in six years, putting myself first, getting attention, having my opinion asked and listened to on frivolous topics, etc. etc.  I realize that it's pathetic that I derived so much emotional satisfaction from basically an email affair, but that's where I was.

Anyway, I decided that I had hit rock bottom emotionally so I told my husband to come home early from work because we needed to talk.  He insisted that he was really busy.  So I told him THIS IS IMPORTANT.  He came home, went to dinner, and I told him everything.  He asked me why I told him, and I said I wanted him to see how emotionally disconnected I felt, that this was a red flag to me that I was so desperate and lonely and I needed some "proof of life" from him that he was going to exist for me as a husband or I needed to leave.  He took it well, but then over the next week went in and out of fits of anger -- more because he felt like I wasn't remorseful than because of what had happened.  I told him that *rationally* and *morally* I felt sorry, but that emotionally I just couldn't access that empathy to feel his pain.  I told him that if I were capable of feeling that pain, there was no way I would have even done this, because I would have felt connected to him -- in the last six years I haven't even looked at another man, and I wasn't looking for this, but when it found me...I was open to it.  Why?  Why was this so tempting and addictive?  BECAUSE I AM STARVED FOR ATTENTION.  And because I feel so emotionally isolated from never having my own pain and hurt and sadness and loneliness over the last six years acknowledged and validated and truly apologized for.

So, understandably he's upset and this is going to be a setback for us, but for whatever reason I feel really indignant.  I want him to fight for me.  Maybe that's why I did this, and told him.  I feel like I have been the only one trying to save this wreck of a marriage, helping HIM through every crisis imaginable, and I want him, FOR ONCE, to be like, "Oh my God.  I'm going to lose her.  What do I need to do?"  Just like I was a year ago, after years of being left on my own to do EVERYTHING, and he threatened to leave, and even though I am the one who felt wronged, I picked up, read every marriage book I could find, got a therapist for myself, dragged him to counseling, figured out he had ADD, took him to see Dr. Hallowell himself even though it was $$$$ and we couldn't afford it, read everything I could about ADD, tried to fix myself, waited, waited, waited, and now I am EXHAUSTED.  But it doesn't look like he's planning to really do anything, except that he says he will not be the one to file for divorce, he wants to stay married -- but he really doesn't feel like he needs to change anything, if I don't feel loved or cherished that's my problem and he can't make me feel anything, it has to come from inside me.  Right.

I know I've now given him a "hook" to make me out to be the bad guy, the question is, do I care anymore?  Do I start at square one again and be the one to make the changes, plan the dates, put the marriage first, etc?  I don't think I have the energy.  I need a coach.  I need a partner to help pick me up.  I am tired of carrying the weight of this whole relationship.  

Have to contemplate a

Have to contemplate a little...and feed my son some late breakfast..I will be back in a bit ..just wanted to offer a huge ((((((HUG))))) in the meantime.


As you probably know, my

As you probably know, my husband cheated on me (for the 2nd time) last year as well. I understand everything you explained about your reaction...but threw in some more stuff for good measure when I found out...such as insisting that we get counseling and he 'fix' whatever it was about him that drives him to cheat during his 'dark side of ADHD episodes'. (just read about this in Driven from Distraction the other day and it was like a ton of bricks fell on my head....finally explains his 'episodes' I mistook for depression all of those 1998, 2001, and 2009..1998's resulted in a one night stand with his ex-wife and the later in 2 month affair).

I think the fact that he cheated (although I don't know the details) DOES mean that you are 100% right..that he needs, just like any other human being, to feel more of a connection with you than what he is feeling...allowing himself to feel.

What kind of treatment is he getting for his ADHD? Is he on medication? Was he remorseful for his affair? That was a huge turning point for my husband, he was very obviously sorry and remorseful. Where is your husband's remorse for what he did? Yes, cheating is 100% on the shoulders of the person who cheats, but it is a huge mistake for the other person not to at least examine what might have led to it and make efforts to avoid it again. He should be remorseful...and it worries me that you're not...that is a sign, just like you pointed out, that maybe the voids are just too big. There is a huge lack of accountability it seems...for his ADD and how it is devastating to your marriage (his 'lack of need for human contact with you') and he should also be asking himself what he might have done to make you feel like an affair was your only option. Why did he say he cheated? Although he fully admits it was the absolute wrong way to go, and realizes that he should have put his efforts into his marriage, my husband says his affair was driven by the need for human contact..for acceptance and attention...all of which I intentionally withheld from him because his behaviors were so hurtful...the walls we both built were enormous.

My heart just breaks for you and your situation. You do seem like a beautiful person, inside and out. I don't know what more you can do if he doesn't feel he has any room for improvement. You are probably right about one're going to be the 'criminal' in the relationship for the next umpteen years because of what you did...but I'm sure you were expected to forgive him and just move on when he cheated. You bent over backwards to try and fix what was broken that caused his he willing to do the same now?

Just know you're not alone...we are here for you...he needs some serious intervention and a real awakening.


I still don't know the details of his affair.  At the time, he had already decided he was done and I was in the throes of fixing myself.  One day he had left his gmail account open on his computer and I saw a bunch of emails from some woman I had never heard of.  I was tempted to read them, but then closed the account.  I was following the Marriage Fitness program, which says to focus on yourself: whether it's an affair, or drugs, or whatever that's leading a spouse to turn away, what difference does it make?  They are looking for something outside the marriage that's not in it, so the only way to bring them back is not to confront them and "demand" anything, but to make yourself into a person that they would never dream of cheating on.  So that's what I tried to do.  I killed him with kindness, took the kids to HIS family's house for Thanksgiving ALONE, etc., A couple of months later -- as he continued to stay in his apartment in another city, not come home on weekends while I was working and taking care of two kids, etc -- he came home and AGAIN left his email account open.  More emails.  This time I read them.  Clearly she knew a lot about our situation, etc. (and interestingly, kept quoting the Bible -- I'm like, you're a thumping Christian and being a home-wrecker?).  So I snapped, confronted him, and he denied everything, said I was intruding on "his" life, etc.  So I told him I was DONE, I didn't need to deal with this s--t.  So then he gave me some drips and drabs, but I practically had to pull what few details I got out of him and it kept coming back to why I was reading his emails.  I was of course devastated, and thought that over time he would take true accountability.  He has said sorry, but not in a way that I felt really made me feel like he felt any true remorse for what he had put me through.  Anyway, I continued to work on me and our marriage, though I was still in the dark about what, exactly he was seeking/craving from this other woman.  Probably admiration, respect, acceptance, all of which it's true had gone out the window with me and I tried to build up, but was hard to do in the face of more and more hurt.

The ADD diagnosis came soon after that, and I was so happy to have an explanation for things that I was willing to put everything behind us -- I think at that point I just wanted that to be the magic bullet that would "cure" everything.  He was put on Adderall, which helped a little but then old ways started coming back.  I started going into a depression.  I REALLY needed to feel heard but it just seemed like everything continued to be about HIM.  When I would bring up my past pain, he would not want to discuss it, or tell me it was too much for him to process ("It's like looking at the sun, I can't look at all of it for very long, it makes ME feel too bad."), or accuse me of living in the past and not giving him credit for the changes he was trying to make.  It's true that at that point, it was very difficult for me to be a super cheerleader and give him a friggin' medal for remembering to take out the trash.  Nothing was moving or changing fast enough, I felt more and more hopeless and disconnected and started to check out and become angrier and angrier.  

He does acknowledge that he played a role in my having an affair, but it's like he's resentful that there is one more thing he needs to fix, he just wants credit and appreciation for what he is doing.  I wish I could do that, but his efforts are so inconsistent that I feel really insincere applauding every little thing -- "You gave the kids a bath without being asked to -- hooray!"  I want him to GET IT TOGETHER and BE A MAN and JUST DO IT without needing so much g-dd--m handholding from me.  I just feel VERY selfish at this point, like I have nothing more to give at this point.  I want to be nurtured and comforted, and loved, and I am tired of fighting to get it.

On the infidelity front, I'd like to add one more thing on which I and my husband disagree, which I picked up from Marriage Fitness.  The guy on that program says that there are LOTS of types of infidelity, the kind with another human being being only one kind.  That's actually the easiest kind to "fix" he says, because a) it's so clearly infidelity and b) it's much easier to isolate the "needs" that are being met outside the marriage and to thus fix it inside it.  However, he says that emotional fidelity happens whenever someone is filling up their "emotional tank" in a way that they don't need connection within the marriage.  So pornogrpahy, alcohol, excessive computer games, etc. -- basically anything you are putting "first" in your life, over your marriage -- should be considered emotional infidelity.  And it's harder to fix because most people would not think it of it as such, and usually there are deeper psychological issues being fed by these things than just human contact, intimacy, etc.  In doing the program, I realized I was filling my voids in a lot of ways -- TV, talking to my girlfriends on the phone, focusing a lot on the kids, becoming organized to an OCD level, etc.  When I started to cut some of these things out of my life is when I realized really how much emptiness was in our marriage, and when I really started to crave more intimacy with my husband.  I think his lack of need for contact with me stems from the fact that he is "filling himself up," so to speak, with his hobbies, his work, and now (though less destructive and more beneficial to the family), hyperfocusing on the kids.  I think the reason he resists putting a priority on quality time is that it is going to take away from his current "drugs" of choice, which is very threatening to him.  He doesn't see it that way -- he thinks he is just normal, with perhaps a lesser need for intimacy than most people, and that I am just too needy.  

Anyway, to answer your question, I don't think he has been truly remorseful for anything -- I think he's sorry at some level, but there's always an excuse: "I didn't know myself then," or deflection, "Do you have any idea how hard it was for ME through all of that?  This has been a painful process for me, too."  It's like acknowledging my pain will make him feel too bad about HIMSELF, and it's too much -- though of course it's just one more way that I come second.  I think my lack of remorse comes from my ego -- it's really hard to humble myself and throw myself full-force back into this without feeling like my experience in all of this has ever been heard, and like I am the only one who would truly do anything to save this.  As I said before, I kind of want him to fight for me -- be my knight, slay some dragons, show me that I am not worth losing.

I know that's a destructive cycle, and previously I had a vision of wanting a stable home for my kids as my guiding force to overcome my ego, but I just feel lost now and don't even know if it's worth it.  I'm afraid of trying again and hanging in there for years and years, only to find out when I'm 50 that it's not going to work and then it being too late to move on with someone else, and feeling like I wasted a lot of years.

First paragraph....sounds so

First paragraph....sounds so familiar to my story...only my husband decided he was 'done' by behaving in a way that left me with no choice but to ask him to leave. Little did I know his being 'done' translated into 'he has started having an affair'. Although he never said he was 'done' and didn't come clean about the affair for several months (he ended it weeks before he told me), his behavior was horrific and was my reaction. Then, in the midst of it all, my father had an accident and died a month later. THEN I decided I was 'done' and started working on myself. All sound similar?

Once I found out about the affair, right before he was due to come home, that was IT. I mean I was being kicked while I was down, realized that all the while I was needing him for support and also needing to be there for him (he lost his mother a month before I lost my Daddy) he was turning to someone else?? I was at rock bottom...and I was pissed. What the hell was I doing? I mean I just had no answers and a lot of emotions. Eventually I decided that he WAS remorseful enough (even before coming clean about the affair, but I didn't recognize it as remorse..I thought it was him in mourning) and that he did seem to feel 100% accountable for his affair. God help him if he would have tried any type of "why were you reading my e-mails" BS with me. That is a classic deflection of blame if I ever saw it.

I admire you for being able to work on yourself in the midst of all of the hurt and other BS...that is very hard to do, I know. I too gave him a clean slate and we started from square one...and this was 6 months prior to getting the ADHD diagnosis. That was a result of counseling that I INSISTED we were getting or we had no chance of a marriage. We'd screwed it up royally...what more proof did we need that we needed some professional help?

I agree with you on how hard the pattern is to break of filling the voids in your marriage with 'other' things...besides another human. I think you are making a good assessment of what he might be filling his 'void' with too...for years it was computers, video games, friends, and drinking that my husband used to fill his 'void' and it helped him avoid putting any hard work into the marriage because he had an 'outlet' that I never did. I did eventually turn to the computer and my online friends....and he HATED it. I try and not be on my computer when he is home, unless he is obviously doing something else (playing video games, on his computer) and I don't think he'll mind. They do hold onto their 'current drug of choice' for dear life....because if you think about it, giving it up means a huge void is created and then they'll have to find something else to fill it. I wish I had some advice to help you figure out how to make him fill it with his wife...I am hopeful someone else can. Counseling would be so beneficial for you guys...if he'd be willing to see that he is part of the problem. :(

I do believe that reflecting on the past is painful for is painful for anyone, and they are extremely hard on themselves. For a while my husband's guilt actually started to drive a wedge between us because it made him avoid my family....whom mean a LOT to me...and they accept him. As long as I am happy, they are happy. Period. They don't dwell on his past mistakes...but he does. He has, in a round about way, said that it is painful to him to talk about or think about what he has done...but he also talks about how horrible he feels for the pain he caused me. Does he ever acknowledge the pain he caused you?

