Is it worth the effort to stay? Or better to cut and run?

Hello. I am new to this site and like others, am finding myself realizing that I am not alone. THANK YOU! For the past year I have felt like I was living in this weird twilight zone or alternate reality and feeling crazy.

So..Here's my situation. I've been married for 4 years to a man that I have been in love with for 18 years. I am 39, he is 42. We met when we were both out of college (undergrad) and into travel and fun. I went back to grad school, he travelled the world (literally) to surf and explore. I always thought he was the coolest, smartest, funniest person alive. We kept in touch over the years but I was unable to really commit as he didn't have a "real job" or a "plan." He then pursued teaching (went back to school for a teaching credential)--lasted 3+years, fly fishing guide-3+ years, construction estimating- 3+years, then institutional sales for investment bank 1+yr. After many on again, off again times of being reunited, we finally got married.  I figured..I loved him, he is a good person, I want kids, and I'm not getting any younger.

Fast forward 4 years. 2 kids (3yr old and 5 mon old) and a mortgage for a house in a pricey community in Northern California later. (I should also mention the financial crisis/recession too.) My husband lost his job in March 2009 and has been doing alot of hanging around, some manual labor, and now is a waiter 3-4 days/week at a restaurant down the street. I am the sole breadwinner and have been for over a year. I own a small business and am fortunate that I have been able to pay our bills. My husband has essentially "checked out" and does not seem to think that he needs to help financially. During my pregnancy when I tried to talk to him about getting a job and feeling worried about paying the mortgage, his 3 solutions were 1) I should work more, 2) I should use my 401K, or 3) his mother would help us. I cannot begin to explain how mad this made me much this made me feel that there was something very WRONG with him. What able-bodied, intelligent, well-educated man would say that to a PREGNANT wife?

This past year has been the worst year of my life. I finally convinced him to go to therapy (which I am paying for.) He has connected with his therapist and the therapist mentioned  2 weeks ago that my husband may have ADD and poor executive functioning. When I first heard that, I could not believe it but after reading about it and reading the info on this site, I think it is right on track.

My questions:

1. At this point, I feel so over it. I do not respect him, I am not attracted to him (how can I be attracted to someone who feels more like a 15yr old). Has anyone had a shift in regaining respect for their husband? 

2. My husband has been referred to a psychiatrist for meds. I am all for this. Do meds help someone with motivation as well as attention? Does motivation follow when attention improves? Or are these separate issues?

3. I am all for recovery and healing and of course I wish the best for him. But is it even worth it? I am so over being the "mommy/bitch/nag" to him. I am a "grown-up" with 2 little children to take care of and want a partner to talk to, have fun with, share responsibilities, and navigate life with. Part of me feels that life is just too short to be dealing with another person's overwhelming BS--it is so exhausting. Thoughts?

Thank you very much!

Going thru with the divorce after 17+ years

I have no idea why I keep coming back to this site and reading the posts as I am already in full divorce mode after 17 years of marriage. I too am exhausted after years of being the "stable" partner. 

