Non-ADHD spousal affair. I'm lost.

I am a 40 year old male that was diagnosed (family physician) with ADD earlier this year. I just recently was officially diagnosed through an ADHD psychologist. I have been on meds for several months. Unfortunately I did not do much research when I was initially diagnosed and figured the meds would take care of it. This created every one of the marital patterns Melissa describes in her book on both myself and wife's part. They have been present of course since before I was diagnosed but not recognized or dealt with at all.

Fast forward to 06/11/2013 (our 2nd wedding anniversary) when I discovered texts that left no doubt my non-ADHD wife was having an affair with another woman from her work. Suddenly all the signs made since. All the "unconscious" gut feelings something was wrong. She ended the affair and has cut all contact with the other woman and we have tried to begin healing. She tried finding another job over the summer (she's a teacher) but was unsuccessful and has now had to go back to the same job.

I am seeking the proper therapy and medication through ADHD specialists now and beginning the learning process of what the effects have been on me as an adult that's grown up with undiagnosed ADD. From what I've learned so far, here is where I feel I am getting stuck.

1) Hyperfocusing on the details, timelines and overall the affair. My wife deleted most all evidence from her email/phone, etc. The issue is I am somewhat of a digital forensics expert and can/have recovered data up to a specific date. I know reading all the texts can/is harmful. I have read some already and they are hard to forget but my hyperfocus is not letting it go. I have gone so far as to physical pack away the computer the data is on and it still "calls" to me so forcefully it's hard not to unpack it. IS there a way to turn this off or train my brina to focus on something else?

2) Learning how much my ADD contributed to the environment in our marriage has been and extremely painful process. I knew I spent too much time 'playing' but I also thought I was doing a much better job of managing it. I also didnt relaize how this left my wife feeling. I can only get a few paragraphs at a time in of Melissa's book because of the pain I feel. I logically know her choices are her own and she has said as much and taken responsibility for them, but I am stuck on blaming myself for her choices.

3) Trust - While trust in any case of an affair is hard to regain/earn, I have been betrayed or given up on so much in my life that it's hard to trust anyone even after a small betrayal or hurt let alone something of this scale. I want to forgive and try and make things better but this has proven so difficult. I've read it takes an average of 2 years to recover from an affair and I fear dealing with my ADD and trying to recover from an affair will break me more than I already am.

Are there any words of wisdom or advice from others experience? Does it get better? Can you get past it?

Thanks in advance.

carathrace's picture

find out the truth

Hello, kabob.  First I want to say "good on ya" for getting diagnosed, for taking meds, for reading Melissa's book, for seeking therapy.  So far, so great!

Second, I have to ask something you didn't address.  Is your wife a lesbian?  It seems important to know this before you go on.  My best friend struggled  through years in a difficult marriage, never being able to get a handle on what was wrong.  Finally they got divorced, and later, her husband came out.  He is very happily married now to a man he met after the divorce, but the source of his anguish during his marriage to my friend made both their lives miserable.  If your wife is lesbian, it might be better to not try to force her into a role she feels unfit for.

Third, I would put away the "evidence" of the affair as far from you as possible.  What purpose does it serve?  It's like continually picking the scab off a sore -- it keeps bleeding and will never heal.  Destroy whatever you unearthed.  You will feel better about yourself, and that's what matters right now.

Fourth, I do not believe you are responsible for your wife's affair.  She made the choices, of her own free will.  There are many other reactions she could have chosen to your ADHD symptoms,  you didn't force her into infidelity.  Her affair is about HER.  It may, however, be a subconscious way of her saying she wants out of a heterosexual life that isn't her.

Short Answer "I don't know"

Thank you so much for the reply. As for whether she's a lesbian or not, I have asked her multiple times and she's said this was the first and only time she's ever had feelings for another woman. She swears she wants to be with me and that's why she broke off the physical part of the affair after about a month. The emotional went on until discovery. This is one of my biggest fears is that she is a lesbian and doesn't know it. She grew up in a very conservative christian home where homosexuality was worse than murder so it could have been suppressed or shamed all these years. If it turns out she's a lesbian then so be it, at least there will be some peace in her for figuring that out.

Grrr's picture

A similar thing happened to

A similar thing happened to me but I am the non-ADD partner. And he got drunk and slept with another woman. It will never be the same. I don't think the trust ever comes back 100% It (the relationship) becomes something else. You will never forget but we have the capacity to forgive. Regaining trust is very hard. I agree that the evidence should be destroyed. Do not blame yourself. And there is no excuse for having an affair; ADD or no. If she really loves you and wants to work on it, and it sounds like she does, find a counsellors or a therapist that you both feel comfortable with and be open about how you are feeling about things. The sting will fade if you let it. She should understand and cooperate when you need verification on things as you slowly regain more trust. I believe the partner who cheated needs to go through a period where they cannot object or get angry if you need extra reassurance and verification in helping you to trust her again. If I was the person who cheated, I would "jump through all the hoops" to build trust back up again. Because I love him. I wish you luck! 

I Wish I Knew ...

I think it does get better ... depending on your definition of 'better.' For me, personally, I've had to come to terms with the idea of 'better,' being progression toward a goal, as opposed to being a magical point that you just teleport to. To me, in order to control your hyperfocus on the details, you have to first ask yourself WHY you're focused on them. We always hear that ADD folks can concentrate more on things they're interested in. Why are you interested in the texts? Is it because it was a major event in your life and it's still so recent? Or is it because your mind is trying to tell you that you need closure before you can begin moving forward?

Can you get past it? That's something only you can decide. But before asking IF you can get past it, don't forget to ask yourself if you're WILLING to try getting past it. Because it's going to be a long road.

Don't blame yourself for what's happened. You have ADD, but it doesn't define who you are. Yes, the behaviors were a factor in what happened, but so are your wife's reactions to those behaviors. You don't have to like what happened, but if you truly want to get past it, you've got to put a notch in your timeline that says, "I'm no longer concerned with assigning fault to past events. I've got to focus on how to move forward, only."

That was fabulous 'i'm no

That was fabulous 'i'm no longer concerned with assigning fault to past events. I've got to focus on how to move forward, only.'


Music to my ears...