Non Add spouse looking at the future

This past week or so, I realized my husband is probably ADD.  We have been married for 21 years and have four children, at least two of them might have ADD and one of those two has a learning disability. 

At first it was a relief to find out that all these years my husband's actions weren't because of character flaws or uncaring towards me.  Now that the relief has worn off, I am experiencing a terrible grief.   Let me explain.

Before I met my husband, I had been in co-dependency therapy for a year because of my relationship problems with an alcoholic.  I had kicked the alcoholic out of my life (literally made him leave) because I could not deal with the vision of years of me having to live a "separate"  life within the relationship and of years of being the thinking person, the "mother"  in the relationship. I also didn't want to face years of going to therapy or support groups; I didn't want all that to consume my life.    I didn't get a childhood so the idea of having to still be the lonly responsible one was too much to bear.  A year after I got the alcoholic out of my life, I met my current husband.  He was so sweet, so much nicer than the acloholic, so affectionate that I fell in love with him.  We lived together for a year and then got married.  I love him deeply but from the beginning, things were not quite right.  All the ADD stuff about not being on time, being distracted and having job problems were happening and my co-dependency kicked in and I began to do the bills, and "rescue"  us every time something went wrong. 

We did fertility treatments for five years and then had healthy twin girls.  All of a sudden, I felt overwhelmed because I was alone, having to be a mother  to them AND him and he was always running away to "go somewhere."  He fell into a deep depression right after the girls were born and ended up going on zoloft.  It seemed to help the depression and for the first time in over five years, he stopped being so restless and was able to deal with things better.  He stopped taking it after 2 years because he said they took away his creativity and made him too numb. 

To make this short, he is now 56, and the last few years have been hell with seven job losses and now he is trying to career change.  He seems to be getting worse about his forgetfulness and stuff.  I am feeling more and more like a parent and my resentment was getting between us. 

Now that I know he has ADD, the grief almost overwhelming  because this means I am facing the very thing I left the alcoholic for;  years of having to do all the thinking, of having to be the parent, of not having an equal partner, of being consumed by this and having to go to therapy and support groups for the rest of my life.  I just wanted a NORMAL life.    I didn't get to have a childhood, all I wanted was a marriage where I could rely on my spouse to take up some of the load and instead I have a fifth child.  I love him so much but this is hurting so badly.  I don't want another child, I want a partner.  This hurts so much, I don't even know where to start.  All the advice I read, even here, still puts the non-ADD spouse into the role of "keeper"  and "thinker"  and "responsible one"  and I don't know if I can keep being all that.  It isn't fair to me.  Why has this happened to me despite all the therapy and progress I was making on my co-dependency?  I really made serious changes until I married this man.  His ADD has bumped me right back into  the co-dependency "parent"  mode.  I am experiencing emotional pain that I have been stuffing for years.  I have been being everythign for everybody (classic co-dependent) and it has made me unhappy, unhealthy and in pain. 

I don't mind taking care of myself and the kids, but having to be the thinker and parent for my spouse was not what I married for.  What do I do with all this grief and pain?  How do I overcome it and get to a point where I don't feel so unhappy?  I don't want a divorce, I love this man and he isn't as ADD as some; he shows his love a lot and is still very affectionate.  He is as sweet and loving as ever.  Besides, we have four kids and as a child of divorce, I know what that is like and I will NOT divorce my husband over this because it would damage the kids irreparably and hurt him deeply.  Yet to be healthy, I have to find some way to make sure I am happy, too.  (Co-dependents are really good at making everyone else happy while not thinking of themselves;  I cannot do that or I will become even more unhealthy.)  Yet if that means getting a separate life within the marriage, then why be married at all except for the kids?  The grief also is because I have realized that he will never be the husband I need even though I love him.  So do I really love him or is it the co-dependency?  I don't know what to think. 

Any advice for me?

Living with ADD

I have just realized this week, with almost 100% certainty that my husband of 10 years has ADD.  Finally it all makes sense!  The symptoms of ADD describe him to a T.  And I am highly organized ..all this time I thought I was crazy and had no idea that others were in the same situation.  This site has been a GODSEND.

As with the previous 'post' I too came from an alcoholic marriage - to now be a parent to my spouse!  HE is also a very loving/great person - but his isssues drive me insane!  The anger and the bitterness is overwhelming.  But yet, I feel better after now realizing his actions/inablity to act weren't because of lack of love for me.

