Love in the ruins

I once was loved. Before marriage, I felt loved by family, friends and the universe and saw beauty and synchronicity all around me.  

In relationships, it can happen that one of the 2 people becomes the beloved and one of the people become the lover (as in does the work of loving).  I have loved but I have not been loved in return.  He NEEDED me to love him and care for him and listen to him and look at him.  He NEEDED someone to dance around his needs, forgive him constantly, bolster hix ego and mostly to give him sex (be conquered to benefit his ego) and give him the freedom of being his own independent person. I thought that one day, he would appreciate and love (actions) me in return like soul mates.  

I have not been loved for a long time and what happens to your soul and heart is that you are not as strong as you are when you have people who support you and love you and look at you and listen to you.  When you feel invisible, there is little energy to work or excel or love anymore. The world does not seem like a fair place anymore and you wonder if love really exists or is it just in a person's imagination that love has meaning and power.  In my case with dh, love does not work.  Fighting for boundaries, watching my back, grabbing my share, manipulations, getting my way, staying strong, not taking things personally, not having any expectations would have been more effective and smart. I should have guarded my heart and strategized with him. He plays life like a chess game. But what a crappy way to live and love that would be.

He got to be loved. So maybe he is the smart one. The smarter thing for me would have been to leave him and find someone who was able to love and give.

I see the back of his balding head a lot as he is always still walking away from me. No goodbye. Not telling me where he is going or when he will be back. And he props himself up with his attitude of playing the part of a lovable goofball caricature of a man child with all the forgetfulness and inappropriateness of impulsive ADD.

Fighting a losing battle

Fighting for boundaries, watching my back, grabbing my share, manipulations, getting my way, staying strong, not taking things personally, not having any expectations.  see above

Is this the solution for non-ADDers with ADD spouses? If the ADDer can't/won't do anything to help themselves - meds or therapy - is this what our only sane option is?  To fight the "disease"?

No wonder we don't like ourselves much anymore...those of us who were taught to be feminine, accommodating ladies. We must be strong (and a little cold) bitches in order to keep our families afloat if we must work to financially support the family AND be on alert managing our hapless drifting spouses.  The anxiety for us is waiting for the next unexpected/expected hapless ambush of a bill not paid, of a lie, of another embarrassing event.

Isn't that what soldiers do in war?  They must forget what is in their hearts. They must take on a false, strong, survival perspective so that they can have the stomach for the battles. 

That is a heck of a way to live and love.

It feels like battle fatigue.


Fighting a losing battle

Well said jennalemon.  How do we survive the fatigue of the battle fatigue?


jennalemon, I hear that you are grieving. It is heartbreaking to be in this place. And you have been here for a while now, right? You express yourself so eloquently. Am I out of line if I ask what are you getting out of this relationship at this point? You said, "The smarter thing for me would have been to leave him and find someone who was able to love and give." 

Why can't you do that now? I say this with love. What is stopping you? Are you waiting for him to wake up and be the person you need him to be? Forget the idea of marriage for now. What about your relationship? Has he done anything to acknowledge your feelings and work on it? Or are you spending your time grieving because it isn't what you want?

I made a list for myself of the things that were keeping me in my marriage before I left. Kids? They are better with us apart, absolutely, and resilient. I was taking care of them by leaving. Money? This sucks. I have a second job this summer. I worry about it all the time. But I looked at it this way. If someone offered me a house and more money on a game show, to live in abject misery, would I take it? Of course not.  The idea of the sanctity of marriage? Sure, it sucks, too, to be the divorcing one. I took my vows very seriously. But I tried really hard and mine was an unhealthy, terrible marriage and I was letting my spouse's issues destroy my health. Being alone? The idea of it is different than the reality. Seriously. I left and shortly after, I couldn't care less if I were in a relationship or not. And this from someone who has had a boyfriend since I was 15. I have never been alone. I got married to the wrong guy, partly because I was afraid of being alone. But I just don't need it any more. I feel free. It happened after I left, not before. I was amazed. It empowered me. I focus on my kids. My time is my own now! The freedom is amazing. I can breathe. Work is fun again. Part of my old self is back and I would never tolerate someone being disrespectful or abusive toward me. Not out of anger or defensiveness, but in a sense of calm and self-love. 

What would happen if you gave yourself the gift of letting go and moving on? Let go of the idea of your life and be open to another path. You may think you cannot do it (I did) but then? I just did it. Found a place, called friends, and moved. I am sorting everything else out as I can. Each day is a gift. You have the rest of your life ahead of you. You sound like a talented, smart, thoughtful woman. Give yourself this gift. 

Apologies if this is out of bounds. But if you want me to say it to you, I'll say it every day. I am in your corner.  

