I have a question for every single person on this blog.  How do you DEAL with the constant lying???  My husband will lie about ANYTHING!  When he gets mad at me he will take off on his motorcycle and not come back for hours.  AND THIS MAN IS 60 YEARS OLD!!!  It used to upset me to the point of tears, but that was decades ago and now I am usually glad to see him go because I have my own motorcycle and can do the same thing...but I am rambling.   When he comes back he will lie about where he has gone.  He will say that he "went by" someone's house, but it will turn out that he went BY this house on the way to a bar!  I found a half used bottle of "personal lubricant" in his tank bag.  When I confronted him with it he looked totally confused and said he didn't know where it came from.  I have no trouble believing THAT because he has no stinkin' memory!!!  I can deal with the disorganization and the lack of memory and (for the most part) the fact that I don't think he knows I exist, but the LYING!!!  THAT I cannot live with.  Somebody please calm me down.

Well, first, by "every single

Well, first, by "every single person" do you mean every person or every unmarried person?  

Just in case you meant the former, here goes:  I have no idea why my husband, who has ADHD, thinks it's OK to lie.  I think that lying to one's spouse is rude and immoral.  


My son explained to me that "everyone lies." And when I expressed the same exasperation you have expressed about my ex's lying, son told me that he himself did that sometimes to his girlfriend just because he didn't want to be bothered with having to explain himself. To me, that is probably the most honest answer. I figured out my ex also lied because he had no idea what he had previously said to me about anything -- so he would just make something up to fit the occasion. To me it is plain and simple -- one lies because they are dishonest and don't really care enough to be honest.

I don't agree that everyone

I don't agree that everyone lies because to me that is a sociopathic way of looking at things. Let's be immoral because it's convenient and we just don't care! Yuck. I don't think most people actually do it and if they do, we're in trouble out there.

I am trying so hard to see

I am trying so hard to see this as a "disability" and go at it from that angle, but it is a struggle.  Even though I say that I have no expectations of my husband, evidently I still do.  He told me yesterday that I would never be happy until I was with someone with a normal brain.  That really bothered me so once again I am making an effort.  I have to find a way to level out this roller coaster.  It's making me very old.

Normal brain

And what exactly is wrong with wanting a person with a normal brain? Normal desires? Normal reactions? Normal expectations? Normal morals and values? Normal shouldering of their own responsibilities?

His comment sounds manipulative to me -- poor me, can't do anything about it, you are the problem because you won't accept me as I am. ADHD people are responsible for trying to improve themselves, just like anybody else. I just don't buy this "ultimate disability" act that excuses them from any responsibility. One of our counselors told him, "Just because you forgot something doesn't mean you are off the hook. You still must go back and correct or make it right."

Got news for him -- none of us "normals" are accepted exactly as we originally come either. It takes a lot of work to make a good relationship. If only one hand is clapping, there won't be any sound.

Hmm...when you put it that

Hmm...when you put it that way.  OMG...I need an island to run away to.  The only thing I can do is try to remain CALM when he does stuff that just drives me NUTS.  I have been with him for 30 years, but we just found out about the ADD a few months ago.  This is so new and confusing.  And I don't care what anyone gets worse with age.

what exactly is wrong with

what exactly is wrong with wanting a person with a normal brain?

Nothing is wrong with it is just that you are with the wrong person if that is what you are expecting,  try as you might you can't square a circle. 







I have seen some of your

I have seen some of your posts Jon.  You are very insightful.  I have only read a little so I don't know much about you.  Are you married?  Kids?  How is your relationship?  I did notice that  you said criticism is the worst thing that non-ADDers can do, and I paid attention to that.  I am through trying to change him.  I need to know how to DEAL with him.  Help me.  I am 54.  In very good shape and OCD.  He is 60 and in fair shape.  Like a lot of other women, I had to get on antidepressants to deal with my relationship because I had no idea he was ADD.  I can't change him so it is obvious that I have to change me and just deal with it.  ARGH!  I can only spend a limited amount of time with him because of his ADD, but I want things to be nice when we do things together.

  I am married and I have 4


I am married and I have 4 kids,   one of which is a special needs kid that requires full time care, my relationship is difficult,  but we are working on it, it is slow and every day is one foot in front of the other.   I guess as has been pointed out this forum is bound to be full of people having difficulties,   I suspect those with a healthy relationship don’t go looking for forums to  talk about how great everything is, they are off soaking up the sunshine and sharing good times.  That would be my aim longer term :)

My wife has an obsessive personality, I think the combination of ADHD in one spouse and obsessive traits in the other would have to be one of the most challenging.   You guys are always going to be mortified by our seeming lack of order.  We are always going to see you’re obsessing over the need for order as something easily dismissed because it is unobtainable to us and all we *can* be is a failure,  it is just easier to rationalise it as your problem.   

Lying is a hard one, I was thinking about this on the way to work this morning as it does seem to be a frequent cause of complaint amongst the Non ADHD spouse and I must admit to venturing into that territory myself, although as I have got older I couldn’t be bothered with the stress of it. 
First thing to realise is that *everybody* lies.    For instance when you are feeling crap and the local store keeper says “how are you today” you say “good thanks” because you don’t know them very  well and  you don’t really want to go into the details of why you feel crap and in any case they don’t really want to hear it.

Another example is the classic (apologies for the sexism in advance) “does my bum look big in this (pants, dress, skirt)” Everyone with an ounce of social skills knows the answer is no, regardless of what you actually are thinking.  
When seen like this lies are an important part of social function.      Now I raise this for a couple of reasons:  

1. I am often really bad at the social cues where I *should* lie.      So I’m the type of social retard that would say “yes” to the question above and then be confused as to why I ended up in the dogbox.     I am often seen as blunt and lacking tact or being too honest when the situation calls for me to lie.

2. I do things without thinking,   I am typically very bad at projecting forward in time to think about the consequences, so I find myself in bad situations where I seem to be the last to know. 

When  questioned on it a couple of things can happen: 

I might lie though *omission*  i.e. tell the skeleton of the story but omit the details that make me look like a idiot: “I crashed my bike when I hit a patch of gravel” instead of “ I was staring into space thinking about  how the website I was looking at the other day had some really cool tools I would like to buy,  I really like German tools,  especially those ones I watched that video on YouTube of the them making in their factory the other day  and it’s really amazing how they hand make every rasp by heating them till they get red hot and punching the teeth into them manually, that must take ages,  I wonder how the cheap ones are made” and then I hit a large patch of gravel somehow I didn’t even see that I could have easily avoided *IF* I  had been focused on the road.

This is your husbands “going by” a mate’s house. Well he did, this was not an active lie,   it’s just that he omitted some details that completed the picture.

I “went by” my mate’s house and went to a bar because I got overwhelmed by our argument about me doing something stupid again or not doing what I should.   I freaked because nothing I ever seem to do is good enough and I needed to go to an environment where nobody is going to attack me or question my lack of effort and where I can “self-medicate” with alcohol, calm down and get my head straight.  (of course what really happens is you drink and stew on things, what little restraint you do have goes out the window and you say even more hurtful things).
I have been known to storm out of the house and ignore my phone out of spite and I have been known to get smashed   in response to stress;  neither of which is productive or very rational but they *are* a pressure relief valve when  I feel like I am going to blow a gasket.  

Alternatively I may lie by *commission*:   I find myself in a situation where I have done something stupid without thinking of the consequences.  I may have vagued out missed something important that  was I supposed to do that caused a problem and I am potentially in deep sh**.

For instance:  I once dropped a whole pallet of goods while unloading them from a truck, it was a large 1.5 ton unwieldy pack of fiberboard that slid of the forklift and landed squarely on top of the Forman’ s  SUV.     Now in reality I had done this task many times and was being gung-ho and reckless, I was not paying enough attention and was thinking about something else, someone could have died if I had not been lucky.      If I had admitted to this I would have lost my job and had to pay for the damage of the goods AND the SUV.   

So it just happened to be that there was a pothole in the loading bay near to where the wheels were.  We had known about this for some time and had asked for it to be fixed.    So when the Forman went off his brain about his SUV,  I in turn went off about how the wheel had gone into the pothole and how it had nearly tipped and I how could been killed, in faux outrage I complained to the union rep and threatened to report it to  the Health and Safety Dept.      The result was:  I kept my job, the company paid for the damage to the SUV and the pothole got fixed.       Was this moral or the “right” thing to do? Probably not.  Do I feel guilty? Nope, I have had to cover my ass over doing stupid crap my whole life,  lying is a tool of the trade.  

The other thing is that lying in itself has consequences, i.e. you need to remember them or you get caught out (and then need to feign outrage and try to turn it into a question of trust etc.)  So if you are prone to blurting things out without thinking through the consequences then instead of just telling the truth you might lie just because that is the first thing that comes to mind ( often because we automatically go on the defensive).

