New member with a long history

It's really lonely where I'm sitting here this afternoon. I had suspicions that I had ADD for years, but finally talked to my doctor about taking something for it about a year ago. I taught myself coping skills to deal with my symptoms, regulated video game time, alone time, 8 hours of sleep a night. But my wife and I decided to foster-to-adopt three siblings. I found myself in a place where I didn't have time for any of my coping skills, so I finally talked to my doctor and asked for medicinal help. I'm on medicine now, and doing much better. But I find myself in a place where after 14 years, my wife no longer has any patience for me. She's so full of anger, resentment, and pain that every little mistake I make is amplified.

I read enough from this site and others to know that I am responsible for and can only change myself. I know I have to make the change, and show that I've made the change to my wife for her to be able to trust that I'm changing and not just offering empty words and broken promises. I need to show her a change so she no longer feels like she has to be the parent.

In no way am I trying to fish for reassurances; I've hurt my wife, regardless of the circumstances. She has every right to feel however she wants. What I am hoping for is some strategies to deal with her anger, pain, resentfulness.

It's tough because before we got our boys, my wife was a TSS (theraputic staff support) working in schools with kids with disabilites (ADHD, Autism spectrum disorder, ODD, etc.). She was able to teach every ADHD child she worked with coping skills and life strategies; enough for them to be discharged from services (meaning they didn't need one-on-one support in the classrooms anymre). This is a double-edged sword because she can help me with coping skills, but, when I don't follow up on those skills, or instantly make the change, she gets frustrated. I realized it isn't healthy for our relationship to put her into the position of parent, wife, and therapist, so I've done everything in my power to NOT ask her for that sort of help. But her work and successes has shaped her opinions of this disorder. She watched the episode of Dr. Oz last with where Dr. Hallowell was on, and she was somewhat disdainful most of the time. She felt that people were using ADD as an excuse for their behavior, and that if they really wanted (read that if I really wanted) to change, I would. It's not that easy for me. 

I just need immediate strategies to implement to help show her I'm changing. I know, if there's no change, there's no change. I'm out of ideas. 



You just need to do, not show


Always have my heart touched by someone with ADHD who is working on a better life and marriage.  My husband who has ADHD and I are each still struggling alone rather than together, and this is, of course, not successful.

My headline, you need to do, not show, is meant to be encouragement for you to keep using your strategies for coping with whatever ADHD behaviors give you and your marriage difficulty.  It won't work for you to point out these efforts to your wife.... the math never works.  14 years of not coping against 1 week, 1 month, 1 year of coping with ADHD ... you can see where the anger comes from.  Don't know if you've had any joint counseling, but I would think it would be useful for couples to work out a way forward.  It's harder for the angry/hurt nonADHD spouse to hold onto so much resentment in front of a counselor that they can't agree to a few positive steps.  Anyway, lacking that, you could say point blank to your wife, "I'm continually working to improve the way I cope with ADHD behaviors, and want to include you.  What are the two most important behaviors to get a handle on, as far as how they affect our relationship?"  I hope she wouldn't be snotty and say "I only get to pick two?"  But if she did, just say "I want to be successful, so I'd like to start with two."  Her answer, whether it be financial, attention toward her, housework, etc., will be revealing, but you have to narrow it down more by asking how some success would be measured.  A financial behavior might be limiting off-budget purchases.  An attention behavior might be (you) planning a date once a week.  A housework behavior might be consistently doing the chores you've agreed to for several weeks.  Then when it is specific enough, and you are clear (write it down! show it to her, have I got it right?) about these two priorities, develop your plan for getting it done, set the reminders in place (just as though it was an assignment for your job perhaps?) and DO don't TALK about it.  Don't look for praise for doing it.  Don't look for it to be noticed.  Don't look for "credit" of any kind.  Just DO.  This will build trust over time.  Trust me.  (LOL).  The issue is this:  You probably haven't "noticed" "praised" or given credit for most of the acts like this your spouse has done over the years.  AND your spouse may have endured some of your ADHD behavior in varying degrees of compassion, confusion, resignation or anger over and over and over.  Always thinking tomorrow will be different or better.  Then just at the point when the ADHD spouse gets the AHA moment and starts working on it, the nonADHD spouse starts feeling it's too little/too late.  Your best shot, in my opinion, is just to DO.  The most important (to her) behaviors under control more of the time.  She will start to trust, or she won't.  You can't make her.  But you can remove some of the reasons she doesn't trust.  If my guy approached me with an offer like this I would be on top of the world.  Just acknowledgement that there is "something" to be worked on.  I would be more sympathetic, I would be more willing to "help" and I would be more willing to "cut him some slack".  But this has never happened to me.  Lastly, I would suggest that you find some way, perhaps through counseling, or just soul-searching, to learn how to "own" ADHD behaviors when they come up.  My biggest struggle is not with the ADHD behaviors (spending and total lack of interest in me) but with the way my guy defends them to the death by insisting I am too sensitive, I misunderstood, it's actually ME that's at fault, etc.  For years, this caused me to question my own sanity, yet I seemed to be able to have "normal" relationships with people at work and with friends.   So if you can find a way to "own" an ADHD behavior in a way that doesn't make you feel like crap, but doesn't shift it onto your wife, you will be worlds ahead in the trust department.  One day my guy forgot to put out the trash before he left for work.  I didn't say anything, not sure I noticed, but he knows this is one of the few jobs he is "responsible" for and usually succeeds at.  That night, he said, "I forgot to put the trash out."  I said, no biggie there's always next week.  He said "I remembered when I got to work."  I probably shrugged.  He said "You going to bed early last night messed me up?"  Me:  "What?"  I had gone to bed about an hour earlier than usual due to a cold.  Him:  yeah, I was going to put it out last night, but you went to bed early, and that messed me up."  Me: (okay, now I'm bugged.)  You didn't put the trash out because I went to bed early?"  Him:  Yeah, basically.       Now this is just plain NOT NECESSARY.  He was feeling bad about missing one of his very few household responsibilities.  He wanted to feel not bad about it.  I didn't even bring it up.  But in order to feel "not bad" about it, he had to make sure I knew it was not his fault.  And the only other person handy whose fault it could be was me.  This is much more discouraging for me than him not doing the trash.  Why couldn't he say, "I have GOT to come up with a better method to remember the trash."  I'd be willing to remind him if he asked.  I'd be willing to write him a note.  I'd be willing to remind him to write a note.  I'd be willing to do the f*!ing trash myself.  I just can't bear the way we all have to pretend he doesn't have ADHD behaviors to work on.  SO, sorry to ramble but if any of this is useful to you in "showing" your wife you're serious, I hope you can benefit.  best wishes

Thank you

Thanks so much for your detailed, specific, and eye-opening reply.

