To: Non-ADD Spouse From: ADD Spouse

Dear Non(s),

If you are on this site that is a good thing, reading about it and finding others going through the same things is very helpful.  Doing your homework to understand what your ADD partner may be going through is a good first step.  ADD is a characteristic of your partner's personality, it is not an excuse, only a potential explanation for types of behaviors the ADDer may exhibit regardless of how many attempts to "correct" the unwanted behavior they have made.  Yes, we know WHAT to do, we know how society expects things to be done, we know all of this because we have been belittled, put down, reminded and beaten over the head with these expectations our entire lives and, despite being experts in what is normal and acceptable, we. can. not. do. it.  That's the most frustrating thing about this, we know all of that junk and repeatedly, especially pre-diagnosis, "try harder" to be normal.  We do not mean to ignore you.  We don't intend to forget important things.  We sincerely DO NOT REMEMBER EVER HAVING THAT CONVERSATION and are not acting this way to piss you off.  To believe we want to be this way would be quite moronic and not at all related to ADD, that would equate to someone just being an A-Hole.  On purpose=A-Hole, Not on purpose=ADD.

Don't educate yourself about this real disease and show effort and learn things and then act surprised when we do them.  That, for a non-ADD person who can/should be able to recall information from their short term memory, is unacceptable.  At least there are genetic, chemical, neurological validation for our lack of memory, what do non-ADD folks have to explain why you can't remember that ADDers are not impulsive, forgetful, inconsistent, procrastinators on purpose?

The person who has ADD is responsible for educating themselves about their diagnosis and treatment and have an obligation to themselves and their loved ones to try what they can to alleviate any of the symptoms that are negatively effecting their lives.  If you do not pursue education and treatment as someone with ADD you have absolutely no right to ask those around you to understand, deal with or endure the results of your refusal to help yourself.  Medications are not the end-all-be-all, they can help but just like glasses won't read the book or get smarter for the far-sighted, ADD meds won't do it all either.  Coping mechanisms that worked before the diagnosis are still viable and may even work better with meds, re-evaluating your priorities to focus your attention on what is important rather than spinning your wheels on what isn't can also be helpful.

Some of us ADD people are actually the breadwinners, bill payers, tax filers, house cleaners, appointment remember-ers and have been for years and have gotten by just fine until something snaps.  One more thing happens and we decide working harder than our non-ADD counterparts to accomplish the same amount of stuff simply because our brains are wired differently is no longer do-able, has sent us over the edge and we stop caring.  It's too hard.  It got to be too much.  We just give up and get by.  It's exhausting and overwhelming to have something that will never go away, responds to certain medications only when it wants, changes as life changes and essentially have no light at the end of the tunnel.  We must go to the Doctor once a month, every month, for the rest of our natural lives if we happen to be on stimulant medications.  We get looked at like drug addicts by the pharmacist and it's so difficult to find the right dosage and timing for meds, deal with the side-effects, time our MD and Rx visits to fit the schedules of our work, family and mental lives in addition to living with a mental tornado violently ripping through our thoughts at all times, I mean it's friggin' awful to even think about a future let alone a happy one.

Ahh, mental vomit courtesy of my ADD.  I've gotten pretty good at functioning in certain areas of my life with really, really a whole lot of effort but there are other parts of my life I haven't even started on yet.  What should be considered good to most people, and at first to ADD people too, ends up sucking with such force that we end up in a black hole of responsibility and overwhelm-ed-ness.  I've experienced this many times and am beginning to wonder why I try to conform when it never ends up being that fun.

So, my non-ADD people, I do not understand where you are coming from, not from personal experience, but believe me when I say that I comprehend, I get it because it's what I haven't been able to do my entire life and it's what I've been told to do for so long it is now stored in my Long Term memory where I can get to it.  There is not a sub-category called ADD-With Malice and Forethought, Intentional-ADD is not in the diagnostic manual either.  Seriously we know not what we do - even if you've pointed it out, asked us not to do it, trained us how to avoid it and had it up to here <<flat hand at chin level>> and are sick and tired.  We're sick and tired too.  Let's maybe see if there's somewhere in the middle where we can find out what we both care about, write it down on something large and put it on the wall to see at all times to remind us that we're not enemies.  We are fighting the same fight against the bad stuff ADD may create.  Can't we all just get along?

