Non-ADD partner has lost interest in sex

I've noted a wide variety of posts on this website expressing frustration with sexual intimacy when one partner has ADD.  Most of these seem to fall into two categories.  1) The ADD spouse is so easily distracted that you can't get them to begin sexual intimacy and/or stay engaged after they begin,  2) The ADD spouse (always male in this situation, as far as I've noticed) is such a novelty junkie that he spends a tremendous amount of time on pornography, leaving his wife sexually frustrated, humiliated, and/or disgusted.

My situation doesn't fit either of those categories, yet I wonder if ADD plays a role in it nonetheless.  I have ADD, and I've been married for 20+ years.  For the first few years, my wife and I got along fine in the bedroom, and I would have said everything was OK.  After a couple of children, her interest in sex diminished dramatically.  At first I attributed this to the understandable fatigue of our increasingly complicated lives, but several decades have passed since then without things getting better.  I initiate 95% of the sexual activity between us.  She goes along probably 2/3 of the times that I offer, but only rarely seems to be enjoying herself.  I don't hurry her, and pay close attention to giving her what she enjoys.  If it were up to me, we'd make love twice a week, but I feel so hurt and humiliated by decades of refusals and "going through the motions" that I only ask about twice a month.  My wife asks about twice a year, and I think I've said no only 1 or 2 times in the whole marriage, on days when I was really exhausted from work. 

In all other ways, she's a wonderful, kind, caring wife and mother.

Yes, I also express affection in non-sexual ways, such as doing favors, offering her compliments, going out to dinner together, buying her flowers, visiting her family, and taking an interest in the events of her day, job, friends, and family.  I'm not perfect, but I'm a reasonably good father.  I've been consistently employed my whole adult life.  Like all ADD males, I can walk past a sink of dirty dishes or a dusty floor without noticing, but if she asks me to clean things I will do so without complaint, although I can't promise a smile.

I'm not into strange stuff.  I don't use pornography.  I've never cheated on her.  I take "no" for an answer.  I don't smoke or use drugs.  I drink, but not to excess.

Yes, we've talked about it, over and over again, but while she always says she wants to have a happy and active sexual relationship, that doesn't translate into actual behavior. 

Does this sound like anybody else's situation, or is this not really related to ADD and I'm mistaken in trying to explain it that way?  Any useful ideas?

 

So is she denying that her

So is she denying that her interest isn't equal to yours?

Any medications she's taking or health issues that might contribute?

Any chance you're misreading her body language and maybe she's more interested than you think?

When you 'discuss' it, what do you tell her? How do you phrase what you're displeased about?

She may be somewhat like me

I am 57 and this is a real problem for me. I hit menopause the month after I married my husband 6 years ago. It was an off-switch for my libido. I still love him, still love the idea of making love to him, but I can not respond physically. I feel nothing. I've tried testosterone creams, and I can't take hormone replacements for medical reasons I won't go into.

His ADD is a small part of the problem. I can get "turned on" if he spends long enough doing foreplay I enjoy but he can't focus on one thing (me) for that long and he loses interest. Although I'm willing to let him do whatever he wants, he finds my lack of being "turned on" quickly makes him lose interest. It was also hard when I was working 2 jobs and he wasn't working because I was both tired and angry.

I do see now why middle-aged men cheat on their middle-aged wives with younger women. Unfortunately, I haven't found a solution. Please do not take it personally. I am sure she loves you and is as unhappy as you are that she can't find physical expression of it.

For a while she denied that

For a while she denied that there was a difference in our levels of interest, but more recently she acknowledges that.  I wish I was just misreading her, but she says she wishes to have desire, but doesn't actually have much.

She's not on any medications.

When we talk about it, I tell her that I'm frustrated, but I only want a solution that works for both of us.  I want a happy partner, not just a compliant one.  She says she wishes she could be that person, but doesn't know how to get there.

