Measurable progress/improvement

Today was one of those "this is THE day" days.  My ADHD spouse thinks our relationship is bent.  I think it is broken.  Our 29th anniversary last Sunday was only a date on the calendar.  For me - enough.

I drew up a list of 11 things "I" need to show our marriage is moving into a positive direction.  Some are negotiable - some are not.  He always says he is improving - I just can't see it.  I see him trying hard - but not in the areas that will improve our marriage.  

A few of the nonnegotiable are:

1.  I will not re-arrange our debt with a debt consolidation loan - ever again - yes, ever - unless there is an event out of our control - earthquake, fire, illness, major accident, tornado.

2.  We will build a fence so that his 'stuff" can be out of my immediate sight, so we can sit on the deck and enjoy the view of nature - not his "stuff."

3.  No porn.  None. 

4.  He needs to find a way - with a counselor or book or however he chooses - to acknowledge when myself, my son, our daughter or new son-in-law - indicate a "negative" ADHD behavior is stirring up chaos.

5.  We will draw up a budget - and stick to it.

6.  No working on Sunday.  We did that for 25 some years.  Then in his anger, he just started doing whatever he wanted - working every day, not doing any chores, ignoring his promise to support me emotionally while I am back in school.  

I really don't care at the moment if he feels I am giving him an ultimatum.  I AM!!!!

I have applied for a live-in nanny position.  I told my spouse that we either work on our marriage, or I am working on getting out.

I did promise for better for worse, for richer or poorer.  So did he.  To me, worse equals things out of our control; consistent poor choices and refusal of help are not something I will stand by.  .    



I'm So Exhausted's picture

And his response was. . .

1.  When will you be done with school?

2.  How will you be contributing towards getting rid of our debt.

3.  Any extra cash we get - from selling stuff, or scrap - is mine to decide how to spend.


I'm sorry about your

I'm sorry about your husband's reaction but I'm not surprised.  My husband is irresponsible with money, including not getting paid regularly and not paying bills on time, but he is very protective of what he considers to be his share of the family property.  Always looking out for himself but never for me.

Buying time

He's addressing the things he thinks he can understand, waiting for your reaction.  The hard things (sitting on the deck and looking at nature (maybe he doesn't want to because seeing his stuff stimulates his brain and that gives him pleasure), no porn (same deal ie brain stimulation is what he is seeking), working 7 days a week (same deal, stimulates his brain) - these are things he doesn't know how to address. It does look like he is seeking brain stimulus because the meds aren't right - similar to a nicotine addiction, his brain is driving him to seek out those things it (it not he) subconciously knows bump the dopamine/norepinephrine levels, maybe that's it.  Maybe a non-negotiable should be hit the reset button on the meds (plus address the anger, and this is an opportunity too good to pass up since he's refused before) - otherwise he's not negotiating with optimal equipment (brain) function and because of that is bound to fail before he starts.  If he could have addressed these things before, wouldn't he?  If he just wants to be oppositional then why try making any kind of deal with him?  But he seems to think the relationship is repairable - doesn't that imply that he wants to repair it but doesn't know how?  Just speculating again.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

I was always hoping


I love your input.  I am entrenched in this - so much of the times I probably cannot see the forest for the trees.

He has been trying to rationalize the porn - "it's not that bad" - "there are worse things on TV" - and to me, the most sad - "if I had my own private computer, you wouldn't have seen it." 

He does think the relationship is repairable - because in his view, it is his spouse who has all the issues.

I have watched him slowly crumble into anger and sadness and denial.  

Around 4 years ago, he worked with the top ADHD specialist in our state.  He had a full blown assessment - the intensity of his symptoms of ADHD is 9 on the 0-10 scale.  

We did Melissa's Couple's Course.  Yes, my bitterness is hard to get around.  Yes, my heels are dug in as he accepts no responsibility for the chaos caused by the negative aspects of his ADHD wired brain.  I went into that course full - FULL - of hope as it was centered around ADHD.  He cried through all the sessions; did none of the homework.

My bitterness and sadness and frustration are evident.