If our brains had that filtering system where cause and effect where linked and where consequence was seen as the end result of a progression of action though time( time is alien to us)  then we most likely would not lie in this situation.   

So lies beget more elaborate lies and this builds up stress and stress in turn makes us frustrated and angry and even less unable to focus and apply attention where it is needed. We kick ourselves for getting into this mess because what started out simple is now such a tangled web of deceit that we can’t keep track of and is all going to come down our ears…

Crap the world is a complicated and confusing place.

I will revisit this later, specifically I will try and think about some ways to work around this situation… sorry for the very long post but I  do get carried away sometimes.


to Jon

I totally enjoyed your post.  My husband's name is John, so I feel a connection.  LOL. 

I had to laugh at the story about the foreman's SUV.  I don't know that I would have been as quick on coming up with a reason for the destruction!  And I do understand that everyone lies...and a lot, but usually, if someone is going to lie, I expect it to be about destroying SUV's not where you did or didn't go on a cycle ride.  I don't know about the other readers on this blog, but I am printing all of your suggestions and examples and trying like hell to incorporate them into my responses to my husband.  This comment...You guys are always going to be mortified by our seeming lack of order.  We are always going to see you’re obsessing over the need for order as something easily dismissed because it is unobtainable to us and all we *can* be is a failure,  it is just easier to rationalize it as your problem.   is DEAD ON!  In my mind, things need to be done the CORRECT way or it is not good enough.  My husband thinks the right way is the FASTEST way.  Needless to say, we clash in this area.  I am a clean freak and a minimalist, and my husband tends to hoard and clean the middle, but not the edges. 

I think the hardest part of ALL of this was not knowing for 30 years.  Now that I KNOW what the problem is, I believe that I am flexible and determined enough to see it for what it is and realize that my expectations are unrealistic and not because he is just a jerk who won't make an effort.  My husband doesn't have much of an anger issue.  He is passive for the most part, and willing to make an effort.  It's just that I have to keep reminding and reminding and reminding. 

Thanks again for you comments.  May you should write a book?  :-)

Lies, why, and what you do

i also have a adhd guy who i feel lies constantly, i would have to be a sleuth and track his movements to be able to present hard evidence but there are tooooo many hiccups that dont add up, just last evening he said he could not come over. i havent seen him in awhile and hes been working alot, plus we have nearly seperated several times because he has a bad habit of promising me his time and then, as it nears the late hour when we are about to get together, he has some 'reason' he's unable to make it. most of them are add related: he's forgotten, he's helped someone else and thrown his back out [he is notorious for doing absurb things for strangers, like carrying a flat screen tv up a flight of steps by himself or loading a washer and dryer in a truck for complete strangers---then me, the person who has made dinner for us and is eagerly awaiting him, is left cold because he is unable to move.]and some of these reasons are just flat out lies--which i dont think are ADD related, but are just a by product of this persons mind and the way they have a need to cover stuff up to keep the peace: if he lies to me and i buy it, then he's avoided a conflict, which is the death knell for him. he has nothing to lose by continuing to lie, there is always going to be a high chance you will buy the lie--or at least part of it. and by staying with a liar, all i do is reinforce this bad behavior. And even better in how it works to his advantage, if he lies and i dont buy it, i question him and it becomes uncomfortible, he is still more comfortible in this type of proof it isnt a lie argument than he is in being outright honest. to be honest would make him feel out of control, because my anger would be at somehting real: him, for doing something bad. and there would be conswquences to his honesty: ie, if hes with another i will leave him. he doesnt want the loss, or the consequance of honesty so he will gladly trade both of those for an argument over what seems to me to be a lie but one that i cant always prove. the lies get more complex, more eleborate, more justified and i never really know what is truth anymore. this erodes trust, which is the base of any relationship. i have grown tired and so deeply hurt from the constant excuses and the borderline lies, partial lies, omissions of truth and the outright you've got to be kidding lies. i think one of my main problems [and could be yours] as a non add person is that of projection: i simply am not wired to be a dishonest person. i dont lie nor do i think ahead to plan to lie to cover something i shouldn't be doing in a relationship. in other words, my actions would not see me cheating because i dont lie and know i wouldn't get away with it. i think i project this integrity rich sensibility on to my partner and in turn, he uses that to his advantage to lie to me and make me believe whatever is suitable in the moment..last night was one of those promised date nights where he had been putting me off, putting me off for weeks. he has canceled or had memory lapse the last several months. when he does initiate a plan with me, im the one who always ends up checking in with him and he ends up having forgotten then we end up not getting together because im upset and it has gotten so late-I feel rejected that he has missed yet another planned time to give back to me so theres tension or a bad feeling and by then, we just let the whole night go. so last night there was alot riding on us getting together. he had told me just two nights ago he was making a new fresh start with me and was not going to put me last anymore. so the night is ticking on and no him. here it is going on 10pm, and he is saying he isnt able to come just yet because there is a police car in the parking lot where his truck is. his truck tags just expired and he is worried he might get a ticket or pulled over if he leaves now. he wants to wait until the police car leaves. then he says he hopes he doesnt fall asleep first. i knew it! he is trying to line up an exit ramp. i suggest he take his friend brians car. he lives in the same place and he uses his car alot when his truck isnt working. he says," oh no, i dont want to bother brian so late [its ten pm on a sat night and he is up this late] hes got class tomarrow."he has class tomarrow?" I say. my guy continues to explain how the college Brian goes to has classes sunday morning--so he cant use his car. i know there is no way in the world that a university campus is holding classes sunday am. So now he has two excuses lined up that reek of lies. one, i would have no idea if police were called to his apartment complex, but what makes me think its a lie is that he's stated he cant use his friends car bc hes in class sunday am. that is just too far fetched. then, hes got the i might fall asleep before the cop car leaves. he then proceeds to tell me over the course of the next hour that the police cars are still there.  he stretches this out until midnight and by then it is just too late to get together. he then says well, what are you doing tomarrow? he did the exact same thing to me last sat when we were going to see a movie, had an excuse, then dragged it out until too late to go, and made a plan with me for the next night. so..fresh start,,plan for a sat night together, blows me off too late in the evening to do anything else, asks if he can see me the next afternoon. i told him how i felt, that it was the last straw and he listened. then he said well, im not sure why your upset, I *was* going to come over, I didnt say I wasnt, but now that your disspointed with me and have made me feel bad, i dont want to. AGGG, he set me up, hurt me yet again, then when i expressed upset, he used that as the 'reason' he isnt going to see me. He could have even stopped me when i was saying how hurt i was that he was canceling on me again, but he didnt. he let me say what i felt and then a very cruel game and one that is crazy making. he lies about everything. He once left me before fireworks because he said he had to clean his apartment, i learned later that he didnt do that but comforted a friend he felt badly for. he has broken my heart, my spirit, my trust and my faith. i realize in writing this that while i love him, i cant respect him. and that raises questions abut me,,,if i cant repsect him, i definitely dont respect myself. if im staying with someone who hurts me repeatedly, ADD or no ADD, im not valuing myself. I'm mad at him for not treating me better than i treat me. If i stay with someone who hurts me and does not register it or help with the hurt feelings their actions or non actions cause me, than i am doing a grave disservice to myself. i am staying involved because of how he's made me feel in the past and my faulty thinking is that he will, if i am patient, loving, forgiving and kind, come back to me and treat me that way again. but i must be living in as large a dillusion as he is, because all my pateince or love in the world has not seen him coming back with the love or respect he once gave. the truth is that he doesnt make me feel that way now and hasent in a long time. he treats me in a way that i wouldnt treat a houseplant and his behavior ADD or not reeks of the hallmark of a bad partner--forgetful, inconsiderate, non attention giving, not able to register others hurt or respond to what their actions have caused, non showing of love. at the end of the day it has to come down to whether you want to live with a person who utimatelty causes you to suffer--immensely---not a little,not once in a while, but immensely.there is not a week that you have prob gone thru where you havent been hurt by some ADD related behavior or some other non ADD bad relationship behavior. Are you willing to continue paring yourself down, metal on metal to stay in this marriage. i have read this board for over a year and read tons of posts and what i have learned most from reading many ADD male partners posts is that they dont change or even consider how their behavior hurts their partner while they are actually IN the relationship. its like they cant SEE you, or the issues in a way that would allow them to tend to them. it doesnt matter how bad it gets, they are merged with you and dont register that they could lose that person entirely until they do. they only stop to put the peices together after they have been left and their illusionary world closes in on them. if i was married to this person and i knew what i know now, i would step out of the relationship temporarilly in order to save it. i would not try to fight the dragon in the ring but do so in a way that honors yourself [being with a crazy maker is soul killing and it really wrecks you, then you are empty and feeling like a lunitic.], and honors what is left in the marriage. it will be hard but it is the only option as 30 years, cmon, if things were going to change, they would have. tell your partner you will stay married to them but you need to leave--or they need to leave the house. tell then how much you love them and how much you want to stay with them, but that your efforts to identify what doesnt work in the marriage have to be equal to his--and unless he is contributing to that, you have to stay out of the relationship. you can honor your morals to not be divorced, but you also need to honor your self as a human being to not be cheated on and mistreated--and that is happening alot and will continue to do so unless a physical alternation in the way the relationship is lived takes place. that does not mean being under the roof with him. nothing will change by you moving into the downstairs den or another bedroom. he needs to wake up alone and feel you gone. have days without you, maybe even weeks. if you can give 30 years to a marrige, you can give 3 weeks to do soemthing different to save that same marriage. love can sometimes inspire a person to be the best they can be, and also sometomes loss can have the same effect. sadly, its uitsually either one of the other and loss usually wins over love when it comes to making one value what they once had. once this psychic fullness of being with you day and night and having you always be there drains away that he will be driven to look into his contribution of what is okay to do to his wife and what isnt okay. you deserve this much! it is bare basic human right to live without the kind of suffering you are conscious of and staying tethered to.  