Your post is an AHA moment for me. For years, most of my wife and my fights have been about me making everything her fault. I know it's a defense mechanism I have, and I know when I start to feel stress/pain/anger, I stop thinking. I've gone through the Celebrate Calm CDs, and know that when I allow someone else to make me angry, I've given them control over me, but it's a difficult habit to break. I've spent 34 years creating these habits. While I know I should be able to change a behavior by a conscious decision, I'm still impulsive enough that I don't always think before I act.

What you said about that going a long way to rebuilding trust really makes sense. I'm so used to being wrapped up in myself, and my own feelings...and doing everything in my power to make myself feel better really doesn't show her that I've changed at all. From her perspective, I'm really selfish (which she isn't afraid to tell me when we're arguing), but...when I remove my emotional baggage, I see she's right. Regardless of what I'm thinking, what is going on in my head, or how I rationalize it, I'm showing her, by my actions, that I don't care about her, or at least that my emotional comfort is more important than her. Wow...honestly, she must really love me to have stuck around for so long... 

That's an encouraging realization, but it comes with a large dose of guilt. I've got a few OCD tendencies where I'll sometimes perseverate on a mistake I've made, or a conversation that didn't go the way I wanted it to, and while I know this isn't healthy, I struggle to break that cycle. Your post helped me to realize that my "make it someone else's fault" defense mechanism was really an imperfect coping skill for dealing with those OCD tendencies. If it's someone else's fault, then I don't have to take responsibility for my action, and it won't get filed in that part of my brain that goes back and dissects my past failures over and over again. 

I do think that counseling would help us, but I don't think my wife will go for it. In the past, I was considering working with a coach to help me work out my personal issues, and she went ballistic. She feels (rightly so in many cases) that she will offer me advice, and I'll disregard it (in the past it's been because I didn't force myself to listen 100% to her, but then when someone else offers the same advice, I'll take the advice and act on it. It's her "therapist" background that's a sticking point. 

The other real aha momemt in your post was where you talked about the too little too late feelings of the non-ADHD spouse. That's definately where we're at. She expects me "man up", make all of the changes I need to make to be a considerate, functioning, equal partner in our relationship. Your comment about "only two" isn't far from the truth unfortunately. But your advice to just DO is probably the greatest take away I have from this. When we fight, and she makes global statements about how I don't help around the house, be attentive, etc., in the past I've risen to the bait and defended myself by pointing out what I have (and continue) doing, which gives her the opportunity to point out the times that I don't. It's not a competition. No matter what I say, she has a perception of me, and it's going to take a long time of me just doing to change that perception... 

Thank you.



sullygrl's picture

I think you said it yourself...

It's going to take time to change her perception.  With any news habits they say it takes at least 6 weeks to kick in, be it diet or quitting smoking or whatever.  Your wife will probably take some time to "trust" the changes she sees. You may have tried really hard in the past to change behavior, but without dealing with the ADHD, that's pretty impossible. And so you reverted back.  Your wife may be waiting for you to revert back again. 

I'm sorry she won't go to counseling with you though.  That can help get things into the open and a counselor can help explain about a safe environment to pursue things in. Plus I understand ideas coming from an impartial third party might sound better than a nagging wife. One thing I've tried hard not to do is nag about things. All I can do is explain how my husband's behavior affects me and in turn how I act towards him.  It's a vicious cycle to break. But you've already started breaking it by getting the help you need to make things work for you. You've seen your doctor, you're working with medication, you're willing to work with a life coach, counselor, whatever.  Now it's your wife's turn. She needs to be willing to let go of her anger and maybe she's not ready yet.

Keep making suggestions about going to counseling together without perseverating on it. Don't rise to the bait when she says "you never" or "you always" Tell her you're sorry she feels that way. Don't engage in an argument. Just keep going on your path to wellness and healing.

I respectfully disagree with this point, ADD Dad

She feels (rightly so in many cases) that she will offer me advice, and I'll disregard it (in the past it's been because I didn't force myself to listen 100% to her, but then when someone else offers the same advice, I'll take the advice and act on it. It's her "therapist" background that's a sticking point. 


I believe this has nothing to do with her being a therapist (except that she might have better suggestions to offer than the rest of us) and everything to do with her being a wife.  My husband and I have had this exact same problem, and I have no therapist background at all.   The difference is that I was happy to have my husband working with a coach until he came home all fired up and excited over a suggestion the coach made that I had made literally DOZENS of times and was completely disregarded.  Or I got a 'yeah that could work' but nothing ever moved forward on it.

I would get furious at the 'breakthroughs' he was having with his coach and he stopped getting excited about the ideas and his coaching stalled.   I didn't even see the damage I was doing at first because I was so darn hurt.  HOW could he think this man was a genuis for saying the same thing I had said and he dismissed it??  How could he listen to a stranger but ignore his wife??

Firstly, I after many conversations, I came to accept the coach was making the same point that I was but was doing it in a way that his brain GOT IT whereas I wasn't.  He wasn't saying by his actions that my suggestions didn't matter, but they just weren't  motivating him in the same way.  I now see his coaching as GREAT.......partly cause he got a better coach who doesn't just spend the whole session sympathizing with him (he loved it but never got any new skills going).   