Me-ADD

PS - If you are being treated badly by anyone, ADD or not, verbally, physically, emotionally please tell someone, get help - that is not part of ADD, that's just plain old abuse.

Could you please elaborate

Could you please elaborate what 'it' looks like when you're sucked into the "black hole of responsibility and overwhelm-ed-ness" and when you are "over the edge and we stop caring"? This really intrigues me...I'll explain why after you answer.

Another question...you insist throughout your post that people with ADHD just 'can't do it' ... seeming to point out that 'changing' the behaviors (that you point out are not on purpose) is just not possible. Then my question would be...where is the hope? If you've got an issue that repeats itself over and over and never gets resolved and we accept that it is ADHD and just simply cannot be overcome, then how does any of this ever work out?

I love your 'notes to' both non's and ADHDers...I believe both are very good advice and accurate. I am a HUGE believer in compromise being the answer to every issue...but I'm wondering how there is a chance at compromise if we are to believe that the behaviors aren't changable because of the ADHD.

Not a Pep Talk

Could you please elaborate what 'it' looks like when you're sucked into the "black hole of responsibility and overwhelm-ed-ness" and when you are "over the edge and we stop caring"? This really intrigues me...I'll explain why after you answer.

Um, "it" looks like a human blue screen, like when you know your computer is really dead?  Everyone gets overwhelmed, everyone.  I did not know I would be so sensitive to sound and activity but now that I have a 4 year old I realize that movement, yelling, crying, whining, begging, anything other than quiet has the ability to boil my blood and physically shake from auditory, visual, emotional overload.  Something small can set me off in an instant and I yell at my kid, she yells back, we have the exchange I never thought I would be a part of.  As someone who is the sole financial provider right now and is on job #7 in 2 years, who was so bad at handling finances we are Ch. 7 bound, does job #2 at home while constantly being interrupted by child who only wants Mommy to do whatever it is she wants, so many other things to list but again, I know other non-ADD people have the same thing going on but all I can speak to is how I cope.  I put something over my eyes, recently thought about ear plugs as well, and lay on the bed by myself.

The amount of energy expended throughout the day, mental and emotional energy, at a very stressful job, the only means of support for my family, after being downsized, straight up fired for "inconsistent performance", let go, etc. 6 times in 2 years I'm just a little hypervigilant at work trying to make sure I continue to earn a paycheck and provide health insurance so my family is covered but also so that I can go to the doctor once a month, every month to get numerous prescriptions and fill them without using up the entirity of our food money on pills I take just so that I can function well enough at the job I am so desperately trying to keep to support my family.  Nice circle, huh?  So the noise from my kid, lights being left on in rooms we aren't in, that same spot on the floor that's been there for weeks but no one other than me seems to care about, the mountain of things everyone, regardless of ADD status, deals with come crashing down around me as yet another person or animal or bill or task creeps up and says that I'm the only one that can do whatever it is that is needed.  I shut down.  I stop giving a shit.

I think I've taken on responsibility for things that I have no business being in charge of, I take on too much because I think things will take less time than they actually do, I am very picky about certain things so they bother me (cleaning) more than they bother anyone else so I end up being the only one who does them.  I know I am not making my life any easier by trying to do too much or by shutting down completely but I don't know any other way.  And I have tried so many things I've officially given up.  The american dream of house with a big yard, cute kid, great husband, wonderful pets, etc. has ended up being the most stressful thing I never wanted.

Then my question would be...where is the hope?

For the "just can't do it" part of your question I think maybe it could have been "just can't do it the way everyone else can or expects you to," I got through 28 years of life undiagnosed but had so many coping mechanisms and work arounds and self medication that allowed me to get where others were with far more effort.  It's like that running back in football who runs sideways to one sideline, pivots, gets like 3 inches ahead, goes back a few yards and runs to the other sideline and ends up with a gain of one foot just like he would have if he ran straight into the line, I'm that dude who ran 65 yards for a gain of a foot.

I can't answer the hope question because right now I don't have much. ADD people have a duty to seek treatment, try to find ways of doing things differently in order to reduce their adverse symptoms, the ones that are disabling and impact others around them.  Sometimes stuff works, sometimes it doesn't.  We've dealt with this our entire lives and will for the rest of our lives but the people who married us have only dealt with it for a brief period and are far more sensative to its effects than we are.  I plan on working with my hubby to find a better, more efficient way of interacting and supporting eachother because what we're doing isn't working.  Often ADD/non couples get smacked upside the head when responsibilities arise and expectations are not met.  The way I communicate best is the polar opposite of how my spouse communicates best.  We're working on it, at least we've acknowledged the problems and are committed to finding what works but occasionally I need a time out.