You only got one thing wrong....

You have evaluated a lying partner's actions quite accurately accept for one point ---  a person like you are describing doesn't usually "get it" even after the partner leaves them. I'll think you'll find that the majority either keep on going to the next sucker without ever looking back or make exquisite promises that are just continuations of their lying. In other words, if they think you are leaving, they promise the moon, and when they hook you again it's business as usual.

Why do you want to mess up your life with a jerk like this? If you feel empty, change your life. Quit living in Wonderland -- wondering what life could be like if only he would _______ (fill in the blank). He is taking you for a fool and you are biting hook, line, and sinker. A man who treats his partner this way is not going to wake up some morning no matter what you do and thank you for making him see the light. He is getting exactly what he wants. This is NOT ADHD behavior -- this is more like "Once a jerk, always a jerk."

Sorry to be so blunt, but you need to wake up and move on.

once bitten 3 times shy?

I understand that the best things are achieved in a spirit of convivial discussion, but I can’t help but wonder does “dump the jerk and move on” as an answer to every question count as constructive? From my reading,  your experience as a partner of ADHD spouse is, well multitude.   What positive strategies were gleaned from this other than a scorched earth policy being the default? 

I only ask because I am sure  that not everyone wants to feed their ADHD spouse to the lions, and in all that time you surely must have gained a lot of valuable *constructive* insight for people who really want to make things work, that and rule 3 in the posting rules is "Helpful hints encouraged"  ;)

Point taken

I'm sorry to come across so negatively, but note that I usually respond only to those with partners who do not appear to be very interested in carrying their part of the relationship and border on abusiveness.

I have to say that my father was probably ADHD and would do anything for anybody. He was not available much, but was reliable, had a good job, let my mother handle the finances, and taught us to be moral and responsible. My grown children are ADHD and are moral, responsible, good people who struggle sometimes but are good to their families, know how to work and hold a job and genuinely try to improve themselves. One husband was ADHD and grew up under very difficult circumstances. However, he could take care of himself and was not deliberately abusive, although he wasn't what one would call good husband material.

The last husband was verbally, physically, and sexually abusive. He knew he was ADHD, as are many of his relatives. Experts say 60% of ADHDers have co-existing mental disorders. In my case, his co-existing disorder was denied and he was dangerous. He was NOT genuinely moral, responsible, kind, or willing to take any responsibility for problems caused by his condition. He had a good job, was intelligent, dishonest, controlling, blaming, crazy-making, a sex addict, and much much more interested in finding loopholes and excuses than taking responsibility for himself or our marriage. I left the marriage with PTSD, very much damaged. I essentially lost my career, my self confidence, my friends, and still suffer sometimes from depression, flashbacks, and bad dreams.

Melissa does a fantastic job coaching marriages that can be helped. If a spouse wants the marriage to work, is kind-hearted, is apologetic when wrong, wants to be a good parent, etc.,  -- her book and advice is wonderful. But when I read the posts about abusive, dishonest, evasive, cheating, volatile men who don't appear to care at all about the partners they are destroying .... I'm afraid that kind of advice may sometimes give false hope, prolonging the agony some women are experiencing.

I really don't want to throw all ADHDers out on their butts. However, there seems to be plenty of good advice here for those wanting it. But for me, it would have been better if I would have realized earlier that not all people who lie or are immoral are that way because they have ADHD and are forgetful, apologetic, confused, or can't help it. ADHD or not, some are just plan evil and are exploiting someone's patience and kindness. If you are in a relationship with THAT kind of partner, you're wasting your time trying to fix them.


Rarely is it so black and white

But for me, it would have been better if I would have realized earlier that not all people who lie or are immoral are that way because they have ADHD and are forgetful, apologetic, confused, or can't help it.

You are saying you once believed that all people who are” immoral” or lie are ADHD and couldn’t help it?   As you have now realised this type of behaviour is found in plenty of perfectly Non ADHD types i.e. the “evil” types as you would characterise them.

So that being the case, what has ADHD got to do with anything?  It sounds to me like most of the abusive partners are in denial that they even have this condition in the first place, let alone want to make any effort to actually resolve anything.      
Surely the bottom line is that if you are with an abusive spouse then the best thing you can do is to get out regardless of ADHD or not?

 It is worth noting that a significant component of the book is about *both* spouses behavioral interactions.   Not being ADHD in a relationship does not automatically qualify one for sainthood, nor for being great “husband or wife” material. 

Just sayin. 

Bug off

Jon, I'm not here to word spar with you. My posts are written towards women who are thinking their ADHD partners are as innocent as they are but are having the wool pulled over their eyes. If you can relate to my posts, I hope to be helpful in some way. If not, I'm not interested in defending my personal experience to you or having you analyze it for me. It is what it is.

i get it!

so im reading the exchange here between you both and i get it and ive learned from both your posts. with lynnie i understand exactly the place your coming from; so often women are long suffering partners to all sorts of bad realtionships. it takes alot of mental energy and clarity to sort thru what behaviors are connected to a disorder and what are just bad, and then to what degree the partner is willing to acknowledge and  transcend to their ability that which hurts the partner or harms the whole of the relationship. things bleed together and arent always so easily sorted. its worse if one's adhd partner is adept at manipulating or offering logical reasoning for WHY the other partner doesnt have a right to their own perceptions, experiences and feelings. this, in my expereience, is one of the worst traits I've seen in an relationship with a adhd partner; their complete inabilty and unwillingness to allow another to perceive, feel and process their own experiences--but use argument and devils advocate reasoning to diminish or invalidate the other. its a sage narricistic trait, it is insulting, demeaning and is part of a spectrum of verbally abuse tactcis often done by men as outlined in a fantastic book by patricia evans called the verably abusive relationship. logical arguments to emotional processing or the sharing of feelings crushes the heart and spirit of the other. while lynnie was putting me down and telling me to get out, she wasnt trying to say that all adhd people should be dropped from ones life or that they were inherantly evil. she is saying that there is a line in which to be drawn and if one partner isnt doing right by the other, than stop wasting your love.  jons post made some great points in that it was a bit harsh, but then she offered the context for where she was coming from, which worked for me.

too often women, especially ones who come from homes in which they were ignored or abused, dont have the point of referecne for what love is or what actions constitute love and what actions clearly are the opposite of love--even tho the partner insists they love you. physical abuse isnt love but the partner always professes their love for the other when they try to leave. sexual abuse or intimidation, control, verbal put downs, covert verbal abuse of diminishing a persons point of veiw also are all opposite behaviors of love, yet so many women stay with these partners and suffer because they dont have the point of reference to grasp that the crumbs they get in the relationship are far outweighed by the destruction to their spirit or soul. rarely will you know of a man who has been abused or suffered at the hands of his partner the way women tend to be. rarely has a man stayed for years in a relationship and ben miserable while the woman cheats on him, lies and puts him down. and many of these relationships involve multiple areas of disorders that the partner has, including adhd. women are adept at understanding and accepting a partners flaws. they take the label and try to give the bad behavior context to see if they can help the situation or their partner. its admirable. but many become really invested --overly invested--at seeing the relationship stay afloat, even as it gets unlivable and becomes terrible and painful for them. its like rearranging the chairs on the deck of a sinking ship. by the time you are living in this, one is depressed, confused and often alone. their sense of what was wrong is undermined by the partner and their point of refercne to reality test is diminished. that;s becase there is a narrisistic elemant to the partner that if isnt picked up on will insist that black is white and that you just dont see if correctly. i agree with lyniee in that she has a right to her own experiences, she lived them, she doesnt need to expain further why she feels the way she does or defend what she went thru that led to her feeling the way she does. im not sure you have ever had ptsd from a long term abusive realtonship, so why undermine her or try to put her experiences on the same page as your? to do so shows an inabilty to step outsdie oneself and grasp that other people are entitled to their feelings and perceptions and dont need to have them picked apart or actively argued against. it is exhausting. and unnessecary. the allowing of feelings is a primary right to the kind of allowing that respectful partnerships have. a great book for anyone adhd or not is by david richo and is called how to be an adult in a relationship. its a great book period and it outlines what the emelants are to sustaining and creating a respectiful and awesome relationsip. the diminishing trait is a primary example of something  ive expeirenced with a add parter--they will go out of their way to devalue your own experiences to make sure you only see theirs. or the way you see soemthing will make them feel threatned because they have dont the same thing that you now take a stand on, in their feelign threatned, they will pick you apart. if they can dismantle your own perception, then they feel less threatened you;'ll be upset if their adhd behavior has them doing the samr thing. i see this as big stumbling block to a union and it ties right in with those who are also very willing to loop their partner into the part of the 'problem' of the add relationship. i find these traits in a person to be far more damaging and insideous than the regular ADD guy who is kind of clueless and not tuning in to his partner. 