I fully understand as well the mindset that you're tired of being the one who is doing all of the forgiving, changing, fighting, etc. When my husband and I first reconciled, things got worse before they finally got better. I said to him more than once "I don't know who you think you are to do to me what you did and then act this way after you begged me to forgive you". I too, wanted a knight. I too wanted someone to go above and beyond anything I had seen to prove his love for me..especially after ripping my heart out and stomping on it. In a round about way...I insisted on it.

Another thing that keeps coming to my mind is that he needs to understand that what you NEED cannot be ignored. His saying you're 'too needy' is a death sentence for your love and your marriage. How about he look at it this way...he is your husband, part of his job is to fulfill your care about and WANT to fulfill your needs. If you need more of his an honest, loving way, then it behooves him to listen and give this to you. Saying you are too needy or that he doesn't need this from you is about to make me claw a hole in my computer screen. If his lack of attention is a problem for you, then by default, if he gives a $hit, then it is a problem for him too. I pity him for not seeing it that way...and thinking you just need to quit being so needy...and he needs to plug into the marriage and quit filling his needs with other crap.

((HUGS)) I hope some of this rambling is helping in some way....I feel completely helpless...and want to shake the $hit out of him.

My husband is always telling

My husband is always telling me 'you can't just say something and make it so' when I'm trying my best to rationalize away his irrational thoughts...

So, I would say to you that the next time your husband says "you're too needy" to say to him "just because that is how you feel, does not mean that it is true for me" It seems he wants to try and 'convince' you that it is YOUR problem and if you'd just get in line with his way of thinking, you'd see that everything is fine. You're not him. He cannot think for you. He cannot dictate to you what is an appropriate amount of intimacy to make you happy in your marriage...just because he is unwilling to let down his damned walls and put himself out there for you. It always makes me so angry to hear these types of was like this in my marriage for so many years...and I never felt validated or like he even knew me at all..and he felt the same. When enough is enough you will know and you will either 'motivate' him to get help by initiating separation/divorce or not...but eventually, if he doesn't 'get it', you're faced with that decision. Especially since he's said he won't divorce you. Why should he? He has it all his way...and feels that his way should be your way too. ((((HUGS))))

His Way

Thanks, Sherri.  I had that conversation with him last night.  He is at my family's house for Christmas break -- I had to stay here for a work emergency -- and he has been talking to my family for "advice," etc. so now everyone knows all of our business.  I am a little annoyed.  My family has my back no matter what, but I asked him -- it's not like I'm not talking to you, why do you need advice from my family when I'm telling you exactly what I need?  They are not going to have greater insight into me than I do.  He really didn't have a response.  So I told him that it would really make me feel better if he stopped talking to my family, because then that makes me feel like I need to go give "my side" to them, and that we should really create a sacred space for us and leave everyone out of it and turn to each other.  So he went on and on about how this helps HIM, etc.  So I said, this is MY family.  I am asking you to stop talking to them about ME.  I am telling you it will make ME feel better about our situation.  What do you not understand about that?

So then he started into how he is the one who has to "fix" everything, there's always something he's doing wrong, etc.  I told him I am not asking him to fix anything.  I have asked him to do a few things that would make me feel better, and not feel hurt.  Like, call me a couple of times a day (asked him to do that before he left, he's called me like twice and I've called him the rest of the time -- P.S.  I am home ALONE over the Christmas holiday, kind of makes me feel like crap that he can't show me he's thinking about me), and not talk about me to my family.  So then I got the, "The problem with you is that EVERYTHING makes you feel hurt."  So I said, let's assume that's true.  Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that I am a hypersensitive person.  THAT IS WHO YOU MARRIED.  That is who I am.  There are a lot of things I would "prefer" not be the case with you -- like you're having ADD -- but I have had to adjust how I deal with you to account for the fact that you forget things, or leave things till the last minute, or get zoned out.  Maybe this is just one of the things you have to deal with with me.  Of course he didn't even HEAR anything but what I said about HIM, so the conversation then turned to how I am "putting him down" for forgetting things and making HIM feel bad about his ADD.  AM I IN THE F---ING TWILIGHT ZONE?  I AM SPEAKING IN PLAIN ENGLISH.  I feel like I canot make a g--d---m point without the conversation veering off into outer space.  Sherri, I am a lawyer -- i KNOW that I make my points very there something that I am doing wrong?????

These conversations are just crazymaking, to me.  It's like, anything I ask him to do that would in anyway fulfill my needs, and isn't exactly what he would want to do otherwise, turns into a conversation about me criticizing him.  I mean, I suppose that a request for you TO DO something is an implicit criticism that you ARE NOT doing something, but if it is phrased as a request, then is it a criticism?  How else do you communicate something you would like/need?  I just cannot deal with this anymore.

You just summed up about 6

You just summed up about 6 years of my marriage...and how each.and.every.frickin.conversation.we.had went down. Even in counseling...if I only had all of the $$$ back that we spent sitting there going back and forth like that. If only.

I am truly beginning to believe that the only way to get through this barrier is a big swift kick in the 'hyperfocus' teeth. (i.e. threat of divorce). I think for those lucky enough to have a true ADHD specialist who can see what is going on with him and make HIM see it too, there is a chance for these things to turn around. (by 'these things' I mean these stubborn turds who refuse to see any fault in their relationships demise)

On one point...I am the kind of person (obviously) that needs sounding boards...I need people who have ideas and thoughts and if nothing else can offer support. Had I not had my 'sounding boards' I am not sure my sanity would have made it through everything. I agree that him talking to your family is really husband wouldn't dream of doing that...but instead of insisting he stop, try asking him "what is it about their advice that helps you?". MAYBE, if they knew your situation, this would be a good way for you to help him gain some insight. Use your family as a tool...if he listens to and respects them, then talk to them, explain what is going on, give your side of things, and maybe they can help him 'hear' your needs. Just a thought. As awkward as it might be, try and use this to your advantage...and maybe having the sounding board will help him too. Maybe they can 'suggest' date night...and how he could arrange much it would mean to you...pointing out how 'reasonable' your needs/wants are. Your concerns and wants are very logical and reasonable...and coming from someone else besides you, it really could help. My husband has a friend who is one of our marriage's biggest fans....and because of that, his advice is great and often very helpful to my husband. I have often said, I can say something and my husband is immediately defensive and not hearing what I'm saying at all...let someone else talk to him about it (specifically our counselor) and BAM..he gets it. This could be a good thing...just think about it.

You're seeing classic ADHD...and it is crazymaking, as you put it. There has to be a way to break down his walls and make him see that YES he does have things he needs to 'fix'...and since you're willing to meet him half way there is no good, logical reason that he cannot just meet you there too. He should be thanking his lucky stars that you still WANT to spend time with him...look at how many men here are wishing they'd have 'heard' what their wives were saying before it was too late.

The not calling isn't uncommon...and I've even seen it suggested that they set 'alarms' on their cell phones to remind them to call. It feels 'artificial' but if it is what it takes to remember, then that is what it takes. My husband is the complete opposite...calls and/or texts frequently throughout the day...and hates to even be away from home for one night...would stay on the phone with me all night long if it were feasible. He calls just to 'hear my voice' or 'to tell you I love you'. Another one of his saving Graces.


How are you? Wondering how things are going. Thinking about you!


I'm Still Here

Hi Sherri.  I have been dealing with an emotional rollercoaster for the past week, since my husband came back from my family's house for Christmas.  Seems like he did a good job convincing all of them that I am clinically depressed and need meds.  I am depressed, but I see a therapist and she has assured me that I am not near the clinical stage...yet.

So I went to pick them up from the airport and I was nice and made lots of chit chat on the way home.  We had agreed to go to brunch on New Year's day so I reminded him and asked whether he still wanted to go.  He kids of hesitated and then suggested we take the kids.  I told him he had mentioned that before and that I preferred to go alone with him, since I hadn't seen him all week.  So then we get in an argument because HE feels like I should want to spend time with the kids, they are missing me, etc.  I'm not sure why he's suddenly decided to micromanage my relationship with the kids, but it really pissed me off.  If there is one thing that I am VERY confident of, it's my love of and care for the children.  I don't think the fact that I want to spend time alone with my husband means that I am neglecting the kids.  So anyway, that night he ended up staying up till 2 in the morning on his computer, and I woke up and came downstairs and I don't know why, I just lost it.  Just the whole thing.  The being away all week, not calling, picking a fight on the way home, not coming to bed and staying on the he is REFUSING to hear what I have been staying about needing to build some emotional closeness.  So I kind of exploded, and then he went back to "I am getting over your affair" business, which in turn pisses me off because it was not more or less than what HE did a year ago which he has never really taken accountability for, etc.  And finally, I just started crying and told him I just don't want to be married to him anymore.

So then he latched on to THAT and basically on the one hand says he doesn't want a divorce because he wants to be around the kids but on the other says that I need to fix myself, he has done everything he can, etc.  I am just so stunned that this person who promised me the sun and moon isn't willing to fight for me or our marriage at all.  Anyway, at some point on New Year's Day I hit rock bottom and decided to just bare my soul.  I took him into our room, and told him that we have hurt each other a lot, but that I felt deep down inside we can find and build our love again.  I said it was a New Year, and that I was willing to completely bury the past, forgive him, ask for his forgiveness, and move forward with no conditions on each other.  I told him I knew that he needed approval, respect, admiration, and acceptance, and that I wanted to start giving him that again.  I told him that I couldn't make him feel or do anything he didn't want, but that I wanted him to know that what I craved from him was attention, appreciation, and to be cared for.  I was crying as I said all of this, it's like I tapped into a well of sorrow that I have built up over so long.  I also apologized from the bottom of my heart for my emotional affair, and told him that if I could do it over, I would not respond to this guy's emails.  I said I was sorry for where we were, but that the most important gift we could give our kids was to teach them how to be loving.

He was surprised, I think, because he thought I was going to have the divorce talk, but I have to say that I did not feel like he was truly moved by anything he said.  He was glad to see me so remorseful and sincere, but it did not touch him in a deep place at all.  He kind of gave me an Asperger's-type hug and said that he appreciated what I said and that he would need time to process it all.

So since then he has STILL been sleeping on the couch.  I bought tickets for us to see a Broadway show this weekend, after asking him and he said yes, a week ago.  He does not want to go now because he is afraid we will get into a fight.  This particular play holds a lot of meaning for me because I produced it when I was in college and I told him it would mean a lot to me.  He told me I was "pressuring" him and that I should be empathetic to HIS feelings and understand that he is not ready.  Ready for what?  I feel like we are going in the same old cycle where he has withdrawn and I have to "prove" that I am worthy of his love or something.  I AM SO F---ING sick of this.  I know I am not perfect and I have made mistakes -- many in the last few weeks and months -- but Sherri, I truly feel like if there is someone here that ought to be grateful that they have someone who has stuck by them all this time, it ought to be him.  And I NEVER feel like he is grateful, or feels fortunate to have me still here willing to work, or anything.  And I am so Sick. Of. Apologizing. For. Everything.

Deep in my heart of hearts I feel like we are at a point of no return and that this is not going to work out no matter how hard we try.  And I really don't feel like it is because of me.  I still have a lot of anger and resentment but I feel like the fact that I am able to feel it and access it means that I am in a position to start healing it.  I think his anger and resentment towards me -- for what, I'm not sure, because sometimes he claims it's the "affair" but then others he says that's not it, he knows people do stupid things and he did the same thing -- is so deep and he is not willing to make himself vulnerable and open to me.  One of the things I told him in our heart to heart was that it was not enough for us to love the other person; each of us had to be willing to ACCEPT the love that is being given as well.  I know I have been guilty of resisting his efforts at times, but truly I feel like for most of the last four years, he has been like Teflon and has simply not allowed himself to feel anything deeply for me, no matter how hard I've tried.  I don't think he is going to go there.  He will not get therapy, he is not seeing an ADD coach.  Fortunately he is taking meds, but I don't even know if he takes it regularly.

I don't think I would miss him at all if I left but I am devastated for the kids because I never imagined that they would be from a broken home with weekend visits and overnight stays and all of that nonsense.  And I think my husband is telling the truth that he would not divorce me..right now.  But I think I could go on in this distant, superficial relationship in the same old cycle for another 18 years, and then when the kids are grown, I KNOW he will leave me.  I do not feel any true love or attachment keeping him to ME.  I have no idea what value I add to his life, and have received no indication that he would really miss me as a person (as opposed to just someone to take care of everything) if I were not here.

I don't know what to do.  I have not slept in days, and I am really, really sad.

waynebloss's picture

From the ADD side

1st off, I am not taking sides, never have never will. 

