New to this site, new to my marriage to ADHD hubby, need advice...

Just a quick background, my husband and I have been together for 3 years, married for 5 months. He was diagnosed with ADHD as a teen and he’s aware he has it. I’ve never educated myself on the disorder and since have dismissed it because I figure we all have our issues. We used to get along very well. In the beginning of our relationship it was my commitment issues and me taking things personally that put a strain on us, he was always more nurturing and patient than me, which is part of the reason why I love him.
Now, I know I’m not the most intelligent person; I’m too sarcastic, controlling and judgmental. But I believe I have a good heart and it’s full of sympathy and compassion for all beings. I’m not a touchy-feely person, but I like holding hands and being loved. At this point I don’t feel like myself anymore. I don’t want to upset him when I am myself, and that seems to be the case.

I love my husband, but I cannot seem to make him happy. He tells me I’m not funny, even though I used to make him laugh. His friends could make the same jokes I do with him and he tells me I’m a mean person, but he’ll laugh with them. He tells me I like to argue, I never take responsibility, I don’t speak to him like an adult, I’m crazy, a lunatic, I have OCD, etc. etc. etc. He says I’m cold to him, when the truth is all I want is to feel intimate with him again. We only have sex every two months and it’s because I initiate it, only in the afternoons because otherwise he’s too tired. He plays video games for 10-12 hours on his day off. We never go out. Maybe I do unconsciously act cold because I’m getting resentful for never being loved or thanked.  Granted, he’s got a ton of pressure on his shoulders from work and does not get paid accordingly. He works an average of 80 hours a week which for any couple would be a strain on a relationship. We just married less than 6 months ago and we have never been so disconnected. I feel like he hates me and I’m just waiting for the day he cheats and then blames it on me.  He gets mad at me for the littlest things I say or do, and then insists that I’m a bitch and just want to argue with him or I don’t even want him around. He makes me feel so guilty. I feel like I am going crazy sometimes.  Every time we fight and I finally say, “Ok, it’s my fault,” he gets even more mad! He’ll go on and on for 20 minutes in detail about how wrong I am and then when it’s my turn to talk he tells me I’m cutting him off, I just don’t get it or I’m crazy; a bitch. And holy s**t, if I cry? If I cry, he looks like his head will explode with anger!!! I read that some men take tears as a manipulative ploy, so I try not to cry.

I admit to feeling resentment because I do all of the housework and laundry. I don’t think he’s taken out the garbage for over a year. He did one load of his own laundry for the first time ever and bragged to me about it. I don’t want to be his mother; I want to be his wife! His partner and friend! Is that too much to ask? He’s made me believe that this is my entire fault and if I only treated him nicer that we would be absolutely fine.  I’m so frustrated and I know he is too.  This morning he told me he’s reached his breaking point with his job and me. He said he feels nothing and doesn’t want to come home to me tonight. I haven’t heard from him all day and we usually speak at least once a day.

After finding this website, I’ve realized that everything you ladies are going through, I am going through as well. It’s very “textbook,” from what I've read so far. I hope that this is the beginning of us mending the relationship, I’m so sad it’s broken. I can’t believe it’s gone this far.  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t want to make him mad. I just want things to be the way they were. Oh, and of course, I feel like this is all my fault.

I, too, feel the same way.

I, too, feel the same way. Because of a tough childhood under the weight of a narcissistic parent, I am not particularly open to public displays of affection, but I show my love in other ways. Just wondering, having been the target of a narcissistic parent for most of my life -- have you ever considered that your dh might have a touch of the narcissistic characteristic or some other personality disorder in conjunction to the ADHD? For instance, he seems to go off on a rage if you do not mirror what he wants to see in you? If he expects you to smile at him and you don't, it's enough for him to fly into a rage because you are not mirroring what he wants to see in his "reflection" (you as his mirror image).

Been married 20 years. I started feeling unhappy and questioning why I chose to marry my (ADHD) husband after 7 years of marriage. He seemed extraordinarily "hyper focused" when we were courting. We have been engaged 3 months after meeting, and after his mother passed away in the fourth month since meeting, I felt this obligation and pressure from him to move in with him a month later. In hindsight, I think he had huge anxiety with changes and I was the replacement he needed for his mother immediately. Things changed once we got married (wedded much later, as his hyper focus died down once I moved in), he lost almost all interest in doing things together and spent a lot of time in front of TV. I think the challenges of home ownership and children later really made him overwhelmed and the ADHD was and is probably excruciating for him but he isn't able to grasp it.