I think her age is what might

I think her age is what might be stopping her, but the friend I moved in with is in her mid to late 50s. She goes through men like water lol. She has her own house, new car, and a good paying part-time job, and she is working on her doctorate in counseling. She is really struggling right now, but she's making it and keeping her sense of humor. I'm completely miffed that 1/3 of my take home pay will go to daycare and that I will have to work on weekends just to make ends meet, but I AM HAPPY now. 

I hope you can find happiness soon. I know you are disappointed and frustrated. I was too:(

Lauren, Lynninny and Broken

Thanks for your encouragements and notes of caring.  Why am I paralyzed?  That is a good question I hope to find out with a counselor I will see on Tuesday. Your words of successful detachment from your situations are good for our mind's eyes to envision similar freedoms.  Keep writing. I love to hear how when someone is driving the Uhaul out the driveway that their hearts and souls are feeling strong and relieved and how it hits home that the house and the "story" are not as important as peace and health.  The names of many of you are like friends to me for now.


I have gotten so much from this site. Once or twice I have wished we all lived close by and could have some coffee! I was there for a long time, paralyzed. I was so very tired, shell shocked and depressed. It is hard to do anything when you are so worn out. I had hidden and covered for him and our situation for so long. I was embarrassed, too- I am still not sure why. I didn't even want to tell a therapist some of it in the beginning because I didn't want to admit I had chosen such a wrong partner or that I was putting up with so much. What smart or healthy person would put up with this? 

I didn't feel better before I left, but I knew I deserved better. Then all of the rest of it started to happen. The happiness, the realization that I was so much better off, the lightness of heart. Hang in there my dear. I hope the counselor helps and you take care of yourself. 

I'm So Exhausted's picture

A shift in my own paradigm

jennalemon, Broken by ADD, lynninny, and lauren07,

I found this forum in the midst of my panic, also known as  'what is wrong with him?!'

Now I am totally shifted to a different sort of panic, also known as 'what is wrong with me?!'

LOL!  I can't figure out quickly enough how to get myself extricated from this.

I am seeking full-time employment - as I know I will be on my own and need to support myself.  What we have as a couple is indeed 50% mine, however liquidating it and then subtracting the debt will leave . . . not much.  And the liquidating/dividing will not be such a quick nor easy thing to accomplish.

Disappointment and disillusionment are what awaited me at the top of the mountain.  Not what I worked towards.  Not what I dreamed.  It shouldn't be a shock - but it truly is.  Devastating is a strong word - but it fits.  

A fire, a car wreck, a death, a major catastrophic event or illness should have been what got our relationship to this point - not just a woman who had her head in the sand while wearing rose-colored glasses.  What I found here has been understanding and wisdom and the peace-of-sanity that has shown me it's not just me.

For that, I am so grateful :)

So I also sojourn on. . . . . getting out of this life wrapped in someone else's anger at every step I take, every work I say . . . . .  cannot happen quickly enough.




You can do it!  I truly

You can do it!  I truly believe that anyone who can survive life with a severely dysfunctional spouse can do what he or she needs to do to escape that life.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Rosered, I am so amazed at


I am so amazed at the turn of events in our married life.  In 2007, he was diagnosed with a High-Grade Sarcoma in his thigh.  Most likely to spread to his kidneys or lungs.  It did not spread.  Once he had the tumor removed, he did not need chemo.  He did not need radiation.  Quite a miracle!  He is cancer free:)

Added to his ADHD is the strange conundrum of being one of the very, very few people in life who survive cancer - - and do not take a whole new lease on life.  No major lightbulb-effect of , Wow, I am alive.  Wow, I'm gonna live.  Wow, I'm not gonna waste my life by being angry and bitter.

So is hard for me to comprehend.

It is great you are choosing potential


While I hate to see ADHD kill another relationship, I am proud of you for standing up for yourself and choosing a new path. Clearly your dh isn't willing to help move the boulders from the old path and you can't do it yourself. The new one may have potholes but I'm sure you can navigate them. 29 years of marriage to dysfunction builds tremendous resilience and fortitude. I wish you the best of luck.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Found this just today. . . . .


Natalie Lue: " Healthy relationships are not power struggles and the truth is, the moment that you admit that you’re wrestling with someone for power over them, you, or the relationship, is the moment that you admit that this relationship isn’t working and cannot proceed."

That's it in a nutshell.

Power struggles

It sure is unhealthy to live with someone who feels a need to exert power. I hate when partners seem to always be competing with one another. How can you effectively communicate when you, or they, are trying to win some non-existent game.  Everyone wins when you work together to optimize the whole rather than the individual.