Hi. I'm new here.
I've been reading through some posts and I can see so many similarities with my situation. My head is mashed with everything I'm dealing with so I've probably left out a lot of details.
My wife's behaviour has changed so much recently and I dont know what to do. Shes identified to me that she thinks she might have ADHD. All the signs are there, but she will not have a talk with her Dr because she says they cannot give her anything to fix it and it will effect her having the kids if anything was to happen in our marriage.
She has always switched from extremely loving to a nightmare with mood swings in all the time I have known her. A few months ago I noticed her mood shift to becoming more distant. I offered natural spousal support and it was accepted sometimes, but also pushed away on others and seen as fussing. Things came to a head when, just before a big anniversary, she started to open up about her feelings for someone else at work. Her timing was impeccable, and knocked me down low. I was told nothing physical had happened, just a lot of flirting that had got sexual in context. I believe my wife. She has never lied to me. She was conflicted about what to do as her guilt was building fast and she told me she was unhappy with us. I struggled with this but showed empathy at the situation as she had explained what has actually been happening. After some time of reflection, I forgave my wife and she promised to get some help with her moods swings as she called them. She didn't, and kept putting this off.
We rebuilt our relationship following my forgiveness and moved on. But, I could see things getting difficult for her again. She considered every question to be nag and it became my fault that I was hurting because I had nagged too much. Then she would switch to trying really hard to save us and build us back up. Researching ADHD to find out if this is why she was feeling like she was. It had clicked with me that this is the same reason we got together in the first place. In very much the same way, but it almost as if she had forgotten that. Alot of the main adhd markets seem to fit the bill.
We were going so well. Then a massive arguement. She called me from work feeling low due to another medical condition. Caught off guard, I responded that everything was fine, but we would have to make some re arrangements for the morning. I was told that my tone was off and to just forget it. When i got home I tried to explain that my tone was not off at all, more so that I was just tired and worried about her. However, every part of me talking was seen as a nag or negative and as such i was ignored to the point I got angry and shouted just to get my voice heard. From that point onwards, despite me apologising for shouting straight away, my wife has closed down our relationship. We have agreed recently to work through things for our kids but everything is too tense.
She still wants a sexual relationship but is talking time over the emotional connections. One minute, very frosty another no so bad. She is then hyper focusing on tasks like clearing her floordrobe which makes her feel good. We discuss decorating projects in the house and she is buzzing for a day or two, then it trails off because it hasn't been done there and then. Yesterday I came home to a loving wife, hugging and kissing, but avoiding the words I love you. Today, I was told that I was being difficult and snapped at all evening. I just cant win. It has always been that she has to be right, winning an arguement is a key point for her. Now I just feel so disconnected and alone. I have given her empathy and support as she has now said that I am always down on her. I have strongly denied this, although not in argument as I have always supported her to the max.
It's now midnight an I cannot sleep because we have had a row. She wont discuss because she is right and I'm wrong. I love her so much and I'm trying so hard to rebuild our marriage for us and the kids. I think we can , but getting her to talk openly without conflict is very difficult.
Has anyone had this with your ADHD spouse and how did you start to break the barriers and work to a better understanding?
Update from today. We had
Submitted by UKHubby8523 on
Update from today. We had some smiles this morning and she said she loves me, although I think this was because the kids were around.
I now have my copy of The ADHD Effect on Marriage and just reading the first few pages has brought up so many points that are so true to our situation. I think my wife will see the book as a negative though, in her mind I am trying to justify why she is unhappy with medical reasons, sweeping it under the carpet, rather than actually accepting what is going on. I know what is happening, because i'm feeling it. The massive transition from a happier weekend, to two days later feeling like I have done something majorly wrong has taken is toll today.
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
Volatility is a hallmark of ADHD, and particularly emotional volatility. I'm sorry you are going through this. Your wife is incorrect, though. Getting a good evaluation for what might be underlying issues can only help insomuch as it then gives her a path to improving how she feels. Medications might help with mood management, for example. And there is more and more known about which meds might be safe to take during a pregnancy, if that is an issue.
I also would suggest that it probably isn't coincidence that the initiation of these mood swings started around the time of her emotional affair. You don't know which came first - dissatisfaction or affair - but nonetheless, the continuation of her moodiness and dissatisfaction suggest to me that you need to get some good marital counseling, and fast. Try to find someone who understands ADHD. I have a list of people under Resources / ADHD-savvy professionals. You can also check the CHADD website for ideas.
Your attempting to help your wife is commendable, though she has suggested she doesn't wish to have you 'nagging' her. That's an interesting choice of words and suggests that at least some of the approach you are taking is (possibly subconsciously) about alleviating your anxiety, as well as helping her. That would be understandable. But it may help you to reflect upon your approach and how much your anxiety plays a role in the words you choose, etc. This is another plus for getting a professional involved - the question to be asked is something like 'what do you need?' or 'what do you want from this relationship?' and then listening to the answer...which may be hard to hear.
One response you might get is "I need you to leave me alone." If so, start thinking about what it is that YOU need and how to support yourself in a loving way, alleviating anxiety and the rest...(you should be doing this anyway) and get a professional. In my mind, that kind of response would suggest a much more serious breakdown in the relationship than just moodiness.
Am so sorry
Submitted by Pelican11 on
Oh UK Hubby- what a painful journey you have been on, I am so sorry. You are so right in that a lot of the behaviors your wife exhibits are sort of classic ADHD behaviors (mood swings, emotional infatuations, defensive postures, etc.). You feel as if you are in a no win situation, and, as things stand, you really are. The one thing I know from my experience with an ADHD spouse is that you HAVE to have buy in from the spouse for things to change. It can't all be on you-forgiving, accommodating, coping- your spouse has to first recognize they have this neurological 'difference', then recognize it is having a negative impact on your marriage, and then finally want to do something about it. I was really lucky. My husband is as devoted to me as you are to your wife, so he stepped right up, accepted the diagnosis, got on meds, is open to communication, accepts responsibility for a lot of his ADHD behaviors. All that makes it work, even though it isn't easy. You have children, and I think that is a HUGE rationale for an honest conversation about how the marriage isn't working (because, from what you describe, it isn't). You sound very giving and accommodating, and it is possible your wife is sort of taking that for granted. I don't know if it is possible to frame a serious discussion around, for the sake of the kids, you two get some therapy (and it should be with someone who specializes in ADHD, otherwise, frankly it can be a waste of time and money), and she needs to be open to a diagnosis. I know many people with ADHD feel tremendous relief when they get on meds- so absolutely there IS something a doctor can give her, maybe not to 'fix' it, but to help manage it. Living within a functional respectful family is so important for kids, and clearly she is devoted to your kids, so maybe 'doing this for the kids' is an angle that can work if 'doing it for you/the marriage' isn't resonating. Good luck, get help...this is way too much to struggle with on your own...