Marriage and monogamy

Hi- first time blog- female, 2 year diagnosis with ADHD, adult kids, 30 year marriage, full time job, study masters deg and the rest. I wonder if other ADHD gifted people have the same problem with monogamy? Not promiscuity- thats well documented, but to be discontented and finding others? Short question.

response to Marriage and Monogamy

The short answer is yes. In some cases, it stems from not feeling appreciated (this is somewhat understated) by your non-ADD spouse, and you look elsewhere for that incredibly powerful positive high associated with being the recipient of adoration that comes with a "new" relationship. That too, alas, fades over time.

the other side too

As a wife of an ADD husband, I can tell you that I'm often tempted these days to "find comfort" with another man. I'm tired of feeling ignored or, worse, like the only grown-up in the relationship. I definitely don't feel appreciated! When your partner, whichever side of the ADD equation s/he is on, doesn't fulfill your needs, it's easy to start looking other places to get them filled. I have chosen not to cheat on my spouse, though, even though it's been months since we've had sex (normal pattern for us--he says he wants to, but just forgets to do anything about it) and I could pretty much strip wallpaper with my nails these days, if you know what I mean. ;-) The only way things will get better is to try things to make them better. Getting a little something on the side won't help and will, in fact, hurt the chances of making things better. I know I have trust issues with my ADD husband because he doesn't keep his promises, but that doesn't give me any license to break trust with him on my side. If he, however, cheated, this relationship would be over. That would be the absolute final straw.

the other side

I read your post and can only say I relate! My husband who was diagnosed 4 years ago with ADD (he is 43) often lets me know how unappreciated he feels. We have only been married for 9 months, ( I am 41 and have been called very attractive.) Still ,we have sex once per month. This has never been my pattern! I am a fully-formed adult with a well-documented history. By the way, I adore my husband and would love to be more "active". It is he who finds the reasons not to. I have been tempted as well, but am old enough to know that that would only bring more guilt/sorrow. Still, it is difficult, and I don't know if our marriage will make it through sometimes. What's worse is that his constantly feeling undervalued leads me to think that HE will be the one who ultimately cheats!
toodogg2's picture

or it's just that you're in

or it's just that you're in desperate need of a like mind and spirit, same as yourself. i had to deal with that for the past 12+ years of my marriage, my poor wife. i strayed once, but knew it was not for the emotional, spiritual and mental needs that went and are still going unmet. you're not alone. i am so sorry for you as well... J "It hurts to be Me...among all the Normals." AniGRAF/x, Inc

One of the things to keep in

One of the things to keep in mind is that monogamy is a cultural construct. Culturally, we tend to tie the concepts of "commitment" and "intimacy" to the concept of monogamy, but they are, in fact, three different things that may exist independently of each other. There are many people who consciously choose ethical non-monogamy as an option that works for them, yet they may be extraordinarily committed and intimate with their partners. Those who practice it are no more or less emotionally healthy or mature than those who practice monogamy. Some who practice monogamy do it in a healthy and emotionally mature way, some don't. Some who practice non-monogamy do it in a healthy and emotionally mature way, some don't. Ethical non-monogamy does not equal cheating. Cheating (or violating a relationship boundary of any kind) is not an "ethical" choice; whether or not someone identifies as monogamous has nothing to do with it. I certainly do not think that ethical non-monogamy is the right choice for everyone (and, in fact, I would suggest that if someone is unable to nurture one relationship that they will have even more difficulty nurturing more than one), but it is an excellent option for some. If you are interested, you can do a search for "ethical non-monogamy," "polyamory," and "swinging," which may give you some ideas of different forms of non-monogamy. You can also check out Tristan Taormino's book "Opening Up," which explores varying forms of non-monogamy. There are many ways of being non-monogamous in an ethical, emotionally healthy way, depending on what works for an individual and his/her partner(s). Some deeply love and are committed to more than one person, and they may form families and/or households which include more than two adults. Some enjoy having sex only within the context of a committed, long-term (intended) intimate relationship, whether they have one or more of those relationships. Others find that they like being intimate and committed to one person but that they enjoy physical, sexual encounters with others. And so on.
milagro5's picture

true, I have known people who

true, I have known people who are polyam but I have rarely seen it work well except in a few rare instances

Non-monogamy can work with ADHD

My husband and I are both ADHD, I am on meds and he is not. Our main area of concern is arguing excessively and never finding resolution. One aspect that has worked well has been our attitude towards our sex life and each other. It has always been passionate, open-minded and very active. Soon after together, I confessed that I was bisexual and we began to regularly have threesomes with other girls. This allowed my husband to also confide that he wondered if he was bisexual, too, and we have had sexual relationships with couples who are similar to us. This has actually increased the trust between us--seperating our love from experiencing physcial pleasrure with others is an exciting and enriching experience. We have our guidelines and understandings, and there are definitely obstacles that can get in the way--we discovered that if there was any recreational drug use, that things got having sex with 8 different people in a few days. I am writing about this to encouraqe couples to not write this off as being wrong or weird--the ADHD brain is wired differently and we need a lot of room to move, feel like we have freedom in our lives. If you are lucky enough to find a partner to explore non-monogomy with, in an open and trusting way, then it can add a dimension to your relationship that others don't have and that may help forge stronger ties.  

ADHD and Marriage - Learning to thrive in your relationship

As I understand it, this is a forum for spouses in a marriage.  People who have given their lives and their hearts to trying to live in a marriage of love and commitment and health (remember the commitment to honor the union? if not, why marry?).  Melissa's husband strayed and she is taking the heat for his straying eye. I would really like to know right now.  Is this a trait that is connected with ADD?  All you ADDers.  Please respond.  This would be helpful for us spouses to know.  Is this too much to ask, that you be faithful and committed? And if something feels wrong or not enough that you share those thoughts/feelings and work on it rather than go out and find it elsewhere? Is monogamy too difficult/unpleasant for someone who cannot focus or remember promises?  Yeah.  My anger is coming out again with this post.  I am angry.  It is part of this process of accepting that what I thought was truth/love/commitment was just hyper-focus and something that was not real (or too hard).

Monogamy is not too much to ask from an ADHD partner

I have been with my husband since college (19 years) and would never, ever, EVER, cheat on him, no matter what.  My diagnosed but unmedicated ADHD Mom recently celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary with my Dad, and I know she has never cheated on him, and wouldn't even consider it.  From what I understand, for SOME people with ADHD, sex can be addictive due to the dopamine surge.  I'm sure for others, cheating is just a sign of the disconnection due to the the state of the relationship (not referring to serial cheating here).  I can understand the anger if your husband has been unfaithful and I certainly don't personalize it.  I would be furious if I were you!  I guess it is a problem for some people with ADHD, but we can't all be painted with the same brush (thankfully, in this circumstance).  I KNOW YYZ would back me up here.  We both have high sex drives but that hasn't translated into cheating at all for us.  We just want to be intimate with our spouses, and have endured sexual frustration (!!!!!) rather than cheat.  I am working very hard to improve myself, and I think the ice is finally starting to thaw between us.  I know YYZ is also working hard and clearly loves his wife in a way that is absolutely endearing.  We are capable of self-restraint, even though we have impulsivity issues!  I hope that clarifies the issue.  I am sorry that you are experiencing this pain.

