This is progress -- really!

I filed for a legal separation yesterday.  This is progress and I'm feeling hopeful.  Here's why:  1) After I told my husband, we had a calm discussion about the legal and practical ramifications of the filing and of a possible separation.  It has been awhile since we've been able to stay on topic when the topic is serious and personal. 2) My husband seems to appreciate how sincere I am about my unhappiness with our relationship but also seems to understand what I told him:  I don't have an agenda other than to work on myself and figure out what I want; I don't know if I ultimately will want to separate or stay together. He hasn't seemed to "get" this before. 3) I feel relieved because a big matter has just dropped off my list of worries:  my marriage.  I know that I have lots of issues of my own, both ones concerning only me and ones concerning what kind of partner I am and could be.  They will occupy much of my time and energy.  Maybe what happens with them will make my marriage seem fixable; maybe not.  But I'm ready to drop control of this issue.  4) And because I'm not focusing on the relationship, I feel much less uptight about my husband's behavior as well.  I hope he works on his issues and thinks about his life, too.  But if he doesn't, I think I'll be able to accept that.


You are an inspiration.  Your bravery is commendable.  Keep going.  I feel the reason we cannot let a spouse be lacking/irresponsible/impulsive/dirty is that when we are married, what the spouse is and does casts a light on us too - outside of us and inside of us.  We are MRS lacking/irresponsible/impulsive/dirty.  Who we are married to is a part of what defines us.  What we are willing to tolerate defines us.  When a spouse insists on being independent in a marriage, there is rejection of the spouse and rejection to the commitment of a partnership.  That is frustrating and unhealthy to the spouse who is trying/expecting to be married.  When you are in the process of divorce or are divorced from that partner, the connection and your own definition of yourself does not relate to who/what HE is anymore.  That would be freeing.  Congratulations!

Separation is stimulating

Interesting just how serious it has to be in order to pay attention. I'm very happy that you are feeling positive and were able to actually communicate effectively with your husband. I'm sure that wherever you end up it will be a much happier place to be. 

request for advice

Hi.  Although I still haven't made up my mind whether to actually get a separation, it has become clearer to me that my spouse must show or engage in certain qualities and behaviors for me to consider the marriage worth saving.  The question:  should I tell him what these are?  Part of the point (for me) of being separate and apart during this time before any legal status is changed is to work on myself and to give my husband the opportunity to work on himself, if he so chooses.  I don't want to unduly influence him by telling him what qualities and behaviors are vital to me, especially because I don't like it when he fakes things.  On the other hand, given his seeming lack of self-awareness and his memory difficulties (yes, these are matters I've brought up many times before), I think it's entirely possible that if I said nothing, and then we reach a point at which a legal separation (or divorce) is inevitable for me, my husband would say, "But I didn't know you that was important!  I could have done that!"

Any thoughts?  Thank you.


Rosered,  Even if he changed the behaviors that would please you, for a while, would that make up for all the decades of his bad attitude and behavior?  Because any change in behavior will only be temporary unless you coerce him into submission next time, and again, and again.....and so it has gone over the years/decades.  So what we have is someone who tries to get away with contributing as little as possible with a high tolerance of separation from you.  Someone who must be MADE to care about us....Is that really caring or is that saving his own butt?  It doesn't matter WHAT he SAYS....Yeah, right, if only he knew what was important to YOU!...  I will bet you have told him once or twice over the last few decades.  I am so sorry that we have to feel so unloved and un-cared for.  For me, I must accept these facts as facts and stop living in denial and hope against hope.

Need to tell him

Hello. If you want a chance for him to make the changes you need you have to tell him what they are. That would be true even if he didn't have ADHD. We can not read one another's minds. Whether or not those changes, if made, are enough is another question altogether.  

I have told him many times

I have told him many times (look for a job; communicate regularly).  He has not responded.

Does he have a deadline?

I'm not sure which advice books I saw it in, but I have seen more than once the recommendation that we tell our spouse the must change items and set a deadline for them to achieve it. Look for a job and communicate regularly seem really basic but also subject to interpretation. And does it really mean find a job? It's really easy to say you're looking without putting in required effort to land one. Does regular communication mean chatting once a week about schedules or daily personal interaction? And that's a tough one to perform on while separated. Does he know what you expect from working on his own issues? Does it mean doing the workbooks for ADHD and implementing the recommendations, or staring into space contemplatively, or remembering his pants each time he leaves the house?

barneyarff's picture


I have been reading but not replying lately.  Some may see that as a gift.

anyway,  while working, a common thread came to me.

