Pregnant and abandoned by ADHD husband

Hi everyone,

This is the first time I am seeking advise on a forum. I am 9 months pregnant and abandoned by ADHD husband four months ago. Basically he went to vacation to see his family abroad when I was 5 months pregnant and never returned. I had a bleeding episode while he was away and after contacting him he showed no emotional response or any concern, which I found extremely hurtful. In the heat of an argument I told him not to come back and he took the offer (very easily).

He is in his late 30s, has no history of holding a steady job, his family was giving him monthly allowance. Now all he wants is to find a job, has grandiose ideas about businesses he is going to start and well paid jobs that he is going to get.  

I invited him back more than once, but all he sees is his own hurt and rejection and he turns everything against me and blames me for everything. It is now my fault for not finding him a job, he was a servant and a housemaid to me. This could not be any further from truth in reality! I accepted all his claims and offered so many constructive proposals of how we can re/organise and readjust our lives, but his answers never respond to my questions and he contradicts himself three times in each sentence. He will be back only for the child, he will never be back and then he will come back only if he sees my proposals put in action.  

I had more than one pregnancy related complication as a result of terrible stress that I have been exposed to, and I am not sure what to do any more. There is a lot of his family involvement too, they refuse to see that he has issues he needs to address and give all the leniency to justify his behavior. Himself and everyone around his seem to have outside control locus, everything is the fault of someone else not himself.  

The worst thing is being torn: on one hand I still love him and remember good things about our marriage. On the other hand I feel such strong sense of betrayal and being abandoned by someone so easily with whom I planned a child and family. How can he do such a cruel thing without being even aware of the degree of cruelty of his actions.....

Can anyone please give me any tips on how to get through to him, how to talk to him and make him come back.

I am at a complete loss...

Sorry to hear

My gosh, I'm sorry to hear your story, it's very tragic.  At a time when two people should be at their closest, you are deserted.  I'm sorry to hear, but it sounds like this scenario cannot be pinned on ADHD alone.  After reading so many entries from those with ADHD, I've found that there are many strong and loving adult partners living with ADHD. A person with ADHD still understands the gravity of love and parenting and would at least never abandon their blossoming family. 

It sounds like your husband has never truly separated from his parents and become a grown up.  He has not learned to face the world independently and take accountability for his actions - like a true adult.  I'm guessing that if his family is still giving him an allowance, they have always coddled him and babied him - then when he met you, you took the role of his mother, rather than partner.  Now that you are going to be a mother of someone else, it scares him off.  Sounds like the guy has not mentally or emotionally grown past his early teens.  Hence the immature arguments and constant contradictions - it's like sitting down and trying to have a serious life talk with a 13 year old boy; it's just not going to happen.  Like young teens who believe "What-ever!" is valid argument, he will not use logic or reason to deal with the scenario at hand, for him it is far easier just to discredit you and bring you down to his level.   Deep inside he logically understands the situation, but he takes comfort in the emotional world where he can create magical explanations that defy all logic or reality.  In his mind, he doesn't have to actually address the issue, just as long as he can get you to accept responsibility for it and take care of it for him - again, like a child clinging to a mothers leg. 

In healthy child rearing, parents are supposed to slowly expose their children to adult responsibilities and help them understand the consequences of their actions.  Over time the child masters those skills and is able to live independently without the coaching of their parents; this is when we become "adults".  Unfortunately, it sounds like he's never let go of mommy's leg.  So now he brings a new life into this world and he runs back to mom so she will take care of it.  Hearing about your abandonment makes my stomach sink, I feel for you.  Maybe you can help your husband realize his own independence and strengths so that he is less scared to face the real world?  Maybe helping/encouraging him to feel capable and strong will prevent him from running away?  How does one deal with such a deep rooted psyche?  We can only try.......  Best of luck, stay strong.

Hello Alex, Many thanks for

Hello Alex, Many thanks for your kindness and reassurance. It helps me feel like I am not going insane because I keep feeling like I did something to cause this, wronged him in some way or form that I cannot understand, etc. In the meantime I have delivered a healthy child, we are both doing well. A week after delivery I received an email from him in which now that I have delivered he can tell me how he really feels. I was called mentally unstable and was told if he knew how I was he would have never married me, listing all kinds of bizzare examples from our daily married life whereby he feels damaged by me etc. He asked for a divorce and said there can be no reconciliation. He said now that I will be divorced I can flirt with men again and get jobs this way. In brief, no words to describe his attack! In 2 pages, not once does he take child into account, as if the child does not exist. Then his mother wrote to say he is very sick, lost weight and wishes that he attended the birth but could not because he is so angry, that he loves his child and me but that news about child being born put him in some kind of crises! This disturbed me over again, as I was recovering from delivery to receive such cruel email. I have no explanation for his actions and words. How could I have lived for nearly 2 years with someone without anticipating that this could have happened? I am lucky to have support of friends, otherwise I believe that I would virtually go insane.

