So, yesterday my wife sends me a text, "Hey, is there any way I could borrow $20 until Friday? (though I had more gasoline than I actually do)" She said needed it "tomorrow-ish".
I told her I probably could, that I'd see what I could do. I didn't have cash to spare in the checking account until I get paid next, but I had one credit card with extra room on it... I could put the gas on that, and send in an extra payment on Friday. When she got home from work later last night, I let her know that I could cover some gas for her.
This morning, before I went to work (the gas station was closed by the time she got from work last night), she was still asleep, so I took the spare set of keys, filled up her car with gas, and picked up a few loaves of bread (we were completely out) while I was at it... Today is our wedding anniversary, and while she isn't really in the mood to celebrate, I wanted to do something nice to let her know I was thinking of her. I'd hoped the full tank would be a small, pleasant surprise toward that end. Then, I left a little "Happy Anniversary, Love Me" note on her dashboard.
Today, she sends me another short text, thanking me for the note and wishing me a happy anniversary, too. Then, she sends me a long text, beginning "I know this is going to sound petty, but...", complaining about the full tank of gas... She didn't need it. She wanted $20 cash for a little bit of gas and for parking at a minor league baseball game, and now she might not be able to go to her best friend's daughter's birthday party. Also, she didn't like me taking her car without asking -- she knows it was to surprise her, but it still bothers her. She appreciated my intentions... Thanks for the gas and bread.
Okay, so I wanted to share this partially just so I could stop being frustrated by it, and partially because its a good example of how ADHD spouses inadvertently go wrong, and how the non-ADHD spouse sometimes feeds into that.
That first text was all the information I had... I even saved it in my phone, so I wouldn't forget it. To me, it read just as "Can you help me buy gas for my car? I could pay you back on Friday." I knew she had the party at the baseball game, but she never mentioned anything about needing cash for parking (in fact, that's why I thought she needed the gas money... she was saving her cash for parking and a present). Perhaps there was some implication for cash in the text, but if there was, I completely missed it.
So, I thought I was doing something a little extra nice for her... Instead, I ended up getting in trouble for doing it wrong and inadvertently violating a boundary for her car (even though we have a spare key ring with keys for both our cars for just this sort of circumstance) that I never knew about.
Now, I understand much of why she's upset about it -- despite my best intentions, I didn't do it the way she wanted and she also feels I overstepped my bounds a bit -- but... How was I supposed to know? There was a whole set of details that she neglected to mention. Had I known them, I likely would have done things quite differently.
I know I'm sometimes forgetful and/or in attentive, but I don't think that had anything to do with this. This felt like I was being set up for failure, and then blamed for it when it wasn't exactly my fault... or, at least, not ALL my fault. After all, how can I do something the certain way she wants it done, if I have to guess at the details she left out? Even a non-ADHDer would get fouled up in those circumstances.
Anyway, we talked -- texted? -- it through a bit. I complained about her not giving me all the details, and apologized for taking the car without letting her know. She grumbled a bit and almost withdrew ("I really don't want to do this right now."), but asked for an explanation ("Why did you tell me you would be able to loan me $20 when that wasn't true?"). I explained the misunderstanding... ("I didn't understand you needed cash. I missed the implication.") In the end, she said it would work out, and sorry for not being clear enough.
So, despite the misunderstanding and the drama (not mine, this time!), I think it turned out okay in the end. "No good deed goes unpunished," or so they say.
I'm better now.