Not that an ADDer would plan this (because, well you know why) but it seems to me that an ADD person "hunts" for someone to take care of all those details in their life.  Of course they are focused while "hunting". They think they have fallen in love when all they've done is find a personal manager.

Of course once the "hunt" is over, the focus is over.  T

here was more to that thought but this goofey laptop keeps messing up and now I've lost the thought.

Anyway, I'm just saying.......

Sorry about my difficulty

Sorry about my difficulty making up my mind.  Posting here and communicating with another friend have helped me see that telling my husband, YET AGAIN, what is important to me will not likely make a difference.  Yep, I've expressed to him many times my desire that he LOOK for a job (he has not applied for any since getting fired four years ago) and that he communicate with me (i.e., respond to email messages, call occasionally) during his weekly four-day absences, and he has not changed his behavior.  

I think that my husband is probably a person who just does not want to look for a job and does not think that communicating with his wife is necessary.  If he wants to do these things, he can; finding out if they're as important to him as they are to me is partly what this separation is for.  



It is only when you are

It is only when you are  staring death in the face than life seems to have so much value.   It's about stimulus,  when its carrying on as it always has there is none, and attention to the mundane is short,  when it all really reaches breaking point, the stimulus is strong and attention is easier.  simple.    

That being said, it matters not.  No point in flogging a dead horse.   If you don't love the guy as he, for who he is, then it's no good for anyone right? 

barneyarff's picture

Talk about good

Talk about good timing.


This has nothing to do with DH.  It has to do with my son who is also ADHD.

Simply put, he has to earn his phone by doing chores.  He won't do them.  But because he had no phone today my life was turned upside down for about an hour.  I'm still PO'd.

I yelled at him the whole time I was taking him to where he had to go and he had no clue why I might be upset.  (I'm still befuddled by this).  So, I've taken every priveledge from him.  I asked him why he has to have everything taken from him to just do a simple thing.  His answer, of course, was 'I don't know".  But you answered it, Joh.

Until it's "life or death" it doesn't matter.   I HATE drama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I HATE DRAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I have a husband and a son who have to have drama in order to do a simple thing.


Well drama is our spice in

Well drama is our spice in life,  we hate boredom, because boredom is being left to stew in random fragments of noise.  You call it procrastination,  but in the back of our minds we know its really our lives slipping away,  just lost in pointless never ending noise. So we constantly seek something, anything, that will counter the  noise,  drown it out.   But all is temporary, and over the years frustration and angst take over.  A phone, a screen, driving fast, drugs,a fight, sex....anything to escape, anything for just five minutes of quiet. It's like tinnitus without any respite.

I'm not making excuses, what would be the point, it is just how it is.

barneyarff's picture

Jon, Thanks for answering.  I


Thanks for answering.  I am really trying to understand.

So, my son had a list of chores to do (all involving physical activity. and a variety of things to avoid boredom).  He even made suggestions for the list.

He likes his phone.  We've gently reminded him about getting his stuff done and had the list on the refrigerator and thanked him when he got something done, etc.

So why the procrastination?  I'm not arguing, I'm trying to understand.  There should have been no pointless neverending noise.  There should have been sweat-equity (physical, like I said) with a cool phone as the reward.

What am I missing?


Well if it helps, my 14 year

Well if it helps, my 14 year old is the same,  He is ADHD, as am I, and yet his procrastination and phone obsession drives me nuts, so the last thing you should feel is bad that it is difficult to make sense of.

So why do we procrastinate? Well I personally think that glowing screens of *any* type are mesmerizing to many ADHD folk, for the simple reason that the strong visual stimulus acts as a noise cancelation device.    I also get this from things like standing on the sea shore in heavy surf, or going out to sea on a boat, and I get this also when riding my motorbike at speed. The common thread being stimulus, be it visual,auditory or the tactile.

When I say noise, I don't mean it in a literal sense, I mean it like a constant stream of fragmented thoughts, it is intrusive to the point that it makes concentration and attention all but impossible, so when we do find something that dampens these thoughts, we  tend to hyper-focus on it.  An activity that is boring or requires sustained concentration is a serious challenge and as you would well know frequently not finished.

