Marriage worse after diagnosis and treatment

I am a 41 year old male diagnosed with inattentive ADHD about 6 months ago. Learning this has been such a life altering realization that my impairments are something I can addresstenth the right plan. I have been doing "all the right things": eating better (I lost 20 lbs); drinking alcohol only occasionally; seeing a therapist for anxiety and depression consistently over the 6 months. I had been in therapy many times before but gave up suddenly and with no reason every time. I'm also now on meds to treat the ADHD - Vyvanse mostly with Adderall in the evening when the tails off. While I am still frustrated with the downside of the lingering coping habits, my knowledge gaps and likely a LD - I generally have a more positive perspective. However (this is the big "but"), my marriage has actually gotten worse after all this. I talk about this when in therapy and understand the concept that change for even a dysfunctional relationship can be difficult and disruptive. Sadly I feel that all of my progress is for nothing with the increased frustration, confusion and pain that my marriage seems to be undergoing. Our "snappy" fights seem to have increased - at least I think they have. Perception is something of which I am having serious challenges; not just my current perception of life but trying to understand or realize that it's probably been skewed for a while. Is what I perceive now more accurate? Is what I remember about what I perceived earlier in my life or marriage the same now or different? It's all very confusing and overwhelming. I've read many posts on this and other forums about someone recently diagnosed and seems to quickly have a relationship collapse. Are these related? Or is this the cruelty that those with untreated ADHD must endure; putting offf pursuing a diagnosis so long that it would have happened regardless. Yes, I realize most posts are going to be either overly positive or negative. Few will make an effort when life is "pretty good". It all evens out. Is this reaction typical of a spouse? She also has nearly all of the typical behaviors of a non-ADHD spouse - constant nagging, feeling like a parent to more than just our kids, angry most of the time about me not following through on anything, etc. I can also add this is my second marriage and we have been together for 8 years and have 2 beautiful, young children. I feel demotivated that all the good workI have done seems to have made everything much worse. My anxiety and depression are creeping back and I'm worried. What next?

You're not alone

I'm in similar situation.  I think one of the things that's been getting my wife is the new understanding that ADHD is not cureable; that it'll always be around, and that she's uncertain about whether or not she really wants to stick it all out or not.  If that's her concern, then it's a serious one, and while I'm not having any success having my wife get to counseling independently, YMMV.  Good luck.

I think we fought more immediately after diagnosis than before

because I wasn't prepared for the mourning period.  He was initially happy to have a reason for his forgettfulness and lack of follow through, and I was THRILLED to learn that my husband was not becoming a jerk...he just needed to do things differently.

I was like "LETS DO THIS"  he wanted meds to be his magic bullet and not have to do anything else.  We discussed all the illustrations, if you always wanted to sew, but you couldn't see well enough to do it, getting glasses will make sewing possible but you'll still need to learn how.  He'd agree about all the things that he needed to learn and habits he needed to develop, but for almost a year I'd swear he wasn't doing ANYTHING.  He would disagree I am sure.  One thing I had to learn was that what seems like very slow progress to the non, feels like an extreme effort for the person with ADD.

Neither of you is *wrong*.  You know you are working hard, and she knows that she isn't seeing many changes.  I was working so hard to trying to get him MOVING on things, and I think he was just grieving and slowly accepting that he had something that *trying harder* was never going to fix.  It is a hard blow......I can understand that but he didn't talk to me about it and his first coach was worthless, so I was baffled as to what was going on at the time.

I'd have been MUCH more understanding if he'd told me what was going on, but my guy tends to clam up and try to handle things on his own, and when I get angry he clams up even more.  So we were getting into a negative cycle. 

One thing that REALLY helped us was attending the virtual AD/HD conference.  Over the course of 3 days we listened to all the speakers live when we could because then we could post along in the forums and have some of our questions asked.  We downloaded all the worksheets, we listened to the speakers later that we couldn't hear live and we talked about it a lot.   This was probably 3 years ago as I think the 2nd conference since the one we attended is coming up again in October.  He wasn't even sure he really wanted to do it since he thought it would just turn into a litany of all the things he needed to be doing but wasn't.  But it was great to help each of us see the other person's side--having someone outside the marriage do that for you is invaluable!

