At my wit's end, and so unsure.

Hi everyone. I'm recently registered to this site but have been "lurking" and reading the posts for months. I see so much of my home life in each and every one of you, and thus far, just reading your posts has provided me with much comfort when my frustrations are at an all time high. Recently, unfortunately, it hasn't been enough so I thought I might finally take the step to register, post, and get my story out there. I'm sorry if it's long - I'll try to avoid making a "wall of text"!

My husband and I have been married three years - but together for ten (cohabitating now for seven.) I was raised in a high-performing high-pressure household by a loving but demanding dad and an OCD/Perfectionism Personality Disorder mom - we vacuumed EVERY day. The house had to be at an "entertaining company" level of clean all the time, and I was raised that if you don't take care of something you don't deserve to have it. This includes your home, your car, etc - keep it clean, keep it organized, keep it maintained, or you shouldn't have it at all. I recognize that this isn't necessarily healthy, and it's something I've been trying to work on. I no longer balance my checkbook every day (LOL - really!). I don't vacuum every day anymore, I am *trying* not to judge my self-worth by the cleanliness of my kitchen, and I don't get into a tizzy if the shower gets dingy in the corners or if the bed isn't made every day. I still have regular purging sessions from my closet or junk rooms and have "drag everything out, throw away half, put it all away" moments when certain problem areas get too cluttered, but I'm improving.

I've had to improve because I married a diagnosed ADDer! I know, I know - borderline OCD/PPD person marries an ADDer - what were we thinking? LOL. So many of the household chore conflicts posted on this site echo my own. There is a perpetual pile of laundry (sometimes clean, sometimes dirty, sometimes both) at the foot of the bed, and a perpetual pile of business cards/receipts/mail on the nightstand, office desk, kitchen counter, breakfast nook table. The remnants of hobbies past litter the house - a pile for this hobby which lasted 3 months, a pile for THAT hobby which lasted six months, etc. Dirty dishes are always placed NEXT TO (never, ever IN) the sink, cups left out on the coffee table, socks and shoes underneath the coffee table, etc. Ever since we've lived together there's been one excuse or another about why he "can't" pick up after himself - when we move into a bigger rental with two closets in the master. When we move into a house with a walk in closet. When we own our own home. When we can make more storage space. Funny thing is, the ADD is "never" the problem - it's always the house, the fact that there's "nowhere to put anything," etc. If it's something he CAN do ("Why don't you put your dishes IN the sink for me to wash, instead of putting them on the counter NEXT to the empty sink?"), my request is demanding and controlling. I recognize this is possible, so try to stay objective, but I've been hearing this now for seven years.

It's not just household tasks - birthdays and anniversaries are forgotten, the once-abundant spontaneous hugs/kisses/"I love you"s are no more, and I can't tell you the last time I got a "nice surprise" of flowers, or a hug, or a dinner. I try to do it for him but getting over the resentment that's now built up is difficult.

DH is diagnosed, medicated (Vyvanse and Wellbutrin, Xanax on occasion), but not utilizing therapy or counseling beyond a meeting with his PA every couple of months to renew his Rx. I've mentioned to him several times that cognitive behavioral therapy or counseling (individual OR couples!) would be helpful, but he is vehemently against counseling of any kind. I've brought it up in the context of our relationship ("Do you think it would help if...?") and in the context of our friend's relationships that we've seen disintegrate ("They've decided to go to counseling to try to work on their problems") and in either context his reponse is the same: "I don't agree with counseling at all. I don't think it accomplishes anything, and all you're doing is airing out dirty laundry to a stranger." He gets very defensive very easily when we've talked about our conflicts before, so I assume this is that defensiveness popping up. Counseling must seem to him like an invitation to a firing squad.

Still, I don't know how much longer I can go on this way. I am trying my best to lovingly disconnect and keep separate what I can: DH works from home in a very high-stress job, so I have told myself that our office simply doesn't exist. I shut the door and let him create as many messes in there as he wants. We do our own laundry, even though I haven't been able to use the laundry basket in months (it's filled with his laundry at the foot of the bed) - I just carry a big bundle in my arms to and from the laundry room. I swear, our bedroom looks like that of two teenagers fighting who have drawn a line down the middle - my nightstand is clear, floor is clear, hamper is closed.  His nightstand is cluttered, hamper overflowing, stuff on the floor. I've stopped moving his things when I vacuum and instead just vacuum AROUND them - leading to dustbunnies around his shoes, socks, mail, etc. Some mornings I even just make MY side of the bed, since he's covered his in clothes while getting dressed.

