I stayed up half the night reading this book. I saw it online while looking for something totally unrelated and bought it on a whim. When it arrived, I had a few minutes before making dinner, so I started reading it on a whim, thinking it would be one more marriage resource dead-end that didn't really address my experience or solve the mystery for me of why I find it so difficult to make a good marriage with my husband, who is such a good person, but so challenging to share a life with.
I. COULDN'T. PUT. IT. DOWN!!! I don't know how this lady wrote a book about ME and MY HUSBAND and OUR MARRIAGE when we've never met, but she did. I can't believe someone is telling me that my struggle is real because for 14 years my husband has made me feel that our difficulties were primarily rooted in ME and MY problems and MY inability to cope or to understand him or be more graceful or forgiving.
All the comments in the book about "having good intentions" but complete failure to translate that into reliable, repeatable, & trustworthy actions - I can't recount how many times we have had that conversation. He feels that his good intentions relieve him of any burden of being held accountable for actual performance in any given area, no matter how repetitive the behavior is or how damaging it has been in our relationship. He would happily stay up all night talking about our relationship, oh how he loves to talk! - but nothing ever changes.
I have never been able to understand how he can be so apparently capable in one area (professional life, he owns his own successful business & supports our family comfortably with his income, we don't have money problems thank goodness), and so mysteriously, aggravatingly, repeatedly, infuriatingly incapable in another area (our relationship).
Every comment in the book about forgotten conversations was ripped from the headlines of our marriage! He makes me think I am crazy for all the things I remember that he doesn't, but I know I'm not because I don't experience these interactions with anyone else in my life and I never have. Sometimes I'm surprised he remembers who I am! I find conversation with him totally unfulfilling b/c he's only in it for the enjoyment of the actual talking - he remembers very little, so if there is a followup conversation, or a new development, we have to start all over. However he can recount to me all day long the details of his client interactions & professional obligations.
Every comment in the book about a waggling & indiscriminate tongue was stolen from our conversations! I can't count how many times he has blabbed a confidence or made me the butt of his funny, entertaining conversations be sharing embarrassing, private information, like discussing my menstrual cycles on the golf course. I no longer share anything with him that I wouldn't tell the grocery store clerk so needless to say, this puts a serious damper on relational intimacy. In addition, we have a young son who is approaching the teen years, and I know he is going to feel the sting of betrayal by his father in this area, and there is nothing I can do about. My husband just blabbed the other day about a recently-confessed "crush" that my son has to his entire office staff at lunch. He has no filter and no clue about what should be held close vs. what is appropriate to share.
All the comments about him being perceived as the happy, interesting, fun-loving extrovert while I am cast as the unhappy, ungrateful nag - that TOTALLY reflects what has happened to us over time in my view. Whenever I have tried to talk to any of my girlfriends about some of my struggles, they just look at me puzzled and the conversation dies, b/c none of them have experienced such mysterious and unexplainable behaviors in their own marriages and they are always as completely puzzled about it as I am. They can't reconcile the person they know (as my husband's friend) with the person I describe that I live with. In addition, because he is somewhat controlling/OCD, I have felt even more isolated and not wanting to share my whole experience because I don't want people to think negatively of him.
The result of all this and more is that after 14 years, I have built up enough defensive walls in an attempt to protect & insulate myself from the consequences & effects of his damaging behaviors that we have almost no relational intimacy. Until I read this book last night, I was basically hopeless for us to ever get it back. We are both committed to our marriage, but I had basically decided I needed to seek fulfilling interpersonal relationships elsewhere (volunteering, friends, etc.) b/c I was never going to have that at home with him. In my mind, I have planted him firmly in the realm of "unsafe people". A recently-uncovered porn habit has been the final nail in the coffin of a sex life already on life support. In the meantime, he is lonely and depressed in our relationship b/c he knows that, although I love him, I am effectively shutting him out to protect myself.
The next layer of this is our son, because I think he has similar struggles. His school is half homeschool, and our struggles (and his discouragement) on homeschool days are becoming almost unmanageable. I have the same feeling as I have interacting with my husband - I can't figure out these mystifying behaviors which repeat over and over again, no matter how many creative solutions I attempt to apply. Because he's never had any significant behavior problems (he doesn't "act like" other children I know who are medicated for ADHD), I didn't think he had this issue, but now I am hopeful that this path could also be helpful for him.
I plan to talk to my husband this evening and ask him for us to read the book together. I anticipate that he will agree, because he loves any excuse to talk, and then he will go about his usual very well-reasoned denial/justifications about each item or behavior. However, I am hopeful that the sheer volume of behaviors "ripped from the headlines" of our marriage will overwhelm him as it did me and lead to a willingness to walk down this path hand in hand with me. I am still willing to try.
Thank you so much Melissa for taking time to write this book. You are a blessing!
Thank you, Maryjo
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
Thank you for your nice comment, and I'm so glad you found this book. I hope it will be a good experience for you and your husband to break down the book together - I suggest you read short parts and discuss, as this will give you both (and him in particular) time to digest and readjust how he thinks about his impact on your relationship. It will also give you time to adjust, as well. The next changes I hope the two of you will go through take some time and reinforcement, let's just say!
