Hi everyone, my first post so some background.
I've been married 12 years. Years ago my wife mentioned she had a previous ADD diagnosis. Actually at the time I found Melissa's book and read the first chapter online. Even found this website but didn't go any further. At the time my wife got mad I was researching ADD and told me "It's my issue". I didn't see how I could change her mind so I just dealt with it.
Fast forward to now, and she just decided to go get a current diagnosis. She's started on medication and it's only been a couple weeks so it's hard to say what the long term effect will be. She's always been a pretty high-functioning ADHD spouse, she's been able to keep jobs, she is a doting mother, but for a decade now I've been the one in charge of the finances, I'm in charge of all the household repairs and chores, I keep the cats alive, she makes messes and I pick them up, she gets to have hobbies and I do chores, on and on you've probably all heard this before. We've found a stable way to coexist, but our relationship was clearly getting worse. We got smartphones a few years ago, and she racked up points in a game until she was literally world class. Meanwhile I ask for her to talk to me about her day or ask me about mine and she can't be bothered. Sex was better a few years ago but going the wrong direction. Now it's basically non-existent.
Her doc (not sure of the qualifications, she won't talk about it yet, ADHD shame kicking in) suggested "Hey read this book by Melissa Orlov, it's great for both spouses." I read it and I was literally shaking with rage. Before the current diagnosis I was already wondering why stay with someone who doesn't want to have sex and just makes life harder? Now I read the book her doctor suggested and it's the same one I got yelled at for reading years ago. But that's not what makes me so angry. I get the fact that I only get to control myself, not my partner. I get that I'm supposed to have empathy for how much shame an ADHD person has felt throughout their life. I get that it's normal to grieve what could have been and what opportunity was lost. I just don't care. The book reminded me of all the unfairness of a decade of needless anger, angst, and repressed feelings. I can tell I'm holding on to these feelings because I'm kind of looking for a reason to quit - the thought of decluttering, just having some time with my kids (even part time) without my wife, to start some hobbies, to have a household that doesn't spontaneously get messy no matter how hard I try... I feel screwed because I figure I can do better.
I'm new to this, in one way, and worn with failed attempts, in another way. My wife has legitimately tried to address her ADHD with medication, and she's got various other treatments lined up as well. Somehow the diagnosis just makes me think why bother? I can't even remember the friend I married years ago. I can see glimpses beyond my anger, but then it rises up again at some trivial issue and I'm blinded again.
I'm asking for advice on what to do next? I don't even know if I want to be with the person I married. She's smart, she's funny, our personalities fit like a glove at first, but sure enough the courtship went sour about 1 year in. Now I just see a person that makes my life harder.
Submitted by Chevron on
I'm glad you're here. A lot of what you wrote about in your life is familiar. Especially the descriptions of upset, feeling the grind of the caretaking that in another relation would be more shared. No cats and kids here, much of the rest is familiar. I'm the non ADHD wife of a man with ADHD. I love him dearly. I havent been married long. There will be others on the site who have been married 10 years, 20, 30. Some went decades not knowing why their spouse did some things, the diagnosis came after years of hard times. I hope you find your way to them on the site, and to the people with ADHD who can tell you what they think and have been through. They're not your wife, but can open some possible windows on things for you, Glad you're here.
The one thing that jumped out to me from your post is that at least in your report, your wife is not buying into the idea that in a marriage, all big problems are shared and yes, do affect other people.
Hi Shattered....Welcome to my world....
Submitted by c ur self on
I'm married to her Twin....And sadly you are living my life...Except our children are grown...I would love to set down and talk to you face to face....It would be amazing....
After 5 years with her I (the peaceful guy) was filled w/ anger and bitterness from all the things you listed...It took me months to get over it, and that took living separate from her the whole time....Shattered....That statement you made about her telling you (that's your problem!)....I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard that, when I pointed out her Dysfunctional life style.....Denial, Selfishness and absolutely no ability to take ownership of their behaviors is definitely tough on us.....When your spouse refuses (has no ability) to communicate about her reality....The marraige relationship just can't move forward....
Some people just live in a mind that isn't fit to live w/ a life mate....It's just hard to give up hope and walk away when you love them....
I was happy to read your post
Submitted by mnj02021 on
I was happy to read your post because it is one of the few that openly expresses the rage towards how the non-ADHD spouse needs to meet the ADHD spouse where they are at all the time. I too feel this rage and did feel it tremendously when reading the book. I grew up with a learning disability. i never had special classes or received special treatment. My mom was an advocate for "never labeling a child". She worked with me at home and encouraged me to enjoy learning at my own speed. I am lucky to have her. I grew up never making excuses and always over compensating for my disability. I expect the same from other people. I work hard and I expect others to do the same. I think criticism is a necessary part of life and something we can all grow from.
The idea that I will forever be meeting my husband "where he is at" and having to tailor the way I communicate/love/act even more than I have is so depressing for me. I see myself dragging him around like dead weight, unable to move forward. I don't want to spend my life second guessing whether or not something I say will be misinterpreted or if a decision I need to make will set him off. Most of my friends don't want to hangout with us anymore due to his drinking and negative attitude. Its lonely.