Almost 20 years ago when I was 26 I met an educated, fun man who was a pilot and traveled the world.  He was the life of the party - everyone enjoyed his countless stories of exotic people and places. He was doing "contract" work flying around the country and working when he was called .  I had a good steady job and was a single mother of a 5 year old.  I got pregnant so we got married, bought a house and then when the baby was about six months old I decided to stay home with her.  At this point he had taken a flying job with a charter business - the pay was lousy but at least it was steady.  I got pregnant with our second daughter and worked part time for a friend.  He then found a better paying job and we moved to a different state.   We stayed there about two years until he found another better paying job.  Each time he left a company it was - find something quick before he got fired.  He was finally offered a great six figure job on the East coast so we moved again, built a house and started anew.  He lasted on this job almost 3 years before they let him go.  I believe it was around this time he was working with a therapist over the phone and she suggested he was ADD.  I had no idea what that meant. There was no medication prescribed and it didn't seem as if his phone therapy did any good - I was beside myself. We lived in a small town in upstate New York and he was unemployed again with very little job prospects for either of us.  After months of looking and again on the verge of divorce he (I asked him to leave) packed up his vehicle and drove back to the west coast.  I stayed and sold the house.  We decided to give it a chance again so we moved again!  For over a month we lived in a hotel waiting for our house to sell so we could buy a new one.  Neither of us had jobs and the tension was unbearable.  We finally moved into a house and I began working full time in real estate.  I threw myself into the job and started making great money.  I was determined that I would not be vulnerable ever again and I would NEVER depend on him for money, security, help - basically I terminated a marital partnership.  The more money I made the less effort he made to earn a steady income.  He now had the opportunity to realize his dreams because I was taking care of everything else.  I ended up hiring a nanny, a housekeeper, landscaper, pool man, etc... you name it - he was off exploring his needs and wants.  I think he dabbled in day trading, aviation consulting, various businesses opportunities , etc...  I started investing in real estate and acquiring investment properties.  We were living the dream financially.  I really didn't like him though - I resented making money so he could do nothing. I resented him not helping with anything. We tried marriage counseling and the new therapist referred him to a psychiatrist to get ADD meds. (I don't think in a five year period he ever took the meds longer than a few weeks - he said didn't like the way they made him feel). I read countless books on ADD, surfed the net for help - anything that would bring a glimmer of hope.  I didn't want to believe this was it.  About three years ago the real estate market began to nose dive and I went into panic mode - my income dropped, my business started to falter and I was scared.  I begged him to help me - at some point over the years he had actually gotten a real estate license and was going to help me.  It never happened and the worse the economy got the more he retreated into himself - he would be on the computer for hours. He bought a motorcycle! He checked out! There were no jobs except a part time teaching position about 5 days a month. It took me a year to revamp my business and get back on track - in the meantime I racked up tens of thousands in credit card debt and began selling investment properties on short sales.  My credit was shot and I had mounds of debt.  Last year after a hysterectomy I was broken - I asked him to leave so he moved in with one of our tenants. It is now over year - he still only works very part time. I pay for everything with the exception of one car payment.  He is now stalling the divorce.  He has stated he will waive spousal support so I can take care of the two children!.  He wants a house that will be paid off in about six years, his paid off motorcycle and somehow his name removed from millions in upside down real estate!  What a deal.  He has offered no financial assistance with my children, the debt, the houses, etc..  I have come to despise him.  His untreated ADD has ruined our marriage and he is a mess.  Looking back I should have know the constant self sabotage of his ADD treatment was a deal breaker and I should have stopped enabling him and moved on. 

My situation is all to familiar on this site.  Unless your husband commits to therapy and his treatment I just don't see a happy outcome.  The years of living in chaos take a significant toll and you must take care of yourself and your children.

Wow!  It felt good to write my story - there is a tremendous amount of guilt attached when leaving/divorcing an ADD spouse.  I am working on dealing with it.

I see a few reasons for you to have hope

1. Losing respect for my husband was devastating. The only thing he could have destroyed that would have hurt me more was my love for him. I was not attracted to him a matter of fact, we went through a period of time where I only had sex with him because if I didn't he was HORRIBLE to live with. After bringing this out in counseling, he stopped behaving so horribly, and subsequently I stopped viewing sex as a chore, and then ironically I would cry after we'd have sex (secretly) because I felt nothing.

3. He accepted ZERO responsibility for what his ADD was doing to our marriage...and at the same time I accepted zero responsibility for what me being a 'nag/controlling bitch' was doing to it as well. I don't have to tell you how successful we were at driving the marriage into the ditch.

In a few short years our marriage was pretty much destroyed.  We fought over his impulsive spending, how to raise my step-daughter, him spending too much time with his friends, him drinking too much...from my view point. From his I was a nag who only wanted to control him and who never showed him affection and didn't want him sexually anymore.

Personal tragedy struck last the form of job loss, his mother dying, my father dying, us separating in the midst of it all, and him having an affair. When he lost his job and his mother's health started to rapidly decline I didn't recognize the man he became. Ironically, if you ask him, he'll swear it was the horrible state of our marriage at that time that was the catalyst for everything else to hit him so hard....and not the other way around as you'd think. (i.e. if our marriage weren't so horrible, he'd have handled the other stuff without going off the deep end, having the affair, behaving so badly that I had no choice but to ask him to leave). I think a lot of the time he takes the defeatest attitude that there really is no reason to try because 'what good will it do?" and I wonder if maybe your husband hasn't decided not to work because 'what good will it do?' I know my husband was a PROFESSIONAL deflector...and maybe this would explain your husband's horrible reaction when you were pregnant and asked him to help financially. I wonder if they don't feel so helpless sometimes that the only options they can come up with are completely irrational (to those of us without ADD, of course). Maybe knowing full well that their options would seem horrible to most people. I also often wonder if 'taking the easy way out' isn't fairly common for them...all of his options presented to you certainly didn't put any of the burden on him. Do you truly feel he simply does not feel a sense of responsibility to his family or do you think he does, just feels helpless, therefore he's just given up. A lot of the time I see glimpses of what I know my husband struggles to be, what he really wants to be as a person, but consistently falls short...but at least I know in my heart that he's trying and that really isn't who/what he wants to be.

After we hit rock bottom last Dec, after the dust settled, we decided to try and rebuild. We are in counseling to help us both deal with the ADD better, and he's jumping through flaming hoops to help me rebuild what we destroyed. I have put myself into it 100% as well, letting go of the past and the anger. I have fallen in love with him all over again. I long for his touch, for intimacy with him. I respect him even when he stumbles and falls short of what is best for our marriage...because he never stops trying. Had anyone told me I would ever feel like a partner to him again and not a nagging mother I would have never believed it.

