Need help! Husband in denial about ADD

My husband and I have been married for 15 months.  He is a wonderful, kind, caring man.  He is just so forgetful and disorganized.  I have to tell him what to do constantly.  He cannot for the life of him, straighten, clean, or help around the house without guidance.  I did not know all this about him when I married him.  Everyone should live with a person for a little while before they marry them and then there wouldn't be this problem.  He has been driving me crazy the whole time we have been married.  He forgets whole conversations that we have had.  He is the most disorganized person I have ever met.  The house that he lived in before we were married was the dirtiest house that I had ever seen in my whole entire life and he told me before we got married that he was a neat freak and cleaned constantly.  There were clothes piled and strewn everywhere, mouse poop underneath the stove, the microwave was so dirty it had to be thrown away, papers piled everywhere.  It was terrible.  So after 15 months of this, he calls his mom who tells him that he has always been that way and that he has ADD and she has it and his aunt has it.  So of course I think "bingo, that explains it all."  The next day, he says "Oh, it isn't that bad.  I'm just a little forgetful."  I call and get him an appointment with a counselor and he forgets his appointment and has to make another one.  He does not want to take any responsibility for any of this and I would so hate to hear what he is saying to the counselor.  We are going together later this week.  He has irritated me so badly that I can't stand the sight of him any more.  He adopted my 8-year-old daughter and she loves him so much.  I just don't know what I am going to do any more.  The counseor wanted him to be checked out by an MD to make sure he had no underlying medical conditions that might be causing all this and the doctor just took his blood pressure, listened to his heart and said he didn't think anything was wrong and that it was just stress causing his forgetfulness and everything.  I told him he had it backwards that it was the forgetfulness that was causing the stress.  So the headaches, dizziness, numbness and tingling and all that that my husband also experiences was felt to be nothing.  I so need help.  How can I make this better if my husband won't even admit that he has a problem?  And how do I get my daughter through this if it comes to divorce?  She loves him so much and wants him here everyday.  Thanks in advance for any advice.

I can totally relate!

Your story could be my story. I am by no means a neat freak, but I am a very organized person. My husband also leaves things laying around and forgets himself mid-task. If he says he'll do the dishes one more time, and actually do them, I think I'd hold a party! I have been married to my husband for nearly 8 years, and the first thing I would offer is -- take a DEEP breath! If you really love this man, you will find a way to work it through. I remember in my first year of marriage crying to my mother (who is a marriage counselor) and she gave me some great advice. She said nobody is perfect. You either have to decide to except the annoyances, or decide to be alone. Everybody comes with annoyances. For me what has worked is drawing the line at what is most important (like keeping tabs on the kids) and letting go what is least important (not so bad if I have to do the dishes more often). Love can heal everything if we're willing to let go of our position and relent to the position of the other person. As for him getting help... no pushing will help him go there. He has to decide to do it on his own (mine hasn't yet).

Thanks for your advice

Thank you for your advice.  I work 40+ hours a week and so I don't have time to be constantly picking up.  It's like I have another kid instead of a grown man.   I want a man that I don't have to be constantly fussing at to do this or do that.   I want a man who already knows what needs to be done and does it.  I mean it is constant and over the least little thing.  He asks me everything.  This is a man who was putting liquid softener in the washing machine and then a fabric softening sheet in the dryer and double softening his clothes.  He did not know the sheet was a fabric softener.  He did not know you were supposed to wash the bottom of pots and pans off.  There is a plethora of things that he did not and does not know.  It drives me insane and that is just something I don't know if I can handle right on and on.  I miss having intelligent conversations with an adult.  I can't have any kind of conversation with him.  It just goes in circles.  He forgets what I said ten minutes after I have said it.  It's enough to make a person feel like they are the one that needs counseling or medication.  Again, thanks for your opinion.  I am going to counseling also and hopefully we can come to some conclusion on this.

This is my husband too


You have described my husband to the T.  I have been married five long years now.  I, too, work full time and have a three year old to take care of along with a 42 year old teenager.  You need to do something fast because it keeps getting worse and it will drive you mad.  You will become a b** to him just for walking in the room.

I have started charts for his chores, towards the end of the day, I check my part of the chart in front of him to make sure mine is done.  He understands and what I call half a** does his part.  This also drives me crazy because cleaning the kitchen also means the countertops, sink and dining table.  He thinks putting the dishes in the dishwasher and turning it on is the whole thing.  So the chart gets amended.

When we go places I tell him that the car is leaving at a certain time, I give "shout" warnings in five minute intervals starting at 15 minutes.  Since I have started this, he has been on time because I told him that the car was leaving with or without him.  Never mind the fact that he is home all day on his day off and I have to rush home from work and get myself ready AND our three year old ready.  That is something that I have to accept now.

My next thing that I am going to implement is a big plastic box.  I am tired of having paperwork, magazines all sort of paper junk lying around the house.  My husband gets mad at me if I throw something away (does he really need the business card of a margurita machine guy) or if I "put everything into one pile".  Now, I will give him two days to go through his paper junk and at the end of two days, I am going to throw everything into a big plastic box and put it in the garage (miraculously the tools are organized..he loves tools).  When the box is full, I am going to throw everything away.

My secret to getting rid of his junk?  I clean the room and remove what I believe is junk.  I don't take away all of it, just a little at a time.  I then move it to a spot in the spare bedroom and wait a couple of months.  If he notices, I say that I have it and moved it upstairs and bring it back, if he doesn't, it goes to charity.  This has worked very well because he doesn't notice it is gone.  I have had him mention something after I have given it away, but he is do disorganized and has so much junk he thinks it is buried somewhere and forgets about it within minutes.

This is deceptive, yes, I know, but these are some ways that I try to cope.  We live in a 2,500 square house and everything is packed to the brim with stuff.  You can't open a closet without being injured from flying objects.  Drawers are so crammed they won't even open.  He had magazines from 6 years ago just in case he has to refer back to a home improvement project, but he never gets around to doing any of his grand ideas.  I also throw the old magazines away when the new ones come in the mail.  I can't believe that he doesn't notice that the stack does not grow even though he subsribes to three different magazines a month.  He never even reads them fully.  He has lost interest in them by the time the new ones come, but heaven forbid I through them away.

Mine will not only forget conversations, but gets them completely wrong where he, of course, is the one that thought of something or was right about an issue.  I told him that we only have $100 in our checking account three days after payday?  He can't remember me saying that and I should have told him so he would have known not to buy something at the big home improvement store, so now it is my fault.  I guess he does not know how to look up our account online, it is top secret.  Another thing I have to do is pay everything the day of the paycheck going in so we will have the money to pay the bills.  I pay it even though it is not due for two weeks.

Good luck to all of us!!!

comment to baffled

Yes, good luck to all of us......

My husband is the same with paperwork, magazines, business cards and such.  I do the same thing with piling everything together and then about once a month I go through it and toss out anything that hasn't been touched.  He never misses it!!!!!!  This drives me bonkers.  It's a constant battle. 

situation over a year later

Just to update.  I am still with my husband.  He is taking medication for anxiety disorder that the psychiatric nurse gave him.  He stopped going to her and is getting from this doctor that he went to high school with.  It doesn't seem to help him.  He still is forgetting whole conversations that we have and I am constantly having to say "remember, we had that conversation?" And then he will think for a minute and remember it.  He is still just as disorganized and messy as ever.  I bought him a planner made specifically for people with ADD and he tossed it.  So basically nothing has changed.  He still refuses to believe that he has ADD.  He will never admit to it.  He actually locked himself in the car and didn't know how to unlock the door.  The kids and I were going into the grocery store and I had them by the hand to cross the parking lot and looked back and said "your dad must be staying in the car."  Well, a few minutes later, he comes in and says "I couldn't get the door unlocked."  So then when we get home, he does the same thing again and he is sitting there flicking the lock/unlock button back and forth and I finally have to say "stop and let me."  And all I had to do was unlock the door and boom it opened as it should.  There is nothing I can do about his ADD.  I have tried.  I just try to cope.  Sometimes though it makes me physically and mentally sick.  I wouldn't wish this kind of life on anyone.  Good luck to everyone out there.  And thank you Melissa and Dr. Halloway for having this webside.  I just purchased your new book Melissa, although I have no hope of him reading it.  He wouldn't read the other ones that I had purchased and actually had put them in a bag to sell at the flea market and I had to drag them out.

Where did you get that planner?

While I empathize with your situation and am sorry things are hard, what I really want to know is: what kind of planner specifically for people with ADD and where did you get it?  I'd love to try something like that for my man.  Although, knowing him, he'd probably do best with something electronic, he usually uses his phone.

Best of luck to you.


That was so long ago, I can't remember exactly where I got it.  I found it through a Google search.  Probably typed in ADD and planners and I remember I got it off a website.  Yeah, my husband thinks he can keep all his stuff on his phone and then always ends up losing part of the stuff somehow.  He has the worst time with computers and phones as far as messing them up.  He is constantly having to have them worked on.   Good luck!

Am I looking in the mirror??? I can relate 100%!

cpeterson47 and baffled, When I read both of your posts, I laughed so hard. Not because they were funny, but because they sound just like my life. :) OMG, you mean someone else has the same husband I do? My only saving grace is that my husband is a hard working man who is a successful (for the most part), intelligent entrepreneur. We own a semi-successful business and live pretty well, but there are definitely some issues I would change in regards to our financial situation. I am not saying that it is a bed of roses by no means. When we first moved in together (in 2003), we were in an almost constant battle over his lack of organization, clutter and just general messy life. He doesn't mind if our bedroom is littered with clothes. I bought him a three-bin clothes hamper to help him organize his dirty laundry. He used it for about a month before it too got totally unorganized. The bins are detachable, so now he has "misplaced" one or two of them. They never seem to make it back to the hamper unless I find the bin and reattach it. Then, he will use it again for a couple of weeks and we will repeat this whole process. I have refused to do his dirty laundry because I don't know what is clean and what is dirty. He has both clean and dirty on the floor of our bedroom and I can't tell the difference. All the drawers in his chest are so stuffed full of "junk" that he doesn't have room to put his clothes in them. Thank God we have separate closets. You could not walk in his closet because of the junk, but mine (for the most part) is well organized. So, I have just give up on the whole laundry issue and I try not to let it stress me out. I can just accept this "mess" and focus on another more important issue. I just try to keep the downstairs area clean just in case we have unexpected company. The upstairs is totally OFFLIMITS because of the chaos. He also keeps EVERYTHING!!! I have so many bins of business cards, old photos of strange people that he can't even identify, old mail, and trinkets from some place or another. I just keep putting his "must keeps" into plastic storage bins until it gets full. Then I find a place to store it (although I like baffled's idea about throwing it out after a couple of months). Of course, I never admit to throwing anything away. I also have about the same process with his magazines. When he gets new magazines, I go though his pile and throw out anything over 3 months old. I figure... if he has not read it by now, he probably won't... and if he has read it, he has already forgot what was in it and won't ask for it again. One of our really touchy areas is with sex. He is definitely hypersexual and would really like to have sex a couple of times a day (AM and PM), but my libido is no where near his. I am really okay with a couple of times a week. I have tried to tell him that it is like a really good dessert, if I have it everyday then I get really sick of it and I am now at the point I had really rather live without it. It is pretty sad, but I don't feel close to him at all during sex. I know if he doesn't get his required daily dose, he is mean and irritable, so I basically treat it like a chore. I know I have to do it to get through my day and I just put up with it to get it over with quickly. This probably causes us the most arguments. I have got so accustomed to the unorganzied clutter and constant late/missed appointments, that I don't let it get to me as bad as it used to. Since I don't b***h about it anymore, he feels that it is okay now. But since he actually notices my lack of desire with sex, it bothers HIM!!!! I just want to scream sometimes.... "Oh Yeah?? What about the stuff that bothers ME????" Of course, I am the nag, I am the stress-monster, I am over critical, I am angry all the time, I am negative, I just like to argue, I am never satisfied with anything.... I can list a million reasons why everything is MY fault! And what about the driving???? My husband scares me so bad in the car. He races in and out of lanes and never looks ahead of him. He doesn't anticipate any moves at all. He waits until the absolute final moment before he has to change lanes and then forces his way in. Despite the fact that he had ample time to get into the correct lane only moments before. He hits curbs and pot holes. He has a brand new sports car which he has already torn the front spoiler off the bottom because he can't seem to slow down when he sees a dip in the road. He has bent rims beyond repair. Now, I must admit he used to brag about how many cars he had totalled out before he met me, but somehow I convinced him that wrecking a vehicle was not an "accomplishment." He also bragged about how many traffic tickets were stuffed in his glove box. Only when he found out that he could not get insurance because of his driving record, did he finally begin to watch his speed. I can proudly say that he has only got a couple of tickets within the past 3 years and his insurance rates have went down. I have to keep a separate insurance company so my rates will not be effected by his driving record. I am so glad that I found this site. Reading about your lives helps me to cope with my own. Thanks so much for sharing.