Oh my goodness...Alex- I am

Oh my goodness...

Nathalie- I am so sorry! What a devastating thing. If you read this site- you will see that there are many people who have endured the same kind of jekyll and hyde behavior from their adhd spouse... hurtbuthopeful, tourmaline and others have partners that left abruptly. My husband and I both have adhd (his was only recently diagnosed) and he tried to leave me 2 months ago...

When people with untreated adhd or under-treated adhd have big life changes or high stress, some of them react in spectacularly hurtful, illogical and hateful ways. The night my daughter was born (she went straight to the NICU) my husband threatened to divorce me. this was because I asked him to stay with me overnight in the hospital. He was prepared to do so when we expected the baby to be in my room (we were going to bond together with her- HA!). We even had child care lined up for our son... But once my daughter was sick and was not going to be there, my husband decided he would go home. I was extremely emotional, tired and suffered a very tramautic labour (I had nerve damage to my bladder) and I really wanted his emotional support. When I asked him to stay- he was like "WHY? The baby isn't here. No point in both of us getting a shitty sleep." When I started to cry (hormones, intense day, etc), he flew into a rage- telling me that I had been a bitch the whole pregnancy, that I was needy and difficult, that I had problems with everyone, that he didn't think he could continue like this and that if things didn't change, he would consider divorce." This was 3 hours after our beautiful baby girl was born.  And it devastated me. Then he switched course and started saying, "fine. Do you want me to stay?" And at that point I didn't anymore because he had broken my heart and spoiled one of the happiest times in my life (we went through 2 years of infertility to conceive our daughter and only conceived her via IUI- so her birth was extra-special). So then he yelled at me about making up my mind and decided he would stay (I think this was guilt and not wanting me to have anything on him). So he stayed begrudgingly and gave me the silent treatment all night. I remember feeling like you- completely caught off guard and shocked that this was happening. He has still never apologized for it. The closest he came was lying in his hospital bed after he had kidney stones in September (during which I dropped everything to rush him to the ER, stayed with him all day, and then catered to his every need for a month afterwards) where he said: "I'm sorry I wasn't more supportive during labour. The nurses here say the pain is similar. Next time- repeat c-section" (my first child was born via an emergency c-section after 30 hours of labour).

So I can kind of understand the state you must be in- although obviously your husband has been even more hurtful.

Please understand that this is not your fault. His behaviour is shameful, but is a pretty typical exhibition of spiralling symptoms for an adhd person under severe stress. That does not mean you have to forgive him if he eventually comes around and tries to make amends... But I hope that a better understanding of this might take a little bit of the sting out of your heartbreak.

Peace and support to you. Do your best to enjoy your beautiful baby and to resist taking any bait from your currently-demented partner. I wouldn't respond to the letter. Just leave it. Let it sit there and eat away at you. Later when he reads it, he will feel completely ashamed. If you try to rebut any of his illogical and extreme positions, that will give him more ammo and make him feel this situation is 2 sided. If you just leave it- his bad behaviour stands alone and maybe he will realize sooner the damage he has caused.

Again- my deep empathy goes out to you. this should be a beautiful time for you. If I could hug you through the computer, I would.

Some good wisdom there . . . . . Smilingagain



Smilingagain and the OP, you ladies have been through such traumatic experiences.  I don't want you both to ruminate, but my Lord, does it get any worse than your two stories?  Experiencing vengeful rage during what should be the most magical/spiritual time in your lives.  My God you both sound like strong women.  Stay strong.  As a man, I'm embarrassed to hear stories of men behaving like spoiled little boys.  I'm sorry, but that is despicable.  I'm still struggling to link ADHD to that kind of behaviour.  My friend (a person with diagnosed ADHD) of the family just had a baby girl.  This guy can't sit still for one second (hence why he dropped out of school and became a construction laborer) - however, when his daughter was born, he looked at her for hours and didn't blink.  He eventually went into his usual pacing routine and did everything for the nurses and his wife to stay busy, but he never left and was so happy.  We have more pictures of him sitting and holding her than anyone else.  Everyone who sees the pictures laughs about how focused and awestruck he looks.  I could tell he was agitated, but he tried to do everything he possibly could for his baby.

