just got married...

Hi! First, I want to say how relieved I am to have found this website. I had an argument with my husband last night and I had googled "husband never correctly remembers arguments" and I happened across this site. I am very relieved I am not alone in this or just imagiining things... Some background: we met 2 and a half years ago, and got married last month. He's 28, I'm 30. He was diagnosed with ADD as a child and took ritalin and adderall at various points then. He says they helped somewhat but had other personality side effects he doesn't like. He won't go in now because basiically we have no insurance and don't have the money to have him be taking anything. I make pretty modest money but modest as it is, it's still twice what he makes as a busser working less than 25 hours a week. He's been there a year and a half and during that entire time I've been carefully trying to encourage him to find something better so we can keep up with our bills, which are numerous. We live in a very large city with easy access to 24 hour a day public transportation and lots of jobs. He has great employment history and is very intelligent and capable. But he won't apply for anything. He comes home and complains about how busy he is and the stress and then goes off and does his projects in the basement for hours. Every time he says he's going to buckle down and apply for jobs, I come home after my 12 hour shift and he has tons of internet articles he wants me to read but the laundry isn't done, he hasn't made anything for us to eat, he hasn't even thought about job things and the house is a mess. He complains about picking up after our roommate while being oblivious I'm following right behind him picking up his tornado of destruction. He makes sandwiches and wanders off, forgetting to put everything away. He leaves food in pans on the stove for days. I came home yesterday and there was a box on the counter with a melted popsicle in it. He can't stick to putting his dirty clothes in one of 2 hampers I bought because I wanted to make it easier for him. I'm just super, super tired of having to pay all the bills while he can barely handle working 2-4 hours a day and making college student level beer money income. I told him we need insurance. He just gets upset and acts helpless, like there's nothing he can do to change his situation. And when he *does* actually talk about finding other work, it's stuff like "I can build model guns from video games for extra cash" or "I can pick up another 2-3 hour shift at work". We're paying off lots of student loans (his are crazy high interest private unsubsidized loans because he wasn't paying any attention to what he was signing). He has no concept of money and never checks outr bank account. When I tell him we need to stick to a budget, his answer is to starve himself because "we're too broke for me to eat" which is not even close to true. His answers to everything are so extreme ad bizarre but they are never enough to prompt him to change his situation no matter how much advice I give, do things for him outright or act supportive. Does anyone have any advice for what is good work for ADD people? I don't even know what to suggest to him for job choices. And he apparently has no idea either. He seems to tghink the two kinds of jobs are food service and factory work, which he did for years. I've tried to explain to him there are. Other sorts of jobs. He also forgets progress we've made during arguments, he just thinks everything is horrible every time we fight and that I never apologize, I try to make it sound like everything is his fault (which I don't, he's so sensitive I tiptoe around him like he's a ticking nuclear bomb). He searches for ways to make it seem like it's my fault also instead of focusing on what I'm saying and being productive. He lashes out, is easily frustrated, his ego is incredibly fragile, and his self-esteem is super low. I do the best I can but it seems like no matter how productive we are, by the time we argue again he's forgotten it all. :/

I can't say for certain that

I can't say for certain that this is all ADD, but you describe my dh EXACTLY.  I used to think it was his upbringing and bad habits that I could teach him to be better at.  Didn't happern.  He can do things if he HAS to but if there is someone who will do it for him, he figures, let them do it.  He has a very high tolerance to mess and "not knowing" what is going on.

Yes! I mean, I am sure some

Yes! I mean, I am sure some of it isn't ADD... my ex didn't have it and he was an incurable slob. :p but I think it at least didn't help - his mother and ex wife were both very much the controlling type - if he wasn't doing something or did it wrong, they didn't correct the behavior, they just did it for him. So I'm sure that's at least part of it. But it's that much harder for him now to try to establish better habits since he can't focus on it at all. He tries, I know he does. He just forgets everything, almost all the time. It's like raising a child that can't learn anything.
Linsy's picture

Sounds like my first year of marriage!