I hope your husband will continue with the therapist and hopefully start getting the help he needs to recognize what his ADD has done to your marriage and identify ways to improve your lives. I don't know about meds helping with motivation, but I certainly do feel that a lack of motivation can come when they are stuck in the pattern I mentioned above.."why bother" because things just seem so overwhelming that it is easier to just shut down and do nothing. If he gets the help he needs, gets on medication that helps him manage some of his thoughts, then maybe his motivation will be a positive side effect of it all.

I wish you all the best! Please keep us posted!


thank you Sherri

Thank you so much for your positive comments. I hope that my husband does get meds soon so that he can hopefully gain some control, clarity, and motivation. 

I will definitely keep you all posted.

Thank you so very much!

I can relate

I can relate to all the posts here.  I threw my husband out 2 months ago when I found narcotics in the house.  He lied about them.  Drugs like that don't accidentally make their way into one's car and then one's house.  All of a sudden his bizarre behavior made sense.  To this day, he still denies drug use.  I have not seen the results of his drug test though.  He talked his way out of that one.  I had to take away his credit card too; that was hard but I'm so glad I did it.  His credit is destroyed from irresponsibility; mine is excellent and I protect it.  He abused my credit card and now has collection agencies after him for unpaid bills.  Again.  Sigh.

When he was gone, the house was incredibly peaceful.  He was one to leave messes everywhere.  The house was clean, it smelled nice; I loved it.  I loved being alone.  It was TOO easy.  I was tired of being his mother too.  Who wants to have sex with their son?!  A rebellious son.  It was tiring.  He'd get angry that I didn't have a raging sex drive for him. 

We tried to work things out while he was lived elsewhere.  He bombarded me with text messages (this was his version of giving me space?)  I let him come back recently, only to find that a leopard doesn't change his spots.  He is still self-medicating thru addictions.  A few weeks in, things are looking promising, and he tells me he wants to escape to another state for a bit.  Huh?  I suspect to see someone, maybe that he met online?  He is a compulsive liar.  This morning I found his toiletries are gone.  I can't play the game anymore.  I give up.  It's awfully sad.  He could have so much potential if he could get his depression/ ADD under control.  But instead he wants to run. 

I am going to do what's necessary to save myself!

Response to confused wife.

Dear Confusedwife,

I too am a confused wife.  I threw my husband out of the house after I discovered he was having an affair with a married co-worker.  That was 5 mths ago.  I have yet to file for divorce.  I just want to be in a better place when I make this decision.  Before this happened he was completely out of control. Computer addiction, online porn, out of control spending, online flirting, in person flirting, meeting single woman from work in bars and then the affair.  He has always been employed over the past 10 years and was able with my support to complete a Master's degree.  We went to marriage counseling and he was in denial.  It was one of the most painful experiences of my life sitting there presenting reality and discussing all of these behaviors.  He just kept saying with such conviction "I don't want a divorce!!!" and "I wasn't doing anything!!!" Head down, shoulders down, his posture guilty guilty guilty.  There was nothing I could do.  I love the man I was with the first 5 yrs.  The last 5 have been hell.  The person I love dearly I have not seen for 5 years.  I miss this person, I long for this person but I don't think I will ever see him again.  Our relationship played out like a text book of adhd destruction.  He also has OCD and depression.  He is now in therapy and was taking his meds up until about a month ago and then he stopped.  He has been off meds more than on, out of treatment more than in treatment.  Living with his untreated disorder took quite a toll on me and my daughter (his step daughter).  I can't see him or talk with him because it is just too painful.  At first we talked on the phone and saw each other and he just kept lying and I just could not take it.  He had such a smug attitude about it all and I don't feel he ever showed true remorse for what he had done.  He was living a double life in many ways.  I finally just removed myself.  We only communicate via e-mail or text about housekeeping types of issues.  It all seems so hopeless.  I miss him but not having his disorder in the home has been a relief.  I gave up so much of myself.  Trying to find myself again.  I miss him, I love him, but his current state is just toxic for me.  I have no idea how he is doing.  One thing I do know is that since leaving his spending has been out of control one month he spent 4,800.00 in 30 days in bars and restaurants.  Drinking and partying.  When I first met him he did not drink.  It appears now he is drinking.  I think how can I love this person?  How can I miss this person who has hurt me so much.  I keep telling myself you love your husband of the first 5 years.  I don't know if he still exists.  If it is possible for this person to come back.  He appears to be moving on.  I am just a reminder of his failings and getting caught.  I guess time will tell.  For now I am just grieving what could have been.  My ending appears to be more common.  I don't read very many happy endings on this site.

