I just finished Melissa’s book and it hit home so much! I am a non-ADHD spouse married to my husband who was diagnosed last month. We have been together almost 16 years (15 of them extremely happy…one of them completely heartbreaking, painful, and devastating).
Much of what was touched on in the book highlighted what we are both going through (and have been going through unbeknownst to either of us that it was ADHD, because the symptoms weren’t causing any disarray in our relationship). That was until September when I found out my husband was having an affair. It has shattered me. I felt completely blindsided in what I thought was a very happy marriage. The book spoke about the ADHD effect on affairs, but I am having such a hard time wrapping my head around why and where to go from here. I am not the nagging, unsupportive, uptight wife outlined in many scenarios discussed in the book and on this website. We hardly fight or bicker, and are very compatible in most aspects. We have a ton of fun together, always up for something new and different, but also have fun just being together at home relaxing. Through couples therapy, my husband has assessed and indicated that there has been no justifiable reasons for this affair. It wasn’t anything I did. It is not a relationship issue. It’s just a feeling he’s had. A feeling of curiosity for other women and ambivalence/lack of desire for me lately that lead him to this affair.
I caught him in a blatantly cruel lie about his affair which led me to leaving him a couple months ago. However, upon my leaving he immediately had clarity, expressed his regret, ended his affair, and begged me to come home so we could heal together. He poured out his heart stating everything I was waiting to hear for so long, “I’m losing my mind without you…I’m all in with you…I want a lifetime of happiness together…I’ll do anything to get you back…so not worth throwing this away…What was I thinking…I don’t deserve you…You’re worth it/we’re worth it…I want to share how important you are to me because that’s something I lost sight of for some crazy reason”. How could I not go back?
I felt the feelings start fading again as these promises went unfulfilled, and I couldn’t count on the goals/benchmarks we were going to lay out together anymore. My expectations were too high. I still had too much healing I needed to do. He continues to have so much ambivalence toward me he can’t even initiate a nice word/action/thought about me. There is so much negative baggage he starts each day with about me, then add that to his obsessive thoughts about other women, and his novelty for me completely wearing off without any ability/want/knowledge to change it. I feel completely stuck and I feel completely hopeless. My world is turning upside down and I have no control over the outcome of it.
I have asked for such bare minimum things since then (i.e., reflecting on a good part of our day together, a reason he fell in love with me that he still feels, a weekend away, doing something new he likes together). I'm not asking him to rehash the details of the affair or berating him about how he hurt me. I am asking him to push this old baggage he created aside, see me/us in a new light, give our relationship some attention, assurance, and positive reflection so we can move forward together on a clean slate with a fresh feeling. We don’t live a boring life. I have a hard time grasping that he actually wants something different in a partner or in his life. With the exception of novelty and desire to see what else is out there, I truly believe that he wants all the same benefits, joy, stability, freedom, happiness, and support I provide…but with a new face, body, voice, and ability to tap into that curiosity to meet that need for new affection, attention, and admiration once in a while. He goes through phases of what he wants and what he feels so often…I sometimes can’t keep up. Sometimes I feel that I have been the only substantial thing in his life that hasn’t been a phase up until now, so I can’t wrap my head around him feeling differently for someone else in the long-term if this is his issue with me.
I hate that I had this promise of clarity, prioritization, and healing patiently together ripped from me as soon as I put my heart back on the line. My resentment, sadness, and anger grows each day he can’t commit to our relationship. I’m starting to become someone I don’t recognize anymore, which is making repairing our relationship seem even more difficult lately because I’m not the laid-back, carefree, trusting wife anymore…I can’t be…I was that person and that was completely taken for granted. It terrifies me the longer this goes on untreated and undiscussed the worse it will get because he is always looking for the “quick fix” and will move on if something doesn’t work. He has such a unique coping process with difficult information, the smallest bump in the road is just another justification to shut down, and he is so quick to do so. It's not getting us anywhere.