I've been with my ADHD spouse since 1998 and we were married in 2005. He was diagnosed as a child, I didn't know he had ADHD when we met because he wasn't on medication and didn't mention it while we were dating. I was so happy when I met him in college, they way he talked about high school I thought I had found a partner who was intelligent (majoring in computer science), creative (had performed in theatre), and athletic (had played soccer). I graduated high school early and was only 17 when I went to school and met my boyfriend now spouse. He overwhelmed me with love and attention and we ended up moving in together that following summer.
I won't go into the entire story or I'll end up writing my own book, suffice to say that I'm 33 now and I've been on this rollercoaster a very, very long time. I didn't know what to do with my relationship and thought it was me for a long time, we moved around a lot for his career and as a result my education got pushed aside. I lost touch with my family, friends, and ended up with him as my only companion. That isolation and his reaction or lack of reaction to me completely eroded my self-esteem and sense of abilities. Where I had once been a high-achieving, successful student I began to feel stupid and developed anxiety attacks. I jumped through every hoop I could manage to get his attention and try to regain the love and connection we had shared early on.
I am so incredibly tired now, I don't have children because I kept waiting for him to "grow up" and establish a connection with me again. I've been lonely for a long time but I always vowed that I would never have kids to provide companionship for myself. I grew up in a broken home and I want my kid(s) to see a loving mother and father who are friends and partners in life. I thought I didn't want children for a long time, now I wonder if I just didn't want kids with him and I might feel differently if I were around another person who was responsible, interactive, communicative, and affectionate.
I spent the last year living by myself, I took an incredible job opportunity in another city and state. I moved into my own apartment, bought furniture and worked in a high-pressure, intense job and loved it! My house was organized and clean, I came home and didn't feel stressed in the evening. I was able to work out and lose over 30 lbs, my husband stayed in our house at his current job. When I would drive to visit on the weekends I ended up doing housework and yard work. Very quickly I told him I can't maintain two houses and a full-time job. I had to hire my mother to clean my house and he wouldn't keep up with the yard so I had to hire someone to cut the grass as well. I really did not want to come back to this but I ended up with severe dry eye problems at my office that couldn't be treated and left me in extreme pain. Sadly, just last Dec. I had to walk away from that job and the hope that I would finally be free and able to divorce.
I'm back living with my husband and it's been a nightmare, I can't handle his ADHD even though he is finally getting around to doing something about it. We argue, scream, and fight (not physically) almost every day. We are an entirely toxic couple that has nothing in common, no meaningful interactions, we haven't shared a bedroom since 2001 (due to his untreated snoring), we went over 4 years without being intimate. I've asked this man to please divorce me for years, when I didn't have a job and couldn't afford to go hire a lawyer and do it myself. Everything I've done in the last few years has been to try and work through my own issues, become financially independent, and try desperately to get out of this hell I have created for myself.
I'm looking for another job, my eye still hurts and I've been seeing a doctor about it for over a year, I'm not sure what I can do. I don't have any family locally I can turn to or I would have moved back home years ago. I tried going to a counselor last year to be my advisor during divorce and she acted like I should want to stay in my marriage. Kudos to those of you working things out but I am a worn out, bitter, hateful, ugly person around my husband. When I'm not around him I'm peaceful, hopeful, happy, energetic and I'm able to make friends, follow-through on plans, and it's so much easier to maintain my life.
How can I get out of this when I finally thought I had a way and ended up sabotaged by an unexpected medical issue?
Been where you are....
Submitted by c ur self on
Living with the behaviors that surface from the effects of a severe add mind can be intrusive to say the least, and down right abusive when the person refuses to live with an awareness of it... Denial and irresponsibility is relationship poison...I to was bitter, angry, and felt my life was ruined....And I was going to fix it...LOL....
After we separated (11 months) and went to counseling for 9 or 10 of those months, we finally got back together...But, while we were apart I was like you, after the six months it took to finally get healed of my bitterness, and anger...I finally started to experience peace for the first time in several years...My house stayed clean and my life slowed way down...But, I decided to take her back, because I vowed to live with her for better or worse til death we do part...But, I had no idea..LOL...Anyway we set up boundaries about the things we are so different about, and both of us had to back off and stop trying to force the other to be who they are not...It's gotten better by God's Grace...I wish the best for you!