Back you up ADDMomof2 (YYZ is also ADDDadofTwo ;)

Like my fellow High S Drive ADDer ADDMomof2, I can honestly say that I have never cheated on my DW in almost 17 years of marriage. I have always had a very high S drive and before I started dating my DW, this drive caused most relationships to end. I'm in the middle of "Delivered from Distraction" and Sex is my preferred dopamine rush, by a Mile. Food, unfortunately was my #2 addiction. Food made me feel good when I felt bad and was totally in my control, as not much else seemed to be. Unfortunately, after DD#1 was born our sex lives dropped to an incredibly low level, like 4 - 6 times a year. This went on, or stayed off really, for about 7 years and eventually I reached out to a female friend for advise on what to do. There was nothing between us, just friends. My guys friends were useless in this area, if I were to reach out to a female family member, it would have made trouble in the family forever. I just wanted intimacy with my DW. The stress and anxiety in my life at this time lead to my ADD diagnosis at age 43. Speaking about my marriage to another woman almost ended my marriage. We went through an amazing 6 month period after my diagnosis, but we still had major issues, mainly her anger and not believing in ADD and I knew only time could heal the lost trust, so I focused on not repeating what I did and worked on un-doing a lifetime of bad coping mechanisms. Almost three years later, we are still mostly like room mates and running the business of raising our children. We may have had a break through last night, but it sure did not look like it was going to be one. The RARE evening out, with no kids at home, started good, then ended like most other "Rare Dates" with us barely speaking. I guess something hit her in the middle of the night and I was woken up for my favorite reason. I'm hopeful... Having this connection with my wife is So important to me. Without this connection, I don't think I can continue, so last night makes me hopeful that my work might be paying off.

Sex is my greatest ADD addiction, and I have been through at least ten years of technically sexless marriage and I Have Not Cheated. I know there are many ADDer's who have cheated, but many of us bust our a$$es to keep our marriages alive.   

Why do you think the RARE

Why do you think the RARE night out usually ends with the two of you not speaking?  You're obviously productive enough, committed enough, and love your wife immensely, so your DW's response is frankly baffling to me (as I'm sure it is to you).  Since you have no control over her, do you think there is something you could be doing differently which might help change your dynamic?  I'm just putting that out there...I'm not saying that there is...

Also, high-five on your nighttime surprise!  I have been exhausted for the past week because the frame on the box spring for our Sleep Number bed slipped two inches below the metal frame and I didn't see the problem (microcosm of my life, apparently ;).  I have had awful backaches and turned into a grouch last night (4 or 5 hours per night of crappy sleep in the past three days:(  ) My DH informed me the best thing to do was to go to bed as I was cranky when he shook (not meanly; it just jolted me out of REM) me awake after I had fallen asleep while snuggling with our 5 year old daughter.  He told me essentially that we were going to watch a movie and then have sex but he clearly can't talk to me about anything because of my reaction to a number of things that day (which was really due to my fatigue but that he takes as a sign of the bigger picture/the past).  Instead of fighting for the "date" against my better judgment, I listened to his advice.  We went on one date this week, but other than that, it's been sooooooo long.  No sex, either??? WTF!!!  I am happy for you, though :D!

RARE (Why?!?)

It's Fun, it's Free, It brings us together and the Best source of Dopamine ;) I guess it is a weapon too...

I believe the Date Night issue keeps occurring because of the infrequency of Date Night. My DW still has anger issues and a little alcohol throws fuel on the smoldering fire. She has told me so this is the case. It is not a case ot too much to drink, as we rarely drink, so we have a couple of drinks at most. Since we don't have much one on one time together, we typically use the time to talk about stuff at home, kids, upcoming vacation or something like that. Since Adderall, I feel more free to speak my mind (She has begged me to do for 20 years), now I do and if she does not like my answers, it can start to go wrong. After the drinks, it fuels some of the other smoldering issues, like her thinking I don't find her attractive, or she is not fun like years ago. No matter my answer here, she thinks I say what she wants to hear because I "Expect" sex after the date. I don't "Expect" sex, after who knows how many years of a sexless marriage, but sex after a date would be a nice end to the rare date. 

I used to have bad sleep apnea, so I understand sleep depravation and the crankiness it causes. Hopefully you fixed the bed ;) RARE sex baffles me and Really frustrates me. The thing is we have amazing sex, both of us honestly say it's the best of our lives. I dropped from 285 lbs to 185 lbs and have kept to weight off for two years, so I am more than able to take care of my DW (even at the advanced age of 46 ;)

The other night was a reason for hope... Don't let your DH off the hook either, remind him that "It" is Fun and recommended by at least 4 out of 5 doctors ;)

lieing and cheating - is there hope?

My 43 year old husband was diagnosed with ADHD 3 months ago following on the heels of my 12 year old son's diagnosis of gifted, adhd and learning disabled (written expression) 8 months ago.  I assume my husband also shares the gifted and learning disability diagnosis as well.  My son had a lousy school experience - very similar to Dr. Ginsberg for those of you who are familiar with his story.  From what my husband has disclosed his was not too different but went undiagnosed and untreated.  It must have been awful.

In looking at the various comments, I suppose I am lucky in some ways but I am sitting here crying.  My husband is an extraordinary medical doctor specialist, he has an excellent sense of humour and he often does 50% of the house stuff although when and what he wants.  He has however been having an affair with a nurse at the hospital where he works off and on for the last 6 years, he lies constantly even in some instances where the truth would serve him better, he's very self centred and he has a lot of the other adhd associated frustrations.     He has been seeing a psychologist for the last 3 months and the psychologist is apparently suggesting medication.  

I have been reluctant to end our 25 year relationship because:

1. I believe the kids are better off with us together.

2. I want to help figure this out - I want to do it for my husband because I love him although this is waning but also I want to do it for my son who is just like his father.  I want to stop the cycle.  I have read the Delivered from Distraction and Super Parenting books as well as a zillion others.  I do believe that quality relationships are the key to happiness and quality relationships are founded on trust.  If my husband can't tell the truth I worry he will not be able to establish a quality relationship with me or anyone.  I worry he'll never achieve happiness - a sad waste for someone who has so many other wonderful qualities.  Am I fooling myself?  Is it possible for someone like my husband to die happy even they can't sustain meaningful relationships?


