Non ADHD spouse and new here. Sad, frustrated.

hi Everyone. I really love my partner.  I am really sad though. He has been on ADHD meds for a year but I am feeling like I still am getting the short end of the stick with the relationship.

It has to get to 'crisis' mode for him to work on his debt load.  I have tried to talk to him, be a partner, encourage him, coach him, etc. To no avail.  I got really upset, and have threatened to end the relationship if he does not get his debts under control.  He makes 3 times the money I do, and has not put the effort into this in 3 years since his debt load accumulated...he's not in more debt but he is doing little or nothing to lower his debt.  He promises and then I see the line of credit statement, and nothing.  I dont like nagging, and I feel bad for getting so angry, but it seems it is the only thing that works.  But will it work? I do not believe his promises anymore.

Yes, I feel like I am burdening most of the responsibility financially in the relationship to keep things on track.

Then there are the unmet commitments.  When we were talking about buying a house together I told him that it was very important to me to be at least engaged first. I do not want to be a 'live in girlfriend'.  He understood and agreed that this was something that would happen.  Here we are 3 + years later after the house purchase and this has not happened.  I told him that it hurts, and that I have stood up to my commitments, but he has not.  I am not going to nag him over this, as I have too much pride to badger a man to marry me.   I have started going to family functions on my own and just doing my own things to meet my needs as I feel awkward over this all. 

I guess I am feeling that I took all the risk, moved away from my home and livelihood, restructured my life to build one with him and have had him not meet his promises.  I feel quite used actually.  I am seriously considering cutting my losses now, ending the relationship and moving on.  I do not want to be in a relationship where I am the 'mother figure'; I want mutuality and someone that wants to plan for the future together.  I have talked to him about it all and asked him if it is possible that maybe I am just not the right person for him, and if that is true, lets figure that out now, as I want him to be happy and not be with me because he is 'supposed' to be.

And yes, he was amazingly charming and attentive at the start of the relationship. 


If you're ready to move on,

If you're ready to move on, do so.  I wish that I were in your position; the decision to cut one's losses is much harder to make after 27 years of marriage.

Moving on...

I couldn't agree more. I completely relate to your experience, frustration, and anger. It seems like leaving is an option for you. As you can probably imagine, marriage and children would make it much, much harder, if not impossible, to leave the relationship, and I doubt they would improve your relationship. I am married to a man with ADHD who, despite his best efforts, is like a hurricane force in my life. I am constantly cleaning up the mess he leaves in his wake. But after 15 years of marriage, two children, a house/mortgage, and even a business together, detanlgling our lives and leaving him would be extremely difficult, and seems impossible most of the time. I wish you the best, whatever your decision. I really do feel your pain, as I live it every day in my relationship.

Welcome to the club, Sunny!

Welcome to the club, Sunny! ;)  (And I don't mean that as sarcastically as it sounds - just a BIT of sarcasm, really.) I was wooed just the same. Moved it, and I felt like it all stopped pretty quickly. 

I'm separated from my ADHD partner while we work on ourselves for a bit. My finances were a mess (from rescuing others too much, not ADHD) and I'm just coming out of a very dark tunnel with respect to that. His finances are worse IMO. I'll save ya' the details, but even when I was at my worst I still knew how all my money was being spent and who it was owed to and always worked on paying it off until I lost my job. He doesn't open the envelopes regularly. :-\  Oye...  the horror!!!

That said...  I'm quite happy right now that we can't get married (we're gay). As much as the kid in me wants that fantasy, I have to stop and ask myself "Why would I want to LEGALLY take on all of his financial problems?" I'm not a marriage/legal expert, but if we were married, I have a sinking feeling I'd be one step closer to being legally obligated to his financial stuff, and I've worked too hard on my own to get drug back down right now. 

If I had been on these boards a while ago, here's what I would have wanted someone to suggest to me:

  1. Stay on the forums here and read others' stories. Lots of great folks on both side of the ADHD effects and really helpful. 
  2. Keep your distance from his "baggage". If you need to pay the household bills to keep your safety in check without sacrificing your own sanity (i.e. mothering him), maybe that's a good way to go. 
  3. Read up on ADHD, especially impulsivity and avoidance. Sounds like the culprits here. Consider Melissa's book, too. 
  4. Continue on your self-respect, "no nagging" path!  Congratulations for avoiding that! (I'd love to hear how you manage it!)
  5. Put some "rainy day" money away for yourself. Hopefully you won't need it, but it'll be there just in case. ;)  (I realized everyone should try to do this. What if my guy left ME? I didn't have $ set aside. What if he died? Oye. There's $$ in my bank just for this right now, and the stress it removes is incredible.)

In the interest of not totally slamming my guy, he has paid a huge part of the household bills every month for the past 6 months. This is huge for him, me, and the relationship. HUGE! I've been completely protected from his personal stuff. If my guy can make these kinds of strides, I'm pretty sure anyone can. I need to celebrate this fact much more.

Hopefully you'll hear from some other on this, and keep asking away. ;)

thanks for the comments.  He

thanks for the comments.  He does not know I am on a forum and confiding in others; so I wait until he is on night shift to write.

