Married to ADD husband for almost 17 years. He was diagnosed at 19 when he was having trouble focusing in college (he was a straight A student his entire childhood and through his masters program). He tried medication briefly, but it interfered with his drinking, so he gave it up. We met and married at age 29 (had 2 young children from previous marriage to an NPD). I knew nothing about ADHD, and I let all of the red flags pass me by as he lavished me with attention, intellectual stimulation and love. Like many of you, the attention abruptly stopped the moment we got married a year after dating.
Family history: he was raised by a small, but mighty overbearing mother and the typical father of that generation - he went to work 10 hours a day. His mother is the always right, crams her opinions down your throat type and so enmeshed with him that when we started dating, I almost called it off. As a single mother of 2 kids with a career and no wilting flower, we immediately did not get along. She told him I was used goods, and she wanted better for her son (who when she married his father, had a 1 year old from a previous marriage, so I was put-off by her hypocrisy). My husband grew up timid, never allowed to push any limits, wasn't allowed to go into the kitchen for food unless he asked permission, and only specific foods (so he has food insecurity issues/unhealthy eating habits) and he was always sick HIs mother never took him to the doctor and let him be a snotty, snoring, drippy mess with food allergies left unchecked his entire childhood. He was raised not to complain and he was "fine". Not allowed much autonomy, so once he got to college, he REALLY let loose, and the addictive nature that is a huge part of who he is took hold and has never let go.
I was raised by a volatile narcissistic, bi-polar mother and a detached, workaholic and socially alcoholic father. No siblings. My parents had an unsettling marriage - my mom was angry a LOT, so she would yell at my dad for being inattentive, a drunk, a bad parent, you name it. From the time I was 4 years old, I knew the number of the local watering hole he went to every night after work because my mom would have ME call the bar and ask the bartender to send him home. I did that from 4-16 years of age. As soon as I was old enough to drive, my mom would pack a suitcase and have me drive it to the bar and put it in the bak of his truck. Then she would call a locksmith and lock my dad out (countless times). Many times during my childhood he would sleep in our RV. She finally left him when I was 20, but for another man, and then I turned into her parent - years of poor decisions, her life-sucking depression and since I was an only child and she had no siblings she had a relationship with (they were all adopted), alllll of her self inflicted drama fell on me. Fast forward to when I was 38, I finally went full no-contact with her because 18 years of being her parent while raising kids of my own was simply more than I could handle.
So, with that as the backdrop, when we met we had deep discussions about how we came to be who we were. Finally, I thought, someone who can have emotionally intelligent conversations (my first husband was pretty, wicked smart at engineering and math, but clueless about anything else). He said he had never met anyone like me - someone so capable and not in need of being "saved". I was financially stable. Though after we got married, he got it in his head he saved me from some sort of demise, so he had a weird ego thing that manifested in ways like "you were destitute when we met, where would you be without me"? and immediately follow it with "just kidding". His mom would accuse me of being a gold digger - um? My husband was an assistant principal. Not sure what kind of money she thought I would be seeing marrying someone in education. He was GREAT with my kids. Being his educational background, he was really a breath of fresh air. He was engaging, helpful and we had a good balance. My ex was upset a year and a half prior when I left him, so he had reenlisted in the military and was deployed for 2 years. My husband (while we were dating) suggested an amazing therapist for them to help them deal with their feelings about the divorce, their father up and leaving for over 2 years, and the transition to our new relationship. He came to every single sports practice, every game. In it to win it. I will never, ever forget his dedication to my children.