Our brains are just seeking the equilibrium that for you comes as normal and we do all kinds of crazy things searching for it.

For some folk the meds effectively work for this, but for me they never did, I got that  "see for a thousand miles" feeling for a while, but I felt strange and anxious, really anxious, to the point that I would bite my nails till they  bled and they ached so much I couldn't sleep.  I don't want to feel like that, I would rather the ADHD.  

Also for me I only feel a sense of reward from achievement for the briefest time,and it is not in itself enough to provide motivation. I just don't feel the sense of success like non adhd folk seem to, and I am certainly not driven by it.  I have somehow through sheer pig headedness and fanatical curiosity, been one of the fortunate ones and my life is for the most part comfortable. I don't face the dire wreckage that many describe, though no doubt many times it has been and I'm sure will be again a close call.  It has been a long hard struggle however, much harder and much more painful than I want for my own children that much is for sure.

As to what the answers are, I am still looking is the honest truth, I have got my anxiety under control finally and that is feeling absolutely fantastic, I am not afraid anymore of who I am or whether I fit in. To be able to just be oneself is a very liberating experience and one that is very very elusive if you have ADHD.    I have to be honest and say that a lot of the time this blog is much more about the Non ADHD spouse and their support for than it is for we ADHD folk.  We are the bad guys, and I have more than a few times felt affronted by this. The irony is of course is that it is only by talking to us and understanding the way our brain chemistry effects our entire life that things can be any different. I say this because we are chemically unable to understand you, or we would not have these issues in the first place. I know that sounds unfair, but life seems to dish out things that are not fair, and nobody seems to gets out unscathed unfortunately.

Meds can be seen as a quick fix and personally I think that is a mistake.  I do think you are on the right track with physical exercise, but activity that has that element of controlled danger and risk to me seems to be the best medicine.  I am not suggesting recklessness, but high adrenalin activity has always drawn me and my son in, and so long as things are done safely the risks are far less than a kid that goes completely of the rails without a guiding hand to help them. 

The trick I think is to be able to acknowledge that some of the fundamentals are not ever going to change, no matter how much we both may wish for it to be so,  and to make use of the  things that we seek out like thrill seeking  as a foil to those behaviors we will display when  frustrated. We are different, it sucks, but we just are.

There is nothing more soul destroying than being unable to be yourself and having to pretend and hide all the time. 

barneyarff's picture

Jon I'm really taking to


I'm really taking to heart your statement about boredom.

This is what puzzles me.  I hate boredom too.  My mind is always busy and I like to get stuff done.  That's why I got so depressed while undergoing cancer treatments.  I could not do much.

OTOH, even while taking 10 hours of chemo I managed to learn how to embroider and did (very elementary) puzzles to keep away the boredom keep my mind alert.

Working towards a goal to get what one wants doesn't seen boring to me.  OK, there are boring parts but I blast through those as fast as possible (probably cussing a bit).

When there is an exciting thing at the end, why is the work considered boring?  Why not use all that "noise" in your brain to get to the exciting bits?  I mean procrastinating is pretty damn boring.  What am I missing?


B,  I know you did not get


I know you did not get anywhere near the support you should have done while going through chemo,  this is extremely hard to explain, but I will try, not to excuse it mind you as I cannot, but I will relate my own likewise blind selfishness when faced with a albeit very different scenario.

When my wife was pregnant, she was very sick,  bed ridden with morning sickness, I ought to have been at this time as supportive as I could be, but instead I was a self absorbed prick, I was angry that my wife was unable to work and contribute as I saw it to our financial situation.   I was unsupportive, cold and distant.  In effect I spoilt for her what should have been one of life's major moments.

Well now the pressure of my anxiety is held at bay, I have done a lot of reflecting on this.. it not something I am at all proud of.  What I think happened really is that I was panicked and anxious that here was I who could not even manage the basics of my own life, now needing to manage for another as well, I was afraid that I would fail, that I couldn't possibly stack up, and that I was not up to the tasks. I had all this emotion and major anxiety going on and only one person in my life that I felt remotely safe to express it to. I can't justify my behaviour, I am not trying to, in the end I have to live with what I have done but I just don't see the point in carrying regret. If I work hard to understand why it happened and why I was like this then perhaps in that there will be an insight into making sure things like this never happen again.

