Letting go of negative emotions

Like Vivi, I started my initial post as a continuation to an existing thread...sorry.  I have spent the last day and a half reading as many posts as I could on this site.  I am so grateful to have stumbled upon this site.  Finally, for the first time in 18 years, I feel like I am not crazy.  People who are not living with an ADD spouse just can not comprehend what life is like, and how his condition affects literally EVERY  aspect of our lives.  I am lucky that my husband is a good person, a kind person, a loving person who is completely committed to me and our 4 children.  He tells me he loves me frequently and tries to reassure me that when he 'messes up', it's not due to his lack of love for me.  This is not always easy to hear, even though from a cognitive perspective I know it is true.  After 18 years of therapy, and recently ADD medication, things in this marriage are still on very shaky ground, and I don't know how much more I can live with.  Here are my questions: How do I get past 18 years of anger and resentment-how do I make that all diappear?  How do I get past all of the frustrations that are a necessary by-product of being married to a man with ADD?  How do I try to make this marriage work when I know deep down that he will never change in any fundamental way?  It is very hard to hope when you know there is no possibility for change?

I have read other posts and I identify with each of the sentiments I have read.  No, I don't want to be his mother and spoon feed him every piece of information.  Yes, I do want him to take resbonsibility for his actions.  Yes, his fear of confrontation makes me nuts, because nothing ever gets resolved.  Yes, his inability to sustain change for any meaningful length of time is maddening for me.  No, I don't understand why it is that the only way he functions, or takes an interest in fixing this marriage is if he is under pressure.  For years, the only venue open to me to bring about change in this marriage was my threat to walk out the door.  Sounds terrible, doesn't it?  But it worked, at least in the short term...He would feel the pressure to make changes and he did.  Of course, they only lasted as long as I was willing to play the charade of my departure being imminent.  As soon as things went back to normal again, and the pressure was off, so were all of the hard-won changes.  I can't even count how many times I have lived through this scenario.  I am tired of it.  I crave stability.  I realize now how pointless it is to try and effect change in my husband, but where does that leave me?  I read the blog about changing expectations as oppossed to lowering them, but what about my needs in this marriage?  Do I just give them up altogether?  What if he can't meet my core needs and values because his ADD keeps getting in the way?  I have my own personal baggage that I need to work on from my past, but I need stability to be able to do that.  I am hoping that connecting with others who are struggling through the same dilemnas will help me make it through.  I don't want to leave my marriage, but I am really all out of hope, and I don't seem to have the drive to keep trying to piece things back together yet again.

The posts on this site are

The posts on this site are just draining, and this is the one that speaks to me the most. I have been with my husband for 12 years and we have a four year old son. He has had awful depression for years, and thankfully he is finally getting his depression and ADHD ( recent diagnosis ) treated. I am so happy for him that he can play with our son and get back to making progress in his career. Still, despite almost a year of marriage counseling, our marriage and his ability to communicate are still shaky. When we are together he is mostly grumpy and ignores me, and when we are apart we occassionally have such nice phone calls that my hopes get up...and then are dashed when we are back together. I have the courage now to move us forward with planning a divorce-we will keep going to marriage counseling, but at some point my needs have to be met, darn it! The one great thing is that this has driven me to keep trying my own therapy, and exploring some of the reasons I married such a distant person has really helped me to exorcise some demons from my past. I'm not sure that real personal change would have been possible if I were married to someone more functional...

Your Own Needs in Your Marriage

I wrote a blog post about setting boundaries, and that is one that might be relevant for you.  Look in favorites.  You should most certainly pursue your own needs - and make sure that you get them.  The blog post about changing expectations vs. lowering them is one of my attempts to get at that issue.  To give you an example - this morning I talked with a mom who said that she sees buying a second set of textbooks to leave at home for her son as "giving in" to his ADD - that he should learn to remember his books.  I pointed out to her that her request that he remember to bring home his history book didn't take into account his ADD, and given that she was just expecting him to remember better, she was setting him up for failure.  The real point is that he learn - so what if he needs a second set of books right now while he learns to put other reminder mechanisms in place so that in the future he won't need to have two sets?  Before he could be successful, though, he needs a reminder system in place - one he doesn't yet have.  So for now, the textbooks.  Then, after he starts ADD treatment, learns to set his cell phone or use an agenda or some other technique...then he can remember.  That's changing expectations to take ADD into account.