At the time of my son's diagnosis he was increasingly also becoming a liar.  I am not sure if the lieing was an inherent characteristic or a response to a world that was hostile to him.  I suspect a little of both.  In any event I noticed that the concerta that my son started taking reduced the lieing.  

If anybody has any thoughts on this I would be most appreciative.  Are there any reformed liars out there?  If so how did you do it?

need help

I have same situation. My husband with ADD is keeping date the strippers, even though under the medication. I think divoce,but kids are very young and kids love their dad and want dad every day. what can I do?

Another factor in repeated cheating

I was "caught" a year ago by my wife and had to admit to years of cheating, online flirting, porn... a horrible thing to have done. I have turned my life around, thanks to 12-step groups for sex addiction, and the incredible Gentle Path program started by Dr. Patrick Carnes. If you or your partner is unable to stop compulsively "acting out" sexually, there is help. The most amazing thing was meeting so many others (men and women, although more men) who are struggling with the same thing. Judging the behavior only in terms of "moral failing" has never helped anyone stop -- it just compounds shame, which drives despair, which leads to acting out... the addiction cycle. Patrick Carnes's book Out of the Shadows is an amazing resource. His daughter Stephanie Carnes, director of Gentle Path, wrote "Mending a Shattered Heart" which are essays by and for the betrayed partner. The main 12-step groups are Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA), Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA). For the betrayed partner, COSA and S-Anon are very helpful for support and to heal the inevitable problems that grow out of being married or close to an addict. See the questions for self-diagnosis on the SLAA site, SAA or SA There seems to be some correlation between sex addiction and ADHD. Not that either causes the other, but the combination is really challenging! My wife and I, and other couples I know in the program, are proof that the problem is real and that there are solutions, and a marriage can begin to heal and grow once the addiction (and the "co-addict") have behavior under control and begin to heal the underlying pain and trauma that drive addictions. It is a hard road, but it seems to be one of the only ways out into a sane, healthy life.

recovery nation

This man is being very honest and I was the spouse of someone with the same issues who refused to accept responsibility.  The website that literally saved my mental and emotional life was  If it had not been for this website I am not sure I would still be here today. 

response to Another factor in repeated cheating

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond and for your helpful suggestions.  I looked at the website self-diagnosis Q's.  Some of the stuff fits but not like a glove.

For most of my relationship with my husband his interest in sex and other women to the extent that I was able to detect was on the lower side.  Around his turning age 38 I started noticing a variety of changes in my husband that have continued to this day.  I don't know if they were triggered by or are a part of mid life crisis (whatever that is).  In any event around that age he started needing less sleep, started being more interested extreme sports, started being more interested in his appearance and started feeling what, on reflection, I describe as the itch - a feeling of dissatifaction and a need to do something.  It was shortly thereafter that he commenced his first affair.  As part of these changes I think he has become much more interested in sex and his sex drive has increased.  I am not sure why all these changes have come about.  One theory is that work was satisfying enough to quell the itch or satisfy the need for thrill seeking (he often deals with life and death) but over time it's not enough but this does not explain the needing less sleep.  My sense is that there are some changes going on but what exactly and why, I am not sure. 

Thanks again and if you or anybody has experienced this kind of morphing I would be appreciative of any insight you might offer.




Son couldn't meet our requirements

I'm sorry to hear that you spouse lies and cheats. That isn't necessarily a given for ADHD spouse and I'd feel devastated if my wife cheated and kept cheating. You (and your son) certainly don't deserve this.

My son (and I) have inattentive ADHD (40 and 13). I didn't lie about school work because (a) I wasn't asked by my parents and (b) I wanted to have the highest mark. My son doesn't have those things going for him. He would lie about things that we could check out online. The truth was going to come out. But that was in the future or the "not now" time and he was getting pressure in the "now". It was "ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies." After Concerta, he was more able to learn good school habits and didn't have the need to lie to preserve a relationship or avoid an unpleasant situation. And now I see that's why I would lie about completing things (that I had promised to complete). I didn't want the relationship to erode more so I would convince myself to "try harder" in the future. At work I can mostly implement systems to help me succeed in what's expected. Home is way too free-form for that to be entirely effective. (I can always take out the garbage in the morning but it's harder to have a system to always quickly respond verbally to my wife when queried when the TV is on and I'm posting something online.) For me, meds have truly helped for things that I couldn't plan for. 3 months isn't a long time to find a solution that is effective and then begin to learn better behaviour. With meds, my understanding of my spouse's needs grew. There's a great opportunity for communication at that point.

Lying and Cheating / Son Couldn't Meet Our Requirements

Thanks OoohShiny for your comments.  I am hopeful that my husband will try some medication - he tells me that the psychologist that he is seeing is encouraging him in that regard.  I want something to change on a fairly dramatic level at this point.  At the same time I have some concerns.   Many aspects of my husband's life work very well without any medication - I don't want to jeopardize those by getting on some kind of medication rollcoaster where we go through all kinds of things trying to find out the right med, right dose etc...

Would you mind tellling me more specifically how meds worked for you, when you were diagnosed, how you found the right one, what it felt like at first, after? etc...

My son's diagnosis is combined type ADHD and I think it's accurate although he started to become much less hyperactive in an around grade 4.  Moreover the Different Minds:  Gifted Children With AD/HD, Asperger Syndrome, and Other Learning Deficits” by Deidre Lovecky describes general attributes of gifted ADHD individuals and breaks down the descriptions into inattentive versus combined.  My son fit more of the inattentive descriptions in her book then the combined but especially as a young child he bounced off the walls unless I read.  If I read to him he would sit as long as I continued - could be for hours and I did - it was the only way I could get a break.  It didn't matter what I read as long as it was out loud - could be the newspaper.  I 've been intrigued by this apparent transformation in him starting, like I said, in and around grade 4 because the other literature that I have read seemed to indicate that I shouldn't expect slowing down until adolescence.

Anyways thanks again and hope to hear your further thoughts


Thanks for the book title -

Thanks for the book title - I'll have to look it up.

I self diagnosed in late spring of 08 when I had my son tested and I followed along with my answers on the subject. I saw my own psychologist by Oct and started meds in Dec 08.