I was afraid, and my fear became anger after all it is far easier to live angry than to live in fear. We are always afraid, afraid of failure, afraid we will be found out, afraid we will be criticized and laughed at, afraid we will be humiliated yet again, as a result some of us become anxious, some of us become depressed, and some of us become angry, short tempered and in a state of perpetual frustration....most of us become all of these things.

I know thats slightly off topic, but I just wanted to say it.


Hello. My dh is currently listening to the Now Habit and says its helping a lot in showing why we all procrastinate. I think adhd folk have an even harder time than most. ADHD has low dopamine which is what allows us to work through the boring stuff to get to the goal. For those with ADHD, they will start out planning to do the boring thing but get distracted by something that gives them that dopamine hit, ie the shiny object. That will keep their attn until the dopamine wears off or another shiny object appears. This is why so many of the strategies are about setting reminders so that you get back on track after the inevitable distraction. 

I also think ADHD folk often thrive in crisis, cuz that's a rush. So they subconsciously build crisis scenarios. Putting things off til they lose the phone. Over promise what they can't possibly deliver without super stress. Going to counseling only after you get kicked out, etc. And since they are usually good in a crisis this probably has worked, thereby reinforcing bad habits. And at least one parent probably shows it as normal. Then there is being a teenager...


ShelleyNW, I'm just sticking this comment here, not aiming at you personally.

There is a lot of assuming and generalizing going on on this site. It's probably why the posting rules say "Write about your personal experiences / no gross generalizations please".  But a lot of behaviors are getting put down to ADHD which aren't specifically ADHD.  I like an andrenaline rush and often wait until a deadline is looming.  I often doodle (ADHDMomof2's example of a girl in her classroom who doodled during class, appearing not to pay attention, but really was concentrating - she could be describing me). I don't have ADHD.  My husband (who DOES have  ADHD) doesn't ever doodle or stare out of a window, he does procrastinate - but as Jon relates doesn't he get much pleasure from achieving a goal whereas I get more.  He likes adventures and extremes, so do I.  Only one of us has ADHD. Etc.

And sometimes our kids do stuff just to annoy us. Without the ADHD backdrop barneyarffs story about the son and the phone reads like a contrarian kid who doesn't want to conform because he doesn't.

Of course

We all procrastinate, ignore the dishes from time to time, get distracted from what we were on our way to do. And teenagers are often belligerent hormone driven jerks. But, if you have ADHD, sometimes that behavior isn't willful, but biological. 

barneyarff's picture

Jon   Once again thank you



Once again thank you for hanging with me.

I want to ask you something but I don't want you to take it as criticism.  This is something I've truly wondered for a long time.

So, I get that ADDers like the thrill.  I think ADDers make really good firefighters, programmers, and Emergency Room doctors, etc.

These are professions I avoid like the plague and I would really suck at it.  I know this and it never crossed my mind to do any of these. (although my job requires a lot of adrinaline---just not that kind)

So here is my question:  You know that mundane stuff drives you nuts and you know that staying focused on one person for a long time will be next to impossible, so why on earth does an ADDer get married and have a family?  Those demands bring out the worst in an ADDer and frankly make the spouse miserable and the children tramatized.

I ask this most sincerely.  Why do ADDers put themselves in a situation that makes themselves and so many others miserable?

Why not stay single (ADDers are a great date, if they ever get around to asking you out)?  Why not do all the things that give you peace instead of tying yourselves down?

Really why do it?  You are unhappy.  We are unhappy.  It's stupid to walk into something that by it's nature is full of detail and "boredom" when you hate that kind of stuff.




I'm getting cynical in my old age...

but I think it's because they know that their significant other will do the boring crap of everyday life, like laundry and dishes and driving the kids to school, and they get to play all day. I don't think they do it consciously, but it sure does work in their favor.

Cynicism is full of naive

Cynicism is full of naive disappointments.

I spend a great deal of time with people who care for the blind and disabled, if they all felt as you do , then the blind kids would sit by themselves and be left to rot.

Life may be hard, but would you swap places?  


Why do we involve ourselves

Why do we involve ourselves with people who display ADD behavior? 2 sides to the coin. 

barneyarff's picture

First of all, I'm aware there

First of all, I'm aware there are 2 sides to the coin.


I got involved with DH because he was fun loving and energetic and focused on my and had a sense of adventure like I do.