I'm actually here for the
Submitted by Strangebird on
I'm actually here for the same reason today so I thought I'd respond. My ADD husband has pushed me to the same point, although I have kids. I just can't take the chaos, and my kids finally begged me to give in and let him have the divorce he continues to threaten me with (he says he does it to shut me up). So I've given in, and asked for a legal separation to maintain my health insurance. I'm a divorce lawyer, so I'm well aware of what havoc this is about to rain down upon my life and family. Like you I have no friends, my family is all alienated from me due to issues with him, and he is now in the process of convincing all of them that I've been abusive to him verbally for the 23 years we've been married and that he finally had to divorce me for that reason. My adult children know this isn't true, but my middle school children are suffering and acting out horribly due to the chaos in the home. At this point I may end up in a shelter because I can't get him out of the home, and my reputation needs protected for professional reasons, I'm not going to get the police involved and make a spectacle, I'm going to take the boys and go. He wants to convince people I'm abusive to them now, and frankly, if he's not careful I'll give him custody of them. he doesn't want them, he can't care for them, and he'll lose his job.
I'm giving up on the Legal Separation and going divorce, I'll go on Obamacare, whatever that costs. And if I were you, I'd look into public assistance. Heck, if I were you I'd move away, wait tables in the South of France or the Chanel Islands. My Husband is using every ADD trick and resource in the book to drive me insane and make me give up on life in general, my self worth and self esteem are gone, on every level, wife, mother, person, he tells me I'm a great lawyer and that's it. 2 weeks ago I still hoped that after he moved out it would give us perspective and we'd be able to get control of our anger, and get back to the fantastic place we were when we fell in love. But I realize now that the place we were would just be the beginning of another cycle of ADD abuse and neglect. I need to let some other woman experience that hyperfocus, be loved like she's the center of the universe, only to find out she's a piece of shit that never did anything right.
Check with your local bar association, as well as your local family or domestic relations court, there is probably a Pro Bono Program, or a Pro Se Program that will either make a reduced fee referal or walk you through doing the divorce on your own.
Thank you for this
Submitted by CosmicJoke on
Am also debating whether to maintain the toxic stress of the status quo or take on the upheaval of divorce. I find myself wondering if there are lawyers who specialize in handling ADHD-related divorces; I sometimes doubt most attorneys would believe what my marriage has been like. The professional suggestions in your post are appreciated; and the personal details, alas, resonate so deeply. If you have the strength, please continue to share whatever else might help we lifers weighing the divorce issues. Courage, eh?
I am admittedly a strange
Submitted by Strangebird on
I am admittedly a strange bird, I'm a child of a parent who committed suicide, which gives me unique perspective; I was raised a Quaker, believing that divorce is a sin but for biblical grounds, and ADD/ADHD doesn't fit, but I'm able to work with my clients on those issues when their faith stands in the way of their ability to to get out of a marriage when necessary; and I have close family experience with Borderline Personality Disorder so I know what it's like to have apparently normal highly intelligent people succeed in making people think they're insane!! lol. My office is like a library, and I work very closely with many counselors, pastors, social workers, and serve non-profit agencies when I can. Above all, all of my clients are referred to competent counselors because counseling is necessary for the repair of a relationship, or the termination of a relationship. I'm always happiest to refund fees and send a client on their way, never to see them again because they've succeeded in the repair process. My next happiest day is when I get a Christmas card from a happy, whole, healthy former client who is thankful they got the help they needed to transition out of a bad place and into a healthy place. As for lawyers, I must say that I like my clients most of the time, and my christmas card pile grows every year, but I cannot stand the lawyers and the environment I work in is toxic because of my profession. Going home to a toxic home life was just too much for me. I came to the conclusion that, although the lawyers treat me horribly and can routinely be dishonest, stretch the truth, play games, are unreliable, there are Judges there that would throw them in jail in a heartbeat if they treated me half as bad, or if they were half as dishonest, as my H is to me. It just hit me that this toxic environment has no referee, and nobody but me is playing by the rules. At least in the toxic environment of my profession, there is someone to enforce the rules. And there are attorneys out there like me, not many, but I have to believe that I'm not the only nut in the tree!
Have courage. Be patient.
Submitted by PoisonIvy on
Have courage. Be patient. And, if your spouse is like mine, expect him to totally ignore the separation or divorce process. When I told my husband I had filed for separation, his only words on the subject were, "What happens next?" He didn't comply with any of the tasks he was supposed to do (e.g., fill out financial disclosure forms). I ended up asking to have the separation suit dismissed, because the timing wasn't good for me, but I plan to file again, this time for divorce, in a few months. I once again expect my husband to ignore the process. I'm a little concerned that he will act passive-aggressively and not object to anything until the final hearing.