That was a very long time ago, and I couldn't understand why I would come home from work and find nothing done, bills unpaid etc. Car broken into, flat broken into, due to his not paying attention to security. Then he got a job as a driver, for a fish company, again well below his intelligence and ability. But driving suited him and we were OK for a while, but of course without any support from anyone let alone a diagnosis, it all went wrong, over and over again, particularly when I was most vulnerable after having a baby. He would lose everything, even got drunk (which was not like him) the day my first was due. I suspected it was the pot he self medicated with, but now I think although it makes it worse, it is not the primary cause. In the UK we are way behind.

Same boat..NOT yet married....

Hi Katrinak,

I have been reading this website on and off for 3 years now. I have read Melissa's and Ned's books and own many more related to understanding ADHD. I am 35 and have been with my bf (who has ADD) who is 34 for 3 1/2 years now. I met him at work while going through a divorce. I feel in love with him bc he made me laugh like no other and felt he "got me". He was a wonderful listener and seemed to be as affectionate as a person as I was. My divorce was to a man that put work above our marriage and refused to get therapy with me until I left him. My ex got his life together and faced his own demons, but it wasn't until I met my bf that I realized how much I had I had settled for in whole...I loved my ex but chemistry wasn't and hadn't been the core element of my attraction to him. It was his intelligence. I lf loved that my bf did not care to be in the spotlight all the time and I finally felt like I was in a relationship built on equality. My parents were married until my mother passed from cancer, and I have always wanted a relationship where I could rely on a husband like my mother could rely on my dad and vice versa.

6 months into my journey with my bf and getting over my divorce, my bf lost his job. I was sad for him but where we worked my sister husbands also worked in Sales and lost his job and it was expected. It was not a stable environment. I expected that my bf would get a job soon after. He is very intelligent as most men with ADHD I have met and extremely witty and creative. A curve ball was thrown when I lost my job about 4 months after he did. I have had many back surgeries and had barely survived the first surgery before he knew me. My position was absorbed and so we both were unemployed. At the time I was not looking for a serious relationship, although he had already told me he loved me. We spent our days together having fun playing scrabble games. After the "honeymoon" phase of not working and having fun, I became serious at looking for work again and expected he would as well. We already had talked about the future by now and after a year of living with other roommates we choose to move in together. I was ready and it seemed to be perfect timing with his roommate moving in with his own gf. 

When we moved in together I found myself being the only one to unpack while he played video games for days and tried nicely to ask for help and would get "of course, no need to ask" but he never would follow through. In turn of me wanting to have a nice home I re-injured my back. It was awful and I could not move. I did not have insurance and it was a very long journey. I ended up finding out I had screws penetrating through veins and arteries in my back and was sent to a top of the line hospital hours away to have my hardware removed from a lumbar fusion years ago and stints put in my body so I did not bleed to death. My bf than had to take some responsibility and drive me back and forth to appts hours away and take care of me. We also had a puppy and he had to take care of him as well. There were days on his meds that he was great and other days he was belligerent yelling and being sarcastic trying to make me feel terrible for all the responsibility he had taken upon himself. When I finally started to get better I would clean and cook between each new injection, or burning of nerves in my back to get better. I was determined to get better bc I wanted to have children someday and i could not live with this pain forever. 

Unfortunately with the stress of this newfound responsibility, he stopped being affectionate and was just stressed at all times. He would take his adderall and be up for days bc he cannot sleep when taking his meds, and then sleep for days. He is moody, pulls all the same lines you mentioned above "well I will just shut-up and than I will never upset you" , etc when I ask if he will try and work on helping us to communicate more effectively. His self-esteem is very low, he gained weight and has not spoken to his friends in years. He even avoids going home now to see his parents just two hours away bc he does not want to face them asking questions about his job hunting. They are well off and pay for all his bills, rent, car payment and health insurance. I do not have that luxury and had to get a temp job that ended up becoming my full time job and now i have been working for over a year. He has not worked in 3....he does not apply even though I helped him create his resume and cover letters, and grasping at straws to save what we once had I will apply for him myself. I speak with his mother all the time who is so worried about him. I am his first real relationship. I love him so much, but realize I hold onto wen we met...I am sorry if this is long but for 3 years I had read and kept hope things would get better and they have only worsened.