I'm still learning about this condition through my wife's experiences.  But how can it turn someone so mean and hateful?  I've seen that type of behaviour come from my wife when she gets logically cornered in a verbal discussion, but childbirth????  I look to learn more as we go.

So wise Smilingagain, "I wouldn't respond to the letter. Just leave it. Let it sit there and eat away at you. Later when he reads it, he will feel completely ashamed. If you try to rebut any of his illogical and extreme positions, that will give him more ammo and make him feel this situation is 2 sided. If you just leave it- his bad behaviour stands alone and maybe he will realize sooner the damage he has caused."  You hit that on the head.  I find it extremly difficult to logically reason with an ADHD sufferer, thing just quickly degrade into name calling.  They will soon recreate all the facts into a new story where they are innocent and you are the villian, simply for trying to make them see the reality of the situation.  It's frustrating, but you really can't help them, they have to help themselves.  Sometimes, the best way to do that is remove yourself completely from the picture.

Stay strong ladies.

I agree with Alex

As a man I too Iam embarrassed that any man would abandon the mother of his child when she needs support. I understand not being ready to be a father (or thinking you're not). It sounds like his family has always bailed him out when he got in over his head. So all of them are to blame for not teaching him be an adult and to learn some responsibility. I know that doesn't make it hurt any less or for you feel any better.

As someone with ADHD I'm ashamed that someone would use it as reason to run away. Again I say his family has not helped the situation. I know my own ADHD makes it difficult for me to pay attention to my wife and not finish projects around the house and to not think before I speak. But to write a letter or posts like this takes a lot of concentration to get my thoughts out. So his letter is beyond my comprehension. And I wouldn't respond to it either.

As a father angry and dumbfounded, that any father wouldn't be there for the birth of their child. It is one of my happiest memories that I wouldn't trade for anything. I work in IT for a Hospital System and we have setup Skype in our birthing rooms for fathers that are deployed to active military zones. So they could be there at least virtually.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you who have been though so much heartbreak.


Thanks jeff! Not to defend

Thanks jeff!

Not to defend the actions i mentioned above, but i do want to clarify and give credit to my husband where it is due:  My husband adores the children. He cried his eyes out with joy when my daughter was born (3 hours before the incident i described above) and he dotes on both kids and would take a bullet for either one of them instantly. He has never been directly abusive to the kids, although I do think the way he has treated me in front of them is abusive and hurtful to them... My husband is rather reserved; he has inattentive adhd and most people think of him as a total gentleman. In fact, I am the only person in his life who he treated poorly (although his mother has told me stories about his childhood that reflect similar behaviour).

He may have been a bad husband in the past couple of years (until a few months ago), but he is an amazing dad. He may be inconsistent with discipline and too much of a buddy (as opposed to a parent), but his kids literally come first before anything else in his life and have since they were born- which is something we have in common and is one of the reasons I tolerated so much and have decided to forgive and move forward. There is too much good there. A lot more good than bad.


Thanks for your kind

Thanks for your kind thoughts...

the update on my situation is that my husband and I hit rock bottom in October and have been doing better and better ever since...

Rock bottom was a 10-year anniversary trip (ugh)... on day 2 of the trip, he snapped over something small and that escalated into him telling me he was divorcing me and was contacting a divorce attorney when we got home. This was one day after zip- lining, romantic dinner, sex (all planned or initiated by me) and him telling me he loved me and I was his world... jekyll and hyde. but this time, my reaction was different. I asked him a final time if he would consider therapy for the benefit of the children. He refused, made a bunch of derogatory statements about me and my mental health and hurled a bunch of other abuse at me. And I just said, 'okay. If that is what you want, I'll work with you to make sure the kids are okay and see both of us. If that's what you have to do, I will be fine and the kids will be fine because I will always take care of the kids.' He tried for hours to expand the fight and get me going- and to turn it around on me saying I broke his heart (HA), hadn't loved him ever, had always mistreated him, that I had no interests, wasn't affectionate, treated him like a friend (which I didn't think was a bad thing, considering none of my friends treat me like shit, swearing and screaming at me)- but I just remained calm and quiet and let him spew out all his venom until he was done. It was rather surreal because I literally had done NOTHING to precipitate or participate. 

