Looking for some support and answers....please.

Let me apologize in advance if this is long, I'm really in need of some help.  My wife and I have been married for just over 16 years and have two kids:  14 year old son and 12 year old daughter.  We separated in October of 2010 and we knew there was no way our marriage was going to work, so we decided to call it quits.  My wife has been diagnosed with ADHD and has previously taken medication for it as well as received counseling.  The combination of the two helped tremendously and she was a completely different person.  She was thoughtful and attentive and talked and listened and enjoyed sitting down and really spending time with us.  However, it's probably been nearly 8-10 years since she's taken the meds or had counseling.  We did a lot of research together on ADHD and the impacts it has on life, marriage, children, etc.....but nothing worked.  My wife turned into a self-professed "adrenaline junkie" and basically disappeared from my life even though we lived in the same house and remained married.  She is on-call 24/7 for 3 jobs one of which include a volunteer fire department.  My wife has told me repeatedly that this is the happiest she has ever been in her life and will not change.  I felt (and still feel) extremely alone, isolated, unloved and not important to her.  I have so many stories of forgotten committments, important life plans we agreed on that were abandoned, missed suppers, birthdays, holidays, coming home late and the like.  I have tried everything I can to try and talk to her but she simply sees me as nagging and controlling and most of our discussions she tunes me out and honestly never really remembers what we talk about or agree upon.  She repeats the same scenarios as listed above and it just spirals from there.  I'm not totally blaming her, I know my reactions play a part in what happened between us, but what I cannot comprehend is if she knows her ADHD makes her spin out of control (again, her words - not mine) then why would she not want to seek/continue help again?  I asked her those specific questions myself and she had two responses:  1.  She heard/read/discovered that the ADHD medications sometimes have a side effect of weight gain - which she is mortified by.  She used to be quite big at 300lbs, but is now down to probably around 160lbs.  She says that her completely active always on the go lifestyle has done that for her.  The second reason she gave for not wanting to treat her ADHD is that she doesn't want to change the way her mind works and she's happier now that she's ever been.  Is this normal?  Is it healthy?

Here's where I need the help. She has "fallen" for another man that has been friends with us for a couple years and cannot stand to be apart from him.  We had come up with a decent plan to get our things in order (fixing up the remaining repairs on the house we lived in together before I moved out, selling it, separating our finances, etc...and filing for divorce ourselves and not turn this into a battle).  And this plan was working very well up until the last week or so - about the point where she started spending a lot of time with the other man.  In our plans upon separation, we both strongly agreed to do this the "right way" and not involve other people in our lives to complicate the divorce process - and by involve I mean date/sleep with/that sort of thing.  We both talked about the fact that how we end our marriage is nobody else's business and we didn't want to take the chance of having someone else involved who would give their opinion on why we were doing things the way were and/or give advice on how we need to do things.  Then suddenly, out of the blue last weekend she comes to me and tells me that she thinks she's about ready to start dating but doesn't really have anyone in mind.  Once again, being totally confused and hurt by the fact that once again she wants to completely ignore the impact this could have on things, I am not happy.  We talk/argue/fight/cry/discuss and she says she won't be dating anyone until we get our lives separated such as bank accounts, cars, houses, etc and that she's not going to put herself in a situation where she could lead anyone on or get involved with anyone.  Then, two days later I found out she had been spending time with this mutual friend again and I ask her about it.  After much discussion, she finally admits that she and this other man have talked a lot since our talk and basically have feelings for each other.  I am pretty upset and once again we talk/discuss/fight/argue/cry and she says she's going to call it off with him for now until after we get our things settled.  Then...tonight.  She comes to my house and drops the bomb on me and asks me if I would be okay with her going over to his house because she just can't stand to be away from him.  She also told me that she snuck over there yesterday and met with him and and they both exchanged their feelings that they couldn't stay apart from each other.  I at first am in shock, then I run the gammet of emotions - every one of them.  At this point I am completely devastated and my life feels like it is destroyed.  I tried explaining to her the risks she is taking about bringing another man into this while we are still trying to get things settled and the fact that he has two kids that are also friends with our kids.  I do still love my wife and care about her, but I honestly know that our marriage will not work and I accept that fact.  What destroys me is the fact that she doesn't care what impact this whole thing could have on ending our 16 years of marriage peacefully.  She once again sees me as controlling and not respecting her feelings and not understanding.  All I asked is that she wait until our lives are separated - which we have honestly been working diligently on.  There are just so many details to sort through after 16 years that it just wasn't moving fast enough for her and now she thinks I'm delaying it.  She told me that he and she are just so compatible when the entire time we knew him she told me he drank too much, drives while drunk often and is controlling.  Now that she has that ADHD adrenaline rush going, he's the greatest guy and his problems all disappear in her mind.  I still love and care about my wife and what happens to her and it's very important to us that we end our relationship on a good note.  We have two great kids who are coping well with this situation that she and I will have in common until one or both of us parts from this world and if we can get along and make this as smooth as possible, then it's less problem down the road.  She tells me she can't wait until we're finalized for this man, I tell her I can't be friends with her or be around her at all because she can't even wait for us to be settled before she runs into another man's arms.  I told her to do what she needed to do to be happy, but that we are completely through and that I am not sure I can ever forgive her or this other guy  (who was also my friends) for doing things like they did.  I hugged her for the very last time, told her goodbye, that I loved her and good luck with her life.  As I pulled out of her driveway to go home, she was headed out the driveway in her car to the new man's house.

