Where to start?!

I am a Non-ADHD wife to an ADHD husband who was diagnosed at Elementary school age, together we have a 3 year old and 1 year old.. he is in the military in process of being discharged due to overstaffing after nearly 14 years and I am a stay at home Mom. I try not to dwell on things that have happened in the past, but it's seemingly impossible for me to not. I have become very angry, very resentful, overweight, isolated and just feel completely hopeless at times. My husband works a relatively normal schedule amongst his many appointments while in process of transitioning back to the civilian world. We have spent the passed 2 years in a place that has only put more stress on our marriage and overall quality of life. My only two friends I've made have left, my husbands only friend has left...  we have relied on each other but are fully aware we need other healthy outlets in order to succeed - which in 4 weeks when we move we will finally have family surrounding us and a chance to hopefully begin fresh.

As of now, we are caught in a downward spiral of unhealthy communication and disconnect. To add to our emotions, our 3 year old has just been prediagnosed with ADHD also along with OCD to be further evaluated in 3 weeks by a child psychologist professional. While at home, my husband is BEYOND disconnected and distracted. 90% (if not more) of his time is spent sitting at his computer, back turned from EVERYTHING, watching anime cartoons or playing video games. The video gaming doesn't so much bother me, as I know it is an outlet and I also at times join in with him and it is something that does connect us. We have tried setting up scheduling, but he never follows through and always loses track of time or forgets what he has said to me. When he does step in with parenting, he is typically amazing and fun or the extreme opposite as an overwhelmed disciplinary. I have tried desperately  to get him to dedicate at least one hour ONCE a week to spending with me, but he won't do it. He says he loves me, I don't doubt that he does - but I don't know what much else I can do. I don't feel like an HOUR is much to ask for - but he just can't give it to me. Our daughter has added stress with her defiance, tantrums, outbursts and her own frustration of having a lack of maturity to comprehend what we expect from her. We were supposed to go to family counseling weeks ago, but he never followed up with his referral and the DAY OF our first appointment he had to cancel for insurance reasons to be fixed the next week but he still hasn't done it even with reminders. Housework? Yeah, that's all me...  I just recently spent 3 days scrubbing down the house from top to bottom and then in less than half a day the kids and him trashed it and it's expected to all be picked up again by me. During the day parenting my children is my full time job. My daughter needs constant attention and acknowledgement of being who she is, and I appreciate that but it makes it difficult to accomplish much else. At bedtime we both typically participate to put the kids down, then he is right back on his computer and I am maybe watching a show before getting dishes done and laundry folded along with picking up the house for the next morning. His ONE responsibility is to take out the trash, and it will be overflowing before I usually just do it myself because asking him to do it typically leads to me nagging - and I HATE being the Naggy Wife. So back to his computer usage..  I know he watched porn regularly but I think I am unsure how often in fact he does. I am lucky to get intimate regularly unless it is "scheduled in" but that doesn't even always work. He stays up until 12-1 on nights he doesn't have to work the following mornings and usually until like 5 or 6 AM when he has off the next. I get up EVERY SINGLE MORNING BY MYSELF with the kids, which is causing severe resentment. I have pleaded for help, with little resolve. I am exhausted every morning myself, because foolishly I keep myself awake until around midnight just in hopes of getting 10 minutes alone with him - which won't happen. When he does finally come to bed, he turns his tablet on to watch more cartoons with his back turned to me again. I feel ugly, I feel unappreciated, I feel beyond alone and so frustrated. I've begun working out, and eating healthy to lose weight but he just kept criticizing every single thing. He thinks by being so honest and blunt that he is helping me succeed, but really it is just damaging my self-esteem even more and comes off as harsh and like he's talking to one of the guys rather than his wife.  We know that we need counseling, but I don't see it happening unless I just start going by myself but I don't see that fixing our issues together. I have worked on my anger, and I try not to scream... I am the type of person to take most things out on myself until I explode in a bomb of emotional tears and incomprehensible words of despair. I know I need help. How do I get it? We have no reliable sitter here for the children, it's hard for me to trust people because I have been constantly let down where we are now.... we have one car, leaving me home mostly all the time... Whenever I leave him home with the kids he still stays on his computer and I come home to a huge mess.... I am close to my breaking point.


Where can I go from here? Am I doing something wrong? I never thought for a second that I wouldn't be with this man forever, but there have been moments of doubt to that as of recent. Maybe our move and family will bring relief? Maybe getting counseling will help us get back on the same page with parenting, and early intervention for our daughter will just make it easier to parent her anyway? Reading other forums, I feel I am not alone - yet here I feel completely alone.. does that make sense? My husband read the book by Melissa, or I thought he read the whole thing  -  but upon opening our Nook I see he didn't complete it and he confirmed he meant to but forgot - and still hasn't months later. I feel so much anxiety, I am off my anti-depressants because they make me feel worse and my new eating habits and working out has helped but there's more missing.


