You know how there are some events in your life that you build up so much in your mind that you are afraid that the reality can't ever live up to the hype?? I fortunately have people in my life, including my most fabulous husband, who have made so many of those dreams come true for me. Our wedding party spent 2 days tenting the entire ceiling of our reception location in gossamer, so that it would have the right fairy tale feel. 10 years ago my wedding was completely a realization of the dreams and plans my fiance and I made together......and I appreciated his involvement so much.
Our 5 year anniversary we spent a month in Europe during a time we were just coming out of the honeymoon phase and realizing we both needed to develop better communication skills. This trip (and it was wonderful even though I broke my foot two weeks before we left, almost had surgery on it the night before we left) was the calm before the storm as year 6 was very frustrating and revealed something more serious was going on........year 6 ended with a diagnosis and year 7 was our hardest year as I waited for him to be ready to DO SOMETHING about his new diagnosis. It wasn't till I found this site that I realized how hard he was working on just coping with the status quo and that getting diagnosed, being willing to take a pill, being willing to sit through all those why-aren't-u-doing-anything convos that I started with such good motives.........all of that was doing something. I wish I could go back and smack myself and be more of a cheerleader and less of a backseat therapist.
With knowledge came a lot of improving. We got things to pretty good ...... I'd even say many ppl would call it 'good enough' but I felt we had many more things to tweak & I saw no reason for us to not be blissfully happy like we started out vs good-enough happy. I am willing to work on things and to be less of a perfectionist, but I will never settle on having the relationship we deserve to have. We love eachother so much, there is no reason we couldn't get back to blissful. The missing pieces to the puzzle for us started with the 2009 virtual ADHD conference. All those experts saying things that each of us had been saying on our own, Dr Hallowell sending out his 30 minutes a day for 30 days workbook before his Married to Distraction book was even released, and finally getting on the same page with where we needed to be going.....all of that was invaluable to us.
This past year has been our smoothest yet since the early honeymoon days. We have had many many times of growth and togetherness on various pages.......initially we had to work out getting on the same page with a budget. LORD was that a fight and a half for a man who hates to feel limited in any way financially. Then we had many honeymoon years where you are just figuring eachother out and resolving things as they come up. Once the ADD hit us, even as we were working together on some pages, other pages were suffering--turns out we didn't really know what the heck we were doing! And his doctors and coaches at the time really only were taking care of medical needs. Once we changed his doctors and got both of us better informed, we started getting things working together. For example, at one point I because the getting things done queen.......I stayed on top of everything and he had to answer to me for frivolous time, but then I was shocked when our intimate life immediately started suffering. It wasn't till I came here and read more and started really understanding the parent/child dynamic I was causing that I realized getting things done but losing your intimate connection........nononononono that is clearly not the way. I started really realizing that I needed new coping skills too and then the sun really came out as we started rowing this boat together in the same direction.
Since I started owning my part of the problem too, he feels less like I think he is broken/defective (awesome insight on that in Melissa's book!), and the more we are both fixing the damage we did in our ignorance. That really was a turning point in things going smoothly. That is when our intimate life returned to a level that makes us both happy & wasn't a tear filled 'why don't you want me...but I DO' discussion that just seemed to go in circles. AND that is when everything started feeling truly fun together again. Even when my hypervigilence was keeping all the balls in the air, I am just now realizing how non-fun I was making things. I couldn't even truly tell it till this last year or two when the fun has fully returned. I was basically a wet blanket for 2 years......no wonder our interactions felt forced at times. One thing both of us can say though is that there was never a day we didn't know we were loved, there were just many days we didn't know how to show it with all this other CRAP in the way!
I have had a fairly big fear for more than a year which relates directly to the title of this thread. My husband has a tendency to go into vacation mode a couple weeks before we leave, which immediately puts us behind when we get home, but then he won't get out of vacation mode for another couple weeks after we're home. We'd go away on a nice vacation, I'd come home so relaxed and it would be completely shot inside a week because of trying to get my husband to do ANYTHING and we'd just fall further and further behind. We have a really busy life, so we just can't handle this kind of dawdling. Actually his failure to get moving after the month away 5 years ago was probably what started the arguing that ended in our ADD diagnosis. Last year we had a really serious talk about it after a trip to the Grand Canyon w/friends. He recognized what he did but didn't know how to stop.