after he realized that I wasn't budging or guilt-tripping him or yelling or crying or begging him to stay(all reactions I had in the past) he just went quiet. It wasn't even a conscious choice of mine at that point- Tere was just nothing to say anymore. I was just too exhausted from holding it all together and I had already cried enough tears over it... and I realized- this might actually happen. We might divorce. The kids might have their whole secure world ripped apart...this is happening... And I kind of thought to myself anything is better than this. I will be okay. Enough. And then the strangest thing happened- after a long silence, where I was actually trying to fall asleep (this was at about 2 in the morning before our 7 am flight home), he started quietly crying and said really quietly, 'can I have another chance?' This has NEVER happened. He does not apologize or backtrack or admit fault. And that was enough to soften my heart enough to give him that chance. But I told him- that if he ever tells the children he is leaving, packs a bag in front of them, anything like that- he has to follow through because I will not have them confused and on that roller coaster. I am strong enough to endure it and want to be there for my husband through what I see as an acute mental health crisis- but my priority is the children. That is my job. If his behaviour starts to be more harmful to them than it is beneficial to have an intact family, he is out. That is my bottom line. He said he understood and we agreed to start fresh.

since then (2.5 months ago) I have seen a huge amount of change. He is taking his prescribed medication (54 mg concerta), he is going to weekly therapy and he has agreed to couples therapy, if i want to do that (i am waiting to give him a chance with individual therapy first). Best of all- he literally stopped the verbal and emotional abuse dead in its tracks. He hasn't flipped out on me even once. He still has his ridiculous petty snaps- but these are less frequent and they do not escalate. he is much better able to drop things and if he does cross the line, he will often come up to me a half hour later or so and apologize to me... WHAT?  This has made a remarkable difference in our marriage. At Christmas he wrote me a heartfelt letter and booked tickets to a stand-up comedy show. This is something I LOVE and isn't really his thing. He did something for me with me in mind. More and more often he is thinking of me and considering my interests and desires. This is amazing. 

To encourage this- I am letting all the small things go and praising all the big efforts. I have had to choose to let go of the past and have worked to actively let go of the resentment over all the hurts. this is not always easy. when he is mean to me, i get a burst of anger and i still don't have a lot of trust in the relationship. I worry that Mr. Hyde will reappear. But I have decided to move on and hope for the best. I am strong enough to deal with the worst, if that is what happens. I love my husband and I am so proud of him for making these changes. He has had a very tough time and he is bravely facing some longstanding issues that terrify and devastate him. I am proud to stand by him though that. 

It helps that I have adhd because I understand it on a visceral level. It is also extremely lucky for us that I started going through my treatment 2.5 years ago and am feeling so awesome right now (literally every other single aspect of my life is golden right now), because I am not a naturally patient and calm person. I am emotional and reactive and passionate. The me from 3 years ago would not have been capable of such restraint and clarity. I feel blessed to have been diagnosed, to have connected with my amazing therapist and to have discovered the right medication.

i a closing this rambling essay of a post- but I just wanted to round out the picture. My husband is not a villain. He is not a bag guy. He has the best heart. He is just struggling. A few months ago- I wasn't sure there was a way back- but I have a lot of hope for continued improvement in 2014. 




Thank you for your message

Thank you for your message and support, it really hit the right cord. I will not be responding to his message, I tried reasoning in a constructive way before, but as you said he would find the way to turn the argument around and dig out petty situations or arguments that are completely off the track to attack me. It used to make me feel like I am losing my mind. So I will leave it as it is. No response from me. It hurts like hell but I will focus on the baby and rebuilding my own life. Sometimes I feel as if he giving me his bait as if he really wants me to go insane or become mentally unstable. I have to stay strong and not give him the satisfaction of achieving this.

Earlier, before all this has happened, when I was a friend and not a foe, I noticed that he had a black and white version of the world we live in. There are friends and enemies, black and white. Friends are those that like him and approve of him, and foes are those who looked at him the wrong way, criticised or appear to have criticised him in any way or form. I have always tried to make him see the grey tones and find middle ground of things and situations. Now I have become an enemy, I am the one to blame for everything. He also has a strong fear of rejection and low self esteem that he masks by overconfident behavior.

He also had lots of psycho/somatic symptoms such as unexplained pain in his foot, constant urge to empty bowels after eating, the sensation of hot flushes or the burning on the inside,  and insomnia. These have all eased when he got married to me but reappeared now to a point where he can hardly walk.

Alex, you are right there might be something else attached to his adhd.

I cannot help wandering what is going on inside of his head, how can he be so angry after 5 months, and how could he not be able to prioritise in such major way. Of course, nothing has happened with the job situation. No one is mentioning any jobs, and getting a job was an excuse for not returning home.

Thank you all for your messages and support, it helps me go through my days. Breastfeeding is demanding as well as sleep deprivation. I cannot talk much to people about the situation, so your empathy and advise and encouragement really helps me.

