PLEASE HELP........I'm ADHD and my husband is not. He wants to leave.

Ok, so where do I start? My husband and I have been married for 15 years and have two children. He recently told me that he is "done and can't take it anymore". I asked him if he made up his mind and he said "yes". We went to see a counselor a few days later (I thought for us, but he later said it was to have someone give us direction on how to help our kids through this). The counselor spoke with us together for about an hour or so, then told me that she needed to get more history from him. I eventually "got the point" and left. Later that evening I asked him what she said and he told me that she told him that I had some social qualities of Aspbergers. I was really irritated (not that she had said Aspbergers, but at the fact that she made a harsh JUDGEMENT based on the INITIAL VISIT and I believe short history). I told him that I didn't think she was the one to help us and asked him if he would consider going to see someone else. He agreed. He says he's been in "HELL" for the last 15 years and can't do it anymore. I am broken hearted. I asked him if he could TRY and see if WE could work and he said he doesn't know how. That he has TRIED for the last 15 years. I told him that he ISN'T trying, because I was only diagnosed 2 years ago and we haven't seen anyone, used any "tools" to even try (either of us I now know). I have learned a lot about myself in the past week. He is frustrated that I don't ale responsibility for ANYTHING, I act childish, and the list goes on. I told him that a lot of his anger is from my BEHAVIOR and that with the right tools, he may realize that I AM the person he wants to grow old with. I the that he is sooooo ANGRY that he won't give it a try. We went to a new counselor who was I think amazing. My husband to us at the session yesterday that the first lady t the end of thier session asked him what was his decision. He told her he was done, and can't do it anymore. Do you know what she said? She told him that if he is done, to go get a lawyer and get custody of our kids. WHO THE HECK DOES THAT? I was like WOW!!!!! Well, the lady we saw yesterday told my husband she thinks he is "unclear" of what he wants, and asked if he would give it a little more time. He hesitated, but then agreed. I enrolled in a community college in Dec 2011 and having ADHD my homework is crazy. I am ALWAYS doing homework and I don't know what happened. Last night (with finals next week) I told my professor I needed to drop out because my family is more important  and I needed to work on this. He understood. I called my husband and told him, he didn't think it was a good idea because of the cot and I told him it was so I can work on US. After thinking more about it, I have decided (him encouraging it) to take my final and finish my class. I did tell, and that I am taking the summer semester off to focus on our family. After I told him, I asked him what he needs from me? He asked my when would it be that I will just "accept" his decision to leave and be ok with it? I told him I thought the timing should be fair (not like 2 weeks) and he said " all I can do is one day at a time, but you have to realize that I might go to the appointment Monday, walk out and be done" . I said " WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT? You give a glimpse of hope and they yank it away". I was balling my eyes out....the kind of hurt , crushed crying. Later that evening, I called him, talked a little and then tol him I was going to bed. I told him " I LOVE YOU" and he said it sounded like he was going to,say so,etching else, but held back. So that is where I am at. I just want to know is this a positive sign or not. I want us to work not only for us, but for the sake of the kids too. Any thing would be appreciated. Oh, we made a list to take to the second counselor about what drove us crazy about the other. On my list, instead of listing that, I listed the things I HADN'T taken Responsibility for......and there were about 26 of them. I am learning more and more every day. I just hope it not too late.

I can't speak for your

I can't speak for your husband.  But here is my advice to you, an ADHD spouse, from me, a nonADHD spouse.  

Take your husband's concerns seriously.  Do not think "out of sight, out of mind."  If he stops talking about the ADHD or about your marriage, don't assume that you're free and clear and that you can ignore the problems.  Tell him that you are serious about working on the problems, and then work on them! Ask him what signs of progress he needs to see to believe that you are working on the problems.  If they seem doable, do them.  If they don't, start to negotiate.

Good luck.



I agree with you. I m doing everything I know to do. I have a tendency to say before I think and I chose my " argument" words incorrectly. I always manage to talk like I am pointing the finger and that is NOT what I want to do. The other thing that concerned me is that he has gone out to dinner with a friend (single mother) a few times in the last few weeks. I don't think he realizes that it's inappropriate, but I know he sees no harm "we are just friends" is what he told the first counselor. Even she said that it was NOT normal. I don't know if he has subconsciously developed an emotional whatever you want to call it, but if he has, he has no idea......literally. I know it's good that he is willing to go back Monday (our next appointment) and I just really hope he wants to try and work it out. I told him that if we try together and we decide it's not going to work I will be fine with that because at least he tried.I'm not looking for the fairy tail, just to be with him and us BOTH be HAPPY together. That's all. I don't think that is much to ask for, but then gin, I have been very selfish in the past and I can understand how he could be skeptical that I will all of a sudden change. I also think we BOTH need to change habits, not necessarily us. Did that make sense? I appreciate you voice. I really do. Thank you.