We talked about it again with lead time before our two fall trips (this was very unusual for us so I was doubly scared). We were taking our nieces and other family for 5 days to Disney in Sept followed by a week in October in Myrtle Beach. We really talked about what was coming up, and he got tips from his coach and we sailed through the Sept trip. He worked really hard to stay present before the October trip...SUCCESS.....but then pulling him out of vacation mode was like pulling teeth. I think part of it was Sept was a busy trip and October was the relaxing trip ( A week at the beach), and sometimes I have honestly thought that there is no amount of relaxation that is sufficient for him to be ready to go back to life.........he wants to relax and then apparantly stay relaxing until we fight about how he is letting all the important things go. We ended up fighing over his never ending desire for relaxation since I think vacation is about recharging us to get back to regular life with new energy and focus. Probably some of that is just differences in people, but the reality was that he needed a tweak too.
With this year being our 10th anniversary, I spent off an on all year planning our trip....originally Spain but then we decided we wanted to be warm and not to have so many arrangements to make with the trains and such. So we chose a cruise to save on the arrangements, but that wasn't US enough for such a big occasion, so back to the drawing board. After Spain we decided we wanted a Caribbean island, but coudn't find a resort we liked, plus we really wanted to be able to do something with family. The cruise was going to work since we'd get a resort in Florida and family could join us if they wanted. FINALLY we found a resort we loved in St Maarten (which I'd loved the one time I'd visited on a cruise), so we booked a Florida resort where any family who wished could come celebrate with us at the Food & Wine Festival at Disney--and a decent amount of family took us up on it. We LOVE this festival and it's become a bit of a tradition to go every year. PLUS no one does celebrations and fancy meals like Disney restaurants....we booked our favs and added a new one for Anniversary night. After this we'd fly out to spend another week by ourselves on the ocean in the Caribbean.....what could be better?
We had busy and we had relaxing. We had fancy and we had beach. We had a Dutch side and a French side--two cultures for the price of one :) And I was so nervous with a 2 week vacation that I was going to deal with a man who couldn't accomplish anything for a month! I went out of my way to plan things in an ADD friendly way.........every busy day was followed by a lazy day (he only insists on one lazy every 2 busy but I wanted to spoil him a bit LOL ). Plus while we have stretched our vacations in the past (with his permission of course) into basically him leaving for work within hours of our return, I took the advice of other ADDers and planned a leisurely trip home. We'd fly into Orlando for one more night on our trip home.....I booked us a B&B and then we just hopped home from there on Sunday and he didn't need to work till Monday morn.
This year he was almost paranoid about not going into vacation mode. Anytime I talked to him about our countdown and stuff he was almost cool to me about it...like he couldn't even think about it. I realized it was what he needed to feel in control pre vacation....have to admit it made the pre vacation time (one of my favs) a little less fun for me.
As soon as the last job was complete and the last bill sent off to be paid while we were gone, the last work covered for while we were gone.......he joined me in the anticipation dance. However the last work was done the morn we left so it did take right up till the end for him to join me. I fortunately made our reservations to fly down later in the afternoon (and here I have to say I was a rockstar on flights........so stinking perfect every single time :) , so we had plenty of time to finish packing, feed ourselves, and squeeze in a little something something before leaving :D
We made sure to talk about what was really important to both of us with this trip. He really needed sufficient down time, we needed a lot of on our own time--we tend to fill our lives with family--I needed it to be really special and romantic, and we talked about there being sufficient sex. Sometimes vacation time makes this a little difficult, while in my mind it never should be. Busy days sometimes you tend to just collapse in a heap at night and relaxing days.......well have I ever mentioned how much my inattentive husband loves to sleep???
Physical touch is big for both of us. The TV isn't on around here that we're not snuggled up on the couch watching together, but sometimes I think he could go two weeks on nothing but snuggling.....me umm not so much. Problem is he doesn't realize that it's been two weeks and then I am offended.......and then no one feels romantic. Honestly he probably realizes it has been a while at 10 days but that is still offensive. Yes I can resolve this by initiating more, but that doesn't necessarily make you feel more wanted by your husband which all women want to feel, so it is a balance we took some years to learn.
