Im the non-ADHD spouse - married to hubby for 10 years, diagnosed only 8 months ago. He really is a lovely guy and I do love him, but we are in such trouble that it seems as though we may be heading for the divorce route. Medications make symptom control better but not perfect... but the issue seems to be that I cant move on from the past hurt, anger, resentment and frustration. As much as I want to and try, I cant forget everything his untreated ADHD put me through. He now takes more responsibility, is less impulsive and dotes on me - but he still has mood swings and trouble with anger outbursts - and still occasionally says hurtful things. I dont want to get divorced - we have 2 wonderful children (one with ADHD which makes a difficult life even harder at times) and have been through so much together it would be a shame to throw it all away. But please help me, how do I move on from the past? Sex has always been a big thing for him - he says this is how he feels as though he can connect with me.... I however dont feel ready for that step yet. We tried one of the suggestions in the book ADHD effect on marriage - about putting the old relationship in a box and starting anew 2 days ago. When we did this, I explained to him that I wasnt ready for sex yet and that I need to reconnect emotionally better before I feel this can happen. At the time he seemed ok about it, but said he would sleep on the couch as he would be too angry and frustrated to sleep in the marital bed if I would not have sex with him. Last night was the second night he slept on the couch, this morning getting up to a upset, angry and frustrated man that has essentially given me an ultimatum - sex or divorce. Why cant I just move on? Its not like sex with him is horrible - in fact, he is actually very attentive to my needs and always aims to please. Please help :(
Need help and advice please - in real trouble here and dont know who to turn to
Submitted by missymoo on 02/03/2011.
I am only starting Melissa's
Submitted by SherriW13 on
I am only starting Melissa's book, but if you've read it then you understand that you have to make changes yourself.
I just responded in another post here about letting go of the past and how worrying about the "what ifs" can cripple any chance you have of progress.
We hit bottom...hell, the bottom fell out for us in the fall of 2009. I don't need to go into the horrible ways we had treated each other, the pain of undiagnosed ADHD...his behaviors, my reactions, etc. because even if the specifics are different, the bottom line is still the same for all of us...the marriage was in shambles. I was done. I had enough at that point and couldn't see going any further unless we changed our course. Not HIM changing his course..but US changing ours. I gave him a clean slate and all I asked was that we get into counseling, get EFFECTIVE treatment (wasted a lot of time and $$ on ineffective counselors through the years), and get this marriage back on track.
You need to meet his efforts 100%. If you see him trying, he will be MUCH more motivated to keep trying if he sees that you're willing to try too. I don't diminish your pain, please understand that, but if you want things to be different then they have to be different from you both. It is amazing how far love and acceptance and praise for each baby step forward goes for ADHDers.
I think counseling would help you both. There are MANY MANY ADHDers who never acknowledge their faults, never take responsbility for the hurt they've caused, and continue to cause the hurt and pain daily. I feel so blessed to have a husband who does take responsibility for his past behaviors that I was willing to throw myself into the marriage 100% for that fact alone. I know it is easier said than done, but you have to let go of the past and not continue to make him pay for his mistakes by witholding sex from him. I am not sure 100% what your reasons are, but I did this in the past and it was about nothing more than control and punishment. I thought I could make him continue to behave by not giving him sex (what he wanted) and I could make him think twice before doing anything ugly again because then he would never get sex (what he wanted). Please be sure of your motives. You have to take the same advice ADDers here get...you have to plug back into the marriage and just take the chance eventually, especially if he is willing to meet in the middle.
I think some celibacy is
Submitted by Chris39 on
I think some celibacy is reasonable. After all you are helping him with his diagnosis - reading the books with him etc. Perhaps in a few days he will see that he is actually giving you something that you need and will take some pride in that fact.
I think maybe you can't "move on" because it really does hurt that bad. When I broke my foot it took an entire year for the pain to completely stop - that length of time is easily transferable to other situations that sustain lingering pain. But every day you can heal. Give yourself that time. Go through the exercises in the book. Repeat them until they feel right. It's OK.