Is your marriage stuck in the

Is your marriage stuck in the parent/child dynamic that a lot of ADHD marriages fall into? Is there a chance that you're completely missing something that is vital to her feeling 'attracted' to you..i.e. are you not pulling your share of the weight in the marriage so she feels less respect for you? Losing respect for a partner often comes hand in hand with losing sexual desire.

Maybe the problem is physical or psychological..and completely hers..and it has nothing to do with you. I would start with the process of elimination and ask her if there is anything you can do (help around the house, take care of the kids while she goes out by herself occasionally, arrange babysitters so you can take her out on dates) that might help her be more interested. I cannot think of the author, I have the audio book, but there is a book called The Five Love Languages. It explains how each of us 'feels' love in different ways and how to make the most of your marriage/love life by doing what is important to your partner so that they feel love and respected. It is interesting and helpful.

 

Parent/Child Dynamic

I feel very much like my DH is another one of my kids (we have 3 already).  We haven't had sex for almost 2 years, and I know it's because I see him as my child not my man. The thought of sex with him is incestuous. 

 

Are we allowed to suggest

Are we allowed to suggest hormone replacement therapy? I tried it and i felt alive again. I am 40 ish and its amazing how low your levels get as you go through menopause. There is a certain kind that works amazingly well. If i am allowed to post, i will. I wonder how i can find out? No, this is not from your typical dr. It involves a pellet being implanted in your body and it releases the missing hormones in slow levels. Completely harmless and again, Amazing!

Yes, I felt like your wife

This was before knowing about the adhd for a couple of decades (!). I felt so much anger and resentment, though a lot of it was roiling around underneath the surface that even I had no idea how or even WHY I was so angry with my dh. It stank, because I had a really strong interest on sex befor this relationship and in the earlier years of this one. I thought something was wrong with me or that it was part, even of some natural process of life. I know now it is not necessarily. Despite the ongoing continuing issues going on, that part has at least improved (when things are not again so degraded because of some stupid comment or action he has done- sorry thats how it has been- read my previous posts). What you leave out in a very big part of your post is how DOES your wife feel about this relationship? You seem to think all is peachy keen with how your relationship is (and for sure, so does my Dh on most days, despite his inability to connect, his anger, rude comments, and a host of other issues). Even with love, all these feelings can mount up, and add the total responsibility of being the "main" parent shouldering most of the rfesponsibilities (and at its worst, he was another of "my" kids)..did not add up to a superhot libido. I was overwhelmed with all the responsibility, even when dh helped it was because I had to spell out everything (and that was/is sometimes exhausting too). I spent years feeling like i was ASEXUAL. It sucked. Having said that, my dh also did all the things you say you do. The problem was (and still is, though in some ways much improved with meds), they were not necessarily the things that I NEEDED (sure those things are nice, and i reciprocated with equally nice things). You need to find out from your wife what is really going on, and without letting anger or self defensiveness kick in.. This is my humble opinion.

You've pretty much just

You've pretty much just described my fear of what may be happening in my marriage.  My wife isn't big on expressing anger, so even when I ask how she's feeling, I don't know if I get the true story.  I've asked what's getting in the way of intimacy, but she says she doesn't know.  I haven't asked "are you angry?" point blank, but maybe I should.  I guess deep down I'm afraid she will say yes, and that her anger will be related to something I lack the ability to change.  I'm afraid to draw attention to a problem unless I can fix it.

Did you and your partner (what does "Dh" stand for, anyway?) ever find a way to work out the barriers and get to a more satisfying place?  If so, how did you accomplish that? 

 

Sometimes we all have to step

Sometimes we all have to step outside of our comfort zones and ask the tough questions...if we want things to get better. There is nothing that cannot at least be resolved with a compromise that makes both partners feel they are getting enough..so unless it's your eye color that is throwing her off in the bedroom, you need to ask and try to get to the bottom of this. Caution..if she tells you that it is something you are/aren't doing...don't respond with anger or defensiveness. Just ask for a few moments to think about it...and take some time to digest it...and the try and offer some real solutions. (not saying it IS something you're doing/not doing..just saying prepare ahead of time incase it is and do not make things worse by being angry with her if she's honest with you..and it IS about her feelings towards you).