I agree, I'm sure there are

I agree, I'm sure there are things your spouse needs to work on.  In my relationship, I'm trying hard to change my bad habits.  It is frustrating when one person tries to change and the other one doesn't.  

I think it would be reasonable to request that he not see the single mother while you're trying to work things out.  It doesn't seem appropriate for him to be doing that right now.  


I don't think he ever answered me when I asked him. Should I ask him again, and if the answer mis yes, how do I do it without him feeling attacked?

lion-hearted girl's picture

My advice, woman to woman...


As a preface to what I'm about to say, I am the non-ADHD spouse, trying to put myself in his shoes as to what he is thinking. I'm also speaking to you woman to woman here. And, because we don't know each other but I recognize the pain and effort, I'm going to be brutally honest.

You may have no idea of how much pain and loneliness and responsibilities he has shouldered for years and years. He thinks you won't change. That you're going to find things wrong with everyone you talk to. That those will be the excuses you'll point to so as not make change. The fact that he's reaching out to another woman, a single mother, is very scary. He is trying to find justification for the hurt and pain and it becoming a good reason to leave you. He may say it is just friends, but the truth is he is reaching for ways to set his mind at ease so he can feel better about making a decision to leave. You may have ADHD, but he has bad coping skills. You have to accept his role of trying or not trying as to whether or not you can repair your marriage.

Here's my advice for action: Contact him, ask him if he can meet you somewhere neutral, say tomorrow morning for coffee and breakfast... somewhere out of the house. Get someone to watch the kids for a couple hours. Sometimes there is a lot of negativity that surrounds one's home (it's the source of the responsibilities). Try NOT to get overly emotional. Relay to him your strong desire to let go of the pain from the past. Tell him you do not understand all of the pain he has gone through. That you wish you had been diagnosed sooner so that you could have started treatment much sooner than now and saved you both years of sadness and confusion. You need to let go of what you cannot control at this point. And that is the past. Tell him that you understand why he is trying to reach out to another woman, and don't scold him, but tell him that you are beginning to recognize how much he has needed a companion who he could really talk to, and how you have fallen short of that for too long.

Quite simply you need to recognize, accept and then move on. At this point actions speak louder than words. Express your gratitude for him supporting you in your college endeavors, for helping you to see that finishing this semester means that you've accomplished something that is incredibly difficult. Just an observation - you're working towards goals (congrats!!) - but what about your husband? If you haven't had that conversation yet, you need to find out. He may have never really had such a conversation with you before. With kids, it may be as simple as providing them solid role models of a relationship that can heal with knowledge and true effort.

Hope those thought help,

Woman to woman.....

​ know, the thing about this is that I would have (about a week prior) would have taken offense to your post but I GET IT. he has stated over and over that why can't I " just accept HIS decision". I am so confused. I don't know what to do. I have told him that I understand why he is frustrated with me (and has been for years) but I don't think he hears me. I called him earlier this evening. He said he would call back.......he never did. So what do I think now? I am trying not to be selfish.......I'm just LOST!!!!!! As I am sure HE IS TOO.


​I don't know at this moment if I can NOT get emotional, so I wrote him a letter. I know it's not words, but it I n action right? I think if I did as you suggested, I will loose it. I think the letter is ok. Do you? 

lion-hearted girl's picture

yes, i think it is a good start

B, I think a letter is a good start. The problem is that he has heard promises before. And when they didn't come true it broke his heart. After years of this a non ADHD spouse almost becomes numb, because it hurts too much to trust that things will truly change. And it hurts so much for both spouses. I've been so extremely sad not only for myself, but also when it has become obvious how very sad and depressed and at the point of giving up my ADHD husband is at this point. Don't forget that your husband still keeps trying. Recognizing how tough that really is for him, and how he could be, at this point, emotionally numb, can help him feel understood for once. And that is a start. A step in the right direction. I wish you the best.