I do have a rainy day fund for sure saved and am considering moving ALL of it into the family trust for protection.  His debt is in the 25k range and he has promised to knock it down.  I have told him that he has until August for me to see him knocking it down and if I do not see substantial progress, Im out of here.  I can't count on him and that really bothers me. 

I am normally a quiet, positive, supportive person but I am finding that lately my anger and frustration is resulting in me acting out and saying some pretty mean things about the debt he is carrying, his unmet promises to take care of things he said he would do, etc.  And that is something I am NOT proud of-I just dont know how to get him to hear me though!  I told him after the blow out that I was sorry, that  I do not want to be like that and every time I do that, I realize that I am making a choice to do so (I made sure he knew I was taking 100% responsibility for my actions).   I took him in good faith at his word and he has not kept those promises.  In the past I have tried the "I feel (enter emotion of choice here) when....", etc.  He nods, says he is sorry, that he hears me, but then nothing!

He knows that I am not happy, that I feel used, and feel trapped here because of the let downs and empty promises.   I am sure some of you may be thinking, "girl, why the heck would you want to get MARRIED in light of this?"  I guess I just realized that I saw the marriage as one of the unmet promises, that gets dangled in front of me, and subconsciously I was thinking that if he meets his promises, that things can get back on track (ie: if he follows through on everything it will all be super again).  But this is not realistic, or rational.  (so posting here has helped me to get real..with myself.  thanks :( 

I do not feel secure in the relationship because of the continual broken promises.

And as for the intimacy side of things?  He just isnt interested in sex.  He was at the start of the courtship but I am lucky if he initiates anything once every 2 months.   And I refuse to 'badger' him for sex. 

I am now withdrawing from him and I don't even think it is really registering with him. I tidy the house if I have time after my work and before he is home.  I cook the dinner.  I am quiet during dinner and go to bed early.  Then I sometimes leave the bed in the night time and go sleep elsewhere.  I just have nothing to say and Im tired of it all.  And I can't fake being happy with him.  




I began withdrawing from my ex during our relationship. I don't think he ever noticed, but at least I was able to do my grieving before I left. That helped me to "never look back."

It's amazing to me how many warning signs I just ignored. His kids told me he was very quiet and never communicated before we married. But he was in the hyperfocus stage, so I guess I thought he just needed some real understanding, and I was the one who could do it! Now I realize, he couldn't keep up the hyperfocus forever. That's why he wanted to rush to get married. So he just returned to his REAL personality. He didn't change -- I just imagined he was a person that he really never was. Now that I'm away from the problem, I realize I certainly was engaging in a lot of "magical" thinking myself.

I'm sorry, but I chuckled a little when I read, "I refuse....."  Anything you refuse to do or at least bring to the forefront to work on just won't ever get done. He is probably quite happy with the way things are (in his own little way), and upsetting the apple cart will probably be the only tool you will have.

Money problems, lack of communication, dishonesty,.... these are all parts of the syndrome and his personality, and they won't just go away. These are brain problems, and it takes a really MOTIVATED person to change despite their brain chemistry.

Good luck.

for yourself

Hi Sunny, 

Welcome here. I have learned so much from the people who share their stories, difficulties, and accomplishments on this site. One other thing I can recommend you consider may be counseling. I have an amazing therapist and don't know what I would do without her. It is just irreplaceable to have a bright human being look at me and say, "Well, of course you feel frustrated," as if it makes perfect sense that I would be when my DH does not clean up after himself.

You are smart to realize that there may be certain things you can't live with, like taking on too much debt or faking being happy when you know something is missing. Please stay true to yourself--you sound like you realize that marriage would not be an automatic solution to these issues, but that it was something that was meaningful to you and your partner has disappointed you by agreeing and then not following through. Don't let it make you feel bad about yourself. 

I also recommend Melissa's book. If anything, it made me realize that many of my DH's behaviors were attributable to ADHD and were not merely him being selfish and self-centered, which made me feel better about some of his actions that I had misunderstood. 

Imagine right now that you

Imagine right now that for the rest of your life he promises, promises, is cute, promises, promises, gets irritating because of his lack of financial responsibility, promises, promises, but doesn't come through on his promises, promises, promises.  You get the idea.  Don't give your life away.  There are guys out there who you could depend on.  FIND ONE.

Are either of you in

Are either of you in counseling? Have you considered it? I know a lot of folks here have had success with it. Both sides of the fence, too. Us non-ADHDers can learn how to keep our own business in order and stay out of their's, and the ADHDers can learn better management techniques. 

I find it a complete and total pain in the ass to try to separate the person from the ADHD symptoms, but doing so helps a lot. The wonderful guy I know is in there, but is being masked by these pesky symptoms. 

Know that I'm a hopeless romantic on this peace of advice, but if his debt is the biggie, maybe finding a way to take better (more?) care of yourself while he does his thing could prove to be positive? 

It can be such a toss up...  those days where the symptoms aren't as strong certainly make it harder to make a decision to leave. 

Know that it's nice to have ya' here, though. :)

If I knew then.....

