Non ADHD partner dealing with deception

I am a female non-ADHD partner who, within the last few days, discovered a major deception by my ADHD partner.  Basically, he purchased a house and planned down to the last detail how to cover-up the purchase and move into it, in order to move out of our home before I would even realize what was happening.

It is very fortunate that during the two month period of deception, I had discovered the book, The ADHD Effect In Marriage and had read it, recognized our downward spiral and given a copy to my partner.  Until I read this book, I had no idea how much ADHD was affecting him and how much it was affecting me, although I was very unhappy and frustrated.  

My partner read it and decided that his decision to move out was at least partly affected by my reaction to his own behavior and that he ought to confess to me.  At the time he thought I would throw him out as soon as I knew.  But I did not.  Even though I am deeply hurt, the book, which we fit very closely, helped me to see that I too had played a part in his unhappiness. 

He has made steps to see a psychiatrist with specialty in ADHD about his medication.  Even though he has been taking Ritalin, his dose has not been adjusted for over 5 years.  I am in the process of locating a counselor that I can work with to help me start the recovery and how I can adjust my behavior.

We are hopefully moving forwards away from the pain, but I am still haunted by his clever and pre-meditated deception and concerned about whether I will be able to forgive it.   It is particularly hurtful because I spent the last four years financially supporting him whilst he went back to school to become a nurse. We are both in our 50s and it was a major effort for me, plus I rarely saw him as he was so hyper-focused on going to school.  He recently started work as a nurse and now has an income.  He is now totally focused on that job.  It feels suspiciously as though I was used up until the point that he could afford to purchase his own home, although he says it is much deeper than that.  Also, he is not coping too well in his new nursing job as he is having a lot of difficulty with time management and is concerned that he may not be kept on. I believe this may be exacerbating his ADHD symptoms, but not sure.

Can anyone shed any light on the deception?  Can ADHD be an excuse for such deception? Would taking on this new stressful job and the problems that go with it, lead him to just want to escape everything?  He says that is how he felt and he became obsessed with getting his own place and didn't see any hope for us.  However, he still managed to get a mortgage, get a new roof put on the place and the floors re-polished!  Is it possible he could really have been RUNNING or is this a real deception and a part of his normal character?  There have been some minor deceptions before - more conflict avoidance - but nothing to this magnitude.

Thanks for listening and thanks in advance for your comments.


I'm sorry to hear about what

I'm sorry to hear about what you are going through.  That is a major deception!  But it's a good sign that you and your husband are talking about it.  I do think that engaging in this type of deception can be related to ADHD.  I don't know if the immediate cause is fear or something else.

I am so sorry for the hurt

I am so sorry for the hurt you must feel.  Deception is such a large hurdle to get over.  Sometimes as the ADHD partner I do things that are deceptive, which at the time, I see as either unimportant information, or as a way to protect myself.  Neither reason is justifiable.  I understand the pain of deception well, though.  I experienced it severely in my past marriage, married to a Borderline Personality Disorder, and I still carry scars of it into my current marriage, an my current non-adhd partner often feels the effects of that unfortunately. 

I don't know if I have much to offer, as I am not in a good place with my own ADD, but I can share some of my own experience and beliefs.

First.  I believe ADHD should never be used as an "excuse" or a "justification" by either partner for poor choices in behavior.  Although I believe this, I have been often to blame for trying to use it.  Now my non-ADHD partner uses it as justification for the way she treats me.   It should be recognized, understood, addressed, but not excused.

I think it is wonderful that both of you have recognized your parts in the relationship.  I know how hard that is for the ADHD partner.  I am just really newly aware of my part and the part my ADD plays.  I can't imagine how hard it is for the non-ADHD partner to take on a part.  I say "a part", not their half, or the equal share, because it's not an equal portion.  I see it as the ADHD partner has two parts.  1. we need to properly manage our symptoms.  2. repair of the damage done to our relationship.  Of course, keep in mind, I'm am new to my perspectives, and leave room for growth in them.

When my ADD symptoms are not managed or become unmanageable, I get high levels of anxiety.  This causes serious self doubt, increased unfocused thinking (this is a snow ball affect increasing anxiety), lowering self worth.  At this point, I am either completely unfocused, Hyper-focused on something (something other than my family and wife), or so drained by trying to stay focused through my day, when my wife gets time with me, I am physically unable to give her what she disserves and needs. (ADHD is still not an excuse, failure of management most likely do to a poor decision on my part)  All it takes is a statement from my wife that is anything less than loving to let me know how she feels, and because my self worth is already in the basement, and my self doubt is occupying too much space in my head, I am devastated.  Proof once again that I can't do it.  Failure for life.  See?  Just another reminder of the same shit since I was 4 years old.  Ahhh...  Self pity...   It is the rotten air we breath...       My wife is convinced I like self pity.  