Update on my situation

We went to therapy together today for the first time and it went pretty much like I figured.  Guess what I found out?  The counselor has ADD, so she was very sympathetic towards him, telling me what I have to do in order to help make this work.  She at one point in the session, even said "well, it seems as though both of you have issues, so I really don't know what to do."  That was extremely discouraging.  She also suggested that I stay off this website and stop reading others posts and venting myself.  She said it is just reinforcing the things that I see wrong.  She then suggested the book "Driven to Distraction" which if I am not mistaken was written by Dr. Hallowell, which I found kind of ironic as this is his website that I am reading all this stuff on.  So what does everyone think about our psychologist having ADD herself and the fact that she told me I should stay off this website.  I tried explaining to her that it helps to vent and know that we are not alone.  She still said I should stay off here.  She also made it seem as though I had to work just as hard as he does on this which to me seems totally unfair.  She said that I have to learn to live with some of these things and just let them go.  What bothers me is the fact that she has ADD herself.   So, I would love to hear what everyone thinks about this.  Thanks guys!!

ADD therapist

My concern would be - how successful is she in dealing with her ADD.  A recovering alcoholic could counsel another alcoholic but only if they were recovered.  So how successful is she with her ADD?

In reply to everyone who replied about my therapist

I don't know about how successful she is in dealing with it.  I do know that she has 3 or 4 checks that we have written her over a period of 2 weeks that she has never cashed, so they are just piling up.  What really bothered me the most was her saying "I don't know what to do then."  It was like she was not going to offer any solutions.  My husband loved the fact that she was leaning more towards his side than mine, of course.  Does anyone know where I can go to get information about ADD specialists in my area?  I think we need someone specializing in this.  She said that we need to just forget that he has ADD and work on the relationship issues.  So, I am a little worried about this.

ADD therapist

She said that we need to just forget that he has ADD and work on the relationship issues


NOOOOOOO!   NO!  Find someone else!  Don't go back to her!  That's what created an even bigger monster in my DH.  A therapist who diagnosed him with ADHD and was ADD himself.  Suddenly our sessions went from therapist scolding my DH for his bad behavior to me having to suck it up and make accomodations for his ADD....and the therapist actually told me that I had to resign to the fact that the rest of my life would have to be ME doing all the work in this relationship.   NOT OK!

Look for a new therapist

I would agree. Time to look for a new couples therapist. If either one of you are uncomfortable with your therapist or if you think they are taking one person's side over the other, it's time to move on.

The reason I like our therapist is that she suggested that my boyfriend might have ADD but didn't let that hinder addressing our relationship issues. Just becuase he might have ADD doesn't mean both of us aren't responsible for our behaviour.

It's not always pretty to hear things we've both done badly but at the end of the day we both feel heard. Our couples therapist also suggested that we each have our own therapists to work on our individual struggles. Good luck!

Reply to all who replied after our counseling

Thank you for your posts.  I understand that it takes 2.  I just wanted her to understand how I have come to be in this shape and have these feelings.  I realize that he could not help it but I honestly feel like I can't help it either.  So, we both have things to work on.  She says that stuff that he forgets that is his and does not affect me in any way to let it go.  I can let it go but it does make me look at him differently and I shouldn't and I am sorry that I feel that way but I am just being honest.  So, I have to learn to feel a different way.  It's like changing who I am to accommodate his ADD and I guess that is the bottom line.

Felt the same way at first

Hey I felt the same way at first. Our therapist really asked me to examine how I made decisions. She told me that I didn't have to put up with crap but that I did. Why? She asked me if I expected anything from my partner and I said, "Of Course!!! We're in a relationship right? Isn't he suppose to care for me and what I do?" I was so diappointed with her response, "well he isn't going to change and are you ok with that? he's been clear about what he'll do and you still insist that he do things the way you want."

I was seething! How dare she tell me that I was a bossy pots, a controller! I realize now that I was trying to control things, that everything he did effected me and that I decided I wanted to be right! That was how I would feel validated in the relationship.

Also it's interesting that you mention, "It's like changing who I am to accommodate his ADD". My boyfriend has often said that of me! He thinks I'm trying to change him. It took me many months of reading and thinking about myself before I realized it was his behaviour and not him! We are not our behaviours but we do need to be responsible for our behaviour. And I thought to myself, if I can't change my behaviour how can I expect him to change his?

Regardless of his ADD I have issues with taking care of people until the point of not caring for myself and then I would get mad at him because he wasn't doing things the way I would do them. We've had fights about laundry and dishwashers. We do things differently but they get done. I add in the soap first, he puts clothes in first. I realized that we just see things differently and it really doesn't matter. However, him doing laundry at 3am is NOT ok. I'm a light sleeper and he needs to accept that about me. He can surely do the laundry at a more decent hour!

Anyway what I'm trying to say is that I know it's tough but chin up, you have every right to feel sad and bothered. Once the dust settles you may need to examine some of the things you need to be happy and you might have to look at why you feel you want to control a situation that seems out of your hands (your ADDer's ADD). Control what you can, you.  :)

Thank you

Thank you for your input.  I am honestly thinking about just quitting.  When after all this and knowing how much it is hurting me mentally and physically, he still says last night "I'm not that forgetful."  I just got that sick feeling in my stomach and the tears came.  I knew then that it was hopeless.  He is never going to be truthful to any psychologist or psychiatrist and therefore, they are not going to be able to treat him.  I bought him a book and I just looked at the ADD self test and he fudged almost all the questions.  He either knows that he is not being truthful or he really has no idea.  Either way is bad.  He takes things that I need to use (like disinfectant) and swears he hasn't seen it and then it will mysteriously show up a week later and he will say that he didn't put it there.  So, again, either he is lying or he honestly does not remember using it which is scary to me.  It's like he is losing blocks of time.  He cannot smell any more.  He has lost his sense of smell, which is also worrisome but to him, it is nothing.  So I'm about done girls.  I'm at the end of my rope.  Thanks for listening.

Sense of smell?

Is losing your sense of smell a symptom of ADD?  I didn't think so.  Has your husband had a neurolgical exam?  Sounds like there could be something else going on.

in reply to vcalkins

No sense of smell isn't a symptom of ADD.  He has other symptoms such as dizziness, numbness and tingling, headaches, and a sore spot on his head one time and now loss of smell.  He went to a doctor that he knows that he plays racquetball with and he blew all those symptoms off and sent him for some basic bloodwork.  I was hoping he would send him to a neurologist with the symptoms of dizziness, headaches, the major forgetfullness, and numbness and tingling in his arms and hands but he just blew all that off like it was nothing and my husband isn't concerned.  So, what can I do?  The loss of smell is a symptom of Alzheimer's, I think, which is what I was always saying to him, "I think you are getting Alzheimer's." His mom even said that but no one is really concerned about any of this it seems except me.

I really feel for you.

I really feel for you.  Hang in there and try to get him to go to another doctor....someone that he doesn't play ball with.  His denial sounds like fear to me.  He's afraid of what he might have.....and none of the outcomes sound very good to him.  I would try to find a time when you can tell him how concerned you are about him and want him to get help as early as matter what it is.  That sounds so cliche.....we both know how hard it is to find a time when things are positive and you can actually get him to listen.  The power of prayer is mighty though.  Do you have a good church with a group that would commit to praying for him on a regular basis?.....and for you?

arwen's picture

senses don't always register

I had to chuckle at this question, thinking back to my own spouse -- I used to think my husband had no sense of smell and had damaged hearing (from too many rock concerts or something?).  And he's really color-blind, and needs corrective glasses, so his eyesight is no prize, either.  I do think that ADDers have a tendency to be less *aware* of sensory input, a lot of the time, so it can seem that they lack these senses.  My husband has had his hearing tested and there's nothing physically wrong with his hearing process, and I suspect the same is true of his sense of smell.  It just doesn't "register".  Whereas *I* am fairly hyper-sensitive, lol -- we've had some fine shouting matches about our differences in perception, until I figured out what was happening.  I still find myself muttering sometimes "Is the man DEAF???" even though I know better!

You sound so upset

I feel everything you are saying (been there, done that) but you are SO angry that I feel like my computer is going to explode just showing what you're saying. I wonder if your anger is maybe a little bit over the top and it's scaring him. He must feel like you are asking him to change who he is, and I think that's scary.

My husband wants me not to be angry. Anger is the fuel I run on, and it's really hard not to show it to him. But when I'm angry, he doesn't hear what I'm saying. Being angry and yelling at him makes me feel better but it doesn't help the relationship.

In reply to Sueann

Well, I don't yell at him any more.  That is what I am saying.  I am tired of it all.  Tired of being worried and making myself sick.  I can't force him to do anything.  He wants to be how he is, so... It is pretty much out of my hands now.  If this is what he chooses.  This is what he chooses.

I agree

I think it's time to find someone else.  You don't need to be dealing with one more ADD person in your life.  Good luck finding a good couneslor.  It's important that you find someone you both like but you will probably be more flexible than your husband. 

arwen's picture

therapist "overlooking ADD" a concern

I haven't read all your posts, so I hope I haven't missed something important, but I'd be very concerned about a therapist who says you should "forget" that your husband has ADD and work on the relationship issues.  In my experience, there is usually a close association between the relationship issues and ADD issues.  Our therapist (who does not have ADD) didn't not really understand this when we started and although we were able to make progress regardless, I feel it was much slower than it would have been with a therapist who understood the interdependencies of the two situations.  You sound like you need a lot of help fast.  I agree with some of the other posters that it sounds like you have a lot of anger and frustration -- believe me, I can sympathize with that, but it doesn't help the relationship -- and a therapist who doesn't understand why you are feeling the way you are isn't going to be able to help you as much as you sound like you need.