They slowly increase doses - they will start too low in order to find the minimal level that is effective. Concerta worked for my son. I use plain Ritalin. I wanted to try other old medicine (one of the components in adderall) but my Dr convinced me that ritalin had a lower impact on blood pressure so I started at 10mg and now 30 seems to be good. I think that 40 would be better based upon experiments I've made. At first the meds didn't feel like anything. Then at higher doses they started to feel like a diet pill - a hollow feeling in stomach and loss of appetite. Now I see a pattern in how I feel when I take the meds. About 6 hours after, I start to feel blue. It lasts for an hour or so. Next Rx I'd like a 3rd dose so I can delay that feeling until late at night. I don't think that it would interfere with my sleep. I think that maybe it makes me more emotional at times - but mostly after the dose is worn off.

I've asked others "What does it feel like to have the right dose?" I didn't get an answer from anyone. For me and others it seems that there isn't really a feeling with it. I notice that I can accomplish things that I couldn't finish before but that's not really a feeling.

Dramatic change. Hmmm. In the end, I can still only do what I want to do. I want a marriage that works. Now I can consistently do things that I don't enjoy in order to achieve that goal. Sometimes, I still don't know what to do. I don't have habits that came from a pill but I can start them now. If learning is a change of behaviour, I now have a greater ability to learn. I still have lots to learn but now I can. If you can consider that a dramatic change, that would be great.

I think that Ritalin is known

I think that Ritalin is known for its 'hangover'; the after-effects of medicine wearing off. I've seen that with my son as well. We tried Ritalin with him but the after-effects were not good at all.


Even Agent Smith Gets the Blues

                                - Eugene Donohoe, Dublin City



Thanks for your follow-up OooohShiny!  It was great to hear about your experience and get your perspective.

re: lieing (sic) and cheating

Lying and cheating ( maritial ) are not "ADD" characterstics, per se.

Does your husband have an inflated ego or an ego thats easily threatened? Does the fish he caught get bigger and bigger as he retells it?

Smart fellow but his need for others to see him as even smarter get the best of him and sabotage things?

Or is the extramaritial affair at the centre of the lying/cheating? If thats the case, its very, very common; both women as well as men, ADD, non-ADD, completely 'normal' folks, etc., and shows up in  people who 've  never so much as told a white fib before. Its just the nature of the beast when it comes to extra maritial flings.

Hardpressed, you might be dealing with both the ADD and the other at the same time.


Welcome to the desert of the Real

                                        -  Morpheus

lying and cheating

Thanks David for your response - and also for noting my spelling error! 

The extramarital affair is not at the centre of the lying.  When the affair first came to light, in a rare moment of honesty (a few years before my son's or his diagnosis) my husband wrote a short note to me.  I wished I 'd kept it but basically he admitted he lied, that he lied frequently and about everything, that he'd been doing it all his life and he didn't know why.

From what I've observed:

-  He lies as almost a default mode - I sometimes think he's afraid that the truth will have a consequence although often,  if he thought it through the consequence if there is one would be nominal.  In result he will often lie where the truth would serve him better or at least as well as the lie.  For the most part these lies are all about inconsequential things - things nobody cares about so they go undetected. 

-  He will also of course lie to avoid consequences such as in the context of the affair that he has been having. 

-  He will lie a little to embellish a story.  The level of lieing in these contexts is typically not so much so as to be generally detectable.  If something cost $300 and he thinks it will reflect better on him if it were less he might say it was $200 or something like that.

-  At times in the past he's also lied for amusement.  Cat and mouse kind of thing - it was entertaining for him to see how gullible people could be.  I don't think he does this so much any more. 

-  I don't think he would ever lie to steal or anything like that.

-  I think he knows he's lying - I don't think he believes his own lies.

I am not sure if my husband has a big ego or is extremely insecure - I suspect more the later.  He seems to have an unquenchable thirst to be well liked where he works and from what I can tell he is very successful that way.  No work related request is ever a problem; he performs the most amount of work in his group etc... etc...  No accolade or level of achievement is ever enough, although I think he's starting to tire of reaching for the holy grail and time after time finding that he is still not satisfied. 

I don't know if you  have ever read the story of Beck Weathers - he was a patholigist on an ill fated Everest ascent attempt.  Anyways he was left for dead twice and in the course of that experience finally had an epiphany that his family was what was important.  He wrote a book called, "Left for Dead."  I think my husband is on a similar track.  His behaviours and thoughts (to the extent that I am aware of them) are becoming increasingly self destructive.  I ask myself what it is going to take for him to have the same epiphany?

A starting point in my view is achieving some level of honesty at least then we could talk about things in some meaningful way.

Thanks again for your response and I look forward to any further thoughts that you might have.

re: lying and cheating

" For the most part these lies are all about inconsequential things - things nobody cares about..."

yeah, he's probably the one to be religiously dotting his i's and crossing his t's when it comes to filling out his tax forms but when you ask him if he'd taken the rubbish out last evening, he'd not blink an eye about telling the lie. Doesn't lie to take something from someone but in order to avoid conflict or inconvience.

I know.

What was the context around him writing the note to you, telling you about his lying? Its too bad that the two of you didn't use that as a starting point to get to the root of things. Those windows don't show themselves too often.

No, I never read the Weathers' book you refer to, but I understand what having an epiphany is and I think you're probably right on the mark with that being the catalyst needed in your situation. It was in mine. Its just a starting point, mind you, but there has to be a point reached where the person can step away from themselves and see how things really are. Its being able to keep that 'distance' maintained while functioning on a day-to-day, practical level that is the tricky part.



The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.

                                                                                                      - Alfred North Whitehead

lying and cheating

Thanks for your response again David!  I think you've hit the nail on the head about his lying and stated it so much more succinctly than I - avoidance of conflict or inconvenience.  The context in which he wrote the note:

* It was about 5 years ago, before my son or he was diagnosed with ADHD.

* His affair with the nurse had come to light about 3 months prior and consequently the 3 months leading up to the note was highly emotional.  

*  He ended up feeling trapped between his lies - the ones he was telling to his girlfriend and the ones he was telling to me.  When confronted, he cried for a moment (for the 2nd time in the time that I have known him) and then if memory serves me correctly the next day he wrote me the note.

* At the time I thought we were using the whole discovery of the affair, the note etc... as a starting point to get to the root of things.  He told me his life flashed before his eyes, that he had learned the importance of honesty etc... etc...  At the time however I had no knowledge of ADHD or that either he or my son had it.  For my part I assumed 50% of the responsibility and started working diligently to correct my deficiencies and put our marriage back together.

* Coming to learn recently that in less than a year from writing that note and while still saying those things my husband was back in an affair with the nurse which then continued off and on for another 4 more years has been devastating for me - maybe it's still ongoing - who knows.  The magnitude of the lying is surreal to me.  My husband would often write me cards about how sorry he was about how much pain he had caused etc... etc...   He would often talk about the biggest mistake of his life, how she was white trailer trash etc... etc... All the while he was still having an ongoing affair with her.