A man on this site complained that his wife left her clothes in the dryer and would get dressed by getting out the ones she needed in the morning.  This drove him crazy, as he felt that she should learn to put her clothes away.  Why?  She had clean clothes, which is what she needed.  He simply had an expectation about how she should do something that she didn't meet.

Recently an ADD man called me and (among other things) complained that his wife's demands that he keep his sock drawer a certain way were going to lead to divorce.  I'm sure his socks are representative of a larger problem in their lives (probably something to do with tidyness) but clearly a sock drawer, which is hidden from sight after all, is not a reason for divorce!  (But was becoming so to this man.)

In all of these instances, the behavior was really, really irritating the non-ADD person.  Yet the issue was small and not really critical to the needs of the non-ADD person.  It was an issue of doing things one way versus another - an issue of imposing control on what feels like an out of control situation...a bit like your threatening to leave.  When I talk about changing expectations vs. lowering them, I'm talking about looking at your life to see what is absolutely positively critical to your needs, vs. what is nice-to-have.

Your challenge now, it seems, it to refind your boundaries - those absolutely positively must have things - and make them clear to both yourself and to your spouse.  Perhaps using a journal (or this forum, if you prefer, where others can give you feedback) ask yourself questions - is this thing really important?  How does it manifest itself in my marriage?  How would I like it to?  How would I encourage more of this thing/behavior?

You mention stability, for example.  Is stability absolutely critical for you in a relationship?  What does "stability" mean to you?  Can you isolate elements of "stability" that particularly please you?  How would you measure whether or not you were getting enough?  How could you get your husband into the loop in terms of creating enough stability (taking his ADD into account in terms of what you expect from him).

What are your other key boundaries?

Once you've started to sort through this, it's probably time for a good in-depth conversation with your husband about your needs and what your minimum requirements are for a successful relationship.  Let him understand how you'll be measuring it - so he isn't waiting with baited breath to see the other shoe drop all the time (unfair to put someone in this position).  Create regular check ins if you need to.  Take charge of your happiness and make sure that he remembers to remain responsive (i.e. doesn't get distracted from maintaining your relationship, which is all too easy to do).

One of the big mistakes made in ADD marriages is assuming that since an ADD person can imitate a non-ADD person for a short period of time (hyperfocusing) that means that they can become a non-ADD person.  This isn't true.  What they can become is an ADD person who has developed, along with his spouse, a series of accomodations for his ADD that both partners are at ease with.  These accomodations can be a wide variety of things - treatments, spousal "cues" to change behaviors at a given moment, sorting responsibilities to allocate them according to each individual's strength, etc.  Your exhaustion comes from expecting him to change his behaviors permanently, without putting in any substructure "coping mechanisms" that inherently change how your husband did things (or how the two of you interacted...depending upon what the changes were you were looking for).  Things don't change in the long-term for ADD people just because they try harder.  THey change when they try harder AND when they give themselves a new, successful coping strategy.

Here are some examples of coping strategies that might result in permanent changes:

  1. ADD person never remembers to do things that are in future.  New Coping Strategy (NCS): Learn to use the cell phone to set an alarm to go off when the item needs to get done.
  2. Person is too distracted to regularly pay attention to spouse.  NCS:  Schedule with the spouse twice weekly "dates" that are inviolate - NO way to reschedule
  3. Person is too distracted in bed to stay interested in sex.  NCS:  Regularly introduce new things into sexual play, schedule sex.
  4. Person has financial management challenges.  NCS:  Get finances outsourced or have more financially capable spouse take on financial tasks.  Exchange for something else.
  5. Person has trouble reading body language that lets him know when he is talking too much at parties.  NCS:  Develop a cue that the non-ADD spouse can give that says, essentially, "time to give the floor to someone else now".  Agree that it's a cue, not an insult.

All of these result in concrete changes to the way your life is moving forward - not just doing better due to temporary hyperfocusing (which is what was happening you your relationship) but actually changing how your spouse's life is structured so he can do things better.