What I did not know because I did not live with him was that he had no clue how to manage day to day stuff.  It always puzzled me that he seemed to always be waiting for me to get my stuff done so we could go have fun.  I thought he was just really more efficient at getting stuff done.  Little did I know that that he ignored the day to day details of life.

Little did I know that he could not even organize the fun stuff.  I had to do it.  I thought he was just being nice.


My fault.  I agree.


More to the point is that why after very little time I didn't divorce him.  More complicated.  Probably fear and shame.  I wish I had had the courage to bite the bullet and do it.

Now I've decided that I will wait until the 14 year old is out of high school (unless it gets unbearable again).  then I will go do what my heart wants.

I must say that in many ways I feel as though I ruined my life trying to salvage a marriage that was making me ill.  I blame myself solely for the absolute stupidity of this.

I regret daily getting married.  If it weren't for the kids I'd be long gone.

barneyarff's picture

It was a hit and run

Today I saw a car hit an old man on a bicycle.  It was obviously an accident.

The driver could have left without helping or stopped to help and own up to what he had done

The driver got out of the car and helped the old man.


This evening, after we had agreed yesterday that my son would not get the widget he "needed" for school until he got his chores done, my DH took him to buy the widget.

When they got home I asked DH if he remembered that we had agreed to NOT buy the widget until our son did certain things.  Well, DH forgot of course.

But then he said "I was not trying to undermine your authority.  I didn't do it on purpose .  I just forgot."  and then dropped it as though that made everything OK.

But it wasn't.  It was a hit and run.  He made a mistake but didn't fix it. My son still has the widget and has learned once again that we don't mean what we say.  I explained to my DH that just like the bicyclist, by accident or on purpose, damage was done by the driver and the driver needed to make it right.

So I told my DH that not only did he still need to make it right by correcting the problem with my son, but he needed to quit telling me that I had no right to be upset by his actions since they were not on purpose (and then not fixing it).  For the first time I think I got through to him a little bit by telling the story about the bicyclist.  He of course went straight to blaming our son for "playing" him but I made him look at his part.

However my son still has the widget and he still got away with it......   but this time I'm not mad.  I'm clear about the fact I am not the one who is crazy.  I am not the one who causes problems by being inconsistant.  I will not take it anymore.  For most of our married lives I was injured twice.  Once by what he did and again by being told I was nuts to be upset. 

No more..  No more..... no more



barneyarff's picture

Jon   Once again thank you



Once again thank you for hanging with me.

I want to ask you something but I don't want you to take it as criticism.  This is something I've truly wondered for a long time.

So, I get that ADDers like the thrill.  I think ADDers make really good firefighters, programmers, and Emergency Room doctors, etc.

These are professions I avoid like the plague and I would really suck at it.  I know this and it never crossed my mind to do any of these. (although my job requires a lot of adrinaline---just not that kind)

So here is my question:  You know that mundane stuff drives you nuts and you know that staying focused on one person for a long time will be next to impossible, so why on earth does an ADDer get married and have a family?  Those demands bring out the worst in an ADDer and frankly make the spouse miserable and the children tramatized.

I ask this most sincerely.  Why do ADDers put themselves in a situation that makes themselves and so many others miserable?

Why not stay single (ADDers are a great date, if they ever get around to asking you out)?  Why not do all the things that give you peace instead of tying yourselves down?

Really why do it?  You are unhappy.  We are unhappy.  It's stupid to walk into something that by it's nature is full of detail and "boredom" when you hate that kind of stuff.




I am somewhat baffled by that

I am somewhat baffled by that question to be honest B.

I don't take it as a criticism, and please don't be offended but I do take it as a fundamental misunderstanding, and not just of those of us with ADHD.  Despite our ADHD we really just want to be loved and have the opportunity to be able love others,  this is in the end a universal human need.  And a life without this has no meaning.

We don't live our lives seeking to inflict pain, either on ourselves or on others, but rather we spend our lives desperately trying to normalize the chaos, just often in misdirected ways that are infuriating and baffling to others and often destructive and painful to ourselves.  Do we allow ourselves to be excluded from seeking the joys in life because of the way we are born? Or worse can it be just or ethical that are we expected to do so?   

"hath we not hands, organs,dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Are we not fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means,warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer?And If you prick us, do we not bleed?"

barneyarff's picture

First of all something

First of all something funny------   I read your quote about "And if you prick us, do we not bleed?"   and my first thought was: Which "Star Trek" movie did I hear that quote in?   I never could remember so I looked it up.  "Merchant of Venice"   ooops.   I need to read more classics.