* I have talked to him directly about this.  How could you on the one hand be having an affair with her and then on the other hand talk about her being the biggest mistakes of your life?  His explanation was that he didn't recall it being exactly contemporaneously - it could have been.  More likely he'd say the things to me one week then engage in the affair the following week.  He explained he was being sincere in the moment but that he's just really good at compartmentalizing.


So now we are back at the same point we were just a little over 5 years ago.    He says he has now ended the affair. He says this time is different because:  he now knows he has ADHD;  he is now seeing a psychologist; he and the psychologist have discussed at length options and he realizes now how someone like me doesn't come along that often and how it would be unlikely for him to find someone as compatible and understanding as me; he has better awareness of the traps and can proactively plan to avoid them etc....   Just recently however he blamed me for his lying.  Said he was purposefully vague about things because if he didn't remember with 100% precision which was difficult for him that I tended to latch on to a fact  and then dig and find discrepancies and create problems.  This was prompted by his lie that he had an affair with the nurse 5 years ago and ended it when it was revealed and only started up with her again a little less than a year ago aside from a one night stand in the middle.  As indicated above the "one night stand" was really an ongoing affair pretty much the whole time.  

Anyways, David - I would really like to get to the root of things.  How do I do that?  Or do you think I am getting there and just have to be patient?  He realizes he has ADHD but hasn't yet internalized that part of that is blaming me for his lying and he may want to take a step back and think about that and other characteristics as well.


It sounds like your situation might be very informative for me, even if different and by way of contrast.  If there is anything that you feel comfortable sharing I would be most appreciative!  I am really curious as you seem to have great insight.

My ADHD husband also

My ADHD husband also stretches the truth quite often to avoid conflict or inconvenience.  In fact, he has done it so much for so many years and as I speak he is now in somewhat of a crisis mode because some of the issues he's lied about, to avoid, are coming to a head and now he must deal with.  I don't know what the outcome will be!!!!!   

one way to verify affair

You might try to verify whether or not your husband is continuing to have an affair by asking the nurse.  This is what I did.  After a period like you describe, in which he told me how wonderful I was while still seeing her on and off, I made it clear to my husband that I would call his girlfriend some time in the next 12 months (my choice of when, and I would not give him advance warning) to verify whether or not they were still seeing each other.  This gave him warning that I wasn't inclined to have him continue to see her and was planning to actively make my own assessments.  You can also check cell phone records.  If he's still calling her, he's still involved with her.

A person who has been caught in a big lie like this has to then decide - do I completely call it quits with the affair, or not?  If they can't do it, they can't do it, but at least you know this.

I was on the other side of this fence, too - having had an affair of my own which my husband found out about.  Affairs are hard to stop, particularly if you are a somewhat addictive personality or if you have trouble with self discipline.  There's lots of excitement and a chemical high that they can create.  So, having been through it myself, I did have a good deal of empathy for my husband's affair the first time around.  The second time I found out about it continuing he was a.) truly on his way out of it and b.) still trying to pull himself together.  Again, I chose to be empathetic, recognizing just how hard it is to "quit".  However, I knew that our marriage was over if it happened a third time - for me, it was one thing to get caught up in the difficulty of getting out and would have been something different if he were to continue it further.  "Quitting" an affair is not for the faint of heart - I got that - it forces you to come back into your marriage and FIX it.  But sustaining an affair long after you've been caught more than once signals to me that you can't or won't fix it.  So the second time is when I told him I would contact her some time in the next year.  My ability to follow up was one of the conditions of our staying together at that point.  I figured that if he didn't have something to hide and would have no further relationship with this woman, then there was no reason for him to object.

As for seeing a psychologist - this isn't an indicator of ending an affair.  My husband did this while in what I call phase 2 of his affair.  In fact, his psychologist suggested that he should seek a divorce from me and decamp - advice he did not take at the time, and is delighted now that he ignored.

It sounds as if you really love this man - so you must follow your own path and attend to your own needs on this one.  My approach is only one of many, and I chose it not because it was the best for anyone in the situation, but because the "trust but verify" was the only way I could rebuild my own trust of my husband's fidelity to me.  I had been so clueless in the second phase that I simply didn't trust my gut instincts on this particular topic, and didn't want to spend my life wondering.

response to: one way to verify an affair

Melissa thank you very much for your for insight and suggestions.  When I first logged on to this site I didn't realize that you had experience with affairs, in addition to ADHD - lucky for me and maybe for you??  If I ever get through this I imagine it will be through great personal growth.


I have thought about contacting my husband's girlfriend.  I had some very limited contact (2 short phone calls - one initiated by her) with her when the first phase of the affair was revealed over 5 years ago but nothing since.  I wrote her a letter when the third phase was discovered but never sent it.  I never did discover the 2nd phase until the 3rd phase was discovered, so like you, I don't trust my gut instincts on this particular topic, and I don't want to spend my life wondering.  Maybe I would have picked up on it if I wasn't so preoccupied with my son's life spiralling out of control at the time but I don't think so.


The problem is that I trust the nurse even less than I a trust my husband and even though I imagine she is also very much a victim of my husband's lying, I feel somewhat repulsed by her.   


For the first phase of the affair - she was quite predatory even though like my husband, married with 2 young children.  In fact she was so predatory that a year before the 1st phase started she was circling and I discussed with my husband that she was either inappropriately looking for workplace advancement or a relationship or both.  I am generally not the jealous type - over 25 years I have only taken exception to 2 people including the nurse.  We agreed at the time that it would be best for him to avoid the nurse when possible.  From my naive perspective I thought I had dealt with the situation and that was that. 


In this context, I take a different view point on some of the other comments that I have read from other people writing in on other matters.  A number of people have suggested that cheaters are cheaters and it has nothing to do with ADHD.  I am certainly in the learning phase, so I may have it wrong but for the moment anyways, I don't agree.  In my husband's case, he was working with this nurse in life and death situations where emotions run high.  In my working life I have found myself attracted to others when working closely under pressure.  Fortunately however I never acted on those feelings and learned from the experiences that those kinds of attractions are situational and not sustained and therefore they are no longer tempting.  Someone with ADHD in the same type of situation, as was my husband, who has problems with impulse control and considering future consequences in the moment, would have a much more difficult time applying the lesson and avoiding temptation, especially where, as in my husband's case, the nurse was ready, willing and able on a predatory basis.  I don't extend the same level of understanding to phases 2 and 3 of my husband's affair -  by that point he knew what he was dealing with, even if he was not specifically aware of his ADHD. 