I have tried to do all the suggestions Melissa and Ned suggest, I try not to nag and only ask once. It will take him weeks to take out the trash and if I ask more than once gets very angry and tells me I am so annoying. When he takes his meds he is the same man I fell in love with for a short while, but the same cycle of coming down off his meds makes him cranky and feels everything i say and do annoys him. I am not a confrontational person, but will defend myself if I feel he is being mean or saying stuff that is untrue. Over time it has become worse and worse and I think bc he is scared and sees his own inability to take control of his life that he lashes out at me and tries to make it seem all is my fault. I have no problem apologizing when i make a mistake and always want to please. What I have realized though, is i have slowly over time put up with behaviors that are unacceptable, name-calling, telling me the shut the f up, stone-walling when I try to engage in a serious conversation. I am blown away that this is the same man I met who wanted to hug me at all times and adored me to no end, and that is why it is so hard to let go....I started seeing a therapist a few years ago bc i was so depressed and did not want to talk to my friends about our problems. I did not want them to judge him. My bf agreed to go to a therapy session with me and it went great, but he was on his meds and was very impressive. Sadly he ended up turning anything my therapist said about my nature as a tool to help us as a way to try and put me down and hurt me and then I did not feel I could trust him anymore. 

His big think now is he spends all his time listening to podcast he downloads and playing video games. I try to make sure I bond with him bc I realize it is important to show my support for his interests, but it seems that he has no interest anymore in sharing my own. I try to do my own things I love on my own time, but that is not what i want in life. I want a normal family where we can have children, make breakfast, watch cartoons, laugh and have friends over to barbeque and feel we have a share household. I pushed marriage a while back but have not done so anymore...I am not sure I want to go down this road.

With my physical issues i cannot support us and the bigger issue for me is I do not feel respected or listened to. The five languages of apology and love are books we read together and to me are fantastic, but he does not follow through. Any talk of anything involving job hunting, money, future or of any serious nature immediately pushes him away and he things that is all we do. I will not bring anything up for months to give him space but I am sure he can tell how sad i feel and maybe he feels overwhelmed...I do not know anymore i am so confused. His mother feels I should leave him and feel s he does not realize what he has and will not until he is forced to grow up. He will hang up on his mother just as he does with me and I feel I have let these disrespectful behaviors have gone on for far too long. My sister just had a baby girl with a hard working husband that realizing bills must be paid and takes pride in fixing up their new home and would do anything to make her happy. Seeing all this these past months have been pushing to me to my the brink of my threshold. He refuses to see a therapist, he gets his adderall from his physician and I know comorbidty goes hand in had with ADHD. He has terrible anxiety and depression which needs to be addressed.

I try very hard to step back and let him fix his own issues and be his supportive gf but I am not happy. He never initiates sex or cuddling. I have to ask him to come cuddle or sit next to me on the couch and when he does he acts annoyed so it is not worth it to me. We watch what he wants to watch and I feel like I cannot be truthful with my needs for when I do his turns it into me being the problem. I try to listen to his reasoning but we end up fighting over mean and deplorable words he says trying to hurt me and get off track. I feel so lost and at the same time hate myself for still loving him bc i know the man he once was and would give anything to get that back, but do not know anymore it that is possible. I am a very optimistic person that dealt with my mother having psychological issues and feel I should be able to support him and should and feel and immense amount of guilt when I feel like giving up and dream of the day a man will want to provide for us and not everything is split down the middle, but in theory I am the one that pays for all our groceries and "fun" even with my frugality.

I feel if i left he would finally realizing how sweet and generous of a woman he has that always tells him how much I love and appreciate anything he does that I notice that when he actually tries. I am not perfect by any means but do feel I am grounded and just want an equal partnership and recently feel like it is never going to happen. If he does not like what I am saying he will just leave for hours to drive and bury himself in his comedic podcasts to get away and he falls asleep on the couch and we never sleep together. My name I chose 3 years ago was Crossroads, but now feel it should be Witsend. I am 35 and want children and we discussed over year a half ago getting married planning on a week from now, and my own Grandmother gave him her ring to give to me. As my bf's mother said, he has had all the tools to become successful with all the support anyone could dream of and his has to grow up. I do not have the funds to move out but am thinking of asking my sister to help...I hate to break up our family but without him taking ownership of how much our relationship has deteriated I do not see how we could ever make it anymore. I stuff down all the horrendous things he will say to me taking my past I share and twist it to try and hurt me as to keep from dealing with is own short falls, but I am very happy and content at 35 at who I have become, I just do not understand how I could walk away from my ex and ensure a divorce yet with my bf even with all the bs and knowing it will still be a challenging in the future that I still love him immensely kills me. I cannot not help, it has to be himself and I do not feel anymore he can help himself. I think he is over his head. 