As we've gotten more and more on the same marriage plan, the intimate plan has mostly resolved itself, except......on vacation. You wouldn't think so right? But sleep and relaxing and my husband--sometimes it is hard to feel like I have a chance in the competiton.........we have fought over this many more times than once. A couple years ago when everything started to turn around, things got sufficient on vacation.......3 times or so isn't bad for a week esp if we are vacationing with family which we do a lot, but don't we all want to feel our husbands are so overwhelmed by us that they can't resist daily? I mean we are on vacation.....what else do we have to do? :)
I was nervous that he was going to go straight into relaxing mode for him, which since he winds down so much quicker than me might mean he is fast asleep and I am still reading a bit to get drowsy. Turns out he really paid attention. In 2 weeks we had issues 2 days.....one because he'd forgotten his pill one day and felt a little sluggish so he took 2 on anniversary day to be sure he didn't get sluggish. Which meant he didn't sleep at all that night so the next day he crashed hard at night. Which the night had been a plan for something he really wanted to do and none of the rest of us cared about that much (a Pirate dinner adventure), so I was expecting a somewhat different night than the husband who was so tired that even though he'd had a nap in the afternoon, fell asleep in the living room while I was changing for bed and I had to go get him.
I was a bit irritated, but once I found out what happened I understood. St Maarten was perfect views and perfect weather. He talked me into naps most afternoons by using underhanded seduction techniques, so there was no lack there lol And only one afternoon did the napping become too much but it happened cause he had a headache he couldn't get rid of. Naturally it happened on my day....I'd asked for a resort day just to explore our beaches. We had b'fast as every morning on our balcony...a better view doesn't exist I am convinced,... went swimmming, showered and changed to have lunch, and then he laid down for a nap. After an hour I coudn't take it anymore and didn't think I should have to....no reason to complain about a sick husband but I wasn't going to miss my resort day so I walked around and took pictures and visited a side we hadn't gone to yet with hammocks. I guess he got up 40-45 min after I left and started dinner (we wanted on our last dinner on our balcony) and then came looking for me. It was more than an hour after he'd woken up when he found me, so all in all about 3 hours out of 'my' afternoon so I wasn't too thrilled with him.
It worked out fine and we had a nice dinner at sunset followed by karaoke at the bar. The poor couple next door to us (we didn't have any neighbors till the last 2 days) were fighting like cats and dogs......really puts things into perspective. Though he does finally understand that as the planner, my issue really is that I go out of my way to put all kinds of special things in to our trips for him....that he'd never do for himself. And certainly we go places I want to go and try restaurants I want to try and stuff, but I don't really feel it is my job to plug in the special touches that should come from your loved one. He seemed to get it this trip, and had BEAUTIFUL roses sent on our anniversary, but in St Maarten he gets into relax mode and he'll do anything I suggest but he tends to fall down a bit on suggesting we do things because he knows they are important to me...he wants me to speak up if I want something but then even when I do sometimes he doesn't pay full attn. Like the balloon ride I wanted to take on a day that he wanted to nap (same as meds crashing day but I didn't know he was having that prob). When he realized how disappointed I was (been trying to take it for the last 3 trips or so), he apologized and we planned to do it on our overnight stay in Orlando on the way home. But between the rental car taking 1.5 hours to pick up and the rain starting shortly afterwards, we missed out on it.
It isn't that he is uncaring, he just expects things to happen automatically. Certainly some of the best times do happen spontaneously, but other things require planning & when you have a planner in the family it's easy to get lazy about it. He talked to his coach about how he messed that up by always thinking there'd be time later and by focusing on the nap he wanted instead of what I wanted..........I am hopeful that won't happen next time. I'll pretty much guarantee we'll end up in a balloon at least next time :)
So anyway that is why I am full of hope at the moment! Not because we are both madly in love with eachother--we always have been. But we've learned why we do the things we do for the most part, so we can cut eachother slack when things don't go exactly as planned. And by resolving most of the things that were getting in our way, we have rediscovered how much fun it is just to be together doing anything!