Maybe this gives you some ideas into how to change the patterns you've been in before you've lost hope for good?

 

OOOORRRR

get a new spouse that isn't ADD and you won't have to reassess your "wants and must haves" in your relationship!!!!!!!!!!!

OOOORRR...BECAUSE

because the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, right?  Every spouse out there is perfect except for yours?  That must be why general population marriage satisfaction ratings in marriage research are so abysmally low...or perhaps ALL of those people have ADD???  Come on.  There are plenty of spouses here who, even when distressed about ADD symptoms, can realize that their spouses are wonderful human beings with whom they would like to share their life.  They're just trying to figure out how.

And sometimes, they opt out because they haven't been able to make it work.  Which is okay, too.  But marriage and ADD can go together beautifully.

Re: OOORRRR . . . BECAUSE

For the most part, I'd have to say that my marriage is a pretty good one.  I'm married to a man who was diagnosed with ADHD in his mid-20's.  We've been together for 16 years (married for 9).  We have three wonderful children (ages 5, 2-1/2 and 5 months).  Our marriage isn't perfect . . . but who's is?  Where I have weaknesses, he compliments them with his strengths and vice versa.  Sure I have to reassess my "wants and must haves" - but so does he.  He has made a lot of adjustments to how he does things to cope so that he is a good dad and husband.  It's give and take.  On both of our parts.  It may sound all easy and rosy as I write it, but believe me it is hard work.  But in my mind, all marriages are hard work.  So, for what it's worth, I agree that marriage and ADD can go together beautifully.  

greener on the other side of the fence? - out of line

Melissa-

Your retort above seems a bit harsh.  Not all non-ADD spouses who are exhausted from the "drama" and lonely from literal neglect are naively thinking ANYONE with a heartbeat is better than the current spouse!  You seem determined to avoid acknowledging that being married to an ADDer - especially one who refuses treatment- can drain even the most loving, giving, generous and well-adjusted spouse of everything he or she has.

Being in an ADD marriage can be very lonely for a non-ADDer who has to "schedule" time to talk or "schedule" time for sex or else risk being forgotten.   In fact, often I feel LESS lonely when I am actually alone than when I am in a room with my ADD spouse. Time spent together, as a result of the burden repeatedly falling to the same spouse, like a dentist appointment or a teacher conference, tends to lack luster.  I mean, we know that ADDers tend to avoid, procrastinate or put off things for which they lack passion.  Doesn't that speak volumes itself?  I mean, let's live in reality.  So, even though it might be necessary to schedule time together, it does not negate or diminish the fact that this task can be demoralizing for the non-ADD spouse.  

The ADD spouse may have good intentions, however, we aren't judged by our good intentions.  We are judged by our actions.  There is little solace in the fact that my spouse "says" he loves me when in fact, his actions show the opposite: forgotten anniversaries, never a phone call, utilities disconnected for lack of payment, etc. 

I don't advocate for divorce, however, when basic needs go unmet - I'm talking about the needs you refer to in the boundaries blog- divorce may be the only healthy course.  

You state above, "And sometimes they opt out because they haven't been able to make it work." My God, from what I keep reading in all these posts, it is not for lack of trying! Now you add a guilt trip on as well?  I think you were out of line in this post!

 

Harsh response

I apologize for the tone of my response.  I get tired of having people who are reading this blog focus in on my words when I ask a non-ADD spouses to acknowledge that their anger contributes to the poor state of their marriage and then ignore it when I ask ADD spouses to take responsibility for their ADD...then accuse me of being one sided and overly critical of non-ADD spouses and somehow be pampering ADD spouses.  This drives me CRAZY!!!  The proportion of responses to non-ADD folks here has nothing to do with who I am pampering or who I am not pampering, but with the proportion of who is writing forum entries and looking for input.  In any event, that's the reason...and possible an excuse.  :-)

