I am the non-adhd spouse of an ADHD man who was diagnosed long after I had married him.  I found out a few months ago that my husband of 12 years ago had his profile on a dating website.  After the initial shock wore off, and many panic attacks of my own over this, things calmed down slightly.  I was still determined to not let it go.  After some snooping around on his emails, I came across messages from a couple of woman.  To make a long story short, I confronted my husband with this info and he admitted to having his first affair 4 years ago!  This was also about the same time he was put on Adderall for the ADHD.  He also has had an ongoing "friendship" with another woman for about 1 year.  I am beyond angry.  I have gone through years of financial turmoil with this man, the house we own now is in foreclosure, we are in trouble with the IRS, I have about 4 judgments against me, we have had our cars repossessed, electric shut off, cable shut off, etc, etc,  I could go on and on.  We also have 2 small children together.  I am absolutely heartbroken and betrayed.  I told him I could forgive any of this ADHD crap I had to endure, but the infidelity?!  That is my breaking point.  It's as if I feel with the affairs, he poured gasoline on a house already on fire.  I have thrown him out of the house for weeks now.  But it is hard because I am not working and have no financial support.  He wants to work on things but I feel as if I could never trust him again. With all the promises he makes, they always seems to be just words.  He never puts anything into action.  He's always too busy, too tired, too whatever.  He always seems to have time for what he wants to do.  I must also add that because of his Adderall, he stays up all night watching porn while he's supposedly working.  By the time I get up in the morning with the kids, he is just going to bed.  He is a salesman, and makes his own schedule.   

My big question that I will put out there is:  IS INFIDELITY A SIDE EFFECT OF ADHD?  I'm sorry if this sounds weird.  I just don't know if I could ever trust him and I feel because of the ADHD impulse control issues, that these people are more prone to have affairs than other married men.

Any advice is appreciated.




I have taken a lot of

I have taken a lot of heat here for my belief that my husband's infidelity (twice that I know of..once in 1998 when we were only married for 6 months -a one night stand with his ex-wife and the second time was in 2009 when he had a 2 month affair and moved out for a while) is tied to his untreated ADHD. He didn't get diagnosed until we went to counseling (after reuniting and after his 2nd affair) in June of 2010. 

I know that impulse control and low self-worth are HUGE parts of who my husband is. I have discussed his attention seeking ways, and how they are hurtful and disrespectful to our marriage, many times. It took actually being IN a situation where he was behaving that way and me saying to him "enough" for him to finally see what I was saying. It was after our reconciliation, at a New Year's party, and the woman was crying because she just found out her husband had a 9 month affair. He is telling her that she is beautiful and has so much to offer, etc. I talked to him about it, explaining that it wasn't his place to do that...that he needed to focus his energy on his own marriage and his own (HURTING) wife. It is all about wanting people to think he is 'all that'. Period. He draws his self-worth from what other people think of him...when ideally, as God intended, he should draw that self-worth from what kind of husband he is TO ME and father he is to our children...and through his relationship with Christ. (just my beliefs, I know that doesn't work for everyone). 

This is where I stand today on the issue...I took him back in 2009 because I had just lost my father, he had just lost his mother, and I felt he was truly DEEPLY remorseful and hoped that the pain he obviously felt over what he had done would be enough to keep him from ever doing anything like that again. A lot went into my decision to take him back and wipe the slate clean (keep in mind, we didn't know about the ADHD then) but I did it and dove back in 100%. This was 2 years ago, it has been up and down and round and round with so many setback that it would take me all day to explain (you can read my other posts to get the gist of it) but I finally snapped, came to terms with the fact that he may NEVER find his way in life and he may cheat again...and THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO TO STOP IT. I will not, and I mean NO QUESTIONS ASKED IT IS OVER, forgive him again. He knows why he does it/did it better than anyone else. He knows that if he leaves his ADHD untreated, he will most likely fall to the temptations in life that give him the most 'feel good feelings' at any given time, whether it be spending too much money (another HUGE issue for us), drinking, cheating, or any other form of destructive 'instant gratification' behavior there is. I stopped trying to fix him in Sept and took EVERYTHING off of the table and focused on ME. I am in counseling to get stronger emotionally so that I can stop these kinds of choices and patterns on my life, working on my codependency, and just letting him flail about and PRAYING incessantly that he finds his way back to God and back to our marriage. I have accepted that I have ZERO control over him, his ADHD, his cheating, drinking, etc. I have told him what I need and what I won't tolerate...and I am waiting for him to join me...and pray he does before it is too late. I have no plans to go anywhere, but I know I cannot do 'this' life forever. 

