Once again, the needs of the spouse come last

I set up an intake session at a university psychology clinic for my husband. Since he's lost his job, he lost his insurance and we can't afford to pay privately for his meds and counseling.

In spite of my request for marriage counseling, they wanted to focus on him, his depression, his ADHD (I'm glad somebody wants to, really), etc. I'm just supposed to suck up the loss of my home due to his ADHD causing him to lose another job, the lack of contribution around the house, the fact that I have to pack up and move to another city, etc. without any help from them (or him) while they focus on him.

Is there ever a time when the non-ADHD spouse is considered important?

In any marital struggle there

In any marital struggle there comes a point where one has to choose to stop being a victim of the strife. Many people in here have the Day of Discovery when the light comes on and we finally say, "I can choose to live outside these circumstances. It will take a while to be where I wanna be, but I'm going to do it, darn it!" Sueann, you have been in the same place for a very long time. Why chose to stay emotionally captive by it all? You sound like a gritty, determined individual. Will you have the courage to take responsibility for your own happiness and make your life be the one you want to live? Im not saying you should quit on your marriage, just seize the moment to help yourself. We're all with you.

If you depend on anyone to

If you depend on anyone to put your needs first, except for yourself, you're probably going to spend the rest of your life being disappointed. I agree with Hermie...you've been stuck in this role for a very long time...time to take the focus off of what you aren't getting out of life/your marriage and start making things happen for yourself. As long as you believe you're a victim, you will always be a victim.

Sherri, you depend on your husband too

You aren't working right now, right? Your husband, unlike mine, is actually working? Although, I can see how you are panicking because you are afraid he's going to lose/quit his job.

What in the WORLD is the point of being married to someone who's going to leave you homeless, unfed and destitute? When I married him, I had 2 jobs that I was good at and alimony. I lost my job (at least in part because I "tried too hard" during the time he chose not to work) and, of course, my alimony, so now I expect him to feed me and keep a roof over my head. And he CAN'T or WON'T! If expecting my husband to work is a victim mentality, aren't you doing the same thing?

I did the same thing you are doing, I went back to school, but it isn't working for me in this economy. I've been advised I need to volunteer to get experience, but how in the world can you volunteer while you're homeless because your husband took everything away from you? (Yes, I've seen the Pursuit of Happyness, but that's not realistic for most people.)

As far as I'm concerned, he owes me and now is the time I need to collect.

I have been able to, for the

I have been able to, for the entire duration of our marriage, depend on my husband to work...or at least be able to find work if his job ended. I do panic because his ADHD is worse than I have ever seen it...but I am doing everything in my power to ensure that I CAN take care of myself because I lose a little more faith in him each time he has his a 'crisis' and threatens to quit his job. I believe it to be the truth that he would never sit idly by and let his family lose everything..especially if it meant we had to separate and I had to move away somewhere. But what does that have to do with the fact that your husband seems perfectly content to do so?

I am so sorry for how things are working out (or not working out) for you..but asking "should he..." "why doesn't he...." "how do I get him to...." are pointless questions at this time.

I have never read about any connection between ADHD and migraines.

I was just commenting...

on the fact that I was even refused marital therapy. It does not seem that people see the marriage of an ADD person as important. Look how long it took for a book like Melissa's to come out.

Honestly, this place presents themselves as helping everyone who asks. It really stung to be turned down for marital therapy.

Yes - an non-ADHD's spouse can come first

When? When you take control of YOUR life and happiness, and take the focus off of what he needs to do. It can be done! I can hear your frustration and your unhappiness, and I certainly have been there, but there is another way. I'll be praying for you

What does marriage mean in these circumstances?

My husband knew I was giving up alimony when I married him. He also knew I am handicapped and could not do what every other wife does. I feel there was an implicit "deal" that he would support me to the tune of what I gave up, and do the household things I can't do.

He never disclosed to me that he had mental health issues or that the reason he majored in psychology was in an attempt to understand himself (undiagnosed ADD and depression)

I supported him for over 2 years, then I went back to school. That hasn't worked out for me, unfortunately. When I limp into an office for an interview their face freezes and the questions become perfunctory. I can tell I'm not going to get the job.

I deserve "the benefit of my bargain". Since I gave up another source of support, I deserve for him to support me. I can't do this alone. That isn't a victim mentality, that is just a fairness principle. And to watch my able-bodied, healthy husband play cards on the internet while I do everything in the house in so much pain I want to cry is really hard.

I stay on here because I hope that someone can give me the words to make him see how unfair it is, that my needs need to be met as well as his.  That is my hope for marital therapy as well, that we can learn to work together and both of our needs can be met, but they turned me down. We were doing marriage counseling before, but the implication of this new place was that I should paddle my own canoe while everyone takes care of poor him.

I don't feel like we have a marriage any more. I feel like I gave up my own existence to make his better. I can't get it back; it is irrevocably gone.


