PLEASE HELP ME: Is This Is Normal ADHD Married Life?

Hello everyone! I am new here and could use some encouragement.

My husband has ADHD - he was diagnosed as a child. He still has it. He goes into hyper focus very often but not on things that would improve his life. He has always been in and out of jobs, blaming everyone else - not himself. He is highly intelligent. He watches tons of films and has played over 1,500 video/pc games in his life - he currently games several hours a day. He said games help him focus and feel better. He hasn't had a job since 2008. He helps me with my business about 5-10 hours a week max. I work 70 hours a week because I have a flourishing business.

He is home every single day. He won't leave. He leaves to help a friend or his mother maybe once a month but if I am not with him, he will not leave. He games most of the time and surfs the web and chats with his buddies online. I bought him his dream car and dream mountain bike but he rarely uses them - maybe he drives once a month? His friends envy his life but everything we own is from the money I earn.

We barely have sex - maybe 5x a year.

We have no kids - and he knows I want them and would LOVE to have them but there is never the right "time" in his mind. We just turned 40!

He said he was diagnosed as a child with ADHD and he still has it though he worked hard to get "control" of it so his office in our home, his closet and his car is meticulous. He cleans up after himself. He is VERY clean and tidy. 

But when it comes to everything else --- intimacy - none. Always on his iPad, iPhone or computer. Always. At every meal, when we watch TV, at a cafe, when we are walking down the street. He ALWAYS has to be doing something with his camera, his phone or something else.

It is always SO frustrating to be with him. I actually am at the point to where I can't stand to be with him. I eat all of the time (just gained 33 pounds in 10 months) to numb my pain and am so depressed now that I only get out of bed to work and stay on top of my career. I've recently enrolled in some classes and am trying to get out but I am overwhelmed.

Is this normal married ADHD life? 

Thank you for listening - please forgive me for the long introduction. Can ANYONE relate?


This is not normal married

This is not normal married life.  I'm sorry it's what you are enduring.

Might your husband have Asperger's?  My husband, who definitely has many more traditional symptoms of ADHD (disorganized, sloppy, can't remember things, can't get projects done, doesn't have a regular job, etc.), was tagged by a psychiatrist a few years ago as possibly having Asperger's, too. It  might explain your husband's deep aversion to in-person social interactions.


Hi Rosered - Thank you for your comment!

No, he doesn't have the symptoms of Asperger's - I looked it up and none of them really apply. 

I can't figure out why a 40 year guy won't really leave the house. It troubles me so much. I failed to mention that I actually love him and want to be happy in our marriage. I don't want to be a divorce statistic. But I honestly have NO CLUE where to go from here in my relationship.

I hired a therapist to help me out - she tells me to fuel my gas tank first - in other words - take care of myself first. Problem is, I grew being abused and was in an abusive relationship with a man before getting married so I've never known "normal". As a result, I've become depressed and feeling really scared and sad. 

Thank you for your comment. Any droplet of encouragement is really appreciated.

Figuring out what to do

It is hard to figure out what to do.  My husband is in his late 50s.  He has taken medications for depression for many years and has been in therapy off and on for years as well.  He also takes meds for ADHD and anxiety.  He is a very smart person.  But he seems to have a total block concerning certain things.  He spends four days a week out of town, living with and helping out his elderly parents.  While he is gone, he never communicates with me.  Even to respond to very specific questions I email to him (e.g., "Where is the tax software on my computer?")  I've told him dozens of times that his failure to communicate with me bugs me.  Every week it continues.  So, is he a jerk or is his already impaired brain functioning getting worse?  How does one figure this out?

What matters is what you think

You said:  I actually am at the point to where I can't stand to be with him. I eat all of the time (just gained 33 pounds in 10 months) to numb my pain and am so depressed now that I only get out of bed to work and stay on top of my career.

You asked:  Is this normal married life?

If nothing ever changes, are you okay with that?  What are you getting out of this relationship?  You deserve to get something

I don't know...

I don't know honestly - have you ever felt too defeated to make a decision?

I have

Hi onelife,

"have you ever felt too defeated to make a decision?"

Yes--I have felt that way. I went for about a year with my STBX in a situation that sapped every bit of my life force, happiness, energy, and psyche. I think I was depressed. I felt trapped and believed (probably correctly) that nothing was going to change and I felt helpless. I am not telling you what to do, but it was the day that I started asking myself, "What will I do if this does not change?" that things got better for me. "Am I willing to live like this for ten, twenty, thirty more years?" The answer, to my relief, was clear, and it was no. And I had my children to consider. I gave my spouse one last chance to enter therapy and work on our relationship and treat his ADHD, and listed what I thought I could do myself, and he said no. So I left. 