On the way home you have an argument because he wants the kids to go to church with you and you do not?  Really after not seeing him for a week you pick a fight over something small?  Then you get mad when he sleeps on the couch and not coming to bed.  Really, after fighting with him when he comes home from being gone, you are mad he does not want to come to bed?  I have not slept with my wife in over a year, and if she picked a fight with me over something small, then asked me to go to bed with her....nah, no thank you, why would I do that.  Setting myself up for something else

I respect that you hit rock bottom and decided to wipe the slate clean with him.  That took courage, guts and actual true love! But what puzzles me a bit is that you keep on saying in your posts that you are done, you want a divorce, you want to leave him and you even stated that you would not miss him. If that is so, then how can you tell him that you are willing to start over and that you want to be with him? I do not get it?  You 2 need time and space away from each other with counseling both individual and marriage. There is no way you can wipe the slate clean with him with all that anger, resentment and hurt still inside!  It needs to be addressed by you and you alone!  Once you have it under control then proceed to something else.  

Probably this is now what you wanted me to say, but he has done some serious things wrong and so have you.  Unless both of you are willing to start over it will never work.  Based on your posts along with his, I do not see where you 2 are ready to attempt this.  I could be wrong but seems like there is too much pain from both of you. 




On the way home you have an

On the way home you have an argument because he wants the kids to go to church with you and you do not? Really after not seeing him for a week you pick a fight over something small? Then you get mad when he sleeps on the couch and not coming to bed. Really, after fighting with him when he comes home from being gone, you are mad he does not want to come to bed? I have not slept with my wife in over a year, and if she picked a fight with me over something small, then asked me to go to bed with her....nah, no thank you, why would I do that. Setting myself up for something else

Because wanting to spend time alone with your husband isn't "picking a fight", and my husband would GLADLY spend time alone with me if I wanted. How does the blame for the 'fight' end up on her shoulders? I agree, it maybe shouldn't have been a fight, but does she not have a right to be upset and the right to certain expectation to have a husband who WANTS to spend time with her alone without adding to it a criticism of her motherly love for the children? Her needs aren't being met...and he doesn't give a damn, apparently.

AND because sleeping on the couch is a childish, immature, passive-agressive BS way of hurting the other person and solves nothing except to make a bigger, deeper gap in the already crappy marriage. This the FIRST threat my husband throws out when he's mad...he's sleeping in the den...and there is ONE reason and ONLY ONE reason for hurt me. To be 'right'. Much easier than just agreeing to disagree and being an adult and sleeping in the marriage bed, right? Sleeping on the couch is about being "right", not about loving the spouse more than you love your pride.

Ok...coming down off my soap box...

Hope this helps. :o)


waynebloss's picture

I call BS

Who said it ended up on her shoulders?  She IS the only one who can say that.  I am learning to pick my battles with my wife recently which are few and far between if I can help it.  She has every right to be upset, just do not think that he has to do what she wants.  There was no criticism given, it is how she took what he said.  It is hard to take what people say at face value when you will not let go of the anger!  He suggested, now maybe his tone indicated something else, but we are only going off the words from her, so it is hard to determine the real tone, the real words.  Define "gives a damn"?  What are the boundaries?  Was it implied or did she state exactly what she wanted from him? 

Sleeping in the den or on the couch is not trying to hurt you...STOP THINKING THAT IS WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO!!!!!!!!   DAMN this pisses me off when the non-ADD spouse spouts off that our actions are trying to hurt you!  Maybe we are trying to avoid the anger, the explosions, the accusing, the finding something to start a fight with, then dealing with the thoughts going through our head that we are FAILURES, that we F-UP AGAIN LIKE WE ALWAYS DO!  Not everything in the DAMN world is about your and your feelings...HOW ABOUT US with ADD??  HUH???  Do you give a DAMN about that or just worried about how you are feeling or treated?  Screw right or wrong, how about some peace?  Can she give that to him now...NO she cannot, she will not let go of the anger and he will not LISTEN.  Until these 2 get to counseling and really WANT this to work, it will be utter HELL!

Now, I need to take my medication and go get my kids.....Sherri I am not yelling at you....You know I respect and love you....please do not put a TN whoopin on me????  PLEASE.



LOL It is OK, I can take

LOL It is OK, I can take it...piece of cake.

It is about hurting me, he fully admits it. Not sure why YOU do it, or did it, or whatever...but he has owned up to it many times, that it is just to hurt retaliation for some thing I have done to hurt him. Best part? He threatens it, retreats to the den, then complains that he "has" to sleep down there like it was my fault. I NEVER suggested it or asked or wanted it. *confusion*

No, you're right, not everything is about our (non-ADHDers collectively) feelings...and not everything is about yours (ADHDer collectively) but as a Christian his feelings DO and always WILL matter to me and if I have hurt him, if he voices a concern to me that I have hurt him, I make a God's honest effort to stop, step back, listen, and apologize. ALWAYS. I didn't used to, I didn't used to give a damn. I don't always do this with flawless Grace, but I do make a very honest deliberate effort to LISTEN. It does not matter how silly, irrational, or inconvienient our 'feelings' are ..mine, yours, his, Ren's, they do, by default of the marriage/vows/love, matter....period. Always. Even if MY feelings aren't being given sufficient enough attention (by my own definition) I do NOT forsake his as a result. Had this issue a matter of fact. I reached out to him, shared some fears and concerns with him (in our journal) last night and he responded with..nothing. Not a word. I asked for a simple "am I right or wrong? are my fears founded or is it something else going on?" and it ended up turning into him not feeling I am supportive of him, what he's going through, and him telling me I need help with my obsessiveness. A) no matter what help I might need, he is my husband and I damn well deserve his explaination, as best as he can give, for what is going on with him that is making him withdraw and be critical of my every word and action. If he cannot put it in words, then at least reassure me that it isn't the 'pattern' so well known in our marriage and that is has nothing to do with his happiness/unhappiness in the marriage. I deserve to know what is going on with him and I don't deserve his criticism when I express my feelings..even if they make his 'issues' 100 times worse. That is what marriage is about. Ironically, if he weren't so stingy with the reassurances, I would not need them as much. When you KNOW something isn't right, ignoring it isn't the way to go. Unfortunately, not ignoring it and trying to bring it to the table is sometimes 'too much' for the ADHD mind and results in walls being built and feelings being pushed down and the resentment and anger monster is born. I am merely trying to avoid that again, at all costs. B) How can I be supportive of his 'moods' when I feel like, BECAUSE OF HIS ACTIONS, I am the f**king target and reason for his moods??? Tell me I'm not, explain a little to me, open up and share with me and maybe I won't 'go there' with my paranoia and insecurities. At the very least call the counselor and let her help you deal with it. Easier to just let it fester into an ugly abscess? Yes, if you want the marriage to suffer. C) I am as open with him about my OCD tendencies and my insecurities (can you say 'being cheated on hurts like a SOB and does not go away overnight??') as I am with you guys here. I KNOW this is something I need help with. He asks me to help him, by being supportive of what he's going through, so why can't he do the same? He said to me he hoped I could find the compassion and understanding I needed (for him) and he hoped he could find the strength to not back slide...but I'm sure he didn't mean that I don't deserve compassion and understanding too, right? I guess? Surely?

Sorry...just in a 'mood' today. You're lucky, I don't have any medication...but I'm sure beginning to think I need some. LOL Letting ADHD kick my a$$ lately...but I'm working on it.


I Feel Your Pain

Hi Sherri.  I am so sorry for what you are going through.  I have had this cycle so many times myself.  You express a feeling or need, and somehow that becomes a criticism of HIM, and the very fact that you have the feeling you do means that you are not being supportive of HIM or empathetic enough to HIM...and you're just like, WTF just happened?  How did ME feeling hurt end up being about what a bad person HE is and how HE is so hurt?  Am I invisible? 

We went to a counselor for a little while who said to my husband, "How often does a woman need reassurance from her husband?"  And my husband said something like twice a day?  Five times a day?  And the counselor said, "All the time."  And you are so right that by withholding the very thing you need, you need it all the more, and you continue down this downward spiral.

You know I feel sorry for some men who are in the dark because their wives think they should read their minds and give them what they need without asking for it.  But what I do NOT understand is when men who have wives who CLEARLY TELL THEM exactly what they need, and yet they STILL will not give it.  It is so selfish and destructive, and I don't understand why these men think they will be diminished if they just provide what their wives are asking for.

Men crave admiration and respect, and for some reason they do not get the simple equation that if they attend to their wives and make them feel reassured, secure, loved, and cherished, they will have the most loyal, admiring and respectful wives in the whole world.  I think it must just be low self-esteem and self-loathing that these men think they are not worthy of that, and so continue to sabotage their marriages as a result.

I could not agree more with

I could not agree more with everything you said...especially the part about sabotaging the marriage. I think he had most of this under control and was doing GREAT being a partner to me...before he started medications. When I recall the conversation we had when he asked me to re-marry him my heart just sinks...Please God let him see what has happened and care enough to stop the medication...furthermore, please let it BE the medication. Why I even question this is because he is so good at convincing me that I am the problem...

I know he would not agree, but I feel like I have been going towards him, wind to my face, stick and stones being thrown at me, supporting and loving him and showing him the attention and affection he wants...for weeks. I just simply have to respect my own boundaries. When he blamed me, for having you said, instead of showing he cared that he was hurting me, I knew either something changes NOW or I can't be a part of this anymore. Now that I KNOW what marriage CAN be like with him, to settle for this, or to accept this..with no end or solution in sight...would be ridiculous.

I am continuing to pray for you...just know that you are not asking for too much...and don't fall into the trap of letting him think you are. It is the hardest battle you will ever fight, but the results are worth it. If I lost him, I was willing to accept that..but when I fought that battle with him, and won it for a while, it was the best feeling in the world. It is just a matter of when enough is enough for each of us individually.

Oh..and you're right, he does

Oh..and you're right, he does not have to do what she wants...such as spend time alone with her...and she, in return, does not have to stay married to him. If spending time alone with him is something she wants/needs, it darn well better be something he is prepared to give. This is such a sad point to argue...really...having to beg for the time and attention of your spouse is not something anyone should have to do. Been there, done that...and it is miserable.

Thanks Wayne

Hi Wayne.  No offense taken -- it's nice to get the perspective of the ADD-er since my husband is unable to clearly articulate his feelings...though I imagine his response would be similar to yours.

I guess I feel like he picked a fight with me.  One of the things I have continuously asked for in this relationship is for us to create a sacred space for each other and our marriage.  There are various things I have suggested: weekly date night; some time carved out each evening; special days or rituals, etc.  I have articulated this as clearly as I can.  As far as I can tell, what I have asked for is not something destructive to our marriage, and ought not be something that is harmful to either one of us; it can only make us stronger.  In other words, it is not just a need for ME, I believe that it is something that is necessary for US.

Given this, when I suggest that we make time for ONE HOUR to go out together on New Year's day, I take it as a rejection of me and of our marriage for him to "counter-offer" with a suggestion to bring our kids.  Now, to tell you how it went down: I asked him WHY it was important to bring the kids.  He said that they have been missing me and that I should spend time with them.  I tried to AGREE with him and find COMMON GROUND by COMPROMISING.  As per Sherri's suggestion, I said, "That's true, and you're right we need to make time to spend time as a family as well as alone together.  I thought Sundays would be a great day to do a Family Day each week, since the au pair is off that day.  Since the au pair does work a few hours on Saturday, it makes sense to me that we take advantage of having a babysitter to use some of that time to get out of the house and do something alone.  This will only be an hour or so, it's not like we're abandoning the kids all day, and I am looking forward to spending time with them in the morning and when we get back."  Does that sound unreasonable to you, or like I was picking a fight?  The problem is that he would not. let. it go.  He continued to insist that he thought it would be great for the kids would come with us to brunch (not church).  To me, this is just an attempt to have a power struggle, and I don't understand why he feels so controlled and resistant to just going out and hanging out and having fun.  WTF?  Seriously -- it's New Year's day and you want to have a showcase showdown about having breakfast with your wife?  If that is his starting point, then WHY THE F--- ARE WE MARRIED?  I mean, how hard is it to join forces, be a unit, and say, "OK, that sounds like a good compromise."  Why does it have to be HIS WAY, or no way at all?

Not much to say about the sleeping on the couch except that I agree with Sherri 100% -- it's immature, damaging to the marriage, and basically reinforces the fact that you'd rather be right than be happy.  Great.  Good luck with that.

As for me being done but also willing to work, I guess I have a unique philosophy, which I got from the Marriage Fitness program.  That is: when you are first in love, you do things for your partner based on how you FEEL.  That is, the feelings come first, then the actions.  As time goes on, however, some of those intense feelings fade.  At that point, if you wait to FEEL like doing the things you did at first, it will never happen.  You must ACT lovingly, and over time the loving feelings will come back.  That is, in a mature relationship, the ACTIONS come first, then the feelings follow.  Sherri (who is great at doing this, much more so than I am, in the face of adversity and resistance) coached me on this a bit this summer -- basically it's a "fake it till you make it" approach.

So, even though I am "done," I am willing to put in the work to ACT loving, and start performing the HABITS that a loving successful couple would do -- even though I don't feel loving.  As Mort, the MF coach says, all successful people have one thing in common: discipline.  And discipline is doing what you know you have to do, EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE DOING IT.  This is true of people who successfully lose weight, are Olympic athletes or great musicians, or achieve any other kind of success.