I know this post seems pointless and rambling....I have so many stories there is just no time to explain anything else, but it's been an endless cycle of agreements followed by disappoints.  I know I've left out a lot of details as well, but there's just so much involved in this that I can't get it all straight in my head and type it coherently.  I am so hurt, disgusted, angry, frustrated and depressed right now that I am honestly numb.  I fly back and forth between every emotion - sometimes in a matter of a few minutes.  I don't know what to do or when to do it other than just get this divorce over as quickly as possible at this point so that I can try to quit hurting and move on with my life.  Does anyone please have any advice or something?  I need to feel something normal again.  

I know I have left most everything out about the kids in this post.  Those are posts for another time.  My head is such a mess right now it hurts to think and dig up these feeling.  

I'm so sorry for what you must be going through...

I am the recently diagnosed ADDer in our house. My diagnosis was 2 years ago and I was 43 years old... Stunned and elated and just about every other emotion one can imagine. What lead to my diagnosis was years of the "Roommate Marriage", a new stressful job after 12+ years working at the same company as my wife. All sorts of new things to deal with as my wife and I had worked together since the beginning of our marriage. She and I knew everyone we worked with which controlled many of the worries of who do I work with, why do I work late all the time, I was hired with expectations for a great salary and I was The Guy, with no backup in my position. All of these new variables on top of the existing problems and a death in my family of a key role model and I became anxiety ridden and felt like I was watching a train wreck in slow motion.

I went to the doctor and was easily diagnosed and at first it was great reading that the things I did and said and the way I acted were not my poor character, impulsive and selfish acts and feeling stupid and lazy, like I faked my way into a well paid programmer with my charm and wit, all the while fearing someone was going to figure out I was not that smart.

Surviving ADD is a matter of staying awake. We all have done it in different ways. Being flirtatious when you know it's wrong, driving fast cars, over-eating made me feel good, some choose drugs, gambling, drinking to deal with the inner struggles. Once I took my first Adderall and awoke from the sluggish ADD fog I knew I would NEVER go back to feeling that way. I program better, I can communicate under duress instead of shut-down, I can get things done, read the small ques people give that I never saw before. There is a huge learning curve and maybe your wife was over-whelmed by all of this and went back to the comfortable old ways, armed with the knowledge that she needs to get the adrenalin rush by other means than the ADD meds. We ADDers have had so many failures, disappointed so many that we love, hurt unintentionally and it feels easier to walk away and start fresh, but I know that is a way to cope and feel better for a while, until the cycle repeats. Two years later I AM better and continue to try and learn about this disorder from fellow ADDers and NonADDers who give me insight into what I have done. I feel like my own marriage is still on the brink and my wife is over-whelmed and angry and does not know what to do to make herself feel better. I got a handy pill that transformed my brain and I usually get the easy way out and the side affect or only real affect she sees is that I am not addicted to food and have lost 100 pounds in two years. Her drug side effects include weight gain and low sex drive and that seems very unfair.