If there's an issue that arises over and over that's really high on the list of priorities in your life as a couple do something drastic like dry erase board with giant writing on it and post-its in the car, on the bathroom mirror, voicemail or computer background image with the solution in bold so the problem doesn't just fall by the wayside. 

I think ADDers are creative so that they can find out how to end up with the same result everyone else does by taking 64 more steps to get there.  It's not that behaviors of ADDers aren't changable, they just aren't with the standard methods.  Somewhere on this site someone said they would love to sit down and talk through a problem for 20 minutes and hash out every little possibility and detail to resolve it, this person was a non-ADD spouse, I almost barfed when I read that because that is my absolute worst nightmare.  Having to sit still for that long doing one thing, having to remember anything verbal, pay attention?  Are you kidding me?!!  I would rather have my eyeballs tattooed.  I like reading stuff.  I like writing stuff.  I can see it, reword it, re-read it, know it won't mysteriously vanish from my memory, organize my thoughts and come back to them any time, I absolutely hate talking/listening and have never learned or retained anything using that mode.  I skipped 3/4 of my lectures in college because I couldn't sit still that long, didn't take notes that mattered, couldn't remember a single thing the professor said by the next day and so I just stopped going.  I graduated, I learned on my own terms, I bought student notes from the company that sold them on campus, I figured it out.  I didn't do it the normal way and still can't and won't.

I guess striving to work smart, not hard and use creativity would be my version of hope.

  Thank you for your

 

Thank you for your response. I see your 'overwhelm' and 'black hole' are apparently frequent. My husband doesn't seem to have this issue as often, but when he does (can go for many months, even years without a meltdown) it can last for 2-3 months or more. He just checks out. Stops giving a shit. He has even been unfaithful during these times. Four of them in 14 years (I think the most recent one was ADHD medication, and other 'self-medications', induced).

He does not care about cleaning...a spot on the floor would be walked over from now until the end of times if it were up to him to clean it or even notice it. He loves to talk as long as it isn't about anything 'serious'. Sometimes he'll be in the 'mood' to discuss heavy stuff, but since his meltdown in Feb and as he's come out of it, those talks are few and far between. He hates for me to write him (e-mail or text) about anything serious too. He rarely even reads non-serious e-mails. However, make the subject matter light (or about him and things he likes) and he can go on and on talking for hours. He is the one that leaves every light in the house on, all cabinet doors open, clothes on the floor, etc. He isn't creative in finding ways to do things, he just doesn't do them until he pretty much has no choice. (i.e. flat on the mower...yard is 12 inches high...neighbors are probably ready to choke us...THEN it becomes important)

The issues in our marriage aren't those though. They are much larger and not something that a 'post-it' can handle. Do I put post-its in his truck reminding him to be honest with me each day? Do I put post its in his truck every day to remind him not to do stupid (dangerous, sometimes illegal, destructive, etc) things? Do I write on the HUGE dry erase board I have on the fridge "can we please talk about our marriage today?" because there is never a good time and communication has come to a screetching halt? I don't mean to sound angry...and I am not asking for answers. I know the answer is counseling and lots of it. Just saying.

One last observation...I'm very impressed with the way you've learned to manage a lot of your ADHD symptoms, but I will challenge you with the same thing I challenge my husband with. He often seems 'proud' of the way he "copes" with his overwhelm and feels it's perfectly acceptable and no one should dare have a problem with it. From where I'm sitting...it isn't so much a way of coping but it is a way of NOT coping. I understand ADHD will always be a part of who he is. It will always be a part of our marriage. It will always present challenges in the marriage. However, some of the things he claims are working for him aren't working for me. One of the hardest things I've had to try and make him see is that just because he feels he's come up with all of the answers and solutions to dealing with his ADHD, doesn't mean they're going to be cohesive to the marriage and family. He doesn't ask, he doesn't discuss, he doesn't try compromises...he just thinks his way is what works best for him, so it should work best for everyone else too. From my perspective (which is OFTEN not even close to his) it is hurtful to the marriage and is just more means of avoidance of the real issues. He is 100% convinced of the opposite. I guess my point is...work with your husband so that you aren't shutting down and not giving a shit anymore. Find ways to help reduce your stress without getting to the point where you don't care. I cannot imagine it is a very fun way to live your life and I'm sure your husband would agree. ?? Maybe?