My problem is that just like people who try to lose weight, or quit smoking, or whatever, I have gotten very discouraged that my efforts have not yielded results and it's hard for me to stay disciplined.  I'd really love for my husband to get on board and see that if we join forces and start to create positive habits and interactions (liek dates, time together, doing fun things), we will both heal more quickly.  Unfortunately, his answer is avoidance, distance, space, and all the things that make it harder for me to show him loving actions and continue to make this healing process slow.  And my being "done" has more to do with the fact that I can't wait forever for him to "feel" like doing these things -- pretty much, it's never going to happen, the feelings just don't come back on their own -- than that I think he is a bad person.  I don't think he is a bad person, just that he really doesn't get it.  And I think he may lose me and his family as a result.

waynebloss's picture

Re; I get it...I think

I took my meds this morning, so I am better at reading, thinking and writing! I do understand what you wrote for the most part, I am cannot understand why if he did not want to spend time with you then just say it?  Why make up excuses or put the kids into the mix when you really do not feel like it?  I just do not get that in people, why beat around the bush just come out and say it. 

I cannot and will not answer for him, but if my wife would come around and ask for an hour or so of just us time, I would be very happy man!!  I do think that he really gets it, I think by his posts and yours that he does want to.  There is something keeping him from committing, and I think you are right, he might lose what he posted he does not want to lose.  In both of yours posts you both state that you want this to work but reading you guys also do things that sabotage it, which I am at a lost for as well. 

The one issue that I have with your post, is that you say even if you do not feel like it you should still go through the actions because those feelings may come back?  Nahh..If my wife has to fake like being with me, fake like she is truly interested in me or our marriage, then she needs to stop. Knowing that my wife is just going through the motions, that would make those feelings/thoughts of being a failure, being stupid for not seeing it, dumb for allowing it and anything else negative about myself.  I know that the person is not targeting you specifically but to have someone fake it bothers me. Mort might be right in some areas but in a true love marriage/relationship, I would not want to be with someone that has to go through the actions to feel.  If you do not feel it then how are you going to believe it, and if you do not believe it then how are you supposed to make the other person believe that you want to be there?  I do no get it, maybe it is me personally but if we were in a relationship I would not want you to go through the actions to feel, I would want you to feel to go through the actions. 

Maybe that is why I am in the position I am in now, I told my wife that if she does not want to be with me, if she does not feel it in her heart to be with me then don't.  I asked her nicely please do not fake being together with me, please do not put on "show" for others, for me or yourself, if she does not WANT to be there then why be there.  It is getting very hard for me to have that WANT, the desire to stay with my wife now.  We are supposed to be doing this healing separation, I filled out everything and told her to look it over and let me know if something needs to change or if we need to discuss anything and she has not said a word in a week.  We have not started yet, which she agreed in the beginning to start this week, I am almost done trying anymore with her and our marriage.  Just ready to leave it alone and see if she picks it up or walks away.  I am ready either way, I would LOVE and HOPE that she picks it up soon but my gut is telling me that she is just buying time making sure her exit strategy is ready.  Not going to discuss it with her yet, the peace between us has been nice! 

Oh well, continue with patience, continue on the trail of my changes and make myself the best I can be for me and my kids.  Sorry, today is just a bad day for me, went to talk with a lawyer about chap 13 or chap 7 bankruptcy, trying to keep us above water and I am failing. 


I don't think Ren's husband

I don't think Ren's husband posts I mising something?

I could be wrong, but I don't think Ren means that she's faking LOVE, I think she means that she is putting forth a loving attitude in the hopes that A) it will be reciprocated and B) it will become a habit. When you have anger and resentment and they are your only feelings, sometimes it helps to try and replace those with something more positive...even if it isn't 'genuine' the hopes that it eventually becomes genuine and changes your attitude. Even when my 'attitude' was that I hated my husband and really was tortured by our relationship, deep down I loved him...and still do. I remember praying to God that I would just stop loving him because it would have made things so much easier for me..if I just didn't care that he wouldn't be a part of my life. In spite of the love, I really really didn't have a loving attitude towards all.

Wayne, my prayers are with you buddy. I don't do 'limbo' very well, so for you to have endured what you have and kept your positive "I still want things to work" attitude is extremely admirable. If nothing else, I think you are going to be a happier person in general regardless of how your marriage plays out. Praying for you and your family.


Walls and Commitment

Hi Wayne.  So yes, after I pressed him and asked exactly what you are asking -- why are you dragging the kids into this -- he admitted that he didn't want to go because he "dreads" spending time with me because we will get into a fight.  And then he pointed to the fight we were having at that moment as an example.  I told him if he'd stop resisting the idea of spending time together, we wouldn't be fighting!  It is so exasperating.

So in the "rock bottom" conversation we addressed what is keeping him from plugging into the marriage and he admitted that he has put up walls.  I admit that I have walls too but I think his are a lot deeper -- mine are on the surface and I am at least able to access the pain behind them which I think makes me more willing and able to bring them down.  He just says I have hurt him a lot, and that's true, but it gets very difficult because it's precisely this kind of talk that gets my walls back up -- I feel like he has hurt me just as much and yet I am willing to humble myself and fight for this and he is willing to just watch it all crumble.  And when I start to feel this way I feel hopeless, which leads to me being done and not wanting to be married to him anymore.  I can't bring his walls down for him, that's a decision he has to come to himself and it has to come from inside of himself.  It's just --how long can I wait.

I also agree with you that I've done things to sabotage the marriage, I think out of hopelessness and a desperation that he'll "wake up" if he sees how ambivalent I am getting.  And Sherri is right that all of the posts above are mine, my husband doesn't read or post in this forum.  He actually won't read anything, including Melissa's book...again, I don't know why he's so resistant to trying to start to meet me halfway by even reading something that validates his own experience. 

On the faking it -- yes, you are faking your actions but not the intentions behind the actions.  The intention is to save your marriage, which is constant.  I honestly don't see how spending hours on the computer and avoiding me is going to help do anything except increase distance, I don't think it's realistic that he's going to suddenly wake up and feel "I love this woman more than anything!"...unless maybe it's when he sees me walking out the door.

waynebloss's picture


Sorry, thought your husband posts on here. 

I am a computer geek and a nurse, I work on computers all day long and in some of my spare time I help others.  I used to play games all the time on my PS3 and play on the computer for hours at a time.  I remember one time when my wife came down to my office and was crying.  she told me she felt alone and that she feels like I am abandoning her and our marriage and she wanted me to stop and come upstairs with her.  For some reason I could not leave my homework, the porn I was downloading and the IM I was involved in to be with my wife. 

Now looking at what I just wrote, makes me very sad and embarrassed that I would choose those things over my wife!  Now with my kids, there is no way I would "play" on the computer for hours and ignore them.  Which is why I understand  why ADD people and games go hand in hand, but what I do not get is that the same people complain that they miss their spouses and cannot understand why she/he is so mad at them? 

Fear is why we avoid, fear of the unknown, how is it going to work out, will there be a fight?  All of this fear is why we will not commit.  I on the other hand, being a adrenaline junkie, fear does not stop me it makes me want to go that route.  Which is why I am very afraid of losing my wife during this separation but if I do not take this chance I know that she will be gone for sure.  Waking up is hard to do when you are afraid of waking up, afraid that you ACTUALLY did those things to your spouse.  It took full on raw blunt honesty during a counseling session for me to open my eyes and look back at the devastation I caused. It was then that I knew I either had to change or lose and I hate to lose!!  I do feel that at some point, he needs to "SH** or get off the pot" (Sorry, it is the man in me) and make a decision.  He does not want you to make it for him, but it may come to that. 

I kind of see what you and Sherri are talking about with the feelings and all, but I still do not like it, I am just that way! 

Sad that he will not read any book!  Driven from and to Distraction were my first, then Melissa's, then Harriet Lerner-The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate, and Crucial Conversations have helped me understand ADD/ADHD and the one thing that has killed our relationship which is communication.  These books along with the Bible have given me new tools on how to be a better person and a better communicator.  Now, after reading some of my posts, I need a book on English!! 

Good luck to you!!  Soon you will have to make that decision which is best for you.  I hope that he wakes up to see that he really wants to make his own decision, not leave it up to you! 

Hang in there, it does get better, I think?  :)



What Happened?

What, exactly, happened in the counseling for you to "see" the effects of your actions on your wife?  He refuses to look at it all.  I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I feel I have both through my actions and words taken accountability for how I treated him in anger.  All I am asking is for him to truly see WHERE all of that anger came/is coming from.  I want him to SEE ME.  As a person.  As the wife he promised to love and cherish six years ago. 

I am so impressed that you read all of those books.  I do not understand why he won't read any of them.  Basically what I gather is that they make him feel bad about himself, so he doesn't want to read them.  Or somehow he finds a way that the book doesn't apply to his situation.  We actually had counseling sessions with Melissa where she repeatedly suggested that we carve out time for ourselves to connect.  When I told him that we really need to listen to people who have "walked the walk" and have been in our pain and come out of it, his answer is "Well, that worked for Melissa but it's not going to work for me."  The problem is that in our sessions he would completely agree with her and tell her he was doing everything when day to day I knew he wasn't, and then I would explode in our sessions and I looked like the crazy one and I just couldn't do it anymore. 

I can't decide if he's just that arrogant -- that he feels like he has nothing to learn from sites like this or people like Melissa or Dr. Hallowell or the counselors we have seen -- or if his fear is really that deep.  I don't know what to do about the fear.  Yes, we are going to fight.  I cannot promise him a life where we will never get into another argument, which is what he wants.  I believe that strong marriages aren't about not having arguments, it's about building enough positive feelings and goodwill toward your spouse that you are able to "ride out" the bad moments and fights because you know there is so much more there.  Right now our emotional bank accounts are empty.  Every fight becomes one where our marriage is on the line.  And yet he doesn't want to take the actions that will start putting deposits into those accounts, and in fact by doing things like flirting with our au pair and sleeping on the couch and refusing to talk to me, he is overdrawing my account significantly.

Anyway, any insight into what gave you the "breakthrough" you needed would be helpful.

waynebloss's picture


I would LOVE to have a counseling session with Melissa! That would be very interesting!!  ( ever come to MO, maybe?)

I never met your husband, but I can tell you that for me it was fear why I did not want to read in the beginning.  I did not want to come to the fact that I my brain was ill and I needed medication to help it. I was the one who thought others who took meds for a "brain" issue were weak people.  Did not ever think I would be calling myself that.  Now I know that people are not weak due to mental issues, but that is what I thought and made sure that my wife knew how I felt. This was another change i had to include, stop thinking that I am a man when I could not feel sadness, I would not cry or show emotion. For me, the real reason is that I did not want to see what I caused, how disappointed, hurt, took advantage of, and mentally killed my wife! How mad I was at myself and that I was not the man I thought I was. 

For me to see....Once upon a time, my wife and I were talking with my counselor, then the questions was asked.  "Jen, help me help Wayne see what he cannot so that he can address the issues that you have or the issues that have you here today." (not the exact words, but you get the drift) Then, at that moment I had my eyes open, my ADD brain was actually standing still when I heard my wife, her voice full of the pain, the suffering, the hurt that I had caused her and my kids but mainly her!  To watch her cry, to listen to her voice full of anger and to know that I caused it was something that I just could not handle.  Then she went on to tell how i was drinking when she was going out out of anger, but I was doing this with a 5 and a 4 year old in the house.  They were in bed, but if something would have happened, I was drunk and could not have helped my daughter or son! Really, I would put them in danger and not even think about it!   Then she brought out the porn issue, which made me sink into a black hole!!  Hearing all of this within an hour, then having a night to sink in!  Let me tell you about the AH HA moment I had!  I had failed at all of the things I was taught by my dad.  I failed at protecting my family instead I put them through HELL and I did not even think about it.  Still hard for me to think about, still hard for me to accept that I, Wayne, did this to them, destroyed my marriage to the one who within a week of meeting her for the 1st time I proposed!  Married her 6 months later!  That I, the father to 2 beautiful kids, I put them in danger, I nearly destroyed their family!  Me the one who God gave to protect them and I FAILED!  In the biggest way!  So I had to decide, be a failure, be a drunk and a loser or change for me and my family. Did not take long for me to make that decision, and I did not give a rats A$$ what others thought, I just want my wife and my family back!  That day in my therapist office was the life changing event for me.  I can not lose my wife and kids because I am scared and if another man is willing to do that, then I am sorry! 

I know that there will be fights, my wife and I had a small one the other day, it turned out ok but you could tell we were both walking on egg shells!! 

From being in the military and being a guy, when a man says "it will not work for me, or I am not like that" he is really saying that I am scared to death and I do not want to lose what control I have! Scared that if he does give in that he is somehow not a man or less of one. Being scared is ok, by addressing your/his fear, understanding why it happen,  what caused it to happen and addressing it, has allowed me to finally have a pace of mind, a positive direction, God back into my life, (cross my fingers) my wife back into my life and be a better father to my kids  

I am not liking society that has drilled into our heads how women and men are supposed to think, and act when in fact they have it dead wrong. I am trying to teach my son and daughter different than when I was growing up.  