Thanks for your post and I hope something I rambled on about makes a little sense.


Yyz so many parallels except for one important one

What was the one thing that made you willing to accept how the adhd affected your marriage and strive to combat it versus letting it "take you down" into the low self esteem hell of making you feel so damaged that you could not acknowledge it face on, but instead chose to blame the years of room mate marriage on an apparently uncaring b#tch of a wife with no acknowledgement of your actions at the same time (as my husband keeps wanting to do)?

lululove - You did not give me an "Easy" question...

The "One Thing" that made me willing to accept that ADHD had affected my marriage and strive to combat it...

I am a problem solver... Maybe that is the answer?

Like most ADDer's, I wish there was an "Answer in the Box" to answer your question. For me, logic rules and when I find something that can remove chaos I follow the directions and remove the chaos. When I read "You Mean I'm not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy" thinks that I always knew about myself suddenly had an explanation other than my personal weaknesses that I could not ever seem to control. There was method to my madness and there were things that could help my condition. I could control the previously unexplainable behaviors for my children and my wife. I wanted to make the next half of my life better for me and Everyone else. I know understand and see the iceberg that struck me so long ago. The past makes me sad when I think of the "What could have been if only I knew", so I focus on the future and how it can be better. The future is somewhat under my control.

As for the room mate situation had to improve. I know there were many things that lead to this situation and as long as there can be improvement, I don't care about the past... I understand my DW's personal demons and I have always tried to understand why she reacts/acts the way she can. I also hope she will one day understand that my reactions/actions have been influenced by what nobody knew I was suffering from and give me understanding too. I do not think my wife is an uncaring b#@ch, but I wish she wanted to understand more about what is behind some of my behaviors. I have suggested family therapy 4 or 5 times and was turned down until recently. The therapist is her own therapist who she has seen of and on for over ten years. We had one session together right after my diagnosis. I believe we need more. The roller coaster continues...


I have been following the

I have been following the theme lately in your posts...and it seems you're beginning to worry that your marriage won't survive. I think I remember you saying that your wife never really seemed to have a problem with your ADHD and doesn't really want to learn more about it because she doesn't really think it was a problem to begin with. Might I suggest that you start with that piece of information and mull it over a bit? I KNOW my husband's ADHD is a big fat elephant in the room and wish to God he would do something about it...he's given up. I wish SOOO badly that I could say, as your wife, that it really never was a problem for me and it isn't something I need to look into further. Can you just believe her when she says that? You seem to be having a wonderfully positive experience with the medications, you're insanely good at introspection, you're learning ways to cope ("what 3 things would you like for me to do this weekend?") and lessen the effect it has on your marriage, so why not just let that be enough..for now? You being aware of the fact that your reactions might not be ideal all of the time is SOOOOOOOOOOOO HUGE in the aspect of 'fixability'. Don't say "I'm sorry, that was just my ADD talking" just simply say "you know what, my reaction was wrong and hurtful and I am really sorry. I am working hard to try and change that". If you truly understand her reactions, then just say "I do not want to fight with you about this, I understand and respect how you feel" and walk away.

Being a problem solver in a marriage is not always a good thing...from one problem solver to another. ;-) Especially if you feel the problem is someone else and you want to fix them. LOL Think about it from her perspective....why do you think she feels you're asking for family therapy? I know when I ask for counseling I am about one foot out the door...and feel there is no other chance. Maybe she's resisting because she feels you're about ready to give up which is in turn making her want to give up. Open up the lines of communication...tell her you're wanting more than a roommate...ask her what she needs from you in order to help turn this around. Tell her what you need from her. Stop focusing on the 'conditions' and focus on the people here. It is obvious that she has needs that aren't being met...whether she's put up walls that make that impossible for you or you're just not reading her needs correctly, I don't know..but there are answers. Leave the ADHD off of the table for now...I think it is far more a subject you're obsessing over than she is. I think that's why she's so defensive and unwilling to hear of it or talk about it. Make it about you...and her...two human beings who love each other, who have a family together, who have been through a lot but want to come out on the other side of this whole and together. You're the one with ADHD...if you're willing to step outside of your comfort zone and fix this and use your new tools you've learned to make things better then I cannot imagine she wouldn't be willing to as well. I think she's terrified...and insecure...and would rather just shut down and lose you that way than to have you walk out on her. The weight loss is probably a big part of it, but there has to be more to it than that. I've never gotten the impression your ADHD was a huge issue in your marriage...are you fighting over other things and maybe not reacting so well because of your ADHD and that is why you feel the ADHD is an issue, when the reality might be that it is the 'other things' you're fighting over that are the real problem?