You have to accept that your reaction to your spouse's ADD may be just as destructive as his behaviors to your marriage.  Because people with ADD seem so close to normal in so many ways, non-ADDers have tendency to expect them to *be* normal and that we should be able to expect them to be normal, but I tell you three times that this is absolutely untrue and unhelpful.  I have asthma and my husband doesn't expect me to be able to breathe normally around cats or during my bad spring season, he knows that I'm doing my best to control my symptoms but sometimes I can't do it totally -- it would be silly of him to get mad at be about it.  Same goes for how I have to think of my husband's ADD.  Neither of us are considered "medically handicapped", but neither of us is exactly what you would call normal either!  We have learned to respect that, not just about each other but about ourselves as well (which is often at least as hard for the ADD partner as the non-ADD spouse).

It can be very difficult to differentiate which behaviors your ADD spouse is capable of controlling and which aren't.  This is where a therapist who really understand ADD can be invaluable.  A good therapist will generally recommend a combination of meds and counseling.  It is important that you understand that the meds are *not* intended or able to be a "fix" -- the meds help improve the physical activity in the brain that gives rise to ADD behaviors, and the counseling is *essential* to actually modifying those behaviors (which are learned over a lifetime and have to be unlearned and replaced with something better).  A therapist doesn't always "know" what to do, seeing a counselor is not a silver bullet.  Our therapist has said things to me at times that I really didn't like hearing. If you really want to try to save your relationship, you have to be prepared to accept some unwelcome truths about yourself and about your spouse's limitations.  Both partners have to try to be as honest as they can be with themselves and with their spouse in order for the relationship to work out, and honesty can often be difficult for the spouse with ADD because of the way their brains work.  That does not get the non-ADD spouse off the hook!

Of course, if all your therapist is saying is that you and your spouse need to work on non-ADD-related issues *first* and then tackle the ADD issues, there may some validity to this approach.  You have to be able to negotiate fairly, listen objectively, and try to appreciate the other person's point of view in any relationship -- if you and your spouse are having problems with these elements, talking about the ADD issues is not going to go anywhere.

I agree with other posters that it's important that you both feel comfortable with the therapist.  On the other hand, it may be that the divides in your feelings are such that finding such a therapist would be a Herculean task.  At some point, it may be more worthwhile to use a therapist that you are not totally comfortable but your husband likes and will listen to, rather than expending a lot of energy looking for the perfect counselor who may not exist.  Ultimately you and your spouse will have to decide what's appropriate for you.

Incidentally -- I have used the term "therapist" in my reply because that's what you have called the professional help you are getting, but I have to say I think it's an unfortunate term.  "Therapist" suggests that there is something wrong that is going to be fixed, at least to some degree.  The meds are going to do whatever "fixing" is possible, but this is only physiological "fixing" in the brain activity.  The professional is not going to "fix" anything.  All the professional can do is counsel.  Only you and your spouse can fix your behaviors and relationship!

It is hard.  It takes a lot of work.  It can be exhausting and frustrating.  You and your spouse will make many mistakes.  The professional counselor may make mistakes, too.  It may not be worth it.  For me, it has taken 15 years, but it was worth it.  We don't have a perfect marriage, and for the rest of my life I will have to do things I don't particularly like, and still sometimes resent.  On the other hand, I look at my parents' marriage of 57 years -- neither of them have ADD, and their situation isn't any different than mine in that respect.  Can't expect more than that!

Good luck, my prayers are with you!

Forget about ADD Issues a Red Flag

I like many of the replies you've gotten here - there are some very insightful comments about what counseling can and can't do for you.  My personal feeling is that any counselor who says "forget about the ADD" isn't going to be that useful, though, because like it or not, ADD is playing a role here.  It suggests that this woman - who has ADD herself for goodness sake and should therefore know better - isn't looking at the whole situation.  Call your local CHADD and ADDA chapters, or ask around in your community to try to find someone who might be a better fit.  Or, go back to the counselor and tell her that you feel it's important to take the ADD into consideration and "negotiate" with her if you can't find another person.

As for being on this site, I agree with one poster who said that it's valuable to have a release valve, and certainly valuable to see that there are others with similar issues.  Anyone reading this site, though, needs to strive to continue to think about solutions rather than just venting, because solutions are what we are all looking for.  And many people offer very constructive ideas here in between the venting, so it can be a good resource.  Finally, posts and the blogs can help you identify what seems to be ADD related...and having that info is better than not having it.

In reply to Melissa Red Flag

Thank you for your comments.  I thought that was a red flag also.  She did set my husband up an appointment with a psychiatric nurse that will be able to prescribe medications.  He is still saying though that this nurse will figure out what is going on with him.  He still does not think he has ADD.  I am going with him but he has already talked to this nurse on the phone and she said that unless he wanted me to come I shouldn't.  How can she get the true story if I do not go?  He labels everything as mild and says that his friends (scattered everywhere mind you) say they haven't noticed anything wrong with him.  So, we'll see how that goes.  I have bought several books and am trying to learn to control my frustration and anger about these issues.

Hmmm, I sure would want to be

Hmmm, I sure would want to be comfortable with the counselor. Her saying that she wouldn't know what to do would definitely bother me and giving him favor wouldn't seem fair. I would want to be very comfortable with the counselor and usually will go with my gut when making an important decision like that.

She could have a point about the venting. I have to remind myself stay balanced, venting feels good unless my focus becomes more about the problem and not the solution. The amount of effort we have to put into our relationships does seem unfair but if it's effective, I'll do it. I guess it would give me more perspective if I'd ever gone to counsel but, only have a few times, I was never comfortable with the counselor and could never afford a series of visits... 

I'm convinced though, that with the right person it would be very beneficial. What does your husband think about it?

To CPeterson47

Find another therapist.  Without ADD!  How dare she tell you that you have issues and to stop coming here to vent and read!  How dare she!

Don't go back.

reply to cpeterson

I don't think you should stay with the counselor if you are not comfortable with her advice. You need to ask her questions on how she "copes" with her ADD and for her to teach your husband the coping methods to get organized and time management. I hate to say this but her view point is skewed towards ADD and we all know that they do not think like us. She could probably help him but as a couple you need someone who does not have this but is educated to how their minds work.

I thought I was the only one

I have recently been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and am on medication and seeking a psychologist and psychiatrist.  Both doctors have come to the conclusion that the stress in my life causing my anxiety is my marriage.  Okay its my husband.  They both think he has adult ADD.  They have sent me home with pamplets to talk to my husband and of course he is in total denial.  He even tells me I am the mental patient in the family not him.  Everything is fine for him, his only problem is me and my anxiety and depression.  Of course everything is great for him, I do everything for him.  Asking him to do anything is a waste of time.  He has so many unfinished projects around the house I am embarassed to have anyone over.  I am not exaggerating he has ceilings half painted, railings half done, three counter tops in the kitchen and only two are finished the other one is a piece of plywood I cover with table cloths every month to keep it looking okay.  The kitchen renovation was 10 years ago.  But there is no problem.  He can't dress without me.  He makes dinner and leaves the whole kitchen a complete diaster and doesn't understand why I don't appreciate him cooking.  Forget out bins and charts and all that crap, none of it works for me.  He drops everything anywhere he pleases and if you move his stuff he gets angery.  Like I want a chainsaw on my kitchen plywood counter for 6 months.  I now throw everything in his garage and I refuse to clean it up.  I have cleaned his garage for the last time.  It takes me three days to clean it and organize it and five minutes after I am done he is literally flinging things into it and closing the door like I will be back to clean it next week.  I am so sick of having a child as a partner.  He is embarassing to take out anywhere.  I am constantly telling him to "filter" what comes out of his mouth.  He says anything that comes to mind, not matter how stupid or rude it is to say.  He drives like a maniac and then gets road rage at anyone that cuts him off.  I hate to be around him at all.  He never shuts up.  I will tell him, yes you told me this story before, and he will just continue on like I didn't say a word.  Now he gets angery at me because I never listen to him.  Well I would if he anything I want to hear.  All he does is scream and yell at the littlest thing.  And I am a bitch because I want to live in a house with everything done, matching and complete.  He calls me at work 10 times to tell me the same things over and over again.  He constantly wants me to "remind" him of things he needs to do.  Everytime he says "remind me"  I tell him I am not your mother, remember yourself.  If I give him a list, he only losses it.  He goes to the store 10 times a day because he forgets what he was there for or only gets 50% of the items he needs.  He doesn't understand why I don't want to even be around him, let alone have sex with him.  But no he doesn't have a problem.  He thinks my doctors must be bad doctors because they are diagnosing him without even meeting him and he thinks I must be lieing to them about him to make him look bad.  My doctors keep telling me to get him diagnosed and medicated and my life would be alot less stressful.  But he won't even consider anything wrong with him.  It's all me.  I am a bitch, I don't love him, I want a divorce and am looking for a reason.  I don't know how to get through to him so I just try to avoid him as much as possible but he hovers around me all the time.  He is very insecure and thinks I want someone else.  I would never get married again in a million years.  I keep printing out articles and things about ADD and living with ADD people and I leave them around the house and he just makes fun of it.  He thinks I need more medication.  My doctors thinks he needs medication.  I don't know what to do, but I can't go on like this.  I tell him I  believe my doctors, not him anymore.  If anyone has any advice for getting someone with ADD denial into therapy, I would really appreciate it.

In reply to stressed out

I'm sorry that you are going through what the rest of us are.  I wish I had some words of wisdom for you but my story just isn't getting any better.  My husband went to the psychiatric nurse that our counselor had suggested.  She did exactly what Dr. Hallowell describes in his book Delivered from Distraction on page 338.  She had us fill out numerous forms, went over a list of symptoms with him and checked off which ones he had, matched up a required number of symptoms from a DSM-IV entry and made a diagnosis of anxiety disorder.  Then wrote him a prescription for Celexa and that was that.  She did not even test him for ADD or let me tell her any of his symptoms.  She just went down her list and asked him if he had this or that and diagnosed him.  That was the end of it.  She wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise.  She said that anxiety disorder mimics ADD and I asked her how she knew the difference and she said that when I had read the whole manual like she had and memorized most of it then I would know.  She would just say "experience is how."  She was very condescending.  Like she knew it all.  I asked her about the fact that his prior house was a total disaster with magazines piled up for years, clothese strewn everywhere, and being nasty and she just said "lots of people are like they."  She did not even know who Dr. Hallowell was or had heard of his book.  My husband is so happy to not have the diagnosis of ADD.  He is like "I told you I didn't have it."  He knows I am not convinced that he doesn't.  He says "she knows more than you do."   Her whole demeanor put me off.  She came off as I am the expert and I know everything and read everything off a piece of paper and didn't even get my husband's history as far as why we were there in the first place.  She just asked if ever got in trouble in school when he was small and if he had good grades and since he answered no to those 2 things, she ruled out ADD just like that.  So if your husband did finally decide to go to therapy, it's hard, at least here where I live, to find someone to properly diagnose it and treat it.  Good luck.  Let's us know how things go.

