the problems were not just ADD

I've been married almost 18 yrs, together 20.  I was 30 when we met & had two previous short marriages which I left because my husbands "I've got to have kids" clocks went off....and yes I was clear on it before we wed. After each I attended counseling to make sure my emotions were in a healthy place to date again.  Anyway husband #3 & I have been in marital counseling 4x over the years, usually initiated by my not being able to deal with his anger & mood swings.  He also said he didn't know what was going on, sometimes depressed or angry for a week.  We'd stay in counseling until he felt better about things. At first he thought he was paying a counselor to tell me I'm messed up and it didn't happen but even so I was pretty beat up every session.  My having more say was always meant to be next time and so he felt better. Meanwhile we'd read marriage books, about 15 over the years, do the exercises & discuss them. It never stuck more than a couple months.  I'd also spend time reading other information on the internet that I read of in the books.  I'd spend a few hours a week reading about healthy marriages & sending some articles to my husband.  No matter what he didn't seem to have time for me.  I wasn't a priority, my health was not a priority. We spend at least 50% of our time apart due to his job & when he is home it is tense.  I also travel to other countries. I occasionally asked him how he felt about our marriage among other things & he always reassured me he was sure. Thankfully early on we put me in charge of finances. I felt he really didn't like me as a human.

Year 15 his anger was particularly intense even though we were on opposite sides of the planet.  I suggested counseling to help us figure things out & he was diagnosed w/ ADD.  Let me clarify that the first thing this doctor did was tell him it was not ok to talk to me that way or even think about me that way & I should not let him do it ever again.  Good by me as others had wanted to know his "why" which then took the entire session.  The doctor suggested resources, my husband didn't do any but it did give me a tool to help w/ his anger.  He cannot medicate because of his job but he hasn't done any of the other suggestions. We did read a short e-book & he does send me the occasional article on how I should deal with him.  I often hear "well you know that is just how I am".  At that time I remember a crazy thought going through my head "I can make it until retirement".  I learned all I could on the internet and even found this site...that was 2011. I sent the link to my husband.

Six months later I had developed heart health problems. Year 17 (once again he was on FB instead of doing something w/ me re. anniversary).  That day I started reading "am I in a healthy relationship?" instead of "how to save my marriage" and site after site it was NO.  So after 2 years (fr 2012) I have traced it back to the stress of my marriage.  I went to individual counseling as I felt like I was grieving my marriage & anxiety of being reunited w/ my husband.  I was told that it might not just be the ADD.  I couldn't think of one time I'd felt at peace in my marriage, not even the first couple years. I have felt that I was loved a couple times. What if we get to retirement, he decides to medicate and our relationship is still the same?  I continued counseling.  I showed him the tests I did on #17 and he agrees on my answers & showed me how his are different.

Looking back I realize I enabled him because I didn't want the anger and the blaming.  I believed in making a marriage work, work & sacrifice it was.  Until 2011 he thought everything was my fault, openly said so and treated me as if I was defective. Not horrible, but lots of little things all the time, it became my norm.  I also realized through counseling that I had many self coping things that I'd been doing since the beginning & my body had run out of options.  I think my husband is a pretty aware guy so I decided to discuss some things with him.  It was 3 hours of my taking notes. I was in shock for 3 days & alone on my 50th birthday, it was rough.  He had married me out of guilt, he had wanted to divorce me 4x (remember the 4x above?), he stopped wanting to do things with me at year 2, he stopped trying to actively change me at year 10, he really wanted out year 5-6 but pretended it was a phase & accepted that "better or worse" & our marriage was a worse.  He expected me to be an entirely independent entity even though I had to stop work when we moved outside of the US-this explains $$ attitudes & having a lifestyle that didn't include me.  He admitted he has grown to love me.

I have done most things in our relationship once I stopped working, including things in his life. I felt I was getting things done so we could spend time together & he thought I was earning my keep.  Once I even proposed a salary so I could set my own work hours.  We stopped holidays & celebrations-prep is too much stress. He goes to work & often cooks dinner.  I now realize he dumping all his life stuff on me made it so I have no life. I was delusional in thinking I was appreciated. His finding out he has ADD just gave him an excuse to continue.  We have both been in trying mode the entire time. When he would realize it he buried his head in the sand (year 5-6), when I finally realized it (year 17) I took action and now want out.  I don't see ADD as a reason to not be honest with your spouse.  Especially considering this spouse gave up their job, life to support your career.  ADD may impact how it is handled such as viewing time, impulse issues, procrastination but being ok w/ "worse" and lies by omission I'm not okay with at all.  

When I first started reading this site I thought that the problems in our marriage must be the ADD. I've been actively coping w/ his ADD since 2011, many things were already tools we used. We tried marital counseling again, he does only what the counselor says (kiss wife goodnight++), he does not do his homework and tells me I'm in a phase or should take a pill or learn to accept things or have more orgasms. Some days he tells me he wouldn't want to be married to him either. Another one he wants to be invited if I marry again. Neither of us have regrets yet accept it is not a happy/healthy place for either of us. The truth is still confusing.  I'll do what I can to help w/ his anger but things after attempt #2 got so intense we both realized he needs a professional....which he hasn't scheduled yet.  He schedules marital counseling when I say I'm going to individual, that is what reminds him.  If the counselor says do 4 things, 4 got it.  We have mastered being tolerant & know the right things to do in a relationship.  We are good roommates.  As long as what I do does not impact/inconvenience him in any way we are good. I have asked for discernment counseling to figure out if we should be together at all.  Because of the ADD I've offered to help him with logistics of his life and do all the legal requirements if we get to that. He says he will pay me for logistics help.

I think ADD is a contributor but in our case things turned out to be more than just "issues" or ADD.  We should all dig deeper to be sure what we are dealing with.  I almost lived my life in a false reality.