I pay all the bills, except his personal cell phone (which got shut off for nonpayment, now he uses his work-provided phone instead,) his car insurance (automatically bills to his credit card), and his credit card. I do all the grocery shopping, toiletry shopping, etc. I plan and execute the vast majority of our meals, do most of the dishes, manage our social calendar... essentially, I keep our household running.

I've recently poured myself into work - accepting many more meetings outside of work hours, going to social functions thrown by colleagues, etc. I've started spending time with my own friends, separate from him. I joined a fitness club/center and have lost a great amount of weight. I've changed my eating habits to be healthier, am getting up far earlier than he does (about 5 or 5:30 AM every day) to work out before work, and go to bed much earlier than he does. He's up until midnight or 1am every night and is usually still in bed when I leave for work.

I worry about so much. I worry how much longer I can continue cleaning this house on my own before I lose it. I worry about him losing his job. Most of all, I worry about having children. He wants them SO badly, but I near a panic attack just THINKING about what my life will be like trying to juggle that all on my own. I've done so much research, and I *logically* understand that at the end of the workday he's used up all his brainpower just working, and he needs to veg out to recover. But vacuuming, mopping, doing laundry, doing last night's dishes, cooking dinner, doing tonight's dishes, moving his shoes from the coffee table so I can sit down, all while he zones out playing games on his cell phone or working on "the newest" hobby is getting really hurtful, and really old. I really, truly, love this man - but I need to decide if we can work through this before we bring children into the equation, and things feel like they're coming to a head.

Thanks for listening, all. I'm hoping to get to know you all a little better, and hopefully use this as a mini support system as I work through this.

wow

You have a great deal of insight, self-awareness, and knowledge, and that can only help.  How you got there so soon in your ADHD-flavored journey is amazing to me.

Most couples believe that parenting children is the hardest and most rewarding thing they undertake.  Most people plug their nose, plunge into the pool, and somehow swim to the other side.  But I've heard many stories where ADHD didn't become a real problem until children came into the picture.  The added stresses are a huge demand on anyone, but especially the "distracted" brain.   I truly believe that a marriage that is "troubled" never gets better by having kids. 

Try to imagine what things would have to "look like" for you to feel enthusiastic, joyous and optimistic about having a child.  Ask your spouse to describe the same (and be prepared to accept a not-too-detailed answer :).  Is that achievable?  Are you both willing to do what that would take?  If things don't change, can you imagine having a child and loving your life?

My ADHD guy is a grandfather now, and deeply regrets how little he was involved in raising our kids.  Sadly, I tried to help him develop this insight long ago, when he (and our kids) could have benefited from it, but he just couldn't "see."  He is a great dad.  He taught them many wonderful things about life, and shared many happy adventures with them.  He was mostly gone, busy, distracted, impatient, and oblivious to them.  I was willing to take up the slack, and did my best to facilitate his involvement in things he could do with and for them.  Are you? 

It sounds like you are putting a lot of distance between the two of you, perhaps just to cope?  Separate financial systems, separate household standards, separate social lives, doing what you want done, but not doing his "share", etc.   I am doing the same, and feeling at the same time better about myself, and worse about my marriage.  Slippery slope.  My husband has noticed, however.  Yet he doesn't approach it directly, he just makes periodic attempts to "help" more, spend "time" with me (a ten minute visit to whatever room I'm in).  Or saying we should do something together, but not making it happen.  I just keep on. 

You have a big decision to work through, but take heart you seem to be doing it from a good place, without too much anger or resentment coloring your perspective.  Best wishes.

Thank you

Thank you gardener! DH and I still do a lot of things together and spend a lot of time together, but I have been getting much more independent as of late. I worry about doing his "share" of the chords and turning into a parent/child relationship dynamic, so I'd rather lessen his messes (gather up his mail and put it all in one place, but not go through it all) but am really hesitant to take care of them for him.  I know *so* many marriages that had children to "help" their problems but you are so correct! It only causes more stresses, and while I do want children I need to make sure that we go about it in the correct way and with the correct support system in place. Thanks for your encouraging words! :)