So  like you, I feel at present I have given up and I am just trying to find normal again.  Thank goodness I never had kids with him.  The disorder takes a toll on the kids.  My 13 year old told me in detail how my husband's disorder affected her.  It was very painful to hear.  Her honesty and ability to describe so many humiliating events and situations.  "Mom he is a lost cause" "Mom you deserve so much better" "Mom he has really low self esteem" "I never trusted him."  She had know him since she was 4 years old.  She had it all figured out way before I did.  Out of the mouths of babes.   Just so very sad and confused.

Thanks for listening.  Your story was told with such clarity and purpose.  I hope I can get to that point.  Trying to let go but it is hard. 

Online friends, please help me stay strong.


My husband has been out of the house now for a little over a week and I feel ....ahhh....calm. Yes...even with a 3yr old and 5 month old. Honestly, I am surprised at the difference. My house is cleaner and calmer. It's strange, I would not characterize my husband as H (hyper) at all, but the energy or tone of the home is just more at peace without him.

I do think that he is trying. He is now walking around with a little notebook to write down appointments which is helping him--and it is showing me the effort. He went and saw his therapist today. They discussed our separation. The tx said that the spouse of ADD often "holds the anxiety" because the ADD person doesn't seem to care. This really resonated with me. I told him that I just could not take it anymore. I love him, think he is a good person, but that our dynamic was simply zapping the life out of me (I have felt GREAT physically this week by the way.) He said that he is sad but thinks that our marriage is ending too--he just wants me to be nice to him. He also said that he might not be able to help with the kids much anymore because he will have to get a job. ??Oh really?? Cry me a river.

My husband does not have the big spending issues mentioned by so many here. His issue with money is that he doesn't seem to care if he is broke--and I mean flat broke--going through my spare change jar and then when he does have $ he goes and buys gourmet cheese or other frivolous items (I guess that is the ADD part.) Shame does not seem to be a factor for him. He claims that I am obsessed with what others think of me/us because I had a fit with his broken down SUV in front of our house for 6 months with weeds growing around it. It took a few MAJOR freak outs and me posting on Craigslist for him to finally sell it (not researched on Kelly Blue Book--he sold it for about $4000 less than it was worth.)

I really, really appreciate your responses. Thank you for the positive spin--the comments about that the effort is overwhelming vs not caring. I think that this is spot on. My husband WANTS a family, to live in our house, have the garden, etc. He just...can' It's like his blood is made of molten metal....YET...he can still manage to go out an surf on 10 ft waves in freezing cold water....The dichotomy and confusion that I am just now learning is hallmark of ADD.

A couple of things that I have done/researched that are helping me to cope:

1. Read a bit about executive functioning  and attention controls by Mel Levine --a leading pediatric neurologist. He talks about the different types of attention controls. (He was a big deal in the education world about 10 yrs ago until there were some charges of inappropriate interactions with children...yuck) There is one about not being able to do something that is not interesting to you. He says that there is a neurological basis for this. This is a hard one for me to swallow...but something that I see on a daily basis.

2. I have begun focusing on prayer and meditation. I have pulled out some old metaphysical self-help books about realizing dreams and understanding that our thoughts/pictures that we create are real and can manifest. I am really trying to stay positive and focus on the light and good and steady ---really for my kids but also for me. I am a firm believer in positive thinking ( is SO HARD--esp when I am outraged, sad, and angry with my husband and situation). I am trying to separate from the chaos and come back to my center. I think he is surprised by this--that we are just fine without him.

3. I am and have been trying to stay with the "What is" vs. "What it could be-What I want it to be." This one is a killer. I am guessing for all of use here---we see the good and think...if only this (a simple, easy tweak in our mind) but it just ain't so! I have been telling myself, the party is over. Let's turn on the floodlights and just see what is REALLY here, what is the reality. This is the sad part. Letting the expectation/picture die and being open to what is true. Makes me sad for me, us, and really him.

I really had NO idea what havoc ADD could do. You hear so much about it--that all kids have it now, that it is an excuse, etc. But this is really real.

Thanks again so much for your stories (the one about the pilot felt so familiar.) Much peace out to all of you cyber people (this is my first time ever doing something like this.)




Me again! ;)

Just a few more things..

I was told in our last counseling session that the "H" part for adults can involve impulse control, compulsive behaviors. Whether spending money, any various forms of addiction, cheating, etc.

I definitely think the car scenario is part of the ADD..I finally had someone come and just take one years ago. He threw a fit, but it sat there for several months and I knew if left up to him, it will still be sitting there. I honestly don't know if this is just flat out lack of isn't something that bothers them, so they just don't care...or lack of motivation..or lack of the ability to actually resolve the issue because of the effort and thought it would take. I have no clue. My husband seems to care about the repairs that need to be done to our  house, occasionally stating his plan to get this and that done and fixed, but that's about as far as it goes.