This is where the deception comes in.(enter stage left)  I hate self pity.  I hate myself in self pity.  I am disgusted with myself for feeling and thinking like I do.  It consumes me, blinds me, and deafens me.  It is almost as bad as knowing I have once again failed as a partner... as a friend... as a lover...  as a man.   hmmm...  still has the strange stagnant odor of self pity...?  This my be the single hardest symptom for me to manage.  self pity.  (I honestly am just realizing this as I write.)       Anyway.  In my brain, I need to do what ever is possible to not disappoint her again.  If she doesn't know about my short comings and failures, Then she's not disappointed.  Right?  HAHAHA!!!!   Pure brilliance!!!!   NOT...  Duh!  I have unmanaged ADD.  There is know way in hell I'm going to keep that up forever.  She finds out, and so we begin again....  But...  do I learn to change?  do it different?  no...  I slowly become more distant, quieter, protective, and deceptive.  Holy Crap!  I now hate the person I've become.  It's out of control.  I've bottled all this up inside, my wife still isn't happy with me, Life sucks, nothing I say is right, The only time she speaks to me is to remind me how I'm failing in this marriage.  I HAVE TO GET AWAY!!!!   God, I wish I could describe to you the pressure that builds up in my chest.  The house closes in on me.  Everything is pilled up.  My head is foggy and thick.  The more negative things she says, the harder my heart pounds.  Literally millions of thoughts running through my head.  I can't even hear what she says to me.  I say "please stop", buT why would she.  she has me now. cornered.  "You have avoided everything long enough!!"  She has had enough.  She is angry about everything....   Now... here it comes...  She now sounds just like my step-dad, my second grade teacher, my third grade teacher, my mom ect...  All of them letting me know what a lazy, undependable, uncaring, piece of crap I am.  The thing is...  She is the one I had believed would never see me that way.  I though she loved me for me...  She is just like everyone else I ever failed.  I have never stopped loving her.  my feelings for her are the same as the day I first kissed her, the day we decided to get married, the day we said "I Do",...  The day we went to our fist marriage councilor.  how could she not love me unconditionally also?

There is that moment.  You can't see through the whirlwind of ADHD.  The overwhelming disappointment.  The self pity has become your only companion. and you close up.  you convince yourself there is no hope.  You play the scenes of each day like a repeating production.  Focused only on what is in the moment.  this is when you make the impulsive decisions to walk away.  An attempt to hide your shame.  If we only knew that it doesn't go away like that.  in fact...  It only comes back to haunt you in a repeating nightmare...

wow...  that's a lot even for me to take in...  I always tell my wife, when she wants an explanation about why I do something, and wants a simple answer.  "it's not that simple"

Your Partner did something very hurtful, I applaud you for reaching out, and in a fashion that didn't push him away.  I pray for you that you will continue to have strength and forgiveness.  I know for myself.  I am full of shame.  I have never cheated, or thought about it, or been unfaithful in any way.  I take marriage and my commitment very seriously.  even so, I often feel broken and faulty.  It Kills me inside when my non-ADHD partner sits me down and tries to lay out everything I've done, remind me of all the hurt I've caused, points the blame finger at me, and then follows it up with "All the bad just isn't worth the good.  I don't have any faith you will ever change"  with encouragement like that, who needs ADHD?

I'm sorry if I'm ranting a little...  The point I'm trying to get to is this...  If he sees and is beginning to understand the affects of his symptoms, is willing to except responsibility for his symptoms, and you can share your feelings in a non blaming, loving fashion that supports progress, and share a vision with him of the kind of potential he has.  I believe you have a great shot.  I can only assume it is a long road, but I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that as much as I love my wife, when she is able to forgive me enough that she can get past the anger, I could be better for her than the unmanaged ADD man she fell in love with.  For now I focus on my management, cope with her anger in the healthiest ways I can figure out (this forum has been helpful), and pray and hope that rebuilding our relationship will follow in short order.

Hoping for the best in your journey

deceit is TOUGH

I am currently grappling with the deception that has directed our marriage for the last 18 months. About 2 months ago, I discovered that my (at the time untreated and newly diagnosed) ADHD husband was having an affair for the previous year and a half. The explanation of the ADHD has been a kind of relief, but the volcano of pain associated with the lies and broken vows is crushing. That being said, I am making progress through seeing a separate therapist, who indicates that I'm doing a wonderful job of "processing" my anger/pain/bewilderment and not "blocking" any of it. By allowing myself to continue to feel, acknowledge, and (ideally) understand my feelings I'll be able to reconcile them and move past them so they don't continue to consume me and I don't continue to obsess about all the painful thoughts I have. 

The other night I described to my husband what the lies have felt like to me: it's as though I've been living in "The Matrix," where the life I thought I had wasn't real and in actuality behind the curtain there was this complete opposite thing happening. I expressed to him how difficult it is for me right now -- when we have in-depth conversations, I have to trust that he is telling me the truth, because I don't trust myself to discern the lies, and frankly I don't have the energy either. The fact that I have to try to trust that he is telling the truth now is incredibly difficult, to say the least. He does seem to understand the paradox, and sympathizes with it.

You ask if ADHD can be used as an excuse for deception. My answer is flatly, no. But I will offer this re-characterization: my husband's ADHD contributed to how we got to the point where he felt the need to lie. I understand why the affair was appealing to him, but I don't see the ADHD as a contributing reason for why he went ahead and did this awful thing to our marriage. I see that as a distinction. I don't know if I'm right, but it's how I perceive it right now. To me, the texting the "other woman," the distraction and absence from our family it created, his resentment of me "nagging" constantly is all ADHD. Sexual infidelity is not. I understand that my situation is different from yours, but the pain of being deceived is heartbreaking.

As far as moving past it, if you find that the two of you really want to repair your relationship and re-create it, then I think you can find ways to do that. Therapy, the book, focused conversations about your expectations. You have to acknowledge and rip down everything that feels bad; only then can you rebuild to make something better than it was before. That is what we are both trying to do.