also, just as a side note to lynnie, my guy is very young, in his mid 20's and i'm older with the kind of emotional maturiy that alot of men dont come into until much later in life, that he is young and add means there are so many gray areas with him that its become impossbile to know what can be elevated to work for us and what is just never going to change. i know in posting that my relationship is sub par to most on here, where these are mature couples who have marriages and long term relationships. what i guess i was tryng to do was offer my own petty ridicuulous relationship as a back drop for how bad things get and how we keep making excuses for our partners and continue to stay with them. i was hoping to get the original poster to understand how bad her own situation is by reading about my situation, and i also wanted to offer her some [what i felt ] much needed support in validating herself to that she could step outside of the realtionship in an  new direction of trying to salvage it. as far as posters on here who lament to the losses they have after their partner leaves them, and all the things the partner said over the years that they are now finally able to se...well, i dont know them personally so i would have no idea if they implent these changes, the only point i was trying to make is that if you have a partner who isnt willing to work with you to improve the thing youre in, step to the side, allow them to feel loss, it may jar them to want to look at the issues at hand and make the alterations needed to build soemthng back up.  i also belive there are many people who have various disorders or issues who dont change, [addicts and alcoholics are some good examples] they get a sense of loss, promise to do right next time but never make the leap or are able to implement anythjng they learned from that loss. each person is different and you just have to see who is able to do it. words are cheap, its only actions where the love is found.   

Pause for thought

Thanks for giving me some pause for thought,   it was a very interesting point you raised. I know personally I  have always sought to rationalise my own viewpoints (and that of others) with logical reasoning, I had not even considered this as potentially intimidating or manipulative.   I suspect more broadly though that  there could be an element of a gender behaviour going on here, where the balance of logical reasoning over emotional response may be skewed one way or the other, I guess I find myself wondering how else in the absence of reasoning to reach a conclusion?    I have never been a by the “gut” decision maker, despite a sometimes impulsive nature,  perhaps the need to over analyse and rationalise is a learned counterbalance to this impulsive tendency... 

I can  certainly see how taken to an extreme this could undermine and disempower somebody. 

I would very much say that I would not seek to divorce anyone from their own personal experiences and nor would I condone abusive behaviour in any form.  On the contrary I find abuse of any kind completely repugnant.   On one point I could not agree more; anybody seeking to project their own experiences over the top of somebody else to delegitimise, arbitrarily categorise or make simplistic assertions is wrong to do so, I guess in reality that was the very point I was trying to make, though admittedly in an overly heavy handed way.   I am simply refusing to be a stereotype for somebody else’s unfortunate experiences, ending up in a basket with a label based on assumptions is something that just irks me.  My bad. 

I must admit to becoming slightly inflamed at being told my family and colleagues all see me as a liar and that I am not “man” enough to own up to my mistakes.    But Meh, I’ll forget it in 5 mins anyway.


I think we all need to realize that ADDers all have SOME of the same traits, but not all are exactly alike.  My husband does not have much of a temper, but some other husbands referred to on this site do.  And honestly, some of these husbands seem to be very MEAN.  That is where I would have to draw the line.  I can put up with the stupid, adolescent crap if he is being nice, but you get mean with me and I will walk away and forget that you ever existed. 

Jon...I think Lynnie70 had a really bad experience with her ex, and has some residual RAGE the she has not come to terms with.  I know that the only time I really feel like posting on here is when things are just bad.  And when things are BAD, we don't want to hear that another ADDer is "irked" by our comments.  I understand why you feel that way, but you seriously have no concept of how tough it is to be married to a child.   And on top of that, you are a GUY.  You will never, ever feel the emotional distraught that a woman married to an ADDer feels on a daily basis.  We can't really love you.  To do that would be insane.  So we are stuck...and depressed...and without hope because you don't change.  You are a smart guy.  Why can't you get this?

hey jon, props for showing

hey jon, props for showing insight and not getting defensive at my above email.

if you ever do feel like walking the chasm between the logical and the emotional, and internalizing it a bit better, try the super famous book; emotional intelligence. while you may not process emotionally or make descions from your 'gut' or intuition etc, most of the societial fabric does fold elements of the emotional into their intake and output of information and theres a huge advantage in the workplace and in relationships in general in using emotional intelligence to read between the lines and repsond in a way that makes the other feel understood and can bring them closer to you. there are alot of practicle examples given that help one sort out what is said in actual words to what is taking place on the feeling level, how to discern that and then ever better, how to respond to it. a bit of EI goes a hugely long way at bonding in a human relaitonship. for the record, i once lived in cambridge england and was among some of the most intelligent, logical scientists in the world. they only saw things in scietific terms and anyone who had any feeling at all was just foreign to them. they lived in worm holes of numbers and strengthened their logical muscles. at the end of the day, they were almost all divorced or unmarried and had really sad persoanl lives. emotions, feelings, intuit all are part of the whole. and individuation is the name of the game in terms of how to grow taller deeper stronger and process life as it comes.

and lynnie wasnt [i interpreted] sterotyping at all. unlike the original poster, she has had multiple relationships with varying degrees of add-ness. and prob alot of other cross over low -downness. her point is easily stone cold truth; some people are very bad, waste your time and hurt you. they dont change and they dont get better. it is best, once one recognizes this, to cut bait and leave becasue to stay hurts oneself in a way that can have lasting and devestaing effect. that is the same premise that any of us who have ever loved an alcohlic or found ourselves with a closet addict learn in alanon; that some people get better, but many do not. its up to us, those involved with the partner to recognize the intention of the partner and act in accordance to our best health. as for the original poster, i hear you that you arent involved with an abusive or tempered spouse, but if he is cheating, [the lube you found in his back pack] he would be really putting you at terrible risk for life theratening illness or std--and that is every bit as bad as some of these other scenarios. i hope that you can find the courage to make sure that is not occuring and not dimminish it if it is.


Fair enough

The sensible part of my brain screams “tactical retreat” the impulsive part says “once more unto the breach”    so, I’ll split the difference and cautiously tip toe, probably with a clod hopping thump  like you guys complain about.     I am really not interested in spats about things that in the scheme of things  make little difference ; throwing darts is unlikely to be productive.

I also understand that some folk are always going to look at any attempt at an explanation of behaviour from an ADD person on the other side of the fence as an attempt at justification, whether it is because it strikes a raw nerve or just because it is hard to fathom. That is fine, I have no reason to do so except that my feeling that without understanding *why* things are the way they are there will can be no movement towards any kind or reconciliation, it will be guns drawn at 50 paces till it inevitably all goes to hell in a hand basket.  Some men (or women) for whatever reason you just can’t reach, and some are just violent abusive thugs.  Such is the world.        

What I am interested in is the communication issues the exchange highlights, because it mirrors what happens in my own life. I feel slighted, I react to it, partly defensively and partly to try and explain (not justify) and that in turn is interpreted as something I didn’t intend.   In the end what happens is that frustration takes hold and I just shut down and grind my teeth to powder.   This is a pattern that completely drives me insane. In a relationship it means that you have two people talking a different language, and it seems to makes no difference if it is written or verbal; the end result is frustration for both sides.    I’m willing to wager the harbour bridge that this occurs in many ADHD relationships. It seems like the ADHD non ADHD dynamic. 

  My partner, she just doesn’t want to go over issues, most likely to avoid a convivial discussion ending in a heated, frustrated argument, that same old ground.  Me,  I seem to be a glutton for punishment because I am at least in my own head determined to try and present things in such a way that they make sense, mostly so that she understands and so that I feel *heard*, but she we never seem have that “I get it” moment, no matter what I do.  