It sounds like you may be depressed, which is understandable. Keep seeing your counselor and try to keep in mind the things that you have control over and those that you don't. You may not know exactly what to do to refill your tank but anything you can do to take care of or help yourself is good. Try to stop looking for fulfillment or rewards from your DH, and accept that he may not be able to give these things to you in the way that you need him to. Can you take some time off or visit a friend or get some space? It made a huge difference for me to be able to think, to leave home and go to my mother's house for a week last fall. 

Best to you. 

Well what you describe is

Well what you describe is somewhat normal life for most (but not all) ADHD relationships. It sounds to me that your hubby may be depressed on top of being ADHD. I say that because my hubby is the exact opposite. He games for an hour when he comes in from work and then goes to bed (he's a 3rd shifter). He games sometimes during the day but not longer than an hour or two while I'm at work. He can't stand to be cooped up in the house, that is why I wonder if there is something wrong with your hubby in addition to the ADHD. It sounds like he is desperately seeking stimulation, thus the gaming, playing with electronics, etc. What kind of work has he done in the past? It's been noted that ADHD folks excel in jobs where there is a stimulation or adrenaline factor. My hubby was in law enforcement and excelled at that until he pissed off too many supervisors, and got let go. We're working to get him back into law enforcement now after his being out for nearly five years. When he was a cop and was stimulated, there was marked difference in our relationship. He was more engaged with me and was definitely more interested in the sexual side of our relationship. We too struggle with intimacy. We were just together for the first time in two years a little while ago... Granted a year and half of that time was spent separated, but still...pretty demoralizing. He feels it too though. He recently said that he was happy that we were intimate again and I made a grudging remark about it being nearly two years and he freaked out and was like, "Don't remind makes me worse...", etc. So never doubt that they feel things, they just have difficulty vocalizing.

If it's any consolation, you can have a decent marriage when someone with ADHD is involved. It's taken a long time (almost five years), but my hubby and I are finally living somewhat "normally". Now I do think it's dangerous to compare my relationship to others. We do things differently, and I'm determined to not let others pull me down and make me believe that because we're different then that must mean we are dysfunctional. Because that's not the case.

I believe you are headed down the right path. I had to seek some counseling on my own before I hit the wall and it became necessary for my hubby to join in. We've been seeing counselor together for over a year now and will most likely continue to see her indefinitely. If that is what it takes to make our marriage work, then so be it. Nonetheless, don't forget yourself. Get healthy (as much as you can) and then focus on your marriage. I used to not be able to in the same room with my hubby either and not feel this blinding resentment, but now, I am always happy to be around him for the most part. We have fun together again and that's important to me.

Good luck to you.

Normal is relative

I agree with another commentator that it sounds like your husband may also be depressed.  Depression can make it hard to engage in activities that once gave you pleasure, such as sex and socializing.  The video games are likely self-medication for the ADHD symptoms and most likely do calm his brain down.  They are not, however, ideal stimulants as they suck all the time from the world.  Is he currently taking stimulant medication?  Perhaps he needs a higher dose.

I will say that I have had similar issues.  My husband's job is to remodel our house before finding a money making career again.  He was an electrician before a disability forced him out.  He was much more productive and "normal" then.  Functional.  The 4 month remodel is in its 5th year.  He effectively took 2 years off because family issues left him very depressed and he spent his days online researching various construction issues, or shopping for parts online or at stores.  Its cost us financial security as well as pleasant environs.  I left it to long before taking a stand.  I have my own conflict avoidance issues.

Now he is doing better.  Putting more effective hours in.  But family issues, and anything stimulating will distract him for sure.  He is still working on getting meds quite right, and he is seeing a counselor weekly.  In order for anyone to make effective change they have to want to.  That's especially true for the ADHD person who has a hard time with drudgery of any kind.  Also, it's important to realize that these poor behaviors developed over time and will have to have new habits formed, which will also take time.

In addition to ADHD, possible depression, unlearning bad habits, and no real need to change because you fix things (I do too), he probably has issues dealing with not living up to the social expectations that require a man to contribute financially, this could also explain lack of going anywhere.  I know my hubby gets embarrassed when someone asks what he does, or inquires as to the progress of the project. 

It's very important that you evaluate what you want from your life.  What are your values?  What must change in order for you to be content?  And these things need to be shared with your spouse from the perspective that it's what you need.  And then give your spouse a reasonable amount of time, books suggest 6 months or a year.  But it has to be clear what the goals are.  I have not done this mind you.  But I did tell him that I had considered leaving, but really don't want to, but that I can't live like this forever. 

I found him his doctor, I praise what he does well, try to let go anger and resentment and hurt over the other stuff.  Good book in addition to Orlov's are Loving Someone with Attention Deficit Disorder, and ACT with LOVE.  The latter is for relationships in general and not ADHD specific, but has some good points.  Treat yourself respectively.  Control what you can control.  Recognize that you can not make him change.  He has to want to do so.  And evaluate whether you can live with no change.  My doc also encouraged doing things that make me happy, like hobbies or visiting with friends.

Good luck.