My husband "knew" when we got

My husband "knew" when we got married that I had been cheated on by my first husband and the man I dated after my divorce as well. He knew how disgusting and wrong I feel cheating is. He agreed...and complained about how his ex-wife cheated on him too. He "knew" when we got married that I hated liars. I hated people who were dishonest and that I wanted someone who was honest. He "knew" my first husband was an addict...pot early on, alcohol later...and how dead set against anyone abusing alcohol in my home I was. He "knew" a lot...but it didn't stop him from doing the exact opposite of what I wanted/needed from him MANY times in the last 14 years. It hurts even worse coming from him because he was "the one", I thought, that finally got me and wanted all of the same things I did.

Fairy tale ended..and now we are stuck with what we are stuck with. There is NOTHING anyone here can say to me that will change HIM. ("I stay on here because I hope that someone can give me the words to make him see how unfair it is, that my needs need to be met as well as his.") ADHD or not, change will come from within HIM..and change will also come from within ME. I come here because I need to truly know how to better accept and understand my husband and his ADHD because I KNOW that changing myself is as important to the marriage as any changes I could ask him to make.

Again, maybe taking care of "poor him" is where you all need to start. He has a very real issue (probably compounded right now by the overwhelming feeling of being such a failure to his wife) and DOES need the help. You may have some physical limitations, but you are able to emotionally function very normally in society. You're demanding he respect, validate, compensate, and give compassion for your limitations...but are you showing him the same for his? I know "his" suck a lot worse in the grand scheme of things (not keeping a job) but marriage is marriage...and it isn't about comparing who has 'lost' more or who has 'paid' more of a price for entering into the marriage..it is about helping each other up when you're down and if I've learned anything, ADHD does make it 100000 times harder for them to hold us up unless they are in a very, very good place ADHD wise. As I've said before, you're expecting an elephant to do a cartwheel...it ain't happening. Maybe if he gets help, it'll turn things around.

I admit I fail to give enough credit to my husband's ADHD more often than I'm proud of...but I am trying.

If the elephant can do a cartwheel..

but refuses to, and I'll be homeless or starve to death if he doesn't. I'm going to support myself by selling his ivory.

My husband CAN walk the dog, do the dishes, change the kitty litter, etc. He just chooses not to. I can't choose not to have been hit by a car years ago. That's where the analogy breaks down. (No "elephants are wonderful" comments, please. I know that, I love elephants.)



Life Is Just Plain Not Fair

I hear your pain and I truly do. But there was a time that you worked two jobs and were able to make ends meet. I had cancer for 4 years and I did so many things for my husband during our marriage that I, too, felt like you - that he owed me at least enough to take of me when I was suffering (and quite frankly, close to dying at certain points) - but the reality of what I felt what he owed me bc of my contributions in the marriage, HE WASNT THERE FOR ME! I get your pain. You do deserve to have everything you want in life. You kept your end of the bargain, but he didn't keep his. No one here or anywhere else can demand that he change. He will only change when he decides to change. Not one minute or second before. You, on the other hand, have the ability to do what you need to for yourself. If he doesn't step up, then you will have decisions to make for your own wellbeing. If you continue to wait for him to give you what your "owed" then I'm sorry, you will just continue to build anger and resentment.

Unfortunately, it's not so easy

I still have one of the jobs I had before, but, because of state budget cuts, it's dwindled from several months a year to just one. I was fired from the other job (which allowed me to work 2 shifts a day when I wasn't working at the other place) because I was going to school, because I had gotten raises above what most of us were making, and because I "tried too hard" when I was trying to support both of us on that job. (I know that makes no sense; it's a decidedly weird job.) So now I have no job at all and no one will hire me because I got fired from my last job. I also feel that they aren't hiring me because of my visible handicap. I was advised to volunteer at Legal Aid or something to get experience, and the week my husband was fired, I was talking to him about that. But if I volunteer, I'll lose my unemployment, and it costs for gas, parking, etc. so without him working we can't afford it.

I don't want to lose everything I own and move in with my daughter. I don't want to give away our dog or have him put to sleep because he can't come with me. I just want him to work. Is that too much to ask? Really, for a physically healthy 50 year old man with a college degree to get a job??? I am doing my level best to find a job, really, but it may never happen.

Your experience with cancer and him not being there for you must have been awful. We had another poster years ago who described the same situation but it was a man who had an ADD wife. I am not asking for any particular emotional support from him. I just want him to do the things that are physically difficult for me, and bear the financial weight of the household equally with me.

My objection is based on contract law. If you sold someone your car on time, would you excuse them from making the payments because they have ADD? Should I excuse him from supporting the household because he has ADD? And should an agency really say I don't deserve counseling and we don't deserve marital counseling because he has ADD and I don't? We don't have months to work on this. If one of us hasn't gotten a significant paycheck before the beginning of August, we will have to separate.

I am sorry I can't just solve this on my own. I guess I need to stop bothering you.