My job in a Christian marriage is to respect my spouse.  After all this time, all these counselors, all these books, and programs, all this anger directed at me - I cannot find it in my heart to respect his choices.  I can love him as a Son of God, and the father of my children - but i am unable to find the desire to try anything else.  I am spent.  I am disheartened.  

I have apologized to him for allowing myself to be controlled by his anger.  I have apologized to him for pulling the rug out from under him by refusing to be controlled by his anger and letting him have his own way in everything.  

He insisted he didn't get his own way with the swimming pool.  I did not want a pool - no time to install it; too expensive; too much work to upkeep it; too expensive to keep it clean.  He installed a pool.  However, he said since he didn't install it right off our back door, in that he compromised.  Now it is a pain for him - too expensive, too much work, he never gets a chance to use it and spends all that money so our friends get to swim in it.  But, since it is on the other side of the driveway, it was what I wanted.  

So I can't get him to want to see.  I can't make him want to see.  And I just cannot live in a house with a bitter angry man, who lashes out at everyone and everything.  I am losing the ability to hold myself together.

Early in the year he did hire an ADHD coach.  I only know what he told me about those sessions as they were private between himself and the coach.  After about $1,200 for 5 sessions, I asked him what the coach was able to help him with.  He said all he was able to do was cry the whole time and bemoan our failing marriage.  Based on what he told me - i got fairly annoyed.  If the person was a professional ADHD coach, why didn't the coach say that he needed to reschedule when he was in a better frame of mind to work on himself?  

He wants a magic pill.  A magic potion.  A wave of a magic wand.  I feel very badly for him.  But I gotta save myself already.

I do not want to see him so sad anymore.  I want him to find happiness.  Only he can choose to want to find happiness with me.


Ever try, ever fail

"if I had my own private computer, you wouldn't have seen it"

It's not sad, it's human nature. Old saying - "what you don't know can't hurt you".  An eternal truth - you can never really know another person. However well you think you do, you don't. 

The stories of the soft drinks, the pool and the Halloween Weeds are reminiscent of a Mr Wanting-To-Please Energizer Bunny.  His ADHD undermines his perception of situations and of the motives and words of other people.  His brain is in the way. You know the Beckett quotation? "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better" - he never reaches "Fail better". He can't. His brain chemistry won't allow it.  Counselling, books, talking, imploring, begging - none of it will work with impaired brain function. Can you think yourself into having epilepsy? It's the same thing. As for the ADHD coach - it seems someone took advantage of him. He was literally unable to articulate his needs and a responsible coach should have stopped right there and reported back to you or his doctor or whoever was in charge of the attempt at coaching. (Yes, I am being condemnatory without all the facts but it sounds like very unprofessional behavior and I'd furious).

Expecting that "he can choose to want to find happiness with me" (or implicitly choose not to), forgive me for bluntness but it seems that having this expectation is setting him up for failure.  No he can't choose. He can glimpse the choice, but then it fades out of the now. His thought processes are like flickering embers.  Sometimes the fire catches for a while, then it dies. Then it comes back, then it goes. Meanwhile in your world time goes by.  It's not conscious thought, it's just chemistry.  Given this, then there should be no list of "non-negotiables" - either the porn was a deal-breaker or it wasn't.  If you told him it was then you need to make it very clear to him that you are out of there and not have him try to hold on to a list of hopes (if he does this, and this, and this then it will be ok and then - in his head - maybe it will be ok if he breaks one later because you said the porn was a dealbreaker and it turned out not to be....). Things need to be very clearly set in front of him, no complicated emoting or concepts that he will get entangled in and end up fighting those battles instead, duly forgetting how he got in this situation in the first place).

I hope you manage to find a live-in place, it seems you need a break from it all, can't blame you! Maybe seeing another family dynamic will give you a new perspective (you never know, it might even send you home screaming for the bad old days). Maybe it will even help him by removing some of the pressure and letting him see what's going on (but I still think someone needs to point him to a heavy-duty psychiatrist who specialises in adult ADHD for him to have much chance).  Keep smiling and put a rock down today.