I agree 100% that we carry more of the burden than neccessary because our perception is that they don't care enough...about anything. Essentially what we're doing is carrying more of the burden than we should...and I have learned that this is something only I can change. In the past, if I discussed finances with him he would get defensive, "I don't want to talk about money", etc. I would just stop. Now, I don't talk..I put it in writing. I let him know in black and white where we stand, why we cannot afford a $300 guitar, etc. The first sign of resistance, I would just back off and continue to carry the load. I refuse now. No matter what the issue, I refuse to carry more than my share of the worry, stress, joy, etc. I read a book a couple of years ago about how this dynamic is born and how it continues to spread throughout the entire scope of the marriage until we feel like parents to them and not spouses. The more we over compensate for what we view as their inability to do so, the more they under compensate...and the more we resent them...and the more our anger grows. Again, I think this has more to do with being overwhelmed and feeling helpless than it does with them not caring. I know this is the case for my husband.

About him being able to surf...but he can't manage to maintain his family...this is very common as well. Anything that interests them, that brings them consistent joy and satisfaction they can do because of hyper focus. I didn't think anyone with ADHD could focus on anything, but learned quickly in counseling that they are very capable of hyper focusing on things that hold their interest. Snowboarding, playing music/guitar with his friends, video games are just a few of the things that my husband hyper focuses on quite well sometimes. It comes and goes. I used to fuss and nag a lot about how he could manage to always make time with his friends/snowboarding/(insert various other hobbies here) and manage to always go above and beyond for them, but couldn't seem to find the same energy to give his marriage. A very sore spot for many years for me. Truth of the matter is, as miserable as I was...he was too. He put nothing into the marriage because he got nothing from it...same was true for me.

About prayer. I wouldn't have made it through the last year without God. My father had an ATV accident on 10/30/09. My husband's mother had just passed away a week earlier and he and I were separated and fighting so horribly that it is still painful to think about. He was having an affair too, but I didn't find out until Dec. My father was in the hospital for a month, making a great recovery, and died 11/28/09 from complications of sepsis. We knew he was going to die for about 12 hours. I sat by his side and I prayed and I made a promise to him that I would turn my life around. He always worried about me and I wanted to go to Heaven with peace in his heart that I would be OK. I told him, after all, I AM his daughter. I decided that day, once everything was settled, that I was going to rebuild my life FOR THE BETTER and that with or without my husband I was GOING TO BE HAPPY. Life is too short. It has taken me 10 months to get to this point, there were a lot of ups and downs and moments of feeling like there was just simply no saving my marriage, but here we are. For me , letting go of the anger and being a calmer, more positive person is a matter of keeping a promise I made to my precious father as he lay dying. He was not concious, but I have to believe he heard me. Life is too damned short to be unhappy. To be a big fat wod of nothing but anger and frustration and nastiness. That was not my husband's was my choice. Listening to The Dance of Anger recently...GREAT book (I have it on my iPod) and she says it best...we are are in a far worse position when we react in self-destructive ways to our anger than those who cause us to be angry are. Our anger is valid...but how we choose to react to it can be toxic.

When you come to realize that the fairy tale is dead it's devastating. However, I truly believe that this is a neccessary part of being married to someone with ADD...letting go of the expectations and just learning to love them 'just as they are'. Do I wish he were more of a 'man about the house'? Sure. I would love for him to take over the finances and let me just be done with it for a while..or at least us do it together.  I had to take away his debit card (one of the hardest things I've ever done) a few months ago or he would have destroyed us financially...I was sick of carrying the burden of figuring out how to rob Peter to pay Paul because he spent entirely too much in any given week. Each marriage is different. We all want the fairy tale, but just because we don't get it does not mean we can't get something equally as fulfilling and satisfying. For all of his shortcomings, my husband has many great qualities that make him such a good husband. We all have shortcomings. Let's face it. Focus on being the best you that you can be, learning all you can about his ADD so that you can see just how much is NOT your husband but the actual ADD itself and it will help you find the compassion and love for him that you feel is gone forever. I truly hope he continues to get sounds like he's got a good counselor and it really is paramount in the success of your marriage. You have to give 100%...but so does he. If you both do, it can work. Hopefully being forced to get a job (due to his current living situation) will help bring about in him some sense of pride. Sometimes it takes things like this to face the fear (of batting the overwhelming) and finally start to see that it isn't quite as impossible as they thought. Best of luck!