 

Communication & Compromise

SherriW13- You are right to say that even if the ADD spouse is proud of a work-around or being able to finally complete something it is not necessarily cause for both partners to celebrate.  Most of our work arounds and backwards ways of going about things are the last resort in a long line of trying to do it the "normal" way, the slight adjustments, big overhauls, all end up somewhere that might work but really isn't that great for either person, it just happened to work.  Is your husband being treated, meds, counseling, alternative treatments?  I may have more ADD characteristics than most people and a bunch of them negatively impact areas of my life on a regular basis and yeah I try to get treatment and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but I would never use this ADD as an excuse for lying, cheating, drinking or anything like that because I don't care how bad my symptoms are there are certain things I just won't do.  I'm not saying I never lied, cheated, drank myself into excessively dangerous and stupid situations but I had no idea I had ADD, I decided what was important to me and I grew up.

I think there needs to be a distinction between ADD traits and symptoms and just plain bad behavior.  One of my favorite sayings, by Dr. Phil of course (I know pretty cheese but the guy has great "isms"), is that we teach others how we want to be treated, by allowing people to get away with treating us badly.  I am only bringing this up because I may have self medicated and in doing so done some really stupid stuff but I would never think to blame my actions on ADD, even if had known.  There's a huge difference between attributes of ADD and lying, cheating, being just plain mean and treating those you love horribly.  ADD doesn't make you stupid, it doesn't remove your ethical and moral compass, it doesn't make you lie, you make you do those things.  As someone with this diagnosis I definitely look back at areas of my past that I now see were difficult or easy or whatever and go "huh, that was probably the ADD rearing its ugly, or wonderful, head" but it doesn't mean I would ever excuse the royally messed up actions that hurt other people or me by saying "my ADD made me do it," we're still adults who are responsible for our own actions.

I guess I am just lucky to have a husband who tries to understand as best he can what I deal with, but I have to educate him on stuff that is specific to me because general ADD stuff in books can be a eye opening guideline but it's not going to help with the day to day "why do you do that?" stuff.  I owe it to my husband to try.  Not just to try treating my ADD but to try communicating and compromising without losing sight of the fact that we chose to get married for a reason and the ups and downs that come with it include all the unexpected life events, medical or mental health junk that comes up, how we deal with all of this and it's our choice whether or not we work individually and as a couple like we said we would when we made the decision to legally join our stuff, lives, names, everything together. 

I'm not sure I understand if you are saying when your husband figures out a way to do something that works for him and may not work for you do you mean he wants you to do it the same way or is it that the way he has figured out works for him is somehow infringing on you and your space?  I ask because ADD folks have been asked to do things that don't work for them since birth, I can't imagine ever wanting someone else to do something the way I do because I know it works for me-not everone else.  If it's that the way he does things doesn't work for you I guess I don't see why you care if it gets the result and doesn't adversely effect you directly.

Man, there are things deemed to be "normal" and usual based on reactions to not doing them that I just don't care about or see why anyone would even worry about it.  I have things that I have to do a certain way or I feel like I'll explode but they would never be considered "normal", for instance I read magazines back to front, every single time.  I also take tests back to front, SATs, ACTs, all through college and highschool, even though I know if you start at the beginning you may get answers to questions further on I just can't bring myself to do it-I've walked out of final exams because of stuff like this.  I can't get somewhere by driving the most direct route because it's boring, I will always try a different way even if it jeopardizes when I arive because it's absolute torture to do the exact same thing everyone else is doing every day.  I don't understand why people actually read directions to stuff you build at home, like bookshelves or cabinets or kids toys.  I look at the stuff that comes with it, look at what I have and scan the pictures of how things should look but I've never in my life read through the directions to figure something like that out.  And I've rarely had to go back to the directions except for a specific item that may be giving me trouble.  I would rather stick rocks in my eyeballs than hem and haw about a decision, I go with my gut, if I need to support my decision I have no problem gathering the data for both sides but that isn't what makes my decision, my intuition is. 

So, I guess boundaries are in order for both people, deciding what's really important versus what is getting the most attention and seriously pick our battles, communicate, compromise and act like grown ass adults.  Much easier said than done, huh?

