Kicked my ADHD spouse out and changed the locks

I didn't think it would be this dramatic, but I can't say I didn't see it coming.......

My husband and I have been together for 11 years, married for 9.  When I met him, he was 37, living in a run-down house with another 30-something male as a roommate and I owned my own home (I am 7 years younger than him).  He made a lot of excuses for his finances (mostly blaming his ex; whom he owned a house with at one time) and I believed him.  I tried to help, but we were just dating at the time and he assured me that he was "working his way out of debt" and "had it covered" so I ignored the piles (yes, literally piles) of unopened mail from the IRS and City of Seattle on his counter.  I came to realize that he owed over $20k to the IRS in unpaid taxes, and almost $1k in unpaid parking tickets.  When I talked to him about it he first joked about not being a mob boss so the IRS would never really follow through with anything, but after I gave him a firm (but supportive) dose of reality with that he said he understood  "had it covered" and "was only joking about the mob boss thing". And silly me, I believed him.

Fast forward a few years to when we get married.  Within one month of being married I get a letter from the IRS saying they are going to start garnishing my wages $500 a paycheck to pay for his debt.  Yes, I should have checked more into his debt before we got married but I trusted him.  I had no reason to think I couldn't trust him.  When I found this out, I was livid but still in love (we were newlyweds).  I told him we had to get divorced on paper (so they couldn't touch my wages), but that we could remain married in every other sense.  He was firmly against this and instead asked his parents to pay his debt and they did.  They don't have a lot of money so they had to take out a loan to do this.  I was adamantly against it and voiced my concern at the time both to my husband and his parents, but his mom insisted.  I now think of this as the starting gun to the financial rollercoaster race that has been our marriage. 

I am very responsible with my finances.  I grew up very poor and saw first-hand how important it is to plan for the future so after I learned a few lessons in credit card debt while in college, I learned about money management and stayed the course.  If I wasn't as responsible as I am, there is a very good chance we would be homeless right now.  More on that below.

We kept separate finances, but shared the family bills.  We both had full-time jobs with very good salaries.  We had a son, and I began to realize how bad my husband was with money and how much student debt he had (he never once brought this up while we were dating).  Every few months there would be an expensive "surprise" (at least to my husband) that would completely throw him off and I would hear things like "Can I pay you back for the bills next paycheck".  At first, I was understanding, but at the same time urged him to sit down with me and plan an emergency fund so these things would not throw him completely off kilter.  He refused.  The patterns continued.  He is a professional photographer and at one point he had to sell all of his camera and lighting equipment to pay one of his "emergencies".  I made him sit down with me and go through 6 months of bank statements to see where his money is going and we were both shocked.  He was spending a significant portion of his money on $5-$25 purchases at the gas station (we're talking $600+ a month)--everything from lottery tickets, to gross snacks, to cigarettes and beer.  At the time we didn't know he had ADHD but I gave him the homework of never going inside a gas station again---there is no need to go inside, right?  He was shocked and ashamed and agreed.  

Without giving the full rundown of our marriage, this same pattern kept happening.  He would suddenly be in the red with his money; unable to cover anything with huge credit card debt and nothing to show for it and we would sit down and do the finances and see the same patterns of spending--gas station randomness, fishing lures and rods (hundreds of dollars each month), going out to eat, and other complete randomness.  At one point I pulled all annual data and showed him that he had spent $10k that year on random shit at the gas station----not even gas.  I brought in a Financial Planner friend.  I gave him a book called 'Your Money or Your Life' which really helped me understand money management and started sending him Dave Ramsey videos.  I offered to manage the family money.  I offered to rethink how we do the bills to get him back on his feet.  I booked us in marriage counseling to talk about why he might feel like he needs to spend like this, and help him understand how this makes me feel unsafe and used in the relationship.  We started going to counseling and it was good at first.  I realized that he had a lot of shame, and how hard this was for him.  The counselor did not diagnose him with ADHD which in hindsight is a head-scratcher, but not important now.  The counselor gave us both homework each week--which I always did.  My spouse did not.  Ever.  We would get to counseling the next week and the counselor would ask my husband about his homework.  My husband would quite literally hang his head in shame and say he didn't do it.  The counselor would talk about why, and get my husband motivated to do it for the next month.  We would talk about the impact of me doing my homework and my husband would agree that it made his week better.  This went on for months.  The counselor gave my husband the goal of saving $1k.  After months my husband hadn't even opened a savings account, let alone save one dollar so I politely thanked the counselor and told him this isn't working.  He seemed to understand.  Frankly I was tired of paying for something each week that my husband wasn't participating in.