Why should I try to be his therapist when what I want to be is his lover, partner, and wife?!?!  That NEEDS to be someone else's job, and I respectfully suggest you tell your wife you need to take the therapy out of your marriage so that you can have a marriage.  She needs to be your support and your cheerleader and your soft place to fall but never ever never your messes up all the wifely feelings.


I really appreciate what you are doing and the conclusions you are coming makes all the diff in the world.  My husband is there with you and while we are fortunate that not a lot of anger and resentment built up before he took action, I truly can see you making it if you stay the course!

I fully agree...I think some

I fully agree...I think some kind of barrier goes up after a while and the ability to respectfully listen and HEAR each other is gone.

ADD Dad, you admit to 'not listening' to her...and there may be valid reasons that you've learned to 'tune her out' but this doesn't solve anything for anyone and both parties need to recognize the breakdown and start HEARING what the other is saying. Many times we would sit in counseling and I would be in tears trying to explain something to him, our counselor was ask "what do you hear her saying? why are you so angry?" and he would repeat something SOOO off base of what I was saying that it actually blew my mind. She would repeat what I was saying and he would GET IT. I am sure there are reasons for it, I have my own theories, but this is a problem that both partners have...we non's don't give 'advice' in the most productive and kind ways and ADHDers don't want to hear it simply because it is coming from us...and most of the time, if you're listening, you're hearing it all through 'negative ears'. Good luck! Keep up the good work!


I went to reply to the thread you posted yesterday and it was gone. :-( So I will just offer my (((HUGS))) and tell you that I know how you feel and that we're going on a year now of his inattention and I am about 'over it'. If you decide to post about it again, I will respond more then.


so pathetic

Hi, thanks, I took that post down because it sounded so, I don't know.... looser-ish.  Sigh.  I'm interested to hear about getting "over" the no-attention thing, but honestly believe that if I do, I will be gone.  Our kids are raised.  Our careers are in their final phases.  There is no hope for fun-filled retirement in 10 years because that money has been spent.  If he never desires to enjoy spending time with me, and I learn how to get "over it" there really won't be a point to being married any more.  That's what I realized after re-reading my post, and it sounded pathetic.  I'll always love him.  He's my guy.  The father of my kids.  I'll always admire his unique personality traits.  But I'd rather learn to be lonely on my own than be faced with reminders of it every damn day.

And sorry

Sorry, ADD Dad and ADD Husband -- didn't mean to hijack this thread.... there is good stuff here.

That's my definition of 'over

That's my definition of 'over it' too. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way saying I'm ready to make a decision about my marriage. I have other goals - personal & professional - to meet first. I have to hope for the best, but prepare for the fact that this won't change. Your post wasn't pathetic, it is just simply almost impossible to swallow. I am sure your DH loves you and cannot imagine his life without you, just as I have heard from mine many times. It doesn't sync with my mind, as I am sure it doesn't yours. I remember many years ago asking him "why am I even here? you don't want my company, you don't want to sit and talk to me, you don't want sex, you don't want to spend any time together. So what purpose do I serve in your life?" I never got an answer of course. It isn't pathetic to want to spend time with the person you you could be TOGETHER. You never notice how many 'couples' you see at church, Wal-mart, grocery store, movies, etc until you you're lonely as hell and MARRIED. Hell I get jealous when guys I go to school with talk about their wives and how they did this and that over the weekend and they are just simply saying they spent time with them. I feel your pain. My loneliness subsided quite a bit when I detached and started working on me, but I know eventually his inattention will probably play a huge role in whether or not we stay married. There was a period of time, about 8 years (out of 14) where he was not this I KNOW, on some level, it is a choice they make. I remember Wayne, a member here, fighting so hard for his wife to let him back in and forgive him (after the ADD diagnosis) and him admitting to having her come to him and ask him to spend time with her and he would either say "in a minute" and never do it or he would just completely blow her off. He fought hard for a very long time to win his way back into her heart and it was only when she shut him out that he 'got it'. He admitted he just didn't want to get off of the computer and took for granted that she would always be there. The time will come when I will let my DH will get a short list of things that he will be expected to do differently...or we will not make it...that will be on the short list.

As long as your DH (and mine) feel that that 'other thing' to do is "URGENT" and 'we' (you and I) are just 'something I need to get around to at some point' this will never change. Key is getting them to realize how "URGENT" their situations really are. Hard to do when they seem so damned clueless, but not impossible. I refuse to live the rest of my life like this. Praying for us both, lady! ((HUGS))

We are finally separating

My ADHD husband is moving out on Saturday.  Even though he takes Concerta and Paxil for depression, he has become verbally abusive.  Things came to a head 2 weeks ago when he came home and started yelling at my 16 yr old daughter and me for cleaning up his mess in the basement!  Something I have been asking him to do for at least 5 years!  He became so angry that my daughter called the police.  Within 3 minutes, 2 cars with 4 policemen showed up.  It took them a few minutes and the threat of jail to calm him down.  We both realized that this can no longer continue.  I am tired of being told this is my fault.  If only I would love him more and be more affectionate, then everything would be fine.  How do you love and be intimate with someone who is so erratic that I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop?  I'm frightened of him.  He has never hit me, although he did throw water form a glass in my face last year  ( not the glass itself).    I feel pathetic that I have tolerated this for so long. My self-esteem is in the toilet....    He has taken every confidential and painful event in my life that I have shared with him through the years  and  uses them against me I our arguments. They are not even arguments, as he "talks/screams" at me for extended periods of time.  When I try to speak, he just talks over me.  And in the end, it is all my fault anyway.  Our daughter has little use for him as well.  Again, he blames that on me and her. I feel conflicted about this move.  On one hand I look forward to the peace.  On the other hand I mourn for what might have been.  We are married 19.5 years.  I told him counseling or divorce.....  He did not choose counseling.    Hopefully brighter days are ahead.  Much luck to everyone else out there struggling.......

