Non ADHD struggling to cope with life with ADHDers

Hi guys, I found this site after Googling for ADD/ADHD info. I could really use someone to talk to about this. I'd be glad of some input from other people in similar situations or from anyone who could just offer their thoughts. I feel as if I'm kinda just drowning right now. Sorry it's so long. I'm in a bad place.

Our daughter was diagnosed with ADD when she was 7. After her diagnosis, it became apparent that her Dad had ADD too. The Consultant that made our daughter's diagnosis suggested my husband get officially tested/diagnosed as she felt certain he had ADD too but she couldn't diagnose officially as he hadn't gone through the process himself and her observations were only as a sideline to our daughter's case.

Nothing was ever done though and my husband preferred to dismiss any thoughts of him perhaps having ADD, despite lots of things now falling into place and experiencing the gradual realisation as to why we had so many problems in our relationship. Life has been difficult, we often walk on eggshells round him to keep the peace and I can relate to a lot of what others have written here about their partners who have ADHD. To be completely fair though, we have had far more stresses in our life than most people have and the result of that has meant life has sucked for years. It's been round after round of 'nose to the grindstone' with no let up or very few nice times in between to offset the stress. I've been partly to blame for that and I've now owned my mistakes and apologised for not valuing my husband more. He has never really participated in normal life though, he's always just been happy to do the easy or good stuff and he's left the house/money/parenting/decision making/yadda yadda yadda to me so although I'm guilty of making bad decisions, I never had any help or input from him and it seemed as if I was making ok choices at the time. It's only with hindsight now I realise I should have been less focused on our house and more focused on the people within it. We've also never had much money and that has meant we never really had much of a life or very many fun times. I can now really understand why this has affected us as much as it has and why the stresses and pressures he has felt have been so hard for him to deal with.

Fast forward 8 years and our daughter is going through some very tough times and has been for a few months now. She's also been diagnosed with Dyscalculia and then later, Anxiety & Depression. She is failing at school and is an emotional wreck, she has never been medicated or had counselling before but we are about to attend our first appointment very shortly to get help for her with regards to her difficulties.

Her Dad walked out on us recently. It was completely unexpected. He announced he hasn't loved me for a long time and that he'd been thinking about leaving for months. I was floored. I find it difficult to understand why, if someone is unhappy, they don't talk about what the problems are to see if they can be fixed. He did this once before too but came back that time after I pleaded with him and he admitted months and months later that he did still love me. He says it's different this time and that nothing will ever change and that he just can't be bothered trying. He says he should have stayed away after the last time and that we've not had many good times. That's not true, just because he can't remember them doesn't mean they didn't happen. We haven't had any closeness in ages, there is also a bedroom issue which hasn't helped and again he denied there was a problem for a long time until it had got to the stage where he couldn't deny it any longer. Again it was easier for him to just stop having sex than to try to make things better. I expect he blames me for not doing something to deal with it but it's one of those 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situations and he's so sensitive about it that I'm scared I say or do the wrong thing so I've taken my lead from him, which has meant we haven't had sex in a long time.

When he left, he was gone for 2 days then came back to move into the spare room when he realised there was no money for him to get a new place with. I'm absolutely positive that all his feelings are down to his undiagnosed (but very evident!)  ADHD and also mild depression but he denies there is anything wrong with him and he shows no interest in even considering it. I've tried to offer practical solutions to deal with some of his complaints but he's not interested and makes it clear every day that he doesn't love me. It's almost as if he is reinforcing this message to himself as well as me, he speaks normally to our daughter and even the dog, but he often uses a 'tone' when he speaks to me. He seems annoyed if I raise anything remotely personal but he's ok if I talk about the weather. It's obvious that he has focused all of his annoyances and upsets on me despite this being unfair and wrong. He has caused a lot of his own issues mainly through lack of communication (he has never talked about emotional stuff or normal relationship stuff unless it's to complain about what's wrong). He does have cause to feel aggrieved about some things, and I have told him this and also told him what we could do to fix these things but it's easier for him to just not bother and still want to leave. It's almost as if he has flicked a switch in his brain that has erased our last 17 years together, he treats me like I'm a stranger. I'm very frustrated because I know him and I know his feelings for me have always been linked to how happy or otherwise he's felt in life generally. It's what he's always done, if he's happy he loves me more, if he's bored/unhappy with life then that = he doesn't love me. He thinks all his problems and unhappiness are all down to simply not loving me anymore and he's not willing to even consider trying to sort things out. I swing between feeling really sad about it all and really angry at how he has treated me. It's as if I've put up with so much over the years but when things get tough for him, he's off. I am certain most women would be the ones telling their husband to go but I believe in family and quitting isn't an option I'd choose voluntarily. I was a strong person when we met, I was funny and sexy and that attracted him. Years of being the sole 'fixer' in our relationship has left me old, bored, boring and weak, to the point where I had a breakdown myself. I'm not the person I was and he clearly doesn't want the person I've become despite having played a huge part in how things have turned out. It's very hurtful.