Sometimes I just think the premise is wrong

I appreciate your post.  Like Sherry, Melissa, and every person working toward successful relationships,  I agree 100% that both partners have to be working toward compromise together.

 

However, time after time, I hear ADD people make the same statement with an air of *if you just accept THIS point, all will be fine* :

what do non-ADD folks have to explain why you can't remember that ADDers are not impulsive, forgetful, inconsistent, procrastinators on purpose?

I have NO problem seeing that it isn't on purpose.  Many many nonADD mates have no problem seeing that it isn't on purpose, but how does that solve the issue?  I agree that on purpose would just make you a lousy mate.  I think some mates (both ADD and non) are dealing with that element, but most of us are dealing with awesome, loving partners who suffer from ADD symptoms which require accomodations.

My illustration is that the little girl lying dead in the road doesn't really care if you meant to hit her with your car or not.  Will there be a lighter sentence for the person convicted of involuntary manslaughter vs running someone down on purpose?  I certainly hope so!  If she is only seriously injured and may well suffer from the effects for the rest of her life, she is REALLY going to be less caring about the intention of the person who hurt her.  Now my marriage is not now nor has never been in this condition, but many ppl are in relationships barely surviving on life support because of what happened before diagnosis/action began to be taken.  Who's fault is it if they can't get over it or if their mate can't/won't give them what they need to start healing?   If you already killed someone before you realized you are an alcoholic, sobering up is still the best thing to do, but it isn't going to be enough for all the people that have already been hurt.

 

Now I am not saying ADD=alcoholic, please don't misunderstand me!!   But I hope you see the point.  Intent matters, but it surely isn't as important as your action.  And you can take action too late to save a marriage.  Many ADD mates have come here in that shape and their unforgiving mates take a lot of heat for it which upsets me.  I read all the time scenarios like' I've been on meds for a month and have really been working on changing.  Yes I hurt my wife a lot over our 10, 11, 12+ year marriage, but she is so cold to me now that I am giving up hope'..........I mean REALLY!??!  I get a month feels like a long time to a person with ADD, but jeez ppl multiply that by how many months your mate has suffered and then cut them slack.

My point is to ALWAYS cut each other slack whenever possible.   I cut my husband a lot of slack because I love him and the things that frustrate me are things he is working on .  Is that why you make statements like the one above?  You are just saying, cut us some slack?  Cause I AGREE 100% with that, but the way it is presented is at times hard to swallow.

I have been told by a person with ADD, that to them intent is about 90% of the issue.  I think it is safe to say that for the nonADD person, intent certainly is on the scale, but is nowhere near 90%.  OF COURSE, I care that you meant to do x, y, or z.  But if it really needed to be done, I care a heck of a lot more about finding a way to get it done than why you didn't do it.

Really actions speak louder than words.  I understand why that is hard to take especially when the words feel like all you can offer at times.  I try to make it so my husband has a safe place to succeed and I accept that means that he'll struggle a lot longer than I will to put certain things into practice.

I really think it is a fallacy to talk about how much more or less effort one mate is putting in.   As an ADD mate there are definitely things that you have to work longer/harder on, but the non mate is doing many many many more things than you even realize they are doing.  I think it is much better to try to see the good things and appreciate when 100% effort is being put in by each.  It is devisive to compare--and I know because I've done it and tried to control things getting done desperately enough that I contributed to the beginning of a parent-child dynamic in my relationship.

 

Medications are not the end-all-be-all, they can help but just like glasses won't read the book or get smarter for the far-sighted, ADD meds won't do it all either.

 

YES YES YES YES YES   My husband wanted them to be the be-all that we suffered as much in the year after diagnosis as we did the year before. I had more patience for not knowing the problem then knowing the problem and him thinking he only had to take a pill for it.

Some of the ADD husbands are here.........and Mr Sherry I am looking at you......aren't doing nearly enough to recognize the damage they are causing, and if/when they lose their families because of it they will deserve it.   Those who do recognize and are trying to recover, the rewards of a healthy relationship again are absolutely 100% worth it!!!

 

I hear you

It wears me down when my DH tells me "you need to understand that I don't do it on purpose!". It wears me down because I DO get it. But on purpose or not, the end result is the same. I do give him some slack. I get it. But i take issue with the "i can't do it". I believe that with the right tools/support/accomodations he can do it. Maybe just not the same way as a non-ADD person would. And that's fine. We're all different. Is it unrealistic for me to think that way? That's been the conversation around here lately. The ADD itself is not the problem. How he deals with it, or doesn't, is the problem. He got diagnosed, he's got meds, can we move forward positively please? Venting. Bad day today.