To cpeterson

Sounds like my situation when my husband was first diagnosed.  We actually started with a psycologist for my husbands OCD who diagnosed my husband with ADD also (after several session with both of us).  He then recommended a psychiatrist.  I went with my husband and did not like the man at all.  But he put him on Prozac and pretty soon it started to work on the OCD, the depression, and helped him focus better.  After a few months, my husband started to get worse and I made a frantic emergency call to the psychiatrist who told me that the meds often need to be increased after awhile.....he could have warned me.....a lot of stress on both of us could have been taken care of sooner.  Fast forward 18 years -  I really like the psychiatrist now.  I realized that my husband was his patient, not me and I wanted him to listen to me.....but it wasn't about me!  I often go with my husband for med checks and will this month because I think he needs to up his dosage.  Of course, he may be at the maximum dosage and we'll have to change meds again which is never fun (did you notice I said "we".  We don't take the pills, he does.)......  Oh, he's on Celexa now and it has really worked great for us. (oops there's that "us" again)  When I go with him to the appt, the doc will call me by a little nicknames he's given me and ask me what I think.  He had to come to trust me over the years.....remember I'm not his patient. 

I was always a little confused that the psychiatrist didn't do any couseling.  I was even more surprised when a friend was admitted into a psychiatric hospital several years ago and her psychiatrist never couseled her at all....only checked on meds.  Guess I watch too much TV :)

I guess what I'm trying to say is.....give it time.  It may take a while for the meds to work and they may need to be adjusted but wait and see if you see some progress.  Then give the nurse another chance or two....remember it's not about you.  I have to remind myself of that every day.  Don't get me wrong.  I try to take care of myself, too, becaue if I don't, who will?

I enjoy your comments on this site and feel that we have a lot in common.  Maybe when the anxiety disorder is treated, other symptoms will show ADD.  My phylosophy "It is what it is."

In reply to Vcalins

Thanks for the advice.  I am going to just be patient and see if the medication does anything.  It's just that after reading in Dr. Hallowell's book how psychiatric examinations usually go and this was exactly what happened in my husband's case, I guess I was very skeptical as this lady did not even test my husband for ADD.  We'll see.  This has inspired me to go back to school and get a degree in psychology.  So something positive has come out of this already.  Thanks again for your advice.


I'll start with some ideas for you, since you wrote this, then get to some ideas for your spouse.  Please do not be offended by what I will suggest for you (or him) - I try hard to shine a light on all sides of what people write here.

You sound completely fed up, which is making you impatient.  Or, another way to look at it is that many women on this site would be delighted if their spouse was willing to see a doctor for an evaluation, even if he forget the first one.  The counseling is another good sign, provided the person knows ADD, and again, many would wish their spouse would do this.  It is in your best interests to see if he can get that evaluation and start getting treatment - you may wish to "help him along" as long as he is willing to let you do so.  I would be tempted to set up some routine in which you help him remember (call his secretary if he has one, and get her to get him out the him yourself half an hour before he should leave for the appointment, then again 15 minutes before...give him a ride there...whatever the two of you work out as a good system.  This evaluation will be a very important step to getting him to understand he really does have ADD and to getting him the help he needs to start treating the symptoms that are driving you crazy.)

It also seems as if your annoyance may be making your rigid.  Does it matter if he double softens the clothes?  Unless you are cooking with the (presumably outside bottom) of the pot, if he doesn't clean it when it's his turn to clean does it matter?  The "conversations with an adult" comment is worrisome - did you ever have satisfying conversations?  If so, what was different about them?  The tone of your note suggests that you are short on patience in these conversations - which may exascerbate the problem since being able to repeat and clarify can help keep things from going in circles.  Also, if he feels that your conversations are overtly critical of him, he may not be wanting to fully register them.  There was a time when I felt my husband never listened to me or heard what I was saying to him - it turned out that part of the reason was that most of our "conversations" were about what he was doing wrong around the house.  He wasn't interested, in fact was somewhat angry with these conversations, and so immediately put them aside.  It wasn't his memory so much as his memory combined with the topic of little interest.

Which isn't meant to give your husband a free ride.  Far from it.  You two are at a critical stage.  If he doesn't get his ADD handled and treated in a way that allows him to start being a partner rather than a burden then you will end up divorced.  He must take that very important first step - get the evaluation, read "Delivered from Distraction", read the blog posts at this site if you think it won't scare him into inaction.  Whatever helps him start to move forward.  Make sure he understands that his marriage may well be on the line.

BUT - understand that he is only one half of the equation here.  I was talking with Dr. John Ratey last week and he was lamenting about a pattern he has seen in so many couples struggling with ADD.  The partner with the ADD works really hard and makes very real progress with his symptoms...but the first moment he does something "wrong" he's in the doghouse again.  Because of his past experiences with failure he assumes that being in the doghouse means he will fail and he stops trying.  Another thing to keep in mind - research on romance suggests that offering to help someone isn't as effective a form of support as celebrating their successes.  This may be because offering help (no matter how well intentioned) suggests the person is incompetent, while celebrating successes applauds their accomplishments.  Somehow, you need to get yourself into a mindset in which you can celebrate the small successes your husband has as he has them.  You should also be ready to celebrate your own successes.  For example, if you can catch yourself and say "that double softening isn't really that important" you should celebrate your flexibility.  It is an accomplishment, and a change that will help you both.

A note on the "help" issue - there is a difference between offering help because you think someone can't do something without it, and helping because it is in your best interests to do so.  Getting him to the doctor's appointment right now is a good example.  You would be helping him remember because it is in your best interests to have him get evaluated quickly.  He can probably make it happen eventually without your help, but this assures immediate attention to a very important issue - one in which time is of the essence.

Good luck with your counseling sessions!

Melissa,   Another thing to



Another thing to keep in mind - research on romance suggests that offering to help someone isn't as effective a form of support as celebrating their successes.  This may be because offering help (no matter how well intentioned) suggests the person is incompetent, while celebrating successes applauds their accomplishments.  Somehow, you need to get yourself into a mindset in which you can celebrate the small successes your husband has as he has them.  You should also be ready to celebrate your own successes.  For example, if you can catch yourself and say "that double softening isn't really that important" you should celebrate your flexibility.  It is an accomplishment, and a change that will help you both.

This comment is going into my list of "keepers".  This kind of information empowers both people and is so full of hope.  Keep the good ideas coming our way.  You have no idea how many people will be profoundly impacted by what you write here.  Now I am off to figure out a way to celebrate the very next success.  Maybe mine, maybe his.


Thank you for your comments

I just wanted to say that I did not fuss at him or jump on him for doubling the softener, that was just an example of him not knowing stuff.  The grease was caked an inch thick on the bottom of the coffee pot, the coffee pot that I was getting ready to use.  All I am saying is I get tired of having to do things over.  He just makes more work for me.  Maybe this would be fine for some women to have another person to look after constantly but I have to work full time and already have a 9-year-old daughter to take care of.  I don't have the time or the patience to take care of a 40-year-old man.  I shouldn't have to.  Maybe if I didn't have to do everything or tell him every move to make, it would be a little easier.  As far as making charts or anything like that, he would forget to look at the chart.  Appointment book is under the bed collecting dust.  He can set appointments on his Black Berry but forgets to do so.  So,  I do get frustrated with him.  As far as conversations with people, I have always been able to talk with all kinds of different people and love to talk about current events, books, religion, you know, stimulating conversations.  He has no interests that I can see.  He never wants to talk about anything like that.  I often wonder if he has any interests of his own.  I have even asked him this with no reply.  He told me before he married me that he also loved to read.  He never reads.  I am just saying that I feel like I was misled into this marriage, probably not intentionally but still, he was misleading.  I appreciate everyone's advice and realize that this is not going to be easy and I do realize that he has a hard time which is why I want him to get help so that he isn't always struggling.  I wish everyone who is struggling with this, good luck.

I completley agree with cpeterson47

Yes, it is frustrating to tell someone over and over again things that they should know.  Of course, you clean the bottom of the pan or coffee pot, I am sorry Melissa, but this is basic cleaning and should be addressed.  It has to be cleaned every time.  The fabric softner is probably annoying to her because it is wasteful.  I, too, get angry when my husband puts dirty dishes in the just clean dishwasher because he can't see that they are clean.  This waste water, electricity, detergent and time with waiting again for the dishes.  It is annoying that they can't look to tell.  Most of us are in dire financial trouble because of the ADD spouse and to have them waste money is aggravating.  I even run the dishwasher at night because I have heard the electricity rates are cheaper off hours.  I do this and he has to run it again because he can't tell there were clean.  Argh!!!

You can definatley forget about the appointment book or blackberry, he will never look at it or forget to even write it down.  You might as well get use to be in charge of all the appointments and just telling him when to go.  That is a fact of your life now.

Melissa, you keep saying to accept the person we married on that day and not the promise of who he could be.  I think that is a big problem with all of us.  We do want the person we thought we married.  These ADD people really hide their true identity.  My husband and I used to have conversations (4 hours on the phone, which I know now was the hyperfocus, but thought I was really lucky to have a man that liked to talk) and now we go to a restaurant and don't even say much to each other.  If I try, but if the TV is on, he is lost or he is looking around the room at different things.  We feel cheated and misled into thinking we were marrying someone else.  Within a year of living together we find out who we really married and I would not have gone through with it if I knew the true personality.  I have never known someone with this disorder so I had no idea what it was like. 

I am aggravated from being aggravated everyday with stupid things.  He tries to help get our three year old ready and ask what she should wear.  What?  He should be able to pick out an outfit for a three year old without my input.  I don't care what she wears.  He then doesn't know that she needs her teeth brushed or her hair combed.  I should be happy that he tries to help but it is aggravating that he can't even finish the project.  And yes, her teeth must be brushed everyday.  He thinks he helped and all he did was ask what I wanted her to wear.  I am sorry, but this is not helpful.  He asked the other day when we stated brushing her teeth with flouride toothpaste and I said for a while now and he asked how I knew that she needed to switch.  This shows that he has not helped getting her ready for a long and is not thinking of her future needs.  I say that I do research on topics because I am a first time parent and do not have all the answers.

I am so aggravated at daily life, thanks everyone for listening.  It really does help to vent.


Yup, I agree.  It feels like fraud he is so different than who I thought I was marrying.  Bait and switch!


Bait and Switch??!!

I totally hear the bait and switch thing. I married a man who loved me the way on one else ever had. He drove me 30 miles home every night and drove back 30 miles home, then repeated that the next morning. He did that every day for months. (i realize now he was hyperfocusing.) He'd never have harmed a hair on my head.

Six weeks after we got married, he made a series of ADD mistakes at work and got fired. In what universe is it OK to hang up on customers?? Only in ADD-land. This put me in a life-threatening position because I had to stop taking my hypertension medication, and delay treatment of other problems, when we lost the insurance from that job. He didn't get a steady job with insurance for 3 years after that. The man I was engaged to would have been more concerned with my needs than the unpleasantness of talking to a customer who couldn't remember their password. But to the man I am married to, my needs came second to his desire to avoid something unpleasant.

I'd cut off my right arm if I could be married to the man I was engaged to.

In reply to I completely agree with Cpeterson

I feel exactly the way you do.  "I am aggravated from being aggravated everyday."  That's me.  He has started seeing a counselor and I see her on my own and next week we are going together. She thinks that with therapy and possibly some herbal medications, there will be improvement but he will never be exactly what I expect.  She asked me if I can live with that and the answer was "I don't know."  I am trying to do everything I can and be patient but the truth of the matter is I don't want to be mommy to a 40-year-old and that is what I feel like.  So, we'll see how the counseling goes and hopefully she can help him get relaxed and give him tips for organization.  She also said that it was not my job to do things for him and have to constantly remind him.  I always feel better after each session with her.  She's wonderful.