Thanks Sherri

I think you are exactly right about this situation. You said "....why do you think she feels you're asking for family therapy? I know when I ask for counseling I am about one foot out the door...and feel there is no other chance." - Exactly! I had not thought about the 180 Degree inverse perspective. But it is also correct.

When we go into repeat mode on certain topics where the the topic always ends badly, I realize that I cannot just agree with her, which I might have done in the past (Parent/Child) or really Peace/Quiet. I know we need help, which is why I asked. I don't want out, but I want to hash out the issues and put them away. I feel like I am on Step 27 of 100 and the pages are missing from 28 - 85... I definitely notice more often when she is stressed or upset, for instance: We are going on vacation soon and she seemed to be stressing about the planning and preparation. Last night I asked her what could I do to help with her load, she replied "Nothing"... Sunday after a weekend trip to see family, we arrived home in time for me to unload the car and I realized I had just enough time to get the car serviced for the long drive next week. Check one Big Concern off the list. She seemed pleased that after I drove all afternoon that I wanted to get this done.

Maybe I am trying to take stabs at what "IS" the problem. This is a new process for me... I used to wait until she got mad, then I knew there was a problem. Now I see some problems, but I'm not a mind-reader, so if I ask "What is wrong?" that is me really trying to be proactive and this is also new to me. I'm a big "Work in Progress" and don't like these undefinable issues, ADD related or not.  

Thanks for all of your great comments...


Havrin, I was looking through

Havrin, I was looking through some older posts and cam upon yours again which I am reading with new eyes. My DH, who very likely has ADHD, and I had agreed to a seperation. I was not too optimistic about repairing the relationship since he chose to move across the country where his parents are. I was almost ready to crack and my health was getting bad so I absolutely needed the break. We agreed that he would make earnest efforts to get some of his things shipped and so forth and he would stick to a certain timeframe. I found out since that he's been communicating with an ex-girlfriend who conveniently is living where he is moving. So I asked him to leave earlier than planned since he had chosen to keep that relationship going while investing nothing in ours. I should mention that their interaction was an issue months prior which I thought we setlled and he said he would cut off communication with her. So he lied about taking care of it then and is attempting to hide it from me now. I believe we are moving toward divorce now. He wont talk about why I've asked him to leave early. I suspect he'll be attracted to the people that are easy to be with and by living in the moment, will not ever get around to calling me to work things out or sending me divorce papers. The "out of sight out of mind" ADHD symptom in him will help him "move on" well. It definiitely sucks--I feel your pain. I do love him still, though differently than before, as you do your wife. And like you, I am resigned to the fact that we make a terrible couple and will not likely be able to repair the damage. I think there's at least two reasons why this other woman is attractive to him through his ADHD perspective 1) she is the pursuer, making it easy for him to feel good about himself 2) it's long distance right now so there is no burden of responsibility. Even of they get together when he moves, it will have to be secret unless she is willing to leave her spouse too. I think it's a little bit hyperfocus too, and seeing as it's hyperfocus that boosts his ego and feels good, all the better. That's all I got for ya tonight: you are not alone and ADHD is a large factor in the other's behavior. I'm surviving the heartache better now in a strange disconnected way, like he's finally given a good reason to be sort of ok with our marriage ending. Im sure there is more grief and probably some anger, but Ive got a great counselor and greater friends and family and a great God whom I trust. I keep myself involved in doing things surrounding those three things, knowing I'll be ok. Eventually.