I agree with what you say - ADD marriage can be lonely for a non-ADD spouse and VERY frequently is...until you work out a system to make it less so.  Mine used to be miserably lonely.  But it's not lonely now because my husband has gotten his act together and often initiates being with me...and always responds to me when I request he pay attention.  Yes, ADDers do put off what they don't lack passion for...but with the right "training" and environment, they can also do things they don't want to do, just like you  or I do.  Will my husband do everything?  No.  But I won't, either, so I can't really fault him there.  Yes, scheduling time together can be demoralizing...if you let it be and choose to take that point of view on it.  I used to share that view.  Now I see it as nothing more than a contribution that I can make to our partnership, which means that it isn't demoralizing anymore.  And since I don't feel put upon by the planning of things this communicates itself (verbally and non-verbally) to my husband, and we tend to have a better time because we don't start out our time together on a "down" note of resentment/demoralization.

Not everyone agrees with my point of view, and this blog is about success and ideas that people can think about to find it (though most of the forum postings are about being miserable and what to do, which skews how people perceive my own feelings, I think).  I was reading the Wall Street Journal this am and there is an article titled "Stress So Bad It Hurts - Really".  The article is about the effects of emotions of the feeling of physical pain.  Here's an excerpt:  "Emotions play a major role in how pain is perceived in the brain.  In the 1960s, Ronald Melzack, a Canadian psychologist, and Patrick David Wall, a British physician, offered a groundbreaking theory after observing soldiers in World War II.  "Two soldiers with nearly identical injuries from the same bomb blast would be sitting side by side in a hospital ward," Dr. Edwards explains. "One soldier would be saying, 'Hey doc, can you sew me up?  I need to get back to my unit.' And the other would be crying, moaning and writhing in pain."  Drs. Melzack and Wall determined that chemical gates in the spinal cord control pain signals from the body to the brain, depending largely on patients' emotional states.  Positive emotions diminished the perception of pain, while negative emotions kept the gates open - sometimes continuing the pain even after the initial cause had disappeared."

My belief is that we can proactively address mental pain with specific steps.  Some of these are physical things you do differently and some are taking more positive approaches.

I am frustrated by my inability to get across the huge difference a non-ADD spouse can make in her own destiny by doing specific things - getting treatment for depression symptoms, setting boundaries around her personal needs that help her hold her head high and keep her from losing her autonomy to ADD issues, learning ways to communicate that effectively use her anger as a force for the positive rather than a destructive force.  I am currently putting it into a book - the entirety of which I hope will convey my thinking - but responding piecemeal to people here means that sometimes I can't communicate fully all sides of the issue in these very, very complexly intertwined relationships.  And, unlike with a book, I get immediate feedback when people are mad at me or don't like what I write.  (That's good - keeps me on my toes and responsive!)  Anyway, I apologize for letting my frustration get the better of my response.

Melissa and harsh comments

Melissa I think its important for you to keep in mind that many people on here are just looking for a place to vent their feelings of frustration, anger, loneliness and emotional pain in a safe, faceless, judgment free manner.  Many are just looking for acknowledgment of their feelings, acceptance that their feelings are neither good nor bad, they just are.  It may be the only place they have to do this.  Venting can be a way to release, move on and deal with the next day's events.  I have read many posters looking for advice but many just seem to need a place to drop their negativity safely and move on.  They are obviously in a great deal of pain while writing.  If you could just remember that before you write a comment that may come off to many as harsh and judgmental it may avoid any backlash.  We all bring our own experiences to the table here.  Many of your posts tell about your own marriage.  I have benefitted from some of it, but some of it not so much.  I take what I think I can use from your posts as well as others.   I also see that you assume incorrectly sometimes that all non ADD spouses yell, criticize and belittle their ADD spouse.  Also keep in mind that while that may have been  your reality, that is not true in every relationship-you just don't know and answering posts with your background experiences in the forefront of your mind may come off as judgmental to some.   I have never ever raised my voice to anyone ever in my life.  I grew up that way and that's how I am.  I have lots of anger and resentment toward my husband (I have many posts as to why) but work that out in counseling on my own.  But what about all those people that don't have that?  Please, keep this a safe, non judgmental place for people to post as well as being an informative site.  Once people feel they are being acknowledged, they are more open to learning.

Thanks for letting me speak my mind here. 