Peas in a pod


This fall will be our fifth year anniversary, so it sounds like are worlds are pretty similiar.  My husband went to his first counseling appointment this morning but I have no idea how it went.  I am concerned on what he is telling the doctor because he does not have reality of his world.  He thinks he finished projects, but he doesn't, he thinks he helps around the house and he doesn't.  How can a doctor know what truly happens if he gets one side of the warped story?  The crazy thing is since I told him I made a appointment for him, he has been on time for things and helping out a little more, it is like he is trying to proof that he is not ADD.  I wonder how he can pull it together for a while then go back to his old ways.  He even showed up 10 minutes early to the doctor's office, probably to show the doctor he is not ADD.

Please keep posting on this site, I feel like you understand and that our husband's are very similiar in behavior.  If you want to give any good insight with dealing with him, I would love to hear it.


reply to baffled (peas in a pod)

Isn't it like crazy how much alike all our husbands seem to be?  I never would have dreamed in a million years that there could be such similarities in people.  It's a little scary actually.  What gets me is the fact that my husband doesn't see it.  Bless his heart, he can't even box up something for UPS to pick up.  He left the papers out and had to tear back into it after I told him that he left them out, then he put the wrong papers in and again, I had to tell him and again he had to tear it open and retape after he put the correct papers in.  If I had not been there watching, that would have been a delay in getting $255.00 back for something that we were returning.  I mean it's constant.  Does anyone else feel like they are going out of their minds?  Honestly, sometimes I feel so hopeless and helpless that I just want to cry and cry.  I don't know what is going to happen with the counseling.  So far, I haven't seen him doing anything differently.  Yes, for some reason, they can seem to get it together for a short time.  How?  Why?? I don't know that.  Thanks for staying in communication with me.  Like I said before, it makes me feel less alone.

reply to cpeterson

It is sad, but your email actually made me laugh with the package.  I know it is not funny but, AGAIN, it is my life too.  It is constant.  I have said this numerous times today, but this has really helped me out.  I actually feel happy today and was nice to my husband.  I wrote a huge post in the active forum "is it my husband or ADD" section (also under recent comment "good points").  It flowed beautifully for me and gushed out and I was actually relieved after I wrote it.  Today it made me realize that I need counseling too.  If I can have someone to vent to once every other week, I think I might not be as crazy.

I know this site is ADD bashing, but it feels so good to let it out.  AND I had no idea that these husbands could be so much alike.  I tell these stories to my friends who do not have ADD husbands and they really can't believe it.  Thanks for also making me feel so not all alone.

in reply to baffled

Do you really think this site is ADD bashing?  See, I don't consider it that.  I  just consider it as frustrated people venting.  I do not have anything against people with ADD, per se.  It's just my husband.  I really don't know how much longer I can take this.  Even with counseling, he still is getting mad at me and frustrated because I don't want to be all loving toward him.  He knows how I feel and yet he still tries.  That really ticks me off.  I just don't know if this is going to work.  The counseling is doing me a world of good.  Him, I don't think so.  He looks at me real angry and says "You've got issues with me?  Well, I've got issues with you also."  He gets really angry and goes on the defensive sometimes.  He scares me a little bit to be honest.  He wants to yell and scream in front of the kids, no matter how much I am saying, "please don't do this in front of the kids."  It's like he is all that matters.  He thinks of himself before anyone else, but he would deny this until the day he died, so.......... I honestly do not think anyone could ever live with him.  


Thanks again guys!!


I totally relate to everything you just described. I feel as if my husband puts himself first NO MATTER WHAT!! Occasionally, he throws me a bone and cleans the kitchen or does the laundry and then expects me to praise him extensively. I do those things every day! I can never give him enough appreciation or affection.

I can relate to the anger, too. I don't like to yell when we are arguing but he will yell and become extremely defensive and, in my opinion, ridiculously unreasonable. The anger scares me and I worry that he will get that way with our daughter as she gets older.

I feel like I'm going crazy a lot of the time.

Same thing here. It's all his

Same thing here. It's all his world and I "get" to live in it! I have no sense of security whatsoever. How can I have a natural affection for this guy? I can't even come up with one warm fuzzy...

reply to Clarity

"One warm fuzzy."  I like that.  No, but they don't get it.  He started getting angry on Saturday because I wouldn't love all over him, you know, kiss him, hug him and all that stuff.  I could see him getting angry about it and then yesterday he blows up in front of the kids.  I say to him "let's not do this in front of the kids. Save it for counseling."  My daughter was crying and it didn't matter to him, he wanted to yell because he was angry and then goes on and on, like he doesn't know what the problem is.  He still wants to get to the bottom of this, he says.  I mean come on, he knows what the problem is. I have told him and he are going to counseling for it but he has forgetten.  You don't know how bad that scares me.  The fact that he is still asking me what the problem is.  I have pointed him to this website, I have printed him out articles to read and have made him an appointment and he has gone to counseling for this but still he is in denial.  He said he is mad.  He's just mad because things aren't going his way and I am not all over him all the time.  I am sorry but like you said "I can't come up with 1 warm fuzzy."  This is so aggravating and getting really worrisome.

I gotta tell ya' the meds

I gotta tell ya' the meds really took the edge off the hyper irritability I was dealing with, and right away. I can tell that it seems he is able to complete his thoughts and bring them to a more logical end. Still, counseling and behavior modification would help further. I'm beat and withdrawn lately. He doesn't like it one bit. "Maybe I'm depressed", I told him, "maybe it's my hormones". He says "it's your dad, you think I'm like him!" (Ok, I've been dealing with Mr. ADD here for almost 30 years... it couldn't have anything to do with him!) So, he decides I've had problems long before I met him... if that's what he needs to think to be more considerate towards me, fine. That's fine. I need him to leave me alone right now. He really doesn't get it and we can't afford counsel right now. His meds are a priority for sure!

I would encourage you to try that route. Apparently it's a quick way to confirm ADD. The amphetamine would make anyone else speed and actually slows the ADD mind down. I know it helped here.

Tired of Picking Up

Reading this today has been a big help.  15 years of marriage and our biggest joke is that one day I will find a man to marry and he will help me raise my 11year old and my 38 year old.  I wish I had a partner and the love I felt when we first met.  I never knew what I was getting into when I married the ADHD husband.  I do EVERYTHING myself except work, which thank God he does do, but after that its all up to me.  My health is not the best either.  I have type1 diabetes for 36 years, depression, and a tumor removed from my pituatary gland in January.  My husband is a good man but when all you see is laziness, excuses, forgetgulness, always correcting me, or aguing with anyone at anytime over anything it gets to be to much.  We have an 11 year old son who also as ADHD and some days I feel so overwhelmed.  We have the same talk over and over about I need your help I can't do this alone.  We haven't been intimate in over a year because I am always tired and resentful.  I was OCD for a long time but anymore I do all I can to keep my head above water.  And to explain this to anyone without an ADHD partner thinks you are insensitibe or cold hearted because he works all day and deserves to come home and rest.  They don't stop to think that I clean all day every day, volunteer two days a week at my son's school, substitute teach, pay bills, take care of our son, and somewhere in there try to take care of myself I never get time to have a friend or spend time with him without the TV, computer, or video games.  And the fact that he is hateful with our son, who worships him, for doing the same things that he does.  But he never thinks he does everything.  And I am the problem.  AMAZING!



is he being treated?

Is this man being treated for ADHD?  Or depression?  If not, it's time for him to step up to the plate and try treatment.  Imagine a situation in which if he made a chart he would remember to look at it.  Or remember to set his blackberry.  Or remember to read to magnet you put on the front of the dishwasher that says "clean" or "dirty" before putting dishes in it.  Or be able to find the motivation to get going in the morning.  These are all issues that can be addressed with treatment - which means "physical change" (meds, exercise, fish oil) PLUS "behavioral change" (systems put in place to do things better).

You're right - you shouldn't have to take care of a 40 year old man, and feeling angry and frustrated that you got a "bait and switch" thing with your hubby is awful (He also likely feels as if he got "bait and switched".  Ask him some time.)  The not talking routine is something that my husband and I went through, also.  For him part of it (not all) was that he lost track of what to talk with me about because he felt so uneasy around my unhappiness.  I lost interest in talking with him because I felt there were so many really important issues in our lives that were remaining unaddressed by him and talking to him made me angry.  This may or may not be the case in your situation - it's possible that your man is completely vanilla and uninteresting...but at some point in your lives that wasn't the case, so he's probably not chronically so.  Perhaps a good therapist who really understands ADD could help him get going again (shouldn't be your job, plus you're in the wrong position to do it, anyway, since some of his issues are likely related to your relationship).

The issues that you are facing in your relationship are his first (untreated ADD symptoms) and yours second (see my post on "action and reaction") but you are at a point now where a full evaluation for him is probably your best next step.  The distraction you describe CAN be addressed (and you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results, once he takes it seriously), and though I am not a doctor I am guessing that there are other issues going on, too.  He'll never be non-ADD, but moderate improvement could go a long way, I bet, towards appeasing your frustration.

To get him moving, ask him "on a scale of 1 - 10, with 1 being not at all and 10 being overwhelmingly so, how much do you think that your distraction affects me?  Our marriage?"  If he doesn't answer 10 to both of those questions, then he does not yet comprehend the nature of your specific needs and problems.  (It always amazed me that my husband didn't understand the fact that I was unhappy even after I said such basic things as "I am miserably unhappy in our marriage"!  He just "thought I was complaining"!!!)  When he finally answers 10, then that gives you the amunition you need to get him to a doctor.

Good luck with it.

Reply to "Is he being Treated"

He had his first counseling session last week and thought it was great.  The counselor had given him some exercises to do, but will he do them is the question.  She thinks that his ADD is being exacerbated by the stress in our marriage. As to the question of how much does he think his distraction is affecting me and our marriage, he would not answer a 10.  I doubt he would ever answer a 10.  I have pointed him to this website so he could see that we are not the only ones going through the exact and I mean exact same thing but he just glanced over it and hasn't mentioned it since.  I'm just glad that this website is available for us to vent to each other and know that we are not alone.  I realize that life for the ADD spouse isn't exactly a piece of cake because they have always been that way and to them their way is normal.  It's just so so frustrating but counseling is making me feel better and talking on here also.  Thanks guys for all your replies. 

frustrated with husband

OMG!  I can so relate to you--I just found this forum as I sit here desperately searching the web for ANYONE who comes close to my situation.  I am so physically stiff from paralyzing anxiety right now that I can hardly breathe.  I am shaking trying now trying not to delay submitting this because I have so much to share – I want to get it all out at once—I cannot concentrate and apologize if things do not seem to hook together. 

 It is 2:00pm and he just left for work NOW.  He got up at seven, stating that he HAD many things to do at work and had to get there early.  He drops our daughter off at camp on the way...

I helped our daughter get ready (she is 8).  She drags her feet as well and I worry about her either having ADD or imitating what she sees.  They were still late getting out the door at nine.  He came back at 9:30!  Said he was not finished dressing, needed cup of tea etc.  Dressed and left, came back went in fridge mumbling something about forgetting something.  Left and came back again.  Then he decided to have lunch and "relax".  Etc. 