In answer to the question,

In answer to the question, I'm still undecided about the effort being worth it.  I have always tried my best to love my ADHD husband just as he is.  In fact, he has made the comment that I seem to be the only person to accept him just the way he is.  But let me tell you that as the years have gone by it has seemed tougher each year to do so.  We will be married 29 years the end of this month.  It has been a rollercoaster ride through hell for most of the years, until three years ago, when we hit rock bottom and my husband got his diagnosis of ADHD.  Our experience with the "H" part has been the same.  Spending money, anger, addictions, cheating, etc. 

I am going through a car scenario with my husband now.  We bought a ragged out car about 12 years ago, he tore it completely apart and restored it to brand new.  Can you say HYPERFOCUS!!!!   Of course at the time we didn't know about the ADHD.  We took it to car shows, won many awards and he even had a popular car magazine write an article about the car.  He took care of it and it was always garaged.  Well, now because he is no longer interested in the car, it has been pulled out of the garage to make way for many other items that he felt necessary to obtain and it now sits in our front yard with a car cover half on and half off.  This really aggravates me because he has an expensive paint job on the car and now some of it is exposed to the elements.  It has been sitting stationary for at least two years and he has since let the tag run out so he couldn't drive it even if he wanted too.  He's made the comment that he should sell it but just won't do anything.  It isn't good for it to sit and he knows that.  It frustrates me as it stares me in the face every day when I walk out the front door.  I don't understand why he can't do something by either selling it or at least take care of it, for GOD's sake.  "We" spent alot of money on that car.  I say that because it was my money, too.  I have always held down a full time job in addition to my full time job at home.

I have also carried more of the burden than I should have too.  Our marriage started out that way as my husband traveled all of the time so it was my responsibility to take care of things at home.  It was fine in the beginning but as time went on more and more fell on me.  When my husband stopped traveling we never changed that and I still took care of most everything.  Knowing what I know now it was the biggest mistake of all.  An ADHDer's dream, very few responsibilites. 

I am still dealing with regaining respect for my husband.  He has worked on his anger issues and I respect him for that but we still have alot of work to do in many other areas.  He still has a problem with being honest with me about the bad choices he continues to make regarding the girlfriend.  We had agreed that there would be no contact but he still talks to her and justifies it by saying that at least it isn't as often as it was before.  Also tells me that he doesn't feel the same towards her like he used to.  These comments are suppose to make everything alright.  I don't think so.  It still remains a dealbreaker.  Thus my comment at the beginning of this post.  I am continuing with plan B for now.  Hopefully I won't have to but I want to be prepared for anything.  I have learned that much, to be prepared for anything. 

Best of Luck to everyone! 

perhaps you just caught me at

perhaps you just caught me at a pessimistic moment but I say cut and run. Its a tough road . I'v been at it 21 years and wish I had your insight when my kids were that young. It does get a bit easier when the kids get older because the physical and emotional demands of the kids aren't as taxing. Unless of course he ends up being the 3rd child. All said and done its worth it if you love him and can tolerate the challenges. Take a more distanced look at his family, growing up and how his parents and siblings. Perhaps that might be a sign post as to how it might go. I ignored all the signs and plowed right in. BIG mistake.


Good luck to you. Take comfort in knowing that you can support the kids w/o him if you so chose.

should i stay or should i go?

here it goes. rick has had multiple marriages & currently married for 8 yrs. i am the girlfriend of exactly 1 yr. we knew each other from childhood, but was so strictly disciplined that he was shy & insecure. i still liked him very much & vice-versa. we didn't get to really know each other, but still we felt a connection somehow. he was estranged from his mother (who is part of my family & continued contact) for 25 yrs. the death of his brother made him reunite with his mother. we were reunited last yr. i had known he is in an unhappy marriage, but still fell in love. i never thought i'd do that to another "sister-woman." as i have learned, we had a typical ADHD brief & whirling courtship. he told me that the med lyrica made him impotent, but stopped taking it for our sex life.

he strongly told me he was unhappy with the wife, because she had quickly lost interest his interests, stopped sex, but felt obliged to perform oral sex on him. he had tried many things, including cognitive therapy for himself (knowing about his ADHD), also couples counseling. she went, but not completely honest (he thought). It seemed to me there was alot she was not doing, that rick was a good man, & i thought "what a waste, he deserved better!"  like a typical other woman, i wanted to be "the better." i rationalized it was ok because he had decided the marriage was pretty much over a yr before. i felt his marriage was over when they stopped "trying."

however, i have some serious issues myself. i am a recovering alcoholic of nearly 6 mos. & diagnosed with bi-polar, began treatment around the same time (meds really helps with recovery). well, as you might already know, our relationship has been very rocky. he told the wife about me long ago & she has to stay living in the house (that he has owned solely for 25 yrs) for financial reasons. they live a few states away & he's been with me most the time. he goes back only if he has to. i am getting my BA degree this semester (been a part-time career student for several yrs).rick & i are 2 yrs apart in age. my grades are poor, because i can't shake a constant focus on him that doesn't go away.