Not to place blame (I mean that from the bottom of my heart) , but I think I stopped trying when I was possibly not getting something from him as well and maybe that is why I STOPPED? I think we NEED each other (emotionally) and all, but haven't figured out HOW to see what that need is. Does that make sense? He says we have nothing in common other than our children, but I think that is the anger talking. I won't pretend to know that I KNOW what he is thinking. Does that make sense too? I have been asking him that same question ALOT- "does that make sense".

Another thing


Another thing about the " he hasn't touched me in a month thing" ....... I want so badly to just go up to him and kiss him. Should I wait and ASK him if I can kiss him? If he sys yes, how do I proceed? I know that is probably a strange question, but I the you just might understand.  :)

lion-hearted girl's picture

Because the pain is on the surface...

Because he holds a lot of pain on the surface and may need to learn the ways to truly love you and trust you it is his 'safety net' to say that he has nothing in common with you. It is anger, frustration, sadness, depression, and a self-preservation to his sanity to say that. Because both of you have not had the greatest life coping strategies. But that can change. Not overnight, but little by little. Maybe the craziness of life has put you in reaction mode rather than the 'find happiness' mode. Think about what you used to have in common... when's the last time you did those things? Can you start on a small scale with something that might bring a smile? As far as the desire to get close and kiss him... Yes, I understand. It's a little awkward to ask him if he minds. At one point I said something like, 'can I get a kiss?' And he said 'of course! I will always kiss you'. So that's how I broached it. But you could try a hug and then touching his face, being close, and just kiss him softly if there's a tender moment. I know it sucks, the lack of intimacy. One thing I heard online from a counselor trying to help a spouse who may be going through a period of 'neglect' or 'unwant' from the other, is that nobody likes a mangy dog. Bear with me here. It took me a bit to think about it when I first heard it... "If you hear a scratching at the door and open it and there sits a mangy dog. Ribs sticking out, scraggley, mangy ... Your first response, honestly, is 'awww poor thing. But just don't let it in the house. The thing needs help...' " Well, that supposedly is how a spouse may appear to the other who is not attracted anymore to a pitiful soul, one that is scratching for attention. I know it's a vivid illustration, one that kind of Pisses you off, right? It pissed me off too, but I thought a long time about it. Because my husband is in a funk and has pulled away from me intimately, and it has pissed me off. But then I had to think harder about what may be the reason why. I had to ask myself, would I be attracted to someone who kept pining over me, seemingly unaware of how needy and desperate it looked? That the other person would want to be with someone who was sad and appeared to have no notable self esteem for wanting 'mercy attention'? It is really crappy, I know. But something to think about. So, I know you are not happy right now. No duh, right? But you should be happy with what you are accomplishing in life. Find some happiness and start there. You have lived the majority of your life not knowing why everything was so Damn complicated. Of not realizing how many walls and fences you had been building in your marriage. Not knowing why things were so tough and nobody got it. But you are changing that. You are succeeding at unearthing some root causes of the pain that until recently has made completely no sense. Be proud of how you are changing your life. Rejoice that your husband is willing to try. He's got alot of confusion and pain to work through as well. Let your husband see that you are finding happiness that for once things have the chance of looking up. You have a strategy, and you are gaining the strength to make it happen. Find things that will release the negativity and the anxiety so you can let the power of positive change take route. And your husband will see that. And THAT is attractive. That's who he saw in you when you first fell in love.


Ok, WOW again. I read another post from Szgrrl (I think) and that person was talking about NPD (narcissistic Personality Disorder).......I was just reading about it and was balling (AGAIN) like a baby. I think I may in fact have some form of this " classification". ( yes, I think I just did admit to that) . My husband mention the " N" word recently. And reading the info omit made a lot of sense. Man have I been one evil bi**h.  That is NOT WHO I WANT TO BE.  And it makes me sick to think that that is what I have become. So sick. I want so bad to change, becuAse this is not how I want US to live. Can you come live with us, you have hit the nail on the head per say every time you respond. I hope the person we see is as good as you. Hopefully I can remember all of this. Do you think I should let my husband READ these posts? I don't want to tell him because of what i explained earlier (I don't know if he hears me). 

I love your term, "the mangy

I love your term, "the mangy dog."  That's who I have been lately, and I don't want to be that.  I want my husband (who has ADHD) to pay attention to me because he's interested in me, not because he pities me.  The begging humiliates me and it's not even that effective.  And when it does work, I just don't feel satisfied, just more humiliated.  Now I'm waiting for him to come knocking and if he doesn't, I'll know our time is over.