I need encouragement. I need this man in my life, he is truly a wonderful person with unconditional love (just seemingly can't show it)...  he can be so angry and explosive one moment but forgiving and supportive the next. This is a rollercoaster, but I know all marriages can be and it usually helps you bond and grow closer with each bump right? I don't want to cry anymore, I don't want to feel so alone anymore. I want the man back that I fell in love with - I know he is still in there....  I feel like I've jumped all over with this post here, but I am so overwhelmed and just needed to speak it all out... 

  I wish I had some wise


I wish I had some wise words for you but I'm afraid I don't :( All I can say is; You are not alone. I have recently discovered this forum (non ADHD wife, married to an ADD husband) and it's been *such* a revelation! Your feelings seem to mirror my own to a large extent and for years, I thought I was the only one who felt like this. Reading this forum helped me realize that I'm not.

I am currently contemplating divorce because I am *so* fed up with feeling alone, unloved etc etc. I, too, want the guy I fell in love with back but I know now that that is unlikely to happen. I fell in love with him when he was in his hyperfocus phase but that's not really who he is. For years I have begged, pleaded, cajoled, demanded etc etc for him to do a specific thing for me during the weekend (Not a big thing, could be done in less than half an hour but it's *really* important to me). It has hardly ever happened. He doesn't need to do *anything* (and he invariably doesn't - I take care of everything) except that one thing during the weekend and he seems incapable of it. It's brought so many tears and so much unhappiness to me that I am apparently so unimportant to him that he fails to do that one thing, I'm coming round to the idea that I perhaps would be better off on my own. 

He says he loves me but that's all he does. He just says it. There are no actions that support those words. We haven't had sex for months and he doesn't do the one thing I have asked him to do for me during the weekend, so what am I supposed to think? 

I know you say that you need this man in your life and that he is a truly wonderful person with unconditional love but reading your story, it doesn't seem to me like he is *at all*. He doesn't support you with the kids, he doesn't support you with the chores and he doesn't even give you an hour of his time once a week. What makes you say he is a wonderful person? (I'm not criticizing of course, I'm genuinely curious - mainly because I find myself saying that my husband is a wonderful guy too, but then when I actually think about *why* I say that, I realize a lot of it is based on how he was during his hyperfocus phase)




The little moments show hope...

I know I'm not alone, I just want to hold out on the hope that after moving and starting fresh that things will improve. I am trying to remain positive and keep focused on one goal at a time, but it sometimes is just so hard. Why do I say he is a wonderful person? I see how he CAN be with the children and with me..  there are glimpses here and there (far and few) of the man I fell madly in love with. He can be so full of anger one moment, and even fuller of forgiveness the next. If I truly support him with his passion of the moment, then he shows true appreciation to me. This morning he actually came home from work and without me saying anything, he came to the realization that our stresses and our daughters behavior could in fact be directly related to his computer usage. Instead of sitting down and turning his cartoons on he actually sat on the couch...  he's been interacting with them all morning and confirming to me how he appreciates what I do and acknowledged the cleaning I accomplished before 9am this morning. I won't give up, not now...  I just need to keep moving forward. I feel in love with him for a reason, he is the best father to my children - and if I plan for something to happen he will typically follow through and go along with whatever it is we are doing without any or much gripe. His little forehead kisses to me, and arm rubs at night...  silly smiles and glances...  all that shows his moments of having me on his mind even if only for a second. I know it can and will work...   Just as of right now, life is completely overwhelming and at times seems like I've hit a brick wall. Is this like any marriage?  Has anyone been in this place and overcame it with the right tools? What actions were taken?


I am married to an ADHD man and I am the non-ADHD wife,life with him has been a struggle,from the "hyper focused" amazing courtship,to the "roller coaster ride"You are NOT alone.

This is very difficult,but,over the past year of marriage being in an ADHD relationship only made me a better woman,stronger as well,I have passed through all the good/bad things with him,from the porn use, to the watching other woman,to the low self-esteem EVERYTHING.He has treated me good and bad.This is no easy ride,it has been very hard for me.

I somehow managed to cope and stay along side him for the reason that I really "do love him"He has that most wonderful side in him that will show up every so once in a while ,,and also the bad side that will show also.

I took myself out of the emotional realm where the porn is concern ,,and I am doing sooo much better with that now,as far as the watching of the other woman,well,I simply told him this was an issue and he stopped it, at least when he is with me.I don't ever nag him, and I try to stay focused on the good things rather than the bad,and this has helped me A LOT to NOT resent him.

I know how you feel,and I know how you want this to work,I admire your courage and thank god for your strength.

It is good that you are moving closer to "family" families are the most important thing in life,you would surly not be alone after that,and maybe it would really be a fresh start for you guys.

Hang in there.good luck


Wow has this thread helped

Wow has this thread helped me. I too am married to an ADHD and I am not....where do I start? 