For your child - it may be that your son has the 'distracted' version of ADHD, which does not resemble the hyperactive side, but which is just as insidious. ADHD is hereditary, and so there is a decent chance your son is impacted. You may wish to consider getting him an evaluation if he is up for it to just 'see what is there.' Try to approach him in a way that would make him curious rather than concerned. With kids (like with adults) it's all too easy to communicate "I think you are broken" if you aren't sensitive to the fact that they might be already feeling some shame inside about being different or not being able to continue with and complete things that seem 'easy' for other kids their age. And, if he does get a diagnosis, remember that he has a say in how his own health is handled. For example, a doctor might suggest he try meds - position this as an experiment to see if they help, rather than a life-long commitment to medication so that he feels a sense of control over his own destiny and respect from his parents. (We did this with our daughter - she was diagnosed in 3rd grade, but didn't want to try medications until 5th grade when school started to get out of control for her. By making this her decision it meant that when she did try the meds she was doing so because she felt a real reason fo try them, not just to 'abide' by what we had suggested.)
Back to you and your husband. It sounds as if discussing the book will be a great place to start. Just so you are aware that it exists, I do offer an 8-week seminar by phone for couples that is very good and will provide you with lots of great strategies and information to help you both transition to a stronger relationship.
Stay in touch, and warm wishes to you both.
Thank you for these
Submitted by maryjo on
Thank you for these additional tips, I appreciate it so much! My husband has agreed to read the book w/in a week and we have an "appointment" to discuss it at that time. I think he's skeptical, but he could see how much reading the book had affected me. He started in on it as soon as we got done talking. Regardless of how it all comes out, hopefully the end result is growth & transformation for us both & our relationship. I have 2 friends who have already ordered the book for themselves (they are both in dual-ADHD marriages) and also for a couple my friend & her husband are mentoring! I also now have 2 other friends' husbands (also professionally successful) who are diagnosed & medicated & willing to talk to my husband about their experience if he would like to do that.
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
The first steps are always to get a better understanding of what is going on, so bravo! If you ever want something that is more intensive than the books, and more interactive, you might wish to consider my 8-week seminar. There is one starting soon (Oct. 10) but I give it three times a year - very effective. With so many friends discussing this, you might actually consider a 'support group' approach to taking the seminar - all register and then spend one hour a week talking about what came up for you all (over a beer, of course!!!) You'll likely find that you are all experiencing very similar issues...
Bussiness vs Relationship...
Submitted by c ur self on
(He makes me think I am crazy for all the things I remember that he doesn't, but I know I'm not because I don't experience these interactions with anyone else in my life and I never have.)
When an Individual's mind runs at the pace your spouse's might...Distraction and the inability to hear details in the settings that he has allowed for distractions (perceives it to be a safe place to let his guard down) for himself. This mental rest doesn't mean he will stop talking about things...He will still talk:) (detail rambling), but he may not (it's a surety) hear with attentiveness.
You might hear grammar mistakes that he doesn't make on the job, just due to not being fully there (fully attentive) in these moments of mind shut down (rest)....He may not be aware of his inability to comprehend in times of rest, distraction or during heightened emotional state. (most don't)...Because he relates to the times he is attentive! And he does just fine when his full attention is on the speaker...(To be fully attentive is a much more difficult state to get to for fast minds then for non's, outside of hyper focus)....So that is why he fights you, (in his mind he is right, just like you, that's why you both take up the sword) about who said what, and what was said...I wish I could take back all the times I allowed our days to be ruined by arguments concerning what was said or done that was totally not remembered correctly by one of us....It's just a trap to steer clear of...Never argue about what was said or done in the past...If it's that important....Write it down....
It takes a wise and patient person to see this pattern unfolding before their eyes, and say Stop!...Both of us feel like we are right in our thoughts on this matter...There is no proof to decide, so are we going to hell today fighting about it??....Or am I going to walk away, and let it go??...It's a choice...It's always a choice, even if it does take discipline to enact it.....
Sadly most add minds look for this mental rest in their homes....And who is at home?? :)...That's right...So to answer your question....At work his mind is turned on!...(Heightened Sensitivity to his Environment) A person with a fast mind who possess the good qualities your husband must have to be so successful...(ability to learn, and self discipline himself for repetition and avoid addictions)....Can be highly successful, if for no other reason than just for the amount of work they can produce...Most adHd minds will expend a lot of energy in a work day....But then there is that crash and mental rest that has to happen....And tag your it....
My wife is clinical adhd...She is a high performer on her job also...(adderall / speed).. But in the home she reverts to staring at a TV, and will walk right past the piles of junk and clothes....What ever she touches usually is just laying where she used it, or takes it off...I verbally beat her so bad in the early years of our marriage she learned to make replacing the bread tie a habit...(not excusing the verbal onslaught about her actions, I just wasn't wise enough and patient enough to learn a better way. I was 50, and had never been exposed to another adult who was so consistently messy and hoarding).