Been there, done that myself...used to avoid having sex like it was the plague, even though I wanted sex badly. For a very long time I only had sex with him because I knew if I didn't, he would be angry and treat everyone like crap. As things improved with the marriage, my desire for him improved as well. Sexual desire is linked so closely to how well the marriage is doing as a whole for women.

Good Luck.

The things in my relationship

The things in my relationship that caused the initial feelings of resentment on both sides persist, I'm sorry to say. But we are at a different place from you, obviously. The good news is that with a newer understanding of what was going on, and my effort to understand how adhd caused him to act in such seemingly thoughtless ways but was really a result of his own inner turmoil and lack of connection with his surroundings that was helped somewhat by his meds...made much of my anger melt away. And I realized that I did not have to be in the parent child dynamic, though his actions have not much improved (perhaps slightly as I communicated what I needed more directly in a manner easier for him to understand and retain; use of shopping lists, less emotionally charged reqiests for help, etc,,). Through this process, I was relieved to find MY long repressed libido come BACK- I thought "yea! Im not broken/asexual/just how it is" in my sexuality. Much to my spouses surprise, our sex life was resuscitated.... But because of his inability/refusal to understand how adhd really affected MY feelings of selfworth, hence my feelings of sexuality, he did not and still does not understand my change. And he is still angry and resentful.. So right back to the room mate marriage. I am making more effort (as per usual to state clearly what I need) and he is trying within his framework, I guess, to hear it.. So that is a plus. Its something I need ti remind myself of when he disappears yet again to "hang out w the boys" in a bar to get drunk on a regular basis now, and to be a sporadic dad and dh. I would like ti see a bigger improvement, but still not sure if he is more invested in the idea of trying to connect or divorcing/separating for the last time. I see glimmers if hope but you can nor make someone do something they dont want to do (like be in a relationship)...and I guess he will have to decide what he wants. In the meantime, I sm trying to take care of myself! Hope this helped.. Keep your chin up- the fact that you care and are "in it" makes your process so much more promising.

for me, it was tied to 2

for me, it was tied to 2 things.  Anger over being starved for affections -- he wouldn't kiss, hug, hold hands, sit together on sofa etc...until recently, we even slept in the same bed with different blankets!  And the second thing was all the horrible shit he has said to me...which makes me feel uncomfortable being vunerable / sexual with him  -- and extremely reluctant to initiate.

And for the reocrd, I had NO idea i was angry until I found this site...so she might not even know she is  (regardless if it is over you or not).

I dont have an answer for you.  but your words are the exact same as my husband has used over the years.  i'm sorry you feel frusturated.

 

So how did you not know that

So how did you not know that you were angry, and what changed that?  I've tried to initiate the conversations that several have suggested, but while she seems to be angry, she doesn't explain much of why, or even if, that's the case.  Mostly I get the feeling that she'd rather not discuss it at all.  I can't seem to get her started in the conversation any more than I can in the bedroom.  

I'm trying to be patient and create a safe space for her to discuss whatever may concern her, but I admit patience isn't my greatest strength.  (Yes, you could have predicted that.)

I know i have swallowed so

I know i have swallowed so much, let so much go. It all sounds so petty and dumb when you say it out loud. She may have just blocked all the things that trigger her emotions. My dh always wants an example.... This way he can belittle it or defend it. I stopped remembering what it was and let it go. Some women out there just let it all go and do it all and move on without really realizing they are just plain mad. I dont do it all, i dont do near enough, but i know i am crippled from my anger and my swallowing it all. I just need to escape now. I do things that really hold my attention so i dont have to think. Tv, computer, games, kids, chores, and sleep. Good luck.