It truly sounds like you need

It truly sounds like you need the 'break' for a while. If it helps, just think of this as something you TRULY need. You need to regain your self-respect and probably, if you're like most of us, your sanity. You're not crazy, you couldn't have been 'more affectionate' and made it work, you couldn't have been more 'accepting' and made any difference...he's got ADHD and apparently even with medication it is completely out of control. This isn't about you, what you did or did not do, this is about his disorder running and ruining your life and you've reacted by becoming afraid and lost all sense of what a 'normal' life really is. PLEASE don't blame yourself, I know all to well how hard it is to get out from under that 'blame'. We don't always react in the best, most productive and healthy way...but we did the best we could and that's never 'not enough'. Let him go, work on your issues with codendency (CoDependent No More is a fantastic book!) and focus on creating some peace for you and your daughter. So sad. This is HIS disorder and he isn't dealing with it...and you CANNOT deal with it for him. Let him go and let him blame you if he wants...all that  matters is what you know to be the truth...and the truth is, he needs help and it doesn't have to be your problem anymore than he isn't getting it. ((HUGS))


Thank you Sherri

You actually replied to my first post on this sight about a month ago.  I have lost all sense of what normal is.  I have listened to him tell me for the past 5 years that everything is my fault.  He acknowledges that he has an "issue" with anger, but for me to attribute this to the downfall of our marriage is completely wrong.  He's not angry every day, but I live in fear of him exploding at any time.  It could be something trivial or major.  It used to be that he would explode, then I would withdraw.  He eventually would apologize and then we would have a peaceful period.  However, he no longer apologizes and we haven't been in a peaceful period for months.....  When he does get angry, he focuses in on all the past hurts.  We can never look forward.....  I am just burned out.  My daughter is a junior this year in HS.  I want to enjoy the next year and a half with her IN PEACE. 

I am very emotional about this separation.  However, my husband seems to be taking it very well.  I'm glad, but it kind of makes me feel bad that he thinks he will be so happy without me....  Is he on so many drugs that he no longer feels??? 

Similar circumstance

I am the ADD Husband and my wife is the non-ADD.  Main difference is my wife isn't 100% on board with it being a real "disorder" if you will.  Doesn't have any formal or informal knowledge of what ADD vs. non-ADD means, etc.  We've only been married 4 years.


I agree with gardener447 that you just have to "do"; with no expectation of recognition of that change.  I've seen some things I've changed that actually had the opposite result I was "expecting" where my wife had grown accustom and liked the ADD behavior with out any alteration.  When that changed the results weren't as desired and thus the feedback was more negative than positive.

A few things I have done to try and change: (note I write in bullets as it helps me remember and organize my thoughts, apologize if it comes across as terse)

1) I remind myself of a few things every morning.  a) I have ADD and regardless of medicine, counseling and all the effort of thinking and doing at the end of that day I still am an ADD individual. This is normal for me and my partner and peers are different and unique in their own ways.  I bring something to the table they could not possible bring themselves and vice versa.  b) My goal is not to rid myself of ADD but rather become an effective "x,y,z" and use the strengths I am afforded while improving the weaknesses.  c) the system I use to be productive and effective is my system not anyone elses, it works for me and is "required" for me to remain productive and effective. d) my wife and kids are my upmost priority and my plans for today are not in contradicition to that truth. e) I can only be the best version of "me" and no one else.

2) I have a system and I make it absolute.  I consciously try keep my system aware and part of my decisioning at all times.  Example - one rule I have is if someone ask me something that requires action on my part I add it to my task tracking list.  I don't wait I do it right then and thus my task system is something I always have with me.  I have reminders for everything and it is part of the system.  All major holidays, birthday's, anniversaries, important dates, doctors appointments, business appointments, travel, so on and so forth are not only in a calendar but they have audible reminders tied ot them.  Many of them have multiple alarms tied to them as that date gets closer.  If I deviat from this system even for an hour I will miss something and it has an impact on my wife, kids and peers.  I am not perfect in this system but I've found that just by having this system and sticking to it rigorously I am a ton more effective and less forgetful.

3)Psychatrist and treatment.  I found, scheduled and maintain my relationship with a psychatrist every month.  The visits are not couples counseling they are designed to assist me in finding the right balance in both medicine, behavioral change and perspective.  I can't state enough that with out this piece I would not have the full set of tools I need to accomplish 1, 2 or any thing else.  I am not consistent when I am not treating the symptoms of ADD that allow me to focus and think clearily.  ADD treatment is not about "getting rid of ADD" it is about treating the symptoms of ADD or behavior's learned as a result of coping with ADD.  When I am eating well, drinking more water than soft drinks, exercising, sleeping right and taking meds as dosed every day I can accomplish anything I desire or plan.  I can think clearily so that I am absorb, evaluate and respond.

4) Couples counseling.  It takes both parties willing and my wife isn't she doesn't want to work on her issues.  Her opinion is that once my issues are fixed we can work on the relationship issues but doesn't realize that my ADD or other differences aren't ever going to be "fixed" we are at a core different people.  I've found this very difficult to deal with emotionally and in practice each day.  No matter how effective at life I am or become I will always smell, taste and feel like an "ADD" individual.  I will always bring the good and bad, the strengths and weaknesses associated with being an ADD individual.  Long story short we are at the mercy of our partner being willing and able to accept us and us them.  You can't force this you can only lead by example "hince just DO".