Thanks for replying to me  I'm betting it is hard to do, so I doubly thank you.


I think that wanting to be loved or be part of a clan is human nature.  I don't think family life suits ADDers from what I've read here and experienced so why try to get that love and belonging from an institution that causes you and others so much misery?

There are lots of "clans" one can belong to.  One can get and give love in ways other than marriage where the pain would be much less.  I know one couple in my town that never married and live in separate houses because even though he is fun to hang out with and is a great date, he would be hell to live with.

I know people who volunteer as Big Brothers or Big Sisters to get the parenting need fullfilled.

I just gotta wonder if choosing marriage and family is the most damaging and least efficient way to meet the needs of love and being part of a group.

There are other ways that would work better I think.  Why aren't those tried?



Can't resist weighing in...

I understand that no disrespect was intended by your comments and you appear to be genuinely asking questions... But I did find your comments kind of upsetting. You assume all people with adhd are alike and you seem to suggest that we should stick to ourselves and not inflict ourselves on other people... And maybe for the adhd-er in your life, that is true...

But my parents both have adhd and are incredibly kind, warm, smart, principled (and distracted, scattered, hyper). I am not perfect- but I run my house well and my kids are happy and healthy. I know a lot of other people with adhd who are also functioning well.

Adhd is a spectrum disorder and it manifests differently in everyone. Please don't extrapolate from your situation and assume that very person with adhd is similarly impaired. That feels like discrimination.

now- to answer your question- I wanted to get married to share my life, have children, to build something with someone, to love and be loved, to have a real home with another person... Kind of like EVERY ONE ELSE. We are human, you know. And like all humans, I am imperfect... But the good news is that I never stop working on myself and trying and I am resilient. And those points go a long way over a lifetime.



barneyarff's picture

That's a good answer

Thanks for being gentle.  I do understand that it is a spectrum and it sounds as though you are functioning well.  Frankly a little ADD around a house that has kids probably is a lot more fun.

Heck we all have glitches.  Heaven knows I have mine.

But the point is that it seems as though there is a lot of unhappiness.  So, with those who don't function well inside of the norms of marriage, I still wonder, why try?

If all the mundane parts and paying attention to the same old spouse is not your "thing" then why do it?  Why put another person through it and why bring kids into it?

If being married causes this much misery, why do it?

No marriage is perfect

So I've witnessed many ADHD effected marriages, though none of them were diagnosed beforehand. One failed, 6 are still functioning. It is important to keep in mind the self selection of the blogosphere. There are few happy people posting, but that doesn't mean that there aren't multiples of happy couples not posting. Those six couples, the commonality is that they work with their partners strengths, limit enabling, and don't expect "typical" from their spouses. Not to say there is no friction. Because adults can not live together without conflict. 

I've been working on responding to dh behavior like I would have when we were dating. It's illuminating. Infatuation filters everything positively. And the reverse is true. Your dh thought you were the most awesome woman in the world. Why wouldn't he be able to be the man he wanted to be with you? You made his dopamine flow and he could conquer the world. How was he to know the dopamine hit would lessen over time, nor what that would mean?

Barneyarff, I totally

Barneyarff, I totally understand the question and the anger and frustration. Why pursue us shamelessly and then not put any effort into the maintenance of the thing that you were sure you wanted? Like the broken toys in the corner of the play room - so longed for and then not taken care of.

They must not know themselves how they are going to function/not function in a relationship....always seeing the rosy side of anything new. Just like we all are when we are young. Possibly they believe that being married to us will magically allow them to be the person they want to be.

Dh needed a life raft.  Someone he could count on to take care and manage things. I was attractive to him in that way.  He was attractive to me in that he had a free and easy (somewhat rebellious) way about him.  I used to think I was the co-dependent one.  Now I realize that he is the one who has been very dependent on me.  I give him a respectable place in society, a clean organized home, his children that I parented, someone to rebel against and blame.  Our life is now unmanageable because he won't talk about finances or anything with me. And he lies about everything.  How can I manage us when I don't have all the information I need to manage?  I feel used and unappreciated.  He wants sex and he wants me to respect him.  Neither of us is getting what we need. He fills his need with tobacco and beer and games and a life that I am not privy to - he does not talk except to be funny or manipulate.  

