Newly Diagnosed ADHD Spouse Wants To Separates And Breakup Up Family

Hi All,

I am posting my story in hope that someone may be able to provide some guidance and words of wisdom?

My wife has recently been diagnosed by a psychologist with ADHD.

Together: 16 years (Married 11 years)

Children x 2 under 6

Announced Jan 2022 that she was done with the relationship

Brief History

In Oct 2022 my wife also told me she thought she has ADHD which I initially reacted poorly to and said we could fix things.  Once she told me how angry this made her. I threw myself into helping her and reading everything I could and I came to agree with her.  She has since seen a Psychologist who after consultation, stated that in her clinical opinion it is highly likely my wife has ADHD.

Relationship issues

  • Our difficulties got worse after our first child in 2017.  It was a very stressful pregnancy and my wife had many complications with a risk of fatality due to bleeding out.  I was lucky enough to attend every appointment as I was so worried.
  • My wife began to withdraw from that point, albeit slowly.  She also expressed at points she felt she was struggling to bond with our children.
  • We appear to have a very codependent relationship (I certainly feel I have become codependent) which I believe I have enabled over the years with me being the main cook, cleaner, organiser, planner and the one responsible for finances.  
  • Although I have expressed burnout over the years and tried to encourage her getting involved she never did.  This led to me feeling overburdened and at times fostered resentment in me.  
  • However since the revelation of ADHD, this fits and I feel bad and guilty about the way I handled things.  Although I have read in ADHD forums, undiagnosed ADHD can play havoc in a marriage and a parent-child dynamic is common.
  • I became hyper-organised and frugal to counter the situation, in my mind preparing for a future.  My idea being we could pay off the house and within 5 years and save for our children’s and our future.  My wife disagreed with this as she said she never had anything growing up and so our children would be OK. 
  • I am an affectionate person and so my wife withdrawing was difficult and I was always open and honest that it made me feel lonely and unloved and I asked her how I could make sure she felt loved.
  • The common theme around this is our communication lines were never open.  I was always happy to talk about alternatives but my wife only expressed disagreement but when asked what she would like instead always replied with “I don’t know.”
  • I feel my wife basically completely gave up in October 2022

To date

Trying to find a way forward talking my my W she said she feels we don’t need any professional help and just need to ‘sit down and talk.’  I calmly stated that ‘i feel’ that we have always tried to do this in th past and it has never worked and so I feel we need some professional help.  She said she thought couples therapy was helpful to me as she felt "I realized the error of my ways", no reference to any self reflection on her behalf. My wife said she does not want to go to the workshop as she feels I am trying to manipulate her into it. 

She referenced my apology letter and said that I am so controlling and manipulated decisions in our lives over the years.  This breaks my heart as I am very aware of this however in my defense it some extent I have had no choice as my W has never been able to make or contribute to decisions (ADHD consequence?) ans so I had no choice but to pick up the mantle.  However I did not try to defend myself (as I have learned this only makes things worse) and only stated that I acknowledge she feels the outcomes of decisions made her feel controlled I never had any ill intention and always acted in a way I thought was in our families best interests (confusingly she said she tells people what a good man I am and told our therapist I am a good husband and father)


Although my wife acknowledges her ADHD and takes comfort in the fact it explains many situations in her past, poor grades at school, failing to pay vital bills, lying about attending important appointments etc when it comes to our relationship she has a block and believes whole heartedly that I am the cause of all her unhappiness and relationship issues.  This is despite my W and I going through the following article and agreeing together on all of the points:

My W does not wish to go on medication yet has not made no attempt at employing or exploring any coping strategies.  I do not believe she has pursued any further IC either.

I still love my wife dearly and my heart aches for her as much I am truly hurt myself.  I feel she is pushing me away on purpose and categorically doesn't want to work on our relationship yet avoids dealing with any problems.  It's like she is living in a bubble.  I fear for our children too and seek some stability for the future.  However at present my W is not willing to consider that she has any accountability or contribution to her current state of unhappiness and our relationship issues.  She says that ‘feelings cannot change.’

I just don't know what to do next.  My wife is not a reader nor will she listen to and self help audiobooks/podcasts nor seek our webinars/seminars.

My W sees the only solution to our currently situation is to break up our family and for us to separate despite not really putting any work in to try to resolve our issues (she has said we have tried everything although has even admitted that sometimes she thinks about things so much she convinces herself she has actually actioned them).

Any guidance is much appreciated as I really do not know what to do next.