Steph

Melissa, I appreciate your

Melissa, I appreciate your frustration, and I admire that you and your husband have turned your marriage around. Many other couples have not managed to do that, otherwise this blog/forum would not need to exist. The fact is, it takes two to tango, so to speak, and if both partners are courageous enough to face whatever the blockages are to their happiness in the relationship, and to deal with them, then of course marriages can be turned around. Many non ADD partners try and try for years and years and end up demoralised, depressed, debilitated, and de-just about everything else..... because although they are putting 500% energy into making the marriage work, including working out their own issues, the ADD person does not do the same, in fact s/he generally doesn't put in more than a tiny fraction of the effort required, and even that fraction is inconsistent. In my case I tackled my own issues, I never once raised my voice to my partner, and when I was angry I dealt with it away from him. One can't communicate with a partner who doesn't remember how to communicate effectively however many times you gently yet directly remind them, and this was how it was with my partner. I set boundaries and stuck to them. Ultimately this led to the marriage ending. And I am grateful it ended.

Basics needs

I wrote the first comment to this post, and thought it worth commenting again. I should also say that I have moderate ADHD myself (I actually DO the getting dressed out of the dryer thing), but I am very functional, have high tolerance for mess, and am in tune with my own issues (now, after therapy). So, most of my husband's ADHD doesn't bother me at all, at least not anymore. What bothers me is the extreme emotional neglect. I think that everyone, at least once, has said something harsh to the people that they they live or work with. Sometimes we can't help allowing our emotions to spill out, and the people who see that spillover are the people we spend time with. In that sense, I think spouses of those with ADHD are likely to have more emotional spillover (since we may be more frustrated, lonely, etc.) than other spouses. I certainly have been known to yell, and my husband has NO tolerance for any emotion in conversation, so even a raised voice is a discussion-ending event. For my part, divorce is a serious consideration because I have made a list of what I need to make this marriage something closer to what I want it to be. I have communicated this to my husband, we have discussed what actions are needed to make sure both of our needs are met. And, I have asked him to make up a similar list and communicate with me about it. The problem is that he has a hard time just vocalizing his own needs; he can vocalize negatives ("I want you to stop getting dressed out of the dryer"), but has a really hard time saying positives ("I would like the house to be more organized, especially when it comes to clothing"). We are in Gottman therapy, which is supposed to teach us these skills. Unfortunately, and like other posters, my husband will agree to a regular activity to increase our emotional or physical intimacy and then won't follow through. I am left even more frustrated and upset by the failed promise than I ever was by our poor communication, lack of sex life, feeling ignored, forgotten appointments, etc. There is ADHD-induced inaction that may look like selfishness, and then there is selfishness. If my husband doesn't change how he interacts with me, does it matter whether he simply couldn't change because of his ADHD, or if he chose not to change? Either way, I am not able to stay in this marriage, no matter how much I wish it were otherwise.

It's sadness, not anger

I had pulled back from this forum because I was getting tired of being told I was angry at my husband and what a big part of the problem that was. I haven't been angry with my husband for a long, long time (not in any significant way, that is). I have, however, been terribly sad by the same sorts of inaction and broken promises I am reading here. I am in pain because I believe that I have to leave this marriage. I love my husband, but I cannot "fix" him and he does not appear, by his actions, willing to do the work to "fix" (I'm using that word VERY loosely--don't jump down my throat, please) himself. 

For years he has talked a good talk, but he does not walk the walk. We are who we are by our actions, not our intentions. While having good intentions is, of course, good on one level, not acting in a congruent manner with those intentions is not only disappointing, it is like an emotional game of football between Charlie Brown and Lucy. The believer, in this case me (and other non-ADD spouses), wants very very much to believe in our partners, but their actions belie a reasonable investment in that belief. And still, time and again, we hang in there, knowing it is not meant to be hurtful, that a lot of it has to do with the disorder, and that our spouse is a good person. 

What I am going through, and what clearly others are going through, is the pain of waking up to reality. Not all of our spouses will take the steps needed to live well with ADD. And we can't do it for them. And so we are left to choose--stay with the person whom we love but who, no matter how inadvertently and unintentionally causes pain, or leave and rebuild our lives. 