Lots of love from Nathalie 


nathalie, interesting symptoms

Dear nathalie , you mentioned some interesting symptoms.  "He also had lots of psycho/somatic symptoms such as unexplained pain in his foot, constant urge to empty bowels after eating, the sensation of hot flushes or the burning on the inside,  and insomnia. These have all eased when he got married to me but reappeared now to a point where he can hardly walk."

My ADHD husband has been doing this also......especially the part of a constant urge to empty bowels after eating. He also has unexplained pain in different areas of the body in which the doctor can't find any physical cause. He has been obsessed about "going to the bathroom" for the past year or so, and runs to the toilet several times an hour to try to have a bowel movement, with no success. He is obsessed with this, but the doctor can not find an answer for him. I don't know how he copes at work with having to run to the bathroom so often. I've wondered if this is part of the ADHD mental stress he is under, but since dh won't discuss his adhd in any way, shape or form, I don't see an answer coming soon.

     Have you seen other changes with this?

I was induced and hubby

I was induced and hubby stayed over at the hospital that night and I had our child the next day. That night though, he went home because he was exhausted and wasn't comfortable at the hospital. I don't really know what to say. When I was pregnant we had a huge argument and he took off with the intention of not returning; he eventually did come back a few hours later. He threatens to leave a lot. All the time. He aways desperately wants to run away when things are difficult.



I hope all is well with you

I hope all is well with you and your child, after all it's been a while.

When I read what you wrote, looked like it was written by me.

I'm seven months pregnant and have been married for 10 years. Since my husband learned of the pregnancy he began to distance himself from me. He never looked at my belly, never asked how I fell, never mentioned pregnancy to anyone and never talked to me about it. He completely abandoned me, exactly what happened to you, and seems to be for the same reasons too "mommy's boy" one of the reasons.

I have no family where I live, I'm all alone, I mean, at least I have some friends.  Right now he is also overseas at his mother's house, while I'm here by myself. I tried to talk to him by phone, he does not want to talk to me and warned me that he has nothing to do with this child and that I better prepare myself to be a single mother. 
Since the beginning of the pregnancy he told me to have an abortion, the last time he said that, was a week ago (I'm already 7 months pregnant).
 All what is not right in his life or he does wrong it's my fault, no matter what it is, in the end he does things wrong because of me.

I still love him, but I'm devastated by this situation, I don't know what to do.

Thank you for sharing your story, it gives me a bit of strength. 

Thanks again!


Please hold on and be strong.

Please hold on and be strong. Please focus on yourself and on your baby. You need all your strength for delivery and caring for the baby. Empower yourself. Please, please, please! The thing I regret most from this perspective is not enjoying my pregnancy and early days with my baby. Such a precious and unique time. Do not let anyone destroy it. Get all support from family and friends that you can. If someone ,when all this was happening, was there to tell me that only a year later I will be happy and whole again I would not believe it. And here I am. Trust me, you are going to be ok, and your baby will be ok, and your life will turn out ok- with or without him. This feeling of utter horror will pass. Remember that you are not your thoughts. Remember that you are a divine being and that all is inside you to go through this. Look forward to a new life inside you, celebrate yourself for all your strength and beauty. You do not deserve any of this and no matter what you did, it is not your fault. Stay strong, trust your instinct and inner voice. You will know what to do. So much love, nathalie 

I am so sorry that you're going thru this...

Since I think ADHD and anxiety often go hand in hand, I can totally see this sort of thing happening a lot. My H was horrible during my pregnancy....mostly because of his concern about how the baby would bother him, take his time, take my time, etc. It sounds like your H has said that he'll come back for the baby....don't count on that. Yes, he may come back for a short-time, but once he sees the time/noise/energy babies take, he may find an "excuse" to leave again. Often reasons given are never the real reason....because the real reasons are selfish they'll make something else, "you're being a bitch". Obviously, it is BS that you were supposed to find HIM a job. Not only is that not your job, but if he didn't like the job, he would blame YOU for finding a lousy job. See how they do the work so that they can blame you when they don't like what was done or selected.

Dear ones,

Dear ones,

Just a quick update- I did not take him back and resisted responding to his communication several months after. It was the best decision that I ever made. I found my peace of mind and was able, slowly but surely, to get on with my life, work and motherhood. Not being dragged into discussion and miserable vicious cycle was the best thing for me to get out of it. Sometimes the best way is to let it go. And the best way to find peace and to go on is to cut ties and communication. It hurts like hell, but you will get out of it. You are strong and you can do it. It is only a small baby and do not be afraid of it. If I could do it you can all do it. You are strong, and it is all inside you. Get support of family and friends, get to work, study a course- a year of grieving and sorrow better than a life full of sorrow and distress. Love you all, and thank you for your words of kindness when I needed it most.

love, Nathalie