Around this time, my husband heard from a co-worker that he could borrow from his 401k to finance things he wanted and he thought this was the best idea he'd ever heard because he really wanted a new Italian motorcycle (he already had 2 motorcycles by the way) and a boat (his parents had already gifted him a boat at one point during our marriage which he enjoyed for a while and then had to sell to pay for one of his "emergencies").  Naturally, I was against this idea.  I BEGGED him not to do it.  I sent him tons of financial advice about this topic.  I had our Financial Planner friend advise him for free.  But of course, he did it anyway.  And this is the point where I started to hate him.  I should have left then.  After getting a new boat, he decided he needed a bigger truck to pull it so he planned to sell his Toyota, which he had spent thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars customizing to his specifications over the years.  I again sat down with him and begged him to maybe apply the proceeds to his student debt, and buy an older, less expensive truck that was big enough for the job but not fancy. This is before the used car market blew up after COVID and you could actually get something like this for a reasonable price.  I told him I would match any money he threw at his debt up to $10k.  He at first agreed, but within a day changed his mind.  He sold his truck, bought a more expensive one and I felt completely trapped.

I kept contributing to my personal savings just in case something crazy happened; amassing a large personal nest egg.  I kept trying to help my husband in every way I knew.  He kept having "emergencies".  I kept thinking if I could just say the right thing, he would finally get how his selfish spending was literally putting all the weight on my shoulders and he was essentially stealing from our family to pay himself.  So I started saying these things.  And I became very angry and bitter.  In January 2020, he had another "emergency". This time I found out he hadn't been paying his student loans for months and they were threatening him so I had my mom watch our kindergarten aged son for 2 nights while my husband and I went through the years of finances from our marriage with the hopes of having a 'Come to Jesus' moment and change the way we do things once and forever.  We realized in that conversation that his monthly debt payments (student loans + payments back to his 401k for the things he financed from pulling funds from it) were nearly all of his discretionary spend budget each month + he was spending on average $600 more a month than he made and had amassed credit card debt.  He once again promised to "do better" but refused to accept any help or make any real plan for change and I decided to leave him.  And then the world shut down.  

Because his job was an in-person, on-set job he was immediately furloughed and my worst fear came to reality.  He didn't even have the money to cover his person debt payments one month let alone help with our family expenses.  But, silly me I stayed.  I thought 'This is the event he needs to finally get it.  And we will do this together and come out stronger'.  I paid all of our family bills so he could apply the government checks he was getting to his debt.  I made him sell his boat and 2 of his 3 motorcycles.  I urged him to sell his truck and get something cheaper, but he would not.  His parents also gave him money.   I made the decision that we were going to cash in on our Seattle equity and use that money to pay cash for a house somewhere else in the country that was affordable, had lots of job opportunities, and good schools.  I gave him the option to stay and get a divorce, or come with us.  He without hesitation said he wanted to come with us.  Frankly he would have been homeless without me; he didn't even have enough money to rent an apartment with a roommate in the expensive Seattle area.  We were limited to a few cities if I wanted to keep my job (which I did because I love my job and it has provided the only stability I've had in our marriage) so we chose one, bought a house and moved across the country to live a simpler life and 'reset' financially and as a couple.  I really had faith that a global pandemic where my husband lost everything would be enough of a wake-up call for him to change. 