So that puts me back to still not trusting my gut instincts and what to do about that aspect of the situation.  There are other verification things that I have tried.  I have swept the e-mail, looked at the phone records etc...  His preferred method of remote contact is text messaging which once erased, is erased forever as far as I can ascertain and doesn't specifically show up on phone bills.  I must say that when I go to the effort to check these things I feel like the biggest loser.  My palms sweat, my stomach turns in knots and I beat myself up over wasting my life when there are so many other better things that I could be doing with my time.   Moreover no checking method is ever absolute - I am always left still wondering no matter what is or is not dredged up.


The fact that my husband recently blamed me for his lying signalled to me that he still wasn't getting it.  He understands that he has ADHD but that made me think that he does not appreciate the implications insofar as his condcut towards me - past and present.  Then when we talked about that specifically, I got the impression that maybe he was starting to get it.  I am not sure. 


My husband was motivated to see the psychologist because he felt unhappy and uncomfortable with the "itch" - the sense of needing to do something but not knowing what.  He was not motivated to see the psychologist out of a burning desire to save his marriage - he doesn't really see it as being in jeopardy.  In some ways he's accurate - I am not currently planning on going anywhere, atleast not until the children are grown and that's 7 years away.  In other ways he's not accurate - this kind of state is not really a marriage - atleast not by my definition. 


I think my husband got to the pschologist's office and the psychologist pointed out to him that he might want to think about saving his marriage and he's now adopted that as his position.  I think he agrees intellecually with it but I am not sure to what extent he has internalized it.


Anyways - that's quite the ramble - I am still at the point that half the time I don't know what to think.  When I found out about phase 3 - at first I felt some relief - it could finally be over and then the complexity of the situation quickly clouded things.  You are right - I love my husband.  I love him deeply and I have always loved him.  I thought we had a connection and harder then facing the dishonesty has been the thought that maybe the feelings haven't been mutual.  That's difficult for me to fathom and I am still not really sure.


Your further thoughts and suggestions are welcome.  It really sounds as though you and your husband have found the kind of mutual trust and respect that I yearn for.  How long did it take once you started moving in that direction?  What other key things did you do in order to get there? 

Update - a positive report

I am not sure of the correct format for an update so I am replying to my own post.  Please let me know if there is a more appropriate way to do this.

I think the situation with which I am involved is starting to move in a positive direction in a meaningful way, so I thought it may be useful to share as I agree with some of the other commentators that things can get a little negative here and my previous posts were no exception.  Also it's great to get the thoughts of others.  I feel quite isolated moving through all of this.  That however is another topic and perhaps a separate stand alone post that I will get to.

In any event the positive movement involves my husband's awareness of how I feel and the actual work needed to be done in our relationship.  Since January when my husband's ongoing affair came to light yet again and he started to see a psychologist he has been trying to improve things by being more attentative and helpful.  This made me feel uncomfortable because I could see that he was trying but from my perspective he was missing the mark - at times I felt sorry for him.  Notwithstanding my discomfort I was somewhat brutal with him the last couple of times he stated that he thought things were improving and sought my agreement in that regard.  The first time I told him that I didn't think progress was being made because at the end of the day I wanted to be in a relationship with someone who I trusted and I don't trust him.  He subsequently indicated that he was discussing with his psychologist about how to build trust.  This was a huge relief to me - movement where movement was from my perspective needed.   

My psychologist had suggested to me that I be explicit with my husband about what I needed from the relationship.  I did this early on in the process:  trust, security that my husband would act in my best interests and a sense of partnership.  The fact that my husband is now starting to focus on one of the real issues is huge to me.

My psychologist had also suggested to me that I be very explicit with my husband about consequences if he were to breach the trust again etc...  I have not been a compliant patient on this front.  I told my psychologist that there would be no consequences.  That I was there for the next 7 years until the children were grown no matter what.  What's the point of setting up consequences for something I know that my husband is likely to do since I don't think on some fronts he is incapable of telling the truth and in connection with which I know I am not going to follow through? Notwithstanding that to date I have not followed my pschologist's advice on this point (which makes me a little nervous) the discussions have helped to solidify my thoughts.  From my perspective I don't have to invent consequences - the consequences have already transpired.  My husband has a wife who doesn't trust him.  In other words he doesn't have a marriage by my definition.  If he wants a marriage he has to figure out how to rebuild the trust.   I have no idea how my husband can go about rebuilding trust.   For a long time I worried about that alone - read books on forgiveness etc... etc...    I think it's great that he is finally starting to think about it himself - it means a tremendous amount to me.

There is even more progress.  My husband has on a proactive basis been making reports to me about his efforts to eliminate where possible or otherwise reduce the nurse's involvement in his life.  While I may be going out on a limb here, I believe he is honest in these reports.  Recently my husband again sought my agreement that things were improving and I reported that I still didn't trust him.  I told him that while I believed his proactive reports, at the same time I didn't believe he is currently capable of telling the truth when he is confronted with a situation where he has to react.  Here's the really amazing progress - he agreed!  Wow - there's hope and while other times I'd be crying while writing, today I am swelling with love for my husband.

We have also signed up to see yet a 3rd psychologist for marriage counselling starting in August.  Maybe just maybe we will really start to get a handle on things.  In hindsight all the efforts to improve things after my husband's affair was first revealed almost 6 years ago were misdirected and largely a waste of time.  I am hopeful that we can direct our energies in a way that matters this time.

Thoughts and comments are welcome and very much appreciated.


Hi Willowblue,

Thanks for your posts! It is now quite a few months since your update and I wondered how you and your husband are doing now. I am going through a similiar situation with my husband of 30 years. We are only a few months into his "getting it" and turning his life around and I am full of hope and love for him. I too feel quite isolated and look in these forums for my advice and hope going forward. Thanks for all the sharing you have done with the rest of us :-)

where's your car on the roller coaster now?

gr8memories, i don't see a response yet from willowblue, but was wondering how you are doing. i've got my hands full of some similar nightmares right now. checking in, trying to get a grip.  

reply to happycamper and willowblue

Thanks for the update willowblue - I am truly sorry to hear of your latest worries. Since your positive comment was the light at the end of my dark tunnel a few months ago, I am happy to report that my husband and I are doing really great right now and are confident that the worst is behind us. I hope this will be a beacon of hope for you, and for happy camper too whatever your situation might be...  I can honestly say today that we are as much in love now as were were when first married, if not more so, and that there is hope if the two of you are willing to work at it.

