Maybe we need to start thinking outside of the box - warning, very long



I have been reading this site for about a year I think and I want to thank all of you for sharing your insights and experiences. I honestly don't know what I would do without you. 

Two years ago my husband and I got married -- me for the second time, he for the third. We are both in our mid-50s. 

I noticed that in the months preceding the wedding he seemed more distant and unapproachable. When I was feeling emotionally healthy, which was most of the time, I attributed it to the stress of his job. When I was having "one of those days" prior to a wedding where rational and logical are elusive, I worried that he didn't really want to marry me. ADD never occurred to me.

After we were married, his ex-wife told me about the ADD diagnosis that he had been given several years prior to the time we met. She mentioned it in passing when we were discussing their daughter's ADD issues. 

Now my untreated ADD husband and I are at an impasse. Yesterday we had a fight. As usual, I was asking for more attention. As usual before I even got three sentences out of my mouth, he was yelling at me that he has told me over and over again that he is who he is and if I can't live with it, I should leave.

At this point I want to make sure, dear readers, that you understand that I truly don't believe that I ask for too much. I have taken to heart what I have read on this web site, and I am very careful to phrase my requests calmly, succinctly and most important -- rarely and when it is really important to me. However, that being said, I am human and therefore, susceptible to mistakes and occasional misperceptions so I am open to the possibility that I do it more often -- or perhaps in non-verbal ways -- than I realize.

Yesterday I read a post from an man with ADD who said, " ... I am introverted, do not communicate my feelings, walk away from confrontations ... " Without a doubt, that is how I would describe my husband. 

I, on the other hand, am an extrovert who likes social interaction. I could (not do!) talk about my feelings frequently, and do not (except when I am yelled at by my husband) walk away from confrontation. We couldn't be more different yet I know that behind the bluster is a kind, compassionate man who I love and who returns that love. I can see it in his eyes. 

He hyper focuses on whatever happens to catch his fancy, and I am not what catches his fancy any more. He can research topics for days and days or get involved in projects for days and days and if I make the mistake of interrupting him -- watch out. He gets impatient and testy and the interaction is generally unsatisfactory. 

He believes that if only I had strong passions about something that I wouldn't need his attention just as he doesn't need mine. I do have a number of passions but they are much longer lasting and nowhere near as intense. I still want a relationship when I'm feeling passionate about a topic! He thinks I'm bored. I am never bored. He also thinks I am codependent. Probably true. I often repress my needs to meet his and to prevent unkind outbursts of anger. He thinks that all I want is a playmate. I think some play is pleasurable and it's important to me. I think most people want a playmate/spouse sometimes. 

I forgot to mention that because I once made the remark that he pays more attention to his dogs than me (well not anymore because he is no longer hyper focusing on them) that he now doesn't pet his dogs as much and he is really angry that I made him feel guilty about petting his dogs. And that all his life people have been trying to change him and get him to do things that he didn't want to do and that he is not going to let that happen with me. That's when he said that I need to accept him as he is or leave.

By the way, he refuses to go to counseling because in the past when he did counseling, he reports that the therapists always made him feel like it was all his fault and he won't go through that again. And he doesn't believe the ADD diagnosis was correct anyway.

Sorry, this has gotten way longer than I anticipated so I'll just go straight to this issue about which I need feedback. I am thinking about suggesting to him that we live in two different houses. I could rent an apartment and he could continue to live in our house. Our house suits him, it's away from town and has no really close neighbors. Downtown suits me just fine. 

My thinking is that if he has his own space where he can focus all he wants without interruption, and if I am closer to town and can spend more of my time socializing and not expecting him to notice me because I'm not even in the house, then maybe we can manage to resolve this in a way that lets us both be ourselves -- two people who love each other but who need to live differently.

Has anyone tried that approach? Did it have a positive or negative outcome?   Any thoughts would be appreciated.