OMG! I feel like a dirty old penny.

Here we go.  I'm still newly married (I guess), just over one year.  My husband is a good man, but COMPLETELY inattentive when he wants to be.  This site has made me step back and wonder, for the first time in a little while, if it's just the ADD but good Lord I am about to lose it!  We work complete opposite schedules, so on Friday and Saturday nights, I generally stay up as long as it takes to wait for him.  Last night, I passed out on the couch while he was out on his "new adventure".  He's building a blind in a tree right now, with his brother, so last night he decided to go outside (yes, after midnight!) and play in his tree.  So, I was out like a light when he got in.  I just couldn't stay up anymore.  So I get up today, and soon after, he's off to work.  I talked to him once tonight for 3 minutes, and he used to call me all the time.  He got home and I got a half kiss, a distant hug, and some flowers.  :)  I DID get flowers.  Then he laid on the floor for 5 full minutes to play with our puppy.  Off to the computer.  He did his Fantasy league thing or whatnot for oh, I'd say at least 30 minutes.  Then, he gets done, says he's tired, and he's ready to go to bed!  HELLO!!!  Am I the ONLY one who sees something very wrong with this picture?  I considered getting MLB tattooed on my forehead, but realizing how painful that may be, I considered laying on the floor and looking up at him with my big blue eyes, and seeing if it worked for me like it does for the dog.  But he's sooo tired.  I bite my lip.  Off to the bathroom he goes, and 10 minutes later, he's still standing in front of the mirror picking at his face.  He has almost PERFECT skin, which one week a month (if you catch my drift) really makes me ill - because he picks at it all the time.  So - we have 5 minutes with the dog, 20 - 30 with the computer, 10 on himself (and counting) and 2 on me.  Then when I was talking to him tonight, I had to ask three times "did you hear me?" because I got no acknowledgement.  Then he has the gonads to look at me like I'm getting on his nerves.  This is not the first time.  When we were dating, he was all about me.  We spent time together and had fun together, and now I can't get him to take his face out of that STUPID computer.  I don't know whether I should cry, or cut my legs off.  Maybe if I lose my feet, I'll be like a shiny new penny again.  Yep - I can understand anger, resentment and frustration.  Any advice???

Too Distracted

You and your husband are suffering from a distracted marriage - which it the topic of the book that Dr. Hallowell, his wife Sue and I are writing about at this very minute.  He probably doesn't know that he isn't paying attention to you, and if you asked him, he would probably tell you that he wants to have more time with you but, somehow, time with you got complicated...

 

I'm not sure if the dog scene is important, but is it possible that it's easier for him to be with the dog (no demands, lots of tail wagging) than it is with you?  Perhaps he feels guilty or anxious because he senses how much you expect of him and he doesn't have the energy to deal with it?

 

A couple of things that you might think about.  First, it's not uncommon that a person with ADD hyperfocuses on a courtship, then eases off afterwards.  For that matter, we all over-focus to a degree when we are courting.  So, don't expect that everything will be exactly the same as it was.  On the other hand, you do deserve some attention.  Did he know that you were trying to wait up for him specifically, or did you just do it?  Perhaps you need to be more specific.  "Honey, I'm going to wait up for you tonight because I really miss you, and I wanted to have a few minutes of time to find out what's going on in your life these days before heading off to bed...how about the two of us having a half hour mini-date with a beer and some crackers and cheese when you come home?"  Or, perhaps, a late night walk with the dog (and flashlights) as a great excuse to hold hands and have a bit of intimate time together?

 

I used to call my husband's computer his "plastic mistress" (this was when I was feeling both mad and mean!) but it can be true.  The computer, if one is doing fast action video games, acts on the brain in a way that increases dopamine (feel good chemicals) into his brain.  This means that the computer can become a form of self-medication (as is caffeine, for others).  If you understand that, it may help you see that he isn't doing this to avoid you, but because it feels good.  So, what might feel better to him than that?   Hmmm....think back to when you were dating?  How did the two of you interact?  How were you towards him?

 

I'm not telling you to play act.  He will immediately know that you are doing so, believe me.  No, I suggesting that you look at not only his distracted behavior, but your response to that behavior.  Make sure that you continue to treat him with the respect and desire that he deserves (and autonomy - you can't control his life) and be the proud, sexy woman that he fell in love with and see if that helps.

 

On a different path (there's never just one answer to these things!) is he actually diagnosed with ADD?  And if so, is his treatment working?  If so, he should be able to pull away from the computer given enough incentive.  If not, pulling away might be hard.

 

I am not saying that you should suddenly become the person in the family who "is in charge" all the time.  (I used to HATE feeling as if I were forced by my husband's distraction to always be the one in charge). This is a common, and destructive path (leads to parent/child dynamics which are a big no-no in adult relationships).   No, I'm suggesting it may be possible that the dynamics between the two of you are contributing to your husband's avoidance behavior.  If you can change the dynamics, and gently bring it to his attention that you miss him and need him (come to my rescue, please!) you may be able to help set things back onto a track that you find more fulfilling.

Melissa Orlov