My story is as bad as most you read here - we have been married for thirty years with the usual "dance" where one partner has undiagnosed ADHD, not happy but not unhappy either. My husband is a very successful self employed businessman, who had a long history of lying to me about his business dealings and many other things, similiar to your story. One year ago by accident I found many pictures of women on my husband's computer. He confessed to several years of internet chat room "friends" and an internet porn problem, but assured me that he had not met any of the women in person and that it really meant nothing more than something he did when bored, etc. This had happened before many, many years ago and after counseling I thought that was the end of it - stupid of me I know, but I was busy with kids and life... so again he started down the road with counseling and we started reading self help books like crazy and working to repair our relationship. One day he read that ADHD can be the root of some of these problems so he picked up one of Ned Hallowell's books and recognized himself right away. I started reading about ADHD too and when I hit the chapter about relationships, had a real eureka moment. We continued to learn about ADHD and to work on our marriage. A few months into it (7 months ago now), he was confident enough in our relationship where he opened up and told me the truth about many things, including an affair that he had with a woman he met in a chat room. He actually hired this woman and flew her to meet him when he was traveling on business trips!!! By the time he confessed, the affair was over and he was done paying her the many months of severance (blackmail) that she asked for. I do know he was telling the truth about this because I had put software on his computer when I found the pictures, etc, and this had all happened before the software was on there. So once again I was devastated, even though I knew it was in the past and over, it was still brutal. At this point, I insisted we follow up on an ADHD diagnosis, because I truly believed that to be the reason he could not control himself! We went to Ned Hallowell's center in NYC for testing, and had a wonderfully inspiring session with him. Ned's assurances to me that people really can change, made a big difference in my believing that this nightmare could really be over. It was surreal at times - I finally had the open and honest husband I had always asked for, but I was in such personal pain over the unfaithfulness, and my own loss of confidence, etc.  I truly had no idea what was going on all those years, and never would have believed he could do this to me and to us...

My husband had hit rock bottom and was very ready for change, and that was a crucial part of our success. Today I asked him what he thought were the best things he and I had done to get where we are today. His reply to me was that my empathy for him and eventual forgiveness played a huge part, all the self help reading was great - especially Ned's books, including the ones called Connect and Human Moments, and his new book coming out this month on marriage (we had a draft copy-it is great!!), a book and cd program from Mort Fertel was very positive for both of us, but the best thing we did together was an Imago workshop with Rick Brown ( We learned some real communication skills and got some big insights into how and why this happened to us. Rick does workshops in several states so if you can, I would highly recommend this. Our kids are grown now but I really wish we had done this when they were young and still in the house so we could have modelled a healthier relationship for them. There are lots of therapists that do Imago workshops but for my husband, the bond he felt with Rick and the personal stories of his marriage and his children, really made it hit home. It would not have been the same experience if we had gone to a workshop put on by woman. I could tell from the body language of most of the couples there, that we were not the only ones who were deeply affected by the weekend.

My biggest tip is to read all you can and work on developing empathy, understanding and communication skills together. My years of criticism did nothing but make the situation worse.  I hope this brings you both some hope and wish you all the best in your struggles.

Hi gr8memories, I haven't

Hi gr8memories,

I haven't looked at this site for a long time, hence the delay in my response.  

My husband lied to me again in November around the time of your post.  In the grand scheme of things it wasn't a huge lie.  The plan for the morning was that we were going to take my daughter and her friend to the gym, all work out, then I would drop the girls at Mandarin class (they're very industrious) then I would go to work for a few hours until their class was over and pick them up.  I needed to go to work because the previous week both kids had taken ill and I had missed a bunch of work to stay home with them.  My husband was supposed to go home and feed my son who also has ADHD and needs to be feed because he won't eat by himself as the medication suppresses his appetite.  Around 11:00 am my husband called me at work.  I asked how his morning with my son had gone. He said great, my son had eaten breakfast, they played hockey etc...  He indicated he had been called into work and would need to leave around noon and wondered if I thought that would be okay.  I said I was picking up the girls at noon and promised to take them for lunch but should be home around 1:30 and that amount of time should be okay to leave my son alone.  Turns out my husband never went home after the gym - he went to work.  He was home for about 40 minutes before he left again to work the 2nd time.  The lie was revealed when my son said something about him going into work twice that morning.  

The lie was bad but to me his response was even worse - it was the usual:  deny it was a lie; then blame me for the lie - he lied as I would have yelled at him he said; minimize the lie; and then get mad at me for being unreasonable.  He basically told me he was trying to be honest but he fell of the barrel, he said he was sorry so deal with it.  I was and continue to be very upset about this.  My husband has some awareness at times about his ADHD but generally I believe he is in denial.  His work life is very successful so it's perhaps easier for him to not really believe he has any problems.  Before I believed that with the ADHD diagnosis and knowledge we could make meaningful change.  It gave me hope.  My hope has largely evaporated now.

Given that I don't really have any hope I broke down and e-mailed his girlfriend (Melissa, I am finally following your advice) yesterday asking her to advise me as to whether they were continuing the relationship and if not asking when it ended.  That's why I read your post - I have been up watching the computer waiting for a response.  She responded coyly this evening indicating that before she answered any questions she wanted to know how I got her e-mail address.  I have now written back with the information she requested and hoping again she will give me the information requested.  If I were a gambling person I would bet that my husband continued his relationship with her past the time when he said they broke up but I don't really know.  

The Marriage psychologist told me that because I had trust issues I was to gather evidence - check up on my husband - and every time things checked out that was supposed to help me renew my trust.


At this point I don't really know why I care.  I just want to know the truth for the truth's sake or if the information lines up with his, maybe that will give me renewed hope.  Either way I don't know that it changes anything as much as I sometimes want to leave the relationship I won't.  I won't do that to my children.  The last few months with the beginning of school in September have been unstable for my son - he is just starting again to regain his foothold - I don't want to destabilize things for him.


How are things going with you?  Can you tell me a little more about your situation?

I'm afraid I don't have much

I'm afraid I don't have much insight into things, but hindsight is 20/20! Being a husband with ADHD who sought to avoid conflict and inconvenience ( 'yeah honey, the rubbish is taken care of ' ) often at the expense of the truth, I can take a reasonably good guess at what might go on.The person here with the insights is Melissa. Everytime I read one of her articles, I'm floored at just how dead-on she is. People really are missing profound principles because at least 50% of it isn't what we want to hear- and that that can apply to just about every area of human interaction you can think of -

The thing with his affair is from what I understand and what I experienced, typical - with or without ADHD. I know what you are experiencing when you say that he tells you one week that he wants to get out of it completely and is remorseful about getting involved and then the next week, you're hearing the bedsprings squeaking upstairs ( or more subtle signs that they are not letting go of it ).

Having been in your shoes, to a degree, with respects to that, and being able to look back at things that happened with my spouse, I can say that your husband probably is being truthful at the moment he tells you that it ( his extramarital consort ) is the worst thing to ever have happened and then find himself drawn back into it. Those things can be powerful emotional magnets and from what I've heard and what I saw with respects to my own spouse's situation, its very rare that they let go completely without any wavering back and forth. My wife was candid enough to explain a lot ( or at least some ) of what was taking place in her mind during our 'troubles' and looking back on it, it makes sense now, but then it was very, very upsetting the way that she seemed unable to take control of her feelings - it was also totally unlike her in every respect - which made things seem worse.

