This is the background and extremely basic summary of how ADHD has affected my marriage.
I was recently diagnosed with ADHD and started medication along with adding ADHD coping strategies to my established mental health plan by my therapist.
My wife is not neurodivergent.
After the diagnosis and my research into ADHD, traits and behaviors commonly associated with it, and ways to live and even benefit from those traits and behaviors as well as how to control the ones I can't benefit from, I have realized after discovering The ADHD Effect on Marriage, how the past 18 years of marriage with untreated ADHD with other comorbidities contributed to the abysmal state of my marriage.
My wife and I have similar traumas from our both of our childhoods. Other than that we both had a completely different upbringing, with different values and morals.
I just thought I was broken and she thought I don't care. We didn't understand that we both don't just think differently but that my brain is wired differently and that I experience life differently than people who are not neurodivergent.
I also had to not show any emotions and was not allowed to express my feelings from the time I was a small child and my "macho, alpha male", dominated career in the Army exacerbated the problem. Eventually I had compartmentalized almost all feelings and emotions, walking around numb except for anger. The closest thing I can describe it as is acquired psychopathic and sociopathic emotional degradation. I understood when I should be feeling a certain feeling or emotion, could fake it well enough on the surface for it to pass muster for most people, but I was numb.
I married my wife in 2005 and since then my wife and I have been battling this ADHD monster that we didn't know was there. I didn't have the emotional IQ to be anything but a complete failure as a husband to know when and how to support her emotional needs, and she had the patience of a saint that I was able to completely destroy.
We didn't know that I was neurodivergent so neither of us understood that I was wired differently and needed to be handled differently. I just thought I was a selfish monster and couldn't get with the program.
Without knowing it she was pushing the exact triggers that would negatively stimulate me into noncompliance, cause me to retaliate, or cause me to withdraw from her.
It eventually wore me down to the point that I didn't care and chose to let an affair happen when a coworker propositioned me from mid 2009 to the end of 2010. My wife found out and didn't necessarily take me back but didn't leave.
Early 2014 we were going through a very rough patch and she turned me down on vacation so I was going through angry feelings about that so I had a one night stand. I admitted it to my wife after she was suspicious abd was poking me about it for weeks.
May 2018 to February 2019 I had been away for work and while I was gone my wife and I had an argument on the phone about her treating me in a way that I had perceived as disrespectfully so she just stopped communicating with me unless a major financial decision needed to be made. After repeated attempts to talk I accepted it and didn't let myself fall victim to the loneliness that time.
When I got home February 2019 she said she doesn't want me to touch her and needed time to process her feelings because it felt like I was invading her space after being gone. After about six months I asked her to talk to me about it and she said she still couldn't feel like letting me touch her so to go do whatever I wanted. I wasn't looking for anything but someone approached me and propositioned me and I did it again, then I cut that off a month or so later. Concurrently I had a one night stand with someone else that I had been friends with in high school.
In 2020 my mental health was steadily declining so I started going to therapy for PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Then about a year later in 2021 my wife agreed to start going to marriage counseling. She didn't actively participate much nor was she willing to even work at making the changes that the therapist suggested to her so it drove me even further away.
I went away for work again for a year in December 2021 and it seemed like out of sight out of mind and she wouldn't talk to me at all. I started intensive therapy because I was feeling abandoned and hopeless.
I was also diagnosed with ADHD in June or July this year. And the addition of ADHD meds and focused therapy for it, I am a completely different person as well as having a moment that my off switch for emotions flipped on since I was a school age child. And they hit hard. Much of what my wife was always asking for verbally and nonverbally I am learning to be able to provide and is ready for her if she reaches out and takes my hand. Only she hasn't seen me through this journey because she checked out.
I have been back about two weeks and she is so cold and when I told her that I want to discuss the future and try to talk to her about my experience, I just get an angry brush off.
She said she doesn't want to be with me anymore because I am unreliable and have never supported her emotionally, but that I need to be patient with her to see if her feelings change. I got her a copy of The ADHD Effect on Marriage, with the hope that she will have the same experience with it that I did and it clicked that so much was because neither one of us knew that I had ADHD or understood that both of our behaviors were causing damage to the other one or understand why. But I don't even know if she'll read it.
Now with that novel of a post does anyone have any advice or experiencef from a similar situation? I'm trying to get through to her to try and understand my behaviors and how the ADHD brain works. I'm not trying to excuse it, or blame the ADHD for my poor choices but to understand how I came to those choices and why it made sense or was on an impulse and not thought out.
Any advice will be appreciated and extremely valuable.