Agree

I agree with you that it's what we do with and how we deal with the ADD symptoms that negatively effect us that matters.  Some days I get really negative and think nothing I ever try will work, other days I figure it out and don't get bogged down.  Good days, bad days.  Always our choice how to interpret what happens to us, ADD or not.

I am an alcoholic, I had my

I am an alcoholic, I had my last hangover December of 2004 and not a drop since.  I was diagnosed with ADHD 3 months after I quit drinking because I figured out why drinking got out of control in the first place.  I couldn't deal with the torture of what was going on in my head so I used to drink to stop the cognitive tornado.  When I stopped I became acutely aware of how much it was negatively effecting my life so I told my doctor and got on meds that helped immediately.  Since then I've changed meds a few times, nothing works perfectly but I have found something that I think will keep me from getting fired.  As for home life everything is in flux and life's changes and unexpected tragedies and basic demands have made it really nice to go to work.

I agree that intent doesn't quite cut it as an "excuse" for bad behavior, actions do speak louder than words and none of us has any control over how others interpret our actions.  I don't know about you but I can't read minds.  If I do something that, if my spouse did the same thing, would never upset me or cause concern and then seemingly out of nowhere my spouse interprets my action in a different way and is offended, how would I have ever known that?  Except maybe for same-sex partners there is also a huge gap between genders when it comes to expectations, interpretations and generally awful communication and ADD may just complicate things.  I will be the first to admit that some things that are very important to my hubby are downright annoying to me so unless he tells me what he needs I would never have any reason to think it was something he needed.

I guess the same goes for ADD/non-ADD people.  Unless you know the best way to communicate for both of you it may make things worse to communicate in a way that doesn't work.  I've had that happen at jobs and learned to ask "what is the preferred method of communication, phone? email?" I would be used to someone who preferred email and then try the same thing with a different client or boss and later find out that they rarely checked email and preferred a phone call.  Big mistake not asking.  Same goes for my hubby, he prefers talking it out, I prefer writing it down, he hates writing it down, I hate talking it out.  You can see where this goes.  I get frustrated by discussions that begin at 11 pm when I have to be up at 6 am, it's pure torture to patiently wait for thinking and formulating of sentences to happen even if I can clearly see that the discussion is very important, emotional, necessary for my spouse it doesn't make it any less painful for me to endure.  With so many responses and ideas flying through my head and the impulse to just blurt them out because if I don't now I will never remember what I wanted to say and when it eventually gets to my turn to say something I can't for the life of me fashion a coherent thought let alone one that is true. 

I can do this if I have enough time to think and write down what I want to say. My response in the conversation setting is to get defensive, angry, say stuff that I don't even mean just to have some kind of answer, I just want it to end and can't pay attention long enough to actually get what is being said.  I just avoid all conversations now because of this dynamic.

I agree that one month on medication versus years of not having a partner that was diagnosed or treated is BS, however "but jeez ppl multiply that by how many months your mate has suffered and then cut them slack." is a bit of a stretch.  The person you have been with for __ years whether they were diagnosed before or after you met has been the person YOU CHOSE to be with each and every day.  Unless someone knows they have ADD and refuses all treatment even if it will make life better for everyone, the undiagnosed can't do anything about something they don't know about and it would be the "mate that has suffered" who has the choice whether to endure or not (again, if said ADDer is undiagnosed).  If it's so bad, leave.  This is part of who we are, we can treat and manage it but like type 1 diabetes or any other chronic, incurable disease it's not going to go away.  It may get better, it may get worse, it will never go away so if you can't handle it stop wasting both of your time and get out.

I know my last comment may be harsh but that's what I intended.  I can only do so much to treat my stuff, if I'm doing all of it, trying my hardest, taking meds, monitoring meds, getting counseling, using a coach, educating myself, the list goes on....and if my mate is "suffering" despite my doing everything in my power to treat the bad parts of ADD, then to be honest I wouldn't want them to bother sticking around.  It takes effort and commitment from both parties and if that's not good enough nothing ever will be.

We'll never be in each other's shoes, I will never know what not ADD feels like and you will never know what ADD feels like but, like men and women, we can fight the battles important to us, forgive the stuff that's not important and try to communicate enough to make marriage work. 