I try hard to initiate so many things, but it falls on deaf ears, or I am treated to an entire day of belligerence on his part when we actually do what I have planned and he will be surly until we get back in the car to go home and he becomes all lightness and happy again. It is almost borderline to me in some way, how does one flip the lightswitch so obviously, it's like multiple personality? I admit I have my own issues but I have been in self therapy for years and have learned coping mechanisms as well as understanding myself in relation to others. However with my ADHD spouse, I'm left second guessing, feeling anxious, feeling like I'm being gas-lighted, especially when he gets mad and starts telling me I'm the one with a personality disorder and that I'm a narcissist (the most hurtful based on my roots). Because of my depression and health problems from the marital conflicts, he sometimes gets upset and tells me he's disappointed that I'm somehow "broken," that he never has anything in his life that is perfect. Okay, whatever., so I'm lumped into the disappointment of broken DVDs arriving in the mail, but this is not new... I'm working on getting better but if he doesn't do his part, I don't know why I have to do *both* our parts...

All I mostly do these days is provide a clean home and meal for him, there's not much more to the relationship. On the days when he's feeling less "challenged" by the ADHD, I feel like he's not suffering, he's so much better, we chat, but he still won't/can't speak to me intimately as husband.

It is not your fault. See it for what it is, his ADHD and possibly something else in addition. Work on your self esteem, it is so hard, especially if you are barraged by a litany of insults all the time. I think the only thing that gets me through during those really bad hyper manic days of his is when I remember myself outside of the marriage. Outside, we are independent, intelligent and warm caring individuals. Within the marriage, we become lost and shaky and even desperate. I also see my dh needing help. If I didn't see him as needing help, he'd come off as a jerk and that is not who I fell in love with (I am sure I was in love at the beginning).

Thanks for your reply...

Thanks for your reply copingSAH. BTW-he did come home that night. We never spoke about the fight. He looked like a wounded animal and I didn't bring up the pain I was feeling cause he doesn't he that anyway.

I do think he has a twinge of narcissism, no doubt in my mind. Good point. It's always about him and what he has to say. I feel like when I have something to say, he doesn't even look at me when I speak. I blurt things out quickly just to keep his attention. Yet, when he speaks it goes on and on and on - almost as if he loves the sound of his own voice - God forbid I interrupt. I call him "Princess" (probably not a good idea, there goes my sarcasm again). Last night, he insisted I help him with a computer issue late a night. When I was reading instructions to him, word for word off of a website, he got irritated with me as if I was spewing my opinion! Instead of lashing out and getting angry with him as I probably would have done a year ago, I sternly said, "Look, I'm trying to help you, this is not my opinion, I'm literally reading you instructions off of a website! I'm not your enemy, if you are going to act like this every time I try to help you, I'm never going to help you again." It worked,  he got quiet and apologized after a few minutes.

I'm glad I found this site because it's comforting to know that I'm not alone. It feels like I could have written some aspect of each post I read from each of you. I just ordered Melissa's book and I'm anxious to get through it.  Being a newlywed and in this predicament is hard. I've never felt so lonely in my life. I just try to take care of myself, eat right and exercise. Maybe I've done this to myself because I've always been so independent. Maybe I like the abuse of being with someone who says they love me but does nothing physically to show it. Ugh, I'm such a martyr. Have you read Melissa's book yet?


It seems like everything you described is my household as well. I posted in the other forum labeled with "Anger, Frustrated,..." We too just got married, just six months ago. I am going to be no help because I am at a fork in the road myself. I got married thinking, it will be okay and I wasnt blindsightes by anything. However, I did not know things would change so drastically. He does play video games and doesnt mind taking out the trash, but it is when he feels like it. I have actually said nothing and let the garbage pile (under the lid) just to see what he would do. I really had to tell his lazy butt to take out the trash! It gets so frustrating and all the time I am saying, " why don't you work with me here?" Where is the partnership in that? I even have to be cautious about not hurting his feelings when he did all the laundry because the clothes were not all dry. But he got them done and that deserved some appreciation. So instead of me getting mad because now I have nearly two loads to dry one at a time, I said gently, " Sweetie, thank you so much for washing the clothes. I did notice some weren't dry so can you assist me in drying a few loads?" He was right on it and I kept thanking him. I wouldnt mind doing that because its like giving a teammate high five even though they missed the jumpshot. Something like that isnt what causes disagreements. It is the way in which we communicate and I can never be told oh yeah your right. Its always after he had some days to think about it or before we got marries he would talk to an unbias friend and then call me up to say oh yeah you were right. But he couldnt respect my view is what i had the issue with. What I can say is that the jokes probably arent complimentary to his humor because he really cares what you think of him. My guess...They (people with adhd), dont handle criticism well. What is not okay is making up their own rules because only he gets it and it leads to a false reality. Now that I have askes him to move, it really put the final icing on the cake, but I do know he will regret it and I don't mean that in a cocky way. He "gets it" after all hell has broken loose and realizes his faults while going through the consquences. Sorry for the typos...on my phone...

