New, Need Advice!

Hello to all in the forums, thank you so much for being active in them. I have learned so very much from you all already just by reading your experiences!

This is my first post here, and I hope you can give me some advice. I am recently separated from ADHD spouse and I desperately want him to seek help and own his condition. I know it is hard. (perhaps I should say that I can understand that it's hard? I know I will never know what it's like to face what he must face). I have discussed it with him at length. We know he has ADHD, was diagnosed as a child, spent (a lot of!) time in denial and was functioning very well until life's responsibilities began mounting, and neither of us had any idea it was creeping into our lives like a serpent! In my fantasy world, my DH gets help, starts to work on his problems, and then we can go together to work on our problems and see if we can/want to be a family again. But it doesn't seem like he's willing/ready/wants/not sure?! to get any help, though he does acknowledge that we could've each said pretty much everything in Melissa Orlov's book, if we'd only known and been able to express what had been going on.

Words cannot truly express how hurt and sad I am now. In my darker moments, I wonder if he ever actually loved me, or just needed me to bring order to chaos. I don't know if things can be saved, but I very much hope that they can. I am practical, and assume that the life we (I?) planned will never be, and I have begun to rebuild my life for myself and my child, but I still do hope. I absolutely know that I can't fix this for him, and the truth is that I don't want to be fixing things for him. I want him to want to fix things and then to actually go and work on it himself! But I do want to help him, if there's any way that I can. Right now I get the vibe that it's "out of sight, out of mind" for him and that he's not interested in an attempt at working things out. 

So far I have:

-told him what I believe the issues are and given him Melissa's book on ADHD and Marriage

-told him that if he starts the process, I am willing to meet him halfway and go to marriage counseling and then see how we both feel.

-told him that I still do love him, but I don't want to be a mother to him. I want and deserve a partner, as does he.

-told him that if he does need help finding help, wants me to go with him to get started, etc, that he just had to ask me and I would happily do it.

-and (most importantly?) acknowledged that my reactions to his symptoms are also a part of the problem, and that now that I understand better what's behind everything, that I can learn to adjust those reactions and work together effectively. 


Whew...that was longer than I realized! Thanks for sticking with me so far! I've done more than what I listed, but I just wrote what I felt are the most important bullet points. So forum readers - is there anything else I should or can do? Is it doomed from the start? How long do I wait for him to seek help? 

DF's picture

Well let me be the first to reply

SadWife, my how our roles are different.  I wish I could say I was here just to learn about my condition, but I'm here for that and to maybe learn how I can rebuild my relationship with my wife.  We're on friendlier terms than we were a few months back, but there still a major loss of connection between us.  And this is why I am replying to you.....

I'm not guilty of name calling, physical abuse or cheating.  I do not understand how guys can do that and it aggrivates me that because of my condition, it puts me in theur category on a minute level.  I am recently diagnosed with ADD/anxiety and all I want is to be a better person.  I think back constantly and had I known about my diagnosis I know I would have been different.  I accept my issues and I seek comfort in having some sort of definition that accounts for my behavior throughout my life.  Anywho -

You want your husband to participate in your marriage and I want my wife to participate in ours.  I have ADD and you do not.  Normally I would think that he's not worth it.  If I have a similar problem and I'm busting my A$$ to make a better life for my wife and kids, someone not trying as hard as me doesn't deserve someone like you.  I will not think that here today, and I forgot to take my meds today.....

I'm going to turn my thoughts a bit.  I'm working very hard to regain my wife's trust.  I lost it and it hurts.  Telling her I'm sorry these days just doesn't seem to mean a whole lot.  I may be talking to a wall most all of the time in regards to my wife, but I fight on.  I have been asked by some people here - Why?  A complex answer filled with many answers can be summed up as simply - I don't believe that we met by coincidence.  

So why should it be any different for anyone else here?  Do you believe that about your husband?  If you do, I offer you a piece of my heart in hopes that you can find the strength to fight on.  If that is the path you choose, I am sad to say that your fight will indeed be terribly difficult.  Lets face it, he already knows he has the issue and you're here - not him. 

I will also say that I do think he loved/loves you.  I do not know you or him, but I know I never let my wife know how I felt about her.  You see, from my clouded perspective I always thought she just knew how I felt.  When my wife would approach me out of frustration I would say 'Okay' and she would feel better.  Again in my clouded perspective, I naturally thought all was okay because she wasn't angry anymore.  Can you see where I'm going with this?  Assume nothing. 

Unfortunately, if there's anything I've learned from reading about other non-add(hd) spouses here is that there seems to be one common theme - Those of us that do have ADD(HD) need to own up to it first and want to address it.  If not, we'll most likely not take it seriously enough to get the best results. 

Be strong.  You'll need to be if you believe you were meant to be.  It's not an over night process.  I've been working hard to get to where my wife will speak to me in casual conversation.  I've been trying to improve my relationship with my wife for almost a year now and I just found out last month I have ADD.  It's tough and this fight is lonely, but if you want it hold onto it.  There will be many many days that you will not see a light at the end of the tunnel.  What works ( much of the time ) for me is imagining what life "will" be like when my wife lets me back into her heart.

sullygrl's picture

NOT Doomed!

No Sadwife, you are not doomed, but you are not totally able to control this either - it is both of you that will steer this ship.  Here is my question to you - what will you want/do if your husband does not get help? If he cannot face up to the fact that he has some very real issues that effect you and your relationship? It sounds like you have laid the groundwork to help him very reasonably. But as the old adage goes "you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink."

At this point it is also now time to take stock of what you want and deserve. You DON'T want to be a mother. You DO want an equal partner. If these are non-negotiable points, then are you prepared to make your life without him?

I am not trying to be cold and unfeeling. I have been in very much the same place. I finally told my husband I could not continue our marriage the way it was and it was then up to him if he would get counseling, and we would also get counseling together. Because as we all know, it's never all one person who creates the issue, and it sounds like you are willing to take on that piece as well. I for one have depression, so my reactions to some of his behaviors are probably worse because I take everything very personally. So I am also going to counseling myself to try and work on this, and also to decide at what point do I say I am not getting what I need out of the relationship, and he may not be the one to give me what I need in a relationship, and where does that leave us?

So some soul searching on your part would be needed to decide if you are ready to leave him and build a different life with you and your child. And let him know that is what you are prepared to do because, unfair as it is, he might decide that he does not want to see you walk out the door and that might be the catalyst that gets him moving.