New to the Forum, but not to ADHD!

Greetings All,

My name is Jeffrey and I was formally diagnosed with ADHD 14 years ago. I have been with the same woman for all that time. We have been married for 12 years, and have definitely seen many ups and downs. She long ago decided not to have children with me because she felt she would be stuck with most of the burden of raising them. I have had to make my peace with that, even though it hurts. We have tried a lot of different things to help cope with the extra needs my condition places upon the marriage, some of them have worked well, others have not. I am on medications, we have sought counseling, both individual, and together, but we go through repeated cycles where everything is just fine, and then they "...go to hell in a hand basket..." all over again. My work schedule rotates every month. I work 4-10 hour shifts, so there are months where I am sleeping all day while she is working, then I am up when everyone is asleep, also, her 79 year-old mother lives with us too. I have been successful in several areas that most people with ADHD usually have trouble, despite barely graduating high school, I served four years in the U.S. Navy and was honorably discharged, I also have a bachelors, and a masters degree. I am not incompetent, just inconsistent.

If there are two problems I know that stick in my wife's craw, it is my lack of support around the house (chores) and the state of my personal office (a candidate for that "Hoarders" TV show). She fights a constant battle with me to keep my "clutter" from spreading from my side of our bedroom to the rest of the house. She cajoles me, she pleads, she begs, and she nags. Nothing seems to get me motivated to help out on a consistent basis. She thinks I don't care. She thinks I have no pride in our home. She gets so angry and frustrated with me that she doesn't even want to be in the same room with me, let alone speak to me. Of course, I do not help, I either become defensive, or retreat into myself when she is like this. The more she pushes me, the more I resist her.

She is so jaded at this point that, even though I got us both copies of "The ADHD Effect on Marriage," she read a few pages and it made her so angry about me that she doesn't want to read any more! I still think we have a pretty solid marriage in most respects. We have divided the "important" stuff up. She works from home, so I make sure that all the technology works the way it is supposed to. She handles the money. I insisted upon separate bank accounts from the start of our marriage. I give her most of my paychecks and she takes care of keeping the bills up-to-date. She works 1 full-time job and 3 part-time jobs, all from home. Then she has to follow me around to make sure I'm not leaving a mess behind me. We have days where we work so well together, you would think we have got it all figured out, then we have days where we just rub each other the wrong way. Sometimes I think it's her hormones, (she does have a thyroid condition) but it can't always be that. I realize that it takes two to make a marriage work and it takes two to screw it up. We have gone through a few separations over the years, but neither of us is willing to give up on the other fully. I just know I don't want her frustration to get to a point where she no longer can feel how much I love her and vice-versa. I do make time for her, I do special things for her, I know sometimes I just annoy her with trivial facts, but she is my best friend. I want to share all the crazy thoughts that flit through my head. I realize that's not always practical, and I try very hard not to bother her when she's working.

I am sure that her perspective is different, but I am trying to be as fair and objective as I can here. I just want to get through whatever stuff is keeping us from having a better marriage and let her know I do care. On my days off I find myself exhausted. I have asked her to get a list together of things she wants me to do, and she does, but even when I do get everything done, the only thing she remembers is all the times I didn't. She does not care to have much of a social life, whereas I have a small circle of friends I meet at a local pub once or twice a week. She gets on me about me not being a single man, and I shouldn't spend hours at the bar, but other times, she will pay me to go down there. I think probably if I could just be a little more consistent at helping her around the house, she wouldn't be so frustrated with me all the time.  She seems to have trouble chilling out. I think she's got some sort of anxiety disorder, or maybe OCD. She has a constant obsession with "clutter," and what do I do but clutter everything? I guess I just want to make things better between us, if I can. Sorry if I rambled.