Well, the joke is on me.  Once he got a job here, the exact same pattern started--"emergencies", not knowing where his money was going, us sitting down and figuring it out, same patterns as before, I give advice, we make a plan together, when I check in on how he's doing with the plan he lies and gets defensive making me feel like I am the bad person because I don't trust him only to find out he was lying the whole time and I shouldn't have trusted him.  

........And then we found out he had ADHD.  It was a breakthrough for me.  This explained everything.  I dug in and learned everything I could.  I read books.  I read blogs.  I watched videos.  I bought him vitamin combinations to try before we had to move to medications.  I booked us in the ADHD for Couples seminar on this site.  I let him know how much empathy I had.  I realized what I had been doing wrong. I tried to change.  I did change in some areas.  I knew we could make it if he would JUST ACKNOWLEDGE his part and try differently.  He went to the couples seminar, but refused to do the reading or homework each week.  He started taking meds, but refused to do anything else.  He has chronic sleep deprivation, which has been another problem in our marriage well before we knew he had ADHD.  He would go months on 5 hours sleep a night, and be a total bear to live with until I literally made him get 8 hours sleep for a week branding it as a scientific experiment. Then he would come out of the fog and be like "Oh, you're right.  I do need sleep." The 3 legged approach really made sense to me and I just asked him to take meds, get 8 hours of sleep each night, eat a protein breakfast every day and not lie when he is struggling.  That is all I asked from him and he wouldn't even do that (crying and also want to scream as I type this).

Months later his truck started having problems and the mechanic told him he needed a new engine because my husband hadn't been doing the regular maintenance.  He had been buying lots of accessories for the truck, putting a lift kit on it, and getting fancy wheels but not getting it serviced and had completely run it into the ground.  My husband took no accountability.  He blamed the place he bought the truck from years prior.  He blamed us moving and him driving it across the country (which I urged him to not do and instead sell it in Washington).  He blamed the economy.  He sold it for parts basically because he could not afford to get a new engine.  They gave him $7k for what was a $20k truck at one point.  And silly me again, I thought 'This will be his wake-up call; especially now that he knows he has ADHD'.  I urged him to buy a vehicle he could afford ($7k and under).  He refused and said he was going to save up for a better truck.  After several months, and realizing how hard this is for him I offered to match him by $500 for every $500 he saves.  I also offered to sell my SUV if we can sit down as a couple and decide our total vehicle budget, and what vehicles we need (not want).  He refused.  Three more months went by and he told me he was saving.  He was riding his motorycle to work and I genuinely thought we were on the right track.  Then one day he had it. He told me that his mom was going to give him the money to buy the $20k truck that he wanted.  I BEGGED him not to do this.  I reminded him of everything that had happened.  He told me that our "family needed a truck", and I told him that our "family needed him to live within his means and have 3-6 months of emergency funds in the bank".    We went back and forth and back and forth and finally he agreed to keep $3k in the bank for emergency funds and grow it to $6k by Christmas (5 months time), and to take money from his mom + the money that he saved and the money I agreed to match.  I gave him $3k (later found out he never saved the initial $3k that I was supposed to match) for his emergency fund.  His mom bought him a $20k truck.  I felt uneasy about it, but I was also trying to be flexible.  I was really trying to try differently knowing more about ADHD, but I also told him this is his last chance.

Over these 5 months I would check in with him asking how his savings was going literally with the intention of encouraging him.  He would get defensive and say that he's "Got it covered" (He has tremendous RSD that he refuses to acknowledge basically runs his life).  He was for the first time in our marriage contributing to funding extracurricular activities for our son so I really thought he had changed.  I wanted to believe.  How could someone go through a global pandemic, lose everything and then lose a personal vehicle for 6 months as an almost 50-year-old man (both times due to the same issue of not financially planning for the future) and not change?