5) Expectation vs. Reality - my goal in the beginning was to be everything my wife wanted because I loved and wanted her to love me.  I figured out very painfully once I started treating that this was unrealistic and unhealthy approach to being a good partner.  I also realized that this wasn't really what my wife wanted.  My approach had to change and I had to have help to figure it out.  My psychatrist played a big role in figuring out this approach as I couldn't do it alone.  I invited my wife in the beginning to go with me and provide her perspective but she choose not, part of me wish she had because her memory is much better than mine.  I also glad she didn't this was something I had to do on my own and maintain on my own.  It takes time and I am still working through it every month.  The key has been accountability that it has to be my vision, my thoughts and my actions that drive who I become.  Thus why it takes an unbiased individual to come up with a balanced healthy vision of the end goal.  I became interested in being a great partner in any relationship not just the one I have with her, interested in being a great father and what I believed that to be, interested in my responsibilities to the house and finances.  I am becoming who I need to be and want to be as an productive person.  The reality is even with all of this positive change it still might not be "who" you should be and her expectations are never met regardless.  In order to stand the test of time it has to be something you do because you want to be a good person, good partner and good parent.

When I started this journey of becoming a responsible individual, good partner and good parent my vision of what that would be was very different.  My expectations were unrealistic in that the timing would be quick, the medicine would make me normal as in non-add, the effects would be recognized.  I realized quickly to level my expectations in reality and focus on today a day at a time.  

I have a ton more in my head I could write down but out of time for now.  I'll check back in.

  I'm new here and all I can


I'm new here and all I can say is wow. I'm an add wife to a non-add husband. I was diagnosed in May of 2010 after years of being told I was depressed, angry, lazy and mean. I always suspected there was more to it than that but happily tried anti-depressants and counseling (for as long as I could motivate to go) with no helpful change.

I had a fairly decent, albeit dysfunctional system of coping with life until I met my husband to be 4 years ago. I had many 'friends' that were highly destructive to themselves that I used as 'entertainment'  I had a job that paid really well with part time hours, I owned a horse that I rode most days and kept myself busy online when I wasn't doing the above.

After meeting him I abruptly stopped most of the things I was using as an exterior stimulant - destructive friends, etc.  My horse became un-rideable due to her age and lost my job. Needless to say things fell apart fairly quickly after that. I became angry, obssessive, jealous to the point of paranoia and anxious. I had no idea what was happening at was at a loss to fix it, thats when I became 'stuck'. i'm sure many of you can imagine what this did to my new relationship - he tried and tried to get me going again, get me help, threw me out, took me back- anything he could think of to get the girl he fell in love with back - and I wanted to be back, I just didn't know what was going on.

In April of 2010 he had enough and asked me to leave for good. This inspired me to see yet another therapist who suggested I see a Psychologist for a thorough test. Initially the diagnoses weirded me out, I couldn't relate what I thought I knew about ADD, then I educated myself and read everything I could find on the subject. DH was less than enthusiastic about it, didn't want to hear about it and was positive I could never change. Over time with continuing therapy, medication and a new job I started to feel more like my old self and he noticed it too. We started seeing each other again and I became pregnant in August. DH decided we should be a family again. I was apprehensive right off because he never educated himself  about it, refused to get couples coaching and kept up a large portion of the wall he had built between us (rightfully so, who'd want to set themselves up to be hurt yet again) I really thought I could handle it all on my own, but I couldn't. I was told to stop the medication, developed preeclampsia and had to stop working. Again, things fell apart. I was miserable, bored and lonely and my mind went back to finding all sorts of things to entertain itself. Negative, jealous, unhappy me - not quite the degree it was because I did use the coping skills I learned the best I could. And this of course caused all sorts of well earned resentment and anxiety on his part, and so the circle goes round and round. We had a beautiful, healthy baby boy and I threw myself into momhood full force and just tried to put everything else on the backburner, I'll take care of it soon, not now, tomorrow, next week. You get it.

I was miserable, he was miserable, I was stuck again. Now we're living in separate rooms trying to figure out a divorce. Its so sad and painful. And of course the urgency of the situation has motivated me to seek treatment again and meds, its not just about me or us anymore - theres an adorable 6mo boy to think about now. Regardless of what happens between me and DH, I have got to get independant again, for my son.

I know this has been long and rambling, I guess I needed to get it off my chest. But I am really hoping to find solutions and strategies for 'falling off the wagon' because I want these changes, I need them.  My biggest weaknesses are compliance and follow thru. How do we stay accountable when we start not being accountable? outside support is non-existant, and I'm afraid weekly therapists visits won't be enough? I'm so drained right now that I'm starting to believe DH may be right, I will never change.







Your on the right track

The fact that you "know" is a huge step in the right direction. The main thing you want and MUST do is to figure out what works for you and to try to figure yourself out and to find a way to accept you and forgive yourself. You need to move forward. You have a small baby, so I know you don't have much time to your self, but to try to find an add or adhd counselor will be a good first or second step. Or, find a coach. They can help you out too. You can not do it alone. You must not do it alone. I don't want to scare you, but the chance of your new baby having it could be a real possibility... And the sooner you figure yourself out the more help you will be for your baby when they get older. You are not any less of a person than those without it. You just need to be more intouch with how your brain works. Then you can use it to your advantage. If your dh doesnt understand maybe you could buy Melissa's book. I am the non and the book helped me out. It helped my dh too. I am so sorry for where you are. Get back on the meds, try to get back to work, or do something that you enjoy.... These were all things that helped you out of your old funk. They will help you again. There are a lot of great people here that can help you too. Welcome.

thanks so much for the

thanks so much for the response - I am encouraged and I have spent much time considering the idea that my son may have it as well, I'd really like to raise him in such a way that if he does have it, he never feels less-than because of it. I spent 36 years feeling abnormal and don't wish it on anybody.

Being the non-adder in your relationship has probably been very challenging and I have alot of respect for your strength. Let me ask you, were you ever extremely resentful and very discouraged to the point of giving up? if so, what helped you get past it or cope?

Its a really frustrating way to live, not understanding why you do or don't do things - wanting to do the right thing yet seeming to always get in your own way. I don't enjoy it and I can't imagine living with someone and having to make the day to day decision to stay.