Sorry for the long email, it was 3 years in the making and wish I could just revel and rejoice in all the reasons why ADHD is a blessing and not a burden, and it can be, but it is only up to the person with ADHD to take control and they have to have a loving significant other that is willing to listen to their feelings and try to accommodate their needs and be reciprocated in each direction. Any advice is appreciated from married, divorced, ADD, etc. I am so sad and tired of sleeping alone and never cuddling or feeling wanted and I am beautiful vibrant woman inside and out. I have never had a problem attracting men, but what matters most to me is a man that is willing to listen and also work on us, not separate. Humor helps immensely but without admittance that this cycle has gone on for far too long and refusal to change feels like a slap in the face that i am not worth it enough for him to take charge and save what we have left together.

Thanks guys and my heart goes out to everyone on this website. Neither party (adhd nor adhd) is perfect but it is the devotion to wanting to protect the sacred bond we build and once had, and to me I have always felt we should treat our partners like the day we just met them, giving them respect, honesty and love and best of all romance. 

Forgot to mention my best girlfriend who has adhd

I did want to mention one of my closest girlfriend has struggled her whole life with adhd and i have watched her go through serious bouts of depression, weight gain and never wanting to leave her bedroom, sleeping on end to get away from her problems. When she is on her meds she flourishes but she has not had insurance and money quite a bit in her life. She is the FUNNIEST person I have ever met and when I need a pick me up call her up. My funniest days, hours and memories include her and I feel that her ADHD has been a blessing to her. She now has a great job, lost the weight that was plaguing her insecurities and dating a mature man, but understands that ADHD is not something to take lightly and takes work. All the people in my life that I have loved and admired have some traits or have ADHD AND firmly believe we are blessed to have ppl that are so outgoing and creative as themselves. So many have succeeded as comedians and in life and I do believe that it is all how we as humans believe in ourselves and how we chose to go after our dreams and accept that we may need help along the way. Non-adhd or adhd we all have our own issues and that is ok. It is what we chose to do with our afflictions to help us to enhance them or take them in a negative direction. I wish ppl would accept the help of others and take at face value that there is no malicious selfish reasoning or power struggle beneath extending our kindness/love and that we are not trying to use it to blow up our ego's or use it against them at the end of the day. We all are humans who make errors and feel we should work as a team. I just wish ppl could look past the thought of "hmmm...why are they suggesting this or trying to help me? What are thy trying to get out of it for themselves? and just realize, relationship or not, we care about the health are welfare of others and just want to see them at peace. 

Thanks for listening. 

What you said about your dh's

What you said about your dh's answers being extreme and bizarre and then insisting he never said specific things is exactly how my dh is when the ADD flares. I feel like I'm being gas-lighted most of the time. If I mention or suggest something, he will say something extreme like: "I'll never offer to help or say a word ever again. I'm just too stupid (in your eyes)". It's all very unproductive.

I'm afraid the only way he seems to respond is when I catch him by calling him on it by saying "Stop Lying!" -- it may not work for anyone, but it seems to make my dh stop and take a little stock at the bizarre nature of his accusations/rumblings.

Most of the times these days I see the ADD flare up, I don't make any communication that would incite him, and emotionally/psychologically distance myself until he's himself again. It's not easy and there's plenty of tears...

I hope you can find a way to maintain your sense of healthy outlook for yourself and not be too dependent on him for your sense of well being... there are days when I feel too dependent on my ADD partner and it's like trying to stay buoyant on a sinking ship...

He totally does that! He says

He totally does that! He says often he'll "just never talk again". It's so frustrating. thank you for your input, I definitely at least feel lucky I'm not terrible dependent on him because I think that would make it so much worse...
Linsy's picture


I got 'I will submit myself totally to you, I will do everything you say, I will surrender myself to you'. No no, I would say, this is not what I want. I just want a partnership and equal responsibility. But this is just absolutely impossible without diagnosis and treatment, to even approach, so I am not with him any more. Just concentrating on my ADD sons and making sure they don't go the same life wrecking way.