She thinks that I over analyse everything, but that the lens I view things through is mostly self-referential, this is that , “present logic in the face of emotion and being baffled that it doesn’t all click”. I am truly stumped by this.   She is smart, she is probably right.   My emotions are so all over the shop that I need to rely on other things to makes sense of the world.   I just cannot rely on emotion to do this,  I can be 10 different mood states in any one day, from buzzy  to deeply gloomy to completely indifferent and cycle around this many times.  So I *NEED* to try and rationalise things just to try to maintain some faint at least external semblance of sane.  It does sort of help but in the end I am still a captive of uncontrolled mood, I am not sure what one does about this, no drugs seem to make any difference.  Likewise when confronted by raw emotive expression I am not really sure how to deal with it.  Especially if it is negative. 

And there is a couple of points that McCleskey made that are worth going over,   I understand that as a place to vent for many spouse at the end of their tether that we are the bad guys, well I sort of understand, and you are right I probably will never be able to understand how it is to be on the outside looking in, and nor will you understand being on the inside looking out,  that is the nature of this thing.   It sucks.  But I do know what emotional distress feels like, and I know that I can’t leave it or divorce it, and that it was around long before you guys had the misfortune of becoming our spouse, and I also know that you can’t really love us, because we know better than anyone that we are unlovable.   Being with us has sucked you into our world, and that is why you feel so sh**.     It may be why we spend a lot of our lives angry, anxious and frustrated. Nobody has fun here.

Likewise when confronted by

Likewise when confronted by raw emotive expression I am not really sure how to deal with it.  Especially if it is negative.  That one got me because my husband doesn't have a clue either.  Men and women are so different anyway, but when you add this to the pot, it really is nearly impossible.  Jon...why are you on this blog?  It would seem to me that it would cause you pain to read what we say.  I have gleaned quite a bit of useful information from your comments.  Maybe you are trying to do the same from ours.  Have you ever seen the movie War Games?  The whole point of the movie is that you cannot win a thermonuclear war and that the ONLY way to WIN is not to play the game.  I feel like there is no way to WIN this game either.  You just survive and pray.

McCleskey you are correct.

I am here for that reason, but it does not cause me pain to hear any what is said, and I can empathise with a great deal of it. 
Although I know firsthand that when throwing every ounce of energy at trying to overcome the issues we have, it is real daily struggle just to do the basics you guys take for granted.

I just cannot undertake everyday tasks without wrestling with focus just to get things started and especially in order to get things completed. Imagine bathing the children all the while with an internal dialog going, “stop thinking about some random thought, push it out of your mind and focus on the need to consider the next step in this process (say get soap) ” over and over for every single trivial task that has to get done.    This is like trying to meditate with the stereo playing thrash music at full volume right next to you i.e. very hard.       

There is a great book by Daniel Kahneman called Thinking, Fast and Slow.  It is not about ADHD per se, but about the distinct components of the automatic (learned) response part of the brain and the deliberate thinking process, it is heavy going but well worth a read.

 For me and I suspect for a lot of ADHD people mostly everything at a daily functional level requires active processing and consideration, the automatic pathways just don’t seem to get formed, this adds to a *massively* increased mental workload,  and  if we don’t engage in this then we end up the people you are struggling with. You might call it slack but if every day is a mental marathon then it might be at least understandable why disengagement occurs. 

Hearing so many similar stories from both sides strangely enough reinforces some of my understandings of the condition that I have to live with.   There is nothing to “win” here so am not sure to what this refers.

But let’s say when you guys voices a frustration that comes up in a relationship that for me rings a bell, (or I am as in your case *specifically* asked) let’s say to nominate two topical issues: lying, or issues around the use of humour to mask other problems, then there may be either direct ADHD related issues or issue resulting from common coping strategies we may have developed.

 In this circumstance I might feel inclined to try and present how this may come about from the perspective of someone with ADHD. If upon doing so the reaction is one of:  “You may think you pulled a fast one, but most likely, you will be seen at work for what you are -- a liar who will rant and rage to avoid the consequences of your actions.”    OR  “Mature people make the daily attempts to "walk through" their pain, buck up against the anxiety and stand up to be counted on when the road is uncomfortable and difficult.”  It is hard to feel that such a response is anything *other* than an attack.  There is nothing twisting or circular from me about either of these statements.

It may well be that the less troublesome approach is to just to not get involved,  I don’t particularly enjoy getting rounded on, but I sure am used to blank, skeptical or irritated expressions when trying to explain why something may be so, and I’m sure that all ADHD people are.  

However I can’t help feel that forums such as this can either be locations where people with a common perspective are able to temporary soothe each others hurt (which in itself is fine) or they can be places where people with respective differences can talk about the world as it seems to them and based on their own experience. (or a bit of both)  That is, they can be an always gentle and supportive echo chamber or they can help bridge the divide and reach common understandings on what causes us all immense hardship, the common thread being ADHD.   

Either way if as people with ADHD we are expected to be constantly apologetic or prostrate ourselves so that we may be given the occasional encouraging pat on the head, while you guys rage away,  then surely that has to be a little one sided? Correct me if I am making false assumptions but  a forum of Frustration and Anger is going to have expressions of well… Frustration and Anger right?


...lying, or issues around the use of humour to mask other problems. are my little angel.  My husband has always had an issue with inappropriate laughter and joking.  I had NO idea it was a symptom of ADD. Once again, you have enlightened me.  When our son was about two, he had a febrile seizure, and we had to rush him to the hospital.  I was panic stricken and my husband was making jokes.  I'm sure you can imagine what my response to that well as my families.  He has told me for years that he laughs to relieve stress.   You, my friend, have given me more insight to this disease than anything I have read.  I no longer have expectations of my husband to act NORMAL.  Please don't take offense at the word.  I watch him constantly and can now see him through clearer eyes.  When I am tired, I still get frustrated at the ridiculousness of it all, and wish that I didn't have to deal with it, but this knowledge has made my life easier and our communication better.  Before I backed off of the yelling and fighting, he would completely retreat into his world of TV for hours.  Now that I don't see him as an indifferent JERK, I no longer rage and fume over his indifference or hiding out.  When you come to the conclusion that you/me are going to have to change because the ADDer cannot, it gives you a much simpler choices.  Change, be miserable, or leave.  At this point, I have done all three.  Changing (for me) has been the easiest choice.  I now EXPECT him to go back in the house five or six times before we actually get on the road for a cycle trip.  I EXPECT him to veg out in front of the TV after a long day at work.  I EXPECT him not to be there for me emotionally.  I got used to that a long time ago, and found in the process that the only person who can actually soothe me is me.  And if we have a project going on at the house that he really doesn't want to do, I EXPECT him to pick a fight and walk off!  HA.  I read an article a few years ago about intimacy being overrated.  It changed my view on marriage.  It sucks being ADD and it sucks being married to one, but if you are determined to work it out as I was, you have to let go of the fantasy of what society says a good marriage is and deal with the reality of being a partner in real life.  Don't think for a second that I won't be back on this blog screaming and cussing, but I am making progress.   For those of you married or in relationships with men that just don't care and are may never be able to accomplish anything and my heart goes out to you.

Lynnie - Well said.

Lynnie,  When Jon twisted some of my words and fed them back to me on a previous post, I looked inside myself and put the onus of his verbal sparring on myself.  I then took blame and thanked him for his candor for helping me with my "clarity".  That is how I am in life and with my DH. My DH uses my words to turn them around back on to me negatively. I most often internalize accusations and see the other side in an attempt to be fair and get the whole picture.  Then after some time goes by, I realize what transpired and think, "That is not what I said.  That is certainly not what I meant."  I guess I am not too quick on my feet when it comes to debate or verbal sparring.  I used to think all people are trying to grow and communicate and connect and have positive intentions if you just give them a chance and try to understand.  I think some of us have people in our lives who use debate skills and strength to "win" arguments.   I hope you keep your strength and keep calling it as you see it.  You are a model for me to claim my sanity and clarity.  Jon needed a "bug off".  He was "game-playing" debating.  Jon, you know you were.

Thanks for the support guys

I really appreciate the support from several insightful writers. After I read Jon's comments, I slept poorly all night. I couldn't believe I felt so bad and actually expected my posts would probably be deleted for being harsh. However, his post sounded exactly like the run-arounds I used to get from my ex (Jon, is your name really Bill???). It is really hard to recognize this circular reasoning for what it is sometimes, and I'm not even in it anymore. I stay here to keep myself strong and to remember how bad the insanity was. Love to you all --   Keep fighting for yourselves if no one else will fight for you.

Honest Lies

Maybe there was a police car but he could read by your reactions that you didn't believe him and when you made the assumption that he could use his friends car and maybe he really didn't want to impose for whatever reason this time on using Brian's car and at this point in the conversation the ADHD kicks in and self preservation mode takes over and he lie about the Sunday AM classes comes out,...