Last night I asked him to do me a favor and drop off the halter monitor to my cardiologist because I got the flu last week and did not want to go in the office sick.  I had to remind him 4 times.  He decided to delay going to the office AGAIN in case the cardiologist was closed for lunch.  This stuff has been going on for years.  He thinks nothing is wrong with him because I HAVE DEPRESSION and everything will be great if I just get the right meds.  Well, I have been on my meds for years, see my doctor and therapist regularly.  Before we were married 10 years ago, I also worked out regularly and did ballroom dancing 4 nights a week. 

I used to be very organized.  I had everything in order—I did not realize that I had ADHD and OCD with depression until I was married and could not take my time organizing or caring for home and myself as I used to.  Our main problem now is that we live in 800 square feet of space.

Yes, he was very different when we married as well.  He had a thriving insurance business, sold it back to the company to take a promotion in their corporate structure.  Yes, there were flags, but no one is perfect, and I was on top of my game, I told him what my deal was –we accepted each other’s issues.  I was 40 and he was 58.  We married, and even though I knew I was hovering in peri-menopause territory, we were delighted with the discovery of expecting our daughter. 

We did not expect that before the first year was out that I would get toxemia, postpartum (I tried to anticipate this with the doctor who totally screwed up another story), he would lose his job, his father and me in the hospital for pp for a week.  An internal rage started to rise in him nearly to the point of abuse—enough to really scare me.  Yes, I understood the blow he took, I made every effort to be supportive, my communications seemed to come out loving and go in his ears as criticism. He has no one but me.  No siblings, friends to talk to.  Our communication broke down completely.  In the next five years his mother (who was in Florida—we are in NY) then started having problems, as did my parents --all alternated serious health issues.  We moved his mother up here—who died 19 months later.  We also lost several Aunts, Uncles and a nephew and son of my best friend in separate car accidents.

The toll on our marriage was unbearable.  I even went to a shelter once to protect our daughter and myself—he retaliated by having me hunted down by a PI, who served me with divorce papers at night—then had 5 cops take our daughter out of my arms and throw me out of MY house.  We went through Supreme Court, family court, 8 different counselors, mediators, Christian counseling services etc.  No real help—especially for me because of my disability—I would have lost my girl.

Therefore, we worked things out as best we could.  Nevertheless, closing a business, losing two jobs, having a baby, losing parents all adds to CLUTTER.  I have literally spent every available ounce of energy in an effort in the last 4 years at least to sort, organize, donate, sell and so on, but med changes, stress, illness bad weather, lack of help, low income.  I have had the kitchen set the same way for years, even shelves are labeled—but he refuses to put things back where they go.  I know the start in one spot routine, been there done it—it is filled in as soon as I turn around.  I am so tired of climbing up mud hill only to slide down again that I just give up.  I clean and disinfect but I have no spirit of hope with his miserable black cloud hanging here.  He says it is because I am down.

We need objective, hands-on affordable help.  I searched everywhere, found one person who was great until I found out that he charged $400 per hour.  The mom of one of my daughter’s friends helped me for a while, I paid her what I could of course, but she went back to work.  I even entered every home makeover, organizing type contest that I could find.

Then I started looking for ADHD coaches again.  I seem to be on an internet not-so-merry-go-round as I look repeatedly for help.

Well, I have finally calmed down some.  It is good to release the pressure valve to those who know.  Thanks for listening—sorry this is so long--hope it makes sense--you are definately not alone.


In response to LeeL

Wow. You have been through it that's for sure.  I don't know how you made it.  I hope my situation doesn't get that bad.  My daughter is 8 and all I have ever wanted was peace and love for her.  There is no peace in this house right now.  He is so angry at me for not loving him.  He doesn't understand why I feel the way I do.  I am glad that there are others out there that can understand and do understand.  You're not alone.  I hope things go better for you, I really do.

response to cpeterson47

Hi!  Thanks for your support.  I pray that your situation never even comes close.  I do not know your husband’s character; however, if he is kind, has good family values hidden in there somewhere, truly loves that precious little girl, he has got to step up to the responsibility and commitment that he promised to her as well as to you.  You, of course, will never convince him of this.  Do you know anyone whose opinion he respects, who is stable and willing to talk with him?  (I so wanted Dr. Phil or someone to come to my home and set up hidden cameras so he could see his own behavior and hear his own tone of voice.)

One counselor that my husband saw during our separation really hit his core on the anger issues.  He saw immediately that DH craved respect, and was able to get him to admit where it came from.  Although that practice did not work out for us, it created the first crack in his proverbial thick skull and let in a sliver of light, psychotherapeutically speaking.  :)

I desperately want peace for my little girl as well.  I was never the type who took gruff from anyone.  At the same time, I am strongly compassionate, loving, generous, understanding and supportive to my family and friends.  He knew this but after his father died, he became blind with rage to the world.  I prayed many long hard hours, read every book, searched every internet site looking for answers and none would come.  He was convinced that I did not love and respect him, and he could not see how I could not express love nor respect someone who had become so critical to me and was starting to show passive aggressive tendencies to our DD.  I was in a vortex of anxiety and all anyone could say was “Gee, I don’t know what to say.”  I had to draw a line, and I did.  My intention was to get a break for a few days or a week to get away from the tension and be able to think.  (Well, THAT was another horror story)  When I came back, I paid a heavy price for taking that step.

For the same reason, he knows that I will not tolerate that again, one of the main issues in reconciling was getting control of his anger.  He did work on it, he still works on it and right now, he is backsliding some because the job is so bad.  In the world of catch 22, it might not have been so bad if he could get to a point of accepting responsibility for behaviors that only he can control.  This is very difficult, even my fabulous psychiatrist has seen us together and brilliantly, oh so carefully addressed the issue—and so far…SPLAT.

The best I can tell you is to continue to show love to that little girl.  Others told me this and they were right.  As much as we strive to make smooth their paths, knowing the world will be hard enough, sometimes we screw up the path before they even get out there.  We feel guilt because it should never have happened.  Worse, we cannot stop it.  Nevertheless, we can love and love more.  Children ARE resilient.  I will still worry about long term effects, and I will work and pray my hardest to handle everything else that comes along.  You are her role model.  You have to take care of yourself.  Does he love YOU?  Is he willing to takes steps to the marriage toolbox and get to work somewhere?  Does he know it is a kit, and you have to work on it every day? 

To take the first line of The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, “Life is difficult.”  To paraphrase the next line, “Once you accept that everything else can be dealt with.”  He has to start dealing.

I did not want to separate—neither did DH, but he thought he knew what I was thinking and tried to get a step ahead.  He messed up big time.  I think that we did, need some time apart to rest, to heal.  We had nowhere to go, no one to turn to and no support.  The path we went down must have been the eighth ring of hell.  Not a vacation.  What about family, you ask?  Do not be ridiculous.  (Yet another horror story)  I have anger as well.  I have a lot of it.  One of us has to handle it constructively and as usual, it will have to be me the one who is supposed to be ill.

On another note, just today as I found this forum I also found this site:   The ADD Coach Academy  David Giwerc – Founder David is a Master Certified Coach, MCC, with the International Coach Federation the governing body for the coaching profession.  He has been coaching adults with ADHD for a decade, with a specific focus on entrepreneurs with ADHD and mentors some of the world’s leading coaches.  (His site blurb FYI)

The first link to the site did not work, (my Luck) and I reported it.  Well, he called to thank me just as I was writing my response to your letter.  He said that the free video on the home page would be good for my husband to listen to as it is aimed at men.  (I have not listened to it yet, waiting for the house to get to bed).

I do not know much about this area except according to my own research it is new.  As always, “buyer beware”.  On the other hand—it is worth a shot.  Check it out.  He helped me feel better and spent 20 minutes really understanding our issues.  Therefore, perhaps this is a “bone” being thrown to us!  I will report my findings

You hang in there.  Fifteen months is a very short time.  As I look back to my own first two years, ewww.  This is the second marriage for both of us.  I was not going to re-marry—but after 17 years, he literally swept me off my feet at a swing dance.  Things have been so bad in the past that even though we were legally married, we lived separately for 2 years then; last year when our anniversary came up, we both had to stop and think about how many years we were married!  Oh man, add that to our ages and that part isn’t gonna get better.  LOL  Gotta keep laughing--ran out of tissue coupons.

One other thing I learned to do was to rent funny movies or tape funny shows for the weekend so we could all relax.  It helps to lift the mood in the house even if only for a short time.  I am committed and working at it, but I’ll tell you one thing I know for sure—I have no desire to be married EVER again

You will make it.  You have friends here who will hold up each side and see you through the emotional ride!



In response to LeeL

Thank you so much for sharing your story and your recommendations.  I know there are a lot of people worse off than I am and I know in the end it will be okay.  This is taking such an emotional and physical toll on me.  This has totally flared up my IBS and apparently I am working myself up to have a stomach ulcer from all the stress.  After being to counseling and knowing we are going together, he again asked me what do I want out of this, how do I want it to end?  It's like he still doesn't know and needs constant daily reaffirmaiton that I am trying to make this work.  I mean, come on, why can't he see?  Thank you again and keep us posted as I will you all.

stress, health, denial

Dear cpeterson47:

You are welcome.  My intention is to offer support and empathy, because I so know where you are.  At present, I am only one-step removed and it is not better, just different.  I do not mean to minimize your anguish.  You MUST protect your health.  I know it is mind boggling that an adult can become so needy and insecure as to destroy your well-being while at the same time acting as if you are victimizing him and you alone hold the power for the relationship.  This is what makes my head spin. 

No, he cannot see.  He does not want to.  It may mean he has to admit to personal weakness.  He does not want to be “weak”.  It may mean confronting a pain he does not want to feel.  Who really knows?

You can only do so much.  You cannot be his therapist.  He needs to go see someone on his own.  He will most likely balk.  You must continue on your own for your own health.  It is so difficult to know what to do when the situation has your mind embroiled to the point where you cannot think.  Do not make major decisions under such circumstances.  With professional guidance, make small ones.  Life can be so one minute at a time.  I am so sorry for your anguish.

In response to LeeL, stress, health, denial

Thank you for your support and empathy.  Lord knows there is none anywhere else in my life.  I can tell from his actions that he is going to continue to be in denial about this.  We have an appointment tomorrow together for the first time and I can only imagine how that will go.  He will not even answer simple questions via email anymore because he is so paranoid.  It has it in his head that I am out to get him (whatever that means).  What he thinks I can get is beyond me.  Like I said, it really helps knowing that there are people out there who understand my situation. 

On top of the obvious health

On top of the obvious health issues that stress causes, it also causes short term memory loss. I have noticed that on myself a lot lately as my interaction with my severely ADHD husband becomes more and more stressful. Think of it as stage fright, only it happens on a regular basis. So yet one more thing to think about when living in such a stressful situation with a person with ADD or ADHD.

your appointment

Good luck with that today.  I'll be thinking of  you. 

In response to LeeL-

Thank you.  I am sitting here in tears again.  I unfortunately made the mistake of trying to tell him goodnight last night and we got into another one of those circle fights.  I asked him the question Melissa asked me to, "On a scale of 1-10 how would you say your ADD is affecting our marriage?"  He said "affecting you, a 10."  He will never admit to anything being wrong.  He says if I would stop nick-picking everything to death everything would be okay.  He still doesn't get it, even though I have led him to this site and he can see that he is almost exactly like other people described here, he still is in denial.  I feel like if I have to do this much longer, I am going to end up in the hospital with a heart attack or stroke or something.  It's so frustrating because, he now, after telling me that his mom told him that he always has been this way and has ADD, he says that he doesn't think that he does.  And yells at me "call my mom, call my aunt."  Why would I do that?  Especially as he told me that she said that she had it and her sister had it.  So why would I do that.  Can't he see how ridiculous that is?  I don't even want to go to this counseling session because I know what he will do.  He apparently can hyperfocus.  When he answered the questions on the ADD test form, he answered them the way he wanted to, putting everything was mild.  I'll go but I have a feeling it is going to be a disaster. 