Re the issue with respecting your view

Re the issue with respecting your view and/or opinions.

I have this issue as well. After 20 years, I've learned to communicate differently but there is still a lot that needs to be done by trial and error. Sometimes it's simply remedied, other times, just too drawn out.

For instance, all these years he's been folding/bunching the clothes from the dryer vertically, no matter how many times I have told him to lay the clothes flat. They are absolutely wrinkled up and down when I go to fold and put them away. It made me so mad, then I read somewhere, that I need to have a method. So, now I have a small placard taped to the dryer that says "Clothes Lay Flat = no wrinkles! :) "   The last 2 loads from the dryer has been laid flat!! It was a simple change but it was extraordinary because it took me 20 years of reminding him orally and it never got through. It's as if he learned it one way when he was a child, and he never deviates from that first lesson. Ever. Even if it is wrong from the get-go. It's done over and over again till there is something that successfully rewires his approach without him becoming defensive/hostile.

As for being told I'm right in important matters.... I've never been told that upfront by dh, unless it's a project he does not want to deal with (our child's medical insurance). It's usually after he's run it by one, two or even more people outside of the home before he realizes my voice was one of reason, my voice is not one looking to knock him down a notch. It seems it's the ADHD that keeps him defensive, hostile to only my comments. It feels like he's got such a bad chip on his shoulder on the surface.

For instance this evening, there was a discrepancy on his bank account and he started getting agitated off the bat. I looked at it and told him that it happens frequently with electronic banking, there is duplicate or additional figure while it's in PENDING status. Well, he didn't believe me, raced out of the house, went back to the store, and to the bank's managers. Well, all three managers told him the same thing I said, and that was that is common but it doesn't mean it's final since it is in PENDING status, the final transaction is the right one that goes through. Here I am thinking he really could have saved himself all that effort, not to mention other people's time to explain it all to him. (Which he accepted right off the bat at each location). I think also my tendency to be careful not to be a nuisance in public -- so I guess I have a hard time seeing him embarrass himself, or just causing unnecessary energies, if I'm to blame for feeling the way I do. If I didn't even care, I'd have him go off on a rampage over and over every little thing but he's done it enough times that he's got a bit of reputation as being alarmist.... and of course I have to defend him in the most neutral way possible... (again, I do not like to air dirty laundry to neighbors or store owners!)






I totally feel you

Sometimes I myself feel like I can be a mother to my partner. I have OCD myself too so I know what you mean about giving into the anxiety and saying "It's all my fault!" and crying and how that sets them off so badly. What I've found is that a lot of the frustration from him comes from not being able to understand how other people are really working or feeling because their mind can't focus on one thing and emotions, especially the emotions and ticks of an OCD person can be so convoluted and complicated (more complicated than you think, my dear, and you must come to terms with that), and they get frustrated and want to escape. Does your husband tend to ask a lot of questions during arguments and make odd comparisons that are almost like half-truths? From my relationship, I have seen that it has a lot to do with their inability to focus on a single understanding. My partner gets so stressed out with his day as well (he works about 80-90 hrs/ week like your husband) and, if you husband is on any medication like my partner is, he may have exhausted the drugs window of effectiveness. I know with my partner being on Ritalin, his sexual desire is often depleted or he becomes mentally tired from his medication basically setting focusing-fireworks off in his head during work that when he comes home to me and the Ritalin is wearing off, arguments can easily start because his mind is already on edge from the sensory overload. 

I know its easier said than done (I'm still working on it) but Saint like patience is sometimes key. And that makes us OCD people a little crazy. I'm neurotic and I know it. I need to get all my ducks in a row and I need them in a row now. But I know that I have a special duck that needs a little bit more time. There also may be underlying factors that add to his off-putting and accusatory ADHD behaviors. I know that my partner's history of verbally abusive relationships aggravated his ADHD so much so that addressing a simple issue as we see as simply  asking them why they won't fold their own clothes can make them frustrated with themselves which can be see nas being frustrated with us.

If you are able and I believe personally (this worked for us in a way, it gave me perspective), see if you can sit down and talk about ADHD in his life and things in his past that may have been related to his ADHD. You'll be surprised what you find. Things in your past can aggravate your mental state, especially if its already, for lack of a better word, "impaired". Best of luck to you and yours and I hope you both are able to chat.