I just found this website
Submitted by bozekblack on
I just found this website last night, when I had insomnia due to my complete anxiety about my husband's dissatisfaction in our marriage. I am the ADHD spouse. Like you & your husband, I have been married to my husband for 10 years and have two children. I was diagnosed a short time ago as well...no more than 1.5 year ago. Quite honestly, the process of finding out and trying medication, etc. was such a whirlwind that I can't tell you the exact date without going back to ask my therapist. My husband has expressed to me, essentially, what you are saying here...that he loves me, but while my changes have been progress, they aren't perfect. Or, he tells me he's not looking for perfection, but what I hear in my head is that the bar keeps going up. He has said that he's at the point that he's not sure he can move on from the past, hurt, anger, resentment and frustration he has toward me. He has agreed to go back to marriage counseling, which will be our third time in 10 years. However, it will be the first time that we know about my ADHD being the root cause of my problems. He has also begun seeing a therapist on his own which I'm happy about. As difficult as I feel that I've been to him, I've tried very hard to acknowledge his feelings and have tried to encourage him to talk to someone to work through those feelings. It's breaking my heart to know that I've hurt him so badly. I'm happy that he's willing to go back to counseling. Our marriage counselor actually referred me to the therapist who diagnosed me with ADHD, so they have spoken and she is aware of our challenges, from my point of view that is. His therapist is happy he has agreed to counseling, but wants him to wait about a month so that he can work through some issues alone and be more prepared for counseling this time. His therapist doesn't want him to feel that our counseling sessions go the same as they did in the past, in which my husband feels that they just enabled me by giving me a false sense of security. But, while there seems to be a glimmer of hope for us, I'm truly scared. My husband is the love of my life, and he still makes me as giddy as he did when we met. I don't want to lose him. I'm scared that he's going to realize through our counseling sessions that he can't live with my ADHD. I'm scared that he will realize he can't be happy with me even with working on our relationship. And I'm scared that he's going to realize that he's not in love with me anymore. He's still attentive to me and affectionate, and is concerned about my feelings. But at the same time, it's killing me inside, and I've been crushed. And, when he consistently asks if I'm okay, I want to scream at him and tell him I'm not okay...."you've told me you've thought about a separation! Why would I be okay?!" I'm trying to take this day-by-day and be respectful of his feelings, but I feel so guilty, and so horrible. And I'm scared that my ADHD won't ever let me be the person he wants to be married to...or the person that I want to be.
I just thought it might help to give you another perspective. While I can't speak for your husband, or for a man with ADHD for that matter, I will say that it sounds like you still dearly love your husband. Counseling with someone who knows how to work with ADHD couples may be the way to help you. Is your husband's medication stabilized? It took me about a year to get where I needed to be, between different medication trials and then dosage trials. I also needed medication for anxiety because my ADHD was creating so much angst...I'm always worried about making the wrong move or being stupidly impulsive. But even more, now, I know that I need to make some adjustments for myself in the house to help. I function very well at work, for example, so I've started to bring some of those basic skills I've used to help me there, home (post-it notes, white board with tasks, etc.). Is your husband consciously aware that his ADHD is affecting you like this? For me, it was like being out of the real world. It wasn't until I came back into the real world that I truly realized the effect it has on my husband.
Best of luck to both of you.
Don't look back...you are not
Submitted by notgonnalosemyself (not verified) on
Don't look back...you are not going that way. Resentment is destructive since you can't fix the past and it prevents you from even seeing progress. It's almost like you want the spouse to pay for things even if he is trying. That is more than most of us get. In my case, H won't take meds, tharapy and is very prideful and I know that I just have to work on myself at this point. You love him still, and that is so freaking awesome. The best thing I can tell you is to not treat him as bad as he is or has been, just treat him as good as you are. Learn to have compassion and try to be in his shoes. From what I see in my H, he has demons that make him hate himself and feel a failure in everything and then there are parts of him that are stubborn. It is very hard to be the non-ADHD spouse because you feel lonely, neglected, insecure, not reassured, you feel like a mother/sister, doctor/therapist and trapped with a stranger at times. But if you love on another, compassion can help you with resentment. Journaling can also help you to vent. We are not perfect, these feelings of anger and resentment will come to the surface from time to time especially when the patterns continue or a relapse happens or how about no change at all. But if he is willing to take meds and get therapy, you have a good thing. Don't forget to strengthen yourself and take time for yourself. If you are broken, all else will break too. Also, as far as sex, meet him half way. A woman needs connection where a man may focus on the physical. I wish you all the best and much love. This article helps me: https://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/g201409/resentment-marriage...
Submitted by Island-Girl23 on
I'm no expert but I have been in similar shoes and even though my life is FAR from perfect, I can honestly say that I am now in a much better place. The number one thing that has helped to get rid of my resentful feelings towards my hubby was learning how to focus on myself (my feelings, wants, and needs) INSTEAD of focusing on my ADHD-partner, and instead of focusing on my relationship with him.
In the past, I have tried to bury my feelings, mainly my anger and resentment - you know, the feelings we aren't "allowed" to have. I tried to put on a happy face and let bygones be bygones. It didn't work. I don't feel like you can fake or force a connection. I don't feel like a marriage or serious relationship is the place to "fake it till you make it." It's much more important to be AUTHENTIC even if it's not the picture perfect reality that we HOPED it would be. We need to accept where we are and if it's worth it for both partners to work through it, then they will.
If your husband has already decided that it's his way or the highway....that's not really fair now is it? I don't know your husband but like I said, I went through a very similar situation.
When I stopped having "obligation" sex with my hubby (sex that I didn't actually want to have since I didn't feel emotionally connected and only went along with just to make him happy/to keep him from being mad) let's just say that he was NOT pleased. He would try anything and everything to get me to have sex with him - from trying to make me feel guilty, to threatening to leave me, to getting into huge arguments, to giving me the cold shoulder, and he even cried a few times....At this point, I felt that he was only trying to manipulate me to get his way.