Dont be so hard on yourself

Dont be so hard on yourself Pjloops. It is not perfection we need to seek but peace. Look at what is "good enough" to allow everyone to function (kids fed, clothed, happy?!), and start from there. I used to try to get EVERYTHING done and it was nerve wracking. Now, I can deal with the couple of loads ofwash to wait (as long as there are clothes to wear! Or not muchfood in refrig bc I did not have time to food shop- as long as there is good meals I am still able to make.. Shift your focus to find your center and balance...!

Thanks lululove, its nice to

Thanks lululove, its nice to hear that. I used to think i was depressed or pmsing or was in need of meds myself and i felt totally dazed and tired (low and higher doses, several diff kinds) on the meds as i did off, so i am realizing that i need to force myself to do something that will make me feel alive again.... Still looking... : ). Actually just came to this realization a few days ago. I want to be as happy and carefree as i was before i got married. I am doing a lot of thinking... Just being, and would love to center myself. Trying to keep chin up too. Its hard to hide from the kids...

Since the anger is OUR part

Since the anger is OUR part of the issues in the marriage, it isn't always easy to admit to because it means that we then have A) given our spouses ammo ("If you weren't so angry everything would be fine") B) given our spouses the perfect 'out' - "your anger is the problem, not my ADHD", and C) admitted that everything we've been accused of, that we've fought so hard to deny, is true. (controlling and nagging are all part of the anger).

To be honest, I didn't RECOGNIZE my anger as part of the problem for a very long time. Truthfully, I didn't recognize my anger PERIOD for a very long time. I would like to say that we wasted 2 years of our lives on one counselor..that cost us $85 out of pocket per visit..because instead of recognize my husband's impulse control issues, alcoholism, deflection of blame for everything onto me, etc all he was focused on was MY ANGER. That was it. "why are you so angry?" and when I told him "I did not used to be this way before" he gave me a look and made a noise like "Um...I don't believe that for one minute". Man, if I could go back in time and know then what I know now I would give that man a piece of my mind. But, alas, I guess I should be thankful that he recognized my anger...even if he let the other people in the household (DH and SD) off of the hook completely...because it started me on the path (although it took over a year and a half, a separation from my husband, and my Daddy passing away) to resolving it and wanting BETTER for MYSELF. 

Also, it is not something I want my husband to 'point out' to me...my anger. Just the same as his 'change' has to come from within him, my change has to come from within me. An inherent desire to just be different...and, for me, just being sick and tired of being angry.all.the.time.

She may not be able to tell you why she's angry...and there may be a list 1000 miles long. Sharing my 'reasons' for being angry only added more fuel to the fire of my marriage and kept the 'blame game' going. Sure enough, when I would say "I am angry because you use your debit card without checking to see if we have the money in the bank and it causes me a HUGE amount of stress", it would end up somehow being about me "only caring about money" or "being controlling" and rarely about "I'm sorry, I don't want to stress you...let's figure out a system that will make us both happy". She may be afraid to share with you why she's angry. What you might do, instead of trying to get her to admit to you why she's angry, you might take a little time and think for yourself why she is probably angry and go to her and say "I know you're angry...and I know that I have done many things to make you angry. What I would like is a clean start. I would like a chance to prove to you that things can be different. If you would be willing to address the 3 most urgent things on your list of reasons you're angry with me ..without fear of ME being angry at you or turning it around on you...but us truly working together to come up with a compromise..then you have my word that I will do my very best to help make things different if you will try and work with me and let go of your anger as I begin to improve. I will make mistakes, everyone does, but if we work hard, we can change things".

I'm puzzled by the whole

I'm puzzled by the whole notion of making my wife "admit" to being angry.  She's angry or she isn't.  It's an emotion, not a character flaw, so I wouldn't think any the less of her were she to express anger openly. 