In response to Melissa "Is he being Treated?"

Melissa, just wanted some advice.  If he is not truthful with the counselor and answers everything as mild on the ADD test and is never going to admit to anything being wrong, how do I make him see that there is indeed something wrong?? Or how does a counselor make him see?  I am scared to death right now because I have this gut feeling that he is never going to get on medication and what good does counseling do if it goes in one ear and out the other like everything else.  I have bought books, bought him an daily appointment reminder, made these therapy appointments, and now I am running out of options.  He is now at the point where he is not doing anything around the house that needs to be done and will not answer my emails (because he is paranoid that I am out to get him).  He is acting really strange, but to him it isn't strange.  I would hate to hear what he is telling his mommy.  He has freaked out before and told her that I am "out to get him," which I don't even know that that means.  Any more advice?  Thank you in advance.

Getting spouse to see ADHD issues

It was shocking to me to find out that in spite of the fact that I had said over and over that my husband's behavior and ADHD was, essentially, ruining my life he STILL DIDN"T GET IT.  How is it possible not to understand the words "your lack of attention to me is making me miserable - I feel alone" or "I am the household slave here - doing all the work while you don't even apply yourself to basic chores that you agree to do, but don't end up doing"?

Shocking as it may be, I'm guessing that the things that your husband is telling your counselor - about how your life and his ADD aren't that bad, for example - are not lies, but really how he sees it.  While this may seem incredibly depressing at first, in my opinion it's better that he's unenlightened than that he's genuinely lying.  Unenlightenment can be fixed more easily than lying.

When he says you're "out to get him" it's possible that he's commenting on how aggressively he feels you're pursuing him about things that he doesn't perceive to be "that bad" (see last paragraph!).  While this probably makes you want to scream in frustration, if he doesn't comprehend the severity of the issues, it's logical that he would resent your strong pursuit of him to fix things that he doesn't see as really broken.  The solution to this, as you already know, will be to get him to better understand your position.  This takes time and a ton of patience, which can be hard to find once you get to the stage you are in.

My husband (with ADD) will tell anyone willing to listen that the singly hardest thing for a person with ADD to do is comprehend that their ADD has such a big effect on others (especially spouses).  While my husband is extremely intelligent, he simply didn't have the perspective to understand or see what his ADD was doing to me for many years.

Your email suggests that you are pushing your husband so hard that you are getting a backlash now - he is actively resisting you (won't answer your emails, for example), which isn't in your best interests.  As hard as it may be, you need to back off and let the counselor be the person who pushes.  To do this, the couneselor will need to spend some time earning your husband's trust.  While you may feel desperate, patience for a bit longer will be in your best interests.

The fact of the matter is YOU can't "make him see" that there is something wrong.  This is a really hard thing for people who are used to being able to "fix" things (like you and me) to see and accept.

A good approach for the counselor to use might be to work with your husband to start to more actively treat his ADHD not because there is something wrong (the negative) but because his life will be easier for him (the positive).  (It will also be easier for you, but that won't necessarily be his prime motivator, I'm sorry to say.)  I sometimes tell people that a great reason to try medications  is that meds let a person with ADD spend energy doing more of what they want to do.  In other words, folks with untreated ADD spend many hours of their day just holding their lives together - looking for misplaced keys or papers, finding their clean clothes, missing appointments and then making them up, responding to people who are mad they are late... Taking meds helps them organize things more easily, freeing up that energy and time for more productive and rewarding efforts (including spending better time with you).  I always add the caveat that they have to make changes to their habits, too (like putting a key hanger at the door near the garage) but the meds can be a good tool for many.  Your counselor can start to give him reassurance about getting a full evaluation and starting that process.

Back to your questions - you mention that you think that your husband "is never doing to admit to anything being wrong" and I would agree that as long as the situation remains as it is he'll be unlikely to do so.  He's on the defensive now, and the underlying assumption is that HE'S what's wrong, even though your note shows clear evidence that how the two of you are interacting is clearly a problem (again - the comments that he thinks you are out to get him show how far the two of you are apart in understanding each other's motivations and actions).  If you put that concept - that there's something wrong with him - into perspective, you can understand how scary it would be to address that idea...particularly in an environment where he suspects that you'll be ready to "jump" on him as soon as he makes a mistake - which he knows from experience he will.

This is another reason why continuing with the therapist is a good idea - this therapist can help to de-politicize your interactions, help each of you understand how the other "ticks" a bit better, etc.  If the therapist understands ADHD, he/she will know that your husband may not have a clear picture of how his ADD affects you (or himself).  It's part of understanding what ADD is all about.  Once the counselor has made inroads, if you still find that the information you are going over with the counselor goes in one ear and out the other, you can consider adding a coach to provide specific ADD strategies to help him implement his goals better.

You may be tired of reading things, but I think you might very much like four sections in Ari Tuckman's book, "More Attention, Less Deficit".  1.) on medications, 2.) how to get a person to understand and accept they have ADD, 3.) how to get someone to treat ADD, and 4.) the differences between coaches and therapists.

Hope this helps you a bit.  Hang in there!

I'm the ADD Husband

Just yesterday I sat down and listed the jobs I have had since 1975.  26 was the number and since 2000 I've changed jobs 11 times.  It has been horribly taxing on my wife.  We have been married for 34 years.  She has endured unspeakable emotional pain.  Last year she had a nervous breakdown. We seperated for the first time.  By the grace of God we are together but living with the consequences of moral and finacial decisions I have made over the years is a bitter pill to swollow.  i am liked by everyone except my wife and now me.  Living with an ADD person is truely living with a handicapped person except we rarely see how this handicap effects our family.  My eyes have been opened.  We spent a bucket of money on marriage counseling, psychiatrist, and clinics trying to find out why whe was so dad gum depressed.  No one really got it.  They would end up liking me and even taking sides when that was really not my intention.   I had my first glimpse of myself in 1988 when our first born was diagnonsed with ADD.  i sat with my mouth hanging open thinking the doctor was describing me instead of my son. Two years later our 2nd child was diagnosed with ADD and then 5 years later our daughter was diagnosed.  I questioned the doctor about adults with ADD.  It was kind of new then and he told me I was fortunate because most guys my age with ADD had either been divorced serveral times, were in prison, an addict of some kind or dead.  We know the reasons now.  Some of us feel like misfits.  We don't learn like the mainstream.  If  one is not athletic or gifted in some accepted arena, the longing to fit in leads to gangs, alcohol,drugs, sex, gambling, sports addiction... you name it.  The quick fix.  I happened to have salt of the earth parents and was good enough enough athelete to seem balanced.  I was acccepted and popular however my grades were horrible and I barely made it through high school.  My brother was smart and he found favor with the college he attended so somehow I was allowed to enter college even with making a 12 on my ACT.  My unbalanced life mainfiested itself as I flourished in intramurals and other social events but found myself cheating on exams to survive school.  I had never learned how to study nor had a clue where to get help.  I didn't even know I needed help.  I had accepted early on that I was not a very smart guy.   I had more fun during those 5 years than I can tell.   She thought I was different, unconvential and witty.  We fell in love, moved 4 times in one year then settled in a city in Alabama.  I played ball. we fought.  I played more ball.  We fought.  After 5 years we had our first.  i was a very fun dad getting him all hyped up before bed.  We had fun and laughed a lot.  With the responsibility of kids the athletics suddenly stopped and it devastated me.  That's wher i excelled.  Work bored me.  I would lose interest and want to do something different.  i worked for UPS for 2 years.  Then in sales for 9 years with several different companies. Self employed for 5 years then went to work for 9 years with one company.  i made more money than ever. My last year I earned in the high 6 figure income.  Then i was convinced we were going to be rich in a business a relative started.  I resigned from my high paying,benefits rich, 401K matching job.  I was deeply spiritual and prayed about this decisions, had a trusted friend look at the books and verify this was a great opportunity.  My friend was so impressed he invested. In 4 months we realized we had been conned.  i had to take more than half cut in earnings to go back to my old job.  It was never the same.  The momentum was gone.  the challenge long lost. Was hired by another company but didn't work out.  11 times it didn't work out and now i sit in a cubiclle at the same company I started at in 1993.  Making 1/4 th of what I made 14 years ago.  i spiraled into deep depression and now take Zoloft to take the edge off of depression.  I take Aderral to help me think during the day then i take Ambien at night to help me sleep.  I suppose I'm a llegal junky.  The side effects of the drugs are terrible.  Dry mouth constantlly,  irritating ticks and sounds come over me.   But the real side effects are suffered by the best person I've ever known. My wife by the way has her own baggage.  She is a gifted with color and has an eye for detail.  Our house is pretty amazing due to her talents.   She is industrious and frugile.  We are definately oposites.  She has been an amazing mother.  But when our last child left for college she started to detach from me.  The resentment over the years reached the limits.  The finacial roller coaster was more than she could bare.  Her idenity as a mother was gone.  Whle I am not all to blame, I take full responsibilit for my part.  Everyone brings in baggage to a marriage and for some reason all the baggage mixed together wreaks havoc on life.  After living in the same house for 20 years we are now having to sell and downsize to a more affordable home.  This is quite devastating to both of us.  Our home is about the only consistent thing we have ever had.  We are both Christians and beleive deeply our salvation is sealed but truthfully we have to work at the finding joy and peace. Taking full responsibility for self can turn into self pity and loss of confidence.  Living with someone that has lost respect and confidene in you adds another layer of guilt and the feeling of inadaquacy. Add to the fact I am in a high recjection type sales job and I pretty well am ready to do something different...which is one of the problems.  Knowing you have influenced someone else's life so negatively is a hard punch to the stomache.  I noticed while we were seperated, I was at more peace and didn't feel the pressure to not be me.  What I mean by that is to have a successful marriage while having ADD takes an enormous amount of focus and effort.  I don't have too much focus but I do give the effor.  We are still working on our marriage.  We are going to a financial counselor to start a life on a budget.  This should be interesting because neither one of us are budget people. This is a discipline that we both need.    To all you that are living with an ADD person. RUNNNNNN.  No you can't just run but you will feel like it.  They need help but they have to seek help and stay on thier meds.  The very thing ADD people need is what we hate...structure!  Do you know what job I performed the best?  UPS driver!  Totally structured with time lines and clearly defined responsibilities.  The very thing we resist.  Looking back I should have joined the military just for the discipline and structure but I didn't so here I am at 56 years old trying to get over me.  As Popeye said, "It aint easy being me"  and I might add it sure ain't easy living with me.   

I hope you have shared this

I hope you have shared this with your wife and you will get an expert in ADD to help you accomplish the type of things that will bring both of you peace and joy. 


In response to Mike G

Thank you so much for sharing your side of the situation and being so honest about it.  My husband will never be so honest, I don't think.  He so does not want it to be him that is responsible for what our marriage has come to.  Thank you again for letting us see your side of the picture.