We fight but we also make up (before last year), teaching our kids that it is ok to have a disagreement, it is how you handle it and you resolve it is what counts.  Living with someone for 2 months you are going to have a tiff here and there now try 6 years, 13 years, or 20+ years.  There will be fights, but understanding ADD/ADHD and how to communicate, think and react better is the key. 

I do hope that he will finally give in to the fear and cry with you.  He must get past the fear, get past the stigma that he cannot feel pain, sadness and that he cannot cry. He must WANT to do this or it will not happen! I do hope and pray for good things for you and everyone in here. The weight that comes off when you actually understand the problem and starts to REALLY WANT to address it, that is when the fog really does lift and you can see. He will be able to see himself, see you for the 1st time in a loooonnnnnggggg time, and make better decisions, but he has to WANT to for it to work. 



Great insight Wayne... Ren,

Great insight Wayne...

Ren, I do believe for my husband it is about fear...fear of giving up control...fear of facing the hard work of fixing the marriage...fear of being vulnerable to this 'angry person' they're now married to...etc.  My theory is that when that fear is replaced by some other fear, something worse, then and only then are they able/willing to stop being able to ignore the elephant in the room.

Think about it this way...from my experience with my own change. For years the only way I knew how to survive was to be angry and stay angry. I remember saying "oh, when I get hurt I get angry" and I didn't realize the HUGE issue with this...and how it was NOT OK and no good for me at all. I just thought it was a quirky thing about me...little did I know that it was a huge 'disconnect' for me not to be able to express my hurt in a separate way from my anger. I theorize that the reason I 'learned' this way of coping was due to being with men who had zero sense of 'nurturing' other words, if I got hurt and cried, they got mad. I eventually learned to just go straight to mad, I suppose. Anyway, you may have read the story of how my change came about...but it was basically a culmination of so many things...but it took SOOOO much for me, non-ADDer, to get that I was part of the problem and needed to change. MY HUSBAND WAS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR MY ANGER. Ah..hated to admit that..but I was at such a low point in my life that my pride didn't exsist...I just wanted to be happy. My walls were coming down whether I liked it or not. Life was too short...that was all that kept going through my head. We had suffered through about 3 years of one crisis/heartache after the other...lost jobs, nephew who is like a son was deployed to Iraq, mother-in-law's rapidly decreasing health and ultimately passing, my father's accident and completely unexpected death a month later (was making a full recovery and got sepsis and died w/in 36 hours), and the continuous strain in the home because my SD and I did not get along.  I mean we had run the gammet of anything and everything..I was SO done. I took for granted that my husband would be around...that he would just take my 'brutal honesty' (thought I was doing him a favor) and never leave. I had no clue how much my anger was affecting those around me (children, family, friends) and again I don't have ADHD. Imagine if i did.

I don't think change is impossible...nor is getting them to see what they're doing...but it does not come easy and it does come with you setting boundaries and deciding he'll either 'get it' or he'll lose you. Wayne described not even being willing to get up from the porn on the computer to go be with his wife who was standing in front of him in tears....yet look at him now. Why? Because the fear of losing his family was deeper than the fear of taking his head out of his rear end.

about fear


I think you hit it with this ".fear of giving up control...fear of facing the hard work of fixing the marriage...fear of being vulnerable to this 'angry person' they're now married to...etc." Because things got oh so much worse when I started working outside of home, then went back to school for my AA degree! He had always had a thing for porn before that but with internet in the home (because that is how I did college) he was on it when he got home from work, when he was supposed to be taking care of the boys etc. He honestly doesn't see anything wrong with it. It was one of the goals he and counselor set to end that behaviour it never happened it didn't and he would blame his sons for doing it!

guess I will get back to this........... gotta leave work early because son is going to Dads this weekend and had invited a friend........... Dad failed to tell other family that he would pick friend up at 6.

Sherri and Wayne

I have read and been mulling over your posts about fear and control, and that being a part of the walls. FWIW, you both should read "How Can I Get Through to You?" by Dr. Terrence Real, which my therapist gave me last week. Wayne, it described *exactly* what you are saying about how men are taught that they should not feel emotions, or cry, or be vulnerable. 

So, things have continued to progress downhill here.  We are now at a point where ANYTHING I do or say is an example of me trying to control my husband.  Moreover, he has gotten increasingly close and flirtatious with our au pair, who LIVES IN OUR HOUSE.  I mean, spending 40 minutes talking with her, playing scrabble all evening, taking the kids out to the bookstore with her, staying up late on the couch chatting and eating popcorn (after I've gone to bed), etc.  This is while he tells me he cannot speak or be around me because he needs time and space.  He also constantly tells me that the au pair works too hard, that he doesn't see me "doing much of anything," when she's around he is practically velcroed to her helping her with the kids but when she's not he completely disengages and leaves me to do all the childcare, and has told me that the au pair is "raising our kids."  As any working mother knows, them's fighting words.  Basically, he's decided to treat the au pair with the care and concern that a man would have for his wife, and treat me like the paid employee who's supposed to be doing more but not.  It is F---ED UP.

I told him that I am very uncomfortable with how he behaves with her, especially given our current situation, and he says I am trying to control him.  Am I being unreasonable?  Does giving him time and space to figure out whether he has the capacity to develop any real closeness with me entail me watching him laugh and talk and do things with our frickin' 20 year-old au pair?  Am I allowed to have ANY boundaries?

On top of all this, he came home one day last week FURIOUS because I was not home -- the au pair had fed the kids early (usually my son eats with us as a family) and I thought it would nice to have ONE NIGHT where I do not cook (I cook every night) and decided to get take out while the au pair gave the kids a bath -- usually I start cooking dinner while she bathes them.  Seriously -- this is the first time since the kids were born that I have gotten take out.  I was gone for fifteen minutes, and when I got home, had a raging husband stomping around the house (I tried to tell him I did NOT want to talk but he told me, "Well I'm going to talk, and you're going to listen.") following me.  I call it his Donkey Kong phase, as it happens occasionally when he is trying to "assert" himself.  He told me that he DEMANDS that there be someone other than the au pair in the house at bath time, and in fact that I should NOT be doing anything other than helping her with the kids' baths at that time -- including cooking dinner, because it is SUCH a hard job and she should not have to do it alone, and that I am treating her like a slave.  P.S.  I've had this routine with the au pair for the last year and a half and have NEVER heard anything about "how important" this is to him before this day.  I got totally sucked in and it became an evening-long fight.

As a side note, I had called my husband before he got home that night to 1) invite him to go out for dinner (he said no which is why I got take out) and 2) to let him know that the plans I had with some friends had been postponed.  He had gotten very irate and said that me postponing my plans was an effort to control him (not kidding).  I have a feeling that he had some plan witht he au pair -- even if just to watch a movie or something, and that I foiled it, leading to him being angry about something petty.

All of his rage which I thought had maybe subsided after his ADD diagnosis is coming tot he surface again, everything is again MY fault, he brings up things I said and did YEARS ago, and each fight adds on one more thing to list list of grievances against me.  BUT, he does not want a divorce.  He wants time.  So, apparently, as he flirts with the au pair, doesn't speak to me, buries himself in his computers and his projects, and occasionally demands that I do this or that (when I have been the one running the f---ing house for the past four years). one day two months from now he is going to wake up with some epiphany on whether and how he is going to commit fully to our marriage and the process of fixing it.


The big picture here is that

The big picture here is that he's blaming you because he's rationalizing something that he's doing that he knows is wrong. I remember, as if it were yesterday, when the 'blaming' and 'I need space' (but I caught him having lunch with the best friend/cousin of the woman he, unbeknowst to me, was having the affair with) started it was when he was trying to justify (to himself) his actions...either he was starting the affair, or was thinking about starting it, I'm not sure...but it was around the same time. The conversation, at it's boiling point, went something like this "I love you, but I hate you. All you want to do is control me. I can't live this way anymore. How can I stay married to someone who hates my daughter?" and every.single.thing.I.did, just as with you, was 'labeled' as controlling and I was left in the dust spinning my wheels wondering WTF had just happened. I remember that night well...because I said very little in return to all of his scathing words...and knew in my heart of hearts, if I am honest, that he was up to no good...or something BIG was about to happen...but I think I went into denial mode.

You are NOT the crazy one here are not acting irrationally or in any way wrong to feel what you are feeling. He needs a reality check. Time to find a new Au Pair?

I am so sorry lady. I sent you a private message, did you get it?


waynebloss's picture

I call BS

I can see where if you 2 agreed that you could "see" other people that this would be fine, but since you have not, then his actions are, to me, unacceptable. He is getting his cake and eating it to. He can stay in the house, live without controlling, educating, or even addressing his ADD/ADHD issues then he can "flirt" with another women in your house while you watch? Nahh, he needs to go, get away from you and the kids, see what life is like without you in it. This is unacceptable not for a person with ADD/ADHD but for any person who treats his/her spouse in this manner!

"I mean, spending 40 minutes talking with her, playing scrabble all evening, taking the kids out to the bookstore with her, staying up late on the couch chatting and eating popcorn (after I've gone to bed), etc"  This reminds me of the times I would spend watching or downloading or talking to someone else while my wife stood there crying telling me that I am losing her.  I am sorry but this is not right and you should not put up with it.  Have you talked to your au pair and let her know how you feel, what is going on and that she should stop all non-working contacting with your husband? 

Question, where is he , why is he not helping with the kids?  I treasure the time I spend with mine, giving them baths, reading to them, playing, cleaning rooms...ANYTHING time I can spend with them I treasure.  I do not get fathers who do not want to do this? 

If this was my wife, and I was flirting with another women, raging at her all the time, not wanting to spend time with her, making time to spend with another...REALLY....I would be outside in the snow with my bags wondering what the hell just happen!! 

Time for a decision to be made. Either he does A.B.C. or he is gone, he can chose but it is time for simple but important decisions.  Also, he needs to get to counseling or something, and the au pair needs to be told of her new boundaries with him not with kids and when she is taking care of the kids.  If she crosses them, then see ya!  Time for momma to take over and make things right. Sorry, for anyone that does not agree but if you have tried to schedule time alone, have actually wiped the slate clean to start over with him, tried everything in the world to make it known that his actions are unacceptable and that if he does not change then the marriage is over, then it is time for actions, no more words need to be spoken.  I am not one to say ever give up, to stop fighting for what you want, but it is obvious that he does not want the marriage, he wants his security blanket but at the same time he likes this new feeling of another woman flirting with him.  He also gets the "ADD" rush when it happens in front of you, it is the "thrill" seeking we do to calm down our brains.  But even though this is what we do, it is unacceptable for him to treat you like this and he needs to know this.  Do not give in, do not back down and do not let him get to you!  Water on a ducks back! 

These are my thoughts, sorry but you should not be treated like he is treating you.  Time to let him see that either he needs to "SH#% or get off the pot!" Time for him to buck up and be a man, decide on what he wants or he needs to be able to live with the "bed he has made" 


Thanks, Wayne.  Look, I get

Thanks, Wayne.  Look, I get that my husband is hurting.  I want to give him time and space, if that is TRULY what he needs to process the feelings of hurt he has from what I did, and to think about how we should move forward constructively (which is what he says).  But his actions, while I give him time and space, don't conform to this. 

First, as to the helping with the kids and why we have an au pair, it is a long story but we moved to our current place when my husband hated his job so much he wanted to get out.  I got offered this job, left one I really loved, with the understanding that he would get one here, too.  AFTER I took the job and we moved, he changed his mind and decided he still really liked the job he had, which meant he had an 80-mile commute from where we now were -- which he ended up blaming me for.  So then he got an apt. in the city where he worked, where he stayed M-F.  At that time we had our son, I was working full-time, so I was like a single mom.  He came home on weekends and was Disneyland Dad, doing some fun things but never the "scut work" of meals, baths, diapers.  I was told that I signed up for it b/c I chose to live close to work and he had to commute.  OK.   Then when we were expecting our second, I knew there was no way I could do it on my own, and got an au pair when she was born because I knew I needed a second pair of hands -- my work was suffering already from day care schedules, managing finances, the kids' needs, the housecleaning, snow days, sick days, etc.  Also hired a housecleaner.  My husband, ever since, has felt like I am "getting away" with something because I have so much "help" and I think because so much of what I do is "invisible" to him -- his laundry is washed and folded, his drycleaning dropped off and picked up, the bills paid, tickets for vacations and trips bought and planned, food cooked, etc. -- he thinks I don't do anything. 

He finally got moved to an office closer to home and moved back last May.  But he continues to see child care as "optional" -- because he's never really had to participate in it.  He must think it just happens by itself.  Or, more accurately, since by the time he moved in I had delegated many of the tasks -- like packing kids' lunches and giving them baths -- to the au pair SO THAT I COULD DO OTHER THINGS like cook or pay bills or do laundry (trust me, I am not sitting on my butt watching MTV) his first glimpse of what it "takes" to raise children is that the au pair is doing "everything."  And he resents me for it, because I guess he feels like *I* should be doing it all.  He doesn't seem to comprehend what led me to the point of needing so much help in the first place, which is THAT I DID NOT HAVE A HUSBAND AND A PARTNER.