I have read the free chapters of that book and plan on going to B&N tomorrow to look for it. It will probably be largely for my understanding alone since I'm fairly certain DH has washed his hands of the situation, and he never had an interest in learning or understanding before.

I have looked into coaching and really feel its something that could work for me but at the moment its a bit cost restrictive. I think my therapist does a decent job, but I'm not positive he's as savvy about add as he claims, we are about to switch insurance and I'm hoping to be able to do some shopping around for a better fit.

I'm getting alot out of reading the posts on this site, and I've made some lists of some of the 'tricks' that have helped other people. I'm also a bit scared reading the horror stories of the adders and nons alike. I've got to stay hopeful that I will manage a better life from here on out.

Again, thanks for your response



You are very welcome. I am

You are very welcome. I am married almost 15 years and am getting out of the black hole. I finally hit rock bottom this summer, found this site and have been trying very, very hard to get on the right track. My earlier posts will show you my absolute rage and awful anger. We are irritated with each other, but our desire to not have the children grow up in a broken home is what keeps us working on everything. I did counseling, we did joint counseling, he has been on meds for over 12 years, i have done solo counseling for the past 6 years and now he is doing the add counseling/coaching. It is always work. It is always hard. But, i think if we get it right, it can be much better. I have so much resentment, but seeing some of the awful stories on here make me realize I don't have it near as bad. I have also been watching oprah's life class... The first 4 or 5 shows are a must see. Her website shows them. One is about anger and forgiveness and that helped me, the finding your life purpose helped too, there are a couple others in the beginning that left me speechless. Melissa's book really helped put us on even footing. We are not in a great place now, but it's way better than a month ago. Also, "Aspen" said something in her posting about 3 weeks ago that really helped me. It wasn't directed at me, but I really get so much out of all the postings here. Aspen's posts have so much to offer because she and her spouse are both positively working together. I really found that as a good role model. That is worth striving for. Hope you find the book. I hope things get better for you. I think if you just try and accept you are not perfect, and accept that you are doing your best, and bite your tongue when you are angry, and really try to know who and how you are, you will be able to give more to the people around you. Don't be so hard on yourself. Give yourself a chance to be falable and be ok with it. I'm a non and I really feel no better than anyone with add/adhd. I forget things, I lose things, I get overwhelmed, I get tired, I get frustrated, no one is perfect ALL THE TIME.

I was quite 'disdainful' of the Dr. Oz episode also.

I've been 'lurking' here for over a year and a half. I'm the 'non ADD' spouse, and I am physically disabled and we have been married 34 years.

He won't take the meds (they interrupt his 12 hours of sleep a night), he won't do any exercise ("I work and run at work for EIGHT hours!!!" yet when I say 'But I did 32 years of fulltime work, AND came home after work, and did all the 'cooking, cleaning, scut' work and raised my two kids (and made sure his three GOT support, yet I never received support for MINE)...and then I cut MY sleep to less then 6 hours a night for 36 years!"..ok, well, I don't HAVE ADD..but I have 5 autoimmune diseases, and really wish for a second lung now, a femur, and a working right hand!). To which he answers 'I'll start helping a little'.

Sigh. I'm now in therapy to 'manage my feelings because I am at the end stage of my 'so called life'. So..I really don't want any more promises (which are thinly veiled lies to me) and I don't want to be 'blamed' for everything anymore ("If you wouldn't have done the cooking, cleaning, laundry and 'jumped in front of me' than I would have DONE IT ALL, but you need to learn YOUR LESSON!") and I don't want to hear anymore excuses.

But, yes, I, indeed felt that the 'examples given' on the Dr. Oz show were pure and utter Bu..oh..I probably can't say that here, sorry...EXCUSES instead of pointing out that some marriages are able to reach a compromise which enables them to have a better union in the long run, and I feel they should have used those pointers, instead of giving the ADD adult (especially those who are 'mature' and didn't have the benefit of meds and husband is 60 now) some more 'ammunition' to fire at their non ADD spouses. I broke down and SOBBED through the show (I had DVR'd it to watch 'together' with my husband) as he kept pointing at the TV and SHOUTING AT ME 'SEE!!!! Dr. Oz is ALWAYS RIGHT!!!! He's the MAN!!! I told you none of this hogwash about exercising and keeping a list of 'priority' items and notes isn't what it's all about! It's REALLY about YOU being a BETTER WIFE!'.

So...if I get the chance...I'm kind of hoping that I 'become a better wife' from my disabilities a whole lot quicker than my doctors and therapist's timelines suggest. Just to maybe get some sleep, or to maybe be called by my name instead of "Hey YOU".

I didn't see the dr. Oz show

I didn't see the show but I hope that he gets hounded by a lot of people if he was that irresponsible with his information. I need to see it to see what he said. I hope you are taking care of yourself and that you have a life outside of "his add." i can't imagine the disappointment you must have felt. Do you have Melissa's book? Will he read it? Maybe you can tell him Dr. Oz recommended it and if he has any conscience at all he'll be the one begging for your forgiveness.

I have ALL the books, lol...except

Melissa's and will be getting that one too. On Kindle (harder to read 'pages' got a Kindle, it's the 'bomb'). No, he refuses to read, always has ('You know I CAN'T read...') and I was already 'burned once' by a Dr. Oz 'show' (under the big top there, sorry...don't mean to be 'cruel' but I have a background of 22 years of autoimmune thyroid patient advocacy... and when Gary Taubes was on..that was just goodness, unnecessary of Oz to 'diss' anyone's way of eating...I went from 277 lbs. at wedding down to a normal weight of 113 lbs. by using the principles of that way of eating...and maintained it for over 13 years now...).

Oh, I just want 'peace' now, so I just 'bend' (um..yeah..) to his 'way'. No, it wasn't 'Dr. Oz's show' per se that he 'hijacked for backup''s whenever ANYONE in the 'public eye' states something that will 'give him another excuse'. Medicine worked really well for the two weeks he took it, but then he came home and said 'Look, this is great when I'm at work cuz the people see my progress (???) but it makes me feel too wound up to sleep my required (that would be 10 to 12 hours...he thinks he 'requires' that) sleep pattern'.