It's soooo sad to read these posts and know I AM ONE OF THE PEOPLE doing this to my husband. I read a lot, asked for a lot of advice and EVERYONE have been so open and honest. I realize (I have ADHD  and what I think are Narcissistic traits) that I HAVE MADE HIM MIZERABLE and I did this, NOT HIM. I am taking this one day at a time. I did tell him that if his decision is still to leave, I will RESPECT HIS choice, I NEVER have before and that is something MAJOR for me. I am NOT trying to look like a saint here, but I now know I AM TO BLAME. HE makes ME want to be a better person and I never TOLD him that. I really hope it's not too late. Rose........I can understand your pain now, seeing what I have done to my husband. I wish yours would "have an epiphany" and wake up like I've had to. I want to change for me, so that HE can be happy talking, being seen with me etc. And I will try for the rest of my life. 

bb2000, I know that I'm not

bb2000, I know that I'm not perfect and I know that my husband has many good traits.  I'm sure this is true of you and your spouse, also.  I really don't want him to feel guilty or crushed by becoming aware of how I feel.  I'm the type of person who tends to think, "OK, I've done some bad things; what can I do to make up for that and become a better person?"  My husband says that he feels so overwhelmed by guilt that his brain goes into avoidance mode and he can't act at all.  I know that this pattern of thinking and feeling can be hard to overcome, but I also know that my dear husband hasn't tried.  That's all I ask right now, that he try.

Can't argue

I can't argue with that. A few days ago I would have, now.....I can't. HE NEEDS TO WANT to change. Not only for him self , but for YOU to be happy. That is wha I realized. I was so focused on ME,ME ME, that I didn't see HIM.  How so very selfish of me. I told him this morning that if his decision is still the same, I will not make his life hell. I understand now that I have caused so much pain, made so many promises etc, that I failed to see what was truly important.....making me happy by showing him what HAPPY IS, I was never happy with myself. How can I expect him to believe in someone who doesn't believe in themselves? Why did I wait so damn long........ Its MY FAULT.  And it's SAD, not for me, but for him. 

Please don't let yourself be

Please don't let yourself be overwhelmed with guilt.  Acknowledge your contribution to the situation and then take action to change.  Your husband has been contributing, too; trite but true:  it takes to to tango.


 Thank you everyone. This has really been an eye opening experience.

This sucks

Looks like I have l have lost the battle I give up.

B... Don't give up!

I just came across this thread and I know something about what you are going through. I was not diagnosed until I was 43 years old and 13 years into my marriage which had de-volved into the "Room Mate" situation. All you have control of is yourself. You have a powerful tool just knowing what you have been dealing with all of your life and the good news is the ADD medications work for about 70-80 percent of us. This is just a tool to make real progress though, therapy and continued learning is the key to un-doing this monster. I was told that I had emptied the "Trust Bucket" and have been working for almost three years to fill it back up. If you keep improving, eventually the old stale hurtful perceptions of you can change into new ones through consistent repetion.

Don't give up! There are some great people here who can help you, some are ADDer's and many awesome Non-ADDer's. I have learned so much from the people here. Hang in the B!  

Thanks YYZ

Thanks YYZ......I once thought there was hope and now it has been crushed.....over and over and over again. I won't give up on myself,but I guess I'm giving up on him. Giving up on him because he can't see that HE needs help too. The saying "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't MAKE him drink" holds so true right now. I'm so lost,but I know I'm strong and I'll survive. Thanks again, but I believe it's to late. He thinks that nothing will ever change (my behavior based on the last 15 years). I KNOW I will and I can't make him see that.

Too late...

"Too Late" was my biggest fear after my diagnosis. This was out of my control too, so I took responsibility for my past actions/inactions, apologized to my DW for the mistakes and was hell bent on setting new standards, new expected behaviors/reactions to replace the old perceptions (Perception is a 8itch too) I did not expect a pat on the back every time I did something right or better. I knew that only time and my consistent changes would ever reset the bad perceptions.