as our relationship become nearly impossible, ADHD research told me alot about the problems i couldn't put my finger on. for example, we have a very limited sex life after you-know-what like animals when we first got together & being introduced to porn addiction & the goth look. he might as well go back on lyrica & i can be abstinent again. we have a very difficult time communicating, i can't stand what seems to me a very narrow point of view about politics & people in general.  i am liberal & try to always put myself in other peoples shoes. we've both made alot of personal sacrifices to be together. we fight all the time. i've tried diffusing arguments rather than trying to win the war when i insert my opinion or suggest a broader view. he sees things as black & white. i try to suggest the "it ain't necessarily so" idea, knowing about the expansive gray area of others' behavior. it always blows up in my face.

rick has made alot of effort to change. at my insistence, he watches his road rage, using the Lord's name profanely & other unsociable things that are obvious to me & embarrassing when he makes a faux pas. i embarrass him when i rudely try to correct him. if he were really a child, it would be ok to be curt & direct. but, since he's a grown man, my angry reaction is inappropriate. there is always something new going on that i can't think about it later for discussion.

i make alot of mistakes that i don't realize at the time, but always regret. he is retired air force master sergeant & having a hard time adjusting to the unpredictable civilians. he has chronic pain & a myriad of other physical health issues. he's having alot of hassle trying to get adequate money from VA, so he's very disappointed in military not being there for him after over 20 yrs of disillusioned service. i know everything is alot of pressure for him. there should be a refuge for him & i don't help when i see his short-comings. it just always seems to be what i have named "the rick show!!" it seems it's always about him. he sees that it's always about me. he thinks i interrupt him (during most of his essay-long opinions). i feel he's there is always something going on with him. i can only take so much, then have to take more. he's under many other stresses here, like death, illness, & obligations. external sources that should be simple become really complicated.

i want to be part of the solution, instead of creating additional problems. he doesn't have doctors here. his therapist is back home & besides, VA is not cooperating. i don't think he's on meds for ADHD, but not sure. apparently, he's made major progress in his behavior over the yrs. i am desperate to see what meds would straighten out, right-sizing real issues. he mentioned therapy yesterday. i was clapping inside, outwardly i waited for what was sure to be the usual paragraph he insists people must endure for his sake, but surprisingly nothing further came. i'm concerned about how i would approach it again. or should i let it be as it happens. there has to be a way. were we not meant to be together, especially since he's still married, making me the new interest who could quickly (like some previous wives) rather than eventually (like other previous wives) become over it? i can see alot of success if we could chip away the obstacles that simple treatment can do.

by the way, i have always been curious about what the wife has learned about being married to him. i understand her alot more when i learn the truth. i guess she did do alot of things right. i see why she takes care of the money, why she felt it necessary to oblige him sexually & give up on her own sexual needs, why she learned to not feel & escape into TV, sleep & work, having no energy left (she wasn't even motivated when he told her (couldn't stand the secrecy & guilt, not to mention his part in the decline of their marriage. i don't think he is aware that he had a part. he also recently revealed that it's not the first time he's heard his partner mention her own abstinence & finally get fed up & leave him. before, he told me the failed relationships were due to one cheating on him (which broke his heart), one was an active alcoholic (which put him in the psych ward), one was simply the first girl who was nice to him after his very painful upbringing. 

whew, i'm very sorry this is a book. i certainly didn't mean for it to be. i'm having trouble finding a support groups for ADHD relationships as well as bipolar. my area only has one of each, but this is a big city & truthfully, they are the other end of earth from here. yes, it is worth it to save us. the wisdom of the serenity prayer tells me what i can change is really limited to myself & to focus on that rather than pointing a finger at him. i still can't help thinking that all the things that make my head spin are really his ADHD.

At long last, i think i'm done. thx for your time & consideration. replies welcome & don't be shy. i've got my big-girl pants on, so bring it on!

after having courage to read many letters & blogs, i feel like i'm going to be mourning the loss of many things that are important to me every time i think of something i visualized for a relationship & something i used to have. i guess an over-sized bed, not kissing goodnight, maybe even separate bedrooms isn't so bad if it works. will it work for me? will things like that happen more often when we stop arguing?

My marriage is currently

My marriage is currently recovering from an affair...and I'm sure he told her all of the things "rick" told you about his wife.

Send him home to his WIFE and make him do the right thing...either divorce her or get his act together and be the husband he SHOULD be TO HIS WIFE.

I got the same line from my husband's 'affair' .. "he said he wasn't happy" blah blah blah. To which I responded "HE IS MARRIED!! Nothing else should matter to you" and it shouldn't matter to you either. He isn't YOUR problem..he is HER husband. How could you have an ounce of respect for him? Better get ready...if you stay with him you'll be the next one left in the dust and he'll be telling the next woman that comes along all of the horrible things you did to him. Seriously...