Likely this is a combination of things but the result could be that he felt poorly judged by missing out on a promise to you because he got hung up playing xbox or something and was running late so when the cops showed up guilt was already a strong motivator and instead of having to explain to his friend that the reason he needs to borrow the car is because of expired tabs (guilt for letting the tabs expire and another hit from ADHD) that the lie popped out,... Doesn't excuse it in anyway,... The tricky part is calling him out on it in a loving non-judgmental or punitive based way to get a positive result. The issue is not the ADhDer or even in this case the lie,.... The root cause is probably the guilt,...

I'm making a lot of assumptions here but being a 30 year old ADHD that lost a important relationship and marriage to deceit I've spent a ton of time working out the issue,... Talk to him in a positive way and affirm his very selfless good Samaritan nature (if that truly is his character) to help others more than himself is a great first step, then build to why he is serving you last as a final piece of that puzzle,... 


Your post is extremely insightful. However, it does bear out one point: ADHDers like yourself will lie if it is to their advantage, whether or not it is dishonest. I would argue that this ATTITUDE is destructive. You may think you pulled a fast one, but most likely, you will be seen at work for what you are -- a liar who will rant and rage to avoid the consequences of your actions. You think you got away with it, but you probably did not in the overall picture.

When this attitude is carried over to a marriage, the result is a complete lack of trust. And I don't think you can have that kind of attitude in only your work -- this is part of your character. Coworkers, wives, children -- they can actually see through that kind of crap, they are just too busy, embarrassed, tired or whatever to fight your craziness. So they just let you live your life that way and basically write you off. You did not get away with anything.

Your ADHD may cause you to react without thinking, but clearly you can think after the fact. You owe your company an apology and should man up to being responsible for your actions. It is an insult to other ADHDers to imply that a lack of moral values is due to ADHD.


I do have to admit that when

I do have to admit that when I ask my husband a question and look him right in the eye...he will still lie. 

I came to the conclusion that I will never have a real marriage with him.  I got used to the lack of affection a long time ago.  Menopause helped a lot.  Now I have come to view  him as almost a dementia patient.  He has no control over the finances at all.  I make all the big decisions.  I have never really had a RELATIONSHIP with him because none of his actions made any sense to me.  I am old school.  Divorce isn't an option. 

I have given up on thinking that I will ever have a loving relationship with anyone.  I try not to focus on the fact that I feel extremely cheated.  But I am blessed in other ways so I guess it all levels out.

Don't know what to say...

But your post made me feel very sad for you.  I am sorry that you feel cheated and have given up on having that loving relationship.  Being blessed in other still doesn't take away the pain caused by your spouse.

I have posted my own tale of woe on this site already (the ol' infidelity/lying song and dance), so I completely understand the lying.  For reasons I am still not certain about I have agreed to go to counseling with him and we had our first session yesterday.  Of course we only scratched the surface since it was the first session, but I get the feeling that he has completely detached/doesn't remember/convinced himself to forget about the many, many egregious lies he's fed me over the years.  He feels wronged in the marriage too and there are ways I have failed as a spouse (NOT infidelity though).  So there is more than just (JUST??) infidelity that caused the wheels to fall off the cart.  But I don't know how to convince him of the devastation all the lies have caused.  In fact, he's kind of acting like a kid who doesn't want to take his medicine.  God bless our therapist who called him out on this.  He claims it was only an emotional affair, but since I can't believe him at this point to tell the truth about anything ("You said the sky is blue?  I better check"), there is no way for me to ever know if he's being honest.

I should take it as a positive sign that he a): suggested therapy, b): scheduled the appointment, c): moved his work schedule to be there, d): attended the session and committed to continue with it.

I don't know what the future holds for us, but all I can say is that I understand what it feels like to be fed lies.  Especially when we're supposed to act like it's filet mignon when we know it to be spam.

Blue...thanks for your kind words.

We have done the counseling.  Although he willing went with me, my husband just looked around the room the whole time and never really paid any attention to what was being said.  I find myself pretending he was in an accident and had resulting brain damage.   That is really the only way I can deal with it.  And I have to give credit to my meds...Celexa...for ending my massive depressive state and for taking the edge off my OCD.  Without Celexa, I would have to leave. 

My biggest  problem right now is that none of my family members realize how BAD my husband is.  He and I work a lot in our yard, but I do 50% or more of the actual work.  He tells everyone that I come up with the ideas and he does the work.  It looks like I am a slave driver!  His mother even told me if I worked him too hard that he might run away.  I was stunned!  I didn't bother to correct her because it would have made me feel stupid.  My mother evidently feels the same way.  I can feel my level of agitation rising.  I almost forgot...I need to also give me sincerest appreciation to Xanax and Ambien for the strong support they have given me through the years.  Basically guys...I am a walking zombie.  Should I be happy that he doesn't hit me? 

On thinking of worse things...

He does seem engaged with counseling at the moment.  I just don't think he understands the result of his lying.  I'm simplifying it, but he actually said something to effect of, "Well, I wasn't ALWAYS lying," like that's supposed to make me feel better?

Sorry about the bad image you've unfairly acquired with family.  My side of the family never sees him (we live a few thousand miles from them), and so just have a generally positive image of him, as I share nothing deep with my parents (that would take a book to explain).  Interestingly enough, my in-laws say things all the time in that half exasperated, half joking tone, like "You're a saint to put up with him!" and "We don't know how you do it!".  They know nothing of the infidelity; they just generally see how I have to pick up the slack ALL. THE. TIME.

On thinking of worse things, like "Should I be happy he doesn't hit me?", I can relate.  I've been in a lot of pain and having trouble interrupting the constant loop of horrible images and memories running through my mind.  I started thinking of things that could be worse--MUCH worse.  Like tragic stories in the news of a child dying in an accident, or the friend of mine who is fighting a losing battle with cancer and has young children.  It's kind of sick to have to use these things to make myself snap out of what has been a paralyzing personal pain.


It's not sick at all.  It's

It's not sick at all.  It's called coping.  The tragedies you mentioned have endings.  You grieve and move on.  Our pain is emotional and psychological and you never know when it is going to show up and blast you.  Like having a fist-fight in the dark.  It isn't as severe as the tragedies, but it lasts much, much longer.  I think a good comparison would be a person getting just enough food to keep from starving.  You stay alive, but just barely. 

Our quality of life really depends on how we react.  I'm sure my tactics won't work for everyone, but my husband has his own bedroom and bathroom.  He watches tv in the livingroom while I am running or working in the yard.  My strategy is to keep him at arm's length most of the time.  The only thing I will do outside of the home with him is go to a movie because we don't have to talk or interact.  I consider it "self-protection" and it doesn't bother me a bit.  For all intent and purpose, I am on my own.  Some days it just feels good to get on here and read that I'm not alone.

o no

please dont just beleive the baseline of a relationship is that he doesnt hit me. my mom has done this over and over, staying in a very bad relationship based on this premise at least he doesnt hit me. i know you meant it tongue in cheak but noone will know what you live with day to day and looking to your reletives or his mom to validate you will only reinforce that. here on this site is validation and elsewhere, but not them. they will always have his back, same as the moms of alcoholics and addicts and abusers never think their son is who shows himself to his partner. thats his secret and it works to devalue the partner becasue she can see that no one else sees what she goes thru,.so she wonders if its just her being crazy.


He had me believing for YEARS that it was all me.  Only my friends got it.  My family and his family thought I was difficult to live with and thought he was an angel.  Now they see the obvious parts (memory loss, lack of organization), but they will never see the emotional neglect.  It has changed me.  After such a long time, I no longer care if he pays attention to me.  I'm EXTREMELY independent and I do what makes me happy.  I miss having a man in my life though.  Who knows...maybe all relationships after 30 years go stale and just turn into companionships.  All I know is that I have to live day to day and not think about the future because it makes me very lonely.  I am only 54, and in great shape.  It depresses me to think about being basically alone for the next 30 years.

Written off

McClesky: So he did not accomplish anything positive with the lying -- he has merely been written off a being a person with something akin to dementia.

Please note this response ADHDers. It is the normal reaction to being lied to.

It is a real shame that he believes he helps himself in some way by not telling the truth to people.

To Lynnie70

Can an ADDer even comprehend the the consequences of their lying?  My husband blows it off like it was nothing and expects me to do the same.  I guess I can't find the line of accountability.  Are their brains so screwed up that they can't see this?  Am I expecting something from him that he isn't capable of?  I think I catch him more often than not, and he always says that he understands and won't do it again, but as you all know, it never stops. 


