Lies and Infidelity

For the past six years, I have been dealing with an ADHD spouse who cannot stay faithful to me.  The women I have found out about are all people he works with.  Honestly, I don't know how he latches onto these people (and how he hasn't been fired for sexual harassment).  The first time I found out because we got slammed by a massive phone bill due to excessive texting.  I saw that there was one number in particular he texted between 60-80 times a day, and sometimes at all hours of the night.  He was horrified when I confronted him, left work immediately to come home and talk to me, apologized up and down, swore he would stop immediately, etc.  I bluffed and said I saw the texts and he swore to me he was just teasing her about another coworker who was harassing her.  I believed him.  I was so naive.  

Since then, the same scenario has played out several times.  A different woman each time.  God knows how many women there have actually been, but I can count 6 different instances when I've caught him.  I am so embarrassed to admit this.  The things I have seen...the messages, the dirty pictures women have sent him, the lies upon lies upon lies...why have I stayed?  I was actually starting to feel better about our relationship lately.  Then I got into his car and found a birthday card he received from his latest affair.  

This card seemed different.  This card talked about true love.  It was not just a slutty 20-something sending dirty pictures.  He has said in the past--and continues to say--that he has never had sex with any of these women.  And I always clung to that and believed him.  Naive, I know.  But now I realize I can't believe a word he says.  Literally.  I cannot...believe...a word.

The pain was/is intense but after a few hours of private grief I realized that I could finally have the upper hand.  I was going to give him an ultimatum, the classic "her or me."  I felt a sense of relief, like, either way, there would be some movement this time and not this endless cycle of him latching onto some other woman, me finding out, him cutting her out, only to have me find out months later that he just picked up with someone else.

I confronted him with it last night.  I didn't even rage at him.   I told him that if he wants to be with her, then to just go and be with her.  But that if he wants to stay and commit to me then he has to cut off all contact with her.  

Then, the final blow:  he switched jobs 6 months ago, and he just hired this women to work in his new office.  I had actually talked to him a few weeks back about the hiring of this "new person."  He gave me a fake name and a fake background in describing her.  I moved from feeling that I had at least a tiny amount of power (forcing him to choose, once and for all), to feeling utterly hopeless and powerless all over again.  Even if I check up on all his electronic trails (and really, I'm nuts to think he can't find ways to conceal his indiscretions), he's still with her all day, every work day.  And then there's the massive problem that I can't believe anything he tells me.  Anything.

Ultimately, he told me that he loves me and our family but that we need help.  Of course we do.  I told him to find a therapist, make the appointment, and I'll go.  This is the first time either one of us has brought up counseling.  (If he actually follows through and makes an appointment that will be the first sign that he may be serious about this, since I have never been able to rely on him to handle these details.)  

I also told him that I hate myself for wanting him to choose me.  Why do I want him to choose me at all? When we have good times, it's really, really good.  And we have two amazing kids and I love our little family.  But I feel physically ill right now rereading my post.  And I've only provided the most basic details of this huge, sordid mess.  He has made a fool of me and mocked our marriage vows time and time and time again.

It looks like we'll do marriage counseling (if he makes the appointment).  But for one who lies so easily, how can I ever expect anything to change?  He admits that he has "issues."  And he says that we can fix these things and he knows we can be great again.  He seems willing to try.  He seems remorseful.  But he just left for work.  And she's there.

And I hate myself for staying.  For wanting to believe him.  For feeling like there may be hope for us after all.  

I am such a fool.  



Get your own counseling

If this has gone on for 6 years, the chances of the leopard changing his spots are pretty low. Even if he tried, trusting him again would likely be difficult at best. If he hired this woman and planned in advance to make it hard for you to trace her down, he is really playing you for a fool, And planning it out in advance? That is unforgiveable.

You would probably do best to go to counseling for yourself, to give you the confidence to take charge of your own life. However, if you want to give it this one more try, few counselors deal well with ADHD. Many times they will naively make you feel like you are part of the problem, trying to be fair and spread the blame. This can make things worse for you instead of better, because it can give your spouse a reason for his behavior -- i.e., you didn't do YOUR part (something minor), so why should he be accountable for not doing HIS (something major)? And make your self esteem lower because you may not be able to accurately depict for them what is going on behind the scenes.

If you can afford it, it would be good to go to your own counselor separately from a marriage counselor. This will help assure that you don't carry the lion's share of the problem solving and will help you sort things out.

My ex was a skilled liar and had cheated on previous wives. I don't think he ever cheated on me, but the lying was so much a part of his personality that it just wasn't worth trying to work things out, as he could twist things around to make it anything look like I should have done something differently. He always kept the attention off of his bad behavior, and focused on me -- and the counselor's would sometimes buy in, because I appeared to be the one who would really follow up on their advice! He would just sit there quietly nodding in agreement but never actually following through.

Don't give away all of your power to him. He does not have your best interest at heart. He is using what you tell him to his own advantage.

If you can't trust your lifelong partner, what do you really have?

Thank you for your thoughts.

Thank you for your thoughts.  It did strike me that I should see my own counselor separately, so to have someone else validate that feels like a step in the right direction.  And thanks for sharing your experience in counseling.  That sounds rough.  I told my husband that we probably needed a counselor who had experience with I'm not so sure about that anymore.  I am sorry for what you went through with your ex.  

"If you can't trust your lifelong partner, what do you really have?"  A marriage without trust is just a shell of itself.

Lynnie - Well said.

