My Non-ADHD Spouse is Leaving Me...

My Non-ADHD spouse is leaving me and I'm feeling completely hopeless, I really don't know what to do.  We care about each other so much, but things have been so bad for so long that he has given up any hope for us.  I don't blame him, I see how miserable he is, and I also feel hopeless alot of the time.  The sad truth is that while I understand that ADHD has an impact on our relationship, I've never understood how to make the changes that are needed.  He feels completely ignored and rejected, and feels that all of my negative behaviour is intentional because I am taking medication for ADHD, and we have been in counselling for a number of years without success.  Recently I started individual counselling again to see if I could work on my issues more effectively on my own.  Our arguing and his constant criticism over the years have taken a significant blow to my self-esteem.  My impulsivity and emotional outbursts have done the same to him.  We are both filled with pain, anger and resentment, and there doesn't seem like there is any hope for a change.  Please help, I love him so much and can't imagine my life without him.  It may be too late, but I really hope there is something, anything I can do.  Thank you.       

I'm so sorry

I was diagnosed in december and have been on Adderall ever since.  It helps a lot, and i've seen some improvements and my husband acknowledges them too.  We don't have the time or money for counseling, but I don't know if it would help, since the last time we tried counseling, he was terribly embarrassed (shy by nature) and the woman was totally incompetent.

But the medication isn't enough. You have to make a conscious effort all the time to stop f*cking up.  That's what I've been trying to do every day.  I have had many slips, and my husband's reactions seem to be more angry sometimes it seems now that we know what's behind it.  my husband says he felt ignored and rejected over the years, which surprised me since he is always working now and hardly has time to eat, let alone have a conversation with me.

Have you read all the books out there?  like 'So I'm not Lazy, stupid or crazy?!" or 'Women with ADHD" (Sari Solden)?  I know how hard it is.  My husband is not threatening to leave, but I know he's not happy and I know i have to work harder and make more money.  I'm home with a 2 year old full time, so it makes job searching difficult.

Hang in there.   Try to read those books & go to your counseling.  Maybe it's not too late!

Sorry to hear

I feel your emotions in your post.  I wish there was some keen insight I could give you.

I'm the non-ADHD spouse and I'm in a troubled marriage, with kids.  I'm holding on right now because it has gone from outright miserable to "just there", which is an improvement that falls short of ideal for either of us.  I keep telling myself "One day at a time... and an instant fix can break as quickly as it is was fixed."  I don't yet trust her again, but I know that she isn't intentionally being unworthy of trust.

(with the standard "If I were in your shoes" disclaimer that knows every situation is different)

If you're getting treatment and it is working, the best you can do is be a better partner and be consistent about it.  An amazing swing into hyperfocused good times could be interpreted as another emotional run around the block.  You can only control how you act and feel, so behave "as if" things are just going okay/well.  Keep up the act long enough and it will cease to be an act.  Don't throw yourself at the relationship and be unable to sustain that level of effort.    I know that this advice is a tall order even for those without ADHD, but you have to do your best with what is in your control.  If you can't do that much, it won't matter if it is too late or not.

Will he come around?  Nobody knows for sure.  You will always be better off with any success that comes from your own efforts. You can only build an environment where reconciliation is possible.

I wish you well on a long journey that will be worth it no matter how it turns out.

Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your kind responses.  He is definitely leaving, and it's too late to fix anything.  I'm pretty devastated, because despite the fact that he was never able to commit to me for 10 years, and we fought so much, I never gave up hope that things would get better.  I know I'm better off without him, he became so critical, angry and distant, he even broke things from time to time.  I don't think I could have done anything to change his mind in the last few months, no matter how many changes I made, and I tried.  Although I know he will never believe me, I really did.  What I need to find is someone who is patient and kind, and willing to help support me in becoming a better person, instead of always telling me how terrible and hopeless I am.  I am so hurt, but I know I have to pick myself up and learn to move on.    

Well, he did end up leaving

Well, he did end up leaving me... about a month ago.  I have come to see that in the end, I just didn't have any more to give.  I was tired of being criticized and blamed constantly.  My neighbours even commented on how much I was being yelled at.  I tried to do all of the things he asked me to do over the years, but it was never enough, and there was always something more to be added to the list.  It's so discouraging that it didn't matter that in the last 6 months I was taking my medication consistently, following a cleaning schedule, taking care of my dog and had put together a budget etc... only to find out that those weren't the things he actually wanted me to do...  He claimed I had ignored him for years, wanted me to 'work' with him and wouldn't bring children into a relationship where there was fighting every weekend.  In the last 4 months, I don't think I could have done anything right in his eyes.  He broke up with me several times and wouldn't even sit in the same room to watch TV.  I know that the ADHD spouse has to make an effort to change their negative behaviours, but surely the non-ADHD spouse also needs to make an effort to learn to forgive, reduce their anger and frustration, and see value in the other person... this never happened in my case.  I am still so sad, lonely, hurt, angry and confused.