If there are no clear consequences, they will not understand. Clearly they are are getting something out of lying or they would not continue. (They probably want you to shut up, and you do) The solution is to provide clear consequences and hold their feet to the fire if you want someone to change. However, it is still their choice. Not all people want to improve themselves. Not all people care about others. Not all people value morality for its own sake. You can't force a person to change something they have no good reason to change. Your choice to adapt and look at him as defective is probably the only choice you have if you do not want to separate or force the issue. I understand, I really do.

Seriously...short of kicking

Seriously...short of kicking him out, what would be a reasonable consequence?  He lies, upsets me, and then runs into the living room to watch tv.  The next day everything is just hunky-dory with him.  If I say anything I get avoided, and he most likely will run off on his cycle for hours again.  I see no answer to any of this.  My only answer is to pull back HARD emotionally and learn to live my life with no relationship.  If you  have a better idea, please share it with me. 

There may not be one in your situation

I left my ex. We tried a separation. We went to lots of counseling. He tried meds. My current therapist says he is narcisstic and a predator. You may have to just call a spade a spade, admit that there is probably no changing him at this point in your life, and proceed toward making your own life rewarding for you. Seeing him as defective and unable to change is probably right on target and may be very helpful to you as you try to change your own life and find happiness in other endeavors. Go after your happiness! And don't feel bad -- you have given this marriage your best efforts.

Thanks for that.  That is the

Thanks for that.  That is the only conclusion I can see.  I hope that you can recover from all of your pain and move on.  This disease just goes on and on and on. Enjoy your freedom Lynnie70! 

Thanks -- and I wish you the best

I only had 4 years in the marriage, so it was easier to leave. However, the good thing about gradually distancing yourself emotionally and finding yourself is that you don't have to totally turn your life upside down. And you don't have to make any breaks that will effect you forever. An who knows, maybe your efforts will rouse your sleeping spouse and give him a reason to come back and check things out! Hugs.

Hi Dear Lady

Hadn't seen you on in awhile and was hoping things were better.

We are the same here.LIES LIES LIES.....the old joke, "How do I know he's lying????..... his lips are moving"  About BIG things, yes...but more often than not the small and ABSURD day to day things.  Then he somehow twists it all around to be MY FAULT that he HAD to lie.

I am very, very much alone, with a person I am married to (can't use the word PARTNER), and feel the same as you do.  Cheated, mistreated, sad, lonely and wondering WHY?????

Wish it were different for both of us.

I Feel You...

Just wanted to tell you I related to your comment.  I feel that way so much of the time that I much rather never speak to my husband unless I feel mentally prepared to sift through what he's saying to dig out the truth.  Oh man the lengths he goes through to assert he's telling the truth!  Only to come back later all calm talking about I wanna tell you the truth...  but the last lie episode where I caught him taking my phone to read my diary in it, he told lie after lie and it took about an hour and a half to get him to tell the truth, but he wanted to justify his dishonesty with my use of passwords on my phone and other devices, as if it's all my fault, but to me it seems to justify even stronger my need for such security measures... 

I feel so disgusted and I would feel alone too but I've got my daughter to keep me company :)

Oh my

Same here, Tigerfly.

Your comment "I feel that way so much of the time that I much rather never speak to my husband unless i feel mentally prepared to sift through what he's saying to dig out the truth", REALLY STRIKES A NERVE with me.  I agree, that's a good description.  I literally make one comment to him, or ask one VERY SIMPLE QUESTION, and by the time he wiggles out an answer and explains what he means, and why he said what he said and why it's MY FAULT, I am thoroughly frustrated and literally exhausted.  Sounds lke the same situation with you.

Don't feel it's healthy to just stop talking to them, and trust me, I have stopped mid conversation to try to clarify and be certain I am understanding him, and it still doesn't work.  I don't know what else to do.

Yeah, sounds like we're in

Yeah, sounds like we're in the same boat...  I am so glad to have found this forum because it allows me to put my situation in perspective somewhat.  I got to put that "perspective" in practice last night when my silly husband came home drunk, waking the house up and just being overall disruptive and irritating.  I was super pissed but I realized there was just nothing I could say or do that would have any lasting impact on him, so I said nothing.  But even so he decided to offer up a lie lol  I didn't even ask a question.  He tells me he got drunk off two shots of champagne lol  and people were over the house coz they wanted to see me, nevermind he was 4 sheets to the wind and they wanted to follow him home to make sure he was safe! lol  I just wish I was where so many of you guys are,  the "I love my husband so much, I just wish this part were different"  me, I'm like um "you're an idiot and I'm kicking myself right now that I'm stuck with you" 

Coz I have ADD too.... so I'm much less inclined to let that be an excuse for irresponsible behavior

If it makes you feel any

If it makes you feel any better, Tigerfly, I'm also in the"you're an idiot and I'm kicking myself right now that I'm stuck with you" stage with my spouse.

Yes dearie, It does make me

Yes dearie, It does make me feel better :)  I told hubby today to go do whatever he wants, just don't sit up  in my face all day apologizing... Im sitting here listening to Dave Matthews Band trying to get my 'happy back, and don't need him messin up the process. 

hehe... today is going to be a good day.  I insist.

Beth!  Good to hear from

Beth!  Good to hear from you. 

My daughter (23) and I were talking yesterday.  She said that she has come to see her father as a child.  It has become very obvious to almost everyone that something is not right with him.  I put a stop to that BLAME GAME about a month ago, but it is only because I have been able to prove that I didn't lose his screwdriver or his wallet or that important paper. 

I have an added twist.  My husband has heart problems.  Most of the time everything is fine, but if he gets too stressed, he goes into "flutter" and his chest gets very tight.  So...I can't twist off when he lies because I am afraid of messing up his heart.  All I can say is that it helps me enormously to get on here and talk to people who are trying to survive the same as I.  I wish you all lived close so we could have a support group, but I guess this is second best.   

I will continue to jog and work in my yard to keep the stress down, but as far as having a PARTNER...those times are few and far between.  Do you think we will get points in heaven for all of this???

ellie70's picture


Yup, same story here, lies all the time. Huge lies, concealing big purchases, buying stuff for himself behind my back. I discover then confront, his excuse - I knew you'd not approve, so I went ahead and did it anyway. 

Couple of years ago he had to work in another state, staying there a week and fly back for the weekend. He told me he was renting a house, a year later I find out - he bought it. Those are just a few things. Trying to work on our marraige now, in the process of finding a therapist, he has been on aderall for over a year, but we may need to change the meds or add extra meds to make it work better.

 I am hopeful though and so surprised at myself that I stuck around for 14 years through small lies and big ones, life long porn addiction, more than several jobs (meaning we moved around a lot), lack of sex, his constant defensiveness and secretiveness. I am going to give it another chance.


I disagree with this approach, and my sense is that it doesn't work.  The underlying assumptions here are faulty, I think.  First, you are assuming that your partner is lying for personal gain.  What I observe most often is that partners lie to avoid conflict or because they don't feel they can do any better.  Interestingly, "punishing" them with consequences doesn't help folks learn they shouldn't do it next time - it simply encourages further retreat (and lying is a form of retreat or smoothing things over, as in "perhaps I won't get caught.")  Second, when you provide the consequences for poor behavior you are firmly in the parental role in the relationship.  This diminishes you both, and adds anger tot he mix (and anger encourages further retreat, i.e. lying and disengagement).  The only way that I've seen work when it comes to lying is to talk about why it's hurtful to the relationship, listen to what your partner says about lying (he's likely to tell you he lies to cover up his embarrassment at not having done something he was supposed to - I hear this all the time), and make it alright to figure out mid-sentence that the lying is happening and change course and apologize.  That scenario really does work (sometimes you need a professional to help you get there and make it safe to admit that one partner was lying) but will never happen if you are in the "punish him with consequences" mode.

Punishing your spouse for ADHD linked behaviors (and here the lying isn't specifically ADHD linked, but likely the partner is lying to cover up for ADHD issues) just doesn't work.

MagicSandwich's picture

consequences of lying to people

Respectfully, I don't think she is going out of her way to manufacture consequences for having been lied to.  Besides, she has already talked to her husband about why it hurts and mentioned that the two of them have gone to counseling. His lying and disengagement continue without improvement. What can be done from this point forward?


I'm not suggesting that someone who has developed the habit of lying to cover up his/her actions is going to immediately see the light the first time (or second or third or...) a spouse says "hey, this lying thing is destructive for us."  However, the consequence of lying shouldn't be some form of punishment...the consequence is that you sit down, once again, and try to get at the heart of why the lying is happening.  Many will need professional help with this...and even a good professional may find it's a difficult habit to break.  My main point is that creating negative consequences - in essence, punishing the partner, just won't work.  What will work, eventually, is treating the ADHD, the symptoms of which are causing the actions that the husband is lying treat the ADHD, manage the symptoms better...then you have the opportunity to improve the lying because there is less to cover up (and the wife is also less frustrated because the intensity of what she is faced with lessens as symptoms lessen...)  It's all one, big interlocking mess (is there a better word than mess?!)