".....lying was so much a part of his personality that it just wasn't worth trying to work things out, as he could twist things around to make it anything look like I should have done something differently. He always kept the attention off of his bad behavior, and focused on me -- and the counselor's would sometimes buy in, because I appeared to be the one who would really follow up on their advice! He would just sit there quietly nodding in agreement but never actually following through. Don't give away all of your power to him. He does not have your best interest at heart. He is using what you tell him to his own advantage"


Thank you for putting this into words. When something has been clearly defined, named and put out into the open it is easier to handle and get perspective.  It helps to remove the confusion of the person who is being manipulated.  Sometimes someone outside of yourself needs to put the words to the actions because we tend to discount ourselves and doubt ourselves when we are being manipulated. When someone is lying, and you WANT to trust them, that is crazy-making for you and working on some level for them.  Lying and untrustworthiness is more of our problem than the ADD.  Although the ADD may have contributed to his habit of lying to cover up things.  This site is so helpful to me.

ADHD and infidelity have no connection

Sorry to hear about your husband's affairs.

I have ADHD. I was with my spouse (currently separated, divorce pending) for 10 years. I NEVER cheated. In fact, I never even considered cheating.

I have a very strict sense of morals and values.

ADHD does NOT cause infidelity.

I never implied that

I never implied that all spouses with ADHD cheat.  I didn't relay the entire history of our marriage, but my husband and I have many problems in our marriage in addition to his faithlessess (you'd think that would be bad enough), and many, many of our issues stem from problems surrounding his ADHD.  I have recognized my own situation in so many posts written here (that have nothing to do with sex or cheating) by others who are the non-ADHD partner.  That is why I posted about his affair here.  Because I am in the same boat as a lot of others who post here...only I have this ADDITIONAL marital problem too.  Not to paint all ADHD partners as unable to commit to one person.  There are other posts on here about an ADHD partner who has affairs, looks to porn, etc., as an outlet.  I just happen to have one of those partners.  

There is no one in my life that I can talk to about this.  I just wanted to get it out somewhere because I feel so alone.  I am going to see a therapist but can't start appointments for a couple more weeks.  I'm just trying to get through the days, hour by hour (and sometimes minute by minute).

I am sorry that you are going through a divorce.  I have my own decisions to make on that end in the coming weeks.  My husband has set up an appointment with a therapist and I have intense feelings of dread.  He doesn't want to go too deep into the issues of our marriage before we get into therapy because he says he doesn't feel "safe" or "comfortable" bringing things up without some sort of mediator there and he doesn't "trust himself" not to make the situation even worse than it already is.  I feel like I'm just waiting for the next hammer to fall.  The only thing I've decided about marriage therapy is that whether or not the marriage survives, we have to figure out how to resolve our issues anyway for the sake of our kids.  Because if we divorce, then we will still be closely linked forever.  The total dysfunction happening right now can't continue regardless of what comes or what happened in the past.  

officefailure,maybe not maybe so.(I have experienced that)

Maybe not ADHD but there are so many different forms of cheating,my husband looks at porn non stop,then he looks at women non stop.(is that infidelity????) yes I think that's a form of cheating also,at least it starts from there.ADHD is no excuse for cheating or infidelity,but then why?? why is my husband ADHD and so high on women and porn like no other I have been with before,why did he travel to a different country so he could have cheated on his past girlfriend then he told me about it.

I am not saying everyone who is an ADHD person is the same,but there is a link to some chaos, that's why we are all venting here and there are marriage forums here to vent on.

My husband is a cheater and he has ADHD,my ex husband was also a cheater and also had ADHD,then I had a boyfriend way before him who did not have ADHD and was a cheater too,but we were soo young I still think it was our youth that caused that...My concerns are that the porn the women are all high stimulation for the brain and chemicals that are not produced as non ADHD people,and ADHD people need some sort of high(stimulation)not always leading to cheating of course,there are many forms of high.One good one is dancing or just simply having a good time. as I know for certain after I read all that.

so maybe you did not cheat for years,but every situation has a link to chaos or some sort of cheating as I read along these blogs,maybe you did and just can't admit,maybe you think you did not and just don't know what is cheating,maybe everyone thinks that genital to genital is the (ONLY) form of cheating.there are many forms of cheating,I don't know just saying what I know.We here are all here venting and end up in bad situations with our ADHD spouses,that's why we are all here.sorry things did not work out for you and I wish you all the best in your future.



try to get out of that situation.

try your best to get out of that situation,he seems like he has a problem with staying faithful,once a cheater always a cheater.I don't think that he would change his ways after six years of infidelity,he has a weak spot for cheating,maybe he does not want to cheat,but that continues even after your second to last ultimatum,he stopped and then a new one has occur,you are no fool I can clearly see,you are trying to save your marriage and you have the rights to that,but this would continue and it's not you it's him,when he has become serious with another if you were to leave then the cycle of his cheating era would continue with that same person he cheated on you with,Don't beat up yourself for his cheating,he is in the wrong here not you.The tables would turn on him one day,stay strong and try to do what's best for you and your kids.I wish you all the best in your future choice.


ADHD can set the stage for infidelity

clearly ADHD doesnt CAUSE infidelity....but it obviously causes a lot of relationship damage, which is a precursor to infidelity. People with ADHD also often seek novelty and thrills...which make an affair more appealing. And finally..ADHD can cause someone to feel insecure, to have low self esteem....which makes it easier for a third party to come in and say the right things and start something.  dealing with the infidelity itself probably wont solve anything...but dealing with underlying issues.... the self esteem issues and the need for thrills.... might.