Hello. Task oriented jobs with clearly defined expectations are good. Things that require immediate responses rather than planning. Helps if there is real interest in the subject. Police, fire fighter, bank teller (assuming attn to detail ok), trades such as electrician, customer service if he isn't a blowhard, sales... 

But it's critical that he internalizes that he wants to be better employed. It might be helpful to brainstorm with him what life with his better income would look like. How does his life improve? What does he want that he would be able to achieve? 

He needs a routine. A schedule where he job hunts for x time every day. Can be 3 different 20 minute periods. Setting alarms to remind himself to get back on track. Basic life skills are critical when unmedicated. Sleep, healthy food, omega 6 supplements, and exercise. Get ADD and Loving It DVD from the library. And ADD and Mastering It. Watch together. Helpful and funny.

good luck!

Thank you, I will definitely

Thank you, I will definitely check those out. :) and thank you for the suggestions on job ideas!

Is this what you want for the rest of your life?

Not to be a Debby Downer, but is this what you want for the rest of your life?  If things never change, are you ok with that? Change is possible, but difficult and in many cases, doesn't happen. Please think twice while you still have a chance to get out.....

Change actually happens a lot

I need to write a correction to this poster - ADHD is one of the singly most treatable mental health issues there is.  Those who get good treatment (which most often includes medication) are more like to see significant improvement than not (about 70% see significant improvement and more see good improvement).  What your life looks like right now does not need to be the way it will look for the rest of your life, so this poster's question plays to your fears rather than to what the research says about ADHD.  HOWEVER, in order for change to happen, your husband needs to get OUT of denial about whether or not his ADHD is an issue.  Currently it is - it really is!  You know this, he doesn't.  If you haven't read my book yet, consider picking up a copy (The ADHd EFfect on Marriage).  Also, he should know that the medications have changed quite a bit and docs are much more sophisticated about dosing than they used to be.  So even if he didn't like the way a particular med made him feel (or even more than one) he might well be able to find something now that he could use.

Hope this helps clarify things a bit.

sometimes change is possible but not always

Sometimes change is possible but sometimes it doesn't happen.That is my experience even with proper medication AND your book. I think it is wise to at least consider that possibility, especially before there are children involved. It is evident by the comments shared on this website that change does not always happen and that brings untold heartache and frustration. Perhaps it might be helpful to live apart until he is able to resolve his problems effectively.

My experience is the opposite.

 I work to try to lessen the burden my ADHD has on both me and my wife, she in turn has worked hard to lessen her cynicism and  accept that there are some things I can do nothing about, no matter how hard I might try, in fact she will often point out the ADHD elements of my personality that provide the unique and quirky parts that she loves.  

As a result I can  wear my ADHD with pride and not shame, and I am able to be the person I was born, and more than that I respect and love her for her support and cherish the person she is rather than resent her for what I perceive as constant criticism.  

The encouragement of my wife, and her willingness to take a step back and understand the strategies to negotiate and support have done far more for me than any medication ever did, and for that I owe her a debt of gratitude I can only pay by being accepting of myself and in turn encouraging the same for her. 

That is not to say of course that everything is perfect or that we don't have to work at seeing the world from each others eyes and acknowledging each others perspective as genuinely felt, we do. And of course we both have to let go of things in the name of negotiation, but these things are not ADHD/NoN they are normal.

Negativity and cynicism ends up in both sides withdrawing to their mutual trenches to fight a long war of attrition. The only certainty is that nobody wins.

For me/us the key has been to set up cycles that are positively self perpetuating rather than ones that are negatively so i.e  Expect the worse and chances are you will get it.

It's about love and mutual respect, life is too short for anything else.

Linsy's picture

Thank you

Hi, parted from husband, but son 21 now diagnosed and medicated, so will get these DVDs for him and me to watch together. Younger son 12 also now diagnosed and treated. Husband still in denial, in spite of the most obvious case possible. Badly let down in the UK by the medical profession, who did not help us. Result? Broken relationship as I could not stand it any longer, and was getting ill with stress. The household was in a continuous uproar and I was shattered by it. Now feeling much better, but sad not to be able to be a proper family. But there we go.