Now, would I welcome it?  In principle, yes, because any sincere communication draws us closer in the end, as long as we express ourselves honestly and with appropriate consideration for each others' feelings.  In practice, it's not so easy.  I struggle to avoid becoming defensive when she's mad at me, but I'm working on just listening.  (Thanks for the idea of "I'll get back to you later" rather than thinking I need to respond immediately. )  So far, I still have gotten only a small amount of communication, and I'm doing my best to accept that, empathize with whatever she's discussing, and not impulsively reacting.  I hope that over time, this may build up greater trust and I'll hear the bigger stuff later.

Part of my problem with this website is that I so seldom recognize myself here.  Most of the posts are from angry non-ADD spouses describing outrageous behaviors that I don't do, so their concerns don't seem relevant to my circumstances.  (Not that the point of the website is about me, obviously.  Different folks have different issues to address.)  The one frequent complaint that I certainly DO see in myself is my general disinterest in housework, and I know this frustrates my wife.  It's also been helpful to read what some of you have written about your own anger, as this offers a window into what my wife may be thinking, but without provoking the impulse to defend myself.

So I've been trying to step up the housework without making a big deal out of it or expecting applause.  She's noticed, and occasionally thanks me, but I'm sure she's also watching to see if it lasts.  She's well aware of my tendency to get all wrapped up in something for a while, only to lose interest subsequently.  I worry about that one myself, and I need to come up with a way to make certain that behaving differently persists even after the novelty of it wears off.

Lastly, I'm trying to remember that sex is the top of the marital pyramid, supported by all the other more frequent and ordinary stuff that makes up day-to-day life.  I'm trying to focus on the bottom of the pyramid rather than the top, in the hope that the bedroom problems may become easier to solve if I address the other concerns.  It's just difficult to do for a guy who sees love in words, outings, sex, and emotions, but finds no connection whatsoever between love and housework.  In consequence, I experience time spent doing chores as neglect of the marriage, rather than a means to improve it.  Nonetheless, I'm married to a woman who sees things differently, and it has to work for us both if it is to work at all.

Man, I hate things that require patience!  ;-)

Bottom line...she has either

Bottom line...she has either lost interest in sex because of some resentment she has towards you for some reason (and this very well could be as a result of your lack of help around the house) OR it is a physical issue (hormones, etc).

Since you have ADHD, you cannot always trust your 'viewpoint' of how things are going, what she's feeling, etc. It is very likely that she IS trying to communicate with you about what is making her unhappy (thus unsexual) and you're not getting it or she is afraid to share with you what she's feeling because of years of training (avoiding reactions) teaches some non-ADHD spouses that it's best to just keep your feelings to yourself. I don't assume to know your circumstances personally, only what you've posted here..but you have to take into account that your ADHD makes it harder for you to pick up on things (especially emotional things) and it makes you sometimes see the world from a different viewpoint than your wife might. It IS important ...IF she is angry and that is why she's disinterested in sex...that you know why she is angry. Resentment and lack of respect are the two biggest things that killed my sex drive. Just something to think about.

I used to tell my husband "if you want me to be in the mood, clean up the den...mow the yard...help with the kids...those kinds of things matter to me!" He never did get it...and I have accepted he never will. You don't have to be abusive and unfaithful and angry to cause someone to resent you. My husband is what most would consider a really nice, passive guy...but I have built up walls of resentment in spite of it. You're missing something.

You know, last year i was in

You know, last year i was in the same situation, felt bad because add husband was feeling neglected, felt the problem was mine and had been in counseling about it for years. My obgyn doc (not typical obgyn, she is young and more into new things), did a bunch of blood work and found that i didnt have as much testosterone as a person my age should have, she implanted (tiny) testosterone pellet and it did amazing things for me. Its kind of pricey, but if your wife is wondering too, this may be something she could check out. There is a web site called sottopelle, they are located out of scottsdale az. The information on the site is for women and men, it is great for memory, energy, libido, etc. Recommended for menopause, or peri menopause. I live in a differnt state than az, but many doctors are doing and using the same treatment. They use natural, not synthetic (very harmful for body) supplements/hormone treatment. Its worth a shot if she doesnt feel any resentment or anger. Could be she just has low levels and doesnt know any different.