First off, I have to make a confession that I honestly had no idea the depth and effect that ADD/ADHD can have on a relationship when I began dating my wife. Sure, I knew people who were "ADHD" growing up, and even a few as adults, but for the most part they seemed happy, adjusted, and vivacious individuals who were also succeeding at their jobs or careers.
I dated my wife for about three years before we decided to get married, and the entire time it was exactly like a lot of the material I've now read about relationships with an ADHD partner: hyperfocus on the relationship, lots of passion, lots of togetherness, lots of love... as one would expect from someone fixated on an individual, and I had decided I'd found the woman to spend my life with and worked towards making it happen. I got to know her family extremely well. In the process I learned that her father very strongly has ADHD, and also has a brother who are also very strongly ADHD. The brother, as I learned, has very obvious symptoms and an official diagnosis, and even though he has taken Ritalin and Adderall for the issue it was never very well managed and he's had life difficulties as a result in school and with his girlfriend. So, there's definitely a strong family history for it.
Throughout our dating history, my wife has always had little problems related to her condition. She would forget to pay bills occasionally, and come home to her apartment to find that the water had been cut off, for example. Cabinet doors were always left standing open. Bottles for vitamins, liquids like rubbing alcohol, jars, and such would be left on the counters with their lids off. It would always take her far longer to get ready to go places than would be expected due to fluttering about from thing to thing, and as a result it was always a push to be on-time for many things. I've had to apologize countless times to friends and colleagues for lateness and leaving people waiting, or otherwise causing them delays as a result. She has totaled two cars as a result of what I can only describe as probable distracted driving but not due to a cell phone.
All of this, in my mind, I had attributed to just absent-mindedness because hey, we all make mistakes and forget about things. We all run late from time to time, and accidents happen. We all get distracted.
We got married several years ago, and things were basically great... at first. Starting out, from me there were lots of "honey, please turn the light off when you leave a room" and "honey, please put the bottle caps back on things and put them away when you're done" and "honey, you forgot to turn the burner on the stove off" or turn the oven off. There were lots of "honey, where did you put the mail" type question and answer sessions. We'd have discussions at depth about things, and when I would think we had come to an agreement on something we would have to have the discussion all over again days later. We would make joint decisions about things and one day I would be told we never did. There were burned meals due to forgetting to check on them or set a timer. I've woken up to the smell of burning carpet where she left a steam iron on all night, ironing board was knocked over by the dog, and had burned a place into the carpet. We've had money for important bills get diverted to other uses because of lack of communication and assumption on her part and have had financial difficulties as a result.
This has turned me into a walking ball of frayed nerves, paranoia, depression, and worst of all: anger. I have never felt so angry in my life. I can barely stand to look at myself in the mirror anymore. My health is starting to decline because of all the negativity I feel in myself. I'm medicated for the depression, and I am planning on seeking help for dealing with the anger. I just can't believe that I have developed such a dismal outlook on my marriage with my wife, who is a kind, sweet, gentle person by nature.
This is a person I love, who I married with the expectation of having a partner that I can rely on in life and to hopefully one day be the mother of my children. I'm so scared of her and this situation now that I'm afraid of even having kids with her at this point. My fears and experience tell me it would only be a matter of time before her condition would affect our children. What's worst for me is still truly the anger I feel. I'm frightened of myself and the gradual upwelling of resentment that has been festering towards my wife. I've found myself losing control of my anger, verbally assaulting her for situations that have arisen because her ADHD, and I hate myself for it. I hate that I am hurting someone I love and care for so deeply, and feel powerless to stop it or change the circumstances. I hate feeling like I'm turning into some sort of monster because I'm constantly on guard for the next minor disaster to occur. I hate feeling like I always have to carry the weight of the household on top of managing a full time career. She has attempted a career but that also did not work out, and as a result has turned to part-time work just so we can keep our bills paid and food on the table. I'm fearing the day I have to get a part-time evening job to pick up the slack when her current situation also falls flat.
Over the weekend, things came to a head again, and I lost my temper with her. She's now staying with her parents as a result, and I'm not sure for how long. I hate this and I hate having to face this situation; a situation that now, on top of all the other emotions, has left me both sad and alone. I can only imagine how my wife feels, being a slave to her condition and having what appears to be an uncaring spouse. The parent/child dynamic has already set in, and I'm not even sure how I can start trusting her at this point given how frequently I've been let down in the past. She's been seeking counseling but it has so far been unfruitful outwardly, and she's also not been prescribed anything to help her manage the biological components of this. She has had them in the past, but discontinued taking them due to complaints about how they made her feel and, especially with the Adderall, impacting her ability to sleep at night.
I'm losing all hope for a joyful outcome to all of this. I see many people on here who want to leave their spouses, and many who apparently have. I don't. I love this woman! I want a beautiful, happy marriage with her that she seemed ready and fully capable of before things just seemed to start getting worse. I don't know what to do. But on the other hand, I want my health. I want to be happy. I want the constant, throbbing headaches from stress and tension I have to end. I want to feel like I have the energy to take on life again. I want to feel vitalized by my wife, and not feel like a single dad. I have no support, nobody who understands in my life, nobody to share my feelings with who can relate or understand the issue. Friends and family all see what goes on and have a general "she needs to get her **** together" reaction which, as anyone with an ADHD spouse knows, just isn't going to magically happen.
I just don't know how to get there. I've been reading books, I've been reading information on the internet, and have a few more books on the way. Counseling, I hope, will start leading us there but there's no "cure" for ADHD and I feel like, while I'm married to her, this is always going to be a problem. How does one face the prospect of living the rest of their married life shouldering the responsibility of protecting and caring for our children? How does one accept that, for the most part, you're the one who will either have to suck it up and endure the burden of the situation or leave? How does one face the idea of a lifetime of managing the balance between loving your spouse with resenting the fact you ever married them?