It wasn't fun and of course, there is always something lost and there is a sort of innocence lost anytime that happens, however, for me, it was a big factor in me really  beginning to deal with my ADHD, which had set the stage for that and that I don't regret..

"...he and the psychologist have discussed at length options and he realizes now how someone like me doesn't come along that often and how it would be unlikely for him to find someone as compatible and understanding as me; he has better awareness of the traps and can proactively plan to avoid them etc..."

That is one of the best things that you could have known at this point, though it may take a while for it to materialize in your eyes. For whatever reason, whenever someone gets involved in an extramariatal fling, something happens and the wayward spouse takes on this personae of arrogance, for lack of a better term.  It does something to the ego and they really get into this mode where they think themselves clever and whatever problems their spouse has, real or perceived, gets magnified a hundred times. The fact that your hearing him voice this means that he is starting to look at reality and is beginning, at least, to see the qualities that make you special. I think a lot of times this doesn't happen until its too late.

I'd definately not give up.



Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.
                                       - Erica Jong


Thanks again David for your

Thanks again David for your continued response and words of encouragement.  I am not planning on giving up.  I worry however that I may be the type that doesn't know when to call it quits.  In part, this website has helped with that as it has shown me that others in my shoes would persevere and don't think I am delusional for doing so.

Marriage, lying & cheating

ADHD husband and I have been married since 1989 but "committed to each other" since 1981.  My husband died (1973) at 28 and I met D. when he came to estimate some work to be done on my house.  In 1980 I sold my home and we literally built (1980-1991)a home together. 

In 1986 he met 18 year old tootsie.  I followed them to a parking lot and listened outside. He did'nt respond when she asked him when he would leave me.  I told myself it was just a mid-life thing - he'd get over it.  I was a wreck. My kids had been at the point of finally accepting him - now they looked at me like I was crazy.

Finally after 9 months I went to Tootsie's parents; I think that ended that one.

But, in 1991 we moved and he admits to only "flirting" with a fellow employee. There were 3-4 more "flirtations", that I know of. On occasion I observed them when they did not see me - that tells you allot.  He lost 2 jobs over 2 of them.

18 year old Tootsie - I did not leave him because every dime I had was in a house that was only 1/3rd. constructed - we would have lost everything. 

The "last one" sucked all the spirit out of me.  I was 59 years old, in debt, no savings, no career of any worth because we kept moving to get away from the last Tootsie.

In addition to having classic ADHD symptoms like, "I don't think you love me anymore because our relationship is past the intense 1st. Stage", "live for today, the hell with tomorrow", "why bother to try because it woun't turn out well anyway", "it's all about me", "you don't agree with every word I say so you don't love me", etc. he had his life history issues.  At about 38 years he started to change - late 50's/early 60's it was like his life issues were funneling down.  All the regrets, mistakes, unfulfilled dreams, resentments, converged.  

It is my own observation that children that grow up in an insecure environment (divorce/not handled well, parental job loss/income stress, parental discord/stress, addictions, etc.  usually have issues.  D. lived with an alchoholic step-father, oldest child, emotionally disconnected mother.  D. got out of home as much as possible - work several jobs, read ALLOT. He cultivated being there but being somewhere else - if it isn't hurting me it does not concern me (he volunteered at a club for 17 years and did not make 1 friend) and HE DOES NOT LEARN FROM HIS MISTAKES - every day is a new day.  HE MISSED ALL THOSE LIFE-LESSIONS ONE LEARNS FROM OTHERS. Later on sex replaced attention / love he never felt at home.

30 years later - sex = love, as long as you are getting what you want life is good, I better take care of me because no one else will, trust no one, don't think too much, what does honor, trust, love, husband, wife, for better or worse really mean?  And, both of my children have no respect for me - they think I'm an idiot, for staying with him, for not getting my self together and commiting to a job, so I had "standing" at least - let alone money of my own put away. When I try to encourage my daughter to socialize her son/our (ADHD/Tourette's/? Bi-polar/??) grandson more and, less DS play, she says, " Who are you to give me advice?"    

ADHD effects everyone around you.

When sex is the one thing he can focus on

Thank god I"m finding this forum now as I'm about to divorce. It's helping me to realize I was dealing with a real condition and not just a "no-good guy" (nobody could understand what I saw in him, thought he seemed immature if funny, fun and sociable).  Like your husband, mine eased his boredom with sex. He was very charming, seductive, persuasive, very handsome so it was easy for him to pick up women and I think it gave him the self-esteem boost he desperately needed because he failed in pretty much every other area of life.  I know he wanted our marriage to work, and he claimed he was trying, but when any challenge came along he'd turn to sex with someone else (or porn, or cam sex/chat rooms etc) and all that (plus a hidden substance problem) was the secret molasses I knew nothing about for years that was slowing down any progress in fixing our problems. Obviously ADHD isn't the problem alone - it was his poor coping strategies that wrecked the relationship. I was ready to adapt to his ADHD limitations but not the cheating.  When I found out about that, I gave him a chance, like you did, because I thought it was a one-time thing. Then I found out the full scope of it and realized he couldn't be trusted.  Like you, the people around me think I'm an idiot for trying to make it work. As I get ready to divorce, I'm trying to figure out what "story" to tell myself and the men I'll date in the future (and the members of my family that I kept this relationship a secret from!) to minimize the harm to my reputation and my own self-esteem.

ADHD really does impact everyone around you.  What amazes me is how little any of this has come to light. Before finding this forum, the descriptions of adult ADHD out there were so gentle I was beginning to believe he must have something worse - or was just a jerk - and that I really was making excuses for him by chalking it up to ADHD. That's what everyone else thinks, but reading other people's experiences on here I'm seeing I'm not the exception, I'm the rule.

ADHD, Marriage and - -

Deceiding to stay or leave is a complicated decission.  And, balancing what you need to do for them VS what you need to do for yourself is HUGE. I was a caregiver to my elderly mother and mother-in-law, as well - you can't help anyone if you don't take care of yourself.

Find out what makes you happy and do it. Nothing guarantees that you will have the patience you need, all the time but it sure helps. ADHD etc. does not get the same "understanding" as Alzheimer's, Autism or even dementia; give yourself a pat on the back for even trying.

With my husband I think it is his ADHD combined with his own life experiences. Childhood insecurities led him to "bug out" of life and he did not learn all those important things we learn while growing up! I have noticed other people that have ADHD and good friends and parents who inspire - developed differntly, they do much better.