Fast forward after we we married and had our first child together. I noticed he was getting more distant, the more pregnant I got. He did his best to attend my doctor appointments, but he was not "present" a lot of the time. I tried to offer him grace, as he went from a single man to a father of 2 and one on the way in less than 2 years. More red flags just sailing over my head. Once our daughter was born, it all went downhill. As you know, babies don't do much moving around. He was bored because she didn't do anything but lay there, cry, eat or poop. He started leaving town to visit his best friend (an hour away) for some bro-time. Well, that bro-time turned into an every 2-3 weeks overnight that left me at home with a newborn and 2 small children. My husband is a big drinker (as am I, but not when I am solely responsible for the kids), and he gets rip-roaring drunk. His best friend is a raging alcoholic, so the two of them together is honestly ridiculous. This continued for YEARS on a very regular basis. We would host football parties at our house with friends, and any time his best friend would come, he of course had to sleep over because he would be drunk. Well, more than twice he has VOMITED in my house. Once all over my daughter's bedroom and he left in the morning and did not clean it up. One time he kicked my son out (who was 10 at the time) out of his own room so he could sleep in his bed - he told him to get out and go to the couch. Needless to say, I cannot stand this man. He is not allowed in my house. My husband and I fought on the regular for YEARS about it. I will not back down. This is my home and my sanctuary and no one has a right to violate that, and my husband defending him makes me want to scream. When I was pregnant with our 2nd child, I almost left him. His ADD was so bad he literally paid me no mind for my entire pregnancy. He busied himself with ANYTHING other than life at home. Right before he was born, I discovered my husband was having an emotional affair with a newly divorced teacher. I confronted her once I saw the email exchanges, a playlist of music he created for her to make her CDs and after he left me to go on an overnight retreat for the district that of course she was on - while I was in prodromal labor. He literally brought me back from the hospital, packed his bag and left. He did not have even an ounce of apprehension about the timing. After our son was born, he invited people over every single weekend for SIX weeks for BBQs. Every weekend he was drunk Fri night and Sat, and hung over on Sunday. A few months later when I knew he was having the emotional affair, I got into his work computer and found more emails and a poem he wrote about her - about the night they spent at the retreat. I woke him up and calmly asked him to explain it all to me. Of course he absolutely denied it, lied and lied and dug himself deeper into a hole. To this day, he would still deny it if I was to ask (I do not bring up the past, ever). It was not until I broke down in a massive heap of despair that he could actually SEE the affects of his betrayal and what it had done to me, did things improve. He promised he would go to counseling with me, and we did for about 6 months. Thing is, my husband is incredibly intelligent and can even trick marriage counselors. We "graduated" from our first marriage counselor because my husband bold face lied in every single session to win him over. He did it in such a way that when I would protest, he would just sit there so calmly with this look on his face that read *I* was the issue, and he was the victim. This role has never changed throughout our marriage. My husband is never at fault, the things he creates are always my fault, the kid's fault, his works fault, the skies fault. No ounce of accountability.
Things were ok for a while after counseling. Then he found something new to hyperfocus on, sex. We have always (until this last year) a VERY active sex life. It has always been his #1 emotional need (we did the Marriage Builders program after I discovered the emotional affair he insist he did not have). He wanted a 3some. He talked about it every single day for months on end. Unfortunately ADD people have no boundaries, and seemingly no awareness to the big picture or what something could mean for the future. So, I relented and we had two with the same woman. He was absolutely over the moon. The happiest I had ever seen him - he was more attentive to me, the kids, that family life balance was better. There has never been a discussion about it since. We were in a really good place for about a year and a half. His ADD manifested in its typical ways - when we had guests over and needed to tidy up the house, he would end up tinkering around in the garage, leaving it to me (but he was the cook, so that was always great).
The lack of boundaries kept being an issue, and as the years have progressed, they are absolutely non existent. He had another emotional affair with yet another teacher about 6 years after the first. He again denied it. A friend of mine saw him in a bookstore near the school he was a principal at. She casually mentioned it. My husband is a workaholic, so he does not read much outside of work related material. I casually asked him what he picked up at the book store and he lied and said it was for work. Nope. The teacher he had become attached to (also married and flirtatious, but I do not believe really that interested in a romantic relationship with him after knowing her for a few years) was going on vacation and he bought her a book for her trip he thought she would enjoy. Back with the 1st affair, he had agreed to complete transparency, but as typical with ADD, they do not keep their promises. So, like a parent, I said I would ask him one more time what he was doing at the bookstore. He lied again. So, I got into our cell phone account and found the text messages they had about the book he gifted her. I then presented him with the evidence he was lying, and of course it all got put back on me. That he should be allowed to have female friends and grabbing them coffee or a book should be acceptable, and that he kept it from me because of "exactly how I was reacting". Nope. I do not play these games with a grown man. Those things should be acceptable, when you are being transparent, not sneaky, then lying not once but twice, and THEN blaming ME for my reaction to him lying. If nothing is going on, there is no reason to lie. At this point, I was absolutely hopeless I would ever have a marriage with him where I feel safe, valued or secure. So, I started showing up to the school at my lunch time, and yup. That teacher and he were eating lunch she prepared for him in his office, alone. Come to find out later, this was a regular occurrence for months, and he never once mentioned it to me. He took left overs for lunch, so I assumed he was eating them. He always told me he as always to busy to have lunch with me, so I rarely went to see him during the day (I have a job where I am going to appointments often, so my car is my office). He was also buying her coffee almost every day. Just like the first time, to this day, he would still deny anything was going on and it was entirely on the up and up.