So many of us reading your post, lives in the same situations and circumstances that you are enduring....What many of us want is their attention, when they have no ability to give it...Also many fast minds are dopamine junkies...Any thrill seeking activity that will produce these highs are usually attractive to them....It may be something as constructive as their business or their medical practice....But sadly things that take patients, self control, and the mundane in life is not attractive to them....When you throw in being enabled and the entitlement that nurtures, along with all the pride issues that all flesh has, it is fools gold to think we can impact them verbally....Any help my wife gets from me about being responsible, will only come through being a silent example and prayer.....Now both of those make her real uncomfortable.....
That's way so many are so capable of sweeping a person off their feet in the beginning of a relationship....You are the new shiny thing that gets all their attention and focus...But this hyper focus will eventually wear off....No more dopamine....So you become just part of the mundane landscape....Instead of the shiny object in the middle of their landscape.....
Most fast minds do struggle with things that must be attended to in daily life, it easy for them to ignore the mundane and end up dumping on their spouse...Parents of fast minded children feed this poor behavior when they don't teach discipline in these area's....So as adults they have no learned skills when it comes to daily living; especially when sharing with a non....
In my experience most are "Different" it may be in good ways, but "different".....They usually possess self-centered type qualities, I base it on their constant hunt for something that will feed their cravings for excitement and or self challenge...Whether career based or personal based...(bigger, faster, louder, higher, better, push, push, push)....Then once the burn out with the excitement and activities finally dies...They will crash, and there is not much work going to be produced in the simple activities of being a good steward to the home and spouse.....
You are not alone!
I'm glad you found the book, and I hope you will be able to broaden your knowledge of just how his brain works in comparison to your own....So you can lean to accept things that are so foreign to you.....
Boundaries...Boundaries...Boundaries....You must see after your own mental and physical well being...((()))...Thanks for Sharing!
Thank you for sharing your
Submitted by maryjo on
Thank you for sharing your insights, I really appreciate it!
Marriage: being IN it
Submitted by dedelight4 on
After knowing all the things we know now about the spouses who can't engage IN a marriage and be PART of the "couple", there ends up to be a question of " what now"? What does the one spouse do that WANTS to have a "marriage", but then knows that is not a realistic expectation any longer. The ADHD spouses who choose to be separate and stay in their own world, (fast mind) stay at a distance from the other one who wants and needs more " closeness". (I've still wondered if this is a conscious choice or not, and whether this is part of just getting "bored" with the current relationship) Either way, the person who has ADHD would need to make a choice whether to continue to subject their partner to untreated symptoms, or to GET treatment and thus help themselves and BOTH people. It gives the "marriage" and the couple a much better chance at survival and dual happiness. But, then what if they won't do that? The non knows that there could be a much deeper level of engagement and closeness, but are met with continuous resistance to it. How do BOTH people then get a satisfying level of companionship and "coupleness"?
The non seems to have a choice whether to stay this way and " hope and pray" for a better marriage, while doing more for themselves, but that isn't WHY we got into a marriage in the FIRST place, is it? (to mostly live for yourself) It is a real dilemma for many who were married a long time before the diagnosis of ADHD.
The spouses who chose not to take their ADHD seriously put their own lives and the lives of their spouses and families in never ending degrees of chaos. Is this truly the way they want their lives to be? And why do they continue year after year KNOWING its causing problems, but still ignore it?
One thing I've noticed about my husband is a lack of empathy. (Putting himself in the shoes of another person, sharing their feelings) He can sympathize, but can not empathize with me or anyone else. I don't think he knows HOW, and empathy must be taught. His mother did not do this, and she couldn't empathize with people either. I believe to understand others, empathy is vital.
So, what's left? maybe its just being roommates instead of being a married couple. That is something I had warned my husband about years ago. Who wants a roommate as your marriage partner? Is that the best you can expect? Or are expectations and hopes and dreams to be done away with entirely? It leaves one open for some large emotional holes.
Yes, I can identify w/what
Submitted by maryjo on
Yes, I can identify w/what you have expressed here, for sure. My spouse also has very low empathy.
For me, I'm trying to recast how I decide to view & interpret the problematic behaviors, now that I (think) I know the root of them. Neither of us thinks that I have a diagnosable mental health condition that has had a detrimental effect on our marriage, yet still, there are plenty of things about me he'd like to see different if he could, and that is just the unending nature of 2 people choosing to do life together. I think there are few married couples who, individually, haven't at some point (often in the first year) said to themselves (about their spouse), "Who IS this, and WHAT have I done?!"
For me, whether my spouse seeks treatment or not, we will continue to work together on minimizing the impact of the 1 or 2 top most problematic symptoms/behaviors (his or mine), and then the next 1 or 2, etc. And continue on that path until death does us part, and detour around many unexpected (& unwanted) obstacles, and hopefully grow & also learn to enjoy each other more & more along the way!
I surely pray that you & your husband will find a path that brings you closer & helps you both achieve the relational intimacy you crave, not just a "settling for less than" out of desperation & defeat. (And I pray the same for me.)