Why would I want to have sex with someone who tries to manipulate me? His behavior was not SEXY or attractive to me at all so why would I have sex with him? It didn't make any sense to me anymore. I thought to myself, does this sounds like a guy who cares about me emotionally? A guy who is even remotely interested in me or my wants or desires? A guy who cares about what is attractive to me or what turns me on? In my opinion NO. This sounds like a guy who only cares about himself and his wants. I felt so broken and confused. Where did our strong, passionate, amazing relationship go??? How did we get here? What happened? What changed?
Truth is, all ADHD aside, I was the one who changed. I stopped caring about myself. I only cared about him and his wants and his feelings. I was always worried about what he would or wouldn't do. I was always picking up the slack. I was always trying to keep the peace and hold everything together based off of his patterns, based on what I assumed he would or wouldn't do, what he would want, or how he would act. Our relationship revolved around him. So of course he expects me to give into his every whim and when that didn't work he would resort to whining, complaining, yelling etc. I mean that's what usually did the trick so why not, right?
When I did give into him and tried to give him everything he wants...or everything I thought he wanted, we were BOTH MISERABLE!!! So my giving into him and focusing on him wasn't good for him, wasn't good for me, wasn't good for anyone. Our relationship SUCKED! I felt that all the effort was on me but I would think to myself that if only he would do this or do that, if only he would care more, if only he would act like this or that, if only he would change THEN everything would be better! All I ever did was focus on him.
It feels like the whole world tells wives to have sex with their husbands just because he's her husband. Her feelings don't matter. She should just go along and be the good little wife and keep everyone happy. I reject that notion. That life is not for me. I want to be happy in love and in life. I want to matter. I do not want to numb myself and push myself off to the side. I want to feel, I want to express, I want to be ME, and I want to live my life for me, too! So I stopped trying to be the "good little wife" and I decided that MY feelings, MY needs and yes, even my WANTS were IMPORTANT!
I had always put others ahead of me and put myself last. I needed to unlearn MY bad behavior of treating myself like dirt. What I said about my hubby wasn't me trying to bash him or make him look like a bad guy. Not only do I believe that people treat us the way we allow them to treat us, but I believe even MORE SO that....---> People treat us the way we treat ourselves. <--
So now, the golden rule for me isn't: "Treat others the way you want to be treated."
The golden rule for me is: "Treat yourself the way you would like others to treat you."
This is called self love. We must love ourselves FIRST before loving others.
When we are filled with self-love we are more easily able to feel loved by others.
When we are filled with self-love we have more love to give to others as well.
Our sense of love, care, happiness, sexuality,misery, anger,....everything comes from WITHIN OURSELVES- other people just add to it! We can't expect other people to fill us up with good feelings. Other people only add to and highlight the feelings that we already have, just as we add to and highlight emotions/feelings in other people. Would we be so egotistical to say that other people's happiness comes 100% from us? Are we fully responsible for the happiness of others? Of course not! So if we take into consideration that our happiness comes from within ourselves and that we are responsible for our own happiness, how can we blame or hold others responsible for our own UNHAPPINESS?
If we are feeling unhappy, who is responsible? Where does that unhappiness come from? Our unhappy feelings come from within OURSELVES just as much as our happy feelings do. Other people are not to blame. They are not responsible. They are only adding to and highlighting our own unhappy feelings.So what should we do if we are feeling unhappy? We must LOVE ourselves enough to allow ourselves to feel those feelings and allow ourselves to express our feelings without judgment. No feelings are blatantly NEGATIVE. Feelings just ARE. Our emotions are what make us human. Our emotions are what allow us to feel connected to others. If we lose that connection with ourselves, our relationships are doomed.
We must love ourselves and treat ourselves well through ALL OF OUR FEELINGS. Even the ones that people are uncomfortable with, anger and resentment for example.
My advice to you is to love yourself. Love yourself through all of your feelings. Treat yourself the way you'd want your husband to treat you. How do you wish your husband would react to your feelings of resentment? Would you want him to listen to you while you cry it out and express why you felt the way you felt and feel the way you feel WITHOUT JUDGMENT? Would you want him to tell you that he's sorry for your pain? Would you want him to tell you that he loves you?
How would you want your husband to react towards your not wanting sex until you feel connected? Would you want him to spend time with you? Have fun with you? Treat you special? etc. etc.Everything that you want from your husband, give that to yourself!
We teach people how to treat us. Show your husband how to treat you by your own example. People treat us the way we allow them to treat us. People treat us the way we treat ourselves. Try not to focus on what he is or isn't doing and focus more so on self-love. I know it's easier said than done and one forum post from a stranger isn't going to solve all of our problems, but I hope this helps you a little bit.