This isn't a game for me, I'm
Submitted by Strangebird on
This isn't a game for me, I'm not filing for divorce or legal separation as a ploy to get his attention or anything, I fully expect that I'll be following through. I have clients who have filed and dismissed, their spouses do not take them seriously, I don't take them seriously, I charge them additional fees when they waste my time trying to get their spouses attention. I would equate using a divorce to get his attention to the kind of head games he plays with me, I wouldn't do it. And I would never do that to my kids. When I agreed to give in, and let him have the divorce he'd been threatening me with, it was over. I'm not happy, it's not what I want, and if it was just me I might subject myself to a last ditch groveling and begging for another "chance" to make it work. But the word divorce never left my mouth until now, and that's because I had no intention of using it until I meant it, it's not a threat and it's not a game. Anything I can do to help my H become healthy will be well worth my effort because I want my kids to have a wonderful life, and I want to have a wonderful friend, but I'm not going to teach my children that they fight head games with head games; respond to passive aggressive with expensive empty threats; live in chaos and not demand and expect to work toward structure and discipline. Divorces are expensive, even for divorce attorneys. The end results are permanent, even for divorce attorneys. and the damages are multi-faceted, even for divorce attorneys and particularly for children. Divorce should be a last option, should be taken very seriously and not used as a game, threat, or ploy, and both parties should be under the care of a counselor during the process. And in the case of an ADHA/ADD parent, both parties should continue in counseling together, and with the children to make sure that the childrens' needs are being met and that they're not being overlooked regarding diagnosis/treatment, and particularly whether the ADD/ADHA parent is meeting the childrens' needs while in the custody/care/control of the that parent. Make no mistake, the Courts are NOT going to take ADD/ADHD seriously as a parenting obstacle, and it clearly is an obstacle to parenting, my 12 year old is nothing less than a victim of bullying by his ADD father.
Submitted by lynninny on
I haven't been on these boards in a long time, having finalized my divorce with my ADHD spouse about a year ago (left him 2 1/2 years ago). Your post sounds pretty wise and in my experience, quite true.
No one who hasn't lived through it can possibly understand what it is like to have children and to try to make a family work in a toxic, dysfunctional environment. I would never assign all of the blame to my ex (I was quite stressed, depressed, and angry by the end there) but long story short, my ex was completely irrational, violently angry, and would not address the effect that his behavior and choices were having on our children and our home. He hadn't done a lick of work around our home in years and we had two children. Like you, I felt like his impulsive actions and discipline, and his angry and aggressive "joking" were bullying our kids on a regular basis. When I would try to intervene the sh*t would really hit the fan. Even if I tried to talk about it calmly later. He borrowed money from his relatives and spent almost every single cent we had on a home rehab job that is still sitting unfinished (he lives there) years later--there isn't even a kitchen that works. He insisted on being his own contractor and freaked out any time I asked questions or tried to control anything about the process. I had no idea how much he had spent until it was almost too late.
For years. I begged him to see a counselor and treat his adhd for years. When I finally decided to file for a legal separation, he would not participate in the process. It was grueling, heart-wrenching, stressful, took 2 1/2 years, wiped me out financially, and left me to face life as a single parent. Not once did the "threat" of me leaving or taking our children cause him to hit bottom or accept responsibility or address his adhd. But I agree--this is some serious stuff and although he would scream at me that he wanted a divorce in anger when we fought, when I decided to separate, I had processed everything and I meant it.
I guess that I am echoing what you wrote. Separation and divorce are some serious, life-altering steps. I wouldn't threaten to do them unless you were prepared to follow through. I view our experience as a teachable tragedy and two years later, my guys are doing pretty darn well--sharp contrast to the awful year they had the last year I remained in the house with their father. And although there are ups and downs, I have not regretted leaving for one single second. I actually wish that I had done it a few years earlier.
Thank you for your response!
Submitted by Strangebird on
Thank you for your response! I've told my clients for years that unhappy parents make bad parents, and I'm hopeful that my kids will thrive once the toxic marriage is behind me. It's good to know that yours are. Best wishes for continued success!! Out of curiosity, how do visits go for the children, and is he doing any better now?
just do it
Submitted by lynninny on
I am sorry you are going through this. I know that the stress of living in a dysfunctional marriage literally made me sick in the end--migraines, weight loss, joint pain, and lol, dry eyes and mouth. Through testing I found that my immune system was freaking out from stress. It was literally going to damage me for life if I didn't do something to get away from the stress.
It's hard to do anything when you feel so worn down, hurt, and trapped. I know. But every word of your post says that you want out and that if you don't get out, you possible might be even worse off than you are now. But that maybe you don't believe that you have the power to do anything but try to ride something out. This isn't true! Stop waiting or wishing for him to divorce you--he doesn't sound like he is going to do it, right? Do anything you have to--can you live with your mother for a while? Contact old friends? Join a support group. Get an easier part time job. I know, it is daunting, but you can do it. It doesn't have to happen all at once. Just leave so you can clear your head and think.
My best to you. I don't advocate divorce easily, but when your relationship is ruining your life and your health and every fiber of your being tells you that leaving is right, then it probably is. You can do it.