Hi Sunny: I hope this doesn't come off as a "debbie downer" type of answer but I wish I had someone tell me what I'm about to tell you 7 years ago before I married. If you have to work this hard and are this sad and are this lonely and feel this used.....why do you want to marry this man. Marriage is a commitment that is life long. There is no get out of jail free card. When you throw children in the mix the dynamics are magnified 10-fold. I really want you to do some serious soul searching. I'm not saying that with treatment and some serious work on both your parts that this won't work but until there is a HUGE change in the dynamic of this relationship, marriage should be the absolute last thing on your list of things to do with him. I give you this answer with the utmost respect for the situation you are in. I live it daily and I'm doing everything I can to relclaim the person that I was before I said I do. We are still married legally and I'm doing my best to learn how to thrive in the context of this relationship but it's so incredibly hard. I have a child with him so that makes things so so much harder. I wish you the very best in all things. Come here often. There is a lot of sadness here but so much wisdom too. Take good care of yourself.....put yourself on the front burner, read Co-Dependant No More by Melodie Beatie......those two things will put things in big perspective.!!

Just to agree

Read your reply gratitudeiskey, and I have to say this....well written, and definately valid points.

I have been married 25 years, twins who just turned 18. Now is the  time when "normal" couples are reconnecting and starting to recapture their lives together as a married couple.  We never were connected due to his ADHD and now, I'm older, more tired, more cynical and it's HARD to try to start building a marriage at this point....very, very hard.

We have no social life other than his Mom and our kids, everyone has been distanced due to our constant fighting, or I have dropped people because of his poor behavior. His family, who used to love me, sees me as the bad guy, as they don't know what I have lived with for all these years.  I just look mean and controlling to them.  Not a loving caring wife and family member who has literally had to be wife and Mother to him all this time. I have not made any new friends because of our bad relationship.  Didn't want to let anyone in on the madness of it all, and as I said, his (for lack of a better term), dopey, juvenile, inappropriate behavior.  Most of the time he can be soooooo embarrassing

I hate to say it, but I advise the same.  Move on.  Once your life is half (or more than half) over, and you look back, as some of us can, you wish so badly you had done things differently or had a clue sooner.  Time goes too quickly to be living this sort of life.

This disorder is just sad

It's so frustrating and sad.  I just left my girlfriend of 3 years, who I love dearly.  It will hurt when you cut your losses, but it seems from the other stories listed that it's probably the road to take unless they choose to acknowledge it and work with it (and have a sense of humor about it too).  My gf did a lot of things very well.  Meaning she makes good money, she can be sweet, spontaneous, loving, etc, relies on her meds during the day.  But of course, like all the other ADDers in these relationships, she did the whole hyperfocus thing on me.  And then subsequently disappeared after about a year or so.  And just like the others mentioned, the relationship gets very lonely and disconnected.   And just like the others the sex dies due to a lack of connection.  I mean it seems to be all the classic signs.

She seems shocked that we broke up.  In spite of me telling her in a million different ways that this isn't working and that I need more out of her.   I keep giving her more chances and she keeps disappearing.  She thinks ADD is nothing...though she will take adderall during the day so she can work and knows what happens to her if she doesn't take it.  But at night, when I see her, no medicine, no coping mechanism.  All the promises and it never happens.

I guess what I'm saying is it seems it doesn't change unless the ADDer understand the effects, take it serious, and does something about it.  I could be wrong, but my ex is a wonderful person, and I even couldn't believe her anymore.

Thank you for the support and

Thank you for the support and the words of advice.  I have been away at a conference and not alot of time to think on this stuff; I have to say, being away was nice; I was only responsible for myself, and I took some time to go be a tourist as well!

I am so sorry that so many of us go through this; and while I was hoping for some encouragement (like maybe there is SOMETHING that can work out)I will keep working on myself; and yes, more counselling will be part of that, and give him the 2 months that he has asked for to show he can get it together.

I may be clutching at straws here, but re: the intimacy thing, he may very well be suffering from low Testosterone.  he is losing body hair, muscle mass, and his doctor is worried.  I do believe that he has been tested for low T, but is it just part of the drug interactions?  He is on Concerta. 

I have also asked him not to attend a family wedding.  My cousin is getting married and I am taking the steps to more independence-he was shocked and a bit hurt, but I explained to him that I need the time with my family.  I am also planning a holiday.  I will not pay for his vacation; he has too much debt.  I feel a bit guilty doing this, but not really.  I need to keep living my life.  And I do not want to be the enabler; and besides, it feels crappy when I try to do the mommy thing for him.  Yuck!

I feel that I can continue to stay in my higher power of kindness but hold him to his promises.  If he does not step up to those promises of debt reduction and doing the list of things he said he would do (much of it has to do with decluttering and his semi hoarding tendencies) then I guess I have my answer.  I have the ways and means to start over again; and I could live in a part of the world where I am truly happy. 

I have to say, it is important that we are always able to financially take care of ourselves and I am thankful that I have that going for me.

For those of you financially dependent on a partner, get out there, take some courses and make your dreams come true.  Think of it as building a foundation for yourself; even in baby steps, so that you can make your life the best it can be.  With or without them.  This is especially pertinent for us women.

Hugs to you all.