Good for you! Keep working on your ADD and people Will notice, how could they not notice when your behaviors, mood and performance improve after treating the ADD. Hang in there "B" (Awesome nickname) it is my real world nickname too ;) 

Thanks YYZ

Thanks YYZ,

i know I am a strong person, but I have to be the strongest for my kids. I really don't think my husband (or whatever he is now-roommate I guess) has any CLUE what is going to do to our children. I will never forgive him for that.the helplessness a kid feels (did I do something to make them break up) and all other hideous ideas children feel when parents get divorced is something I NEVER wanted my kids to experiNce. I am just sorry their father is not strong enough to try. 

reply to last comment

I too am ADHD and my wife left me. All I thought about was our 3 children and how it would effect them... all of my worries were worse then what really happened. I had to realize that sometimes whats BEST for the kids is not what we always want. My wife and I were constantly at each others throats- for lack of better terms. You have to ask yourself- is it better for them to be in the same house with the 2 of you not getting along or seperate and being civil?? From my experience- my children are much better off the way things are now. If you 2 can agree to make it about your children and not about yourselves- then they will come out just fine. Most kids- if the divorce is civil- come out without being "damadged". One question... you stated that their father isnt strong enough to try.. is this the first time that you and your husband have tried councleing?  


Yes, this is the first time we have really been to counseling. We went maybe 3 times total in the 15 years of our marriage. But NOT back to back. So, that is why I think he's not trying.

so he has tried??

You think he hasnt tried, but he has gone 3 times before to councling? Is that a fair assessment? Sometimes when we are in hard circumstances it is hard to look inward at the problems...its much easier to try to blame others. But to truly recieve the help that you asked for- one needs to take responsibililty for their own actions. Im not saying any one of you is better then the other, it takes 2. Just focus on making yourself better- getting the help you need. If you start getting angry it will only effect the children. 

I agree

I agree. I don't remember if it was 3 times. I don't think 3 times is enough to make a logical assessment. I am NOT right, but I feel that therapy is just that, theraputic, our should be. If not to help a couple, then at least an individual. The 3 previous sessions were personal sessions. The therapist wanted to meet with him. It want martial session. I have taken responsibility and will from now on. Who I WAS is NOT who I WANT to be. Thank you for taking the time to respond.


Well, just an update. Things are better for me. I have been to a psychologist and a psychiatrist. See them every month, and I am growing stronger every day. I realize now that I can't change him, nor do I want to. My mistakes are mine, and I am NOT to blame for this situation. Did I contribute, sure, but I can't take FULL blame. He made choices too. I have learned to think before I speak (and once he literally asked me if I was having a stroke!!), and just understand that my brain chemistry is NOT the same as "normal" people. I accept that. I have self compensated for so long, I am slowly learning how to undo old bad habits. The end result is, we are divorcing, because I need someone who accepts me for ME, not who they think I should be. You can't expect a good relationship if someone wants to change you. I am takNg a psychology class right now, and it mention a tier of needs that have to be met in order to advance to ultimately "self  awareness " (or something like that). I think I wasn't able to give him his emotional needs, because I wasn't having my "acceptance" need met. I don't know if that makes sense, but it does to me. I know I will eventually find someone who will love, respect, care, etc for me just the "revised" way I am one day. I am hopefully and optimistic. I wear a smile on my face more now a days, and at times it still does hurt. I know that grieving is a part of loss, and I will get through it.  :)


I didn't contribute to the

I didn't contribute to the original thread, B, but thank you for updating. So many people just disappear off of here after a time and we all wonder what happened with them and their situation.

I'm sorry that you are divorcing, but you made a very important comment. He couldn't accept you. That was one of my revelations with my ADHD husband. Yes, his behaviors hurt me and for a long time that was all I saw him. He was nothing more than the sum of his bad behaviors. But as he gradually got them under control, I realized that I had to accept him for him. Not him on meds, or the him I recognized from our time as boyfriend and girlfriend. After I learned to accept his ADHD, I began to see the good parts that it brings to him (his ability to think fast, his quirky humor, his ability to be a rock in the middle of a crisis) and started to love him again...all of him. He started to respond to my "whole" love and now we are stronger now than we have ever been during the course of our marriage (going on five years).

I wish your husband could have done the same. It breaks my heart that he couldn't. But you are moving in the right direction. Don't lose your focus and one day you will find someone who will love you, ADHD and all.

Best of luck!


Thank you so much for this post. I know everything isn't about me, I get that now. I originally went on this site for HELP. I realized I was someone I didn't want to be, and thus have not changed WHO I am, but my behaviors. I try now to listen more (WITHOUT iinterrupting), think about what I say BEFORE I say it, and so on. I am not perfect, and meds do help, but you are right. I am who I am. :) I am so glad you learned about this disorder, and learned to love the good qualities. I think it takes a special person to love special people. You are special to me, just for learning to understand. I mean that from the bottom of my heart, as I am crying typing this. It just made me realized there are people out there who can learn to love us, ALL of us......both good and the bad. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU........for being YOU!!!! :)