The only thing I can change is myself.  I can't be the manager of his life any more.  I can't pick up the pieces of a broken marriage by myself any more.  I can trust only in myself and in a higher power that love and serenity is still possible in this world.  I must permit him to feel the pain of his own not taking care of things.  I will be feeling that pain too, but I MUST stop and let him fail.

The question in my mind isn't why do they get married?  They have lots to benefit by sharing their life with someone who can manage things and they get the benefit of feeling like respectable members of society.  But some, like your dh and mine, don't know or appreciate what we do. The question is why do we stay married and committed to something that is driving us crazy and keeping us small with so little payback?  What is the payback that keeps us here?  That is the question I am asking myself these days. There is no satisfaction or nobility being the sacrificial martyr.  

I think I had been afraid to admit failure, clinging to hope and faith and positive thinking and prayer.   I have been denying how bad our marriage is so that I didn't have to feel the pain of my own shame and guilt of failure. That is what I am doing here on this site.  If I write it, read it and put it out there in a safe place, I will eventually accept that no amount of me trying harder (or even differently) is going to change the damage of the shipwreck of this marriage.

Again, I know this is not all ADDers, just spouses like Barnyarff and mine who don't put in the effort to be responsible and care for what they have.

To nobody in particular

To nobody in particular,

I really appreciate this site, I have learned a lot, but I can only take small doses and for short periods because the majority of posts are cynical and pessimistic nature and to be frank depressing.  And while every case is different , I do know that when  my partner and I were in a state of “all is doom and gloom”  then  things were exactly that.  
So after many years of conflict, and some where we barely spoke and hardly spent time together except to argue, we decided that things had to change, and that the time had come to make a decision one way or the other.      
What I absolutely will credit this site for is allowing me to look at just how bad things can get if we just carried on playing the blame game, being the helpless victim and not accepting responsibility for my share of the problem, but this revelation would have made no difference had my wife not done the same. It takes two.
I was so horrified that I resolved to get out my self-pitying paralysis and get on with it.     

So stop being cynical and pessimistic, stop blaming each other for the problems, stop retreating to helpless victim mode and stop fooling oneself that one carries no responsibility for where things are at,  regardless of the ADHD or not.

It *can* be done but cynicism and negativity are the most potent of poisons preventing things from better. 

I have held resentment towards NoN's and believe me sometimes I would would dearly love to let it rip,  but  does anyone honesty think I  or any ADHD person could get away with that in this support forum ????  Of course not, but yet for NoN's not only is it's ok it' s about letting it out in supportive environment. Such is the hypocrisy in life right?  

Find the courage to make a decision, decide on a path and make a commitment to see it through, one way or the other.You can be 100% certain that if you think it is impossible that you will be right.

For my relationship the decision was to put the  past behind us and  throw ourselves 100% at taking a good hard look at ourselves and being honest on where we can improve, and to every day step back and look at the situation through the eyes of each other.   After 12 months of hard work and understanding I can say we have not been happier in many many years. 

Anyway,   end of rant.


Find the courage to make a decision, decide on a path and make a commitment to see it through, one way or the other.

Jon, any ADDer that is on this site and posting is TRYING.  You sound like you are concerned and trying.  My DH is denying, isolating, totally NOT communicating and consoling himself in beer.  That is not good for any of us.  I don't think what you wrote is a rant.  It is the frustration that is ADD that all of us get to post if we are feeling it. It defines the situation.

Jon, I hope you stay around

Jon, I hope you stay around here. You help explain so much of the not knowing and not understanding encountered every day. I wish you and your wife continued clarity. 


Jon, just wanted to let you know how much I have appreciated your posts. I have been following them for a while on here. The ADHD video series by Dr. Barkley that you referred to a while back was more enlightening that just about anything else I have seen on ADHD, as a co-parent, mother, and educator. 

Your advice to everyone to "Find the courage to make a decision, decide on a path, and make a commitment to see it through, one way or the other..." is spot on, in my opinion. Congrats to you for finding a way to do this with your wife. It is both a very simple thing to do and a very difficult thing to do. 

My best to you. 

I married my ADHD'er because

I married my ADHD'er because he has a wonderful heart, loved me so and i loved him. He deserves every opportunity at the same happiness as everyone else. That being said, he's unmedicated, not in therapy and I'm divorcing him. You can lead a horse to water...