MagicSandwich's picture

creating negative consequences

Ah yes. But I think that many ADHDers perceive the whole "sit down, once again, and try to get at the heart of why the lying is happening" as an actual punishment for having lied. What's the next step when making sure to take the understanding, gentle approach is STILL perceived as a demand for accountability? 

Gentle Approach?

When I work with couples, and also in my own relationship, it seems as if the "sitting down with you is punishment" idea stems from feeling as if the point of the conversation is to tell you what you did wrong again, why you are to blame, and how much you hurt the person.  Hence the reason why it feels like punishment.  I work hard to get couples on the SAME TEAM - it's not the person with the ADHD who is inherently the problem - it's the ADHD SYMPTOMS (and the responses to those symptoms) that are the problem.  To change the behaviors that stem from the symptoms (such as lying) the person with the ADHD has to be open to admitting those behaviors are related to the symptoms...this is why non-confrontational, non-"I need to teach you something" types of conversations about what's going on can work.  But, of course, as soon as the ADHD partner thinks that the point is to blame him or her, then the defenses go up.

Simplified, the steps to overcoming negative behaviors, in general, and including lying, are:

  1. Acknowledge that the behavior is going on in the present ("yes, I admit that sometimes I cover things up")
  2. Explore why the behavior is happening ("I'm really tired of fighting about these things that I don't seem to have any control over, and sad that I make you mad.  It seems easier to just try to cover it up")
  3. Agree that the behavior as it's currently happening is not good for the relationship ("I can see how my lying would hurt your ability to trust me, and that's really important for us")
  4. Talk about what needs to happen to make the behavior happen less.  In the case of lying, it might include:
    1. making it a wonderful thing when the spouse with ADHD catches a lie mid-stream and back tracks (celebrate the admitting of the lie as progress forward rather than focus on the lie itself)
    2. putting a verbal cue in place - if something sounds fishy, an ability to use a cue that says "hmm, that sounds fishy to me...are you sure?" and then celebrate the back track
    3. having Learning Conversations around lying as it comes up - what feeling prompted the lie?  (Look for feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, not wanting to deal with conflict)
    4. Look closely at the relationship and interactions - what could change?  (look to:  better treatment for ADHD to manage impulsivity so the person with ADHD can more easily take a few moments to consider what he/she is saying; creating specific interactions around lying that help the person doing the lying keep from putting up defenses and more)
    5. Start making those changes
    6. Measure your progress.

Lying is a difficult, but not impossible, habit to break.  You may need the help of a professional who understands ADHD.

On a different, but related, topic...I was speaking with a couple yesterday who commented that part of their issue with their interactions was that the non-ADHD partner feels unheard when they are in conflict.  When a non-ADHD partner says repeatedly "This lying is really hurting me - it makes me feel like crap" and the ADHD partner doesn't acknowledge that the lying is either going on or hurtful, then part of the non-ADHD partner's response is a feeling of being unloved and unheard (this may account for the desire to "punish" the partner who lies in some spouses...they will, with the punishment, "teach" their partner or "make" their partner listen to them).  It is important, when this type of dynamic is going on, for the ADHD partner to be able to apologize for his/her actions ("I'm sorry I lied about that.  Lying wasn't the right way to handle it.")  To be able to do this, at least at first, you have to decouple the apology from any immediate commitment to not do it again.  In other words, moving to a relationship in which the lying is eliminated takes long-term work in which both partners participate.  In chronic lying, it's impossible to commit to suddenly stopping - it simply won't happen this way.  The need for the apology, however, is immediate.  So being able to accept an apology without responding with a "it better not happen again" helps both people - it provides space for the ADHD person to acknowledge the hurt of his/her partner and enables/encourages the apology, which then validates the non-ADHD partner by acknowledging their issue.

That's kind of complex, I know, but this is a complex topic.  Hope my explanation helps.

MagicSandwich's picture

Respectfully, if the need for

Respectfully, if the need for an apology from the ADHD-er is immediate, this fact should be listed somewhere within points 1-4 or 4a -4f.  

Pbartender's picture

As a father of two teenagers,

As a father of two teenagers, I've discovered that intentional lies tend to happen (and happen repeatedly) not because they don't understand the consequences of being caught lying, but because they are trying to avoid the consequences of some other action and they don't expect to (or are hoping they don't) get caught lying.  That has nothing to do with ADHD.  In the last few years or so, I've caught my non-ADHD wife blatantly lying to me several times, and then she would get hostile or blow it off if confronted with concrete evidence that she was.

Very often, I've experienced times when my ADHD leads me into unintentionally lying...  I'll have a conversation with my wife, for example, and the ADHD causes me to miss or forget particular details, or even whole chunks of what was said.  Afterward, the missing pieces get stitched together -- as if they never happened -- or my brain automatically fills in the space with something that makes sense.  Later, when I act on that conversation or refer to it, it may sound like I'm lying about something, because my brain has a very different memory of the conversation.   Once, she asked me why I got up in the middle of the night and went to the bathroom with my phone turned on...  I truthfully had no idea what she was talking about.  But I'm sure that, to her, it sounded like I was lying about something secret I was doing on my phone.

I'm not trying to lie...  and from my point of view I'm not.  But my brain has tricked me into forgetting things or remembering them wrong, and so my perception of what happened doesn't agree with actually happened.

I can't tell you how upsetting and frustrating this can be...  The drop in confidence, because I can't trust my own memories.  The anxiety of making mistakes because of a faulty memory.  The guilt of hurting my friends and family, because they think I'm intentionally deceiving them.  Sometimes (when I was really bad off), even the paranoia of wondering whether or not my wife is taking advantage of it and blaming her mistakes and lies on my faulty memory.

That's not to say your husband isn't lying on purpose, but it's important to try to make the distinction between the intentional lies, and the unintentional "lies" that might have been caused by ADHD.



A failsafe solution

If you lie and didn't realize you were not being factual at first, there is always a way to make it right. Apologize as soon as you realize what happened. FIRST: Admit first that what you said was not true -- no wiggling or justifying. SECOND: You can offer your reason  and/or express your own frustration at yourself, as long as you don't trivialize it, deny it, make excuses, blame someone else, minimize its impact, etc.

Everyone knows that everyone makes mistakes. If you are straight up about being less than honest, you will promptly be forgiven 99% of the time.

I know exactly what you are

I know exactly what you are talking about.  I knew he was lying when I asked him where he went, but there are times when he I ask him questions and he seems disoriented.  Thanks for your input PB.  All of you have been very helpful today.

Memory and "Lying?" You are not alone, Pb...

Very often, I've experienced times when my ADHD leads me into unintentionally lying...  I'll have a conversation with my wife, for example, and the ADHD causes me to miss or forget particular details, or even whole chunks of what was said.  Afterward, the missing pieces get stitched together -- as if they never happened -- or my brain automatically fills in the space with something that makes sense.  Later, when I act on that conversation or refer to it, it may sound like I'm lying about something, because my brain has a very different memory of the conversation.   Once, she asked me why I got up in the middle of the night and went to the bathroom with my phone turned on...  I truthfully had no idea what she was talking about.  But I'm sure that, to her, it sounded like I was lying about something secret I was doing on my phone.

I'm not trying to lie...  and from my point of view I'm not.  But my brain has tricked me into forgetting things or remembering them wrong, and so my perception of what happened doesn't agree with actually happened.

I can't tell you how upsetting and frustrating this can be...  The drop in confidence, because I can't trust my own memories.  The anxiety of making mistakes because of a faulty memory. 

I don't know how to make a link out of this, so I copied and pasted my own old (but STILL relevant, as there is no cure for ADHD)

ADHD and Processing Issues, Part 2: Working Memory and What LOOKS Like Lying

It pisses me off and frustrates the hell out of me.  My DH treats me like I'm trying to fool him or am pathological.  I have always been an honest person.  Just forgetful.  Very, very forgetful.  As in can change opinions in the middle of a convo and not realize it forgetful...

Ugh... Well, at least SOMEONE understands me...



ADHD vs. Just Bad Behavior

Yes-- it is important to separate the two.


I am realizing that I have always had a "thing" for ADD men.  They are kind of thrilling, in their way.

I now see that my first husband had (has) ADHD.  But he didn't seem to care about what he was doing to me.  He was verbally abusive and narcissistic. He destroyed two marriages and is now on his third.

I swore I would never, ever get involved with anyone with those negative tendencies again.  And I didn't.

Regardless, I ended up with another ADHD husband-- but this one is a fundamentally good person.  He is clueless, but he does care about me. He is not abusive and definitely not narcissistic.  Just clueless-- which makes him screw up a lot without realizing it (sigh).

Big difference between the two men, though they are both ADHD.