There is where my anger/sadness lies--with the necessity of having to make that choice. Not with my husband.

 

It's freaky and really wierd

It's freaky and really wierd how all of you are inside my head.  Melissa, how did you know about the talking too much at parties?  And, Lili my anger and sadness comes from the same dilemna, it's the fact that I have to choose at all.  Reality can really suck...especially when I thought life was suppossed to turn out so differently.    After reading some of the responses, I started to wonder am I writing at this site to vent, or to find the advice I need to make things more manageable (read: Great).  Right now, I am not ready to fix, right now I need to give myself a chance to just not fix for a change, to find the inner resolve to keep trying.  I bought the book The Dance of Anger, but I haven't been able to open it up yet.  Part of me feels like if I attempt anything than I am "giving in" to him and his illness yet again.  I am finding it very hard to let go of things that have been important to me for years.  If I let these issues go, what does that mean?  All of these years I have been arguing and in pain for nothing??? I was wrong for 18 years?  How do I reconcile myself to that?  Meanwhile, I have been trying to rid myself of the anger and resentment, both through introspection and therapy, but I think I am angry at my husband for not being the man I thought he was, and forcing me to deal with these issues and making my life so difficult. Melissa, thank you for your advice about setting boundaries and communicating my needs etc. I think I have trouble seperating my core values from everything else that I've considered a need for the past decade and more.  I can't seem to seperate the issues anymore, and besides, I feel like if I give even an inch and cede, then he will see that as an opportunity to do even less than he what he's been doing because now I've provided him with another out, another reason to not even try.  I know what you're thinking, it is not fair of me to ask him to try something that he is not capable of doing, (lame guy running the marathon analogy) but sometimes it feels like there isn't much he CAN do.  I know, again, unfair.  Can you tell me more about hyperfocusing?  Is it so terrible to want to control at least one thing in a life that is so completely beyond my control?  It is so frustrating knowing that I can change and change until I am a completely different person and yet the situation itself will stay the same...the only difference will be my reaction to it.  How do you reconcile yourself to choosing a life that pales in comparison to what you thought you'd have?  How do you let go of the fantasy of a normal life?  Do you just decide that the benefits of being with your ADD spouse outway the downsides and the aggravations?  Is that do-able?   

The "need/want" list

I had the same feeling that people here had gotten inside my head...I even had a moment late one night where I thought I had actually written the original comment and had simply forgotten about it! This question seems to be at the heart of our collective dilemma: "Do you just decide that the benefits of being with your ADD spouse outweigh the downsides and the aggravations?" Melissa Orlov provided a partial answer with her suggestion to make a list of (essentially): 1) Things that can't be lived without; 2) Things that are not vital, but really, really important; and 3) things that are unimportant. Certainly this list changes over time, and it takes strength to be able to decide what is REALLY a deal-breaker when you are talking about a relationship that has lasted decades, produced children, etc. For me, I was able to narrow my #1 needs down to three things: Physical/sexual intimacy, emotional intimacy, cooperation. I even listed out exactly what I viewed as a minimum in each category (e.g., for cooperation, one 20-min conversation on Sunday to discuss household chores, etc.). Honestly, almost everything else for me falls into #3. The hardest things is getting my husband to make a similar list - and if our lists don't overlap, and if we can't reach a compromise, then it really is game over. Sex doesn't seem important to him right now except as an abstract concept, and unless he can make sex important (because it is important to me), then how can we stay together. Same thing for me: I know a clean house is important to him, and if we can't agree on what "clean" means, then we are setting ourselves up for failure. I absolutely agree with someone on here who said that there should be more discussion out there about adult ADHD and its impact on life, relationships, careers. I don't think professional are as aware of it as they should be, let alone us spouses!

