Marriage break down. Any advice please.

Hi, I am new to this site.

At the age of 43 yrs I have only just been diagnosed with ADD. Like so many I always knew there was a problem but didn't understand what.

School years were really bad and i was constantly told that i was lazy, day dreaming, disorganized etc...! When i left school things started to get better and i was very good at my job as a fashion designer but could never deal with the paper work and social aspects that well. I got married to the love of my life 17 yrs ago and we were so much in love and had an intense and passionate courtship. We have been together a total of 23 yrs including dating. Pretty much as soon as we got married and started a family that is when the cracks started to appear. We have two lovely children of 8 and 13. Back came those feelings of self doubt, not being good enough, feeling put in the spot light because i wasn"t doing things properly, not being able to get on top of household bills and organizing family life, earning enough money. And the list could go on and on and on!

To cut a very long story short, my husband who does not have add has got sick and tired of taking the burden of looking after the third child in our marriage (me!) Over the years he has tried to make me aware of the way i was behaving and tried to get me to take on some responsibility for household stuff etc, but i would listen but not act on it. I didn't seem to realize the significance of what he was telling me. The more he has tried to point things out the more i have retreated into my shell and so the cycle will go round and round until 5 months ago he dropped me the bombshell that he no longer loved me and for his own well being and for our children, that he wanted a separation and wanted to move out.

It was around this time that I was shocked into finally realising that this is serious stuff and I needed to do some soul searching, which was how after months of councilling and seeing specialists that I have just been diagnosed with ADD. This is a huge relief for me on the one hand as it answers many of the problems I have had during childhood and ofcourse more recently in my marriage. I am so so sad that I did not get diagnosed when i was a child or even as a young adult as I have lost the love and respect of my darling husband who I still love and wish we could try to make a clean go of things with this knowledge i now have and understand. Sadly he is moving out in 4 weeks time and is able to calmly tell me that after 24 years together he definitly does not love me and does not want to try again as he feels too exhausted and hurt by the years of my ADD behaviour.

I feel so gutted and lonely. I live in the UK where there is not as much help and advice as there is in the USA. Not only am i grieving for the lost happy childhood i could have had at school if my parents and teachers had picked up on this, but i am grieving daily for a marriage that could have been if i knew about this condition. My parents refuse to have anything to do with this diagnosis and will not support me. My husband is trying to be understanding to a point and is happy for me that i have got this diagnosis off my own back but repeatedly tells me that it does not affect his decision as it is too late.

I have just bought your book Melissa, ADHD affect on Marriage and he says he will read it before he leaves our home to move out in 4 weeks. I have read it and it could be explaining my own marriage to the letter. Sorry to ramble. No one can make my husband love me again but i am having a really tough time accepting and dealing with it now knowing the reasons behind many of the behaviours. By the way no one else is involved in the relationship and he has not left me for anyone else. I am not a nasty or mean person and have not been knowingly and purposefully disrespectful and rude, lazy etc... in our marriage but it has seemed like that to my husband.

Any advice would be so welcome please.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post in a rambling ADD way :) !



Same for me

Hi, the same thing has just happened to me, the only difference I am male and my main issues have been around anger and my unsympathetic ways. I was diagnosed about 3.5 years ago, but have not had the right help or inclination to work at it correctly. We didn't work as a couple to deal with it and family life carried on. I have been in the relationship 26 years and feel like taking my life I am absolutely devastated. Of course i wont do the worst thing, but I really don't want to be where I am at. My daughter has ADHD too and my partner is just exhausted with it all, which I understand. I have faced my issues, I have admitted my problems and I am trying to deal with them, but she cannot see it.

GadgetNZ I so sympathize with

GadgetNZ I so sympathize with you and totally understand what you are going through as this sounds so familiar. I too have felt like I have hit rock bottom as i have been with my partner 24 years and dearly love him. It has always been quite a volatile relationship but none the less as i say i do really love him and we have 2 lovely children together and some very happy memories. I guess i hadn't realized the impact my ADD behaviour had had on him , which i believe can be part of the problem, in that Adders can become blissfully unaware of their negative behaviour and before you realize it you have one very unhappy partner who has apparently been trying to tell you about this for years and now they can take no more. I know it takes two to tango as they say but have come to learn that personally i was in denial about my behaviour traits until i was diagnosed properly and began to educate myself.