You have definitely been through a lot

and at the end of the day I really think we agree on what each person's responsibility is.  I think we differ only on this one point and even that is not all the way:

Unless someone knows they have ADD and refuses all treatment even if it will make life better for everyone, the undiagnosed can't do anything about something they don't know about and it would be the "mate that has suffered" who has the choice whether to endure or not (again, if said ADDer is undiagnosed).  If it's so bad, leave. 

I know that no one can do anything about what they don't know, BUT I do not subscribe to the attitude that *he/she didn't know they have ADD so therefore the 12 + years of pain don't count*.  Because here was the clue that something was wrong....THEIR MATE WAS IN PAIN FOR 12 + YEARS.  They talked about it, they cried about it, they yelled about it, they got depressed about it,  they got hopeless about it.

Honestly I keep wondering what these ppl were thinking this whole time.  It takes a HUGE amount of arrogance to say *wow my mate is a pest.  She/he thinks something is wrong with me when clearly the only problem here is him/her.*  That seems to me to be what these undiagnosed mates are saying.  They are undiagnosed in many cases because they don't believe anything is wrong with them contrary to all evidence for years and years.

Fortunately my husband didn't do this at all.  The talking, crying, & yelling hurt him too.  He didn't understand why we were getting so unhappy from SOOO HAPPY originally, and he took action.  It wasn't immediate........I'd say we had a rough year where we both thought maybe it was *honeymoon is over* type stuff.  Or where I thought he was being passive agressive over something that upset him (he never liked to just talk about what upset him) or where he thought I was just being a nag.  But when things weren't going well, we each accepted we were involved, and he saw that his failing to follow through with promises to do better was truly painful to me.  I didn't understand how the man I loved could treat my feelings so callously, but more importantly he didn't understand either, and he went looking for solutions, and he found ADD.  We researched it (I thought ADD was all bouncing off the walls), and then he made an appt with the doctor.  If he hadn't done this and did it as early as he did it, I honestly doubt we'd have gotten back to happy so quickly.

 

This is part of who we are, we can treat and manage it but like type 1 diabetes or any other chronic, incurable disease it's not going to go away.  It may get better, it may get worse, it will never go away so if you can't handle it stop wasting both of your time and get out.

For many people who take their vows seriously, just getting out isn't an option.  They can leave over abuse, so if it gets to that point mentally or physically that is an option; or over cheating, which it honestly gets there WAY too often also.  But you can't leave over things like division of household chores and inattention, but those are damaging too. 

Also among ADD communities there seems to be two schools of thought on "this is part of who we are".  I agree with you in the incurable category........ADD will always be part of the life of an ADD couple.  But my husband and I do not see ADD=him.  His ADD is like an obstacle blocking the real him from coming out.  He is not his ADD nor his symptoms any more than a person with diabetes IS their diabetes.  It is a challenge they have to accomodate, but it isn't who they are.

Over the years of researching ADD and reading forums, it seems like the people who feel their ADD=Them and that anyone who doesn't like their symptoms or wants something to change is not being accepting are the people who have the more severe cases of AD/HD...especially the ppl with the H.  I don't deal with that as we are an ADD-I couple.

I don't personally know of any mates in real life or online who want to leave a mate with managed symptoms.  Sure there are still symptoms we dislike, but they aren't breaking up a marriage serious, and both ppl are hopefully working on their stuff anyway.

You can be as harsh as you want, but I think it takes nerve for any person causing many problems in a marriage to say "if you don't like it get out". How about "what can we both do to be a good mate and partner?" anyone who doesn't want to be a good mate is much better off staying single--I have a few AD/HD friends who I hope go this route once their divorces are final :(

Love them but can't live with them?

I've been thinking lately about how much happier my husband and I were when we were dating. I love him, he's kind and fun to be with and smart. But it makes me crazy to live with him.

He's still in bed at 9:45. He's awake but just doesn't want to get up. I've been up for hours and gotten several things done. If he weren't living with me, I wouldn't be worried about the undone dishes, the undone laundry, etc., all of which I'd like him to tackle while I get my work for the day done. There would only be half as much housework and I wouldn't feel so resentful of him sitting and watching TV while I do all of it. I feel like I'm trying to fit a square peg in a round hole by needing him to do housework. But I do need it! There is at least twice as much as when I lived alone. How can I do it all, work while he's not working, and survive? How do I get over the feeling that if he loved me he'd get up and do something to contribute?