Well the joke is on me again.  This past weekend he got into a self-pity, anger-filled fit about not having any money.  He blamed where we now live because his salary is lower (granted the cost of living is much lower and we practically have no bills).  He blamed the economy (He has a full-time job by the way).  He blamed me for being controlling (We still keep separate finances and I do not control him).  And all of my spidey senses went up so I asked to see his bank statements.  Instead he sent me a long email about how he was sorry for not managing his ADHD, that he had messed up his finances again, and he wants me to manage the money going forward.

I read it and started crying.  I asked to see his bank statements again.  He emailed them to me and then told me he was leaving to take back a sander that he just bought for a pinewood derby project he is working on for our son because the sander had overdrafted his bank account.  He gave a long-winded excuse about how some things he bought were on backorder and shipped earlier than he thought so he got charged on this paycheck instead of next paycheck.  I started shaking.  I asked him if he was using his credit card and he got really angry and defensive saying "NO, I'm not using my credit card.  I told you I put it in my drawer.  I don't use it. This is why I'm overdrafted!!".  

I went to my computer and started going through the bank statements in Excel.  Not only were the same patterns in place (An average of $500 a month on gas station purchases between $5-$25, lots of fishing lures, etc.), he had blown through all the $3k in savings I gave him, plus had thousands in credit card debt, plus was getting $1k checks from his mom every month that he wasn't telling me about and still over drafting every single month.  Yes, he had spent a small amount on Christmas presents, but he had spent more on randomness at the gas station, and fishing lures for himself.  But the final straw was that he had gone out twice to bars on Friday and Saturday nights after 11pm when our son and I were in bed asleep.  The bar tabs were too small to be a date, but it's pretty clear that he is out looking.  

When he got back from returning the sander I confronted him on all of this and he had the audacity to tell me that he was going to these bars to 'Scout out date nights'.  When I reminded him that we don't currently have a babysitter for date nights, he told me that they were for "Family date nights", so I told him that one of these bars is a 21+ speakeasy style bar in the basement of a hotel and the look of shock on his face for being caught is a look I will never forget. He again told me he wasn't spending on his credit card and it had a zero balance.  I told him I see the payments and if that is true then show me.  He looked me in the eye and said "No.".  I shrugged and told him he was lying or he would show me.  He said "No".  I called him a liar and this dance went back and forth a few times before he pulled out his phone and showed me that yes, he has been spending on his credit card for months and months---even when he said he was spending nothing and saving for a new truck.  I told him to get his stuff together and be out of the house by 6.  He told me no.  I told him I was calling his mom and even the police if he didn't get out.  Then I took our son and left for a few hours, called a locksmith to change the locks, watched my husband leave right at 6, had the locks changed, sent him back the $620 he had contributed towards the house bills this month knowing he literally has no money and had to move into a hotel.......and here I am.

Yesterday I sent his mom a long email detailing why I am leaving her son, all of the lies and offered to talk if she is open to it while also setting expectations that I am not asking her to choose sides because he is her son and she will always choose him (just like I will always choose my son), but I did let her know I didn't appreciate the enabling over the years.  


And here I am posting my first post on the boards.  I really just needed to vent honestly.  I have one friend who understands ADHD because her ex-spouse had it and it ultimately ended in divorce but it's really hard for people who aren't familiar with it to understand the level of utter chaos it causes in a relationship.  My husband has been sending me long texts about how he finally gets it this time and feels really ashamed and will change, and blah blah blah blah blah.  But for me I think it's too little too late and the thought of being divorced makes me feel optimistic and free.  I am 41, financially secure (unless he fights me for the house and my assets), mentally and physically fit, with a network of friends and hobbies.  I will be okay, but I don't think I will ever be romantically interested in anyone who doesn't come across like a total boring square because I don't want to risk the surprise of falling for someone with ADHD again.  Maybe that will change one day, but that's where I'm at now :(