I had no idea there was a forum for people to express their feelings about either having AD/HD or being the non AD/HD spouse. I am the opposite of an ADDer, that is neither right nor wrong :) just who I am. However, my husband was recently diagnosed with ADD. We both work in the field and I'm not entirely sure how I missed this (or if I was in denial) but it has certainly "rocked the boat". So much so that I feel like I'm living in a tsunami.
I'm really just trying to wrap my head around this very new and unfamiliar diagnosis. My husband appeared so well put together when we first met. I actually wasn't sure if I was going to be able to be on the same level as HIM. He's kind and sweet and always wanting to help in any way possible but often time he helps in all the wrong ways. Yes, I appreciate the fact that he even wants to help but when it creates more work for me it's hard to fully be grateful.
During a therapy session my husband mentioned that he kept certain things from me prior to getting married because if he revealed them he felt that I might not marry him, which is probably true. I wouldn't say he LIED because I do not really feel he did but I do think he remained ignorant and oblivous to some things that he should've spent some quality time exploring (but whether or not he has the capacity to is a whole nother problem). He intuitively knew there was something "wrong" but he had no idea what it was, he did notice he was forgetful and thoughtless but he'd never really taken the time to explore what caused this (very understandable now, man hindsight is unkind!). He definitely knew how much of a go getter I am, how extremely disciplined I am and how I am a bit of a perfectionist. I think perhaps because he lacks these skills he admired them in me and perhaps felt that they would "rub off" on him. Unfortunately, they have not and I have come to understand his ADD and their limitations a little better. Though I can say that I do feel somewhat douped from not having been fully aware of all this from the get go. I thought understanding the ADD more would make me a feel a little better but it really hasn't.
Instead of feeling more motivated and dedicated to adjusting my own life (which is a must if we are to continue this marriage), I feel like I'm living a life that wasn't intended for me. I envisioned a marriage of thoughtfulness, intimacy, friendship, humor, romance, and physical, emotional and mental challenges (the good kind of course). I have to admit I always knew he wouldn't physically challenge me, but I still hoped that even though he might not beat me in sports (I'm athletically gifted ;) ) I still hoped he would challenge me to challenge myself physically. I can also admit that I'm quite the hopeless romantic. I'm creative in my love and gestures, but I do not feel creative for him. I can also admit, though I'm not very proud of it, that I have quite the temper and no patience. I get easily aggitated and angry when simple tasks are not understood or completed. I try to simplify most everything I explain and do in hopes that it may make it easier for him to comprehend but somehow it never really seems to make it from my mouth to his brain...it gets lost somewhere on the way...sometimes I feel like I can physically see it getting lost. He's so busy trying to memorize each word I'm saying he loses the message before he's had a chance to actually listen to it.
I'm not sure if his ADD has gotten worse over the past few months or if his family situation has exacterbated other emotional issues but something does not seem right. He tried Ritalin but lost weight and it wasn't working...it had a placebo effect on him. He is now on wellbutrin and they just doubled his dose because again we saw no improvement. He has mentioned several times that he doesn't want me putting my hopes into these medications because they may not work which tells me that he may be sabotaging whatever good they can do. What I mean by that is that even if it was working for him I think he'd find a way to make it not work because he's very used to being the victim and feeling like he has failed. He's so used to it he actually finds comfort in it and he has told me this, as well as written it. His family is a piece of work. He comes from a fairly traditional Japanese family and they are pretty conservative. His parents have their own ideas about how his life "ought to be" versus how it actually is. His mom is a control freak and she is unbelievably manipulative. She appeared surprised when he mentioned he was diagnosed with ADD (she and everyone else in the family have always noted all his ADD traits, I guess they just never made the association-much like myself). I think she makes his ADD worse because she gets into his head and confuses him before he has a chance to grasp an idea or thought. She's ridiculously negative and very difficult to please. My husband, although very sweet and kind, is also a lot like his mother (excluding the difficult to please part). I get that he learned to be like her through habit and perhaps that's not what's at his core, but they are often very much alike. I can honestly say that some of the reactions and ways she handles him that I hate, I have begun to see in myself. It is such a jarring experience to know that the very thing you dislike in another is some of the same things we ourselves do. She becomes overly angry and resentful of the mistakes he makes and she will hold a grudge for qutie some time, as will I.
The thing that is getting to me is that in my previous relationships I have been flexible, vulnerable, and accommodating and this relationship does not really access those parts of me. And those are the parts of me my friends, family and I have always enjoyed the most. I can't tell you the amount of times my friends will write, text or call and say "you're so sweet" "I love you more" but I do not ever get that from my husband and in some ways I understand why. I'm always so angry and bitter about him "dismissing, ignoring and disregarding" what I say or need. I feel like it's all purposeful but I know that because of his ADD it is not. Although I know it's not, it still makes me quite angry and I have a hard time reeling in that anger and making myself responsible for it. I am excellent at reading myself and evaluating myself both honestly and critically and know where I fall short and I'm not afraid to admit it. I very much play into this circle of chaos my husband and I have going on but it feels like there are so many other factors that no one else has mentioned that are taking place. He suffers from very low self esteem (perhaps from always having made so many mistakes) and the lower his self esteem the more turned off I am. I am an extremely confident woman, I know who I am, what I stand for and if people don't like it, I just smile. I genuinely want this marriage to work but I can't envision it working with his ADD. All the things it creates for him are just infuriating to me. ANd again, I feel like if I was motivated to I could adjust the way I live my life but I also feel like why do I have to adjust who I AM for his ADD? I guess the answer to that is, BECAUSE I'M HIS WIFE. But if that is my rationale than doesn't he have to adjust his ADD FOR ME, since he's my husband??? I get this can and probably should be a very two way street but I feel very repulsed by some of the things his ADD leads him to do...We will have the same discussion several times and yet nothing I say is retained. We come up with behavioral plans but he has no follow through. There are just so many accommodations to make for him and I really ask myself how will I be happy in this situation when this is not at all what I had in mind? I read some of people's posts and when the non ADD spouse has accepted a new way of living part of me is envious and the other part of me knows that I may not have the patience or the desire to take on that acceptance. They are ok with being the mommy, daddy, planner, financial advisor, etc and I just always envisioned myself sharing those duties with my partner. Furthermore, I do not ever feel that my husband understands who I am or what I desire...I wonder if this is all ADD or something else? He does not seem to understand basic human emotion at all...he always concludes something totally incorrect.
Here's the thing that has me at a total loss...when I'm not sure I want to be in the relationship anymore he is able to articulate and express what he needs to know and more or less how he needs to do it...is this typical of an ADDer, wanting and knowing what to do but not actually being able to carry it out? Is there some hope of changing his meds and seeing some serious improvements? We have a nine month old and before I consider having anymore kids with him, or staying in this relationship for that matter I wonder if we can overcome this ADD?! I'm at a total loss for what to do now, and where to go from here???