What you have to decide is if you feel you could learn to trust him again. He would have to subject himself to FULL DISCLOSE, including his phone, computer, etc. He would have to jump through hoops, tolerate conversations and questions about it...when you want/need to talk about it..sweeping NOTHING under the rug and understanding that your trust will have to be rebuilt on YOUR terms and in YOUR time and he has ZERO say in how long it takes or what you need for that to happen. You have a right to question anything, anytime and he will have to have the balls to endure it...until. I truly feel this is the only way to get past infidelity. You will also have to, for your own peace of mind and sanity, accept that if you take him back you do so with a broken level of trust, that you're mutually working to rebuild, but that it won't happen overnight. It took me 9 months to just stop thinking about him and her Lastly, you will have to TRULY accept that if he does cheat again, you have no control over it, nothing you can do, say, or no speed bump you throw in his way will stop it from happening. Accept that, and then accept that if it does happen, you will be OK, it is not the end of the world, but that it is the end of his lack of impulse control being your issue. There is a chance that him getting caught will change something in him that will make him work harder to keep this impulse issue under control.

I think it is worth mentioning that if he is on meds and still apparently struggling to control his impulses, then he needs more help. He needs to learn to find his 'happy feelings' from other places besides other women. He's filling a void in his life with these other women....and it is NOT your void to fill, it is his...but in a healthy way. Maybe his meds need to be tweaked? changed? Anyway, if you feel he would be willing to do what it takes to rebuild the trust, and you feel you are willing to try, then go for can be done...but it will take a lot of work on his part and a lot of acceptance on yours. Don't let his affairs define your marriage...but don't let his impulse control issues be your problem for the rest of your life either. He either gets it under control, or he knows the consequences are losing you. ((HUGS)) You're not alone. 

I have taken a lot of

Thanks SherriW13.  ((HUGS)) to you to.  I firmly believe infidelity is a completely selfish and avoidable act.  This has nothing to do with impulse control.  It takes a bit of time to take each others clothes off, fall into bed and do the "deed."  There is plenty of time to say, WHOA wait a minute you marriage breaking whore, I am a married man and shouldn't be doing this.  Am I right or wrong?  I have told my husband that I have been in the same miserable marriage too, but I do not choose to go outside of the marriage because it is utterly and completely wrong and once it happens, you can never go back.  No matter how many apologies my husband makes to me, my marriage is  forever broken.  How can I ever forgive that?  With all of the things I have to deal with, the chores never completed, laying in bed on Sunday until 2pm when I finally yell at him to get up and spend time with his kids, the judgments against me, our credit rating down the tubes, the foreclosure on the home, never having any money, no savings accounts, overdrawn checking accounts all the time, I have to deal with the cheating crap too?!!  The idea that he was texting this woman while he was laying in bed next to me makes my skin crawl.  I don't think I could ever trust another man ever again.  And I hate him for that.  I did absolutely nothing to deserve this.

How about this last thought.  Could ADHD men be the most self absorbed, narcissistic, sociopaths in creation, who really have no business getting married and procreating?  Please, for any woman who is engaged to one of these men, might I suggest you RUN don't walk as quickly as possible and never look back.  My husband is 54 years old and medications or not, I don't see him ever changing.  Pretty sad for me to say that.


I agree with your assessment

I agree with your assessment pretty much 100%, although I do somehow think it is tied to either the ADHD itself or the 'side effects' of the ADHD (Low self-esteem, constant need for stimulation) BUT it is no excuse. My husband connected with the girl on FB, talked to her on the phone, met her at a local music fesitval, sat with her when he would take OUR DAUGHTER to football games and went with her to a local place where they play, you're absolutely right in that it just didn't happen, it required a lot of thought and he had PLENTY of time to realize what he was doing. She was married too...and left her husband for him. Talk about a home wrecking whore. 

But, it is in the past and I will leave it there. I rarely think about it these days (aside from the fact that my SD moved in with her a few months back...whole other Jerry Springer episode there) and I am absolutely resigned to the fact that if he so much as makes googlie eyes a another woman it is O.V.E.R. 

My husband is bad with money, but we have never suffered the kinds of financial hardships you mention. I am not sure I would have anything left to give him either, if he did that kind of stuff and cheated too! A marriage needs SOMETHING to keep it together, SOME good to make up for the rest. I am not sure, from your posts, that there is enough for you. I don't begrudge you your feelings...I know your pain...and if it helps you to get through it, by all means. It certainly feels like all of those things apply often enough. 

Thought about something

Thought about something else I wanted to add to this subject...