First I would say pray. My faith has helped me a lot. We are going on 3 years of marriage. The big turning point was 15 months ago. Next I would say look up Harry Schaumburg.  He's an author. Great books there.  

My hardest issue was the sex stuff and the other women watching, him fantasizing etc. I am trying to come to terms with that one. 

As far as the housework, my advice, choose your battles. What issue is most important to you? I just do all the chores, pay the bills,Maori full time,etc. yep, I'm exhausted, I have put on weight, but I need to remember to take care of me too. You are doing great with that one. 

I say give his computer to your family when you move. Tell them the issue. He's abviously addicted to it and possibly porn, etc. that can be dangerous as it can lead to other behaviors. 

If he doesn't finish the book, read to him before you go to sleep. Maybe he will do that. Also, get some parental controls on that computer. 

It's tough, really tough. I understand totally. Sometimes I wonder why I married him. Enlist family members to help you talk to him. That might help too. 

ADHD not under control

Your husband's ADHD is clearly not under control - circle back to the 3 legs of treatment in my book, and start talking with him about it.  Something like: "I know that you've been interested enough in this topic to read at least some of Melissa's book, for which I am grateful.  I need to be completely honest with you and tell you that I am really, really struggling here and there is only so much that I can do without more involvement from you.  I am trying hard to contribute what I can - taking care of myself better, working on not nagging, reading to become more educated.  As I've been doing this, I have noticed some specific patterns in our relationship that I think are attributable to under-managed ADHD symptoms.  For example, unexpected spurts of anger that don't seem well controlled and the fact that you wish to do things (such as finish the book) but then don't manage to.  I'm wondering if you might be willing to get professional help, or learn more about these specific issues and how to control them.  It would be great for you if you were able to complete what you set out to do, as well as be in better control of your emotions...and it would be really great for the rest of your family, too.  You probably saw the treatment section in Melissa's book - perhaps starting there and doing an inventory of where your opportunities are for treatment might be good."  Hopefully you'll have a conversation around this. 

Some specific options for the two of you:

  • An ADHD coach for the initiation/completion issues for him
  • An ADHD-savvy counselor for either him or both of you
  • Ari Tuckman's new workbook "Understand Your Brain, Get More Done" which has a specific section in it on managing emotions - for him
  • My upcoming self-study couples course for you both.  (This could be a good summer project for the two of you to do together.)  It will be available some time in June and is in 7 sessions that are meant to be spread out over 2 months.  Many couples have found it helpful, particularly when faced with the kinds of issues you describe.


Things are improving, one day at a time..

Thank you for taking time to reply, Melissa. That means a lot..  your book was the first step to us evaluating where we were in our marriage and where our true issues were stemming from. He did take the first step and has sought counseling for himself as well and managed his medication. He has been on adderall for a few months now, which has controlled some of his anxiety but at the same time has drastically changed his sleeping and eating patterns (he hardly eats and rarely sleeps now.) He has had about 5 counseling sessions for himself and I do notice small steps towards improvement. He is in the process of losing his career in the military, due to them being overstaffed..  he has been in for nearly 14 years and wished to stay in but he has had to face that it isn't. He is terrified for the unknown, he has been a military kid/adult his entire life and never been a "civilian." I do notice his ADHD symptoms become  worsened with stress, and this is a momentous stress filled occasion to come in the next 3 weeks. I have listened, and re-read some of your book with how to cope and work on myself. Just this passed week, he has changed his reactions, stepped up to completing tasks we've set within reasonable time frames, and acknowledged immediately when he gets too overwhelmed and explodes followed by immediate apologies and communicating how to work better together. Our daughter has also been the  other huge factor in his (and our) major stress, resulting in lack of control for our emotions. Finally in 2 weeks she will be properly evaluated for a diagnosis and hopefully we can be better equipped to manage her (ADHD).  We sat down 2 days ago and completely restructured our parenting, realizing we cannot parent her like any other child would be. The actions we've set forth are actually working, and she is reacting positively. I am seeing light now! Once we get to our new home halfway across the country, and settle in...  we will seek counseling together. This we've agreed on and we will have another conversation soon agreeing on a time frame to do so. I hope others can relate to what I am going through, what my family is going through..  I do see hope. I will not throw away what we've worked for and I am learning in "baby steps" how to accept him for who he is and LOVE his ADHD side. We have set time limits for the computer usage, he is following through. I've even began playing games with him at night on the computer so we can get some time together, and I am actually enjoying it. We are scheduling in time for "chores" now and making it a family event..  everyone pitches in and all the work gets done in about an hour. It is working and I truly am feeling better. For the first time ever speaking out, I have found that help to lessen the load on my shoulders and work towards a new chapter and an incredible future. THANK YOU MELISSA! I will continue to check in on this website. I will look into the other support materials you've posted and continue moving forward without looking back.