I have really come into my own to protect myself, but being he is a workaholic, there is constant crossover each and every day. For example, you'd think he was an on call doctor the way he is on his phone starting at 7 am for work, and he receives texts and calls until 10 pm (sometimes later). For years he has been later getting home from work because he simply does not know how to turn it off. His mind is on work most of the time. His phone is at the dinner table, despite the rules we have (that our now teenagers follow easily), and he will text constantly. He stems out so completely on work that he has burnt himself out, and he is miserable. He does not know how to regulate emotions, manage stress. He had a heart attack before he was 40 from stress, had a heart procedure at 46, and none of the health coping strategies that come with staying healthy are happening. He ignores his doctors advice, stops taking his medicine, and is always a victim somehow, like this is happening TO him, not as a result of not taking care of himself. So I have a spouse with ADD, anxiety (he has to be perfect at work) and now depression. So, the typical issues of being completely ignored, not pulling his weight in the household, and hours upon hours of mindless scrolling on his phone, we are living like roommates. Recently he had a direct covid exposure, so he rushed off to our beach house (that we bought because he swore to god it was the only thing that brings him peace and relaxation). I was a bit worried about getting it, along with our 2 kids (the older 2 are adults and out of the house). Our daughter said something that was such a sad realization for me, but went completely over my husband's head, that she was not worried about the exposure because "when was the last time I was in a room with dad for more than a few minutes and he doesn't talk to me anyway". OUCH. Teenage girls are hard, and he does not like things unless they are convenient and easy, so he simply ignores her. Every day. She is no wilting flower like me, so she speaks up. Just like when I speak up, he gets immediately defensive, says something passive aggressive or rude, or just lies and says it isn't true. The last 9 months has been HARD because he has gone from disengaged from the family to disassociated. He lives in his own little reality and we just orbit around him, not sure of what to say or do, or how to act because we never know what we are going to get in response. So, I have completely withdrawn because after years of the push/pull dynamic, I am simply trying to preserve what little sanity I have left.
I am tired of doing everything and being my own rock. I call it Shit, Shower, Shave. That is all he seems to be responsible for. He goes to work. I also work, but the daily organization of teenagers, their school, sports and doctor appointments (son has had braces for almost 2.5 years now, and daughter has anxiety). We own 2 homes, and I manage 100% of both. I pay the bills, do our taxes. He does not know how to even go into our banking accounts (he still says to this day that I don't "let him" have access - he never writes down or remembers the password, so I stopped providing it to him years ago because I am not his mother). I purchase the vehicles, take them for maintenance. We rent our beach house (the one he insisted would "fix" his stress issues) to friends, so I manage that calendar, clean it before every guest, arrange things for maintenance.
My husband is an amazing cook. For years he said it was his catharsis, and it was the way he would unwind after a long day, so I gratefully let him take that lead. Then it dawned on me why he does that, and bawks at any other household chore. He gets kuddos for it. Pats on the back. He likes to cook for friends - they pour on attention about what a good husband he is because he cooks. It was like a light bulb went off - he only takes on things he can get praise from other people for! He cares so deeply what other people think of it, it actually blows my mind. These people aren't paying the mortgage or doing your laundry, I am. The efforts he puts OUTSIDE of this house is so high, but when he is home, I get scraps. If he treated his employees an ounce of the way he treats me (thoughtlessness), people would quit. He is amazing at his profession. People will tell me, gush about what a fantastic listener he is. That never makes me feel proud, it makes me profoundly angry. There is always this fine line, too, because he has no boundaries, where he puts himself at continual risk of more emotional affair (though right now he is so unhealthy and upset with himself, he is too vain to start anything feeling out of shape as he is). It is like my entire life is crazy-making, every single day. All I want is peace, cohesiveness, intimacy. He equates intimacy with sex, and he no longer even approaches me about it - the occasional "wanna do it?" . Since he has food issues, he eats all of the things he is allergic to (gluten and dairy and beer) and just deals with it. So he has major GI issues, and now has reached the diabetes danger zone. So - he smells of farts, belches and this weird putrid diabetic smell on his clothes and our bedding. I am so far from having romantic feelings about it that is scares me. I do not want a divorce, but I am absolutely over doing all of the work.
I am reading through all of the ADD materials (have read countless books on it, along with books on co-dependency, passive aggressive men and given him books on fulfillment, healthy habits). I have been raising kids for 25 years, and my husband has been a 5th kid. We have done counseling, workshops, self help, you name it. As we get older (almost 48), it is just getting worse. I do not want to be an empty nester with him in 5 years and have the dynamic still the same. I have already lost myself completely here - it feels like I have nothing to look forward to. I know damn well I am going to end up his health caregiver because he simply cannot be bothered to take care of himself. In turn, because he is always the patient (and we always have countless medical bills), I rarely have the time to take care of my own health and have put off a much needed hysterectomy because of the cost, and because I do not trust I will get the support I need from him. He will be great for the first few days, then lose interest and I will be on my own. I have no real support system because my 2 best friends moved out of state in the last 5 years. Also, my BFF Is married to an asperger, on the spectrum AND he has ADHD, so poor thing is barely limping by in her reality, as well.
I do think I can convince him to get on medication. But from what I have read here, so many of you say it makes them more apathetic and even less driven to have true connection. I do not think I can emotionally take that on.