Sorry to be so blunt...very sore subject for me.

exhausted lady's picture

Look at the writing on the wall, and then run.

I think you'll find that the common denominator in the "multiple marriages" and current cheating on his wife is.....Rick.  You are the new and shiny thing and he's already treating you like crap?  Believe me, it's only going to get worse.  If you continue on with this relationship, you will become the "wife that doesn't understand him" blah, blah, blah, and he will be on to the NEXT new and shiny thing.  You are not going to stop arguing......unless you become a total doormat for him.  Believe me, everything will be your fault.  I've been there, and I'm still dealing with the fallout.  My ex's way of dealing with any sort of problem was to find another woman to "fill the void", and then blame me for his cheating.  It was always all about his needs, his moods, his narcissism.  Once in a while he'd go through a "good guy" phase for just long enough to keep me hooked into the relationship.  As soon as I would start to trust him once again, he would cycle back to being an emotionally abusive mess.  I finally had enough and ended the relationship, but not before it did a boatload of damage to my self esteem, finances, and my emotional well-being.   You might take a look at how happy Rick's past partners were with the way he treated them......including the current wife.  THAT is your future, if you stay in the relationship.

Since it appears that Rick doesn't have any problem with the concept of cheating on his wife, he is certainly not going to have a problem with cheating on you.  It will happen, you can bet your bottom dollar.  But, probably by that time you will be mentally, financially, and emotionally wiped out.  Do you have any concept of what kind of pain you are probably causing his wife?  Do you?  If you decide to continue with this man, you will most certainly gain first hand knowledge of how it feels to be betrayed and lied to by a man like that.  I'm sure he's told you enough sad "I'm the victim" tales that you feel sorry for him now.  But, you can be darned sure that there is another version of those tales of woe that you aren't aware of.  But, you will be painfully aware if you continue down the same road he's traveled with so many other women.

I feel for you, I truly do.  It's so easy to be taken in by the charm and fun when they are hyperfocusing on YOU.  It won't last, and when that switch turns to "off" you'd better have lots of big girl pants to put on, because you are going to need them.

My gut says cut and run

My gut says cut and run because it's got to be easier to do it with less history now than more later... but, in answer to your other question, "Has anyone had a shift in regaining respect for their husband?", I am experiencing a certain amount of respect though tentative, because after hitting a wall with our finances, he has been fairly consistent with paying down the debt for the last year or so. Feels like if I let my guard down though, he'll whip out a charge card. Gosh, I'm tired... we've been at it for almost thirty years now, only on meds for the last four or so. Concerta helped take the edge off the anger and I noticed he was able to bring his thoughts to a proper conclusion. This does seem to help with both the focus and motivation but I don't know how far it will go without any good therapy. He thinks taking his pills is enough. It's helpful but, it's not a cure, this is a chronic condition that I have to "deal with" every moment of our lives together. There is no dreaming, no planning, no building. I've been treading water for a very long time. Some days are better than others, just be sure to protect your finances (don't touch your 401K!) I can't stress enough how important that is. Best wishes whatever you do!

My ex wracked up $40K in debt

My ex wracked up $40K in debt then got a job as a real estate agent, focussed like a laser on the debt, and paid it off with big commissions.  Of course, after 18 months, he lost interest in real estate and that was the end of that.

The pattern repeated, with another foray into debting, which resulted in a bankrupcy to clear that up. Thankfully, I was not on any loans so it didn't touch my finances. But it caused hell in our home.

Last time he lasered in on debt was last year, when, unbeknownst to me, he was planning to leave and move 1000 miles away because that was going to be the thing that fixed him.  So he paid off all his debt - "threw money at it" was his cocky way of referring to it. 

Today I am grateful that he is gone. In 10 months, I've come to see how very very hard it was to live with his untreated ADHD.  I am not cast as the mommy in our house - a role i NEVER wanted. I take care of myself only.

I did it all before, so the only impact his leaving had on what had to be done around the house was to lighten my load!  Every day I thank the Universe for my freedom.

Wow, you sound like me!

I don't have an answer for you on the cut and run question, but I'm leaning toward that myself these days.  Life with my husband of 4 years is just absolutely exhausting and we have an 8 month old son.  I have lost any and every shred of respect that I ever had for him, and I just don't know how to ever get that back.  You can check out my post "Lost it!" to see the fun that I had in my household tonight.  Enjoy the peace & calm now that he's out of the house...I pray every day that my husband will leave and not come back.  He is a whirling dervish who cannot sit still and just having him in the house takes the stress level up 10 decibles.  Living with an ADHD spouse is pure HELL, and I wish I had a more hopeful outlook for the future, but I feel absolutely no good will toward him at all anymore.   Good luck to you!  Be strong!