Thanks Mike,  I can

Thanks Mike,  I can appreciate your insight in the effects of your own behavior. It took a willingness to know the truth at any cost. A tender heart and a soft answer will make a big difference in your relationships. The structure of discipline and a sound budget will help as well. As a christian you know you have an edge. I wish you and yours the best as you move on. . .

"Living with someone that has

"Living with someone that has lost respect and confidene in you adds another layer of guilt and the feeling of inadaquacy. ...  Knowing you have influenced someone else's life so negatively is a hard punch to the stomache.  I noticed while we were seperated, I was at more peace and didn't feel the pressure to not be me."

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your post.  My spouse has adhd and many of his problematic behaviours have come to head in the last while.  Much of the time I think he's facing the thoughts and feelings you describe above.   I worry that if he does not get past those feelings, he'll be more likely to act on an inappropriate impulse to feel better - get some relief and the negative cycle will continue.   So I think about what I can do to make the situation better.  That's one of my questions to you - what do you think your spouse could do at this point to help you move on and not feel so bad about yourself?  

I alternate between feeling compassion for and wanting to help my husband to worrying about my vulnerability if I continue to do so.  The things my  husband does that have the biggest impact on me are his lying and cheating.  I first discovered his cheating approximately 6 years ago.  After the initial discovery he told me he ended it, wrote me cards about how sorry he was, how it was the biggest mistake of his life etc... He told me this repeatedly and continuously over 6 years.  In January I discovered that he never ended the affair.  He's now told me he's really ended it -  deja vu.  This time he has a diagnosis and is seeing a psychologist so at times this bolsters my belief that maybe it's true.  Other times my insecurity overwhelms me and I think it's not likely true.  At times I cry and tell my husband how hurt I am and how I feel spent and used up.  Then I go back to worrying about how this impacts on his ability to move on and future happiness.

I am caught in what feels like a pit with slippery sides that I can't climb out.  My brain is on overload because I go over and over all the facts that suggest one course of action and over and over all the facts that suggest another and can't make an assessment upon which to make any kind of decision.  Sometimes I think I am literally blinded by love.  I think maybe my brain won't let me process the obvious conclusion at this point because on some level I don't want to face it.  So I get stuck in indecision.

Generally I believe that sustained, meaningful, positive relationships are what truly contribute to personal happiness.  In my husband's case and with other people with adhd though I sometimes wonder if that's true.  My husband seems to have such an urge or itch pulling him in directions which are to a large extent incompatible with sustaining meaningful relationships.  Moreover he seems to be able to live in the moment.  As I understand it, this is why he was capable of telling me his affair was the biggest mistake of his life and shortly thereafter liase with her and back and forth.  In the moment the sentiments were true and therefore said convincingly.  I wonder if my husband would be happier just to pusue those urges and itches without being dragged down by the monotony of relationship managment.

I know I would be happiest if my husband could learn to be honest with me and we could put the past behind us and move on - we have 2 beautiful children, a great house, no financial problems - a great life.  I can live with endless scheduling errors, inconsistent follow through, forgetting important events and irregular help with home maintenance obligations.  Even with those allowances though, I am don't know if my husband is cut out for it.  He wants to be but on some level but is he fighting a losing battle?







What could my spouse do


I first want to say I appreciate you hanging in there with your husband.  I lived a doulble life for 7 years then when I was exposed and had to confess to my wife I really felt that I had a Holy Spirit experience that changed my heart.  I was 35 and still feel that it was authentic.  My wife was commited to being a good mother so now looking back I see she buried her feelings of resentment until our daughter left for college.  She started detatching from me about 5 years ago.  As i mentioned she has her own demons she had to deal with.  As crazy as this sounds I was asked to serve as an elder in our local congregation in 2000.  She seemed to be supportive at first but now i see the resentment was starting to surface.  I taught marriage classes and tried to serve in every way possible.  It was very validating to be considered a spiritual leader.  The more she detached the more I buried myself in church work.  I enjoyed the adda boys and strokes that came with the position.  I would serve on committees with women that would email me and because it was all in the name of the church I felt justified.  I became too close to some of the women which made my wife feel even more betrayed and distant.  I was emotionally starved to death and other women were filling my tank.  But since there was never any physical contact I would defend myself and use the old get mad first trick.  I finally realized how sick this was so I resigned at church.   In 2003 my mother died and I remember praying that God would reveal all my weaknesses.  I don't suggest ever doing that... because he will.  But I suppose if we are really wanting to live for God our weaknesses will be exposed whether we pray that prayer or not.  Anyway, while going to one of the many counselors I was asked to attend a "Wild at Heart" boot camp.  I resisted but ended up going.  The first thing they said was to come in with an open mind and not think we knew it all.  Quite frankly that is how I felt.  i had read all the books taught all the classes.  So that statement penetrated my heart.  Saturday morning they asked us to go by ourselves and sit and not say a word...just listen!  There happened to be an old fire truck parked and I chose to sit on the fire truck.  It was not a coincidence.  My dad died when I was 20 and while I always knew he was pleased with me, I really never felt that God was pleased with me.  I'm sure because of all the misbehaviors and bone head decisions I had made.  As I sat there i heard the birds and even the wind breathing though the tall Alabama pines.  I then heard the Spirit speak to me and say " I am pleased with you."  It was the first time I had ever felt that.  I couldn't wait to get home to tell my wife.  I wanted her to know and feel the same.  She interpreted it as arrogance.  She was in the beginning stages of a dark depression.  So while I am all giddy about my new revelation of God being pleased with me, she was saying things like " I don't think I ever forgave you, which infuriated me.  I would not go back 20 years and wallow in the guilt again.  It was only a few months ago that I realized I needed to go back for her.  She had to work through all those feelings.  But i was not the one that could help her.  When we seperated she met a couple of ladies that offer a deliverance ministry.  They use the book Shadow Boxing as a guide.  It probably sounds hokas pokas but really it is simply dealing with generational sins, the lies we have told ourselves, forgiving the people that have wronged us and learing how to fight against the enemy.  Well, at the time i am feeling like this is mostly her problem.  i have dealt with all my junk right?  I then decide that i will go through the deliverance sessions with the husband of one of these ladies.  My intention is to do this for her but shortly realized it was for me. That was 7 months ago so the process of facing self has been a long and grueling journey and there aren't any short cuts that i know of.  The things i believe you can do for your husband is first ask him if he really wants to be married to you.  If yes,  set clearly defined boundaries and spell out the consequences if they are broken.   He has to believe you are serious about this.  Tell him you are confronting the other woman but if you say it, do it.  If the other woman has a husband confront him as well.  If he chooses to leave you will need to be prepared to let him go.  Pray for him and for God to send good men into his life.  Pray for him to have the courage to face truth. My wife started praying for me every day and i know it has made a profound difference.  Don't think you are not meeting his physical needs. i don't want to sound crude but there is not enough sex in the world to satisfy him.  Also make sure you have dealt with your own baggage and know you can only change you.  The part in you that seems to need confronting is your tolerance of unfaithfullness.  i hope that doesn't sound harsh.   Every man needs a starting place when he has miserably failed.  offer him this place but stick to the boundaries.  Blessings, mg

Thanks for your input

In response to Mike G

Thank you for sharing your perspective with us. It takes courage to admit to yourself and others that you have a problem. What exactly opened your eyes? How did you come to shake the veil of denial and take responsibility for your behavior? Many of us are angry and frustrated with our partners’ unbelievable blindness. How does that enlightenment happen?


I am a mom of a 3 yr old and have been separated form my husband for 4 months now. We have been married for 5 years. The first year and a half was pretty good. All of this is very sad and I am trying to keep my chin up for my son. I wish I had seen this website years ago because I think it is probably too late at this point - not for me but for him. I think it would have saved both of us a lot of heart ache and perhaps saved the marriage. At this point I am not sure if we can. I have suspected for a long time my husband might have some type of learning disability and I think it is ADD. This Friday I meet with a lawyer to put together a custody and support agreement because my husband says he "can't answer" how he feels and what he wants even though we agreed to a trial separation. He avoids conflict and making decisions. It's been a tough week and my husband has been very passive aggressive towards me since I let him know I was meeting with a lawyer to work out a legal separation. I have to at this point because my son has a feeding disorder and I have been shelling out a lot of money for his childcare, nuritrional supplements, dr. bills as well as doing most of the caring for him and working full-time. So I need to have something that legally protects him and me at this point. He tells our therapist I am moving too fast and why do I need to do this. I have been in couples counseling with him 2x . Each time he has said I have anger issues and it is my depression which is the problem. Our therapist now has monitored me seeing a psychiatrist and the dr.'s observations so that she can be an objective 3rd party which has helped some on that issue. She has noted that he shows low affect and does not respond to her when she has been in one-on one sessions with him. The previous therapist noted he would not follow through with what he said he would do. I brought in an ADD pre-screen test this past Monday to our current therapist and worked hard to assert that my husband needed to be tested at the very least for our son and his daughter from a previous marriage. I am hoping she can reach him - we have a joint session next Monday which hasn't happened since May I think. We are also meeting to go through the separation agreement so that she can be sure he understands it for us both. For 4 years he stayed at a job where his boss took advantage of him. I stressed to him he had more opportunities available to him and I would help him. Instead He pursued the safety of catering work a lot to make supplemental money instead. This created further rift in our home life because of the unpredictable work days and having to work almost every fri-sat. and some sundays. He also would not get any further ahead economically. I tried to explain to him that it was hurting our family and he needed to make us a priority too - not every weekend, but with some kind of balance. He said I was trying to control him and that he didn't want to have to ask when he could work and say when he would be home because then I would just get mad at him. Then he did very suspicious things like coming home very late, like 4 and 5 in the morning. He stopped putting his cellphone out where it could be clearly seen. I asked him if he was seeing someone and he said no. I am still not sure I believe it. Over the last few years I have tried therapy, I have tried adapting to his learning style, e.g. giving him written info. vs. telling him something verbally because he won't remember. He forgets things easily and often cannot focus on a conversation or work his way through directions. He would comp;lain that I mumbled when I talked even tough my stepdaughter would hear what said with clarity. I have had the same arguments with him for months. No sex since during the pregnancy of our son. I have had to manage all our bills, home, etc.. It has been like having a roommate and 2nd child in the house. When my son was being born he left me alone for long periods of time because he just couldn't deal. Then when I was home alone recovering from a c section with our new born he left me alone so he could go play soccer. When our son was having a febrile seizure and I asked him to call 911 he froze - be brought me the phone and left the room so I had to deal all on my own. There have been many other things but those were the deal breakers for me because of how vulnerable I was when I really needed support. And I am a strong person, I've been through a lot prior to marrying him. It has been my blessing and my curse to be so. I am to blame too - I did things I am not proud of. I am not perfect either and don't claim to be. But I have tried to be open and and to work at this and I have always been faithful. I have felt very alone in our marriage even though I have supported him on many things he has needed. It has been very painful for me. I am not a selfish person. I try to be giving and compassionate but I also don't want to be a doormat nor have my son learn that this is the way you treat another human being. I get that a lot of it is out of his control. I have been working on letting go. At present he doesn't want me to know when he's working, what he's doing, He doesn't want to be accountable expect to visit his son when it is convenient for him. I am doing what I can to keep it from damaging our son and balancing it to make sure our home is open to him, the visitation is as consistent as I can get him to be ( he likes to try to change it last minute or comes late) for our son who needs it, and so that they have a relationship. I feel a little better having let this out. Thanks for the forum to do so.