He's not violent, he's not mean (well, he doesn't 'take it' that way, others sometimes do) but he refuses to come into the doctor's offices and I got to be told of my 'not that much time left' and newest disorders by myself. So..just as I found a psychiatrist that 'specializes in adult ADHD' (and a really good therapist too...but he won't work with hubby till hubby is 'willing and able' and I don't blame him!) for my husband...I found a psychologist who ONLY takes those in end stage life diseases...and now hubby is saying 'why are you still spending money (20 dollar copay) on a therapist..I only went TWICE!' (sigh)>

Now, I love this man. I don't doubt that. And I guess I still have 'pipe dreams' that he'll all of a sudden take a look at me and say 'WOW..I better get on the STICK and do something!!'. But I've just had a whole lifetime of this...and I wouldn't trade all the hard work I've done....for all the love and charm my husband has given don't want this to read 'And now, I hate him!' cuz that's not true. But you young people who are deeply in love with an ADHD'er...YOU are the ones who should be 'reading those books' you don't feel like it was all in vain later on.

My advocation in helping others with one of the diseases I have, and my doing macros/menu's etc. in the eating lifestyle that Taubes, Atkins, and Eades have suggested for we humans have kept me busy...and the only person I have true influence over is the end of the day...I'd like to think I 'left my mark' with my husband...not just with 'strangers and patients'. :)

I agree, the books are

I agree, the books are excellet for us dealing/adjusting with adhd spouses. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by Melissa's book. She will have audio version for your hubby to hear. I got to a REAL LOW point and I am coming out of it. Thank god. Still have issues for me to deal with, but the amount of frustration is amazing. I would love to read up on your diet stuff. I know this isn't the forum, but I would like to see it. I am terrible with feeding all of us. We are not with autoimmune disorders or with weight problems, but food can always be tweaked. Especially adhd diet too, i.e. Chemicals, additives, preservatives, ect.

The 'Long History' thing

I think, perhaps, that some of the non ADHD spouses feel like they, too, have a 'long history' if they've been with the ADHD'er for a long time. yes?

Anyone interested in how 'we try to eat' can read who Dr. Oz thought he'd 'dissed' (Mr. Taubes...and you can look this all up..under the Oz shows came back with an outstanding lipid do I) and that would be Gary Taubes' book "Why we get fat...and what to do about it". And that's how I live/'s not a 'diet' per se. It's a way of eating to minimize gluten, stress, and fat on the body.

On the 'hearing' Melissa's my DH...are you kidding? No..he won't do that either. I'm surprised he hasn't taken out full page ads in every major city paper...saying " I'm 60 now, and I don't read, eat icky vegetables, or do anything else a ten year old would do, so..there!" I've even asked that he be tested for 'overnight' senility...and I'm saying, we BOTH laugh our butts off when I just give him 'the look' when he says something like that...but so far, I'm the reader, lol.

So, here I am, I'm reading all the books, but what good is THAT to the relationship if he refuses the fact that there is, in fact, any relationship??? The last therapist we tried was really fair...but my DH gets a kick out of things like 'Ha ha, he asked me where I 'went' and if I could come back to the session, hee hee', as if it was a 'funny thing, ha ha'..instead of something to be answered and worked on, he views it as a 'cutesy wutsey' remark hee hee'. When asked if he thought I might 'just leave him' he answered "no, she won't do that we're married, she has to stay". ??

You cannot change the unchangeable, future is the change of inevitable. I think I may be more worried about how HE is going to 'get along' after I'm not here, than how I'm 'getting along' with him or the relationship...cuz he has a hard time reaching out...we talk about how he 'blurts' and needs to learn to 'reach' for what he 'wants/needs'. I think that helps him. None of us 'can help' being who 'we are', but I"ll be damned if I don't go out of here without making him realize what part is 'him' and what part is 'something he doesn't have to 'keep'. :)

ADD Dad...I'm sorry

for having hijacked your OP.

I could be wrong (at any time..anyone can, and I think that those with ADD shouldn't be 'beaten up' by their loved ones for being 'wrong'..and no one should be 'keeping score' of that), but the key words that 'jumped at me' were 'she was able to teach every ADHD child she worked with'.

First, you're NOT a child (and my DH wasn't a child either, when I met him and married him) so it's certainly 'not her place' to 'correct you'.

Second, I find myself 'cheering' for your relationship's life, lol. Yep, cheering. I'm certain 'what could of been' if my DH had been helped instead of just 'well, let him work slower by himself' in classes and just 'let him pass'...and had a great counselor he might have 'considered' the same things YOU are. But the adult ADD'er is 'different' cuz he/she IS adult. The last thing I'd like is my spouse treating me as if I were an 'unmanageable' child.

And the responsibility you've chosen (to become parents..of THREE, whew!) is also admirable...seriously, we ADD spouses tend to roll our eyes so much it's 'quite funny' and MY DH has a 'skit on it'...extremely funny! LOL (Yes, I'm an eye 'un believer', lol)>

I'm in my late 50's...and I need to make each day last it's full entire 24 hours...and I still love my ADD husband, and yes, I'mfrustrated, and someday my 'eyes are going to fall out if you continue to do that at me in the grocery store'....

I admire the fact that you're working on this...

Another point for the relationship side :)

Congrats, ADD_Dad, You Are on Your Way!