You Are Not a Bother

I think everyone here understands how you feel because we all have felt as you do. Really. I don't know the circumstances of why you got fired from your job, but maybe you could use some assistance with your resume and interviewing skills. I don't know where you live but there are community groups or perhaps people in your church that can assist you with that. While discrimination in employment does occur, are you really sure that you aren't getting the job because of your disability? There is no doubt that your husband should get a job and help you around the house. But the reality is that he isn't. So you either have to sit down with him and negotiate a resolution or you have to do something for yourself and your happiness. If you approach him with words of you owe me, you probably won't get anywhere. The more you "demand" the less he will do. Right or wrong, that is just the way it is. You have the power within yourself to be happy and achieve whatever goals you want out of life. Do what you can to help yourself. Perhaps a friend or members of your community or church can assist you around the house to get the assistance you need. And just maybe the unfairness you feel about the counseling, will turn into a blessing for your husband, maybe he will begin to improve and manage his ADD better. Sometimes the bad things in life turn into blessings. We just can't see the blessing in the midst of our turmoil and pain. I hope that is the case for you.

I've done the things you said

We saw a career counselor this week, through our local library. She thought both of our resumes were well written and well typed (I did them both. He can't type.) She was the one that suggested I volunteer to work for Legal Aid so I have some real law-office experience to put on my resume. When I asked her how I could do that, since Legal Aid is downtown and I'd have to pay to drive there and pay to park, and I'd lose my unemployment, she changed the subject.

She suggested my husband get further training, but again, you lose your unemployment and I have no idea how we are supposed to live in the meantime. She suggested a website for him to look at, but whenever I walk past the computer room, he's playing solitaire.

I do feel I have a right to demand he walk the dog. He knew I couldn't do that when we got him. I got the dog FOR HIM, because he is a dog lover. (It wasn't a surprise, he agreed to it. The two of them bonded instantly.) I'm a cat person. But I found out that, except for the walking thing, I do love the dog. I also feel that he'd not stupid. He knows clean clothes and dishes come from somewhere. Why does he think that he shouldn't have to be involved in providing them?

Everyone on here acts like I can just decide to get a job and it will happen. In this economy, does anyone think there are 10 million people who just don't want to work? The career counselor told me that even people who advertise for trainees, or graduates with no experience, when they get applicants with 20 years experience who've been downsized, will hire them instead of me.

I understand what everyone is saying. I don't talk to my husband of entitlement, but of fairness. He's contributed a little more since he's not working, but not much.

'learning' conversation??

Have you tried a 'learning conversation' with him?  (from the book) even if he won't read the book, you can explain it to him and make it clear what needs to be done.

If he loves the dog and is made to understand that either he walks the dog, or you can't keep the dog, I think he will do it.

Tell him he must walk the dog because you can't.  tell him he must do the laundry because you can't. Tell him he must do the dishes, because you can't.  And tell him in exchange you will format his resume & other things that YOU are good at that he can't do.  But tone of voice is of the utmost importance.  Don't let yourself get an impatient or angry tone - just calmly, and quietly explain it.  ADDers shut down, as you know, when we feel attacked and I can say in my experience:  I can't even HEAR anymore when i feel attacked.  I literally go deaf for a solid minute or two.

I certainly am not assuming you can decide to get a job and it will just happen.  I've been trying for 8 months.  I am killing myself everyday trying to get work and volunteering with a 2 year old in tow.

You say your husband is not stupid.  So sit down with him, tell him what you need and then ask him what he understood.  If he doesn't understand you, tell him again.  and again.  until he can say back to you in his own words, what it is that you need from him.

I've had several of these conversations with my husband (not about housework, but other stuff.  I do all of the housework.) and it is surprising how much of what he says to me that I COMPLETELY misinterpret.  I'd say 75% of  the main things he wants from me I did not realize.  I had assumed other things that are way, way, way off base.

Does he realize how angry you are?

The laundry is a particular problem

He "dresses out of the dryer" and insists it is not possible to hang up our clothes. He won't even try. We do have really small closets. Then when I ask him to get clothes for me when we are trying to get dressed, he refuses. I've reminded him that I've fallen in the laundry room because of all the piles of stuff. He says it's an unreasonable phobia, like his claustrophobia. I've told him it is a reasonable fear and I'd do the laundry if he'd clear it so it's safe to walk in there. That usually gets him to do the next load, but not to solve the problem permanently. I think that is too long-term of a thought for him. It all has unpleasant echoes of my first marriage. I had my first knee surgery in order to be able to go up and down the stairs to do our laundry in the house I lived in with my first husband. Unfortunately, it didn't work. He came up with walking the laundry basket around the outside of the house to the laundry room, rather than HIM walking it down the stairs.

Meanwhile, I've got a Flexible Flyer in our kitchen. (Don't ask!) The craziness of it all is getting to me. When I try to talk to him, he changes the subject.


Oh, Sueann! :(   We all still have choices in life; it is whether the consequences of that choice are acceptable or not which causes us to say we "have NO choice."  Of course there is a choice; but do we like our consequences?  You said you want to get your fair share, your reciprocal back for the sacrifices you made early on.  You can definitely wait in pain, frustration and grief until you get your entitlement.  Or you might consider the distinct possibility that he may never accomplish that for you.  You can choose to be BITTER for the rest of your life, or you can choose to be BETTER. He isn't stopping you; you are stopping you.  You are a capable person, perhaps not as physically well as you once were, but capable of making choices that will allow you to be BETTER.  He can choose to come with you on that journey or not.