How important it is to get diagnosed?  What do I do next?

For Confused - Should Hubby Get Diagnosis?

It's very important to get that diagnosis because:

  1. a full diagnosis will put your spouse under a doctor's care, including full treatment, which should make things better/different
  2. there may well be other issues that your spouse is dealing with but doen't realize, most common of which are depression or anxiety
  3. diagnosis gives you both firm footing to start to understand what you are dealing with now, and what you have been dealing with in the past.  It gives you "permission" to grieve for the hard times you have had, as well as start to search for a new path forward

Talk with your husband in a calm, and non-threatening way about what you suspect.  Suggest that he get an evaluation so that he and you know what you are dealing with, but make sure he understands that you are neither requiring it nor does getting an evaluation - even a positive diagnosis - mean that you are suddenly going to start interfering in his health issues.  Simply that you have heard that many people benefit greatly from knowing whether or not they have ADD and learning how to manage its symptoms so that they don't interfere as much.  If he says he doesn't have any symptoms, suggest that an evaluation may help him understand better whether he does or not.

Try to get the evaluation done by a psychiatrist - they are more experienced at teasing out all of the issues (vs. internal medicine people) and they can prescribe meds if that is the direction in which your husband and his doctor decide to go.  (Psychologists can't).

Glad you like the site and have learned here...that's what it's all about!


looking at the future

SORRY carecare7, I noted in my previous post that I totally neglected to comment on your post.

I just wanted to say, please know you are not alone. I think you and I are in very similar spots at this point in time.

I think what I am going to do over the next little while, Is focus on learning as much about ADD as I possibly can.  Like you, I am overwhelmed and very tired of having to do everything.  This is not what I envisioned for my would have been nice to have someone take care of me for once :) 

Although it is hard, try to focus on the positive.  YOu mentioned that he is loving and affectionate and that you love him.  That does mean something.  As hard as it may be, I need to learn to get rid of my anger and focus instead on love and compassion.  Can't imagine how hard it must be for an ADD person to live in this world.

Know that I am thinking of you...Although I don't know what the future holds for either you or I, I suspect that you are much stronger than you think you are.  You will get passed this.


Hi Confused,Now that I have

Hi Confused,

Now that I have gnashed my teeth and grieved for a day or so, I took stock of things and realized that my husband is NOT as bad as many of the husbands described here.  Mine IS affectionate, treats me like a queen, did his own bills before I met him and was good at that.  He held down different jobs for YEARS without any problems so the last few job losses are NOT just because of his ADD.  I also realized that he gets worse when he is stressed, he is a wonderful father and loving husband  and a great best friend.  He is creative, very fun, makes me laugh, and has been faithful these 21 years we have been married.  I also realized that he has suffered enough; I want to be the soft place for him to fall at the end of the day.   I also realized that it is  NOT co-dependent to want to help someone that not only loves me, but who shows his love for me all the time and gives back.  Co-dependency is when your whole life revolves around someone else and that isn't totally true, my life revolves around our kids, him, and ME.  I do things for myself all the time, like my crocheting, my message boards, my activist stuff, my writing and any friends I am able to make.  So I am not unhealthy, I was just scared but now that I know more, I am ready to see how he and I can work this out together.  I am not angry at him at all, instead I felt a deep sadness for him because of how he must feel and that I contributed to that. We have had the best talks these  last few days and I am closer to him than ever!   <sigh>  I feel so happy and lucky. 

We can get through this and I know I am lucky to have him in my life.   Somehow I think you can get through this with your husband, too. 

HI carecare7 I laughed when I

HI carecare7

I laughed when I read your post - I think we are married to the same guy hahahaha.

Mine too is very romantic, loving and creative and makes me laugh too.   And it makes me so sad to think of what he has gone through. 

I am guessing that you can very much lean on each other and rely on each other's strengths...  Maybe you and I will learn some new things on this road we must travel :)

As my mom always says..that which does not kill us will make us stronger!

Now that you know more about ADD, isn't it somehow a relief to know that there was a reason for all these things?  I am glad to know that there are also other NON ADD'ers out there who are going through the same thing as I .  I thought I was crazy.   I thought I was the only one who was married to a great guy..who just couldn't seem to make money, pay bills and do responsible things.

This message board has been such a big help.

Is your husband seeking help?  Is he currently working?  ARe you going to support groups?