Hi, I signed on quite a few months ago, posted a hopeless sort of message about being at my wit's end, and then thought better of it.   I've never written since, but I wanted to send you a reply because what you've written is a lovely, brave, concise validation that I think most of us non-ADD spouses still holding out hope for change long to hear.  You've seen the light and recognize that some behaviors that stem from not knowing how you were wired played a part in where you and your wife are at.  That, truly, is an enormous part of the battle.  The other enormous part, which by grace and Melissa Orlov's wisdom I finally recognized awhile after my first deleted post, is your wife seeing the light -- not about where YOU went wrong -- but where she went wrong as the non-ADD spouse responding to your ADD.  This might upset non-ADD folks because they have toiled so hard and long -- heck, it would have upset me until recently!  But one day Melissa's wisdom finally seeped in and took root -- the simple fact that an ADD spouse unwittingly engages in behaviors that can be maddening to their spouse, AND the spouse over time learns equally unhealthy coping responses to the feelings those behaviors create.  Those unhealthy responses to the loneliness and frustration and sense of injustice that flare up and then consume the non-ADD spouse while the ADD spouse (who, like the non-ADD spouse, has no idea that ADD is wreaking havoc) continues to repeat the same maddening patterns end up voiced in anger, nastiness, and eventually disconnection. 

Oh, what a hideous cycle this creates -- ADD spouse senses (rightly so, as that is what it feels like -- and sometimes is) that non-ADD spouse dislikes him/her.  Who likes to be disliked?  ADD spouse further withdraws into whatever world is appealing -- TV, video games, work, etc. -- a place where things make sense and where he/she doesn't feel like a miserable failure.  (Remember, for ADD spouse (sorry, any other name is too cumbersome), ADD creates somewhat of an oblivion to why non-ADD spouse is so angry all the time ... all he/she feels is the loathing and rage.  Basic self-preservation says to run from that.)  Non-ADD spouse in his/her lonely, lonely "never understood" place just gets angrier and battens down the hatches to "manage everything alone," creating understandable feelings of martyrdom, anger at the imbalance, and self-righteousness at seeing what the ADD spouse is so clearly missing.

The only way someone ends up on this web page writing is because he or she wakes up -- whether the one with ADD or the other -- and says, "Man, how did I end up this way?  I don't like where I'm at.  Something has to change."  And then begins the awful wait for change ... and usually we look for the other to go first!  Then begins the fight for the other to get how they've messed up so they can "fix" it.  Yes, understanding and enlightenment is needed eventually from both sides.  Your wife might be letting her years of pain, frustration etc. consume her right now so she can't applaud or support or even bring herself to care about your newfound understanding.  That's okay, though, ADD_Dad.  What she probably wants more than anything is for you to GET HER.  That means getting that she's mad, sad, angry etc. right now and acknowledging that you know you played a role in her being there.  Don't mess up like I keep doing (I'm still waiting for the lightbulb to go on for my guy with ADD) and tell her what she needs to see and do to progress.  Instead, love her and give her time to process all this -- while you're giving her that gift of time and understanding without any strings attached (i.e. "I'll work on me if you work on you"), work on the changes you want in your life, as it sounds like you're doing.

In your response to someone's reply you kind of beat yourself up for "being selfish" by wanting something from your wife after all she's put up with.  Don't be hard on yourself -- it's not selfish to desire her to be on board with a new way of going forward in your marriage.  Just respect and give her time to get there, and while you're doing that, seek help to become the man you want to be.  Ask yourself what kind of friend and son and dad and partner (for now, think of this in a hypothetical sense, as it shouldn't necessarily be altered by your actual wife -- who you are as a husband can be defined with or without her participation, if that makes sense) you want to be.  That doesn't mean "I want to not have ADD."  It means learning in what ways ADD might get in the way of you being trustworthy, loving, attentive.  Really, the list likely doesn't need to be longer than that -- those are the core values for most of us.  You no doubt intend to be all those things and do have love in your heart.  But, yes, ADD (when you're unaware of it) can cause you to seem unloving, unreliable and inattentive because you kind of forget there's anyone outside your own head.  So focusing on which strategies developed before you knew about ADD and which behaviors that are old habits are affecting your family's perception of your performance of those core values (i.e., forgetting to help out, leaving her in the lurch, checking out mentally too often, leaving her to wrangle the kids alone all the time, turning her complaints and requests upside down and accusing her of being mean or harsh, shutting down ... from my own experience and reading, I'm guessing these might be on the list!).   I'm guessing none of those things are things you'd want to fight to preserve -- they're just things, and not very good ones.  Alas, we without the ADD have often spent years giving those things very personal attributes (laziness, lack of caring, selfishness, etc.), so now it hurts for the ADD spouse to get within a mile of "a discussion" of these things.  

So you are so far ahead of the game in recognizing you might have misstepped in life and in seeking to address it.  But you can do that with or without your wife's being on board right now.  Understand yourself better and your actions, and then be the kind of guy you want to be.  It might take awhile, but if your wife still loves you (and I bet she does), one day she'll catch a glimpse of the guy she fell for and dreamed of a life with -- you've been there all along, but the "things" threw a big old shadow over you.  For me, it was when I contemplated (and truly contemplated implementing) separation because he just wouldn't "get it" that I realized I was still fuming over what he was or wasn't doing without working on me.  I was still giving myself permission to be bitchy or cold or angry or judgmental because he wasn't "doing his part."  And then I thought about losing him, and I decided that -- with or without him -- I had to be true to who I was, and who I was wasn't a woman who would stay in a marriage and continue to justify her behavior even though she knew it further devastated a good and decent (though vexing!) man.  So I very recently decided to throw myself into being the person I want to be as a friend, mother, spouse etc. and see where that leads.  It's all that I can control, and aiming for that is do-able and a lot less likely to drive me bonkers.

So, again, congrats to you.  You've come to a very important, life-changing revelation, and only you have the power to use it for good or to let it go to waste, no matter where your wife's at.  Try to put yourself in her shoes and give her love and understanding, and then go about being a new, healthy guy with ADD.  Ultimately, she'll need to decide where she's at, but you have your own journey to undertake, and only she can undertake hers.  But I will say, I will weep happy tears the day I hear/read something similar from my dearly loved husband, so take heart!

All the best to you and your wife.  I have a feeling you'll both be okay :-)