I dont know about you but i feel as if i have been carrying on my life as usual and almost out of no where my husband tells me he has had enough and doesnt love me and im thing jeepers how and when did that all happen. It feels currently like i am standing in a mine field and everything around me has blown up and tere am i in the middle wondering how all this can be going on around me whilst not fully understanding how it has all got so bad because i think i have been living in a grey fog for the last 10 years. Guess i sound a bit mad but that is the best way i can describe it!

I too have admitted my behaviour and am tryng my hardest to show him that i have changed my negative behaviour for good but he too cannot or does not want to see it as he believes it is all too little too late :(


Me Too

I have the same feelings, I keep thinking I am going to wake up and it was all a bad dream. I am holding out for just a glimmer of hope that she will see past all the bad stuff and know it was down to the ADD. The trouble is I dont think she really understands that it was down to that  and that I actually meant some of the bad things and deep down I am a bad person.

I have felt so lonely over the last few years, feeling like it was only me struggling with the issues, the pressure of knowing it was down to me. In addition I have had massive issues in my environment which have added to the pressure. It is so difficult knowing you have lost the love of someone who meant so much to you.


Controlled seperation

I am the non-ADHD spouse.  I have been married for 17 years and I am DONE.  I am so tired of trying to work things out, tired of begging for my husband to show me love, tired of doing "everything-just TIRED!  But I still love my husband and want to explore every possibility for saving our marriage.  I recently read about "controlled separation" which is referenced in the back of Melissa Orlov's book.  It is designed to prevent divorce through a "controlled" separation.  There are rules to follow during the separation with the ultimate goal being a healed relationship with your spouse.  My husband and I are going to try this.


When you say a controlled separation, isn't that a gentle way of letting go? That's how it sounds? Or is it a distancing of you both in order to allow one to recuperate?

I'm not sure I understand.


Controlled separation

This is definitely a last ditch effort to save the marriage.  BUT the goal is to prevent divorce but giving the couple time apart to heal from the past and then "date" each other.  There is a contract that both parties sign (not a legal contract-no lawyers is part of the agreement).  The contract lays out how you want to handle communication, dating, holidays, visitation with kids, finances, length of separation, etc.  My husband and I still love each other so we are able to rationally discuss how we want to do this.  I have so many emotions that I have to deal with and I also need to learn a new way to interact with my husband.  This time apart is designed to allow both of us to do that.  I see this as a drastic step to get us out of the bad relationship we have unwittingly created through our interactions-nagging, talking it to death, being "checked out", forgetting things, etc.

There is a book about it- Should I Stay or go? by Lee Raffel.

I have also separated from my

I have also separated from my husband of 18 years, with the intent to just cool off & start over - if we choose to do so.

He and I are in individual counseling at this point.

I have never read about controlled separation - I will definitely check out the books mentioned.

My husband is in coaching for ADHD -  he really wants to improve our relationship & other relationships in his life - with kids, family, etc..  He just doesn't seem to be getting anywhere & since I am so exhausted, I wind up losing my temper - I am less patient now and it is my hope that I regain some strength & he moves forward in his treatment without me having to basically do it for him....which ultimately, is impossible.

It really helps me feel less isolated to know others are going through the same things and at least now we know why.



I think the best thing about getting a diagnosis for my husband is that it is no longer about who is at fault.  We spent so much time blaming each other for our problems.  Since reading the book The ADHD Effect on Marriage, I have realized that everyone responds to ADHD the way we did and that neither one of us is a bad person(or the various names we have called each other).  I was able to see a glimmer of hope because I realized that we have a common problem and a solution.

I am the one who wants the controlled separation because I need to do something drastic NOW.  I feel like I have spent so many years and put so much into the relationship.  I don't want to spend more years getting to a good place and be miserable in the meantime. 

Do you think a coach would help?  My husband is taking meds and in counseling.  I don't know if a coach would be beneficial while we are separated?

Thanks for the support!  My friends and family think I'm over-reacting and that it's not that bad.  It's nice to know I'm not alone.

Good that you are learning now

I am so sorry to hear that the state of your marriage is so difficult - like so many others here, I'm sorry to say, and why I wrote my book.  The good news is that you are learning about it now.  It's hard to do this work, and don't get discouraged, but the excellent news is that your future doesn't need to resemble your past.  You don't know whether you'll be with your current husband in the future (he has some say in that!) but you can make whatever future you end up with MUCH better.  Good luck to you with this!