Anyway, post ADD-diagnosis (last Feb) we tried to develop strategies and systems to have him "help out" more.  He has been doing more (though somewhat inconsistently, which I know is typical at first but has gotten me frustrated at times), and I've tried to give him credit for it.  But somehow he sees himself doing MORE and me doing the SAME, and I think he has concluded that I'm a lazy wife and mother or something.  

I do plan to talk to the au pair.  I am taking the kids to see family this weekend.  My husband has decided not to go.  Funny, she decided that maybe she wants this weekend off (she gets one off a month).  Oh no she didn't!  I told her sorry, I actually do need her to work at my family's house -- there is no way I'm leaving those two alone for a three day weekend!  Please.  So, when we are in the car, I'm going to have a talk with her that will go something like this: "When you see a married man sleeping on the couch every night, that means he's having trouble with his wife.  And that means that you try not to spend any time with him other than what you need to to get your job done.  Remember, I am your boss and you're on a visa."

As far as DH, I'm giving it a little more time.  I am in the process of interviewing for a job that will put me closer to my family.  My husband has been on board and he can easily transfer to that city (though after what happened last time, I am not holding my breatht hat he will follow through, though I hope so because it's not commutable and otherwise he won't see the kids).  If I make ultimatums now and go through with anything, I'll be legally stuck in this state forever, unless and until my husband agrees to let me go elsewhere with the kids.  So I'm trying not to rock the boat too much, and hopefully the "time" will give him the wake up call that he needs.

Sorry this is so long, I'm sure it's annoying for you to read.  I just don't understand why, when I am willing to put aside my anger and really SEE him and help him heal, he wants to be more destructive. 

Update: Saga Gets Scary

So I get home today, and my husband comes and informs me that he wants to keep my daughter at home this weekend, because he "wants to spend time with his daughter."  I told him that I wanted to take both kids to see their grandparents (whom they see only 3-4 times a year).  He said they can come and see them whenever they want.  So I told him in any case I am taking the au pair with me, so she can help watch my son.  He flipped out, and told me the au pair is uncomfortable being around me now, and she doesn't want to go.  So I told him then it's time to get a new au pair.  At which point he threatens to break my computer and divorce me.

I stayed calm, and he said he would call my mom, I guess thinking she would back me up.  Of course she knows the whole story and thinks it's a no-brainer, like you.  So she backs me up (nicely), and this pisses him off even more.

Meanwhile, I go have a talk with the au pair, and ask her if she is uncomfortable.  She says yes.  So I explain to her that *I* am uncomfortable with the amount of time she spends with my husband, that it should be obvious to her that we are having marital problems since he is sleeping on the couch, and that hanging out with him, going out with him, chatting with him on the couch (did I mention that one night he was lying there with no shirt on?) was inappropriate.  I told her that I had boundaries and had expressed them to my husband, and since he doesn't want to alter his behavior I expect her to at least not reciprocate unless it was unavoidable due to her work duties.  She said she felt she had to stay in her room all the time, to which I told her that she was free to go watch TV in the basement, or whatever, but it is what it is.  I said if she felt she needed to leave, I understood, but that this was my position.

So my husband just went over the edge, told me (she was not around) that I have ruined his life and hers, that I am selfish and mean, and that he would "get his revenge."  Um, P.S. he carries a gun by virtue of what he does for a living.  Don't want to call the police because he could lose his job if I do, but he seems really unhinged.

Sherri, you have my PM -- check in on me tomorrow, OK?  

Yes...e-mailed you..please let me know you're OK

Listen...I know we say it all to often here that we read things and they just hit home for us...and what is happening here is like my life (minus the au pair) all over again. After years of hearing all the words we want, but seeing all of the actions we don't, we tend to question our own reality. After years of having them say just the right things at just the right time (i.e. I just need space, it isn't you, I just don't want to be around anyone right now, I need some time to stand on my own, BUT I don't want a divorce)..all the while telling us how useless we are..*SCREAMS* Listen, he is doing this to you, pointing out TO MAKE HIMSELF FEEL BETTER ABOUT WHAT HE IS DOING. I've played that game, I've been there and done that, and this kind of poison (the erratic behavior, the increase in the insults, the mission he's on to convince you how horrible you are) is ALL about what is going on with him. I cannot say what his deal is, whether he's trying to rationalize the attention he is INAPPROPRIATELY showing to the au pair or what the hell his deal is, but it is NOT OK. My gut is screaming at me to tell you to RUN. I have been through this THREE times in my 13 year marriage...the "I need space" thing..and the truth was, all he needed was me to leave him alone and let him do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. Your husband's reaction to the weekend/au pair situation would be throwing up red flags everywhere for me. If she is uncomfortable around you....ask yourself why. Guilt? Maybe his behavior/attention is making her uncomfortable. I would hate to see her lose her job because of his behavior, but then again if she is responding inappropriately, she deserves to lose her job.

Sorry..I try really hard not to be 'alarmist' but sometimes you just know...and you just feel something is very, very wrong. Now with the ADHD diagnosis, and after living through it 3 times, I know this pattern...I know this behavior. I cannot say for sure it is what is going on with your husband, but I am so upset after reading this that it has to at least be in the same ballpark. My husband has described these 'episodes' as times when he didn't even recognize who he was. All I know is that he would all of the sudden start pointing out all of my 'flaws', claim he just needed some space, started behaving erratically, started doing things that any married woman would NOT be OK with, and all the while expecting me to just stand by and watch and be there with open arms when he was done.

You so do not deserve this...I hope you start setting up some boundaries for yourself really soon.

Hi Sherri.  Yes, he has

Hi Sherri.  Yes, he has completely gone bonkers, and your characterization of it as an "episode" makes me see that this has been a pattern with my husband, too.  Suddenly becoming extremely secretive and defensive and combative and resisting ANY attempt to find resolution/compromise.  When this happened last fall several people (not doctors) suggested to me that he might be bipolar.  Once we got the ADD diagnosis, I thought the ADD was being mistaken for bipolar, which Dr. Hallowell says happens a lot in his book.

So the latest is that I went to bed, sometime around midnight he came storming up to my room, flips on the light, and says very angrily, "I've given it some thought and I feel like I am entitled to play Scrabble with the au pair once a week."  Man, I was totally creeped out.  I'm not going to f---ing die over Scrabble.  So I was like, "Yeah, that's fine."  And I went back to bed.

Then at 6am he comes storming in again, flips on the light, loudly fumbles around for his clothes, etc. and then leaves.  Usually the au pair gets up early and is up when he's leaving the house but today I guess she either slept in a little or was waiting for him to leave because she wasn't down there.  So then he storms back up, shakes my leg to wake me up, and says, "You're too lazy to get up in the morning and now you have taken away my only friend because she's too scared to come down.  I hope you're happy.  I hate you for this.  I have deep, deep hatred for you for this.  You are a terrible person, and bad for the kids.  I hope the courts see that."

Again, was totally creeped out and didn't say anything.  When I got up and got dressed and came down I saw a note he had left for me to call him.  So I called him when I got to work.  He asked, "Why are you taking everything away from me?  Why are you trying to control my life?"  I told him that I couldn't speak to him when he was angry and if he could call me when was truly ready to listen to my perspective.  He said he wanted to listen.  So I again tried to tell him that I felt uncomfortable with the situation and I did not want to see it anymore.  I told him that if he is so desperate to spend time with her, and is so unhappy with the prospect of not being able to hang out with her, then he needs to think about why he is in this marriage because it's not normal to feel that way and to still say that you want to work it out with your spouse.  Of course this drags us into another pointless conversation (thankfully there was no yelling) in which he refuses to yield any ground, and starts to claim that such behavior IS normal.  So then I asked him why he is making such a big deal of my "affair," since it was all over email and friendly chit chat.  I told him that *I* felt that it was wrong because I KNEW that the fact that I was looking forward to another man's emails, be they about neutral things, is not something that I should be doing in a committed relationship.  So now his position is that he "wouldn't care" if I had an email friendship with some man he doesn't know, it's the fact that the guy kissed me that bothers him.  I call BS, as Wayne said,  In any case, I told him that then we had VERY different views of what a marriage should be, that I DON'T want to have close friendships with other men, that I felt what I did was wrong, and that if he felt like such things were OK then that was a fundamental incompatibility in our marriage.

MEANWHILE, back at the ranch, I get an email from the AU PAIR about how uncomfortable she is about everything and she does not want to go this weekend, that she is scared I am going to kick her out and she doesn't know if anything she does is going to be taken the wrong way.  So at this point, I just feel like my hands are tied, I call Uncle and am giving up.  I explained to her about boundaries, that she had crossed them, that I was willing to accept that it was unintentional and that there was nothing going on, that I understood if she felt uncomfortable and wanted to leave.  Gave her the weekend off, told her she can find a place to stay elsewhere to think things over, but that when she comes back I need an answer whether she can live under the boundaries I described or we would work on a timeline to find a replacement.

THEN I called my husband and told him he can have his weekend with his daughter, I'm going with our son to see his grandparents.  But now he was angry that I had "changed the plan" and am "calling all the shots."  EVEN THOUGH I WAS NOW GIVING HIM THE EXACT SCENARIO THAT HE ORIGINALLY ASKED FOR.

So I laid it down.  I told him I would email him the number of several counselors, that I did not see this moving forward in any constructive way without professional intervention, that I did not want him to feel controlled so HE could make an appointment if he wanted and I would go.  If he doesn't, then I told him this is not going to go on and we can take other steps.

Ren, I can't stop thinking about your situation

Are you ok?  I can't shake the feeling that something bad is going on with the Au Pair or is on the verge of it.  I hope you enjoyed your time with your family, and that you are able to work out the situation with your husband.

Sorry I've been MIA

Thanks so much for thinking of me.  Things with the au pair have settled down.  Actually, it came to light after the MLK weekend -- and a few more explosive fights, etc. -- that he hasn't been on his meds SINCE OCTOBER.  I had no idea.  He missed a Dr's appointment in September, and then had been "stretching out" his dosages over the past four months.  He finally popped a full dose of Adderall one day and had a completely calm and lucid conversation.  I asked him what was going on and he said he took an Adderall.  I have to tell you I was so livid that I have been dealing with his crap and he didn't feel it was even necessary to give me a heads up about his meds, etc.

Anyway, he since went to the Dr. and got another scrip.  As far as I'm aware he is taking them, at least on the weekends when he's here all day.  Things have improved a bit.  I decided to just get my own act together, be a good person, observe whether he gets it together, and then make a decision.  My husband seems to be trying to make improvements, but I don't really understand what they are -- something about managing his stress and learning to worry about only things he can control and not about things he can't.  OK.  I'm not really sure what that has to do with us but he has tried to be a little more appreciative of me and this past weekend said we can schedule time to talk each night.  He still seems completely baffled by the need to take time to talk -- it's like he has no idea what we would possibly have to talk about -- but I guess his willingness to do it is something.  He is still sleeping on the couch, he says it's not a punishment but that he needs some space in order to make a transition from the past and to feel sure that we are not going to fall into the same old patterns.  Again, OK, whatever.  He seems to notice that I have changed and seems completely astounded that I can just decide to do something and then do it, overnight.  I am completely baffled by how it can take him so godd$$m long to process something and decide to change. 

Honestly, I don't know if this will work or not.  Sometimes I see the baby steps and have a lot of hope for the future.  At others I am just so over this whole rollercoaster ride and I am ready to file papers right now -- not out of anger, but just to move on in peace and hope that he and I both find someone who's better suited to each of us.  Truth be told, I think of divorce  I think that's not good, though it might just be a conditioned response every time I get disappointed, which still happens.

Oh, he is totally ignoring the au pair now (except to be normal/civil, etc.).  My mom and I noticed that when his netbook was broken is when he started this whole au pair fixation, then the netbook got fixed again so he is back to computer programming all day on the couch, I guess he doesn't need to distraction of the au pair anymore.

Anyway, that's the story for now.

I couldn't agree with you

I couldn't agree with you more in regard to the actions first then the feelings following.  I don't believe my husband will ever "GET IT".  He still remains stuck in "feelings" mode, even though we have discussed this issue many times.  I have told him the same thing more times than I care to count that I do what I know I have to do, even when I don't feel like doing it.  Very frustrating but I just try to remind myself that this isn't a "mature" relationship (love your wording) and that it probably never will be.  Very sad situation. 

Discipline, what a dirty word for alot of the ADDer's.  One of the most important things they desparately need in their lives, they run from the most.   I don't think I will ever be able to understand why the ADDer, if they truly want a better life, always avoids conversations about this. 

Sorry to hear

I agree that it is a VERY sad situation.  I've been down the road of just doing loving actions regardless of his response and it worked a bit...he calmed down and was less angry, etc., but his behavior toward me didn't change all that much.  He started being nicer, but he didn't get to the point of being really loving back.  Still closed off from me.  I got to a point where I just felt like giving up, and am still at that point now.