Him leaving seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back for our daughter. Her Anxiety and Depression have both escalated greatly, she cries constantly now and can't attend all her school lessons as she can't concentrate in class and has to leave because she bursts into tears for no apparent reason. Due to a complicated situation that I don't really want to go into here, her Dad told her when he left that she had to leave her home, school, friends, volunteering job, her whole life in fact, and go live somewhere we used to live a few years ago, which is hundreds of miles away. His reasoning for this was purely financial. He wanted out and he knew our financial situation meant it would be impossible for us to stay here without him so he was happy enough to want to dump us all back where we were before despite what it would do to our daughter, just so he could free up cash to enable him to move on. She's the type of kid who just doesn't cope well with change anyway, but this was a total body blow for her considering how bad her mental health is right now. She attends a very good school and was lucky to get a place there. It took her a long time to settle at school and she felt isolated for the first 18 months but she eventually got a close friend and she feels like this is where she fits now. The school he wanted her to go to is in a deprived area and isn't well regarded at all.The people she used to know there years ago have moved on and it's much rougher than it used to be. Academically it doesn't offer as much as her school here does and she'd have to change courses during an important time in her education which obviously isn't beneficial to her. I can understand why this has rocked her so badly, the very people she is supposed to be able to depend on no matter whatever else happens in life, are the very ones who are taking away her security and stability.

After a few weeks of her breaking down several times a day, her Dad finally told her he would stay in the home long enough to see her through school here (she has 2 years left) but that he didn't love me and we'd be living separate lives. She has mixed feelings about this, part of her is so very relieved that she can stay in her life here and she'll still have her Dad but another part of her feels upset that her Dad was quick to try to dump on her and was unconcerned about trying to make her leave her life here and is only now staying around through obligation because of her unstable mental health and not because he's a caring Father who wants the best for his daughter and values her education. She also hates when he tells her he doesn't love me, she says it's hurts her too. I don't believe he's trying to be deliberately nasty, I expect he thinks he's just plain speaking but he has no clue just how horrible he's coming across.

I saw a counsellor who pretty much told me that an ADHD person in denial is the same as an alcoholic in denial and that unless he chooses to wake up and smell the coffee himself, then I've got no hope of trying to save or repair our relationship. I thought I'd accepted that and I started to make plans to better myself, I joined a slimming club and started to lose weight and I started walking for exercise which got me out of the house etc and helped me try to feel more positive. However a few weeks on and I'm struggling to cope with it all. I'm finding I'm feeling nervous most days, my stomach is in knots and I'm beginning to feel a bit anxious myself. In order to placate him, I need to act like he's just someone I know who happens to live in the same house as me and ignore anything personal or the fact we've spent 17 years together.  In order to look after our daughter I need to be strong for her and support her emotionally as well as provide the practical help she needs right now. I need to still budget and sort out our finances and free up money for him to start to have a life, despite us not actually having spare cash for this. One of his complaints was about how he hated his job and how much overtime he had to do to support us so I have to take that into account. I've been a SAHM my whole life as I also have another (adult) child with learning disabilities from a previous relationship so I've not been able to work and earn money. He never had an issue with this until now, when he wants to leave.  I don't have any qualifications or experience and I'm the wrong side of 50 now so although I am looking into getting work, my daughter especially, needs me right now and I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. During her really bad moments, I worry that she is just a short hop away from doing something really silly and until she's more stable, I'm scared for her and she's scared I'm going to get a job and leave her to be on her own a lot.

I have no friends here and no family to speak of that I can call on for support. My husband is really my only other adult contact. It's destroying me that he can't even acknowledge that and be kind or friendly. If the tables were turned and I wanted to leave him, I would never be so unkind and I would want to make the situation as tolerable as possible for him, yet there are times when he seems able to dismiss me without another thought. I will do whatever it takes to try to settle things down for my daughter's sake but I'm really struggling. How on earth do I get him to see a clearer picture of all this? He is so fixated in his thinking (and his perception of things is OFTEN wrong) that I can't see how to get through to him that even if he doesn't want to be my husband, he can still be friendly and we can work together to support our daughter right when she needs us. There are many many other families who manage to put their own stuff aside and stay as a unit simply because the child's education or health issues come first so it's not like we're trying to do anything ground breaking here but why is he making it as tough as possible after he agreed to do it? He wont talk about anything, nor will he agree to outside help and I can't decide if he feels guilty for what he put her through or annoyed because he feels stuck. How do I get him to talk openly in order to get to a point where we can just be friends? It's difficult to live with uncertainty and not really knowing how someone feels. Or am I really just going to have to get strong enough to pretend we've had no history together? Is this an ADHD trait - the ability to mentally switch and move on almost instantly? He seems preoccupied with how other men leave their families yet he gets trapped (his words not mine).

I wish I could hate him but I can still separate the man from the ADHD and he's not a bad man, he's just 'affected' for want of a better word. He's got a lot of good points too and I miss him. He could also be kind, romantic and caring when things were not getting on top of him and I'd dearly love for us to be properly together again but I have to accept that probably isn't on the cards. I know the ADHD is to blame for a lot of our issues, he's genuine in his feelings but he sees the situation through ADHD eyes and I don't know how to fight that flawed perception. I still believe that if things could settle to a stage where he wasn't trying to hard to keep his defensive wall up, and he relaxed more, then maybe there might be a (slim!) chance of us working this out but this wont happen whilst he's so determined to withdraw.

Heck, I'm really sorry that was so long, I just needed to get it off my chest with people who might understand.


·         Anger, Frustration & ADHD