I am lost and out of ideas.  I am a non-ADHD person married to a ADHD person.  We have been married for sixteen years.  I know he has not been faithful and went to file for divorce two years ago because of the children decided to go back with his promise of working on the marriage.  In front of the judge he called me dumb.  The working on the marriage has not happened.  So i am right back where i was before i left the house.  I have suffered from depression, low self-esteem, and believe on his part i am in the house to take care of the house and the children.  I purchased the book "The effects of ADHD on Marriage" and have started reading it.  We prefer not to talk and if we do he gets defensive and i shut down.  I have been asked by the children why he is so mean to me.  We have tried counseling and her advice was "he was not going to change and to get a divorce".  He has stated over the years the world should adapt to him, he would not adapt to the world.  We have a daughter who has ADHD and another daughter which is his step child.  He has a another daughter who is bipolar from another marriage.  He has been on depression medication.  I would like to be treated like a human being and have someone to love and be loved.  Any suggestions?



While learning about the effects ADHD can have on a marriage has been a revelation to me, and helped me understand I'm not crazy, I've also learned other things in my long marriage that are also true.  People can't change other people.  ADHD doesn't learn to manage itself.  Marriage is hard sometimes, for everybody.  We don't make changes in our lives until the pain of not doing so becomes greater than the pain of doing so.  Staying married can be hard, and God knows, divorce is hard.  So here are some questions.  Has he been diagnosed?  Is he getting treatment, i.e., medication, counseling, coaching (doesn't sound like it).  Are things getting worse?  Does your marriage have features you once thought you would never tolerate (your bottom line) like infidelity, verbal abuse, substance abuse or other addictions, financial irresponsibility, violence?  Is being lonely and feeling disrespected and unloved a good foundation for marriage?  Sometimes we become like the frog in the pot on the fire... things get hotter so gradually, we keep accepting more and more and more.  I have never reached the tipping point, mainly because I have managed (just barely sometimes) to stay on top of the financial issues, and none of the other big issues listed above are present.  So far, my love and affection and commitment have been stronger than the ADHD behaviors my guy has.  YOU get to decide what kind of life is good for you and your kids.  YOU get to decide whether progress is being made.  YOU get to decide what constitutes being treated like a human being.  While you are deciding, build yourself up by engaging in activities with children, friends, family and alone that YOU enjoy.  Get your financial house in order.  If you need to, get your job skills or resume up to date.  Get a salon appointment.  The only things that will help you right now are those that help YOU.  Stop engaging in co-dependent, martyr, nagging, angry, or poor-me behaviors that you have developed to help you cope (oh yes you have!).  You don't have to decide anything right now.  You have to get ready to decide, and ready to act when you do decide.  If you're looking for permission to leave, there are a few places to find it here.  If you're looking for insight into what it's like for the ADHDer, you'll find it here.  If you're looking for someone worse off than you, you'll find it here.  But none of those stories is your story, and there is not a scale where you can plug your marriage in and say, oh this is bad, or oh, we're okay.  YOU get to decide.  It's your life.    Best wishes.  

Yes he has been diagnosed

Yes he has been diagnosed with ADHD at 18 and a few years ago again.  He takes concerta during the work week but he decided it costs too much and does not take it on the weekend.  By the time he gets at the house from work his concerta has worn off.  Apparently we have a parent-child relationship, he is the parent and i am the child.  He controls all the money and how it is spend.  I am not looking for validation just help.  I did decide what is best for me.  I do not have a support group(no family or friends).  I know it sounds like i am doing the poor-me behavior.  I do not nag anymore or trying to be a martyr.  Yes i may be co-dependent but my financial situation at this time is very poor.  I do not make enough to support myself.  Also my youngest child has asthma and ADHD, her medicine is more than i make in a month.  Thank you for your response.

Lonely-It's not "poor-me",

Lonely-It's not "poor-me", it's someone that seems exhausted.

Reading through your posts, its sounds as though you're with someone that is not willing to help themselves.  Your comment about controlling the money and how it's spent struck a chord with me - I'm guilty of that myself...for cause:  Do you attempt to participate in the bill keeping and checkbook balancing?  My wife does not, even after continual requests for assistance.  So, I handle the stress and time on my own to pay the bills...she has no idea how much the electric bill costs and then can't understand why I'm irritated when every light on the house is turned on (sounds vaguely familiar from when I was growing up!).  

Finances are the hardest part of a marriage...I encourage you to take initiative and set time aside during one of his lower stress periods to offer assistance and request insight.  It may go a long way.

However, I have often felt trapped because of the financial situation.  But you can't allow that.  I'm not a believer in government assistance, but I think your situation is of a worthy cause - there are a lot of programs (government as well as private) that are out there that could help a "single" mother, especially with health needs.  If he's not willing to do what it takes to make your marriage work or to seek help to make himself better, I've realized through my own experience and close friends' that the children need to be in a loving and caring home - not one that suffers through an emotional divide.  If you seek that route, in time they will understand and will appreciate you for the change so long as you love and nurture them.

Take time to self-reflect and be honest - what have you done to contribute to the demise?  What has he done?  Finances aside, what makes you want to stay?  If you can be with anyone else or figure what your ideal situation would be, would you want to stay with this person?  Take several days or weeks to reflect...then get him to sit down and openly and calmly discuss where you're at, what you want, what you'll do, what you'd like him to do and if he's on board.

For a counselor to recommend divorce is pretty extreme.  Meaning, they are seeing something that you apparently are not or may not be willing to admit.  Most would say they couldn't believe a counselor would recommend such a thing - my thought is, if they are honest enough to do so, they are good at their job.

We are all tried and tested...take time to figure out if it's a test or a sign.

Don't mean to come across as telling you what to do...I'm simply reiterating what has been working for me.  10-years later, I believe I've finally found the help I've needed (after numerous counselors, therapists and psychiatrists/psychologists).  I said before, it's a long and often painful journey of struggles - both involved need to be up for the task..not something that will be restored in a few months or even years.

BTW, if someone has such a

BTW, if someone has such a low level of respect for you to call you "Dumb" especially in front of a judge, careful consideration should be given as to where you stand.  Even in such a painful and possibly hateful scenario, there should be some level of decency and respect.

One final rambling thought...he did marry you for a reason.  Explore that reason and what's changed since.