I will say this...the harder

I will say this...the harder I try, the further away from me he goes...this is how it has always been, and sadly, apparently the way it will always be. The more emotionally needy I am, the less emotionally available for me he is. The first thing that came to my mind when you said he slept on the couch, has slept on the couch since you tried to appeal to his human side, was that he's got motives. Some things I've read suggest that the emotional overload of talks/situations like these can cause a complete shut down. I don't think it is that they are incapable of dealing, I think it just takes a LOT of motivation for them to feel the need to deal with the pain versus just shutting down and hoping by ignoring it, it will all go away.

You will end up hating yourself, and him, if you don't stop taking the brunt of the responsibility for making this marriage better. Sure, I forgave and told him I was sincerely sorry for what I had done. At the same time, I told him that things would be different or we wouldn't be married. No more blame game. He was to own up to and change his BS and I was to do the same. I made it perfectly clear there would be NO marriage if that crap didn't stop. I, too, was the only one who knew how to apologize....and did so even when God knows I deserved an apology as much as him, that in the end didn't come.

It is possible to love them and desire something 'different' from them with all of your being...and to also never want to look at their face again. You will eventually reach your personal 'rock bottom' and you will decide he's either going to plug back into the marriage and listen to your wants and needs or you're going to be done with him. Personally, the pain got so bad that divorce seemed like the 'better' option.

I agree...for what it is worth...that they never do seem to truly appreciate and value the devastation we endure to be with them. My husband often says he realizes how difficult he is to live with, thanks me for loving him and "putting up with" him, but there are times when that all seems to go out the window. For me, in my marriage, I can honestly say I feel it will all be worth the hard work someday...even though since he started meds, my needs seem to be something he wants me to keep to myself. When I get my money for school, I am prepaying for me a couple of months worth of sessions with our counselor alone to help me deal with my OCD tendencies, insecurity, and to help me regain some of myself that has been lost in all of this...some of my strength.

You're going to have to find the courage to demand what you need from the marriage or walk away from it. You deserve so much better than this...there is a lot to be said for the boundaries that Melissa stresses in her book...and there is NO WAY for these situations to work out if they aren't in place. ((HUGS))

You're in my thoughts and prayers.


For SherriW13

A quick thought about current defensiveness around conversations - it may be that your husband is experiencing "ghosts" from your past - that is something about the way the two of you are interacting is reminding him of bad times and the anxiety that this causes ("we might go back to the bad old days") is shutting him down and making him defensive.  I would suggest a conversation with him about whether or not he is feeling any ghosts (explain what they are) and, if so, what the two of you can do to get rid of them.

FYI, what I do/did when visited by ghosts was "visualize" them and "set them aside" as well as remind myself verbally "this bad emotional feeling I'm having is part of my PAST, not my present, and I'm moving in a different direction now so I'm going to set that bad feeling aside."  Well, okay, I didn't say it in quite so clunky a way, but you get the idea!

Confusion about it all...

I read this earlier this morning and wanted to give it some thought before just responding with my mental goes my best shot...

Truth of the matter is, I'm trying to remember really hard the few months we had, after the diagnosis, before the medication, when our communication was AMAZING. What the issue is now is that I feel very scared to communicate my feelings to him...and one subject that often leads to him being angry is anything ADHD related. He will TALK about it, but when I try and share what I have learned or read, it is as if he wants ONLY to relate to me what he knows, what HIS experience is, and nothing else should matter, even if it could very legitimately apply to him. Ok, so one can ponder the idea of why this subject makes him defensive until the cows come home, but it really does feel hurtful to me to be TRYING to learn about it, and him shooting me down and making me regret almost anything I share with him. (because it didn't come from him???) Where he used to be (pre-medication) able to 'sense' when I was needing reassurances during a conversation, he just seems to have lost his desire/ability to be supportive. When we disagreed on something (pre-medication), it was over before it escalated and ended with both of us apologizing... now, I find that I am apologizing more...and him less.

On the other hand, I will give him credit for what I FEEL is him trying really hard to fight the irritability from the meds. They have changed him, I don't say this as a means of blaming him for anything..I say this because it is TRUE and it makes me very sad. I want so badly for him to feel more successful at work and less chaotic in his mind. I want more than anything for him to experience the 'fog lifting' many ADHDers describe they feel with the meds. He does not talk about it much, the meds are a sore spot for him as well, but he did offer some insight recently about how the Vyvanse is helping him a lot more than the Concerta did with focus and getting things done at work.

One more thing that has recently crept to the surface is his 'negative' mood. He has never been what I would consider a 'happy' or upbeat kind of person and has complained about work and the stress and 'overwhelm' of it all for years...spanning the course of several jobs..he's never been 'happy' with his work. (although he'll occasionally say he loves his current job, those times are rare). Lately, this has gotten progressively worse. He has been very down on himself, saying he is a failure as a husband and father even going to far as to say that he didn't see any reason to 'keep going'. That didn't play out well with my 'gotta fix everything right now' OCD personality. He then said he couldn't talk to me anymore...since I couldn't swallow that huge pill...and made the 'threat' that he'd just bottle it all up and guessed he'd just end up in an 'episode' like before. I'm just not understanding where this cruelty is coming from. Yes, I want him to be able to talk to me about anything, but if he's feeling like there is no reason to go on, is it selfish and insensitive of me to expect him to talk to someone who isn't completely emotionally invested in him and his mental health?? Isn't this why we pay our counselor? Five minutes later, he was fine...called like the text had never been sent. How do you go from "no reason to keep going" to "Hey honey, how are you? Everything is fine, don't worry". ????

He has some pretty serious 'panic' like episodes later in the evening..usually around 11:00 or later...sometimes earlier. Yesterday he described feeling like he just wanted to "cry" all day. "a bundle of nerves". No reason was given, swore it wasn't me, or anything to do with our marriage, just how he was the point that around 9 p.m., 9 hours after it started, he came to me with a look of pure panic on his face and asked if I cared if he just went out for a while. Were I able to handle these situations, rationalize with myself that there is NO rationalizing them, then maybe it wouldn't have gone so badly...but my mistrust crept back in (the only time I've ever seen him cry for no apparent reason was when he was cheating...and he said more than once that he felt like do the math in my overly suspicious, still insecure mind)..he was furious that I wouldn't/couldn't just support him and be there for him, thought we were 'past' all of the accusations, and basically threatened divorce for the first time in MONTHS.

I didn't fall into the trap, I did not fight with him, I remained true to my new self and tried seeing it from his side and didn't let his accusations pull me to that 'angry' place I used to go...and in the end, it went 1000 times better than it would have in the past. This is good....but why we are getting to this point..why he is increasingly seemingly falling apart emotionally before my eyes several times a week...I just do not have any answers. I want to think it is medication since it started immediately following him starting them, but is is just wishful thinking?

I love him very much. Still, in spite of it all, I am standing by him 100%. We're still in counseling (we go Friday) and I hope we can get some answers as to what is going on with him. Maybe, if nothing else, the medication is making his mind work 'differently' and our counselor can help him 'adapt' and be happier. I miss his attention and his kindness. I miss feeling like I can tell him anything and he'll know just what to say to help. But, I love him enough to give things time to work out. I am considering all angles and am not going to give up on him.

I will keep the 'ghost' idea in mind...I know exactly what you're saying. Changing that 'thought pattern' is hard...if I am honest, I am just as bad as he is about 'going there' and visiting the ghosts I know and hate so much. :-/

Thanks Melissa!


Please help me!! Along with a question/warning on Vyvanse

I love my husband - he has been my love for three decades but now we are currently separated. The anger, explosive irritability and unrelenting blame that started to get crazy bad.. It reeled out of control. At the same time he has been taking Vyvanse- which seems to help his focus, but Im scared has had a role in his increasing lack of caring and more frustration. I know he loves me but then BAMM out comes this irrational and mean cruelty. Altho not like before he does show his caring but then gets mad a lot now, and usually at me. Any ideas on how to find a good add educated therapist and FAST?! I am desPErate and he says hes willing to go (tho we've tried before and it just made him mader). I dont wont to lose this man, am really worried about his sanity and safety, and miss the kind man he was before. Help please. I feel like im drowning. Any other advice wuld be really helpful. I know it doesnt look great tho he says he does not want to make this seParation permanent and does say he loves me.

What was the relationship

What was the relationship like before meds?

I am struggling to decide how to proceed...and I change my mind everyday. Do I wait and pray to God that things don't get REALLY out of the point that he won't listen to me anymore? Won't care? He wants/needs to take medication, and what if I push him to stop the meds and it costs him his job? What if I don't and it costs him his marriage and sanity? I know it can be a frustrating few months of trial and error with meds, but is it common to go through 3? 4? before you find one that doesn't have these nasty side effects and doesn't change him from sweet and loving to distant and irritable? Do I, Can I, trust my own judgment? What if it isn't the meds?

It truly is breaking my heart....I literally sit and waiver between holding back tears and feeling I have the courage and strength to stick by him and wait it out. I have told him the meds have changed him and that I don't like the changes...but I haven't sat him down and had a serious conversation with him and asked him to stop. That would be my last resort. The blame he places on me when we fight is something I had prayed soooo much about..and I thought it was gone. Now that it has returned, after experiencing mutual understanding and respect for so many months, it is just devastating. I feel like I am between and rock and a hard place. I worry that if we go long enough like this, the fighting and blame game coming back into the picture, that we won't be able to get out of it like we did before, ya know? Or, what if he decides he doesn't want to be married anymore....because I think he is convinced that the problem is ME...again.

Have you thought about asking your husband to stop taking meds? I would do it, most definitely, before I would walk away from the marriage and never know if it might have changed things. My husband has a bad history with 'brain' meds (anti-depressants and ADHD meds) so it shouldn't be a huge surprise to him that they're making him worse/mean/irritable/distant but he is EXTREMELY defensive about it. When I mentioned it last he said I was making him feel really self-concious about himself and he didn't like me throwing the meds up to him. I didn't point out to him that I don't like them in the nicest of ways, I admit, but it was what I truly feel.

We see a regular counselor who has experience with ADHD...and she coordinates with his PCP on his medications. I hope you can get some help soon. Sounds like he might have similar experiences with meds as my husband.


Pre-meds he was very into his own thing - and went thru bouts of anger but not like this. His indifference has gotten worse and so has his imPulsiveness in really scary ways. I did at one point ask him to stop or to change and he said no- he digs the way this has helped his focus and didnt want to give it up. He is really mad at me and i dont know why when it was us both not knowing about this add thing. But i just dont know what to do anymore. Im tired, feeling defeated and my own self esteem is totally shot (and he isnt helping me on that score for sure.). I feel like a gross and unwanted person. But im fighting that and am seeing my own therapist. Still, looking for a good adhd therapist for couple counseling tho, not just one who says they are. I want to say though, im not nuts! I still see and know the good thats in my husband. And i love him for it. The problem is trying to find a way to pull it altogether and i dont know if that is even possible. Sherri how did you come back from your separation to get under the same roof again without fearing the old patterns resurfacing (grantrd, probably not a good time to ask you, but you're such a wise and informed person).
waynebloss's picture


There is a link at the top of this page where George and Melissa have some valuable resources for you.  For me I just searched for ADHD therapist in my city and was given a link with several therapist and their bio's.  I take Vyvanse and have not had any increase in anger or moods and have been on it for about 6 months now.  Medication react different in everyone but have noticed that there are some that have put an increase in anger with taking Vyvanse.

You need to understand that you are not gross or unwanted and STOP saying this! You are not a bad person and you did not cause this to happen so stop saying these false statements. 

Advice please...Sheri ,Waynebloss...and others I wished we had a way to chat :( I brought in the new year along and have not seen him since. I'm in a hotel room along with my computer...:( Today I spoke with his co-worker my friend and he said enough that has made me think there is more than ADHD going on. He want tell me what was said just that he(co-worker) believed he(husband) and I are in the relationship for different reasons, and I needed to have a talk with him(husband). What good would talking do, according to what he(co-worker) was implying hubby feels different than me and it's not ADHD. I said that nothing he said to him would surprise me , because he would say horrible things to me and later feel different. The co-worker said he was not hyper, did not repeat himself etc. said he was shocked at the things he said. He would not tell me what hubby said but said he told hubby "you and her need to sit down and talk honest, that its not fair if someone is holding on for the right reason and the other one is there for personal gains and needs , that's how people get hurt". I said he says things that he doesn't mean or is hurtful etc when he is in the ADHD haze. Co-worker reply "he said you would say that" then co-worker said"he's sick but he is more aware of what he say's and does than you think, trust me on that I know for a fact , but you'll need to have a heart to heart talk.I feel like packing up and moving while he is at work. I hope this makes sense my eyes are so wet with tears. I have no one else to talk to about this except you guys and God. Thanks for reading, feedback and prayers needed.

waynebloss's picture is all I can say.

