Going to put this post here even though it is not your typical happy ending. So many posts and comments here filled with such pain and an utter loss of hope where the non spouse has given up in hurt and anger and/or has decided to forge ahead and make his/her way to a better, less painful life by ending the relationship. I'm in the latter category with one thing to add: I adore my husband. I love him so much that I just want to see him happy. He is a wonderful, an amazing human being with so much life, compassion, brilliance, courage, and creativity in him that I respect and admire him more than I can say. He is also a cheat, a liar, an addict, and in absolute, complete, utter denial about the final addiction he has to face (sex/love) and about his adhd symptoms and their impact. This morning I told him I need a divorce. Period. And that it will be okay and that I wish him well. I have been through so much turmoil that it is taking a definite physical toll on my health and also impacted my sanity. As a struggling couple over the last several years we began with AA and Alanon. They sort of helped but not really. Then he stopped drinking, of his own volition - so proud of him! A huge, gargantuan step. (His alcoholism was the area of our lives where I actually learned to successfully detach - this helped a ton with the adhd symptoms as well so I'm also proud of myself.) Then we tried marriage counselling and individual counselling. Lots of help but not enough. Sadly, the counsellor we both saw does not seem to understand adhd in adults very well. Then 12 step programs for sex addiction and for partners of sex addicts. Oh, that fit very well and helped a ton, but not enough. So he worked hard and tried differently and changed much in his life, as did I. Sex became healthy and enjoyable in our relationship again and has been ever since, and he has gotten a grip on the effects of porn, sex, and masturbation. But, still not enough. Meanwhile I (as an elementary school teacher) recognized that he has adhd in spades and began reading up on how it works in adults. Then he realized it as well on his own and went for evaluation and got a formal diagnosis. Through the diagnosis he realized what I've always known - he has a brilliant mind! Super high IQ but always saw himself as stupid. Started treatment but lots of our "experts" here are behind the times. Family doc prescribed Dexedrine because it was all she knew and she didn't do nearly enough follow up and tweaking. Psychiatrist didn't become involved in his treatment at all other than to approve diagnosis and the need for meds, then left the choices up to the family doc, not following through with my husband. No fewer than four medical/mental health professionals were all "treating" my husband and all of them dropped the ball in the spring by not following up when he quit his treatment out of the blue and saying nothing to them, saying to me that meds had too many side effects (I don't doubt that but he refused to talk with doc about trying other meds) and that accepting treatment forced him to deny his true self. My take on it: successful treatment, which was happening at that point, was going to force him to take the final step of breaking off his platonic but romantically invested relationship with a former affair partner. He left this morning to "give her a ride" from the place she's been working about an 8hour drive away. Translation: give her a ride = spend the weekend together. They haven't been sexually involved for years but his mind is so hyperfocused on her that it doesn't matter - I fade into non-existence when she enters his field of vision, literally or not. So, here it is... I told him this morning that we'll be divorcing. He's terrified of divorce and has fought me on it before - he had a horribly traumatic experience over his parents' divorce at age 6 so he has been unwilling to consider it for us. I have my work cut out for me! We've lived separately under the same roof many times in the last several years so we'll hopefully be able to do that again (large old house, separate floors for each of us) for the next 2 years until our second daughter graduates. Meanwhile we can fix the house up for sale, save some money, scope out a lawyer, etc.
Here's the crux: if I had known then (15 years ago) what I know now about adhd, I am 100% certain that he and I would be happily growing old together. We're an amazing couple - we both have a joie de vivre and a fun and loving spirit. We've healed soooo many things through increasing knowledge but we were already too far gone. I"m sobbing as I type this - he'd be an amazing person to grow old with - he's an incredible man and I still can't believe that he chose to be with me all of those years ago. We had our first child before we were married and I can see, as if it were yesterday, the look of joy and wonderment on his face as he looked at me when I told him we were having a child together. Like nothing imaginable could be finer than creating a family together. And all along, when we're good together, we're amazing together. But he's filled with shame and distraction and impulsivity and inability to take in information and compulsion and fear and... He blames me for so much of it now and so when I call him on his infidelity, as I simply must, he just receives confirmation that I'm dangerous and not to be trusted. Too late, too late.
Everytime I write something on here, I go on for far too long. My poor adhd spouse - having to focus on the ramblings of such a wordy person for all these years. But I posted because I need to share in a safe place the decision I've made. I'm afraid I'll back down and I have to stay strong. I posted under this heading because I can see the beauty in the person who has treated me, at times, like shit because of the ways his brain works, not because he's a bad person and I want us all to remember that. I posted under the heading of hope because I know that we would have had hope had we just tried differently sooner in our relationship and so many of you who are here and are learning can live that hope. I know that we've been on the right track and that if time had been on our side we could have made it together! Non- spouses: there are potentially beautiful people within those scattered minds and behind those hurtful symptoms. ADHD spouses: try to do what my husband cannot and see and accept the love that is always there (whether it seems that way or not) that keeps your partner by your side through thick and thin, for better and often for much, much worse. I'm going to sign off very dramatically (hey, at least I admit I'm dramatic! Sometimes I make myself roll my eyes) by saying that I'm going to go cry now and grieve for what sometimes was and what should have been forever.
Beginning to let go... Thanks for "listening" and helping me to feel less alone.