If you ask my husband why he cheated (the 2nd time) he will say 'for the attention'. Granted, our marriage was HORRIBLE for many years and we were so far apart from what we used to be that he had come to a point that, I suppose, he just felt it would be easier to find someone else rather than fix the mess. Our counselor did not feel his ADHD was to blame, but that he was just simply 'done' with the marriage at that point (although he admits he was about 2 weeks into the affair before he realized he had made a mistake...but the affair lasted about 2 months anyway). I don't honestly have a clear cut idea of why he did it, what went through his mind, etc...and like you said, I was in the same miserable marriage as he was and actually (ironically) had TWO chances to cheat on him (one while we were separated) and realized really quickly that it was just not something I could ever do. Again, he hooked up with her on FB (they were friends in high school), talked to her on the phone, met her at ball games, the amount of forethought and time that went into it leads me to believe it was probably more of him feeling like his marriage was not worth the effort than anything else. One thing I will say about him, which probably ties to his ADHD too, he's rarely willing to make himself vulnerable and put himself out there (fear of rejection?) for ANY relationship until he has just completely f**ked everything up beyond recognition...and THEN he wants to do whatever it takes. My sincere hope is that someday he gets to THAT point (humbling himself to save his marriage) BEFORE he cheats. (if the situation were to arise in the future).

The first fling he had, one night stand with his ex-wife, I think was just him running from his problems. I always tell him that he 'copes' by NOT COPING. We met in May, got married in August, were pregnant by January, and he withdrew and went off the deep end by the beginning of February...during which time he cheated. He never really gave any explanation for this other than telling me I was right when I called him a coward. 

During times of high stress, life changing events, etc..he shuts down and becomes someone I don't even know. When I got pregnant, when his mom was told she was dying/died, etc. 

Anyway, regardless, it won't be my problem anymore if it happens again...just thought maybe you could relate to some of this. 

ADHD wife and non add husband

As I read this post I  thought to myself i am a ADHD female whose non add husband cheated after 6 months of being married! I have never had the thoughts to have an affair so i am not sure if its an ADD issue or a male issue! From my own perception men need to have there weak ego's stroked!So Did i stay with him? yes, but if it happens again out the door he goes! As far as I can tell its been a year and a half and he has been an open book! However I had no clue then he was cheating so how would I really know now? The joys of being an ADD'er is I no longer trust myself to see what's in front of me! If anyone has any help for this issue please let me know!

It is really ironic you

It is really ironic you should say that, because I (being married to an untreated ADHD man) feel I no longer trust myself to see what is in front of me either. I'm getting much better, but I think this might be the side effects of being cheated on and having no.clue! it was happening right in front of your face. The only way I have come to terms with staying in the marriage (in spite of the potential that he will cheat again) is the acceptance of two things. 1..if he wants to do it again, there is nothing I can do, say, or no road block I can throw in his way to keep it from happening. 2..if he does it again, God help him because there is ZERO forgiveness left in my heart for that and if he ends up desolate, on the street, living in a box, and suicidal..I do not care. I will be completely done with him and I will be OK. I know that sounds harsh, but when I think about what he has done...and what he might have done that I don't know makes it much easier to swallow. If he cannot be faithful to me, for the rest of our lives, then he is NOT going to be a part of my life anymore. I can't control it, but I can control my own decisions...and that, alone, brings me peace about it. 

I read somewhere once, that as far as affairs go...a couple is more likely to recover from it if it happens early on in the marriage as opposed to 10-15 years into the marriage. Hang in there...the ADHD won't make you blind to what is happening. As long as he continues to be an open book, you will eventually trust him again. No one can say for sure if he will repeat his behaviors, but it really does sound like he's trying. I'm so sorry. I know your pain. I was pregnant when he first cheated...I really didn't think it could get any worse...but it did. (((HUGS))) 

Thank you for your words of

Thank you for your words of encouragement! All we can do it take it one day at a time! As far as cheaters go it does work both ways! I just wonder why men think they are the only ones that can cheat humm it was a women mine was with sooo do they not think she could be married too or do they care (oh such selfishness in the world) These days i find myself questioning the whole institution of marriage! I have faith that there are a few good men left in the world we just gotta wait for them to grow up and get over themselves! Haha if mine doesn't I will be known as "the cat lady" and if you want SherriW13 you can join me!!!! My best wishes for your happiness you deserve to be treated with love and respect and don't let the doubt devil talk you out of that!!! YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!

MagicSandwich's picture

one word


Some info

So sorry to hear you are going through this.

Here's the only vetted information and study I have been able to find on the subject:

Do People with ADHD Cheat More? with a link to the associated 2010 study about genetics and dopamine.  Basically it says that there appears to be a correlation between infidelity and people with a genetic change in their dopamine receptors.  But it isn't just ADHD, it's also alcoholism and a bunch of other impulse control behaviors that are linked to one genetic marker that affects dopamine receptors.

However, this does not mean that infidelity is a side-effect of ADHD, it simply means the chances are higher.  It is not predestined.  Infidelity has lots and lots of reasons, ADHD is simply one thing in a long list that can make it more likely.  For example, ADHD won't make someone a cheater, but ADHD + self-esteem issues + stress + unhappiness greatly increases the chances.