We've actually always intended to go back over the recordings that most apply to us and our marriage, but we haven't done it.  I highly recommend the experience though.  I am not associate with it in any way, but it was very helpful to us and our marriage to give us a direction to work on together even though we haven't attended another one--we'd like to but the money wasn't there last year.....still debating this year.  Check it out and see if it might help you www.adhdconference.com. 

Just a few thoughts

Hi, DSM welcome, and good for you.  I have been married forever to a wonderful, sweet, talented guy.  He has yet to pursue diagnosis, treatment, etc, but I know in my heart he has inattentive ADHD as well, going back to childhood.  It is very insightful of you to ask if you really are having a harder time of it in your marriage since diagnosis or whether you're just more aware of it.  I promise you that you are now seeing and noticing things that were going on before but you didn't "notice".  I'm also pretty sure things have gotten harder since your diagnosis.  You are eating better, losing weight, changing, growing, learning and hey --wait a minute?  What about me?  What about the person who has been carrying the ball all these years?  Don't I get to "get better" too?  I've read some version of these kinds of feelings from non ADHD spouses, or reported by ADHDers that they are feeling resentment or denial from their spouses.  And it's possible that now that your spouse has a "reason" to explain the unexplainable, she is more sensitive to, and less tolerant of, some of the things she has accepted or not noticed before.  I keep discovering things that I understand now are due to ADHD, not "character flaw" or "family upbringing".  And each time I discover one, I'm a little grieved all over again.  Then I get gradually comfortable again.  Yes, it's been hard to learn that I'm never going to find the magic formula in a marriage or self-help book that will resolve all the baffling and hurtful things in my marriage.  That when he says he would never hurt me intentionally, he means it, but he keeps doing it anyway.  I have never been a nag, so I don't know what motivates those folks or how to help them turn it off.  I'm not outwardly angry (but it's going somewhere right?  ;)  I tended more to be hurt by the ADD behaviors, and the ADD crappy coping techniques.   But I say nothing good will come if you allow feeling "unmotivated" to build.  Just tell yourself it was a bit of a slump, and start over tomorrow.  And again, and again, as many times as is required.  Working on learning new ways of being exactly as you are, in a way that you can have all the things that make a "successful" life in yours and your wife's definition, --well really there is no more worthwhile endeavor than what you are doing.  And since you are a dad, you really don't have a choice, do you, other than to keep on working it, so they see the dad they are meant to see?  I wish my husband, whether he ever gets diagnosed and treated or not, would just ask me... "Now that we know what are working with, how can I help you feel better about it?  Because I know you've been carrying most of the load, and helping me all these years, and now I just need to hear what you need."  The saddest part for me is that I know this saying something like this is precisely what he would do almost anything to avoid.  And it's the only thing I want to hear.  Find out what she is waiting to hear you say.  Some ADHD spouses think we are waiting to hear "I'm sorry".  Nah.  We just want to believe the future will be better than the past. 

Don't give up

Don't give up on yourself, first of all. And if you don't want to lose your marriage, don't give up on your wife either. My husband is sort of in the same place as you, except he has ADHD, hyperactive, and it's the giving up that has me out the door. When he says he's going to stop going to therapy and stop taking the meds he's on (and not go back to the doc and get different ones), I lose all hope and get ready to split. The other day, my husband admitted that he had stopped taking his meds for a few days. He was awful during those days. Yelling, mean, ignoring us, chaotic, messy. Even if the kids and I weren't around, he still needs the meds and the therapy and the plans to just keep his own life together, and I'm guessing you do too. To me, it's all about what you want out of life. On good days, my husband wants a loving family and a successful career. On bad days, he wants to lie on the couch, watch TV and eat McDonald's. He used to have all bad days, and it was actually killing him (like physically killing him). If you want good days, you have to fight for them. 

quick update

Thanks for your kind words. Not a lot has changed for me, but I am still working on repairing, relearning and rebuilding. I came back to this forum and read your reply and it has provided some well needed affirmation. 

Think good thoughts.