What you describe sounds so

What you describe sounds so rational.  Have a discussion, come to an understanding. Done.  I wish I lived in that world.  My husband will have the discussion with me and will agree to anything and everything (he genuinely does want to do these things, to please me probably) but then nothing ever comes of it.  And if I point out to him during such a discussion that as much as I appreciate his offer, it is unrealistic ("No sweetie, you can't be here to take our daughter to the tutor at 4:00 when you are leaving work at 3:30 and it's an hour dirve."), he swears he will make it work, and refuses to hear me.  I've had the "These are the things I can't live without" discussion and he knows I'm serious about it, and he really does want to accomodate me, but it never lasts.  Ironically, I think that is the one thing left on my #1 list:  When you say you will do something, follow through...like the Nike commercial, "Just do it!"  but that seems to be the one thing he can not do.  It's very hard for me to keep reminding myself that just because he says he will do something and he doesn't does not mean he is not a man of his word.  It is often very hard for me to respect him because of this.  If he does not have the ability to follow through on anything he says he will do (and I am not looking for 100%), then no matter how many counselors/therapists we work with, and no matter how many great suggestions they have, none of it will make a difference, because as someone else here wrote, at the end of the day, does it matter if he can't or he won't?  Ultimately, it's the same bottom line.

It's sadness, not anger

Well put.  I've experienced the same with my ADHD husband also.  It is very frustrating.  I'm at the point where almost everything he says just goes in one ear and out the other.  That way my hopes don't go up and down, like they used to.  I would feel emotionally drained all of the time.  Now, if he follows through on something he talks about doing, I look at it as a bonus in the relationship.  You learn to not expect things to happen but if it does then you have a "little" surprise.   

A great sadness

I agree with the posts here about sadness. It is about the sadness I feel - I don't feel anger towards my husband, who has ADD. I feel sadness that his world is so complicated, and by association so is mine and my childrens'. I love him dearly, but I feel that I pay a big price for the good times we have. I am currently thinking that perhaps the price is too high. He tries, but there is only so much he seems to be able to do. Sometimes he catches himself about not ringing when he said, or being home hours late, he is always sorry. His intentions are good, but that doesn't make me feel any less lonely. I have not quite come to the point where I can just hear his promises and not expect them to occur - it still hurst when he inadvertantly forgets what he said, what he promised. Sometimes he is so loving and other times he is cold and I feel that I am being punished. I need to stop hoping that he will change and get over the hurt and disappointment that I feel most days and just accept him for how he is - no expectations is the best way and then like 'dogswife' said then you get little surprises. I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn't understand how difficult and lonely it can be.

Sophi

re:The other side

As I read your posts there is a deep sadness for me . The hoplessness that is protruded from what you write is heartbreaking. So many of you talk about leaving. I understand, living with Adhd is exasperating. My husband whom I 'am now seperated from has found out the price he is paying for all he has done. He has lost his wife and family. Next week the papers will be finalized and really is it easier now?I want to write and tell you the other side. Leaving is lonely also. Even though I 'am healthier , happier and finding myself again, there is loneliness and sadness also. The sadness that my husband hasn't changed much. He still drinks and he  came over the other night drunk He won't get help. The one thing that came out good of the situation is he is finaly doing quality things with the kids on the weekends without drinking in front of them. ( I told him that I'll cut out visites if he does). He came over the other day as I was cleaning out the garage(which was piled with all his tools and stuff pile). He started to help I didn't ask him. after about a hour or I went to the front door and it was left open. I asked where the dog was and the door can't be left wide open. (the neighbors don't want my dog over and will call the police) so he got mad and stormed off to his car and came back and in a gruff way asked if we still had a chance between us. As I started to say the way things are he cut me off and in a mean tone said I don't mean that  I want to know yes or no! with a beating heart I had to say no not now., not now. It was sad. I know that I'am doing the best thing for all of us but I feel so sad, I have lost my partner.  I don't fit in with singles or married people. I have a glimpse of what a widow feels like but my husband is alive and we are apart  that is so hurtful. My advice is really think of all the circumstances and what its doing to your family. there are no easy answers for me it hasn't been easy I'am not having happy parties here. My one son says I seem happy but not sad like them. I tell him I ;am sad but I have peace from God from my faith there are times where I cry in my room. But one thing for sure is there is a lot more peace and calmness in my house which has been good for all of us. May you find your way God Bless....

No no no Optomistic, that is

No no no Optomistic, that is not what widowhood is like. That's a sadness that is like no words can describe. Its better to be in your situation by far. By far Bless you