If both people are not totally committed to the marriage or relationship then I feel ties need to be cut so each can move on to what they want.  Now we are reading what you are only writing and can base what we say on only what we read, but from this the man needs to grow up and act like a man.  If he is messing with you, it is not ADD, ADHD or any other "disease" it is plain immaturity and lack of respect for another human being!  What makes it worse, this is how he is treating his wife!  Sorry, if my wife treated me this way, and a friend told me that she said anything like this, I would confront her in a non-attacking style 1st and see if I get the same song and dance as to why.  If I do then I will file for divorce and we can go out separate ways and be happy.  No one should put up with this kind of treatment from another, no matter what has happened in the past!  

Now, looking at this, (without meds, I left them home!! DOH!)  Does the co-worker have anything to gain from throwing him under the bus to you? Is there something to gain that you cannot see or do not know?   

I do wish that both of you could have a raw honest conversation about the truth on how you 2 view this marriage,  about what you both feel and why.  Then decide together that this is over or that this is worth it, either way you can have closure and start to grow peace from this all.

I feel that you need to trust your "gut" and follow it, I know that this has served my wife and I well in situations where we were guessing.  Following our 'gut" has proved to be right more that 98% of the time, you do not get that "felling" just because, so follow your "gut" and do what you need to for YOU!      

The short answer

"I kind of feel like I have a lot to offer, and if my husband truly prefers the iPod or computer to spending time with me, isn't it time to move on?"

The short answer, yes. 

Now with most people who find they prefer the iPod over their spouse - well those people give the break up speech. ADHD-ers tend to be inert. Inertia means things at rest tend to stay at rest. He sounds like he is too restful to notice you are bored, lonely, angry and hurt. His needs are being met - no doubt there. It's obvious that he does not have to beg and plead for attention. That's your roll. But you don't have to play that roll if you don't feel like it. 

You are not obligated to trick him into begging for attention from you, nor are you obligated to figure out how to make him attend to you. You are awesome and you are right there in his line of sight. That should be enough.

What is there to eat?

This is THE teenage question!  The answer is "I don't know, why don't you go look?"  Case closed.

So you're saying I'm not alone?

I know...the only teenager I've 'raised' at this point was one with some serious baggage (my step-daughter) and I failed quite miserably at I'm on a learning curve with my own. Is find myself counting to 10 an awful lot these days....

Thanks! I'll use this line the next time...and try not to scream when she says "There is nothing in there that is good" without even looking. *pulls hair out*


Love this explanation. Thank

Love this explanation. Thank you!! The majority of us non-ADHD spouses ARE trying to figure these things out, work around them, be more accepting and understanding..and things like this really help.

ebb and flow's picture


Every time I read your posts I can feel your pain and frustration... I would say try not to let his symptoms get to you but I know how had it is not to... :(

I'm so sorry your partners ADD symptoms are so severe!

Is there any way you can buy some Ritalin off the internet and slip it into his meals?!?!?!? LOL just kidding!! ;)

Really though... you must feel so desperate for some peace and sanity!

((((Sending you happy vibes))))

Thanks for your compassion.

Thanks for your compassion. Yes I am, and it's my fault for excepting him with his behavior/actions,etc. without getting help.  I see he is sooooooooo not with reality, and I myself feel I'm losing touch with it. There is a phrase used in AA to describe themselves at times..."stinking thinking" well I see my  non alcoholic husband doing the same thing. My ex husband is a alcoholic and I feel the same way about the ADHD as the alcoholic they are sick , but they still have to be responsibly for there behavior,actions etc. NO MATTER with or without treatment. What I have seen and heard about ADHD is they are sick, try and understand etc. I may make you and/or others mad , but ADHD is NOT OUR Problem no more than the spouse of an Alcoholic.

The  other day when he said to the counselor "he did not have a problem with having untreated ADHD without me nor had he had with any other woman, that I had other things going on " made me see that he is in DENIAL. No difference than the Alcoholic in denial, neither will get better until they admit the DAMAGE that has/is being done in there lives and there loved ones and except there sickness. I believe that one (me) can/ have been an enabler by being too understanding/overlooking, putting our head in the sand or what ever we do that keeps us excepting them without treatment. I know from my past with my ex it's not the drink that makes them an alcoholic , but there mind. The drink is just there addiction it's a bi product of there sickness , that's why without meeting etc. they are just sober (a dry drunk). It has been my experience and many other spouses of the alcoholics without  full treatment  we would would prefer they be drunk.

I don't know if you read the post from usetohavelife or not , but if you haven't please do. I read it 3 or 4 times, and I still can't believe what I read. As bad as it may sound I hope his thinking is coming from an untreated view.

I was with my ex for 13 years, and as unfair as it might sound to the Adders I Can Not (nor) Want to live with any untreated sickness for long .I feel almost as sick now in 2 years that I did after 12 years (we lived a part the last year as a last chance for him to get help) living with an Alcoholic. The good news is, he is now getting the help he needed for 4 decades. Thanks for reading, feedback prayers needed  

I spent many years teetering

I spent many years teetering back and forth between feeling like HE was completely out of touch with reality and feeling like I was losing my grip on the same reality...wasn't sure if it was either, or, or both. It is HORRIBLE. Something will move you to decide that it doesn't matter what HIS version of reality is, the plain and simple truth of the matter is that it does NOT make you happy.

I feel very sorry for this man...that he takes the time to seek counseling, asks you to go with him, then sits there and says "it is all one else has ever had a problem with me". I know too well how this wrecks your self-esteem and sense of self-worth to truly know in your heart that you're not just 'overreacting' and you're not asking for too much...but all the while being made feel like you're crazy. I was even told for years that I needed to go back on the anti-depressants I took (for post partum depression) because me going off of them was the problem in our marriage. You really start to question your role. It feels strongly to me like his deliberate attempt to beat you down emotionally so that you don't have the courage and self-respect to leave him.

I had strong family ties...and found so much strength in being with my family...especially my Daddy. When I lost him last Nov it was like the sky opened up and it finally dawned on me.  I was sick of being angry and I KNEW that my anger was my problem to solve, but I also knew that it was rooted deeply in my marriage and how I was being treated so I was letting go of the anger...and either things would change or I would have to walk away from the marriage too. Also, it didn't matter to me anymore what his version of reality was...I was miserable, plain and simple, and we were either going to meet in the middle or we would go our separate ways and he could 'blame me' for the rest of his life, if he wanted. MY reality was misery. MY reality was that he was doing things that hurt me. MY reality was that I wanted to be happy again and was willing to face any and all pain to reach that goal. THAT is my reality now...and thankfully his reality has met mine in the middle.

So, ask yourself...if this continues to be the theme of your counseling sessions, how much more do you take before you decide you're going to let this man dwell in his own distorted version of reality alone? (((HUGS)))


Wow!  The reason your husband should not put an offer in on a house without your knowledge is that he is making a HUGE financial decision with your money without asking you about it.  If he says he can't see the difference between that and being late (or even interviewing for a job), he either is in significant defensive mode (which sometimes makes people say stupid and false things) or he is truly in need of an attitude adjustment and some perspective.  Yikes.

If you don't like the house and it isn't too late, or don't like the financial commitment he has made for the two of you, talk with the lawyers about what happens if you don't sign the papers (might lose your downpayment, if there is one, so make sure to ask first before just refusing to sign.)

The gift-giving stories suggest that the two of you are in a parent/child mode, with him in the role of "careless and rebellious teenager" while you are the parent he is terrified of making upset.  You will need counseling to get out of it, most likely.  I suggest you make sure there are good boundaries in place for yourself, as well as do some introspection to figure out how to get away from being the "parent."  Tell him what you are doing so he can see it and make his own adjustments (he won't necessarily like any changes you make, so be prepared.)  Read my book if you haven't already to get a good feel for specific ideas about how to set boundaries and issues you need to be thinking about.

Your husband's last experience with meds doesn't mean that meds won't work for him, only that those particular meds didn't work for him.  Talk with him about educating himself about other options or talking with his doc about trying different meds.  With ADHD treatment, experimentation under a doc's supervision is the name of the game.

Good luck to you - remember to take care of yourself...

Thank you YYZ!!

Thank you for your obviously well thought out and honest response, I appreciate it very much. Your sincere thoughts really gave me some peace ;)
As a follow-up to the New Years Even dilemma, we decided to compromise and we would each see friends for the first half of the night and then meet up later. Well in theory this was a great plan, but what really happened was that once he got in front of his friends he couldn't focus on calling me back to determine our get together time. So multiple text messages and a phone call asking him to call me back asap so we could figure out the rest of the evening since my friends were heading home, only got me a vague "I'll be out with the boys for a while" huh?!? I was finally left sitting alone in my car and texted him that I was going home and would talk to him "whenever". 
The next day when I heard from him (via text of course,lol) I told him that I thought the way he handled the night was very disrespectful and that I was not mad but very hurt that he does not seem to value me the same way I value him. He said that wasn't true and he wants to make it up to me. I gave him suggestions on how maybe he could do that (seeing each other on a more dependable basis, have a schedule) but I need him to really put some effort into helping me to develop a schedule. I don't mind guiding him, but if I do it all, I don't feel like he will have "ownership" of it?!
Anyway, it's a day to day thing with this ADHD situation. I try to let things roll off my back and keep myself focused on my own goals and family so that I don't get too sucked in. But I'm not sure I could marry a person like this, as strong as my feelings are for him, I don't know if I could commit to this emotional roller coaster forever? For now, it's just one day at a time :)

The one thing I would like to

The one thing I would like to mention that I think should be crucial for ANYONE in this situation..ADHD or to ask yourself why you are having to beg, plan, and schedule a relationship with someone? To me, especially if I were just dating as you are, that would be a deal breaker. You hear it and it is true...things only get WORSE once you're married. If you have a problem during courtship, you can count on the fact that it WILL get worse after marriage. People always idealize that marriage will solve every problem they have....but honest to goodness, it doesn't. Putting his ADHD aside, you really need to sit down and ask yourself if you are a priority in this man's life. Inattentiveness in a marriage is devastating. It is the worst kind of 'lonely' in the world. Yes, it is (can be) a direct result when ADHD isn't being treated properly (meds, counseling), but are you willing to devote 1-2 years of your life to counseling in the hopes that he'll suddenly make spending time with you a priority?

We all know how strong the love for these guys grows...and it grows fast....because of the hyperfocus and the charm and all of the words we hear that convince us this is THE one for us...but as you're experiencing, the words are often followed by hurtful and seemingly inconsiderate and selfish actions...and eventually grow to mean nothing.

I'm not saying there isn't any way to be marriage is coming back to life after going off in the ditch for many years...but you do need to be very honest with yourself about the hard work ahead of you. I do feel you have one have the ADHD diagnosis...many of us didn't early on.

You are welcome!

I also believe, like SherriW, that any issues that are seen during the dating process is the "Tip O the Iceberg" (Lame overused reference), but pretty much true. Also, like SherriW says, you both (your partner) have a major advantage in knowing about the ADD BEFORE marriage. It is really great that you are reading about all the ways ADD can affect the relationship, but your significant other REALLY needs to understand and work on what he needs to do to limit his ADD symptoms. My wife reminds me about things, as she always has in the past, but I am definitely better off because I have developed methods of reminding myself, like my iPhone/Outlook calendar, tasks, to-do's and ALARMS, set to occur at a time that gives me enough time to Not Forget :-)

Knowing how hard it has been for me dealing with the aftermath of unknown ADD, my diagnosis two years ago started a rebuild period that continues and will likely never end. I can't honestly recommend a relationship with an ADDer. I know how most of my guys friends are about any medical condition... They blow it off, unless it's about to kill them. A "Slight" exaggeration. Make him show that he "Owns" the ADD monster. Many ADDers are quite smart, but without concrete rules and boundaries we tend to take each goal achieved and move to the next. A spouse should be, to the ADDer, an eternal 90% complete goal that Must be worked on. I realize this now, but as many of my posts say, I almost lost everything and for all I know still could.

Keep reading and think past the surface charm that we ADDer's can demonstrate. The charm if what we can project... How else can someone with self-esteem issues succeed? I think taking control of my ADD may just create a bit of self-esteem.

Good luck!

Great way to put it...

"A spouse should be, to the ADDer, an eternal 90% complete goal that Must be worked on"

Great point. Great way to view your marriage. I think this is universal..all married people should view their marriages as something that needs attention everyday, is never to be taken for granted, and needs to be worked on and considered in every decision made by each individual party. I really think it is great that you've been able to make this internal decision and are aware of how important your marriage must be..especially after 2 years into the diagnosis. (giving hope that it isn't simply hyperfocus).

Keep up the good work!


Hyper-Focus in Repeat Mode

Thanks for the response!

Over the last, not quite two years, I think my focus has been cycling with my ADD. I feel improved and go on for a while, then begin thinking that maybe I slacking off, so I come back here. I've got to stay balanced. It's difficult, but possible. We had a real good week rolling into the New Year. It seems many Auto-Good days have fallen real flat, but NYE went pretty well.

It is my Hyper-Focus that can do good things, but I need to cycle the focus from project to project.

Thanks again for your thoughts!